Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gluten and Dairy Free Elimination Diet

As I mentioned in my last post, I am embarking upon a gluten and dairy free elimination diet in order to see if it helps improve November's skin problems. The past couple days have been quite a change of pace, but not particularly difficult. While my most recent diet has been veggie-focused-yet-omnivorous, I was vegan for two years in the past and I've done all kinds of lengthy cleanses, which is making this new adjustment seem easy in comparison. In fact, I think I will enjoy it, as crazy as that sounds! I was at my most creative, confident, excited, and passionate when I was making foods with dietary restrictions. I don't know why, but there is something so challenging, yet rewarding about making something delicious while avoiding certain ingredients, and reaping the rewards.

Even if this doesn't end up curing Nova's dry skin, it certainly will be cleansing and will force me back into my formerly much-loved kitchen. It's only been a couple days, but I'm already loving it! And since embarking upon this new diet, I realize lots of other moms, friends and strangers alike, are on restricted diets too. I've been searching the web for gf/df blogs, recipes and ideas, and find these fellow mamas are doing the same! So why not share my experience along the way, and add to the mix?

My diet and goals: According to the plan laid out by our pediatrician, I will be avoiding all gluten and dairy, including goat and sheep dairy, but I CAN continue to have eggs. I generally like to eat whole, preferably organic foods, and minimizing over-processed or 'fake' foods. However, that doesn't mean I always follow those principles! I will allow myself some vegan butter, the occasional sprinkle of vegan cheese, df sour cream, etc, should I desire it, especially during the early weeks of transition. But for the most part, I would like to create wholesome, real-food meals! I do eat meat here and there, especially if Spencer makes it, but I mostly like to make vegetable-focused dishes.

What I've been eating: The items in italics will have easy recipes to follow!

Breakfast: (I usually combine two of the following for a filling meal)
-Enviro Kidz Panda Puffs or Koala Crisp cereal with soy or rice milk
-Trader Joe's brown rice bread toasted with Earth Balance Buttery Spread and a sprinkle of evaporated cane juice and cinnamon
-Trader Joe's [NEW!] organic vanilla soy yogurt, served with frozen berries
-Flying Apron lemon poppyseed muffin
-Green Smoothie

Lunch:
-Soup with Wheatless in Seattle sourdough bread
-Mixed green salad with chicken, dried cherries, candied walnuts, sprinkle of nutritional yeast, and balsamic vinaigrette and a side of W.I.S. sourdough bread smothered in prepared Simply Organic sweet basic pesto seasoning mix (contains maltodextrin, which was questionably gf, according to a quick google search), toasted in the oven.

Snacks:
-Green Smoothie
-Living Harvest chocolate hemp milk
-Toasted rice bread or corn tortilla topped with roasted red pepper hummus

Dinner: (usually with a green salad)
-Baked potato topped with Earth Balance buttery spread, Amy's chili, Daiya cheddar style cheese, scallions, and a dollop of plain soy yogurt
-Rice pasta with S.O. pesto, sprinkle of nutritional yeast and pine nuts with a side of W.I.S. sourdough bread
-Fish tacos with corn tortillas, cucumber mango salsa, avocado, and lime soy crema

Dessert:
-Wheatless in Seattle lemon cupcakes
-Rice Dream vanilla ice cream root beer floats

I was so happy to find the W.I.S brand gf/df foods! The sourdough bread had a nice crisp crust with a soft interior. When I toasted it in the oven with the pesto, the interior took on a gooey, mochi-like texture which I enjoyed. The lemon cupcakes are delightful! And the Flying Apron brand always produces wonderfully tasty vegan/gluten free products as well. I am so lucky to live in Seattle where these products and bakeries are everywhere. Working at Trader Joe's also comes in handy, since we carry a good selection of gf staples. The Daiya cheese took a bit of getting used to, but I like it enough. I think I remember liking Follow your Heart Vegan Gourmet cheese better, though. I really like a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a subtle cheesy flavor. It takes on a shaker-can parmesan quality, especially on fresh stove-popped popcorn!

Now for some super simple recipes! Keep in mind, the following recipes contain approximate measurements, as I've just been throwing stuff together, tasting and adjusting as I go.

Chocolate Berry Green Smoothie: serves 2-4
A few handfuls of kale (enough to loosely fill the blender)
1 banana
1 cup frozen berries (I used cherry-berry blend and blueberries)
1/2 cup plain soy yogurt
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 cup Living Harvest chocolate hemp milk

Blend, adding water to desired consistency. Taste and add more of any flavor you would like to taste more of; berries, agave, yogurt, milk. Drink up! Mine made about 3 servings, so I kept the remainder in the fridge for Spencer, a snack, and breakfast!

Cucumber Mango Salsa: Serves 4 as a taco topping (Spencer showed me how to make this last night!)
-1/3 medium cucumber
-1/2 mango
-1/4 small sweet onion
-small handful fresh cilantro
-squirt of lime
-pinch of salt
-pinch of black pepper
-squirt of tapatio hot sauce (optional)

Chop the cucumber, mango, onion, and cilantro to desired texture (chunky or fine) and mix together in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Taste, adjust flavors as necessary. Top onto fish tacos!

Lime Soy Crema: serves 4 as a taco topping
-1/4 cup plain soy yogurt
-pinch of salt
-squirt of lime

Wisk ingredients together, and drizzle on top of fish tacos, or any other mexican dish!

I'll post again next week, with more about this dietary change, more meal ideas, and more recipes!

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