January 28, 2015

Diet Confessions & Compromises from a Newly Gluten-Free Family.

Photo: Leann Shamash on Pixoto.

Yesterday was the two-week mark of all my grand plans and resolutions. And for some reason I chose that day to put most of the things in my mouth that I was not supposed to.

I had dairy, wheat, and a martini.

Okay, two martinis.

But, I am back on my health wagon today.

The decision to eliminate dairy, gluten, sugar, and alcohol from my diet came from two places: my shameless love of Webmd and The Fast Metabolism Diet that has worked really well for a friend. Webmd provided a lot of anecdotal evidence that reducing dairy and gluten could improve arthritis.

The Fast Metabolism diet works by eliminating a lot of the same things.

The last two weeks have been a roller coaster ride for sure. The first week, I must have been detoxing because I was exhausted all week—like I had a sleeping sickness. And, my face broke out which also happens every time I try to clean up my act with food. (It is like some weird deal with the devil where I can be skinny, but will have such bad acne I won’t want to leave the house). I couldn’t get on any of my other resolutions the first week because I was simply just too tired.

Trying to figure out what I could eat and what my family was willing to tolerate cost twice my allotted food budget at the store.

Finally on Sunday, I got my energy back and spent the day cooking. I made kale chips, almond butter dairy-free, gluten-free rice Krispie treats, and a vegan Tex Mex casserole. All three were a success. The teenager didn’t eat the Tex Mex casserole, but I knew it would be out of her wheelhouse.

Emboldened, I progressed onto dairy-free, gluten-free pasta with cream sauce. I was so pleased with myself for making cashew cream in the Vitamix. It was okay, but I was starting to press my luck. The final crash came when I decided to make buffalo cauliflower bites that the Internet promised me would taste just like my beloved wings.

They didn’t. Not even close.

That was the night my daughter pulled my husband aside and begged him to please take back over the cooking.

But good things have happened even though I have not been perfect. I have lost a total of five and a half pounds in two weeks. I doubled up the credit card payment and put money in savings. And, I bought running shoes that I might actually run in.

The hardest part of navigating all of this is finding meals with recognizable ingredients that are affordable and will please the whole family. Looking for dairy-free recipes has led me to a lot of vegan cookbooks and websites and I have found some great stuff, but knowing where to shop for these items and whether or not everyone will eat them is a different story.

And then things happen like the purple potato argument. I told my husband we were having purple potatoes because they were better for us, but I was vague about how exactly they were better for us.

He challenged my choice of potato and finally Google was called in to solve this problem.

The good news is that I was right. In case you were wondering, purple potatoes are full of antioxidants.

Recipe for Kale Chips that even a picky teenager will eat:


  • A large bunch of kale
  • Olive Oil
  • Packet of taco seasoning

Remove stems from the kale and break leaves into chip-sized pieces. Swirl the olive oil around the bowl a couple of times. (It will end up being a couple of tablespoons of oil) Massage the kale-which means to toss it with your hands and rub the oil into the leaves. Put the kale on a cookie sheet in one layer; sprinkle about half the taco seasoning on the kale; and cook for 25 minutes at 300 degrees, checking it about halfway through to either flip it or rotate the pan.


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Author: Liz Ward 

Editor: Renee Picard 

Photo: Leann Shamash at Flickr 

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