Confessions – Days 11-14

Mayhem

Sharing lunch with Mayhem (from FBO Cats.) 

So I have a confession… I cheated.

The first time was mostly by accident.  During the first week of detox Dad and I went to my favorite Mexican restaurant and I’d avoided the nacho chips because I wasn’t sure whether  they were made with flour or not…. Well, Dad and I went there again for our weekly Father/Daughter lunch…. and I thought, “what the heck, they’re probably all corn”… and I ate the nachos.  Afterward I got that pain in my side again.  (It’s not my tummy, exactly… more like just off the edge of my hipbone… I had no idea what was causing it and was pretty surprised when it went away after I started the whole detox… it was another one of those good “side-effects.”) I got a tiny bit of a “buzz” in my head and a bit of stomach upset…. nothing huge.  I did not eat the sour cream or the guacamole this time since I was already concerned about the chips.

The second time was totally premeditated.  My little sis is engaged (eep!) and we’re doing the whole Wedding Show thing….. I was NOT going to miss out on trying all the delicious wedding cake samples!   So, I learned two things: 1) I am a cake snob.  2) I didn’t really want it as bad as I thought I would.  The first, I already knew, really… If it’s not amazing, why eat it?  The second was a HUGE surprise!  I expected that I would CRAVE cupcakes (one of my particular weaknesses)… But, I haven’t really had any bad cravings, except for the chocolate in the beginning… and I found milk-free chocolate, so that’s no big deal now.    I ate the first piece of cake (we’re talking about 1.5″ square…. not a PIECE of cake, by any means…).  Oh!  I was so delighted with the first taste…. Oooooohhhhh…. cake!  Then I drug myself out of my sugary daze…. and actually listend to Skye talking about the cake and how she liked the icing….. Ummm… wait a minute…. I didn’t actually like the icing (gritty)…. hmm….  The second sample was actually better and I really did like it….  Skye didn’t (this is going to be difficult)… by the third sample… Enh….. and when we got to the ice cream samples… I didn’t even bother… it wasn’t as enjoyable as I’d convinced myself it would be… Gee!  A revelation.  Afterward I had a bit of a headache, but that could have had something to do with having skipped breakfast (Brian made my oatmeal really soupy and I didn’t eat it…) then cake for lunch… and no dinner until 6:30….. (I told you this wasn’t going to be super scientific.)  The big thing was I didn’t sleep well that night and my hands hurt the next day.

The third cheat was yesterday.  Since today is officially my last day of the two week detox, I didn’t think it would be catastrophic if I had chicken for diner.  (Remember, poultry has the same proteins as eggs, so chicken and turkey are out too.)  I didn’t have anything else with wheat, milk or egg, so I thought a piece of chicken would be a fine.  What I really wanted was the Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce that we’d had the night before with the rib… so good!  and I thought the chicken would be a good surface for the BBQ sauce.  It didn’t bother my head or my stomach, but I didn’t sleep well last night and my hands hurt today.

It was good though.

So as the two week detox comes to a close I can say that it seems like I had a lot more bad side-effects from the food allergies than I realized:  Stomach upset, killer joint pain (hands and knees), headaches, bloating, weight gain and sleep disruptions.  Wow! That is just what I have recognized in two weeks.  I won’t be surprised to discover there are other side-effects that I just haven’t caught on to yet.  When I started the detox, I’d hoped to be able to work wheat, milk and eggs back into my diet a bit more.  Taking them out of my diet really wasn’t as bad as I had expected.  I’ve found a numer of great substitutes and I’m enjoying experimenting with all the new recipes.  Frankly, anything that screws up my sleep, I can do without.  I’m planning to stay as gluten-free as I possibly can.  I’ve found some great substitute flours  and milk is so easy to replace (as long as I’m doing the cooking).  Eggs are a bit harder to replace… and I miss cooking with ground turkey.  I’d like to have mozzarella cheese back…. That’s really about it.  Of course if my hands are going to swell up and I won’t be able to sleep after I eat those things…. maybe I can do without.

BBQ Chicken

No measurements… just kind of eyeballed

  • Chicken Breast
  • Corn Flakes, crushed
  • Paprika
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper
  • Ancho Chili Powder
  • Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce (I like Hickory Smoked)

Combine the corn flakes and spices in a medium bowl.  Place the chicken in a small bowl and coat with the BBQ sauce.  Next, squish the sauce coated chicken in the corn flake mixture; cover completely.

Transfer coated chicken to a greased baking pan.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes (depends on the thickness of your chicken).

Sweet Success – Day 10

I’ve lost 6lbs!  Woo Hoo!

Okay… okay.. I know that wasn’t the (whole) point of this little (huge) endevor…. The goal was to feel good, be healthy, not want to barf all the time… not have crazy reactions to food …. BE HEALTHY.  That’s why I started this…. who knew all the amazing “extras” that would come along with the “real” goals?!

  • I’m sleeping through the night (I used to wake/get up 4-5 times a night… now usually only once)
  • My knees don’t hurt and my hands feel better too – my hands were hurting so much the last time I knit that I was actually thinking I wouldn’t be able to knit in another few years.  And my rings are SO loose now!
  • No more stomachaches! – I’d been having random, terrible stomachaches… I could never identify what was sparking them.
  • Weight loss! – 6lbs gone in just 10 days.. OMG!  I’m not hungry or feeling deprived… I’m actually eating very well (once I found safe chocolate.)

I’m sure there are other things that are happening that I haven’t even been able to recognize yet.  It’s all really exciting.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

I admit… I mostly started blogging about my allergy-detox to keep me on track… public accountability…. what I hadn’t counted on was all the great support/stories/suggestion and questions from friends and family.  Ususally, when you are on a diet/detox you feel so alone and deprived… I have been SO lucky!  My husband has been so supportive… joining me in this new lifestyle (because that’s the plan… a new lifestyle that we want to continue).  Mom, as always, super!  Friends are even sending me new recipe suggestions… Yay!

Yesterday my Auntie B sent me this great link: No Sugar Oat Drops by Blueberry Girl… I loved the blog name!   Of course, I had to check it out!!

No Sugar Oat Drops

No Sugar Oat Drops

1 1/2 c. regular rolled oats
1 c. coconut flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 c. of almond meal (How to make your own – another great blog – Detoxinista)
1/2 c. mixed nuts, finely chopped
1 c. dried fruit (I used Crasins and chopped candied ginger)

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 c. canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease baking sheet. (I used my Misto…Misto Gourmet Olive Oil Sprayer, Brushed Aluminum – LUV!)

In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, almond meal, mixed nuts and coconut flakes. Stir in allspice and cinnamon. Add dried fruit and stir until well and evenly mixed. Make sure the dried fruit does not stick together in big batches.

In another bowl, combine canola oil, mashed banana and vanilla extract. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until well combined.

Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet – (I used my cookie scooper – OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop)

Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Thank you Auntie B and Blueberry Girl!!  These were amazing!

Taco Seasoning – Day 9

Taco Seasoning

When my doctor put me on the allergy diet the first time, at six years old, one of the (many) things that I wasn’t allowed to have was Caramel Coloring.  Of course, caramel coloring is found in all sorts of things. Brown sodas, canned soups, seasoning packets… brown things…. lots of things!

Today, a tad bit older than six, I’ve googled and I see that a number of places are saying that caramel coloring is now gluten-free and doesn’t have any listed allergens…. umm… I dunno… and I still think the crap is bad for you.

Good article about Caramel Coloring: Much Ado About Caramel Coloring

The FDA says its okay (and you know we can always trust the FDA….), and California says caramel coloring will kill us all (paraphrasing a bit, maybe)…. I’m with California on this one. Gluten-free or not… I’m going to cut out all the caramel coloring and additives that I possibly can.

I’ve been wanting nachos since Dad and I got Mexican for lunch last week and I couldn’t figure out if the nachos were made with flour or not.  Dinner wasn’t the best tonight… we tried out a few new recipes and… they kinda sucked.  So we thought we’d have nachos for a movie snack.

Taco Seasoning 

  • 1 Tbs Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Ancho Chile Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper

Stir spices together.  Store in an airtight container.

We combined the Taco Seasoning with ground hamburger, taco sauce (Taco Bell – Mild), sheep’s milk cheese and nachos. YUM!

Taco Nachos

Days 7 & 8 – New Year, New ME!

Brian and I had such a great time at Whole Foods Market the other day…. I might have gotten carried away in the fish department… but it was SO worth it!  I’m the baker in our house… but Brian is our griller.  OMG.

New Year’s Day Brian made the most delicious Tuna Steaks…

Tuna Steaks
Salmon Steaks

  • Old Bay Seasonings
  • Lemon Juice

Grill for 2 minutes on each side.  Allow to cook and additional 4 minutes off of direct heat.

I didn’t make it through my entire piece of fish… so good, but too much for me.  I sliced up the left overs and made up a Salad in a Jar to take to work on Tuesday.  The trick to a Salad in a Jar is the order of the layers.  You don’t want your lettuce to come into contact with the dressing.  Letting the carrots marinade in the dressing makes them super yummy!  (Check out this cute blog…Salads in a Jar…. The girls are friends of mine!)

Leftover LunchSalad in a Jar

  1. Dressing ( raspberry vinaigrette!)
  2. Carrots, shredded
  3. Fish (or chicken or whatever..)
  4. Feta Cheese (or your favorite)
  5. Lettuce
  6. Pecans
  7. Dried Cranberries

 

I am totally addicted to Sweet Potatoes right now.  According to Wikipedia:

“Besides simple starches, sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta-carotene (a provitamin A carotenoid), vitamin C, vitamin B6,manganese and potassium.”

And…

“Despite the name “sweet”, it may be a beneficial food for diabetics, as preliminary studies on animals have revealed it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and to lower insulin resistance.”

Spicy Sweet Potatoes

  • Sweet Potato
  • 1/8 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/8 Ancho Chile Powder
  • 1 Tbs. Brown Sugar

(More or less to taste, of course.)  I love the little bit of smoky heat from the ancho chile powder (do not confuse this with cayenne… it’s not the same thing…. go find it…it’s worth it!)

Bake the sweet Potato.  Slice it open and add the spices… mix it up… eat… LOVE!  So simple! And you don’t need any butter, so this is a dairy-free recipe!  I could make a whole meal out of this sweet potato.

So days 7 and 8… I’m sleeping better.  Honestly, as horribly as I was sleeping before… this new lifestyle is all worth it if I can sleep through the night!  Woo Hoo! I haven’t had a single allergic reaction or stomach upset since I started this detox diet.  Double Woo Hoo!

Day 6 – Whole Foods Heaven!

I have found the Disney-Land of grocery!  Whole Foods Market!  Now I was pretty excited by Global Foods Market, but Whole Foods is so Semi-Pescetarian-Vegan friendly!   I kept wandering the isles going “look at this” and picking things up… and adding them to the cart.  Fortunatly for the budget, Brian kept an eye on what I was putting in the cart and asked… frequently… “Do you really want this?” and “What are you going to do with this?”  I did manage to get quite a few items into the cart…. a number of them I even had an idea of what to do with them!  At first it was just so exciting to find things I could eat…. then I was trying to find things I could COOK and turn into dinners.

Whole Foods Market has this amazing bakery… all sorts of bread and muffins, scones and cakes…. Brian had to drag me away.  Around the far side of the bakery, we found gluten-free breads.  I couldn’t find any bread without milk and eggs too, but I did find tortillas.  Brian was so excited… Taco Night!  We found a gluten-free flour (weird, huh?).  Brownies, maybe?  You can find it here on Amazon.com – King Arthur Flour Multipurpose Flour, Gluten Free, 24-ounces.

The cheese section was pretty amazing too.  There were all these different cheeses and these really nice signs over them stating clearly what kind of milk they were made from… Cow, Goat or Sheep.  Woo Hoo!  (NOTE: When I had the food allergies as a kid, Mom was told that I could have sheep or goat’s milk.   There is a protein allergen known as Alpha s1 Casein found in high levels in cow’s milk. The levels of Alpha s1 Casein in goat’s milk are about 89% less than cow’s milk. I have not been retested for food allergies, I’m just going with what I was allergic to as a kid, eliminating them for two solid weeks and then slowly adding things back in and seeing how I feel.  Not super scientific…)  

I found chocolate too!  You have to find a Dark Chocolate and READ the label.  It’s a lot easier to find milk-free chocolate in the health food stores.  I came home with four different chocolate treats.  You should SO try these: Chocolove Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate — 3.2 oz

Oh! The meat section!  OMG!  Tons of fish and seafood…. we got Mahi Mahi and Tuna… OMG!  I can’t wait to have them for dinner.  Brian is a killer-griller.  I was lost in the seafood section, but Brian wandered off into the beef and pork area… As I said, I’m not usually a fan of pork (I dunno why, I just don’t like it!), but I like sausage and bacon… I know, I’m not consistant.  We found these blueberry pork breakfast sausages….mmmmmm.  Those are for breakfast tomorrow morning…. I’m thinking Brian can give the Gluten-Free waffles a shot too.

If you have a Whole Foods Market in your neighborhood…. you are SO lucky!  Our closest Whole Foods is about an hour away… sigh… but Brian and I are kind of odd…. We think a great Friday night involves going to a fancy supermarket and finding new things to cook.  I can see us having wonderful date nights at Whole Foods.  Find a new fish, a bottle of wine… go home and cook together!

Whole Foods Market Loot

We are odd, but I couldn’t ever do this without Brian’s support.  Food allergies act like an addiction… it’s so bad for you, but you want it.  Since I’ve been off my allergens I’ve had headaches, dizziness, mood-swings… and killer cravings.  It helps being able to see the improvements already… My joints feel better, much of the achiness and stiffness is gone… not totally, but I can feel a real difference.  Lost some weight already.. woo hoo! And I am sleeping better!  I may crave the allergens, but the improvements that I am feeling already are making it easier to ignore those cravings.  Luckily for me, Brian loves cooking (and me) and he’s been really brave about trying new recipes and ingredients.

I’d like to actually maintain this lifestyle…. maybe not to the extreme level forever…. but a semi reasonable level.  Right now I am trying to make sure that there isn’t a drop of wheat, milk or eggs in anything I eat.  I’d like to get to the point where I don’t have to worry about a little bit of one of my allergens in my food…. like butter.  I miss butter….. it’s a major pain to cook without butter!  I’ve found sheep’s butter, but it’s pretty expensive (they way I used butter, anyway…).

Day six… almost a full week in… I’m beginning to think I can do this!

Day 5 – Identity Chrisis

I think I may be turning into a Vegan.

It all started with the chocolate cravings… I just wanted chocolate so bad…. and Brian wanted me to have chocolate pretty bad too. Yesterday he was all tough… He even told my mom to not give into me!  Today Brian’s resolve was wavering a bit too… perhaps the incessant howling …. mine… about chocolate was having an effect?  Before long Brian was beside me at the computer googling for a recipe with chocolate… without eggs or flour.  I figured I could use the Almond Milk to replace any milk.  And I can’t use just any chocolate… but I can use cocoa powder.  (I remember Mom used to let me have semi-sweet chocolate chips when I was a kid, but now they have milk in the ingredients list.)  Who would have thought it would be so hard?

To replace the eggs we found we could use bananas or applesauce.  I’m not a fan of using strange chemicals as replacements…. I’m trying to go clean (I know I can’t go totally chemical free, but I’m aiming for chemical free-er).

SUBSTITUTIONS: 

1 egg – 1/4 cup applesauce PLUS 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

OR flaxmeal (Make flaxmeal by grinding flaxseed in a blender until it has the consistency of cornmeal.) Use two tablespoons flaxmeal plus 1/8 teaspoon baking powder plus 3 tablespoons water for each egg called for in recipe.

OR bananas – Substitute 1/2 of a mashed ripe banana plus 1/4 teaspoon baking powder for each egg.

Woo Hoo!

Now we just needed a recipe that didn’t need flour. I know there are recipes that use black beans…. and different kinds of flour…. I’m just not desperate enough to go to beans…. and I’m willing to try the different kinds of flour, but I just don’t have them in the house at the moment.

You know how your Google searches get better the longer you search?  I started out with “Chocolate” and then added “Flour-less” and then I noticed I kept getting Vegan recipes… Umm…. Google?  I’m not Vegan.  I love cows… to eat.  Then again… Looking back at what I’ve been eating lately… OMG!  I’m turning Vegan! (Actually, I”m probably more of a Pescatarian – basically a vegetarian that still eats seafood…. I don’t like pork, I like steak, but not super fond of hamburger, can’t have turkey or chicken….. but I’m more vegan since I can’t have the eggs or milk… does that make me a Pescan?)

We found this recipe for Flourless Fudge Brownies and thought we’d give it a shot and try out our egg alterations.

– –

Our first attempt came out really oily and wouldn’t solidify…  Brian was ready to pitch it and give up… until I started sniffling… Not cute, or anything… sorta desperate… with wide blinkie eyes.  “Yeah, sure… I’ll try another batch. No problem!”  And so we made a few more adjustments and into the oven batch number two went.

It wouldn’t solidify either…. I’m guessing it really needed eggs.  *sigh*

Brian tried to perk me up with Starburst…. so not chocolate.

Chocolate cravings continue.

Chocolate Cravings – Day 4

I can’t get chocolate off my mind!

What can I make?!

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Chocolate Cheerios 

(Aprox. amounts…. I mostly eyeballed this)

  • 2 c. Marshmallow
  • 2 tsp. Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 2 c. Honey Nut Cheerios
  • 1/2 c. Pecans, chopped

Sprinkle coca powder over marshmallows and microwave until marshmallows begin to melt.  Aprox 30 sec – 1 min.

Stir marshmallows and cocoa powder until fully incorporated and smooth… add more marshmallow and melt again until you get a thick sticky mixture.

Mix Cheerios and pecans in a large bowl.  Pour chocolate mixture over Cheerio mixture a little at a time.  (I had chocolate left over.)  Toss until the cereal is covered.

I ate it straight out of the bowl, but you might want to give it time to cool and get good and sticky.  I was thinking something more like Rice Krispie Treats, but this was more like “chocolate cheerios”…. still good.  Next time I’d probably add more marshmallows and no almond milk… (I used, some almond milk with the marshmallows and cocoa powder… but I don’t think I should have… I think it made it too runny).

Still good.

Note:  The Cheerios do not have wheat listed in the ingredients, but under allergens it says “May contain wheat.”  Like they don’t know?  Brian says Cheerios are probably made in the same factory with other cereals that DO contain wheat… and the Cheerios might have some cross contamination…. so it’s just to cover.  I’m voting that they are probably okay… you need to decide for yourself based on your allergy condition.