Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Yummy to Share

Yes, I know, I've been a little AWOL. Lots going on around here.

And even now, I'm not going to post much, but saw this in Facebook and decided to share:

She calls it a Raw Snickers Tart. Since she uses boiling water, I'm not sure it qualifies as raw (it's nearly raw if not), but it is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan (if you don't use the honey)...!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wheat-Free... and Starving

My daughter and I went wheat-free a couple of weeks back. Part of me kept saying that some of the emotional stress she was experiencing was due to wheat/gluten: the happiest I'd seen her in a long time had been our gluten-free stint a little bit before Christmas. I told her I wanted her to at least try wheat-free, that I would do it with her because I do better wheat-free, too, and she went along with it.

We have not completely eliminated gluten, but it is sounding like we might have to. She said she has days where her stomach area is flat--which doesn't happen ever when she eats wheat--but some days, it's not flat, even if she hasn't eaten wheat, like last night. She did, however, have some wheat-free, but not gluten-free, items yesterday, which is why we may have to look at going entirely gluten-free. Admittedly, we haven't been 100% gluten-free: we had take-out last Friday (do you know how hard it is to have gf take-out that isn't just salad or fries??) and a family get-together on Sunday where we decided we weren't going to push things just yet. (It's already an issue that there have to be dairy-free options available for me.) She had a sleepover within the first week and we scrapped the wheat-free focus for that evening, too.

In any case, this time around, she is STARVING. We could say, "Oh, she's a growing teenager," but it coincided so much with going wheat-free that I'm thinking it could be related. Have any readers experienced this?

I looked it up online and found both sides: one where the kids were ravenous while eating gluten but fine when not and others where people had an insatiable hunger when they went gluten-free. One thing has suggested that it has to do with the glycemic index of foods, that going gluten-free usually means adopting a high-glycemic diet. I don't know if that's true, but I'm looking into it!

Here's one book I've found in my research but our local library doesn't have it, so it could be a bit before I can share anything about it (click on it to see Amazon's info):

I've put a request for other low GI books to see what kind of information I can get and see if it seems to be applying to her situation.

Another issue: eczema. She has developed two patches of eczema since going wheat-free. Part of my mind is going, "Um, shouldn't it be the other way around? Eczema disappears when you go wheat-free?" But then my mind's turning to other possibilities: her body is detoxing; her body is reacting to the wheat she's cheating with; um, well, just those two possibilities have come to mind. :P

In any case, while wheat may be affecting her emotions, so is feeling starved! Gotta figure this out. I don't think she's been taking a multivitamin consistently lately, which may be necessary as we keep working on getting her switched to a more balanced, but wheat/gluten-free diet. Perhaps enzymes, too?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pistachios AREN'T Vegan!

Well, this one wasn't:

See the smallest thing on the plate? That was the remnants of a bug that had buried itself into the nut itself.


Amusing for readers would be a video of my and my daughter's squeamish reactions to trying to get the dead bug out of the pistachio to have a look at it. :P

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Most of My Site Hits Are From...

I've been finding this site's stats over the past while somewhat interesting. I'm just using Blogger's stats, so I don't know if they are individual visitors or just one person who visits different pages fairly often, but the country that is the source of most hits is not one  would have expected!

I'm going to keep it a secret for now. See if I can have someone guess. :D Should I give you options? All right. Where do you think most of my site hits are from?


And while you're at it, where are you from?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Food Network is Dangerous

I love watching Food Network.

I blame my 15-year old daughter for getting me hooked on programs like "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and the Canadian version, "You Gotta Eat Here" and other programs that catch my attention. I say "blame", but I'm quite glad she started watching it and said it was really good and got the rest of us watching it.

But, it is dangerous.

Dangerous because it gives ideas. Ideas to my daughter of her one day opening a diner of her own (she's already decided it will be a gluten-free diner). Ideas of what we could be eating instead of what we are eating and feeling rather blah about eating the same ol' same ol'.

This danger does come with a good side: My daughter and I will be spending more time trying gluten-free recipes and other things she thinks she might potentially try to serve in her own place one day, and feeling very tired when it came to supper and not knowing what the heck to make today, I put together something I've never made and didn't even really have a recipe to go off of. (I'm finally learning at the tender age of 38 to be a little more experimental in the kitchen!) I forgot to take a picture, naturally, but it turned out very good, with even my husband commenting after supper, "That was really good!" Yay! Even my picky son, who was clearly worried at first because he didn't take much, ended up going back for seconds.

What was it? Well, I wanted to make chicken, peppers and onion kabobs and bake them. (We still have snow on the ground. Barbecuing can be done, but...) I looked in the cupboard and the skewers we have had for years are apparently completely depleted. So, I took my new-found Food Network knowledge and put it to good use. I heated up the pan before putting in the oil (I have no idea why you're supposed to, it was just said on one of the episodes today :P), cut the chicken somewhat like if I were making kabobs, put that in, let it cook a while. When it was nearly cooked (another thing I learned from Food Network today), I put in the pieces from a red pepper and and orange pepper, also cut as though I were making kabobs. I then quickly found the red onion that I bought weeks ago for a recipe I was going to try (and haven't a clue which recipe it was now...), cut some large pieces, threw them in and turned the heat up even more. This helped all the pieces get some browning on them, like they were being grilled. I added some Braggs soy seasoning and honey (from a kabob recipe I found online), cooked it a little longer, and served it over rice. There wasn't much seasoning because I didn't put enough Braggs and honey, but it was very good. And I could easily make a veggie version with mushrooms instead of the chicken. The best part was it was sooo simple to make!

The next step in this whole process: Get my 15-year old in the kitchen with me more regularly so she can be doing the cutting and cooking and all that. (I left her off the hook today since she wasn't feeling well!)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Mom Has Cancer

My mom got a bit of surprising news yesterday: she has cancer.

She had been having stomach issues for a while (which may have actually started with h. pylori but still waiting the results on that test; more info on potential connection here), but had been seeing her doctor and was actively working at figuring out what was going on, rather than other people I have heard of around her age who waited and waited, which just led to further problems. She has to have it all confirmed with an oncologist, but the gastro specialist she was seeing is pretty sure it's not a carcinoma but a lymphoma, so that's very good news. The specialist doesn't seem too concerned; he actually said it was good that it wasn't just the narrowing they thought it was because she shouldn't need surgery, just chemo. And it hasn't spread anywhere, it's just at the top of her small intestine.

My mom was a bit of a mix of emotions with it yesterday. The C-word always raises fears, doesn't it? Even though most cases we've known have recovered. Her mother had cancer on her tongue and was treated and it never came back. Her father had colon cancer and while he spent the last years of his life without a colon, it was not cancer that got him. (No, he fell, broke his hip and never seemed to recover properly from the anesthetic!) Her sister-in-law is a breast cancer survivor. We have lots of examples of people who had cancer and beat it.

Unfortunately, there is a very personal case of someone with cancer who had chemo and didn't make it: my little sister.

She was only 2 when they discovered the leukemia. She was barely 3 when she passed away. It may have been a long time ago (33 years!), but I know this is still very much in my mom's heart and knowing she now has to have chemo raises fears. She is, fortunately, trying to have some fun with it and playfully laments she's spent the past few years trying to grow her hair to have the right biker hair and what will she do? :)

She's doing much better with this today and just feeling very positive. I do believe she'll beat this. The gastro doctor doesn't seem too concerned; if she doesn't need surgery, it's not very big and much more treatable. I'm actually feeling very calm about this all, which could be denial or shock rather than faith and hope, but I guess we'll see in time. Right now, she has about a 3-week wait until she sees the oncologist (another sign it's not seen as hugely urgent), so there's not much to do except wait. And learn.

The one thing on my mind is what can I do to help prevent cancer in me and my husband and kids? I know telling my mom about going vegan or raw or anything like that won't have her changing her diet at this point. And I know research is very contradictory when it comes to food, but I just know that my gut (no pun intended ;) ) has been telling me to go in a certain direction for some time and this is a reminder how important it really is. I plan on living until over 100; I've got to make sure I take the steps to do so. :D

In any case, over the next while, expect to see things here about cancer-free living!