When we think about food intolerances, we tend to associate them with stomach aches, bloating, constipation/diarrhea. And yes, those can be obvious food intolerance symptoms, but there can also be many other symptoms that associated with food intolerances like skin issues, a stuffy nose, migraines, and joint aches, to name just a few.
I realized recently (again…yes I seem forget every 12-18 months) that my body does not do well with almonds. They aren’t the typical symptoms when you think nut or food allergy, so it took me awhile (and clearly I have a hard time getting this though my thick skull) to realize that I need to eat almonds only in moderation. As soon as I add daily almond butter to the mix, I find myself in trouble. My main symptoms the past few weeks were:
difficulty taking a full deep breath (it was like someone was sitting on my chest when I would try to run)
Almost a day or so of getting the almonds out, I felt dramatically better. I’m sad because I love almonds, but I am also so happy to know the culprit of what was causing my symptoms.
I’ve also found that I’m totally addicted to these pumpkin seeds I got from Costco (or vitacost.com). I’m so happy to have a replacement for my almonds…
I also thought for quite some time I had an allergy to chocolate. I know, how bad would that suck?? A bite of chocolate would make my tongue hurt and swell. And as much as I may sound like a hypochondriac, you can believe I tested this one over and over and over. And after seeing this TED talk on the benefits on dark chocolate, can you blame me? Finally, after taking it out of my diet on multiple occasions, I realized (albeit incorrectly) that I had an intolerance to chocolate. But then I read that even with just the small amount of dairy that is in some dark chocolate, it can set off a reaction. Anyway, I didn’t fully believe that dairy was affecting me because while I am very low dairy (I’ll have butter and a little cheese occasionally), I don’t really don’t have much of a reaction to dairy. I just try to minimize my intake of it for inflammatory reasons.
Anyway, a few weeks and bag of dairy-free Enjoy Life Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Chips later, I’m ecstatic to report that it wasn’t the chocolate but it was the dairy! You can take just about any food away from my diet, just don’t take my chocolate!!! Woohoo for for Enjoy Life!!
My point in all of this? When it comes to food intolerance (and high allergan foods like gluten, dairy, soy, corn, nuts and eggs in particular), just be sure to pay attention to how you feel head-to-toe, not just in your gut.
So…no more of my favorite Trader Joe’s 73% dark chocolate almonds (a treat of mine for years), but at least I have these two new favorite discoveries that not only taste just as good, but make me feel a heck of a lot better!
Okay, on to the lunch…
Having time to make good healthy meals can be hard, but especially this time of year. Spring time is busy and there certainly is not enough time to make dinner (new post coming soon!) and for lunches, well, I’m sick of my old fall/winter like foods. I still want a warm, satisfying, and flavorful meals, but I’ve also been craving lots of greens lately. Anyway this simple lunch fits the bill ,and it has really been hitting the spot!
I’ll use either this Cruciferous Crunch package of greens, the pre-shredded Brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s or the pre-cut cabbage from Whole Foods. I also love to use Brussels sprouts and broccoli but you have to cook those a little differently. Anyway, see the recipe below for everything you’ll need for a tasty and easy to make lunch.
It’s worth noting that this sausage does contain some dairy. My kids and hubby love it and I will use it occasionally. But, I tend to like the sausage that Whole Foods has behind the meat counter. Favorites include sun-dried tomato and mild Italian.
I believe there is a bit of a misconception about eating healthy. I suppose some of us may think that we have to do something all the way, 100% or not do it all. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be perfect. Kids lunches don’t have to be perfect. A “healthy” lunch for our kids doesn’t have to consist of celery, cucumbers, nuts, seeds, turkey wrapped avocado and some fruit politely packaged like a smiling cat. And while, yes, all of those things would make for a great lunch, one might even say a perfect lunch, it doesn’t have to be THAT great. How does seeing meals like this make you feel? In awe, inspired, motivated?
To be honest, I see things like that and think…”Forget it!”. I know those images are supposed to be motivating, but they can also be overwhelming and, quite frankly, discouraging.
My point? Eating healthy doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be…better. Better than the food offered at the school snack bar, for example. I would much rather have my kids eat my sweet potato brownies or apple pie trail mix balls for a snack, rather than a prepackaged fruit roll up, some Goldfish or sugar-filled yogurt. I’m really not trying to plug my book (been there and way overdone that), but that was my goal of many of the snacks in my book.
We eat pretty clean, for the most part. But I’ll tell you, it didn’t happen overnight. Not by a long shot. Years ago we were eating Cherrios and graham crackers and things like that because we thought they were somewhat healthy (they they are low fat and “whole grain” so that must constitute healthy right? Not.). I didn’t realize they were full of hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, and way over processed wheat, but as I learned, as we learned, we evolved and I think that’s the goal…to continue to learn (and you’re reading this so you’re already halfway there, right?) and evolve as people that want to feel better and get stronger both mentally and physically, and food can help us do that (or hinder us!). So be patient, learn, try new things, grow, evolve and don’t forget to teach your kids the connection to food and how we feel on a daily basis so they can make smart, educated decisions as they grow.
The chocolate chip cookies we made today are a great example. They are a good snack…yes I said snack. Are they perfect? No. Is it an every day snack for us? Certainly not. But, they do have protein and good healthy fat from the cashews, vitamin A, D and K, as well as a gut healing, anti-inflammatory fatty acid called butyrate from the grass-fed butter and they are made with a low glycemic sugar (so it doesn’t cause blood sugar crashes or create inflammation). So while it may not be THE perfect snack, I can guarentee it sure does taste like it.
Gosh he looks big, doesn’t he? Speaking of perfect. Like my “wood” I use for book/blog pictures? So far from perfect wood….
Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients together (except for the chocolate chips) with an immersion blender or by hand. Then fold in 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Next lay out parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Then use a tablespoon to dollop the cookie dough mixture onto the sheet. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until start to brown.
So my intent was to get this recipe out to you guys in time for Easter breakfast and, well, it just didn’t happen. But I promise it was worth the wait. First, I have a couple of quick updates I wanted to share.
I had a bit of a negative experience with the Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips made with stevia that I posted about a few weeks ago. It’s not their chips (because they really are fabulous) but more about the stevia in the chips. While I love a good pure stevia and I think it can be a great alternative sweetener, it can also cause—albeit rarely—low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. I learned that first hand and was very disappointed. If you are having any unexplained hypoglycemic symptoms, just be aware that stevia could be the culprit.
Second, I have a quick kombucha update. My goal lately with the kombucha has been to get it really fizzy, effervescent. I learned from my dear friend Alex that if you use the more narrow bottles, it increases the bubbliness. Well, mission accomplished. Last night at about 1:00 AM my husband heard what he thought was gun shots in the house. Turns out, it was actually our kombucha bottle exploding...everywhere. He opened a second bottle because he was afraid it might also shatter from the pressure. When he opened it, it was like he just uncorked a bottle of shaken champagne. Ugh, talk about a mess. So while it definitely adds more fizz, you may want to one, not fill your bottles to the top like I did (duh). And two, open the after about 5 or so days so they don’t get too fizzy. Also, if you don’t have tall bottles and are having a hard time getting your kombucha to get fizzy, I’ve also learned that you can use all green tea (versus half black and half green) to help with the fizz. Anyway, now I’m LOVING my perfectly fizzy and super refreshing kombucha every single day! It was so worth the science experiment gone wrong.
Okay, on to the good stuff…
So these Cinnamon Bun Biscuits are one of our favorite snacks from my book that we sometimes like to enjoy as a breakfast treat. We love them so much we thought it would be a great addition to our Easter breakfast.
You all may know how crazy I am about good texture in my gluten-free baked goods if you’ve read some of my other posts (donuts, pizza, etc.) and well, these are no different. They are AWESOME!!! Really, have you purchased and tried the psyllium husk powder yet? Did I mention that psyllium husk is a great soluble fiber that increases satiety and can also aid in weight loss (see some articles here, here, and here). And I promise, it is so worth the purchase if you do a decent amount of gluten-free cooking using whole real (low glycemic) foods. Be sure to get NOW brand (Amazon, Vitacost.com or Whole Foods) though as I’ve heard some other brands can leave an odd color to your baked goods.
This is one of those recipes that while I was trying to photograph it for my book, the kids kept swiping the biscuits. Honestly, they were REALLY good so I don’t blame them, but I only made a few for the original recipe (you learn not to make a full batch for every recipe in the book because then you end up eating way too much!)…
I know, lots of pictures of my kids lately but with two spring breaks (i.e. photo opps) back to back, I had to share since this will be it for quite some time. I promise!!!! Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and a fabulous spring break
By the way, if you ever wonder if my kids get tired of me taking pictures, well, I think Tate’s face says it all…
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredient together. Then add the butter and egg and mix well. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, make 4 roundish balls and cook for 15-20 minutes. While they are cooking, you can make your icing if you wish. Start by scooping out the coconut butter into a small bowl and melt it (in microwave or oven). Then stir in the milk, vanilla and maple syrup. As soon as the biscuits come out of the oven, apply your icing on top of the biscuits and eat while it’s hot or let it cool just long enough so you don’t burn your mouth and then devour. If the frosting has hardened before the biscuits are ready, just put back in the microwave or oven to reheat. This will make about 4 biscuits.
It is that crazy time of year when even though the days are longer with daylight savings, they actually seem shorter with sports, after school clubs, and, well, the kids just wanting to play outside all day. Dinner time creeps up way too quickly!!
One of my easy go-to dinners usually consist of some chicken breast (hopefully, I’ve cut it up ahead of time, so I’m not overwhelmed by the thought of cutting up chicken at 6:00 at night) and some type of veggie. I love whole foods pre-cut cabbage because it’s so filling and it soaks up flavor quickly.
Anyway, here is a picture of what was my favorite pre-cut cabbage. Sorry, clearly the picture was an afterthought, but thought it was better than nothing (now I’m not so sure…)
Updated 3/27: quick iPhone picture from today of the cabbage…
One of my favorite quick and easy meals is warm buffalo chicken slaw. If the chicken is cut ahead of time, I can have that meal made in less than 10 minutes. Tonight, I was craving a Thai flavor. It’s so rare that I make a total random guess on a meal and it turns out well, but I think this is one of them! I will be adding this one to my new rotation for sure. Oh and 4 out of 4 in our family loved it! YES, a win!!
I tried to limit the ingredients to keep it as simple as possible. You could easily add cilantro, ginger, coconut milk etc. but again for simplicity sake, this is what I came up with:
And as much as I lovemy cauliflower crust pizza, this was a fun change for me because for the first time in years, I had a paleo pizza that most closely resembled the pizza I use to eat, pre-paleo days. The crust was actually chewy!! If you’ve ever made a paleo pizza before, you would know that it’s near impossible to get a chewy crust from most paleo recipes that use almond flour, cashew flour, etc. The taste and texture really made this pizza fabulous!!! But, I will say that it wasn’t crunchy (just trying to set expectations here) but we still loved it! Oh and it’s nut free!
By the way, this recipe is from my book (p. 165), so for more great snack recipes like this, be sure to check out Super Paleo Snacks.
It is so easy to make the dough!
Here are the ingredients needed:
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 tbsp psyllium husk powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup water (hot)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup pizza sauce
2 mild Italian sausages (cooked without casings)
your toppings including cheese (or not), pepperoni, olives, peppers, etc.
To start all you need is some Italian spices (or basil and oregano), salt coconut flour and psyllium husk powder. I recommend using NOW brand or else your crust might end up a more purplish grey color.
Mix these dry things together….
Next, put your butter (or ghee) in the bowl of mixed dry ingredients, pour super hot water (that has been boiled via microwave or stove top) directly over the butter so it starts to melt and stir the ingredients together with a fork. Then,with your hands, form the ingredients into a ball of dough. If it gets a little dry, you can always add more hot water. I added about 2 more tablespoons after and it was easier to form.
These are the ingredients we used for our toppings. I don’t eat dairy very often but when I do, I try to get some made from raw cow’s milk, like the one below since it’s a bit easier to digest. We also used Whole Foods amazing mild Italian sausage (a must have!) and some Wellshire pepperonis. I would have loved to add some black olives and fresh basil but I just couldn’t bring myself to make another trip to the grocery store.
Then transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet and squish it flat with your hands or roll it out with a rolling pin or round glass. If using a glass, you might need some oil or water on it so it won’t stick. Add your sauce and ingredients and cook on 350 for 20 or so minutes and enjoy!
A good sausage can really make the pizza! If the kids hadn’t eaten most of it before we made the pizza, there would have been a lot more on there…