About two months ago I went to an acupuncturist to get help with two things: joint pain and GI discomfort. I have been dealing with chronic joint pain for about eight years now, but every now and then I decide to reach out to different experts to see if they may have an answer to the pain for me. It has gotten to the point that I only feel the pain while I am working out or putting more stress than usual on a certain joint, but I am SO thankful not to feel the pain at rest anymore! The majority of this change has occurred so far from rest (I used to be a competitive gymnast, so when I say rest I mean not intensely working out for 20+ hours per week) and cleaning up my diet to reduce inflammation. I added in lots of herbs like turmeric and ginger on a daily basis, ate lots and lots of greens, whole grains, and stayed away from white flour, sugar, and processed foods as much as possible. However, with all of these changes I made I still felt a good amount of pain in my joints and would get uncomfortably bloated after having a meal. During my visit to the acupuncturist we discovered that I have milk allergy and gluten intolerance. This made a lot of sense to me because I would notice after meals with cheese or gluten I wasn’t feeling too hot. My joints would become stiff, my stomach felt uneasy, and my mood would fluctuate.
I am not a big fan of conventional dairy anyways, so at this time I was eating raw milk products, which my mind felt good about, but my body didn’t quite agree with it. I know it is really easy to eat a certain way because of society, or a certain diet makes sense in your mind that it is the best way to eat for optimal health. The only problem with listening to our minds is sometimes they don’t know what’s best for us. Our minds go by logic, which is great for the majority of things that we must do in life. Then again on the flip side of things, our body is vastly intelligent and you can be sure it will tell us if something is not working for it. I have these friends who go by the name Rawbrahs that always say, “Get out of your mind and into your senses.” This is so true for not only living your life, but what you are putting into your body. Eating should be an intuitive process, not a logical one. Try it out. Allow your body to tell you what it needs and not the other way around. Those cravings we all get are not your body trying to sabotage you, but a cry for something that it’s not getting. Now this does not mean that your body needs a snickers bar though! Cravings need to be decoded at times, which is something I can definitely help you with if you have questions.
Now as far as the no gluten goes I am so thankful to have friends and family who will accommodate my new changes. This is especially true when traveling and I found myself eating out more than I am used to. I am very good at preparing meals that are gluten-free, but still working on being comfortable eating out and knowing all my options. Since I have cut out gluten and dairy, I have noticed my joints are less stiff, that awful bloating feeling is gone, and my mood does not go haywire after a meal! These are all beautiful changes that I have seen in a short time span and can’t wait to see what happens after implementing them for several more months.
Now on to the goodness!
Dairy-free, Gluten-free lasagna
This recipe is really what your heart desires and I just give you the guidelines. You’ll notice I did not give measurements. My reasoning with this is I want you to experiment. See what your body tells you is right, and what balances right for your taste buds. This can be easily vegan as well, just omit the meatballs. Here is what I used.
This requires at least 30 min to overnight prep in order to soak the cashews.
2 garlic cloves
Mom’s pasta sauce (I’d gladly share, but she hasn’t shared with me yet! Just use your favorite pasta sauce)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Roughly 1/8in thick slices of zucchini
*Recipe was taken from this awesome site, ohsheglows. Since I have never made it before I wanted to follow a pros advice!
Pick a dish size you would like. I used an 8x10in bread pan.
Set the oven to 350°F.
Sauté the onions, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, and any other veggies you would like in a pan with coconut oil, salt & pepper, and any herbs you would like to give your dish flavor.
While the veggies sauté, prepare the cashew cheese according to the instructions from ohsheglows.
Layer the bottom of the pan with a thin coat of sauce. Put a layer of raw zucchini down, sautéed veggies, meat, small amount of sauce, cashew cheese, thin slices of tomato, basil and repeat until your pan is full. Top with sauce to keep the dish from burning/drying out.
Put in the oven until bubbly. Takes approximately 30 minutes depending on your oven.