As I mentioned on Day One, my journey into gluten (and corn and soy) free eating/cooking was rather sudden, initiated by an elimination diet recommended by my doctor. For six weeks I ate no: gluten, corn, soy, dairy, eggs, nightshades (tomatoes, white potatoes, and all peppers), citrus and sugar. You are probably wondering “what did she eat then?!” It’s a long story, but I ate a ton of rice and beans, raw veggies, chicken, rice-flour wraps, and sweet potatoes. 🙂 Once I began to notice the improvements in my health, it became easier to stick to, because I was getting a real pay-off for my efforts! After six weeks, I began introducing foods one at a time, and seeing how my body responded. The end result: my allergy-list mentioned before.
A major part of how I dealt with the challenge of staying away from the newly forbidden foods was focusing on how much better I was feeling. Now, I normally pride myself on being a bit of a perpetual optimist, and a knack for looking on the bright side, but I will admit to having a few lower moments (read: crying spells) over how “there is NOTHING here I can EAT!” My recourse: research, and dessert.
Dessert? YES! I have found as long as I can have a treat from time to time, I do not feel so overwhelmed with feelings of deprivation. While trying to eat, in general, a diet of whole, unprocessed foods, and low in sugar, being able to reach for “a little something” special eases the emotional component in such a major transition. It was easy enough to substitute rice pasta for the wheat, and eat vegetables and meat (or other protein) etc for a meal in the beginning. (Recommendations for specific brands coming soon!) But it was things like muffins, crackers, or treats etc that left me feeling left out and deprived.
So my first quest was for desserts or other “treats” that I could eat when others were indulging. At first, despite the shocking price tags, I looked for things I could buy, as well as make. (As I said, I prefer homemade, unprocessed foods in general). My goal was to ease up some of the emotional and planning pressure I was feeling. With my multiple food allergies, buying things is pretty tricky, as just about everything in a package has a least a little soy lecithin, and a great many gluten-free products have corn in them as well. But I have found a few I will be sharing this month (I am now able to tolerate a tiny amount of soy when eaten only from time to time, which has greatly increased my options!)
So, in the spirit of “Hey! Have a Treat!” here is a new recipe I came up with on Friday. I have been passing them out to friends and family for two days, and they have received raved reviews! Inspired by a healthy snack-streat I tweaked from the Healthy Snacks to Go E-book, (incidentally, this book is worth the money just in the snack bar/ball section!!) that tastes like a peanut butter cup, I lay in bed thinking “I bet I could make one that tastes like an Almond Joy!” And guess what… I did! 🙂
“Almond Joy” Treats
1 c. almonds (raw)
1 c. dates (more or less to taste)
5 tbs chocolate chips
3-4 tbs coconut oil
Grind the almonds and chocolate chips in your food processor (S-blade) until they are a meal (not all the way to a flour). Then add the dates. Process until the food processor stops jumping, and the dates look a similar consistancy to the almonds/chocolate chips. While processor is running, add coconut oil one tablespoon at a time until the mixture starts to clump slightly. Remove the blade, and form the mixture into balls and place on a plate or cookie sheet. Place sheet/plate in fridge or freezer to firm up. Once firm, place in an airtight container and store in fridge to maintain firmness and freshness. I will toss some into a sandwich bag or container to take for snacks- they do soften some, but they never hang around long enough for that to be a problem! 🙂
A word on the ingredients: because my specific allergies, I am careful to make sure the dates I buy have no starch in the packaging (that prevents clumping), that the almonds have no oil in the ingredients, and that I use the chocolate chips I provided in the link above. The coconut oil is 100% coconut oil (solid at room temperature).
This is part of a 31 Days series on Less Stress in Allergy-Free Eating. To view a list of all the posts in the series you can go here. To subscribe to my posts via email, you can go to my homepage, and type in your email address in the box on the right-hand margin. To view the list of over 700 bloggers participating in this 31 Days blogging challenge go here!