Cheese Free Snack Plates

Sometimes I miss cheese. That is a fact. However, I also do not miss the tight, achy feeling just above my belly button the day after I eat cheese. I call this a dairyache. This is an invented word, but directly reflects the truth. I don’t have a stomach ache, because it is not in my stomach. It is further through my digestive tract. This is what makes food intolerances so tricky; sometimes you don’t feel the effects until a day or three after you eat a particularly offensive food.

How have I come to understand what exactly is causing my symptoms? Through food elimination protocols. Is there a magic pill? NO!! If you want to be healthy you need to eat real, unprocessed, whole foods (meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, fats) for at least 30 days exclusively. And that is just the beginning. Then add one food at a time back in to see what adversely affects you. For example, have a small amount of dairy for three days after not having it for a month and see if you notice any ill effects.

So when you’ve had a long day at work and really just want some cheese, crackers and wine to relax with, what do you do?  I put together a rather delicious plate of dill pickles, uncured salami & macadamia nuts. And some red wine, which through the elimination process I have learned is okay if I stick with sulfite fee selections.

The good news is that even if you can’t eat all the processed crap that is pervasive in our grocery stores, there are alternatives that still feel like treats. Here is a picture of my deliciousness from last night:


No Bake “Paleo” Chocolate Treats


Sometimes you just want a little treat. My taste buds have changed considerably over the past few years as I’ve switched to real food and dessert for me is very different from it used to be. I’m a former sugar hound of the worst variety. I could make a batch of chocolate chip cookies during commercial breaks, down two or three old fashioned donuts in an afternoon and eat three pieces of pie at Thanksgiving. Now sugar just doesn’t do it for me. Like Pavlov’s dogs, my response to looking at dessert is physical. I actually can feel the heartburn I’ll get and it is so not worth it anymore. I’m sure knowing how toxic sugar is helps me stay away from it. If you want to completely ruin sugar and carbs for yourself, start researching the connection between sugar and cancer, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and let’s not forget, obesity and diabetes. And no, you can’t exercise away your high carb and sugary food choices. It just doesn’t work that way.

While I no longer devour any and all things sweet, I still occasionally have a “paleo” dessert. Which for the purposes of this post just means gluten, dairy and legume free. My daughter-in-law sent me a recipe she had tried and I modified it today to accommodate what I had in my kitchen. I love the texture of this treat as it feels crunchy and is creamy at the same time. I chilled it in the fridge and threw the rest in the freezer to save for later. Here’s what I did:

No-Bake Chocolate Nut Treats

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

-Mix the above ingredients in a bowl and set aside

  • 1/3 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

-Melt the above over in a pan over medium heat and when melted and mixed thoroughly pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until blended.

-Scoop mixture into cupcake papers in a muffin pan and put in the fridge or freezer to harden.

These make a nice, not too sugary alternative to try. Enjoy!