Gluten-Free in Dublin, Ireland

I loved this post, Kristin! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

spice of life blog


Dublin was a surprisingly easy place to accommodate food intoleraces and allergies. We found the food there to be fresh, healthy, and enlightened, as in menus marked with gluten information or restaurants having Paleo picks (not that we eat Paleo but it is generally gluten-free) and one even celebrating a month of the Paleo diet by offering an entire menu devoted to it. This restaurant, Saba, was right around the corner from our hotel and I could have ordered many things off their menu without having to worry about gluten. When we ate there we ordered rice with our pick which is decidedly un-caveman-ish, so we weren’t beholden to the Paleo diet thankfully, and got an excellent meal out of it.

Another place right around the corner from our hotel was our favorite restaurant of all, a healthy little breakfast, lunch, brunch place called Cocu. There are three locations and…

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Mango, Mint & Chai Seed Icy Bites

The colors in this post, the images, ignite in me the desire for these flavors! Great! I like these Ice-kisses! Thanks for sharing, great idea 🙂


It seems a bit odd to be making ice cubes in the thick of winter but these lovely, fruity iced gems are the perfect way to use-up leftover smoothie. Not only do they look delightful, they can also be used as a base for any one of my delicious smoothies.

Simply freeze your smoothie with a few extra sprinkles of chai seed and a sprig of fresh mint and hey presto.

I have about 6 trays on the go at one time. I am a little bit obsessed with how pretty they look (not to mention their fantastic nutritional value).

I have also been experimenting with savoury cubes. Blend together ginger, coriander and garlic with a bit of coconut oil and water and freeze.

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Organic Strawberry Smoothie: Special ingredients

Organic Strawberry Smoothie

A refreshing and delightful treat.

The special ingredients in my tasty smoothie are Longan fruit and Green Fig. I used 2% milk and organic frozen fruits.

The content below is not my original content but this drink I designed myself today, during a study break. I hope you enjoy learning more about these fruits! Below are some health details for your reading convenience!

Longan Fruit

Fruit Facts

Longans are much eaten fresh, out-of-hand, but some have maintained that the fruit is improved by cooking. In China, the majority are canned in sirup or dried. The canned fruits were regularly shipped from Shanghai to the United States in the past. Today, they are exported from Hong Kong and Taiwan.

For drying, the fruits are first heated to shrink the flesh and facilitate peeling of the rind. Then the seeds are removed and the flesh dried over a slow fire. The dried product is black, leathery and smoky in flavor and is mainly used to prepare an infusion drunk for refreshment.

A liqueur is made by macerating the longan flesh in alcohol.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion
Fresh Dried
Calories 61 286
Moisture 82.4 g 17.6 g
Protein 1.0 g 4.9 g
Fat 0.1 g 0.4 g
Carbohydrates 15.8 g 74.0 g
Fiber 0.4 g 2.0 g
Ash 0.7 g 3.1 g
Calcium 10 mg 45 mg
Phosphorus 42 mg 196 mg
Iron 1.2 mg 5.4 mg
Thiamine 0.04 mg
Ascorbic Acid 6 mg (possibly) 28 mg

Other Uses

Seeds and rind: The seeds, because of their saponin content, are used like soapberries (Sapindus saponaria L.) for shampooing the hair. The seeds and the rind are burned for fuel and are part of the payment of the Chinese women who attend to the drying operation.

Wood: While the tree is not often cut for timber, the wood is used for posts, agricultural implements, furniture and construction. The heartwood is red, hard, and takes a fine polish. It is not highly valued for fuel.

Medicinal Uses: The flesh of the fruit is administered as a stomachic, febrifuge and vermifuge, and is regarded as an antidote for poison. A decoction of the dried flesh is taken as a tonic and treatment for insomnia and neurasthenic neurosis. In both North and South Vietnam, the “eye” of the longan seed is pressed against a snakebite in the belief that it will absorb the venom.

Leaves and flowers are sold in Chinese herb markets but are not a part of ancient traditional medicine. The leaves contain quercetin and quercitrin. Burkill says that the dried flowers are exported to Malaysia for medicinal purposes. The seeds are administered to counteract heavy sweating and the pulverized kernel, which contains saponin, tannin and fat, serves as a styptic.  – The above information is an excerpt from here.

Green Fig

Nutrient Content
Include figs in your diet to help meet your body’s daily requirements for minerals. A 1/2-cup serving of dried figs contains 121 milligrams of calcium, or 15 percent of the daily adult requirement; 50 milligrams of magnesium, or 12 percent of the daily adult requirement; 506 milligrams of potassium, or 11 percent of the daily adult requirement; and 1.5 milligrams of iron, or 19 percent of the daily adult requirement. Figs also provide a good amount of dietary fiber that helps maintain digestive health. The average large fig is 23 percent fiber and provides 2.1 grams. Vitamins present in figs include the antioxidant vitamins A at 2.1 grams and C at 1 milligram per fig. The B-complex vitamins niacin and folate are also found in figs, with 2.1 grams and 3.8 micrograms, respectively, in an average large fig.
Heart Health

Figs are particularly heart-healthy. High potassium levels combined with low sodium levels help lower blood pressure, and high levels of polyphenol antioxidants help prevent atherosclerosis. A 3.5-ounce serving of dried figs contains up to 50 times the polyphenol content of most other fruits, according to Eugene A. DeFelice, M.D., author of the book “Nutrition and Health: Web Resource Guide for Consumers, Healthcare Providers, Patients and Physicians.” Figs also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and phytosterol compounds, which help lower cholesterol levels and preserve the flexibility of your arteries. Their fiber binds to cholesterol, helping to eliminate it from your body. – You can read the rest of the article here


There are over 600 varieties of strawberries on the earth so you won’t have to look hard to find this deep-red health booster. Strawberries are high in antioxidant phytonutrients known as phenols. Phenols are responsible for protecting us from disease and promoting good health.

Studies show that strawberries may also help protect the brain with a powerful antioxidant capacity. Strawberries reduce macular degeneration of the eyes, and are an excellent source of potassium, fiber, many B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, iodine, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and copper.

One study from Cornell University demonstrated that strawberries stopped the proliferation of HepG(2) liver cancer cells [4]. Another study showed that a substance found in the berry called isothiocyanate inhibited esophageal cancer. The above text about strawberries is available here where you can learn about 5 other fruits that are great to eat everyday!

Stir fry with mushrooms, shrimp, and asparagus: on Corn PASTA!

Honestly, I don’t really notice the difference anymore now that I am eating pasta made with corn. I find that I can still dress it up with some stir-fry. I often add turmeric, for my senses delight in the bright orange color, and because of all the wonderful benefits of reducing inflammation in  my body afforded by turmeric—furthering the purpose of my gluten-free diet to reduce inflammation.

I added trace minerals to my diet because I noted that much of the regular wheat pastas and grains are fortified with vitamins, and trace minerals. Here’s what i take. I also supplement my folic acid with a whole-food based supplement called JuicePlus.



Gluten Free at an Eritrean Restaurant?


So, it was an eventful date with my husband. I got stuck in the seatbelt, which we had use the scissors to cut me free from. The malfunctioning retractable part got me. It was a date worth… the gluten-free aspect of it. Hubby and I like adventures 🙂

The restaurant that we ate at wasn’t too yummy. I reflected back to my time in South Africa (2001) when I ate without utensils, only using the bread (Teff flour) and my hands, scooping up all that wonderfully spiced, homemade awesomeness. We had a wonderful meal shared with a large company of guests, singing songs, and playing steel drums and djembe afterward. 

This restaurant did not give me the experience of being in Africa, any part of it. I’d say that I expected too much from it, but in reality the food wasn’t all that good. Now we know. It also made me think of how grateful I am for this new discovery of teff flour. So, there were definitely redeeming qualities about the experience, taken as a whole; and, being reminded about injera.

“Injera (AmharicTigrinya: እንጀራ ənǧära [ɨndʒəra], sometimes transliterated enjeraOromobidenaaSomalicanjeero) is asourdough-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. Traditionally made out of teff flour,[4] it is a national dish inEthiopia and Eritrea. A similar variant is eaten in Somalia and Djibouti (where it is called canjeero or lahooh), Yemen (where it is known as lahoh), and Sudan.” (wikipedia)

Have I mentioned that I’m newly branching out into the world of baking? Stay tuned for the next post about the Oreos my husband and I recently made – no one needed to be rescued from a strangling, malfunctioning seatbelt!


Gluten Free – Day 42 – I can do better than Glutino


I’m feeling so much better sans the gluten. My skin is starting to look better, and I wasn’t even aware that it could. Specifically my digestive system is a lot happier with my new diet.

What I want to say today is brief. Namely, I realized that part of what “held me back” from choosing a gluten-free diet long ago was the cost of Glutino products. Glutino is a major brand, and it’s one of the first things you see when you are considering gluten free products at the grocery store. Many of their product types are traditionally gluten-containing products such as pop-tarts, and pretzels; but, Glutino has produced these familiar food types gluten free.  Looking at the price tags, however, can turn anyone’s stomach sour.

I don’t need Glutino to go gluten-free!

The proof of the pudding is in the eating – and in the label! After a while of practicing the art of ‘reading labels,’ it becomes navigable terrain to avoid gluten while still making cost-effective food choices at the grocery store. For example, the other day I got Trader Joe’s Corn Spaghetti Pasta for about the same price as regular gluten-type pasta. Also, eating rice noodles is more pleasurable to me now – a purchase that’s very affordable, especially at one of the Asian grocery markets in town. So, look beyond the brand, and look closely at the label. Try new foods.

What’s your cost-effective solution? What aspects of a gluten-free diet require the greatest dietary adjustments for you? Is anything about your gluten-free diet easier than you expected?