Paleo (Gluten Free) Oatmeal Raisin Style Cookies

This recipe is adapted from the one found here, the best paleo chocolate chip cookies ever. I was never a huge chocolate chip cookie fan, but oatmeal raisin is my absolute favorite. If you read my blog regularly, you already know that. :)

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I’ve already posted a recipe for gluten free oatmeal raisin cookies, but these are different because they don’t use oats or anything. No dairy, no grain, no eggs – but don’t let that scare you – they are delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 c. almond meal
  • scant ¼ t. sea salt
  • ⅛ t. baking soda
  • ¼ t. cinnamon
  • 2½ T. melted butter
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1½ t. vanilla
  • 2 T. shredded coconut
  • 2-4 T. raisins

Instructions


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


Mix the almond meal, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.


Stir in the butter, honey, and vanilla.


Stir in the coconut and raisins last.


Bake for 10-11 minutes on a well oiled or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet (the edges should be golden).


Let them sit on the pan or remove to a plate for 5-10 minutes so they can firm up a bit.


Eat and enjoy! Hopefully, you will have more willpower than me and they will last a few days. If not, rest assured in knowing that they are quick to whip up another batch!


What do you think? Did you try them? Like them? Adapt the recipe again? Let me know!

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Boka Restaurant Seattle Gluten Free

My work has me at an event at Hotel 1000 in downtown Seattle today, and their restaurant is called Boka. I always get nervous when I’m on site at an event and subject to whatever food might be available – and whatever chef might be cooking that day (if they know/care about the needs of those of us with celiac), etc.

I must say, I was pleasantly surprised with Boka. Their menu has several gluten free options – and they are noted right on the menu (always a plus). That helps to ensure in my mind that the staff all know why gluten free is important, and not just a fad.

I got the blackened salmon tostada, and it is delicious. It has a great mixture of flavors and textures (crunchy corn tortilla, mixed greens, flaky salmon and whipped avocado mousse that I loved). It is savory, with some nice tartness (lime), spice and saltiness that balances together well.

The staff I talked to was friendly and knowledgeable. They knew about celiac disease and how to handle food for me. They even came out and offered me a gluten free dessert – the “melon medley”. I’m not gonna lie, this dessert is pretty awesome! Check out the picture below. The perfect cap to a delicious lunch in downtown Seattle.

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What is an Upper Endoscopy Like?

When you have autoimmune issues, like celiac disease, “endoscopy” is something you get accustomed to pretty quickly. Although, the majority of people have one, get diagnosed, change lifestyle, and don’t need one again…when you continue to feel sick the doc may schedule more than one.

The first two I had (upper endoscopy and colonoscopy) were done before I started my blog. So, since I am having another upper endoscopy today, I thought I would explain the prep and what the procedure is like.

First, it’s super easy. If you’re going for one and haven’t had one before, don’t worry.

The upper endoscopy is a procedure where the doctor takes pictures or samples of your small intestine. The easiest way to get there is through your mouth. I know, that may sound awful, but you’re asleep during the procedure and don’t feel anything.

Prep for this one is easy also. You will be given a schedule before your appointment. Your doctor’s preference and the time of your procedure create the timeline, but the steps are generally the same:

  • the day before the procedure you can’t take certain medications or aspirin – they will discuss your specific mess with you.
  • at some point (some say the night before, my current doctor said at 9:00 a.m. on procedure day) you can no longer have anything to eat.
  • for the next phase (in my case, 9:00 a.m.-12:00p.m.) you can only have clear liquids. This is such a short period of time that I’ll just have water, but sometimes the “clear liquid diet” goes a lot longer. In that case, you will be pleased to know many juices, Popsicles and broths are ok during this phase. No milk and nothing with red food coloring, because it can look like blood in the scope.
  • the final phase of prep is nothing by mouth – not even water. I guzzle water like a camel, so this is my least favorite part. However, I tell myself that the alternative includes peeing myself on the table during the procedure and that helps me stick to it. :)

That’s it for prep! Easy peasy. Now, you go in for your appointment. They may take stats again. You will change into your glamorous gown and get prepped for an IV (I also dislike needles so I don’t love this). You get on the table, and they start the fluids and potentially a mask you breathe into as well to knock you out. The actual procedure usually takes 5-15 minutes depending on what they are doing/looking for/find and then you’re done. Once you wake up from the meds, you get dressed and have a chat with the doctor about the findings.

The time you are at the office takes much longer than the 10 minute procedure – it’s about 2 hours. This includes prep time and how long it takes for the anesthesia to wear off. Someone will need to drive you home and if you are like me, you may choose to take another nap when you get there. :)

That’s it! Pretty easy.

Now all I have to be concerned about is my results…wish me luck!

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What is Refractory Celiac Disease?

I have not been feeling well. And, when I really started to examine my symptoms, I realized they have been going on for quite a while – at least six months. I’ve had stomach issues, incredible lethargy, headaches, and just all around feeling like garbage. I feel a lot like I did three years ago before I was diagnosed with celiac disease.

If you know me in person or really read this blog, you can attest to my strictness on the gluten free diet. I don’t sneak cookies every once in a while or bend the rules. I am definitely living the GF lifestyle. I am really careful about cross contamination as well.

To see if it would help me feel better, I recently (about two months ago) stopped eating sugar. I’m off refined sugar, artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup. I feel less hungry and a little better I guess…but something is still wrong.

I thought, “Maybe it’s dairy? Maybe I should stop eating all carbs? Should I go paleo?” Before doing anything drastic and cutting every food category in the book, I opted to consult with my gastroenterologist.

I’ve researched a lot before going in – hearing others talk about leaky gut, lactose intolerance, GFCF and more. So I thought I was prepared for what the GI would say.

So, I explained all this to him and he scheduled me for blood work and another upper endoscopy to test for refractory celiac disease. When I heard that I thought, “what the heck is that?”

I researched (obviously) as I walked out the door of the GI and I’m not too excited about the options. Apparently, refractory celiac disease is really rare – <10% of those with celiac disease have it. It is a condition where even eating a strict gluten free diet doesn't repair your intestines and you continue to have symptoms. Which led me to ask myself, "What are the options for feeling better?"

The answer? Not great.

There are two types – type 1 which is less severe and type 2 which is rarer and more severe. Type 1 puts you on nutritional support which provides nutrients/food through intravenous means to bypass the intestines. And could include a special liquid diet. You also probably have to start taking steroids. Yay.

Type 2 is classified by many as non-Hodgkin lymphoma – you can read up on that if you want. Not a good option.

So, I go in for my endoscopy in one week and I've been sitting with this question for a week already. I asked the doc what he thought it could be if it wasn't RCD, and he said it might be IBS. I hate the thought of something with no real relief in sight. So…I don't know what I'm hoping for when I go in next week. I just want to know what I'm dealing with so it can start to be fixed. Is that too much to ask?

Learn more about refractory celiac disease.

Thoughts, tips or questions? Send ‘em my way. I’ll keep you posted on what I find out.

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Guest Post: Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet for Mesothelioma Patients

Gluten free diets have become – shall we say – trendy – over the last several years. Some followers opt in simply to lose weight or see what the hype is about. But for many, it’s a health necessity, not a choice.

Most people with celiac disease explain that a gluten-free diet is the only thing that made their intestinal issues go away. These patients have often spent years coping with diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and fatigue before learning that it was the result of a gluten intolerance. (Gluten is a wheat protein that many people have a difficult time digesting.)

Like patients with celiac, pleural mesothelioma patients may also experience these conditions. Some issues, like abdominal pain, are primary symptoms of their cancer. Others, like nausea and diarrhea, are side effects of their treatments.

While they’re caused by different triggers, mesothelioma patients’ symptoms can also be managed through diet. Gluten-free foods may help alleviate some of these symptoms.

For example:

  • Fiber-rich, gluten-free grains like brown rice and quinoa can help stimulate digestion during bouts of chemotherapy-induced constipation.
  • Soft, bland foods can help quell post-radiation nausea. While most people associate “comfort foods” with macaroni and cheese, buttery toast or similar gluten-heavy items, options like mashed potatoes or rice crackers fit the gluten-free bill.
  • Carb-rich foods are concentrated sources of energy for periods of mesothelioma-related fatigue, but they don’t need to be limited to pastas or sandwiches. Complex, gluten-free carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and beans can provide a major energy boost to get through the day.

Beyond using gluten-free foods to address specific mesothelioma symptoms, patients may also use a gluten-free diet to reduce inflammation in the body. By avoiding this protein for a prolonged period of time, the digestive system gets to rest and focus on calming internal irritation.

While a gluten-free diet may not be medically necessary for mesothelioma patients the way it is for celiac patients, it certainly holds power to help them feel a bit better after their initial prognosis. If you’re considering adopting such a lifestyle, bring it up at your next oncologist’s appointment before making the switch.

Faith Franz is a researcher and writer for The Mesothelioma Center. She advocates for alternative medicine and encourages cancer patients to explore all of their treatment options.

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Gluten Free Protein Pancakes

In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d write a post centered around a food I always used to bring to my mom (breakfast in bed of course!) on madre day. What about those gluten free moms out there? They deserve breakfast in bed too! So, here is a recipe for delicious, healthy, flourless pancakes.

Pancakes used to be one of my favorite things in the whole world before I was diagnosed with celiac disease. In the land of gluten free…pancakes are definitely not the same. So, I pretty much didn’t eat pancakes for years (sad).

A few months back, a friend of mine posted about “protein pancakes” and I thought it was interesting. The ingredients seem weird, but I wanted to give it a try. Healthy pancakes seemed impossible to me, but I tried it and I’ve made a few modifications.

The recipe:
Coconut oil (for cooking)
1/2 cup oats (I use Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats)
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup egg whites (if you don’t have egg white substitute, I’ve found that 4 large egg whites works well)
Cinnamon (to taste, I use a pretty generous amount…at least 1 tsp)
1/4-1/2 cup Blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Put oats, cottage cheese, egg whites and cinnamon in a high speed mixer (I use one of those magic bullet things – mine is off-brand – and its perfect). Mix until smooth. Stir in berries (by hand).

Place a pan on medium heat and put in the coconut oil. I know this means you can’t use a griddle…but trust me…the coconut oil brings a flavor that is totally worth it.

Pour in 1/2 of the batter and spread the blueberries around (especially necessary when using frozen berries). Cook like a regular pancake! It will get the air bubbles and “dry” around the edges the same way. I’ve eat mine as is (no toppings) because I’m cutting out sugar, but give mom her favorite toppings on these. I’m sure she will love them!

I’ve been thinking about playing around with other fruit, like banana or raspberry or peach. Did you try any variations you liked? What did you (or your mom) think of these?

And, again, have a happy Mother’s Day!

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Guest Post: Brian Forester from Now Foods – Natural GF Options for Your Diet

Great Natural Foods To Incorporate Gluten-Free Choices Into Your Diet

So, you’ve decided to start incorporating more gluten-free choices into your meals. Great! And while that might require you to start rewriting your favorite recipes, there are plenty of naturally gluten-free foods that you can easily incorporate into your new diet without causing you to wrack your brain every time a meal comes around.

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Gluten is the protein found inherently in the endosperm of wheat, rye and barley—composed of two smaller proteins glutenin and gliadin. For people with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, gluten can cause bloating, cramps, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, pains and other ailments. Cutting gluten from your diet can relieve these symptoms, but as gluten—and many of the foods that contain gluten—offer nutritional values in protein, fiber and sugar, they need to be accounted for in your new diet. Luckily, there are many natural food solutions.

As gluten-free means avoiding products made with wheat, barley or rye, the bulk of your meal replacement is going to exist in your grains and breads, which can be tricky as many meals use these grains as a base. For natural, gluten-free options in this category, try unbleached, unprocessed rice (brown, wild or flour variants), buckwheat, almond flour, quinoa, flaxseed, tapioca, millet flour, soy, sorghum and finally, one of your biggest and best alternatives, corn and potatoes.

Corn and potatoes are likely to be your easiest transition from wheat, rye and barley as many grains—tortillas, breads, and pastas—are already widely available in corn and potato options.

Dairy will most of the time be gluten-free, although some varieties of cottage cheese, yogurt, cream and ice cream sometimes contain gluten additives. Blue cheese, unfortunately, does contain gluten. Always check the ingredients on the label to make sure there aren’t any gluten surprises.

Hummus is a fantastic naturally gluten-free food that can be worked either as a side or as an appetizer into almost any meal.

Luckily fruits and vegetables are all gluten-free, which you’ll likely be eating more of in order to make up for the loss of fibers and vitamins found in gluten products. Fresh fruits and vegetables will also give you natural sugar alternatives in addition to being gluten free; supplying your body with better and more efficient energy reserves.

Meat, too, is gluten-free unless breaded—like fried wings, chicken parmesan or meatloaf; all dry beans are gluten-free as well. Thankfully,there are many great recipes out there to make gluten-free versions of classic dishes. Check out this recipe for a delicious, gluten-free meatloaf http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/od/entrees/r/glutenfreemeatloafrecipe.htm.

Desserts are going to be one of your hardest substitutes as so many pastries and treats contain gluten. Fruits are a great natural dessert, but if you need to have something a little more exciting you can use butter, margarine, peanut oil or butter and even olive oil—which offers great opportunities for infusing flavors. Try putting blood orange-infused olive oil on a salad with mandarin oranges and cocoa-roasted nuts and tell me it’s not a dessert!

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Going gluten-free doesn’t mean quarantining yourself off from the rest of the eating population; it simply means making some key substitutions and refraining from foods that, as it happens, are naturally not recommended as part of a balanced diet (i.e. fried foods, processed sugars and flour, and many desserts).

About the Author:
Brian Forester is a health and wellness writer in the Chicago area. It is his goal to help people learn more about healthy natural foods and incorporate them into their diets. Companies like Now Foods offer healthy options to improve wellness for everyone with NOW Personal Care.

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