I’m not actually vegan but…..

Hey Everyone!

I have never gone vegan or vegetarian, and I have never claimed to have adopted either of these lifestyle’s / eating styles / diets.

There are times (especially when I go out somewhere) when I do choose vegan options, and my favorite bakery is gluten free & vegan.

Let me break it down for you, if I had my way, I would eat like every other “normal” / “mainstream” human being in the western world, who can eat ice cream, cheese, pizza, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and anything I wanted.

That all changed for me when I was 23. I had spent one horrible weekend with a nasty stomach bug, and it changed my life as I knew it.

Up to that point my only real food aversion was that I didn’t and still don’t like the smell or taste of beef.

After I had that bug, I quickly figured out that my body wouldn’t tolerate any amount of dairy, no matter how small (even the slightest traces left behind from washing dishes makes me sick). I also learned over the course of the next couple of years (by the time I was 25) that I had milder sensitivities to eggs (I can forget about scrambled or hard boiled eggs, those have the same effect as dairy), though I found if they are in baked goods, I can get away with it on occasion. Gluten does bother me a bit, but not so bad I can’t enjoy some bread, as long as it is dairy free and I enjoy it in limited quantities.

Though I have wondered if I had milk sensitivities before the bug, as there were a few times in college that I wonder about. It just wasn’t bad enough if it was, to put two and two together. Though, now, years later it does make me wonder.

The eggs and dairy issues are why I choose vegan when I am out, unless I go somewhere I am familiar with and know what I can order. If not, I usually end up with a salad.

I still love chicken, fish, venison, and a little bit of lamb on a rare occasion. I also love honey.

I couldn’t go completely vegan by choice, I would only do it if I was forced to because my body couldn’t tolerate the foods.

I really do miss yogurt, ice cream and cheese. Don’t get me started on how much I miss Tillamook Cheese.

I also have no ethical, moral or religious objections to eating animal products, and I definitely don’t object to others who want to eat meat and animal byproducts.

At the same time, if you choose to be vegan or vegetarian, you are perfectly welcome to do so, just don’t be judging my life, diet and lifestyle and I won’t judge yours.

Learning to live a more Frugal lifestyle 

Hey Everyone!

If anything, the past 11 years, has taught me how to live a more frugal lifestyle and how much “fluff” and extras I really don’t need. 

While having to be Dairy Free, generally Gluten Free, and generally Egg Free, that costs more than your normal grocery haul would, unless you shopped solely at new seasons or Whole Foods or some place life that. 

I have been learning how to live with my food intolerances and live a frugal lifestyle. 

That is one of the things I am wanting to do, is live more frugally, and do as much as I can, myself. I definitely prefer doing my own canning. While I would rather spend a bit more on buying local fruit and vegetables and canning my own fruit, pickles and jams as well as doing freezer jam. I have been learning the value of not having cable tv, or even hulu plus or Netflix. While it is nice to have some movies and some series of TV on DVD, I have learned the value of a hard days work. I am tired of being stuck in the city, where it isn’t as easy to get out side and work with my hands and be productive, as gas prices are climbing, and it is so expensive to live in the city. I honestly don’t miss having Netflix and Hulu. 

I am also trying to spend my time more wisely, and not waste my time on computer games when I could be knitting, or reading books. 

While I do have a list of yarn and knitting things I would like to accrue, I am trying to work through the yarn I have. The needles and swift I would like would be useful for more than one occasion. 

I am also trying to reduce my Scentsy budget to something more reasonable, like keeping a few bars of my favorite year round scent, one or two summer scents, a couple fall scents, and one or two winter scents, and not have excessive amounts of any one scent.

Books are one “luxury” and pass time, besides knitting that is worth while that is more of the enjoyment of it. 

Learning how to live a frugal lifestyle is important to me, and while I would live to live in, or near a small town, I really don’t want to more than a couple hours away from Portland. This is on the sole basis that my bakery is here, tea and tea shops are plentiful here, and Bob’s Red Mill is here. Not to mention the Gorge isn’t all that far away, to go get fruit to can, or Sauvie Island, or other farm stores that would carry pickling cucumbers, dill and garlic to can garlic dill pickles. 

I have been realizing that I don’t need as much stuff as I once thought I did. 

You don’t need the fastest internet, or all the cable channels, or a wall full of dvds, or the most expensive car or house, or best vacations to live a fulfilled and happy life. Honestly, I prefer the feeling I have at the end of the day when I have worked hard and am actually tired, or spent the day with those I care about, or played a board game with good friends, or watched the sunset over the ocean, or sat around a campfire at night, away from the city lights and saw all the stars in the sky. There is so much more to life than having to have all the latest and greatest, or the biggest and best. 

Life is so much more than being focused on the material things. Yes, having a comfortable house is nice, but so is making memories with friends and family and taking joy in the simple pleasures. 

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of eating out. I would just as soon grill up some burgers or salmon on a summer evening, and make some side salads, and a homemade dessert, and enjoy dinner on the back patio or in the backyard, and have a fire in the fire pit in the back yard once the sun goes down, over going and sitting a restaurant for however many hours. That is part of my aversion to city life, I always feel like I am having to go somewhere and do something, and spend money left and right to have fun. I am the type who prefers sitting at home reading a book, and some of my best and favorite memories involve sitting around a campfire with friends having a good conversation. 

As I get older, and I learn more about who I am, I definitely feel like I live in the wrong era. I feel like I belong in a by gone era, where women did more Homemaking and living off the land. While I really don’t want to give up indoor plumbing, running water, electricity, modern appliances (and refrigeration), there is something to be said of the country life. You know, having a freezer full of chicken meat that you raised yourself, as well as ham, pork chop, bacon, pork roasts and such that came from pigs you raised, fish that you caught (and some that you also smoked yourself), as well as venison, maybe some moose, and elk. Not to mention some homemade freezer jam, as well as a pantry that is well stocked with home canned fruit and pickles, as well as the gluten free and shelf stable dairy free necessities. 

a Comfort Food kind of Day.

Hey Everyone!

This morning I had two eating right for Gluten Free home style waffles, 4 brown and serve turkey sausages and a plate of fruit for breakfast.

I drank my tea throughout the morning, and had a chocolate brownie clif bar as a mid morning snack.

For lunch I had a ham sandwich on gluten free bread, an organic Jazz apple, some gluten free pretzels, and a gluten free/dairy free chocolate chip cookie.

For Dinner I had some Chicken Penne and a Salad.


Hey Everyone!

Today I wanted to take a little time and talk about Probiotics. I started taking them about 2 years ago, and found that they have definitely helped. I have to make sure that the one I buy are dairy free and gluten free, but they do exist. The Safeway care brand of strawberry flavored chewable Probiotics are gluten and dairy free, as is Nature’s Bounty Acidophilus Probiotic tablets. While I prefer the Safeway brand chewables, as they have 2 different strains of probiotics the natures bounty tablets that you swallow work as well.

I have found that when I have been taking probiotics and have unintentionally ingested dairy that the reaction my body has to the dairy is less severe. I still react negatively to eating dairy, so I avoid it at all costs, but for those rare occasions I do eat it, having been taking probiotics has helped me only have mild symptoms.

Some Days it is Just Hard

I am sure that I am not the only one out there with food sensitivities/intolerances/allergies who experience this, but some days, or weekends, or periods of time that it just down right sucks to have to have food issues. It is like being hit with a ton of bricks that you are not normal, and can’t partake in what everyone else is partaking in.

This was one of those weekends for me. Eating grapes while everyone else was eating pizza (that smelled amazing), eating nothing while everyone ate homemade cinnamon rolls with a cream cheese frosting, and eating a homemade peanut butter and honey sandwich on gluten free/dairy free bread while everyone else was eating taco soup (which also smelled amazing). I feel like at times it is harder for someone like me, who could eat normally for 24 years, and then all of a sudden I have to be different. I know everyone isn’t trying to be cruel to me, but it is hard being different and not be able to eat what they are, which I know I know are delicious because I have had said items prior to my food intolerances and sensitives became a part of my life.

Most of the time, I am usually pretty okay with having my own diet and adjusting to where I am going and what I will be doing. I normally have no problems planning accordingly, or am able to cook for myself, or go someplace where it is easy enough to do substitutions. In roughly three years I had gotten pretty used to it, but weekends like the one I have had are a reality check that my normal is not the mainstream normal, and that is something I am still getting used to.

The Holiday’s are the hardest with all the special dinners and activities, and other things going on to be involved with. During which people had to eat and there is no easy way around having to constantly worry about food and labels.

Education is Key

There are so many diets out there, that when I mention that I adhere to a strict Dairy and Gluten Free diet, I know I get weird looks, and often hear “You are one of those people”. There is a stigma associated with any diet where you take a food group or more out of your diet. Most of the reactions I get are from people who don’t understand it, and are uneducated about it, and believe that I am some hippy who needs my head examined. For some their diets are by choice, for moral, ethical, or other reasons. For others like myself it is because our bodies can’t process and break down certain kinds of foods.

For those who have chosen to adhere to Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo, Soy Free, Egg Free, Vegetarianism, Veganism, unprocessed foods, or another kind of diet, I am not one to judge or act like they are weird. That is their decision, and good for them for sticking with something, that is healthier.

For those of us with food intolerances and food allergies it is a whole different story. I know from experience that there is a lot of resistance (in my adhering to the diet and to education on their part) as well as a lot of misinformation, indifference, and lack of care to how food affects my body. While I don’t really care what those I know casually think about it, what bugs me the most is the lack of wanting to learn and understand what the impact of it has on me, from my own family that I live with is like. I have had to fight tooth and nail for almost 3 years, and I still get sick from their indifference.

As a whole, society still sees Gluten/Dairy/Egg/Soy intolerances as something that is not its problem, when in reality is an ever growing problem within the framework of society. My society as a whole revolves around food, and the social roles of food. I know I feel ostracized quite often for something I can’t help, and did not ask for or choose to take on. Even though the US is one of the better one for leading the way in having better tasting and a better variety of Gluten Free and Dairy Free food, it is still a challenge and struggle to find food that I can eat.

I know for myself personally, I began taking a second look at the food I was eating, during the Nutrition class I took while in college. Developing intolerances to Gluten and Dairy has since added to how closely I look at the food that I eat, and consume. In the past three years I have really started avoiding processed foods, and eating natural, organic and non GMO foods as much as possible.

I know a lot of people who don’t give food intolerances a second thought because they don’t have to deal with it 3+ times a day. That much I can understand, as I was the same way until 3 years ago. At the same time, There are those who feel that because those of us who have food intolerances or adhere to certain diets are different and “weird” we just need to shove it, even to our own expense, and to the extent of at best having an upset stomach, and spending more time than necessary in the bathroom to being sent to the hospital with a life threatening condition.

I am not saying the our society needs to jump on the band wagon of adhering to a specific diet themselves, all I am saying is that it is time that society changes to be more tolerant and understanding of those who either need to adhere to one of these “specialty diets” or chooses to for personal reasons. Why should we suffer, and be sick because others choose to be ignorant and uneducated on a growing concern. I know there are those with food intolerances who don’t like to talk about it, but if it isn’t talked about, then how is it going to get out there, and how are others going to be educated? even if you don’t have to directly deal with food intolerances, you most likely know someone who does. There is still a lot of awareness to be made and had.

I have also heard the “you can’t eat (Fill in item here), I would die if I couldn’t have (aforementioned item here)”. My general response is “Not having (Item) doesn’t really bother me anymore”, when in my head the thoughts I have are along the lines of “You learn to live without it or be sick all the time, and yes even now and again I would kill for a grilled cheese sandwich with Tillamook Cheese, sourdough bread, and butter on the outside, and real ice creme and Oreo’s for dessert, but I would rather go without that, than be in the bathroom, being sick for the next two weeks.”

I am choosing to keep this blog to help those who have food intolerances and are new to having them, as well as their families, friends, roommates, and are trying to figure out what is safe and what is not. It is also for myself so that I can share my journey, and what I have learned from having normal every day food make me sick to learning how to deal with it, and what I have found that works.

Dining Out with Friends

Hey Fellow Foodies!

This evening I was able to go out with friends after church, and we had gone to Red Robin. Not being able to eat Dairy and Gluten does put a damper on things, but all is not lost when restaurants are willing/able to make their menu items without certain things so people like me can still enjoy their food. It is nice to be able to go out with friends and enjoy normal food.

If any of you who have food intolerances have a favorite restaurant where you can get decent food that is also without what you are intolerant to, I would love to hear about it. I love traveling, so having feedback on what other cities have would be great!