22 December 2009

A belated Blessed Yule to all!

 A belated Blessed Yule to all!

We had a fantastic celebration yesterday!  Our dear friends joined us for a lovely ritual celebration of the sun's return and then we feasted on an African groundnut stew with sauted spagetti squash with garlic and peppers, sauted mushrooms, and a pilaf made from quinoa, millet, and tef.  Vegan *and* wheat free, but I don't think anyone felt like anything was missing (except the juice I forgot to buy -- but I think fruit tea stood in acceptably.) 


Some parts of the holidays are still going to be hard without wheat in our lives, of course.  For example, we decided it was wiser to skip the cookie exchange this year and while I hunted down some recipes for wheat free versions of some traditional cookies and a fruit cake, we haven't actually tried baking any of them yet.  Parties at other people's houses seem risky, too.  Many of the "usual" delights are off limits, and we find most of the replacements unpalatable. I hate to be finicky, but many lovely people try so hard to be helpful with my diabetes by providing "sugar free" chemical laden processed foods that I shudder to think what they will find to be helpful with sugar and wheat free ... lower carb doesn't mean I want to sidestep eating genuine food and gluten free doesn't mean we're willing to eat refined 'edible food like substances'.  I read a description of crumbling drywall and desicated bricks of wall plaster that sounded about right for our experience of the commercial gluten free products, though a friend baked a lovely gluten-safe "real foods" angel food cake for us and gave us new hope that birthday cakes may not have to be a thing of the past.  ;) For the most part, rather than asking people to buy into our insanity, it seems wiser and kinder to cook for ourselves and invite others to join us. I think holiday baking will get easier as we get some distance from the old standbys and can create new traditions without comparing them to what we're used to. 


We are eating a far greater variety of foods and on the whole we are eating better for my blood sugar since wheat was the one carb we never could seem to get away from, so I think on the whole we're probably eating better than we were.  I still need to explore what specific nutrients we were getting in large amounts from our grains so that I can be sure to replace those nutrients from some other source, but one thing at a time.


Ironically, we are also having to scale way back on beans.  I LOVE beans! Maybe not quite as much as Rod loves wheat, but... my allergy tests came back showing me highly allergic to navy beans, moderately allergic to kindney and green beans, and the others were all pending test results.  I am trying to get used to the idea that they may be a problem, too.  I'd be tempted to ignore it, except that my "cheat" at last week's office party, where I noshed on a handful of cookies has me in agony.  Every joint feels like someone wrapped it tightly in a sports bandage and then set it on fire.  If that's how I respond to wheat, which I don't technically show a sensitivity to, what are the beans I am allergic to doing?  *sigh*  I'm sure i'll know soon enough.


Anyway, enough whinging.  (I found a GREAT little book recently called Crones Don't Whine by Jean Shinoda Bolen ... I haven't read it through yet, but I think my New Year is going to be dedicated to get over myself. Ha!)


Yule fell on Monday this year, of course.  I took the day off since I had furlough days to burn.  It went so beautifully that I am seriously thinking about taking vacation time every year for Yule.  Somehow, it felt more like a real holiday than it usually does.  We had all weekend to prepare and then a relaxed celebration with friends.  I don't usually take the day off since I rarely have extra vacation this late in the year and since most of our friends would also be working, we just schedule the festivities for the nearest weekend.  But taking the day itself away from the usual demands made more of a difference than I would have expected.  Luckily, we have some friends whose schedules allowed them to celebrate with us and it was blissful!  As a matter of fact, I have scheduled furlough days for all the Sabbats in the next six months -- I don't know if any of our friends will be able to celebrate with us, but it felt good to really honor them with more than a nod.


Whatever holidays you are celebrating, I wish you warm, wonderful times and may the coming year bring you  all that you've been working toward and dreaming of!






  1. Happy Yule Misti!
    I understand about how crazily diets can affect holiday celebrations. Our co-op is pretty much nut free with minimal sugar and wheat since many of the kids have serious food allergies. My hubby has take Solstice through Christmas off for the last few years and it really does make a difference. I too was suprised by what a difference it makes. He wasn't able to take last year off and it just wasn't the same.

    Happy holidays to you and yours,

  2. Happy Yule to you!

    We eat yummy birthday cakes in my natural foods gluten-free vegetarian kitchen -- I'd be happy to share recipes or offer suggestions for converting your favorite recipes to be gluten-free, if that would be helpful.

    Your meal yesterday, with the pilaf and the groundnut stew, sounds FABULOUS!!!! If I can talk you into sharing the recipes, I would love to try them. Yum!

  3. I would *love* some birthday cake recipes, Valerie! Thanks!


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