I'm pretty sick of my story, so I'll tell you the one you haven't heard, the full version. The idea of not eating dairy came to me in Paris while I was studying at Le Cordon Bleu, however at that point I was so immersed in my hunt for the best pan au chocolate. ( I shouldn't have stopped eating dairy when my favorite pain au chocolate shop closed. Oh how the universe gives us signs). So, when I returned home, dairy went out the window. The sinus infections I got monthly were gone with it. On my journey of self realization I noticed that something I was eating still made me fuzzy and lethargic. I was also having bad stomach problems, reluctantly I started my first ever juice cleanse using Pressed Juice. 3 days lead to 7 and I was back at work, Huckleberry, under the butter and sugar genius Zoe Nathan, and once again having the same symptoms.
I cut out dairy and gluten completely (I was so upset to give up those meatballs, they were a 10 am tradition with a coworker). I remember tasting the pastries I made to make sure they were right, but instead of swallowing it, I'd spit it into the trash, I'm pretty sure I may have offended someone or everyone always thought my products turned out horribly wrong. Oh well.
After 15 months and a lot of thought, I reached the decision to quit. I had been experimenting with gluten and dairy free baked goods for a while and was confident that the window I was about to jump through was fully open with people on the other side, searching for a high quality, natural, healthy and delicious baked good that they would feel good about eating.
Further along on my journey I realized that something was giving me gas and also was making me fuzzy, it had to have been sugar. Now don't get me wrong, I am one of those people who would walk out of a Sweet Factory candy store with at least two pounds of candy, mostly the sour face making, teeth rotting, toe curling kind. Needless to say, I love sugar. A day without sugar was possible every now and again so I was able to pin point it. Sugar too went out the window. Therefore, like the evolution of my products, I began making cakes without refined sugar.
Now, I must say, I get a few people every week who ask for sugar free bakes goods. Just like margarine of all types, no matter how organic they say they are, fake sweeteners are pretty much out of the question too. I stick to organic raw honey, organic maple syrup and a juice sweetener. I still do use organic pure cane sugar in my cookies as of now, sometimes it's just unavoidable, and I am a firm believer in eating things in moderation, even sugar, if it doesn't irritate people.
As of now, I find myself craving sweets less and less and most things are just too darn sweet for me. It's interesting how cravings dissipate days or weeks after the food is taken out of a diet.
In the present day, I am a combination of GAPS and Paleo (without the dairy). After three straight months of nausea, bloating, gas and stomach aches after eating almost anything, I took a trip to the doctor. I'm wary of Western medicine doctors, to be perfectly honest. I don't mean to sound paranoid, but I'm skeptical about lots of things, but I'll address that. After tons of testing, the doctor told me that I had some food allergies, but basically nothing was internally wrong. The primary blood panel, showed mild allergies to wheat, peanuts and corn (my favorite food in the world).
Here is where my skepticism comes in, I would honestly just say that I'm allergic to GMOs. To some that sounds ridiculous and to others it sounds about right. Wheat Belly is an informative book on the issue. But in short, to feed so many people and produce the millions of products that include wheat in the country, its no surprise that the crops need to grow more, more quickly and stronger and how do you make that happen?
Moving along, I actually feel relieved to not have to be a 'slave' to food corporations, food lobbys, and the unfit for human consumption wheat that is produced. It was pretty incredible to finally be forced to recognize how much I consumed carbs of any sort and how much of the super markets are made up of those products. Not to say that all wheat is bad, I'm sure there are some healthy, organic crops out there. This part of my journey has lead me to make one of my favorite products and one that I'm most proud of, a nut and seed bar made caramelized raw honey, nuts and seeds, Maldon sea salt.
I have realized that I am really lucky to have had these challenges and the challenges of my customers because if you truly love what you do, you should love a challenge, not shy away. They have only enhanced the collection of Coco bakes treats.
Please join me in celebrating a healthy and delicious life.
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What an accomplishment!
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