Five years and going strong!
This week marks five years since my celiac diagnosis. I’ve been gluten-free for five whole years. I can hardly believe it’s been that long. Although, I can barely remember my gluten-eating life. I really don’t miss it.
This year has been a huge one for me. I became a gluten-free mama almost eight months ago and my whole world has changed in the most magical of ways. From navigating pregnancy (and travel!) without gluten to deciding if and when to introduce gluten to my baby girl (Still not there yet but planning to in the next week or so!) there has been a lot going on in my world.
I think everyone should celebrate their gluten-free birthday. It may have been a time when you had to stop eating some of your very favourite foods. It was probably also a time when you finally started to feel better. It was definitely a time when you finally learned what on earth what going on. This is something worth celebrating.
Tasty steak and potatoes
When you need to spend time in hospital, for whatever reason, the last thing you should have to worry about is getting safe meals. When you have food restrictions, eating anywhere that you’re not in control of the cooking and prep can be pretty scary. But hospitals should have this stuff sorted, right? We would certainly like to this so but in this crazy, gluten-filled world, unfortunately you can never take this for granted.
The Celiac Sprue Association seal
There has been some debate for a while now as to whether or not Omission craft beer should be considered gluten-free and safe for celiacs to consume. This week, many gluten-free beer drinkers will be happy to hear that the Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) has given them their seal of approval.
When a company earns the right to use the CSA seal, it means they meet their stringent requirements of less than 5ppm. This is currently the best test available. I know there are folks out there who will say that they won’t eat anything unless is contains zero gluten but unfortunately 0ppm cannot currently be tested for.
Come August, 2014, it will be safer and easier for celiacs living in or travelling to the United States to buy groceries. Yay! The new labelling legislation, which I’m very excited was finally passed this summer!!, means that companies will no longer be able to label products as “gluten free” unless they contain less than 20ppm of gluten.
Until then, it can be challenging finding gluten free products in the US which are really gluten free and genuinely safe for celiacs to enjoy. Without a definition for what “gluten free”actually means companies can label their products as so even when they are manufactured on shared equipment with gluten-containing products. This isn’t helpful, and it’s dangerous, for celiacs looking for safe, gluten free options. To help make your life a little simpler, and safer, look out for these logos when you’re out gluten free grocery shopping.
Quinoa is great for breakfast!
Rice with PB and peach!
Breakfast time is my favourite meal of the day. I should probably say that breakfast food is my favourite because no matter what time of day, I always consider a bowl, mug or cup of cereal a great idea! Recently I’ve been trying to vary my breakfast food a little and hot grains served with peanut butter and fresh fruit is my current favourite!
I fell in love with kimbap when I lived in Seoul where I ate it every day for lunch. Since being gluten free it’s been impossible to find freshly made kimbap which is safe for me to eat. A couple of the traditional Korean ingredients are gluten-containing (imitation crab and processed ham) so I’ve altered the recipe a little to make it safe and gluten-free whilst still being delicious! It’s really hard to write down the process of making this but hopefully my directions are not completely incomprehensible and you’ll be able to make your own tasty kimbap!
Ingredients (makes about 6 kimbap)
- 6 Seaweed sheets
- 1.5-2 cups of rice (I use basmati rice because it’s my favourite but any rice will do, the stickier the better!)
- Can of tuna
- One large or a few small avocados
- Carrot (thinly sliced long ways)
- Cucumber (thinly sliced long ways)
- Gluten-free soy sauce and/or kimchi
How to make it (Prep)
- Rinse your rice then cook it!
- Meanwhile… Mix a can of tuna in a bowl with your avocados until it’s well mixed.
- Wash and chop your carrot and cucumber into strips.
- Take off heat, or turn rice cooker off, and leave rice to cool for a few minutes. I also like to rinse again afterwards although this can make it a little less sticky. I don’t add anything to my rice.
How to make it (Rolling time!)
I roll the sushi using my hands. If you find it easier, use a wooden sushi roller. The roller makes it more confusing for me but it’s personal preference.
- Lay a sheet of seaweed (make sure the shiniest side is face down) on some tin foil.
- Cover the seaweed with rice. Leave around 1cm at each edge and 2cm at the edge furthest from you. Ensure it’s evenly spread and there are no clumps.
- Spread tuna/avocado mix to the rice beginning at the edge closest to you. It’s not an exact science but I like to lay toppings around 1cm in to make rolling easier. Don’t leave much space at the left and right edges.
- Add carrot and cucumber on top of tuna/avocado mix. Again, ensure these reach both sides of the rice.
- To roll the kimbap, ensure the first roll you make completely covers your toppings then continue to roll until all the rice is covered and you have only the 2cm of free seaweed remaining.
- Dab a little water on the free seaweed and finish your final roll, pressing down a little to make it stick.
- To cut the roll, use a sharp knife and do it quickly to avoid it falling apart.
- Once cut, roll the kimbap up in the foil. This will help it to stay together and it’s great for refrigerating any rolls you don’t immediately devour.
- Repeat until all your seaweed, rice and toppings are done.
- Serve with kimchi or gluten-free soy sauce and enjoy!
When should you introduce gluten?
Me: Baby, this is gluten. Gluten, this is baby.
Me (to gluten): I was hesitant to introduce the two of you at all. Hate is a strong word but it does apply here. I really don’t want you to treat my child the way you treat me but nevertheless, here we are, and here you too are meeting for the first time. Please be kind.
If you’re looking for advice on when to introduce gluten to your little one, most research will tell you that the best time to introduce gluten to babies who are at risk of developing the disease is after 6 months and whilst breastfeeding. This isn’t to say that it will prevent the child from developing celiac disease altogether but it may help delay it. I’ve heard this from various sources, including a few pediatric gastroenterologists I’ve spoken with and I’ve been given the same advice regarding other allergens too. This is what I planned to do with our little one…
Does Your Dentist Use Gluten Free Products?
We know that gluten hides in the strangest, and often completely unnecessary, of places and this is why celiacs have to be careful with everything we put in our mouths. Most of us check the toothpaste and mouthwash we use at home are safe for us, but how about the dental products used when we go for dental treatment? This is something I’ve wondered about for a while and today I came across an article about a completely gluten-free dentist in Colorado.
Thumbs down to the yucky wheat field.
There has been a lot of talk recently about how modern varieties of wheat may be to blame for the rise in celiac disease but not everyone believes this is really the case.
Most of you will have heard of the book, Wheat Belly. It says that modern wheat is different from the wheat our ancestors ate and removing it from our diets will help all of us to feel better.
“Wheat is the most destructive thing you could put on your plate, no questions.” says Wheat Belly author, William Davis. “You take wheat out of the diet and you literally see lives transformed.”
The book has been very popular and lots of people follow this belief but I’ve always been a little cynical. I was excited to find this article from NPR, which challenges this belief and suggests we need to look further at the reasons for the rise in celiac disease.
Hanging out with my bump in an Iowa cornfield!
I got my appetite back. Yay! During all the yucky sickness during my first trimester, people kept telling me the 2nd trimester would be much better and they were right. Pre-natal yoga and walking up and down the many hills of San Francisco are keeping me free from aches and pains so far.