Cafe de Desiree

April 28, 2013

Your Pie: Gluten Free Journey Series

Recently, I had the opportunity to try a new pizza restaurant in Murfreesboro thanks to a late but lovely birthday dinner given to me by one of my favorite families. Upon entering, I wasn’t sure about it because it was absolutely deserted. However, when I found out that they served gelato and displayed a pizza bar similar to the sub bar at subway, I was pretty excited to indulge. Then, I found out the kids ate for $3 on this particular night, which made it even better since my friends have three boys. My friend assured me they had gluten free crust before we went, so I felt pretty confident about ordering a pizza. Gluten-free pizza crust can be tricky. It is either soft and chewy or crunchy like a cracker. I prefer the soft and chewy. I also have been reducing my lactose intake because I still have stomach issues even with being off gluten. I was delighted to find that they had vegan cheese, a substance called daiya. I knew I was risking it by getting cheese that is not really cheese, but I figured if I piled on enough toppings, it would cover up whatever weird taste the daiya might have! I decided to go all vegan since they had so many choices. It really is laid out like Subway where you choose your toppings, and they make the pizza right in front of you. There were several sauces to choose from, but I went with the basic marinara. My pizza artist then sprinkled on a layer of the mysterious cheese like substance called daiya. Then, I chose mushrooms, tomatoes, and fresh basil.

A few minutes later, a steaming hot pizza appeared in front of me at our booth. It smelled amazing, so I dove in. I was in food heaven for a moment. Daiya is delicious, whatever it is. It’s slightly sweet and creamy in texture, but it isn’t thick like cream cheese. The crust was soft and chewy, very much like a regular hand tossed crust. The toppings were fresh, and I ended up eating the entire ten inch pizza. If that weren’t enough, I then indulged in a small cup of rasberry sorbet gelato. Again, it was dairy-free. My best friend’s husband ordered the rather ordinary pepperoni pizza, but it was anything but ordinary. Our pizza artist spread the marinara on the hand tossed crust, and then he got a bit fancy with it. He sprinkled on a small bit of crushed garlic and fresh Italian herbs before tossing a thick layer of mozzarella over the sauce and neatly placed pepperoni slices. If you are gluten or lactose intolerant, or if you just like a creative gourmet pizza, they have your pie!

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April 6, 2013

JoZara’s Coffee in Murfreesboro

Filed under: food,Gluten free,Health,restaurant review — desi83 @ 6:18 am

I can eat muffins, cupcakes, and cookies without my gluten intolerant tummy punishing me later! This is the first review that I am doing in my gluten free journey series. JoZara’s coffee shop is a place that I have enjoyed as a relaxation sanctuary since it opened five years ago. It actually celebrated its fifth birthday with allergy-free cupcakes this week. I often go there to sit in one of their comfy vintage chairs or couches with a cup of coffee or hot tea and a pastry with a book in my hand when I need to unwind. When I first started the GF diet, I had to give up the cookies and pastries that I used to enjoy there. These are not your typical frozen crumbly pastries that you find at most coffee house chains. They are home-made, soft, and flavorful pastries that make you feel warm and comforted inside. Then, lo and behold, I come in one day to find a small case labeled “allergy zone”. There were chocolate chip pumpkin muffins and banana nut muffins that were allergy free (gluten free, vegan, dairy free, etc.). I ordered the chocolate chip pumpkin muffin, and I reveled in the fluffy texture and the sweet flavor that I had for so long missed. For me, this didn’t taste any different than its wheat flour counter-part. I knew I loved this place, but now it truly was a sanctuary for me of relaxation-and indulgence.

They have since expanded their gluten-free/allergy free offerings with various fruit and nut breads, cookies, and most recently, cupcakes for their 5th birthday celebration. Apparently, these allergy free anomalies are prepared fresh by a local baker. I am not sure who he/she is, but this person has done a great service to this area, and I know this because when these desserts were first being offered, I would sometimes come to find out that they were sold out. Now, there seems to always be something available to those of us with a limited diet. I would highly recommend JoZara’s to anyone on the gluten free diet, lactose free, vegan, or anyone who has any sort of food allergy. I also have the choice of almond or soy milk in my latte as I am somewhat lactose intolerant.If you are on a low sugar diet, there are plenty of sugar-free syrups to add to your beverage of choice. JoZara’s has something for everyone on any sort of limited diet. We can now all indulge without the pain following us for enjoying guilty pleasures!

A Gluten Free Journey

Filed under: food,Gluten free — desi83 @ 5:58 am

Three years ago I went to the doctor because I had gone an entire week without an appetite and a constantly bloated stomach that gave me a pain I had almost become accustomed to. I dropped massive weight that was completely unnecessary and unhealthy. My entire life, I’ve dealt with frequent stomach problems and loss of appetite. I’ve often forced myself to eat when I wasn’t hungry so that I wouldn’t suffer from a loss of blood sugar or lose too much weight. I joke that this would be a great diet if only I needed to lose the weight. It mostly just makes life difficult when you constantly have a stomach ache. So, I had tests done, and my doctor told me to take a laxative and probiotics. He said there was nothing physically wrong with me that he could diagnose from tests. Great. So, I became somewhat of a laxative junky, and I went to another doctor for a second opinion. I was now a vegan and a laxative junky who was terribly underweight because I didn’t know what the hell to do. I saw this new doctor, who is a bit of a hippie with a soft, slow voice and a comforting presence. She asked me if I had ever tried a gluten-free diet. I told her I was basically eating nothing but fruits and vegetables and senna tea because I was afraid of most food. She told me to eat normally except for gluten, and to obviously get off the senna tea for awhile. Of course, this requires extensive label reading and questioning restaurant staff. She referred me to a gastrointestinal (gi) specialist immediately after seeing me to get tested for celiac disease. He was noticeably skeptical and advised me against the gluten free diet as it is “too difficult to follow and not worth it if you aren’t part of the 1% of people who actually have the disease”. I was staring back at this man with tears in my eyes because I was in pain and thought I might have found a solution, and he was treating me as if it was all in my head. He sent me to the lab, and once I arrived, I realized his nurse had given me someone else’s file. A week later, his receptionist coldly told me that I tested negative. I broke down and cried because the answer I thought I had found was false. I decided to try the diet anyway, and I made an appointment with my doctor to speak with her about other possibilities.
I tried going gluten-free for a month, and I was mostly better. I cheated a couple of times, and immediately I suffered the terrible bloating and pain that I had previously dealt with constantly.The gi specialist was a first of many skeptics that I’ve come across, but by trial and error, I can tell you quite confidently now that I am gluten intolerant and slightly lactose intolerant. I’ve been told by another doctor that if you are intolerant to one, you are usually somewhat intolerant to the other. I switched to coconut milk and rice products, and I am happy to say that I gained some of my weight back and have less stomach aches than I did before the diet. However, I have often accidentally eaten gluten, mostly at restaurants, because it is an ingredient that hides in the most inconspicuous foods. I have trouble finding restaurants that have gluten free menus or offer a decent amount of gluten free products. I kid you not, I have been given gluten free menus that have 4 or less items on them. Kudos to those restaurants for even having a custom menu available for me, though, because some offer nothing for my limited diet. So, I am now on a journey to find the restaurants with the best gluten free offerings. I will be reviewing restaurants on my blog that have these offerings so that those of you who are gluten free as well or just curious will know the best of the best “gf friendly” restaurants in middle Tennessee (unless I travel outside of this place).

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