Cooking From Scratch and Recommended Cookbooks

Before discovering my major food sensitivities in 2008, my eating patterns were similar to most American women.  I knew how to cook meals from scratch and had a number of cookbooks, but I did not cook every day.  I was married with a child in elementary school and a busy, full-time job.

Breakfast for my family usually consisted of packaged cereal with milk, orange juice and coffee or my daughter’s favorite Pop Tarts.  My normal lunch was a Lean Cuisine and a Diet Coke eaten at my desk at work.  By mid-afternoon I was often starving and ran to the snack machine for cheese crackers or, my favorite, Necot cookies.  When I got home in the evening I did cook dinner for our family several days a week, but too often we ate Chick-Fil-A or Wendy’s because we were too tired or busy to cook.

Then in mid-2008 I discovered that my health problems were being caused by my sensitivity to gluten.  When I gave up all wheat, barley and rye, my symptoms of daily headaches and constant intestinal pains almost disappeared.  I substituted packaged, gluten-free products for their gluten-filled versions and ate gluten-free bread, cookies, chips, cereal, pastries and frozen meals.  As I continued eating this way I found that I was still having symptoms.  By reading food labels and tuning in to my diet, I discovered that I had additional food sensitivities to corn, soy and oats.  Wheat, corn and soy are in virtually every processed and packaged food in our grocery store and restaurants.

What was I to do now? 

Find Healthy Cookbooks

I began searching for recipes that did not use gluten, soy or corn and that led me to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and then the Paleo Diet. I found recipes on-line and bought a few cookbooks that I continue to use.  Practical Paleo by Diane SanFilippo gives an excellent introduction to the Paleo diet as a healing diet plus has a number of great recipes which are relatively easy and quick to prepare.  Against All Grain by Danielle Walker is also Paleo and SCD diet-friendly.  That book includes a number of great dessert recipes for those special occasions when you want cake or cookies.

A few years later I was introduced by my sister-in-law, Sharon, to the work of Weston A. Price and the cookbook Nourishing Traditions.  She was working at a local bakery/restaurant that used the Wise Traditions diet principles for its menu.  Nourishing Traditions gives a great overview to a classic way of eating. There are recipes including how to make bone broth, fermented foods and crispy nuts.  I also discovered The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook which gives basic gluten-free, healthy recipes that are excellent for the entire family.  All of the cookbooks and other resources that I recommend are included on the resources page of my website.


Compile Your Own Personal Cookbook

I took recipes from each of these books, plus a few others and also found recipes in magazines and on-line as time went on.  I have two notebooks filled with the individual recipes I found and adapted in addition to the cookbooks I recommend on my Resources page.

The Standard American Diet of fast and processed foods is common to many of my nutrition clients.  Most of them know how to cook, but do not do so as often as they should because of their busy lives. Other clients may be cooking more whole foods on a regular basis but discover that they have food sensitivities to gluten or dairy or eggs and can no longer eat many of their previous go-to foods.

If you are running low on ideas for healthy, whole foods meals check out the Recipes section of my website here for a number of gluten, dairy, soy and corn-free recipes. You can also get free meal plans and recipes for five quick weeknight dinners at the link at the bottom of this page.  Or consider purchasing one or more of these recommended cookbooks.

What are your favorite whole foods recipes or cookbooks?  Comment below to share with other readers.


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Quick, Easy Gluten and Dairy-Free Meal Plans

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