Gluten Free Beef Stew


It’s been awhile since I said I would post recipes so, here is another gluten-free recipe which is pretty IBD friendly..or at least for some IBDers.

Being that the temperature has been in the 20’s and I have been freezing my butt off lately, I wanted something that would be satisfying and warm me up.  I was getting tired of my usual weekly menu and needed a change.  When I was online one day, I saw a recipe for beef stew for a crock pot and I thought, I don’t have a crock pot but I can still make the stew.  So, I went out shopping, got the ingredients, and made way to much stew.  But is was so worth it because it was soooo good.  And the cold will be around for a while so I have meals for another day.

Now, for the recipe, I didn’t measure out anything and it made about 8 servings.  This is a dish that exact measurements aren’t needed and you can add whatever you want.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb cubed steak
  • 3 Carrots – peeled and rough chopped
  • 6 Celery Stalks – rough chopped
  • 1 Parsnip – peeled and rough chopped
  • 2 Large Potatoes – peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 Onion – peeled and rough chopped (pearl onions work well also and require no prep)
  • 1/2 Frozen Peas
  • 64 oz Beef Broth
  • 2 cans Diced Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Gluten Free Flour or Corn Starch SAMSUNGSAMSUNG

Take your steak and coat in either the corn starch or flour.  I decided to use flour just out of personal preference.  Heat oil in a large stock pot and sear off meat.  You don’t want to cook the meat all the way through, just brown it.  You are sear it to seal in the juices.  Also, you can do this in batches if the pot isn’t large enough.

SAMSUNGSAMSUNGAfter the meat is browned and removed from pot, add onions and more oil if needed.  Saute the onions until soft and translucent.  If you are using pearl onions, do not do this step.  They will be added at the end.

SAMSUNGSAMSUNGWhen the onions are done, add some flour to make a roux.  Cook this for a couple of minutes until the roux starts to brown.  Add carrots, celery, parsnip, potatoes, beef, and stock.  Stir well.  Add any seasoning you like.  They can be fresh or dried.  I added some basil, oregano and salt.  Again this is to your preference.   Bring the stew to a boil.

SAMSUNGSAMSUNGWhen it boils, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 1 1/2 hours.  When the stew is done, add the canned tomatoes and peas.  If you are using pearl onions, add them also.  Bring back to a boil and remove from heat.  If the stew is still thin and not to your desired thickness, make a cornstarch slurry to add to it to thicken it up.  Serve with some nice crusty bread.

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I Have Reached My Boiling Point


Yesterday I came across an article.  It started because I was wondering how voting for the Restroom Access Act, aka Ally’s Law, went in Virginia.  I looked it up online.  I was appalled at what I had found.  The act was defeated without a single vote cast.  That means that every politician that had the right to vote on it agreed that it wasn’t worth their time to even discuss.  I was outraged by this but was soon about to get even more pissed off.

Continuing my research I found and editorial written for a Virginian newspaper.  It was written by Kerry Dougherty and can be found here.  Please go read it.  I will wait until you finish reading it.

 

 

So you finished it.  I can see how red your face is.  I guess she made you as mad as I have been for the past 18 hours.  How can someone be so ignorant not only to people with IBD but to me it seems like she is against anyone with a disability.

But lets break down some of what she had to say.  First, she writes, “And it marked the death of one more over-the-top, well-meaning measure cooked up by a Northern Virginia Democrat. Another bill that would have attempted to legislate common sense.”  – First, does it matter if the person introducing the bill is a Democrat or Republican.  What just because a Democrat introduces something it is immediately bad?  Next, a bill that would attempted to legislate common sense.  Yes, it is common sense and yet it is ignored.  Why do we have to fight to use the bathroom.  IT IS COMMON SENSE and yet people will still not let you use their bathrooms so yes we should have a law.

“The impetus was an Alexandria teenager who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease about two years ago. After being barred from the employee-only bathroom in several retail stores, he told his mom he wanted a state law that would make it illegal to turn away someone with a legit medical condition.”  Man, this just shows the author didn’t do her homework.  HE TOLD HIS MOM—-Ally is a woman, not a man.  I have spoken with her and she is amazing.  Follow Ally here on Twitter.  See, she is a woman.

“If only adults or civics teachers would teach kids that there are better ways to fix problems.” – Um, Ally found a problem and is fighting for the government to back her in her fight against injustice.  What better way is there to fix the problem?  I would love the author to suggest just one way.

Lastly, the author goes on to tell a story of how she was in a nail salon one day.  A woman came in to the place, looking like she was in an emergency and asked to use the bathroom.  Afterwards it turns out she stole some wallets.  So, now everyone with IBD is being compared to thieves and criminals.  None of us can be trusted.  WOW!

I have seen a lot of prejudice in my life.  I have seen discrimination.  I have seen bigotry.  This editorial takes the cake though.  Just weeks ago the CCFA launched a campaign which so many of us agreed was way to light.  It showed that we mainly use the bathroom and that there are no other problems.  Maybe if they had used a more aggressive campaign, Kerry would have a better understanding of what we go through every day of our lives.  I won’t get into it as that is a whole other post.  But Kerry’s ignorance shows the need for more awareness.  IBD is still mostly unknown.  People think we are making up our symptoms. 

Shame on you Kerry.  Shame shame shame.

Book Review – The Directive


Lately I have been seeing a lot more books about IBD.  I decided since I love reading to start reading some of these books.  I have been impressed by the stories and I decided that maybe I should post some reviews.  So, here is my first one for the book The Directive by Rosa Fontana.The Directive

I will start by quoting the synopsis from the back of  the book. “Lynne McKay is a peculiar twenty something college student.  A boring essayist with limited social skills, she is woefully unaware that she’s a recluse in the making.  Having experienced life vicariously – only through the books she has read and over-analyzed – she is unprepared when her life is interrupted with the diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease.  After being admitted to the hospital, Lynne must shed her introverted shell in order to survive.  With an IV pole in hand and a VIP pass to the marble throne at the ready, she reaches out to an unexpected and insistent comrade, Peter, who suffers from the same disease but has penchants  for mischief and empathy.  During their time in the hospital together, Lynne must consider: is this diagnosis a second chance at life or is it her death sentence?”

My first thought when I saw this book was that it was written by a woman and is told through the eyes of a woman…so would this just be a mushy love story.  Thankfully, I was wrong.  The book focuses a lot on Lynne and her disease.  It deals more with her battles while in the hospital.   As I read the story I couldn’t help but feel some of the pain.  She describes the disease, treatments, med reactions so perfectly.  The author has Crohn’s disease so she was definitely using her experience.  However, reading the story I almost felt like this was an autobiography.  After talking to Rosa on twitter I would find out it was only based on some of her experiences and people she has met.

I thought this was an excellent read.  I had a hard time putting the book down and found myself relating to the characters a lot.   I didn’t want this book to end and I really hope she decides to write more about Crohns.

If you want to buy the book you can buy it here.  Also, check out Rosa’s page and follow her on Twitter here.  Out of 5 stars I give this book 5.

My First Real Attempt at Advocacy


 

For the past year I have been doing my blogs, talking to people online and even participating in the CCFA’s Take Steps.  Late December I decided to kick it up a notch. 

I was reading a lot of stories online about people with IBD having to pull over on the side of the road to immediately relieve themselves because there were no rest rooms in sight.  Now, this is of course dangerous and illegal.  It can cause problems on the highways and can even get the person stopping killed by getting hit by a car.

So I am sitting there reading these stories and I start to think of my experiences travelling on the interstates.  I think about how you can go for miles without any exits or rest stops.  The wheels in my head started turning and I had an idea.  I started first by emailing my state representatives.  Of course I got no responsive.  I asked for assistance from some people on line and they helped me with thoughts and getting a letter drafted.  Lastly, I started a petition online.

You are probably now wondering what I am talking about.  Well, I am now starting a campaign to get port a potties put on the side of interstates and thruways.  The petition can be found here and if you live in the USA, please go ahead and sign your name to it.US DOT - Federal Highway Administration: Create Port-A-Potty rest stops on side of Interstates and Thruways

Now, if you have stopped and read the petition, you probably have a lot of questions about it.  Yes, there are security issues, sanitation issues, etc etc etc.  I know there is a lot that has to be worked out with this project.  I don’t discredit all that.  This petition isn’t meant to be a simple solution fix.  I meant for this to be the start of something.  It is made to get the ball rolling and make people see that there are major issues on the roadways for people with IBD.

If you can, write your congressmen and senators.  Let them know of the petition.  Let them know that we are no longer going to sit by and be ignored.  It is time for us to raise our voice and be heard.

My Take on the Escape The Stall Ads


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Yesterday I read a blog by another blogger, Marisa, which can be found here.  This lead me to a post written by Sara found here

The reason I mention these two blogs is because they kind of opened my eyes to the new campaign going on by The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) called Escape the Stall (http://www.ccfa.org/escapethestall/).  The face being put to the campaign is Amy Brenneman who is known from such shows as Private Practice, NYPD Blue, and Judging Amy.

First, I applaud Amy for coming out of what I call the IBD closet.  It is great to have another face to the disease.  I am also very happy that the CCFA is finally putting ads and stories out there nationally.  IBD is usually talked about quietly in dark corners.  CCFA is now bringing out into the open and I am very happy and thankful for that.image

I had read the reason for why they went with this campaign and at first it didn’t bother me.  I admit I have used bathroom humor in the past as I have a page on Facebook called Bathroom Talk.  But as I look into myself, I know I did it as a way to cope.

Over the past year I have learned so much about IBD.  Crohn’s and Colitis is no laughing matter.  Yes, a lot of us use laughter to cope with our chronic illness, but in no way should the illness be looked upon in a funny way.  As the ads show, we spend a lot of time in the bathroom.  Anyone with IBD knows this is a reality..but it is a small part of the disease.  And this is where I come to the realization that the CCFA ads are not a good idea. 

So many people with IBD are sick.  They have no energy.  They can’t do simple things like get out of bed.  Some people are in constant pains.  Belly pains, joint pains, muscle pains…just overall pain.  There is nausea, fevers, rashes, and eye problems.  We take horrible medicines that give us really horrible side effects with some of those being untreatable cancer.   Many people with IBD have numerous scars from many surgeries.  Some people spend months in a  hospital bed hooked up to tubes.  Many suffer from drastic weight lose and look like walking skeletons.

Now you are probably thinking,  “Wow, people with IBD have it bad”.  Well, yes we do.  But looking at the new ads, all you would think is that we spend a lot of time on the toilet.   When people put out ads for cancer we see bald people hooked up to chemo.  When there are ads for emphysema we see broken down people hooked up to oxygen tanks.   The no smoking ads in NYC show people with amputations, trach tubes, and just looking horrible.  So where is our graphic ads?

When it comes down to it, seeing an underweight person with IV’s and an NG tube laying in a hospital bed with some surgical scars would be more effective than saying “Hey this person poops a lot.  Help them out”.  I recall when I first got diagnosed as a teenager with Crohn’s that my doctor told me that I would most likely have at least one surgery in my life due to the disease.  Where is that fact in the ad. 

I am grateful for all that CCFA has done and continues to do.  I will be volunteering this year for their Take Steps walk and hopefully for Camp Oasis.  But I have to say that I am shamed by their new and first national ads.

The Great Experiment Part 2


Last January I was in a nasty flare.  I was going to the bathroom 30 times a day.  I was obese with high cholesterol and high blood sugar.  My body was a mess and I wasn’t treating it nicely.  So, I decided to make some changes as many of you already know.  I joined Weight Watchers to lose weight, which I was pretty good with.  For the year I lost about 30 lbs.  I also went Gluten-Free to help with my Crohn’s.  I wanted to give my intestines a rest from the harsh fiber of wheat.  Also, this was supposed to help in reducing my blood sugar levels.  Lastly, and this happened later in the year, I switched meds.  I went off Humira and started Low Dose Naltrexone.

For the most part everything was working well.  I achieved what seemed like remission.  I lost weight.  I feel good and healthier.  I was finally on the right track.  And then it all came to a crashing halt.  The Dreaded Holidays!!!   Anyone that knows me knows I like to eat.  Well, the holidays give me that opportunity.  Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate covered anything.  With New Years Eve, there is a lot of eating, then some drinking, then some more eating and yes, more drinking.

Well, it is now January 2013.  My weight has been fine and I don’t think I have gained too much weight back as my clothes still fit.  However, the past week or so I have been going to the bathroom more.  I am not feeling as healthy as I should and I know the reason.  I have been putting garbage into my body again and have completely looked away from eating right.  I am now paying for it.

So now I know that diet most definitely plays a part in IBD.  Today is Friday night.  This weekend is my last hurrah.  As of Monday I start up my experiment with nutrition and IBD and get back to eating correctly.  I am going back onto the Weight Watchers plan.  I am going to stop putting nasty chemicals into my body.  I am going to start treating my body like it should be treated.

A lot of people still say that nutrition means nothing when it comes to IBD.  I think I might have proven this past year that it does.  When I ate healthy with all natural products I was doing great.  When I started eating junk again, I felt like I was on the verge of a flare.  I have learned a lot in 2012 and I know that I need to stop NOW.  I need to practice what I preach.

So I will continue on my journey come Monday.  I won’t look back.  I won’t second guess myself and I won’t regret it for one minute.  I want to be completely healthy.  I want others to look and me and say, “If he can do it, then anyone can” because I couldn’t do it for so many years.  I denied the nutrition connection and ignored my weight. 

The holidays are done.  My denial is over.  I had my fill and now I need to continue my journey and my experiment.  Welcome to Jeff 2.0.  Time to take all I have learned and put it into practice.  And there is nothing better on a journey than some company…so Who Is With Me?