A Plain Cooking Journal

Old-Fashioned From Scratch Cookin'

Going Back to Gluten (Almost) Free…

When I started Paleo, the pounds didn’t start melting off until I started doing IF. Unfortunately, that weight loss trend eventually wore off and I started gaining weight despite a significant calorie deficit and a pretty strict low carb diet ( <50g per day). So I decided to hell with it and reintroduce all the things I’d been avoiding. Things haven’t been great, but I’ve definitely been feeling a lot better.

That being said, after reintroducing gluten back into my diet, the problems I’d experienced on Paleo have now been replaced by new problems! Yay fun! It seems like small amounts don’t really bother me, but now that it’s more a part of my diet I feel really bloated all the time and my skin has been breaking out pretty badly. I’ve decided to go (mostly) gluten free and moderate carb to see if that improves things.

I found this wonderful resource for some basic gluten free recipes! They even have a yeast sandwich bread that got pretty good reviews. I’m also excited to try the Brazilian cheese buns and their pasta recipe.

King Arthur Flour “Flourish” Blog Gluten Free Recipes

And I picked up a cookbook for my Kindle on Amazon.com (I love America’s Test Kitchen, they do such good work). They go into really good detail and compare brands. This book doesn’t just have recipes, it has techniques and advice!

The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook: Revolutionary Techniques. Groundbreaking Recipes

Many sources agree, the best GF all purpose flour is made from brown rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch. I am using Bob’s Redmill for now until my order from To Your Health arrives for some lovely sprouted brown rice flour. They also carry other gluten free flours I’m looking forward to trying. You can get smaller 2 lb quantities through Amazon.com.

To Your Health Sprouted Brown Rice Flour, 5lbs

This stuff will be slightly grainier than the stabilized brown rice flour from KAF and the more finely ground stuff found elsewhere. I’m ok with that, I’m used to whole wheat and I’d rather have sprouted grain. Also I’m not quite sure what “stabilized” means and what they’ve done to it to get it to that state. I really don’t mind storing mine in the fridge :)

These sources also recommend Xanthan Gum as a stabilizer. I don’t know how I would react to Xanthan Gum, I’ve had issues in the past with coconut milk that contained added stabilizers that didn’t agree with me. Now I’m going strong on my probiotic supplement and my stomach is less sensitive than it used to be when I was on Paleo. That being said, Chris Kresser has a great article talking about if Xanthan Gum is safe or not… his verdict is that it IS but it might cause some intestinal distress for some folks. Maybe it depends on how it’s made? I’m trying out Bob’s Redmill.

Chris Kresser - Harmful or Harmless: Xanthan Gum

All that being said, I realize now that I have “carb sensitivity” and that while a long term low carb diet is not ideal for me, I should consider a moderate carb diet and continue to watch my intake. Once things have settled down a bit I’ll be making an appointment with a Naturopath to get some tests run and determine what the issue is. I am concerned I might have some mild hypothyroidism (probably from being so low carb for so long). I’m also concerned I may be pre-diabetic or have some symptoms of diabetes (it runs in my family).

I was particularly inspired to seek out medical help from this blog entry! The reason I haven’t before is because I wasn’t sure what kind of doctor I should seek out or what I should be asking about. This really helped to give me some direction. 

When Paleo Doesn’t Cut It: My $1500 Lab Test Results

So all that being said, I’m not really interested in being on a “diet” but I would like to find a way of eating that is reasonable and that works for my body. I’m not going totally gluten free because I don’t think my issues are that severe, but it’s clear that excessive gluten is playing a role in my body chemistry. Hopefully I’ll be able to figure it out and lose all the weight I’ve managed to gain back.

View my latest photo on Flickr: http://flic.kr/u/XKF7b/aHsjTVv24GBreakfast - Berkshire bacon, egg from Handsome Brook Farm, and homemade sprouted white wheat sandwich bread (with lots of tasty butter from Vermont Creamery)

View my latest photo on Flickr: http://flic.kr/u/XKF7b/aHsjTVv24G

Breakfast - Berkshire bacon, egg from Handsome Brook Farm, and homemade sprouted white wheat sandwich bread (with lots of tasty butter from Vermont Creamery)

Transitioning Your Body After Paleo

For the past month I’ve been reintroducing grains and beans back into my diet after nearly 3 years on Paleo. I scoured the internet looking for advice but I wasn’t able to find much. My digestive system seems to have finally adjusted so I’m sharing my experience and offerening some tips.

First off, if you’re like me, you got on the Paleo bus just as it was becoming a big fad. I followed the Primal Blueprint and because I wasn’t a super athlete and seeking to lose weight, I followed Mark Sisson’s instructions and stayed low-low carb until I got to my ideal weight (which I never did). I didn’t exclude dairy but I wasn’t eating much in the way of starch or fiber beyond what I got from vegetables. The argument was we don’t need fiber, fat works just as well. Now of course, the Paleo gurus are admitting the importance of starch and fiber especially for intestinal health. As a result of blindly following their initial advice, my gastric micro-flora and fauna changed for the worse. I stopped being able to digest things I’d never had a problem with before — tomatoes in particular. I started eating coconut flour bread to bulk up but found I couldn’t eat more than 2 small slices per day without getting backed up. I’ve never had problems with constipation in my life.

Fast forward to present day, suddenly eating a bowl of oatmeal is causing me a lot of gastric pain and pressure. I’m vacillating between diahrrea and constipation, I’m clearly not digesting my food, and boy am I gassy. Well, I’m happy to say after a week of following a few simple things, my body is finally (mostly) back to normal.

  1. Take a Probiotic. I recommend Prescript Assist, that’s the one I’ve been taking and it’s amazing. I am currently doing 1 capsule first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. You can do up to 2 depending on your body’s reaction. I’m doing great with 1 a day so I see no need to change it up. Once I’m through my current bottle of 60 pills, I’ll start doing 1 every other day, eventually working down to 2 capsules a week.
  2. Drink LOTS of water. On Paleo I didn’t need as much water because I didn’t eat as much fiber. Your body needs *lots* of water to process fiber. Shoot for 2 litres per day. Also watch the caffeine, alcohol, and anything that can potentially dehydrate you. Make sure you drink a full glass of water with meals that you eat grains or beans with.
  3. Watch the amount. I made the mistake of pigging out too soon and boy did I regret it. I say listen to your body. Eat slowly. When you start feeling like you’ve had enough, stop. If you’re not sure, eat a small amount, then go do something else for like 10 minutes, then come back and eat a little more.
  4. Chew Your FOOD! When I started seeing whole undigested grains passing through me, I realized not only is there something up with my digestive system, but I probably need to be helping it a long. Now I eat slowly and carefully and make sure I chew up those grains as best as I can before my digestive system has to deal with them.
  5. Move after eating. Go for a walk, do the dishes, whatever, just don’t sit down immediately after a fiber heavy meal.
  6. Drink Kombucha, eat yogurt. Even though you’re taking a probiotic, you still need to eat foods that contain them. At one point, I was drinking 32 oz of kombucha per day and just eating yogurt and cooked fruit and vegetables.
  7. Back off when your body doesn’t respond well. Per the last item above, I was experiencing horrible gastric pain, I was hungry but eating hurt. I ate several very small meals per day of cooked fruit with yogurt or cooked vegetables with starchy tubers I knew my body could easily digest. At one point, I had chinese takeout for dinner - fried rice and deep fried cheese wontons. It didn’t upset my stomach and I felt fine the next day. Not even kidding. I thought it was nuts but I figured I trust my body and that’s what it wants.
  8. Take a Magnesium supplement. I’m not entirely sure what role this plays in the human digestive system, but given how vital it is, I suspect Magnesium deficiency contributed to my health problems and possibly to my digestive problems. On its own, it did little to help, in fact taking too much can cause diahrrea. I’m just outlining the things I did to get my body back on track. I use Trace Minerals Mega-Mag. It tastes disgusting so I put it in a few Tablespoons of fruit juice. I take it first thing in the morning (with my probiotic) and right before I go to bed. Currently I take 2 mL in the morning and 1 mL at night.

And that’s pretty much it. Obviously you’ll have to adjust this for yourself and of course consult a doctor if things don’t improve.

Pain de Mie (aka French Sammich Bread) with 50/50 sprouted spelt and AP flour on Flickr.Just got a fancy Pain de Mie pan for making sandwich bread. I like whole grain and Florian likes white so I made a 50/50 loaf. 
I modified this recipe from King Arthur Flour - www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/a-smaller-pain-de-mie-recipe
Modifications were, I used 2&#160;T of butter and 2&#160;T of home rendered lard, and for the liquid I used 1 cup of warm scalded whole non-homogenized milk and omitted the dry milk. I also used 200 grams of AP flour and 200 grams of sprouted spelt flour instead of 390 grams of AP flour. I ended up having to add a little more spelt flour because the dough was too sticky, so next time I&#8217;ll use just 1&#160;T butter, 1&#160;T lard, and 3/4 c of warm scalded milk.

Pain de Mie (aka French Sammich Bread) with 50/50 sprouted spelt and AP flour on Flickr.

Just got a fancy Pain de Mie pan for making sandwich bread. I like whole grain and Florian likes white so I made a 50/50 loaf.

I modified this recipe from King Arthur Flour - www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/a-smaller-pain-de-mie-recipe

Modifications were, I used 2 T of butter and 2 T of home rendered lard, and for the liquid I used 1 cup of warm scalded whole non-homogenized milk and omitted the dry milk. I also used 200 grams of AP flour and 200 grams of sprouted spelt flour instead of 390 grams of AP flour. I ended up having to add a little more spelt flour because the dough was too sticky, so next time I’ll use just 1 T butter, 1 T lard, and 3/4 c of warm scalded milk.

This week’s Farmers’ Market haul @nycgreenmarkets on Flickr.
Via Flickr: Clockwise from top left: Whole Non-homogenized Milk from Grazin’ Angus Farms, Jerusalem Artichokes (aka Sunchokes) from W. Rogowski Farm, Mutsu Apples and Frozen Corn from Fishkill Farms, Whole Duck from Hudson Valley, Butternut Squash and Kennebec Potatoes from Fishkill Farms, Kale and Carrots from Jersey Farm, Eggs from Fishkill Farms, Parsnips and Parsley from W. Rogowski Farm, Beef Chuck Roast and Beef Suet from Grazin’ Angus

This week’s Farmers’ Market haul @nycgreenmarkets on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Clockwise from top left: Whole Non-homogenized Milk from Grazin’ Angus Farms, Jerusalem Artichokes (aka Sunchokes) from W. Rogowski Farm, Mutsu Apples and Frozen Corn from Fishkill Farms, Whole Duck from Hudson Valley, Butternut Squash and Kennebec Potatoes from Fishkill Farms, Kale and Carrots from Jersey Farm, Eggs from Fishkill Farms, Parsnips and Parsley from W. Rogowski Farm, Beef Chuck Roast and Beef Suet from Grazin’ Angus

Split pea soup in the pot on Flickr.One of my favorite (and economical) winter soups is Split Pea. I bought a giant ham hock from Grazin’ Angus at the Carrol Gardens Greenmarket which turned out to be the perfect size for a whole (16 oz) bag of split peas.
I love cooking with bones. To get the most out of that ham hock, I simmered it for about 2 days in 1 quart of water and a tablespoon of cider vinegar. Once that was done I was ready to make some soup!
Start with a mire-poix of choice (I go for the traditional celery, carrot, onion combo). Saute in your fat of choice (lard is nice here, so is bacon grease). Add the peas, some salt and papper, and a little garlic powder. Finally, add the ham bone and stock. Simmer until the peas are nice and mushy.
Serve yourself up a bowl and enjoy!

Split pea soup in the pot on Flickr.

One of my favorite (and economical) winter soups is Split Pea. I bought a giant ham hock from Grazin’ Angus at the Carrol Gardens Greenmarket which turned out to be the perfect size for a whole (16 oz) bag of split peas.

I love cooking with bones. To get the most out of that ham hock, I simmered it for about 2 days in 1 quart of water and a tablespoon of cider vinegar. Once that was done I was ready to make some soup!

Start with a mire-poix of choice (I go for the traditional celery, carrot, onion combo). Saute in your fat of choice (lard is nice here, so is bacon grease). Add the peas, some salt and papper, and a little garlic powder. Finally, add the ham bone and stock. Simmer until the peas are nice and mushy.

Serve yourself up a bowl and enjoy!

Rustic Lunch on Flickr.This is actually from last week&#8230; Via Flickr:
Homemade sourdough spelt with pasture butter, McClure&#8217;s garlic pickles, and Consider Bardwell Farm&#8217;s Ruper cheese (raw milk gruyere style). Vegetable soup from homemade chicken stock with creme fraiche.

Rustic Lunch on Flickr.

This is actually from last week…

Via Flickr:
Homemade sourdough spelt with pasture butter, McClure’s garlic pickles, and Consider Bardwell Farm’s Ruper cheese (raw milk gruyere style). Vegetable soup from homemade chicken stock with creme fraiche.

DIY Worcestire Sauce on Flickr.Via Flickr:
Mix together some tamarind paste, fish sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, and cider vinegar. Bottle and store in a cabinet to ripen.

DIY Worcestire Sauce on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Mix together some tamarind paste, fish sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, and cider vinegar. Bottle and store in a cabinet to ripen.

This week&#8217;s Greenmarket Haul - from Carroll Gardens Greenmarket #grownyc on Flickr.I didn&#8217;t buy as much meat this week because I still have a smoked ham hock (for split pea soup) and leftover pork roast from last week&#8217;s haul&#8230; and a few other meaty things in the freezer that need to be eaten. However I was ecstatic Grazin&#8217; Angus finally had more leaf lard. They promised me beef suet next week *fingers crossed*.Via Flickr:
Clockwise from upper left: non-homogenized whole milk and heavy cream from Grazin Angus, Kale, cabbage, bosc pears, and frozen peaches from Fishkill Farms, red onions, Jerusalem artichokes, turnips, parsnips, carrots, spring onions, sweet potatoes from W. Rogowski Farm, Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms from Madura Farms and leaf lard and pork chops from Grazin Angus

This week’s Greenmarket Haul - from Carroll Gardens Greenmarket #grownyc on Flickr.

I didn’t buy as much meat this week because I still have a smoked ham hock (for split pea soup) and leftover pork roast from last week’s haul… and a few other meaty things in the freezer that need to be eaten. However I was ecstatic Grazin’ Angus finally had more leaf lard. They promised me beef suet next week *fingers crossed*.

Via Flickr:
Clockwise from upper left: non-homogenized whole milk and heavy cream from Grazin Angus, Kale, cabbage, bosc pears, and frozen peaches from Fishkill Farms, red onions, Jerusalem artichokes, turnips, parsnips, carrots, spring onions, sweet potatoes from W. Rogowski Farm, Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms from Madura Farms and leaf lard and pork chops from Grazin Angus

Chicken Fricassee - soup hen in the pot! on Flickr.I picked up a stewing hen from Fishkill Farms this weekend at the Carroll Gardens Greenmarket. They are so hard to come by! I am stewing it to make Chicken Fricassee (with shiitake mushrooms, also from the Greenmarket). More pics to come!

Chicken Fricassee - soup hen in the pot! on Flickr.

I picked up a stewing hen from Fishkill Farms this weekend at the Carroll Gardens Greenmarket. They are so hard to come by! I am stewing it to make Chicken Fricassee (with shiitake mushrooms, also from the Greenmarket). More pics to come!