Wednesday, 19 August 2009

And Then the Angels Sang

I mentioned on Monday how my having cooked this weekend was something of a minor miracle.

People who know me, know that this is not a huge exaggeration.

See, I don't really cook. Don't know how, never learned, and when I moved into my own apartment, the first thing I tried to cook ended me up with bits of shattered glass dish all over my kitchen. Luckily I wasn't harmed, but that dish explosion really turned me off of the whole cooking deal.

Plus, it takes time, yo, and I don't find myself with a lot of that. And who wants to come home and spend an hour making something when you can toss a frozen pizza in the microwave and be eating in 7-10 minutes?

Fast forward to nowish and my Celiac diagnosis (un-diagnosis/re-diagnosis). As part of that, I asked my doctor specialist guy to refer me to a Dietician (who for some reason I keep calling a Nutritionist.) The first time I met with her, we talked a little bit about my confusing diagnosis and her recommendations and she gave me some Celiac specific information and suggested a few nutritional tips (like, eat some protein with breakfast.)

Right after that, the specialist called to let me know my iron was low, which isn't uncommon, I know, but was still a surprise. I started on supplements right away, but it also made me take a more serious look at what I was eating, and while it may have been easy and quick and tasty, it sure wasn't doing me much good nutritionally. No wonder my iron was low, was I actually eating anything food-like at all?

So back to the Dietician I went.

Help, I said. I don't cook. I don't know how. I don't eat well, I eat badly. I don't know what to do. Help.

And she did. She didn't look at me like I was an idiot for not knowing how to cook, and she didn't say anything when I described a typical day's meals (gluten free toast, candy, gluten free cereal, more candy, maybe some kind of gluten free frozen meal if I was feeling fancy. Hey, at least I had the gluten free part down pat, right?) she just started writing out some simple plans.

She didn't overwhelm me, or suggest anything ridiculous. She just asked me questions and worked things out with me. She'd ask me what veg I liked and if I said "er, none?" she'd talk about pre-cut baby carrots and maybe those little tomatoes? She talked about how I could cook a meal on the weekend and then have leftovers during the week. She even wrote out some simple things I could do to make sure I was getting what I need to get in each meal.

She made me feel ok with being able to do this, and when I told her my exploding dish story, her response wasn't "Man, you should have known not to put the hot dish under cold water" but was "You know, I think you probably underestimate your own ability to cook. You had marinated in the dish that broke, you know what you're doing!"

She told me about some simple recipes she does and she pulled out her lunch bag and showed me how she's got her berries to snack on and her extra stash of nuts in case she needs them.

She had a bunch of simple tips and hints and she never once made me feel anything less than capable and smart. It made me want to cry.

One of the things she mentioned was that she thought there was a good vegetable soup recipe on the Thrifty Foods website. ( Thrifty's, for you non-locals, is our beloved grocery store chain.) I went on the website and found their recipe collection.

Now I've bought cook books before and never really used them. But something about the way the recipes are laid out on their site really works for me. Plus, and this is totally cool, they list the ingredients and you can check off the things you need to buy and print off a grocery list from that.

Which I did!

I picked out two quick recipes (less than 30 minutes cooking and prep included) and printed off a grocery list for what I needed. So when I went to the store, not only did I know what I needed, it organized it into the aisles for the particular store I go to. Genius!

Then I came home, and with my newly manicured nails, I cooked.

(I also ate a pint of cherries while I cooked, but we won't mention that okay?)

And the leftovers were just as good.

I'm proud of myself, and I'm grateful to Thrifty's for their genius recipe thingamy and for my very nice, helpful, kind Dietician gal.

People, I cooked!


Blogger Jonathan said...

You really need to talk to Wendy - our eldest is Coeliac (see - I can spell the other way too lol), so we know far more than we should about making cooking interesting for somebody who can't eat normal pastry, bread, or just about any mass produced food stuff... (you know about starch, beer, and even the sugar coating on sweets right?)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 10:48:00 am  
Anonymous Dominic said...


And if you want to find some other fun explody things in the kitchen, I can thoroughly recommend adding lemon juice to bicarb ;)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 10:50:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love cooking for myself... I always have.

I find the best thing for me is to cook on the weekends - huge meals - then divide them into portions and stick em in the freezer for a rainy day. Easy peasy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 12:42:00 pm  
Blogger Mark said...

You're doing well! It took me 2-3 years to get used to the celiac thing. I love to cook now, but not when I got diagnosed. In fact, I think my kitchen at the time consisted of a toaster oven and a plate. Keep at it and you'll be eating like a queen soon enough.
And keep that dietician. A good dietician is worth her weight it cherries.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 2:54:00 pm  
Blogger Ms Behaviour said...

You marinated?? Holy girl. About that dish, you should talk to my friend MFV. If only there was a way to connect you two without outing my blog. Hmmm... let me think some more. Anyway, he stores stuff on his stove, one of which is a Pyrex casserole dish. One day he turned on the wrong element and KABOOM!!! Seriously, he could have died but he was standing just far away emailing me.

I am seriously considering dropping the last of my savings on a culinary arts course. I'm hoping a cooking class will teach me to enjoy cooking but the part I hate most is cooking for one. I've been eating gnocchi for 3 days! Ugh.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 7:38:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Jonathan, I didn't know that (about your daughter, not the spelling ;) )
And, yeah, I'm getting pretty good at learning all the odd places gluten hides :)

Thanks Dominic, but is it ok if I pass on any more explosions? ;)

Tales, that's one of the things this gal recommended I do, batch cook on the weekends and store leftovers :) Hopefully I'll learn to love cooking for me too! :D

Thanks Mark, I do feel like I'm doing pretty well with it. I can picture what your kitchen used to look like very well! lol And I totally know what you mean about keeping a good dietician. And? Mmmmm cherries ;)

Ms B, I think I marinated, yep! HEh. And I can totally see me doing something like your friend did. Kaboom! Thank goodness he was emailing you eh? Cooking class would be fun I guess. Let me know how it goes if you do it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 10:32:00 pm  
Blogger the one in the back said...

Learning to cook is tough enough especially when you never had a teacher, but adding Celiac's to the mix? You certainly know how to make things interesting. Congratulations on your small miracle! May you have plenty more =). Until then, bon apetit!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 11:31:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Awww, thanks :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 11:43:00 pm  
Blogger Genki said...

Well done. I love cooking - a lot of fun when you get used to it. I am not celiac but have stumbled accross this website which has great recipes for celiacs. The writer suffered for years before being diagnosed.

It might be another good option for your cooking adventures. Good luck!

Thursday, August 20, 2009 3:39:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

Thanks Genki! :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009 5:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Kara said...

Nice! Good job! And it's awesome that you went to the dietitian (I'm not biased even though I am one:) and now you know the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist. Yay for you!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009 9:08:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

You are one? Yay! You'se are awesome! :D

Monday, August 24, 2009 7:40:00 pm  

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