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Health Foodie: Lower Acid and Vegetarian Pasta Sauce

Simply because cannot take “no” for an answer- I had to find answer to my pasta dilemma Largely, due to the sauce, a lower acid pasta sauce. So what’s wrong with the sauce? Too much acid producing agents like tomatoes and meat. Meat? Yes, digesting meats requires more stomach acid production. My stomach gets all dramatic and I end up in pain. My solution was Puttenesca. Puttenesca is a tomato sauce with a specific combinations of plants, veggies, and (most of time) anchovies.  I HATE anchovies. If I had a choice between those greasy, tiny fish and bugs.  I choose bugs. We will say no to the anchovies this time. And every time.

This sauce still carries the problematic acidic tomato.  I opted for campari tomatoes as they are sweeter with lower acid.  To reduce acid more, you can add in some carrot puree.  The tomatoes didn’t irritate my reflux.  Since the anchovies got to go- I went with capers to give that briny, salty taste.  Best part, is more concentrated veggies means more nutrition.  The instructions are for the sauce, your base is dealer’s choice. As complex carbs can help absorb stomach acid, I opted for a brown rice/ quinoa gluten free pasta but zoodles are just a good. 

Lower Acid Pasta Sauce

Ingredients and Prep

  • 3 Garlic cloves, diced
  • Oregano 1 tablespoon dried
  • Olive Oil 1 tablespoon
  • Campari tomatoes, 16 oz, quartered
  • Green or black olives sliced (2.25 oz can or I eat a specific green type, about 10 olives)
  • Capers 1-2 tablespoons
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon of carrot pure

Cooking

  1. Put in diced garlic and olive oil and gentle stir for about 5-7 minutes on medium.
  2. Still on medium heat, place in diced tomatoes and oregano and cook until tomatoes have broken down plus a few minutes (25 minutes). In the last 5 minutes you can put in optional carrot puree to lower the pH level.  
  3. Put in olives and capers for additional ten minutes.  1 1/2 tablespoon of capers is enough for me. Start with 1 tablespoon and add to taste.  Do let it cook for a minute before adding. 

With a few quick switch outs with some veggies, I have a delicious alternative.  Plus its a graduation from my dorm room ragu phase. There is nothing wrong with an occasional jar sauce on some veggies every once and while. However, there is more flavor and nutritional punch in this bowl. Love your food relationship and show it how to love you back.

J.Riley

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Food Allergies Hidden in House Hold Products

Having any food allergy, from the Top 8 and beyond, leads to a challenging life style. The foodie with allergy life requires constant label and food investigations and awkward questions at gatherings. It comes with additional risks when someone or a company isn’t honest. Thankfully, organizations like F.A.R.E. (Food Allergy Research and Education) make information and advocating needs easier. Companies labels are improving, especially with allergens on the ingredient list and the GF (gluten free label). Allergies are not confined to the food aisles and this is not as well know. They lurk everywhere. Only one Federal law protects the top eight food allergies and it only deals with food labels. Otherwise, if you clean with it,  take a prescription, take an OTC, put it on your skin, has a kosher label, or more then a company is not obligated to tell you when an allergen may be in their product. Take this short list of products with the Top 8 allergens and quick tips for foodie allergy “but it’s not a food.”

What Are the Top 8 Allergens?

  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Peanuts
  4. Tree Nuts
  5. Fish
  6. Shellfish
  7. Soy
  8. Wheat

This is the short list and more allergies exists. The Top 8 Allergy list was created from the most common known food allergies. However, if you suspect an allergy or intolerance, get tested. There are companies now that test a wide range of allergies and intolerances.

Products with Top 8 Allergens You Might Not Know About

  • Playdough: wheat
  • Marzipan: almonds
  • Worcestershire: fish
  • Some vaccinations like Flu Shot: eggs
  • Supplements: some contain shellfish or fish
  • Milk body wash or hand soap: lactic acid or milk proteins
  • Lotions: some contain almonds
  • Exfoliating products: walnuts or nuts
  • Lip balm and lip glosses: possible fish oils

Please always read labels on household products as they are not required to have a warning label.  We learned this the hard way with lotion containing almonds and hand wash with casein (milk protein).  It was right on the ingredient label and we just didn’t think. Have you read their labels? I decided not to become a chemist for a reason.  However, learn the chemical names of your allergies. Example of milk: lactic acid, casein, caseinate are all various components of milk. Always check. 

Be extra cautious and listen to your body’s reactions as allergens are not always on a label either.  After taking on the GF life, I was still reacting as though I was still eating gluten.  I was informed that it may be my laundry detergent. They were right.  Water and flour are suspected added as fillers in many products, but with no confirmed proof. I had to go with the welts, hives and suspicions. We switched to a recommended natural product and the reactions stopped.  Along with the laundry switch, we changed cleaning products to due a reading/investigation about peanut oils in cleaning products. I like my house clean but don’t want to put my sons life at risk.  Being mindful of symptoms and habits is your best weapon against continuous reactions or deadly ones. Take all out all products for a couple of weeks then add in former products one at a time. It takes two weeks, at least, to work out an allergy. Spread out re-introduced products days apart. It might take time to react again if that was the culprit.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Foodie with allergies or not, being savvy with allergens is a part of being well. Knowing one is safe contributes to their well in being relaxed and to your well of positive input. Caring for others always comes back in one form or another. When we can navigate and trust our environment, it enhances quality of life. Be informed, ask questions, and share information. Share this post if it makes it easier

J.Riley

Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part One

Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part One

As my love affair with all things spicy cools off, I have to find ways to live in between.  I am between my love of food relationship exploration and the need for it not to kill my stomach.  Creole food is one of those perplexing situations for me. About a year ago on a pinning spree I took on gumbo and LOVE it.  I love the earthy and fiery flavors with the simple base.  Recently, a more palatable version found my bowl as tweaking to remove shellfish allergy and reduce reflux triggers.  This reworking of a Creole icon reduces the spice, lowers fat content, and switches to a low acid tomato.   Make your shopping list, grab your pots, and find the zydeco music.  It’s time to channel that not so spicy but spiced up food encounter.

Gumbo/Stew

Ingredients and Prep

Roux

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour or all purpose gluten free flour

Gumbo

  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 tsp of Creole Seasoning (cayenne will do in a pinch)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley (1 tbsp dried parsley can be substituted)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced
  • 1 lb of chicken cooked and diced
  •  oz of smoked turkey sausage (if you can handle the spicy go for chicken andouille sausage)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 9 ounces of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Optional add ins: crawfish or shellfish

Cooking

  1. Roux: this mystical beast is the wonderment base.  The key is to never leave it alone and constantly stir.
    • Heat skillet to medium heat then add in oil.  Gentle stir in flour with a whisk and keep stirring.  The goal is a medium to medium dark brown.  Once you reach the desired color, give your arm a break and head to step 2.
  2. Add in: garlic, red bell pepper, celery, and tomatoes.  Cook for 10 minutes
  3. Add in broth, meat, and spices
  4. Simmer on low for about an hour

How you address or dress this dish when it’s done is up to you.  The classic is with rice.  We went for corn polenta (pictured), but it’s up to you and any idea you dream of.  Classics like this have staying power as it carries tradition, memories, and iconic flavors.  It doesn’t mean you can’t mess around a little in your food relationship.

Namaste

Check out part two next week!