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 : )

From Palm Oil to Dairy

Cow head

CONTEXT: I am boycotting Palm Oil, and getting responses!

Today I e-mailed:

  • Dr.Bronner’s
  • Gultino
  • and sent a follow up message to Tofutti (info@toftti.com) who I have not recieved a reply from (I e-mailed them two weeks ago about their use of palm oil in their vegan ice cream sandwiches).
  • and stepped into new territory when I e-mailed Mediterranean Snacks (at info@mediterraneansnackfoods.com), initially to thank them for making palm oil and vegan Baked Lentil Chips, but ended up asking them to remove dairy from their lentil crackers!

Today I sent Mediterranean Snacks the following Message:

Dear Mediterranean Snacks,

My name is Jenni and I have been an avid consumer of your products since recently discovered that your Baked Lentil Chips are free from meat, dairy, egg and gluten products! It really means a lot to me that you produce products which support a plant-based lifestyle.

I previously had avoided purchasing or consuming Mediterranean Snack brand products because your Lentil Crackers contain Milk Protein and Milk Cream.

In addition to being a common allergen, dairy products promote the torture and suffering of hundreds of cows per minute. PETA’s page on the dairy industry says…

“Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans do: to nourish their young. In order to force the animals to continue giving milk, factory farm operators typically impregnate them using artificial insemination every year. Calves are generally taken from their mothers within a day of being born—males are destined for veal crates or barren lots where they will be fattened for beef, and females are sentenced to the same fate as their mothers.
After their calves are taken away from them, mother cows are hooked up, several times a day, to milking machines. These cows are genetically manipulated, artificially inseminated, and often drugged to force them to produce about four and a half times as much milk as they naturally would to feed their calves.
Animals are often dosed with bovine growth hormone (BGH), which contributes to a painful inflammation of the udder known as “mastitis.” (BGH is used widely in the U.S. but has been banned in Europe and Canada because of concerns over human health and animal welfare.) According to the industry’s own figures, between 30 and 50 percent of dairy cows suffer from mastitis, an extremely painful condition.
A cow’s natural lifespan is about 25 years, but cows used by the dairy industry are killed after only four or five years. An industry study reports that by the time they are killed, nearly 40 percent of dairy cows are lame because of the intensive confinement, the filth, and the strain of being almost constantly pregnant and giving milk. Dairy cows’ bodies are turned into soup, companion animal food, or low-grade hamburger meat because their bodies are too “spent” to be used for anything else.
Male calves—”byproducts” of the dairy industry—are generally taken from their mothers when they are less than 1 day old. Many are shipped off to barren, filthy feedlots to await slaughter. Others are kept in dark, tiny crates where they are kept almost completely immobilized so that their flesh stays tender. In order to make their flesh white, the calves are fed a liquid diet that is low in iron and has little nutritive value. This heinous treatment makes the calves ill, and they frequently suffer from anemia, diarrhea, and pneumonia.
Frightened, sick, and alone, these calves are killed after only a few months of life so that their flesh can be sold as veal. All adult and baby cows, whether raised for their flesh or their milk, are eventually shipped to a slaughterhouse and killed. ” (via http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/dairy-industry.aspx)I would like to respectfully request that you eliminate the use of dairy in your products. I would happily pay more for an alternative that does less damage to animals and the environment. Can you tell me about how Mediterranean Snacks is improving the lives of dairy cows?

I appreciate your attention to this matter and I look forward to enjoying dairy-free products from you in the future.

This was my first time e-mail a company to ask them to stop using dairy products but I am excited to continue writing letters!

The Garden Diet

I just finished doing a 21 day raw cleanse with my Mom called “The Garden Diet“. It cost some money but they sent us all the recipes to follow and there were a bunch of other people doing it at the same time as us.It was created by this really cool raw family that is super healthy looking and fun having (the website talks all about them). I started it the same day I started working at summer camps so it was really nice to not have to make decision about what to eat… you just follow the recipes! A few of them were kinda gross but from the most part they were delicious and helped me to try new things and learn which flavours I prefer, This cleanse was completely raw and didn’t use a dehydrator at all. I was amazed there were so many recipes using just nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies.

I stuck to it pretty religiously except for the last few days…

I did it because I wanted to support my Mom doing it, anything that puts more vegan food in our house is a good thing, and I am also very interested in raw eating.

The first few days I was EXHAUSTED and this could have just been from starting a new job and not being used to working with kids all day. Wednesday the energy started coming and I felt unstoppable. Everything was great until Thursday of week two, “Water Day”. On thursday itself I was fine not eating and just drinking water. I went to rehearsal and had a full day without really being hungry at all. The next morning however I woke up and was too weak to move, my Mom had to drive me to work and make me some juice and almond milk. I felt like Mimi in RENT when she’s been “doing lots of drugs and not eating any food for three weeks”. Apart from that is was really good though, I’m glad I experienced it and it was a fun/tasty adventure.

If you don’t know what raw food is it basically entails not cooking anything and eating lots of fresh juice, soaked nuts, seeds, veggies and fruits. YUM! Of course this is gluten free and vegan (some recipes used honey but I substituted fruit and dates in those cases).

MMMMMM.

Chocolate Delight.

Recently I made an amazing discovery:

http://www.babycakesnyc.com/

I would love to go there someday! I’ll have to add it to my list of restaurants I want to visit before death. I the mean time though I discovered their cookbook! It was quick to arrive at my local library and I baked my second goodie from it today, Brownies! (the first was “johnnycakes” which turned out more like scones aha, that’s what happens when you substitute flours). They turned out quite well, a little sweeter and less dense/fudgy than I like (I was a big fan of the two-bite brownies in my pre-vegan days) but good nonetheless. Yum! Gluten-free, vegan, soy free… : D

Hola Granola


DSC_0350

Originally uploaded by jremps

On Saturday I made gluten-free vegan granola with the recipe I found here:

http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/2006/11/oh-my-god-granola.html

Ingredients:

3 cups oats

½ cup chopped cashews

½ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup rice flour

¼ cup sorghum flour ¼ cup potato flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon ginger

¾ cup honey ¾ cup maple syrup

½ cup cranberry juice, unsweetened

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons canola oil

a splash of unsweetened pomegranate juice

As you can see I made some substitutions and got creative with a few things.