Sunday, December 23, 2007

Update on Gluten and Dairy Free Break

Well I am eating gluten and dairy right now and I don't feel any worse. I am currently awaiting the results from some additional tests.

I have not made any long term decisions on what I am going to do.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A break from Gluten and Dairy Free

I am taking a break from being gluten and dairy free today. My plan is to go back to following the diet Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then try to evaluate how things have gone. So far I feel fine (normal) and have gotten to enjoy a few foods I am missing.

Will be interesting to see where this goes!

Hempmilk - another dairy alternative

I wanted to try another dairy alternative besides rice milk that was of course gluten-free as well. I looked through all the options and hempmilk was the only one I came up with. (I would have had more options but my son is allergic to nuts and soy so I don't like bringing it into my house)

I was nervous about whether or not I would like it so I bought the vanilla one. I think that was a bad choice. It is sooooo sweet - it tastes like melted ice cream. IF I decide to try this again, then I will try the original. I have no idea why they would make it so sweet. Surely the original would be better...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Well, I've done it now...

Now that I have done it - I am not so sure it was a good idea.

After 6 weeks of being 100% dairy and gluten free, I just had a half a glass of milk.

I don't have a good reason - nothing particularly logical - but after 6 weeks of completely avoiding gluten and dairy and having no positive effect on my health, I guess I am a bit discouraged.

Gluten-Free Waffles

Another product to add to the not so yummy list! I am really struggling with breakfast here!!

I have tried 2 brands of GF waffles - Trader Joes and Lifestream and I am not happy with either. If I had to have one, I prefer the Lifestream.

Ok, I should have said "Not Much Sugar"

I had to laugh when I read back through my blog. Just before I declared I was "off sugar" I mentioned how I like my cornbread sweet and added a few tablespoons of SUGAR to the mix. Seems like someone is confused!

Well I am a bit, to be honest. My doctor suggested eliminating sugar and seeing what effect that might have on my health. But right now I am not really up for that, I don't believe. Sugar is in a fair number of things and I don't think I can add something else to my strict avoidance list.

So I have decided to "drastically reduce" my sugar intake. So in addition to bits of sugar here and there in products, and the sugar I added to the cornbread, I have only had one (large) marshmallow and no other sweets in 4 days.

Believe me, that is DRASTIC!!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

No Sugar!!

Ok, I am off sugar now as well as gluten and dairy. I think this is going to be way harder for me than gluten.

Don't ask what that means because I am not quite sure. So far what it means is I am not eating any desserts. That is big for me. I like to have at least a little treat each day.

But today was day one with no sugar.

Gluten Free Product Reviews : Hot Cereal and Cornbread

I tried 2 new Bob's Red Mill products today. Both turned out pretty good, thankfully.

For breakfast I had the "Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal" which was pretty good. It was like the grits I am used to eating only more flavorful and more nutritious. I originally tried the sweet approach with some peach preserves and pecans but didn't like it much. Perhaps because of the similarity to grits, I prefered it the way I grew up eating them - with margarine, salt and pepper.

At dinner I made a vegetable stew in the crockpot and cornbread to go with it. Where I come from there may not be sugar in the grits but there certainly is sugar in the cornbread so I snuck in 3 tablespoons of sugar when mixing it up. This took a bit longer then it said to cook. I think I may have put it in an 8" pan instead of 9". I'll pay more attention next time! Overall I was pleased with this too.

Another Gluten-Free Product Review : Chicken Tenders

Today for lunch we had Bell and Evans Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders. I haven't bought nuggets in quite a while so it is hard for me say, but I would say they were likely comparable to other gluten-ful chicken tenders. There was nothing "odd" or "unusual" about them and I don't think a person would know they were gluten-free unless you told them. Both my kids ate them up without complaint.

Bell and Evans actually has a whole line of their products in gluten-free versions, not just the nuggets. I bought mine at Whole Foods.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

More Restaurants

Here are some more restaurants with gluten-free items on their menus.

Chili's Restaurant
I really do appreciate companies who take the time to identify the allergens in their foods. It is so frustrating to not know what is in something. Chili's has a page for each of the big-8 allergens and their listings "expire" each month so they are up to date. But it is still frustrating for someone trying to figure things out when they include statements like this (for all 8 allergens)

We have prepared this suggested list of menu options based on the most current ingredient information from our food suppliers and their stated absence of wheat/gluten protein within these items. Please be aware that during normal kitchen operations involving shared cooking and preparation areas, including common fryer oil, the possibility exists for food items to come in contact with wheat/gluten proteins. Additionally, fried food items could pick-up wheat/gluten proteins during the cooking process. Therefore, we recommend that individuals with dietary allergies and intolerances avoid all fried foods. Due to these circumstances, we are unable to guarantee that any menu entrée below can be completely wheat/gluten-free.

Chick-Fil-A - Gluten
Chick-Fil-A - Allergies
I don't live near a Chick-Fil-A now but I sure wish I did. Or I used to wish I did, anyway. My favorite thing there is the Chick-Fil-A Sandwich and clearly that is breaded in flour so definitely out. They did have some interesting info on their website. Probably more helpful for my son's allergies than for me.

Hot Cocoa Mission

I am on a mission to make Hot Cocoa that I like! I grew up on the packets and apparently that taste has grown on me. I don't like the homemade stuff near as much at this point.

Also, I feel like a bit of a dork because I did not really realize that lots of people make Hot Chocolate with real milk instead of making a Hot Chocolate Mix with dry milk. In fact, when I grabbed my cocoa to give it a whirl, there was a recipe right on the side.

Since I did not want to mix up a bunch in case I did not like it, I ended up just making 1 cup worth. Here is what I did but it wasn't quite right.

1.5 TBSP sugar
1.5 TBSP cocoa
shake salt
1 cup rice milk
1/4 tsp vanilla


Amy's Mexican Tamale Pie

I know I said I don't eat much of this kind of thing, but here we go again. Perhaps I have just been planning poorly this week!

This one I was not happy with at all. I won't be getting this one again. Instead I will stick with the shepherds pie, which I really did like. And maybe I'll look again to see if Amy's has any other options.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Amy's Shepherd's Pie

Ok, I don't eat much of this sort of thing but this was really good. A gluten-free friend of mine suggested some foods to keep on hand for emergencies and this was one of them. I was not prepared for lunch yesterday and find it is so much harder to wing it on a restricted diet. So I pulled this out of the freezer and heated it in the oven. It was very good.
And the ingredient list is full of actual foods, words I can recognize and the nutritional information looks good for this sort of thing.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hot Chocolate - Take Two

I got really excited when I read Cathy's hot chocolate post at Chief Family Officer. Her point was that she doesn't have dry milk powder but she always has milk on hand, so why not make a mix with the other ingredients and mix it into milk instead of water. Brilliant!

And it solves my problem of trying to find dairy-free, gluten-free dry milk substitute. I am looking forward to trying this. Here is the recipe from her site, edited slightly by me.

Homemade Hot Chocolate
1 3/4 cups sugar

1 1/8 cups cocoa

1/2 tablespoon table salt

Rice milk for serving

1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, and salt, and whisk to combine well. Store the mixture in an airtight container.
2. For individual servings, pour 1 cup milk into a microwave-safe mug, and microwave on high just until hot. Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa mix, and stir to dissolve.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Very Tasty!

Yes... more chocolate chip cookies! They really hit the spot after having to watch everyone eat birthday cake for days and days....

I made The Cravings Place Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix. These are cool because they are gluten-free, wheat-free, nut-free, egg-free, dairy-free and bean-free; great for those with multiple allergies. Plus they are made in a dedicated facility which gives me even more confidence.

They were easy to mix up - just add water and Earth Balance. When I was done mixing that up, I decided that they could use more chocolate so I added a nice amount of TJ Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips. I am glad that I did! They taste really good and with the extra chips - quite rich!