If you’ve stumbled upon this blog, then chances are you and I have something in common. We both love food and have been tasked with cooking not only for ourselves, but for others as well. The odds of everyone in your family and social circle following the same diet are slim to none. My goal is to help you navigate those differences with simple, delicious recipes that will please everyone. Additionally, I want to educate readers about those varying diets. This is meant to be a place for you to learn, be inspired and find comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone.
I’ve always loved food, but over the years my tastes have changed dramatically. When I was younger I used to eat a lot of junk food, especially after a hard day at work or a night out with my friends. As time went on I became more concerned about my health and how my choices were affecting me. I started to see the pounds creep up on the scale and developed a strange rash on my elbows. I would later find out at a dermatologist visit that I have psoriasis. So, I used prescriptions in an attempt to calm my skin. After a few years of trying topical medications, I was unhappy with the side effects and underwhelming results, so I decided to try a different route.
I jumped online to research alternative solutions to my problem. I became fascinated with the notion of healing not only my skin condition, but a myriad of other ailments through diet and lifestyle changes. To think that the human body, with all of its complicated processes, can be altered by something as simple as eating more vegetables and choosing natural remedies was so incredible to me. It was an epiphany. All the pieces clicked into place. I could save money and time by not running to a doctor every time I felt sick. I could save my body the ill effects of chemical exposure and replace that with the benefits of exposure to natural products. I literally held the key to my own health and well being. This may seem like common sense to some, but bear in mind at the time I was in my early twenties and never really felt compelled to care.
I found an integrative doctor that could still prescribe me traditional western medicine if needed, but was also open to utilizing alternative treatment when possible. After a basic check up, she advised me to try an 80/20 alkaline diet along with some supplements. In a nutshell, this diet emphasizes consuming mostly fruits and vegetables and less animal products and processed foods. My next stop was the grocery store to stock up on healthy produce, then home to start my new “prescription.” It was hard at first, but as time went on, it became easier, especially as I saw the effects. I lost weight, my skin glowed and I felt better than I had in years! I took it a step further than my doctor suggested and became vegan. It made it easier to eliminate the calculation of how much of my meal was alkaline and how much was acidic if I just ate nothing but alkaline foods. This also led to becoming gluten free for a brief period. Those choices demanded a lot of will power to sustain.
One of the hardest parts was explaining it to everyone. They either didn’t understand or disagreed and I felt like I was inconveniencing them. I began to exclude myself from social functions because it was just easier to prepare and eat my own food in my own house. If I went to a party or family dinner, I’d either eat beforehand and barely eat anything at the function or bring my own food because I never knew if the host was able or willing to accommodate my new diet. At restaurants I’d make a meal out of sides because most establishments don’t have alkaline or vegan entrée choices on the menu. This all led to feeling awkward and associated negativity with food altogether. I had forced myself into this rigid label that limited my experiences. I had learned to hate certain food groups and started hating the ones I had come to love. Sometimes my chosen diet made people feel judged as much as I felt judged by them. Was I viewed as snobbish because I eschewed the things they loved? This was a turning point.
Over time I started easing up on my dietary restrictions. I decided life is too short to not try things, especially if those things are exotic delicacies while traveling abroad to places you may never be again, or simply your grandmother’s mac & cheese she made especially for you because she knows you don’t eat meat and it would break her heart if you told her you also don’t eat dairy or gluten. Yes, I gained weight. Yes, my skin has flare ups. The payoff is I’m happier because I no longer feel left out. I no longer stress over food choices thus I feel healthier on an emotional level. I’ve adopted my doctor’s original prescription more or less, but I don’t necessarily sit there and calculate every meal with accuracy. I simply try to eat mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant based protein. I indulge in dairy occasionally, order fish if I feel it’s worth it, and if the mood strikes, steal a piece of my husband’s bacon. Moderation really has proven to be the key to my overall health.
Although I choose to eat animal products rarely and use natural products rather than chemicals when possible, I disagree with forcing those choices on others or making them feel ashamed for their choices. If people are genuinely interested in learning I try to educate them and let them decide what’s best for them. My goal is to balance my content so everyone can find something relatable and useful while still teaching about my values. This is why you’ll find an emphasis on healthy, plant based recipes on this blog, along with some omnivore friendly and downright sinful treats as well. Hopefully you’ll find a new favorite and join me in my culinary adventures. Let’s savor life together, one recipe at a time!