Tidbits & Questions for You: Food Allergies, Celiac, Health, Treats
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- My best friend is going for a job interview in California, where I fully expect they’ll offer her the job (and that’s not just me being supportive–she’s just pretty much got it in the bag); she leaves on Wednesday. (I’m not sniffling only because I’m not really *thinking* about it yet.) She’ll be staying in Sacramento and interviewing in Folsom. (Anyone else automatically think of Johnny Cash when Folsom comes up?) She has several foods allergies; the primary ones are to dairy, gluten, and eggs. Any restaurant or grocery store or gourmet shop suggestions for her? (Or any places you just lurve there, whether or not they are gluten-free?) Have any neighborhoods she might want to check out inside Sacramento when she’s considering where to live? (She’s an urban kind of girl, not a burbsy one.) If so, please leave any tips in the comments.
- My heart belongs to Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss–dairy-free, soy-free, cane-sugar-free, awesome awesome awesome ice cream. But they don’t yet have distribution where I live yet (though I can order it with overnight shipping now–ummm, you can count on me doing that about 10 minutes from now), whereas Purely Decadent is available in a variety of stores near me. And now Purely Decadent (the same peeps who bring you So Delicious soy ice cream) also has a coconut-milk-based, agave-sweetened, soy-free ice cream on the market. Did Purely Decadent copy Luna & Larry’s, or is this just an idea that’s time has arrived? I’m not sure. And if I have to pick one of these brands based on simplicity of ingredients (which usually means more whole foods) or organic content, I’m clearly going with Luna & Larry’s. But I’m in heaven over the availability of both. Also, Purely Decadent now has coconut-milk-based yogurt available, too—and that is incredible to me not so much for eating yogurt by itself, but for using it in sauces that call for that sweet, tangy kind of flavor. I haven’t tried it yet but fully intend to track some down for salad dressings and the like.
- Those of you who are vegetarian, vegan, lactose-intolerant, casein-intolerant, or dairy-allergic: I assume most of you know about Karina’s gluten-free, many-allergen-free, gorgeous, incredible blog, right? She has to have one of the most well-read of the allergy blogs, and with good reason. I love her writing and photos, and I have never made a recipe from her site and been disappointed by it–not once! But lately I made a recipe from her site where she has truly outdone herself. It’s her gluten-free, soy-free, vegan mac’n'cheese recipe. It’s incredible, and I say that as someone who has not yet found a reasonable substitute for most dairy. I adore this mac’n'cheese, which is way healthier than a dairy-heavy version could ever hope to be, yet which still manages to taste rich and creamy. The consistency cannot have sticky globules of cheese like many dairy-based mac & cheeses would–this is more like the consistency of alfredo (especially if you use hemp milk for its thick consistency), though the taste isn’t quite like alfredo. In any case, it’s damn tasty, and if you have a hankering for such things, you should try it. The recipe has utterly fired up my culinary, down-home meal imagination; above, you can see my first incarnation, in which I followed her recipe pretty closely. Below, you can see the second one (made less than a week later–that should tell you something): a Tex-Mex version with black beans, salsa, lime juice, and other goodies. In fact, I’ll write up my how-to for the Tex-Mex version once I come up with a couple of other versions to include. I’m already thinking stuffed shells, fall-veggie lasagna, enchilada casserole, tuna noodle casserole, broccoli rice bake. . . . That sauce is going to be awesome to play with.
- My ENT’s office (the office of the doctor who diagnosed me) has asked me if I will create, write, and edit a newsletter for them on a probably quarterly basis. This is pretty exciting news for me! Writing is one of the activities I love most, and the process of pulling together an entire product for publication is exciting. I’d love to have four or five projects like this one. The newsletter will cover allergy testing, easy recipes, sublingual immunotherapy allergy treatments, inhalant (environmental/seasonal) allergies, and other related issues. It will be distributed to their patients and to other doctors’ offices. Anyone have good newsletter title suggestions for me? I’m drawing a blank on potential titles, and I’d love to hear some ideas. Of course, you’re welcome to suggest what you would like to see in a newsletter from your allergist, as well–especially what you’d want to see in a first issue.
- I’ve realized something about myself lately: I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking of bad things that might happen or could have happened and how I will cope or would have coped with them. What if I’d just burned myself on the stove? What if I get fired from my job? What if my friend reacts badly when I tell her I can’t make it to her party? I don’t think of the negative things like that, in question form. Instead, I think of them as scenarios that play out in my head, and I imagine what I would have or would do. It can be healthy to consider situations that might arise, but I seem to take it to what feels like an extreme—and it’s always a negative. Moreover, when I think about the situations, my body inevitably gears up in some way as if the event were occurring, and that’s not good for me physically or emotionally. It’s sort-of like the whole-life version of the negative self thoughts I used to have before I learned to quell those with empathy for myself. (I’ve written posts about that before.) When I told my husband that I had realized I commonly had these little scenarios running through my mind, he expressed concern that I might be talking about having an impulse on an OCD level. I don’t think it’s that extreme, though, and I don’t think I’m probably alone in this. Nonetheless, I don’t think it’s healthy, so now, when I catch myself starting to do it, I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and tell myself, “All is well in this moment.” I can’t guarantee that all will be well at any given time, but I can guarantee that there’s no point upsetting myself with generally unlikely scenarios that haven’t even occurred! So far, my self-soothing technique appears to help me calm down; I’m hoping that will become second nature as my turning away from negative self-thoughts has become.
Tags: allergen-free recipes