Help! I don't know how to eat anymore!

Help! I don't know how to eat anymore!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Say Yes to Carrots!

My most recent obsession has to do with food only in that it contains food products. While at Target over the weekend I purchased an exquisite body wash from Say Yes to Carrots:

It sounded like a good idea, filled with carrot juice, sweet potato, pumpkin, melon, and dead sea mud. How can you go wrong lathering all of that on your body? It was an impulse buy and I'm so glad I tried it. It smells like clean, refreshing lotion and it leaves my skin happy and smooth and my senses alert. I'm going back to Target this weekend for other reasons but will definitely be picking up their face and body sunscreens, and probably the whole rest of the line if I can't control myself (which often happens at Target, the suckhole of my bank account).

This seems like it has nothing to do with cooking, but inspiration comes from funny places.

Last night I was catching up on Hell's Kitchen and couldn't help but drool over the small, delicate, sauteed whole carrots they kept making over and over as garnish. I couldn't get them out of my head today, then took a shower with my carrot body wash. I threw on a dress, jumped on my Vespa, and headed to the health food store down the street for some carrots. The first house in town my parents bought when I was two years old was just up the street from a health food store, and ironically the home my sister and I bought last year is up a different street from the same store in it's new location. However, when I went today I did not purchase one of those gross chocolate soy drinks in the Capri Sun container. No thank you.

I digress.

I bought carrots, lots of them. I've read that they can be added to almost anything (mashed potatoes, banana bread, raita, muffins, marinara sauce) without people noticing because they have such a watery subtle taste, and I fully plan on using my Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juicer to juice them for smoothies.
On a side note, if you don't own a juicer, check this thing out. It is absolutely amazing and requires no peeling, chopping, or deseeding.

I'd had homemade chicken and potato tikka masala over rice last night for dinner and the leftovers for lunch today (more on that delicious endeavor later), so I wanted something light. I settled on carrot and ginger soup, an idea put into my head by my best friend over at Tasty Bits and Knits:

I found this recipe over at and tweaked it a little to better suite my tastes. It can be served either hot or cold, and is absolutely delicious both ways. If you need to hearty it up a bit, I think it would be fantastic with some shrimp simmered in.

Say Yes to Carrot and Ginger Soup!
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 thinly sliced leek (white part only)
1 white onion, diced
1-2 large bunches organic carrots, chopped (depends on how ginergy you want the soup to come out...I used one bunch and it was quite strong, could have used a few more carrots)
4 cups vegetable stock
7 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 cups fresh carrot juice
1/2 cup light sour cream
Generous amount of ground black pepper

In a large stockpot, heat oil on high until hot. Add leeks and onion and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes until the onions start wilting. Add carrots and 2 tbsp water, then cook for 10 minutes, covered and stirring occasionally. Add vegetable stock and ginger and simmer 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then pour into a food processor, or a blender if you're like me and don't have one, with fresh carrot juice and purée. Strain through a fine sieve and discard the pulp (there won't be much).  Add sour cream and pepper and heat 3-4 minutes, stirring until completely incorporated. Season generously with black pepper.

Bon appetit...just not wheat!

Who? What? Wheat.

Growing up I was never that concerned about food. When I was little I had a dairy allergy and remember walking with my mom and dad to the health food store down the street when I'd been good for a "treat." My favorite thing to snatch up was either an all natural raspberry licorice stick or a soy chocolate drink in a package shaped like Capri Suns before they existed. Today I would never think of chocolate soy milk as a treat, more of a punishment actually as I can't stand the taste of soy milk, but as a teenager I learned I had had an allergy to cow milk as a child. Throughout my adolescence and teen years, I ate whatever my mom made, though sometimes with reluctance. I coveted candy and pizza as normal kids do, but they were rarities in our house as my mom favored cost and nutrition over my desires.

Due to my half-Dutch ancestry, I've always carried around a small belly pooch. My mom had it, her mom had it, it's just in our blood as Dutch women. I was never overweight, never obsessed much about what to eat, how much, or how it affected me. In college I was in the best shape of my life after adopting a strict routine of the South Beach Diet and Mari Winsor Pilates, but as I continue to age my body has decided to begin spreading and enlarging to prepare for children. In 2005 my mother was murdered and I somehow learned to cope through food and shopping. Over the last few years I have gained and lost weight every season, and this past winter I reached my highest weight ever.
I don't feel fat per se, but I could stand to lose a few and I have never been fully comfortable in my own skin. So, I decided to do something about it. Tragedy has already affected me so deeply emotionally and internally, but if I continue to let it affect me physically I will never have the strength to keep fighting. Throughout last winter, I took advantage of my natural habit of putting on a few pounds to survive the cold and ate anything and everything without much consequence. I kept up at the gym as much as I could, but it wasn't enough to counteract what I was doing to my body. I began to take notice of what I was eating at each meal and taking stock of how I felt as I digested each one. As my mom had entered her mid-40's she began to have severe issues with dairy and wheat, and in my early 20's I noticed I had begun to once again grow intolerant of dairy so I knew I had to be careful.

As the weeks passed, I began to notice that every time I had breads, beer, crackers, and the like, I felt horrendous. There was a hard knot in my abdomen accompanied by sharp pain and I would grow lethargic after each meal containing wheat.

Today I have gone one month without wheat and feel so so much better. I've been accused of hopping on some kind of wheat-free fad train, but this is what works for me.

The only problem is... I have no idea what to eat.

Over the last month, my food repertoire has been fairly limited to Mexican food, lots of dairy (cottage cheese, cheese, yogurt, cereal with Lactaid milk), wheat-free crackers, lots of fruit and veggies, and meat. It was quite refreshing for a little while, a diet I didn't really have to try and follow that helped me drop 5 pounds immediately. My food stopped involving much cooking and I'm starting to miss it. Planning and enjoying meals rather than just getting through them is my preferred way to live, so here we go. This blog is my attempt to help out those in my position. I want to help you to break out of your rut and learn to enjoy food again, even with the absence of wheat. I want to share my journey as an aid to others, but also as a reminder to myself as to why I shouldn't eat that loaf of chibatta no matter how much I swear I won't care about the consequences. I'm learning to accept what my body is telling me and trying to accommodate and grow with it.

So here we go. Bon appetit...just not wheat!