Warning: this blog is about to get a little "niche"

I'm on a crusade over here. It involves finding a way of life in which I can eat and not become horribly ill a few hours later. I have intermittent "episodes" where I get very sick depending on what I eat (and sometimes mystifyingly not what I eat). It's a long story that is still developing, and I'll spare you the personal details. But after my first round of tests came back, it was conclusive that I do not have celiac disease (aka "gluten intolerance" though there is always the chance that the test results were inaccurate). But I seem to sometimes have a wheat sensitivity. And the same goes for dairy. I have developed a milk/dairy sensitivity in the past months as well (which includes butter, whimper). And more tests are on the horizon to determine what—definitively—I am/am not actually allergic to (this may all be temporary, after all). But in the mean time, I know I have to avoid wheat and dairy (and processed sugar, if I can help it—but bring on the agave nectar + honey, please). And since I've discovered that going wheat-free is essentially going gluten-free (a diet I was experimentally on in the first place), I am continuing with the gluten-free trend. And that, friends, family, and readers alike, is why this blog has just landed itself in the select group of bloggers who are forging ahead with food sensitivities.

Usually these types of dietary adjustments involve children. But since my children would have no trouble living off of wheat bread, cheese, and the energy of the univers alone, they seem to be exempt from this issue (fingers crossed this continues to be the case). But that means I've been preparing different meals for everyone in the house while experimenting with this transition. Before deciding to jump head first into a primarily gluten-free kitchen, Finn and Maya might eat their age-appropriate dinner while Wes would say, "Don't worry about me." Then he would head off to make a burrito. I've been left eating the uber exciting chicken-brown rice-veggie combo that would double as both recovery food after an "episode" and the new gluten-free diet. It's b-o-r-i-n-g. I am already tiring of the smell and taste of brown rice (always cooking in my rice steamer).

I've even started buying gluten-free mixes, snacks, and soups at Fresh & Easy or Trader Joe's when I'm in a lazy bind. But a lot of those foods are really really gross. I'm not going to lie. I don't think I've ever tasted anything more "cardboard box" than pre-packaged gluten-free cookies. Yuck. And the price! So very expensive. Clearly not going to work. So I went online in search of some recipe blogs (now located in my sidebar below) to help out in the kitchen. And I immediately ordered two books that I know are going to make a huge difference (click titles for links to shop):

The recipes in this book look off the charts delicious. And Silvana breaks everything down, so that you know exactly what to buy. She's tested it all, and distilled it down into this goldmine. She has seriously done all the work, and offered it up to us in a hard-bound, beautifully photographed, silver platter of a resource. I immediately gave a huge sigh of relief when I opened this book. Her household is gluten-free, and everyone is able to enjoy delicious meals without missing out on anything. I love the thought of cooking one meal for everyone, without skipping a beat.

Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked-About Bakery

OK. I'm good. :) That's all I needed to see!

I plan to document this excursion into a new realm (makes it sound kind of exciting, right...right?). My flour and starches are ordered. My Vitamix is ready to grind some rice into flour. I can do this, right...right? I promise it won't TAKE OVER my blog. But if you happen to be gluten or dairy free at your house, and want to share your favorites or tips, please leave me a comment, or email me at lyndsayjohnson@gmail.com—I'd love to hear from you. 

And since I have them cooling on the rack in the kitchen, I thought I'd do a quick review of Bob's Red Mill Chocolate Chip Cookies. I had to cook them longer than the bag states (but I always add 5-7 minutes cook time in my weird-o oven). The taste is decidedly...hearty. I can taste the blend of alternate grains, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Somehow they have the satisfying taste of peanut butter cookies (though this mix is nut-free). And the texture is right on (crispy outside, chewy center). The kids LOVE them (I can hear them "silently" filching them from the rack right now). Bottom line, they do not taste like regular chocolate chip cookies. But they are still a good cookie when you want a quick mix! Especially when I am craving something sweet tonight. :) 

Here's to health!

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Beth said...

I went on a temporary allergic-experiment when nursing Audrey b/c she had horrible hives as an infant and they thought she might have a lot of food sensitivities (ends up she didn't). But someone recommended the Enjoy Life Foods brand - I know they sell it at Whole Foods. It is cookies and baked goods, cereals, GF trail mixes, etc. And definitely post about the Babycakes. I've been wanting to go try their stuff and make a trip downtown to their LA bakery - just for fun. Good luck Lyndsay. I really hope you find some relief. It is so hard when your body feels broken. :(

Unknown said...

Doug has Celiac's so we have some GF resources and experimental ideas. I'm a bit busy at the moment but if I don't email you in the next couple of days, remind me and I'll send you some thoughts.

Brandy said...

Hey Lyndsay! I feel like you're my new best friend. I've been scouring your blog looking for pictures of your hair. :) I'm chopping mine off Tuesday. My daughter even asks to "watch spiky hair, mama. watch spiky hair". (Wow, I sound crazy. I'm really quite nice!)

My daughter is 4 and has issues with milk. She is allergic to the protein. They didn't do the right blood test for that allergy, but given all the symptoms they assumed it was the problem. I think they can even tell through blood work whether you're allergic to the casein or the whey. (Little Miss Muffet knew what she was talking about) I had to take her off everything with any form of those proteins in it and I was surprised at how many things had added whey!! And there are several different names for those proteins as well. So you might want to check labels of seemingly innocent things just in case it's part of the problem.

Hope you feel better soon! And feel free not to publish this as a comment. I can't use your contact button because I never set up my email through the computer.

embot said...

Babycakes!! super grand idea. way to take control, lady.

Sarah Bradford-Burton said...

I still highly suggest the GAPS diet dear! I know it would be hard, but you can heal your guts! Really!

Also, don't forget to get rid of condiments, they are usually packed with allergens...especially soy sauce (has wheat in it too).

I'm currently having a "breakdown" about how to heal Holland's problems...it's so depressing and overwhelming...we need to chat!

Kelly Mo said...

Check out the blogs:


Good luck with your quest for answers.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried green smoothies? Lots to learn at greensmoothiegirl.com.

Senja said...

Oh man, it sucks that you don't yet know what is going on. :(

But you know what - I don't mind a "food niche" :)

Hope you feel better soon!

XO Senja

Jessica said...

Hi Lyndsay! So I'm with Sarah on the GAPS diet. It's a lot to swallow but I am a believer. You can read the book and also visit Kara Bagley's blog Taste is Trump (Rachael's sis in-law). We're not currently doing it but have in the past, but we most always avoid refined sugars and grains, and do mostly gluten free stuff.

Also, kind of personal but did you have a colonoscopy? I wonder if you have Crohn's like Rome...? It is very hard to diagnose.

Typical store-bought pasteurized, homogonized, fortified milk is definitely yucky stuff for the body/digestive system. We drink raw milk if you want to look more into that, I'm also a big advocate! And it is legal in Cali, so I'm very jealous!

Okay, that's all for now...love you guys!