*super relieved to say that last week’s doctor’s appointment went excellent. the test results showed that i’m low in protein and vitamin D (who isn’t?) but for the first time ever, my vitamin B levels are (almost) acceptable. the only additional thing i have to drop: eggs. turns out my body hates egg whites. so, no more eggs. i get to try to reintroduce them in september. this brings my enemy list to: gluten, dairy (except goat products), soy and eggs.
*this puts a major damper on my plans to break last year’s record (5) and eat 6 cupcakes from Ellie’s on my birthday next week. i’ve decided that in place of 6 cupcakes, i will dial down the sugar free-for-all and try only eating a little bit of coconut ice cream.
*last week, i tried 2 new things: venison & honey goat cheese.
*oddly enough, despite growing up in the country, i never ate venison; my family is not a hunting family. a friend of mine hunts and gave me venison steaks and some venison sausage that he made. they’ve been sitting in my freezer for at least 5 months. i’ll admit the only reason i wanted to eat any of it was because some one i knew actually killed the deer.
*it was surprisingly good. i overcooked it:
*second try was more pink and much better:
*another friend of mine found honey goat cheese that is (gasp!) animal rennet-free! now i can add this lovely Canadian cheese-making company to my list of goat cheeses made with vegetable rennet. note: my list had only 1, so it wasn’t much of a list.
*it was my first time eating goat cheese since christmas. i remember now why everyone loves it. after my salad, i just sat there eating it out of the package with a spoon.
*i’m still technically on the elimination/restore diet. i’m supposed to slowly add things back in every week or so. i can’t think of a single thing i miss eating right now, so that’s good news.
i’m trying really hard to stay on the elimination diet. it’s getting easier. i’m getting used to eating the same things over and over again. i’m bored. but i’m trying to stay motivated. i’m happy it’s grilling season. and that C bought me a sodastream for my birthday last year. when i’m bored, i’m drinking a lot of soda water with lemon or adding drops of these amazing bitters i bought in seattle last year:
i’ve gotten into the habit of sautéing an entire bunch of kale and a full fennel bulb for lunch or dinner most days of the week. add spicy mustard or lemon and it’s perfect.
yesterday i went to the grocery store and filled my shopping basket with kale, fennel and apples. then i went and stood at the coconut milk ice cream for a solid 5 minutes. i read the back of all of the so delicious sugar-free pints of ice cream. i got scared by the ingredients i didn’t recognize and decided it wasn’t worth the risk of a stomach ache, especially because i have been pain free for exactly 29 days. this is amazing. i settled for an iced mint green tea chai coconut milk latte instead. i drank it and tried to imagine that it was as good as coconut milk ice cream.
i’m currently roasting an entire butternut squash, beets, broccoli and sweet potatoes in batches (because our oven is so tiny) because i need to stop living off of rice cakes, apples, kale and fennel.
mustard is happy that i’ve been grilling salmon a lot more lately:
in San Francisco, i was sad to miss out on my favorite things, like: french fries with aioli:
amazing donuts, although i will admit i felt like i could taste them because they smelled so amazing:
i loved seeing the latte art other people got to enjoy:
twice i cheated and ate bacon. it was worth it.
once, i couldn’t find anything to eat while out walking through little italy, so i ate an entire shrimp cocktail all by myself for lunch:
i also discovered that i love honey and cinnamon on grapefruit and i miss eating figs. i also miss eating honey.
overall, i did pretty good though. i cheated on: honey, bacon, booze, a few chips, and i ate an entire pint of coconut milk chocolate peanut butter ice cream in 24 hours. i can’t believe i didn’t get sick.
i did, however, get a massive head cold on the 5th day and am still struggling to get rid of the congestion.
i have exactly 5 and 1/2 weeks left of this diet before i get to start adding things back in for real. now that i’m home, the temptation to cheat isn’t very strong. i’m struggling to get enough protein most days. i miss peanut butter and eggs. i’m adding those back in first.
in other news, my sister has been doing the same diet (has already adding some things back in because she breast-feds her two kids) and has lost almost all of her pregnancy weight. last i checked, my brother-in-law had lost 18 pounds doing the diet with my sister and i. nutty!
also, my birthday is july 5: you better believe i will be eating at least 3 cupcakes that day.
*been in San Francisco for 7 days and have had so much good food: here are my favorites
*Bio on O’Farrell St in the financial district: a tiny little space with a large selection of gluten-free and vegan options like jalapeño tuna stuffed avocado halves and these amazing banana pudding bread muffins made with hemp milk. I loved them so much that I bought 5 so I could eat one every morning for breakfast.
*Bio also made these amazing strawberry purees and vegan chocolate covered fruits, like these banana fudgey things that were unbelievably amazing.
*Can’t stop using the word amazing.
*The Plant Cafe makes amazing fruit smoothies with coconut milk, which I forgot to take pictures of.
*Blowfish is a fun sushi bar that made me a special roll and tailored everything we ordered so that I could taste almost all of it without fear of getting gluten-ated. Our server Suzie was super helpful. She also had rad tattoos and neon pink streaked hair, which made me love her more. I had raw oysters and the most tasty dish of marinated mushrooms I have ever had in my life.
*Fish, on the coast in Sausalito, blew my mind. I had trout over greens and C had some stellar salmon tacos that I wish I had ordered myself.
*Finally, we are drinking the best coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee. This morning I had a New Orleans iced coffee with coconut milk.
*I’m here with my old bestie, Holly, who moved to Seattle a few years back and some other amazing friends!
*Finding it easy to eat gluten, dairy and soy free, although I’m cheating on the elimination diet with booze, coffee, and potato chips. Totally worth it tho! Back to the grind on Monday. Till then, we need more cocktails!
*that’s right people: no diary. no soy. just coconut sugary goodness. i can hardly wait till this weekend to try them both. i’m not letting myself open them today for fear that i will drink both in their entirety by the end of the day and end up with a killer stomach ache.
*i’m also still technically “off sugar” — i haven’t had any since thanksgiving.
*but i am cheating for holiday parties. (i had salted dairy free chocolate at a holiday party last weekend. chocolate tastes ridiculously amazing when you haven’t tasted it in a few months.)
*lucky me, i have two holiday parties this weekend. one i’m co-hosting and will be making these gluten/diary/soy free brownies.
*i tried the eggnog seltzer. it tastes shockingly like eggnog. i spiked it with rum and i had the perfect, light holiday drink.
while shopping for thanksgiving the other week, i made three impulse buys. i was on my way to the baking aisle for peppercorns and the holiday display at the end of the seltzer section had these three beauties:
i’m a sucker for seltzer. i’m also very picky about it. i prefer Polar. mainly because i have fun memories of driving by the big polar bear that stands on top of the Polar plant just off route 290 in Worchester, MA. as kids, we would wave to it every time we passed it on the way to visit family in maine. (i still do this. the waving part.) when i went through detox this summer, lime seltzer was my every-day beverage of choice. vanilla-flavored seltzer was my dessert. literally. i drank it after meals when i had sugar cravings. i got sick of it pretty fast.
now that i’m in month 4 of the restore/detox diet, i’m having some new realizations. mainly: that i can no longer drink alcohol. one drink and i’m woozy. i had one martini at a party saturday night and work up with a killer headache. i’m not sure if it’s the limited diet, the light eating, or the lack of hydration. (probably all 3.) C told me i make for a very cheap date these days. given how much i used to drink (at least a glass of wine every night of the week), i’m saving us quiet a bit of money now that i maybe have 1-2 drinks a week. to say the least, my body is glad i’ve given it up.
so, rather than sip wine while decorating the house this week, i’m going to be trying one of these holiday seltzers. i’m most excited about the candy cane. cinnamon has potential to be full of awesome. eggnog just sounds horribly scary. i’ll let you know what i find out.
my sister-in-law showed up to our family cookout the other day with a gift for C that she expected would blow his mind. it did.
yea, that’s right: an entire container of lucky charms marshmallows, without the cereal. although she loves C, she did not lovingly pick our all the marshmallows from a box of Lucky Charms for him. she found it at Sauder’s, a Mennonite-run store where apparently you can buy large containers of bulk food, including Lucky Charms marshmallows, from young Mennonites dressed in traditional Mennonite clothing. hilarious.
just returned from 9 days in the great state of Maine: i survived vacation by dumping my detox diet and eating my weight in sugar. no seriously. i ate enough sugar in 9 days to make up for the 7 weeks i didn’t have any. it was worth every single morsel. plus, i needed something to write about here, so clearly, i had to try as many gluten-free and dairy-free sugary things as possible!
in order of my favorite things, 4 total:
1. my sister sarah’s gluten-free, banana chocolate chip cookies. (pictured above.) she made up the recipe herself (get it here) and they were amazing. so amazing that we baked a batch and i ate exactly 5 and a 1/2 cookies in 1 hour.
2. s’mores. i ate 6 s’mores in maine, exactly as planned. honestly, they didn’t taste that different from regular s’mores: maybe a little less sweet, but still awesome. sarah found these marshmallows at her health food store: they are gluten-free, diary-free, and oddly, sugar-free. wasn’t too sure about the sugar-free part but we were pleasantly surprised! they toast right up like marshmallows and have the exact same texture as regular marshmallows, only without that sharp sugar taste. loved them. plus, they are 2-toned: white and purple. and they are made in belgium. (if you’re in the market for toasted coconut marshmallows, i still have these in my fridge for the taking.) we used S’moreables for graham crackers, which were more like cookies than crackers, but that’s all i could find before we left. for chocolate, we used our favorite chocolate chip brand, enjoy life. they make candy bars perfect for s’mores. (we used the rice milk bar and also tried the dark chocolate bar for kicks.)
3. So Delicious Coconut Milk ice cream. this brand has changed my life. meaning, it’s the one and only way I have and ever will eat ice cream again. it’s made from coconut milk and it’s so good, it’s hard not to eat an entire container in one sitting. i’m not a fan of every flavor. i love love love the chocolate peanut butter swirl, but i didn’t like the vanilla bean all that much. it was far too sweet, like eating too much cake batter. we also tried butter pecan, which has no added sugar: it tasted like maple syrup–something i don’t mix with anything but pancakes. i was totally shocked by how much i loved the plain chocolate which had no sugar in it: it was like eating semi-sweet frozen chocolate chips. i wanted to try more flavors, but a lot of grocery stores don’t carry more than 1-2 flavors, so they aren’t easy to find.
4. Mahalo candy bar: vegan’s dream. it’s the perfect replacement for the almond joy, my former addiction. in fact, i think it’s even better than an almond joy. made by go max go foods, it’s one of their gluten-free candy bars and i’ve never seen them in rochester. please don’t tell me where they are locally, or i’ll be in trouble.
as of yesterday, i’m back on detox and sugar-free until…well, i need to pick a date so i have something to look forward to. i’m thinking some time in october when there’s perfect fall weather and i can bake up a huge apple crisp. will have to start looking for some good GL/DF recipes. also, still want to try this chocolate zucchini bread. until then, back to the no-sugar grind!
i never got around to doing an iced tea round up in july, but i can tell you this: open face has some of the best teas in the city if you like to brew your own at home. my latest favorite: chocolate mint rooibos. it’s amazing iced because it tastes like a light black tea with a hint of chocolate-minty-goodness in it. and it’s decaf, so you can enjoy it late on summer evenings. i added chocolate mint from my herb garden to make it even more yummy.
We’re in Grand Rapids, Michigan to visit C’s sister’s family and last night we went to an amazing, recently-opened pub: Brewery Vivant. The pub is located in a beautifully renovated church on Cherry Street and features a gorgeous wooden plank community table where you can sit with other groups of people. The bar is located at the front end of the church and looks out on the former sanctuary. There are beautiful vaulted ceilings, stained glass, and wooden hymn plaques that list the day’s beers. There was an installation of paper cranes hanging from the rafters, which gave us a lot to look at. The brewery is housed in its own building next to the church.
I miss being able to drink at breweries, especially because C loves craft beer. I haven’t had a beer in 4 years. Lucky for me, hard apple cider is becoming a brewery special, so I can usually find something gluten-free to drink. My three favorite gluten-free finds last night:
Vander Mill hard cider: This cider is made at a local cider mill and winery in Spring Lake, MI. I tried the apple cider, which was surprisingly dry. I’ve avoided cider in the past because it’s always too sweet for me. They also had a blueberry apple cider which was a lovely purple hue and also quite dry.
Deviled eggs: These were A-mazing. I’m not sure what the filling was made of but the added surprise was that they mixed in cloves. Never would have put together cloves and eggs, but I ate every one of them.
Truffle french fries: vegan fries make with truffle oil. Wow. Another thing I never would have put together on my own, but these were so good. Better yet, they didn’t make me sick because they never flour their fries and the oil isn’t mixed with the two other fries they make, so gluten free people like me avoid contamination.
If you’re traveling in or near Grand Rapids (or live here) check out Vivant: the space and food are great and the wait staff is really understanding and helpful when it comes to eating out with gluten and dairy intolerances.
My sister and I hit the jackpot last Thursday in Quincy MA for a family wedding: while wandering around the town looking for possible dinner options and finding absolutely nothing we could guarantee wasn’t going to make us both sick, we landed at Good Health Natural Foods in hopes of throwing together some semblance of a dinner, as well as breakfast and snacks for the following 48 hours. We spent 30 minutes having mini-freak outs about our new food finds, including: yummy popcorn; a sweet bean salsa; cocoa crispy cereal (Sarah’s latest addiction); chocolate candy bars (my first candy bar since last Halloween, a disaster story for another day); and Justin’s peanut butter cups with dark chocolate…
And the jackpot find: a gluten-free, dairy-free whoopie pie.
It was worth the 1,200 calories. No joke: that’s one thousand and two hundred calories of sugar, palm shortening, and heavenly goodness.
If you grew up any where in New England, you grew up eating whoopie pies. My entire family is from New England (mainly Maine and Massachusetts), so I’ve eaten a lot of whoopies in my life.
We bought two of them. One was for us to share with my uncle John (pictured with my sister), who has had crohn’s disease since the 80s. We were giddy to try it. The other one was for my brothers, who love to tease us that nothing gluten-free can be as good as foods containing gluten. Unfortunately, we forgot about it before my older brother left, so my other brother, Joel, got to share in the deliciousness. He was pleasantly surprised.
The fun part of extended family gatherings is that we talk a lot about digestive stuff. My uncle John and two of my cousins have crohn’s disease and a number of us have other digestive issues, so we always spend part of our time talking about our latest contaminations and gluten-free finds. While having digestive issues is no fun, I think I’m pretty lucky that I have a large family with a lot of similar digestive experiences: there’s always someone around to share in the gluten-free excitement.