Support

For folks with food allergies and chronic health issues, having a great support system can help to alleviate some of the stress experienced from those issues. I feel very grateful to have such a great support system. In the past, reaching out for help has been difficult. Showing others that I am vulnerable used to always feel like such a huge risk, and I did not want to appear as “weak” or “needy” to others. Various life challenges have taught me the value in reaching out to others and I am getting better at asking for help.

When I was first diagnosed with IC, I struggled. Liz, my fellow blogger, was a huge support. I recall dropping by her house one day and standing in her living room crying because I was so frustrated. We traveled together from Memphis to Las Cruces last December, and it was really easy to travel with someone who had similar food issues. Each time we were hungry, we consulted phone apps and tried to find a place that would accommodate our combined food issues. We crabbed about the lack of choices offered, and celebrated when we found a place that had yummy food AND we didn’t experience any reactions to said yummy food.

My partner is another huge source of support. Sometimes the thought of going to the grocery store will bring me to tears. On those days, she offers to go instead. She knows that I love food, so she seeks out new recipes and tries to modify them to accommodate my food issues. When I am in pain, she tries to find ways to soothe it. There have been a few times when we ate out and I was tempted to eat something I shouldn’t, and she gently asked if I was sure I wanted to risk it.

On Sundays we regularly get together with friends for Sunday dinner. My friends ask me about what food I can have, and are sure to make adjustments to the food so that I have something to eat. They make sure I get salad before any vinegar is put on, they use rice noodles instead of regular ones, and they always ask “hey, can you eat…”. I am so grateful for their attention to this. It’s a small thing to some, but to me it feels like a lot.

Spending time focusing on the gratitude I feel and expressing it to those who have been so supportive helps me feel better. It really helps when I’m having a bad day with food or pain, because somehow it takes the focus off the pain or limited food choices, and replaces it with feels of warmth and love. This doesn’t mean I ignore my real feelings, it just helps me to shift my perspective a bit. If you’re not used to reaching out for help from others, or letting others know what you’re going through, give it a try. It will make your food issues easier to cope with.

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Who Moved My Cheese?

Who moved my cheese? is a great book about change, fear, and acceptance. In my case, it is figurative and literal. I love cheese but cheese does not love me. It has been a life long, unhealthy relationship. Initially, after finding out that I cannot have casein my love for cheese grew stronger. Over time I learned to live without cheese. But there are times that most of us with food restrictions go through when all we want is to eat ‘cheese’. I found myself this week eating a lot of cheese. My self pity overrides my common sense (and, frankly, my concern over others’ discomfort around me at these times) and I refuse to change. Accepting change is hard. Maintaining it can be just as hard.

Who moved my cheese? points out that we need to alter our behaviors in order to let go of fear and embrace change in order to survive. If we don’t chaos ensues and our well-being is threatened. So someone moved my cheese. So what? We all need to ask ourselves is it about the cheese or is it about being told I can’t have the cheese.  Why fear change? Use the maze you were put in and focus on the positive.

Movement in new direction helps find new ‘cheese’. Life moves on and so should we.

~from Who moved my Cheese?

Liz the lazy, cheese eating – cheating, cook

Avocado Egg Recipe

My first exposure to avocados was many, many years ago in guacamole at a Chi Chi’s restaurant. This was when I was still in high school. Yes, sadly, Chi Chi’s was my introduction to “Mexican” food. Although for a lot of Midwestern folks my age, that is pretty common. The guacamole was this greyish-green lump of goo that was tasteless. Several years later when I ate at a real Mexican restaurant, I cautiously tried some real guacamole and found that I loved it. Since that time, I mainly bought avocados to make guacamole and only in the last several years have I started using it in salads or just eating it on it’s own.

Now I can’t have guacamole since most of the other ingredients (e.g., lime, tomato) will cause a flare [the Confident Choices cookbook does have a yummy “mockamole” recipe that is quite tasty, though]. But I do include avocado in my diet pretty frequently. It really helps me miss cheese less since it has such a creamy texture. I have it on salads, since it makes the salad more flavorful and then I enjoy it more even though I can’t have any vinegar on my salad. I’ve even had a cupcake that had frosting made w/ avocados (it was super yummy).

My partner came across an avocado egg recipe on the epicurious site last week, which is a recipe in a book by the person who runs the Forest Feast blog. The recipe is super easy and we decided to try making it for breakfast this morning. Here they are before we put them in the oven:

avocado eggs prep

And here’s how they looked when they came out:

avocado eggs cooked

They look really delicious, don’t they?

The thing is, they weren’t all that impressive once we sat down to eat.  I ended up just eating my eggs out of my avocado and [gasp] not eating all the avocado. So, I’ve decided that I’m just not someone who likes her avocado cooked. It just didn’t taste all that great to me. I don’t think it’s the recipe; rather I think it’s just my preference. Give it a try and let me know what you think of it. I’ve linked to the recipe on epicurious and provided a link to the blog.

Meatball Madness!

Yesterday we tried another recipe from the Confident Choices cookbook. This time it was Swedish meatballs, and this resulted in Meatball Madness! The recipe called for a pound and a half of ground beef and a half a pound of ground turkey. Instead I used a pound of ground pork and a pound of ground turkey, because that was all they had at the store when I went.  Since I can’t have gluten and never seem to see gluten-free bread crumbs anywhere, I chopped up some Udi’s bread for the bread crumbs. It also calls for the bread crumbs to be soaked in milk, and since I don’t do much dairy beyond butter, I used almond milk instead. Seemed to work just as well.

breadcrumbs

I started the meatballs while my partner was at the store picking up some bananas (we’re always running out of bananas). As I made it, I noticed that there was way too much moisture to hold the meatballs together, so I asked my partner to get another pound of ground meat, which she did. When I added it, it was still impossible to make a meatball with it. So I sent her back to the store for an additional pound of ground beef. Since she is a pretty smart cookie, she bought two pounds, just in case. I didn’t think we would need all of it, but I was wrong.

Yes, five pounds of meat for our meatballs. That’s a whole lotta meat. I worried that they might not taste so great, since the recipe wasn’t going according to plan. I was wrong. The meatballs were super yummy and since we had so many, we decided to share them with friends.

We’ll certainly make this recipe again, but will definitely alter the amount of moisture called for in the recipe.

 

Gourmet Girls

I love visiting Tucson, it’s one of my favorite cities. They have lots of good restaurant choices, good music, and beautiful mountains.

One of the best restaurants I’ve visited that caters to folks who follow a gluten-free diet is in Tucson. Gourmet Girls is a cute little bistro and bakery that serves up some super yummy food. I’ve had breakfast and lunch there, and also bought several bakery items. Everything there is good, and I mean everything. Cinnamon rolls, super yummy. Brownies, super yummy. Sandwiches, super yummy. Breakfast, super yummy. Everything I’ve ever had is really good. Not just good for gluten-free kind of good–really, really good.

Prior to being diagnosed with IC, I tried their pulled pork BBQ sandwich, and I highly recommend it if you are someone who can eat BBQ. It’s not super sweet, not super savory, just a perfect balance of both. The focaccia roll was also wonderful as well. The last time I went was post-IC diagnosis, and had waffles for breakfast, and really enjoyed them as well. My favorite bakery item from there are the cinnamon rolls, and I brought some back for a friend who also follows a gluten-free diet, who also enjoyed them.

One more thing I want to mention is that the staff there is always friendly and open to answering any questions about the food. They are always positive and in a great mood, which makes it a great place to visit for a meal.

Zinc Wine Bar and Bistro

My partner, Eli, and I decided we wanted to head out to a nice place for dinner while we were in ABQ. I checked out some web sites and found several places that indicated they were friendly to folks needing gluten-free options, then I went through and looked at menus that had more options that were IC-friendly. Zinc Wine Bar and Bistro was the one we ultimately decided on.

The restaurant is lovely. Very warm and inviting, and the staff were very knowledgeable about gluten-free options. I had some wine that evening and they have a very extensive wine list, which I loved. We shared an appetizer of ahi-tuna, and I just made sure I didn’t have any soy sauce on my portions. It was really delicious. When I reviewed the menu, I picked a few entrees I was interested in, and the waiter advised me on what I could order gluten free. I selected the lamb. When our food arrived, the waiter made a point of telling me not to have any of my partner’s food, since it was “full of gluten”, which I really appreciated. My lamb was really tasty and I was very happy with it. Eli had steak, with buttermilk mashed potatoes and fried onions. She loved it. She also had a mojito that made her very, very happy. The only disappointment was that there was only one gluten free dessert option, which I could not have due to the fruit used.

All in all, it was a great dinner out. Yeah, I would have loved dessert, but I was far happier to have had a waiter who was aware of the menu options that I could and could not have. I’ll definitely be back next time we go to ABQ.

Breakfast Isn’t Just for Breakfast Anymore!

Ok, so like most of you I struggle with food allergies and intolerances. I plan, I write lists, and yet, I still miss the mark on eating what is healthy and acceptable to my ever so sensitive (and annoying) system. The one meal I find that is consistently safe for me and yummy to eat is breakfast food. Breakfast isn’t just for breakfast anymore (actually never was… I am a slow changer and it took me a while to embrace this concept!).

There are many, many choices to pick in the breakfast genre that is healthy, gluten-free, in my case, dairy-free! You can have all the yummy goodness of the various types of your favorite foods all in one meal. For instance, I just made poached eggs with bacon and homemade biscuits. The biscuits are easy to make and taste as good as granny’s used to including being fluffy, which is rare with gluten-free breads (recipe below). Other options are fruit and omelets. Omelets are especially great because you can add in any kind of meat protein and veggies you love making the meal well-rounded with goodness. Breakfast items are flexible and simple to make. They are filling and supper yummy to eat and I don’t end up wasting time, energy, and especially money.

Recipe from Granny’s Kitchen Blog
http://grannyskitchen.wordpress.com/2007/09/17/grannys-homemade-biscuits/

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup milk

I added 3/4 tsp of xanthum gum and used Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour. The buscuits are fluffy and taste great. You can substitute out the butter for non-dairy options and use any type of sugar you like.

Hope you enjoy! Lizzy the Lazy Cook