Gluten & Dairy-Free Living. Info, recipes & experiences!

Posts tagged ‘auto-immune disease’

Split Pea Soup on a Cold Winter Day – Easy and Filling


First winter back in the frozen north … and they told me it doesn’t snow here, where I chose to live … uh huh … warmest area in Canada …  oh sure … There are icicles on my car!
And so … the fireplace is on and I have 2 smoked pork hocks simmering on the stove. Smells like bacon cooking. I don’t know about you but I LOVE the smell of bacon and really LOVE eating it too! My comfort food – well, one of them. The love for bacon is so intense that I must limit myself to devouring a pound of bacon (yep, in one sitting), to a maximum of 4 times per year. Who can have just 3 slices? Not me!

Back to the pork hocks (bone in) … They are simmering with about a tablespoon of black peppercorns and six small bay leaves in 16 cups of water. If you’re making a pot of something, make a big pot! Whether it’s soup or stew or sauce, it doesn’t take up much more time and it freezes well for a quick dinner or lunch. Mine go into 4 cup, sealable, glass jars and are stacked in the freezer.
My apologies. Another digression … bear with me, please. Back to the soup.

My mom used to make the tastiest pea soup and she gave me the recipe. The miracle is that I managed to find it amongst all the papers in my storage locker! Here it is.

Mom’s recipe:
8 cups of water
2 bay leaves
6 – 8 peppercorns
1 lb. washed, split, dry green peas
1 large carrot – chopped
1 medium onion – diced
1 stalk of celery – diced
salt to taste
1 ham bone with some meat on it.
Toss all into a pot and simmer for 8 to 10 hours. Remove ham bone, take off meat and add back to soup. Remove bay leaves.

Really? That’s it? Doesn’t sound like much … definitely wouldn’t be enough to freeze … Hmmm …

And so … after a slight tweak … my recipe for a really big pot of soup:

1.7 Kilos (about 4 lbs of smoke pork hock)
6 smallish bay leaves
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
16 cups of purified water (Hate the chlorine taste in my soup. Yes, you can taste the difference!)
Simmer (on low heat – #3 on the dial) for 4 hours.
Let cool. Place in refrigerator. I don’t have the time to make this in one day. 🙂
Next day, remove pork hocks, skim off fat, fish for all the peppercorns and bay leaves or if you have another really big pot, use a sieve and pour the liquid/stock through. Separate the meat from the fat and bone. Dice up the tender morsels (must taste to be assured of the flavour). Add to stock.
6 – 8 carrots – depending on how much carrot you enjoy, keeping in mind this will make about 16 bowls of       soup.
3 – 4 stalks of celery (same tip as the carrots)
1 1/2 large onion
8 cloves of garlic
3 lbs of dried, split peas (washed up)
Chop up the veggies to the size you like. Add all the remaining ingredients into the stock. If the water has evaporated too much, add more (purified).
Do Not add any salt as the smoked pork hocks are salty enough. If you can’t find smoked hocks use a ham bone from the butcher.
Allow to boil and then lower to a simmer for about 1 hour or more, until the peas are mushy.

Make a nice salad. Some gluten free garlic bread. Enjoy!

Cool to slightly warm before placing in jars for the freezer. If you freeze this soup in smaller containers, it makes a delicious, warming, light and filling lunch to take to work!

After the holidays eating light and healthy is a relief for your digestive system and will help you to lose those holiday pounds! Soup and salad is heartwarming, tasty and filling, while being light and easy to digest. Just choose your salad dressing carefully! 🙂

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Informative Article from the Calgary Herald


Great article, giving relevant information on eating “glutenless” :). While it is true, once one is “off” the gluten, the tests will be inconclusive, unfortunately the wait for both the required tests can be very long. Not sure what the benefits are of knowing positively … I suppose you may not have Celiac Disease and therefore there is no need to be ultra careful … but if you do … the sooner you are off the gluten the better. In the last 16 years of enjoying a gluten & dairy-free lifestyle, other than feeling much better, looking and being healthier, there hasn’t been any direct benefit in “knowing” that I have Celiac Disease. Of course this is my experience and should not deter anyone from receiving a definitive diagnosis for themselves.
This article makes no mention of the relation between Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance to Lactose Intolerance or a Dairy Allergy. There is a growing body of evidence showing the prevalence of a lactose intolerance or dairy allergy among many Celiac sufferers. One should probably have that tested too or at least be aware that there may be more than one cause for your pain and discomfort.
One point that is stressed a few times in this article and is one I am constantly on my soapbox espousing … endlessly is: DO NOT attempt to replace breads, sweets and treats in a Gluten-Free form. Even though the label displays the words “organic”, “gluten-free”, etc. etc. etc., this does not make it a health food. It is processed and most of the “goodness” that it may have contained as a whole food no longer exists in the processed form. On a daily basis, focus on FRESH, WHOLE foods and if you can, buy organic foods. I will post the “Clean 15” list again – foods that don’t necessarily have to be organically grown.

Of course once in a while – as in once a month or so – a treat is a good thing … 🙂

This article appeared in the July 5th issue of the Calgary Herald.
http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/diet-fitness/Gluten+free+goes+mainstream+expert+cautions+against+adopting+food+whim/6836585/story.html

Enjoy!

Sensitivities? Allergies? Auto-Immune Disease?


At times an allergy which has not yet completely manifested is labelled a “sensitivity” as it does not generate the same immunological response from your body as a “full-blown” allergy would.  A sensitivity can also be caused by many underlying factors such as: IBS, stress, candida growth, immune system overload and is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.  One of the difficulties with diagnosing food sensitivities is the possible delayed reaction time of the symptoms.  Another is the wide variety of possibilities for your symptoms.  For instance, in the case of food allergies/sensitivities – you’ve eaten a full meal and the next day wake up feeling bloated, stuffy, stiff or just plain terrible, how will you determine what in the meal, or if it even was the meal, made you ill?  It might have even been a food item, an herb or additive in the food, a mild case of food poisoning, an ulcer forming, the flu, or … so many possibilities.  One clue that it may be an allergy or sensitivity is; recurrent, similar symptoms, corresponding with the same  action.  If you sneeze/get itchy every time you pet your friends cat, if you bloat, break out in a rash/hives or feel nauseous when you eat and so on.

An allergy is an oversensitive response of  your immune system to common allergens that don’t affect most people.  The response can be mild, a bit of sneezing or it can be a life-threatening, anaphylactic shock.  My mom discovered (skin-prick test), at the age of 55 that she was allergic to household cleaning fluids (wasn’t the food, it was the clean-up!), dad at age 75 found he could no longer eat oregano (and he’s Greek!), a friends son is allergic to nightshade which includes potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, and eggplant, I, gradually, had an anaphylactic reaction to dairy.  Some friends cannot eat strawberries, for some it wasn’t an allergy/sensitivity but Colitis, Crohn’s, Celiac or Diverticulitis that was the underlying cause of their symptoms.  Some people, like my brother, have airborne allergies, the list is endless!  The most common medical test for allergies is the skin-prick test which appears to be a good indicator for airborne allergies but is not always 100% accurate in determining food allergies.

Generally speaking, food, fresh, whole food, should make you feel energetic, full but not stuffed, healthy and not bloated, constipated, nauseous, etc.  If you regularly feel ill after eating, whether it is minutes after or the next morning … what do you do?  Keep a food diary of everything you eat, write down at what time and what type of symptoms arise.  Take this diary to your medical doctor.  With this diary in hand, when you are being examined by your doctor, it will be so much easier to answer questions accurately, which will help determine what tests are needed to pinpoint what is occurring in the inner workings of your body.  Because allergies, sensitivities and auto-immune diseases can sometimes present in similar ways, keeping a record of any unusual symptoms which arise and when they arise, will help in your diagnosis.  It is difficult to accurately remember exactly when and what happened at the best of times, let alone when you are not feeling well but accuracy, in this case, is essential for your doctor to help you discover the cause of your distress.

Sometimes tests will be inconclusive, there are many reasons for this, some of them are – “wrong” test (not definitive enough for you), allergy/disease hasn’t manifested yet, drugs/vitamins you are taking skewed the results – discuss this with your doctor.  Should you both agree that the cause of your symptoms is most probably food related, and Celiac Disease has been ruled out, begin by eliminating the most common allergens in your diet – eggs, dairy, nuts, shellfish and reintroducing them, one at a time, per week, noting if and when any symptoms appear as each is introduced.  Then continue with other, not so common, allergens.  If you have experienced anaphylaxis, this elimination and re-introduction should be done under your doctor’s care.

Crohn’s, Colitis, Celiac, these are just a few in a very long list of Auto-Immune Diseases.  An auto-immune disease/disorder is caused by your body’s immune system attacking its own tissues.  Some are more severe than others but most can be treated.  Generally auto-immune diseases run in families – one of my children is currently awaiting test results for Celiac Disease, which I have.  A cousin has Lupus, another Graves and the list goes on.  If someone in your family has any auto-immune disorder, don’t immediately assume you do too but it should give you the heads up to check on it, if any “ailments” should arise!

Diagnosing Celiac Disease is usually a two step process, the IgE blood screening is commonly the first step in determining a Celiac diagnosis and you must continue to eat gluten for this test.  An endoscopy is the next step and also requires that you are ingesting gluten on a daily basis to obtain an accurate reading.  Depending on how quickly you are able to have these tests, you could be feeling bad for a while.  In my case, once the IgE results, which were not definitive but showed a high probability that I was Celiac, were returned and  since auto-immune diseases abound in my family, I immediately eliminated all gluten from my diet.  Yes, I feel much better but two other allergies have manifested since then.  Relying on past experience and knowledge, these were pinpointed and eliminated easily and quickly.

Confusing, yes!  In short:
Sensitivity – symptoms which could be arising due to a wide variety of causes.
Allergy – Over eager immune system reacting to a UFO (Unidentified, Floating Object) – even if it is common, your immune system seems to believe it needs attacking, ergo histamine levels rise, stomach reactions to eliminate the offensive particle can occur, sneezing, etc., all in a synchronized effort to get rid of the “alien”.
Auto-Immune Disorder/Disease – immune system is confused as to what should and should not be allowed to exist in your body, mistaking your own tissues as the “alien” intruders and attacking them with gusto and determination.

Misleading claims and marketing, symptoms that can be attributed to many other illnesses, tests that are inaccurate or not definitive, can all leave you frustrated and confounded … what to do?  Stick to sound, proven medical resources and your own awareness of your body or your child’s awareness of his/her body.  There are millions of claims offering help, some work, some don’t but first you must determine exactly what is wrong.  In my experience, relying on medical diagnostics and my own intuitiveness helped me to discover the cause of my distress.  Then I began to research what I could do to help ease the symptoms of my “dis-ease”.  To this day, I continue to read and research, asking questions of natural health practitioners and my doctor, discovering that the more I learn, the more I need to learn.  “Discoveries” are made every day but not all are applicable, helpful nor financially viable, for me and not all have proven results.  Hawkers and talkers of “proven cures” have been around for centuries and their claims have not always been legitimate.  Be aware and trust in your own senses.   It is a long road but with a little effort and medical help, you can have a happy ending by discovering and eliminating/treating your “dis-ease”!

🙂
De

These are my own experiences and researched findings.  I am NOT a medical doctor and strongly suggest, as a first step, you seek medical help, working together with your health practitioner, to determine the cause of your illness.

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