Have Kitchen: Know How to Use It

Congratulations!! You now have a food restriction and you now get to embark on the fabulous journey of cooking and eating a different way than before. Isn’t’ that exciting!!???

For most people a diet change brings about more fear than getting your period just before the half marathon begins and there is nary any sort of feminine protection in sight. Now what??!! In the case of the period, it’s called toilet paper origami skills and hoping it does the trick until …. But for a diet/lifestyle change it’s overwhelming and can be darned scary, because unlike the toilet paper trick, this is going to be a long haul type thing and the problem is way more complex.

  • “Where do I start?”
  • “I’LL STARVE!!”
  • “I want food that doesn’t taste like cardboard.”
  • “Where do I go for recipes and do they really work?? I mean REALLY!! In a REAL person’s kitchen.” Insert Pinterest fail horrors.
  • “What the hell are these ingredients??”
  • “I will NEVER have real food AGAIN!!”

One of my favoritest things in the whole wide world is to test recipes and I’ve been doing it since before spandex was around the first time. Seriously! Recipes that have more common ingredients, that are easy to make and TASTE GOOD are what I play around with. (Did you catch the “taste good” part?) Because I’ve done this for so long, I have certain recipe-tuned spidey senses that are pretty accurate and I’m letting them loose on this section of my blog.

What I will bring to the tableĀ are:

  • Recipes that I make and are staples in my home. And heck ya!! I believe in desserts! (and cookies, must have cookies) Because of my own diet restrictions, recipes will be a mixed bag of Paleo, vegan, raw, low-carb, not-so-low carb, but all will are guaranteed to be both gluten and dairy free.
  • What worked for me in a recipe, including substitutions I make, and how it actually turns out. No going for perfection here. And yes I do take pictures along the way and the final product.
  • Reviews of blogs, books and ingredients that I use
  • My honest and quirky sense of humor

So what do I know about this whole topic?

All of my life I have been plagued with migraines and severe headaches as well as that whole weight thing. Tylenol 3 and Coke were my best friends and I NEVER went anywhere without them. I had squirrel stashes of T-3 everywhere including the house, purse, truck, office, and probably a few more places I can’t remember. Once a migraine hit, it was 3-4 Tylenol 3 and a Coke chaser. Worked for me, way of life, don’t mess with it. Until one day one of my Clinical Lab students needed a blood sample for his lab and because I had been feeling fatigued I said he could use mine. When he showed me my results, I was shocked! My eosinophils (allergy cells) were 5 times higher than normal. News to me because I didn’t have any allergies. Or so I thought. And, what was it???

After a conversation with a nutritionist friend of mine, I went cold-turkey off dairy. Within 3 days I was a different person and I started to see what symptoms I had because they weren’t there any more. All this time I thought that explosive bowel movements and enough gas to fuel a Boeing 747 were normal. The biggest surprise for me was that migraines and headaches dropped dramatically in pain intensity. I no longer needed codiene, but could use extra-strength Tylenol. To me, that was a miracle and was credence enough for me to give up dairy (all forms) forever. Yes I have a real dairy allergy and oh you bet the slightest amount affects me with the symptoms being being more that gut. It’s not pretty in any way, shape or form.

Now was a quest to refine my kitchen skills. You see, I’m of Ukrainian and Polish descent and traditional diet is dairy, dairy, dairy and wheat, wheat, wheat (stay tuned, guess where this is going). So much for eating the traditional diet!! I turned to vegan and raw vegan resources to see what recipes they had that would fit. Why invent the wheel when the road has been paved?? I found a whole scale of recipes ranging from delicious!!, to not bad, to OMG BLAHH!!! CHOKE A BUZZARD!! Needless to say I kept the good, punted the gawd awful. In some ways it was learning to cook again.

Going forward, life was pretty good, but not quite. On a “feeling” I decided to punt the gluten cold-turkey. For me withdrawal was epic hell a couple of times over, but once I got to the other side, there was no going back. Brain fog had cleared, anger dissolved, and migraines and headaches were GONE. For once in my life (since childhood) I was pain-free. Now rarely, I still get the odd migraine and/or headache, but the symptoms are far fewer and the pain is far less intense (sometimes not at all) and can be managed by relaxing. I was out of “prison”. Yes I’ve since tried gluten, organic gluten with the same end result: not pretty, not doing this again.

Once again my recipe quest was to find (now) good gluten free recipes that work, taste good, and have ingredients that are easily found. Baking gluten free is a whole different beast from traditional and ingredient substitutions are not necessarily smooth. Actually, most are no-will-work. Once again, learning to cook and this time the difficulty has increased.

So, I get it! I really do because I’ve had to make the major diet changes in my life and honestly, the process (for me) is still ongoing. Even though gluten and dairy are no longer in my life, I am still refining my diet as to carbohydrate intake because I’m a Clydesdale athlete (runner) trying to find MY ideal size and weight. So the journey continues and this time you get to come with me.

Curious, anyone else out there with dietary challenges? Or looking for a good recipe for something?
Post in the Comments below. Let the party begin.

2 responses

  1. Candace says:

    Hey!
    Definitely looking for some good recipes! And to just have a good read because I enjoy your stories and ideas!
    I decided to try going gluten free this past January to see if it would reduce some symptoms I was having… mostly related to hypothyroidism. So far I’ve noticed a reduction in minor “gut” issues but was hoping for more. My next step is to dig deeper in partnership with some sort of medically trained doctor type person and figure out the root of my symptoms – and not just treat hypothyroidism with a pill that isn’t working.
    Not sure if that’s the kind of comment you were looking for and maybe TMI, haha!
    All I know is there is so much information out there but much of it contradicting, so it’s hard to know what to do to take care of your personal health. Trial and error like you said Sherri!
    Looking forward to reading your blog!

  2. Sherri says:

    Hey Candace!
    Thanks so much for your kind words. Have you researched gut normal flora? That may be a place to look. It is trial and error for sure. Also patience…….

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