Friday, September 12, 2008

Jump right in...

I guess I'll just dive headfirst into this blog, since there's no easy way to start.

I really enjoy food. I love eating it, reading about it, cooking it and watching food related shows on TV. I have a folder in my bookmark's toolbar labeled "Cooking." I receive recipes in my inbox from mailing lists and an occasional friend or relative. I love searching in the newspaper, magazines, cookbooks or online for new recipes.

I rarely, if ever, make a recipe following the ingredients and instructions. For some reason or another I always substitute items or alter a step to my liking. My mom gave me a tip once to pencil these changes into the margin if you ended up liking them, which I do and find it very helpful when re-visiting the recipe.

If I make something and really enjoy it I almost always tell somebody about it and offer to share the recipe. I've handwritten out recipes to share, along with emailed and even faxed them along! To me, cooking and food is an experience that should be shared. I'm sharing - just now on a grander scale!

Let me go back a little bit further and explain the inspiration to start this, though.

My boyfriend, Johnny, and I have lived together since October 2006. Before I moved in he was mainly a take-out eater. Since moving in I have cooked almost all of our meals at home from scratch. Johnny had always thought he had a sensitive stomach, but we noticed an increase in him getting sick and the severity over the course of time. We knew some of his relatives were allergic to dairy, so we started reading labels and omitting to find the source. We eventually found the culprit: whey.

Do you know how much stuff whey is in??? Take a look through your cabinets. Cereals, breadcrumbs, soups, Hamburger Helper, Rice-a-Roni, bouillon, chips, cookies, candies, etc. I could list on and on. My first step was to eliminate anything containing whey from the kitchen. That left some pretty empty cabinets and drawers. When we went shopping we had to read every. single. label. All of my staples were knocked out! Things I had been cooking since elementary school I could no longer make. Family recipes that my parents and grandmothers had shown me I had to stop making.

I was scared. Suddenly cooking seemed so exhausting to me. I couldn't go in carefree and whip up some meal on a whim. Everything was now calculated and I was working with a very limited ingredient list. Or so I thought.

The research began. I realized that by cooking a lot of vegetarian and vegan meals I could eliminate milk and meat products that contain whey. This was a starting point for me, and hope for the future.

I first stumbled upon 101 Cookbooks. This site is absolutely beautiful - the photos, the descriptions and the community. I was amazed by Heidi's ability to take a short list of fresh, healthy ingredients and turn them into stunning presentations almost too pretty to eat. I printed out a handful of recipes to try and most made a permanent home in a 3 ring binder I keep printed recipes in.

Next, I researched whey specifically and Wikipedia's article lead me to this site, which in turn lead me to NoWheyMama. I had no idea people were doing this sort of thing! I was so inspired, especially by her situation. She has a child allergic to all diary, not just whey specific. She's still able to cook healthy (and safe) meals for her entire family. I could conquer a little whey allergy and still find fun stuff for Johnny and me!

A friend sent me Skinny Bitch and I read it in two days. Could not put it down. Yes, it's slight propaganda to get you to become vegan and join PETA. Yes, they cited sources that lend themselves to their arguments. But, in the end I walked away with a lot of information. I knew I wanted to change our lives to eat really healthy.

I've since focused most of my food blog following to be strictly allergy or health conscious based. That's when I found Slim Shoppin' (through 101 Cookbooks) and it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I wanted one of my own!

I cook really well! And over the past year and a half (give or take) I've made some real progress on this whey allergy. I have a lot of substitutions and advice somebody could really use! Making meals whey-free also usually makes them healthier, too. Sometimes it even makes it kosher (even though I do not keep a kosher kitchen). If I put this information out there somebody might benefit from it. Plus, I'll have the added benefit of my food journey recorded in one place and can share my recipes with any friend or relative who wants to follow along!

I hope you enjoy and if you are going to be following this blog for whey allergy purposes I cannot stress enough to PLEASE, please check all labels and ingredient lists. You might have to search 10 different brands of a product before you find one that is whey-free. I don't want anybody getting sick from following my recipes or suggestions.


Anonymous said...

Christina, your site looks fantastic! Thanks for mentioning my site. You will soon see how much fun it is to share your love of food with the whole world!


Anonymous said...

It's true. I've tried your cookies, zucchini pie, etc. Dee-lish!

Great site!