In praise of ceci beans (and other food trials)
Garbanzo beans, ceci beans, gram, chickpeas, they’re all the same thing.
For the record, we say “garbanzo beans” around here, but “ceci” is such fun to say: CHEH-chee.
This past week, in hopes of expanding our “safe” foods list, I did a food trial of garbanzo beans (in the form of flour — gram flour) on Fiala. She passed with flying colors — she loved it, her poop was 100% healthy, and it didn’t cause any further skin conditions.
Also of importance is that I LOVE IT. I cannot tell you how absolutely refreshingly brilliant it felt to be eating something that I love.
I’m starting to feel like it was really the provision of God that I discovered farinata right before we started the total elimination diet, nearly four weeks ago. That simple recipe combines garbanzo flour, salt, pepper, rosemary, and olive oil and a Really Hot Oven into one of the most unique, flavorful, addictive flatbreads I have ever tried. If it hadn’t been for our few days gorging on farinata, I would likely not have used it as one of Fiala’s earliest food trials. I’m not brave enough (or rash enough, or whatever) to try olive oil, pepper, and rosemary yet, but even a very simple flatbread made from a fairly thin batter of water, garbanzo flour, and salt, cooked on a cast iron griddle oiled with rendered lamb fat, tasted so fabulous — just shy of the dreamy perfection of actual farinata — that within two days, I used up my entire large bag of garbanzo flour.
For those of you dairy-free and missing it, stuff made from garbanzo flour TASTES LIKE CHEESE. No lie. Even my cheese-obsessed 12yo son agrees. Mmmmmm…. I have read that one can even make a tofu-like substance out of garbanzo flour; I may try that.
The extra-good news is that garbanzo flour doesn’t give Fiala gas like pintos do. Fiala tolerates pintos well, and likes them, but I’ve discovered that if I feed them to her at bedtime, she is uncomfortably gassy, and wakes extra-often. 😦 She’s already waking twice a night, so I really am not looking for reasons for her to wake more often.
In slightly related news, I picked up the Body Ecology Diet book from the library yesterday. In flipping through it, I feel that I could fairly easily incorporate its ideas/ingredients into a consistent diet for Fiala and me. I’ve only just started actually reading the book, so I cannot say for certain, yet. Regarding the library: As a resident of the city of Peoria, I feel like a traitor, because we were WOWED by the brand-new Agave Branch of the Phoenix Library — free for all residents of Maricopa County (unlike the fabulous Glendale Library, on whose membership we spent $40/year for years). Peoria opened a nice new library recently, and we’ve been going there. But, we figured out that the Agave Branch is actually closer to our house… and now that we’ve been there, we will likely never go back to the Peoria library, because the new Will Bruder-designed Agave is FABULOUS — funky, arty, well-laid-out, lots of space to sit, a fabulous under-five play/read area, and about QUADRUPLE the books of the brand-new Peoria branch. Free, closer, better facilities… we’re hooked.
In directly-related food news, I have decided that blueberries will be our next food trial, followed by green beans. I’m looking for foods that are low in sugar (even natural sugars), low-allergenic, and that would be easy for Fiala to eat, and hopefully tasty to her.
Also, desperate for a crunchy snack for myself, I tried eating sunflower seeds — that was a no-go. However, the seeds I have were cooked with soybean oil, so maybe that’s the problem. I don’t know. They didn’t seem to affect Fiala’s digestion, but her skin broke out again. Then, when her skin was looking better, I tried raw almonds. Nope — skin again. On both, I tried a very small portion for 2-3 nights in a row, and when there was no apparent effect, I had a larger portion the following day… But, her skin just couldn’t hack it, and now I’m feeling awful, because the skin on her face and behind her legs, which had previously healed to near-perfection, is red and scaly and itchy again. 😦 Oh, well. We’re learning, though. I read on another blog that one can take cooked (I’m assuming boiled) garbanzos, and sprinkle them with salt (and/or other seasonings, but we’d have to stick with salt for now), and bake them, and they turn into a fantastic crunchy snack. I will definitely try that.
So. I feel like this past week has been more GOOD news than BAD news with Fiala’s skin and digestion and general health. Bless God.