Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gluten Free Pulled Turkey Barbecue

With Super Bowl Sunday right around the corner, I've been pondering what to cook.  This is one of our favorite game day recipes, especially if we have a crowd at our house.  We serve it with slaw, gluten free, yeast free buns made with Chebe mix, and fruit.  My husband thinks it's guy food, and he may be right, but every man, woman and child I have served this to LOVES it.

Pick up the turkey a few days before you make it because most are frozen this time of year, and need a few days in the fridge to thaw out.  If the turkey has broth added, check the label for a gluten free designation.  The recipe itself takes a good 4 to 5 hours of time, start to finish.


5 lb bone-in turkey breast
2 large yellow onions, finely chopped (I throw them in the food processor)
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup ghee or earth balance buttery spread (for soy free, look for red label)
1/4 cup coconut or date sugar
3 Tbsp Pickapeppa sauce
2 Tbsp Tabasco sauce
1 Tbsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp gluten free liquid smoke


In a heavy 8 quart pot, combine onions, vinegar, tomato paste, ghee or earth balance, sugar, Pickapeppa sauce, Tabasco, garlic, salt and pepper.  Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse the turkey and remove skin if it's not skinless.  Remove any timers inserted in the body.  Add turkey to the pot and simmer with breast side up, covered for 2 1/2 hours, or until a thermometer reads 155 degrees at the center of the turkey.  Keep the sauce in the pot, and transfer only the turkey to a plate or cutting board.  Use a slotted spoon to retrieve any bones or loose parts left in the pot, and throw them away.  Let the turkey rest until it is cool enough to handle.  Pull off long thin shreds from the breast, following the grain.  Throw away the bone.  Place shredded turkey in the sauce, and add liquid smoke.  Simmer over low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serves about 8.  Source:

This post has been shared with Full Plate ThursdayPennywise Platter ThursdayReal Food WeeklyFight Back FridayFood on Fridays and Monday Mania.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Book Explains How to Improve Sleep, Mood, Reflux, Allergies, Focus and Mental Health - Without Drugs

 In this era of vaccines, antibiotics, and prescription drugs, research shows that kids are sicker, and are for the first time, expected to live shorter lives than their parents.  One in 4 American children is taking prescription drugs, with children comprising the fastest growing demographic for the use of pharmaceutical drugs.  Recent reports suggest that doctors are too quick to reach for the prescription pad for drugs that have not been studied for use in children. (1)   Drugs approved by the FDA for a specific purpose may be prescribed by doctors for a different purpose, leading to unintended results. (2)  Not only is this overuse of prescription drugs potentially dangerous for children, some reports suggest it is largely an American phenomenon, with the highest antipsychotic prescription rates among poor children on Medicaid.  Makes you wonder, where is Nancy Reagan when you need her.  Remember, "Just Say No," the campaign against street drugs of the 1980's?  

If you are scratching your head wondering what this has to do with food sensitivities, let me explain.  A new book, Special-Needs Kids Go Pharm-Free by nutritionist Judy Converse, questions the practice of routine use of prescription drugs in children.  According to Converse, research shows that most special needs kids have underlying nutrition problems.  A nutrition problem may include food sensitivity and allergy, unbalanced gut flora needed for proper digestion and assimilation of vitamins, vitamin and fatty acid deficiencies, and other issues.   When a doctor prescribes medication without first addressing nutrition problems, she states, drugs mask underlying problems that get worse over time and turn into chronic health issues, such as asthma, diabetes, severe allergies, and learning and developmental problems.

Converse states that a critical stage of development occurs during the first two years when the establishment of healthy intestinal function is instrumental to long term health.  Kids who have repeated infections and antibiotic use are especially at risk for the entrenchment of bad gut flora, leading to a permeable small intestine, food sensitivities and allergies, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.  Kids who have digestive problems that go unaddressed have a much tougher time reestablishing good gut health down the road.  She explains signs to watch for, tests to ask for and how to restore digestive health through good nutrition and the right supplements. 

Special-Needs Kids Go Pharm Free is filled with practical information that can help guide important medical decisions parents make for their children.  Converse discusses the underlying nutrition problems that can impede focus, learning and mood, and how to assess and fix these problems without the use of drugs.  She covers when the use of reflux drugs is appropriate, and how to wean your child off of them.  She discusses what to do if your baby has colic or thrush.  She covers how to assess food sensitivity in children, and what to feed them if sensitivities are present. (3) She brings us up to date on current nutrition research, noting that people with depression have a lower than normal level of inositol, a B vitamin that can help with rigidity (OCD),  mood and panic attacks.  Many therapies suggested by the book can be used in addition to prescription remedies already in place.

Which children can benefit from the tools in this book?  Children with anxiety, depression, ADHD, sensory problems, autism, and Aspergers are covered in this book.  But you might be surprised that the following symptoms may also be improved with the right nutritional regimen:
  • delayed or slow growth
  • sleep problems
  • problems with focus
  • frequent infections
  • problems with bowel movements
  • serious behavior problems
  • asthma
  • seizures
  • food allergy
  • blood sugar problems
  • eczema
This book is not for parents who are interested in a quick fix.  Nutritional supplements alone without dietary analysis and changes will likely result in only short term gains.  For many children, this will involve food sensitivity testing and possible elimination of the two most inflammatory foods, gluten and dairy.  But for parents willing to do the extra work, this book can mean the difference between a child having a normal healthy life, to living with chronic health conditions.

If I were master of the universe, I would make sure every pediatrician and every new parent has access to this book.  With informed parents and doctors, every baby who is treated with antibiotics, who is overly fussy or not sleeping well, who isn't growing appropriately, who has frequent infections, who has rashes or elimination problems would get their little problems solved before they become big problems.  One can only imagine the health care dollars that would be saved.  Perhaps Converse will write a sequel to this book, "What you especially need to know so your child does not develop special needs" that explains how mothers can prepare themselves and their babies for optimal digestive health.

Judy Converse bases her nutrition practice in Colorado where she lives with her husband and son.  She also consults with patients around the U.S.


(1)  Child's Ordeal Shows Risks of Psychosis Drugs for Young, New York Times, September 1, 2010.

(2) Vanity Fair reported in January that the F.D.A. approved the drug Seroquel for the treatment of schizophrenia.  The drug was ultimately prescribed for children with autism-spectrum disorders and retardation, as well as elderly Alzheimer's patients.  It was also promoted as a treatment for aggression, anxiety, anger management issues, ADHD, and sleeplessness.  One unfortunate side affect for some patients:  diabetes.  According to the article, the drug company has reached a half-billion dollar settlement with the federal government over its marketing of the drug.  The article calls into question FDA oversight of clinical trials conducted to determine a drug's effectiveness.  According to the article, clinical trials are increasingly being conducted overseas on poor populations.  The report suggests not only a problem with corporate ethics, but with the ability to compare test results between people in the U.S. with those who are poor and have no access to health care.

(3) The food sensitivity testing labs referred to in the book were inadvertently left out of the resources section.  The author tells me she uses the following labs: Metamatrix, Genova and Great Plains Laboratory.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Comforting Sausage and Broccoli Soup

Anyone who says it's too hard to stick to a gluten free diet should make this soup.  It is a cinch to throw together, can feed large crowds, and freezes beautifully.  With so many kinds of gluten free sausage on the market now, there are many interesting variations to try.  Here, I used a chicken sausage seasoned with garlic and onion.  Diced ham would also be delicious.

Making your own broth out of beef and bones can make this soup even more nourishing and healing.   Bones enrich the stock with substances that are said to be healing to the digestive tract.  You can get them through a local butcher or farmer.  Eat wild provides an excellent directory of farmers local to you who raise grass fed beef.  A simple google search will lead you to many beef broth recipes.  Plan on 3 to 4 hours of cooking for the broth if you go this route.


1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic
12 oz gluten free sausage, sliced
32 oz gluten free beef broth
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cup diced red potato
1 1/2 cup broccoli florets, chopped into bite size pieces
1 1/2 cup cooked kidney beans


Add olive oil to a deep saucepan and heat to medium high.  Add onions and garlic and saute for three minutes.  Add sliced sausage and saute for about five minutes.  Add broth, tomatoes and their juice, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil. Add potato and reduce to simmer.  Simmer for five minutes and then add broccoli.  Simmer until broccoli is almost cooked to desired tenderness. Add kidney beans.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  When broccoli is cooked, remove from heat.  Serves 4 as a main course.  Source:

This recipe is linked to Food on Fridays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty TuesdayGluten Free Wednesdays, and Pennywise Platter Thursday.

Monday, January 3, 2011

What I Learned in 2010 About Living Gluten Free

  •   What you create with food is only limited by your imagination. 
From cheesecake made from nuts, to coffee cake made from beans, and cheese made from tapioca, the possibilities are limitless.

  •  Raw is not always better.
According to Chinese Medicine, raw food can actually be harder to digest for some people. Cooked soups and vegetables may be easier to digest for some body types.

  • It is possible to travel to Kauai and maintain a gluten and dairy free diet.
I would love to travel to this tropical paradise yearly, finances allowing.  You can read about my experience here.

  • Some doctors, like Mark Hyman, are treating mental illness by addressing systemic problems in the body.   Dr. Hyman points out that gluten and dairy are inflammatory and affect brain function in some people.  

    • Healthy fast food is not an oxymoron.
    Chipotle redefines what we think of as fast food.  To the extent possible, they source local, organic and hormone free ingredients, and make most of what they serve from scratch.  Burrito bowls and tacos are naturally gluten free, and you can fill them with rice, beans, meat, delicious salsas, guacamole and fresh veggies.  I ate there safely and with satisfied taste buds many times this year.

    • It's the things you can't see that may be the most important.
    Science is uncovering the importance bacteria plays in our gut, from the digestion of food, to the production and assimilation of vitamins.  The food we eat contributes to this mass of bacteria our body accumulates, for better or worse.

    • Good gluten free bread is available in mainstream grocery stores.
    Udi's gluten free bread has broken the good gluten free bread drought that has plagued the United States for decades.

    • The simplest recipes are frequently the best, and the easiest on your body.
    By keeping recipes simple, and with few ingredients, it is much easier to identify which ones if any are problematic.  One of my favorite recipes this year is this green smoothie, featuring what is often called a superfood, spirulina.  


    1 to 1 1/4 cup frozen chopped bananas
    1 1/2 cup chilled unsweetened coconut milk (So Delicious works great)
    1 tsp powdered spirulina
    raw honey or agave (optional)


    Place bananas, milk and spirulina in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and add honey or agave if desired.  Makes one large or two small smoothies.  Source:

    This post is linked with Slightly Indulgent TuesdayTasty TuesdayPennywise Platter Thursday, and Food on Fridays.
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