Foods We’re Eating These Days (and not)

Mr. Nest and I have become increasingly aware of what we’re eating these days.  We’ve learned first hand how the foods we eat hold power over the quality of our daily lives and health.

It’s been a gradual transition, and sometimes it has taken a bit of ingenuity.  Happily, every good choice has become another piece in the puzzle of a healthier, better, perhaps longer life.  And we’re loving the new decisions we’re making!

We  now live with less aches and pains, no bloat or fuzzy-headedness.  We’re more comfortable, slimmer and sharper.

“GLUTEN-FREE” FIRST SHOWED UP ON OUR RADAR a few Photo - Wheat - Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos dot net
years ago, but we were hesitant to try something so drastic. After all, who wants to sacrifice any of life’s great pleasures – like french toast, fried oysters (the breading) and the rare, deliriously enjoyed, apple cinnamon doughnut?

But, it wasn’t easy to stay away from the idea. Articles and recipes were popping up everywhere!  Information and questions percolated in the back of my mind.

We started out timidly.  Our first step was to put gluten-free to the test. The two of us committed to go entirely wheat/gluten-free for 4 weeks.  It wasn’t comfortable, at first.  It felt awkward and foreign. It soon became easier and meals started to make more sense.  It was a puzzle and we enjoyed solving it.  During that month, we noticed something interesting.  Our stomachs were flatter and our tummies felt better.

Meanwhile, we kept our eyes on the calendar, waiting to see what would happen when we went back to a “normal” diet.

When that magical twenty-ninth day finally arrived, I joyfully rushed to the market and brought home a loaf of bread, lovely to look upon and so aromatic. Oh the joy!

By that evening, I was ill, my stomach so distended it hurt.  Even Mr. Nest, who has a much stronger system than I, was feeling a little oogy.  We avoided wheat products for a few days longer and tried again (just to be sure the culprit was gluten and not a 24-hour virus).  Same results, except we had worse reactions this time around.

To shorten the story …
We realized that gluten was not for us, especially me.  So we continued to increasingly avoid it, hoping things would continue to improve. And they did. But it left me wondering about other things I’d started hearing about.

Mr. Nest and I continue to become “wiser”. We have become further conscious of the types of the foods we eat. I’m usually the one in charge of the kitchen, but we work together now, learning and watching.

Through a series of events and learning opportunities, the whole landscape of our kitchen is changing.  Sometimes slowly.  Sometimes in leaps.

Of course, wheat and other glutens were the first to be eased out of our diet. So many everyday, yummy things have gluten in them, it was a real adjustment for both of us.  {What foods contain gluten?}

I continued to have health issues. Eventually, I went through a long series of allergy tests.  They confirmed that glutens are high allergens for me.

MANY PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD HAVE BECOME MORE AWARE OF WHAT WE’RE ALL EATING THESE DAYS. THEY ARE INCREASINGLY CONCERNED, EVEN ALARMED, ABOUT GENETICALLY ALTERED FOODS.  We are among them.  The percentage of foods that contain altered genes is increasing rapidly.   GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. (also less gently, and more appropriately, called GE, Genetically Engineered). This is such an immediate topic, I set this post aside for over a week to pull together some information for you about what is being said about GMO’s.

We’ve come to feel strongly about this topic and hope you will take a couple of minutes to read through The Skinny on GMO Foods.  It’s a smidge longer than my usual posts because it’s so important.  I hope it offers a good start toward understanding some of the mixed thoughts about Genentically Modified Organisms.

For this post, let’s just say:

• There is much disagreement on how crossing species barriers to alter the DNA of our food will affect us.   

Mr. Nest and I are not going to eat GMO foods whenever it’s possible to recognize them.

Recognizing what contains GMO’s is very difficult. Not only does the United States NOT require labeling of GMO’s in our foods, there is currently legislation being pushed on Capital Hill in DC to actually PROHIBIT THE DISCLOSURE of known GMO’s on the content labels of the foods we buy.  This greatly concerns us. No matter how you feel about GMO’s, this highly funded push to keep information from American consumers should worry all of us!

The number of foods being genetically altered are growing at such a rapid pace, it’s hard to keep up.  Largely due to limited and non-existent disclosure.

Corn was hardest for me to let go. How I love corn. In all its incarnations from cob to popped.  But over 90%-and-climbing of corn in the United State is now grown from seeds that have been genetically engineered.  There is particularly so much GMO-corn, snowballing the risk of crossover between crops and prepared foods, I eventually stopped buying even  “certified non-GMO” corn.

So, no more corn.  Or soy (also high on the GMO-produce roll).  And the list grows.

I weep.

Photo - Corn on the Cob - image courtesy of by tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos dot net{Read here about some of the GMO corn that’s out there.}

I continued to have health issues which led to a lot of allergy tests.  Gluten was confirmed as an allergen (as it is for many of us).  Partly because of all the stuff that’s put into our foods. I’ve developed other food sensitivities/allergies and had to cut a few more things out of my diet.

I’d like to think some cuts are temporary.

All Cow Milk Products (casein protein):  Cow milk (never been a fan). Cheese (this is a huge blow). Sour cream. Yogurt. Ice cream.  Butter.  Oh, the humanity!!!

Some favorite vegetables:  Carrots (really?!)  Spinach (who ever heard of a spinach allergy?!)  Asparagus.

Other joys:  Soy, Cashews, Bananas, Mangos, Papayas (never cared for papaya, so you know, no big loss there), but Kiwis?!  Did I mention corn? No? Yes?

Anyway, you see the changes we’ve gradually made.

THE UNITED STATES IS SEEING A NOTICEABLE INCREASE IN FOOD ALLERGIES.  The number of people affected is growing rapidly, and the problem is showing up earlier in children’s lives. Something is up!  Could it have anything to do with we are all eating these days?  {This is what the CDC says about increasing food allergies among children.}

That certainly didn’t make me feel any better about giving up cinnamon raisin toast slathered with butter.  Or lovely baby spinach salads topped with shredded carrots and grated parmesan.

EXCLUDING ANY ONE FOOD FROM YOUR DIET CAN BE CHALLENGING AT FIRST, never mind a long list of omissions!  We’ve made gradual changes.  We started with things like switching from wheat to rice crackers, peeling off the gluten-laded skin from southern fried chicken.  And avoiding corn except for occasional “treats” like guacamole and chips.  A little bit of bad is better than a whole lotta’ bad, right?  (Yes.  And No!)  Over time, we are cutting them out completely.

It gets easier.  Especially as your body starts to feel better.  Things stop aching that you might not realize were bothering all along.  You start hating the idea of going back to those problems.  When you haven’t eaten certain foods for awhile, they start to taste a little off.  And you stop craving them.  OR crave them less and less often.

Photo - What we're Eating These Days - Social

I lamented all these losses.

And then, I accepted.  I slowly started seeking out and developing delicious foods and preparations that leave us happy and satisfied instead of deprived and hungry for something more.

1.  We shop for organic every time it’s possible.  No choice is foolproof, but buying certified organic is better than not.

2.  By sticking with start-to-finish-grass-feed and/or organic meats and poultry, we cut out additional hormones, antibiotics and other contaminates (including GMO’s) that livestock is frequently fed.

3.  We look for certified non-GMO stickers, especially on non-organic foods.  If it doesn’t say non-GMO, we assume it is GMO and make our choices from there.

4.  We have cut way down on grains, soy protein products (soy sauce, tofu) and use organic coconut milk in our coffee instead of cream (I’ll likely share my method of making Dairy-Free Bullet Proof Coffee someday).  Mr. Nest is not allergic to cow-milk, but he also chooses coffee with coconut milk in the morning.

THERE’S NOT A HUGE CHANGE IN HOW I NOW PREPARE DISHES.  MOST ADJUSTMENTS HAVE TO DO WITH SWITCHING TO CLEAN INGREDIENTS.

Once in awhile, we still indulge in a little smackeral of scrumptious gluten-free cinnamon raisin toast slathered in goat butter (surprisingly un-goaty).  And there’s nothing shabby about organic romaine salad adorned with outrageously superb goat’s milk cheese.

So Life can still be endured.

Actually, it’s better than that.  Food tastes better when it’s cleaner!  We are in love with our new way of approaching meals and snacks!

(The cheese I love best is a fabulous Midnight Moon Cheese, which just happens to be made from non-cow milk.  I buy it at a local health food market, but you can take a peek at it here (If you love cheese, you’ll probably adore this!  But don’t buy it online unless you claim shipping as a write-off on your taxes.)

Our lives go on, and there are many adventures I want to share with you.  In between, you’ll find me writing more often than before about …

Gloriously Real Food!  Organic, Non-GMO, Non-Trans Fat, Grass-Fed, Dairy-Free, always Gluten-Free, in some cases, Grain-Free Food!

BACK TO THE ORIGINAL THOUGHT.  How have our daily lives and overall health been affected by what we’re eating these days?

1.  We eat at home a lot more than we used to.

2.  Which means, I cook just about everything we eat from soup to nuts (literally), and shop in stores that are heavy on organics.  Bonus: I’ve learned to bake!  Turns out I’m not bad at it.  Just bad at baking with glutinous flour!

3.  When we do dine out, we ask a lot more questions and request that things like bread, never make it to our table.  It’s much easier to resist “just half a roll” if they never arrive.  And bun-less hamburgers at the local hole in the wall are de rigueur!  We’ve noticed that restaurants, and their staff, better understand special diets.  They are able to accommodate them more often than they did even a year ago.

4.  There’s a Great Big improvement in how we feel all-around.  You can see it!  Our thinking is quicker, clearer.  We’ve lost weight and body fat.  Stomach bloat is gone. Even my joints don’t ache like they used to.

5.  We’ve always enjoyed our lives.  We now better enjoy the hours in our days, and expect to be even stronger as we continue.

I WILL BE TALKING MORE WITH YOU ABOUT WHAT WE’RE EATING THESE DAYS.   If you don’t have any problems with gluten or cow milk, and don’t see the big deal about GMO’s, no worries! You don’t have to.  You’ll still love the delicious things we’re eating these days.

I’ve created a new CategoryStef’s Kitchen” that features some of the yumminess we now enjoy.   I don’t expect everyone to eat the way we do, so I’m leaving recipes for foods we no longer make right where they’ve been all along in Good Food Good Fun.

Photo - Closeup Cow - image courtesy of by Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhoto dot netI will continue to share things we find interesting; information, adventures  and occasional loose-cannon thoughts for empty-nesters (and other like-minded adults).

I do not want to become another food blog!  Our diet is becoming a focus point as we get older, but only so we can fully plunge into all the freedoms we now enjoy and look forward to a long, happy life.

I hope you like what I’m sharing here.  Please give some of these recipes a try.

Hey! (Gallic shrug) It can’t hurt!

So, what d’ you think?  What are you eating these days?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below. It always makes me happy to hear from you 🙂

6 thoughts on “Foods We’re Eating These Days (and not)”

  1. Thanks Stef glad you jumped back in. Please share some recipes when you can. I need to cook more at home and eat more healthy foods.
    Joy

    1. Joy, Thank you for jumping in yourself! 🙂 I am working on recipes all the time and will definitely be posting more very soon. In the meantime, you can find my previously published recipes in the category “Good Food, Good Fun” if you want to start reading right away.

  2. Wow Stef…so proud of you guys!! Great information here…hubby and I have been talking about this for a while, with some action taken toward change. This inspires me to get back on track as the little changes we made had such a huge impact I can only imagine what some serious changes will do. Keep the information coming!!

    Hugs & Blessings,
    Monica

    1. Thank you, Monica! As we succeed in deeper changes, we can great differences! I feel this direction is right, but have been a little nervous about it. Your affirmation is very encouraging 🙂

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