Do you remember that I've gone through some pretty major diet changes lately? I think I first talked about it in October.
I cannot believe what a difference these changes have made to my overall health. What I also cannot believe is how often I am asked about going free. Free of... anything! Dairy, gluten... maybe two or three things. Seems there are SO many people out there battling food issues, and figuring out where to begin can be a very daunting task.
While I LOVE to have one-on-one conversations with everyone who asks, I also think a 'starting point' might be helpful. So my plan is to create a short series of posts filled with useful, but easily understood, information.
To start? The most common topic... what I eat.
These things are all free of gluten, dairy and soy. Many of them are also vegan.
Most important? Fruit! Veggies!! It hasn't been easy, because I've got a terrible sweet tooth, but I try to always reach for some sort of fruit or a vegetable when I'm looking for a snack. Do I even need to explain why??
I also eat a ton of rice, and we go through potatoes like crazy. I realize it may not be *the* healthiest thing out there, but almost every morning I make home-cooked breakfast potatoes and scrambled eggs. They're filling, yummy, and they make the little guy happier than his favorite cartoon on repeat play.
Easy-to-find stuff... Rice Chex, tortilla chips (check the label! vegetable oil is made from soy!) with salsa, pico de gallo or hummus (check the label if not homemade!), air-pop popcorn.
More specific items...
Breads, pastas, etc:
Udi's Brand sandwich read, bagels, pizza crusts, muffins and granola. I LOVE all of these products, and you don't have to look far to find them in our kitchen. Their granola is more like 'regular' granola than any other I've found.
Ancient Harvest Quinoa pastas. Their polenta is great too, though I've found that I prefer to make homemade polenta these days.
Enjoy Life cookies, snack bars (love these! I have them stashed in my purse, car, etc.. My favorite is the sunbutter crunch variety.) and chocolate chips. Their chocolate bars are a yummy treat too!
Milk, 'cheese,' and other 'dairy' items:
So Delicious! coconut milk yogurt. This is a great snack... I like to mix in Udi's granola. (Side note, not all So Delicious! products are soy free, so it's important to read their labels...)
Daiya Cheddar and Mozzerella Style Shreds. The first time I tried this product, I had been 'dairy free' for all of 48 hours. I was horrified at the taste. I tried them again recently, and hey! my tastes have changed! (Side note about this... at the bottom of my post.)
Almond Breeze milk. Original is my favorite, but Vanilla is also a yummy treat.
Coconut Bliss 'ice cream.' Yum, yum, yummmm! My favorite is Cappucino. (Side note here, the package recommends letting your ice cream sit out for about ten minutes before digging in. Do it. It changes the flavor somehow, and makes it that much tastier.)
Sauces, baking items, etc.
Worth noting... I make my own spaghetti sauce and sloppy joe 'sauce,' because the jarred and canned varieties typically contain soy as a stabilizer. The book, "Cooking for Isaiah" features a great, simple sloppy joe recipe as well as a TON of other yummy stuff.
Also worth noting... worcestershire sauce is a great thing to have on hand, but read the label first. Many varieties contain soy. Lea & Perrins does no.
Coconut Aminos, made by Coconut Secret. This is my 'soy' sauce. It tastes different... almost a combination between soy and teriyaki sauce. But it's great in stiry-fry, and I love it on a bowl of rice.
Earth Balance spread. Love, love, love this stuff! It's similar in taste to margarine which was a bit of a change for me. I was a BUTTER girl. But I'm happy to have this product available to me. Look for the red soy-free carton if need be!
Now... that side-note I mentioned. When I started on this adventure, my main goal after feeling better was to find an exact replacement for each food I felt I was 'giving up.' I now know that not only is that not possible, it's not practical either. In order to be happy and content with what is out there, I've found that it is best not to seek a replacement. Instead, try to keep an open mind... just like you would if you were trying a new cut of meat, or a new flavor of ice-cream. I don't expect my package of Daiya Cheddar Shreds to taste like freshly grated Tillamook. But they do make a yummy toasted sandwich!
Whew! Are you tired of reading yet? Because I feel a bit overwhelmed and these are things I routinely shop for. I've undoubtedly left items out, so if you're looking for something specific or have any questions please leave a comment and ask me. Or--do you have a product you want to suggest? I'd love to hear your ideas :)
This is a copy/paste from my personal Facebook page, and so some of you have probably already seen it. Maybe I'm the only one, but I absolutely love to read about other people... and so I thought maybe you'd like to learn a little bit about me as well. So often my posts are about Camden, I thought it might be fun to change it up a bit!
1. I've lost count of how many times I have navigated away from this tab. Each time I start to type, I erase my thought. Nothing I have to say feels anywhere near interesting enough for a list. 2. I often talk to myself. Probably too often, in fact. 3.The 'p' word that refers to women's underwear? I refuse to say (or type!) it. It grosses me out. Big time. 4. I have an insane fear of throwing up and being sick in general. Camden catching a bug or hearing that a friend is sick sends me into panic mode for days on end. 5. I sanitize my hands frequently. Camden's too. 6. This shouldn't come as any surprise, but I love photography. When I look at every day objects, I often picture what they might look like in a photo rather than what they look like just sitting in front of me. Same thing goes for people. 7. I dream in black and white. No color. Ever. 8. Everyone told me I'd forget pregnancy, labor and delivery as soon as my little boy was in my arms. He's creeping up on two and a half, and I still remember every last detail. This does NOTHING for my desire to have another child. 9. I love old stuff. Probably more than is healthy. 10. Eating in a restaurant terrifies me. Partially because of the throwing up thing, partially because of the weird stuff I can no longer eat. 11. I clean when I'm angry. 12. Spokane gives me the creeps. I lock my doors when I'm in the car, and I look over my shoulder often. I don't know if I'll ever feel "at home" here. 13. I eat chocolate every day. 14. I get horribly car sick unless I'm behind the wheel, but Ryan almost always drives when we go somewhere together. 15. At one point, I was wearing 12? 13? different piercings, the first two of which were put in my ears when I was four. The only thing you'll see now is a tiny little ring in an uncommon spot on my ear. 16. I own more than 20 pair of jeans. One pair fits, and the rest are too big. 17. I'm a homebody. It isn't uncommon to hear that I've gone all week without leaving our apartment complex. 18. I find it nearly impossible to leave Target without having made some sort of impulse purchase. 19. I could do this SAHM/wife/homemaker thing for a lot of years to come. A 9-5 job scares me to death, actually. 20. I love to organize and clean, but I'm hopelessly messy. Especially when it comes to my car. 21. My mind never stops wandering. I sometimes lay in bed at night for hours imaging how I might overhaul a room in our house, what I might do differently as I 'start over' with photography here in Spokane, or what our back yard would look like... if we had one. 22. I can be a bit obsessive with the wandering mind thing. Give me an idea, and I'll run with it for DAYS. 23. I can't really swim. And I detest putting my face under water. 24. My least favorite chore is putting away clean laundry. Sometimes it sits on the couch for a week until Ryan finally bails me out and puts it away. 25. We eat a home-cooked breakfast every morning. More often than not, 'fried' potatoes and scrambled eggs. 26. Fear of failing often keeps me from trying new things. 27. I can almost always find something to be nervous or worried about. Not my favorite character trait. 28. I want to learn to knit and crochet. 29. I find cooked broccoli to be incredibly disgusting. 30. This was hard to do! Coming up with 30 things (ok, 29 because this one doesn't count) pertaining to ME more than Camden or Ryan? Not so easy...
If you'd like to list your own 30 Things, please do! Leave a comment and include a link to your post so I can come and read about YOU, too.
Somewhere between Christmas, the beginning of a new year, trying to find--and purchase--a home, and occupying a busy toddler, I've been a bit distant.
Buying a home?
We're on the hunt for a house. OUR house. Where we'll be able to paint! and have a garden! and gut the kitchen for a new one if we want to! and pay a MORTGAGE!
That last one isn't so exciting, is it??
But it is exciting. A mortgage payment, for me, will feel far more rewarding than a monthly rent payment. There is no return when you're paying rent. There IS a return when you buy at the bottom of the market, make timely payments, improve your home while you're there... and then one day sell in favor of something different, or a move, or... whatever.
This is a new process for us, but we're finding our way. And I cannot wait for the end--where we'll sign (and sign... and sign...) all those papers and then receive the keys to OUR home.
Are you looking forward to anything BIG in the new year??