The Joy of Food

Up until now, I have kept my posts short and (mostly) impersonal. Today I want to do something different. I am going to explain a few main components of my diet.

Yes, I do have celiac disease. And yes, I am gluten free. However, I consider my diet to be far beyond gluten free. I do not eat grains or sugar. I do not eat potatoes, corn or soy. I gave up dairy a few months ago, though you will find recipes with it on this site as I do use dairy in dishes I make for my family.

As I usually say when asked about my diet, “let me tell you what I DO eat, this will far simpler.” I eat a combination of fresh, organic fruit and vegetables, nuts, fish, chicken, buckets of olives and of course a bit of agave. While many people think this is a restrictive diet, I have found it to be one upon which I thrive. I feel good when I eat these foods, beside which, not only are these ones my body can absorb and digest, I can make so many fun combinations from them –think sorbet.

People often ask, how do I know if there is gluten in this food or that? These questions always, without exception, regard processed foods. My answer –I don’t use a lot of processed items as there is no way to be certain that they are free of gluten and other hidden ingredients that my body rebels against.

Many of the foods that are commonly allergenic did not exist in their current, peculiar, omnipresent forms a century ago –think peanut oil, high fructose corn syrup and soy –cheap, subsidized products pervasive in today’s processed foods.

Flavoring? Lemon juice and garlic make great marinades. Once in a while you will find a processed condiment on this site such as toasted sesame oil , dijon mustard or ume plum vinegar –I have found these to be pure, with few ingredients, all of which I can pronounce. However, I do steer clear of tamari sauce (even the wheat free type), Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and all those other of flavor makers. I like to make my own combination and find that mother nature provides amazing ingredients.

I love preparing my own food. First, I know what’s in it, which eliminates the fear factor and increases the pleasure of eating. Next, I like to flavor things exactly to my mood, the time of day or the season. Most of all, I believe that digestion starts in the eyes and hands, not just the mouth. Touching my food lets my body take it in on many sensory levels before it even hits my tongue.

Simplify. Satisfy. Eating the old fashioned way, shopping for good organic food, in season, touching and preparing my food is a passion of mine, not a restriction. Although many items are not on my meal plan, I am overwhelmed at times, such as when I walk through our farmer’s market, at the cornucopia of things that I can eat!


55 responses to “The Joy of Food”

  1. Elana, I really enjoy going to your website for wonderful recipes. You are an inspiration. Thank you for taking the time to share with us. I have recommended your website to so many people. You are my top ‘go to’ place.

  2. Thank you for your beautifully written post. This is exactly how I feel myself. It’s not a restriction; rather, it is a gift! Eating healthy foods that do us no harm. The way nature intended.

  3. Hi Elana, I happened across your site after googling for ‘Gluten Free Leftover Chicken Recipes’ Thanks for the soup recipes etc! I was diagnosed with Celiac a few months ago and am doing my best to meet the challenges of cooking for a family and taking care of myself at the same time. However my Dr advised me, as I am hyper sensitive right now, and also allergic to caffeine and soy, sensitive to dairy and sugar, to do a ‘low fodmap’ diet also. My Husband is also allergic to nuts! We are producers of Grass Fed Beef, so that is a huge advantage, but recipes for low fodmap are few and far between, and getting a good balance of nutrition is very difficult. Do you have any ideas or suggestions??
    Thanks so much.

  4. I’m very exited to have found your site. I was diagnosed with Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (slowly-progressing Type 1 diabetes) about six months ago and immediately switched to a modified Paleo (I just can’t give up cheese), which has helped my blood sugar control considerably. (My sugar levels came from halfway-to-a-coma to almost non-diabetic.) I love to cook, which is a blessing, and as you mention, it makes it so much easier knowing exactly what is in my food. When I begin insulin treatment, it will take much of the guesswork out of dosages. Anyway, I’m very excited to have found your side. Thank you!


  5. Elana, I have to say thank you for running this site! Many of your recipes, particularly desserts, have kept me going these last few months. I was diagnosed with Candida, Candida allergy and leaky gut syndrome…needless to say it’s been quite an adjustment. How do you keep encouraged and stay positive through all the ambiguity of multiple health diagnoses?

  6. Thank you so much for putting together this site! I just found it today and was absolutely giddy with the newfound possibilities. I’ve been told in the past year that I am allergic to corn, potatoes, oats, barley, lemon, garlic, onions, mushrooms and bananas and have a strong sensitivity to all grains. It has been TOUGH for me to adjust, but I am thrilled to find a place that isn’t just gluten-free but also corn and potato-free (seemingly the typical gluten substitutes). I’m still trying to figure out how to get some flavor without lemon or garlic, but this really provides me with an excellent start – far better than merely the plain meat and raw veggies I’ve been eating. THANK YOU!!

  7. I was so excited to stumble on this site! Someone who cooks with minimally processed, whole, organic ingredients AND is eco-conscious about lifestyle too!! This is my kinda stuff!!
    However, I think there’s probably some confusion about the suggestion that Agave is not “sugar.” You stated that you do not eat sugar, but instead use agave. The fact is that natural forms of sugar are all sugar, whether it is from agave, honey, beet syrup, brown rice syrup, etc. While I applaud (loudly) those efforts to source sugar from more natural forms (HFCS and other “new” sweeteners are digested differently based on their chemical makeup and the alteration of chemical bonds, etc), these sugars are one and the same. Furthermore, only a Registered Dietitian is qualified (with educational and professional proficiency and a national standardized exam) to educate the public on any nutritional topics. Even a responsible MD will direct a patient to an RD for nutrition education and intervention. Please encourage your readers to seek out an RD, and nobody else, as an expert source for nutritional education.
    I look forward to reading your recipes – the ones I have seen so far look delicious!!
    LAT, MS, RD, LD

  8. Dear Elena.
    Like some of the others I found your site looking for a gluten way to live. I found out recently that my diabetes is probably caused but being allergic to wheat, soy and dairy products. It has been an adventure in eating I must say. Your recipes have given me hope that I actually can have a dessert that looks and tastes like a dessert. I have a neice who has Celiacs and I am going to pass this web site to her. Thank you this encourages me to try some experimenting on my own.
    thanks Lynda

  9. Thank you, Elana, for that very eloquent letter about why those of us who choose to eat they various ways we do, well, do. I appreciate your forthrightness and honesty, as well as your candor. It can be overwhelming to eat specific to our bodies needs, but to explain it to another can even be more overwhelming. I love treating my body well and really honoring it every day, but there are a few people in my life who have a hard time adjusting to this. I like that you call it an eating plan and I like that you are willing to sacrifice the so-called “good” foods lining our grocery shelves to really eat the old-fashioned way – according to what really makes us thrive. Well said.

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