It’s green… it’s all just… GREEN…

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At my doctor appointment two weeks ago, my doctor recommended a gluten allergy test. We’d tested my thyroid and various other things, all of which were normal. What the heck, we’ll try gluten. After the blood draw,  he went out of town for two stinking weeks, thus rendering me unable to received my results, because apparently they require interpretation. The kindly receptionist asked another doctor to have a look at them, but he said he couldn’t definitely say anything, not knowing my history, but that I would probably need to have some other tests done to narrow down what the trouble may be. Awesome. I suspect I have, to some degree, gluten sensitivity. Mike Neir is groaning as he reads this, as he has little tolerance for a gluten-free dietary lifestyle.

If indeed I have a sensitivity, it will impact his life considerably because I’ll be cooking dinners that will have less and less (and eventually no) gluten. Cooking two meals per day isn’t going to happen, unless Mike is cooking one of them himself. That sucks, but alas, life is sometimes unfair.

Believe me, I so don’t want to be allergic to gluten. Seriously. That shit is everywhere, and it’s in many of my favorite foods. I know I need to cut down on the carbs, but doing it because I want to versus doing it because I’m allergic to them… well, bah. Also, dammit.

I wanted to see what a gluten molecule looked like, but the Googles are not being kind to me. I want a simple, molecular diagram of what this thing looks like. Maybe I’m going about it wrong, and gluten isn’t a distinct molecular entity unto itself, but rather a part of another. We’ll see; my research will not be stymied.

The indefatiguable Barbara (very much a low-to-no carb/no gluten advocate) sent me a bunch of her favorite soup recipes last week, covered with wonderful sticky notes full of tips and caveats. One of the receipes, Bieler Broth, touts its restorative properties for people with high stress (check,) low energy (check,) back pain (check) and ligament troubles (maybe.) It’s a simple broth/tonic recipe, very easy to make, and it’s made entirely out of green things.

The recipe I used is slightly different than the one I’ve linked here, but the book is copyrighted and I don’t want to infringe. Basically, a small honkload of zucchini, a bit of celery, a large honkload of green beans, a small bundle of thyme and a giant honkload of parsley coupled with a small amount of water. That’s it.

I am not a huge fan of zucchini, unless it’s baked into something yummy or deep-fried; however, it’s high in sodium and since I have all but eliminated adding salt to my diet since I was 15, perhaps I’m low on sodium. It’s always seemed unlikely to me, simply given the amount of sodium found in prepared foods, but who knows.

Yesterday, on the way home from Threadbear, I stopped by the newly-relocated Lansing Farmer’s Market. They’re still very disorganized and there are only a few vendors currently selling, but I figured I’d give it a shot.The new building is a far sight better than the old, narrow split-building that has been in service since god was a boy:

The old buildings certainly do have their charm, though – I hope they’re used for another good function and not razed to the ground.

They had a Haitian band playing live for relief efforts, and I found about half of what I was looking for. I love the market, but it’s largely a crapshoot in winter as to whether or not the trip was worth the gas. Once my bundles there were secured, I headed over to Foods for Living for the remainder and carried all the organic loveliness home to chop up and soupify.

I cooked it all up and went to knit the chunky scarf I decided upon (post coming later on that.) As the soup warmed up, a distinctly Green smell permeated the house. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant smell… it smelled like I was cooking a frakton of green things without much seasoning. It smelled like boiling zucchini. Buh.

After a half hour, I whizzed everything together with the TOTALLY BRILLIANT immersion blender Mike’s mom gave me for Christmas. This this is fricking amazing and I have no idea how I ever lived without it. Sharon did a fantastic job picking this one out – it’s not just a hand blender, it’s also a hugely powerful whisk and has a really nice-sized chopper attachment. It made very short work of the big chunks of veggies in the soup, and soon, I had a very very Green substance.

That photo, incidentally, is not the actual soup, but one that looked just like it. I found that one Googling for “green soup.”

I poured myself a mug and waited for it to cool down as I knitted and caught up on “Chuck.” As it cooled, I eyed it suspiciously. The aroma was not awesome. Barbara noted this was something her family used successfully during their detox period and when they weren’t feeling well. I trust Barbara – she has yet to steer me in anything but a healthy, productive direction – but I questioned my ability to down this potion.

It was sufficiently cool after 10 minutes or so, and I brought it hesitantly to my lips. I stared at it with a pursed nostril. Took a sip – ok, not as bad as I thought. Downed a few more gulps, meh.

Now those of you who might indulge in the occasional alcoholic beverage may be familiar with The Whole Body Shudder, which originates from the deepest depths of one’s throat. It is the shudder of revulsion when you hit Too Much Booze, or a particular booze that doesn’t agree with your palatte. It’s an uncontrollable, face-contorting SHUH-hu-GRAKhuhhhb.

After a few more gulps, I hit that point. I kept kakking it down, trying not to feel or taste the stubborn zucchini particles that didn’t blend up well, willing my nostrils to shut both inside and out and failing.

After about two cups’ worth, I’d had it – I tapped out and put the remaining inch down the sink. How much more of this could I stomach over the next few days? Well, we’ll see.

An interesting thing did happen, though – about 15 or 20 minutes after I’d finished the odious task of downing this stuff, I felt a surge of well-being, a lifting of my attitude and a general sense of ease. Well, huh. What do you know?

The question being, is that sense of ease enough to get me past the KAKK factor on a regular basis? I suspect it will take some mental conditioning and behavioral changes, because as soon as the very temporary feeling of being sated wore off, I nommed a few crackers with cheese down. Baby steps.

I could add things to the soup, but I wonder if that might throw off its acid-/alkaline-balacing properties or offset one of the other ingredients. Kakk it is, I reckon.

I have another doctor appointment scheduled for this coming Friday; we’ll see what pokes and prods need to be done next. I’m going to feel pretty stupid if I’ve been allergic to gluten all these years and it’s been what’s caused the Restless Leg Syndrom, overall apathy and assorted other issues. Now that would get me on the gluten-free wagon, though – if giving them up would kick the RLS, I would jump on that train and ride it happily. It will still suck, but it will suck for a damn good outcome.

Mostly, it comes down to Discipline, as do so many things in my life. I couldn’t possibly pick One Word for this year if I got paid to do it – there are too many aspects of my life needing work.

Currently, Discipline and Simplicity are at the forefront, with my resolution words running at a lower simmer (Compassion, Kindness, Mindfulness, Connection, Home.)

They are all closely related to each other, with many fibers connecting the concepts behind them all. I may work up some kind of a tangible, visible mandala to help me remember them (because I can’t stick to one craft at a time and simply learn to be good at it, right? Where did that simplicity go already?)

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5 responses to It’s green… it’s all just… GREEN…


  1. If indeed you have a gluten intolerance, then I can assure you the discipline stuff isn’t the end of the world; you just have to reprogram how your brain thinks about food. Upon seeing a delicious craft brew, my brain doesn’t think “YUM! BEEEEEER!!!” any more. Instead, it goes “YUCK! ICKY POISON!!” Gluten = poison. Gluten = poison. Within a few short months it will be a pavlovian response. (And to allay your fears, there are sorghum-based gluten-free beers.)

    And Mike Neir won’t mind as much when he starts feeling better as a side effect. 😀

  2. Erin

    Yeah, you’re right – I just need to get my initial temper tantrum out of the way.

    Ten years ago, I never contemplated a vegetarian diet because it was TOO HAAAARD, and OMG MAH STEAKS! The right motivation makes all the difference, I reckon.

    Still, it’s easier to do something radical for others (even if the others are animals) than to do it just to make myself feel better.

    Thanks, Mom, for all the damn Issues.

    And yeah, at nearly 40, I should be over those…

    At any rate, how are the sorghum beers, comparatively?

  3. I gotta say, they are not as awesome as Guinness. But, they are beers. Redbridge is lame (and the most widely available), but others like New Grist Mill are not bad.

  4. Elle Clark

    I think you might find some of the raw recipes good for this. And tasty most of them. If you want to go to one of the Potlucks (1st monday of the month) let me know. http://www.livinghiho.com It is hard to go without knowing anyone, so atlest you would know me. They usually have a speaker too. The times I have gone they had someone there talking about essential oils and other things like that. And I do feel the best when I eat this way, just the discipline of changing that much is hard! I took the level 1 class and am considered a raw food instructor (not that I have time to instruct!) But I would be happy to help you out with recipes if you decide you want some or questions about prep.

    I am not going this month because today is my birthday and I have too many other things going on. Maybe next month though! And I feel incredibly guilty everytime I look at your hat with the weather being like it is! If you want to send me your address I will make sure you get it! Or let me know if you will be at Threadbear this week. I pass them on my way to work and could drop it off for you. Thanks for donating! Fund raiser is this weekend! Can’t wait! And the classes I am taking at the fund raiser are to teach me to weave! New skill!

    Don’t get too discouraged, there are some really good gluten-free recipes out there! We were wheat and dairy free and vegan for a while and you can find some amazing things on the market including donuts and such! Contact me if need some extra help!

  5. Stacey Krusac

    Erin, one of my best friends is completely gluten free and has really made good from it. She bakes all the time, make delicious, elaborate meals; I know you’d do fine! If you’d like, I can give you her contact info so you can chat with her about it. She has been gluten free for over a year now, I think, and isn’t as unhappy as she once thought she would be, not having gluten that is 🙂 Just let me know!

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