Archive for the ‘How to go gluten free’ Category

I got these potates for nothing, and I didn’t even had a coupon.

I found a potato plant growing out of my compost pile from an old one I’d tossed last fall and got a free side dish, just for not throwing my scraps into the landfill!

I’ve always looked at the coupons in our Sunday paper and not been able to use much. I didn’t use most of it even before we had to be gluten and dairy free, and now, I really can’t use much of it. I might get a coupon for razors or recycled paper products of make-up. Though I’m trying to switch to vegan Zsu Zsu Luxe. I barely wear it anyway, so it takes me a loooong time to run out.

But I’ve flipped back and forth between the “Extreme Couponing” show a few times. Maybe I’ve seen three episodes or something.

I had the natural first reaction. Shock and amazement and wondering how to implement the same tactics.

But that was mingled with the reaction of what the carts were full of. Vitamin Water (a total scam, and decidedly unhealthy), lotions, shampoos and shaving gels full of chemicals that cause me headaches that I wouldn’t put on my kids anyway, candy’s we’d never eat due to artificials or dairy, cake mixes we wouldn’t have eaten even when we ate gluten, and other boxed stuff.

I sat staring, wondering if people realized they are trading their health for free junk?

What do Americans value their health so little? I swear, please keep reading, I’m not being judgemental. I mean this truly. Why, why, do we rush to get something for free because it is a food, tritely responsible for our energy, our mood, how healthy we glow (I’m vain. That’s why I’m healthy, folks. Aside from wanting my kids to not get tummy aches), and our longevity.

Free stuff, sure, we all love it. But at what cost? This junk isn’t free or cheap, even though it seems that way. It costs you your life. Either you spend the money on fresh food, or you spend it treating your heart disease, acne, ADD, arthritis and type 2 diabetes. This isn’t judgement. This is the fact that this is what Americans are suffering from.

Why suffer just because it’s free?

All that being said, clearly the show focuses on the wow-factor. I seriously doubt that these filmed grocery trips are the typical ones for most people. They go for a huge “haul” for the show. Not everyone that coupons is a hoarder with basements full of products so that they never run out.

And I learned some cool tricks watching it. Now I know to save the few coupons I can use for when those items are also on sale. I can print a 7th generation scent free laundry detergent coupon off the week it is on sale, and save more, than buying it once with a coupon and once when it is on sale.

The other thing that bothers me is how the extreme couponers buy the smallest size when they can because than the get it item free, instead of the dollar off the larger size. That is the worst thing you can do for the environment.

So this is my brand of getting stuff discounted.

Plant stuff. Eat it.

Go to the Farmer’s Market, get to know the farmers, or call around to farms, and get them to give you deals on the bruised and imperfect veggies. We got several free things last Saturday because the farmer knows us and gave them to us, because they were bruised.

This is what we got, for $19:


My guess at supermarket prices:
Personal size watermelon: $4
Canteloupe: $3-4
Baby tomatos: $3
Larger tomatos at a few pounds: 2 x $3 = $6
Eggplants, 2 lbs: $4
Dozen eggs, with two thrown in for free (watch Food Lion do that!): $2
Couple pounds of peaches: $4 at least
Total about $27. Add to that, the fact that these were ALL raised organically, that price goes up to at least between $30 to $40.

To me, it’s a bargain I can feel good about, for the health of my family, the local economy, and the health of the earth.

To me, extreme couponing (and I do mean extreme. I know lots of my friends coupon reasonably! haha) is the actual opposite of the fresh, farm raised, local food movement. The couple on the show that bought two months of frozen meals so that they didn’t have to grocery shop for that long and could go on vacation– that *can’t* be the norm. It’s just so horribly unhealthy! Alright, sorry for my prudish, food-snobbishness. I just hope that people that look into couponing because of these shows don’t see this as an ideal to live up to.

It’s not a good goal to achieve. Paying all kinds of money for electronics, cars, clothes and houses, while treating our bodies as an after thought.

And what gets me too is that people act like it takes so much time to make every meal from scratch, and to use not a single box, save something like pasta that takes skill to make at home. Yet, these moms are spending 60 hours a week printing, cutting and dumpster diving.

They could can their own tomato sauce, jams, and make freezer meals in that time. They could be organzing for affordable food from local farmer’s in that time. It’s actually a misconception that making real food at home takes more time.

I know because I’ve been there. Before the kid’s food intolerances, I loved eating out because I didn’t want to spend the time cooking and cleaning. Now that I know *how* to cook healthily, I spend less time making good food than I did sitting in a restaurant waiting for reheated crap passed off as fresh food.

We spend a decent bit of our budget on our food. Food sustains us. It’s the one thing that affects our body more than anything else. We need to it survive. We are happy to spend the money on something important.
The saying goes, either you spend the time at the doctor or you spend it in the kitchen. Apparently, either you spend it couponing or in the kitchen. But you will spend the time.

Nothing in life is truly free.


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The best way to eat chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is out of the container, sorting through cream and chips and eating the cookie dough pieces until they are gone. I try to eat a bite or two of plain ice cream in between, and eat it all evenly.
But I can’t help myself. I just have to eat the cookie dough.

This rule applies no matter what kind of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream you are eating. Classic, conventional cow dairy ice cream with wheat/gluten based cookie dough, OR the wonderful, fabulous coconut milk ice cream with gluten-free cookie dough.

Both are great, both have to be eaten this way, in my opinion.

But a question remains for me. How would I have felt about the coconut milk cookie dough ice cream before I was gluten and dairy free? Would it have still be as good, or is it only after not having for a year that I enjoy it so much?
In this particular case, with this ice cream, I’m pretty sure its darn good even if you eat dairy.

But that question can be an important one for someone comtemplating going gluten-free. Before we went gluten-free, I still tended to enjoy exploring different types of food and health-nutty type trends. But I was always annoyed when people tried to pass off a replacement as the exact thing as the original. It just amplifies the feeling that you are eating something less, not the “real thing”.

A dear naturopath friend of ours always did this, and I see it as a turn off. She told a mutual friend that tofu was like “cheese”. Uh… well, it is formed in similar ways in a sense, but we all know it ain’t nothing like cheese. The right seasonings and it could taste similar, but it doesn’t melt and it isn’t stretchy. Replacing an Indian dish like Mattar Paneer is the only instance I can think of that it is simiar to cheese in texture and usage. So of course, this mutual friend was very skeptical of everything else she said.

Once she told me that mashed avocado was just like butter on bread, only green. I disliked avocados and guacomole for years after that. Now I love them. But my view of them had been tainted by someone telling me they were supposed to taste like butter on bread. Maybe it’s like when you take a drink of your water glass and accidently pick up someone’s tea or coffee. It tastes terrible because you were expecting water and your brain was ready to process that. At least, that happens to me.

There may be an element of this at play when people try gluten-free replacements. On the one hand, I love advocating for how you can enjoy your food and life just as well gluten free as not, and on the other, I think you should talk about it honestly.

So people go gluten-free one of two ways: Relying on the replacements made with rice or corn or sorghum or teff flour to fulfilled those gluteny, carby cravings OR focusing on naturally gluten-free foods and letting their taste buds ‘forget’ for a few months, and the indulging in replacements. This same principal applies to dairy, by the way. I feel that alot of the food I have made is good in its own right, like cashew cream, often used in place of sour cream. But I’ve never told anyone “oh it’s JUST LIKE sour cream. You’ll love it!!” I think I just say it’s a dip made out of cashews.

All this being said, I was one of those that really relied on replacements. I bought tons of gluten-free breads and cookies and mixes in the beginning and that helped me transition to being happy focusing on vegetables, fruits and meats and little grains.

But I’ve known of other people, or read others’ posts in gluten-free forums, that hate the replacements and are so disappointed by replacements that it’s discouraging. We are all attached to things in different ways. I needed the habit of having toast with butter and jam (my true loves, the bread could have gluten or not!) for breakfast in the beginning. Others really want that bread to be what they expect, so they do better making a fruit smoothie or eating a baked sweet potato.

If you want to go straight to replacements, brands in the gluten free world make a huge difference. Udi’s is supposed to be the most like wheat bread. Sami’s Bakery out of Tampa Florida (health food stores carry them but they do mail order too) makes some awesome lavash bread and bagels and such too. Sami’s is a bit more wholesome in it’s ingredients, but unfortunately made in a wheat bakery. That matters to some, but not to others.

At the end of the day, I think we make awesome gluten-free goodies. I don’t know how others would feel about all of them that eat wheat. I see it like this though… when it comes to the sweets, cakes and cookies, fat and sugar make the cake. No one has ever really complained about a sugary gluten free cake I’ve made, and I don’t think that’s just because people are being polite.

But when it comes to things that rely on a bready texture, like bread or crossaints, hmm, those are harder to imitate. Still I’ve had some pretty satisfying stuff.

Just a little food for thought.

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