Gluten free, casein free, lactose free pizza!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Daiya does it again. We had pizzas for dinner—real, scrumptious pizza. It was divine. The husband brought home some Kinnickinick pizza crusts and a huge bag of Daiya cheese. The crusts were okay- I found them a little soggy and sweet. I don't think pizza crust should be sugary. However, on the whole, this was a TOTAL treat. It had been forever since I'd had pizza!
For every success I have, there have been dozens of culinary "failures". Stuff like this, however, really does keep me going. :)
Wishing you many successes in your own kitchens.


Vegan cheese: drippy, sloppy, gooey, melted and soy free!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

No, it's not an oxymoron. Bust out the old griddle, pizza or lasagna pan, because cheese is back, baby! Daiya deliciously dairy free vegan cheese is free from all of the following allergens: Soy, Dairy (Casein or Lactose) Gluten, Egg, Wheat, Barley, Whey, and Nuts. I'm not going to say that it is overly high in nutrient value (I'd call it nurtrient-neutral) but as a treat, it is WELL worth it.

When you buy Daiya, it comes in a huge bag for about $50 in my neck of the woods. My local health food store also portions it out and sells it in small containers for $4 or so. It was great to be able to have a taste without the commitment of a full bag, but there will be no more hesitation here! I'll be getting a bag again soon, and apparently you can freeze it in portions to use so that it doesn't go bad, so that's also helpful.

I kept hearing about this "miracle" product on the various blogs I read, so I had to try it. This is my first grilled cheese in over 6 months, and it was delicious! Do you see the stretchy "cheese" dripping out of the sandwich? Divine!
Have YOU tried Daiya!? Do you know of any comparable alternatives? Please share!


Vegan, gluten free banana muffins

Friday, July 16, 2010

I have a love-hate relationship with muffins. I love to eat them, but I am crushed when I waste expensive ingredients and fail at making them. So I'd like to present- ta daaaaa- banana muffins!!! I had a whole bunch of bananas that were on their way out so I busted out an old recipe (funny how I used to cook and eat) and changed it up. Here's what you'll need:

Dropsie's gluten free, vegan banana muffins
2 TB shredded flax seeds or flax meal
5 TB water
3 large, squishy, overripe bananas
1/4 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour mix (mine was brown rice, white rice and potato starch)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda (GF, aluminum free)
1/4 tsp salt

Combine flax and water in a blender and as Jamie Oliver says, "give it a waz". Let it rip for a minute or two then add in oil, bananas then coconut sugar. Set it to mix and then in a big bowl, combine the flour, xanthan, baking soda and salt. Pour the blender mix into the bowl and whisk.

Pour into lined or greased muffin tins, and bake for 17-20 minutes on 350. My oven is a gas convection range and it took me 17 minutes. 

This is the flour mix that I used:
YUM! Enjoy. :)

School lunches and sugar- from a Canadian's perspective

Saturday, July 10, 2010

There is much going on these days to combat the problem of school lunches in the US and Britain. From Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, that got so much attention, to some lesser-known but still important cogs in that big wheel, it really has me as a Canadian, scratching my head a bit.

For my American visitors, let me give you a bit of a primer from my perspective as a Canadian living in Ontario. There is no such thing as "school lunches" here (to my knowledge). The state does not get involved in feeding our kids lunch at school. Every child is to be sent to school with his or her own lunch and snacks. I suppose from the perspective of a parent who earns little income, knowing that your child will be fed lunch every day must be an enormous weight off your shoulders. We are fortunate enough to be able to financially manage a lunch for the boy, so I can't imagine the stress of not knowing how you could make that happen as a parent. Unfortunately though, it's a "free" lunch at what cost? is a blog about a woman ("Mrs. Q")who is eating the food served to the children in the school where she works for a full year. It's quite a commitment, considering there's no way I (or probably most of the parents of said children) would ever want to eat what the school system serves up to its youth. For parents like me who work super hard at making their children's food nutritious and keeping chemicals and sugar to a bare minimum, looking at that as my only option would be very scary.

In this particular post, called "Sugar and school lunch" written by a guest blogger called Christa O'Brien on Mrs. Q's blog, there is some rather shocking and disturbing information about how big lobby groups can have a major impact on what your child is eating. This is just a small and hideously frightening portion of the post and of the true story...

"...Table sugar as we know it comes from sugar cane and sugar beets. The domestic supply of refined sugar is about 50-50 cane and beets. About 10% of the entire domestic sugar supply comes from the state of Florida alone. In 1934 the US government was eager to shore up agriculture prices as a result of the depression. They created the country's first U.S. Sugar policy. This policy is still in place today. The policy sets a price floor for sugar that is grown and sold domestically. Currently the floor price is about three times higher than the world market price. The policy also sets limits on imported sugar by country of origin. Many sugar cane and sugar beet farms in the US are controlled directly by the refiners and so high prices are a huge profit booster for these companies. The price floor encourages overproduction which is of course detrimental for the soil but also world agriculture prices. So much extra sugar depresses world prices and sugar producers in other countries struggle to break even after the excess US sugar is dumped abroad.

'But', you ask, 'if sugar is so expensive in this country, Then wouldn't that make sugary foods like candy and soda more expensive thus regulating supply and demand?' Yes, in fact it did for a number of years (and still does for many various industries that rely on crystallized sugar). Now enter high-fructose corn syrup.

The way the government regulates prices on sugar is altogether different than how it regulates other commodities like corn and soybeans and cotton. With corn for example, the government subsidizes farmers directly. This also encourages overproduction, but because no price floor is set, the more corn there is the lower the price. This situation makes corn very plentiful and very inexpensive. The government has been subsidizing farmers directly since the New Deal Era, but as a result of the recession of the mid-1970s food prices soared and so did subsidies. The government did this specifically to lower the price of food. And boy did it work. Americans currently spend less than 10% of their annual income on food. That is less than virtually all industrialized nations.

In relation to the sugar issue, there was a lot of cheap corn lying around that needed to be consumed. The problem was that regular old corn syrup isn't a good sugar substitute because it doesn't taste as sweet as table sugar to the human tongue. But in 1957 scientists further refined regular corn syrup (almost entirely glucose) and broke the syrup down into essentially liquid fructose. The original corn syrup was then mixed with the liquid fructose and boom, high-fructose corn syrup. HFCS was amazing because it was easily transportable and worked perfectly in all wet applications like soda and batter based baked goods.

Now, every strong commodity needs a good lobby in Washington, right? In 1943 the Sugar Association was formed, as they say on their website, to promote "…[the] educating [of] health professionals, media, governmental officials and the public about sugar's goodness". They happen to be a very strong lobby. Some recent activities of the Sugar Association: in 2003 the WHO was set to unveil a new set of dietary guidelines. One of the recommendations was that not more than 10% of a person's daily caloric intake should come from sugar. The Sugar lobby was furious. They contacted WHO directly saying that they had a report from the Institute of Medicine stating that it was perfectly safe to have sugar comprise 25% of a person's daily calories. Furthermore, the Sugar lobby contacted then US Health Secretary Tommy Thompson. They recommended to Thompson that all further US funding of WHO be dependent upon WHO's agreement that they base their recommendations on science. And through these actions, WHO was pressured into silence on the sugar matter. They changed the wording on their recommendations about sugar to reference a numbers of time per day that sugar could be eaten but no amounts are mentioned. Even Harvey Fineberg, the then president at the IOM who oversaw the study the Sugar Association was referencing, contacted US Health Secretary Tommy Thompson to say that his institute's report was being misinterpreted.

This omission of sugar in the national food conversation is directly related to School Lunch. The Sugar Association has successfully lobbied the USDA to remove any mention of added sugars in their food pyramid and other nutritional literature. I was surprised to see this as truth when I went to Remember when you were in grade school learning about the food pyramid and there was a tiny triangle at the top that said 'use added fats, oils and sweets sparingly'? That tiny sliver is no longer there. Today's food pyramid talks only about fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and meat. But with so many foods like 'drinkable fruit' that likely has added sugar, a lot of pertinent information is getting lost in the shuffle. Even the new Child Nutrition Act that is now working its way through the halls of Washington mentions no regulation of sugar.

Mrs. Q has talked a lot about funny grains popping into a meal, like an extra piece of bread here or a cookie there. Schools are required to adhere to the food pyramid serving requirements when planning school lunches. But with sugar being virtually removed from the governmental dialogue on food suddenly a school could technically view a cookie in the same way they would a serving of rice. Any normal thinking person would see there is a problem in the way the national guidelines are being executed. "
Those big businesses are in place because people buy their products. You are not powerless—you have a voice. Every time you shop, you vote. If people don't buy the garbage products, the food companies will have to find a healthier solution. It is the people who dictate what sells, so if enough people speak out, things will change. Shop...and vote...for change.

Feelin' alright

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Funny thing happened recently. A very nice friend of mine gave me a beautiful pair of jeans that no longer fit her (her "fat clothes"- ha!). I had my doubts that even her fat clothes would fit me but she insisted I try them. Turns out they are probably still a size too small. I can zip them up, but honestly wouldn't be seen in public wearing them. A small part of me thought "if only I could fit into these- what a shame because they're so beautiful, and I'll never buy a 300$ pair of jeans- in this lifetime anyway" but you know what? A bigger part of me said "it's really too bad they don't fit, and although the old me may have endeavoured to make myself smaller so that I could wear them, the new me will set them aside, give them back or pass them on because they just don't fit, and I'm okay with that."

Imagine. If I had told this to my old self, I would have been stunned at this realization. Seriously. There have been years where I just haven't been happy with the way I look, but in the last year, I really have made peace with my size, my shape and what I look like. Could I be more active and more fit? Definitely. Do I have a burning desire to be smaller? Nope. *pause for effect*....Still nope.

I am blessed to be in this place. I hope for all of you that you find it too. :)

The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I have a blogroll of folks I try to scan fairly regularly. I just found these folks today and really am loving this blog. Everything whole foods, everything gluten free. :)


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