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Looking Back

Today I have been messaging back and forth with a woman who is wondering if gluten might be the cause of her uncomfortable symptoms. I sent her a message that I hoped would help bring awareness and understanding to the possible cause of her struggle. After sending it, I read the message and was amazing at the transformation that I wrote about. It’s been a long time since posting here but I would really like to share just how far I’ve come in the last 4 years, nearly 5 years. Jesus is good and gracious and has led me to healing and I want to share that joy with others. Note, this was originally a Facebook message and has not been edited for eloquence but I’ve learned that you don’t always need eloquence to speak the truth.

This is my story:

If I’ve realized one thing in these last 4 years it’s that the ability to be in tune and aware of your body is one of the greatest gifts we can have. If you think something is not right, trust your instinct and take matters into your own hands, that’s what I had to do.

Looking back at my childhood and teenage years I see and remember very clearly so many instances where I felt unwell and knew something was wrong but didn’t know what to do. In elementary school I asked my parents to take me for allergy testing but nothing showed up as a concern. I remember feeling tired and constantly sick. I loved the idea of exercise but I was too weak to go be regularly physically active. I constantly felt bloated, had horrible bowel movements, excema, dandruff and had irrational anger issues. Because this was normal to me, I didn’t see the red flags.

5 years ago I went to a Bible school in Germany for 7 months. While there, I was constantly sick with a cold or flu or just generally felt unwell. I has one friend who, at the end of the year, said, “at the beginning of the year I had no idea who you were because you spent so much time sick in your room. I was worried that I would never get to know that girl!”
I was very unwell.

Returning to Canada I developed strange “hay fever” and had constant colds and flu’s for the next year. I was taking evening classes and had an incredibly difficult time staying awake even with 10 hours of sleep. The following year I began teaching preschool and developed a huge list of symptoms that were quite concerning to me. The most upsetting were a series of very painful rashes and constant sinus infections. I was tired, had little appetite and felt so, so very sick. My doctor tried many different antibiotics – creams, sprays, pills – and finally referred me to a dermatologist who said, “your rashes are likely related to your allergies and eliminating those will help your symptoms”

What allergies?? I thought. At that time is was late December and my family was spending Christmas in Alberta. I went to the naturopath who my aunt sees and she promptly advised me to remove wheat from my diet, drink more water and gave me a natural nasal spray.

Within 1 week of completely eliminating wheat from my diet my rashes cleared by 90%, I began to have more energy and felt a sense of clarity in my thoughts and emotions. Unfortunately, the journey was much longer than 1 week. 5 months later I saw a naturopath here and she took me off of dairy and sugar as well as some other foods (oats, corn, brown rice, beets, garlic, mustard, pork, kale and more) that i have mostly re-introduced. Removing dairy and sugar (and those other foods and nearly everything processed) was the turning point as I believe my body finally had a chance to heal from the damage done from the previous 20 years. I remember a very significant morning in June, 6 months after I had eliminated wheat and 1 month without dairy and sugar: I ate breakfast, ate lunch and ate dinner all without a stomach ache. I told my mom that was the first day I could EVER remember not feeling bloated or in pain. Not feeling sick was a new and glorious feeling.

That was 4 years ago and my journey has continued. As mentioned in the comment (in a group thread started by this woman), I still avoid gluten like the plague and dairy will still make me feel sick. I feel incredibly thankful because my body has healed and I am finally at a place were I am comfortable with my diet and feel physically and emotionally healthy. I do not need an official diagnosis from my doctor because my body tells me what feels good and what doesn’t.

In terms of my symptoms, I no longer have painful sinus infections (I have not had one in over 2 1/2 years), I am able to think clearly without brain fog, I am in control of my emotions- no longer am I irrationally angry or weepy, my skin has cleared up by 95% (I believed the 5% left is actually scar tissue that becomes re-irritated and will never actually heal), my nails are healthy and strong, my hair grows faster than ever, dandruff is only an issue if I eat something I’m not supposed to, I haven’t worn deodorant in 3 years and only stink when I am detoxing from a mistake, my bowel movements are incredibly healthy, I am no longer bloated, I have energy to exercise and am learning to workout properly and love hiking and playing sports. No longer do I need a midday nap and I have energy for the whole day. My muscles only ache when I am sore from a workout instead of every day, my period is much less painful, I am no longer constantly cold- my body temperature has regulated itself. I still love to sleep in but don’t need a 10 hour rest every night and I wake up refreshed instead of exhausted and most importantly overall, I feel incredibly healthy.

To maintain my new lifestyle, I do avoid gluten and all cows dairy. I limit my sugar consumption and only use organic cane sugar. I avoid GMO’s and eat organic as much as possible. I purchase many of my vegetables from an organic farm in Surrey, I eat out on occasion and do not feel limited in that (FYI the white spot on Scott road and 72 has gluten free hamburger buns!!), I tried eating a Vegan diet but because I am anemic, I need to eat meat. As much as possible I buy organic pastured chicken and grass fed beef. I have learned to love vegetables and to cook many delicious meals that I never would have learned had I still ate wheat.

In all honesty, going gluten free has been an incredible challenge but an even bigger blessing. Jesus has transformed my life through what I thought was a curse.

However, it was not always easy, there were many, many tears involved and I literally had to change the way i thought about food. I had to convince myself that gluten was poison. It was very difficult and that is why I get defensive when people do not take a gluten free lifestyle seriously. Yes, there are many fad dieters but people do it hoping for their body to feel better and that cannot be ignored or understated. The big problem I have with people who “try gluten free” is that they expect it to fix their problems instantly. It will not. As you read above it took me SIX MONTHS to know what it was like to have a day without a stomach ache. Going gluten free is not for the weak. It takes emotional courage and dedication and can be extremely overwhelming and exhausting. There has been hundreds of times I have cried in anger about this. But now that I feel like I am other side of the bridge I see how the journey is worth it.

A word of advice, what helped me was not just “going gluten free” it was a dramatic change in my eating habits and lifestyle. No longer was convenience food an option. Had I gone from eating a poor diet of gluten containing packaged foods to a equally poor direct of “gluten free” packages foods, I would have failed miserably. I had a friend tell me that to start gluten free you should only eat food found on the outer edge of the grocery store and since part of that is the bakery, that leaves the produce section, meat section and dairy cooler. Since I was also avoiding dairy that meant for me meat, fruit and vegetables. I avoided all packaged foods for nearly a year to allow my body to heal from the garbage I had been consuming all my life. I cooked / home made 100% of the food I ate. Now I’d say I eat 70% homemade an 30% packaged food but the packaged food is very carefully selected with few and pronounceable ingredients.

I do still have some challenges and there are days where even the healthiest food doesn’t agree with my stomach, fortunately I have figured out a few solutions. I sell doTERRA essential oils and they have a blend called Digestzen which a digestive blend. I use it to relieve stomach aches and bloating. I do no know what I did before that oil, it is an absolute savior in times of trouble. I also take detox baths if I feel extra ill- Epsom salts, baking soda and ginger in hot water and I find those really help. I do still have creams that I use on my skin but now very minimally compared to before. Oh! Also, I stopped using shampoo and conditioner because the ones I had both contained wheat! (and I was too lazy to buy new ones. I’ve been shampoo free on and off for nearly 5 years) Eliminating gluten has to be a total transformation. I’ve had Chapstick with wheat in it and supplements with wheat. You have to be incredibly diligent.

AAs you might have noticed I am incredibly passionate about telling my story and helping others experience the joy and physical freedom that I have. It is not an easy journey but it is am completely worth it. A good blog to follow is Glutendude.com – he was super helpful in the early stages of my journey. Take time to read through the archives of his blog.

If you continue to suspect that gluten is an issue but still want help or support removing it, please keep in touch. I would be happy to have you over to see the safe food in my kitchen and give you recipes and ideas to eat. I should also add that I am not a doctor and do not have medical training but I the experience and testimony of myself, my friends and my family to share.

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To note, that message does not mention the INCREDIBLE support I have received from my friends and family. From Amy who at the very beginning decided to go gluten-free with me (until she decided she liked baking better… grrr) and my parents and in-laws who have learned to cook for me and are constantly asking to make sure the food they make is safe. From Amanda who made me gluten free pasta and Jana who makes me INCREDIBLE gluten-free cookies and meals and my colleagues and administration at work who take time to make sure I can eat during staff events (A shout out to the amazingness at Hilltop Christian Childcare Center and their compassion for the staff and the children who attend. I have never worked somewhere where I have felt so valued and supported in all my difficulties.) And Kerry who swaps recipes with me and introduced me to some of my favorite blogs and Aunty Cheryl who has been through the same journey.  Most of all, Ben. He has listened to a thousand rants and has wiped away thousands of tears and skipped out on trips to restaurants with me in solidarity and support, he eats the food I eat and cooks better than I do (when he does). I could not have done this without him. Thank you Ben.

If you are seriously considering a food overhaul and lifestyle transformation, a solid support team makes a huge difference. I have been blessed beyond words by friends and family who care and take time to support me in this journey.If you are one of them, THANK YOU.


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How do you even start to describe December? This year, December seemed to be synonymous for the words tears, temper, sickness, exhaustion, frustration, dread, sadness and agony; some for a moment, many all at once. The month started off wrong and seemed to keep going that way. And, when it improved in once facet it only got worse in another. Rejoice? Ha, not in December.

Work was absolutely nuts, there is no other way of putting it. “Getting ready for Christmas” is absolutely exhausting. What with all of the decorating, party planning, play rehearsing, present making and people pleasing. Stress, stress, stress, get it done, do it fast, then do more. Believe in yourself, believe in others, and believe in the Christmas spirit. Donate to the less fortunate, pump yourself up and feel really good about how well you do charity. Tell children about Santa, feed them candy; feed them poison, feed those lies. And make sure to give yourself a headache by riling up the children for the holidays. Have you seen Santa yet? What is Santa bringing you for Christmas? What do you want for Christmas? What are you getting? What is inside those presents underneath your Christmas tree? Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, to from, to from, spend, spend, spend. ‘Tis the season to be jolly – smile, laugh, have energy, be lively. Give everything to make you look good. Spend money you don’t have and give gifts you don’t mean while pretending your hastily written Christmas cards carry more value than you actually intend. Spread the Christmas spirit but make sure to do it quickly before time runs out.

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Nothing is simple. Nothing is sacred. Nothing is calm. No wonder why everyone is burnt out and tired.

Near the beginning of the month I had a lovely conversation with a good friend. We talked about frustrations at work and how she was not in the mood at all to celebrate Christmas. The realisation had already started to come to me that we, as Christians do not celebrate the same holiday. Christ. Christ is the holiday, not Santa, not gifts, not family, Christ. Christ, then everything else. As hard as it is to avoid the commercialism and try not to get sucked into the mindset, if we deliberately shift our focus and attitude then Christmas can be something completely different. It was hard to step back and watch rather than participate. At times I did find myself wrapped up in the false front but when I actually let that all go and thought of him, that joy started to sneak in and cover up the sickness of my heart.

Sick in the heart, sick in the body. Sick definitely was I. December was a dreadful month for my body. Starting with a terrible allergic reaction to a jacket, ending with a never-ending cold (still not fully ended), and impelled on from a cake-pop contamination before winter break. One thing after another has left me weak, tired, and quite honestly, with little hope of being better. Lies, obviously, but I have felt so physically ill and emotionally exhausted that it has been hard for me to rejoice in progress. It has been exactly 1 year (well, 1 year minus 2 days) since my journey began. 1 year since I actually began to experience life like it was intended. 1 year of incredible healing and knowledge. 1 year of growth and excitement. 1 year of strength! I have begun to run, to bike, to work out and to enjoy movement for the first time in my life. And have the energy to sustain myself through it all. All of that was taken away this December. Some days it was all I could to do to get out of bed and go to work. No running, no work out videos, no energy for the kids. No energy to clean, little energy to cook. It is hard, really hard actually, to take steps back and be stuck in the past. To get up early to work out only to go back to bed after the warm up is one of the biggest disappointments I have thus experienced. In Christ alone my hope is found; he is my light, my strength, my song.

Siblings :)

Siblings 🙂

He does not leave me alone, ever. I have so many people supporting me. From my mom to Ben to friends, Lynn and random people at the grocery store, I am always surrounded by people who have wisdom, knowledge and love to share with me. I am surrounded by people here to heal my body and people to reconcile my heart. Sometimes I am blind to my surroundings, oblivious to the encouragement that is within my reach but he always gives me a reason to look out. Just this past week, I was delighted to discover that a cousin-in-law has also been on a health journey of her own. We have some key differences but I was delighted mostly by the knowledge that I am not alone. There are other people eating for health and healing and doing it in a way that counterculture to the norm. I am not alone! Though there are people who try to understand, I think you can never fully grasp the frustration and discouragement until you actually live through. To know that I am not the only one being called cracked, crazy and dumb. It is such a relief and encouragement! Truly it is hard for most to understand how difficult it can be to live / eat this way. Awareness is different from experiencing and it seems that most cannot look at the way I eat without questioning or judging me to some extent. And I know that because one year ago I was one of the worst. But through it all, Jesus has brought me joy, peace and understanding through people like Kerry and countless others who have supported and encouraged me along the way.

Joy. Even with everything that December brought, through all my tears and exhaustion and sickness there was an unquenchable joy. In himself Jesus has given me life abundant that I may live in peace and joy free from guilt, or shame or worthlessness. He was born a child and then a king, born to set his people free!

He hasn’t left me on my own. He has blessed me beyond belief with friends and family who are all here to support me no matter what. He has given me the most incredible gift, a fiancé! On December 15, 2012 I caught a cold and I caught a fiancé. I’ll be you can guess about which I was most pleased. I am so excited to marry my best friend. Horray!! This might be my shortest paragraph but these words hold the most love and the most excitement for the future J This summer I get to be a wifey to the most amazing man I could have ever imagined being blessed to fall in love with. Blah. I love him J And miss him right now from here in the land of cold while he is at home.

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A last minute “You need a ring picture before you go!” picture

Yikes, it’s getting late and time to get this wrapped up so that I can go to bed! Although aren’t we allowed to stay up as long as we want while on vacation? I realized on the 23 that a Christmas feast just isn’t a real Christmas feast unless there is a chocolate pie to accompany dinner. And assuming (rightly) that I wouldn’t be able to eat any other desert items I decided that it was high time to make a chocolate pie.  A dairy free, sugar free, coconut milk chocolate pudding pie to be exact. It didn’t turn out quite like I wanted it to, but I’m quite sure I know where I went wrong and next time (which there will be) I’ll give it a couple of nicks. I started out trying to force people to eat the pies (I made 2) but gave up when nobody seemed interested, however by the end of the night all but a piece or two were left and many compliments were given. Thanks everyone! The recipe I followed was a hodgepodge of many and have lost my sources. My recipe will be normal with my desired modifications (for next time) bolded.

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Almond Crust

2 cup Almond flour (1 ¼ cup)
¾ cup coconut flour
3 tablespoons tapioca starch (no tapioca)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup honey
1 egg (no egg)
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Mix wet
  2. Mix dry
  3. Pour wet into dry and mix
  4. Pat into pie tin – mixture will be very stick but harden as it cooks
  5. Bake 15 minutes at 350 in a pie tin.

Filling

2 cans coconut milk (1 whole can + 2 cans no liquid)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
½ cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
¼ cup coconut oil (1/3 cup)
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup cocoa powder
1 pinch cinnamon (no cinnamon – some liked the flavour but I did not)
(Gelatin – I saw some recipes that called for a bit)

1. Heat coconut milk and vanilla on stove until warm
2. Temper the eggs (Honestly, I don’t know how important this is but I followed directions for at least one of these steps :P)
3. Add cocoa powder and tapioca starch
4. Whisk continuously on medium-low until pudding starts to bubble
5. Pour into freshly baked pie tins and cool

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One day I will learn to clean as I go..

In the end I found the filling very soft, when it cooled it was a very soft pudding rather than a thicker pie. I suppose the addition of gelatin is perhaps what makes it hold shape. Other than texture though, the taste was delicious.

Time for bed, Merry (dayafter) Christmas everybody!

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I’ll leave you with lion love 🙂


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Coconut Rice Pudding

Ginger-ale, chicken noodle soup, saltines; traditional sick food. What’s yours? Growing up, my sick food was always peanut butter on toast and rice pudding right out of the carton. No matter what the ailment, Mom made sure that my stomach was happy. Last year, I felt sick all. the. time. and as such, I ate an unreal amount of cozy shack and kraft on toast. Our fridge was perma-stocked with rice pudding. I even went as far as stalking my work fridge with rice pudding and probably ate (on average) 2 or 3 of the individual servings a day. Recycled art day was always the bomb because kids can do anything with those little cups and thanks to me, we had plenty. Somebody else might have observed the mass consumption of rice pudding and seen all of the little warning signs but I just carried on pretending I wasn’t sick.

May 8, 2012, I had been successfully (mostly) avoiding gluten since December which cut out the toast but I had kept on eating my rice pudding. Cozy Shack is “gluten free” and I still felt sick, still needed the comfort. Turns out, I can’t do dairy. Or sugar. All of you out there with your own sick food know that you don’t necessarily eat a sick food because it’s healthy for you, you eat it because it is comforting… comforting or not though, rice pudding had to go.

Fortunately(!!) I stopped feeling sick. I started feeling healthy and alive and didn’t need to spend my weekends wrapped up in a blanket eating rice pudding straight from the carton trying to recuperate from the week. I had some withdrawal and mourned for a time (rice pudding, Oreo McFlurries and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups were the hardest to give up), but I put on my big girl pants, moved on and learned to live life without them.

Dominican Lemonade!

While we were in the Dominican Republic, Dad, Keyli, my Tio Christian and I went on an adventure. Somehow, through conversation he decided it was important for me to have a real cacao. Driving through the country-side, all we saw were green ones on trees but we wanted a red one. Finally, we had nearly given up when we saw a girl walking out of a house carrying a tray of something. Curious, my uncle stopped. It turned out she was setting up the Dominican version of a lemonade stand, freshly made rice pudding cups! Hungry, my uncle stopped and bought 4. Very wary, I made Keyli do a finger test and (I’m pretty sure that Dominican food is magic) it passed! I was still pretty leery so I shared one with Keyli but oh my goodness it was the best rice pudding I have ever eaten. No lie. The fire of love had been rekindled.

Long story short (ish), we  got our cacao – turns out the lemonade stand girl’s parents had a cacao field- went back to my aunts house, raveed about the rice pudding so much that she decided it was time for me to learn how to make it.

This past weekend I was away with the youth leaders for our annual retreat and even though I ate well and definitely did NOT desire to feel sick, I will be honest and say it was a bit disheartening to watch everyone else eat chocolate covered almonds, Reese’s pieces, Clodhoppers, Elias’s homemade caramel dipped chocolate covered pretzels, Amanda’s cinnamon buns and cookies and not be able to enjoy them at all. A million years of death would have been handed down to me if I had eaten but a bit of any of those. Didn’t miss the sickness, didn’t go hungry, but I was sad because I am so restricted. EXCEPT I’m not because rice pudding.

RICE PUDDING!

Rice pudding. Rice pudding. Rice pudding! Let me tell you, this completely made up for feeling bad this weekend.

I came home and the first thing I did, after eating a proper meal, was to make rice pudding! Partially because Amy had requested it and in part because I had been thinking about it on my way home.  Even our cravings are the same… yeesh. I followed my Aunt’s method and improvised some parts as well. There are a few things I will try to improve upon next time but overall it was pretty dang good. I might have had 2 servings before it even cooled.

Amazing Rice Pudding (for mass amounts of people… or one) – Makes a whole pot, takes about 45 minutes.
(I tried my best to use measurements for this, I want to be able to recreate things)

 

Nearly done!

Requirements:

3 cups long grain rice
9 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1 cans coconut milk (I used 2 but I think the perfect ratio would be 1 can per 2 cups of rice. So 1 1/2 would’ve been perfect for this batch)
1 lime
1/2 cup coconut flakes (optional)
Salt (didn’t add, will do so next time to give it a bit more intensity)

Method:

(Clockwise) Uncooked, cooked, mostly cooked

In a large pot add your rice, cinnamon sticks and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the rice is plump. Please be sure to stir! I took a picture of the rice, just because I thought it looked pretty neat; uncooked, mostly cooked and cooked -although next time I will actually cook it a little bit longer because I like the grains of rice so squishy they practically dissolve. Make sure you take some time to stop and SMELL (You’re welcome Amy) the amazingness from the cinnamon cooking in the rice.

This is my Aunt peeling the lime. She didn’t even spend 30 seconds doing this, I may have taken much, much longer.

Once the water level has been reduced to just below the top of the rice (you want it to still be a bit wet), add the coconut milk, the “outer-layer, not including the pith, once and a half around a lime” (Thanks Amy). Stir!

Next add the honey, vanilla and if desired, the coconut flakes.

Keep stirring frequently but this is the part where you can cook it down a little longer or turn it off and eat as is. Remember that it will thicken as it cools.

And that’s it! You have done it 🙂 Feel free to bring me some next time I’m sick… or anytime really 🙂 Serve and top with more cinnamon if you feel so inclined.

*As I am finalizing this post my Parents and their friends are just sitting down for an evening coffee over in the other room and one of them just exclaimed, “Oh my goodness Alicia, this is good!” Hooray!*

Honorable mention, Amy helped me out when I need a word for when the rice gets fat: plump.

Just thought I’d end this post with a picture of a cacao.


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Yam and Eggs

I like breakfast; it has always taken the crown as the best meal of my day. Many a time a restaurant has been selected solely based on their promise of ‘all-day breakfast’. Pancakes were always first choice but sometimes a deviation was made to accommodation a sudden longing for French Toast covered in sticky syrup or Belgium waffles decorated lovingly with strawberries and whipped cream.

My Grandparents live small town Alberta and though seeing them was always tops, visiting the local breakfast joint was a close second. The whole restaurant is no bigger than the size of my garage and is the type of place where the waitress knows everyone by name and  their order by heart. The walls are covered with crooked pictures chronologically taking you through the years of the town, the seats are old and the floors squeaky. In the morning the place is filled with the regulars and the friendly banter between neighbors and friends makes the place seem twice it’s size.  It is warm. It is welcoming. It is everything country and nothing like what I have ever found in the city. Since my first morning walking through those doors, breakfast has never been the same.

Unfortunately, I will never be able to eat there again, spare maybe an egg.

I used to live off of toaster waffles, pancakes, German crepes, toast, English muffins and French toast. Breakfast was my thing. Anytime, anyplace. Except now those would send me to bed for a week. Boo.

Not being able to eat traditional breakfast foods was very frustrating for a long long time. When I first started eating gluten free the freezer was full of “gluten free waffles”, I might have eaten those like they were going out of style. When dairy free and sugar free happened I was at a loss for what to make. Lots of leftovers, lots of vegetable stir fry’s, too much quinoa and enough eggs to build up an intolerance (hasn’t happened yet though so here’s to keeping my fingers crossed). I was eating fine but I still missed the food of mornings past. Slowly, this has begun to change. I have started experimenting with pancake recipes, smoothies and different variations of quinoa to keep my mornings exciting. The dismal breakfast forecast has begun to see the light!

It has taken nearly 10 months but I am finally feeling confident in my breakfast making abilities. Breakfast parties are becoming a regular thing in my house and I am having so much fun experimenting and creating new versions of old food. Sure, the pancakes sometimes have a gritty texture or the muffins a bit tough but I am learning while having fun creating and enjoying the finished product, even if it is not like it once was… It’s better. I love knowing that I am healthy and that I can start my day off with energy to spare. Breakfast still takes the crown, it just takes a bit more work that it once did.Anyways, all that to say that breakfast is my favourite meal and having half a million food limitations is not going to hold me back from becoming a breakfast champion.

Yesterday Ben and I had a breakfast party. It was so fun to make and share my favourite meal with my favourite person 🙂 I found inspiration here, sweet potato hash with sunny side up eggs from Amazing Paleo. It was so simple to make and I had a great morning cooking and eating with Ben. We made the yam hash, we made eggs and we made the best milkshakes ever. I also made mistakemuffensthatturnedoutreallywell, but I’ll talk about those another day. Take a look at our pictures and enjoy recreating if  you feel so inclined.

Milkshake 🙂 (to serve 1)

1 Banana
1 cup coconut milk
1 cupish frozen berries (we used strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries)
1 peach (if you are Ben)

Blend 🙂

Yam and Eggs (serves 2)

1 Large Yam
2-3 eggs each
1/4 of an onion (we only had 1/4 onion left but next time I think I will add more)
2 garlic cloves
Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Pepper

Grate yam, try to avoid grating fingers. Heat a pan with olive oil, dump in yam when hot. Add chopped garlic, chopped onion, salt and pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Cook until everything is soft and is starting to get a little bit crispy 🙂 Cook your eggs and if you so desire, mix them all together 🙂 Breakfast for the win!


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Breakfast Blackberries

Last night Amy and I went blackberry picking along the highway. We had a great time of laughter and fun, purple fingers, terrifying protectors-of-the-blackberries humongous spiders and a Russian Little Mermaid rendition. Also, matching spider bites on each of my butt cheeks. We were honked at over 5 times but that’s probably in part due to our terrible planning abilities- tights and lulu lemons really get the attention when you’re sticking your butt out towards the highway, braving the brambles and reach for that bit of heaven too far away. Butts out, blackberies in. Pretty sure that at least one of those honks though, was a result of me scratching those matching bites through my skin tight pants. Whoops. TMI? Anyways, I felt a bit like a gorilla rebel going against the forces of the farm markets as I filled my bucket again and again with free berries. We were definitely the winners of the 100 mile diet yesterday!

In the end we came home with a giant pail full – aka 3 baking sheets full of berries plus a bowl in the fridge and a dumping for Amy’s breakfast cobbler. Not bad for just one hour of highway robbery.

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Amy’s Breakfast Cobbler aka Alicia’s Lunch Cobbler

Aaannnddd, that brings me to the point of this post. Breakfast. Yum. Amy ended up making a blackberry peach cobbler that looked delish! She saved me some but  I’ll be having it for lunch instead. Mom recently bought me a new box of quinoa flakes (*Note for you readers: I will always accept donations of quinoa) and I have been itching to try quinoa flake porridge. We often have porridge with whole quinoa but I’ve been getting pretty tired of the texture and have been looking for something new.

A while back, I bought myself a bag of Bobs Red Mill breakfast cereal blend -gluten free, of course, but before I could give it a try, I discovered that I cannot have corn. Alas, the search continued.  This morning I remembered the box and felt inspired for quinoa flake porridge. So, I searched the interwebs for a recipe of my liking. This one from dishes and dishes was exactly what I was looking for. (Thanks!) Simple, quick and delish.

Easy Breakfast Quinoa – Serves 1, 10 minutes total time.

Here it is, lookin’ pretty as it cooks.

1/3 cup Quinoa flakes
1 tbsp Chia
1 tbsp Flax
2 tbsp Unsweetened Coconut flakes (plus more to top)
1 cup + 1 tbsp Coconut milk (plus a bit more to top)
1 cap-full vanilla
4 (ish) dashes of cinnamon (plus one on top)
Blackberries
Honey (Definitely optional)
Throw everything except for the blackberries and honey into a saucepan and cook on medium heat.

Mine cooked for as long as it took me to put everything away and change over a load from the washer to the dryer. So, not for very long. Then I put it in a bowl, mixed in some blackberries, sprinkled some more cinnamon and coconut flakes and drizzled a minute amount of honey on top. Stirred it up and… SO good. New favorite for sure.
I loved that it turned purple. Colour is fun.

Purple breakfast!

Then I took it outside and had breakfast with the rabbit.

Too cool for school. The breakfast buddy.


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But how can you have pizza without cheese??

Today, I wanted pizza. I daydreamed up a pizza romance but it disintegrated quickly when I got to the part about actually making the beauty. HOW does one make pretty pizza when one can’t eat anything? Margarita pizza? Nope. Chicken Alfredo pizza? Nope. Barbecue chicken pizza? Noo way. Boo. What to do. Give up apparently. Part of it could have been because I was driving a school bus filled with children and needed my brain to be filled with road thoughts. That was mostly it. The rest of the reason was because I have no idea how to make regular pizza, let alone one that’s dairy free, gluten free.

Anyways, long story short, it was only in passing that I mentioned the idea Amy. She loved it. So, pizza was born! … 3 hours and a trip to Choices later (at least I’m spending my money good food and not McDonald?). Delicious, cheese-less *all but one, super healthy pizza.

Beans, beef, tomato sauce, onion, tomatoes.

Dough credit to Amy. Vegetables credit to Ben and Amy. Meat and tomato sauce were a team effort. I spent the money and had the brain child.

I know that she ignored and changed a bunch of the recipe but for my own reference, here is the (mostly) original based from http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-pizza-crust-recipe. Also, I bet she doubled it.

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour blend (Who knows what sort of combination Amy used)
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder or nonfat dry milk powder (this definitely did not happen. “I don’t even know what this would do…” Amy)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for dough)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for pan) (each pan)
  • Oregano?

1) Dry ingredients (except the yeast) go in the mixer. Mix until thoroughly blended.
2) Place the warm water, olive oil, yeast, and about 1/2 cup of the dry mixture into a small bowl. Stir to combine; a few lumps are OK. Set aside for 30 minutes or so, until the mixture is bubbly and smells yeasty.
3) Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, and beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes. The mixture will be thick and sticky. (I’m sure it was)
4) Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 30 minutes or so.
5) Preheat the oven to 425°F.
6) Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil onto the center of a baking sheet or 12″ round pizza pan. (We didn’t have these. So Amy improvised) Scrape the dough from the bowl onto the puddle of oil.
7) Using your wet fingers, start at the center of the dough and work outwards, pressing it into a 12″ to 14″ circle.
8) Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
9) Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes, just until it’s set.
10) Remove from the oven and top with whatever you like. Return to the oven to finish baking, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the toppings you’ve chosen.

The beautiful chicken 🙂

Sauce: Ben and Amy threw some tomatoes, orageno, garlic cloves and peppers into the bullet. I boiled it down. Voila!

Toppings: We made 5 different types of pizza. Just veggie for Amy with artichoke hearts, onion, peppers, tomatoes and herb sauce. Meat Feast with cheese for the men (and Keyli) so beef, chicken, and sausage.  Chicken for me, like Amy’s minus artichoke hearts plus tomato sauce. Taco -beans, beef, t-sauce, onion, peppers- was the biggest so nearly everyone had a slice. Mother had hers on a yeast free crust with a compilation of everything.  All in all, everyone was pleased; they were soooooooooo good! Hurray!

The crust, by the way was amazing. If I had loved it any more I probably would have spent a good 5 minutes trying to chip the stuck stuff off the pan. And since I didn’t do that, I definitely wasn’t the one who scratched the pan.. nope.

All lined up and ready to go in the oven!