Monday, May 28, 2012

For the birds

Okay, I've been slack in the cooking department. Or, chickenshit if you want to be a dick about it. 

I've been reserved to staying safe, and just grilling chicken, baking salmon, but NO MORE! Tonight, I'm going to cook a roast beef, like I used to do on Sundays. Once I perused the recipes of my weekend favorites, I realized that there are a few that I'll have to alter because of the gluten free thing, but there are a few that I can make without worry, because they're already gluten free! So it's time for some Herb Crusted Roast Beef, with roasted veggies! Yum!

This recipe is a longtime favorite of mine. Of all things, it's from a Weight Watchers book. I've never followed a Weight Watchers plan, because I don't like math and can already read a nutritional info label and know if it's bad for me or not, but it's a cookbook that got me started on cooking when I moved out on my own. It included a lot of spices and herbs, stuff that I hadn't really worked with before coming from a household that kept meals simple in the spice department. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I really wasn't exposed to spice and herbs other than table salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder and chives.  So having recipes that called for thyme, rosemary, fresh parsley and cilantro was a big stretch for me! This book inspired my passion for cooking, and it's easy to tell if you look at the book. The pages are falling out, they all are stained, and there are pen marks all over the recipes. To be honest, you can flip through any cookbook I own and figure out which are my favorite recipes. The only thing clean about my cooking is the ingredients list. I am a VERY MESSY COOK. Thank goodness for my OCD Commonlaw Spouseoid who follows me around and cleans up all of my spills.

Zombiegyrl: "Where the hell did I put that spoon?"
Commonlaw Spouseoid: "I cleaned it."
ZG: "Where is the basil!? I'm sure I just had it here!"
CS: "Oh, I put it away. "
ZG: "Have you seen that metal bowl?"
CS: "Uh, I put it back in the drawer."
CS: *reaches into the dishwasher, hands me knife*

Not an exaggeration. Not even slightly.

So anyways, I found a product called "Gluten Free Pantry", from the makers of Glutino. It's a French Bread mix of dry ingredients that you just have to add milk, honey, vinegar, salt, butter and eggs to, and then let rise and bake. Since I don't want to start stocking my cupboards with a bunch of random flours that I don't exactly know about yet, I figured this is a safe bet.
Bread that does not look like melba toast.

***** 3 hours later *****

That shit must be good, because Commonlaw Spouseoid keeps ripping pieces off of the baked loaf and eating it. And commenting, "Mmm... that's good bread." And it is. It's really good bread. It's supposed to be a french loaf or pizza crust, but it's like regular bread. Go figure.

Oh, note of mention. You know how I had previously posted that gluten free food seems like just grains smashed together? Well, here's proof. My finicky lovebird Sawyer only likes her own food. Like, her pellets and her seed mixes and millet. The only "human" food she will eat is apples, Cheerios, corn (only if it's on the cob), and oranges (sometimes). Every other fruit or veggie I put in her cage she defiantly throws onto the floor. And if you're all, "She's a bird, she probably just dropped it.", then you obviously have never spent a significant amount of time around a bird. They let you know loudly and clearly when they like something and when they don't. In fact, in her old cage, she had removable seed cups, and when I put something she didn't like in it, she would remove the seed cup from the bars of the cage, throw it on the bottom and shit on it. I'm not even close to kidding.

Anyways... where was I going with this.... oh yeah. Gluten free. So to test what she likes, I'll hold food up to her to see if she'll bite it. It becomes immediately evident that she digs it if she thinks about it, tastes it, and then takes it from me. If she's unimpressed (normal response), she'll shake her head at it, waddle away and yell at me. When I held the gluten free bread up to her this morning, she happily helped herself. Then later, I was having some gluten free rice crackers, and I held one up. She went apeshit trying to get it from me, stole a big piece, dragged it into her bowl and munched on it until it was gone.

IN CONCLUSION: I apparently have to eat like a bird. Seeds, fruit and veggies. I feel like I'm the goddamn Black Swan, pretty soon I'm gonna sprout wings, have my knees turn backwards and "BWACK!" myself all the way to the pond. Commonlaw Spouseoid said that if I bite him, he's leaving. Or that if I start acting like Natalie Portman, he'll lock me up and stop feeding me. So if I start claiming that I'm Queen Amidala, make out with chicks, and begin pirouetting around town.... it'll time to send this swan to the pond in the sky.

This has been a very random post...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Devil in Disguise

Welp, that seems to seal the deal.

I've been extremely serious about my lactose and gluten free weeks. Lactose was relatively easy, but I didn't see a huge difference. Gluten free however... I've read labels, I've bought new confusing products, made new recipes, and even left restaurants that could not assure me of any of their dishes being gluten free. It hasn't been easy. BUT on the flip side, I've had great conversations with people who have read my blahg, and have spouses, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, friends or they themselves who are Celiac, gluten intolerant or have Crohns. I've also discovered new restaurants that have gluten free menus and options, and have found products that I would have never tried otherwise. And I've felt GREAT. Better than great, I've felt normal! First time in ages. Even when Commonlaw Spouseoid tricked me by making my morning Matcha lattes with not just milk, but 2% milk (which I never drink, I always drink skim). To no effect whatsoever. No problems to speak of, except maybe a bit of distrust, because trickery is just rude. But I appreciate him wanting to find some answers, even if it would have sent me racing for the nearest John. (BTW, why the Hell is a toilet called a John anyways? Was the inventer's name John? And did he proclaim, "I want to name this thing you crap in after me!" but Sir Edmond Toilet already had the patent? Things to Google later... )

Last night Commonlaw Spouseoid and I went to one of our favorite eateries, who always had a few dishes that could be made gluten free. To our surprise, the menu had been changed, and now excluded most of the GF options. Only 2 dishes remained on the menu that specifically could be altered to suit GF. When we inquired about the nachos, and how they made them Gluten Free, the waitress had no idea what we were talking about. We chose to order them anyways, and see what transpired.
When they came to the table, the tortilla chips were not any different than the regular ones. Long story short, I don't even know if they were ordered gluten-free or not, because the waitress seemed baffled when we even brought up the term 'gluten'.

ANYHOO. Well, sweet mother of all things sacred. About an hour after consuming said nachos, I felt sick. I mean, punch-in-the-stomach sick. I then locked myself in the bathroom for the next hour. Pain, cramping, nausea, and all of the lovely other things that come with an intestinal evacuation.

SO. In conclusion, I believe I have discovered the secret to my chronic stomach problems. The doc had asked me to do a week on IBS medication eating normally, but to be honest, I don't want to eat normally. Now that I feel great, I really don't want to poke the bear within. It's like, "Hey, your foot pain could be caused by gout, OR could be because of this giant needle sticking out of it. We'll remove the needle, and next week we'll put the needle back in and feed you cranberry juice." But once they take the needle out, you feel good, and you're all, "Wow! This feels fucking fantastic!" And then they're all, "Okay, let's put that needle back in for a week" and you're all, "Touch me with that thing and I'll murder you in your sleep, bitch." Well, that's where I'm at. But the needle is wheat.

I'm still going to keep a close eye on my reactions to things. If I feel shitty a few times when I know something was GF, I'll try the IBS thing, but for now, methinks I have a very different road ahead of me. One day at a time!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Crazy Glue-ten

OH MY SWEET LORD!!! I can do 6 push-ups in one set!! (And then I get stuck and can't get back up, and I start giggling at myself, which doesn't help the whole 'up' part, and I collapse on the floor.) But really, WHEN did I write my post where I dedicated myself to doing a push-up? It was March 4th. In 2 1/2 months, 6 doesn't seem like much, but it's more than zero!! I credit the defenition I'm seeing in my arms, shoulders and chest on my efforts! I've certainly noticed a difference in my muscles, they're... you know... actually there!

Huh. Eating healthy and exercise... who knew?

On another note, today marks Week 2 of the Food Diary stuff. . Which is Gluten-Free Week.

So help me God, this shit's gonna kill me. I went to Superstore yesterday specifically to prepare for this whole gluten-free thing. And I found myself standing in the middle of the natural foods aisle going, "I... just don't even know where to START!" I decided bread was a good start, and chose some kind of sunflower flax rice bread and then loaded up on veggies and quinoa. I think I'll stick with what I already know is gluten free and go from there. Commonlaw Spouseoid started throwing a bunch of Gluten Free Protein bars in my cart.

Zombiegyrl: "WOAH WOAH WOAH! I don't even eat regular protein bars."
Commonlaw Spouseoid: "You're gonna need these though."
Zombiegyrl: "Why would I need that shit? That crap's for bodybuilders. Celiac bodybuilders who can't drink a protein shake."
Commonlaw Spouseid: "In a few days, you're going to get frustrated. On top of being frustrated, you're going to be hungry. And you KNOW how you get when you're hungry. I'm going to find you in the kitchen pouting and grumpy over celery and lettuce, complaining that it's the only thing you can eat because the doctor hates you."
Zombiegyrl: "... I want the coconut ones. "

So today I go to make a delicious chicken sammich like I normally would. It dawns on me.... I have no meat. Because deli meat is on the NO list. So, I pull a chicken breast out of the freezer throw in on my George Foreman grill.
I then pull my new bread out of the freezer (yes, it has no preservatives so it has to stay frozen.)
Guess which one is gluten free? Winner gets a puppy!
(Offer expires 10 minutes before you read this.)

Apparantly most GF's are munchkins, because that is basically melba-toast. I made a teeny little sammich that they serve with a traditional High Tea in London. Only there was no clotted cream and scones. Because they're NOT ON THE FUCKING LIST. I was wearing a hat though, so I see where the bread got confused.
Without going into detail, my melba-bread fell apart as I was eating the midget sammich, so I ended up basically picking chicken, pickles and lettuce off of my plate and eating it like that. And by the time I GOT to eat my sammich, it was time to go back to work because it took so long to Google "Does sriracha sauce have gluten in it?" (still don't know.)

After work, I went for a run because I was procrastinating making dinner. And now I'm blahging to procrastinate making dinner. BUT that salmon isn't going to make itself, I should probably get started. Google... you and I will likely be seeing a lot of each other this week.

Monday, May 14, 2012

No news is GOOD news?

Welp, remember when I had my awesome experience with my violating hospital test? Well... the results are in. 


Seriously. Everything is normal. I'm a LITTLE high for Celiac, but nothing to cause concern. I mean... that's great and all... but EVERYTHING IS NOT NORMAL. SOMETHING IS WRONG!
THEN she tells me, "This doesn't mean that you DON'T have a gluten allergy, or lactose intolerance. No tests can tell us that." .. ... ...  so basically I went through my day of violation for NOTHING. That's even better.

So, here's the new plan. Food Diary time. (You know, like I figured would happen.)
Week 1: Cut lactose completely out of my diet. Track results.
Week 2: Cut Gluten out of the diet. Track results
Week 3: Eat normally, but go on IBS medication. Track results.

I also need to get tested for parasites, because she found out I was in Mexico earlier this year. We stayed in a house so we shopped and made our own food, which could have been contaminated. If I find out there's some little Mexican parasite having a fiesta in my body, so help me God....

Well, I'm almost finished my Lactose Free Week. I haven't been able to 100% stick to it, because it's amazing how many things on menus are NOT labelled as having cheese added, but then come with cheese. Example: Grilled Chicken tacos... nowhere on the ingredient list does it say, "Cheese". But then, you get the tortilla, and it has been made with a covering of melted marble cheese on it! Frustrating! It's opened up my eyes to how much attention you have to pay to ingredients as well. But I've certainly been having at least 90% less lactose than I used to this week, and I must say, it HAS made a difference! Not a major difference, but I certainly feel better. Thankfully I like soy beverages, so it hasn't meant sacraficing a lot. But once you know you can't have something, you'd be surprised at how much you freakin' crave just a huge block of cheese.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Kale Chip Chronicles: Pt. II

Alright. A while ago, I had written a post reviewing kale chips and how I had purchased a bag of them prefab, and described how they tasted like ass.

I got a lot of feed back from that post. Cheers AND jeers. Some agreed, or said they were glad I had tried them, because they haven't had the guts to give them a go. However, the Kale chip fans (I'll refer to them from now as K-Fans) begged me to try them again. But this time, make them yourself, they pleaded. They gave me recipes. They gave me suggestions for flavoring. All the while raving and ranting about how good they are. Well, the K-Fans outweighed the Naysayers, and to give a completely accurate review to those who haven't tried them, I decided to give them another chance.

I followed the directions specifically. I even dressed them with 5 different flavorings, JUST IN CASE. I always have homemade garlic/lemon/spice infused Extra-Virgin Olive Oil on hand, so I sprayed them with that. I sprinkled some with garlic powder, some with chili flakes, some with chili powder... I even sprinkled some with salt & vinegar, and dill pickle popcorn flavoring. Popped them in the oven.

I watched them like a hawk. JUST to make sure that they didn't burn, but got crispy enough to be the consistancy of potato chips. I removed them at the exact right moment. They came out in golden perfection.

I had a bite.... Uh.... well, MUCH better than the cardboard that I ate previously. I had another one... hm. Uh... that's not TERRIBLE....

I fed one to Commonlaw Spouseoid. I cannot accurately describe his face, but this is a drawing of what it looked like.

I am no artist, but I think this accurately represents what I saw.
Then he so elequently gave his offical review, and this is quoted word for word.

Commonlaw Spouseoid's Official Kale Chip Review:
"This is what I imagine the underside of balls would taste like."

He is apparently not a K-Fan.
The more I munched, the more this disgusting aftertaste started creeping in.... and the more I wanted to avoid them.

My 2nd Official Kale Chip Review
So after their second chance.... Sorry K-Fans, I stand by my original review, however, it tastes less like cardboard than the pre-fab. I am still not a K-Fan, and will not be trying them again in the future.

Because they still taste like ass. Or, you know... the underside of balls.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Smart like dump truck

I like to think of myself as a reasonably intelligent young woman.
Until I do something incredibly stupid.

At a wedding this weekend, I thought, you know what? I don't know what's making my stomach Irish dance at random moments, so I'm going to just eat what I want, stop worrying about it, and enjoy a normal meal. I stayed away from the potatoes, creamy pasta salads, etc, and stuck with healthier salads, rice and roast beef. AND THEN CAME DESSERT. The dessert table was glorious. And enormous. I took a slice of some chocolaty-fudge-cream-caramel-oreo-orgasm-in-my-face cake, and savored every last bite.

Could've just skipped the dessert and went straight for this
I then spent the next 15 minutes in the ladies loo, missing the beginning of the toasts and speeches, because my Gastrointestinal Old Faithful decided to make an unscheduled geyser performance. Fantastic. Thankfully, after having a glass of water and a sit down, I felt fine the rest of the night.

So last night, I had to go to a buffet joint for dinner due to my grandmother's 80th birthday party. I bloody hate buffets as it is due to the incredibly minimal lack of healthy options (aka NONE), and of course, after the previous night's show-stopper, I was incredibly hesitant to put anything in my wordhole. My chosen food consisted of raw veggies and fruit. How ridiculous is that!?

My followup appointment is tomorrow. And if she says, "Your test results came back with nothing suspicious" or "inconclusive", I'm going to go Tazmanian Devil in the doc's office.