Timber City Ginger Beer

Timber City Ginger Beer

Ginger Beer | Beverage | Low Sugar | Product Review

Sales and marketing manager Anna-Lise Chacon and brewer Ryan Doty stand next to the tasting table in owner’s Kara Patt and Kyle McNight’s Timber City Beer brewery in Southpark (South Seattle). Photo by Imei Hsu, published with permission.

Disclosure: Timber City Ginger Beer invited me to take a tour of their brewery. My review of their product is my own. I received a 16 ounce can of original flavor ginger beer as a gift. This is an unpaid and unsponsored product review. 

After I found out I had Celiac Disease in 2014, it wasn’t long before I also realized how gluten-free beer didn’t “work” for me. Like everyone else handed this diagnosis, I went on a hunt for everything gluten free, finding out the hard way that gluten free producers of food and beverage aren’t always making their products in your best interest rather than their bottom line. But beer is a little different. Here’s why.

Beer has a very unique flavor and hoppy properties which are difficult to replicate without barley. Most gluten-free beers are brewed with ingredients such as gluten free oats, sorghum, and millet, and in combination with the high amount of sugar to disguise any unpleasant, non beer-like flavors, a six or twelve ounce serving left me feeling ill. Not just a little ill.  A lot ill. Like crying over a toilet, cramping with diarrhea and nausea, scratching my skin raw kind of ill.

Don’t even talk to me about Omission Beer. I had one back in 2013 that left me so ill, I never thought twice about trying it again. End of story.

I can imagine what the average gluten-free beer lover might be thinking. Why would I even want to try a ginger beer, which really is in a category separate from what most of us think of as beer? Ginger beer doesn’t even have alcohol in it. Where’s the fun in that?

Ginger beer isn’t hoppy,  and it isn’t alcoholic,  but it can be a happy in its own unique way. By blending fresh ingredients in a traditional brewing method, Timber City ginger beer’s small-batch production could easily turn your head towards all things earthy, ginger,  and spicy, all without dumping a truck load of sugar into your system.  Continue reading


Instant Pot Hot Wings and Drummettes

Instant Pot Hot Wings or Drummettes

snack| chicken| special occasion

Because of the ingredients added to most sauces for hot wings, I haven’t had a decent one in years. Why shouldn’t we have a go-to party food that is a healthier, safe option? Photo by Imei Hsu.

Hot wings and drummettes are so popular, they have whole restaurants dedicated to these delectable, finger-lickin’ nibbles. When I began to plan a light menu for a party at my artloft that fell on Superbowl weekend, I just knew that I had to come up with an ” I can have these!” version of hot wings.

I prefer little drummettes or even small chicken drumsticks instead of wings, as it seems that for all the work it takes to eat wings, you get a big pile of chicken bones and very little chicken meat for the energy expenditure. With drummettes and drumsticks, you hold the bone with one hand and nibble around it like holding a handle, and then you’re done. Wings are a two-handed affair. I always end up with chicken juice on my nose. Ew!

Still, any food that requires moistened towelettes for clean up should be on a list of party food favorites, and if you’re like me and you can’t have any food that was poured from a bottle — well, there goes that amazing BBQ sauce, the fiery hot sauce, Sriracha sauce, soy sauce and tamari sauce (because you react to gluten AND soy), even some of you can’t have coconut aminos. You also can’t have dairy, which would make the sauce creamy if you could add butter. And you can’t have cornstarch, which would give the sauce a thickness that you miss when you imagine a rich sauce. It’s just a whole lot of NOPE.

Are you salivating yet? I was when I said, “It is time!” and committed to create a sauce that the majority of us Hungry Minions could enjoy. And I have done it! You’re welcome!

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Website Launch Coming

I’m just days away from seeing the My Allergy Advocate on WordPress get replaced by my brand spanking-new dot com site, and while I’m mostly excited about this, I’ll be honest, I’m just a little bit freaked out too. Right now, you can only see the Splash Page when you click on MyAllergyAdvocate.com

Work on the new site began back in 2016, when I hired Natalie McGuire Designs to design the site around my signature concept — Making Food Fun Again — and then hired food and special occasion photographer and friend Jackie Donnelly for a photoshoot in my artloft to capture the mood of the site.

Life happened next. An Ironman and a night in hospital, a long recovery, changes in the political environment, and then 2017 arrived with more running races, closing my brick-and-mortar private practice into a digital one,  my first two 50k ultramarathons, and a dog bite to the leg, ugh.

Then I found out I would be getting my artloft back after my renters moved on. Change was in the air again. I thought 2017 would never end. It was one nail-biting moment after another. Most of my best intentions kept getting shoved to the side. And instead of fighting it, I started to listen and lean in.

As the website is near ready to launch, the dot WordPress site will be folded into the blog on the dot com site, and the “fun blog” here will fade away.  While you are going to LOVE the recipe section and its organization by meal category,  the new site is an all-integrated experience that isn’t everyone’s thing. Some people like stand-alone microblogs, like Tumblr and Medium. I’m a WordPress chick, and moving this blog into a full-service website (which will still be hosted by MediaTemple on WordPress) is going to be a new experience for this community. I hope you’ll like it enough to come along.

On my desk is my version of a Bullet Journal, filled with tasks still waiting to be finished. It’s exciting, because many of the tasks are related to what happens AFTER the site launches. I’ve announced to my Facebook community that I want to write a book called, “Making Food Fun Again,” with my tagline that helps identify the book as a non-cookbook book about the what and the why cooking from home with real food. I plan to take a significant amount of energy to write this book as quickly as possible starting in February 2018.

Why this book, and why now? In 2017, David Tamarkin of Epicurious spoke on NPR Audie Cornish’s interview that “home cooking is dying.” If you have a moment, read this interview or listen to the audio podcast. I fully resonate with his statement. He isn’t saying he doesn’t love home cooking or doesn’t see its importance. Instead, he is noting a TRUTH that has been happening in this past decade.

People may be eating at home to save money, but that does not mean they are cooking at home. Of all the meals prepared at home, much of them are pre-prepared meals, boxed and canned foods that require only water and heat (near ready-to-serve), and convenience items. These foods are largely not suitable for people with food allergies and intolerances, Autoimmune Disease, and in some cases Chronic Illnesses that need a special diet to maintain optimal health.

The alarming trend is forcing grocery stores to rethink their bottom line and deliver even more of these cheaper and faster options, which drives up the price of fresh, single ingredient foods while banishing them from the center of home cooking.

I feel that I must write this book NOW, and raise the level of enthusiasm and need for real-food home cooking. In doing so, you can join me in supporting sustainable farming programs, food co-ops, and other programs that are trying to revive real-food eating before we lose another generation of busy people who don’t believe that cooking food is important to one’s health and happiness.

At the time of this writing, I do not know how I will fund any of this. The whole process of the website, the book, and the promotions of both also involve attorney fees for trademarks and files for Intent to Use, and clearly defined service agreements.

I just know that this book is something I am meant to write. My health and my future rely heavily on real food, not MRE’s for civilians, or bars, liquid proteins made from soy, and gels.

In the midst of a cacophony of other food blogs featuring pretty food but empty in nutrition, I wanted my website to pack a wallop of services, knowledge, coaching –and yes, even a book! — about making (real) food fun again.

I hope you enjoy the new website, and feel free to ask me about the book writing. I’ve started a blog for the book at makingfoodfunagain.com.

What Is Right and Wrong Within the Gluten-Free Community

What’s going on in the gluten-free community these days? Photo by Pixabay, free image no attribution required.

Just as the POTUS is about to deliver his State of the Union address, this is a good time to talk about how things are going in the gluten-free world.

As I enter my fourth official year of going gluten-free in order to heal my guts from the damage of Celiac Disease (diagnosed April 2014, gluten free since August 2013 when I became suspicious I had Celiac Disease but was misdiagnosed), I am  excited about life as a person with  Celiac Disease. You can heal, You can eat. You can go on adventures.

And, I am also generally annoyed and occasionally infuriated.

After over two years of microblogging and participating in online forums and Social Media groups around the topic of Celiac Disease, there are three main camps I have encountered:

Read on more about what’s going right and oh so wrong…

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Stay The Course Thirty Day Group Coaching

Stay the Course 30-Day Group Coaching Program Launches Jan 2 – 31, 2018

Cartoon hands in green, blue, purple, and brown raised in the air.
Raise your hand if it is time to get serious about a lifestyle change to get you away from eating foods that keep you from healing or feeling your best. The Stay the Course 30 Day program starts Jan 2 -31, 2018.

How do you do this?

How on earth do you eat a restricted nutritional profile, free from all those allergens, gluten, and inflammatory foods that impede your healing and prevent you from meeting your health goals?

I’ve been eating strict gluten-free as a person with Celiac Disease, and avoiding not only the top eight allergens or those I’m reactive to, but also all the other food allergies and intolerances I have, while also keeping myself in shape for all the activities I love both indoors and outdoors.  I know it can be done. I know how to eat safely, and how to make that food tasty and fun.

How I eat is usually the second question I receive from most people who find me on the Internet. They are searching for answers just like you. The first question is implied: “What on earth do you eat?” So the second question makes more sense, “How do you eat?”

After answering this question hundreds of times  through speaking engagements, emails, Social Media, and private gatherings, it is time to bring that learning experience to my community in a way  that’s easy to access, well-paced and described, and get a handle on the HOW of staying on course to healing and strengthening  through a food-allergic or special needs lifestyle.

Introducing the Stay the Course 30-Day group coaching program, January 2 – 31, 2018. It’s for people like us who have food allergies and intolerances, Autoimmune Diseases, and Chronic Illnesses that require a medically-necessary diet to maintain optimal health. It’s not a nutrition program; it’s a LIFESTYLE program that supports your health condition.

So if this is you, you’ll want to read this, because it’s going to be all about making food fun again… for YOU. And if you want to sign up, the time is NOW.

Read on for more about the Stay the Course coaching program.

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The Sensitive Celiac Does IFBC and El Dorado County

Why would I, the Sensitive Celiac, even bother to attend a food-oriented conference? Read how I plan and participate in my food event of the year. Photo by Imei Hsu, October 2017.

You, with your hand raised. Yes, you, the one who carries an EpiPen, inhaler, and has a butt load of food allergies, intolerances, Oral Allergy Syndrome, Outdoor Allergies, and an Autoimmune Disease. Uh huh. I see you.

I believe this is your question after I tell you that I had a wonderful time at the International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento. Your question is: How do you do wine tasting and eating out in El Dorado County and have a good time? Aren’t you scared? Won’t you get sick?

In fact, how do you EVER enjoy the holidays, socialize with friends, and navigate food allergy and intolerance nightmares out there in the real world?

Great questions! Two answers: 1. Fantastic preparation, and 2. Great hosts and chefs who know their stuff.

If you don’t have BOTH of these components when you enter a food-oriented conference and food-oriented events, you won’t have the kind of experience I did in El Dorado County for a day of eating and drinking. In fact, without these two components, you wouldn’t have much fun in any food-related event, which is why I typically won’t attend food festivals where the quality and preparation of food is much harder to vett or control.

Read on for my experience as The Sensitive Celiac at the food blogger event of my year.

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My Favorite Kitchen Things 2017

copper pans line a white wall above a wood countertop and cooking space in a commercial kitchen.

My Favorite Kitchen Things 2017

Kitchen | Kitchen Tools | Favorite Things

copper pans line a white wall above a wood countertop and cooking space in a commercial kitchen.
What would you have in your kitchen if you had to rely on cooking all your food yourself? Many of us in this community do that very thing. We don’t eat out much, if at all. We only eat natural, unprocessed food and clean ingredients. From simple tools to a cook system that ups your game into fancy-food cooking, here’s My Favorite Kitchen Things 2017.

Have you turned your kitchen into your medicine cabinet, health clinic, and recovery center?  Is the family table now Yum Central? Does your home smell like vinegar,  bay leaves, and gluten free bread?

Two years ago when I started this blog just before  IFBC 2015 in Seattle, WA, I had an idea: if you depend on eating nutritious, allergen-free and low-processed, no-processed foods, you want to turn your kitchen into a magical place where you become Food Scientist, Head Chef Extraordinaire, Master Baker, and Food Artist. To do that, you need kitchen basics, for sure, and I’ve written a couple of posts to get you started in building that kitchen arsenal, even if you only need to feed an army of one: YOU.

This year’s “Five Kitchen Must-haves” post is taking a different direction, one of imagination, technological advance, and the future of food and cooking. While I’ll always include at least one item that is simple, clever, and relatively inexpensive, and I’m adding on with something to capture the imagination of cooking, even if you cook from the world’s tiniest kitchen and an even smaller budget. I’m giving you a taste of the future, and the future is simmering with emulsions, sauces, and frou frou presentations meant to dazzle and delight.

Why should everyone else have all the fun? I’m also renaming the post to align with this new direction: My Five Kitchen Favorite Things. And it’s all about my journey of making food fun again. Don’t worry. I’ll keep you grounded with good, everyday stuff too!

Read more for My Five Kitchen Favorite Things

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