Do you know how many times I have been asked,"So, what DO you eat? Or, "What do you make for dinner if you can't eat dairy and gluten?!" Well, when I first started this journey I had a pretty long answer of how I was trying this and that and whatever. I usually didn't lie and say everything was hunkie-dorie either. Eating gluten and dairy free is an obstacle on a daily basis. Especially in our American culture. You can't really depend on the American diet if you have food allergies and you are stuck at some small road side restaurant. You most of the time have to pack your own lunch and pack a cooler and explain to that friend, for this party and on and on. Trust me. I know. It's not easy, and that is why I am inspired to even blog really. People that know how hard it is come together and inspire each other to do great things for themselves and also promote change in the average diet. We are forced to be creative people. We are forced to find ways to find a sense of normalcy and most of all a sense of truth health in our bodies.
Before when I ate gluten, I was not confident in my diet. I didn't know what was bothering me... everything was. Going gluten-free, or allergen-free is making the conscious choice to be aware of what is going in your body...every teaspoon of anything. No second guessing. You start to be more intuitive about what foods do what to your mood and health. It really is a gift. That is how I look at it now... if you live gluten-free you have a gift. The gift of sensing what is best for your whole body. So.... I am digressing. :) "What DO I eat?" was the question...
I eat gluten-free, dairy-free, and even meat free for a while. The vegan lifestyle is sustainable for some, but many people suffer from a multitude of issues of malnutrition and absorption problems. I did it as a cleanse and it does help to really re-start your body in turning a new page in healing from inflammation and digestive disorder. I am not a true vegan now because I know for my body type I need to still have meat here and there to be more balanced and nourished. Yet, there is still a question of what kind of meat for me.
The best way to eat and buy meat is locally. There is no debate. That is it. When you buy meat from your local farmer you can see how the animals are treated and not tortured. There are usually no hormones or chemicals injected in the animals. They die peacefully like they should and don't give off angry chemicals in their bodies while dying. They usually are able to roam free in fields and eat what they are supposed to eat...grass. Not corn, not leftover whatevers... it's really gross. Factory farmed meat isn't meat anymore, it is a "grown" and disposed product that we have mass-produced and our bodies don't recognize as a food. (check out the movie Food, Inc . if you are interested in more of this discussion).
If you eat local meat you will probably eat less meat because to buy it local and fresh it does cost a tad bit more... it's true. But it's worth it and you won't buy too much. I like to think about this... people 100 years ago ate their own farmed meat, but it wasn't like they were eating it every meal like we do now. They had to watch it be born, raise it, and kill it, and prepare it. I think if we had that kind of connection to our meat then maybe we wouldn't buy carts full at the grocery store. If we had to do the "dirty" work I guarantee we would all think about vegetarianism for a while. So how to deal with this... buying local meat is better for your body, the environment, the local economy, and the world as a whole. So do it.
Well, for me I think of my diet in how I can be most nourished at every meal. That is what I eat. That means a lot of vegetables in season, whole grains, sometimes local meat, beans, legumes, fruit, and nuts and seeds. More recently I have been experimenting with goat dairy to see how I can do with that, and also raw dairy. I ask myself what I need in each day, week, season what would be most healing and nourishing to my whole self. I love whole foods. They are so flavor-full and full of so many key nutrients that are missed in processed foods. I try and eat what is fresh and in season. And I stick to the basics and forget about trying to make feasts at every meal. That is how I eat. I am sure over time I will know how to communicate "what I eat" better because we change and our bodies change and need new things. But, I do know that I have a simple dinner cooking now, and I want to share with you how easy it can be to have a whole-foods dinner that nourishes...
Apple Cider Chicken Stir-Fry Ingredients:
I bought a whole fryer chicken this week at the market from a local farm and cleaned and seasoned it, then roasted it for just over an hour. I let it cool and then cut off all of the meat from the bones. ( Save the bones, make a huge pot of chicken broth and can or freeze it). Get out all you can from that chicken...
Chicken meat from a whole 3lb chicken. Dark meat and light meat mixed all together. Shred it off the bone to have bite-sized pieces, and then put in a large frying pan or wok.
1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup of organic ketchup
1/4 cup of raw honey (or agave syrup)
1/4 cup of wheat-free low sodium tamari sauce
1 TB. or so of olive oil
1 ts. of garlic paste (or dried/freshly minced garlic works too)
1 ts. of ginger paste (or freshly grated)
Cracked pepper and a dash a sea salt to taste
2-3 red peppers with a small onion
at least 2 cups of quinoa (or brown rice works too)
Add some fresh chopped spinach on top to catch some of the steam from the chicken and quinoa. It gets wilted a bit and yet still stay a bit crunchy. It's a nice touch!
You can either mix the chicken, quinoa, peppers and onions, and fresh chopped spinach in a corn tortilla wrap and eat like a taco, or you can pile high on a plate and eat as a stir-fry dish. My husband and I did both, one for dinner and then one for leftover lunch the next day. It was easy, and full of great flavor. It almost tastes like a shredded BBQ pork wrap or dish from the south, mixed with your favorite Asian stir-fry. Be creative. If you don't have red peppers, but you have eggplant then saute that and add in. The fresh spinach added in at the end gets wilted just a bit and it adds sweetness and freshness. Be creative and keep it simple. Enjoy!
Some Idea/Side Notes:
*When you buy a whole chicken you can use some of the meat and then freeze or save for another use. It will last you a while when you have all the meat from one chicken.
*If cooking at home is hard for you, plan out a big meal day on the weekend or on a day off and make a big batch of quinoa, chicken, broth, veggies and then have it for the next few days a different meals or left overs. It's better that eating out, that's for sure.
*Experiment and try new things. Don't be afraid. Come out of your gluten-free hole and think about what you are truly hungry for and find a way to make it from scratch or at least with whole ingredients.
*If you are a vegan/vegetarian, then obviously eating local meat doesn't concern you...so what do you do to stay balanced in nutrients?