Monday, October 19, 2009

Spicy lentil soup and other tasty gluten free foods

I've fallen back in love with food. For the last week I really hated it after getting glutened,but now I'm feeling a bit better and decided use my brand new crock pot.I've never used one before so I looked up some simple recipes for cooking lentils in it and decided to make some dahl-spicy lentil soup. It actually turned out pretty well!
I know that doesn't look too appetizing,but it was nice and spicy and have the lovely texture of lentils: hearty and grainy and just the right amount of mealy-ness. I figured I would share my recipe in case anyone else wanted to try it(all these measurements are estimates,so just do what tastes yummy)

2 finely chopped carrots
1 finely chopped red onion
1 lb. lentils
1/2 head of cauliflower
2 big spoonfuls Earth Balance(gluten free margarine)
2 tbsp. curry powder
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
a few shakes of the salt shaker
1/2 lemon
1 bayleaf
6 cups water

toss it in the crock pot, stir it around and cook for 3 hours on HIGH and then about 1/2 hour on low. Blend it all together and enjoy! I'd recommend a dollop of Nancy's plain yogurt on top

I've also taken to making grits/polenta a lot lately. With cheese, garlic & corn in the mornings for breakfast or with bell peppers and onions for dinner. It's such a filling staple and tastes good with everything!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Celiac & Insurance, or why I support Single Payer Health Care

Ever since figuring out I have celiac there has been a constant worry in my head about what insurance companies will say about it. It's a pre-existing condition and most of us know that in today's health care system that usually means inability to get insurance, or exorbitant costs. So a few weeks ago when an insurance guy showed up at the Gluten Intolerance Group meeting,I was interested in what he had to say.

It was depressing. Apparently out of the 5 or 6 insurance companies in Oregon, 3 of them will flat out refuse coverage to people with celiac disease, 2 will sometimes offer coverage,but at a high cost and one will cover people with Celiac. In Oregon we are lucky because there is a high risk pool for insurance-people who are refused coverage from insurance companies because of pre-existing conditions can be covered under this. But most other states don't have something like this,and often don't have any insurance companies that will cover people with Celiac.

Although people with Celiac can stay healthy with a life long gluten free diet, if they aren't diagnosed until later in life, or don't follow it,they are prone to many diseases and undiagnosed Celiacs are 4 times more likely to die young then non-celiac sufferers.

As a relatively health 21 year old I find it incredibly upsetting and horrific that I need to worry about insurance. So that is yet another on a long list of reasons why I support Single Payer health care, or Medicare for all. A program like this would cover everyone,regardless of past or future health problems. No one would have to worry because they would be covered by the national health plan.

There are a lot more,bigger issues out there than Celiac that people have to deal with,but this is my personal reason for why I want Single Payer. Hopefully I won't get sick much as I get older, but I shouldn't have to worry about getting sick-I can't control if or when that happens.

So check out Single Payer and push your representatives to fight for what we want,not what we think we can get. Because if we never ask for it,how can we get it?

Monday, August 31, 2009


So I think about food so much more now that I'm so limited in what I can comfortably/safely eat. Sometimes that's bad because it's all I think about,and other times it's great because I can stare at a cookbook or refrigerator for hours before making something that is not only tasty (well,most of the time) but it doesn't make me sick! Wonderfully enough, going gluten free has forced me to find new foods and eat pretty much everything that's safe. So this means I'm trying new grains, new spices & meat! As a lifelong vegetarian I'm having a harder time getting used to the texture of meat, then to the texture of glutenless grains. But it's been a blast so far!

I've never had quinoa before but I've recently discovered that it's amazing! If you've never tried it, you should. It's a bit like a combination of brown rice & couscous, but better. I like the red quinoa the's hearty and nutty and tastes good with just about everything. I've mostly been mixing in tomato sauce & cheese plus whatever veggies we have around at the time.

I've also found this great little bakery in Portland called the New Cascadia Traditional Bakery. It's a godsend. It's entirely gluten free. They have wonderful breads, pastries and pizza dough. It's so nice to be able to go somewhere and buy whatever I want and not have to worry. One of the biggest issues with food now is that I need to bring lunch/snacks with me all the time. If I forget to bring lunch to work I'm SOL because there isn't really anywhere I can get food.

I've bought a crock pot and I'm in love with my rice cooker, so new explorations in food are definitely going to happen. I'd love any and all recipe suggestions!

Friday, August 14, 2009


I've been gluten free for a while, meaning I don't eat any wheat,rye, barley, oats or any of their byproducts, but I'm still running in to a lot of frustrations. After an extremely aggravating phone call with a pharmacist today I realized that in order for me to heal and live with celiac, I have to tell other people about it. For the most part, being gluten free isn't that hard. But the hard things are really hard. Needing to avoid all forms of gluten means I can't eat any processed food (unless it's made in an entirely gluten free factory), I can't eat out at restaurants, and I have to make sure I always have food with me. It also means I'm learning to cook and experimenting with new grains and meat (I like to think of myself as a 'recovering vegetarian' now).

The hardest part, by far, is explaining to folks why I can't eat what they made,or go out for lunch with my coworkers or why my medications have to be gluten free. Hence this blog, to explain to my friends and family and whoever else may decide to read it, what it's like.

Most recently I had to get a prescription filled at my local Walgreen's. I asked the pharmacists to make sure the medications were gluten free and I explained my predicament. They told me none of the ingredients had wheat in them, so I didn't have to worry. I patiently explained that in fact, I did, because gluten is often used as a 'filler' or binder' and if they could please call the manufacturer, that would be lovely. The manufacturer was closed,so I left. This morning I called back and spoke to the pharmacist who told me I didn't have to worry about gluten in my medication because I don't have an anaphylactic reaction,so it doesn't matter. I spent about 5 minutes trying to explain why it did matter before she finally agreed to call the manufacturer again. I'm still not totally sure the medication is gluten free...

The interaction with the pharmacist made me realize that there's a huge need for education about Celiac Disease. Here's some basic info on it:

Check it out!