The ups, downs, and runarounds of Celiac Disease and food sensitivities

Archive for the tag “paleo”

No grain no gain?

After a long-awaited appointment with a nutritionist, I’m just as confused as ever about what is required for adequate nutrition. I know that the paleo diet is a bit faddish, but I underestimated the necessity of grain in anyone’s diet, particularly for those who don’t eat beans and who consume very little dairy (AHEM). I do think that the American diet includes way too many grains (did you know that the daily recommended amount of grain is the equivalent of just 1 cup of cooked oatmeal?). They are up for discussion in the paleo community, with some people even eating white rice on a regular basis. Well, my nutritionist was shocked at how few carbs I’m getting these days, and strongly recommended consuming 1/4 cup of pure grain (i.e. not processed or in flour form) twice a day. Apparently the body can’t produce enough glucose aka brain fuel without carbs, so grain-free may not be the way to go. I was initially appalled at the suggestion I resume grain consumption, particularly given the frequent cross-contamination with wheat at any stage of production. I just had my first 1/4 cup of certified gluten-free grain in 2 months. (thanks, Bob!). I also purchased some quinoa that sounds pretty darn free of any gluten traces. The nutritionist also seemed concerned that I’m consuming too much protein and fat, so I’m measuring everything I eat, by which I mean EVERYTHING (even oil for saute). Despite my decision to stray from the paleo diet, I give it all the credit for getting me away from processed, packaged foods and sugar (that means no store-bought sauces, either!). If I can consume grains comfortably in the prescribed, minimal amount, this may be my only dalliance from the primary tenets of the paleo diet. P.S. Many paleos have reneged on giving up dairy and potatoes. Returning to the “balanced diet” concept? While keeping away from processed foods of course.


Everything from scratch

So! I am having some friends over to my place this Saturday, and, due to my variety of food issues (still following paleo & FODMAPs diets), I am preparing most of the food. What a great opportunity to try out a handful of new recipes (and annoy the shirt our of my neighbors with my noisy food processor…)! Here are some of recipes I’ve made so far:

Coconut squares

I replaced the honey with maple syrup (slightly less), and they came out really moist! A bit too sweet for me, but I’m trying to include close to the called-for amount as some who have eaten my paleo sweets say they aren’t sweet enough (I think I’m super-sensitive to sugar since I don’t eat much at all. Just check the labels of your sauces to see how much you are in fact consuming).

Spinach and avocado dip

My cheapo food processor wasn’t too pleased with the spinach at first, so I just kept pulsing, then scraping the contents up from the blades, and pulsing again. I used chives instead of garlic (a FODMAPs “avoid”), and it came out pretty tasty! Avocado is on some “caution” and “avoid” lists for FODMAPs, but it was only one to a large amount of spinach, and sometimes I just want to eat what I want to eat. And hope my digestive enzyme supplement kicks in.

Almond butter brownies

Again, subbed maple syrup for honey. The stickiness of the batter sort of clogged my cheap hand mixer, but everything mixed together nicely by hand. I added a little bit of crumbled Hershey’s unsweetened baking bar (delighted to find unsweetened chocolate at Martin’s!) instead of the chocolate chips (I love what Enjoy Life is trying to accomplish with their products free from the top 8 allergens produced in dedicated facilities, but their chocolate chips are loaded with sugar, and I can’t eat most of their products comfortably). Haven’t tried them, but they smell pretty darn good!

Sweet potato hummus

In the process of making this recipe, I rediscovered how good sweet potatoes are straight out of the oven! Maybe their delectable nature was accented by my severely reduced sugar intake (I’ve noticed that fruits & vegetables taste much more flavorful to me now). Good thing I made two, so I had enough for the dip! Again, I had to substitute for garlic, so I added some cumin and threw in some cinnamon on a whim. NOM!

Spicy pineapple sauce

I made this sauce to accompany shrimp. AGAIN, I modified a bit. I used red pepper flakes instead of the roasted peppers and a bit of paprika. I used a whole, fresh pineapple as canned fruit is on the FODMAPs “avoid” list. Wow, what a great mix of sweet and spicy! I think it will be great with un-breaded, chilled shrimp!

Paleo mayo

I used apple cider vinegar instead of white wine. I used 1/2 EVOO, 1/2 coconut oil. Mine did not get as thick as pictured, despite very slow drizzling of oil and vigorous whisking. It’s sitting in the fridge, so we’ll see if it stiffens up at all. It’s not a huge deal if it doesn’t, I’ll just use less. I made this specifically to use in a chicken salad recipe (I’ll sub cucumber and fresh dill for the dill pickles. Man, the ingredients in store-bought, canned pickles…).

UPDATE: the mayo did in fact firm up in the fridge, to the point of a solid state, but it mixed in fairly well with the other ingredients.

Well, those are the most exciting things I’ll be presenting to guests, as well as some deviled eggs (basically dry mustard and lactose-free yogurt mixed in with the yolks).

Yeah for home cooking!

UPDATE: I also made some crackers (can’t find the exact recipe link…) from walnut & almond meal (ground in my food processor), coconut oil, chives, coconut flour, and salt, blended then rolled thin between two sheets of parchment paper (with a wine bottle, no rolling pin in my kitchen) and baked for 15 minutes (cut into more-or-less squares 10 minutes in). Pretty tasty! And nice to know exactly what I’m eating! It will be interesting to see how everyone responds to the foods I’ve prepared; it’s been a while since I abandoned the “regular” versions of some of the foods, so I think my tolerance for substitutes is much higher- hope they like at least some of it! And if not, I will happily eat leftovers.

Almond milk & Spaghetti stand-in

So, almond milk is very easy to make. With just almonds. I’m still recovering from the weight of this knowledge. WHAT? Well you soak the almonds (about a cup) overnight, then throw them in the blender and pulse. And milky things start to happen:

Continue to pulse in the blender til the contents seem to have reached their milky max, then pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Carefully pick up the cheesecloth and squeeze the contents to release remaining milk. Pour the milk into a jar with lid and store for a few days in the fridge.

But that’s not all!

Spread the almond residue on a pan and bake at a low temperature until it’s dried out, and you have almond meal! You can leave it at this or process to get a finer flour.

I tried my hand at meatloaf, with a fairly simple recipe:

1lb of meat (I used Laura’s Lean Beef as it was on sale at Kroger), 1 egg, 1/2 c almond meal, whatever fresh or dried herbs suit (I used parsley, basil, thyme), and optional spices (paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper, etc.). Bake at 375 or 400 for about 30 minutes- I checked multiple times to see if the meat was cooked through, so not exactly sure on the time.

I had another first, with spaghetti (aka miracle) squash, so naturally meatloaf + shredded, noodle-like squash resulted in a modified spaghetti dinner:

I can’t do concentrated fruit or veg, so just added some sliced cherry tomatoes to stand in for sauce, plus olive oil. Pretty tasty!

Mrs. United States

While researching paleo and FODMAPs related foods, I stumbled across an interview with the current Mrs. United States. She has a recent diagnosis of Celiac Disease and describes the rounds of fruitless doctor’s appointments and 3-month-pregnant-looking belly weight gain from inflammation (me too!). She also talks about her switch to the paleo diet (I’m 3 weeks in, with a rare deviations). Unlike Shannon, I do bake (paleo friendly, of course!) and I don’t do CrossFit (I’m more of a gym and workout video sort, plus don’t have $$ for a CrossFit trainer), but I’m also not striving to be a beauty queen, just to get a PhD. I greatly appreciate her perspective on the frustrations of eating gluten free away from home as well as the ridiculously unhealthy nature of gluten-free packaged/processed goods. You can always read a synopsis of her story if the radio show is too long.

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