Thursday, October 27, 2011

That Comeback Album That Sinks Without A Trace (Also, Adventures in Eating)

Has it really been since May? Shoooooot.

I've been playing a lot of music in two bands, a process that derailed a bit when both drummers had to depart. We've got leads on drummers for both bands, including my new favorite guy ever, who brings me pumpkins and compares Pawnbroker to Edie Brickel.

I have a story forthcoming in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, culled from my long, long, long-suffering Crusades novel. That is, it's the Crusades if the Muslims were telepaths and the Christians shapeshifters. Now if I could just finish writing the damned thing... This particular character, Roach, is a slight analogue to an Ismaili Assassin. Except, y'know, telepath. I've been working on this story for years and BCS was always my first choice market, so yay!

Version 5 of this novel is my NaNoWriMo this year. I'd like to blog sometime about the ever-growing cultural appropriation debate, but I'm going to skip that in favor of...

Adventures in Eating!

I'm gluten-intolerant. Have been ever since I was four. Celiac sprue is a rather nasty food intolerance in which certain simple storage proteins in wheat, rye and barley tear apart the workings of the small intestine. The storage proteins are generically referred to as "gluten," but it's a misnomer as that's a catchall phrase for storage proteins in general, which is why "corn gluten" is a food additive.

Because I wasn't careful enough and now my intestines have suffered a bit, I'm experiencing some bad side effects of prolonged gluten exposure. I'm lactose intolerant as well and I have trouble regulating my blood sugar, probably because of intense sugar cravings partially brought on by malabsorption, leading to some signs of prediabetes. Yeah. Sucks. I am glad my kids have more warning than me for celiac, and we have a wheat-free house.

Food additives are terrible for celiacs, though. Ever seen the phrase "Modified Food Starch?" That's gluten. MSG and all its various aliases, like Hydrolized Protein? Generally gluten. Oats? They are gluten-free on paper, but absorb gluten during processing, so unless they specify wheat-free, all oat products are out.

After the last few years of dairy sickness and sugar shock, something must give. So I've embarked on a quest to cut down sugar consumption and eat more whole food. Breakfast shall be fish and greens, lunch a raw tomato, etc. I'm looking for hidden sugars in a lot of food I eat, which means less bread, for one, but also means I must confront the most delicious thing ever with a skeptical eye.

My first, and most treacherous companion:

Trader Joe's Mediterranean Hummus. It is so good. And it's because of sugar.

Sugar isn't listed in the ingredients, but dextrose, a form of glucose, is. It's a convenient way to hide sugar in additives. It's also one of the bases for citric acid, which is in the hummus as well.

Weirdly enough, US troops in World War II received dextrose pills in their K-rations. It was to help keep up blood sugar, and dehydrated Marines on waterless Pacific atolls went through a lot of it.

I make my own hummus a lot, but it's generally a different animal without additives. Raw garlic, pure lemon, etc. It's good, but the after-breath tastes like you've eaten a sunflower. I went a quest to make mildly sweet hummus that was still full of lemony garlic goodness.

Experiment 1: Prep everything in the olive oil. Get the olive oil simmering and add lots of garlic, onions and spices. (Sorry, this is a stock photo since our cameras are broken.) I didn't have the oil popping, but it did get to a nice roiling boil. Once the onions and the garlic were semi-translucent, I tossed them in the food processor with the lemon juice, tahini and salt.

The result was a very nice mild hummus, but it was a bit too mild. It was a sweet in a very natural, baked-onion kind of way, but it was missing the bite of that citric acid. I'm thinking of adding more lemon zest next time. Or some other crucial acid. Ideas, Internet?


  1. I'm thoroughly bummed to hear all the bad pre- and related conditions you are enduring. Candida is rampant in sugar-cravers so the no-sugar, few-carbs diet should help you feel better.

  2. I hope it's candida and not diabetes! That one is fixable.