The Only Constant

Chocolate Cake

“The only constant is change.”  My mother loves that phrase… or more likely, she hates it just as much as I do, but likes tossing it at me when I am complaining about something.

I realize that change is inevitable.  Nothing can stay the same forever, and I probably wouldn’t want it to anyway.  It’s the letting go that I have the most trouble with.

I’m a bit of a hoarder really.  A hoarder of things and people and more than anything, possibilities.

When we clean out the basement, my husband sees a broken lamp.  I see a lamp with the potential to be something new. It just needs a little work… Maybe a new lamp shade (I saw a great idea on Pinterest).  Sure, its brass, but I could spray paint it… maybe blue?

I hoard potential… a dream or possibility that could come true… If I hold on long enough…. If I believe hard enough…..

Worse than “stuff,” I hoard people…. holding onto friendships and family longer than I ever should.  The lamp is easy, I fix it, or it remains broken forever…. people are harder…. sometimes, no matter how hard I work…. the relationship will always remain broken.  The hard part is deciding whether I can live with the lopsided relationship… where I am always the one to call them…. the one to invite them to dinner… the one who drops everything and goes to their rescue… again.  How many times should you ask yourself “why do I bother?” before you realize…. you shouldn’t.

These food allergies are a toxic relationship…. literally.  Recognising that is getting easier. Sure, that cupcake looks sweet…. and I can remember times when it was perfect… but now it makes my head hurt… my mind foggy and so tired… it gives me stomach-aches…. and now its time to let it go.

Yes, I’m referring to a few certain relationships and situations specifically today… The allergy detox has just really brought it to the forefront of my mind…. there are a number of things that need to be let go right now.  People, situations and food…. you only hurt me…. and I don’t want that anymore.

The great thing about letting go? Now there is space for something new.

Speaking of “new”… Since I started blogging about my allergies I met some great new blogger friends who share my allergy challenges.  While I am sorry that they too have to struggle with food, I am so happy that they are sharing their discoveries with me.

I’d been whining that I missed chocolate and Faking Picture Perfect (Love the name!) shared her Chocolate Cake recipe with me.  My aunt’s birthday was yesterday and  I figured that it was a perfect time to try out!  My aunt and cousin are both vegetarians, so they’re getting a kick out of me turning practically vegan.

FPP was going for dairy-free… I also wanted gluten-free, so I used King Arthur Flour Multipurpose Gluten Free Flour in place of regular flour.  Next time I’d like to try to replace the eggs too.

Hubby whipped up a batch of his mega-delicious-eat-it-straight-from-the-bowl icing and it was absolutely delish!  Family loved it!  Thank you Faking Picture Perfect!

Chocolate Cake

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13×9 pan. Combine Coconut Milk, Vinegar, Water, Oil, Sugar, Eggs, Vanilla, Baking Soda and Salt. Using a large wire whisk, whisk until well combined. Add Flour and Cocoa Powder; whisk until smooth. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the center bounces back when lightly touched. DO NOT OVERCOOK!

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