Forgetti Spaghetti

Leaving it all behind and taking strides toward a healthy life.


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A Well-Rounded…but Different Diet

You might be wondering why none of our recipes or grocery lists contain nuts. Basically, we have dedicated ourselves to making our home an allergen-free environment. One of my closest and dearest friends, Shannon, has a little boy with SEVERE food allergies. His name is Asher. He is allergic to dairy, soy, wheat, legumes, tree nuts, eggs, dogs, cats, and who knows what else! He is anaphylactic to peanuts, most tree nuts, and eggs. We started off making our home nut-free because that was pretty easy. We wanted a place where he could come and play; he is C’s best friend and they are about the same age. But we had a difficult time changing, especially with informing our friends and family of the hows and whys, and we still had eggs around. It really wasn’t that safe.

As our journey began to include eating differently, and as we came across food problems with E, we decided to go all out. Going on the whole food eating plan has eliminated eggs from our diet. By not eating the foods we usually put eggs in, we don’t have to worry about having them. We didn’t eat eggs by themselves much, but we baked and made soups with eggs a lot. We moved into a new house and decided before we moved that there would be no nuts and no eggs in that house. And now that we barely eat meat, eggs are a non-issue.

Beans are a legume, and so are peas and green beans, which we do eat in our house. They are actually very common in many things we make. Asher isn’t too allergic to black beans, which is mostly what we eat. The lighter the bean, the higher his allergic response, so we try to keep great northern beans to a minimum. We use them sometimes in soups, but that is it. So our house isn’t completely allergen-free, but Shannon and Asher do not have to worry about him going into anaphylactic shock from anything in our home. We are especially careful about what is brought in. We have told our close friends and family to keep outside food away, which wasn’t a big issue anyway. Because E has his issues with dairy and soy, we understand even more (though I’m sure not completely) what they go through. It is important to have people in your life that understand and are supportive. Plus, C love Asher and being able to have him in our home while eating more healthy is only a positive.

Even when we had decided to make our new home safe for Asher, we still were eating lots of boxed things. Most of which were contaminated with nuts. We are so glad that we aren’t eating that stuff anymore anyway for our own health, but it is a great by-product of our choice that our place is totally nut-free. It’s important to know that most things, even if they don’t contain nuts, are contaminated by the facility they are packaged or manufactured in.

So now you know why we don’t eat nuts. We don’t think nuts are bad for most people, but we do think people should be more aware of where they eat nuts, and the consequences of careless eating in public places. Nuts can be very nutritious and a good source of protein and good fats, but for us, it is not worth the risk.

To read more about Shannon and Asher’s story, find great vegan and nut-free recipes, and connect with other food-allergy families, go to http://thisanaphylacticlife.blogspot.com. And visit the FAAN website for more info on food allergies and their prevalence in our nation.

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Recipe >> Amazing Black Bean Burgers

I couldn’t wait to share this recipe! I love just winging it in the kitchen…it’s always fun to see what happens. I’m sitting here eating these as we speak. As is my 2 year old, and my 1 year old is downing it. He has eaten a whole, adult size burger and is dancing in his high chair. I’m taking that response as a couple of great reviews.

Here’s how to make these amazing black bean burgers. What you need:

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked (or 1 cup, and eat the other half as a side, which is what I did…because I didn’t know how much I needed)
1/4-1/2 cup quinoa flakes (I got these at my local coop/health food store, Ancient Harvest brand)

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1 zucchini, cut into good sized chunks
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive oil

In a pan, cook the pepper, onion, and garlic until they are soft enough to blend. If you don’t want to fry, you could steam or cook them another way, but fying makes the burgers super yummy. I cooked my quinoa in the rice cooker, and steamed the zucchini above that until it was soft as well. Use as much or as little of each veggie as you want! Take the black beans, veggies, and garlic and blend them in a food processor (I used my tiny mini black and decker, three batches, and it worked fine) until some of it is pureed, and some of it is chunky bits of beans and veggies. Yum. Put in a bowl and mix in the quinoa. Next add quinoa flakes until the mixture isn’t as wet. It will still be sticky, but that is good. It will dry out more as it cooks, so it needs to be a tad wet and sticky or it will fall apart. Add any spices you want. I used pepper, some hot pepper flakes, rosemary, and a little salt. Patty up the “burgers” and stick them in the fridge so they can set for about 15 minutes. Fry them on the stove or bake them in the oven until hot. If you bake, turn them carefully after about 5-10 minutes. I fried them, so they got nice and crispy on the outside, but frying isn’t the best thing for you. These would cook ok on the grill if you put foil over the slots of the grill. A good summer food, too. C had hers with a whole wheat bun, but E and I ate them naked. And they were so good either way!

I topped it with Trader Joes Red Pepper Spread with Eggplant and Garlic. It has sugar in it, which I’m trying to avoid, but it is so delicious on these burgers! A little goes a long way too, so I figured it was ok. 😉

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Recipe >> Easy Mini Pizzas

This is a super awesome recipe for kids. My two year old helped me make it, and she keeps asking for it. We’ve had it three times in one week! (Partly because we are moving, and it is easy…partly because…yum!)

This is my recipe for easy mini pizzas.

You will need:
Whole grain mini pitas
Olive oil
Basil
Spinach
Fresh tomatoes
Ground flax seed
Fresh, whole (I used part-skim) mozzarella

Put a little olive oil all over the top of the pitas. Finely chop spinach and basil (I do this for the kids’ sake…they won’t eat it if they see it) and sprinkle it on the olive oil covered pita. Also sprinkle some ground flax seed for added nutrition.

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Thinly slice some mozzarella, or cheese alternative if you prefer, and put that on top of of the green stuff. Put under a broiler until the cheese melts, remove. Top with fresh tomatoes, cut into four little pieces, and serve!


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Unseen Consequences of Drastically Changing Your Diet

Last night I had something strange happen to me. I was putting my son down, sitting in a dark room rocking him, and I felt like I could barely see. I knew it was dark, but it was more than that. Later, I was editing photos, and the same thing happened. It was vague, so I couldn’t tell exactly what was going on.

When Jon came home from work, we sat down to watch an episode of “New Girl” before bed, and by the end of the show, I felt like I could barely see. It was like pins and needles, but with my vision instead of a sensation. That’s the only way I know to describe it.

I did have a headache, only the last 30 minutes of the night. Otherwise, I felt fine. It was just plain and simple, strange.

Now obviously I am stressed. We are completely changing our lifestyle, all while moving to a new house. But I haven’t felt overloaded. I talked to Jon and a nursing friend, and they both said it sounded like a migraine. A migraine? Sure I’ve had a small handful in my lifetime, but it was always blinding pain, sensitivity to light and noise…I didn’t even have a headache when it started. Upon further research, I think they’re right. My body is going through detox. I have been eating sooo well, but that means that I have cut a lot of chemicals and genetically modified food out of my diet. Cold turkey. I’ve felt great, and I have had no desire to go back. But my body feels differently. I guess this is just something I wish I was aware of when I started this new change. I did a lot of research, and never saw that this can happen. Until I looked specifically for it. I wouldn’t have changed my mind, I still believe that doing this is the best thing for my family and me. But at least I wouldn’t have been freaking out at midnight wondering if I was doing something wrong, eating too much or too little of something, and losing my vision. Yes, I am a freak. But that’s why you’ll come to love me. 😀

But seriously….know that this is possible. If you are just looking for information about whole, vegan, raw, or even just organic foods, know your body is dependent on what you are eating now. For me, it is showing me how incredibly bad most food really is. If my body can feel this way, and my brain can hurt and spaz out like that just from eating differently….wow. I can’t get over that. My body was dependent on chemicals. And I didn’t eat that poorly…I mean, I tried to be healthy. I ate a lot of dairy, a good chunk of processed foods…but all whole grains and mostly only lean meat. It just doesn’t matter. It’s all packed with junk. Crap. Horrible stuff.

And I am SO over it.


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The Beginning >> My First Whole Food Diet Grocery List

I’m planning my first trip to the grocery store to buy only whole food items. I refuse to buy any more processed food. No more white sugar, no more white flour (although we really don’t eat that anyway), no more processed cheese or other dairy products, frozen meals that are so easy to pop in the microwave. In fact, it’s a goal of mine to get rid of the microwave all-together! This is month 1 before/after. I’ll show you what my goals are, and what I end up with.

Here is what is on my shopping list:
XRaw broccoli
XCucumber
XZucchini and/or other squash
XSweet potatoes/yams
XPeppers
XLots of spinach for salads and smoothies
XFrozen organic fruit
Bananas
XApples
XPears
Goji Berries (if I can find them!)
XAvacados
XFlax Seeds
Chia Seeds
XWhole grains, like oatmeal and some sort of whole grain flour
Rye bread
Vegi-Delite Zing Salad (cultured vegetables…dying to try it!)
XSunflower seeds
XSunbutter (like peanut butter, but made with sunflower seeds…and yummy!)
Lentils
XOnions
XQuinoa (this is a grain that offers complete protein…everything your body needs for breaking it down and is very nutritious)
XKale

I’m currently researching what and how to use sea vegetables, because they offers complete nutrition and a higher percentage of it…truly a superfood. Not even sure if I can get any of it at the store. And I’m sure I’m going to have to go to at least a couple different places. Will start at Trader Joes, then to Open Harvest (a local co-op/health food store).

UPDATE:

I made it to Trader Joes, got everything with X’s by them. I also got:

Organic carrots
Red Pepper Spread (for sandwiches, lettuce wraps, etc)
Organic frozen peas
Whole mozzarella (I’ve read this is considered a whole food, we use it on pizza and that’s it)
Whole wheat mini pita bread (great for C’s sunbutter and jelly sandwiches, and mini pizzas)
Organic golden potatoes
Organic brown basmati rice (for Indian food…yum!)
Organic roma tomatoes
Organic cherry tomatoes
Quinoa and black bean chips
Falafel (garbanzo bean) chips
Garlic
Organic yellow mustard (which is egg contaminated and we won’t be taking on the move, sadly)
Organic limes
Dried mango, no added sugar, not sulferized
Apple crushers (C and E were starving, it was a long trip to the store)

I spent $156. I didn’t go to Open Harvest yet, but I found Trader Joes to be good enough for now. I got so much stuff, a lot of it is basic and I won’t need to buy more for awhile. Other stuff, like spinach, I’m finding I need a lot more than I bought. For myself, I am trying to stay away from dairy and wheat, and having a harder time with the wheat than the dairy, which is very surprising. I am going to have to go back again today, but all in all, we did a good job for our first trip. And we’ve done a great job of jumping in! More about that in another post though!


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The Beginning >> Goals

Our house is full of crap food still…bad cereal, bad crackers, bad bread, bad everything! We have lots of meat in the freezer, and hardly any veggies or fruit anywhere to be seen. Original plan was to just eat it till it was gone, but not buy any more. I thought that that would help us transition into something that is so different from what we are used to. It probably will help the kids, especially C. But my mindset has changed so much in the past couple weeks that I don’t even want to do that. I want to throw it all out, but we can’t afford to do something so drastic. After one day of eating well, and snacking on raw broccoli instead of anything else, and I feel 1000% better than usual. So I thought I should outline what I am expecting from this change. I know why I am doing this, but will I remember when I really want something I shouldn’t have? I’ve written about the whys. Now here is what I expect from eating only whole foods and cutting out most meat, dairy, and soy.

[one] >> better immediate health

[two] >> better long-term health and virtually take away our risk for…
-heart disease
-type 2 diabetes
-most cancers
-and so on and so forth…because we are at risk, through genetics and/or our old lifestyle, for all of that and probably more.

[three] >> more energy
I am sick of feeling lethargic and tired all the time. Sometimes I don’t get enough sleep, sometimes I get plenty. It doesn’t seem to change how I feel. I know Jon feels the same way.

[four] >> to lose weight, and as a result, take away Jon’s need for cpap
This is a lofty goal. Jon has severe sleep apnea, and possibly narcolepsy. I feel that if we eat totally healthy and lose weight as a result, Jon might be able to get rid of it. At least it will decrease the severity of it.

[five] >> better focus
I had to sit here and think for a minute what I was just thinking about typing. Know what I mean? Mommy-brain can only be blamed for so much…and I’m pretty sure I’ve lived my whole life with ADD. Who’s to say that can’t be fixed?

[six] >> to give our kids the best chance for healthy living as adults
Healthy eating habits last a lifetime.

[seven] >> to support local organic growers and farmers by shopping the farmer’s markets and not support big corporations that run large companies that make and advertise for food that is unhealthy and then market specifically to our weaknesses as Americans

[eight] >> to be able to say we don’t eat fast food. ever.

[nine] >> to have the energy to exercise regularly, and the desire to, and do it, including being able to run a 5k this year

[ten] >> to live a more organic lifestyle
This isn’t just about eating for us. We want to become more self-sufficient. Grow more things this summer, do a lot more DIY projects, spend more time playing with the kids and not watching tv, continue to use cloth diapers, etc. and not do what is easy just because it is easy.

[eleven] >> to learn more and be well-read on what we are doing so we can tell others about it

[twelve]  >> to ditch the microwave…maybe that seems unecessary, but I just don’t want to cook that way and instead, want to either make soups and boil our food, or steam.  While we will still stir fry, bake, roast, and grill, we will try to keep that to 10-20% of the time.

[thirteen]  >> to eat most of our food raw

I’ll check in after a couple months of doing it and see where we are at. This should be interesting. I feel like I’m diving into a different culture and don’t really know what to expect!


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DIY >> Decorate Your Dishes

Here’s a fun thing to do if you like to add your own flair to things!

I was bored today, and I love looking at pinterest for great do-it-yourself ideas. I found an article about drawing with ink on a mug…well I had these sharpie oil paint pens, so I used that instead.  This is something that doesn’t take much time, and is pretty fun and easy. Decorate your dishes! Today I did a couple mugs, later I will do the plates too! We have had this dish set since we were married 8 years ago, and I was feeling the need for a change. I had the necessary tools on hand thanks to our photography packaging projects.

So here’s what you need:
Mugs or dishes with a smooth area to draw on
A pencil
Sharpie oil paint pen(s)

First make sure your surface is clean and smooth.

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Next draw your design on with pencil. It makes step three much easier and will make you more confident with the paint.

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Lastly, draw over the pencil with the sharpie oil paint pen. I used a gold colored one. Make sure you let it dry as you go so you don’t rub it off with your fingers or table. Once you are done, let it dry very well. I let mine dry over night just to be safe.

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Once it is all done and dry, it is ready to use and should be safe to hand-wash. I ran them through the dishwasher  and they were fine, but I would recommend hand washing for longevity. Enjoy your “new” dishes! Everything is more fun with sharpies!