Chocolate Cinnamon Chia Pudding

I want to share something real quick before I get to the recipe. As some of you already know, May 1st kicked of Celiac Awareness Month. I plan to make a conscious effort to pose a question on the Facebook page daily regarding symptoms and experiences. Make sure you stop in there to join the discussions.

Gluten Dude put out this wonderful infographic for those of us who like something visual. I compiled a list of symptoms a while back for an article I did for a friend’s newsletter. I realized the other day that I never shared that list here. They are listed in no particular order.

  • High/low blood pressure
  • High/low body temperature
  • Migraines/frequent headaches
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or frequent stomach aches, diarrhea, and/or constipation)
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Abdominal pain/distension, bloating, gas/flatulence
  • Neuropathy/ataxia/Alzheimer’s/restless leg syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteoarthritis/rheumatoid arthritis
  • Vertigo
  • Heart palpitations/chest pains
  • Mood swings/Diagnosis of a mood disorder
  • Brain fog/inability to concentrate or focus
  • Difficulty remembering things, especially if you used to be able to remember a lot
  • Fatigue/Adrenal Fatigue/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Rapid weight gain/loss
  • Inability to lose weight with exercise
  • Family history of colon cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, lymphatic
  • Other food allergies/sensitivities (lactose intolerance is common)
  • Diabetes/hypoglycemia
  • Gall bladder issues
  • Eczema, rosacea, dermatitis herpetiformis, or other skin issues
  • Anemia/iron deficiency
  • B vitamin deficiency
  • D vitamin deficiency
  • Diagnosis of Sjogren’s, Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s, Hyper/Hypothyroidism, or other autoimmune disorders
  • Diagnosis of Schizophrenia
  • Diagnosis of ADHD/ADD
  • Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Family member diagnosed with Celiac or gluten sensitivity
  • Epilepsy/seizures
  • Acid reflux/heartburn
  • Environmental and seasonal allergies
  • Frequent infections/colds/flu
  • Asthma/respiratory problems
  • Other joint/bone/muscle pain not listed
  • Infertility/miscarriages
  • Dysmenorrhea/other pre-/menstrual issues
  • Failure to thrive/developmental delays in childhood
  • Hair loss/thinning/alopecia/balding
  • Dental enamel deficiencies/irregularities
  • Canker sores
  • Bruise easily
  • Nosebleeds
  • Inflammation not listed already
  • Night blindness

If you are new to this blog, newly diagnosed, or still trying to find the right diagnosis you should know that not all people who end up diagnosed with Celiac present with gastrointestinal symptoms. I had thirty-two of the symptoms above. THIRTY-TWO. Looking back once my symptoms started resolving themselves I realized that I had ataxia from childhood but no one ever picked up on it. I was labeled a clutz and my mother, thinking it was funny, would call me Grace whenever I tripped over air. I think being a gymnast and involved in a lot of active/sports play and later, martial arts, helped prevent ataxia from becoming as bad as it could have been. Right before I discovered the gluten connection it got really bad and I realized some of my tripping over air was really my right foot not fully coming up while taking a step and instead the ball of my foot would skid across the ground causing me to trip. I was walking into walls more frequently than before which was a great laugh for everyone because there is nothing like walking a straight line down a hall then BOOM! Oh, hello wall. So nice to see you again.

My earliest memory of tripping over air was at about six years old. I was in 1st grade and we were living in an apartment in Beaverton, Oregon, waiting for our house in Aloha (not the Hawaiian aloha, but American Indian. The h is silent) to be finished. We were close to a K-Mart and my dad walked me over there to get an Icee. We were walking on a dirt path along the road and either on the way there I tripped over air and stumbled. I looked down as I tried to catch myself with the stumble steps and spotted a snake curled up in the grass. I screamed and bolted. I was freaked out walking back because I knew the snake was there. Even if it was only a garter snake, to the six-year-old me a snake was a snake was a snake was a snake and snakes were no good.

I bring up my earliest memory because looking at all my symptoms it is the one I remember before all the tummy aches started in the mornings. I say tummy aches because it started as a kid. Not feeling well in the morning after eating breakfast (usually cold cereal) then trying to convince my mother that although I was ready for school, I was too sick to go. I was forced to go to school feeling ill more often than not. Once I was in college I wasn’t eating cereal for breakfast. It was usually Spam, eggs, and rice for breakfast and it was several years later after graduation when I was working for the YMCA that IBS symptoms started and about five more years before I was actually diagnosed with IBS.

These days my breakfasts are full of protein and vegetables like my Winter Hash. In my egg eating days it would be Black Bean Breakfast Tacos, Gluten-Free French Toast with Blueberries, Bananas, Walnuts, and Pure Maple Syrup DrizzleEggs en Cocotte, or an Omelette with Veggie filling. Sometimes a smoothie was enough for me (Banana Papaya, Chocolate Cherry Almond, Green Chai, Mint Chocolate Chip, Make It A Meal, Peachy Keen Cinnamon Toast Crunch, or my favorite, Super Berry).

Choc Cin Chia Seed PuddingOne of my favorite additions to breakfast is chia seed pudding. I use it like a breakfast side. Or a snack. Or dessert. It’s versatile enough to be any of the three. I like it as a breakfast accompaniment because I can shake it up in a mason jar the night before and it’s ready to go in the morning.

My love for pairing chocolate and cinnamon is no secret. Before I discovered all the new alterations I would have to make to my diet I was making this chia seed pudding.

If you have a mason jar with measurements marked on the side, you will save yourself from washing a measuring cup. I have one that I use just for chia seed pudding because it makes it even easier because I can pour my dairy-free milk right in the jar without measuring it out first. Also, there is no sugar added in this recipe. If you need to add a sweetener, feel free to do so. Chocolate Cinnamon Chia Seed Pudding

Chocolate Cinnamon Chia Pudding – serves 3 to 4

1 1/2 cups dairy-free milk

4 tablespoons chia seed

1 tablespoon raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Add all ingredients to a mason jar, cover tightly then shake vigorously with both hands for five minutes. This will help keep the chia seeds from clumping together. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Top with fruit of your choice if you choose. It will help add some natural sweetness without adding sugar if you need the sweet.

See how easy it is?

This post is linked to Raw Foods Thursday at Gluten-Free Cat, Whole Foods Fridays at Allergy-Free Alaska, Wellness Weekends at Diet, Dessert and Dogs, and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free. 

Ginger Spread

Homemade Ginger Spread

I had last weekend off.  This is a rare occurrence.  I was not scheduled for Saturday and for some reason I asked for Sunday off.  I have no clue why I asked for it off or if I was supposed to go somewhere.  If I was, oh well.

Chaz decided he wanted to go Jungle Jim’s on Saturday.  It is well established that we should never go to Jungle Jim’s together.  I end up stocking up on Tinkyada brown rice pastas.  Since we only use pasta every other week and we only go to Jungle Jim’s every few months, it’s usually necessary.   I found some good French wines I wanted to try along with some green mango (to soak in gluten-free shoyu – soy sauce for you Mainlanders) and green papaya (Chicken Papaya anyone?), and I looked for So Delicious dairy-free Greek yogurts.  I can’t even remember what Chaz got.  Bad wife?  No, I was on a mission after he told me where we were going.

Chaz found a jar of Ginger Spread while I was contemplating nut butters and deciding I just need to make my own.  If you’ve been following me on Instagram, I posted a picture of it and sent it to Twitter and my personal Facebook.  The spread is “for serious ginger lovers.”  I’m a serious ginger lover.  The majority of the Filipino dishes/soups I grew up loving contain ginger.  Just one slice of ginger can put something over the top.  Then there is the use of mostly just ginger when I get sick.  I boil it in water and let it steep.  I’ll then use that to make green tea or just drink it like that.  Ginger is my best friend in the kitchen some days.  I like to add it to juices and smoothies.  One of our fellow Aikidoka and friends opened up a restaurant (Yang-Kee Noodle) with some partners when we were in Louisville and still active in Aikido (and I was still pre-diagnosis).  They ran some tastings before opening to refine the recipes and we were lucky enough to be invited to one.  My favorite was the Ginger Chicken.  It was so full of ginger my mouth was on fire and I loved it.  I may not like the heat of hot peppers a lot, but I do love the fire of ginger, Chinese hot mustard, and wasabi.   They wound up reducing the amount of ginger in the final recipe because most of their customers would not be accustomed to that much ginger.  It was still good, just not as good as that first time to me.  I stopped eating there once I was gluten-free, but we always try to stop by when we are in town to see if our friend is working to say hi.

We looked all over that jar of Ginger Spread three to four times before we found the ingredient list.  Small print on the lid.  Seriously.  Ingredient lists should be more prominent.  I thought I was going crazy while I was looking for it.  I decided I could make it easily (and for cheaper) once I saw the ingredients.

My first attempt at making this involved grating the ginger on my ginger grater.  The result was good, but stringy.  The second attempt is my favorite.

Ginger Spread

5/8 cup ginger juice (I ran one entire giant root through my juicer)

1/4 cup raw local honey (or sweetener of your choice)

Place juice and honey in a small saucepan over low heat.  Vent a cover over the saucepan and allow to come to a boil.  Do not stir until the spread starts to thicken.  If you stir too soon, you will end up with clumps.  Take the pan off the heat once the spread is thick and reduced slightly.  Allow it to cool.

Now that you have Ginger Spread, what do you use it on or in?  I’ve been using it in my whole juices and just throwing some into the Vitamix along with the fruits and vegetables.  I also forgot to add ginger to something I made the other night.  How could I forget, right?  I know, I was kicking myself, too.  So, I used some of the spread.  It wasn’t the same, but it was a good sub in a pinch.  After taking the above picture and then pouring the spread into a container I was tempted to just pour some vodka or spiced rum in that martini glass.  I refrained, but I have no doubt that just a little of the spread would make a great addition to a cocktail.  I think it would make a great sauce for cocktail shrimp or Raw Veggie Spring Rolls.

Chocolate Ginger Chia Pudding

I decided it would also make a great addition to chia pudding.  I was inspired by my friend Johnna and her Chia Pudding in a Jar.  I’ve only made my chia pudding in a jar since she posted that recipe.  It’s just so flipping easy to do.  You could make this in a bowl or something and just make sure you stir it up every once in a while as it sets.  It’s not as fun as shaking the bejeebers out of a mason jar though.

Chocolate Ginger Chia Pudding

1 1/2 cups dairy-free milk

6 tablespoons chia seeds

1 tablespoon raw cacao powder

2 – 4 teaspoons Ginger Spread

sweetener of choice (optional)

Add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake vigorously.  Give the jar a shake every time you open the fridge for something.  It will be set in about 4 hours.

Peachy Keen Cinnamon Toast Crunch Smoothie

It’s all Peachy Keen

If you thought my next blog post was going to be about the Domino’s “gluten-free” pizza, you’re not far off.  I wanted it to be about the pizza and the entire fiasco surrounding it.  But, I’m still a bit hot.  You don’t want me blogging about something while that hot.  I will go off on wild tangent after wild tangent.  You don’t want that.  It’s worse than me just being angry.  Or even Bruce Banner getting angry.  So, rest assured, if you want to hear my take on it, you will.  Just not right now.  Until then, you can read Alta’s (Tasty Eats At Home) viewpoint or Ken Scheer’s (Rock A Healthy Lifestyle) viewpoint.  In fact, I’ll give you some homework.  Read the Domino’s press release, Alice Bast’s (Director of the NFCA) statement, and Dr. Alessio Fasano’s (Director, Center for Celiac Research, University of Maryland) statement. Then, listen to The Gluten-free Radio Podcast, hosted by Jules Shepard (Jules Gluten-free), with Alice Bast as her guest, addressing the NFCA’s involvement in Domino’s gluten-free pizza release.

Moving on.

I’ve been making variations of this smoothie for the last week and yesterday after work, I think I hit a note of fuzzy food memories yesterday after finally adding almond butter.  I was getting hints of peach cobbler.  Then peach crisp.   Then Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.  Don’t ask me how I remember that cereal tastes because I don’t know.  It’s been a good 20 years since I last had it.  Bottom line, I sucked that sucker down so fast I was wanting more.  It was so good, I wanted to share it with you right away, but life got in the way.  In fact, I think I will be making as soon as I post this and get dinner on the stove. Clams anyone?

Peachy Keen Cinnamon Toast Crunch Smoothie – 16 ounce serving

1 1/2 cups frozen peaches (you can do a mix of frozen peaches and frozen mango if you want)

1 teaspoon maca root powder

1 tablespoon raw local honey or your sweetener of choice

1 tablespoon almond butter (if you can’t do almonds, just omit and don’t use something else instead, the flavor will change too much)

healthy pinch of cinnamon

dairy-free milk (I used unsweetened almond)

Place peaches, maca root powder, sweetener of choice, almond butter, and cinnamon to your blender.  Add milk to just under the 2 cup line.  Blend until smooth and there are no chunks of frozen fruit.  Pour and enjoy!