Hurricane Irene is in town. I decided that I would spend some time in the kitchen this weekend, since going out is ill-advised. After my last Any's experience, I decided to try my hand at pizza.
I don't know if you can tell by looking, but the gf Bisquick pizza crust mixture is more the consistency of the ricotta cheese and egg mixture one would mix into a baked ziti than dough. As per the instructions, I threw in some basil and oregano, water, olive oil, and an egg (I cut the recipe in half, in case it was inedible), mixed it up, and smooshed it into an oval on a foil-lined pizza pan. I baked it for 15 minutes, then pulled it out and topped it with pre-fab pizza sauce and a little mozzerella cheese. I used real cheese this time, because I wanted to do an honest assessment of it as a pizza crust and didn't want to base my like or dislike of it on the fact that it was "just" a tomato pie or a pizza made with soy cheese.
The results were interesting. The crust was a little on the sweet side (so was the sauce, for that matter), and it was stiff and a little crumbly. This pizza was way better than the Amy's pizza -- my partner Jenn even had two slices though she can have any kind of gluteny cheesy pizza she wants any time. It wasn't as good as the gf pizza a Carmen's, so I know more trial and error is in order. I've read a number of gf pizza crust recipes on-line, but I'm not enough of a baker to invest in a plethora of gf flours and spend hours (and calories) on experimenting. I want a pre-packaged gf flour to do the trick.
Next time I'm in the mood to create pizza, I will make a crust with the Namate gf flour blend, but I will definitely put this concoction in the plus column.
Some people with Celiac I've talked to have reported a life-altering boost of energy when they went gluten-free. I felt much better in many ways, but had no such elevation. In fact, my anemia is still here and I'm signed up for iron transfusions every two weeks until I get into the normal range. Which tells me that even though I have celiac and I live a strict GF lifestyle, my anemia has got a different cause. And I'd really like to get that boost in energy that other people have gotten.
On a hunch, I've started researching lectin intolerance. My sister-in-law texted me last week about a runner she had heard about who was anemic because of a bean allergy. I little research later, and I discovered lectin. From the descriptions I read, it sounds like lectin intolerance can set off all the same antibody tests and causes blunting of villi in the small intestine, just as gluten does. Lectin is in just about everything, but especially grains (from what I can tell, gluten is a type of lectin), legumes, nuts, seeds and veggies in the nightshade family -- tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes. If lectin is part of my issue, I'm not sure how I would get enough protein and remain vegetarian. No one's got a book or a suggested diet plan for lectin intolerance, though one paper I read on it suggested borrowing heavily from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. The SCD is used primarily by people with Crohn's Disease, and it's apparently VERY helpful for that crowd. Another book to get and read in my quest for health and happiness.
Amy's GF vegan pizza. I love that there is a frozen pizza that meets my food requirements. I hate that I don't enjoy it at all.It is dry and the crust gets a kind of burned taste, even when I've been very careful to not overcook it. In fairness, the instructions want me to put it under a broiler for a short time after it has baked so that the soy cheese can melt. My broiler won't accommodate a pan that will hold the pizza, so I haven't done that part. I can't imagine it would significantly change the outcome.
And for 350 calories for a 1/3 of a pizza (which isn't very big to begin with), and at a pricetag approaching $8, I'm sure I can find other better things to eat. One of these days I'll make a tomato pie with GF flour or bisquick for crust and the usual pizza sauce, and then see if that will meet my eat-at-home pizza needs.
Don't get me wrong. I REALLY appreciate TJ's producing (and labeling) GF products. I used these tortillas to make PB&J "sandwiches" for the plane. I had originally thought I'd make hummus wraps, but I was a) running out of time, b) not feeling all that virtuous, and c) the tortillas don't actually ROLL, especially cold. They pretty much snap in half, which is true for just about every corn tortilla I've ever come across, and many flour tortillas too. So, they did serve as an adequate delivery vehicle for my spreads, but it certainly wasn't a use I'd recommend when one is at home with other options. I did try them at home with a beany-tomato-salsa-avocado-lettuce type filling, and I warmed them in the microwavee (with a damp paper towel) for 10 seconds. They still broke in half. For my Mexican food, I'd prefer a nice GF corn tortilla chip and have it be more of a salad/dip sort of affair, rather than a disintegrating burrito.
They DO hold up well to travel stresses. They are just so unappetizing that you hope you have something else to eat. They reminded me of Space Food Sticks in consistency and taste. I LOVED Space Food Sticks as a kid, but the texture and flavor to the adult palette I expect would be a bit lacking. (A quick google of Space Food Sticks reveals that you can still get them, but I didn't check to see if they are gluten free.)
Coincidentally, Consumer Reports recently busted Enjoy Life's Chewy Bars for being very small for the packaging. I didn't think the Nutbutter Crunch variety I had was quite as aggregious, but really not a lot better than the photo below.
For traveling, they can't be beat. They taste as good as their gluteny cousins. The pretzels themselves are sort of little, so they don't seem to suffer much breakage when being tossed about in a tote and jammed into small airplane spaces. They are a definite winner for travel snacks and for just having around the house.
My motto is "always know where your next meal is coming from." I get really agitated if I think I'm going to get trapped somewhere without a good gluten-free option when it's time to eat. In my regular life, I always know either what I'm having next, or I know that where I'm going to be eating has solid GF options. I eat most breakfasts and dinners at home and pack my lunch just about everyday.
So when flyimg across the country with hour+ layovers coming and going, I knew I needed to pack enough provisions to get me through. And I wanted them to be amusing. For the trip, I made some special GF purchases. In coming posts I'll note the winners and losers.
I've been pretty darn strict with my gluten-free compliance. And yet, my anemia is alive and well. From my hematology appointment three months ago to the one a week and a half ago, my hemoglobin dropped from 11.4 to 9.6. I got my first transhfusion in over a year. I go back in a couple of weeks to see how things are going. In the meantime, I had THE WORST period ever. I've been feeling run down, I look pale, feeling light-headed, and I think I'll be getting another transfusion.
I asked my hematologist the obvious question: Shouldn't my small intestine be healed by now so that I can absorb the iron? He said I should take it up with my team at the Celiac Center. I spoke to them. I'll get more blood work to check the celiac antibodies to see if they have changed (for better or for worse) since they were last checked in January. In addition we'll test for folate and iron, both of which I've had a deficiency. Though if I'm getting iron transfusions, I don't know how illuminating that aspect of the test will be. And we'll take it from there. As I understand it, the only real way to know if my small intesting is healed is to do another biopsy. One thing at a time.
I also know that anemia can have many causes. It would just be weird if the symptom that lead to my celiac diagnosis turns out to be caused by something else.