Rather be GF than deal with “A New Montezuma”

The New York Times Magazine has an article this week, “A New Montezuma” where a woman is misdiagnosed as having celiac disease.  Spoiler alert, it was her blood pressure medication which caused celiac like symptoms, right down to small intestinal damage.

Doctors put her on a gluten-free diet and this is what the article goes on to say about her experience on the diet:

What was really strange, though, was that almost five years earlier, she had the exact same problem. She ended up in the hospital that time too. They told her then that she had celiac disease — an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in many types of grains. She started on a gluten-free diet while she was in the hospital, and the symptoms disappeared. She stuck with that awful diet for a couple of years. It wasn’t easy. She wasn’t allowed to eat the breads and pastas she loved. The past year or so, she had moved away from the diet and fared fine; so it was hard for her to believe that food had caused all this.”

My first reaction, how rude.  That “awful” diet made her symptoms of dozen rushed trips to the bathroom, stomach gurgling and major discomfort disappear.  If you go on to read this article…this is not a healthy person and is on a plethora of medicines.

Is it so awful to have the cure to a major illness be a diet?  Is eating processed snacks, bread and pasta that important AND has she not seen the selection of  gluten-free food these days?

I once had an acquaintance drop off a bag of gluten-free products.  Her daughter had been misdiagnosed with celiac disease so they had tried the gluten-free diet.  After they figured out it wasn’t celiac, she said to me “Oh, I am so glad she doesn’t have celiac disease because that gluten-free food is awful, even my dog won’t eat those bagels.”  Gee, thanks.

People with celiac disease get frustrated with celeb wheat bashers and trendy posers on the gluten-free diet.  But the people who say to a celiac’s face, “Oh thank God I don’t have to eat that awful food” are TRULY THE WORST.

So it’s not a baguette or a croissant, it suffices and has improved so much over the past twenty years.  Some of the pizzas are fantastic and some of the pastas are even better than a wheat pasta.

Plus, it keeps me healthy.  My cholesterol and blood pressure are in check.  My vitamin levels are good and by not eating gluten, I hope to stay off medicines for as long as possible.  I plan to stay out of emergency rooms and don’t make a dozen uncomfortable trips to the bathroom every day.

So for all of you who think the gluten-free diet is just awful, just keep you mouth shut when talking to a celiac.

Kendall Egan

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Can I eat the whole box of cookies in one sitting?

If the cookie is Ginnybakes Coconut Oatmeal Bliss, then the answer is an emphatic and unequivocal yes.

I am a huge fan of crispy cookies.  Sometimes I find that crispiness hard to achieve when I bake gluten-free cookies so to find these crispy, “betcha can’t eat just one” cookie is wonderful.  To be fair, there are probably only a dozen cookies in the box but I have been sitting at my desk for the past few hours working and nibbling and there are only two cookies left!

Yes, that is a lot of calories and sugar but these things are chock full of gluten-free oats, coconut, walnuts and according to the package “love and care.”  They are certified gluten-free and organic, so devouring the whole box seems completely justifiable.

Kendall Egan

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The Gurgles

My tummy music was like a freight train last night.  I do not know what I ate yesterday that caused the burbling and gurgling in my intestinal track yesterday, but my stomach put on quite the concert!

I ordered the “healthy greens” for a chopped salad yesterday and assumed it would be some dark greens, romaine lettuce and maybe a little spinach tossed in for good measure.  It was actually mostly kale and other really dark greens which are not my favorite thing uncooked.

I had already rattled off my add-ins so I just rolled with the greens already dumped into the bowl.  Nothing had gluten, so I was only concerned about the taste of those greens prompting my choice of dressing to be chipotle ranch and lots of it.  That did not contain any gluten either.

Dinner was prepared by me and totally gluten-free, so I know I did not get glutened over the course of the day.  I just think all those healthy greens popped and motored loudly as they wound their way through my small intestine.  Does a little extra fiber do that?

Any-hoo, I felt great and I feel great this morning but it is embarrassing when everyone in the room watching an NBA game can hear your stomach!

Kendall Egan

Serious Winter!

This is the second time this week I have shoveled out from a blanket of snow and it appears that more snow is on the horizon.  Unfortunately, this is also the second “snow day” for our public schools this week which blows the best laid plans to be a productive citizen completely to smithereens.

All bets are out the window in terms of typical work hours because the kids want rides to  sledding hills or to meet friends for lunch.  All of my meal planning went out the window as well because this was supposed to be a busy week filled with basketball games so I shopped for quick and easy to prepare dinners.

But, weather like this calls for a slow cooked meals and baked goods that fill the house with savory and sweet aromas.  Just haven’t gotten around to it yet with the extra driving around during work hours and bonus exercise (aka shoveling).

I am going to buckle down for the next two hours and crank out some work and then I’m going to start slow cooking some Green Chili Pork with onions and tomatoes to serve over some jasmine rice this evening.  Perhaps I will find a recipe for some gluten-free cheese and chile corn muffins or make a batch of sugar cookies.

But first, I just need the pain reliever for my aching back to kick in and maybe I will take a little nap prior to working and cooking.  Days like today really aren’t productive at all because I just want to hibernate!

Kendall Egan

Stop eating my GF cookies! Or not….

My daughter walked into the family room munching on chocolate chip cookies .  “Those are mine, aren’t they?” I asked.  She responded yes, added that she loved them and piled on with a “they don’t cost more than regular cookies so just buy these.”

I had purchased gluten containing chocolate chip cookies at Trader Joe’s so that she would leave the Trader Joe’s gluten-free chocolate chip cookies alone.  She prefers the gluten-free variety.

That is how far gluten-free food has come.  And to be perfectly honest, I don’t care if everyone in the household eats the gluten-free snack foods.  The brands I buy aren’t loaded with unpronounceable ingredients, so while they do contain sugar and fat, they aren’t chemical food.

Back in the day, there was a significant price premium for gluten-free food.  It is still more expensive, but prices have come down as the supply has expanded.

I am going to start doubling up on the gluten-free brands and just put them in the snack cupboard, not the gluten-free cupboard.  My daughter has two gluten-free friends and she used to eat their gluten-free pretzels because I would not let her take the gluten-free pretzels from home!

I think the time has come to liberate her food choices and let her eat my gluten-free snacks if those are the brands that she prefers.

Kendall Egan

Gluten-Free Ramen!

Is this a big deal?   I sure think so.

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There was always the comfort of cheap ramen in my pre-celiac diagnosis days.  When I was living on a starting salary in New York City, my food budget included days of living on NYC “dirty water” hot dogs (lunch = $1) and those packages of ramen noodles (dinner = $1).  Rent chewed up most of my income, gym membership and happy hour specials consumed the rest.

Ramen in recent years has gone upscale with restaurants dedicated to noodle bowls, but I have not seen any gluten-free noodles.  I had a craving for ramen while preparing a Cup of Noodles as I worked at a high school basketball concession stand recently!

Thai Kitchen has their rice noodle soups, and while they are quite fragrant and flavorful, they are not filling.  When I saw the Lotus Foods Ramen in the New York Times Dining section, I was very eager to try this product.

Lotus Foods is a company that I have admired for a while. I met representatives more than once at various food expos around the country.  Prior to sampling their products at these shows, I had no idea that rice was so varied in terms of color, texture and taste.  They have a huge selection and a great corporate ethos.

I have not seen the Lotus Foods Ramen in stores yet, but I am on the lookout at my favorite gluten-free shopping spots!  While I am sure it will cost more than a buck, I am hoping they are as delicious as I presume they will be.

I will have to introduce them to my son and hope that he develops a love of GF Ramen.  In three years he goes off to college so I am starting the mental list of great GF dorm foods.  If he likes the ramen, it goes straight to the top of this list!

Kendall Egan

Chocolate Drizzle Popcorn

How can something so simple to prepare be so darn good?  We received a bag of chocolate drizzle popcorn in a Christmas basket from a local store and as everyone in my family shoved aside the cookies and munched happily on the popcorn, I thought to myself that this would be an easy after school snack.  Plus, if I used dark chocolate it could even be considered “healthy.”

I have recently joined a women’s networking group that meets at Chocolations in Mamaroneck, NY so I was able to buy dark and milk melting chocolate at the last meeting.

I prepared a huge batch of drizzle popcorn yesterday and it was as easy as 1,2,3…melt chocolate, pop the corn and drizzle the chocolate on the popcorn.

Chocolate was melted slowly on low heat in the microwave and then transferred into my “pastry bag” for drizzling.popcorn_melted choco

As you can see, my pastry bag is indeed a plastic sandwich bag and snipping a small hole at the point yields a perfect drizzling machine.

popcorn_pastrybag

Spreading the popcorn on cookie sheets in a single layer ensures a dab of chocolate on almost every kernel.

popcorn_plain

Finished product sits on the cookie sheets until the chocolate hardens.  Then it is go time!  Break it all up and start snacking.  Store the rest in an airtight container…but there probably won’t be a lot to store if you are feeding a crew.

Kendall Egan

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