Tag Archives: gluten-free

It’s official (no more meat) and I blame it on hormones

I gave myself the gift of vegetarianism for my 25th birthday. At that point I had long left red meat and pork behind. In fact, the last hamburger I ate was back in 1996 at my college dining hall. People always asked what led me to give up meat and to tell you the truth, it started when I was a toddler. Family folklore tells the tale of me ordering nothing but grilled cheese or chicken when dining out my entire childhood. When it came to vegetables, I was the six-year-old chowing down spinach and lima beans while my brother was hiding his veggies in his dinner napkin. And I was notorious for stealing raw potato chunks while my mother peeled and sliced them for dinner. I have always loved the salad bar, eating the skin of a baked potato, have never met a vegetable I didn’t like, and would often refuse to eat meat.

I first declared “I am no longer eating red meat” the summer of 1990. My understanding father indulged me with turkey burgers and grilled chicken that summer. Because I lived with my mother during the school year, my red meat ban didn’t stick and I occasionally ate meat to stop the dinner time battles. Fast forward to freedom college and I stopped eating red meat all together.

So the looming question…”why didn’t you like red meat”? To me it tastes like metal. Red meat has a very specific metallic taste to me. Have you ever bitten your tongue (of course you have!) and it bleeds a little… and tastes..well…metalic? I assume it is the iron (blood) of the animal. I mean, would you suck on a piece of metal??? Gross, right? But that’s what it tastes like to me. As for pork, it’s just not my thing taste, texture or smell wise.

In the entire twelve years I was a vegetarian (evolving into a pescatarian), I never once became anemic. It turns out my body (likely due to Celiac) stores iron. If I was not a vegetarian I may have had iron levels that were too high. I don’t think my vegetarianism was a coincidence, I think my body knew what to do.

Now here is the twist…10 weeks into my pregnancy and 12 years with no meat, ALL I WANTED WAS CHICKEN!! And I ATE it, and ate it, and ate it. I even ate a Nathan’s hotdog when I was 27 weeks pregnant (clearly a low point for my palate). After my daughter was born, I had some complications and lost a LOT of blood. I had an uncanny resemblance to Dracula’s daughter (‘vamp’ is not a good look for me) and was prescribed iron tablets. My CBC count stabilized very quickly which seemed to surprise the doctors. At the hospital I narrowly avoided a blood transfusion and 3 weeks later you would have never known.

Let’s fast forward again. Here we are in February of 2015. My daughter is now 8 months old and starting finger foods. I am still breastfeeding but my craving for meat has plummeted. On January 31st I cooked Ball Park turkey dogs. I prefer Applegate Farms organic, but my husband bought Ball Park so I wasn’t going to be a snob about it. They did not look like the healthiest hotdogs so I cooked them until they had stripped black wrinkly skin. Twelve hours later and for the next 36 hours I had an intestinal upset I never want to experience again. A few days later I was cooking organic turkey bacon and could barely look at it much less stomach the smell of cooking meat. It just all clicked. Just.  Like. That. I am DONE with meat again.

All I can say is that I need to listen to my body. I didn’t think twice about eating meat while I was pregnant because I knew it was not me that wanted the large amount of animal flesh protein and iron, it was my growing baby who demanded it so I just went with it. People who know me were tickled by my aversion to anything green and leafy and my new-found love of chicken and turkey. I am not sure what causes these sudden onsets of food cravings and aversions. I chalk it up to hormones. Baby J is now 8 months, eating whole foods and not requiring as much breast milk. I think this meat thing is an indication of my child getting nutrients from whole foods now and that weaning may be near.

So I guess it’s official. February 4, 2015 started my meat free life….again.

Are you a vegetarian or a vegan? What made you give up meat? Or start eating meat again?

Day 71: Food and feeling satiated…or not (a question for readers)

Hello friends. I have struggled for a few weeks now and thought I would put my ‘problem’ out into the blog community for some feedback. I have maintained a gluten free diet since 2008 and have recently gone dairy free due to related food issues postpartum. I have made a conscious effort to exclude most pre-made gf foods, as I view some of them as junk-food. With basically a whole food diet, I have a difficult time feeling satiated. For me, this is different from feeling *full* and it often sends me grazing through the evening on various snacks because I just can’t quite figure out why I still feel like I want to eat something. I thought it was a protein thing but even after eating turkey or chicken for dinner, I still have the feeling. Maybe it is fat that I need?

What am I missing? Do you have a go-to food that helps you feel satiated?

Day 52: Hiding the turnips in the mashed potatoes

We all know that children commonly turn their noses up at vegetables. When you are a member of a CSA, let’s just say you can get some unique vegetables, and well….you need to get creative to get children on board with trying these strange delights. One such veggie is the white turnip. In my quest to not let things go to waste, I decided I had better figure out what to do with these darlings. Having two potatoes kicking around from the farm share the previous week, I decided to boil the turnips and potatoes together and simply mash them. Turnips are bit lighter (more watery) than the potatoes so I didn’t need to add any form of liquid to get a whipped texture. Using more turnips than potatoes may give a watery, sloppy consistency so if you decide to make this recipe, you will need to balance the potato – turnip content to your liking. Also, white turnips have a spice about them. Adding the potatoes will mellow the flavor of the turnip.

When I served dinner I told both my husband and stepdaughter that they were “simply potatoes“. No one could tell otherwise. I let my husband in on the secret after dinner. I feel pretty good about this recipe and ‘hiding’ rich sources of nutrition in our everyday foods. Low in calories, rich in antioxidants, who could resist the turnip?

Do you ever ‘hide’ vegetables in other recipes to get your kids to eat them?

'Simply Potatoes" ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????

Day 47: You can’t tempt me TCBY

I failed to mention that TCBY is a favorite we used to treat our family to at least monthly if not twice per month. We used to have “TCBY” on our family menu so we knew which day of the month we would get to indulge.

If you have never been to TCBY, one word to describe it is “YUM”. And the place is actually fun. Who can resist a make-your-own yogurt sundae bar with 16 flavors of yogurt (almost all are GF and zero fat) and a sinful toppings bar including fruit, chocolate, syrups, crushed candy bars……mmmm.  Back to my point – I have a “points” card with TCBY so every $30 you spend you get a $3 credit toward your next purchase. You can also save these $3 credits to get free yogurt and Tuesdays are double points day. Can you tell we have been to TCBY a LOT?

I think it is fair to add TCBY to our by the numbers page. The sundae’s are priced by weight per ounce. For three of us we would spent between $16 – $19 per visit. I keep getting TCBY updates in my email. Apparently they have Pumpkin flavored yogurt back again…but you can’t tempt ME TCBY…I just delete your emails. Staying strong here at onehundrentwentythreedays.

Day 41: In preparation & FIL’s visit

So here we are – Saturday.  I have a baby laying across my lap hanging upside down while I type this post mostly one-handed (the other hand is grasping my ladybug so she doesn’t fall). Apparently when you are 4 months old, the world is more interesting upside down. Maybe I should take some lessons on *perspective* from the wee one.

As I was saying, Saturday has arrived. As luck would have it, the weather has held and we have another gorgeous fall afternoon of sunshine and 60 degree weather.  I also managed to clean the floors – getting most of the cat hair, dog dander and dust bunnies from their hiding spots. In order to stick to no takeout I have already thawed the turkey cutlets, and about to start cooking some gluten free pasta for a side dish of baked ziti. My strategy is “if it is already in the oven, they can’t say no”.  Besides, with our schedules so busy (hubs is taking a promotional exam this morning, SD is at riding lessons with her biomom, and I am getting our home prepped for FIL), eating in and having a relaxing visit where we can talk, have the baby comfortable (and away from the seasons first cold and flu germs), and relax – sounds like the best kind of visit (IMO).

I am off to cook pasta…I hope our plan today works!

Day 40: Autumn crisp

It’s finally starting to feel more like fall here in New York. The weather has been most beautiful and rather warm for September and early October. Today the sky was perfect; electric blue with sunshine and fluffy white clouds. The breeze was light and steady giving a cool blast to the skin against the warm gaze of the sun. Ahhh, finally the crisp air has arrived. I could actually smell the leaves drying in the grass. Soon the leaves will be fallen from the trees only to be remembered by the crunching under our feet.

If you live in the great NorthEast, then you know it’s time for apples, spice, and cinnamon delight! Due to the long holiday weekend, I was off from work early this afternoon. Large bag of apples from our CSA share + a few hours of downtime = homemade gluten free apple cake! I took a recipe from allrecipes.com and substituted one cup of flour with one cup GF all purpose flour.

DSC02481

As you can see by the photo, I made a pretty good dent in the pan. While I would have enjoyed a major pig-out movie fest, I have decided to wait and enjoy some tomorrow, this time with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

p.s. Take you time Old Man Winter, we have plenty of autumn left to enjoy.

Day 24: Check in

We are still going strong here at onehundrendtwentythreedays. We attended our CSA annual pot luck dinner on Sunday (Day 21). It was a great way to meet other CSA members, partake in some contra dancing, tour the farm that grows our food and share a little bit of my love of cooking. This year I made jasmine rice with garlic, onion, peppers, broccoli, green beans, carrots, and celery topped with GF tamari sauce for taste; simple, easy and allergy friendly. I know firsthand that having food allergies make events like dinner at other’s people’s houses, pot lucks, and holiday parties a bit un-fun so I try to be mindful and of course bring a dish I know is safe for me to eat.

And to not throw away a half loaf of bread – homemade croutons for hubs

DSC02364

homemade crutons
homemade croutons

What is your favorite dish to share/potluck recipe?

Day 18: Greens for lunch

With the arrival of a new CSA share yesterday, I thought it would be fun to try something new so I am sending some blog love to Stephanie Usbi. I tried one of her recipes today -the swiss chard wrap. I have had swiss chard several times but never raw. I tend to stir-fry my greens. I did improv a bit on the ingredients and also used horseradish sauce.  I love horseradish – it reminds me of my grandmother. If there were one relative I could go back and speak with about life it would be her. She made her own horseradish sauce. Originally a farmer who raised seven children, then moving on to work at Cornell University’s veterinary hospital and eventually becoming Town Justice; as an adult woman my grandmother seems pretty interesting.  I am certain she did 123 days of home cooking without batting an eye!

Getting back to the swiss chard wrap…I included only a few ingredients: vegan horseradish sauce, orange bell pepper, onion and carrot. I have to say, it was delicious!

DSC02325 DSC02326 DSC02328 DSC02329

Days 15 & 16: I almost forgot!

Today while emailing with my coworker about re-planning a missed dinner date at a local oven fired pizza joint (apparently they have GF offerings and are located on a small river so the scenery will be nice), it suddenly occurred to me that I can not go out to dinner until Jan 2, 2015. I had to laugh at this self-imposed predicament.  With a new baby and neither set of parents planning to visit, the thought of dinner with friends hadn’t even occurred to me. I know we said “no takeout”, but really we are trying not to dine-in at restaurants either. Since luck has been on my side, after I apologized and explained the ‘no takeout challenge’, the date of October 21st was not a good for my coworker anyway, so it looks like 123 days is going strong. In thinking about this dilemma, I realize that I am the type of person who does not feel comfortable making ‘exceptions’ to rules.

When it comes to setting goals, do you make exceptions to the rules or are you the type of person who follows the rules to a “T”? I would love to hear your thoughts. 🙂

Day 14: Sunday

Sunday is my favorite day of the week. Technically is is the day of rest but I consider it the day of rejuvenation. It’s the day when the neighborhood is little quieter, you can hear the birds a little bit louder and I get to enjoy a book, blog, or movie. I also tend to cook a lot on Sundays. After our family trip to the YMCA, I cooked up some brunch. You can see my farm fresh omelet recipe here. Here’s to the start of week #3. Cheers!

Organic fresh tomatoes
Organic fresh tomatoes
Wusthof - my very favorite knives - they have made cooking SO much easier!
Wusthof – my very favorite knives – they have made cooking SO much easier!
peppers & onions...oh my!
peppers & onions…oh my!
organic greens
organic greens
Brunch
Brunch