Tag Archives: food

How to benefit from a gluten free diet and still eat bread

A dear friend recently commented on a picture of my sourdough routine and said “I miss bread.” I felt exactly the same way after half a year of being gluten free. I went without bread or breaded things, or things made with wheat for months.  My body loved it and I felt a massive difference. I was clear headed, skinnier, more energy, more motivation, less munchies. It was only when going without them, I realized how often I ate things like scones, muffins, pizza, and breaded deep fried shit. By resolving to eliminate bread out of my diet, I eliminated a lot of garbage that was ultimately responsible for making me feel ill/sad/lazy too.  After reading a bit and looking into the nutrition side, I found out that the villain is not necessarily gluten or bread itself, but the real culprit is actually the industrial version of white flour  and fast acting yeasts that are in lots of processed/prepared foods. It’s a new hybrid frankenstein variety that’s used because it returns higher profits and can withstand huge loads of herbicide and pesticide chemicals sprayed on them. Chemicals that stay on/in the plant and get refined through the whole process, making it into our bodies after all. It’s sprayed on the wheat right before harvest! It’s true that even small amounts of ingested RoundUp causes major health problems, some of which the scope is not yet known. Unfermented, this flour converts to sugar right away causing our glycemic index to bounce out of whack and begins a negative chain reaction in our brains. Heroin, white flour, sugar, cocaine, corn starch, all ultra-refined white powders that used to be a plant at some point, and all cause the exact same effect on the human brain: havoc and mayhem.

So, that’s cheap “enriched” all purpose every-day modern flour, germ on or off (whole wheat/white).

Good news, though! There is such a thing as flour milled from ancient grains that haven’t been sprayed with inflammatory-cancer-causing chemicals (ie. organic) and when paired with fermentation to convert away the glycemic-spiking sugars, you can actually make a pretty healthy bread. I found out you can even get sprouted organic ancient grains now, majorly boosting the level of flavour and healthiness. This is the key, though. Unless you know the baker and trust their commitments to organic and safe fermentation, AND have a steady supply every week, you’ll basically have to make it yourself. It is surprisingly cheap, actually damn-near free. My dear friend Amanda who owns a cafe shared some of her sourdough culture with me, and I hope to keep it alive forever. There are breads made from cultures that are hundreds of years old!  Maybe my offspring will bake their bread using this same starter from The Vault.

Anyway, I am still choosing not to eat items made with cheap flour. In my mind, if I return bread to the category of sacred magic and ferment/bake it myself, I can still keep feeling good and being healthy while still also enjoying bread. Since making 2 loaves of sourdough every week requires care and dedication, this means I will have no choice but to cherish each slice with deep appreciation and a sense of connectivity to my precious food.

If anyone wants to see details or amounts of ingredients, HMU

Nanaimo’s Farmers Market

There is a diversity of food products available every Wednesday at the Bowen Road Farmers’ Market 4 til 6:30pm behind Beban Pool on the VIEX grounds. 

Voting with each dollar we spend is electing for more sustainable food practices, and in this case, more flavourful meals. All of the vendors are local, so you can feel good about enacting positive social change within your community.

Here is a photo of the map I made a couple weeks ago
marketmapjuly29

From the bottom left…

Continue reading Nanaimo’s Farmers Market

Grateful abundance

In this part of the world, we move through various seasons of change, and every year at this time, we’re showered in food. Literally.  I narrowly escaped an onslaught of pears falling all around me from the arching heavens.

For example, this picture was taken yesterday:

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A huge bag of apples filling the sink, tri-coloured potatoes, onions, shallots, tomatoes, green beans, blackberries, and figs.

All of this food was incidentally gathered or harvested for free.  Not pictured are the other dozens of figs, bags of pears, and bunches of seedless concord grapes which I literally followed my nose to collecting from a vine that stretched over a public sidewalk . We did not need to buy groceries at all this week.

I dwell on thoughts of “why me? And why not them?” referring to my planetary brothers and sisters who are starving. Near, far, wherever. It’s completely unnecessary.  It always makes me think about Buckminster Fuller and his famously rational point  that the technology exists now where everyone can just have everything they ever need or want. We just need to take the power back to do it.

I think about this as I drink my carrot/apple/ginger juice, and spread goat cheese on a fresh fig.  Pairing boozy over ripe blackberries with hunks of smelly parmesan. Popping tiny concord grapes into my mouth rivaling the flavour of every grape freezie I’ve ever had. Everyone should have this. It’s a crime that my privilege has taken me to this place of literally having too much food to eat. Circumstance, or incarnation, or privilege or whatever the cause.   Yesterday, hauling 4 dozen figs away from my friends backyard, I felt rich.  Like I had a loaded bank account, and nothing could stop me. I feel the same way whenever I collect kale seeds.

I receive these blessings and emit in return a positive radiation sent to those who aren’t afforded such wealth.  I hope they feel it.

I started this post initially to brag about all the delicious stuff I get to consume and share and prepare for my family. In a way I have done that still, but I cannot quiet my heart when it hollers out “RICH WHITE GIRL. Don’t even think of adding to the interwebz barrage of unvalidated bragging without acknowledging from whence it came.”

Now that I’ve got it off my chest, I suppose…

This week: growlers of apple juice, berries (on, in, with) everything, tomatoes in the freezer, and bags of basil for pesto-making.  Oh, and grapes. Grapes grapes grapes grapes. The kind of grapes that flavouring tries to taste like, but to no comparable avail.

Abundance

A few times in the past couple days I have been giddy with the abundance  that surrounds me.

It’s the time of year where I live that many wonderful things to eat spontaneously appear…all for free. Sugary nectar figs drip off tree branches, blackberries literally spilling over every fence, too many plums and apples to know what to do with.

I’ve been making kale chips that are so addictive that Pat and I pretty much ate them as fast as I could turn them out of the oven. All it takes is a trip into the backyard and I can fill a huge bowl of kale to shake up with oil and salt.  AS MUCH AS I COULD POSSIBLY EVER WANT.

This concept reminds me of my fortune and the feeling that resonates within me as my hand moves over thousands of plump delicious sugar-bombs is unbound gratitude.

Tomorrow is market day which means the farmers bounty arrives neatly for our selection. The diversity of flavours is marveling.

In our yard, the main crop this year will be tomatoes. I’ve planted about 12 plants this year from seed started in my guest-bedroom and every one of them is thriving! I see the tidy bunches of green nutrient-capsules and cannot guess at how many pounds I will be able to work with.

This food

Freeze the berries

Stew the apples for canning

Grate the zucchini and portion for freezing

Pit the cherries and drown them in brandy

Dry those figs that have somehow been saved from our gaping maws

I love this time of year. It’s not often we have not only everything we need, but then some.

 

Cooking and the Joy

A couple weekends ago, we saddled up 3 families and drove across the big island to Tofino for a surfing getaway retreat weekend at a chalet we often rent. With plans to create some delicious meals, Jamie was sure to bring his copy of the iconic book The Joy of Cooking (the chicken chasseur was devine, by the way). One night, I picked it up and became absolutely fascinated by the seemingly endless well of food knowledge.

No other cookbook I’ve known about is as encyclopedic or comprehensive about food as Joy.  The recipes are written in a fluid easy to understand way, unlike the common format of listing ingredients then listing instructional steps. I’ve learned so much about cooking in general, because whenever I open the book (and most often its not even to follow a recipe), there are paragraphs explaining a bit about each little method, custom, history, trick, or variation of a given dish or type of food.  It’s been revised 8 times since it’s original 1931 release. Upon returning home, I immediately set out to find my own copy, and ended up with the 6th edition (1975) found at the literacy center downtown Nanaimo for an unexpected 25% discount. Another reason I friggin love it, is because it’s so big that when you open it, it stays flopped open to your page when placed on a surface.

It seems that my affinity for cooking has taken really long to develop, but after watching the following video, I realize it’s not just me who’s been misled.

Trending on Facebook now with the heading “After watching this, you’ll never eat McDonald’s french fries again!”, this video of Michael Pollan’s short form talk does a great job at summarizing a pretty substantial concept: cooking and our relationship with food is important to understand. I first heard of Pollan’s work when he was a guest on Democracy Now! talking about the book he wrote while actually learning how to cook. It’s called Cooked: a natural history of transformation and it’s on my list of most wanted books (along with the latest edition of Joy, hint hint). Brilliantly, it’s made up of 4 parts: Fire, Water, Air, Earth – describing his own new understandings of cooking with each of these elements.

Fire: creatures of the flame
Water: a recipe in seven steps
Air: the education of an amateur baker
Earth: fermentation’s cold fire

Here is a video review of Cooked