Thursday, December 26, 2013

Breaking Bread No More

no bread for cruising provisioning
Bye-bye Wayne’s favorite food ever.
“My life is over!” bemoaned Wayne. 

According to his dermatologist, turns out those nasty itchy red bumps driving him crazy were a byproduct of celiac’s disease, or the inability to process gluten.  Gluten, a grain protein, is ubiquitous in most of our diets. It’s in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut and tritacle.  Nothing with traditional flour is okay for Wayne to eat ever again.  No bread (much less baguettes).  No pizza.  No bagels.  No beer.  No (gasp!) ramen (click here to read about our love affair with ramen) No…. well, you get the idea. 

wheat belly cookbook
Best-selling “Wheat Belly” by
William Davis.  90% why, 9%
how  >1% recipes.  His pizza
and his flaxseed wrap recipes
are good.
Wayne loves starchy, white foods.  At least he can still eat grits and potatoes.  And corn chips.  C’mon, gotta have some junk food!

Still, once it was clear Wayne wasn’t truly afflicted with a fatal disease, I hinted he was perhaps over-dramatizing. 

Fairly, he retorted, “How would react if you were told ‘You can never eat garlic, onions or spicy food again’?” He knows the answer.  After all, he’s the guy who challenged me to cook without onions and garlic for a change.  I refused the challenge, peevishly insisting the onion and garlic-free meal he lovingly prepared (rare – there’s a reason I’m the Galley Wench!) would’ve been better if both were added.

gluten free celiac's disease provisioning for cruising
Journey’s GF cupboard:  alternative flours,
xanathan gum, crackers and other GF snacks.
More sympathetically, I concurred, “Guess given how much you love wheat, you’ve already eaten your life’s supply of gluten.”

Fortunately, getting gluten-free (GF) stuff is definitely easier than ever.  These days a little less than 1% of the American population is gluten intolerant, and thanks to books like “Wheat Belly (click here for William Davis' Wheat Belly's blog),” more folks are becoming gluten-free by choice. In fact, before Wayne’s diagnosis, disgusted with the way cruising broadened my waistline along with my horizons (click here to read about it in Lies, Half-truths and Alternative Universes), I cut alcohol and focused on eating more veggies, lean proteins, yogurt and nuts.

gluten free celiac's disease provisioning for cruising
Good source for how to make
gluten flour substitutions.
Going gluten-free makes provisioning harder.  If we want bread or pancakes in the middle of nowhere, that means cooking with wheat flour alternatives, which I do not expect to be widely or affordably available in our planned international cruising areas (heck – $9 for a 5-pound bag of quinoa flour is not my idea of affordable either).  That takes some getting used to, and a bit of experimentation before stocking up.

Wayne’s become a surprisingly good sport about it. We even were able to satisfy our pizza craving with a mashed cauliflower crust, which even I had misgivings about making.  The “pizza”’s a definite “make again!” (and it never felt so deliciously virtuous pigging out on pizza before).

gluten free celiac's disease provisioning for cruising
One of the odder GF dishes dared so far… cauliflower crust pizza.
The corn-based pastas are decent, too, for pasta arrabiata and for post-Thanksgiving Day turkey-noodle soup.

The gluten-free hit at the Ortega Marina Landing potluck crowd and my top “new GF recipe pick” so far is coconut-flour based brownies.  They taste like chocolate macaroons, a childhood favorite.

gluten free celiac's disease provisioning for cruising
Wayne took in 3 belt notches so far thanks to going gluten free.
It also doesn’t hurt that I’ve repeatedly let Wayne know how much more awesome he looks since taking in 3 belt notches as a result of his new diet.  I too am now able to once again slip into my old favorite clothes.

gluten free celiac's disease provisioning for cruising
Mom’s GF care package.  Enjoy Life’s
“Happy Apple” and more.  How can you
not like that?  (Thanks, Mom!) 
Interested in gluten-free recipes?  Are you or is someone you know gluten-free?  What are their favorites?  Happy to share (and learn!) if the interest is there!


  1. Ugh. We have a good friend who can not tolerate Gluten. Combine that with the fact we are vegetarians, now imagine how hard it is to find a restaurant for dinner. Sometimes it's comical. Actually there are more gluten free options on most menus then there are vegetarian.

    No onions, garlic and spice? Whoa. That's end of the world talk, so yes I can see where Wayne is coming from. No beer would be a depressing one for me, though our friend still has beer. Are there some without gluten?


    1. There are some GF beers though they are not that easy to find.Bard's, Greens, a seasonal Dogfish, New Planet, New Grist, Red Bridge and Omission are ones Men's Health ( mentions but I don't generally encounter.

      Finding hard cider is a lot easier. Aint quite the same, but not bad.

  2. Between Wheat Belly and Paleo, there are TONS of recipes out there. Don't just look to replace the old stuff, branch out. We have completely replaced our staple recipes, not because we had to, but because we've found so many things we like better!!

    1. Excellent Melissa. what are some of your new favorites or favorite sources?

  3. It's surprising which products are GF and which contain gluten, until you read the labels (look out for preservative 1442 also). There is usually an alternative available, and like we have found out, the GF alternative sometimes tastes better; and develop a love of rice. One of my pet theories, with no scientific basis, is that people who become gluten intolerant, have previously had a diet with a high proportion of wheat filled, white starchy foods.

    1. Definitely agree with your pet theory, Catherine. Thanks for the tip on 1442. Had a heck of a time convincing Wayne that soy has wheat. Thankfully, there is tamari. What are some of your favorite alternatives, besides rice?

    2. It is my son who is GF, and it has only come about since he left home, so I only have to worry about it when he comes. Rice has always been one of his favourite foods, so no worries there. A healthy alternative would be sweet potato. The GF pasta is good apparently. A lot of trial and error for GF breakfast cereal that doesn't taste like cardboard, but he has found one. GF Soya sauce is readily available here in Australia, as well as gravy mix, and I can't even tell the difference, so that is the one I buy all the time now. Bread and takeaway food (burgers for instance) are the hardest, as GF bread is really expensive and not worth it. Rice and corn cakes/thins/crackers is what he usually eats. You will spend a lot of time at the supermarket reading labels until you get to know what you can buy!
      Back to basics cooking, and making dishes from the fresh ingredients instead of any pre-made or ready made food. It is often not that harder or more time consuming.

    3. Unfortunately hubby's not much of a sweet potato fan, Catherine. Seems our best cereal bet will be more like GF granolas. Eventually I'll find a recipe that's easy and good enough, though we're more egg than cereal eaters generally. We're pretty happy with the tamari as soy subs. The corn based pastas thus far seem better than the quinoa or brown rice based ones, at least in our opinion. I do like quinoa as a starchy grain for general savory meals, especially curries. We're also playing with rice noodles for ramen-like dishes, with lots of veg. The premade breads, yeah, blech! Agree our reader glasses are a regular fixture for grocery runs, with tiny-type ingredient labels.

      Thanks for sharing what you're learning!

      Heaven forbid, we may indeed find ourselves moving more Paelo... when that's a viable option.

  4. In the Wheat Belly Cookbook I just got for Christmas on pg 285 it states "Bard's, Green's and Redbridge beers do not have gluten. Bud Lite is made from rice and only has minor traces of barley gluten". So maybe Bud LIte (I know its not a REAL beer!) would be a substitute. I miss my Shiner Bock. Ken

  5. Another new cookbook I got is "Against All Grain" by Danielle Walker. She has lots of ideas but finding products while on island time will be a challenge. Ken

    1. Thanks, Ken, definitely worth checking out, even if mostly for ideas while on the mainland.