Stir Fry – Is Gluten-Free Good?

I had dinner with a couple friends this past week. One of them has gone gluten free, so when we planned the menu, we decided on stir fry as an easy g-free option. Stirfry is fast, easy, delicious, and healthy – a perfect weeknight meal!

Add a little bit of oil to a wok, and add broccoli (and any other slower-cooking vegetables you are using):

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Sidenote: Check out that wok! I want to get something like this for my own kitchen. Whenever I make stirfry I just use a regular skillet, but this really seems superior – plenty of space for stirring and tossing.

Chop up the other vegetables and add to the pan:

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Once the vegetables have cooked for a few minutes, add in tofu (or other protein of choice), and stir to combine:

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Serve over rice, topped with soy sauce or other seasoning:

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And now a question about gluten…I’m assuming I’m not the only one who has recently had a slew of friends jump on the gluten-free train. I know a couple of people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease, but the majority of people I know who are keeping a gluten-free diet are doing so without having been given the diagnosis (in fact, most have been tested, come back negative, and still chosen to go g-free). Nonetheless, everyone I know who’s gone g-free (celiac or not) swears to feeling more energized, having better bowel functioning, and a greater sense of overall health.

Which brings me to the main question…is it really healthier?

In favor of gluten free, Dr. William Davis – the author of Wheat Belly, a bestselling diet book of 2012 – outlines a biological argument against wheat. In short, Davis says that the modern wheat we eat today has essentially ‘evolved’ through human plant breeding and modification. Our human bodies have not been able to adapt at a fast enough pace to match the changes in the food, so we are not really able to digest wheat (at least not modern-day wheat) properly. As a result, Davis argues, wheat leads to constipation, weight gain, and a whole range of other health issues. This applies to everyone – not just those with celiac – simply because we, as a species, are intolerant to the food.

*sidenote: Although the scientific side of his argument is compelling, Davis then goes on to suggest a diet that cuts out almost all carbs (even grains that are gluten free) as well as fruit for its high sugar content. This type of diet seems a bit extreme, not to mention that the dangers of a low-carb diet have been generally agreed upon by health professionals.

On the flip side, as someone with a history of an eating disorder, I see a lot of potential danger coming from removing entire categories of food from your diet when there is no true medical reason to do so. This seems an especially important consideration in the case of gluten given that most wheat and/or gluten-free plans, proponents, and books emphasize weight loss as one of g-free’s greatest benefits. The full title of Davis’ book, in fact, is Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Way Back to Health.

Overall, I would say that gluten-free is, obviously, a good idea for those who are suffering from celiac or a serious intolerance, but for others, this seems suspiciously like just another fad diet with potential physical and/or psychological dangers. What do you think? If you have an opinion on g-free, I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments section.

Dasani Drops

Look what I discovered today:

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This looks like something I would enjoy. Unfortunately, it was being packed up as a donation when I found it, so it wouldn’t have been so appropriate to sample. 🙂 I will be keeping an eye out at the supermarket though.

In other news…my evening was pretty relaxed and late. I have been on a weird schedule the last few days where I am eating all of my meals an hour or two later than I normally would. This morning I didn’t have breakfast until 10! #iLoveRelaxedMornings

Subsequently, lunch was at 3, gym was at 7, and dinner was at 8:30. Dinner was some tofu curry salad in a wrap with spinach. Carrot and celery sticks served with fig butter on the side.

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Afterwards, I decided to try some homemade hot-cocoa-for-one again. Instead of a splash of vanilla, I added a couple shakes of cinnamon this time. It made the drink a little more ‘spicy.’ I will definitely try again! Plus, making it really couldn’t be more simple. Only three ingredients (not counting water):

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cocoa, sweetener, cinnamon

Doesn’t this look delicious?!

yum...chocolate

yum…chocolate

Curry Tofu Salad

Several months ago I had a tofu curry salad from the salad bar at Whole Foods. It was absolutely delicious! That may have been partly due to the fact that the Whole Foods salad was ridden with mayonnaise (just because their version is vegan, I don’t think that makes it healthy…). Regardless, since that meal I have been wanting to my make own tofu curry salad in a lower-fat way. Today was the day! (full recipe and method below)

First, cook one package of extra firm tofu in a skillet until the edges are browned.

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Meanwhile, chop two carrots, two celery sticks, and 2 green onions.

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Add raisins, chopped almonds, curry, cayenne, ginger, garlic, and a splash of apple cider vinegar.

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Finally, add yogurt, lemon juice, and tofu, stirring until combined. Divide into three containers and enjoy for three easy lunches or dinners!

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Tofu Curry Salad
makes three servings
Ingredients
- one package extra firm tofu
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced small
- 2 large celery stalks, diced small
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- 1 tsp fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- dash cayenne
- splash apple cider vinegar
- hefty squirt of lemon juice
- 1/4 cup non-fat plain yogurt
Method
Cut tofu into small squares and cook in a skillet until the edges are browned. 
Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. 
Once the tofu is slightly cooled, add to bowl. 
Divide into three servings and enjoy!

Although the ingredient list might look a little long, it is actually extremely simple to make – primarily because nearly all of the ingredients simply need to be mixed together. This is a quick way to make grab-and-go lunches for the week. I plan to bring it to work with a tortilla and piece of fruit for lunch!

World Street Kitchen

World Street Kitchen (WSK) is recently opened in Uptown at 27th and Lyndale. WSK features dishes inspired by street food from around the world. The idea is clever and leads to unique – and at times somewhat bizarre – menu options. The restaurant’s interior is casual but sleek, with lots of bright colors and flashy art to catch your attention.

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The menu behind the counter informs visitors that the WSK’s signature dish is the yum yum rice bowl, coming with rice, protein of your choice, soft cooked egg, crunchies, peanuts, and secret sauce. “A party for your tummy!” Their words, not mine.

I ordered the Crispy Marinated Tofu rice bowl which came with charred squash and chinese broccoli.

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For $10, it was a hefty portion of food. I especially liked the texture created by the peanuts and ‘crunchies’ (whatever that means?). Still, the most intriguing items to me where those that resided in the dessert case.

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This is where the real ‘blending of the worlds’ comes into play at WSK. Inside that case you are looking at peanut butter curry pretzel cookies, chocolate chip marshmallow sea salt cookies, spiced pistachio baklava, and garam masala banana bread. I know, WHOAH. I tried the chocolate chip marshmallow sea salt cookie. It was good, but didn’t really taste too different than a regular choco chip. So, obviously, still delicious. 🙂 I enjoyed experiencing the uniqueness and atmosphere of WSK, but I don’t think I liked the food enough to go back again in the near future.