Monthly Archives: August 2010

Am I Gluten Sensitive? Maybe…..

Was I feeling sick? NO. Just un-well, if this is a word. Just how do you describe not feeling good but not feeling ill. This best describes how I have felt for the past couple of years. I just figured “I am getting old” or blaming menopause due the hysterectomy I had a couple of years ago were the reasons I didn’t feel right. I ached so horribly bad in my hands, knees, and feet that I lived on pain relievers. I went to see my doctor and was diagnosed with arthritis in my hands. I went to see a naturopath and she did give me some advice regarding my aching pain – stop eating russet potatoes and tomatoes! Well, I did eliminate these two food items from my diet and I had some relief most days. I know these do cause me pain because when I have eaten them, I get that oh so familiar aching back.  I love potatoes – prepared any way – mashed, baked, fried, salad, etc. I also use a ton of tomato sauce, paste, stewed, diced, fresh or canned in all my cooking, so this poses a few issues and most of the time I choose to eat them and deal with the pain later. Then came more research and I stumbled across the issue of Gluten Sensitivity and it’s related symptoms. I found several different websites that listed symptoms of gluten sensitivity and I have many of the classic symptoms. Now, mind you, in addition to my love of potatoes, BREAD was my first most favorite food item. I would eat toast almost every day, sandwiches for lunch, french bread with my tomato based pasta sauce and PASTA! Gluten, gluten and more gluten – every day! Maybe it wasn’t just the potatoes and tomatoes after all….. 

Move ahead several months… 

I have been eliminating gluten containing foods from my diet. I cook brown rice pastas and am making sourdough bread items (souring the dough helps inactivate the gluten in the flour). I am able to eat Yukon Gold and Red potatoes with no issues. When I do eat russet type potatoes I can feel it, so I try to avoid them as much as possible.

I feel so much better now.  So, am I Gluten Sensitive? Quite likely.

The following is a list of symptoms I found and wanted to share – do you suffer from any of the following? Something to consider…..

Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity share some of the same symptoms. Although the actual damage occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, specifically in the small intestine, the symptoms manifest in many different ways and often show up throughout your entire body. 

Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease have hundreds of symptoms; the following lists don’t contain them all, but are a good sampling:  

 Gastrointestinal symptoms: These are some of the “classic” — although not the most common — symptoms of celiac disease: 

  •  Abdominal pain and distension  
  •  Acid reflux  
  •  Bloating  
  •  Constipation  
  •  Diarrhea  
  • Gas and flatulence 
  • Greasy, foul-smelling, floating stools 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Weight loss or weight gain 
  • Nongastrointestinal symptoms: Interestingly, although gluten sensitivity and celiac disease affect the gut, most people’s symptoms are not gastrointestinal in nature. This partial list includes just some of the more than 250 symptoms not centered in the digestive tract. 

  •  Eczema/psoriasis  
  • Swelling and inflammation   
  • Joint/bone pain 
  • Fatigue and weakness (due to iron-deficiency anemia)  
  • Nosebleeds 
  • Night blindness 
  •  Vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies 
  •  Headaches (including migraines)   
  •  Depression, irritability, listlessness, and mood disorders 
  •  “Fuzzy brain” or an inability to concentrate 
  •  Infertility 
  •  Abnormal menstrual cycles  
  •  Dental enamel deficiencies and irregularities   
  •  Seizures  
  •  Clumsiness (ataxia) 
  •  Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) 
  •  Respiratory problems 
  •  Canker sores (apthus ulcers) 
  •  Lactose intolerance  
  •  Rosacea (a skin disorder)  
  • Acne 
  •  Hashimoto’s disease, Sjögren’s syndrome, lupus erythematosus, and other autoimmune disorders  
  •  Early onset osteoporosis 
  •  Hair loss (alopecia) 
  •   Bruising easily 
  •  Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) 
  •  Muscle cramping    
  • Read more: 

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    Sourdough Success!

    I have been playing with sourdough and my starter for a few months now and think I have finally lost my fear of failure. I was intimidated by the starter for what I now realize was crazy. The starter is so simple and so forgiving. It continues to work, even when I neglect it. I am not too consistent at feeding it and I have forgotten about it at times and yet with a little feeding it performs beautifully.  I am still trying to make a sourdough bread that isn’t as heavy as a brick! I will keep on trying for good bread, but in the meantime, I am turning out absolutely delicious sourdough english muffins and tortillas. No more store bought for us!  Thank you to GNOWFGLINS Sourdough eCourse!



    (makes 8 muffins)

    Soak the following overnight or up to 24 hours: I let mine sit 12 hours so this step could be started early in the day and cooked in the evening.

    • 3/4 cup sourdough starter
    • 1 cup water                              
    • 2 cups flour (I used white, whole wheat)
    • 2 Tbls. ground flax seed (optional)

    Stir to combine the starter and water, then add the flour and ground flax seed. Stir well to combine. The dough should be quite sticky, so if it appears to be too dry you can add a bit more starter and/or water. Cover and let sit on your counter.

    The next morning add:

    • 1 tsp. sea salt
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 tbls. raw honey
    • optional add-ins: seeds, dried fruit (raisins,etc), cinnamon, chopped nuts

    Mix to combine with a wooden spoon. Turn dough out onto lightly oiled surface (about 1 tbls. of olive oil) and oil your hands lightly too. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes, just to incorporate the salt, soda, and honey. Pat into a circle and cut into 8 equal pieces either using a pizza cutter or large knife.

    Lightly dust your hands with flour and gently roll each piece into a ball. Flatten slightly, about 3/4″ – 1″ thick, 2 -1/2 inches in diameter. Place the muffins on wax paper or parchment paper that has been dusted with cornmeal. Cover with a dish towel and let rest for 1 hour. The muffins will rise just slightly, but will rise more when you cook them.

    After the muffins have rested, heat a cast iron skillet or griddle on medium/medium low heat. Don’t use too high of heat, you want the muffins to cook through without burning the outsides.

    Carefully transfer the muffins onto the skillet and cook about 5 minutes on each side. Turn them gently so you don’t deflate them. 

    Cool on cake rack and when cool, store in covered container up to a week (if they last that long!) or freeze for longer storage. 

    These are so easy and relatively quick to make. Hands on time is maybe 10 minutes to prepare for soaking, less than 10 minutes mixing and kneading, and 10 – 20 minutes cooking, depending on the size of your skillet or griddle.

     This recipe could be doubled or tripled.




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    Filed under In the Kitchen

    Thursday Thoughts

    It’s been way too long since I posted anything. It is not for lack of anything to say or lack of anything happening on the old home front, that’s for sure. There has been a lot going on, so today I am just posting my random thoughts for Thursday….

    The Garden – it is doing quite well actually. We have enjoyed lettuce, chard, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, kohlrabi, new potatoes, artichokes, cherries and cabbage so far this season, all from our own backyard. I have nearly 7 lbs of beets to can and I just picked our first tomato (!) with tons more just waiting to ripen. I can’t wait for the romas to make salsa and the others to can for use this winter. I am now getting ready to plant a fall crop of beets and lettuce and in a few weeks I will plant garlic.  

    Preserving – so far this summer I have picked and froze strawberries, blueberries, and marionberries. I made some strawberry jam and mashed and froze the marionberries to make jam at a later date. I picked 52 lbs of peaches this week and just finished canning 8 qts today. They are not quite ripe enough, so I am going to can more in the next day or so. I am looking forward to picking pears and apples in the next couple of weeks.


     Yard Work –  We are in the middle of a complete remodel / addition to our house and the front yard has truly suffered from neglect so we took a break from inside work and focused on redoing the front landscaping. I still need to add a few more shrubs and plant bulbs this fall for spring flowers, but the heavy work is done for now.

    These are just a few of the things going on here.

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    Filed under Home, In the Garden, In the Kitchen