Monday, May 28, 2012

the unexpected chef

Homemade vegetarian black bean chili with avocado lime salsa. That's what I made for dinner tonight. I'm not even joking. The girl who specializes in frozen pizza and microwaved dinners made this from scratch:

I think I was channelling Julia Child. Or maybe just Julie Powell, who channelled Julia Child. Anyway, I've been suddenly forced into thinking about what I'm eating every day since I saw a naturopathic doctor (ND) last Thursday, who decided I need to try an elimination diet. (I've had digestive issues since I was a teenager, ranging from heartburn, to IBS, to a number of others issues and, frankly, I'm sick of it. No pun intended.) I guess I've metaphorically been putting sugar in my gas tank for most of my life, and it's time to learn how to eat the right stuff... and therefore, how to cook.

Side note: The word elimination in my particular case means no alcohol, caffeine, sugar, gluten, dairy, eggs, corn or soy... for two weeks.

So far, so good. Surprisingly, I haven't had any cravings and haven't been hungry yet, and it's the end of day four. I've discovered the wonder of herbs and spices (like, for example, you can fry a chicken breast in olive oil with oregano, thyme, garlic salt and ginger powder and then sprinkle it with Montreal Chicken Seasoning and it's heaven in your mouth.) Coriander is a real thing. I don't know what, exactly, but it goes well in avocado lime salsa.

Breakfast, every day until last week, consisted of some kind of egg or cheese item with a cup of coffee (strong, with cream). Breakfast now means plain oatmeal with almond milk or a fruit smoothie with peanut butter (organic, no sugar or salt added.)

Now I'm chowing down on fruit like it's candy (watermelon, mandarin oranges, apples, cherries, and bananas are making me happy) and rice cakes are a nice staple. Okay no, actually, that's a lie; they taste like stale cardboard, but at least they offer something on which to put peanut butter or eggplant antipasto. So instead of coffee, I'm drinking about 2 Litres of water a day, plus roughly four cups of herbal tea. Peppermint is a nice morning pick-me-up, by the way.

I haven't been hungry or craved anything yet (not even chocolate!) -- It may be simple denial, but this super-restricted diet has, so far, been a fairly easy challenge, and I'm kind of enjoying learning to make real food.

Tomorrow I'm going to buy rice flour and make banana nut muffins. I'll just have to figure out how to compensate for not using eggs. I found this book at the library called Cooking For Isaiah: Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Recipes for Delicious Meals. All I can say is, "Thank-you, Isaiah, wherever you are, for having a finicky stomach, and, even more, to your mother for coming up with these recipes and publishing them!" There's life after bread and milk. Of course, should it turn out I don't have any sensitivities to either gluten or dairy, the first thing I'm going to do is chug a nice tall glass of two per cent and eat a big ol' piece of cheesy pizza pie.

But I will make the pizza myself, from scratch. Because I will know how to do that. Learning to cook: one small step for my digestive tract, one big step towards crossing off bucket list item #38.

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