Why I Will Not Eat Gluten Again

Dear Jenni,

Please don’t go back on this one…

The stomach pain
The bloating
The burps and subsequent embarrassment
The other bodily gases and subsequent embarrassment
What will the good looking people think?
Food comas
The bathroom isn’t the best place to spend a nice evening
There are so many things I can’t enjoy when I am preoccupied with gluten sickness
Vicious cycle of gluten eating leading to more gluten eating

Stay chipper. Love always,
Jenni

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How to Be a Gluten-Free Vegan

According to Jenni Rempel

So, you want to be a vegan… (Start here)

Though I am not strictly gluten-free myself, my Mom is gluten-intolerant so I am well aware of the challenges with avoiding gluten. After my mom was diagnosed I went gluten free (in addition to being vegan) for several months. For myself, I found the best way to do this was to eat mostly raw food and look at raw food recipes. Especially in the gluten-free dessert category, I think this is the tastiest and healthiest way to go (cashew cheesecake anyone?). Beyond that there are also many recipes for dishes that never contained gluten to begin with. Quinoa, rice, and lentils can be the base of many tasty meals.

Popular gluten-free alternatives to animal flesh include: tofu, tempeh (fermented soy bean… there are some great tempeh bacons out there), and veg based products (such as vegetable burgers). Avoid seitan (which is made from wheat gluten).

Like many dairy and egg products, most vegan alternatives are gluten free. Daiya Cheese (who now makes vegan-gluten-free frozen pizzas), all non-dairy milks, and the almond and soy based vegan yogurts on the market are all gluten free. Egg replacers like flax meal, apple sauce, banana and some packaged egg replacers are also gluten free!

Christine Norris, a gluten-free and vegan living specialist says…

When doing both [gluten-free and vegan], stick with fresh, whole foods and you won’t have any problem. When buying packaged foods, get used to reading the label. Major allergens are usually listed at the bottom in bold (i.e. milk and gluten, wheat), but not always.

Going to vegetarian restaurants helps eliminate half the trouble, and most will mark if something’s gluten freeon their menu. It gets easier as you do it more… also try sticking to non-American restaurants for a while, since most other cultures don’t use the same types of flours or have plenty of alternatives; i.e. Mexican food (vegan enchiladas, fajitas and tacos on corn), Indian food (most things are made with chickpea flour), Ethiopian (injera), Thai (vegan curry dishes), and Chinese (Mongolian stir fries). It’s best to make your own food when you can – it will save you money and frustration.

It should be relatively easy to be both vegan, and gluten-free, as both lifestyles involve reading ingredients thoroughly and being very conscious about what one puts into their body.

Here are some great blogs with recipes and info:

Eating out:

  • Raw food restaurant are usually 100% vegan and gluten free (check for and avoid honey and Nama Shoyu [raw soy sauce]). In Vancouver I love Organic Lives and Gorilla Food.
  • Sushi is also a great option (skip the soy sauce or bring tamari). Try standard veggie rolls, kappa rolls, avocado rolls and other veg-based options. Other Asian traditions also featured products made with rice flour and rice wraps that can usually be made gluten-free and vegan.
  • Indian food also tends to have a number of rice-based and curry dishes which are gluten-free and vegan.
  • Mexican food often has options for gluten-free corn based tortillas and tacos which can be filled with veggies, beans, rice, potatoes, salsa and guacamole. Mmm!

Cookbooks: (thanks to Genny B.  and Christine Norris for the recommendations)

  • Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free & Vegan Baking Book, by Jennifer Katzinger
  • Gluten-Free and Vegan Holidays, also by Jennifer Katzinger
  • The Gluten-Free Vegan, Susan O’Brien.
  • Genny says… I use the first cookbook about 90% of the time and I consult the other two books the odd time. Katzinger’s cookbooks are amazing because not only is it vegan but it’s also whole foods (healthy sugars and flours) and next to no binders. My fav is…
  • Babycakes NYC! http://www.babycakesnyc.com/books.html Yummy desserts! Learning how to bake is a great thing when you are a gluten-free vegan! It can be fun too!
  • Alison Kramer’s Great Gluten-Free Eats
  • Christy Morgan’s Blissful Bites (gluten-free options clearly marked)

A friend recently asked, why be vegan and gluten free?

While choosing to avoid gluten has no moral basis and is purely a health or dietary choice, being vegan is a social justice issue, an ethical stand point, and a firm decision to stand up to oppression. It is a moral position. Why be vegan AND gluten free? For health, and for the animals, and for the planet.

Overall vegan nutrition info can be found at http://vegankit.com/eat#nutrition, chooseveg.com and also nutritionfacts.org : )

Join me in taking on the Welfare Food Challenge next week!

Raise the Rates has launched a new challenge, the Welfare Food Challenge. The challenge is to live for a week on the food that a single, able-bodied person on welfare would have – spending only $26. Sign up to take the Challenge below!

Of the $610 a month the BC government provides for a person on welfare, after paying for accommodation, bus tickets and cellphone (necessary to look for work), and basic hygiene only $109 remains for food – less than $26 for a week. There is nothing for clothes, haircuts, or any social life.

The challenge will start on October 16, World Food Day, and will finish on October 23. The week includes World Poverty Day on October 17th.

via Welfare Food Challenge

I am going to document what I eat each day, how much I end up spending, how I feel and anything else that comes up! I am staring mine a but late, likely on the 19th or 20th because I am volunteering at Vancouver We Day and will be up from 6AM to midnight for three or four days in a row so I won’t have time to plan my challenge until after the event.

I am going to try and do it low fat raw vegan style (fruit based) but am looking into the cost of organics vs conventional etc.

 

Food Stamps

Interested?

Check out their website:

http://welfarefoodchallenge.org/

Facebook Event:

http://www.facebook.com/events/394656377273971

Are You Eating Human Hair or Duck Feathers?

Processed Foods

Max made us vegan pizza today! We used palm-free daiya cheese. The crust came from Max’s freezer and after eating I realized I didn’t recognize some of the ingredients. Today I called Molinaro’s Fine Italian Foods to ask them about some of their ingredients. One of their pizza crusts which contained:

SUGAR: I want to know if it was processed through Bone Char.

L-CYSTINE: I had never heard of this before but according to Wikipedia it is a semi-essential amino acid. Wikipedia also said IT USED TO BE MADE FROM HUMAN HAIR! And now it is mostly made from Duck Feather! I really do not want to eat that. I think it can also come from peppers and other plants but I am really not sure. Help! This website also had some info.

CALCIUM PROPIONATE: Looks to be a preservative that can sometimes be cultured in whey. Again, it was challenging for me to find clear information.

They had already left for the day so I left them a message. I will report back with more info soon!

Do you know anything about these ingredients? Leave a message in comments if you have vital information!

FoodSafe: A Vegan Adventure

Vegan Food - It's What Should Be For Dinner! mosaic~

I became FoodSafe Level 1 Certified! Yay! Here were some interesting things I got out of the course:
  • “Don’t come to work intoxicated.”
  • “Don’t throw knives.”
  •  I wonder how much the people in the Foodsafe video got paid. Are they actors or “real” people? Hmmmm.
  • DID YOU KNOW? Pigs and Fish are full of parasites like tapeworms and someone needs to remove them before people eat pigs or fish : (
  • (of bacteria on us) ”we are dirty, vile, creatures”
  • “cats are contaminated.”
  • “if in doubt, throw it out”
  • Anything from an animal is assumed to be contaminated.
  • I will never forget the image of cow flesh dripping blood on lettuce in a cooler : (
  • We had a bit of discussion about why would people want raw milk? (why would people want animals milk at all?)
  • I want an Ice Wand! Cool! Ice Wand! Yay!
  • Raw veggies cannot get bacteria! Cool! Just wash ’em (they are not listed as a potentially hazardous food).

Some of my questions were not answered…

Q. If all chickens are assumed to have Salmonella, do other birds have Salmonella? What about crows?

After some googling… I think not. But this book says that crows and seagulls (much like fish) have mercury in them http://books.google.ca/books?id=nCV8elrPxk0C&pg=PA164&lpg=PA164&dq=crows+salmonella&source=bl&ots=eIc0j06UFL&sig=KDEPNvWDNLMEN6cgrfJMG6lmkmk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=qNkjT-fnNuGeiQL5j9HMBw&ved=0CDwQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

Q: How does food turn from an acid to alkaline in digestion (like lemons)?

“As I mentioned above, alkaline diet foods have an alkalizing effect on the body because they are rich in alkaline minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, and potassium. All of these minerals are very important, but potassium has the biggest effect on your internal pH.” via http://www.alkalinediet.org/

Other sources with info: http://www.brightsmilebeautifulyou.com/blog/lemon_water/index.html#.TyPXHWNWqFg

http://www.goutpal.com/gout-food-to-avoid.html

At first I was thinking, wow most of this doesn’t affect me. But then I realized that is does. Even if I make the choice not to eat animals and animal products many other people still do – and they could contaminate me! Or the people I love (everyone)! Or themselves! Wow! I did realize how much simpler cooking vegan is in terms of preventing disease. Yay. I think haha. We are all so connected, I see it more and more deeply each day.

I also noticed that the course was not very inclusive in some ways. I didn’t like the way we referred to my friends the chickens as “food”. Much of the footage in the videos also featured dead animals flesh being prepared which I found very disturbing.

There were many of my questions that were answered though!

I learned about why people eat cow meat that is cooked on the outside but not the inside (medium rare) but not other animals prepared in a similar manner (ie: chicken). Apparently all chicken is assumed to have Salmonella. Cow is different. Larger risks of contamination mainly come from ground beef because when they cut the meat there is a chance they can accidentally cut the intestines and release feces (poop) into the meat. So ground beef and chicken must be cooked all the way through to at least 74 degrees Celsius for at least 15 seconds to kill any dangerous microbes.

I passed with 92%. Score!

Let me know if you need me to be your FoodSafe person!

OH and I also had another idea. The purpose of FoodSafe is to keep the public safe and healthy…. So what about another course called “EnviroSafe” meant to keep the environment safe and healthy? They could have standards and certifications for waste management and green living! I also thought of “SelfSafe” a program for keeping our minds and thoughts safe and healthy. Imagine that!

Cafe Gratitude is closing?

This post comes as a response to the recent announcement of the sale/closing of all Northern California Cafe Gratitude locations.

I’m gonna be honest, I have not worked at Cafe Gratitude. I have not seen any actual evidence of how they deal with compensation or tips, and I haven’t done Landmark so I can’t comment on that… however, I have had my life changed by their incredible philosophy. I learned how to love better, how to listen, and how all of that was within me to begin with.

I had the pleasure of recently doing a workshop with Matthew and Terces recently where they mentioned there was a legal battle beginning and I think Terces especially was very upset about the whole thing. It was very hard for me to watch her struggle with that. I don’t know anything for sure, but I am making up they have made good in the world. Actually, that’s not true. I know one thing for sure. Cafe Gratitude inspires me every day to live better and love more.The last time I walked into a Cafe Gratitude one of my friends in the kitchen said “Hey, this girl came all the way from Canada to eat at our restaurant.” and he was right. And I am so grateful for that.

Vegan High Tea

Recently I had the pleasure of attending Vegan High Tea at Indigo Foods in Vancouver. I got a great deal on Ethical Deal so it was super affordable (thanks to my friend for the great find!) and DELICIOUS! I’ve been eating about 90% raw food since returning from California this summer so it was nice to try some new things like a collard wrap (picture below) and lots of chocolate and coconut desserts : )

My friend and I accidentally purchased two coupons so we tried to find more people to come eat with us. Luckily my new vegan friend Allison was available. We are both studying in the School of Interactive Arts + Technology at SFU and met in one of our classes this semester. I’m so grateful to have met her because 1) She is awesome and creative and I love it  and 2) I wanted to expand my network of vegans and it’s totally manifesting!

It was nice to sit and talk about thing but talk about everything at the same time. Mmmm!

Oh, and the place itself was really cool too! Kinda out of the way for me, but I hear they have an Opera Singer and Belly Dancer on the weekends! Fun!

Vegan visits Portland: The Paradox Organic Cafe

I hade the…

Belmont Combo $7.95

Choose a pancake, French toast or a waffle; sausage or potatoes; one egg or tofu.

I had to get my brother to change my order because I didn’t realize the sausage was vegan (btw BEST VEGAN BREAKFAST SAUSAGE EVER), and I couldn’t miss out on that. The French Toast was also amazing, so thick and delicious (I think they put some vegan creme cheese in the mix om nom nom). I got it with tofu and I put this local hot sauce on it that everyone seems to enjoy.

I love that when they bring your food out they ask you if you want Braggs or Nutritional Yeast with it… most people in BC don’t even know what nutritional yeast is! haha : D

LOVE PORTLAND! OM NOM NOM!

EDIT: OH, and the bathroom was space themed (they had an underwater one too) hehehe

I met Sarah Kramer

Sarah Kramer is a stylist, inspiring vegan author whom I had the pleasure of meeting at an animal fundraiser. The event was held at Karmavore, an awesome local vegan shop in New West that I am falling in love with. I have two cook books by Sarah: How it all Vegan and The Garden of Vegan. Neither have pictures but they have some great recipes. The part I like best about her books are the personal stories and lifestyle tips she includes.

Check out her website here: http://www.govegan.net/