I love food: talking about it, thinking about it, planning, playing, and dreaming about it. And eating it, of course. I have loved cooking and food as long as I can remember. I have fond memories of wonderful artisan cheeses, homemade pizza crust, and thick, gooey lasagne. Those memories are fading for sure. When persistent, debilitating health issues made it oh-so-clear I'd need to make some changes, I entered kicking and screaming all the way---seriously out of water. I'm, thankfully, finding a way to make these changes a permanent and creative part of my life.
Beginning with gluten, then dairy, then soy and corn, I've removed all sorts of foods from my diet over the past few years. A couple of years ago I moved into the Paleo culture and find the relative simplicity charming and reassuring.
More recently, still, I've found through Carroll Food Intolerance testing that I cannot tolerate any kind of fruit or fruit derivatives. This sadly, rules out much of what had become my diet. I no longer eat olives or olive oil, for instance. The same with coconut in all shapes and forms, my beloved citrus fruit, and almost every supplement you can imagine. This is most decidedly a work in progress.
Eating well and eating simply are not mutually exclusive, thankfully. And by eating simply, I do not mean to imply for a moment that choices are few or plates are stark. The foods that come from Paleo kitchens, from bloggers, from cookbook authors, from acknowledged Paleo gurus are diverse, exciting, multi-dimensional, yet still simple in ways that matter most. It's real food. It tastes great. And I get to really cook again. No pseudo anything. This excites me. Yay!
In what often seems like an alternative universe, I taught high school students who could not, for a variety of reasons, attend traditional schools. Many of my students had been expelled from high schools or had been incarcerated or in some other kind of trouble involving the legal system. Some were seriously deficient in credits, some never learned to read well, some were parenting, some never had a legal or school problem in their lives. Many were bright and capable, others struggled. It was a diverse group, a challenge and a delight.
I say it seems like an alternative universe because I go home to a very different world. While we certainly work for a living and are not independently wealthy (darn!), our lives are comfortable. For instance, I have the distinct advantage of worrying about what I should safely eat rather than whether or not we have enough food in the house to be able to eat. We tend to be a bit indulgent with ourselves, though GK I'm sure would beg to differ. We enjoy good wines, quiet evenings, playing with food, and pampering our dog, a Frenchie named Coco. GK seems to be able to eat anything he chooses, though he prefers foods he considers healthy and is tentatively, hesitantly testing Paleo. Coco and I both have some serious food restrictions. Seems she is allergic to almost everything and now has issues with Pancreatitis. I can't eat gluten, dairy, soy, corn products, or sugar or...the list keeps growing. I cook, he cleans, Coco hangs out being delightful and tries to steal corks any chance she gets. It works.
In the kitchen, I have never been much of a baker, nor did I ever eat a lot of baked goods. I can handle an oven adequately, and I certainly enjoy putting my KitchenAid mixer to use, but my love of food and cooking lies elsewhere. I would rather braise, roast, grill, saute, simmer, or steam than bake.
I still seriously miss most cheese and cream, though I'm told now that I've eliminated fruit, I may be able to handle some dairy. I've never been a milk-drinker, so not having milk as a beverage is no problem at all. A little cheese now and then, ghee on occasion, or raw heavy cream in my coffee would be fun. Through this blog, I hope to expand my horizons and maybe my readers', though, I confess, this is primarily an exercise in focus and direction for me.