After reading comments on another blog recently, and receiving a few emails from readers, I was reminded that people need (and want) really easy solutions. We all know that the biggest challenge of living with dietary restrictions is just knowing what to make for a meal from a very limited palette of ingredients. Let's be honest: when you are suddenly thrown into changing your entire dietary life, the last thing you are initially concerned about is how to make a convincing nut free, gluten free, vegan, sugar free replacement for peanut butter cookies.
What you really need to know is how to structure a nutritious meal. You want to know what to eat for breakfast. What to take to work for lunch. What to feed you and your family for dinner. Sure, those cookies can come later - but right now, you need to get some food on the table, quickly, easily, deliciously, and affordably. And most importantly, that meal needs to fit your dietary needs, so you can avoid having a reaction and heal your body.
Since my venture into vegetarianism as a 14 year old, I have been a junkie for natural foods. All through college, I explored various dietary choices, sprouted in my dorm room, and gained more interest in local and organic foods. Once I left college, and had my own kitchen and access to a wide array of natural foods stores, I started the gradual process of eliminating processed foods and eating more fresh, whole, made-from-scratch foods. So, when I needed to change my diet last year due to allergies and intolerances and a Candida Albicans overgrowth, I already had a good base and interest in whole foods nutrition and cooking to build on. I already loved kale, cooked whole chickens, loved beans, and ate quinoa. I had given up fast food and junk food years earlier, and already brown bagged my lunch. But for many people thrown into living with dietary restrictions, this isn't the case! I often forget that many people don't know what to do with a kohlrabi or don't how to cook beans from scratch. I forget that many people were used to grabbing food on the go and relying on processed foods before they had to change their diets. And I take for granted that many people don't have the confidence, creativity, or interest to venture out into the whole foods world to experiment themselves.
While I feel I provide lots of good recipes on this blog, sometimes they are a little complicated, or use a lot of specialty items that are expensive and hard to find. So, from now on, I'm going to try to put a focus on sharing some of my favorite, most basic recipes with you. The simple stuff that really makes up the bulk of what I eat, like salads, vegetable side dishes, simple snacks, easy to prepare protein and grain dishes. You need to learn what to do with a bunch of hearty greens, like kale, chard, or collards. You need to uncover ways to use nourishing root vegetables like turnips, rutabaga, celeriac, beets, and sweet potato. You should be shown how to incorporate high protein, gluten free grains like quinoa, millet, and buckwheat into your diet. And finally, see the ways to use high quality proteins, like legumes, nuts and seeds, and responsibly raised and produced animal products.
As Dr. Weston A. Price said, "You teach! You teach! You teach!" And in the spirit of that comment, that I what I hope to do. I want to teach my fine readers, all of you, simple ways to incorporate nourishing foods into your diet that will heal you from the inside out and leave you feeling satisfied. I hope to share recipes that include only a few ingredients, don't include a ton of spices and herbs, don't use fancy specialty items that cost $10 each, and probably fall within the range of acceptable for even the most allergic individual. I'll try to highlight some of my favorite standby foods and talk about the ways to prepare them, making it easier to eat whole, seasonal, healthy foods. Maybe I'll try to highlight a new vegetable each week. Who knows? I'm still thinking through how I'll approach this.
Sure, I'll still share plenty of gluten free bread, muffins, and cupcake recipes (I've been pumping out baked goods left and right lately), soups and dishes with lots of spices and ingredients, and fussy and fancy things for special occasions. Those recipes are fun, and keep culinary life exciting and creative. But I also want to provide simple, everyday things that can be thrown together quickly and not involve a special trip to the co-op. And I'll make sure to include basic suggestions and tips for making food prep easier. Not everything I post will work for everyone, but my hope is to provide recipes that are simple and easy to alter to fit your needs. Everyone needs to listen to their own bodies and find what balance of foods works for them, and hopefully the information I continue to share will help give you the tools and inspiration to continue on your personal journey.
Once I get internet back in my apartment (seriously, I'm suffering a string of technological issues lately) and can post more regularly, look out!