It’s taken me a long time to get around to this. Not because I didn’t want to write, but because I wasn’t sure of what to put in my 100th post. I cannot believe it’s already my 100th! In a way, I feel like I could have written more, but I’m not going to dwell on that. Instead I’m going to think about what I’ve learned over the years.
I started this blog over two years ago with a purpose to share my experience with others when it comes to food. I started off with three “culprits”. Gluten, corn and soy. I’ve made the adjustment to having a restriction free diet to a somewhat limited diet. Only it opened up a new world to me. I became excited about finding recipes, whether it’s my own or from others, that had food that made you forget it was “missing” anything. I’ve learned that gluten is an ingredient that I can easily go without. EASILY. I was fortunate to have a cousin pave the way for me. Olivia found out she was Celiac a year before I found out I was gluten intolerant, so I had a year of practicing with gluten-free recipes. I prided myself in finding food that she would enjoy! I was adamant that Olivia enjoyed her food as much as anybody else. So when I found out gluten also made me sick, I thought “okay”. Then there was corn and soy. That was a bit more difficult because they were in everything, so it seemed. But I made the adjustment.
Then I met my boyfriend Alexander (now husband) who easily adapted to my culinary lifestyle. I still thank God that his mother, Laura, trained him to eat the way he did! I remember the day she and I shared recipes (flaxseed bread, to be exact) BEFORE my first date with Alexander. Funny how life works out! He did his research and took me to this restaurant with gluten-free options, Wagamama in Harvard Square (we went to Harvard Museum of National History and Castle Island that day! It was an amazing day). When the waiter walked over, he immediately explained that I had food allergies and was shown dishes I could choose from. I knew there was something special about this guy.
Sure enough, we’ve been together ever since. Alexander was also the one who pushed me to find out more answers when I wasn’t feeling good. This lead to my next discovery: that I was allergic to other foods. Dairy, cane sugar, cranberry, sesame, and baker’s yeast. The first two made me cry. When I read the email that had the results from the allergy test I took, I remember sitting in my car with tears streaming down my face. I thought I was doomed to life without sweets. Without pizza. Without… anything worth eating.
How quickly did I forget? Eating without gluten proved to me that there was more to food than wheat. With my family’s encouragement, I made the adjustment, slowly but surely. I was engaged to Alexander at that point, so we had to go back to the caterer and modify our menu. They did this without complaint! We had an incredible spread for our wedding dinner! My sister-in-law Rae also baked the most scrumptious carrot cake for our wedding cake. Baked, yes you read that right. Instead of cane sugar, she used coconut sugar and date sugar. WHOA! People clamored for our wedding cake instead of the gluten-full cupcakes provided. Sure they tasted good according to several guests, but nothing like the carrot cake we had reserved for our gluten-free guests.
Thanks to our guests, our kitchen was also well stocked. I had almost everything I wanted to create whatever I wanted. Seriously. I’m extremely fortunate to have people in our lives that wanted the best for us. My now-husband also encouraged me to experiment with recipes or come up with new ones. I want to say we ate deliciously every night, but that wasn’t the case. We certainly ate WELL, but I had my share of mess ups. Dishes that came out bland, dishes that came out screaming for masking agents (such as mustard, Alexander’s favorite go-to cover-up). But we also had many, many, many and many meals that left us in awe.
My “diet” also led me to a willingness to try new recipes, from various sources. Although I have to say I have a few favorites: Whole Foods’ website, Epicurious, Elana’s Pantry (and ALL of her cookbooks! I’m now addicted to her Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry and Gluten-Free Cupcakes) and Whole Life Nutrition (go to http://www.nourishingmeals.com). While I have never met them, they’ve truly inspired me with their continuous search for better food.
10 years ago I ate whatever I wanted. And guess what? I ate like crap. I’m serious, I had pasta maybe three times a week, with a favorite being Kraft macaroni and cheese. Appalling, I know. Then 6 years ago, that disappeared from my diet. Hello gluten-free, corn-free and soy-free food! My choice in food improved drastically. I still loved pasta, but now it was rice pasta. It was easy for me to boil a pot of water and dump uncooked pasta in it. I baked a lot more. I started checking out farmer’s markets. Slowly, I added more fresh ingredients to my diet. I began to crave the sensation of chopping onions and other vegetables. I loved fresh food. But it was still about convenience at times, especially since I was in graduate school. Then a year ago… all that changed. I still enjoy rice pasta, but maybe once every three weeks? My favorite section of the store? Produce, by far! I love looking at the colors of the rainbow (I don’t mean Skittles). If I saw something I didn’t recognize, I became giddy at the prospect of bringing them home and figuring out what to do with them! Ask Alexander, and he’ll tell you that it’s a guaranteed way to make me smile. That’s one thing I LOVE about living where I live: a few minutes walk to Whole Foods. Close by where we live is also a store that sells only olive oil and vinegar. Can you say heaven?! We recently purchased blood orange olive oil. My mother in law treated herself to a peach-infused white balsamic vinegar.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is, that since I’ve started this blog- and long before that- I have learned so much about food. Not only did I learn about edible delights, but I’ve also grown so much on my journey. I’ve become more accepting of circumstances while refusing to settle for less. Additionally, my health has improved drastically! Compared to a decade ago (I cannot believe I’m saying that), I feel younger and I can do so much more physically!
And know what’s awesome?
I’m eating a marble cupcake I baked an hour ago, courtesy of Elana Amsterdam’s Gluten-Free Cupcakes!
Keep on delighting your taste buds and please share with your feedback!
I think the kitchen’s calling my name once again…