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On Life As A Picky Foodie

April 8th, 2011: Here We Go Again

Posted by: Gabriela Garay

This might sound a bit bananas.  Because by the time you’ve removed gluten, dairy, refined sugars and most nightshades from your diet, the last thing you want to hear is that there are more foods to take out of the rotation.  A couple of weeks ago, however, that is exactly what happened to me. 

Let me explain.  For the past few years, I have been successfully managing a hypo-thyroid condition with food and herbs.  During pregnancy and breastfeeding, however, many of the herbs I had been using were contraindicated and so off-limits.  Few people are aware that pregnancy often exacerbates pre-existing thyroid conditions, which is what recently happened to me.

After running the requisite blood tests, the doctor prescribed thyroid medication.  And why wouldn’t he?  For a moment, I got scared enough to consider taking it.  After all, what has worked for me in the past is not viable at the moment.  To be honest, I was also frustrated: I thought with all I do for my health, why is this happening to me? 

But I got over my self-pity and I gave my fear a good talking to.  Then I made an appointment with a Naturopath.  The way I see it, if the alternative method doesn’t work, I still have the option of medication.   But once I’m taking the pills, it’s much harder to wean myself off them.

The naturopath really seemed to know her stuff.  There was just one problem: she was asking me to radically change my diet. 

What qualifies me to do what I do are my studies in holistic health but also – or so I thought – the fact that I myself have been through a serious food makeover.  And it was hard.  But oh, how quickly we forget. 

When the Naturopath told me what I needed to remove from my diet, I asked her the same question I get asked by so many of my clients: What am I going to eat?

But I’ve lived to tell the tale and am feeling great.  So in addition to eating gluten-, diary-, refined carbohydrate- and sugar-free, I am not having beans, pulses, grains, nuts or seeds (except coconut and the occasional macadamia or cashew), or vegetable oils (though a little olive oil is OK).

What I am eating are a lot of vegetables, fruit and some animal protein.

It doesn’t sound like much, but it is.  And it’s forced me to go back to the drawing board and start getting creative in the kitchen again.  We’ve enjoyed curried veggie burgers and energizing smoothies, colourful salads and satisfying soups.

The Internet and its many food bloggers have been a wonderful resource, for which I am insanely grateful.  Some days you simply need a helping hand and a dollop of inspiration from others on similar journeys. 

Still, I waited to post this until I had a proper dessert.

People somehow assume that my desserts are healthy.  And while they are made entirely of whole, nutritious foods, they are still dessert – so to be enjoyed in moderation. 

But life’s too short to give up pudding.

Coconut Royals -- no oven necessary
(adapted from

*  For the bottom layer:
-  1 ½ cup macadamia nuts
-  1 ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (I use gluten-free)
-  1.5 t salt
-  8 large medjool dates
-   ¼ cup coconut oil

*  For the filling:
-  17 large medjool dates
-  ½ cup water

* For the crumble:
-  ¾ cup crust mix
-  ½ cup shredded coconut
-  ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats

*  For the bonus layer:
-  a bar of 100% cacao chocolate (90 grams)

Line your baking tray with parchment paper (I used a 13.5 x 9.5 inch baking tray).

To make the bottom layer, process the macadamia nuts, 1 ½ cups oats and salt in the food processor until fine.  Then add the 8 medjool dates and process again.  Melt the coconut oil on a low flame and then add to the mixture and process until it becomes a more or less cohesive mass. 

Put ¾ cup aside and press the rest down with your hand on the lined baking tray until uniform and flat. 

Then process the 17 dates and the water until a paste forms.  Scoop and spread it over the crust layer using a flat spatula.

Finally, pulse the ¾ cup leftover crust mixture, the coconut and the ¼ cup of oats.  This needs to remain relatively crumbly.  Sprinkle over the top. 

And then we go over the top!  Melt the chocolate bar in a bain de Marie.  Drizzle over the mixture. 

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.  Cut into small (or large) squares) and serve straight from the refrigerator. 



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