Saturday, April 26, 2014

What To Do When Your Loved One Gets Glutened

Does someone you love have celiac? Then you are bound to come across this minor tragedy at some point—the infamous glutening. When someone you love says “I got glutened,” your reaction can say a lot about your relationship. You might be have this initial feeling...

But instead of reacting with confusion, or understandably, fear, please refer to this survival guide. Your special celiac will thank you for it.

1. Embrace the initial angst. 

Reaction GIF: no, angry, scream, Gollum, The Lord of the Rings

You loved one will probably want to loudly, and with many swears, list off everything they’ve eaten that day, guessing what could or could not have contained secret gluten. Just nod and listen. Also, have a seat. This rant might take a while, but your silent participation is appreciated, trust me.

2. Prepare the heating pad. 

One of the most comforting thing to a rumbling tummy, or, you know, stomach issues on par with Mount Vesuvius, is heat. Get your special celiac tucked in to bed with a heating pad, a shit-ton of tums, and a glass of water.  Be prepared for a night in binge watching your favorite shows on Netflix (hey, there are worst ways to spend a Friday night!).

3. Get ready for a better tomorrow. 

Stock your favorite celiac’s kitchen with super-safe gluten-free foods. Eating gluten-free can often feel frustrating, limiting, and complicated. These feelings are most poignant after getting glutened, especially if the cause is unknown. Show them that you care about their health and happiness by making eating gluten-free seem a little bit easier. If you need some suggestions, here are my favorite intentionally gluten free foods. 

So, how do you take care of your special celiac when they get glutened?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Adventures in Alternative Health: Grow Your Own Wheat Grass Guide

Although this nutritional green starts with the word “wheat”, as far as I’ve researched, it’s not pure evil like other wheat-y things. Wheat grass is a plant in the wheat family, but the leaf itself is generally accepted as gluten-free (the seed is not)*. But to cover my own butt, the Mayo Clinic suggests consulting with your doc first before eating wheat grass if you have celiac.** Now that that’s out of the way…

Growth Day 20

Growing wheat grass has been incredibly easy and fun. My spouse and I got hooked on wheat grass shots from Inta Juice years ago, but have moved since then and haven’t had our wheat grass shots in a while. So for Valentine’s Day this year I bought him all the supplies to grow our own.

Raising wheat grass is kind of like growing grass in your yard. You water it a few times a week, and it just goes and goes! I think even the blackest of thumbs could easily tackle the wheat grass challenge.

Wheat grass is toted as a miracle plant, kind of like kale, but unlike kale there is significantly less evidence for its uses. If you just google wheat grass, many sites will try to convince you that it can cure cancer, reverse tooth decay, supplement all your daily vegetables, make you instantly lose ten pounds, and all kinds of unproven (and quite frankly, ridiculous) claims.

For my leafy-greens money, I’m a kale girl through and through. But wheatgrass is easy to grow, adds variety to my diet, and does have its own proven nutritional value. Also, like I said, its super easy to grow and lots of fun to see the end result.
There are all kinds of guides on how to grow your own wheat grass, and I’m not saying this is the best method, but it was super easy and worked great for me. Feel free to copy and enjoy!

Here’s my super easy how-to guide:
(I've included links to the products I used on amazon for your shopping ease! I am in no way affiliated with these products though so I can't guarantee their quality, but they worked for me. When you shop through these links you support Celiac Sanctuary, so thank you!)

Day 1
1. Soak seeds (amount depending on the size of your tray. I used 1 1/2 cups) in cool water for 12 hours. Drain water, carefully rinsing seeds (they could sprout at any time!), and cover with cool water for another 12 hours.  Repeat for a total of 36 hours.

Day 3
2. Spread wheatgrass seeds evenly across soaked soil in a wheat grass tray. Make sure you keep the soil moist! This usually means watering the seeds every day until they have sprouted. Keep in a warm, sunlit area.

Day 7
3. Continue to water the wheatgrass as needed, about every other day. Once the seeds are sprouted, make sure you don’t over-water as this causes mold has adverse health effects.

Day 24
4. Juice immediately after harvest! (Although I love my auto-juicer, I bought and used a manual juicer per multiple websites recommendations. I found this worked perfectly for my wheat grass and I highly recommend it! I think you get the most juice out of it that way, and its kind of fun!)

My wheat grass harvest resulted in 4 shots. I highly recommend a apple juice chaser. Bottoms up!



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Simple Spaghetti Squash (For Beginners)

I recently rediscovered spaghetti squash. Apparently I used to eat this as a kid, but I have zero memory of it, and just became interested in it again via my favorite guilty pleasure and massive time waster, the great Pinterest.

Honestly, I didn't have high hopes for spaghetti squash. A vegetable that can substitute for noodles? Yeah...that sounds great... Kind of reminded me when a friend told me if I was hungry for something sweet, instead of eating dessert I should chew gum. (We're not friends anymore. Obviously).

But actually, spaghetti squash was pretty great. If you have celiac disease like me and understand that traditional noodles are the root of all stomach evils, this is a great alternative. Or, you know, if you just want to eat healthier, this is a perfect choice, too.
Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce

Spaghetti squash isn't exactly like the traditional noodle, so don't dive into it thinking that's what you're getting. You'll only be disappointed. See my rant on imitation foods here.  I encourage you to enjoy spaghetti squash for what it is. The texture is less chewy than a traditional noodle, in an odd way it makes you feel more hydrated (you'll have to try it to believe), and it doesn't need a lot of sauce. No, seriously. I tried it multiple ways, and my favorite by far was just a little olive oil, garlic, thyme, and salt.

There are so many spaghetti squash instructions floating around there, but this is what worked best for me. Enjoy!
A large bowl of yum!

1 spaghetti squash
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
pinch of salt and pepper


Step 1: Preheat oven to 375. Cut the spaghetti squash in half. For me, this was the most difficult part, but I can't imagine trying to do it while hot, so cut it before cooking!

Step 2: Scoop out the seeds and the stringy middle. Common misconception that this is the "spaghetti" part. Its not! Get rid of it!

This is what your squash should look like cooked. I couldn't imagine this turning into noodles, so that's why I'm adding it for you non-believers :) 

Step 3: Place spaghetti squash on tin foil lined pan and cook "face up" for 40 minutes. Take squash out, flip face down, and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Step 4: Take squash out of the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Using a fork, scoop out the insides of the squash in long strokes (if you want the longer noodles).

Step 5: In a small bowl, mix olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Drizzle spaghetti squash noodles with mixture and toss until evenly covered.

Serves 2-4

Thursday, April 3, 2014

My Top 10 Favorite Intentionally Gluten-Free Products

Lately I’ve come across a lot of people who are newly diagnosed celiac, or with gluten sensitivities, or who just want to try eating gluten-free. One question that inevitably gets asked early in the conversation is, “What the heck do you eat?”  Other than the obvious fruit, veggies, and meats, which are all naturally gluten-free, I do have a list of gluten free go-to foods. 

My hope is that this list will be a good starting point for people who are newly diagnosed and trying out gluten-free foods for the first time. These foods really show off that gluten-free doesn't have to taste gluten-free. That being said...

I’m incredibly grateful for companies who are making foods that are intentionally and non-typically gluten-free, for companies who are making a real effort to make yummy foods for the gluten-free community. To those companies, my belly thanks you.

Here is a list of foods that are truly awesome and designedly gluten-free, with pictures that link to the amazon product and the company’s website in text (when available) if you want to try them out, too. I’ve sampled a lot of different gluten-free brands and foods, and in my opinion, these are some of the best of the gluten-free best! 

In no particular order, here are my top 10 gluten-free:

1. Udi’s White Sandwich Bread

2. Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix

3. Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour

4. Udi’s Vanilla Cupcakes 
(not pictured—I would have taken a picture myself, but I ate them too fast)

5. San J Gluten-Free Soy Sauce

6. Pillsbury Gluten-Free Cookie Dough

7. Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Brownie Mix

8. Udi’s Gluten Free Pepperoni Pizza

9. Tyson’s Gluten-Free Chicken Strips (not pictured)

10. Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta

Cranberry Avocado Tuna Salad

Ever since I made Stephen King’s tuna salad recipe, I realized that I’m not 10 years old anymore, and I do like tuna salad.  It was one of those lovely moments when you try something that you hated as a child but your taste buds have changed from twenty years of spicy foods, sugar dissolution, and finally appreciation of nutritional value, and suddenly that dish you abhorred tastes amazing.

Long story short, I’ve made a lot of tuna salad lately, and this recipe is definitely my tuna salad pride-and-joy. It is perfect for the impending summer (Midwestern friends—its coming. I promise. Winter can’t stay forever. This isn’t Game of Thrones.)

Cranberry Avocado Tuna Salad

1 celery stalk, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
2 cans responsibly caught* tuna
1 teaspoon agave
½ tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt
½ cup mayonnaise
½ avocado, cut into bite sized pieces

*Yes, I realize that responsibly caught tuna probably taste the same as any other tuna. But why be an asshole if you don’t have to?

Step 1: In a small bowl mix agave, lemon juice, salt, and mayonnaise.

Step 2: In a large bowl toss onions, celery, cranberries, and tuna. Pour small bowl mix onto large bowl and stir in. Once thoroughly stirred, carefully toss in the avocado.

Step 3: Let sit for 15 minutes and then serve.

Serves 4.