Friday, December 9, 2011

Gluten Free Diary

Oh, please don't look at me like that.  I have not jumped on the gluten free bandwagon for the sake of weight loss or being trendy or lowering my carb intake.  With a child who is allergic to milk I have enough dietary restrictions in my life and was not looking for another...but...I have known for some time that I don't always feel quite "right."  

Since my children were born I have had the usual upswing in colds from germs the little monsters bring home but these days I can't get through one week without feeling cold symptoms of one sort or another.  For years I have had unexplained gastro-intestinal issues that can result in cramps bad enough to send me into a fetal position and require me to carry gas-relief pills with me everywhere I go. Unexplained nausea, skin rashes, chronic tendinitis and nagging headaches can all be symptoms of other issues but eventually I started to get suspicious.  I already eat (mostly) healthy, I get plenty of sleep (usually,) and work out (almost) daily.  I should be the picture of health.  I figured there was nothing to lose by going gluten free.

Going gluten free has never been easier.  There are many products out there that flaunt their gluten free status and there are just as many helpful articles, blogs and websites with advise on gluten free living.  I have not made a doctor's appointment to make this official, by the way.  For now I am just monitoring my diet and waiting to see how I feel and it's been almost 2 weeks now and I can say I have had no nausea, much less gas and stomach pain and much clearer sinuses.  I confess I've fallen off the gluten free wagon twice.  One night I literally forgot I was going going gluten free and ate pizza with whole wheat crust.  Another night I threw caution to the wind and ate Chinese food (how much gluten can you get from the soy sauce used to make Kung Pao Chicken, for crying out loud?)  On both occasions I paid dearly the next stomach issues were back with a vengeance but cleared up within a day or two of going back to avoiding gluten.  Definitely sticking to the gluten free diet for a while...which leads me to my first recipe which was adapted from a recipe on a box of Cream of Buckwheat which I picked up at a local specialty store as an alternative to Cream of Wheat.

Old World Cauliflower Soup

1/2 cups Cream of Buckwheat
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups diced cauliflower
1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup milk (I used non-fat)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used low-fat)
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg and pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine first 4 ingredients in medium saucepan and bring to boil.  Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently.  You'll need to scrape the bottom if the buckwheat is sticking and may need to add water if the mixture gets too thick.  Continue to simmer until cauliflower is soft, 15-20 minutes.  Then add remaining ingredients and heat until cheese and butter are melted but do not boil again. 

The original recipe calls for chopped parsley as garnish but the gophers ate my parsley plants long ago.  I garnished with a little dollop of sour cream, a bit more cheddar cheese and some fresh oregano.  (The oregano makes the picture look nice, but I don't recommend it for eating.)

This gluten free soup is quite low in calories if you use non/low-fat dairy ingredients and very filling.  I'll be freezing the leftovers in small batches to warm up for lunches.  It would be perfect with a nice slice of fresh bread.  Sigh.

PS.  I will not be freezing the leftovers of this fact, it doesn't keep well.  After a day or two in the fridge it had congealed into a unappetizing white mass.  I added water and warmed it up to eat for lunch today (I HATE to waste food,) but it wasn't very good and I threw the rest away.  So make this soup when you plan to eat it all while it's fresh and yummy.  Next time I make it I will make sure there is a large enough crowd to finish it all off.


  1. Good for you, Rita! I enjoyed your article. I need to alter my diet too, but don't seem to have the discipline. I love your recipe and photo. You are really quite talented at writing and art.

  2. Sounds really good, and I love buckwheat. It would be amazong if suddenly it would clear up everything. Now, what aput a diet for more energy? :-))))))

  3. I made this soup but added frozen peas, 4 cloves of chopped garlic and 2 c. chopped cooked chicken breast. I accidentally reversed the milk and cheese to 1/2 c. milk and 1 c. shredded cheese. my sons who usually mentally dissect my new recipes ate this with gusto and asked for more! I eat many vegetarian meals and would have been happy without the chicken and cheese (almond or hemp milk would have given enough creaminess), but my sons said it was a keeper. oops, also added 3 small diced carrots, and 5 large diced button mushrooms. Seems like I strayed from the original recipe, but it was still a rich creamy satisfying soup served with garlic toast. I would like to try again adhering to original recipe. I also love this buckwheat made as breakfast cereal as I have a wheat allergy. It reminds me of cream of wheat in texture and creaminess. will always keep this in my pantry.