Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Utepils Brew

For my brother's birthday I decided to make a gluten free brew to celebrate one of the important guys in my life! This mix uses dry rice extract is the grain, with honey and sorghum to create a rich flavor. Gluten free home brewing is now a thing with the Honey Ale Kit from Adding honey has the same effect as adding sugar, it increases the alcohol content but has no effect on the sweetness.

In Norwegian there is a word with no equivalent in English, Utepils. If you've ever had a beer on the beach then you understand the meaning of this word without needing to be Norwegian. I plan to enjoy this homemade gluten free brew at the beach with some friends at an end of summer party.

More to come on this project as we work on it!

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Gluten Free Table on the Road

Kalimera my fellow travelers! The hardest part about eating gluten free on a vacation is dealing with cross contamination so I compiled a list of tips I picked up traveling in Greece. When I decided not to eat gluten in solidarity, I realized it's so easy to accidentally gluten other people's food. It's not just the knife that someone else used to butter their "regular" toast, it's the butter container which has the crumbs from the knife that went in for a second helping to cover the rest of the toast. It's seemingly impossible to keep your food gluten free when traveling with others who eat gluten. A few tips I found on my vacation help you keep your sanity and enjoy your trip:

1. Use disposable plates and utensils when possible. That way you avoid crusted on gluten remnants as well as any contamination that may be left behind on the sponge or in the dishwasher.

2. Keep your food in a small cooler in the fridge. If you have a refrigerator, keep a cooler full of gluten free cookies and bread in there. People will really have to go out of their way to put their gluten covered mitts into your bag of gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Also, keep one or two dips and spreads you want in the cooler.

3. Have your own bottle of a beverage. Who can resist the urge of drinking out of the bottle. Certainly not you, so you can understand when others do so without thinking of the gluten they contaminate the bottle with when they put their lips on the rim. Put aside a liter of your favorite and give people a heads up that it's yours by putting it in the cooler.

4. Bring along bars and meal replacement drinks. You don't have to be a wet blanket in the instance you can't find a dish at a restaurant that looks gluten free. These will tide you over and keep you from getting too hangry.

5. Learn to change the conversation quickly from gluten at restaurants. Keep it short and sweet, don't dwell on the details. When you have a chance to find a market, head to the gluten free section. A gluten free loaf of bread comes in handy at restaurants when they serve bread before the meal or as an accompaniment to a chicken salad.

6. Use your best judgment but remember that you are the keeper of your health and others may accidentally serve you something with gluten. While it my take a long time to cope with that fact, understanding that you are ultimately responsible for taking your health into your own hands, especially abroad, will make you a happy traveler!

7. Have fun and meet lots of new people. Remember that vacation is a time to relax even though it's hard to break out of the usual routine. Hopefully these tips will keep you from screaming at your fellow travelers and binge eating that baklava that everyone else in the car is swooning over. Cheers!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

EE-meh ah-ler-yee-KEE sti gloo-TEH-nee

Ee-meh ah-ler-yee-kee sti gloo-teh-nee, I think that's how you pronounce it. Hopefully people won't look at me like I'm an alien. It's bad enough I don't speak the language and can't read the alphabet. I guess I will have to rely on the kindness of Greeks to go out of their way to understand my "issue."

My grandmother's Greek cooking has influenced my cooking style to such an extent that I am hoping to enjoy the food in this country as a way of connecting her culture. Before I leave for my trip to Greece I am going to make sure I know Greek food back and forth so that I know what to avoid. After all, that is my responsibility. A lot of celiacs have this conversation: "I may not eat for two weeks. No, that's an over reaction. Sometimes I am sure that a food is gluten free but then it gets me. I can taste the gluten but its too late. That makes me never want to eat another bite of anything that doesn't come prepackaged. Maybe that's what I will do, I will buy a whole bunch of meal bars and bring them along. Or maybe a whole case of ensure. I haven't left yet but this trip is already making me exhausted." I am going to dedicated this trip to eating gluten free, though I am not gluten intolerant, to understand with and empathize with people who are gluten intolerant. I found these allergy translation cards that might be of help. I am going to order them so I have them for the trip!

I bought a bunch of mint stabilyze bars from Costco to stash in my backpack for the flight. They're a little small but since they're low glycemic they will keep me full for longer. They taste similar to the mint Genisoy bars that I used to love but with less of an overwhelming mint flavor. I will have them with me just in case I have a hard time finding gluten free food when I first arrive. When I'm on vacation I hope to challenge myself to embrace the food culture while staying away from gluten.