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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The problem with gluten...

Hello Sunshines!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable week, savoring up these last few weeks of summer! I am very excited for the two week vacation I have coming up.  This Friday is the last day of camp (yeyy!) and I plan to spend the next two weeks focusing on me, in forms of green juice, abundant salads from my garden, going for runs in the woods, doing Bikram, some writing, and getting a lot of sleep :) Any last few weeks of summer plans for you?

Anyway, I have a confession to make... I love bread. I mean I LOVE love love bread! If I could live off of one food it would be toasted semolina bread dipped in olive oil with a dash of salt (particular, eh?). I am asked a lot about my feelings on eating gluten.  At first I shunned going gluten free, our bodies need (especially as a vegan) whole grains in the form of whole wheat pasta, bread, semolina bread, whole grain cereals, etc.  (or do we?) What else would we eat? However because of experience, my opinion on this topic has changed.

When I was hired last September as a teacher, I was bitching ball of stress.  I would come home and every day enjoy a glass of wine and a loaf of Italian Bread with my boyfriend's sister, Julianne.  It became a ritual, one that I enjoyed so, so much.  The more stressed I was, the more bread I ate... or was it the more bread I ate, the more stress I was? Well, about a few weeks after this ritual began, I went to my homeopathic chiropractor.  I was drained of energy, depressed, not sleeping well, gaining weight, and just flat out a grumpy bitch.  Dr. Salmon (his real name :) did his little test on me where he uses pressure points on the body and plays with my arms (hard explain!) and asked me what I have been eating differently.  I shrugged my shoulders.  He then said, "you are eating a lot of gluten, aren't you?" I thought about it, and yeah, in the form of fresh Italian bread... mmm just thinking of it now makes my mouth water.  He then explained to me that my lack of energy, motivation, depression, restlessness, weight gain (duh), and moodiness is because my thyroid is out of whack.  So he suggested I get a thyroid support serum, and stop eating gluten.  I did, and within a week I felt GREAT....

But, like I said, I LOVE bread. So of course this has been an uphill battle. I know when I avoid gluten I feel amazing. However when that bitch known as temptation, gets in my face, I sometimes cannot resist. Today I am doing much, much better, discovering new GF food substitutes, and some of my favorite restaurants now have GF items on the menu.  I now eat foods made with quinoa, millet, and brown rice, rather than wheat.

It was news to me that eating gluten does not just harm people who have Celiac Disease.  Gluten is found in soooo many things, and unfortunately many of us bread lovers have gluten sensitivities.  If you are curious and want to figure out if you have a sensitivity to gluten, I suggest you go on an elimination diet.  Eliminate gluten products from your body for a week to 21-days, record how you feel.  After 21-days (or if you only last a week), slowwwwwly add gluten back into your diet and once again, see how you feel. Do you wake up in the morning drained? Are you grumpy? gassy? what have you!

Just remember, we are only "spiritual being having a human experience"-- making mistakes is a typical human thing, perfection is just flat out silly and impossible.  I slip here and there and eat gluten (As you will see below, hint: vegan chocolate cake!), and save myself with a good digestive enzyme.  On good days I make yummmmy recipes like the one below, and dine at yummy restaurants like Good Karma Cafe that has GF Vegan food :) (see pictures below).  I will be posting many more GF recipes and my favorite items in the future.

So, like I mentioned, Good Karma Cafe-- it's a tiny gem located in Red Bank, New Jersey.  My best best friend, Erica, who is currently on a journey to wellness (aren't we all!) and is dipping her toes into the vegan world, joined me for a lovely vegan dinner last night.  I ate some of the best GF vegan food I have ever tasted.... and then there was the vegan chocolate cake (not GF, sorry, like I said-- only human :)

Yummm Live Lemonade: Fresh apple and lemon with ginger!  Who needs wine?

Our appetizer was delicious: "Whole Lotta Love" (which it certainly was!):  Made with their dehydrated buckwheat and flax bread, topped with shredded veggies (carrots, sprouts, cabbage), crunchy dehydrated kale chips (OMG!) and sunflower her cheese= Amazing and GF

Then for dinner I had a "Love Bowl" which had perfectly sauteed kale, brown rice, black beans, delicious tempeh (usually I am not a fan of the substitute meat, but this was just amazing!) and then I got my sauce on the side: Thai Coconut. SO delicious! I can't wait to eat the left overs tonight:)

Erica got this massive burrito that even her MEAT-itarian boyfriend liked :): Brown rice, black beans, guacamole, pico, homemade vegan sourcream and shredded lettuce (not GF, but vegan and really stinkin good)
Ahhh and onto my favorite course of the night, dessert.  This is not gluten free, but it is vegan and delicious! Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate deliciousness :)

Gluten Free Recipe of the Week:
Today we had our end of the summer staff party.  As a vegan it is nearly necessary to bring a favorite dish so not only you can eat, but you can "WOW" all of the skeptics out there :)
Recipe adopted  from Lorna Sass's Short-Cut Vegan cook book (great resource to have)
(FYI: I am Italian, I don''t follow exact measurements, it's in my blood, so this is the gist of what I did)
1 1/2 c. quinoa rinsed
equal parts water
2 c. fresh corn (Mmm Jersey Summer Corn!)
1 c. fresh basil (from the JMFECEL Garden)
1/2 c. Roasted Peppers
1/2 c. finely sliced red onions
3 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 tbs. lemon juice

Directions: Boil quinoa until water has absorbed.  Boil corn until cooked (unless using can, in which case buy organic and BPA free :) Prepare peppers, onions and basil.  Cook corn and quinoa, then toss with remaining ingredients.  Serve chilled and enjoy this DELICIOUS and refreshing summer meal :)

Do you have any questions about Gluten? Any recipes you would like to share? Please do :)
Have a wonderful end of the week/weekend!

Next Post: Garden Love <3


  1. Love it! Great topic, great writing. Love the food, yum! We have to go together again asap!

  2. Great post! Well said! All the food looks great. Quinoa is great option we love it among many other yummy gf foods!!

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