Why gluten free for me?

Since my doctor's plan for me is to reduce/remove white food items to reduce my triglycerides (they dropped 117 pts in 1 month on this diet), you may wonder why I post links & recipes that are gluten free.  Well, since I'm already cutting out white flour, I might as well cut out wheat flour and see how I feel.  I rarely eat bread now anyway.  So, the difference is in how I bake other things that are normally made with wheat. Wheat is an item that was on my list of allergies as a child.  I don't know whether I was highly allergic to it or not, as there were many things on the list.  A process of elimination was used and food items were slowly added back into my diet.  I assumed I'd grown out of many of these allergy items, but likely my tolerance has increased and decreased during my lifetime.  My general feeling of wellness is much better on this diet.  That makes complete sense. In addition to specific health benefits for me, eliminating white stuff removes most processed things from my diet, meaning no HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), preservatives, nitrites, food coloring, substitute sugars, etc.  They're all poisons and toxins. It also forces me to eat more fruit and vegetables because I have to eat something!  How could I not feel better?!!  I do want to say that usually people who have cholesterol problems eliminate some of the good basics like lean meat, eggs & cheese.  Animal products.  I thought that too, until my doctor asked me to try the "no white" diet.  The results were amazing!!  I eat, and even rely on, the protein that comes from lean meat, eggs and cheese.  Afterall, we do need to eat a balanced diet.  I must say this, that it is important to do what your doctor asks.  People have different health issues.  The other components of cholesterol (HDL, LDL, and total cholesterol) are not my main problem.  They are related, and the numbers do reflect the spikes of high triglycerides, but the target for me is to reduce my tri's!  My doctor said that HDL and LDL are like slow moving waves.  Triglycerides spike and drop quickly.  That's why my blood test right after winter break showed that my tri's were up again.  Ha, ha... too many holiday sweets for me!  Not as high as last spring, prior to starting this diet, but high enough for me to get really serious again about my diet.  This is an interesting process!  I'm learning a lot about how much cheating I can get away with!  Not much!  :-\  I'm learning about the glycemic (sugar) index and how it affects our body.  I must say that I am thankful that this is my health issue.  It can be a hassle, but I know it could be SO much worse!  Besides, it makes me eat healthier and educate about and feed my family healthier foods.  Though we've always primarily ate at home, made home lunches, and generally avoided fast food, we're fine-tuning it and that's a plus.  They don't always think so, but I don't make them eat like I do.  

The other component to this change in lifestyle, is more exercise.  We all know that exercise helps our bodies in many ways, including cholesterol.  There's something about knowing you HAVE to do something (or go on drugs - which I choose not to), that motivates you to put those tennis shoes on and work at it!!  I hate to run, but I'm back at it.  My ability to easily do other forms of exercise (zumba classes, for example) changed and I needed a good cardio exercise I could do at home.  So, I run!  In fact, I'm involved in a running group, and am signing up for my first 5k in April!  Some of my kids are planning on it too!  YAY!  I'm excited!  Setting this goal has helped me with my running!

Thanks for reading!  I urge you all to exercise more, eat healthier and eat less fast food (including store-bought "fast" food).  Let's get those toxins & poisons out and feel better! :)

The yummiest GF brownies!!

Last fall, I was at my son's regional band competition.  At the snack table there was a plate of Gluten Free Brownies, so I bought one for $.50 to try it!  YUM!  I was amazed how good they were, so I asked for the recipe.  Here it is, and included is a basic baking mix.

Gluten Free Buttermilk Baking Mix
2 C fine white rice flour (or Bean Flour Blend or brown rice flour (which I used))
2/3 C tapioca flour
1 tbsp sugar (or add 1 tbsp to brown sugar)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp Xanthan
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 C powdered buttermilk
Mix and store in airtight conainer.  Makes approx. 3 cups.

Delicious GF Brownies!
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 (12 oz.) sticks butter
2 C sugar (brown for lower glycemic)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 C buttermilk baking mix
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine butter and cocoa squares.  Microwave on high for 2 min.  (I used the stove on a very low setting until they were both melted.)  Mix until chocolate and butter are melted. Mix in sugar and add the vanilla and eggs. Finally add the baking mix and stir well. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350o for 25 minutes. Enjoy!!


I just HAVE to share with you this new recipe!  It has quite a story, so here goes!

A few months ago, I rolled my van!  It was an experience that I never want to repeat, and hope that I don't.  What happened was tragic to me right at the moment it happened, more than any reason (though there was nothing good about it), because I was on my way to a very nice weekend away with my family that we all had been looking forward to.  I had my dogs in my packed van, was going to pick up my middle school daughter, drop the dogs at our kennel, and meet up with my college age daughter (who attends college 6 hrs. away) and my husband and 2 sons (who were hunting in the mountains) in a city in central WA.  Wenatchee is half-way between us and our daughter, and our guys were nearby there.  Us girls were planning on going to Leavenworth, a Bavarian village in the mountains, to window-shop while the guys hunted.  Anyway, the dogs were worked up as it had been awhile since they had gone riding.  One dog kept jumping into the front seat where she is not supposed to be!  I was very upset with her, and had already made her to go to the back once.  She was trying to jump to the front again, when I put out my hand to stop her.  At that point, the road has a slight curve to the left, and I got my right wheel off the wet pavement (no shoulder), and there was 6 in. between the pavement and a ditch there (confirmed later).  I remember being angry and yanking on the steering wheel to pull it back on the road, but couldn't do so and I rolled it into the ditch and ended up being upside down and watched the shattered windshield fall like a curtain!  Right away the van filled with smoke, which I didn't realize was from the airbags.  That got me moving to the back and out the side door quickly to get us out.  I was going about 45 mi./hr. and didn't have a front-end impact, so it seemed a bit like a "gentle" roll, if that were possible!  My seat belt and airbags protected me, and I only had bruises from the airbags and steering wheel on my arms.  I did get a 1 in. cut on the head, which gave them concern and therefore required a trip to the hospital. I was shook up (the dogs too, which seemed uninjured) but thought I was ok.  Then the task of figuring out, in my state of shock, what to do about the dogs and my daughter waiting for me at school.  The cop ended up taking my dogs to the kennel for me, and my friend Donna went to pick up my daughter. 

So, here's where the recipe comes in!  My friend took my daughter to her home, where she had several people there helping with grape harvest and processing grape juice.  Then she went to find my van and see what she could do to help.  She gathered up as much stuff as she could (horrified to see my laptop case on the road as she pulled up!) and took it back to her place.  She also saw a hatchet laying behind the passenger seat, which really upset her!  We didn't realize we had not removed our hatchet from camping from the back compartment of the van.  It didn't stay there.  It flew!  YIKES!  Zip-tie stuff to the seat frames, friends!!  Everything goes airborne in a roll-over!  In the jumble of upturned grocery bags, etc., there was a freshly-washed bag of apples.  The zip-loc bag had held (good advertising!) and they were still inside.  James L., one of those helping at her house, took my daughter under his wing and they made "Car Crash Apple Cake," otherwise known as "Raw Apple Cake."  This has become a joke around here... because it's kind of like making lemon bars out of lemons!  Something sweet came of a truly bitter experience.  As it was much better than it could have been, we decided we will accept it.  It was a bad experience, yes, but I lived through it, our guys lived through the crazy ride out of the mountains to get to the hospital (not knowing how bad the head injury was), and I was really not injured very badly.  My boss said "...you must have had an angel watching over you!"  I feel that way too!  I appreciate everyone who helped us that day!  It renewed my belief in true friendship!!

So, this cake is truly fabulous!  The night of my accident, after my sweet substitute mom, Ruth, drove me home from the hospital (no room in the truck) and kindly washed my hair for me, my friend Donna brought over some of that Car Crash Apple Cake!  After a hit on the head, I wasn't sure if it was just my imagination or the thought that I was alive that made the cake sweet, but I confirmed it when I made it later that it was truly awesome!  I made it with white flour and white sugar the first time... just to be sure I could end up with a good product, but tonight I made it with brown sugar and spelt flour!!!  Wow... it worked!  I saw online that you can substitute spelt for white flour in a reduced amount (3/4 C spelt is the equivalent to 1 C flour).  It was sooo tasty and I felt much better eating it, just knowing that I was following my diet!! 

Raw Apple Cake

(from James L. 2010)

4 C raw apple, cut into chunks
2 C sugar  (can substitute brown sugar)
½ C cooking oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 C nuts, chopped
2 tsp vanilla
2 C flour  (can substitute 1 1/2 C spelt flour)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ground cloves (opt.)
1 tsp salt

In one bowl, place apples in and mix with the sugar. Add oil and stir thoroughly. Stir into this the nuts, beaten eggs and vanilla. In a second bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Blend dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, alternating while stirring. Use either an ungreased 9x13” baking dish or a spring form pan with a center tube (parchment paper helps). Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cake will pull away from the sides near the finish time. Use a toothpick to check for doneness. Enjoy! YUMMY!

Here's some info. about spelt:  http://nutrition.about.com/od/grainsandcereals/p/spelt.htm

My wish for you is that the best thing that happened to you last year is the worst thing that happens to you this year!  HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011!!!