Dates are so good!

You guys, dates are delicious! Who would have thought a brown, shriveled up leathery thing would taste like vanilla brown sugar goodness?! They are my favorite dried fruit, so far. Not surprisingly, they’re really good for you (like most shriveled up brown things are) they are high in, like, all the b”something” vitamins, cholesterol free, protein rich, and they have lots of dietary fiber (another shriveled up brown thing’s thing). Some people would list this as a con, but to me it’s a huge pro: dates are 80% fructose. That’s right, 80% sweet sugary goodness. That’s what makes it taste so good! http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/dares-and-your-health-the-ideal-food/ (more about dates)

I bought my first pack of dates this weekend to try in a granola bar recipe (thanks Mckenzie for the referral!). As I was chopping them up, I had to try one. Mmmm. So good. I got worried though, because after I ingested one, I realized the pit looks so much like a pecan! Then I had to google it to make sure that this wasn’t like, “where pecans come from”. On my allergy tests (and in real life experience) I’m more deathly allergic to treenuts than any other thing (even peanuts!). We are good, though. They are, in fact, just a seed. 

Back to the recipe: The granola bars turned out great! Next time, I’ll make them in a 9×13 pan (instead of 9×9) to let them get a little crunchier. Here’s the source: http://happyhealthymama.com/2012/08/banana-oat-bars-vegan-gluten-free-nut-free.html

  
1 cup dates finely chopped

3 very ripe bananas

1/2 cup oat flour (I just put some oats in the blender to make the flour)

2tbs baking oil (I used olive) 

1 1/2 cups crispy brown rice cereal

1 cup oats

Mix ins- I added enjoy life dairy free chocolate chips 
Preheat oven to 350. Later the bottom of a 9×13 pan with parchment paper. Mix all ingredients together. Spread in pan. Bake 15 min or until top turns golden brown. 

Salmon Packets!

My kind of dinner is a quick and easy dinner. Salmon packets hit the mark! I got this recipe from this link: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/252834966557702527/

It was the best foil packet recipe I’ve ever made. The best part is, you can make it with almost any veggies you have on hand! We used zucchini, yellow squash, onions, and tomatoes, but the recipe suggests things like tomato and basil (yum) lemon spinach (YUM) and we’ve done something similar with Parmesan and asparagus in the past (YUM!). One of the minor modifications we did was mixing all of the veggies with your choice of seasoning before putting them in the packet. We used salt, pepper, and a “roast” (lemon/garlic) blend. We also topped them with lemon slices for flavor, I guess, but mostly just to make it pretty.  

 
And it does look pretty!! We served with rice on the side. Give it a try! 

Ps, I stole this from someone on an eoe page. This is why Ive been crying so much: 

 

Mexican shrimp quinoa, gf pasta and zucchini, and crappy pumpkin muffins

The last two weeks have been a series of trial and error in the kitchen. As a reminder, I’m on doctor’s orders to avoid chicken, eggs, beef, milk, (any land animal or its byproducts) legumes, soy, and the biggie, gluten. The first four will most likely be added back in at some point but the last three have shown up on too many allergy tests to be worth trying again. As you can imagine, I’ve felt a little limited. So I’m going outside of my comfort zone trying to find new things I can eat. Probably my favorite meal from last week was zucchini, yellow squash, and quinoa noodles in a pasta sauce.  

 I boiled the pasta separately (make sure to not over cook), saut√©ed the squash in olive oils with some salt, pepper, and garlic, poured the sauce on the squash when tender, add the noodles and that’s it! Convenience is key in my life right now. Anything with more than ten steps can and will result in yelling, kicking the fridge and subsequently crying. 

Another meal that was a little more time consuming but very good was Mexican quinoa with shrimp. Pinterest is my life, right now. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/252834966557621345/  

 
She gives the recipe and direction in th link above! We nixed the black beans, but it still turned out great! My totally lucky, no allergy husband even liked it, so I think that says something!

Finally, the pumpkin muffins. It was supposed to be my first successful baked good, but alas, not so much. They were fine, just super gooey on the inside and a jerky like crust. I would have eaten them all! But after eating 3 (because you have to make sure!) I got a stomach ache, head ache, and a lovely rash returned to my neck (haven’t had it since I started being allergy free). This, along with the knowledge that I’ve always broken out in hives when carving out a pumpkin, leads me to believe I have a pumpkin allergy. I’ll do a test with my allergist to be sure, but I think for the moment pumpkin is off the table for me. The recipe was easy though, just a gf cake mix, can of 100% pumpkin, dairy free chocolate chips, pumpkin spice and cinnamon. Mix them all together, put in cups (just make them look how you want them, there is no “rising” or any change, really. You’re mostly just drying out the mix. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or til a tooth pick comes out clean. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/252834966557667329/

The best news of all, this week, was finding dairy free chocolate chips and gf waffles! The chocolate chips were enjoy life brand ($5 at sprouts) and the gf waffles were $1.99 at trader joes! Trader joe’s is the only brand I’ve found that is Top 8 free, and doesn’t have coconut or pea protein. (It does have soybean oil, but my dr said refined oil is ok). Oh, and one more great thing! I’ve lost 5 lbs in 2 weeks! I guess that’s bound to happen when your diet is 80% veggies and you spend a good portion of your day on the toilet, but still!

Ps, if you have any great baked goods recipes that are top 8, pea free, and coconut free (Ana) please share!! Please! 

The Doctor Is In

So its been awhile since my last post, and I’m changing things up a little bit. Over the last year, I’ve been trying to get my eoe (eosinophilic esophagitis) under control. I have a narrow esophagus (7mm wide!) Which has always caused me to get food/pills lodged which is then followed by a trip to the er! It came to a head a few weeks ago when I went in for my first dilation. Instead of my throat stretching, it just straight up tore. I was in the hospital for a few days, healed quickly (huge blessing followed by prayer, fast, and priesthood blessing) and am much better now. However, it means I have a food allergy I have not eliminated from my diet. That’s why the lining in my esophagus tore and didn’t stretch (too many white blood cells reacting to a  food allergen make the walls stiff). So, I got a trip down memory lane to the allergist. We did two skin tests (one with serums and one using the whole food) which revealed that wheat and soy are pretty big allergens for me. The problem with skin tests is they are only 75% accurate, which means there may be other foods that didn’t register that are contributing to my problem. Long story made longer, I have to go on a pretty strict elimination diet. No gluten, soy, milk, eggs, cow, chicken, turkey, legumes, gelatin (or any other animal bi products) for the next 6 weeks. I am also anaphylactic to peanuts, tree nuts, coconuts and sunflower seeds. Then I’ll have a scope/biopsy done to see if my white blood cell count has gone down (from 27 per high power field to zero). If I’m not at least below 15, they take away more food. If I am at an acceptable point, we can add one food back in every month (except gluten and soy which already showed up on tests) followed by another scope/biopsy.

Anyway, I’ve decided to start this blog back up again because you guys, this is really hard and any advice from friends or even randos on the Internet is appreciated. I also understand how lucky I am that I can at least have the food I have now. There are children and adults who have it much worse than I do with eoe and egids and are either on G-tubes or an elemental formula. I can at least have fruits, veggies, and fish. But it still feels like I’m giving up cocaine (why do I love food so much?!) I’ve had the most ridiculous break downs (I’m on week 2 of this, btw) including crying while putting away the groceries, muttering bad words while I grocery shop and read labels, and hysterically crying when I accidentally took a sip of milk and freaking out thinking it would mess up my results and lead to losing more foods (I can’t lose fish, I just can’t). Mostly it’s been a lot of crying. Over milk. Unspilled milk. Which is much more pathetic. 

Luckily, I have an amazing support system! Our families have been extremely flexible with things like Sunday dinners and making accommodations (even though I’ll never be offended if the task becomes too much). My husband lets me smell his food and even allows me to stare at him while he eats things. He’s also been eating the food I make with me, which means a lot! Because fish can only be prepared so many ways, and rice gets old fast. He’s also super understanding about the crying/raging that’s been going on and hasn’t kicked me out of the house yet. Also, my allergist has been great! Seriously, premier allergy and asthma in Aurora is the best! They have been on top of things, knowledgable, and one of the nurses will send me emails about meal planning and new products and substitutions, and this is all on her free time! 

I think I’ll use this page to post recipes/substitutions we’ve tried and hopefully get some feedback from the rest of the allergy afflicted community. Basically, if you have food allergies like me, or you’d like to laugh at some one like me, keep up. If not, no worries!  

 

Let’s get real for a minute¬†

Another week of mindful eating has past. By mindful, I mean one doughnut instead of the obligatory two. Can we get real for a minute? Cold turkey just doesn’t work. I’m starting to realize that. I can’t vow off sweets for the rest of my life. I can, however, ditch soda and limit dessert to one or two nights a week. Beginning this has made me realize how important a sustainable lifestyle change is compared to a “diet mentality” where you get the weight off (or the fix gone) and then one “fall off the wagon” later and you’re back to square one. 

(Kelly’s tape worm diet) I’m gonna look amazing… http://youtu.be/6hhzdcRaB3I

   I have tried really hard to keep eating out limited to date night. Last week I did pretty well with that one! Every week night, I packed a lunch and cooked dinner. I realized that, being a nanny and having full access to a kitchen, I can actually cook things at work too! Bada bing bada boom. Basically, I’ve had way more fun, and kept at this more, when I just keep in mind that I feel awesome when I’m not being weighed down by junky food. I have had so much energy lately! Instead of getting home at the end of the day and feeling like all I can do is sit on the couch and watch tv, I do stuff! Yeah, like, lots of stuff! We planted our garden this week (photographic evidence!) and the goal is to actually use what we grow by the end of the summer (a goal made many times but has never, actually, been met).

  I’m not doing this to lose weight. I have no idea if I’ve actually lost a pound or not (mostly because my scale’s batteries died and I have no plans on replacing them anytime soon). But I am not doing it for looks or acceptance or pressure. I just feel better (not to mention saving $$$ by meal planning!) and I think that this is a life style that can stick with me for awhile. 

Running my first 5k

So I won’t lie, the last couple of weeks have been tough. We have had a major loss in our family and I completely fell off the wagon. My husband lost his sister to post partum psychosis. Even though she wasn’t my biological family, I looked up to her as an older sister. Everything she did, I wanted to do too. She inspired me to learn how to knit, she talked me into using cloth diapers (when the need arises), I even seriously considered taking a blown glass art class after seeing some of her work. Not only that, but she was a faithful daughter of God. Having her as an example was such a great experience, even though I only knew her a short 4 years. After we heard the news, my first priority was my husband. I knew that as hard as it was for me, it was incomparable to how Ben was feeling. So I bought him all of his favorite candies… Even though candy was the last thing on his mind. Because that’s how I deal with pain, food!   His whole office desk was covered in untouched junk food. That is a pretty big difference between the two of us. Ben is no health guru, but he will actually turn down dessert if he is too full or if he doesn’t feel like it. I ate a donut one time, and I hated it from the first bite. It tasted greasy and too salty. But I ate the whole thing. I admire that in him. He has much better self control than I do. I really want to work on that in myself, so, I signed up for a race! It’s something I will have to train for, and plan for. If not, I just wasted my own money. Here we go!

Ps-I have a question to ask anyone who is reading this. I’ve been thinking a lot about positive body image vs. Pressure to live a healthy lifestyle. I’ve seen a lot of articles lately about how women are too hard on themselves and we need to stop feeling guilty about eating what we want when we want. At the same time, we have crazy high childhood obesity rates, as well as growing heart disease in America. What do you think? 

Day 3: Craft Store Candy Confrontation

Just one day after I successfully did not eat some sort of sweet, the one thing on my mind all day was, “I did good yesterday, I deserve this” Which is normally followed by me guzzling down ten times the calories/progress I made the day before. Classic one step forward ten steps back. However. today was different! I took the little boy I nanny to Michael’s Craft store today. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been inside a craft store, but every store seems to have one thing in common: a CRAZY amazing candy section. Why is that?? Is that their way of preying on us creatively stressed people? It’s a marketing ploy of some kind. No other type of store (save legitimate candy stores) has that type of selection, and even worse, it lines the entire check out line. There’s no escape! You just have to sit there, as some lady argues over her twenty different coupons, while that French Vanilla Milky Way bar (oh yeah, it’s a thing) is staring you down, waiting for you to crack. I narrowly escaped the store with only non-edible items in hand. It was a hollow victory. I am so used to buying candy at the craft store that the whole drive home, I kept thinking, “Hey! I should eat that candy bar!” quickly followed by “Oh wait..” and ending with a depressing, audible sigh. Then, a few minutes later, the cycle repeats itself.

Another problem I have run into is, I don’t know what to do with my hands. What do people do when they’re not snacking on something all day?? Not-Sure-What-to-do-With-Hands-Talladega-Nights-Ricky-Bobby

I suppose they just become productive members of society… ugh… If you have any tips/tricks on keeping your mind off of mindless snacking, give them to me!! This blog has helped a lot, though. While I was in my intense stare off with that mean Milky Way at Michael’s, I thought, “If I screw up, I have to tell the world about it,” If you’re familiar with wordpress, it gives you a stat page which shows where views are coming from, and people are reading this in the U.K., Australia, and the Isle of Man (a small island off of Ireland). I am doing this for America! (collective chant) USA! USA!

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At least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself until this all gets easier…

One more Will Ferrell meme to end your reading off rightdeangelo vending machine(My life)