Taking the full measure of life

Tidbits & Questions for You: Food Allergies, Celiac, Health, Treats

August 11th, 2008 · 15 Comments

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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

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 gaile // Aug 11, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    congratulations! oh, that that mac and cheese looks awesome – I will try it now!

  • 2 Hannah Celeste // Aug 11, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    “Free At Last Quartly”

    (You know…gluten-free, dairy-free, etc)

  • 3 Hannah Celeste // Aug 11, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    err…quarterly. 🙂

  • 4 Hannah Celeste // Aug 11, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    I do the same sort of ‘worst case scenario’ dreading thing you do. Constantly. It definitely isn’t healthy but I know plenty of people do it…at least some of the time. It really is one of the hardest things in the world to just be present in the moment. It’s more something you just have to keep reminding yourself rather than something that is just going to happen but I think that maybe it gets a little easier after working on it a while.

    One thing I remind myself of when I start thinking frantically about things (playing scenarios in my head that haven’t happened or might happen, etc, etc…or regretting something) is that this is NOT a form of preparation. Fear and worry actually weaken your resolve and ability to cope with things and make things hit harder. I realized a while back that what I was doing when I worried and planned so much was that I thought I could ‘push back’ the future and somehow stop events from happening in a certain way–that by some magic my thinking about them could protect me. But in reality nothing can really do that. The most effective protection is knowing how to relax and self care (as it sounds like you have discovered to a large extent!).

    One final thing. Some of the best things that have happened to me have been because I didn’t let fear grip me–that I let something different happen, or broke out of my comfort zone of fretting. You should read this post (rather the comments to it) on Pioneer Woman’s blog. It’s REALLY eye opening:


    Excuse the long rant…this is a personal topic for me as you can see! After going to many counselors and practitioners and intuitives and taking medications (at one point) the main person I needed to consult was myself. Although I do admit the cognitive work with a counselor can be helpful.

    Best of luck with that! (sorry about commenting too much in a row)

  • 5 Andrew is getting fit // Aug 11, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    I used to worry about bad things but for some reason not so much anymore.

  • 6 FatMom // Aug 11, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Hi! I LIVE in Sacramento, so I can share some tips for your friend… GROCERIES: Trader Joes and Whole Foods. Also, the chain here of Raley’s/Bel Air has a decent natural foods section that has all gluten free products VERY clearly marked. She may also want to check into a couple of small natural food shops (Elliott’s and Sunshine Natural Foods).
    As far as neighborhoods, most of Folsom is quite nice, as is Gold River, which is technically in Rancho Cordova…which by and large ISN’T nice, but Gold River is… parts of Fair Oaks and Carmichael are nice, but Carmichael largely puts her kind of far away from freeways. “Old Fair Oaks” is very quaint…complete with “wild” chickens running around the village. Stay away from anything south of Highway 50, and don’t go up farther than Folsom, due to very poor air quality…not that the air is good down here, but it tends to get “stuck” when you get higher than Folsom. Granite Bay is nice…expensive, but nice. Everything out there is “burbsy.” She can go to downtown/midtown, but she’s looking at about a half hour-40 minute commute depending on when she’s going into work. IF she doesn’t mind, then there’s a lot of cool places to live downtown. Unfortunately I can’t speak to a lot of them. For restaurants…I love the ethnic spots, such as Tapa the World/Kasbah, tons of Asian places, you name it! Decent food here if you know where to look. Is she working for Intel? Best wishes to her!

  • 7 Terri // Aug 11, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    I do the same worst-case scenario thing. I was just telling someone yesterday that my eyes keep getting really dry at work, and when they are dry and I’m walking around the store, I keep…expecting? fearing? to stumble and stab my eye with one of the metal display shelves. It is a terrible, terrible thing, what with my eye phobia issues anyway. I do it about all sorts of things. It is wretched. Hopefully we can both learn to appreciate the good things instead of fearing the bad.

  • 8 Cheryl // Aug 12, 2008 at 3:30 am

    thanks for the tip on the purely decadent ice cream! If you haven’t already, you might want to look at Louise Hay’s books or Sark’s books on how your thoughts affect your life and, more importantly, how to change them.
    btw, I did a tidbits roundup yesterday toohttp://www.gfgoodness.com/2008/08/10/menu-un-plan/

  • 9 Becky // Aug 12, 2008 at 5:37 am

    That mac&cheese recipe does sound really good. I’m thinking it would be a delicious side dish for Christmas, or the Tex Mex version would be good for one of the other meals. You’ll have plenty of time to perfect it considering we still have four and a half months to go 🙂

    I have the same tendencies towards negative day dreaming. I think preparing ourselves for the worst case scenario comes from our upbringing with that “always be prepared for anything” mentality being ever present. What I find amusing in my quest to end these irrational fears is to remind myself that none of my extreme scenarios have ever happened. Ever.

  • 10 Becky // Aug 12, 2008 at 5:39 am

    Oh, and I just noticed that your comment clock is set to Pacific. I’m laughing at the idea of being up at 5:30 am looking at your blog. I do love you so….but not that much =P

  • 11 K Renee // Aug 12, 2008 at 7:26 am

    I also do the “bad senario thing.” Especially when I’m alone. I imagine things like people breaking into my house, car wrecks, bad things happening to my dogs. I can sometimes get obsessive with things like that, and I think it may have to do with “perfectionism”. These bad things that “could” happen would be out of our control. This is unacceptable for a perfectionist. So thinking about these negative things ends up hurting the perfectionist’s self-esteem–which causes them to focus even more on making things perfect.

    I don’t know. I could be totally off base. Just a thought.

    The newsletter sounds great! The first “title” that came to my mind was something like “Living Free”.

  • 12 Kay // Aug 12, 2008 at 7:44 am

    Hi Sally,

    I’ve had bouts of “worst scenario” thinking. A friend gave me The Secret on discs. I listened to it about ten time through at first. I listen to it again if I need an attitude adjustment. Another friend downloaded it into her iPod and listens to it when she goes for her daily power walk. She has music on her iPod, too. She sets it on random, so bits of advice are mixed in with her favorite songs.

    I got some great counsel on problem-solving from a very positive work mate. She told me every problem looks clearer if you take yourself out of the equation. Try to be a voyeur observing, instead of a main character. It’s eariser to make objective decisions when you remove you emotions.

    I’ve had about ten bites of ice cream this year. I reacted to every one. Ice cream was my biggest food vice, pre-allergies. So I’m going to search for these brands right away! Thanks!

  • 13 Erin // Aug 12, 2008 at 11:26 am

    3 Things:

    I do the scenario thing too, even going as far as getting angry or tense over things that haven’t even happened. I’ve gotten good at stopping and saying outloud to myself,”This is not even real, nothing to be upset about here.”
    The mac n cheese looks lovely and even though I am not a person with allergies I think I will try and make it myself.
    Congratulations on the newsletter! Could you maybe title it with the title of your blog? Just a thought.

  • 14 Karina // Aug 12, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Sally! How glad am I that you love this cheesy uncheese as much as I do? And I’m doubly glad that you are already thinking up improvs for it. A Tex-Mex version sounds so delicious. Thank you for the lovely shout-out.

    As for the worrying thoughts, I find it helps to cultivate an awareness of the present moment- whatever is right in front of you. We tend to spend so much time in our heads, spinning inside our habitual wheels that it’s easy to see how we can fall into this type of thinking. To do something physical helps- like stamp your feet or jump or clap- I always think of that scene in Moonstruck- where Cher slaps Nick Cage and yells, Snap out of it! It usually makes me laugh to think of it- and brings me back.

  • 15 Still Life in Buenos Aires // Sep 21, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Hi Sally,

    Do you often find yourself forgetting to breathe when you go over these scenarios in your head? This is my bad practice. When I do this, I know that my mind is working over some bad mojo on its own. I automatically try to pinpoint that mojo and breathe deeply, concentrating on healthy breathing and taking deep breaths instead.

    I love Kay’s suggestion to be a voyeur of our own experiences rather than assigning them personal values!

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