Pepto-Bismal and Prosperi-Tea: Talking About Guts

This post is about guts. How many times have you had an upset stomach and reached for the magic in pink, Pepto Bismol? If you are anything like me, I grew up with this cooling, pink, minty elixir. Not a clue as to what is was. I just knew it was medicine. And that it worked.

Fast forward to the present. Every so often, you have one of those days. Days where you know you really do not need to eat a certain something (or really should not)… you really, really don’t… but you eventually munch it down anyway. For me, this usually involves gluten, because I am a sucker for sweets (if you did not know).

Of course, afterwards, I am in serious gut trouble. However, I do not reach for the nearest pink bottle of Pepto anymore. Instead, I’ve found a lovely solution for that bloating, awful feeling when the world seems much too round. Tea.

Yes, tea. You will note that these look a little oddly packaged. These are not ordinary, they are medicinal teas. Prepared properly, you can enjoy a world of soothing comfort from peppermint leaves or a little boost from cocoa extracts.

Now please note, there is no way I am promoting this chocolate tea as a chocolate alternative. It is flavored hot water. Let’s be real. However, I do enjoy the sweet flavor of the chocolate tea. It is also a “laxative” and while I do not think of tea as a “strong cure,” I do believe this tea gently re-engages the bowels. Off and on constipation problems? This is a more natural way to handle that.

You may be thinking, but what if I do not like tea? Sometimes, something sweet can be a little more appealing. Not a light, airy sophisticated sweetness, but a real blast of sugarcane. For times like this, I add my favorite sweetener.

Did I mention it is locally made in Arizona? Healthier than sugar? Gluten free? Oh yes. And as you can see, it comes in flavors! My favorite is in the picture. Vanilla Creme brightens my coffee, my tea… I love it.

SweetLeaf produces quality too. A few facts from their site:

  • SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener does not use chemicals, alcohols, solvents or enzymes at any stage of the extraction and purification process.
  • SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener contains only two ingredients: stevia leaf extract and inulin, a soluble vegetable fiber. Inulin is a naturally occurring prebiotic that nourishes the body’s good intestinal flora, supporting good digestive health and immune function.
  • SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener is ideal for everyone, including people watching their weight, managing diabetes and fitness enthusiasts who embrace clean eating.

I highly recommend trying the liquid sweetener for iced tea too. One thing I do not recommend it for is a sugar replacement in baking. Of course, for our purposes, it is golden. 🙂

Q: For all those bloated, ick days out there, I no longer rely on the pink bottle. What do you do? Are you willing to try a medicinal tea? A liquid sweetener?

image source: food craving, cookies!

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Let’s Create: the Alternative Holiday Treat Magazine!

Wouldn’t you like to have a nice back-pocket reference for the holidays?

Perhaps you would like to share some new concoction that tastes simply divine!

Maybe you have the cure for a frazzled parent in need of a quick, safe solution.

Well here is my opportunity for you. This month I hope to collect your favorite recipes for cookies, bars, or treats centered around the holiday you celebrate, since both Christmas and Chanukah will be celebrated simultaneously this year (for one day, anyway). There are a few rules which I outline below…

1. The recipe must be gluten free. That’s the only strict rule I have.

2. Mark any other avoided food allergies in your NAME box. Please code as follows: DF (Dairy Free), SF (Soy Free), EF (Egg Free), TNF (Tree Nut Free), PF (Peanut Free), CF (Corn Free), and comment below if you would like to code something else. I’ll update! Example recipe name: “Nana’s Gooey Snickerdoodles (DF, CF)”

3. Remember, this will be open until the end of December. If I have the opportunity, I may send one lucky participant something special for providing others with their hard work! It may be super cute if you happen to be a lady. It will definitely have to do with the theme of this link up! 🙂

4. Click to get started! You’ll get to see the current collection too. I made sure we have pictures with each link! Yay.

Please, please share this with your friends. I have come to realize how hard it is for those with harsh food allergies, especially in the middle of December. To find yourself without easy access to safe treats can be so difficult, especially when this season focuses almost exclusively on special foods. Your generous recipes are appreciated.

Double Up Smores: Food Allergy Friendly

Curious about my whereabouts this Thanksgiving? I have been sneakily waiting for the after party (my own creation) and plotting how to rock the season sans allergies! I love you guys and want you to be super healthy and happy this season. Therefore, I am bringing you treats of all shapes and sizes, and none of which will encourage your waistline.

Tell me more! Tell me more!

How about the healthiest SMORES you’ve ever tasted and a fire to huddle around for starters? We need to show the build up, and then I’ll break down the specifics… we’re making two. (Come on, one smore SO does not cut it. Gotta get our fix!)

First, a gluten-free graham cracker that tastes just divine. Does not crumble easily, and therefore tis perfect. Compare:

GF = gluten free, DF = dairy free/casein free, SF = soy free, PF = peanut free, TNF = tree nut free. Wow. So much avoided and so yummy. You’ll notice the calories indicated, but I save my explanation for the end. Ignore for now. Instead, hooray for the Smorables’ ingredients list! It is 2 ingredients short of completely recognizable and therefore very body friendly. Points.

Next, we assemble the most important filling selection: the chocolate. I think these mini chunks taste terrific melted and even beat the usual. Once again, an ingredient list you can read. Comparison…

We have 3 squares chocolate per smore. I like a ratio of 2 parts graham to 1 part chocolate. Flambe marshmallow just bonds the two together of course. Hehe. One importance thing to notice is that Enjoy Life offers chocolate without dairy, nuts, or soy. Huge deal. Huge.

FINALLY the critical marshmallow. Your typical marshmallow is full of crazy.

And not just that crazy. You know there are crazy ingredients in them. However, a nice little switch in labels means the same great taste, the same results can be had, BUT made from natural ingredients. Marshmallows that love your bod. Is not life so good today?

Alright. A nommy set of smores for us. What about this calories business, right? Perhaps you could care less about the calories, but my calorie notes serve a purpose. Those calories indicate how much of your intake comes from that product. If the calories are majority junk, then your treats are needlessly bad for you. It’s the holidays! Let’s indulge in really good stuff. 🙂 Our waistlines can jiggle from laughter all year round since we made smores and could enjoy them too!

Q: Do you have any other ideas for using these marshmallows, grahams, or chocolate pieces? I do!

*images: Smorables, Honeymaid, graham crackers, marshmallows pink, Elyon marshmallow & cartoon, Jet Puff, smore pics, Hershey, Enjoy Life, mini chunks

Gracious, the Season!

Hold. the. phone. What has happened to the winter season? I feel invaded by the world of commercial living! Since when do you begin posing Christmas materials before the end of Halloween? Since when do you post frosted cookie recipes before the start of Thanksgiving? I love the decor, the frosted cookies, the whole nine yards. I really, really do.

This year just feels so different. I almost feel pushed shoved into one of my favorite experiences. The Christmas season. For others, the Diwali or Chanukah or general giving season. Does anyone else feel this way too? It is rushed. Impersonal, even. I almost want to sit back and just soak up the outdoors for a few moments and forget certain holiday activities. Present as opposed to pressed in the world around me. Winter months are a wonderful time for remembrance, thankfulness, and overall generosity. I want to experience those things with the people I love.

A kind of grounding method for me is sipping hot liquids. It unwinds the mind. To me, this acts against the go-go-go push I keep feeling, and replaces it with a comforting ahhh moment. Of course, my preferred drinks are in harmony with the season. Fabulous for one or a multitude!

Hot apple cider is my current favorite and great for those with any food allergies. It’s easy to make at home, and hits the sweet and spicy notes just right. And did I mention it provides great nutrition? Perfect!

For any college students out there, the thing you simply must have is RAW, unfiltered apple juice. Not Motts, Juicy Juice, or any other brand. You want the real stuff from a local source because it makes or breaks any recipe you use. Adults (haha, with real jobs) can buy the cinnamon sticks and actual cloves. To save a few bucks, spend it all on the raw apple juice you’ll need and then dash the pot (filled with however many servings – I base mine on my mug by pouring from it) with a serious amount of ground cinnamon, a little ground cloves, and boil it for a minute or so. If you like, add a few orange slices too. Those are generally cheap to get. I think you’ll love it.

Now, for those with real jobs, you too need to make sure you buy literal raw apple juice to use. It should have murky stuff swirling around the bottom of the container. It makes the difference, I swear. If you can purchase local, Arizona apple juice you may have liquid gold on your hands. Delicious. Unfortunately, my favorite cider recipe disappeared from the face of the internet due to a downed food blog. None of the recipes come up anymore. Boo. I do have one which reminds me of it though, so here it is!* Enjoy.

*Note: Neglect the need for a cheesecloth. That is completely unnecessary. Just strain it.

Q: Do you have a particular seasonal recipe for a quick fix? How do you feel about the push, push, push of this season?

24 Carrot Gold (with cookies!)

May I present the bff holding the perfect example of our topic this post. Cookies. Throughout this week, I have inhaled delicious wafts of baked, glutinous treats, drizzled with chocolate, sprinkled with bright crystals of sugar. I wanted some. So badly.

Lucky for me, I got my wish, but by complete surprise. How did my best friend manage to come across such a tantalizing cookie (and one which we both could eat)? Well, it started with an impromptu adventure Friday morning. I say adventure, because Jessica had no clue that the breakfast location I chose happened to be completely vegetarian, somewhat vegan, and partially raw vegan in its menu. If you have not already guessed, she eats meat.

Walking in, I noticed 24 Carrots‘ eclectic looks with clusters of tables, chairs, and comfy spots to lounge around. It took us a while, but we finally made up our minds and ordered off of the chalked up menu.

As we sat down near the glass windows to catch up on conversation, other guests filtered in, and picked up carry out orders. Eventually our choices arrived. I completely caved when I discovered gluten free, vegan french toast on the menu.

A yummy choice. My fork got a little cinnamony because I needed to scrape off the beautiful strawberries. Jessica unknowingly ordered a more exotic breakfast.

In-house made “eggs” and “bacon” along with kamut toast and real jam.

When the plate touched the table, everything was fine. We welcomed the arrival of brunch. However, she suddenly gave me and the “eggs” quizzical looks. Jessica could tell something was up. I explained, “it’s vegan…(another look)…no dairy, no meat.” The discovery of tofu “eggs” came at her complete surprise.

She eyed the “bacon” and tried to figure out the next mystery. “What is this then?” We believed it to be seasoned firm tofu, and I was shocked when she proclaimed it to taste just like meat. Success. She thought the Indian twist on the “eggs” tasted good and offered me a bite. A house specialty? Yes please!

I continued on, drowning my french toast treat in maple syrup while Jessica moved on to her toast. She pronounced the kamut delicious, especially with the jam. As for my french toast, I loved that it tasted just like a tangy sourdough: a strong bite of chewy flavor. Good beginnings. BUT we started this discussion with a focus on cookies, right? What about the cookies…?

Well, when I wrote to 24 Carrots, I actually mentioned my cookie craving. Yes, cookies can be a legitimate, consuming priority. To be fair, I did discover 24 Carrots searching for something healthy. I only realized after looking at the 24 Carrots website that the “raw” vegan options might actually be food allergy friendly… including ‘treats.’

So… cookies! Sasha, the owner, graciously wrote me back and offered to make something special. I was floored. It was not until I arrived with my best friend Jessica that I realized how much consideration for food allergies 24 Carrots has to offer… as well as how delicious their cookies are!

You might guess that this is a special kind of cookie, and it is. Both Jessica and I could enjoy it, because it contains no dairy, no gluten, no corn, soy, or peanuts. Dark chocolate, raw cocoa, and freshly ground almonds combine into a blissful brownie-like cookie. Noms to the delicious!

Sasha’s specially made cookie reflects more than just a kind gesture, however. It shows how she treats all her customers, including those with literal lists of allergies. Making confectioner’s sugar from scratch, corn-free, is just how far Sasha will go. Her dedication comes from personal experience.

Sasha grew up vegetarian, and in the state of Kentucky, this was no small feat. One particular school field trip left Sasha eating a bowl of tomatoes for lunch because no alternatives could be found. From that point on, Sasha decided that no one else should go through her experience, including those with food allergies. This experience and personal compassion certainly shape 24 Carrots today.

A little history: 24 Carrots opened as a juice bar, but customer demands led Sasha to offer a rotating menu. Her devotion to fresh, local food and the customers still keep her working well into late nights. Rising bread does not pound itself, you know. But that is the farm to table atmosphere and quality Sasha has served from day one and I must agree that the taste proves it. The competition for certain treats on twitter and facebook is quite amazing. Apparently, I am not the only one who has found this diamond.

I will let you know there are rumors that Sasha is working on a dark chocolate orange granola this winter. When I come back with Jessica, it’s on. Sasha focuses on making nutrition dense recipes, lower in fats, using healthy sources, with as little sugar as possible. Even more reason to take the granola and run! …but maybe back to grab a cookie first.

For more about 24 Carrots’ whereabouts or their vegan granola or story, click the blue words!

Q: What kind of breakfast do YOU like to eat? Would you ever try tofu eggs or bacon?

granola image sources: dark chocolate, pumpkin pie spice