A quick trip down memory lane and Ranchish dip

To say my skin hurt, would be an understatement. The itching was deep and constant.

By running my hands under near-boiling water, I would get some distraction relief that was attributed to the pain I was inflicting on myself. For the record, I do not recommend anyone do that. It really hurts. I keep these pictures on my phone as a constant reminder of how far I have healed and why I need to be ever-vigilant in reading labels.

Gluten-free and Paleo are not fads. They are not trends. They are not diets. They are necessary food templates for my health, the health of my gut and my skin. I am fortunate that I do not suffer form severe gastrointestinal distress or life-threatening illness from gluten exposure. Instead, my skin is my health barometer.

Am I ever tempted to allow myself a “cheat” item? No. I’m not. I no longer think of donuts, cookies, cake, bread or cereal as food for me. The resulting backlash of skin distress that will last for weeks or months is simply is not worth it.

Looking at these photos makes me wince. Let’s move on to more pleasant things.

Warm weather and BBQ’s call for veggies and chips and dip.

I gave up dairy when I went Paleo, so, commercial dips went out the window. Plus, can you really pronounce some of those ingredients? I get why there are preservatives in all the things. Food products in the grocery store need to last a long time for profitability. If the manufacturers made things without them, things would spoil before the consumer got them home. My solution is to make what I can at home, and eat it as I make it. Is this time consuming? Yes! Would I rather have my nose in a book or be logging time at the beach in the shade? Yes! Would I rather binge watch Netflix or go for a walk? I think you get the idea. Meal planning and prep is the key. Chop some veg for a few days so it is ready to grab and go when hunger strikes.

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Ranchish dip:

  • 6 tablespoons Paleo mayo (my favourite is (Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Mayo)
  • 2 tablespoons full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Whisk everything together in a small bowl. Grab your veggies, cue the movie and snack away to your hearts content. Chicken wings are also pretty dang tasty dipped in this stuff. Just sayin’.

Vegan: swap for an egg-free mayo and you are on your way

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Why food quality matters

It’s kind of funny how food has become such a hot topic.

It’s food. We eat it. Shouldn’t really be more complicated than that. Food should be recognizable in its original form when we eat it or at least some semblance of the packaging Mother Nature provided. Obviously we aren’t about to gnaw on the side of a cow or pluck a salmon from the water and bite into it the way a bear would. We are a bit more civilized than that. Zombie apocalypse notwithstanding.

It used to be only the “tree-hugging hippies” who wanted their produce to be free from pesticides and genetic modifications and they were often mocked and ridiculed. Sad thought really. Shaming someone for wanting something better for their body, their children’s bodies and the planet we share. Turns out, they were way ahead of the game. We should have been right beside them, standing up and fighting for our rights as consumers to have explicit ingredient lists on the things we eat. Instead, we ran for the sexy two year shelf-stable meal and opted for super size fries and a large one-calorie soft drink to go with it.

It’s never too late to effect change.

Invest time searching for farmers in your area. Click here to go to Eat Wild. This amazing resource will help you find local farmers who are raising livestock ethically and practicing sustainable farming techniques. You will be amazed to learn who is growing what in your backyard.

Sustainable farming practices and the rotation of crops helps prevent mineral depletion of the soil. Different crops take different nutrients from the soil. Another reason to eat seasonal produce. Eat what is growing for the time of year. Some things grow better together by acting as a natural pest repellant for another crop. Livestock feeds on grasses and then, yes, poops, or fertilizes, the soil to replenish nutrients back into the dirt. Better soil = more nutrients in the vegetables and fruits. The ozone-layer depleting, methane gas horror stories are thanks to the CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) methods of raising livestock. Those creatures are standing shoulder to shoulder and knee-deep (figuratively speaking) in their own waste. Remember the video on how canola oil is made? One of the by-products from the production of this oil, is cattle feed. No thanks. I want to be able to eat the food my food eats.

I truly believe we are what we eat. If you are eating garbage, food-like products, I’d wager you are living in a body that is under duress. Maybe you suffer from frequent colds or illness. Perhaps early arthritic symptoms. Poor sleep. Low energy. Headaches. Eczema. GI issues such as constipation or diarrhea. Behavioural issues. The list is endless. Food quality won’t necessarily “fix” everything that ails you, but it’ll certainly help a whole lot.

Time to stand up for yourself. Don’t just eat. Nourish your body with real food. Plan and prepare your meals and eat them mindfully. Put your fork down between bites. Chew and actually taste the food you are eating. Stop wolfing your meal down while sitting in front of the tv. Give your body time to adjust to eating real food. Giving up the convenient, packaged foods comes with a detox period, not unlike that of an addict. You will go through withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, cold and flu-like symptoms. Your energy will tank. Your skin may break out. At this point, you may be thinking “this sucks! I’m supposed to be feeling better by eating better.” It’ll happen. You just gotta hang on.

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I know this first-hand. When I changed from eating a gluten-free diet to a Paleo template, my skin broke out in a terrible, itchy rash. I thought this food and nutrition shift was supposed to be good for me, why is my body reacting like this? Gluten-free does not necessarily equal healthy. There is a lot of crappy food that is labelled gluten-free. So many of these packaged foods are high in sugars and unnecessary carbohydrates. As your body rids itself of the garbage in your system, it puts that trash curb side, or in my case, on my skin. Think of your skin as a revolving door.

Let’s go back to basic biology. Our cells are building blocks. They are constantly moving “food” and energy across membranes, walls and borders to help our bodies repair, function and grow. This system is extremely complex and delicate in nature. It’s tricky enough for the cells to do their thing correctly when given the correct tools. Why would you put something that is completely foreign into your cells and force them to process something they don’t recognize as food? The body does the best it can with what you put in it. What to do with the things it doesn’t recognize? The cells become hoarders and stash the unrecognizable stuff to deal with later. You can only hide garbage for so long before it smells and things start to fall apart.

What goes on, goes in and what goes in, eventually comes out.