Hi All, Margy here. Isn't it great to have Racheal writing our blog! She does such a great job. I know it will be a surprise to everybody but I actually took some photos of the Chris' fantastic sourdough workshop and have even got around to uploading them to the blog! Thanks Michele for always writing a post about our workshops. What would we all do without you! Here is the address to Chris' blog which gives you a great outline to the process she uses to make sourdough - http://gullygrove.blogspot.com.au
The last workshop for the year has come and gone!
I didn't make it there, but as usual, our super-blogger Michele has posted on this already, and you can find it here: goinggreyandslightlygreen.blogspot.com.au/2016/11/a-sourdough-workshop-to-end-year.html#more
It must have been mid last year that SLT ran a gluten and dairy free workshop. It was perfect timing for me. I was suffering frequent brain-fog, insomnia, anxiety attacks and more. I'd just been diagnosed as having thyroid auto-immune disease, triggered by gluten. I later found out soy, pork, quinoa and millet also are nasty triggers for me.
But what next? Thankfully for me, I'd had a gut feeling gluten was an issue, and had spent the year previous to being diagnosed trying out some different gluten free recipes and reading up on the effects of gluten on the human body. But for some people it's a real slap in the face to be diagnosed with a food allergy like this, because it's too hard to comprehend eating any other way.
So I want to try and point people in the right direction for sourcing the foods you can actually eat!
One of our favourite sources for nuts, gluten free grains, dried fruit and some oils is AbSoulutely Wholesale absoulutelywholesale.com.au/
We've found them to have excellent service and a decent range of products at great prices. And postage is reasonable too. We pay about $17 per 25kg product. I originally found them because I wanted bulk almond meal for baking, and supermarket prices are ridiculous. These guys sell it for around $15kg!
The only thing is everything has to be ordered in bulk, usually 5kg minimum of each product, and you need to place a minimum $250 order. If that is out of reach for you, do what we did and find some whole-food loving friends who can join forces with you and place an order together!
It's a good idea to keep an eye on Wray Organic catalogues too. Their specials are often worth going in for. I've never been in there otherwise, but for specials it can be worth the trip for some of your gluten free needs.
Another excellent source if you are wanting gluten free recipes that are also helpful for reducing inflammation and toxins in your body is draxe.com/section/recipes/
I've used a diet plan to reduce inflammation from this website and it worked beautifully.
I also found this ebook very helpful for snack ideas ditchthewheat.com/grain-free-snacker/
She also has a grain free Paleo Maple Granola recipe that's worth your time baking! It's delicious. I love it with yogurt.
Maybe you're a solid bread/pasta addict and just want some safe alternatives for these products.
Sadly GF bread almost always contains soy, which is often a trigger for people with food allergies. Maybe you'll be ok on it, but you'll only know by trying. I find the soy too reactive. If you want GF bread, Aldi is generally the cheapest place to go, at $4 a loaf. But it's not the nicest bread. Brands like Helgas, found at your common supermarkets do taste better and have more flavour options also. Keep an eye on the specials, sometimes the good brands are very reasonable on special.
I haven't tried the health food shops to see if they sell a soy free GF bread yet!
And pasta...once again, aldi have very reasonably priced GF pasta at about $2.50 for 500g, but if you've ever used it, you'll notice it's incredibly gluggy. It's corn based and is ok, but not a great alternative if you want something that tastes like regular pasta. The cheaper GF pastas at coles and woolies are the same. We've started buying BuonTempo pasta. It's in the health food section of the supermarket and is about $3.50 for 500g. But it's worth it, especially if you're feeding people in your family who don't have food allergies and get fed up with cardboard tasting GF products!! Don't bother buying GF pasta from the pasta section of the supermarket. It's a rip off and comes in tiny boxes (maybe ok if you live alone or rarely eat pasta, but no good for a family!)
There are also loads of GF bread and pasta recipes online. I make fresh GF pasta for lasagne. But if you want to make something like a lasagne and avoid pasta altogether, try using slices of baked sweet potato or eggplant or even regular potato instead of pasta.
If you find a GF bread recipe that contains millet, and you have a thyroid problem, avoid that recipe or substitute something else in for the millet! Millet is a nasty goitergen.
You'll probably find lots of gluten free recipes that call for Arrowroot/Tapioca starch/flour. These are the same thing, and last time I checked they're not available in decent quantities at supermarkets. BUT, if you go to your local Asian Supermarket, you'll find tapioca starch along with other GF flours at very reasonable prices and in 500g bags usually. I pay under $2 for 500g of arrowroot/tapioca starch. Whereas at woolies, the little canister of it would work out to $10/kg.
Meat: If you're really trying to improve your health and recover from chronic illness, you'll likely find supermarket meat is just not good enough. And it's expensive anyway. Buying in bulk definitely saves money if you can find the upfront funds and freezer space for all that meat! I've bought bulk through www.bannockbrae.com.au/
They're very friendly, have a nice range and you can order a whole cow at a time if you like! Once again, if you can't manage buying in bulk yourself, try asking some friends to join you in an order.
Vegetables: getting quality vegetables in Toowoomba (likely you'll need lots if you're avoiding gluten and healing your body) has become easier. We now have Farmers Markets every Thursday afternoon www.mylocalfeastfarmersmarkets.com.au/about-us.html
And every second Saturday morning toowoombafarmersmarket.com.au/
We've checked out both and the quality and prices have been pretty impressive. We're a family of 8 on a less-than-single income at the moment, and can afford to eat this spray-free produce!
One thing hard to find at those 2 markets is bananas. But you can get them at the Sunday PCYC markets www.weekendnotes.com/toowoomba-pcyc-market/from a Woodford spray-free grower for about $2.50kg.
This isn't exactly an exhaustive supply list, but will hopefully help you find quaity food that will help you recover and be nourished.
Pot plants. I'd never been a big fan of them until learning recently of the many benefits of having indoor plants for air purification (and with 30 year old floral carpet that's harbouring goodness-knows-what, that's always a good thing!). And for combating some of the radiation created by all our electronic devises. And they can help deal with dust too. The list goes on, and I was given some lovely indoor plants for my birthday last week.
But then they needed pots.
Not keen on spending big bucks on rehousing these pot plants, I had a look online at alternative pot ideas. There are so many!! Many of them are things you may have lying unused around your home already!
I found a retro ice bucket at an op shop that had a plastic insert with drainage (if that makes sense), so it was plant ready.
And a lovely floral tin bucket at Spotlight for $5 that has become home to another of the indoor plants. Spotlight also had wire hanging baskets down to $4, so there was another fern taken care of.
If the object you choose as a pot is ceramic or glass and needs drainage holes, you need to make sure you use a specific glass/ceramic drill bit so you don't smash your pot-to-be drilling holes in it.
Here's some other ideas:
Old metal watering cans
old toys, like a metal dump truck that you can plant in the back of
metal urns or creamers
tea pots (they need to be big to manage most indoor plants though)
So next time you need a pot for a plant, think outside the box...or pot :-)
Let us know if you have any creative ideas for upcycling objects into pots.
Hi, my name is Racheal and I write the blog for Simple Living Toowoomba. Thanks for joining us on this journey to living a simpler life and encouraging others to do the same.