What I Ate: Gluten-Free Vegan Edition

“But what do you EAT?” People ask when they discover my dietary restrictions. I am a dairy-allergic, gluten-intolerant vegan with dairy- and peanut-allergic kids. Food restrictions are rampant here.

But, really, though. What do I eat? I start my day off simply with tea and easily digestible whole foods grazed upon in a specific order that allows for a comfortable belly and a well-fueled day. My biggest meal — lunch — is leftovers, as I purposefully make extras for our dinner to allow for easy heat-and-eat lunches. Next, I sip some tea, have a plant-based dinner, then snack while watching a show with The Hubs. Scroll on down and see products and recipes from a typical day of food.

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5:50AM- Green tea and a banana Plain and simple is the way I have found I need to start my day. Banana seems to be the easiest thing on my tummy in the morning. So this is how I fuel my morning yoga.

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6:20AM- Green tea and raw almonds The banana provides a soothing base layer to my belly, so a handful of almonds can land right on top as filling fuel.

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8:50AM- Homemade kombucha and a Clementine I used to drink my “bucha”, as my kids call it, in the afternoon, but I’ve found mornings to be an even better fit for this probiotic powerhouse. (This day, I foolishly let the kids see me sipping… they stole half of my kombucha and my clementine. Scavengers!)

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11:40AM- Leftovers for lunch (Morrocan-style split pea stew with rice) There’s no real recipe for this slow-cooking but flavorful plant-based dish, beyond a crap-ton of herbs and spices simmered with some food staples. I added chopped onion to a large pot greased with olive oil then tossed in 5 cloves of minced garlic. I let that cook, then stirred in 5 chopped carrots, a handful of white mushrooms (chopped), 1lb of soaked split peas, a hearty dose of coconut aminos, and — after a few minutes — a container of vegetable broth. Then came the seasonings: salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, coriander, chili powder, cumin, and a hefty helping of cinnamon. I let the mixture boil for 5 minutes, reduced it to a simmer, and let it cook until the split peas were tender. I served it over rice. (This would freeze beautifully and works great for meal prepping.)

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12:15PM- Green tea This is “rest time” in our house and, considering how active our days are, we ALL need it. The boys watch a show or play in their rooms while I sip my tea. It eventually descends into raucous, of course, but we keep trying!

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5:00PM- Lettuce wrapped taco with spiced corn Lentils + Beyond Meat Feisty Crumble make this gluten-free, plant-based taco filling. Lettuce cups serve as the shell for the taco filling, diced tomato, Go Veggie Vegan Shredded Cheddar cheez, and “sour cream” (Just Mayo mixed with apple cider vinegar.) For the side dish, I heated frozen corn with Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread, salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin. Then I heated a bag of frozen riced caulifower. I mixed the warm veggies with chilled pico de gallo and served.

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8:00PM- Plentil chips This is my indulgence time. I don’t  (and can’t) eat many packaged foods or treats, so after the kids are in bed, this is my treat. I often nosh on popcorn or gluten-free vegan chips while lounging on the sofa catching up on shows and chatting with The Hubs. It’s my reward at the end of the day.

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This is what I eat in a day. What do you eat?

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What I Ate: Gluten-free Vegan Edition

“You’re a gluten-free vegan? What do you eat???” Lots. I eat lots of food.

I recently got an Instant Pot and love using it to make big batches of beans or lentils and rice. I like to use those goodies for breakfasts, lunches, and even quick dinners. That said, this is what I eat on a typical Wednesday amidst drop-offs, pick-ups, appointments, homework, and extracurriculars.

5:50AM

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Banana and green tea… perfect early morning yoga fuel! I used to start my day with an apple but then I began realizing that was a tad harsh on my belly. Since switching to a daily banana, I’m feeling much better.

8:00AM

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Beans, rice, hummus, and fresh spinach… it takes but a minute to throw together from my big Instant Pot batches, and keeps me healthfully satiated until lunch.

10:00AM

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Jasmine green tea. A coffee shop chat with a dear friend means jasmine green tea for me! Warm, hydrating, and mildly caffeinated, it leaves me feeling cozy comfort without the energy plunge.

11:30AM

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Leftovers for lunch. I generally make enough for dinner that my husband and I can have leftovers for lunch the next day. This lunch was savory gluten-free veggie cakes topped with marinara and Follow Your Heart vegan parmesan-style shreds, and a salad on the side topped with Just Chipotle Ranch.

2:00PM

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Kombucha. The Hubs has a beer home-brewing hobby which paired with my chewy granola’ness to make for homemade mango-orange kombucha on tap in my fridge. (On the granola spectrum — with untamed body hair and commune yurt living existing as the crispity crunchiest on the “crunchy” scale — I’m like one of those packaged chocolate chip granola bars)

5:00PM

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Quick dinner. My 6-year-old and 4-year-old have Tae Kwon Do at 5:30, so fast and filling is the name of this dinner game. Instant polenta topped with sauteed garlicky spinach, broiled cherry tomatoes, and herbed cannelini beans did the trick.

5:20 PM

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Dessert. After school pick-up and homework and dinner prep and a mad shuffle out the door, this mama needed chocolate. So a piece of Theo’s vegan gluten-free chocolate covered coconut came along for the ride to Tae Kwon Do. Yum!

8:00 PM

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Popcorn. The Hubs and I sit down together most evenings to watch a couple of shows and rehash the day. It’s “our” time. What better snack than popcorn to go along with a TV and chat session?

And that’s my day in food. Yummy, satisfying, and far from flavorless. One really can eat more that twigs as a gluten-free vegan… who knew?!

How to Survive Holidays with Food Allergies

Over four years ago, I realized my dairy allergy. Adjusting to the massively food-limiting restriction was rough. One of the biggest issues: how to handle holidays.

I dropped all dairy just before Halloween 2013. Bad timing for my taste buds — as I only enjoy chocolate candy and dislike fruity treats — but appreciated by my waistline. It was a hardship that first Halloween learning to abstain from all of the fun-size goodies, but I did. I knew it’d get easier with time. And it did.

Then came Thanksgiving. Mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, pies, green beans, corn, rolls, even the turkey are more likely than not to contain dairy. Around the holidays, milk/butter/cheese/cream/whey is in everything. I mourned missing out. It was a death, of sorts. I thought Thanksgiving was dead.

At first I adjusted by making and bringing some of my own dairy-free versions of traditional dishes and — my then-omnivorous self — asked for the turkey to be made dairy-free. My family kindly obliged. However, despite all loving intentions, I got inadvertently dosed with dairy that year. It was awful; a holiday meal wasn’t worth a week of suffering, especially when I had an infant and a toddler to wrangle.

A month later, Christmas came and I tried my approach again. Fail! Dosed yet again, I decided from then on not to attempt others’ contributions unless the cooks, themselves, were dairy-free.

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The next year, I made more side dishes to bring, ate beforehand, and stuck to my meal offerings. No accidental dairy dosing! I had my new holiday survival technique. This was key, now that two of my children accompanied me on the dairy-free journey.

Three years later — now a dairy-allergic, gluten-free vegan — I will absolutely maintain my tried-and-true holiday survival technique. It’s my safest route.

Is it hard not being able to eat everything? Not really, anymore. Once I shifted my focus from food to people, it made a world of difference. The day after a holiday, I won’t look back on the celebration remembering how the green beans tasted or how the squash was flavored. I’ll reflect on the people, the experience, the laughter (and eye rolls… because what’s a family gathering without that balance?) And that’s where my focus should be.

So what do I bring? This year, I will bring herbed green beans sauteed in olive oil, baked squash (delicata, butternut, and acorn) seasoned with herbs and Earth Balance, and a garlicky lentil-mushroom dish. Often, I bring dairy-free rolls and herbed carrots. Usually my belly is too full for dessert after Thanksgiving dinner, and I’m too busy wrangling my tiny trio while helping with dish clean-up to indulge, but if I did want to bring a sweet to enjoy it’d probably be this.

Looking for some gluten-free vegan holiday recipes? Try here. On the hunt for sweet recipes? Look here for some vegan dessert finds.

When it comes to food allergies, there’s no dish worth risking a reaction, no matter how delicious. It is hard at first but, like any adjustment, it gets easier. Life is about so much more than just food.

 

Gluten-Free, Vegan Burger Recipe

Looking for a cheap, easy, freezer-friendly plant-based meal? Hoping to satisfy herbivore and omnivore palates, alike? Hunting for a guilt-free entree a teen could easily thaw and heat solo? Need a make-ahead family meal idea that is free from the top 8 allergens? I’ve got you!

LENTIL-BEAN BURGER 

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Lentil-Bean Burger

Ingredients:

1c lentils
1 can kidney beans
3 flax eggs (3 Tbl flaxmeal stirred together with 6 Tbl water)
2 Tbl yellow mustard
2 Tbl garlic powder
2 Tbl cumin
1 Tbl onion powder
1 Tbl basil
1/2 Tbl smoked paprika
1/2 Tbl Tbl chili powder
1 bell pepper  (chopped)
1/2 vidalia onion  (chopped)
1 pkg rolled oatmeal
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Stir together the flax meal and water to prepare your flax eggs, and let set while you chop your vegetables.

Once the flax mixture is a sticky, viscous goo, mix all of the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

Mash the mixture with a handheld potato masher until the texture is sticky enough to form patties.

Form the mixture into patties (it should make 10 standard size burger patties.)

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

While the oven heats, cook the patties in an oiled pan over medium-high heat until golden.

Carefully flip each patty and cook until both sides are golden.

Transfer the patties to a silcome lined aluminum baking sheet and bake for 45 min, or until sufficiently cohesive in texture (baking time may vary with dark or nonstick pans.)

Remove and freeze, refrigerate, or serve.

To reheat, defrost in the microwave then cook in oiled pan over medium heat.

Dill Garbanzo Salad

Looking for a potluck dish that’s free from the top 8 allergens? On the search for a versatile vegan picnic dish that can go from side salad to sandwich stuffer? Meal prepping for the week and need a healthy, cheap menu item that can transition from packed lunch to snack to dinner? Hunting for a no-cook fiber-rich, protein-filled dish? Dill Garbanzo Salad!

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Canned garbanzo beans, celery, vidalia onion, soy-free veganaisse, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper are all you need to make this dish. Simply grab a big bowl and add in 2 cans of drained and rinsed garbanzo beans, 2 handfuls of cleaned and chopped fresh dill, 3 stalks of cleaned and chopped celery, 1 chopped small vidalia onion, 3/4 cup of Soy-free Veganaisse, the juice of 1 lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. Use a potato masher to combine the ingredients. Smash until roughly 2/3 of the garbanzo beans are crushed and the remaining beans are whole. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

After refrigerating, stir and taste to check seasoning before serving. Add more salt and pepper if needed, or sprinkle in some garlic powder if desired. If you want to add some extra zing, stir in a bit of juice from a jar of pickles and a couple of diced pickles immediately before serving.

DILL GARBANZO SALAD 

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Ingredients:

2 cans garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)

3 stalks celery  (cleaned and chopped)

1 small vidalia onion  (chopped)

2 handfuls fresh dill (cleaned and chopped)

3/4 cup Soy-Free Veganaisse

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

* Optional: garlic powder to taste, dill pickle juice, and 2 diced pickles

Instructions:

Add all of the ingredients, minus the optional items, into a large bowl.

Using potato masher, crush the ingredients to combine until roughly 2/3 of the beans are smashed and the remaining beans are whole.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

Before serving, stir and taste, seasoning with additional salt and pepper and/or garlic powder if desired.

For an extra flavor punch, stir in a bit of pickle juice from a jar of dill pickles and a couple of diced dill pickles.

Stuff it into a pita pocket, pile it into a sandwich, smear it on toast, roll it into a wrap, spoon it as a side dish, serve it on top of fresh greens, or scoop it into a Buddha bowl. However you use it, enjoy it!

Vegan Black Bean Chili and Legit Vegan Nachos

Looking for a vegan chili recipe? Searching for a way to make legit vegan nachos? We’re talking a “dairy-eating omnivores will ravage the dish” kind of recipe? I’ve got you.

When I made this flesh-free, dairy-ditching nacho dish, my omnivorous husband, 5-year-old, 3.5-year-old, and 1-year-old all cleared their plates and asked to eat it again the next day. No “eat your food!” fights for a meal almost entirely comprised of veggies? If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is!

VEGAN BLACK BEAN CHILI

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Vegan black bean chili

Ingredients:

– 1/4 vidalia onion (diced)

– 3 cloves garlic (minced)

– 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

– 1 can cream style corn

– 3 tomatoes (diced)

– 2 handful baby portobello mushrooms  (diced)

– 1 green bell pepper  (diced)

– 2 Tbl garlic powder

– 2 Tbl smoked paprika (yes, it must be the smoked variety)

– 2 Tbl chili powder

– 1 Tbl basil

– 1 Tbl thyme

– 1 Tbl cumin

– .5 Tbl Spike Original Magic seasoning

– .5 Tbl Braggs Liquid Aminos 

– 2 Tbl vegan barbecue sauce  (ex: Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce)

– 2 Tbl prepared yellow mustard

– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

– Drizzle olive oil in a large stock pot and place on stove over medium heat.

– Once the oil is warm, add the onion and garlic to the pot and allow to cook while you dice the mushrooms.

– Add the diced mushrooms and let cook while you chop the pepper and tomato.

– Add the the chopped veggies and all of the remaining ingredients to the pot.

– Bring pot to a gentle boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer.

– Simmer covered on low for a minimum of 30 minutes but ideally two hours.

– Serve as is or as nachos.

LEGIT VEGAN NACHOS

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Vegan Nachos

Ingredients:

– Vegan black bean chili (recipe above)

– Tortilla chips

– 4 slices of Creamy Original Chao Slices dairy-free cheese 

Directions:

– Grab a walled baking sheet, line it with tin foil, and spray with cooking spray.

– Set the oven to broil.

– Pour the desired amount of tortilla chips on the pan.

– Cover the chips with the chili.

– Break up the Chao Slices into shreds and spread evenly over the top of the chili.

– Place the nachos under the broiler until the Chao is melted and blistered (watch carefully to avoid burning.)

– Carefully remove from oven and serve.

* optional: serve with vegan avocado crema (1 avocado blended with 1 cup Tofutti imitation cream cheese, 1/8 cup dairy-free milk, the juice of 1 lime, salt, and pepper)