I'm happy to report that Thanksgiving Dinner was a great success. jenn and I were like a well-oiled machine in getting our low-key meal for four on the table. Jenn and the boys LOVED the tofurkey and are obviously glad that I'm not part of the competition for their special food. My stuffed squash was really good, though next time I could probably skip the squash and just eat the stuffing. I used Near East Rice Lentil Pilaf and added collards, walnuts and tofu to it. Very tasty! My collection of raosted veggies (segregated because the vegetables for the rest of the family were basting in the juices of the gluteny tofurkey) were good too, though next time I will refrigerate the parsip (I've learned to treat it like a pale carrot, not like a potato) and to cut the beet pieces smaller or pre-cook them somehow. they were rather hard and tough. Still, a good time was had by all.
Like everybody in America, we are preparing for Thanksgiving. It will be my first gluten-free Tofurkey Day. Which means no Tofurkey for me. Of course, we didn't eat tofurkey for most of our Thanksgivings together, because we heard it was awful. In the intervening years, we ate stuffed squash, which was ymmy. It was acorn squash with a wild and brown rice stuffing that had tofu, dates, nuts and cheese. Then we heard tofurkey was good, so we tried it a few years ago. It was great! Turkey was my favorite food as a kid, so it was nice to have this very turkey-like food in my life. Squash took a back seat and we recreated our tradition around it and one of the best parts of that is that the boys like it. The squash is a tough sell. For me, the squash will make a reappearance, and I expect it won't be too angry that it lost its place of importance for awhile in our traditions.
The good news is I have an easy answer for people who ask what I will be eating for Thanksgiving. I will not to be a whiner or feel sorry for myself. I will not.
I came into a motherlode of apples over the weekend. So when life hands you apples, make apple crisp! It gave me a chance to crack open GF flour mix I had bought awhile ago. The crisp came out not so crispy, and the apple stuff came out kind of goopy, like apple pie filling from a can. With that ringing endorsement, I have to say it was actually very good. I'm thinking it's the zanthan gum that gave it that texture; multi-trial learning will reveal more. And I still have at least 20 pounds of apples to get through.
It took me the better part of a week to talk to an actual human being to be able to get an appointment at Jefferson's Celiac Center. The date is set for December 20th. I haven't been feeling the best lately, but I don't know if it's related to the celiac or not. Mostly my plan is to tough it out and hope it resolves on its own. Otherwise, I have around six weeks to put up with it.
In other news, I joined the local celiac support group. They hold meetings and events twice a year -- I just missed one in October. I should be receiving all kinds of groovy info in the mail soon, and I'm sure the March get-together will be here before I know it.
Jenn and I had a great lunch at El Rey on Wednesday. It's a Steven Starr restaurant. I was afraid it would be all crowded but it wasn't. It looked like a retro diner and it had a pretty interesting menu. Lots of gluten-free things. I ordered a spicy mushroom soup and fried eggs over tortilla chips smothered in green chile. It was not my healthiest lunch choice, especially taking into account the volume of chips and salsa I ate in addition to my lunch order. But, it was tasty, and I chaulk it all up to research for GF dining near my workplace.
I did some research and have found a great restaurant: Memphis Taproom. It has a number of vegan items on the menu that are either already gf or can be made to be gf, and the chef knows all about gluten contamination issues and is sensitive to requests to prepare carefully. I ate lunch there this past week. I had the squash stew with rice. I can't wait to go back and try the bbq jackfruit. And there's one other thing -- something with coconut -- that I'll try too. The restaurant was funky and hip. It's apparently a well-kept secret for lunch -- my friend and I were the only ones in the dining room from 12:15 - 1:30 pm -- so we didn't have to wait for a table. Parking was easy. The downsides are that the seats are hard and that it is not walking distance. I had eaten at Memphis Taproom once before about a year ago, but learned about their gluten awareness through the Gluten-Free Philly website.
I also walked to El Rey near 20th and Chestnut one afternoon. They participated in the gf eat-a-thon, but everything was cheesy, so I wasn't sure if I would truly be able to get anything interesting to eat there. When I went in, I talked to someone who seemed to know what she was talking about. We looked at a menu together and I got some definite possibilities. I haven't eaten there yet, but I might this week. It's an affordable Steven Starr restaurant near a lot of offices, so I expect that they are packed at lunchtime. But, it is in easy walking distance of my office, so that's a plus.
So, two new restaurants that are kind of interesting that are making a point of accommodating the GF crowd. Now I really want to find an Indian Restaurant that I can have confidence in having GF experience.
A week and a half ago, I had an appointment with my hematologist, who reported that my iron levels have improved, which is terrific! I take it as confirmation that my gf diet is working. I noted that I've still been having some unpleasant GI symptoms (and I still am), he essentially said "I'm a hematologist. Go see your gastroenterologist." I told him I didn't like the GI doc that I had gotten the celiac diagnosis from but that the doc I had heard good things about had such a packed schedule that it would have taken many more weeks to get in to see her. He said that he'd have his office set up an appointment. I'm thinking that he's got some doc-to-doc juice and can get me an appointment pretty quick. A couple of days later his office called to say that the appointment was set for the first week in December. 6 weeks! Some juice!
In the meantime, I got info about the Celiac Center at Jefferson when I was at the eat-a-thon. I've decided that it doesn't make any sense to not have them as my medical team for managing my celiac disease. I tried all week to talk to an actual person in their office to get an appointment set, but to no avail. Very frustrating. I'm hoping that once I get into the groove with them, it won't be so hard.
Oh, and the hematologist's office called a couple of days after the appointment to tell me that I'm deficient in folate and that I should take a folic acid supplement. However, I've read that folic acid can increase risks for certain types of cancer. I'd rather seek to increase my folate consumption through diet, which means eating even more green leafies. I'm now on a quest for a blender so that I can start incorporating more green smoothies into my diet. I also want to talk to the dietician at Jeff when I finally get hooked in there to get a real plan for any nutritional deficiencies and to get a read on my bone density.