Once I discovered that I had intolerances to foods such as gluten, dairy, eggs, and peanuts I had to figure out what it was that I could eat. I found that I would look for vegan food not because I don’t eat meat but because there is no dairy in it. And from there I discovered raw food.
I first went to the raw food restaurant, Gorilla Food, when I attended BCIT’s Vancouver location. With having so many food intolerances it is very difficult to find things to eat out. I regularly brought food for lunch to class but there are those times when you just want to grab something when you are out. Gorilla Food was perfect for that and I had a couple of tasty lunches and yummy smoothies while there. I have to say I was super impressed with the raw food creations.
The other thing I missed greatly was access to desserts. Shortly after completing my program at BCIT I moved to Victoria where I discovered the amazing Bliss Cafe. It was there that I discovered raw food desserts. They had amazing food, too but it was the desserts that were my newest discovery. They were like gourmet morsels of yumminess made with ingredients I could eat (and no sugar – sugar is actually another problem of mine but that is a whole other post).
Eventually I moved back to the lower mainland and greatly missed the Bliss Cafe and didn’t live anywhere close to Gorilla Food. Then Organic Connections opened in White Rock. I only made it there a couple of times but I loved sitting looking out over the beach while I ate my tasty treats. Unfortunately, it closed down. (I do hope something else goes in that location soon …right now it stands empty and I really loved the peacefulness of looking out over the beach).
Then, recently a friend of mine let me know that there was a new raw food restaurant in Langley …only about 20 minutes from me. Yay! It is really nice to have an option of a place to stop for a snack that I can easily eat and healthy (this is actually a difficult task) should I need one. So, a couple of weeks ago I stopped in at Viva Verde Cafe. It is a little place just off the beaten path. I had the enchilada wrap as well as a dessert. My daughter had a smoothie. It was all yummy and the proprietor was very friendly, too. You can tell he is proud of his business and wants to do well by his customers as he was genuinely interested in what brought us there and what we were looking for. I have to say I am happy to have a raw food restaurant within reach again.
I have suffered from migraines for years. I can’t even remember how many that is how long it has been. It used to be that they were connected to my monthly cycle and I could actually know in advance when I would get them each and every month. They are debilitating. They start innocently enough with pain in the neck and shoulders that moves to my temples. From there it is like a vice grip tightening and then the nausea from the pain sets in. Everything causes pain …lights, noises, smells and I usually end up under the covers until it passes.
With the fact they were connected to my monthly cycle my medical doctor suggested birth control as a way to keep them in check. It did help the degree of them but it didn’t stop them. Eventually I moved on to a naturopath and my changes in diet due to the discovery of my food allergies and the help I received for my adrenal fatigue eased them but also, they never entirely went away. When my daughter was two and a half, just over a year ago, I was referred to Sharon Richlark, a homeopathic doctor. At the time I was once again suffering from severe adrenal fatigue and my monthly migraines had returned full force. I knew I needed serious help if I was going to be able to give my daughter the care she deserved and needed.
Sharon looked at my whole history and set up a protocol for me. At the same time I had started my Jikiden Reiki journey. Within a month my regular monthly migraines had stopped happening. Wow! (I can’t even explain how much this wonderful woman has helped me). Sharon tells me that migraines stem from the liver …actually, that all disease stems from the liver. And sometimes, despite my best intentions, I slip up. In the fall when we were in the middle of moving my diet fell by the wayside in exchange for convenience because there was so much to do. Lo and behold at the end of that month, wham, migraine had me in bed for 2 days. June is my month for hay fever. And this year it is incredibly horrible. I haven’t had this much itchiness in my eyes and ears and throat for years. So what do I do? I eat eggs which I am sensitive to. On top of that I have been in vehicles this week that have stale cigarette smoke and febreeze …both of which cause me headaches. So, two days ago, wham, a migraine. Again, 2 days out of commission. My lovely daughter knows to treat me gently during this time and she will lay patiently beside me watching a show or ten while I hide from all that cause me pain until once again it passes. (I do stumble out to feed her and do the necessities).
But the amazing thing is days like today when I wake up for the first time in two days and the pain is gone and everything feels wonderful. I appreciate all the things I can do again. I generally have catching up to do with chores etc. but it feels great that I can do them again without holding my head. Today was a day of productivity, of painting, making father’s day crafts (wait until you see what we did!) and dancing with my daughter. Then again, Friday the 13th has always been a good day for me.
PS. Sharon sent me a couple of things to help with my hay fever and after just two days I am no longer itchy anywhere. I am no longer sneezing. Amazing. Next week I finally am going to see her again because I have more issues to work on …but more about that later.
Yummy, Yummy, Hummus! Of course, I forgot to take a picture while I was making it so that is the finished product in the jar after we have eaten some.
After I found out about my food allergies (dairy, egg, gluten, to name the big ones) I was at a loss for many things. Among them was snack food. I especially was missing something I could use as a spread instead of cream cheese and something I could use as a dip for veggies or chips. I was happy to rediscover hummus and realize it could fit both of those bills. Previously I wasn’t a huge hummus fan. I didn’t dislike it but I didn’t seek it out either. If you gave me the choice in a Greek restaurant I would have picked Tzatziki every time. Of course, I can’t eat Tzatziki anymore.
Now hummus is one of my favourite go to foods. I often will have it on a sandwich or toast with vegetables. I particularly like to have toast with hummus and cucumber slices for breakfast. I also use it as a dip for cut up veggies which my daughter loves, too. And before discovering my daughter’s corn sensitivity I used to use rice chips (which contain corn flour) or tortilla chips to dip in hummus which was one of my favourite snacks when I was craving something salty.
This is one of those recipes that I now have in my head. I am not sure where I got the original recipe from otherwise I would love to give them credit for it. I have also adapted it to use grape seed oil instead of olive oil because my daughter seems to be sensitive to olive oil, too.
Actually, I have just had an epiphany while writing this post. Somewhere along the way I read an article about how they have mixed cheap oil in with olive oil and have sold it to us, unsuspecting consumers. Once of the cheap oils they used was corn oil. I am suddenly realizing that my daughter’s sensitivity isn’t to olive oil at all but to the corn oil mixed in. Hmmm. I am going to have to research this some more, find some pure olive oil and see how she does. It really is quite appalling what the food industry gets away with.
- 14 oz. can chickpeas (drained)
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 – 5 Tblsp. lemon juice
- 1 1/2 Tblsp. tahini
- 2 Tblsp. grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
- salt to taste
- water (if required)
- Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend to desired consistency. (I like it to be a touch chunky but some like it smoother). If it is a little dry you can add a little water.
The moment I was told that I had food allergies my whole world turned upside down. What was I going to eat if I couldn’t have wheat, gluten, dairy, and eggs?! The other allergies that popped up seemed minor in comparison simply because my diet revolved so much around bread, cheese and eggs. I was also told that gluten and casein (a dairy ingredient) were often hidden ingredients in many food items. How was I ever going to figure out what I could and couldn’t eat? It seemed very overwhelming especially because I was suffering from adrenal fatigue and easily tired out.
What I didn’t know at the time was that this was going to be one of those “blessing in disguise” moments. Having food allergies taught me to question what was in my food. It made me realize all the crazy ingredients that are used in store bought foods. And, in trying to figure out what those crazy ingredients were it taught me how unhealthy and unnecessary they were for our diets. (Previously, I was one of those naive people who had blind faith that if the authorities approved the food for sale then it must be good for us to eat). It taught me that whole foods are best. And, because of all of this, and, because I love yummy food, it forced me to learn to cook …to really cook. And by that I mean I can look at a recipe and be able to know if and what I can substitute to make it work. And I can now cook like my Mom where I can throw in a little of this and a little of that without completely following a recipe.
So, in retrospect, I am grateful for my food allergies. They set me on a path to better eating. I now know what I am putting into my body and I have to say that I have a much bigger variety of foods that I enjoy, too. They have prompted me to branch out and try more things that I might not have before.