Felicia's Notebook

Unfortunately, happiness is NOT a warm bagel

Rosemary Rocksalt bagels on Main at Broadway in Vancouver

Rosemary Rocksalt bagels on Main at Broadway in Vancouver

Without being too overly dramatic, I am experiencing my version of the end of the world. A world that is devoid of eggs and cheese. Let me explain…

For the past two years or so, somewhere in the middle of my pregnancy, I started to develop eczema. Probably something to do with hormones triggering something autoimmune, or something. Annoyingly, it was eczema ON MY EYELID. Of all places to get it, it was super annoying. The severity of the eczema would ebb and flow, and it would mostly flare up and become horrible when I was especially stressed… like preparing for teaching trips. And it would calm down and go away when I was on vacation in Hawaii. So I thought it was totally stress-related. But then over the months, it started to get worse and worse… and every time I thought it couldn’t possibly get worse, it got worse. Steroid creams didn’t help (used around the eye, they are linked to causing cataracts). Moisturizers didn’t help. Even a sample tube of Protopic (which has been linked to cancer) caused my eyes to burn for over a day.

Since the new year, I’ve been doing a lot more cooking, making more green smoothies, and trying to change our diets to include more whole foods, less meat, and less sugar. And it was going pretty well until about two weekends ago when I fell off the wagon. In the span of three or four days, I indulged in all my very favourite things: pizza, pineapple custard buns from T&T, scones, egg tarts (also from evil T&T), pasta, eggs with spinach and feta, bagette sandwiches, and part of a Rosemary Rocksalt breakfast bagel (OMG the best breakfast bagel I’ve ever had). Just looking at that list, I’m a bit horrified with myself, but hey, this is what happens when you deprive yourself. In any case, at the end of my pastry-laden spree I ended up with the worst flare up of all time.

I finally visited a friend of ours, Dr. Jeff Lee, who is a naturopath and owner of Brio Integrative Health. He suggested that maybe my eczema was actually food allergy related and so I did the IgG food sensitivity test. A couple days ago, he showed me the results. My body does not appreciate my daily routine of eggs, cheese, and other dairy. This is probably not earth-shattering to anyone else but me, but it feels so depressingly unfair that the ONE (or two) things that I’m intolerant to are the very things that I eat every day. And perhaps that might be part of the problem too. So the doc’s advice is to cut out all eggs, cheese, and dairy for the next six months and to see if that helps heal my body from inside out.

So this Friday Five is a few foodie things that I’m grateful for.

1) Oh She Glows

A couple years ago when my family was meeting my sister-in-law Annica’s family for the first time, we needed to accommodate her sister-in-law who was vegan. I stumbled upon Angela Liddon’s amazing blog and made this salad for our families that was really incredibly well-received. Since that time, I’ve been referred back to this blog as well as Angela’s cookbook by a few people, including Ashley at our studio. It’s been an absolute godsend. It’s been a source of so much new learning for me… even silly things, like I cooked lentils for the first time in my life just yesterday. But seriously, I make her Apple Pie Oatmeal for breakfast every morning now, sometimes switching out the apples for pears or bananas (I’ve been using Medjool dates to sweeten it rather than maple syrup and it’s sooo delicious). And this Tomato Basil Cream Pasta dish that’s made with blended up cashews? Insanely yummy. And who knew you could cook like that with cashews?? I’ve been making it with gluten-free pasta and even my husband was surprised at how good (and not weird) it is.

2) Miso Gravy

One of my go-to dinners has been cooking a big pot of brown rice or quinoa, sautéing a bunch of veggie, steaming a salmon with a little sesame oil and soy, and then making miso gravy to go with it all. I will admit to being fully inspired by the Dharma Kitchen, a little vegan restaurant in Kits, where my girlfriend Michelle and I have been going, off and on, for ten years now. We have our best heart-to-heart convos over their heart-warming brown rice bowls. So I’ve been experimenting with a combo of these three miso gravy recipes:

3) Medjool date smoothies

So, I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of the ladies at SimpleGreenSmoothies. I’ve been making green, fresh, and fruity smoothies in the morning and having the second half in the afternoon as a snack. I like my smoothies to look a good colour… if it’s green, it should be nice, vibrant green. If it’s purple or red, it should be purple or red… not brown. So I was skeptical when I saw the Skinny Mint smoothie. It was sweetened with medjool dates… a totally new thing for me. But I tried it and it wasn’t bad. It was super filling, but yes, chocolatey, a little sweet, and minty. BUT even better than that, was using the Medjool dates for THIS smoothie! It taste like the peanut butter milkshakes we used to get at Lucy’s Diner! But it’s just bananas and dates… how CRAZY is that?

4) Fish tacos

I am grateful for the fact that I’m not actually sensitive to gluten, but I’m trying to cut it out too, where I can. Thankfully, I can still have grilled fish tacos up the wazoo. Avocado, fish, and lime are my friends.

5) My dear husband

Not a lot of people would give up their own favourite foods and ways of eating, simply to match their spouse. But I am absolutely blessed to share my life with my husband. He’s said over and over, “Whatever you need to do to change your diet, and go meat or no meat, cheese or no cheese, I can do it.” And this was all prior to him reading about LeBron James going no sugar, no dairy, and no carbs for 67 days. And my husband has been doing it… happily eating whatever brown rice, stew, veggie, miso gravy experiment I concoct each evening. Even, dare I say, enjoying it.

I feel like I’ve been eating tasty food all my life — going from my mom’s deliciously clean home cooking to trendy restaurant hopping during my twenties — I probably even misguidedly proclaimed myself a foodie during that time. But now, spurred on by the “have to” is quite a bit of “want to” in discovering new foods and ways to cook. Anything to make us not only look healther, but truly be healthier.

Happy Friday. Hope you have wonderful meals with friends and family this weekend. Have any of you changed your diets away from the North American “norm”? How did you do it? How are you doing with it?

author-avatar

About Felicia Lo

founder + creative director of SweetGeorgia // designer + dreamer // wife + mama // dyer, knitter, spinner, weaver, youtuber + author // been writing this blog about colour and craft since 2004 // see what I am making @lomeetsloom and @sweetgeorgia.

Back to list

Related Posts

42 thoughts on “Unfortunately, happiness is NOT a warm bagel

  1. Alison says:

    I have blepharitis, so you have my sympathies on the eyelid issues!

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Aww! Yes, having trouble around the eye is always so worrisome. Hope yours gets better soon!

  2. Alison says:

    I have blepharitis, so you have my sympathies on the eyelid issues!

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Aww! Yes, having trouble around the eye is always so worrisome. Hope yours gets better soon!

  3. Janine Le Cras says:

    Hubby is dairy, gluten and egg intolerant so I understand your problems. They do say that if you have foos allergies that you actually crave the foods that are bad for you. If you go cold turkey on the foods that affect you pretty soon you will find that you don’t miss them. ( well not crave them anyway) ;-)
    There are some brilliant recipes out there, I have found loads on Pinterest. When it comes to treats like cookies I have found that a lot of vegan ones work well, as long as you use a gluten free flour

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Doesn’t that seem totally unfair that the foods you crave are those you can’t have? Haha. Thanks for the suggestion on vegan recipes on Pinterest! I will look!

  4. Janine Le Cras says:

    Hubby is dairy, gluten and egg intolerant so I understand your problems. They do say that if you have foos allergies that you actually crave the foods that are bad for you. If you go cold turkey on the foods that affect you pretty soon you will find that you don’t miss them. ( well not crave them anyway) ;-)
    There are some brilliant recipes out there, I have found loads on Pinterest. When it comes to treats like cookies I have found that a lot of vegan ones work well, as long as you use a gluten free flour

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Doesn’t that seem totally unfair that the foods you crave are those you can’t have? Haha. Thanks for the suggestion on vegan recipes on Pinterest! I will look!

  5. Renny Lubberts says:

    Thank you for all the ideas! I have a young family and my go to comforts are carbs, sugar, and protein. It’s hard to think outside the box and your post has totally inspired me!

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Thanks so much Renny! So glad to hear that this post helped! I am just learning to think outside the box, myself. It’s great to lean on each other for ideas.

  6. Natalie Buchmann says:

    Thank you for all the ideas! I have a young family and my go to comforts are carbs, sugar, and protein. It’s hard to think outside the box and your post has totally inspired me!

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Thanks so much Renny! So glad to hear that this post helped! I am just learning to think outside the box, myself. It’s great to lean on each other for ideas.

  7. June says:

    I totally get the food deprivation feeling; it’s hard to ignore the pull of favorite foods. For sure the dietary changes will affect your health and hopefully for the better, but please don’t discount the role of stress. Chronic stress can do *terrible* things to a body, so please pay attention to that aspect of your life, too.

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Thanks for the reminder, June! Yeah, I’ve been meaning to take more and more off my plate (in more ways than one!). It’s so hard to do, but I think you’re right… so important to take your foot off the gas sometimes :)

  8. June says:

    I totally get the food deprivation feeling; it’s hard to ignore the pull of favorite foods. For sure the dietary changes will affect your health and hopefully for the better, but please don’t discount the role of stress. Chronic stress can do *terrible* things to a body, so please pay attention to that aspect of your life, too.

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Thanks for the reminder, June! Yeah, I’ve been meaning to take more and more off my plate (in more ways than one!). It’s so hard to do, but I think you’re right… so important to take your foot off the gas sometimes :)

  9. Riin Gill says:

    Hi Felicia! Rob and I are both long time vegans, and we eat a lot of
    Middle Eastern food and Indian food. Daiya cheese is a pretty good vegan
    cheese substitute (it may taste a little bit odd by itself if you’re
    not used to it, but it’s good in sandwiches and on pizza). When I first
    went vegan I was already vegetarian and was mostly just eliminating
    cheese by that point, and I missed it at first, but after about three
    weeks, it was out of my system, and I didn’t crave it anymore. Now if I
    think about real cheese, it just makes me think of mold. Ick.

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Haha! Thank you for the encouragement, Riin!! Yes, one thing I was thinking this morning is how much money I’ll save now that I have to stop my cheese addiction!

  10. Riin Gill says:

    Hi Felicia! Rob and I are both long time vegans, and we eat a lot of
    Middle Eastern food and Indian food. Daiya cheese is a pretty good vegan
    cheese substitute (it may taste a little bit odd by itself if you’re
    not used to it, but it’s good in sandwiches and on pizza). When I first
    went vegan I was already vegetarian and was mostly just eliminating
    cheese by that point, and I missed it at first, but after about three
    weeks, it was out of my system, and I didn’t crave it anymore. Now if I
    think about real cheese, it just makes me think of mold. Ick.

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Haha! Thank you for the encouragement, Riin!! Yes, one thing I was thinking this morning is how much money I’ll save now that I have to stop my cheese addiction!

  11. LisaB650 says:

    Those Rosemary Rock Salt bagels, though, right?! So good. Are you saying you can’t have those either? !!

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Those Rosemary Rocksalt bagels are amazing!! I can have them… Just have to be willing to take the consequences :) I’m thinking maybe the occasional treat is not going to kill me ;)

  12. LisaB650 says:

    Those Rosemary Rock Salt bagels, though, right?! So good. Are you saying you can’t have those either? !!

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Those Rosemary Rocksalt bagels are amazing!! I can have them… Just have to be willing to take the consequences :) I’m thinking maybe the occasional treat is not going to kill me ;)

  13. Cathy says:

    Sympathy from me to you. Having adjusted my cooking for my husband’s diabetes, I am now learning to cook for my daughter’s Celiac disease. As a 20 year old foodie stuck on a small College campus, she finds it especially onerous. I was going to recommend Sue’s flourless cashew butter chocolate chip cookie recipe from her View From Great Island blog, but realized it does have an egg in it. Ugh, egg. For what it’s worth, lactose tolerance in adults is a mutation that most of the globe doesn’t share; lactose intolerance is the norm on the planet. Love and Lemons is another foodie blog I’ve found encouraging. Good Luck!

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Thank you so much Cathy! I just checked out Love and Lemons and found a whole bunch of new recipes to try! They have a beautiful site!

    2. Cathy says:

      You’re very welcome! My turn to thank you for sharing your personal story. It always helps to find out we are not alone. And of course, thank you for the yummy yarn my Mom and I are using in the afghan for her which we are both making squares for – I called getting to use the Sweet Georgia yarn, with the rationale that, since I’m making the more complicated patterns, I need the lighter colors. Scamming my 75 year old Mom? Yup, I did that. She’s probably used to it by now, but said she wanted to work with the one that felt thicker anyway. Win/win! I’m very impressed that you’ve been able to create both a business, and a person. For what it’s worth, as immensely valuable as your time and attention to Russel are, and of course he comes first, we knitters appreciate what you are doing with yarn; it enriches us. As a stay at home Mom of three kids for 22 years now, I’d also like to say that if it gets too much and you need a sabbatical, we will all be waiting with baited breath when you come back. What you do is truly unique, and we’re grateful. (Do I get to post on behalf of all knitters?)

    3. Cathy says:

      Another visually exciting foodie website with a mom trying to please herself and get nutrition into her kids at the same time that I’ve found inspiring recently is Jaden Hair’s steamykitchen.com. Not all the recipes will work for you, but looking for the ones that will is fun! I couldn’t even eat my rendition of her maple braised endive, must’ve done something wrong, but my casserole version of Gordon Ramsey’s (of all people) leek and potato rosti (I just couldn’t get the hang of the flip – maybe my nonstick pan isn’t nonstick enough anymore?) was invented only after Steamykitchen inspiration, and it’s a weekly request from Hubby and the Growing Teen. He’ll eat it for a quick breakfast at 6:45 am and then again after school. Off to make it now with potatoes I parboiled and leeks I cleaned a different day to make today easier!

    4. SweetGeorgia says:

      Aww, thank you Cathy. Your messages totally made my day. And I’ve added Steamykitchen.com to my Feedly for reading later!

  14. Cathy says:

    Sympathy from me to you. Having adjusted my cooking for my husband’s diabetes, I am now learning to cook for my daughter’s Celiac disease. As a 20 year old foodie stuck on a small College campus, she finds it especially onerous. I was going to recommend Sue’s flourless cashew butter chocolate chip cookie recipe from her View From Great Island blog, but realized it does have an egg in it. Ugh, egg. For what it’s worth, lactose tolerance in adults is a mutation that most of the globe doesn’t share; lactose intolerance is the norm on the planet. Love and Lemons is another foodie blog I’ve found encouraging. Good Luck!

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Thank you so much Cathy! I just checked out Love and Lemons and found a whole bunch of new recipes to try! They have a beautiful site!

    2. Cathy says:

      You’re very welcome! My turn to thank you for sharing your personal story. It always helps to find out we are not alone. And of course, thank you for the yummy yarn my Mom and I are using in the afghan for her which we are both making squares for – I called getting to use the Sweet Georgia yarn, with the rationale that, since I’m making the more complicated patterns, I need the lighter colors. Scamming my 75 year old Mom? Yup, I did that. She’s probably used to it by now, but said she wanted to work with the one that felt thicker anyway. Win/win! I’m very impressed that you’ve been able to create both a business, and a person. For what it’s worth, as immensely valuable as your time and attention to Russel are, and of course he comes first, we knitters appreciate what you are doing with yarn; it enriches us. As a stay at home Mom of three kids for 22 years now, I’d also like to say that if it gets too much and you need a sabbatical, we will all be waiting with baited breath when you come back. What you do is truly unique, and we’re grateful. (Do I get to post on behalf of all knitters?)

    3. Cathy says:

      Another visually exciting foodie website with a mom trying to please herself and get nutrition into her kids at the same time that I’ve found inspiring recently is Jaden Hair’s steamykitchen.com. Not all the recipes will work for you, but looking for the ones that will is fun! I couldn’t even eat my rendition of her maple braised endive, must’ve done something wrong, but my casserole version of Gordon Ramsey’s (of all people) leek and potato rosti (I just couldn’t get the hang of the flip – maybe my nonstick pan isn’t nonstick enough anymore?) was invented only after Steamykitchen inspiration, and it’s a weekly request from Hubby and the Growing Teen. He’ll eat it for a quick breakfast at 6:45 am and then again after school. Off to make it now with potatoes I parboiled and leeks I cleaned a different day to make today easier!

    4. SweetGeorgia says:

      Aww, thank you Cathy. Your messages totally made my day. And I’ve added Steamykitchen.com to my Feedly for reading later!

  15. Stephanie says:

    I was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease May 2010 and have been on a strict gluten-free diet since, although I am happy that’s my only dietary restriction. Reading the ingredients on everything I purchased and ate certainly called my attention to what is really in foods and I’ve moved to less processed items. My daughter is 2.5 years old and of course I think a lot about the quality of what I’m feeding her and it is important to take care of ourselves. Oh, and going GF cleared up the mild case of psorasis I had for almost 20 years! (sjn821 on Rav)

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      That is so encouraging to hear that going GF helped so much, Stephanie! And you are right, I am always thinking about what I’m feeding Russell now too… aiming for more fresh and whole foods. Seems so silly that it’s taken me this long to realize that fruits and veggies really are better for you ;)

  16. Stephanie says:

    I was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease May 2010 and have been on a strict gluten-free diet since, although I am happy that’s my only dietary restriction. Reading the ingredients on everything I purchased and ate certainly called my attention to what is really in foods and I’ve moved to less processed items. My daughter is 2.5 years old and of course I think a lot about the quality of what I’m feeding her and it is important to take care of ourselves. Oh, and going GF cleared up the mild case of psorasis I had for almost 20 years! (sjn821 on Rav)

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      That is so encouraging to hear that going GF helped so much, Stephanie! And you are right, I am always thinking about what I’m feeding Russell now too… aiming for more fresh and whole foods. Seems so silly that it’s taken me this long to realize that fruits and veggies really are better for you ;)

  17. LisaB650 says:

    Hey – thanks for the food links – I’ve made the tomato basil pasta and another recipe from that site since you posted!

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Woohoo! Glad they were helpful!

  18. LisaB650 says:

    Hey – thanks for the food links – I’ve made the tomato basil pasta and another recipe from that site since you posted!

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Woohoo! Glad they were helpful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *