I've just completed my first week with a dark chocolate protein shake breakfast, replacing my former non-chocolate protein shake. I've also eaten 2 little squares of dark chocolate a day, one around 3:00 pm and the other after dinner. It's too early to be sure if this will be a long-term sustainable strategy, but the first week's results are encouraging. I'm down two pounds and my pants are a little roomier. It could be solely because of my increased attention to diet in general - sort of a placebo effect. Still, it's nice to see movement in the right direction.
The other encouraging indicator is my energy level. With the exception of last Tuesday (following a Monday dinner that included a couple of slices of bread), I've been feeling really amazing. This is notable because I generally just feel pretty good. It was almost like a light switch being thrown. Again, I can't be completely certain it's the chocolate, but that's the main thing I'm doing differently.
Given these early successes, the research will continue!
Healthy Choco-PB Dip
I created this single-serving dessert which is totally guilt-free. It combines healthy dark chocolate with powdered peanut butter, inspired by my friend Robin's "dip strawberries in dark chocolate" idea and my friend Lisa's recent enthusiasm for powdered peanut butter, which has only 22 calories per tablespoon and 85% less fat than regular peanut butter. This choco-PB dipping sauce has only 55 calories, plus the caloric value of the fruit you are dipping into it. Nice.
1 6-gram square of dark chocolate (I used a Xocai Power Square)
1 teaspoon of powdered peanut butter (I used Just Great Stuff Organic)
1 1/2 teaspoons hot water
Put the chocolate in a microwave safe dish and heat it until soft but not hot. Boil some water for tea. (You'll want a hot drink to go with dessert, right?) Add the peanut butter powder to the chocolate and pour the hot water over the top of both. Stir until combined. It will be the consistency of brownie batter (less water for thicker, more water for thinner.) Dip your cut up fruit chunks -- banana, apples, pineapple, berries -- in the choco-PB sauce and eat up! Lick the dish when you think no one is looking. Show restraint and don't go make a second one. Console yourself with the knowledge that you will be able to do this again tomorrow.
I recently bought a three-pack of romaine lettuce from Ocean Mist Farms. They clearly label their lettuce as gluten free, lactose free, vegan, and heart healthy. I'm still trying to decide if this is a good thing or just really insulting. It's sort of like proclaiming that air has oxygen or that water has hydrating properties. I checked out Ocean Mist's website at www.oceanmist.com. They don't mention gluten-free properties of vegetables at all on their site, so I'm thinking that an over-zealous marketing person slapped all the pro-health properties on the label. In fact, they seem very sincere about providing quality produce, especially artichokes, which I admit I've eaten occasionally (mostly at restaurants) and never prepared myself.
I don't want to act like a big know-it-all. Maybe some people ARE unaware that all vegetables are gluten, lactose and animal product free. Maybe it's a public service to point it out. Maybe there is someone out there who is so unfamiliar with the property of vegetables that they don't know that they are inherently vegan. (Of course, there ARE carniverous plants. My brother, upon learning of my vegetarianism nearly 20 years ago, asked if as a vegetarian I would I eat a venus flytrap. But I digress.)
On the other hand, I am a bit offended. Just as I am happy for Miley Cyrus that she found better health eating gluten free as a lifestyle choice, I am annoyed with her for gumming up the message that there are those of us with celiac and gulten intolerance that HAVE to eat gluten-free. Does displaying the health properties of lettuce on the package actually prompt people to buy more?
Can you imagine this conversation at the store?
"Look Honey! Lettuce is GOOD for you! Let's get six heads."
"Why no, Dear. I had no idea it had all of the properties of a green leafy vegetable! Let's get nine heads!"
Wait til they find out that spinach has all those properties AND is fat free...
(Sign up for the mailing list and get my "QuickStart Guide to going Gluten-free." I never share or sell my list.)
The Philadelphia Gluten-Free Potluck Meetup Group joined with the Greater Berks County Gluten Free Social and Support group (and unofficially the Gluten-free in Delaware County Meetup group, since we have three crossover members!) for lunch at Tomato Bistro at 102 Rector Street Philadelphia's Manyunk neighborhood (19127) for pizza and fun yesterday. We had a good time as always, laughing, sharing and talking about FOOD! Thanks to Jessie and Cathy for organizing, and thanks to Cathy for always remembering to take pics (and I'm sorry I didn't remember to offer to take one with her in it again this time.)
Corley came along (he LOVES pizza), and even though he got his very own whole gluteny pie, I did ask him on camera what he thought of the gf white pizza. Short and sweet, here it is.
I enjoyed the pizza, and it was fun being with a group of gf folks so we could order a bunch of different kinds and all get to try them. The pies are decidedly gourmet. The one that I didn't try had duck on it, and we had a fig and bacon sans the bacon, a margarita pizza, a veggie pie that we made up (asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, onions and some other stuff) and a fancy white pizza. It was all very good, but I especially appeciated the care they took in preparing and serving it to avoid cross-contamination with glutenous pies. They even brought out never-been-used-before disposable pizza cutters for us to us (I brought one home, so maybe not so disposable.) Oh, and the salad was delish!
One challenge my family has is deciding where to eat out as a family. The boys' favorite place is Olive Garden because of the endless breadsticks and salad in addition to a big serving of cheesy pasta. Olive Garden does have a gf menu, but frankly their gf vegetarian pasta options are nothing I want to spend $10 on, and so when we go there I eat copious salad with dressing on the side and wish I had better gf options. Corley allowed that Tomato Bistro would definitely be a place he would be open to going out to eat at with the family (Jules Thin Crust Pizza most definitely DID NOT get that vote -- the pizzas were too skimpy and fancy for my voracious and basic pizza eating kids), so that is truly a ringing endorsement.
A final word is that I actually like the crust at Seasons and Uno's Chicago Grill better, but family experiences at both weren't that great and they didn't get the "Best Place to Take a Mixed Gluten Requirement Family Award." I'm not sure Tomato Bistro will get that award either (eating with a family in Manyunk has challenges that are not related to Tomato Bistro at all, like crowds and parking), but it's definitely still in the running. All in all, a nice and delicious outing at a place that really knows how to take care of its celiac and gluten intolerant customers. [Oh, and Sunday Nights are Gluten Free Nights at TB -- I'll have to check it out sometime!]
[May is Celiac Awareness Month, and I’m giving away copies of my ecookbooklet: So What CAN You Eat? Gluten-free Paleo Vegan (mostly) Recipes for Health and Weight Loss, to all who join the mailing list. Visit the homepage here. 19 fast, easy recipes!]
Another gluten-free product review. Scott does like a nice bowl of granola, so here he samples Bakery On Main's Fiber Power granola and Udi's Original Granola. I paid about the same amount for them at Martindale's, but Udi's typically runs a bit less. Scott was definitive in his choice, but I have to admit that I disagree with him. I liked the other one MUCH BETTER. Watch and see what pleases an 8-year-old. And say hi to our dog Bugsy.