New Eating Habits

French Word of the Day:  carême (car-em)- Lent

I’ve mentioned my new diet in the past. After getting my new diagnosis, I unleashed my inner journalist and researched everything I possibly could about food.

My diet now cuts out high sodium, white flour, white sugar, beef, and dairy (obviously).  That’s right.  I’m one of those annoying people who only eat whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.

And dark chocolate.  Which is totally a healthy food.

This fish and I are currently on the same diet.
This fish and I are currently on the same diet.

I’ll be eating mostly at home, because trying to find a low sodium, dairy free, whole grain option at restaurants is rather like trying to fit the Sears Tower through the eye of a needle: impossible.

As I’m already giving up most food, I’ve decided not to give anything up for Lent.  I think this more than counts.  In solidarity, my mom and sister Alyssa will be joining my diet. (There you go!  I’ve called you both out, so now you have to follow through 😉 )

I also tried to guilt my dad into following it, but he has informed me that as he grew up as a Methodist, Catholic guilt won’t work on him.

If anyone wants to try to talk him off drinking 3 million sodas a day (how about just going down to one a day?), I already played the “sick daughter” card and failed.  Good luck.

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Lactose Intolerance

French Word of the Day: essence (es- sawn-suh)- essence

I had a fabulous 25th birthday.  I felt extremely spoiled by the end of it.  There was lots of merriment and food, just as every quarter century celebration should have.

One thing I’ve developed courtesy of some of my medication is lactose intolerance.  I didn’t even know medicine could cause that until I got sick every time I ate a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.  (Don’t judge.  You know you’ve done it.) It became a problem when I lived in Paris because those French people are practically made entirely of dairy products, but I’ve been doing decently okay here.

I used to still be able to tolerate butter, but I haven’t been able to after this last round of medicines.  As you might imagine, this has limited my options at restaurants.  They like to sneak it in, so I always have to ask.  I’ve had the following conversation 3 times in the last 5 days:

Me: Does this have dairy in it?

Server: It has eggs.

Me: Eggs aren’t dairy.

Server: Are you sure?

I must have missed the memo somewhere, because a large number of people are convinced that eggs come from milk.

My new butter intolerance has led to a bigger problem: I cannot eat the frosting on cake.  Frosting is an essential part of cake, ergo I am missing the essence of cake.  And guys, essence is important.  And you know what’s more important than essence?  Cake.

But luckily, my friends were on top of the situation.  My friend, Mike, researched dairy-free cakes, went out and bought a bunch of vegan butter and made me a beautiful, vegan red velvet cake.

Vegan Cake
Can we please appreciate for a moment how lovely Mike’s cake handwriting is?

Thank God for those vegans.  What would lactose intolerant people do without them?  I’ll tell you: not eat cake.

The Perfect Kale Chips

French Word(s) of the Day: le chou frisé (lay shoe free-zay)- kale

Rocio and I have been trying to perfect kale chips since basically the first time we ever tried out our oven, and tonight we had success!  I’m not going to say how many attempts this has taken.  It’s not because I’m embarrassed; it’s because I actually have no idea.  More than 5 and less than 300.  That’s the normal range, right?

Ingredients:

  • Kale (cut into chip size)
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic Powder

Directions:

Mix the kale, olive oil, and garlic powder in a bowl.  The kale only needs to be lightly coated with the oil and powder.  Next, spread the kale as thin as you can across a cookie sheet and bake it for 10 minutes at 450°F.

 

Kale does have some sodium, so these are low sodium rather than no sodium.  But still- sweet deal.  For other nutrition information, you should use Google or a nutritionist.  I am neither.

Kale Chips

Pain au Chocolat, the Return

French Word of the Day: Prêt à Manger – ready to eat

The above is pronounced pray-a-mon-zhay, not “pret”.  I will, however, forgive those of you who pronounce it incorrectly.  (As pretty much everyone who talks about it says “pret”, I don’t really have a choice.)

I finally got a pain au chocolat!  This greeted me yesterday at work:

I was asked to grade Prêt à Manger’s pain au chocolat, and I give them a B.  It’s some of the best I’ve found in America.  Nice job, guys.

I’m sure a French person would say “C,” so I’m being generous here.

Blueberries

French Word of the Day: myrtille (mer-teal)- blueberry

Nothing quite says the weekend like a batch of pancakes. I snuck out of my apartment this morning before anyone had woken up (in the rain) to get some produce from the farmers’ market across the street.  (I’m so spoiled.)

Of course, I took a picture of my food. I’ve downloaded Instagram, and as far as I can tell, that’s the whole point of it.  It’s currently the world’s largest database of food.

On an unrelated note, I watched the entire second season of Downton Abbey today, and have typed this whole post in a British accent.  Blueberry was pronounced “blue-brie.”  I know it shows.

Proper Macarons

French Word of the Day: macaron (mac-rown)- macaron

I’m going to clear something up for everyone.  This is not a macaron:

Courtesy of What's Cooking America

That’s a macaroon.  It’s Italian, has coconut, and isn’t what I’ve been craving the last few weeks.

This, my friends, is a macaron:

Courtesy of Ladurée

Ladurée, a world-famous, expensive (or “priced well above market value” if you want to be politically correct), French tea salon chain, even has a little story on their website about the origin.  They mention adding a pinch of “know-how;” I can only assume what they’re referring to has addictive properties.

Jenna came into town this weekend for a grad school interview, and we met up.

I had found some proper macarons in Chicago, so I insisted she accompany me there.  She resisted saying, “No, I don’t want to eat anything delicious today!” but I eventually convinced her.  (Actual conversation- Me: Macarons?   Jenna: Yes! When and where?)

We went here:

And had our mint tea and our macarons.

It was a perfect afternoon.

To Eat or Not To Eat

French Word of the Day: sucre (sue- cruh)- sugar

With 2012 has come everyone’s resolutions.  While mine are all lofty goals like world peace and ending world hunger (or they would be if I’d made them), everyone else has the same one: eat healthy.

Now, I’m a big fan of the healthy eating.  It’s important for healthy living, blah, blah, blah.  I have a chronic illness; I get it.  But lately, my food pyramid has resembled this:

When I haven’t had any sleep, it looks like this:

Yes, that is coffee spilling.  Spilling is a special talent of mine that I display whenever I’m sleep deprived.

(The color used for caffeine is called “asparagus.”  If your asparagus is actually that color, you should probably throw it out.)

My family and coworkers have all embraced the veggies-good, lean meats-good, and carbs-are-evil diet.  Well, everyone except my father.  As he doesn’t buy his food, he’s on that diet by default.

By guilt/ peer pressure, I’m on it too.

I have had only ONE Oreo cookie today.  That’s a third of a serving size.  No one eats under a serving size; you eat above the serving size and pretend like the amount you ate equals the serving size.  I don’t even really like Oreo cookies (except with peanut butter à la Lindsay Lohan in Parent Trap), it was just the only sugar item available.

I need a pain au chocolat.