As I type this, I’m sitting here stuffing my face with some egg-less, wheat-less, dairy-less quinoa pumpkin bread that’s actually pretty f-ing good. It doesn’t taste like cardboard! Instead of eggs it’s made with chia seeds, which are sneaky little seeds that are a perfect sub for the binding agent found in eggs. Not to mention they supposedly give you a boost in brain power, so I should probably eat them in mass quantities because I need all the help I can get. The windy cool weather outside and the smell of pumpkin bread makes me want to curl up on my sofa with my cuddle monsters and eat the whole damn thing.
So why meegan you ask? Meegan is my fancy new word for being a meat eating vegan. Basically, I just found out that I’m highly intolerant to dairy and eggs. Upon further research I realized this basically means I can eat vegan recipes because they don’t contain eggs or dairy. Ugh. I highly considered cutting cute little farm animals out of my diet too, but holy cow, one step at a time.
Moving to Topanga, Matt and I joked about how we’re going to become granola eating, hairy, happy hippies and it’s all coming true (especially the hairy part). We’re stuck up on the hill without very many good restaurants around us, so I’ve been cooking a ton, which has been great because I’ve always loved eating lean and green. However, I never suspected that eggs were a real problem for me, especially because I literally ate them every-single-morning-without-fail. I had sneaking suspicions about being intolerant to dairy because out of all of my friends I’ve always had more unmentionable stomach issues. The biggest problem that I’ve been dealing with for years has been my battle with zits. It just seemed so unfair to be a 27 year old with teenage pimple issues still. Pimple is such an awkward word. Much like moist. The pumpkin bread that I just made was very moist.
I found out about all of this through my awesome neighbor, Pepita. My mom has struggled with intestinal issues her whole life and both of us are completely convinced that food is the reason why so many people suffer from so many illnesses and health struggles. Pepita is a nutritional health coach who has had great success in changing people’s lives by identifying foods that a person may be intolerant to and then developing a health plan and recipes to support the new diet restrictions. Pepita came over to our house to test both Matt, my mom and I with a simple pin prick blood test and then sent the samples into a lab. We’re all blood brothers now. Two weeks later we got the results, and let me tell you, I ate everything “bad” as possible within those two weeks because I had a sneaking suspicion that I shouldn’t be eating dairy or wheat. Low and behold, both my mom and I can eat wheat, but we are both highly intolerant to dairy and eggs. We’re also moderately intolerant to baker’s yeast, which gosh darn it, is in pretty much everything. There were a few other things that we should avoid. For some reason I can’t do almonds. Which means no almond milk. Boo. By the way, Matt is intolerant to nothing except for kidney beans. Lucky duck.
Instead of immediately thinking that my life is over and poor me because I can’t eat any of the things I love anymore (lattes, lasagna, ice cream, muffins, egg scrambles, parmesan cheese, french toast, etc. etc.), I decided to take it on as a creative challenge! Pepita has been so wonderful and supportive. She’s a wealth of knowledge and it turns out that there are plenty of healthy substitutions. Chia seeds in water becomes a gelatinous substance that can be used in baked goods like eggs. Flax seed is another option. There’s all kinds of yummy milk alternatives like hemp, rice, coconut and my personal fave hazelnut milk. Instead of butter you can use coconut oil or olive oil. I haven’t tried this yet, but you can make “egg” scrambles with mashed up tofu, nutritional yeast, himalayan pink salt, quinoa and veggies. I’ve made some awesome vegan banana pancakes, lots of yummy vegan dishes with a little meat on top and of course the quinoa pumpkin bread that I’m eating right now. I’ve always been morally conflicted by loving animals so much, but still eating some of them. I hardly ever eat meat, but when I do I try to make sure that it’s organic and free range. I cross my fingers that the poor things at least had somewhat of a good life before we ate them. I seriously just need to become a real vegan.
The one thing I’m super bummed about with my new creative diet is that we’re not going to get chickens anymore. I’ve been dying to get some chicks and build a fun coop, but oh well. Instead we’ll just have to get some alpacas and shear them for their fleece. Or maybe a pig! I’ve always wanted a pig. We’ll just have to figure out how to build coyote proof enclosures first. The one thing that I’m grateful for is that my mom and I were proactive about our health and we finally figured out what we can and can’t eat. We have each other for emotional support (which is going to be greatly needed during the holidays – i.e walk-away-from-the-pumpkin-pie, those mashed potatoes don’t mean anything to us, don’t even think about eating that cornbread casserole etc.) and we’re going to be healthier and happier despite the challenges.
So the absolute best news about all of this is that I am finally acne free!!!! Hallelujah! I zapped those zits away with my dairy and egg free powers. Let me repeat- I am zitless! I’m no longer bloated either! Bloated with zits is not a good look. Not going to lie, the last few weeks I have been feeling some detox side effects that have made me feel a little blue, but I also think it’s because I’m eating a lot less calories. Oh and did I mention that it’s doing wonders for my waistline? Forget about gimmicky weight loss fad diets, just figure out what you can and can’t eat or just cut out dairy, eggs and sugar and eat tons of veggies.
My personal recipe for happiness starts with one big heaping handful of healthiness. It may be challenging to eat clean and avoid temptations, but it feels so good to feel good. I love my life and I’d hate for it to be cut short because of poor eating decisions. That probably sounds pretty melodramatic, but it’s so true! Our physical health is so connected to our mental well being too. It’s hard to be happy when you’re not feeling good. I’m determined to feel good- physically, mentally and spiritually. Also, Pepita mentioned that in a cancer research study, a doctor found that 95% of his cancer patients were allergic to eggs. That’s a strong enough correlation if you ask me. Enough to keep me eating chia seeds for days.
A Meegan’s Recipe for Happiness
5 cups of laugher
3 cups of chia seeds
18 tablespoons of puppy cuddling
1 teaspoon of cat cuddling
5 1/8 cups of creativity
10 cups of love
1 cup of coconut oil
3 cups of hazelnut milk
6 cups of horseback riding
3 tablespoons of muzzle nuzzles with Gracie and Moo
1 tablespoon of a cozy blanket
6 cups of playing in nature
2 cups of a sunset
5 cups of wine (thank god I’m not intolerant to grapes or coffee!!)
12 tablespoons of gratitude for veggies
1 pinch of Matt’s cheeks
Here’s a real recipe for ya!
Vegan Quinoa Pumpkin Bread (Tastes a whole lot better than it sounds! Promise!!)
Recipe adapted from hungryhungryhippie.com
1 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsp of water (prepare first and set aside until it’s gelatinous)
2 mashed bananas
1/3 cup of coconut oil
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups quinoa flour (I used the Red Mill brand)
1/2 cup sugar or stevia baking blend
1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all of the wet ingredients together with a hand mixer. In a separate bowl combine and mix all of the dry ingredients. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix till smooth. Pour batter into a bread loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes. Poke it with a toothpick and if it comes out clean it’s ready. Enjoy! And try not to eat the whole loaf in one day like I did.
If you have a yummy vegan cheat recipe to share please email me! Would love any and all advice!