Five Guys - GDSYWP-Free!


Five Guys has always been known for their simple menu, good food and their fresh, never frozen philosophy. They have received several awards and are even Zagat rated. Because of their dedication to fresh, natural foods, they are very understanding of and willing to cater to food intolerances.

In the FAQ section of their website, they specifically address several food allergies. Because of all the information that they provide, I can easily to see how to eat there GDSYWP-free! According to their website, their buns contain gluten, dairy and soy and of course, their cheese contains dairy. Therefore, if I simply avoids the bun, cheese and pork bacon, I can easily to dine there safely! (If you have intolerances to egg, also avoid the bun and if you have intolerances to peanuts - stay out of the restaurant!! Not only is peanut oil the only oil to be found in this restaurant, but shell-on peanuts are also served openly as an appetizer.)

But don't think because I can't have the spongy bun or the melty cheese that I'm missing out! I have the choice of an all-beef hot dog or a burger with one or two patties. And, there are plenty of delicious toppings to choose from to flavor my humble burger. I can chose from: mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, relish, tomato, lettuce, pickles, raw or grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, green bell peppers, fresh jalapeƱos, and three sauces - A-1, hot and barbeque. The food is served wrapped in a piece of foil and is placed on a plastic tray or in a signature grease-stained brown paper bag.

As a side, they offer fresh french fries - cut in the store from real potatoes. There is even a white-board in every store telling you from where the potatoes being served that day came! The fries are available in regular or large size - though either is more than enough for two people to share. The styrofoam cup that they are served in is often overflowing with those crisp-outside yet soft-inside potatoy goodness. There is also an option to have the fries Cajun style where they come sprinkled in a delightful mixture of spices. Yum! I complete my meal with a cold Coca-Cola brand fountain soda, iced tea or bottled water.

While there is always a risk of cross contamination, the staff there is very willing to accommodate when given clear instructions. When I order, I let the cashier know that I have a wheat and a dairy allergy and that I would like my hamburger or hot dog served with no bun and no cheese. I also request that the assembler of my meal put on new plastic gloves. What I receive is a foil-wrapped burger or hot dog, then the toppings and sauces will be in separate foil or plastic cups, ready for me to assemble to my liking. They do have plastic forks and knives there, though I have yet to find one that has plates, but the unwrapped piece of foil works well enough (Five Guys - if you're reading, some nice sturdy cardboard plates would be greatly appreciated!! :D).

Sample Menu

When I tell people about all my food intolerances and explain that I cook almost completely from my home, I often get asked what exactly CAN I eat and if it's hard. Well, it's not hard per se, but is more time consuming. As for the food, well, it's tasty! Here is a run-down of just a few options that I have:





Sample Menu

Breakfast:
Rice Chex, Honey Nut Chex. Corn Chex, Trix or Honey Kix with Hemp, Rice or Almond Milk and Fruit
Fried Eggs with Beef or Turkey Bacon and Grits or Home Fries
Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free Pancakes or Waffles with Beef Bacon and Fruit
Gluten/Dairy/Soy/Yeast Free Toast with Peanut Butter
Fruit Smoothie
Hormel Canned Corned Beef Hash with Fried Eggs and Fruit
Veggie-Filled Omelet

Lunch:
Any dinner leftovers
Gluten/Dairy/Soy/Yeast Free Flour Wrap, Toast, Corn Tortilla or Rice Paper Wrap filled with turkey, lettuce, tomato, onion and avocado served with potato chips on the side
Hormel Dinty Moore Beef Stew with side salad and homemade dressing
Imagine Brand soups - some are safe
Glutino Brand Gluten Free Chicken Ranchero with Brown Rice Frozen Meal
PJ's Chicken Tamale Frozen Meal
Amys Brand soups - some are safe
Egg/Tuna/Chicken Salad with Gluten/Dairy/Soy/Yeast Free Crackers and Fruit
Chicken, Vegetable and Rice Soup
Green Salad topped with Grilled Chicken and homemade dressing

Dinner:
Grilled Chicken, Lamb or Steak, Baked Potato and Steamed Veggies
Gluten Free Brown Rice Pasta topped with Tomato Sauce and Ground Beef
Chicken and Veggie Stirfry with Gluten/Soy Free Oyster Sauce over plain White Rice
Roast Turkey/Chicken/Beef with Roasted Veggies and Side Salad and homemade dressing.
Taco Salad - romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onions, avocado topped with grilled meat, black beans and safe tortilla chips
Bunless Hamburgers or Hot Dogs with Potato Salad, Side Salad and homemade dressing
Turkey and Bean Chili

Dessert:
Fruit
Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free Cobbler
Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free Cake
Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free Cookies
Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Dairy Free Gelato
Dairy Free Sorbet

Snacks:
Mixed Nuts (minus Walnuts)
Fruit
Plain Potato Chips
Original Fritos
Gluten/Soy Free Beef Jerky
Fruit Leathers
Rice Cereal Bars
Fruit Smoothie
Hummus and Carrot Sticks



As you can see, I do not have to go hungry or sacrifice taste just to eat well!

Meat Comparison

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia


Back when I was doing Weight Watchers, I was looking for a lot of meat alternatives. I had already used a lot of turkey breakfast meats and ground turkey in place of ground beef in hamburgers, spaghetti, etc, but ground turkey just did not cut it for a real hamburger. One day, when I was shopping with my Hubby, he saw this:


Buffalo? Ground buffalo? Huh. Then I flipped it over and looked at the nutritional information:


Hm. Not too shabby. So, we took it home, tried it and loved it! It tasted just like beef - but was healthier and thus less WW points. It went straight into rotation! Though, recently, it has not been. I see it at the stores, but we really just don't eat much ground meat much anymore and when we do, it's always turkey.

Well, a few weeks ago, I went into the doctor for a general checkup. Verdict - I have a Vitamin D deficiency (which, if you want to know, I am trying to solve with a good multivitamin and this which has 2,000 IUs of vitamin D in 1 tsp! Wow!) and my cholesterol was high. The over-all cholesterol wasn't so bad, but my triglycerides were way bad ... like nearly double what it should be. Eek! So, anyway, I need to bring it down badly. The doctor prescribed more exercise, less sugars, less carbs and less/better meat (and, surprisingly, the fish oil that I suggested taking helps lower triglycerides too! Score!). Anyway, I started doing some research on sugar alternatives (will discuss this more later) and on meat. I thought - what meats are better for you, which ones have less calories and fat? Then I thought again of that lovely ground buffalo that I used to eat back on Weight Watchers and I dove into the research.

Among other places, I turned to the USDA website for information. Did you know they have a search tool to help you find out what nutrients are in the foods you eat? Pretty cool. So, I looked up all the various meats that I eat to get a better idea and I put together a table.

First, some notes and disclaimers before I share this table. First of all, I am not a nutritionist, I just compiled the information that I found on what I think is an unbiased, trustworthy site. Please do your own research and consult with your own doctors/nutritionists before deciding what is best for you. Anyway, notes - you will notice this table does not include pork. I am intolerant to pork, therefore don't eat it, and didn't include it in this list. I only included meats that I eat, but the USDA link that I gave above should give you information on pork should you want it. I kept all the amounts the same - 1 cup cooked. I tried to pick all ground meats. Buffalo (Bison) only had one listing on the USDA site. I'm not sure if it's ground or steak or what, but it's all I had, so I used it. I also wanted to use all lean ground meats, like I did in the instance of the beef, but ground chicken and ground turkey only had one listing. I'm not sure what percentage these would be or what, but I only had one option so I had to take what I could get! ;) Finally, I rounded. I hate all those decimals, so I used the typical rounding methods - .5 and up got rounded up, .4 and down got rounded down. Easy peasy, right?

So, here are my results based on the information found with the nutrients search on the USDA Website.


Bison, cookedGround beef, 85% - 89% lean, cookedLamb, ground or patty, cookedTurkey, groundGround Chicken
Serving Size1 cup, cooked1 cup, cooked1 cup, cooked1 cup, cooked1 cup, cooked
Energy (kcal)192305346296 301
Protein (g)3832303434
Fat, total (g)318241717
Cholesterol (mg)110 109118128110
Saturated fatty acids, total (g)171045
Monounaturated fatty acids, total (g)1810 67
Polyunaturated fatty acids, total (g) 01244
Calcium (mg) 1122273219
Iron (mg) 53222
Magnesium (mg)533022
Sodium (mg) 76485496545513
Vitamin B-12 (mcg)43300
Folate, total (mcg)432300


So, as you can see, buffalo has much fewer calories, slightly more protein, significantly less fat, less calcium, slightly more iron and much less sodium than all the other meats. And it tastes great? Pretty cool!

Another interesting thing I found out from this table - I had no idea just how high in calories and fat lamb was! Yikes! Good thing I only eat it a few times a year. I mean, I really love it, but my Hubby does not, so I only make it when he is out of town or my parents make it when we visit sometimes (and a steak for my Hubby). It is surprising high in magnesium and folate though.

For me, I think what I'm going to do is stick to turkey for my bacon, sausage and hot dogs and use buffalo in any recipe calling for ground meat and limit beef to the occasional steak and occasionally get beef bacon (which I much prefer, but I gotta get those triglycerides down) instead of turkey bacon. Of course, I will start trying to incorporate more seafood/fish and vegetarian meals.

Now, how to sneak a meatless meal by Hubby? ;)

Starbucks Valencia Orange GF Cake!


Everyone in my various GF networks have been raving about the new Starbucks Valencia Orange GF Cake! I quickly checked out the ingredients and was pleasantly surprised with it being DF/SF too! Yay! The ingredients are:
Whole Eggs, Valencia Orange Pulp, Almonds, Sugar, Orange Peel, Gluten Free Baking Powder, and Orange Oil.
Isn't it grand when life is nice and simple! And, it looks like they really know what they're doing! They even disclosed how they are manufacturing these little beauties and I have to admit that I am impressed! It's SO nice to have a mainstream company really looking out for us GF!

After searching around for it for a few days, I finally found a store that had them. I purchased 3 - 1 for myself, 1 for my husband, and 1 for later. Hubby and I had one that night for dessert.

For the first one, I thought it was VERY moist, it was not crumbly or dry or grainy, the flavor was pretty good and the serving size was great - not too big, not too small. Now for the bad - only that I thought that it was very orangy. It's okay but a bit strong by itself, but would probably be better with coffee - which I'm sure was the intention. But I couldn't order any because I can't drink coffee black and Starbucks does carry a DF/SF milk (Starbucks, if you are reading, could you please carry a DF/SF milk? Hemp or hazelnut milk would be divine, but I'll settle for almond or rice milk).

Well, fast forward 5 days after purchasing them, I opened up the third one. Short version - not good. The cake had a faintly moldy smell and it was super sticky and stringy. In fact, in my first bite, there was a string hanging from my lip and I thought it was a hair or something. Nope. It was from the cake. It seriously looked like a cobweb. Maybe excess sugar? It's sort of like the strings from Rice Krispie treats or something, but they were tougher - sounds funny, I know, but it's true. I tried taking a picture of it, but it just didn't come out. Anyway, I tried breaking the strings by pulling the bite further from the cake - nope - the strings grew longer. I tried breaking it with my finger. It worked, but I had to pull far and I got a sticky finger. The only other way to deal with them was to spin the cake around until the strings broke. I don't know what all that stringiness was, but it completely turned my stomach. Just to make sure, I pulled a few more bites off with my fork, and sure enough, other bites did it too, so it was not just a fluke. Yuck. I do notice though that there are no preservatives listed in the ingredients, that might be it. The other thing is I see printed "10909 17:34" so I am guessing a manufacturing date of January 9, 2009 at 5:34pm. So maybe it has just been too long? I have seen this before though. When I first started baking from scratch, I made a pumpkin pie. I left it out at room temperature thinking that like store-bought ones, it would be fine. Well, within a week, it was not! The top was super glossy, the pie smelled faintly of mold and it was stringy. I'm thinking whatever happened to the pie has now happened to this cupcake.

Don't believe me? Well, sadly, I'm not the only one with this experience. Ginger Lemon Girl said the same thing happened to her poor cupcake - and what's worse is hers were like that from the day she bought them! She did not the chance to experience them when they were actually decent! :( But, she did really enjoy their Passion Tea Lemonade!

I'm not mad at you, Starbucks. I was and am thrilled, excited and hopeful about your efforts - and especially thankful for your trying to cater to us poor food intolerant people. Unfortunately, this product falls way short of just how good GF/DF/SF can be! If you want some help, I know plenty of recipes that would be better suited for this application! ;)

Asian Pears

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

I just love Asian Pears (also known as Apple Pears, Taiwanese Pears, African Pears, Korean Pears, Japanese Pears, etc - see, they're so good everyone wants to claim them!). When ripe, these babies are very sweet and juicy yet crisp. They are low in calories and yet a good source of both Vitamin C and Fiber.

Wanna know to pick them? They are in season from roughly July to October. Quality Asian pears are best selected by smell rather than by softness. Unlike most pears that give in to a bit of pressure when ripe, Asian pears can be ripe even when they are still firm. So, look for a sweet aroma (though they might not smell as strongly if they're cold) and of course, stay away from pears that are real soft, wrinkled, have scuff marks or are bruised.

Asian Pears are one of the few fruits that I enjoy plain/raw - I just wash, slice, remove the core and eat - skins and all. They are just so refreshing! However, I also enjoy them in smoothies. They are great way to sweeten up smoothies and are neutral enough in flavor that they go with just about everything!

I have also read lately that they are quite good cooked/baked - something I never even thought about doing!. This recipe sounds especially yummy. I also found this recipe and these. Now that I'm thinking about it, these pears are neutral enough that they may be good on salads too! mmmmm ... these ideas are definitely something that I need to try - and soon!

If you haven't tried Asian Pears before, you really must - you can't go wrong!

My First Baking Creation: Pumpkin Soft Muffins

I'm going to share a little secret with you all today. Ready?

I don't enjoy baking.

Seriously. I only bake because what I can bake at home is both cheaper and MUCH more tasty than an baked goods that I can buy in the store. But do I enjoy it? Heck no. I am a cook at heart, not a baker. I like to mix different meats or veggies together or mix different spices in or use different techniques or adjust things on the fly, that kind of stuff. Things that can not be done with baking.

But, I've also come to the realization that baking will now forever be a part of my life, whether I like it or not. Thus far, I have stuck to following other peoples baking recipes perfectly - very little adjustments (maybe subbing one fruit puree for another or swapping out chocolate chips for raisins, that kind of thing - minor stuff) because I've been too much of a novice to attempt coming up with my own recipe. What ratios to use? What helps with rising? How much rise do I need? lol. I am still confused sometimes! Baking is so hard for me because once it goes in that pan, I can't adjust it anymore! Eek! So, I've been afraid. Until now! I figure, what the worst that can happen? I develop something yucky, toss it and it's over. Or, develop something yummy and delicious! So, a few days ago, I got brave! I decided to try coming up with my very own baking recipe. Here's what I came up with:

----------
Pumpkin Soft Muffins
from Clara, http://www.sixfoodintolerance.com
Makes 18 muffins

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups Ginger Lemon Girls Master Mix
3/4 cup coconut flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened original flavored hemp milk
4 eggs
1 (15 ounce) can unseasoned pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
4-5 tsp turbinado sugar (optional)

Directions:
Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl

In a separate, large bowl, mix together all the wet ingredients

Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until well combined

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Take 2 12-muffin tins, line 18 with paper liners

Spray the inside of all the liners with 1 squirt of oil spray. Also spray the inside of a 1/4 cup measuring cup.

With the 1/4 measuring cup, take a heaping scoop of the mix, place into one of the muffin liners, continue until all are full.

Sprinkle some turbinado sugar on top of each muffin - about 1/4 tsp each. This gives the muffins a nice crunchy/crisp top.

Bake 30-35 minutes until done.
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If you decide to try these, please be sure to let me know what you think of them! I'd love to hear what you think!

Vita-Mix Fridays: Hummus


I just love hummus. It's good for you, it's easy to make, it's naturally GDSYWP-free and it's so delicious. And better yet? It's Vita-Mix friendly!

My base recipe can be seen here. That is what I made today. But the recipe is super easy to adjust. Sometimes I add artichokes, black olives, pine nuts, roasted garlic (my personal fav) or whatever sounds good at the time.

What do I dip with now that I'm GF? My favorite is carrots. I love the slightly sweet flavor, the crunch and of course how healthy it is! Sometimes I make rice flour wraps and use that to dip. I also love to use hummus on a sandwich wrap instead of mayo or other condiments.

Basically, you can't go wrong!


Disclaimer

The opinions and thoughts expressed here are purely my own and are not coerced, swayed or influenced by a company, organization or other person. The information contained here is to the best of my knowledge at the date posted. I am NOT an expert and am NOT responsible for anything that you do with this information. Please do your own research, seek out professionals and read all ingredients yourself in order to ensure that the choices you make are right for your lifestyle.

Comments on this website may not represent the views of the blog owner and their claims, advice, etc. are the sole responsibility of their original writers, NOT the blog owner.

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