How To Enjoy Food on a Diet Change

Spice Things up//Make the switch easy! 


I don’t know about you guys but for me swapping over to a whole new way of eating was pretty daunting. After I learned I had candida I had to give up all sugar, gluten, dairy which made my meal choices seem pretty bland and to tell you the truth they were. 
In saying this they were bland because I had no idea what I was doing when it came to preparing gluten, dairy, and sugar-free food. I had never experimented with spices or herbs, I had no idea how to use condiments other than ketchup and didn’t know how adding textures and contrasting flavors could really make a dish awesome! I began with eating plain oats, plain chicken, and millet with some greens, smoothies that contained mostly ice…It was the farthest from tasty that you could get. I realized that if I was going to survive three months of that I decided things had to get interesting. 


At this time I also moved in with my sister and her family who enjoyed cooking meals that use strong spices and herbs such as curries, smoked meats, jambalayas, etc. It was good I moved in with them because I was not the only one who had to figure out how to make family meals sugar, dairy and gluten-free. It became a challenge for us all, figuring out how to substitute and what new things we could create to replicate the meal so that we could all enjoy it. 
We discovered the beauty of pairing organic mustard with sauerkraut and that adding fresh cilantro and mashed avocado was the perfect substitute for salad dressing. We found recipes to make things like granola, cornbread, pancakes, cookies, etc. I found out that cheddar cheese or buttered bread is not the only way to make a dish taste good, it’s the way you prepare the food. 

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Some of my all-time favorite foods are because of the great experiments we would have with new meals! If you find the idea of changing the way you eat daunting, remember that even though the beginning might leave you with a bad taste in your mouth, as long as you keep trying it WILL get better! 

Here are some of my favorite things to spice up my meals without sacrificing my health! 

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•    Mustard: Make sure to buy organic and check the label
•    Sauerkraut: I like to combine this with mustard and add it in salads, eat it plain. 
•    Kimchi
•    Turmeric
•    Cumin  
•    Cinnamon
•    Nutritional Yeast: This is great sprinkled on eggs or even popcorn to get that cheesy taste! 
•    Artisan Oils and Vinegar: You can always find these at your local farmers market or health food store! Some of my favorites are garlic olive oil and fruit-infused balsamic
•    Fresh Herbs: Cilantro and rosemary and mint are my favorites. All three can be used in ether savory or sweet dishes! 
•    Bay leaves: great flavor to add to soups and jambalayas
•    Bamboo Shoots
•    Cocoa powder: This is my favorite way to make things like  oatmeal, smoothies, chia seed pudding, etc. much more interesting
•    Pink Salt and Freshly cracked peppercorn: I couldn’t come all this way and not give mention to what Good salt and pepper can accomplish in a dish!  

Let me know what are some of your favorite ways to make healthy food that much more exciting!  

Sincerely, 

Sonya  

My Story

My Story.

As the second to last child in a family of nine you could say that when it came to food, it was survival of the fittest. If you weren’t fast enough you could kiss those Reese’s puffs goodbye. Food wasn’t just something to fight over though, it was something we all bonded over. When my dad came home at night we ate together as a family. For birthday’s instead of lavish gifts my parents provided homemade mac n’ cheese, warm veggies, sweet treats and coffee to top off the night.

Food has always been a big part of my life, but my relationship with food wasn’t always healthy. By the time I turned 18 I was planning to get married to my high school sweetheart who lived in South Africa.

Yes, I said South Africa.

I also started my first real job and began my first college courses. The combination of starting so many new things, missing my boyfriend and figuring out how to make a wedding work I began to feel like I was losing control of my life. In order to compensate for the lack of control in life, I began to control my food. I started tracking my calories (average 800 per day), weighing myself constantly and over exercising, sometime till 2 a.m. I also began to feel the effects of depression, mood swings, amenorrhea, stomach pain, patchy dry skin and nervous habits. After a year of abusing my body I dropped down to about 100lb, a weight I hadn’t been since middle school.

This was a weight I was excited and proud of, and as a reward I began to eat again. The good thing was that I put weight on again, but the bad thing was I was gorging myself on everything I had deprived myself of including pastas, breads, sugar, etc. I also had developed a skewed view of my body that added to the stress. Thankfully my now husband was able to visit and I began to feel calm again, knowing that we were ready to get married and I would be soon planning a trip to South Africa with my family for a dream wedding. I also began to get into a more regular exercise routine and was able to hold back a bit on food.

Once the time came to go to South Africa I was a healthy 115lb, but still stressed beyond belief. Through the whole whirlwind of the wedding I began to eat more gluten and dairy, two foods I had avoided for a while. During this time I began to notice my health declining. Out of the 3 months I was in South Africa the only two weeks I didn’t have the flu, a virus, or a cold was the week of my wedding and honeymoon. I also had developed pain in my stomach and nausea every time I would eat, and to top it off I gained about 25lb by the end of my trip.

I knew there was something wrong with me so I took action and visited a holistic Dr. that a friend introduced me to. She said I had Candida which is basically an overgrowth of yeast in your stomach. This tore holes in my stomach lining allowing parasites into my blood. This lead to a strict gluten free, dairy free, sugar free 3 month diet along with SEVERAL supplements to get rid of the Candida. Thankfully it worked, but it uncovered several other health issues that needed to be dealt with.

Since then I have completely changed my diet, cutting out all refined sugars, gluten, dairy, most soy and a few other foods I have a hard time digesting. I eat a low GI diet and have switched my workout routine to fit my body’s needs. I have successfully gained muscle, lost weight and have gotten my period back after more than 3 years without a natural one!

Though I know this body will always be a work in progress it has inspired me to not only care for myself, but share my journey. I know going through all of this was extremely difficult, and it would have been amazing to have someone to share tips, words of encouragement and some tasty recipes. Whether or not you have health issues, or you just want to get healthy my goal is for this to be the place for you. 

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Love,

Sonya

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