Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I moved to Little Rock, Ark., for a summer reporting internship and have been quite busy with the new gig. I'll be back in Lincoln in a few weeks.
Arkansas is definitely a change of pace. It seems fewer people know about gluten allergies here than they do in Nebraska, and therefore I have been contaminated about four times from restaurant cooks who have mis-handled my food. :/ I often am asked by wait staff what gluten even is....
I need to bring food to work for lunch now because I live about 20 minutes away from the office. So I have started this new routine — I make lunch for the week on Sunday and put it in tupperware. It seems to be working well. People who sit around me always comment on how good my lunch looks or smells, so that's a good sign. ;)
This summer I expanded my gluten-free menu as I have learned more about healthy eating. I discovered two super grains quinoa — pronounced keen-wah — and Forbidden Rice.
Quinoa has an excellent source of protein and is actually a seed of a leafy plant.
Food researchers have found that Forbidden Rice has more antioxidants than blueberries. The name was coined many years ago when an emperor of China didn't let the people eat the rice because it was saved for royalty. The black rice has fiber, vitamin E, iron and 48 grams of whole grains per serving — wowee.
Here are some ideas:
1. My favorite lunch is a crisp kale salad with Italian or balsamic dressing. I usually throw in whatever I have in my kitchen.
This week's mix was — grape tomatoes, black beans, avocado, onion and Italian or balsamic dressing.
Other variations of the salad:
-Kale with strawberries, blueberries, onion, avocado
- Kale with grape tomatoes, tuna in olive oil, onions, yellow pepper and brewer's yeast
I love me some kale. I hear it's the new spinach.
2. I treat quinoa and black rice like my kale salads — I use whatever I feel like eating that week.
- Tomatoes, garlic, onion, red, yellow or orange peppers and chicken and oregano
-Tomatoes, garlic, onion, asparagus and chicken, cracked black pepper and white wine sauce
-Spinach, tomatoes, onion, garlic and chicken and dairy and soy free olive oil melted butter sauce
You also could make cold side salads with quinoa, which are yummy too, but not as filling.
3. Corn tortilla chicken tacos
I love, love, love yummy chicken tacos. They are so easy to make and I can eat them in a hurry.
I cook chicken in a skillet with olive oil. While the chicken is cooking, I cut up avocado, onions and cilantro and mix the ingredients. Then I grab the salsa. Toss everything in a corn tortilla. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.
4. Ancient Harvest brand Quinoa pasta-- the elbow pasta, spirals or spaghetti
I like quinoa pasta with cherry tomatoes, onion, garlic, chicken and a dairy and soy free olive oil melted butter sauce with added parsley. Some times I eat it with a red tomato sauce, or pesto, too.
5. Lately I've been eating butternut squash soup. Try Trader Joe's brand or Pacific Natural Foods. It's dairy-free and gluten-free and has lots of vitamin A.
For lunch, I also usually pack a So Delicious coconut yogurt or Amande almond milk yogurt, a Larabar or KIND granola bar and fruit — strawberries, pineapple, a banana or an apple. I also eat blue corn chips, sweet potato chips, or brown rice crackers with hummus. Mmm
Happy lunch making!
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
As a busy full-time student, I have streamlined the process for making my on-the-go snacks and meals. Because I work and am involved in many other organizations, sometimes the simple task of grabbing something to eat isn't as "simple" as it sounds. Here are some strategies and fail-proof food choices I rely on:
1. Spend a little time on Sunday preparing bulk foods for the week. I soak and cook a batch of dried beans to mix with rice, salads and other meals throughout the week. I also make a few cups of brown or wild rice and refrigerate it in a Tupperware container. For a delicious salad, dice up some cooked, seasoned chicken breasts and toss with rice, water chestnuts, red bell peppers, scallions and nuts if you'd like. Then top with some vinegar and oil or your favorite salad dressing. Easy, yummy and healthy!
2. Make your own trail mix. For an on-the-go snack, I mix some cereal, dried fruit like raisins and cherries, and nuts together and throw it into a baggie.
3. Another delicious, healthy snack is fruit and yogurt. Stock up on bananas and apples, or other easily transportable fruit. When I want to treat myself, I buy Greek yogurt. It's more expensive than regular yogurt, so I don't always buy it, but I love it! There is also soy yogurt if you have a lactose intolerance.
4. Lastly, always have a quick snack on-hand at home that you can bring with you to others' houses if you're a guest. I love Blue Diamond Nut-Thins crackers. Usually appetizers are served at dinner parties (and at my family gatherings), and gluten-free crackers don't usually make the menu. I promise the host won't think you're rude for bringing your own food. And if you let everyone else have a taste, they might be surprised to find out it doesn't taste "weird!"
Monday, April 4, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Kent Niss is a 20-year-old student who has lived most of his life with Celiac Disease. He graciously took part in a Q&A to share with our readers what it's like to grow up with Celiac Disease when you have limited resources available to you.
Q: When were you diagnosed with Celiac Disease?
A: I was diagnosed when I was 6. It was 1996, while I was in kindergarten.
Q: What's the story behind your diagnosis?
A: I started showing signs of lethargy in the fall of 1995. I always quit playing before other kids did and sometimes I would just want to sit around and do nothing. I also wasn’t gaining weight, however, I was getting a larger stomach. My parents knew that something was not right, but had no idea what was wrong. I would have weeklong stomachaches, with the full arsenal nausea, indigestion, and diarrhea. In the fall of 1996, I was then put through many tests to see what was going on. We didn’t know if it was diabetes or what was the case. A biopsy of my intestine confirmed that I had Celiac Disease.
Q: What was it like growing up with Celiac Disease?
A: Growing up was much more difficult than it is now. Celiac Disease wasn’t common at all when I was growing up, but now it is growing and there are more gluten-free options everywhere I go. Not being able to eat whatever I wanted was probably the least difficult issue when I was growing up. As a result of being diagnosed late and the malnutrition that resulted from that, I was much shorter and smaller than I possibly could have been, which made for many emotional taunts from my peers and many physical challenges that I needed to overcome. I do not think that any of these not so pleasant events hindered me in any way; however, I used them for motivation to overcome any obstacles that I’d ever encounter.
Q: You grew up in Pawnee City, a southeast Nebraska town of 1,000 people. What was it like to follow a gluten-free diet in a town with such few resources?
A: It was very difficult to find foods to meet my needs in Pawnee City. Driving more than an hour away to find ingredients to cook suitable meals was required and even at those places, the prices of those items were very expensive. Seeing as our family couldn’t constantly afford to buy those items, we worked with the local grocery store and other businesses to try to get them to have those items in stock in Pawnee City. They helped and worked hard to get the things we needed which made life much easier.
Q: Did your high school accommodate for your special diet? What about college?
A: My high school did do some accommodations; however, my parents had to provide the cooks with the gluten-free bread and desserts, and other gluten-free items. The cooks did make sure I received the food that my mom would bring for them. But not only did I have to pay for lunches, but also for the food that we brought in for them to put on my tray. In hindsight, my high school did as little as they possibly could to accommodate. In college, the cafeteria staff is very accommodating. They have gone so far as to make all of their soups gluten-free and offer many gluten-free specialty items.
Q: How does Celiac Disease affect where you eat out? Do you search for restaurants with gluten-free menus?
A: I am always looking for restaurants with gluten-free menus. But they are harder to find than you’d think. I am usually able to find at least one item; however, it’s usually something that isn’t really what I want. My girlfriend does so much to find places that have food that I can have and will actually like. Sometimes we even research restaurants quite a bit before we go out to eat.Q: Where do you go to buy gluten-free products?
Thursday, March 31, 2011
1. Cookbook: Eating for IBS: 175 Delicious, Nutritous, Low-Fat, Low Residue Recipes to Stabilize the Touchiest Tummy by Heather Van Vorous
This cookbook is a great guide for those new to the IBS diagnoses or for those, like me, who have their IBS under control and just need some new ideas. This cookbook does NOT have recipes for specific allergies, like gluten-free, so be aware that you'll need to make substitutions if necessary. It does include a list of additional resources, nutrition facts about each recipe, a sample menu for a week and a guide to many of the top IBS triggers. Von Vorous also includes an awesome chapter on strategies to use if you have IBS, such as ideas for quick snacks and how to handle traveling. It's also a beneficial read for family members or friends of IBS sufferers.
2. Cookbook: Healthy Cooking for IBS: 100 Delicious Recipes to Keep you Symptom-Free by Sophie Braimbridge and Erica Jankovich, RD
This cookbook contains beautiful photos and diverse recipes, in addition to a guide about IBS. All nutrition facts are included. As the above cookbook, it doesn't address specific allergies either. This isn't the best cookbook out there for IBS sufferers, because it's not as specific, but it still has good ideas. The main thing to keep in mind about these IBS cookbooks is that IBS is a very individualized syndrome. Not everyone has the same triggers and can tolerate the same things. For that reason, it's important to identify your triggers (as I explained in my first post).
3. Cookbook: Food to Some Poison to Others: The Food Allergy Detection Program by Terry Traub, RDH, BS
This is an excellent cookbook for people with all food allergies. It contains detailed explanations about identifying specific allergies and includes charts and instructions to use. Each recipe states what allergens it is free of, i.e. corn-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, etc. In the appendix, food-family groups are listed, as well as a guide for substitutions. I really like this one!
4. I also have a few more online resources I find helpful. First is the Lincoln Celiac Disease Support Group, which has lots of info on eating GF in Lincoln. Others include: