Thank you so, so, so much for all your kind messages this week as I embark on this new and scary food intolerance journey. For those that have no clue what I'm talking about (and if that's you, come over to instagram and give me a follow @jettevirdi) basically T and I are trying for a baby, yay! Yep, big old decision, very grown up etc etc but, in 2006 I was diagnosed with PCOS. It's essentially a hormone imbalance that can manifests as cycsts on your ovaries amongst other things. If you have a regular hormone balance your body can rid yourself of these cysts (in 2010 I almost died from a cyst bursting on my ovaries so it can get out of control). There are a bunch of tell tale signs which I didn't have: irregular period - nope, really bad period pain - nope, more hair over your body - I'm half Indian so kinda figured it was that you know, bad skin - nope. The list goes on and on and on.
Fast forward to 2017 when T and I make the choice to go full fledge into baby making and I figure 'let's get myself checked just to make sure I'm in tip top shape to host a little peanut'. Pat on the back for Jette... it was one of my finer sensible moments. I went to the doctor for bloods, Fitzwilliam for a food intolerance test and a herbalist to help me in a non western medicine way.
Results are in, it's big. Turns out I'm highly (by that I mean 98 out of 100 allergic) to dairy (think cheese, milks, ice cream etc), eggs (mayonnaise, meringues etc), gluten (rye, barley, spelt, wheat ie, cakes, bread etc), potato (think gluten free breads, veggies burgers, crisps, french fries etc), peas, celery (whatever!), yeast (brewers and bakers), cashews (think vegan desserts), almonds (used to substitute regular flour a lot), brazil nuts, sunflower seeds (oil is included), hazelnuts and corn (think tortilla chips, gluten substitutes etc). WHAT THE HELL.
A lot of people have asked me how I can have gone for so long (I'm 34) and not even noticed that I have all these food intolerances. Well lovelies, here's the thing.... because I've been eating these things all my life, my body and mainly my adrenal glands, have been working over time to help my body process them which means, that they don't have time to work on other things like regulating my hormones! Ta-da. Firstly, if you have an intolerance you may not get cramps, headaches or any of the other symptoms. What you may in fact feel is "not quite right" like me. Other manifestations of food intolerances can appear as depression, hormone imbalances, liver issues, etc. I should just mention I have no qualifications in medicine or nutrition but, this is what I've discovered from medical experts, dieticians, blogs and more in the 3 days since I've been diagnosed
It really is a scary new world. I'm scared and I've cooked all my life, worked as a private chef and know food. I can't imagine what people who don't know food must feel. The one thing that I've noticed whilst reading blogs in the last 3 days is that people rarely post gluten, diary, egg, corn and nut free recipes and those that I've seen I wouldn't touch with a barge pole. And so my challenge begins.
From now on the recipes I'm going to be posting here are all about gluten, dairy, egg, corn and certain nuts free. They will always be delicious and I'm sure there will be lots and lots of failures, this is a whole new world for me. I'll be posting recipes that are nutritious, that are tasty and that are cost effective. That's another thing I've learnt from reading all these blogs...nutritious food ingredients (I'm not talking veggies and fruit right now) can be sooooo costly. I'd really really really love for you to follow me on this journey, to show me what works for you, any tips you have, if you loved my recipes and more. So please, comment, share, be part of this journey with me (you can sign up to the newsletter on the My Story page). Hopefully by the end of it I'll have helped a few other people who are in my situation, I'll be fitter, healthier and there will be a little person joining T and I.
Here is my first recipe for you:
Caramel Chocolates (makes 15)
100g 80% chocolate (most over 72% will be dairy and gluten free but check)
200g dates, pitted
In a baine marie, melt the chocolate and pour a little into your chocolate moulds. Pop in the freezer. In the meantime blitz the dates with 1tbsp water at a time. You may need more water, you may not, it all depends on how dry your dates are. You're looking for a spreadable consistency. Add a pinch of salt and mix. Remove moulds from the freezer and pop into each a tiny little amount of date caramel. Cover with chocolate and freeze again.
*note: you can of course make your own chocolate with coconut oil, cocoa butter and cocoa powder - Store bought is cheaper, just make sure to check the ingredients of it incase it does add nasties.
Table cloth - Created and Found