My journey with food has taken over my life and I’m okay with that. 

It’s a rough life for an eight year old that can’t eat pizza and ice cream. All those birthday parties with cake? Forget it! I was mom-diagnosed lactose interolerant when I was eight. I tried Lactaid pills for a while, but ultimately would have needed four pills for one scoop of vanilla. For 10 years I didn’t eat dairy and I am a better person for it! 

Being dairy free did not solve all of my gastro problems, however, and I went through a handful of different inconclusive tests throughout those years. Shout out to my mom (Mom #2 – I have two) who had to collect my poop and keep it in the fridge.

The lady who suggested I go vegan told me only to do it if I could handle being a high maintenance eater. She had no idea I had about 15 years of practice! 

I dabbled with dairy in college, because why not? It seemed as though I had stayed so far away from it, I had out grown the intolerance without even knowing. So, I ate dairy through college and blamed the gut aches on my hangovers. When I was 20, a dietician submitted a food allergy test for me, concluding I have an intolerance to grains and eggs. I did nothing about this information. 

When I was 25, I decided my body was trying to tell me something and went vegan for a month. Vegan means no animal byproducts – no dairy, no eggs, no meant, no honey (HA like I did that), no marshmallows, etc. I did no grains as well because of my dietician results.  This was great! I learned that, YES, my body was in pain from my diet and something needed to change. However, after a hike up to Devil’s Lake, fueled by almonds, I decided to reincorporate organic chicken and ground turkey back in to my diet. 

I started eating like this January 2016 and it is now April 2017. January 2017, I also added soy to the list of things I don’t eat. This was HUGE! It was the last thing I needed to make me clean. It also made me realize I was a lactose intolerant child who substituted with rice milk and soy milk…HELLO answer to my childhood gastro problems! I’ve been going strong for four months and coudn’t be happier.

The lady who suggested I go vegan told me only to do it if I could handle being a high maintenance eater. She had no idea I had about 15 years of practice! It’s all I know. 

My official list of food I don’t eat: Dairy, eggs, red meat, grains, and soy. I’m not a true vegan, but it’s the closest label that fits so I do use it a lot to describe my eating quickly.

Anytime someone says they have a GI problem I tell them my story. Don’t take pills on pills if you need to be regular. Change your diet! All it takes is discipline…and the right motivation. I understand that I have a hell of a motivator in my gut: “Don’t eat that pizza unless you don’t want to poop for a week”, “Oh, and don’t eat that edamame unless all you want to do is poop all week”. My punishments are NOT worth any delicious donut… and they get harsher the longer I eat clean.

Confession: eating clean is not all gastro for me. My initial journey at age 25 started with mental health. Gut health for mental health! This has to do with bacteria and hormones in your body and keeping them balanced through diet. This motivator is just as important to me. 
Last summer, Adam and I camped a lot! I was new to the whole vegan thing and texted Molly about what food to bring. She told me you can pretty much bring any food you normally eat…but what did that mean for me at that point? I really had no idea how to manage these restrictions while still getting nutrients I needed. Here are some cool ideas I’ve learned this year:

Camping 

  • MAKE YOUR OWN TRAIL MIX – This is my favorite thing EVER to do! Thanks, again :), to Molly I now use canvas produce bags to get bulk nuts, dried fruit, and sweets.
  • Popcorn – so much fun to pop in coconut oil
  • Stir Fry – Adam is the king of making fires and used this incredible log with a hole in the middle for my wok. We used tons of veggies, a packet of that shredded broccoli slaw, ginger, garlic, and jalapeños. It was to die for! We also did the same seasoning with drum sticks a different trip and loved that. 
  • Apples and homemade peanut butter – never buy peaunut butter…organic peanuts in bulk, blend until creamy, put in jar. It’s 1/3 the cost and you save so many jars from being thrown away. 

Work 

  • Apples and peanut butter – it’s so amazing I’m addicted! 
  • Lara Bars – bought or homemade…they’re just dates and nuts.

Dinner

  • Burrito bowls….LOTS OF BURRITO BOWLS – cauliflower “rice” (is life), lettuce, beans, chicken or turkey, avocado, lime, and chalula (and chips).

Whether it’s because I get to snuggle with the world’s cutest wiener dog every night, because my apartment air is purified by my pink hemilyan salt lamp, or because of the change in my diet, we’ll never know, but I am one happy person and I refuse to give that up!

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