Eat

Eating kind, gluten-free and vegan doesn’t have to be hard, complicated or take a lot of prep time.  Sometimes I am well organized and prep food on the weekends to make  weeknights easier. A lot of  times I don’t.

So I try to make sure I have fridge, freezer and pantry stocked up so I can throw something together quickly after work.

Last night’s dinner:

Toasted Mybread gluten-free pita, Kite Hill vegan cream cheese, avocado, chives and spicy sprouts drizzled with Isola Cream of Balsamic Vinegar.

It was delicious!

Adventures in Gluten-Free Vegan Eating (or not)

When I started eating gluten free and vegan, I always had *cheat day* at the back of my mind.  You know, the good old *diet* practice of eating *good* six days a week, then eating whatever on the seventh day.  Except, that doesn’t work when you have developed a food sensitivity.

Hey, if you want to indulge in the *cheat* day, I’m not going to judge you.  But my cheat day turned into a cheat weekend  and, well, it did not turn out well.

Last weekend was rough.  We lost a good friend of ours too young and unexpectedly.  We attended her funeral services Friday evening, and then went to join her family and our friends afterward at a restaurant.  There were enough gluten free vegan choices, including salad and little roasted potatoes, that I should have been content.  But I had had a cocktail, and there was bruschetta.  So I ate it, along with the salad and the little roasted potatoes.  

Saturday I woke up with hives and a very *unsettled* digestive system.  By evening I was feeling better and decided to open up the bottle of wine my daughter gave me for Mother’s Day. (which was very good!)  I hadn’t eaten much, and by the second glass decided that pizza was a good idea.  Not gluten-free vegan pizza.  Full on *regular* pizza.  With olives of course.  Sunday was not a good day for my poor body.  Hives all through my scalp, across my lower back and under my arms.  And, well, many trips to the bathroom. 

Cheat days are no longer worth it.  For me anyway.  The concept of *cheat day* is to treat yourself after being so diligent.  But in my case, I only tortured my digestive system.  That was no treat.  I’m a big advocate of *listen to your body*.  I wasn’t taking my own advice, wasn’t listening, and my body had to *act out* to get my attention.

And I have to wonder, if this is showing up on the outside, what damage am I doing to myself internally?  I am sure the answer is plenty.

I guess I can still have cheat days, they just need to look very different.  Vegan gluten-free ice cream. Vegan gluten-free donuts.  French fries. 

This lifestyle is a journey and a process.  I have an 11 year old granddaughter who is recently diagnosed with Celiacs.  She is adapting so much better than I am.  She is amazing!  I look up to her.  And I can definitely learn from her.

When Gluten Attacks

Living the Fae Life,  kind, green and crunchy, is an investment in the earth, and my individual body.  Being kind to my body is just as important as being kind to my home planet.  Whole food, plant based (WFPB).  I don’t always do 100%, but I give it a good try. Usually.  Sometimes. My body decided I should do better.

Five months ago, over the Christmas holidays, my body decided to communicate to me, in no uncertain terms, that is would no longer tolerate gluten.  I broke out in nasty head to toe hives.  Even my hives had hives! (not kidding!) Through an elimination diet process I discovered the culprit was wheat/gluten.  Beer, christmas cookies, stuffing, gluten laden appetizers, all conspired over the course of a few weeks to make my body rebel.  As soon as I eliminated wheat and gluten my body healed.  Simple as that.  Ok maybe not simple.  Gluten is pretty much in everything!

My large family is no stranger to dietary restrictions.  Vegan, vegitarian, pescatarian, lactose intolerance, and recently, two diagnosed with Celiacs.  I am so lucky, they are very supportive of individual dietary choice.  I have friends and aquantences who are not as lucky, so the struggle to eat *clean* is made even more difficult for them.

I haven’t consumed meat or milk in years, but cutting out gluten proved to be much more challenging than eliminating meat had been. (Have I mentioned that  gluten is seriously in everything!)  It is in the majority of vegan products.  Seitan, delicious meat substitute that it is, is as far from gluten-free as you can get.  It’s MADE from gluten!  A lot of main stream veggie burgers are gluten based. Always a label reader, now I feel more like a Private Investigator!

Pinterest has been a great resource for gluten free inspiration, but I have found that so many gluten free recipes are very dairy and egg heavy.  I eliminated the little bit of dairy left in my diet (the occasional butter and cheese) when I went gluten free and feel a lot better for it.  (Both from a health aspect and crueltyfree aspect.)  Since I decided to eat both vegan and gluten free it’s become even more important to me to eat WFPB and eliminate most pre-packaged foods.  More control over ingredients equals better health for me since I’m not unknowingly ingesting allergens.  (Of course, after a long day at work when I lack inspiration, that often means a simple salad.)

Beyond all this is the fact that “gluten-free” has become such a fad that now I come across as a pretentious hipster when I tell people I don’t eat wheat .  10 out of every 100 people in the United States has some sort of problem with gluten. That’s a number to pay attention to.  Maintaining my wellness is more important to me than someone else’s opinion, and so, label me if you feel the need to.  Keeping my digestive system healthy and my body free of hives wins over anyone’s judgmental views.

I Intend To Eat WFPB, But Life Happens

I have been MIA on this blog since May.  I started a new job.  More correctly, I started a new position  at  my current  job.  I really like my new job, but it requires an overnight shift once a week.  This is kicking my ass more than I expected.  And I am learning  that when I am over tired I make really poor food choices.  Energy drinks, pizza, subs, fast food veggie burgers, potato chips, chocolate, ice cream.  Anything carb laden and convenient.  While fruits and veggies rot in my fridge, I listen to the false promises of sugar and simple carbs with my sleep deprived brain.  Definitely not WFPB.  Definitely not health and energy imbuing.  Poor food choices when I am exhausted leads to a vicious low energy cycle.  I am forever tired and constantly grabbing foods that are easy and fast, putting no thought at all into my choices.

On my *normal* days, I pack spring water, green powder packets, fruit and nuts.  Easy, convenient.  But once a week when I work through the night, and then the whole next day, I’m like a little kid with no supervision.

Food is medicine.  Food heals.  Food, the right foods, energizes.   I know this, and yet it has been so hard getting into the groove of planning my food strategy these past few weeks for those challenging work shifts. Creating my own convenience foods.  It’s not hard.  It just takes a little planning, and a little effort.  There is SOOOOOOO much help out there.  Books, Blogs, Tweets, Facebook pages.  So much information, help, and support free for the taking.  (My absolute favorite is Molly from Clean Food, Dirty Girl.  If you haven’t discovered her yet, find her!  Do it now!  She is funny, authentic and the best support system out there right now.)

I need to be more authentic with myself.  Care enough to take care of myself.  When I live a low energy life, I lose the connection with the Whole.  With Mother Earth, the Elementals, the Fairies.  Low energy habits are so easy to fall into.  I need to remember that self care isn’t selfish.  Being as energized as I can be energizes everything around me.  My environment,  my partner, my actions and my thoughts.  It is my responsibility to be responsible for my own energy, and how it affects the energy field around me.  Fresh start this week.  I will keep you posted.

Products I love

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Products I love: Jason Powersmile toothpaste. Made with good stuff and crueltyfree – yes, it contains carageenan but the company is looking into alternatives and it is SOOOOOOO much better than most commercial toothpaste. Plus, you don’t ingest it.

I have environmental issues

I try to live a green and environmentally conscious life, but man, I love my foil, plastic wrap and baggies.

So, foil isn’t that bad, right?  It can be rinsed and reused.  It can even go in the dishwasher!  It can be recycled over and over.  Yay for foil!  By the way, my keyboard keeps anticipating “foul” rather than “foil”.  Perhaps my keyboard intuitively knows the truth.  Aluminum has a very heavy manufacturing footprint.  From mining the ore, to processing it, and recycling it.  Fossil fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, human health impacts.  A veritable shitstorm for the environment and humanity.

Oh foil, how could you mislead me so?

So then just how bad are all my *convenience* plastics?  Well, as they are made from an energy-intensive resource, petroleum, and not biodegradable AT ALL, the answer in very.  Very bad. Recycling plasic is an extremely expensive process and also has a huge environmental impact.  Not to mention the health issues associated with chemicals leaching out of the plastic and into food and drink during storing, heating and putting plactic in the dishwasher. 

Heavy sigh.

So I come to this crossroads:  I can either say fuck Mother Earth and the environment that I leave for my grandchildren, or I can stop being lazy and careless and do my part.

Baby steps. 

Parchment paper for lining pans when nessessary, glass reusable storage containers.

I’m having a hard time letting go of my press n seal. 

It’s a process.

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PSA – I have a new fav veggie burger:

Hilary’s Hemp & Greens Burger.  Light, crispy and herbaceous. Delicious!  I crisped it up in a pan with a little oil and had it with a little Hampton Creek Sriracha Just Mayo on the side.  And a big salad.  So good!  I didn’t think about taking a picture to post until it was too late.  I promise to remedy that when I eat the next one!

I don’t always want a fake-meat type of burger, and black bean burgers are great, but again, not always exactly what I want.  This was perfect! 

Eating kind is not always about slow cooking.  I had a long, hard, crazy day, so I wanted something delicious, fast and satisfying.  Idealy, real, whole, home prepared food is the way to go.  But let’s get real.  Sometimes it just  doesn’t happen.  A lot of the time it just doesn’t happen.  I love that this is real food, carefully prepared and frozen, waiting for me to create an express, yet nutritious and kind, meal after an exhausting day.  I will definitely be keeping this one on hand.

This Public Service Announcement it just my opinion and I was not paid by Hilary’s.  I’m just glad that I found them 😃

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Cheese, you bastard!

Factory farming is a practice that is beyond cruel for the animals who are bred, raised and slaughtered in abusive slavery under horrific conditions.  It also creates appalling conditions for the workers at the facilities, and it is devastating for the environment.  I haven’t eaten meat in years and I have no desire to.

And then there is dairy.  Just as devistating for all involved, animals, earth, industry workers, consumers.  Dreadful for our health.  Loaded with all kinds of things that mess up our metabolism and cause allergies.  It is here that I become a hypocrite.  Because cheese is a seductive bastard!  Meat was so easy to give up.  I have never looked back and I have no desire or craving for it whatsoever.  Cow’s milk was easy to give up, too.  So many tasty nut and seed milk alternatives that I don’t miss it a bit.  But cheese, ah, cheese.  I have had such a hard time letting you go!  Like an abusive relationship that I know is bad for me.

Dietary science shows that dairy is actually physically addicting.  With good reason.  It causes the calves to keep coming back for more so they grow big, and strong and healthy.  Calves grow quickly and need to be fattened up in order to stay healthy and survive.  I am not a calf.  I most definitely do not need to be fattened up.  I have already done that!

It is high time that I practice what I preach and stop supporting this heinous industry.  I have already turned to grass fed organics for the little dairy that I still consume.  Butter, sour cream and good aged hard cheeses.  There are some reputable small companies out there.  But the point is, dairy is not only unnecessary, it is contributing to my less than healthy body.  I weigh more now than I did right before I delivered my twins.  And no matter how humanly and organically the dairy is produced, it still comes from forcing animals, against their will, to give birth, have their babies taken away, and have their milk stolen for purposes nature never intended.  There is no way to sugarcoat it.  It is barbaric.

The more I immerse myself in Fae life, the more I know I have to step away from my abusive relationship with dairy.  Fortunately, there are some great supportive groups.  And by supportive groups, I mean vegan dairy substitute companies that have created enough tasty products to get me through the initial tough breakup.  Let’s face it, most vegan cheese is gross.  And I have yet to find a decent sour cream substitute.  I try not to eat too many overly processed vegan foods, because vegan or not, processed is not great for the body.  I try to eat whole foods as much as possible.  But some days that just doesn’t happen.  For those days, and to add a little decadence to the whole foods that I eat every day, I turn to these support groups.  They help me not call dairy late at night after I’ve had a little wine.

Some of my favorite support groups:

Field Roast Chao cheese.  So good, cold or melted!
Hampton Creek Just Mayo. So good! Their new line of salad dressing hasn’t made it to my stores yet, but I have high hopes for these products.
Tofuti Herbs and Chives Better than Cream Cheese.  This is something I can’t eat great gobs of, and that’s ok.  A little bit spread on a lettuce wrap or tortilla along with some hummus and tons of veggies, delicious!
I am also looking forward to trying Miyoko’s vegan cheese and butter.  I hear great things about these products but they haven’t made it to my stores yet.

I would love to hear how you broke up with dairy and what products got you through the initial dairy-crave phase.  Comment here or find me on Twitter @Fae_Life

I will keep you all posted on how my break up goes.

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