Further Diet Restrictions

A few weeks ago, my doctor put me on a lactose-free diet. She suspected I was lactose intolerant despite testing negative to a milk allergy (if you’re curious, a milk allergy is referring to the milk protein, while a lactose intolerance is referring to the lactose enzyme). Apparently you can be lactose intolerant while not technically being “allergic to milk”. It’s all very confusing but I DO know when I cut out all lactose I felt much better. As with other intolerance, purging your body of the offensive substance will also make you more sensitive to that substance later on (because your body is effectively “spoiled” by not having to constantly struggle, so you will notice a reaction quite quickly). This has definitely been the case with dairy; even a few accidental bites will make me feel sick andimage have me combing the ingredients of my last meal looking for the inevitable dairy product.

I am still unsure whether this discovery is a negative or positive thing. I feel much better, but now I have an even more restrictive diet! I didn’t have much dairy to begin with, so cutting out gluten was a much more drastic change, but cutting out lactose shook off the remaining rare tummy troubles. Now to live gluten, lactose, and peanut free. :(

Thank goodness I can still have a decaf Americano with soy milk!


Gluten & Grain Free Coconut Flour Biscuits

Coconut BiscuitsYesterday, I had an injection (well, two actually) in the joints by my spine to reduce the inflammation of my old back injury. Hopefully now all the physical therapy and osteopath visits will be able to heal it for good. Today is Friday, but I’m on convalescent leave from my out-patient injection at the hospital. First time in a hospital by the way.

Besides having a blissful weekday morning enjoying the birds in my garden and a 1/2 caff coffee with soy milk, I wanted to try out a new recipe. This one was ever so simple, adapted from one posted by the “It Takes Time” natural living blog.

While they aren’t fluffy Pillsbury biscuits, and have a distinct egg/coconut flavor, they are pretty tasty and make a good brunch food (especially when topped with honey butter!).

  1. Preheat oven to 400* Fahrenheit (living in Britain, I using the fan setting on my oven and cooked at 200* Celsius for the first 10 minutes, then dropped to 150 for the remaining 5 or so)
  2. Mix together the following:
    • 1/3 cup coconut flour
    • 4 organic eggs
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • pinch of salt
    • 4 tablespoons of chilled butter, grated into the mix
    • approximately 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (adds some fluffiness)
  3. Form into 6 patties (using extra flour if it gets too sloppy) and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes. This is one of those recipes you have to keep an eye on though, so alter time as needed.

That’s it. Told you they were easy. ;)

Happy Friday! Add some yoga and my day’s about set.

English Weather, New Recipes, and One Very Cute Collie

Yesterday was a beautiful afternoon in eastern England. I spent my Friday evening flipping DSC_0394through my National Trust book, planning my Saturday visits. I settled on Dunwich Heath and Beach because it was dog-friendly (many National Trust places are, but this beach welcomes off leash romps too, which is Ranger’s favorite way to explore) and the views seemed favorable to practice landscape photography. Well, let’s be honest, the majority of shots would have been my Border Collie, with a rocky coast background. So that was the plan. Then I woke up this morning and IT IS SNOWING. It’s not sticking, but big, fluffy flakes are coming down like mad. I guess the beach will have to wait…or will it?

*                    *                 *

Thursday evening, I helped a friend edit her paper. We made a dinner date of it as I was eager to try out this recipe from Minimalist Baker (omg I love her blog). Ladies and IMG_20160303_190918766gentlemen, it was delicious. I mean, no leftovers, plate-scraping, exclamations of delighted “mm mm mm”s, delicious. I paused for a photo, but didn’t even wait to see if it turned out before we pounced on the serving dish. I think all of it (including the white wine) was gone in under half an hour.

This was gluten-free, and low dairy (I used the olive oil version, omitting the butter, so the only dairy was the Parmesan cheese, which is low-lactose anyway).

Which reminds me, the Nutritionist appointment! I think it went well; it was really informative and I have a follow-up appointment in 4 weeks. In that time, I am on a
low-lactose, low-gluten, low-caffeine (ah my heart does break), low-fiber diet. I am keeping a food diary, and logging how I feel for two hours after each small meal. The nutritionist believes, though I am not allergic to milk, I may have an intolerance to lactose as well as gluten. I’m learning though that a lactose intolerance does not mean I can’tIMG_20160305_085616706 have milk (the fiber/carbohydrate content gives clues on the amount of lactose in a dairy product). The low fiber and caffeine is to slow my digestion and allow my body to contemplate lactose and gluten properly, to determine whether or not I really have an intolerance. We will see how it goes, so I am typing and sipping the one coffee (down from 3 -4 a day) I allow myself each morning, this morning’s made into a coffee latte with frothed Lactaid milk.
This is Day 4 and I honestly feel much better. Time will tell though. ❤

Gluten Free-dom

Being Gluten Free is not as fun as one may imagine. Sure, you sound posh and get special treatment at restaurants, but there are definitely downsides. Amazingly, it is not the food I miss most. I have been baking like a fiend, trying out gluten free flours and have been pleasantly surprised to find I can bake just about all of the food-stuffs I have stopped eating. My favorite recipe this season has been this Gingerbread Men recipe from a new favorite blog, Gluten Free on a Shoestring. So don’t worry Mom, I’m eating just fine, and I have developed quite the Mary Berry reputation for bringing my creations into the office.

I’d be remiss not to mention accidental gluten consumption, which is sometimes a challenge. Unlike an allergy that can be treated with Benadryl, an intolerance means your body literally cannot tolerate the substance. I’ve discovered the longer I am off gluten, the stronger my intolerance grows. It is discouraging to think about how sensitive I will be to gluten as time goes on. Last week I inadvertently had food with gluten and my reaction had me sick in bed within 30 minutes. Worse yet, a gluten reaction takes time to heal – time full of regret, hot packs for aching tummies, bananas and ginger ale.

However, my biggest challenge since going gluten-free has been with people. GF lifestyles are popular with hipsters these days, like vegan or paleo diets, and nearly everyone I tell about my intolerance assumes it is simply a choice. Moreover, they don’t believe gluten intolerance is real. I’ll admit I was one of them just last year – thinking gluten free diets were somewhat silly if you didn’t have Celiac. That’s everyone’s question, “Oh so do you have Celiac?” When I answer no (I have one of the two genetic markers for Celiac, leaving me with a gluten sensitivity, but not the full-blown disease), they look at me skeptically.

I haven’t yet devised a method for dealing with these reactions, but try to avoid the conversation as much as possible. If I go to a dinner party, I volunteer to bring the bread so that I can bring the gluten-free variety and avoid the question altogether. I am new yet to the GF world, but I am learning quickly. There are so many helpful resources and blogs to help me navigate this change, and I know it will just take time to adjust.

My gluten free lifestyle isn’t exclusionary; it is freedom. Freedom from pain, nausea, and continual discomfort. And for that I am willing to have a few awkward conversations.


My Gluten Free Thanksgiving

Today is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. My meals since that day of feasting have consisted almost entirely of tasty tasty leftovers, per American tradition. I spent my holiday overseas, so I had a “Friendsgiving” day with other local Americans. To be honest, it felt closer to that original pilgrim day than any Thanksgiving in memory. Here I was in a foreign land, away from family and everything I knew, feasting with friends and strangers (friends of friends) and counting our blessings over shared food.

Everyone brought a few dishes, and I was careful to screen for gluten-containing items to the best of my ability. I chose to make my favorite dishes (that normally have gluten) so I would be sure to have some ‘safe’ dishes. I made

Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole

I’ve been making this since I was a little girl, so I didn’t use a recipe. I did make some changes to my tried-and-true method though.

  1. I didn’t use FRENCH’S Fried Onions. That red box was always a sure sign that Thanksgiving was here, but, alas, it has gluten in it. So I made my fried onions from scratch using this recipe from Food.com.
  2. I used fresh green beans instead of canned ones. I washed a cut them to about the same size as the canned ones and, actually, I liked the fresh ones much better!
  3. Traditional cream of mushroom soup has wheat products so I used AMY’S KITCHEN Organic Cream of Mushroom Soup, which is gluten free.

Green bean casserole is super easy to make (combine the green beans with the soup and 2/3 of the fried onions; cook at about 350* for ~25 minutes; top with the remaining 1/3 of fried onions and cook for another 5 minutes or so to crispy up the top) and I loved that this recipe tasted SO GOOD without having all of the bad stuff.


Gluten Free Apple Crisp (AKA Apple Cobbler)

I found this great blog of this girl who calls herself the Minimalist Baker. All her recipes require 10 ingredients or less, one bowl, or 30 minutes or less to prepare. It’s my dream come true. This was the first recipe of hers that I’ve tried but it was a huge success so I will definitely be using her site more often!

This recipe was just about perfect. It says it is vegan, but I used regular dairy butter instead so mine was just gluten free. I also didn’t have almond meal so I substituted almond flour, which worked out alright.

Anyway, try The Minimalist Baker’s Gluten Free Vegan Apple Crisp. You won’t regret it.


All in all, a successful and happy Thanksgiving. And guess what friends, I even worked out. ;)

The Reign of the Pumpkin

Welcome to October and All Things Pumpkin!Pumpkin Gingerbread Protein Pancakes
I was recently talking to a friend of mine who said she wished blogs that shared recipes would just say “I tried this; it was good; you try!” and post the recipe without five paragraphs of chatter before. So, Beth, this is for you.

I made Pumpkin Gingerbread Protein Pancakes. They were yummy; you should try them.

In a large bowl, sift together:

  • 2 tbsp Gluten Free Whole Grain Flour

    (Thanks MyFitnessPal for tallying up my ingredients!)
    (Thanks MyFitnessPal for adding up the ingredients!)
  • 1 Rounded Scoop (28,4g), 100% Whey Protein, Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Then add:

  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 sp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger

In a separate bowl, whisk together:

  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Cup 100% Pure Pumpkin (not pie filling)

Add this mixture to your dry ingredients, then stir in:

  • 1 tbs Milk – Nonfat (fat free or skim)

(1 tbs worked for me but you can add more as needed) until you have a soft dough– think Pancake Batter.

Cook on a skillet, as you normally would pancakes. Add toppings of choice. Voila!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Pancakes
They’re so fluffy I’m gonna die!