Posted by: Budger | April 3, 2010

Budging Gluten

My entire life I have had what one would call a sensitive stomach.  I won’t gore you with the details, but let’s suffice it to say that at times it has not been pretty.  Since my adulthood, it has been researched from everything from Crohn’s Disease to Ulcers, and finally diagnosed as IBS.  For the last seven years, I have been on a quest for answers, as I was tired of living with it as it was.  My first trip to a Gastroenterologist ended up with the diagnosis of IBS, and I lived with that.  I tried all of the various food elimination diets: milk, beef, WHEAT (but not gluten); etc.  Nothing would make it better.  I was told to diet, exercise and reduce stress.   Yeah right.

Once the heart issues started I abandoned the search for a cure to the spastic stomach, and focused on getting the ticker under control.  But about 6 months ago, with a year plus of the pacemaker behind me, I decided it was time to focus back on the other.  Back to the GI doc I went for more fun-filled tests.  But this time an answer.  I tested positive for a marker for Celiac Disease.  Celiac Disease is an intolerance to Gluten, a byproduct of wheat, barley, rye and other grains.  My doctor wanted me to try a Gluten Free diet for 2 months, and then come back, and we’ll discuss.  So I am in Week 4 of what I fondly refer to as Budging Gluten.  So far it seems to be working, but I still have a lot of questions for the doc when I go back.  However, this is not my first Medical Rodeo, and I’ve learned that you need to practice patience, make lists of questions, and follow the steps set out by the doctor, no matter how frustrating the process is or how long it takes.  I still am not sure whether I am classified as a Celiac or as Gluten Intolerant, so that of course is question #1, but after 3+ weeks of following the diet, as best as possible, it is making a difference.  So on the positive side, I have less hair falling out, and have been mostly stomach issue free.  On the negative side, I am gaining weight.  I am hoping this is because my body is getting some important nutrients that it was previously being denied.  But I’m sure part of it is also that I have been a couch potato.  I’m allowed to eat potatoes by the way.

So the biggest challenge for me in Budging Gluten has been lunch.  I don’t take my lunch to work.  I never wanted to take the time to do that in the mornings, and our building has a food court with a couple of “healthy” alternatives: sandwiches, salads.  So I would usually grab something there if I wasn’t eating out with a client or co-workers.  But Budging Gluten does not allow me to eat sandwiches, and salads were getting kind of old.  There is a Chinese place that has NO MSG, and I can get steamed rice, but after 3 weeks of that, I needed a change.  So I am now trying to plan my lunches.  I have Gluten Free crackers, chips, and rice cakes, and I thought if I could get something to go with those, that would be enough to get me through lunch.  (I have tried a couple of different kinds of Gluten Free bread, but so far nothing that I’ve been thrilled with.)  I have a banana as my mid-morning snack, and an orange in the afternoon, so I don’t need anything too heavy.  My thought – Chicken Salad……

Now if you’ve read my previous post, you’ll remember that the Cooking Gene has only just recently surfaced.  So I started my quest for a pre-made Chicken Salad that was fairly low-calorie.  That led me to trying a Chicken Salad from Costco.  But it was hardly low-calorie, and it was too sweet.  So I went on a search.  Now I’m sure you’re thinking “Budger – if you eat Chicken Salad every day, you’re going to get tired of that too.”  And you’re right, but I’m taking baby steps here.  My search led me to the following recipe.  I made up a batch today, and tried some for lunch with my Rice Works Sea Salt Chips (love those things), and it was yummy.  So I already have it packaged in containers for lunch next Monday.  And I’m so excited because I’m stepping into the world of Culinary blogging.  (Really Mom, it’s me, your daughter.)  So for all of you experienced cooks out there, and for anyone else:  A – quit laughing, and B – here is the recipe.  I really liked it. 

Cranberry-Almond Chicken Salad

  • 2/3  cup  slivered almonds
  • 3  cups  chopped cooked chicken
  • 3/4  cup  sweetened dried cranberries
  • 2  celery ribs, diced
  • 1/2  small sweet onion, diced
  • 3/4  cup  mayonnaise
  • 1  tablespoon  Greek seasoning
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 15 minutes).

2. Stir together almonds, chicken, dried cranberries, and remaining ingredients; serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 24 hours.

Sorry for the not very good picture.  I used some pre-roasted almonds with a herb seasoning, and a low-fat mayonnaise, and they worked great.  Based on my Weight Watchers recipe builder calculation, it is 6 points for a 1 cup serving.  That’s still a little high, but it’s a start.  Here is the original link as well:  Cranberry-Almond Chicken Salad

Let me know what you think.



  1. Sara Moulton – watch out! Just wait, next time you visit your mom, she’s going to hand you an apron when you walk in and have you do all the cooking. 🙂

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