Tag Archives: Gluten-Free

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Notice to Readers: Taking a Hiatus

Photo by Roger Winstead

 

Dear readers:

Have you ever felt so off kilter that you had to put your foot on the brake to stop the world from spinning so fast? I’m in the middle of just this kind of experience, making a conscious effort to SLOW down and unwind from my habitual hectic pace.

As I begin my period of unwinding, I want to check in with loyal fans and new readers to explain why I won’t be generating new content for Sacred & Delicious for the next… let’s say several months. I feel that I need to take a hiatus.

My mother died recently, and the years leading up to her death were challenging for me, as well as for her. Mom had profound dementia along with numerous other health conditions that demanded medical attention and required my support for more than a decade.

Of course, my situation is commonplace. Millions of others around the globe help loved ones as they age.

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QUICK VEGAN MEALS: Introducing Mung Pasta

Whenever you need to make a quick vegan meal, pasta with vegetables is a good choice—and even better if you use a pasta that’s high in protein content. Today’s new recipe, Gluten-Free Pasta with Broccoli and Vegan Cream Sauce, features mung pasta so I can introduce readers to this healthy gluten-free option. Of course, if you don’t have mung pasta on hand, you can also use red lentil, chickpea, or your pasta of choice.

I know that mung pasta does not make for the prettiest photo, but as my readers know by now, Ayurveda is all about ease of digestion, and pasta made from mung bean flour fits the Ayurvedic way.

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Five Holiday Self-Care Tips for People with Special Dietary Needs

As someone who is gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian, have you ever been invited to a festive occasion where the table was laden with food—yet you went home hungry because there was nothing you could eat?

I have!

With this in mind, I am now giving you permission to speak up about your special dietary needs—something that can be especially challenging to do during the holidays.

This is the opposite of the “good manners” I learned from my mother, who bade me always to eat whatever was put before me. Despite my traditional upbringing, I’ve come to understand that those of us who have made dietary choices for reasons of health or ethics should not have to wait for our host to intuit or inquire about our needs. We received an invitation to dinner because our good company was being sought and, since we are clearly loved, we should feel free to speak up!

Here are some practical tips to help you avoid suffering and sustain vibrant health during the holidays, while you enjoy yourself … deliciously:

1. Start by making a commitment to yourself. Be fastidious about avoiding foods that make you sick. If you’re gluten intolerant, dairy intolerant, allergic to nuts, or fill-in-the-blank intolerant, quietly eating what’s before you is not worth the price you’ll pay. Case in point: I was 100 percent gluten-free for three years when, dining out with some friends, I decided to eat eggplant parmesan served over spaghetti. The eggplant had been dredged in wheat flour, and I also ate a few bites of the pasta. Guess what? I had indigestion and a recurrence of joint pain for the next six weeks. That’s six weeks! My advice: if you want to splurge, make sure it’s something that won’t do you in—like, maybe, a gluten-free dessert!

2. Bring up your special dietary needs to your host. Few people outside the special needs group are aware of the short- and long-term consequences of eating foods that trigger an inflammatory response. You don’t need to feel embarrassed or hide your requirements that protect your health. It’s really OK when you respond to an invitation to let your host know you will get sick if you eat certain foods. I’ve had to do this time and again, going to out-of-town weddings, bar mitzvahs, and every kind of potluck, or I would have needed to leave the event to get food. My hosts have always responded graciously.

3. Be a generous potluck participant. When you RSVP and ask for special consideration, also offer to take a couple of delectable dishes for everyone to enjoy. That way, you’ll ensure you don’t go away hungry. You’ll also showcase some of your favorite foods, which could expand others’ food horizons. They may even become more supportive of your needs at the next event. This has been my happy experience.

4. Host the holiday dinner yourself—if not this year, then next. In this way you can state your intention about the food parameters and model polite inclusion: “We’d love to have you join us for a joyful holiday potluck, and we’d be so grateful if you would avoid cooking with the following foods. Please let us know if you have additional dietary needs.” Cook an entrée and a couple of sides that showcase some of your favorite holiday dishes. Let the meal send the message that food can easily be delicious and healthy!

5. If you can bear it, be flexible! Some years my husband and I host a Thanksgiving meal with a long-standing dinner group. While my husband and I don’t eat turkey, I’m not offended that my friends bring a cooked bird to the house. I make some tofu for Tom and me and my now-famous holiday sides. I was an omnivore for much of my life, and I’m not trying to impose my current food choices on anyone. Over time, however, it’s clear that I’ve influenced my close friends, who now think about us when cooking! They’re also eating more vegetarian and vegan meals themselves. It goes to show that being tolerant and accepting is much more influential than condemning others’ choices.

Wishing you vibrant health and delicious memories this holiday season!

 

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All Things Pumpkin 2019

This October Pumpkin Spice Cookie recipe reflects my most recent experimentation with gluten-free baking. I’m happy to say the experiment turned out well—though I regret it was in response to my newest food sensitivity!

 

Sadly, I seem to have developed an intolerance to nuts, including almond flour. Eating nuts or baked goods with almond flour make me itch. From an Ayurvedic perspective, it makes sense: nuts increase pitta, and high pitta can cause itching. Since nuts are also a common allergen and cause of food intolerance, I decided to explore baking with another high-protein flour for my growing readership.

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My Favorite Things: Capomo

Today I’m introducing a new section of the Sacred & Delicious Blog called My Favorite Things, and I’m launching it with a yummy coffee alternative called Capomo! If you love the taste of coffee but have given it up for any number of excellent reasons, which I enumerate later, you’re in for a treat!

Capomo is the name Tattva’s Herbs gives this coffee alternative made from the maya nut, which they claim is one of “nature’s premier antioxidants.” That may be, but I love this drink just for its divine flavor! Want some “bliss in every cup”? Try Capomo!

You can make Capomo in a coffee pot, drip coffee maker, or with a Melita. I gave all of those kitchen gadgets up when I swore off

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Bring on the Dark Chocolate for Valentine’s Day!

If you love dark chocolate and want to splurge a little for Valentine’s Day, do I have a treat for you and your beloved—perhaps the fudgiest brownies you’ve ever tasted! From a health perspective, the good news is that these are not outrageously sweet compared to standard fare, even though I’m told they are sufficiently decadent to stir the passions of any chocolate lover.

First, let me acknowledge what may be obvious to many readers: chocolate, fudge, and brownies are not part of ancient Ayurvedic cuisine. Nonetheless, I believe in adding some flexibility to my offerings so that people exploring Ayurveda don’t feel constrained by too much austerity. As one of my Ayurvedic mentors often says,

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Mushroom Lentil Soup

With so much cold and flu circulating in every public place at this time of year, I started eyeing the shiitake mushrooms at the grocery store today… and then invoked the Goddess Annapurna to help me create a delicious approach to mushroom soup. This Mushroom Lentil Soup is just that—a dish that’s definitely for mushroom lovers, as it boasts a hearty amount of the immune-boosting shiitakes.

The neutral-flavored red lentils, also known as masoor dal, give the soup substance as well as protein and iron. I use a mixture of traditional Ayurvedic spices (cumin and coriander to balance agni) along with classic American herbs (rosemary and sage), which you might expect to find in a mushroom bisque. You can add a couple of tablespoons or more of wine if you wish—just a little adds a nice dimension to the flavor.

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Spring Delight: Asparagus Pilaf

It’s still spring so I’m not quite done with asaparagus! I present to you asparagus pilaf cooked two ways, both gluten-free. I’ve tried this recipe with quinoa and millet. Each dish is satisfying enough for a light meal, while they both work well as appetizing side dishes.

This pilaf is a colorful addition to the Passover table or Easter celebration. And a happy invitation to my observant Jewish readers—no guilt necessary! The rabbis have given their blessings to quinoa during Passover, and millet may not be far behind.

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Seven-Minute Sides: Smoky Greens

A pot of fresh greens is so quick and easy to make! It’s the perfect side dish to a cool summer soup, a quinoa salad, or some Southern black-eyed peas. Greens are always ideal when your priority is easy cooking with a dash of healthy and delicious.

I was inspired to make this dish when one of my husband’s patients brought us a large bag of beet greens right out of her garden, but you can also use a bunch of kale or chard, though kale will take an extra 10 minutes to cook. I suggest  6 to 10 large leaves per person, at least, since they will reduce to a small serving after cooking.

You can use any type of seasoning, but a good artisan salt like Salish Alderwood Smoked Salt transforms an ordinary dish into gourmet food. If you crave a little heat, add some fresh ginger. If

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A Gluten-Free Vegetarian Guide to Thanksgiving

If you want to plan an intensely flavorful vegetarian menu for Thanksgiving, look no further! Today I’m sharing a recipe for Gluten-Free Millet Dressing. I’ll also point you to my sumptuous versions of traditional American holiday side dishes, which will fill your family with joy and gratitude!

Why millet?  Millet is a good source of vegetarian protein. One cup of cooked millet offers 6 grams of vegetarian, gluten-free protein, which equals the protein in one egg. It’s also filling, grounding and easy to make.

Now for the rest of the menu. My famous Holiday Sweet Potatoes, topped with a pound and a half of pecans, are the eagerly awaited crown jewel of our holiday table. For a dash of freshness and color I offer this cranberry salad, a squeaky clean, upscale version of the canned stuff that used to be served when we were growing up!

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