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Back to the Basics – What any Celiac (or other) Chef Should Have in a Well-stocked Kitchen

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Good day to you.  In this blog I would like to go back to the basics and explore what should be in a well-stocked Kitchen for you, celiac – tools!

Why do I mention tools?  Everybody mentions food, recipes, nutrition, and how healthy celiacs and autoimmune disease survivors should be on Twitter and blogs.  However, I don’t hear much of a mention on what you should have on-hand, in regard to tools, to make all of the great recipes that are available to you, celiac.

I remember moving into my first apartment and the lack of kitchen tools I had.  That was after I thought I had gotten all the “basic” stuff I felt I needed when I moved into that apartment!  With that said, what should the newly independent-living chef have in their culinary toolbox?  Here are some tips:

  • A set of knives.  If you are just starting out as a newly independent chef, purchase the best-quality of knives your budget will allow.  I recommend a set which comes with steak knives in a wooden holder.  You will not be able to dice, chop, slice or otherwise prep your healthy food without this tool-set.
  • A dedicated “gluten-free” cutting board.  Other than stating cross-contamination issues with gluten, I don’t think any other explanation is needed in regard to the need for acquiring this tool.
  • Pots and pans with lids.  A complete necessity.  When starting out, you will need at least a small and large sauce pan, a large frying pan or cast-iron skillet, and a dutch-oven or stewpan.  Over time, you can add other items such as a double-boiler pan, medium sauce pans, other sized sauté pans, etc.
  • Baking pans and dishes.  For basic home cooking, you will at least need a few varying sizes of casserole and/or baking pans.  In USA, 8 inch by 8 inch and 9 inch by 13 inch dishes (both square) are popular.  Also popular here is the 9 inch, 2 quart circular casserole dish with lid.  If you want to bake your own bread, guess what?  You’ll need to invest in a loaf pan or two.  What about cookie sheets for those home-made cookies and dessert bars you crave?  I would also suggest getting cooling racks for your bread and cookies.  Another nice item offered in the USA is an 8 to 10 inch pie pan.
  • Cooking spoons, spatulas, and tongs (metal, plastic, or silicone).  Once you have your pots, pans, and baking pans and dishes you’ll need to be able to stir, fold, and turn-over whatever you are cooking or baking.
  • Measuring cups – liquid and dry.  Yes, there is a difference if you are a beginning chef.  I recommend the basic USA Measure Cup system, British Measure in Ounces, or otherwise Metric in millilitres for liquids. I also recommend you getting at least one larger measuring cup for quarts, pints, and litres for liquids.  In addition, I recommend the basic US Measure Cup system, British Ounces, or Metric in grams for dry ingredients.  This item is generally offered as a set of graduating larger measures.
  • Measuring spoons.  I recommend the basic USA Measure system, British Measure in Ounces, or Metric in grams for wet or dry  ingredients.  This item is generally offered as a set of graduating larger measures.
  • Mixing containers.  You will need varying sizes of mixing containers (plastic, metal, glass, or ceramic) depending on the size of your healthy recipes.  At a minimum, I would recommend the universal “small, medium, and large” sizes.  If you are a more intricate chef, then expand accordingly as your budget allows.
  • Food container bowls for left-overs.  In USA, these usually come as a set  in gradually larger sizes with lids.  You don’t need to go to great expense for this item.  If you are like most home chefs, you either lose the lid, the container, or both to the same place the one sock goes to from your laundry!
  • Other helpful, needed tools:  can opener, whisk, baster, cooking brush (to apply sauces or glazes), kitchen shears, meat and baking thermometers, oil/fat separator, More

Recipe – Apple Currant Salad via T. R. Crumbley

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“Apple Currant Salad”

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 3-4 salads

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 1 green apple
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 4 oz baby lettuce
  • 2 oz frisee
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Steps:

Slice the onion. In a small saucepan sautee the onion until caramelized. Set aside.

Slice the apple, and toss with the onion, currants, lettuce and frisee.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, mustard, and oil. Add to the salad mix and toss until the greens are coated. Lightly salt and pepper.


T.R. Crumbley
No One Likes Crumbley Cookies
http://tcrumbley.blogspot.com/

Celiac in the Workplace Lunchroom

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Good day to you.  If you are like most people in the human population, you work for a living.  If you work for a living, then you are most likely eating at least one meal away from home at work.

What potential dilemmas could this pose for you, celiac, in the workplace?  As you may or may not imagine – many.  Personally, I see Ramen Noodle remnants on the counter and I cringe!  I see left-overs of a “1/2 sheet  birthday cake” from yesterday’s celebration sitting uncovered on the second shelf of the company refrigerator.  I see bagels and doughnuts brought in and left on the counter and/or eating tables in the lunchroom.  I see crumbs of  bread from the electric toaster on the counter.  Gluten abounds in the workplace is the bottom line.

That said,  how do you combat gluten in the workplace, celiac?  You certainly can’t ask others to be gluten-free on your behalf.  What can you do to protect your health in your workplace environment?  How do you combat gluten in the workplace and not be cross-contaminated?  This is the million-dollar question isn’t it?

Here are some tips:  Clean the counter-space you are about to use when preparing your meal.  Cleaning should also include the sink, the microwave, your eating table and other items your food might touch.  Yes, I know these recommendations may inconvenience you – but this is your Life.  If cleaning products are not available from your employer, please consider bringing your own cleaning products and storing them in your office or cubicle, if possible.  Also, consider storing your refrigerated items in one place in the refrigerator and “stake your claim” with your co-workers.  I often store my food in one of the pull-out drawers others rarely use.  Even better?  Get a “refrigerator buddy” who can help accommodate both of you and will store non-gluten items with you (even if they are not celiac) to help fill up that drawer, or storage space, with you.

With all that in mind, you should keep in mind the same principles of gluten-free in your workplace as you do in your home.  Here are some great and interesting resources for you:  http://glutendude.com/gluten/keeping-a-gluten-free-kitchen-in-a-gluten-filled-world/ via @GlutenDude (https://twitter.com/#!/GlutenDude); Gluten cross-contamination safety: http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/cookingglutenfree/a/crosscontaminat.htm.  Here’s another resource:  http://glutenfreehelp.info/autoimmune-disorders/living-gluten-free-avoiding-cross-contamination/ via @tinaturbin (https://twitter.com/#!/tinaturbin).

I wish you much luck in both the workplace and the home front on being gluten-free as a celiac.  I hope this blog will help you understand on how intricate our lives are with others with gluten and us surviving gluten-free.  The important tools you should take away with this blog is how you can take care of yourself, and be gluten-free.  After all, you are #1, and no one will think of you as you do.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free – and autoimmune disease awareness for March.

Peace be with you.

 

Everyday Culture Eating vs. the Celiac Diet

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Good day to you.  You might find the title of this blog a little intriguing.  I hope it causes your curiousity to be aroused.

I define “everyday culture eating” as the following:  the majority of the human population eats whatever they want, whenever they want, and however they want.  This includes a highly regarded staple of that culture:  gluten.

How does that “highly regarded staple” called gluten relate to you, celiac?  In short, a major inconvenience.  As a result, it becomes your responsibility to be your own detective to decide which foods are ‘safe’ and which foods are ‘not safe’ to ingest.   Therefore, you are expected to read every ingredient label; contact food manufacturers; and educate yourself on whether or not a food item is gluten-free. 

That said, there’s good news!  We are in the 21st century and the “Information Age.”  Celiacs, you no longer have the excuse of saying:  “I didn’t know there was gluten in that.”  Why?  Because you have the means of researching the Internet in regard to your dietary needs.  You have the wherewithal to research gluten-free food items easily and know what is safe for you to ingest.  You also have the means to empower yourself to be on the same “playing field” as others – the “everyday culture eating.”  Gluten is not the “end all and be all” dietary ingredient item most would have you believe. 

Empower yourself, celiac, to research what is good for you and your diet.  Then, share your information with others so they may become educated as well.  There is never “too much information” one can have, or pay forward,  in regard to having a healthy gluten-free diet.

In closing, I know how difficult it can be in surviving as a celiac and maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet.  Likewise, I know it is the same for you.  Please educate, and also advocate these nuggets of knowledge as it’s the only way all of us can succeed in being celiac.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free – and autoimmune disease awareness for March.

Peace be with you.

Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month – March

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Good day to you.  It’s March, therefore it’s Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month.  Firstly, what are autoimmune diseases and what are their symptoms?  Here’s a link outlining the definition of what those autoimmune diseases are: http://url.ie/e84j.  Additionally, here’s a great link which can help educate you in regard to autoimmune diseases and symptoms:  http://url.ie/e84h via @NativeRemedies (https://twitter.com/#!/nativeremedies).

Now that you’re aware of what autoimmune diseases are, I’d like to bring to your attention on how autoimmune disease not only affects celiacs (see associated link here:  http://url.ie/e84a), but others with other autoimmune diseases.  What are those autoimmune diseases? Here’s a link to a short list: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Autoimmune/default.asp.  Note there are many more diseases associated as autoimmune.  If you are  interested, you should look them up on the Internet via the Search Engine of your choice.

Many people think gluten has an affect on exacerbating autoimmune disease symptoms.  Here’s an example via the following link:  http://url.ie/e84p

If you are celiac, or otherwise survive other autoimmune  diseases, please free to forward this post to educate others.  In fact, I implore you to.  Please advocate Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month – March.  Thank you.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free – & autoimmune disease for March.

Peace be with you.

The Daily Struggle for Celiac Diet and Nutrition

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Good day to you.  We all know being diagnosed as a celiac is not easy nor convenient in regard to a gluten-free diet so as to get the nutrition we need.

That said, celiacs also have nutrient absorption issues due to our disease.  Erin Elberson (https://twitter.com/#!/ErinElberson) explains this quite well in her blog (http://www.glutenfreefitness.com) per this link:  http://www.glutenfreefitness.com/common-nutrient-absorption-issues-with-celiac-and-what-to-do-about-it/.  Therefore, having good nutrition in a celiac’s diet is that much more important.

Why am I broaching the subject of the celiac diet in correlation to nutrition?  On the Twitter feed, I’ve been observing a dis-proportionate number of tweets pertaining to dessert or sweet recipes versus the number of tweets in regard to food entrees or side dish recipes.  This observation troubles me as it causes me to wonder if the celiac is eating with “nutrition and health” in mind, or with “satiating cravings” in mind.  Fellow tweep Heather Spurley (https://twitter.com/#!/catalytic1) is of the opinion celiacs approach their daily diet with the “gluten diet” in the back of their mind and wanting to recreate that diet gluten-free.  Fellow tweep T. R. Crumbley (https://twitter.com/#!/TRCrumbley) agrees with Heather but also observes:  “its … easier to make a savory dish #glutenfree than desserts.”

Now the kicker – if Heather’s opinion is factual, then be advised the typical daily “gluten diet” is not followed with nutrition as its foundation; therefore, neither is the typical celiac diet.  Why do I say this?  Simple.  The “gluten diet” is full of empty carbohydrates such as muffins, cakes, cookies, breads, bagels and the like.  Don’t forget “snacks” such as Sun Chips, pretzels, Wheat Thins, and Goldfish crackers.  Then there’s meals which include macaroni and cheese, pancakes, Ramen Noodles, dumplings and so on.  Do you see where I’m going here?  None of the aforementioned items are considered nutrient dense.  If Heather’s opinion is factual, the celiac wants to emulate that “gluten diet” as gluten-free.  This means the aforementioned items are now made or purchased gluten-free.  Are you starting to see the correlation between the typical daily celiac diet with lacking nutrition and health?

Nutrition as the foundation of a typical daily celiac diet should include more complex carbohydrates and fiber such as vegetables and fruits; and proteins such as legumes and nuts (dairy and meats in moderation if tolerated).  Other aspects of the celiac diet can include treats of the “less healthful kind” but should be ingested in moderation.  Disclaimer:  I am not a Registered Dietitian nor a Medical Practitioner.  Please consult with your Registered Dietitian or Medical Practitioner in regard to following the best nutrition-based celiac diet for you.

There are bonus side affects for nutrition as the base of your celiac diet:

  • You are less likely to crave unhealthy snacks because your body is getting the nutrition required for homeostasis (and you are too full eating healthily)
  • You are more likely to feel better as you are absorbing more nutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals required for homeostasis
  • You are less likely to cheat with or accidently ingest gluten because you are more aware of what you are ingesting
  • You are more likely to advocate your nutrition-based celiac diet to other celiacs because you feel so much better

Agreed, the celiac diet is not easy.  It’s even more difficult using nutrition as the base of this diet.  However, I think if you approach your celiac diet with nutrition as its foundation your body will thank you and you will be more healthy.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free.

Peace be with you.

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