Start with what you can eat . . .

Special diets can be maddening, time consuming, expensive and an all-around bite in the shorts (if you know what I mean)!  Instead of stressing, I apply a few basic food prep principles, start with what I can eat, and whip something up from there.  After a few weird entrees and sauces, things will start to taste more palatable and even kind of good as you gain confidence.  Who needs recipes anyways?

My husband went shopping at a big box store this evening for basic groceries including grated cheese, fruit, a few veggies, and the only meat I’ll buy there for a rare convenience:  canned chicken.  Since I haven’t been able to shop very much lately, preparing dinner tonight required some very special creativity!  Gratefully there were onions and cabbage from our garden in the frig, a loaf of multi-grain bread in the freezer for hubby, some sliced almonds in the pantry and a few other staples here or there.  Now to make a gluten/dairy/sugar free meal plus a full flavor meal for the two of us . . .

His and Hers Salads began with Canned Chicken!
His and Hers Salads began with Canned Chicken!

Not bad, eh?  Gratefully it was yummy!   The base started with spring greens in both bowls with oven toasted almonds (sprayed with grapeseed oil, sprinked with celtic salt and roasted about 7 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees, stirred once halfway through the baking time).  The chopped chicken salad-and-vegetable mix included all the veggies we now had in the house:  cucumber, cabbage, radishes, onion, and the canned chicken.

For Him:  I garnished the ceramic bowl and base of salad greens with sliced pears and grated cheese.  I made a 1/3 batch of homemade mayonnaise in the Vita-Mix using sunflower and olive oils instead of GMO-laden canola oil listed in the recipe.  (Yes, here’s the one exception:  ya gotta follow a recipe exactly from the Vita-Mix manual for mayo to turn out right!)  I mixed the mayo with half of the canned chicken-and-vegetable mix and dolloped it over the cheese and spring greens.  He got a topping of toasted almonds with a little extra dressing on the side, just in case.

Basic Parmesan breads:  I thawed and sliced a loaf of multi-grain bread about 3/4 inches (2 cm) thick and placed them on a cookie sheet lined with foil and brushed with melted butter.  I brushed the tops of the bread liberally with butter then sprinkled on some parmesan cheese.  (For garlic butter, sprinkle some garlic powder or chopped garlic into the cup before microwaving the butter, about 23 seconds.)  Broil on low for about 6 minutes checking it often near the 6 minute mark.  I find that the low setting allows the pan to heat up and toast the underside in addition to both melting and browning the cheese on top.

For Her:  I garnished the ceramic bowl of spring greens with a non-cheese alternative (e.g. Goya shredded mozzarella).  Next I made a dressing with almond butter, unsweetened. coconut milk, Mrs. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and a pinch of celtic sea salt.  This requires some minimal adjustments for taste and consistency.  Then I placed the other half of the plain chopped chicken salad-and-vegetable mix on top of the remaining bowl of spring greens and poured the almond coconut dressing of it, mixing it into chopped salad slightly to coat it.  I finished it off with a topping of toasted almonds as well.

Sure, this meal took a little extra time to prepare and it was worth it.  To make it even more worthwhile, during the assembly phase of this meal and next to the ceramic salad bowls were two large plastic containers that are not pictured above.  I made duplicate salads with every ingredient listed above except the sliced pears (since they would turn brown by lunchtime tomorrow).  So we not only had a yummy dinner tonight but will look forward to a “repeat performance” for lunch tomorrow!  I usually make dinner this way:  setting out the storage containers for lunch and serving them up right alongside the dinner plates to save time the next day.  Cool beans.

That’s it!  And it’s not all bad following a protein-oil-vegetable diet, with a tiny bit of optional, extra carbs from the cheese substitute, when it tastes good too.  ‘Twas tough avoiding the cheesy breads I must confess . . .   ;J

Extreme Diet Survival: Snacks

So if you are gluten free, low egg and grains, dairy free, sugar/fruit free, and feeling deprived, what the heck do you eat for a snack?

Funny you should ask.  Just had the second one on the list.

Here’s my top 10 list:

  1. Roasted nuts.  Raw nuts can run the risk of mold so I get nuts either dry roasted or roasted in healthier oils.  No cottonseed or canola oils please!
  2. Slather 2 leaves of romaine lettuce with nut butter or coconut oil and wrap them around a slice of low impact, cooked meat.  Meat examples:  Boar’s Head Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, cooked fish/chicken/beef, and last night’s leftovers (aka meatloaf slice!).
  3. Celery slathered with nut butter or coconut oil.  Optional:  dip in sesame/pumpkin/sunflower seeds or chopped nuts.
  4. Beanitos pinto bean or black bean chips.  The protein and fiber grams are close to the carb grams for lower glycemic and candida impact.
  5. Small salad.  Be sure to add some meat and a dressing with a healthy oil (organic, non-GMO when possible).
  6. Last night’s leftovers!
  7. A cup of my Protein Pudding.  See Extreme Diet Recipes in the Category at the right.
  8. Cup of unsweetened vanilla or original almond milk with hemp (or other acceptable) protein powder, an ice cube, and a flavoring mixed in a shaker bottle (e.g. stevia, instant organic coffee crystals, cocoa, cinnamon)
  9. Nut butter on your finger!  Chunk of avocado!  Coconut oil and a flavoring mixed in a tablespoon!  Or mix the first and third with protein powder and use it as a dip for veggie sticks
  10. Drink a big glass of snobby filtered or gourmet bottled water.  You might not actually be hungry at all just thirsty . . .

Have any good suggestions of your own?  Feel free to let me know.  Please limit snack ideas to those that are grain, sugar, fruit, gluten, and dairy free or you’ll bum me out, man!   I can’t eat that stuff right now.  :J

Extreme Diet Survival: One Pan Meals

Here’s another quick, satisfying main dish that meets the criteria of gluten-free, dairy-free, completely sugar-free,  and no simple carbs for those requiring an Extreme Diet.

One Pan Meal

High heat cooking oil:  Avocado, coconut, grapeseed.  Use olive oil if you can have it.

1/8 c. chopped onions ( I use red onions that I keep in a freezer bag in the freezer and pull out what I need.)

1/2 to 1 bag of pre-chopped coleslaw mix from the grocery store.

8+ oz. pre-cooked meat (canned chicken or tuna works in a pinch).

Celtic or sea salt and white pepper to taste.

1/2 C. Low Salt Organic Chicken Stock

Mild herbs such as marjoram or whatever you like.

Chopped nuts for added protein, topping and crunch.

Optional:  about 1/2 t. chili powder or 3 T. Mrs. Braggs Liquid Aminos (omit salt).

Big bowl and fork!

Coat the bottom of a large frying pan with a few tablespoons of really good oil and heat slightly:

Add onions and begin to sauté for about a minute (less if you like your onions more potent).

Add coleslaw and continue to sauté.  Add chicken stock and cook until slightly soft.  This makes it easier to digest.  Less cooking time preserves the enzymes.

Toss in the cooked meat, herbs, seasonings to warm them and combine flavors.

Transfer to a big bowl and enjoy garnished with chopped nuts.

Note:  if this is too much, share with a friend or keep for later.  It does get soggy after a few hours so add more nuts for crunch!

Want more stuff?  Check out the “Pages” Section in the right hand column and the link entitled:  Extreme Diet Survival Strategies for general tips and menu ideas.  :J

New Category: Extreme Diet Recipes and Protein Cream Pudding

A friend of mine is a whiz at researching ingredient substitutions to meet what I call, “extreme” dietary needs.  She is able to make cheesecake out of nut creams!  Yes, that’s right.  A wonderful creamy and light version of a nut butter that spreads and chills like cream cheese.  Perhaps she will share some of that with us in the future?  Hope so.

For now, I realize that out of necessity and for survival, I have come up with several of my own special recipes.  In this section you will find foods that are dairy free, sugar free, decaffeinated, soy and gluten free.  They are very specific to my extreme diet to kill candida and go beyond the typical yeast-free/candida diet due to my food sensitivities.  For example:  you won’t find tomatoes, eggs will be for the egg yolk only, and spices will be limited.  I use a Vita Mix for many of the puddings so please make any adjustments needed for your own food processor!

For general survival tips with extreme diets, please go to the “Extreme Dietary Strategies” page of this blog.  You will find it along the far right-hand column.  And remember, I am a fellow sojourner with a long term illness, not an expert on food, nutrition, and so on.  If it doesn’t taste good to you, please just change the ingredients to your liking.

So let’s get to it with our first recipe:

Protein Cream Pudding

Place in the Vita Mix:

1 1/2 cups (estimated) unsweetened coconut milk (shake well before using)

1/4 cup cashews (if you are low oxalate use pumpkin seeds instead)

1/2 soft avocado

About 4 ice cubes (one could be a frozen spinach mash made in and ice cube tray or just add a chunk of frozen spinach)

1/2 t. cinnamon (Doctor’s Best cinnamon extract is low oxalate)

3 scoops hemp powder (omit if low oxalate)

1/8 t. Celtic sea salt (or sea salt)

Start the VM on 4 then increase both knobs to full power until the drink is creamy and smooth.  Pour into a dessert cup or mug with a large opening.  Get out a spoon and enjoy!  Added twist:  top with chopped nuts.