Friday, 16 August 2013

My Adventures with Detoxification

I am so hesitant to tell people when I am on a detox.  I guess I don't want them to get the impression that I have an addiction that I am trying to overcome.  Looking up "detox" on the web gives me what I expect: detoxification especially of alcohol or illegal and addictive drugs.  But looking up "detoxification" gives a better meaning to what I do:  the process of removing toxins.  That is exactly what I am doing, removing toxins that have accumulated in my body.

There are many different versions of detox programs and I will share with you what I have found.  I have this wonderful little book on detox "The Detox Handbook" by Maria Costantino that I have had on my bookshelf since university.  I don't even remember where I picked it up, I'm sure it was in one of those bargain bins in a grocery store or Canadian Tire.  I wish I had tried a detox when I got it, it would have been so helpful in figuring out my stomach.  I also have been doing detoxification programs through my naturopath Dr Patti Yik.  It has made such a difference, she has been invaluable.  I also got a pamphlet at the Calgary Wellness Festival a few years ago on Raw Foods Vegetarianism Detoxification, it sure has some interesting information but confirms what the other two have said in a lot of ways.  But it goes into some stuff that is too much for me: nothing cooked, enemas, impants, colonic .... :/

Don't take this as medical advice, I'm not a doctor.  I am writing this so you can see that detox isn't a scary thing and it doesn't have to be that hard.  You should read up on detox yourself before doing it and perhaps talk with a professional if you want.

Length of detox varies between all of the types, you can do one weekend, one week, two weeks, three weeks, one month or a lifetime.  I don't think any less that a week would be good but that is just my opinion.  You could also do it on a regular schedule.  Most suggest twice a year, but I have found that you can feel when you need another one.

1.  Most kits or books have a quiz that you take to help you see where you are, they ask all sorts of questions about symptoms that you might not think about: headaches, gas, bloating, energy level, moods, body aches, skin condition.

2.  The big part of detox is cutting out possible allergens.  So what you should do is a hypoallergenic diet like mine.  When I detox I also take out bananas, excess sugar, red meat peanuts, peppers and sometimes soy.  Try to eat whole food, not prepackaged. The important thing is to eat as much as your body wants/needs, detox is not a starvation diet.  Things that the detox handbook suggests to cut out are:
-wheat & gluten
-citrus (except lemon)
-night shade vegetables (tomatoe, potatoe, peppers, eggplant)

3.  The next part is taking something to help the liver and encourage elimination & cleansing.  This could be pills, shakes, or lemon in water.

4.  Last but not least is adding things to help you relax.  This could be anything as long as it makes you happy: meditation, quite time, yoga, morning routine, exercise, journaling.

When you finish the detox you take the quiz again and see how far you have come.  Then try adding things in one at a time for a few days each, the slow introduction allows you to identify what might be bothering you.  Sometimes you don't notice the symptoms when you only have something once, it might need to build up in your system.

So it's not that hard and it's really great for your body.  Also, from my blog you can see that eating out is possible on a cleanse, so don't be scared to do it for an entire month.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Gnocci Gnocci

The first and only time I had gnocci was at this high end italian restaurant downtown.  It was a great experience and I got an appreciation for it at that time.  I was so excited to see a gluten-free gnocci when I was in CO-OP.  It was a nice quick meal, only a 2 minute cook time.  I paired it with some olive oil and fresh lime juice.  I had enough for leftovers though I would recommend boiling again for reheat as the microwave made some of the pieces a bit tough.  I will get this product again.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Home-made Goodness (aka I have the best boyfriend)

So when I started dating this lovely guy he started cooking for me.  It has been a delicious adventure.

He made pancakes using a gluten-free flour mix.
It was an awesome idea, next time we will use a gluten free recipe.
Both removing the gluten and the eggs require a specifically tested recipe.
It tasted great though ended up a bit doughy.

Another breakfast.  Gluten free vegan french toast!
An awesome combination of coconut milk, banana, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Also check out my default juice mix, cranberry + orange.

Again some coconut milk and cocoa powder and not sure what else.

Scrumptious adobo chicken.  Oh.  So.  Good.

Marinated salmon steak on a bed of brown basmati rice, boiled asparagus and salad.  
Those are brussel sprouts sliced thinly and pine nuts on the top.
I am definitely spoiled!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Noralta - Grey Wolf

Work moved to a new camp.  I was nervous.  I had only ever been at one camp, a PTI, and now we were changing to a new provider and I did not know what to expect.  I was pleasantly surprised.  The flavours were amazing.  People said the food at Noralta was the best and they were not wrong.  The chefs were a pleasure to work with.  When the new camp opened it was a breeze to make sure they knew my restrictions as they cross train their staff and move them around between their camps.

Another difference is that the kitchen was open 24 hours and that you could pack your lunch whenever you wanted.  There was always a selection from the night before in the fridge.  The relaxed atmosphere was great.  Again they were good and packed leftovers from the night before to take for lunch.

I did not get as many pictures as I would have liked as my time up north ended abruptly.  I got so excited when there were french fries I could eat (hence all the pictures).  They also loved giving me stir fries with rice.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Elk and Oarsman - Banff

We went on a hike up to Johnston's Canyon and went all the way to the inkpots.  It was supposed to be a light hike as it was Roger's first hike in the mountains.  We got a bit later start as one of the hikers was working in Banff that day.

Once the hike was done we ventured into Banff for supper.  We got in around  9:30 so we were pleasantly surprised that the kitchen was still open at the Elk and Oarsman as it was mid week.  I had been here in the past and was impressed with their ability to feed me with my unique diet.  They went above and beyond this time.  I got a lamb shank with a red wine reduction on a bed of potatoes.  Delicious!  I also had a pear cider.  Such a refreshing flavour and a nice change from apple cider.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Gourmet Camping

It has been quite a while since I have been camping.  I was excited to get out.  Then I realized that I didn't know what I could bring to eat!  I had not been on a big camping trip since my diet change.

Of course there was steak and potatoes.  We (Cole) premixed the spices and pre-packaged the potatoes with oil and spices.  We used a grill toaster and cooked the steak over the fire.  Oh and we had salad on the side with oil and balsamic vinegar.

The next meal was salmon steaks (again done on the grill over the fire) pre-marinated by Cole.  Then another salad with balsamic and olive oil.  Next we cooked some tasty rice pasta with spinach and peppers and used this oil and vinegar bread dip that I got when travelling in the Okanagan.  Paired it all with some delicious Cherry wine from a farmer's market and it was a tasty meal.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Tuesdays at High Level Diner - Edmonton

I had been to the High Level Diner before.  They have been able to feed me, can't remember what it ended up being though I remember only one option.  I was so excited when I went to Edmonton one random Tuesday and found that they had a special on - Fish and Chips! In a dedicated gluten free fryer!  I had not had fish and chips in years.  It was soo scrumptious and I can't wait to be in Edmonton on a Tuesday night again.

Oh and to top it off I had a gluten free beer!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Chiantis - Edmonton

Most people hear my allergies and rule out italian food, I had as well.  I used to eat wheat pasta with tomoatoe sauce and cheese all the time.  It was my go-to food.  With my restrictions with wheat/gluten, cheese, tomatoe, dairy and onion I thought I would not be able to go out for italian again.

When my wonderful friend and manager at Chiantis and I were looking to go out for food we were having difficulty thinking of a place.  She mentioned that she could feed me at her work.  And that renewed my love affair with italian food.

She orders me wonderful things like gluten-free pasta with hot oil or lemon oil sauce and fresh vegetables.

Garlic and olive oil with hot pepper flakes
Peppered Salmon with pasta with a lemon olive oil sauce

His and hers Nachos

Nachos are a great snack food.   I love that it is easy to find gluten free tortilla chips.  Also it's super quick to put them together.  I keep telling people that my "cheese" melts and works great, here was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that.  It didn't contrast real cheese and Daiya quite as well as it could have as the Daiya was frozen and the cheese was not.  The good thing about Daiya is that the oils don't separate out and the nachos are less greasy. (By the way the Daiya is on the left in case you couldn't tell)

Topping that I use are red peppers, avocados and sometimes hot peppers, ham and cucumbers.  My favourite Daiya cheese to use is the pepperjack.

Shrimp Pasta

I had just gone shopping and needed something quick.

I boiled some water with the juice of nearly 1/2 a lemon. I then added a touch of olive oil and boiled the shrimp until just pink. I get the uncooked, deveined, tails removed.

I then put in a few tbsp of olive oil and a dash of sesame oil in a pan with chili flakes and a piece of lemongrass some cumin and turmeric. Heated those then added one stem of chard, one sliced mushroom and one diced radish. After they had cooked a bit I added the pulp of the lemon and 1/4 red pepper and the chard green. After those cooked I placed them aside and heated up a few more tbsp of olive oil with chili flakes and the last bit of lemon juice at the end. Next time I will put the lemon on after so it doesn't splatter.

Saturday, 18 May 2013


So last night I had the pleasure of going to Jubilations dinner theatre.  We saw the Big Boom Theory.  I have to say the acting and the vocals were so awesome.  The songs that were picked matched the plot perfectly and the actors were even in character during the songs.  My favourite is when Lenard sang a backstreet boys song with backup vocals by Sheldon and Howard, complete with choreography that was amazing.  (It kinda helped that he was pretty hot.)  I also loved noticing that Howard kept changing his belt buckle, that was an awesome touch.  But to get down to why I'm writing ... the food!

The food was awesome!  They were able to accommodate my allergies with no trouble at all.  I called the afternoon before and they were very good about taking all the information.  When I got there the waitress was expecting me.  I had soup!  I usually only expect to get the main course and perhaps a salad.  They made me a special soup.  From what we could figure out it was pumpkin with turnip and perhaps some carrot.  For spices I believe there was nutmeg and coriander and perhaps cumin.  Delicious.  Then I also got salad with a balsamic dressing.  I had a choice of entre!  I could have the beef, the chicken or the tuna steak.  I chose the prime rib.  It was cooked to a beautiful medium.  It had gravy and horseradish.  It also had carrot, snap pea, red pepper and baby potatoes to accompany it.  Then to top it off I got desert as well!  I even had a choice!  I could choose fruit cup or apple pie.  I went for the pie.  It was sweet.

So, on the allergy friendly side Jubilations is very highly recommended.  On the entertainment side, also well recommended.  Even recommended for eye candy, though the actor was not overshadowing my date ;)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Gound beef at Mom's house

I remember as a child that we had ground beef all the time.  I'm not joking.  We would eat ground beef in pasta sauce on spaghetti.  We would have ground beef with tomatoe soup on macaroni - we would call this one More.  I would usually eat More with a stick of celery as a spoon, the spoon would gradually get shorter as I ate.  I would use about 3 spoons for a meal ;).  Mom would make homemade hamburgers using some stone ground oats and using this lovely tupperwear hamburger press.  She would also make frikedella, a Danish meatball. That recipe usually had oats, some onion and a bunch of other items that would make it not so appealing to me.  Tacos!  We would also have tacos with ground beef.  My sister and I got really good at cooking ground beef and breaking up the chunks as we stirred.  It was also a talent at cooking it from frozen without ending up with a giant block of meat that was burn on the outside and frozen on the inside.  The trick with that was to let it just turn colour, flip it, and then scrape the cooked bits off with the edge of the spatula.  Repeat about 10 times until the frozen bit was so small that you could break it into little bits with the edge of the spatula.  Make sure to keep breaking up the other bits as they were cooking or you'd end up with big lumps.

When I was staying with my parent's last fall Mom and I made a few meals using the standard block of frozen ground beef. 

Episode 1 - ground beef, bragg's soy seasoning (or maybe it was balsamic vinegar), frozen broccoli, and red peppers in one pan.  Thickened with a bit of corn starch.  On some of my favourite flat rice noodles from the Asian section of Superstore.

Episode 2 - Ground beef, chopped celery, perhaps some spices (not sure what she used) on a bed of spaghetti squash.  The parents had the beef mixed with tomatoe sauce.
Ground beef has many possibilities.  Don't forget meatballs and meatloaf!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Simple meals

Meals don't have to be complicated.  They can be simply 1 starch, 1 veg and 1 meat.  Yummy.

Here are some examples from my last year:

Beef, carrots from mom's garden, asparagus on a bed of spinach
(I don't see rice although I'm sure it was there, knowing me)

Pork, yam, asparagus

Quinoa, stirfry veg, salmon. 
Likely have bragg's soy seasoning on the stir fry.
Sticky rice (cooked with apple juice and cinnamon), white fish (salt, dill and lemon baked in foil), roasted red peppers and zucchini (using olive oil and salt) on a bed of spinach. 
Yah this last one was a bit fancier though still only 1 rice cooker and 1 tray in the oven.
Now this one IS easy - leftover BBQ pork, 1 can of baby corn, leftover quinoa.  Boom.  Dinner.

Monday, 6 May 2013

As it feels like summer is coming ...

As today it felt like summer was finally going to come back.  As I write this I may actually have a bit of colour in my cheeks from being out in the sun on my breaks from taking a course at work.  25 degrees and sunny on May 5th in Fort McMurray?  Yes please!  It reminded me of the great meals I had last summer sitting out on the patio. 

I hope I can enjoy this sort of meal in a few weeks when I am back home (and hopefully it will be this gorgeous out too!)

Salad version 1 - I love using sweet chili sauce as a dressing
That would be marinated pork, with my homemade Vietnamese bbq sauce

Salad version 2 - mmm cucumbers

Homemade hummus with red pepper and paired with green tea :) 
Check out the jickama (got at CO-OP), I had to find it after I tried it in Mexico

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Christmas Smorgasbord

I grew up in a house with one dane and mom of british and scotish descent.  We tried to blend the traditions at Christmas.  To honour the Scandinavian tradition we would open one gift on Christmas Eve with the rest being opened on Christmas morning. 

We would also have a Danish Smorgesbord on Christmas eve followed by a full turkey dinner on Christmas Day. 

So what is a smorgasbord?  It's a feast in many courses.  There are traditional sandwiches that you can make.  We have this lovely cookbook from the Danish museam which outline some of the different sandwiches. (I might add some detail later when I'm back home.)  Needless to say it's full of rye bread, white bread, cheese, tomatoe, mayonnaise, hard boiled eggs, Italian salad, deli meats, frickedella, ramoulelle... notice a pattern?  Most of which I cannot eat.  Surprisingly I was able to enjoy with some minor modifications.

I stuck to one sandwich and modified it in the following way:  Earth's Oven corn bread, prosciutto, cucumbers soaked in vinegar (a traditional Danish thing, tangey and quite lovely), and daiya cheese loaf in jalapeƱo pepper.

Merry Christmas! (yes this is a very belated post, I know that it's May)

Return to blogging

So, I have gone on a bit of a hiatus when it comes to this blog, but I'm back :)