Archive of ‘The Foodie & The Crohn’s Disease’ category

Carrageenan, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Almond Milk

The Foodie — Odessa

So I’ve recently been having stomach issues. And while looking for an answer to what could be causing these issues, I stumbled upon my box of almond milk and noticed “carrageenan” and instantly though there must be a connection, so I looked it up. Carrageenan comes from a red seaweed called Chondrus crispus but it has been processed to shit, meaning it is not only not good for you, but it is actually terribly damaging. Low and behold, I discovered that carrageenan has been known to cause a litany of gastrointestinal issues in animals (appalling that they still do animal testing…).

Carrageenan is often used as a thickener in foods like ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, soy milk, and my beloved almond milk. I have been drinking a cup a day for the past several years, never noticing I was slowly poisoning myself.

Dr. Joanne K. Tobacman, M.D  has published 18 peer-reviewed studies researching the biological effects of carrageenan and the overall consensus is that carrageenan is very harmful to human health. Carrageenan is a cause of inflammation in the body, which leads to pain and dysfunction. Chronic inflammation can lead to a myriad of devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer; and can seriously aggravate the symptoms in pre-existing conditions like and Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In April 2012, Tobacman went before the National Organic Standards Board to urge them to stop using carrageenan in “organic foods.” Check out her article on the harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan on animal subjects.

So I hereby will avoid it at all costs.

On the bright side, I learned how to make my own delicious almond milk.

First you buy a large amount of raw almonds, because bulk is cheaper and trust me you will use all of them. Take a cup of almonds and put in a bowl. Cover it with filtered water (about 1 cm over the almonds is fine) and let soak for 4 hours-2 days (the longer the soak, the creamier the milk). It should get all white and fuzzy:

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Then you can drain the water..but I didn’t. I figured there are a lot of nutrients in that water that I wouldn’t mind ingesting. So I threw it in the blender and added 2 more cups of filtered water, 2 pitted dates, a piece of cinnamon bark, a few drops of vanilla, and a lot of love. Blended on high for about a minute:

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Here’s the tricky part. You will either have to go to your local natural foods store and invest in a nut milk bag (not what you’re thinking you pervert), such as this one:

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Or you can use a cheesecloth or even a regular ol’ strainer if you don’t mind bits of almond in your milk ;). Dump all the contents of the blender into the bag (over a large bowl of course) and squeeze all the “milk” out.

You will be left with a lot of almond pulp:

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But you can throw that into muffins and reduce the flour content for all you carb-loathing bitches.

And it’s as easy as that! You will want to keep the milk in the fridge and consume it within 3-5 days. If you want it to last longer you will have to pasteurize it by boiling it. But then you will be removing all the nutrients and minerals from the almonds that you will be cooking out.

Almonds are a heart-healthy choice as they help to reduce bad cholesterol, heart attack risk, and protect your artery walls from damage. They also help to stabilize blood sugar levels.

They are brain-healthy in many ways as well. In Ayurvedic medicine, they are known to increase high intellectual level and longevity.

One of their most fabulous traits is that they help to alkalize the body, supporting the immune system and energy levels.

Please try making this at home, it’s easier than you think and so worth it! Delicious!

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Ingredients

1 cup raw almonds

Enough water to cover almonds by 1 cm

2 cups water

Cinnamon stick

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 dates, pitted

Directions

1. Soak almonds for 4 hours to 2 days.

2. After soaking, throw almonds and water into a blender, and then add 2 cups water, dates, vanilla, and a small piece of the cinnamon stick (maybe 1 cm).

3. Blend on high for about a minute

4. Pour into a cheesecloth or nut milk bag over a large bowl and squeeze the shit out of it.

5. Drink the fruits of your labour, and save the ground almonds to add to muffins, cakes, or to sprinkle on chocolate pudding or cereal!

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The Crohn’s Disease — Onya

Carrageenan is one of those things that if ingested makes me feel like I ate a bowl of jagged metal Krusty-Os for breakfast.

Shudder.

Odessa did a pretty good job of pointing out why you shouldn’t consume this shit. I didn’t read any of the studies Odessa posted but I would bet you a gram of weed that carrageenan is hard on your bowel wall, breaks down the lining and lets food molecules that are too large into your body — in turn wreaking havoc and causing inflammation chaos in other parts of your body.

Final thought … say “fuck you” to Carrageenan … and processed foods in general. Unless you want to shit/inflame yourself to death.

Toke it easy,

OG

Empress of India — Waterloo — Restaurant Review

Odessa — The Foodie

Empress of India was E-mpressive!

Located in Kitchener-Waterloo, this place is a must try for anyone that enjoys super flavorful, saucy food and friendly service.

We started with these chips called papadums. That sounds made up but it’s true. They have loads of spices in them, which you will taste the morning after. We were warned about this but due to our ravenousness, we dove in anyways, and cursed ourselves the day after when we could still taste them. Saliva ain’t got shit on papadums.

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Papadums

Then we had a medley of vegetarian dishes as well as some Butter Chicken and a Shrimp dish…which I tried…because I am the worst vegetarian in the world…and it was delicious. Sigh.

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We had some “Angoori” wine which I have never heard of but enjoyed the shit out of. It was such a lovely evening as the owner came out many times to make sure we were well taken care of. Although I have had this experience in many Indian restaurants. They just love to feed people. Namaste?

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Brian from theglassforge.com and said wine.

I would highly recommend this restaurant to any of you fortunate/unfortunate enough to be spending some time in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Onya — The Crohn’s Disease

What she said …

Plus.

Odessa and our friend/Glass Blowing Instructor, Brian are far more food-adventurous than I but I felt very comfortable here. I ordered the Butter Chicken to play it safe but found my dinner partners’ random mystery dishes super inviting and had to try them all. Purrfect introduction to Indian cuisine — learned Naan is pretty much the best thing ever.

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The food here made my tummy happy in every way possible. Lovely evening all in all.

Thanks Empress of India! (And Brian who insisted we go there.)

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Toke it easy,

OG

Digestion, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Artificial Sweeteners

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The expensive Valentine’s Day candy mix that poisoned the shit out of me.

My guts do not love artificial sweeteners. That goes for the “natural” ones too, like Xylitol.

Fuck that shit.

They are basically the most powerful and painful laxatives I’ve ever ingested … and I’ve consumed a lot of hospital grade colonoscopy laxatives …

… Shudder …

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In summation, all artificial sweeteners are poison according to my body. Your body probably feels the same way, even if it isn’t flat out telling you that.

Trust me. I am a canary in your culinary coal mine.

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O.G.

Quinn’s Steakhouse and Irish Bar – Winterlicious – Toronto

Odessa — The Foodie

Okay, first of all, I am fully aware of my biases and hypocrisies, particularly when it comes to food. I will get into some other ones later, but for now I must say that I am a struggling vegetarian. I try very hard to stick to the lifestyle, but every once in a while, when the moon is full, I became ravenous and blood-thirsty.

Fantastically enough, Onya was also ravenous, so off we went in search for a steakhouse offering a Winterlicious menu. Quinn’s Steakhouse and Irish Bar is a definite go-to for anyone who likes food as much as I do. (A lot.)

The service was absolutely incredible as well. Warm and cuddly, perfect start to a date night. When we walked in there was only a few patrons at the bar, and when we left the place was much more lively but the service provided by Justin was equally consistent and amazing. And the food was magical. The Warm Wild Mushroom salad was out of this world.

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I ordered the bacon-wrapped Beef Tenderloin, which I asked to be prepared rare (see: bloodthirsty) and it was just orgasmic (I truly could not come up with a different word…sorry). Maybe that had something to do with the fact that I can’t remember the last time I ate red meat…but it was so worth it. My body clearly needed it and now I am back to my vegetarian lifestyle. So in other words, if I could only have one steak a year, I would totally choose that one because it more than exceeded my expectations in terms of flavor.

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And the Irish Whiskey Spice Cake was amazing as well! It came with flower petals!!!!!!!!! Quinn’s Steakhouse and Irish Bar serves true delicacy! I can’t wait to go back—but I will try and stick to their vegetarian options next time—which, by the way, there is plenty of!

-O.D.

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Onya — The Crohn’s Disease

Odessa is officially the world’s worst vegetarian, which I find to be one of her most endearing qualities.

The ambiance at Quinn’s is a combination of Irish, cool, homey and dimly lit — just the way I like it. Dim lighting is the first step in good digestion.

I am in the middle of a painful Crohn’s Disease flare-up and was slightly terrified by the idea of eating out somewhere but the vibes of this place and our absolutely lovely server made me feel totally at ease. I could tell right away  this isn’t a restaurant that will posion me. I often get nauseous just walking into a restaurant if iffy ingredients are used there.

I am a Crohns-Disease-Canary in your culinary coil mine.

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I ordered “Quinn’s Caesar Salad” to start and it was marvelous. A LOT of Caesar Salads make me sick instantly as they are often loaded with MSG, definitely not this one. It was the Caesar Salad of my dreams!

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Then I moo-ved on to the “Steak Frites, Alberta ‘AAA’ beef, house cut frites, Aioli, Café d’Paris.” So fucking delicious! Frites are one of my “safe foods” so I eat them almost everywhere I go. The frites at Quinn’s are definitely the best I’ve ever had!!

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I asked for my steak well-done and my server didn’t give me a judge-ie face, which I appreciate.

I ended my meal with the “Double Chocolate Pecan Fudge Brownie.” So yummy and the purr-fect size for this kitty! Odessa said I couldn’t eat the flower … so I ate the flower … and didn’t die.

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Anyhow, if you live with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and wish to take part in Winterlicious I insist you go to Quinn’s! Great way to spend an evening and it will surely help you get your Iron levels up while simultaneously pleasing your palate!

Thank you for a wonderful evening Quinn’s — and our outrageously kind server Justin!

Toke it easy everyone,

O.G.

Brock Sandwich Review

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Odessa – The Foodie

I will never forget the time I asked a waitress what vegetarian options she had. She laughed at me and said “grilled cheese sandwich?”

As if I would ever order that white bread shit.

Luckily, I did not have that problem at Brock Sandwich. They have one of THE most delicious vegetarian sandwiches I’ve ever had. I fucking LOVE sandwiches.

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From what I can remember sautéed rapini, seared eggplant, caponata, and shaved pecorino cheese…and I think roasted red peppers. Holy mother of God.

I’m happy to have discovered yet another delicious soy-free option other than the one I experienced at Three Speed in Bloordale!

If this wasn’t amazing enough, the boys who run this shop use seasonal vegetables, and whatever they don’t use, they preserve! Genius! For example, they had this incredible tomato paste which resembled ketchup but with real tomatoes. You will not find purple versions of this shit.

The guys who own the place are super nice too. And one of them has a pretty sweet beard. I highly recommend you check it out, and try a sandwich off of their impressive menu.

– O.D.

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The man with a beard, whom we hear is the Foosball Champion of Bloordale. Cough. The Emerson. Cough. Also, I dig his whale tattoo.

Onya – The Crohn’s Disease

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Isn’t this already the best sandwich you’ve ever seen? It is definitely one of the best I’ve ever eaten.

I eat the real life equivalent of this adorable cartoon because I know chickens and they are edible creatures.

Trust me.

Chickens would eat you in a fucking second and peck off anything’s face if given a chance. They also can’t move when it is dark out and tend to be bullies and racists.

In summation, I think chickens are jerks but I believe they deserve to be well looked after and maybe even hugged sometimes … but I think if humans take good care of them, they are okay with being eaten in the end. It is a mutually beneficial relationship in my mind.

I’ve talked to Mama Ganja’s chickens about it, they concur.

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Buttermilk chicken. Yum!

Anyways, I have nothing but good things to say about Brock Sandwich. My cat feels the same way — he really wanted some of this sandwich, he almost shanked me for it. I let him have a little at the end and he looked turbo happy with himself and then sat there purring with his tongue out, for at least 30 minutes.

The feline taste test. Passed to the fullest.

The day Odessa and I got these sandwiches I was super sick. Official Crohn’s Disease flare-up time. Often I run into the problem during flare-ups where EVERYTHING I eat makes me feel sick, so then I end up hating my favourite foods after awhile due to good ol’ fashioned conditioning.

This sandwich was delicious and soothing though, a little spicy but oddly enough that doesn’t tend to bug me. In fact, I felt BETTER after eating it, although this may have had something to do with the copious amounts of weed I smoked before eating … but either way this couldn’t have happened without the ingredients being top quality.

I look forward to trying Brock Sandwich’s  burgers … and maybe even a bite of Odessa’s vegetable killer sandwich someday.

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Thanks for feeding us and being glorious Brock Sandwich!

Toke it easy everyone,

O.G.

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