Friday, December 2, 2011

Systemic Candida Thanksgiving "Turkey"

Somewhere I read that turkey was a food that should be meticulously avoided as it's loaded with more hormones than chicken and therefore is more inflammatory. Doesn't sound good to me, but all meats, due to how they are raised (unless arguably home raised), really should be avoided because of their bacteria content that climbs quickly once they are killed, and industrial processing with all it's sterilizing chemicals to reduce the bacteria load play horrendous havoc on the body. But having that turkey or chicken to carve during the holiday does give a special festive feel to the day.

And so, when diddling around on the internet I came across a turkey-less turkey and a hamless-ham! Bryanna, author of 9 vegan cookbooks, has an awesome website with some recipes and many pictures of foods she has prepared. I seriously drooooool on her website and it was here that I was introduced to the brand Field Roast Grain Meat. Field Roast makes 32 different vegan products, from vegan sausages to holiday hams, and for a quick video on how they make the products take a look here. Let me clear my throat here though, I am certainly not recommending the Field Roast products to people with candida or any auto-immune diseases because the products are made of heavy concentrations of wheat, and therefore are highly inflammatory. That said, I figured a person can fiddle around with the ingredients and attempt something with non-gluten grains. So I tried. The result was dry and lacking a definitive flavor especially when cold. However, my little vegan "turkey" held together - surprising since the ingredients were non-glutinous - and looked like a meat product, so now I just need to adjust the seasonings and finished moisture content ... am thinking on that.

The video link above also showed "stuffed ham" with the stuffing being butternut squash, apples and mushrooms, three things that people with systemic candida must avoid [the squash and apples are too glycemic and the mushrooms are another fungus, yikes!] Hmmm, but I think a stuffing would be nice with cranberries, a small amount of apple and tons of onions ... of course only after I figure out the main "meat" ingredients.

Anyway, my little "turkey" was made principally of mashed garbanzo beans, lentil flour and then onions, seasonings and what-not. I saw somewhere online an inventive person who used a crockpot to slow-cook the "turkey" or "ham" into the formed shape. The "meat" had been wrapped in a hemp cloth, tied with string and then submerged in water or a broth to slow-cook for several hours. I didn't have a hemp cloth so used a small hand towel, but because I didn't want the thick, gooey, shapeless mess to stick to the towel while cooking, I laid a pile of cabbage leaves on the towel and then spooned the goop onto the leaves and then wrapped and tied the unwieldly shape into the semblance of a blob-form ... messiness and trickiness together. My crock pot iss small so I ended up cramming the lumpy log, which had been tied with thread, into the crockpot and, not bad, when I pulled it out about 8 hours later, it had cooked into the crammed shape. Kind of turkey-ish-looking in my opinion!

At a friend's house I covered it with foil and baked it for an hour or so to brown the top, and it actually looked pretty even more turkey-like when I pulled it out of the oven. It even tasted pretty good with some of my vegan "breadless breading" made with zucchini squash [the only squash people with systemic candida should have - very low glycemic and starch counts], celery, asparagus, onions and garlic, lots of herbs, whole cranberries and walnuts. Hmm, am surprised I don't have a picture because it turned out beautiful and then was tasty on top of that!

My little vegan "turkey" was great the next morning when I prepared a big "normal" thanksgiving breakfast for my friends. I had "turkey hash", just broken up pieces of the vegan "turkey" with one of my dressings on top and scrambled eggs loaded with shredded sesame leaves and cubed tomatoes! I rarely eat eggs but when traveling, and since I don't seem to react, I sometimes break down and eat some for convenience. I do realize that eggs are not healthy and that according to Carolee Bateson-Koch, DC, ND, in her book Allergies, Disease in Disguise: How to Heal Your Allergic Condition Permanently and Naturally, 90% of the population [is this only American population where the research was conducted? not sure] is allergic to eggs but do not know it. Anyway, the meal was wonderful change from my more mundane vegie and bean [garbanzo, lentil and black bean only] fare.

The next day I even sliced some "turkey" up and had "turkey roast" on my noon salad. I was really impressed with the consistency and so there is certainly hope for more (and tastier) vegan "turkey" in my future menu.

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