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Sushi, What’s the Point?

6 Mar

I used to love sushi. Not the raw fish sushi.  The kind that comes in a roll  covered in rice and avocado and macadamia nuts and tempura anything and sweet sauce.

Last night we ordered in from our favorite Japanese restaurant. At this point I would like to remind you (and myself) that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. “I’d like a nutty shrimp” I said to the man on the other end of the phone, my voice full of regret. “But instead of tempura shrimp I will just have ebi (steamed shrimp) and a yummy yam, but instead of the tempura yam, just steamed yam, oh, and can I have those made with brown rice?”

Thirty minutes later I was dipping rolls of sticky brown rice into my wheat-free tamari and wasabi mixture, coveting the eel soaked in a sweet gluteny sauce that my husband was enjoying.  My shrimp was chewy. Have you ever noticed that shrimp on its own as no flavor whatsoever? The yam was yummy, naturally sweet. And who doesn’t love a yam wrapped in brown rice?

This morning I woke up feeling nauseous. Maybe I was unintentionally glutened.  Or maybe it was intentional.  Either way it wasn’t worth it. I’m thinking of giving up on food all together.  Can’t I just take a pill for that? I would happily go for weekly intravenous meals.

When I’m feeling blue, I sometimes call a friend, or buy a lot of shoes, or search the internet. It was too early to call anyone and my bank account is on empty so I googled.  I searched gluten-free sushi just to see what somebody else had to say on the subject.

I found one blogger extolling the virtues of sushi when dinning with friends, “… I didn’t need to do as much research upfront and I knew there would be SOMETHING I could eat (even if it was just steamed edamam). ” http://aglutenfreeguide.com/eating-sushi-is-a-gluten-free-dream.html . This made me realize I have been setting the bar a little too high. If I only had her glass-half-full attitude why I could go to any restaurant knowing that at the very least I could have a plate of lettuce.

And then this from Gluten Free: The Celiac Site

“Every celiac should develop a taste for Sushi. Consider one blogger’s  suggestion:  “Once I was diagnosed with Celiac, sushi restaurants became a haven for my gluten free dining. It’s so much easier to ask someone if they want to go for sushi than look for other gluten free friendly dining establishments. I can just grab my bottle or packets of gluten free soy sauce and head to the restaurant.”

Wow, you make it sound so fun! But wait, there’s a catch…

“Sushi is gluten free, but (as always) there are cross contamination issues. This same blogger continues: “Unfortunately eating sushi gluten free is not completely care-free and there are still things you need to be wary of in order to eat safely. Ask for your fish to be cut with clean utensils on a clean surface. The rising popularity of tempura rolls has increased the chances for cross-contamination here. Tell your server no crab unless they can assure you it’s real, most fake crab meat used in sushi rolls is made with wheat. Most roe (fish eggs) used to top sushi has wheat as an ingredient. Also, ask for no sauce, albacore sashimi usually comes with a forbidden sauce and many white fish are sprinkled with a gluten containing culprit. Eel (unagi) comes soaked in a sweet sauce that is a definite no-no. Double-check the wasabi, ginger and rice to make sure that there are no suspect ingredients.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then more joyous news:

  • Even the sesame seeds that sometimes coat sushi rolls may be mixed with a wheat product. (WTF!)
  • And the sticky rice is sometimes soaked in vinegar containing gluten.  (now that’s just mean)

First, can we just all agree that gluten-free and carefree should not be used in the same paragraph?

Second, I am never going to utter these words in a restaurant, “please make sure my fish is cut with clean utensils on a clean surface” . It’s just not going to happen.

Third, I’ll just have a large sake.

Mascara, It’s Not Just For Breakfast Anymore.

26 Feb

Every morning  after I eat a gluten-free breakfast, I take a shower, I dry my hair and put on my face.  I learned that women put on their faces from my grandmother. (Thanks, grandma!)

Until recently I didn’t  think about whether or not my make-up was gluten-free. This is due to the fact that it has never occurred to me to eat my make-up.  But the other day, my friend Paula, (who does not have gluten issues but is lucky enough to have not one but two friends who do and therefore is gluten-sensitive) made the following comment to me in passing.  “So you might know, but I didn’t know, that there’s such a thing as gluten-free mascara.” Whew. What a relief, especially for those of us who like to munch between meals and will just grab for the first thing that’s handy.” Upon hearing this comment I decided I had better do a little research on the subject. So I googled the question “Do women sometimes eat their mascara?” Google responded with several pages of “Why women can’t put on their mascara with their mouths closed”.  Another Women’s Issue I had never considered. However upon reflection, I realized that I always open my mouth while putting on my mascara.

So once again, google unintentionally answered my question.  Obviously what happens is that while women are putting their mascara on with their mouths open, tiny particles of gluten are falling off the brush or the eyelashes and into their open mouths. Women are unknowingly being glutened* while  putting on their faces.  For those of us who may  unconsciously open our mouths while applying our make-up or forget to carry a snack with us  there are many gluten-free make-up options available.

Here’s one:

http://www.maybelline.com/

*glutened is a word I picked up while searching the internet. It was used in the following sentence: “…you may end up getting unintentionally glutened.”

Today’s  Treat:  Pure pressed mineral foundation in caramel garnished with pure pressed blush in cotton candy and topped off with a spritz of  D2O hydrating Spray.  http://janeiredale.com

The Daily Bitch…It’s Not the Gluten, Dummy

21 Feb

I’m not a real doctor, but I am a real bitch and I feel more than qualified to take on the subject of gluten and weight.

And, I am so tired of gluten-free weight loss stories!

  • Do people who go on a “gluten-free” diet for weight loss check every label, grill every waiter, and try desperately to find a delicious substitution for their favorite chocolate cake? Do they cry in the middle of the supermarket isle? I think not. I think they cut out bread, pasta and cake, for a couple of weeks and call it gluten-free. And guess what-they lose weight. Big surprise! It’s not the gluten, dummy,  it’s the no carbs, it’s the fewer calories.

  • Some people who have celiac disease gain weight once they give up gluten. Yup. That’s right. No, that’s wrong and so unfair.  It’s the dirty little secret about celiac disease. No one wants to talk about it.  Once that digestive system starts working again, those little cilia start standing upright again and doing their job. You start absorbing nutrients again, You start absorbing more fat.  Maybe your cholesterol goes up maybe you gain ten pounds.
  • Am I bitter? Possibly. Yes.
  • Chapter 15 of Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s book, The G Free Diet; A Gluten-Free Survival Guide, is entitled G-Free and Slim as Can Be.  I would like to slap her.  Also, she’s a republican.

  • Am I bitter?  Possibly. Yes.
  • On the up side, I could eat donuts, cookies, bread and pasta and lose those ten pounds in a jiffy. It’s called the gluten diet.
  • On the down side, there’s the whole destroying my small intestine thing.
  • Oh well.

Today’s Treat: Ask Enid.

The Daily Treat….Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

Roses and chocolate and pink champagne are gluten-free!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 from the GFBs

Today’s Taste Test Challange: These pink champagne cupcakes look yummy, but so did that hempseed coconut cake. If someone wants to test them for us we would be oh so happy!

http://www.theculinarylife.com/2009/gluten-free-champagne-cupcakes/

The Daily Bitch…I Was Born This Way

9 Feb

Lady Gaga

The other day I happened upon a conversation between a gluten-free woman, her husband, and a young shopkeeper.  I had literally just finished a meeting with Enid about launching this blog, so it was very serendipitous. This gluten-freer was in the middle of explaining how annoying it is for people who can’t have gluten to be put in the same boat with people who won’t have gluten.  I don’t know how they got on the subject. I can only assume that the gluten-freer, like so many marginalized and slightly bitter people, wanted to be heard, validated, and perhaps *pitied just a little bit. I imagine she worked it into the conversation as smoothly as butter on a nice warm piece of bread (the kind with gluten).

I listened for a few minutes and considered walking out of the store. But then I asked myself  what would a gluten-free bitch do-would she walk away? I think not.  I think she would belly up to the bar, make some new gluten-free friends, spread the news about her blog  and make sure that shopkeeper never asked a customer how they were doing ever again.  So that’s what I did.  Also, I saw a really cute dress I wanted to try on.

And yes! It is so annoying to hear about people like Gwyneth Paltrow who choose to be gluten-free.  They give the rest of us a bad name. Like in a restaurant for instance, asking about every ingredient, explaining what gluten is, seeing the glazed or annoyed look in the waitresses eyes.  You don’t really want to have to say, “I’m not doing this  because I want to look like Gwyneth Paltrow, it’s just that if I eat even one crumb of gluten my immune system will go all crazy on my small intestine and start destroying my cilia [cut to horrified waitress].

Also, I do not:

  • have a personal chef (which would possibly make up for the whole celiac thing)
  • already have years of veganism under my belt
  • spend 4 hours a day doing Pilates
  • have a ton of money to spend on whatever I want to make up for the fact that I can’t eat bread (I’m not saying she does this I’m just saying she could if she wanted to)

So what is my point?   I didn’t choose this “lifestyle”   I WAS BORN THIS WAY

So what are my other points?

  1. I hate to cook
  2. I like eating animals and things that come from animals
  3. I’m not good at Pilates
  4. I have a shopping problem

Todays Treat: A new dress  (retail therapy, it’s more expensive than psychotherapy but just as fun.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Pity and especially self-pity has gotten a bad rap. Sometimes a girl (or a guy) just has to wallow for a while.  Look for my Pity Party Planner, coming to  a blog near you soon!

Martha Stewart Goes Gluten-Free

31 Jan

It’s true, I have been compared to Martha.  So naturally I wondered what would Martha do if she were in my gluten-free shoes.  Also I am trying to get Enid out of her gluten-free funk. So I came up with some very creative, if I do say so myself, gluten-free decorating ideas. So pour yourself (Enid) a cupcake and get busy!

There are so many things you can use your favorite cake plate for besides cake!

Showcase your collectables

Think outside the canister. Try filling them up with your prescriptions instead of flour. note –if you’re like me you’ll need more than one!

Don’t let those pretty pictures from your favorite cookbooks go to waste-use them to line your drawers!

The Daily Bitch…Let Me Eat Cake

29 Jan

I know, I know, I told you I was going to drink my cake from now on, but I guess I didn’t think it all the way through. Drinking a cupcake is fine once in a while and if you don’t have to be any where or do anything. But these posts don’t write themselves.  I have deadlines, I have tastings and things.

some days I really just want to eat cake. Like today. I was craving something sweet and I like to bake so I decided to make a cake. I use the term “cake” loosely. Since I am no longer allowed the pleasure or simplicity of flour, this “cake” was made from hemp seeds, you heard me right, hemp seeds, and coconut flour, yes there is such a thing, and a variety of other interesting ingredients. It wasn’t bad, in small doses, if you’re a really big fan of coconut and you have a good imagination.

the real thing

My family wouldn’t go near it so I froze most of it. Then a few days later I was craving something sweet. The only sugary thing in the house that I could eat was the coconut cake. Cravings are bad enough but when you know you can’t have the actual thing you want, desire turns to desperation and this is how I found myself sitting on the couch watching Dr. Phil (is he really a doctor?) eating frozen coconut hemp seed cake. This is what my life has come to. Somehow this whole scenario would be easier to digest if I had been devouring a frozen Sara Lee cheesecake or raw cookie dough. I can’t even binge like a normal person. But hey, I’m going to have to learn to work with what’s in front of me. And right now it’s a half-eaten, very cold, coconut hemp seed cake, and an aging bald guy with a lot to say.

Today’s Treat: A good old-fashioned, naturally gluten-free macaroon.  All of the coconut and none of the heartbreak of hempseed. Get it where you can.

Let Me Drink Cake

28 Jan

Enid brings up an excellent point in her last post, Alcohol.  A lot of alcohol is gluten-free. And a lot of alcohol can help you care less about the fact that you are gluten-free.  Now if I were an alcoholic, I would be singing the praises of gluten right now and feeling very grateful that gluten is alcohol-free. But since that is not my situation I have decided to not have my cake but to drink it instead. So the next time you (Enid) find yourself craving a moist piece of chocolate cake, hot apple pie or creamy carrot cake (do people actually crave carrot cake?) try these yummy recipes instead. You’ll find yourself coming back for seconds and signing (literally) the praises of the gluten free lifestyle!

*Chocolate Cake = Godiva Chocolate Martini

1 oz. Godiva Liqueur

1 oz. Smirnoff Vodka

Rim a martini glass with something sweet. Put ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Pour into martini glass and visualize chocolate cake.

Cupcake = Cake Martini

Cake vodka

Betty Crocker vanilla frosting

Rim a martini glass in frosting. Add sprinkles if it makes you happy. Pour ice cold “Cake” into martini glass and try not to think too much about weird it is that you’re drinking a cupcake. 

 

*Carrot Cake = Carrot Cake Martini  

1/2 oz. Vodka

1 oz. Goldshlagger or cinnamon schnapps

2 oz. Bailey’s

2 oz. Butterscotch schnapps

a few splashes of cream

ice cream

Rim a martini glass in cream cheese icing and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Add all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Put some ice cream in a bowl and eat that instead.

*Apple Pie = Appletini

1 1/2 parts vanilla liquor

1 part Belvedere Vodka

2 parts apple cider

1 tsp cinnamon

squeeze of lime

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

Shake and bake!

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

*these recipes have not actually been tested by me or any one I know but they sound good, except for the carrot cake one.

The Daily Bitch…..The Good, the Bad and the Gluten-Free Spittoon

26 Jan

Enid and I have been meeting a lot lately to bitch about all things having to do with gluten. After our meetings we sometimes have a tasting of local gluten-free “treats”.

Our first tasting was quite successful; peanut butter cookies, and raspberry muffins from Heather’s Patisserie in Aptos. I had already been enjoying these goodies for several months. But I needed a gluten-free newbie to try them because I cannot trust my own judgment anymore. Once you’ve been eating non gluten substitutes for years your tastes buds change, your standards get lower, you become desperate. Much to my surprise and delight, Enid found them quite tasty. The cookies were crunchy on the edges and softer in the middle with a yummy peanut butter cookie flavor. The muffin tasted like a muffin and was almost the same consistency as one with gluten, our only suggestion-more berries.

Our next tasting was at a lovely little bakery on the west side of Santa Cruz. They had several gluten-free options, so naturally we had to try them all; the brownie, the buckwheat scone, the macaroon and the granola bar. We set each one out on a napkin in front of us, asked the very adorable bakery boy for a knife and cut them all in half. The difficulty in cutting them was our first clue. The crumbly texture our next clue. Sadly we knew before biting into them what we were getting into.

  • First the granola bar, not bad if you’re craving globs of granola and fruit stuck together and eaten without milk.
  • Next was the buckwheat scone. I can think of nothing to say that is not already evident by the name.
  • The macaroon should have been a shoe-in. Macaroons are naturally gluten-free and naturally delicious so I can think of no excuse for a bad one. Its best quality was its very small size.
  • The brownie was the most disappointing mainly because a friend had said they were delicious, and stupidly, as gluten-free people tend to do, we got our hopes up. And it looked promising. It looked like a real brownie. If you’ve ever had a brownie made with black beans than you will understand. It lacked chocolate or richness or any other discernible flavor.

Enid has a rule that I have adopted, the “take one bite and throw it away” rule. This is an especially good rule for people who do “tastings” on a regular basis. Much like the wine taster who swishes the wine around in his mouth and then chucks the rest in a spittoon. That’s what we need- a gluten-free spittoon- but with none in sight we carefully wrapped up all of our uneaten crumbs and chunks in napkins and discretely tossed them. Although Enid took the granola bar with her. I think she was going to use it in an art project.

I do want to say that this bakery was very sweet, the ambiance, the service, everything was lovely, except for everything we ordered. It’s hard for me to give a bad review.  I know I can’t really call myself a bitch if I’m not willing to go there. Still I just don’t think I can name names. I realize this makes the review both bad and unhelpful, but you get what you pay for. Also, I think I have given you enough clues to figure it out for yourself.

Today’s Treat: Always keep a really good chocolate  bar in your purse, you can nibble on it slowly throughout the day, or scarf it down all at once, who cares-it’s gluten free and it’s good! My current favorite  Green & Black’s milk chocolate with almonds .  www.greenandblacks.com

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