A lot has happened in the past week. Here are the highlights:
- I’ve gone without both gluten and dairy for the past seven days
- My sister flew in for a surprise Chicago trip (pie post coming!)
- Laura and I have started a new Saturday morning yoga sculpt trend
- Dan cut the tip of his finger off and ended up in the ER
For the sake of keeping you appetized, I’m going to leave out the gory details behind #4 and focus on #1, which is where this recipe comes into play.
Something I haven’t openly talked about much on this blog is my chronic stomach issues. About five years ago, I started having some serious issues with what I ate. What would start as a shooting pain in my stomach would travel to my gut and create a hard, uncomfortable bloat almost daily. There have been days where I can barely walk home from work upright because it hurts my gut to stand up straight. It’s something that has turned into a true inconvenience, and most times, I just try to suck it up so it doesn’t hinder my daily lifestyle.
I’ve done my fair share of online research and even gone to a couple different doctors, but have never been able to figure it out. And in trying to pinpoint the cause, I’ve realized that pop or any carbonated beverages, certain coffees, granola bars and frozen meals make it way worse, but it is never is quite absent. The only time I’ve truly been without stomach aches is when I’ve been on a juice-cleanse, which is obviously not a sustainable daily lifestyle
Last week, I went to a new primary care doctor. Long story short, she believes I have a gluten sensitivity (not to be confused with an allergy like celiac disease), which has also caused me headaches and a series of other minor symptoms. And even though I thought I had “tested” my having an issue with gluten by going without it for a couple days, it turns out the only real way to test it is by giving it up for a few weeks.
So, this last week, I’ve had to go without both gluten and dairy just to be 100 percent sure. Then tomorrow, I reintroduce dairy and see if it has any effect, but keep with the no gluten for two more weeks.
The bittersweet news? I already feel so much better. I haven’t had ONE stomach ache all week! While I’m excited to finally feel like I’m figuring this out, I’m nervous as both a cheese and pasta lover. How can I sustain something like this if it’s one or the other — or both?
Cooking has been really challenging, but it’s been enlightening to read about new recipe techniques in place of these classic ingredients. Like this idea I had about recreating my favorite pasta sauce and using a combo of avocado and cashew milk to give the creaminess (served over gluten-free pasta, of course.)
Roasted Green Pepper & Avocado Pasta
2 green bell peppers
1 package gluten-free pasta, cooked according to package
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. hot Italian turkey sausage
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 avocado, pitted
1/3 cup cashew milk
1 1/2 tablespoons Lake Shore Drive Seasoning (or something similar)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 cup cherry tomatoes
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Roast green bell peppers for 15-20 minutes or until starting to brown. Remove from oven and wrap in aluminum foil tightly. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Unwrap peppers and peel off skin. Cut into small pieces and place in a large deep bowl. Set aside.
Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees F.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion, sausage and garlic. Saute until sausage is cooked through.
Add avocado to bowl with green pepper. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Add cashew milk and all seasonings, stir until combined.
Add pasta to sausage skillet, then sauce and cherry tomatoes. Stir until combined. Add to a 9×13 baking dish. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Serve.