Hi, it’s me and a gazillion letters of text!
You may have noticed that I’ve been making a lot more gluten-free recipes over the past couple of weeks and I thought I would talk about why I’ve been doing this.
It’s sort of a long story!
Luckily, I’m jacked up on caffeine right now.
I’ve been experiencing some strange health symptoms over the past 4-6 weeks. For example, I’ve had bad stomach bloating to the point where I look 6 months pregnant (I’m not). I’ve always had bloating on and off all my life, but this is much worse than the normal bloating I’ve experienced in the past. I’m also experiencing bad stomach pains in my abdomen area, round-the-clock lower back pain, fatigue, and pressure in my pelvic area, among other things. The pain in my abdomen and lower pelvic area gets much worse after eating and I often feel really full after eating a normal-sized meal. Lately, I’ve been waking up with mild stomach pain too.
Several years ago, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (which I’ve mentioned on the blog a while back) and for most of my life I’ve struggled with stomach pain, headaches, and GI discomfort on and off. My stomach is very sensitive to certain foods like dairy, nuts, soy, and beans. I never really know how it is going to react. Sometimes a handful of raw almonds can set it off with pains, while other times it’s fine. IBS is also strongly associated with our emotions, so it’s not surprising that my anxiety manifests itself through my stomach and digestive system.
Since I’m divulging my life story, another thing I’ve struggled with health-wise is my reproductive system. Specifically, my ovaries.
In 2009, a pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound revealed that I have multiple cysts on my ovaries as well as an enlarged (they called it ‘bulky’) right ovary. In addition to my regular yearly pap test and physical, I also go for a yearly ultrasound to monitor the cysts and make sure that they aren’t getting larger. Keepin’ an eye on things. Basically, I’m on watch for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
I had another ultrasound in March 2011 and it revealed that my right ovary decreased in size from 17.7 ml to 10 ml. My left ovary is also smaller in size. Apparently, this is encouraging news, but I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t really received a proper explanation. I’m thinking about asking for a referral to a specialist soon.
Fast forward to the symptoms I’m experiencing today. They could be the result of a mild or more severe illness, like most symptoms. And trust me when I say that I’ve Googled them all! I think Google has told me I’m going to die of a horrible illness about 654 times during my life, so I’m trying not to self-diagnose or draw any conclusions until I have the proper tests done. It could be something as minor as an ulcer or as major as Ovarian cancer. That’s why I always say it’s important to listen to your body and be your own health advocate if you think something is abnormal for you.
This brings me to tomorrow, my next ultrasound appointment. I pretty much had to beg my doctor for this ultrasound since my last one was only 6 months ago, but I’d rather ruffle a few feathers than to have a health issue go undetected for months. Bring on the 5 large glasses of water and bladder-bursting hour wait time!
The results of my ultrasound will determine my doctor’s next steps. I had blood work done in May which all came back normal, but I will probably have to get my blood checked again.
So, this brings me to the gluten-free recipes.
My doctor suggested that I try eating gluten-free for a while to see if I have any relief in my symptoms. I really do not think it’s gluten causing the issues, but I’m willing to try anything at this point. I’m also going to see a naturopath on Tuesday for a general consultation and food-sensitivity testing the following week. I’ve heard from many people who have had great relief from their digestive issues when seeing a naturopath, so I figure it’s worth trying out.
At this point, I just want to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible, but in all likelihood, it could take a while to figure out. I will try to post an update or two on the blog as I get more information.
PIZZA makes everything better.
Gluten-Free Almond & Buckwheat Flour Pizza with Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto
A thin, crispy, flatbread-like crust filled with a nutty and lightly sweet flavour that will keep you coming back for more and more. Top it with Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto, some fresh herbs, Daiya cheese, and roasted tomatoes for a pizza that will be gone before you know it.
Yield: 3-4 servings
Inspired by Roost.
- 1.5 cups almond meal (155 grams)*, made from ground raw almonds
- 1.5 cups raw buckwheat flour (205 grams)*, made from ground raw buckwheat groats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (I used oregano, thyme, parsley)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp water, mixed)
- 2-3 tbsp water, as needed
- 2 cloves roasted garlic, optional
Notes: I ground raw almonds in my blender to make the almond meal. You can also use a food processor. To make the buckwheat flour, I ground raw buckwheat groats in my blender. I strongly prefer the taste of freshly ground buckwheat flour to the store-bought kasha flour.
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Mix flax eggs and set aside for 5 mins. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick mat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix well with hands until you can form a ball.
3. Place ball of dough on a non-stick mat or on parchment paper. Place another mat or more parchment paper over top. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is as thin as you can get it. Transfer to baking sheet (dough may rip a bit and that is ok). Gently patch rips of dough with fingers and spread on a couple cloves of roasted garlic (optional). I left the crust looking very rustic, so don’t worry it’s not supposed to look perfect!
4. Bake in the oven at 350F for 15-17 minutes until golden along the edges. Remove to cool slightly. Set oven to broil on medium heat setting.
- Pre-baked crust (above)
- 1.5 cups Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto
- Daiya cheese, as much as you want
- 1/4 cup fresh finely chopped herbs
- 3-4 leftover roasted tomatoes
1. Spread the pesto onto pre-baked crust. Sprinkle on cheese, fresh herbs, and chopped roasted tomatoes.
2. Broil for 2-3 minutes over medium heat (3), watching very closely so you don’t burn it. Slice and serve immediately. I served this with a big salad to round out the meal.
This crust turned out much better than I expected. The dough tasted amazing!
I spread on a couple cloves of leftover roasted garlic before baking.
After pre-baking, I spread on the mouth-watering pesto.
Followed by Daiya cheese, chopped roasted tomatoes, and fresh herbs.
Then I broiled it for 3 minutes over medium heat.
Crispy, ultra-thin, packed with nutrients, and oh so good.
This pizza did not last long!
If you are a thin-crust fan, you will love this pizza.
The crust is one of the most flavourful crusts I have tasted and the toppings went really well with it, but of course you can top it with whatever you see fit.
p.s.- See my new Fall header image? Hold down Control + F5 to refresh the page if you can’t see it.
p.p.s.- I have an exciting mushroom challenge & recipe post coming up Monday! If you love pesto, you will go crazy for this recipe.
We’re off for a day of hiking on this gorgeous Fall day…have a good one!