Friday, April 5, 2013

When Artists Cook: Great Food

Sometimes when artists cook they do exactly what they're told. Hi, it's Jenn from Just Add Water Silly and as I've mentioned here before, I have a gluten sensitivity. I've been working diligently to never ingest gluten in all it's insidious forms, lol. I thought that would have been enough but nope, I started to get sick again very slowly, starting about mid-year last year. At first it was really subtle, the weight loss that seemed to just happen magically after taking out the gluten slowed to a trickle. Ok, I thought, maybe I hit a plateau. I waited months, all the wight loss did was stop all together. Hmmm, frustrating. I'll just ramp up the exercise. No go. A little disconcerting but at least I was still feeling healthy.
Then a change happened as Fall came around. Not only did I start to slowly gain weight again but I started to not feel so well again. AGAIN. I'm thinking, what the heck am I doing wrong? I went through what I eat with a microscope. No gluten. I mean, there wasn't much chance of that anyway because most of the food I eat is what the gluten free industry calls "single item" foods. In other words, there can't be gluten in something if it is in it's original form, broccoli or eggs, as single item foods, no processing, has to be gluten free. But I did re-check the bread and crackers to make absolutely sure, along with the low fat mayo and salad dressings. No gluten to be found.
Christmas came around and I took a couple weeks off but getting right back on the "horse" by January 1st. Luckily I came across a new book called "The Plan" that explained what was probably happening with my weight and health. The same sensitivity that I have for gluten I almost certainly have for other foods! For instance, did you know that there is a 70% chance that if you're celiac or gluten sensitive, that you also have the same problem with oatmeal? Yes, oatmeal. Who knew?? 

Well, before going gluten free I didn't eat much oatmeal at all, only once in a while would we purchase oat nut bread or something with oatmeal in it. I didn't ever eat oatmeal for breakfast for instance. Until last year. Then I started eating one cup of steel cut oats a day for breakfast. Damn. Sabotaged for trying to be the healthiest I can be!!  So, now I'm following this "Plan" to find out just what I'm sensitive to. It's going to take me a few months to know what all I should stay away from and until then I'm eating a diet consisting of the least "reactive" foods. The great thing is just by repeating the first few "cleanse" days of "The Plan", I feel ever so much better.
The coolest thing is that I'll finally know how the other half lives, just how I'm supposed to feel when my body is healthy. Won't that be a treat? Yup. Better than hazelnut coffee and chocolate. Hehehe. (Oh, did you know?? Coffee and dark chocolate are probably not a reactive food for most people? YAY!) I don't strictly have a recipe for you this time, just a suggestion for great food. One of the suggestions the author makes is to combine multiple kinds of veggies that are cooked differently (or not cooked at all!). I'm all for creative salads, I'm an "ollie, ollie oxen free", everybody in the bowl kind of girl. It probably comes from the creative artist in me but I'd rather see a fridge full of goodies in a salad than just lettuce. The newest idea from this book is to have roasted veggies on hand all the time and add those to your salad too! Here's what I do...
1. Roast carrots, zucchini, broccoli, onions etc. after tossing in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. (store them in the fridge for up to 5 days)  

2. Get a mix of lettuces like arugula, spinach, romaine, baby greens etc.

3. Add crumbled goat cheese (if you can find cranberry goat cheese it's FABULOUS!)  

4. Add shredded beets & carrots. (we grate a big bowl then keep in the fridge for the week).  

5. Add mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, cranberries etc, get creative!

6. Add a scoop of cold roasted veggies (about 1/2 a cup per person)  

7. Add chickpeas or lentils (about a 1/2 cup per full salad)  

8. Add other veggies like corn, celery, baby peas etc then cut up a half a pear per person and throw that in too.  

9. Freshly grate pepper and sea salt into the bowl (generous on the pepper, light on the salt)  

10. Now, all you have to do is add some olive oil as the dressing!! 

I can't believe that no other dressing is needed, not even balsamic vinegar or mustard or garlic or anything. You can make an interesting oil based dressing but it's certainly not needed.  

That's it! It so totally tastes wonderful and if you want to, before adding the roasted veg you can warm them up a little, it adds even more flavour because of the warm/cool change in the mouth. Go forth and make salad! Yummy.

 P.S. You can even add some GF pasta or chicken to this and make it a full meal. :o)