Among German food bloggers there are common word jugglers and downright stars such as today’s guest and main attraction of the “Croation-Swabian State Circus”. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage: The Whitest Cake Alive! Sonja’s exceptionally honest and entertaining posts, her stunning recipes including this strawberry-rose petal-pistachio-cake as well as her being fructose intolerant to top it off, makes it all the more easy to instantly become a huge fan of hers. Good morning Sonja, let’s get this day off to the right start! …
Is this really today’s date? Are we already this close to October? As for the summerlong silence on Fructopia, that could only mean one thing:
Faces held out towards the warming sun, legs dangling in the sparkling sea, endless nights on the terrace of a summer house located somewhere along the manifold azure blue coastal landscape of southern Turkey. A table bending under the weight of all the delicious mezze and fresh produce, brought forth by the fertile earth we are surrounded by. Standing nearby, a grill with delicate fish, bought off of a local fisherman on our way home from the beach. He shares a faint smile as a long day out on the sea comes to an end. Sun, wind and water have left their marks on his face, hinting at all the stories he could tell.
You are probably thinking, that I must have thoroughly been enjoying myself this summer. After all, every true „Istanbullu“ spends summer at their summer house, right?
Cut, rewind. Let’s start from scratch. But this time, let’s stick to the facts, okay? ;)
I’m back. And with me I brought 10 days filled with memories of this remarkable city called New York. Those of you who have been to New York before, might have noticed that it is quite an intense place. The noises, the smells and completely different visual language compared to other cites made me stare on in awe. It is only now that I’m sitting back at my desk in Istanbul, a city that feels slow and relaxed compared to New York (a statement I never thought I would make), that I realize how worn out I am after this trip. New York simply has its own pace that is hard to keep up with. But maybe that’s the reason people are so fascinated with the place.
Besides the wedding we were attending, the thing I was looking forward to the most, of course, was food. After all, New York is home to many health food devotees and the place, where most of the food trends rise and fall, second only to San Francisco. Though kind of aware of this at the start of our journey, I was still anxious about the upcoming week, my head filled with all the high fructose corn stories, worried that those good old American fries would make for the main component of my meals during our stay. Luckily all my worries vanished as soon as I realized that all of our friends there are foodies just like us. In case this term is new to you, here is what Wikipedia has to say about it:
“A foodie is a gourmet, or a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out for convenience or hunger.”
Intentionally or unintentionally our friends seriously introduced us to cream of New York’s crop. I’m not talking about five star restaurants here. I’m talking about healthy, ingenious but honest cooking, that was worth every dime we spent. (Did I mention that New York is a bit pricy compared to Berlin or Istanbul?)
Anyway, if you happen to be cast away on the East Coast, namely in NYC, sometime in the near future, the following advice might come in handy if you are into experiencing some memorable, fructose free and gluten free moments of indulgence. …
If you take a closer look at my recipe list you might assume I have quite a sweet tooth. Sorry to disappoint you. Though it is true, I used to be a sugar addict, eating lots of sweets up until I was diagnosed with FM. Beyond any doubt, it is my fructose malabsorption I blame most for my sugar cravings. And believe me, I’m more than happy the cravings have finally ceased. Most of the dishes I cook at home are actually more on the savory side and I would always prefer a piece of fenugreek-goat-cheese on a slice of whole spelt bread over a cup of Häagen-Dazs ice cream. I’ve become a savory girl through and through. To prove that, in my future posts I want to share some more recipes catering to our savory cravings. Today’s recipe features one of my favorite winter foods, namely celery root or celeriac. Celeriac is a good substitute for grainy side dishes, as it is quite filling. Besides its health benefits I like the mild and slightly nutty flavor of this magic root. So let’s kick off the celery root season with some easy to prepare celeriac fries and an oriental spiced yoghurt dip!
From time to time I know it can be a bit tiring to be friends with, related to or in a relationship with me, the adamant no-fructose-advocate that I am. Even four years after being diagnosed with fructose malabsorption, I’m not showing any signs of fatigue in bringing up the fructose topic. Be it by making critical observations on why certain foods are unhealthy (which I usually make just as a friend is about to dive into their said plate of food). or in response to somebody once again asking me, why (after turning down the piece of cake) I won’t have any of the fruit either. Enter the sugar-police! I always try not to lecture, rather to explain. I understand that my little sister for example is not keen on hearing my opinions on sugar, as she is just about to have a bite of her delicious looking cupcake. (I am still the older sister, though, so bear with me) In the end, all I am really trying to say is that I am concerned about the health of my loved ones.
Good to see that my relentless fructose free input has left some positive marks within my circle of friends. They seem much more conscious about handling their daily sugar intake and some have even taken to research on their own. Lucky me, sometimes they share an interesting article or two with me. Lucky you, sometimes I share those articles with you! So here goes: …
I spent the past two weeks suffering from a proper cold, rushing to a couple of last minute “let’s have a coffee”-meets with friends in Berlin and preparing myself for our return to Istanbul. Though it was only three weeks, it feels as though I’ve been away for ages. I’m actually having some difficulties getting back on track. Maybe it’s because we didn’t just return to Istanbul, no, at the same time we moved into a new interim flat. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really cozy place with huge windows for the sun to fill the rooms with its warming autumnal light. It’s just a little strenuous adapting to a new place, new neighborhood, new rhythm once again, knowing all along that in about three months time we are going to need to find a new place to call home.
Also the trip itself back to Istanbul was quite a disappointment. I already told you about the frustration I experienced on the way to Berlin when SWISS didn’t manage to cater to my order of a gluten-free meal. During our stay in Berlin I called their customer service to make sure, this wouldn’t happen again on the way back. I was super surprised to learn that SWISS doesn’t respond to special meal requirements on short-distance flights and that it would be my own responsibility to prepare enough food to keep me going during the upcoming five-hour trip back from Berlin via Zurich and on to Istanbul. Not a big deal in their mind I guess. Thanks a lot SWISS for helping out. Not. Again. By the way, stunning three weeks after my mail they managed to answer to my mail. Three weeks! It’s 2013 by the way, not the 1980s.
Even though I prepared some food, which they almost didn’t let me bring onto the plane during the routine security checks, it was frustrating watching others being served a warm meal. I know it’s usually better to skip the crappy airplane food, but who cares when hungry, frustrated and on a trip back home, which is taking way too long. I mean, come on SWISS, it’s not like I asked for some crazy, exotic, out of this world, nut, grain, lactose and fructose free meal that includes some fresh salmon with millet and a delicious avocado-chocolate-mousse on the side. All I asked for was a gluten-free meal, which they proudly advertise on their website anyway. This failure in customer service left me munching on my banana, nuts and homemade cocoa spelt buns for the rest of the journey. The spelt buns were good, no doubt, but after having eaten five of them the day before, I was getting a bit tired of their taste. The reason why I won’t be sharing the recipe with you yet? I ended up using a lot more spelt flour than planned and need to work on the recipe again.
Well, so much for a quick update. Sorry about spreading those negative vibes. In any case, before I wish you an amazing start into another sunny fall week (or is it spring where you live?), I’d like to share two nice reads with you. A warming cup of turmeric milk should make these reads even more enjoyable ;)
Research fructose malabsorption:
This article on the history of sugar published by the National Geographic magazine in August is a must read for everyone, not only for us fructmals. It explains how sugar virtually became an indispensable part of our daily lives and describes its journey from when “the sugar was so rare it was classified as a spice” to the point when “sugar began to change to a staple, first for the middle class, then for the poor”: Sugar, National Geographic
Also, if you are new to avoiding gluten, check out these helpful hints on going gluten-free. My favorite “Be prepared!” (Beware: The author does not follow a fructose free diet so some of the following food recommendations may cause your tummy some serious trouble): Helpful Hints On Going Gluten Free from Naturopath, Jules Galloway…
It’s been seven months since we left our home in Berlin in an attempt to grow roots in Istanbul. A few days ago we arrived back in Berlin. It’s our first time home since February. I was looking forward to these upcoming three weeks. Looking forward to all the breakfasts, lunches and dinners with friends and loved ones, to happy bike rides in the city and enjoying morning runs in the park close by. Other than that, I must confess, there is not much I missed about Berlin. Who would, considering the numerous hours of sunshine Istanbul provided us with, all the Turkish food and fresh seasonal goods grown on the fertile lands of the rough Black Sea, the thousand plus different views of the Bosphorus or the seemingly endless supply of new and one of a kind impressions. Istanbul has not failed to keep us entertained. Needless to say the Gezi Park protests and the surprisingly violent response by the police caused quite a stir in our daily lives.
Traveling is not easy, when suffering from fructose malabsorption. Of course I know that. Still, so far I haven’t starved when hopping on a plane. Usually there is the standard “chicken or pasta” choice. Most of the time I go for the chicken to eat the meat at least. When I’m lucky they serve rice with it or a salad without dressing. I peck around in those tiny serving dishes and eat whatever my body tolerates. This time however, I didn’t want to leave things up to chance. I checked the special menus offered by SWISS in advance. I wasn’t expecting to find a menu low in fructose, that would have been somewhat of a revolution. Instead I opted for a gluten-free meal for my journey from Istanbul to Berlin.
“Let us know your desired special meal when booking your flight or contact one of the SWISS agents a minimum of 24 hours prior to departure.” swiss.com
This is the moment when customer service traveling with fructose malabsorption turn into a nightmare.
Why make it easy for the customer to order his or her special needs meal by providing an online form just for this single purpose, when the whole procedure can be turned into an outright hassle for all involved. SWISS must have thought the same. I was offered the choice between calling some computer assisted hotline or filling out an email form with non-related, trivial subjects to choose from. I chose the latter. A big mistake. Apparently SWISS was not able to process their service mails during the four days prior to my flight. I asked about my special meal order at check-in. Negative. What had I expected. Hence, I relied on the “chicken or pasta”-strategy. Mistake number two. On board we got served cake and pasta, meaning an abundance and “no-way-out” supply of wheat, sugar, tomatoes and onions. Nice. Not even pecking around for the good bits was going to get me out of this one. We asked the stewardess if they had any other gluten-free snack, which she denied. But, surprisingly she offered me an apple or a banana from the crew catering. I guess I was really lucky to have her as a stewardess. I wouldn’t have been too surprised if the other crew members wouldn’t have offered me the same. This banana saved me for the rest of the journey. To make matters worse we arrived late in Zurich, didn’t have time to stop for a snack in between flights and on our connecting flight they served, yay, sandwiches. Thank you SWISS, enjoy your meal yourself.
The lesson is clear: Firstly, do not expect too much service, not even from SWISS. Secondly, don’t rely on others when it comes to food. Thirdly, I will definitely take care of my food myself for the upcoming flight back. Any recommendations for healthy, easy to carry-on food on the go?
I‘m a big fan of to-do lists, both handwritten and digital. I also love getting the individual to-dos, want-to-dos or whatever you like to call them depending on their respective level of fun back off my list and off my back for good. But sometimes one of the to-dos decides to stay on the list. It is times like those, when I simply can’t complete the job at hand. Instead that small to-do becomes a ubiquitous mental note, floating above of my inner mess of thoughts, making me more miserable and more afraid to tackle it with every day I’ve failed to approach it. I hate it. Believe me, I’m not talking about some dreadful task here. I just hate it, because I know perfectly well that getting it done would be an easy way to clear my mind. Yet I still fail to follow through.
This is why I was afraid to check the date of my last post here. I still haven’t looked it up. There is no need to. However long it has been since my last post I haven’t forgotten what I’d been meaning to tell you:
For one, we have been welcoming, hosting and seeing off a steady flood of visitors from home who seized their summer holidays as an opportunity to explore Istanbul with us. So there we were, guiding our guests, showing them around, running up and down the hills of this beautiful city at a constant average temperature of 32°C/90°F in the shade and taking a break here and there making me unlearn snacking for the ‘I’ve stopped counting’-est-time.
I also missed out on telling you that it’s been 8 weeks now since I cancelled wheat from my diet. I had kind a sudden sort of epiphany, when I realized why so many of you fellow fructose malabsorptioners avoid wheat. Food life has been quite adventurous since I started my gluten-free journey and there is much to tell you about in my next post.
We also celebrated a birthday, my very own thirtieth birthday to be precise, which I still find slightly weird realizing it is my own age. But if being in ones thirties means getting a fructose friendly cheesecake from my boyfriend I willingly embrace this new era. He kindly gave his permission to share the recipe too and so I will, shortly.
On another note I missed out on sharing the following article, which reminds us of why it’s a good thing, that fructose is bad for us and why it‘s worth it taking a stand against this little monster day in day out. Read it here. Found on No Sugarless Gum. Thanks for sharing Paige!
So much for my long overdue update. It was good to catch up. I’m looking forward to sharing more details on my newly acquired fructose AND gluten free eating habits with you soon! Have a great Sunday!