Busy Busy Bee

Even though I got things wrapped up for my spring coursework at the end of April, May has been a busy whirlwind for me!  I’m already leaping ahead trying to make sure I’m prepared for my summer capstone and independent study, so I haven’t really felt like there has been much of a breather between semesters.  On top of that, lots of traveling in a week’s time and I’m still a little spun around.  When I’m busy and I’m not in my own environment, eating well and making any attempting to sticking to the FODMAP diet are pretty tough!  The conference I went to had some pretty limited food options; for example, breakfast consisted only of muffins/baked goods or a horrific looking “egg”-croissant sandwich!  Ew..  Luckily I had thrown in some bananas at the last minute and of course had my trail mix handy, so that was my breakfast both mornings.  Lunch the one day was also a little rough: choice of chicken, beef, or veggie burrito!  Come on people, where are the GF options here??  I was thankful that avoiding gluten is simply a choice for me and not a requirement since I did not have time to go hunt down a better option.  Definitely nothing low FODMAP about these burritos (wheat, beans, onions, garlic, etc??).  Luckily dinner had some more options and then the second lunch was open choice of restaurants in town.  But yes, my GI system was not feeling so hot all day Saturday!

The one meal I made between trips was inspired by sage I bought a little while ago because I thought I had tons of recipes that I could use it for, but then really didn’t have time to hunt down said recipes.  Plus the sweet potato fries appetizer from the prior trip really got me digging sage! I used this ravioli recipe as inspiration, but made quite a few tweaks.  Here’s my recipe:

Brown Butter Pasta with Chicken, Walnuts & Sage

4 chicken breasts (only needed two for the pasta, so two were leftover)
Rubbed with a mixture of smoked paprika, thyme, salt and pepper.
4ish servings of pasta (I did two servings of GF pasta and two of regular spaghetti for the hubby)
1/2 cup walnuts
4 tbsp butter
1/3 cup fresh sage leaves
1 thick slice of smoked gouda, chopped into small chunks
2 tbsp (ish) of grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rub herb mixture over both sides of the chicken.  Heat a skillet sprayed with garlic olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes until golden brown. Flip and cook for two more minutes. Transfer chicken to oven-safe dish and continue cooking  in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Allow the chicken to cool for 5 minutes, then chop into bite-sized pieces. Boil and drain the pasta according the to package directions.

Place the walnuts in a large skillet over medium heat and toast for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove and chop. Wipe the skillet clean, and melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium heat. When the butter just starts to turn brown, add the sage and stir constantly for one minute. Immediately add the pasta and stir to combine. Add the chicken, chopped walnuts, smoked gouda, and parmesan and stir. 

GF pasta with chicken & sage

GF pasta with chicken & sage

Ended up very tasty- I asked the hubby if this was a repeater and he said yes!  Again, the smoked gouda may have played a role… 🙂

Otherwise, we have been nibbling on leftovers or going out to eat or just having salads this week so far!  I’m hoping to make up some burgers tonight for something different!  I did make up another batch of coconut milk yogurt with a slightly different formula.  4 cups Aroy-D coconut milk, 4 cups of homemade coconut-oat milk, 1 heaping tsp of agar and 3 tbsp tapioca starch (with half a container of SO Coconut yogurt as starter).  I wanted to see a) if using half “real” coconut milk and half homemade would still work and b) if having less agar would still make it fairly thick.  I just felt like the last few batches I could see little pockets of agar (like a small clear ball of gelatin), so I thought perhaps it didn’t need as much.  It seems to have turned out just fine, perhaps slightly less “firm” but I always felt like it wouldn’t hurt for it to be a little more runny!

My other project has been trying to get my granola to clump, without having to add more sweetener!  I think I have had success, though I still want to experiment a bit!  Still using the oats & amaranth granola recipe as a base, I again replaced the amaranth with sesame seeds as well as some sunflower seeds, did 1/2 cup hazelnuts and 1/2 cup pecans, and still used the egg white.  Oh and I also added some cardamom and smoked salt for slightly different flavor.  The big differences I made were I lined my pan with parchment paper (most recipes say to do this but I was lazy before) and I left it out overnight to cool.  When I went to break it up: tada!

granola clumps!!

granola clumps!!

So much easier and yummier for snacking!!  I will say, it tastes just a touch stale, so my next batch I’m going to just use the parchment paper, but not let it sit out overnight and see if that still yields clumps but keeps the crunchy-ness.  I also found a granola recipe that uses homemade milk pulp, so I might give that a try since I have a full gallon ziploc in the freezer full of coconut-oat pulp!

I really gotta get back to meal planning, that was so nice!!  The summer is going to be hectic, so it would be nice to have some meals already planned out to reduce brain-strain.. 🙂

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Pizza!! Cheese!!

This week I never got around to doing a meal plan.. le sigh..  Luckily, that’s what Pinterest is for!  I found this pretty easy sounding GF pizza crust using quinoa, so I thought I would give it a try.  I soaked the quinoa overnight; I decided to make two because I always figure if you’re going to make a mess, might as well make double the mess!  I omitted the garlic and seasoned it with dried rosemary and some tumeric.  To give it a little more flavor, I used garlic olive oil to cook it in instead of just regular.  I cooked it on the stove in a full size cast iron skillet and thought it worked great!

quinoa pizza crust

quinoa pizza crust

double the yum!

double the yum!

I froze one and let the other one sit out, awaiting toppings for dinner.  For the sauce, I mashed up half of an avocado with some lime juice, garlic olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Then I topped it with tomatoes, black olives, spinach, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, and some dried rosemary.  It was awesome!!  It is pretty filling crust, so even though it was only about 9 inches, I still was very satisfied just having half for dinner and saving the other half for the next day.

GF pizza!!

GF pizza!!

I also made tacos this week, which really weren’t any different than I always made them: with no taco seasoning.  I’ve never liked taco seasoning, so several years ago I just started making my meat separate from the hubby’s and that works fine.  I added smoked paprika, tumeric, some garlic olive oil spray, and salt and pepper.  I used corn tortillas from Trader Joe’s and just warmed them up on the stove.

Tonight I made Gouda & Spinach Stuffed Pork Chops- they turned out great!  I found the recipe in a random magazine and made some adjustments based on what I had on hand and my dietary needs.  The recipe called for thick pork chops and we only had small, thin ones, so instead of trying to stuff anything into them, I decided to just stack them!  This worked out very well, though eating “one” was really too much since it was really two pork chops, so we each just ate a half.  Here’s my recipe:

6 thin pork chops
3 slices smoked Gouda
3 handfuls of torn, fresh spinach
1-2 tbsp dijon mustard (Hy-Vee brand actually is low FODMAP safe)
1/2 cup or so of almond meal

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a glass dish.  I spread a small squirt of mustard on each pork chop then dipped it in the almond meal.  I placed one pork chop, almond meal down, in the dish then put a slice of smoked Gouda and then piled on a handful of spinach.  Then I stacked another pork chop, almond meal up, on top.  Cooked for 35 minutes.  Husband approved!!  Though I do have to admit, I think anything you put that smoked Gouda on is going to taste good 🙂

gouda & spinach stuffed pork chops

gouda & spinach stuffed pork chops

I’m doing some travelling over the next week and so eating will be an interesting task.  I’m mostly worried about this weekend and what to eat on the road the day before my half marathon.  I think for my pre-race breakfast my plan is just to have some Erewhon brown rice crisps and a small clementine, but I know that the entire day before I’ll need to be careful too.  Might just be eating some carefully selected salads!!  I did just make up another batch of granola, so I’ll have that on hand for snacking at least.  This round I followed the oats & amaranth granola recipe that I used before except instead of amaranth I used sesame seeds.  I also decided to experiment by adding some almond butter, yes I know I said that it may be giving me problems, but I just can’t live 100% without it and I figured having only about 4 tbsp throughout the whole granola shouldn’t bother me too much.  The reason I decided to add it was that I really want this granola to have some good chunks in it!  It has been successfully crunchy ever since adding the egg white, but it has been crumbly and therefore hard to snack on.  Good for cereal and on yogurt, but not so good for trying to just eat out of the bag 🙂  It is cooling now, so we’ll see if adding the almond butter was successful or not!

Back at it!

I have had a seriously crazy couple of weeks in regards to homework, holy cow!  I had some major cheat days (hello flour tacos from Tasty Taco??), but have been for the most part sticking to the low FODMAP diet.  Despite the chaos, I still had some time to try out a few new recipes and tried to snag some pictures when I remembered!  Here are the ones that I can remember:

Skinny Baked Lemon Dill Mahi Mahi: I didn’t have fresh dill so just used the dried that I had and I subbed my homemade coconut milk yogurt for the cream cheese.  It turned out super yummy!

mahi mahi

mahi mahi

Roasted Fennel & Quinoa Crunch Salad: I made this as a side for a family dinner and everyone thought it was great!  The roasted fennel was really good and all of the flavors and textures melded together really well.  I think I might make it again this weekend, especially now that I have a HUGE bag of quinoa courtesy of CostCo!

fennel quinoa salad

fennel quinoa salad

Carrot Fries: This looked really tasty and super easy, though it was harder to find the matchstick style carrots than I expected.  I found a bag at Trader Joe’s for $1.69.  I was very underwhelmed by it, not as crispy as I had hoped and they shrunk up super small- did not look like the picture on the website.  They weren’t bad, but I wouldn’t bother making them again.

Grilled Lemon Chicken Thighs with Tabbouleh: I have use this recipe before for chicken thighs and it is so easy and they turn out so yummy!  If you are afraid of grilling chicken because you think it will dry out, try thighs.  I always overcook chicken breasts on the grill, but thighs have enough fat that they stay nice and moist.  For the tabbouleh, I used quinoa instead of bulgar and added some chopped spinach.  Great meal!

Parmesan butternut squash: Yum!  I’ve had a squash hanging around for probably a month now that I keep meaning to use, so I finally had time to chop it up last night and decided to give it a try with parmesan cheese instead of my usual cinnamon and ginger.  I liked it!  The hubby said he liked it better with cinnamon, so I guess it’s a matter of preference.

Pumpkin Quinoa Flake Microwave Muffin: I’ve been wanting to make something like this since I got my quinoa flakes, so I finally had time one morning when I had off work.  I used ground chia seeds instead of flaxseed and 2-3 tbsp of maple syrup instead of Truvia.  It was very tasty but very filling so I saved half for the next day’s breakfast.

pumpkin quinoa muffin

pumpkin quinoa muffin

Oats & Amaranth Granola: I went through my last granola batch super fast- it was so good!  I wanted to try a slightly different variety and was wondering if steel cut oats would work.  I found a recipe that used steel cut oats as well as amaranth, which I bought quite a while ago.  I followed the recipe pretty closely, though added some pumpkin seeds and ground chia, as well as an egg white.  I added golden raisins and dried cranberries after it was cooked because I felt they stuck in my teeth in the last batch since I had baked them with the rest of the granola.  It turned out very good again, though honestly, I could do without the amaranth.  They are these tiny seeds and get stuck in my teeth, though do help to give a little bit more of a crunch.  I’ll probably use them again at some point so I can use up the bag, but don’t think I’ll use them every time.

oat & amaranth granola

oat & amaranth granola

Mint Chocolate Chip Vegan Ice Cream: Just tonight I made this up- sooo good!  I had bananas already frozen in the freezer and several avocados hanging out from my trip to CostCo.  I made a pretty big batch so that my family can try some this weekend, so it was probably 5-6 frozen bananas, 1.5 avocados, 1 tsp mint extract, 1 cup homemade coconut-oat milk, and 1-2 tbsp maple syrup.  It was awesome!!  I used a mix of Trader Joe’s chocolate chips and EnjoyLife’s dark chocolate chips.

mint choc chip vegan ice cream

mint choc chip vegan ice cream

This week has mostly been eating on the chicken thighs that we grilled up as well as the whole chicken I roasted in the crock pot.  I used some of the chicken to make my version of “ave paltas,” my favorite Chilean sandwich.  It is just chopped up chicken, avocados, lime juice, salt and pepper, and a little bit of garlic olive oil mixed up and put on bread with a tomato.  For my bread, I made the GF instant flatbread several times.  This is a great, fast bread especially now that I’ve been mixing dried rosemary into the dough.

I haven’t had much brain power to do meal planning the last few weeks, but hope to get back to that this weekend.  I have a lot of options now that I made it to CostCo!

Meals this Week

A couple of new foods I tried this week:

Lime & Coconut Chicken: This was SUPER tasty!  Rave reviews from the hubby!  I obviously excluded the chili and I also didn’t add cilantro because I didn’t have any on hand.  I would say the only strange thing was the sauce turned out lumpy, it was still tasty, but definitely not a smooth sauce.  My guess is this was because I used my homemade oat-coconut milk instead of just straight canned coconut milk.  (forgot to take a picture of it)

Instant Flatbread: It definitely seemed crazy to try to make bread in the microwave, but I thought it was worth at least giving a try.  It was very good!  I doubled the recipe and made two both last night and tonight.  Even the hubby wanted one!  I think next time I’m going to try mixing the rosemary and maybe some tumeric into the dough so that there is more flavor incorporated throughout instead of just sprinkled on top.  I smeared some garlic-infused olive oil on top with the salt and rosemary.  It was so easy that I think I’ll be making it a lot!  And I think it is soft enough that I could almost use it as a wrap as well.

GF instant flatbread

GF instant flatbread

Greek Style Quinoa Patties with Tzatziki Sauce: I still had some tzatziki sauce leftover from the tandoori fish I made last week (okay so it wasn’t really called tzatziki sauce then because it was for an Indian dish, but seriously they are the same thing!), so when I stumbled upon this recipe I thought it would be a great way to use that up.  I made some adjustments to the recipe to make it low FODMAP.  I sauteed some green onions in garlic infused olive oil and then added the fresh spinach, I used chia eggs to substitute the actual eggs, and I used almond flour instead of the bread crumbs.  Oh and I didn’t have a lemon for zest so just sprinkled a little bit of lemon juice.  I thought they turned out great!!  Not really hubby’s style, but he had leftover chicken to eat.

quinoa patty w/ tzatziki sauce

quinoa patty w/ tzatziki sauce

Side note: My most recent recipe for homemade granola has been SOOO GOOD!!  I want to eat it all the time, breakfast, snacks, lunch!!  So note to anyone who wants to make their own granola: a) it’s easy, b) it’s so much healthier, and c) ADD THE EGG WHITE, it makes all the difference!  *crunch munch munch*

Week 4 Meal Plan

On top of my game again this week, though it helped that I already had a few ideas for meals this week leftover from last week!

week 4 plan

week 4 plan

week 4 plan cont.

week 4 plan cont.

week 4 prep

week 4 prep

Bonus pic: GF pumpkin aebleskivers!  I followed this recipe, which I used before at Christmas, I just swapped in my GF flour mix.  I would say that it was very thick, I’m not sure if that was because of the GF flour mix or because I used my homemade oat milk, but I had to add some more water to get to a better consistency.  Oh and I used melted coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.  The trickiest part with these is just knowing how long to cook them without burning.  When I made them the first time, many of them were still gummy in the center, so I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again.  They turned out WONDERFUL!  Now I have a whole bag in my freezer 🙂

GF pumpkin aebleskivers

GF pumpkin aebleskivers

Into Week 3!

So here I am, third week in to my 30 day FODMAP challenge and it’s been going great!  I have found it pretty easy to make some massive eliminations from my diet and have actually really gotten into meal planning and trying out new and exciting things, like yogurt-making!  For the most part, I think my energy levels are better and even my attitude has been up (most days). I’m able to think more clearly about what my future is going to look like in the next year, which is a personal issue I’ve been struggling with a lot lately.  My stomach is definitely better, which is really all that I’m asking for.  I have found giving up gluten really easy and probably the only thing that I’ve needed a few mini cheats has been chocolate.  Probably my next mini cheat would be a fun cocktail, kind of have missed a little alcohol here and there 🙂

The only kind of weird thing is that I have felt like my appetite has been HUGE, I’m just super hungry all the time!  And not even with specific cravings, like I am missing sugar or something, just that I’m starving and need to eat.  A friend asked if I was weighing myself through this and I said no because that wasn’t the point, but since I feel like I’ve been eating more I did want to make sure I haven’t GAINED weight lol!  That certainly wouldn’t be my intention either!!  So far I’m normal, so I guess that’s good.  Would have been nice to see a pound or two loss from removing gluten and most sugar, though!

Despite having class this weekend, I still made some time to try a few new foods, including using my homemade yogurt to make Greek yogurt!  It was easy, I just put it in the cheesecloth that came with and hung it over the sink overnight.  It was very thick, so I think next time I wouldn’t hang it for quite so long.  I used it to make these Pumpkin Oat n’ Honey muffins.  I used 1/4 cup of maple syrup and a 1/4 dextrose instead of honey and added chopped pecans and shredded coconut.  Oh and use a food processor, not a blender, my blender definitely did not work for this!

GF pumpkin oat-yogurt muffins

GF pumpkin oat-yogurt muffins

Next up, I made these yummy looking Oatmeal Pumpkin Pie bars!  I haven’t had a chance to try one yet because the recipe said they were best after sitting overnight in the fridge.  I plan to freeze some since it made a 13X9 pan.  Adjustments I made included using the GF flour mix I bought instead of spelt flour, I used more pumpkin instead of applesauce, dextrose instead of coconut sugar, and milled chia instead of flaxmeal.  Oh and I sprinkled some shredded coconut on top!

oatmeal pumpkin pie bars

oatmeal pumpkin pie bars

I also made another round of the Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal because it was so yummy!  The main change I made was that I blended fresh spinach with the coconut milk, so it’s a lovely shade of green this time lol!  I just missed knowing that I was getting some veggies in the morning since I usually add spinach to my smoothies, so I thought this would be a way to add it to my oatmeal.  Turned out good, does taste a little “greener” but not terribly.

And finally I made up burgers inspired by these Paleo Sun-dried Tomato & Spinach Burgers and homemade ketchup.  The burgers are a funny story, I kind of went overboard on the spinach, so I ended up adding a half pound of ground turkey.  They still just seemed boring, per the recipe, so I decided to spunk them up with some garlic-infused olive oil, coconut flour, grated cheddar cheese, and spices including smoked paprika, ground mustard, and tumeric.  Thankfully, despite my random additions, they turned out great, including husband approval!  For the ketchup, I followed the recipe pretty much exactly except that I warmed it on low on the stove (I didn’t think the brown sugar would blend properly otherwise) and added only a tiny bit of cayenne pepper.  Tasted great, though it makes a lot, so I hope I can use it up before it goes bad.

spinach & sun-dried tomato burgers

spinach & sun-dried tomato burgers

mm ketchup

mm ketchup

lotsa ketchup!

lotsa ketchup!

At the end of the weekend, I had to laugh at my recycling pile: FOUR cans of pumpkin and an entire container of oats!  That’s totally normal, right???  Guess all I can say is: I LOVE PUMPKIN AND OATS!  😀

pumpkin everywhere!

pumpkin everywhere!

Cornbread part 3? or 4?

I know I have made cornbread SEVERAL times over the last month or two and each time I vary it just a little bit, mostly based on what I do or don’t have on hand 🙂  This is a variation the walnut-cornbread I’ve made I think twice before?  I found another recipe online that I’d like to try sometime, but it called for applesauce which I don’t currently have.

Walnut-Cornbread

3/4 cup cornmeal

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/3 cup sugar (could probably add less next time)

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup rice milk (all I had on hand was the vanilla, would def use plain next time)

1/2 cup coconut milk (same as above)

4 tbsp warm water mixed with 3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer (aka 2 eggs)

4 tbsp canola oil

1 cup frozen corn, thawed and then pulverized

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease an 8X8 pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, walnuts, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper.  In another bowl, combine the milk, eggs, oil, and corn.  Add to the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined.  Pour the mixture into prepared pan.  Bake until golden brown- this took longer than I thought! The original recipe said 15 mins for muffins, I started at 18 mins and added in 4 min intervals for a total time of 30 mins.  So I’d say start at 22 mins and see what you think!

The Bad and the Good

The weekend started out not so great for my GI tract or for sticking with my diet.  Saturday I was plagued with stomach issues and I have no idea why!  I was good all day Friday as well as breakfast and lunch on Saturday, so I was very discouraged to have such problems even when I was doing a good job of sticking with my diet.  SO, since I was already miserable and we were going out for dinner, I splurged on pizza!!  And boy was it tasty 🙂 🙂  Amazingly, I did not feel sick immediately after eating and even today, while I wouldn’t say my stomach is fabulous, I actually feel better than I was feeling most of the day on Saturday.  It all seems a little strange to me because I have not seen much consistency in that on the days where I’m really good at sticking with my diet, I don’t consistently feel good.  And same with the days where I’m maybe not as good, I don’t necessarily feel worse than on the days where I’m “being good.”

After being “bad” for a night, I thought I’d be good and make up some baked goods that follow my diet.  So first  I decided to give the GF Bisquick that my mom gave me a try, along with the Ener-G Egg Replacer.  I made up biscuits and pancakes, which sadly used up my whole box.  Neither item got very brown like you’d be used to seeing, but they both tasted pretty good!  So after making those up I got them into the freezer for later consumption.  Here’s the recipes:

GF Bisquick Biscuits

2 cups Bisquick GF Mix

1/3 cup coconut butter

2/3 cup coconut milk

3 times 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer plus 2 tbsp water

Heat over to 400 degrees.  Cut coconut butter into mix using a fork until particles are size of small peas.  Stir in remaining ingredients until soft dough forms.  Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 16-18 mins (never really got golden brown..).  Makes 10 biscuits.

GF Bisquick Pancakes

1 cup Bisquick GF Mix

1 cup coconut milk

2 tbsp veg oil

1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer plus 2 tbsp water

Stir ingredients until blended.  Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup onto hot greased griddle.  Cook until edges are dry.  Turn; cook until golden.  Makes 10 pancakes.

Next up, I made some GF Bread in the oven instead of in the bread machine.  I think this was pretty successful, though maybe a little sour tasting and a little short for sandwich bread.

Delicious GF Bread Recipe

2 cups brown rice flour

1 cup potato starch

2 tsp xanthum gum

1 1/4 tsp salt

2 1/4 tsp rapid dry yeast

1 1/4 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp agave nectar

1/2 tsp rice vinegar (can also use is white wine cider vinegar or lemon juice)

1 tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 4 tbsp warm water till frothy

Whisk dry ingredients together, then add wet ingredients and mix with electric mixer using the paddle attachment for 2 minutes.  The bread dough will be more like cake batter than traditional bread dough.  For rising, create a proofing box in your microwave.  Microwave a small mug of water until it boils.  Leave the water in the microwave.  Pour the bread dough into one well-greased bread pan and then put in the microwave.  Allow to rise until batter extends a bit over the top of the pans (about 50 mins).  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 mins, then remove loaf and cover with aluminum foil.  Return to oven and bake for additional 40-45 mins.

The final thing that I made tonight were some energy bars, thanks to the idea from HyVee’s most recent “Seasons” magazine.  They gave several different things you could use to make them, so I used what I had on hand.

Homemade Energy Bars

2 cups quick oats

3/4 cup agave nectar

3/4 cup sunflower nut butter

1 cup ground flaxseed

1 cup vanilla hemp protein powder

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup dates

Mix all ingredients together using an electric mixer or food processor.  Press evenly into a greased 8-inch square glass dish.  Refrigerate to firm bars.  Makes 16.

Week 3: Ready to see improvements, come on!

I was hoping by week 3 I might start feeling a little better, but so far I would say I haven’t seen a lot of improvement.  Friday was my work luncheon and dinner party, so I was super careful about what I ate: salad and chicken at the lunch; sushi, candy (hah), and wine at the dinner.  And yet I felt horrible on Saturday, and not just like a “I had too much wine” type of horrible 🙂  So that was pretty frustrating since I felt just as crappy by being careful about what I ate as I would have had I just indulged in the delicious looking pecan pie!!  I know these things take time, so I’m trying not to get discouraged.. :-/

On Sunday, I tried out Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal, which contains brown rice, corn, buckwheat, and sorghum.  It had a consistency kind of between oatmeal and cream of wheat; I added raisins, sunflower seeds, and agave nectar.  It’s okay, I can’t quite decide if I like it more than steel cut oats or not.  I have a few bowls left in the fridge, so we’ll see what I think at the end of the week 🙂  I also made some vegan oatmeal cookies: http://www.cookiemadness.net/2008/06/chewy-vegan-oatmeal-raisin-cookies/  I thought they were pretty tasty and even my Bible study friends and husband thought they were good, so score one for cookies I can eat haha!

It certainly has been hard with all the Christmas parties trying to be “good” haha 🙂  But at the same time, sometimes it has been nice to have an excuse to not eat stuff that’s not good for me anyways, diet or not.  I just try to always have things on hand that I can eat  and not get to the “I’m starving” stage that might cause me to eat whatever is first in sight 🙂

Sneaky Sneaky Ingredients

In addition to coming up with new things that I CAN eat, I also had to go through items already in my cupboard to see if there were any “bad” ingredients lurking.  Several really surprising foods that I had to get rid of were some of my instant oatmeals, a few soups, and couscous.  Several of the different brands and flavors of oatmeal had soy protein, some of the soups had wheat and/or soy, and who knew but couscous is actually made out of wheat (called semolina, which is the hard part of wheat)!  My husband was also very surprised that margarine is in fact not 100% vegetable oil but does contain some milk, hence why I had to go with the coconut spread.

Eggs were unfortunately in some of the GF breads that I was checking out at the store, which I guess is because this helps them to rise, but it means that I can’t have them!  :-/  Just one of the many reasons why having these multitude of intolerances can be difficult- you find something that omits one thing, but it uses another “bad” ingredient to replace it!

Soy is in WAY more things than I ever imagined as well!  Even if some of my old granola/protein bars had been wheat-free, I guarantee they all had soy in them.  And the majority of the fake cheeses out there are soy-based, as are a lot of alternate forms of protein (fake meat, etc).  Two soy-based items that show up in a lot of foods that I was confused about were “soy lecithin” and “soybean oil.”  I asked my aunt about these to see if I needed to avoid them, which could have proven pretty difficult, but she said these items are separated from the soy protein and therefore, since I’m not allergic to soy, only intolerant to the protein, that I should be fine.  Good thing too because that soy lecithin is in all the different brands of dark chocolate I looked at!  Unfortunately, the dark chocolates still listed milkfat but to heck with it, I gotta have a little tiny bit of indulgence, right??  Many items will list that they contain soy, so I always have to read the ingredients list closely to make sure it is just the soy lecithin and not some form of soy protein.

So, lesson to be learned: read ingredients lists carefully and watch for those sneaky ingredients that show up where you least expect them!