MY IDEAL MAN
When my girlfriends ask me the question, “What type of guys do you like?” My answer has always been the same. I love a man who enjoys eating together! Whenever I’m angry or sad, if someone takes me to one of my favorite restaurants, I find myself instantly cheered up.
Eating delicious food makes me happy. It is medicine for my soul.
My husband and I share a lot of joy when we eat together. We used to go out a lot, since, as you may know, the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the best places for some of the greatest restaurants. Our friends recognize us as foodies and they often ask our opinion on which restaurants are best. You can also find a lot of posts about eating & restaurants in my old blog.
I have a story to tell you from our first date. He took me to the one of the best restaurants in San Francisco, Zuni Cafe. Of course, he ordered their signature dish, the delicious oven roasted whole chicken. It was only our first date, and I hesitated a moment on whether or not I should follow my desires… But eventually, I couldn't stop myself from grabbing the chicken with my hands and making sure the bones were happily cleaned. It was far from elegant, but later, he told me, “It was kind of my girl!” If I had been too dainty, or pretended to be so, and left that chicken meat on the bones, we might not be together today. We certainly have the same attitude when it comes to a GOOD EATING LIFE.
Good food can make people smile
My husband and I also find a lot of joy in cooking for others. Cooking on it’s own is enjoyable, but the real joy in cooking for friends is that we love the smile they get when we’ve created a meal for them. My husband and I used to invited our friends to our dinner table quite often - until our daughter was born! Creating a menu for our friends was one of our most fun home projects. The only issue we had was that we always cooked too much. Some of our friends even skipped breakfast and lunch when they were invited to our table - they knew there would be plenty of good food!
KITCHEN IS WHERE I SPEND A LOT OF MY TIME
Because I have Celiac disease, cooking became a large requirement in my life. Lucky for me it’s my passion and my obsession, too. Due to Celiac disease, eating any amount of gluten makes me so sick, I’ve become more of a control-freak when it comes to cooking. To be honest, I also have a little bit of trust issues, too. I just want to have quality control on what I eat. Now, I am also on a Ketogenic diet as part of my cancer healing process. I do micro-calculations to limit my carbohydrate intake to a maximum of 12g per day. I’ve spent a lot of time in my kitchen, ever since I started this diet in August of 2016. I cook meals for my daughter and husband unless it’s one of the occasional days where we decide to go out. We do not buy any pre-cooked meals, and we also try not to use pre-packaged food as much as possible. All of this ends up having me stand in the kitchen for a long time, doing a lot of cooking. Well, I just want to be clear about this: I do enjoy it! The key is not to stress about it :)
Fortunate to be in Bay Area
One of the many things that I feel very fortunate about is living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Following a strict Gluten free diet is soooo easy here! I lived in Japan until 2001, there, I thought that Japan was the country with the best eating culture. Yes, in some aspects, I still love Japanese food and no other country can beat it. But it is not very easy eating healthy there, especially in a big city like Tokyo. It’s not only Japan, but every time I travel to other cities, I am reminded of the Bay Area and re-recognize how we have such easy access to so much great, healthy food without huge effort and without feeling limited in our options.
San Francisco is one of the best places to find organic food and a healthy eating culture
We enjoy going to the Farmers markets, which happen in many locations around the city and suburbia. There, it’s not difficult to purchase anything we need, from local, organic, sources. Veggies, meat, grains, we can literally source these items from our favorite farmers.
If we go to restaurants, most of the places have no problem to accommodate our dietary restrictions when we inquire. It is a very friendly environment, which respects and honors the Californian healthy eating culture!
Sometimes I wish our favorite farmer was still at the market, but he retired a few years ago. He was one of the pioneers of the organic producers. Although he was not a certified organic producer, we knew that his vegetables were the CLEANEST and most DELICIOUS ones we could find. He always said, “Do not wash my veggies with your water. Your water is dirty and you will not clean my veggies, but spoil them.” He had his own spring water source on his property.
WHY I COOK?
I know cooking takes a lot of much energy and time. Many people say, “I don’t have the time” or “I am far too tired to cook after work”. Some friends asked me “Why don't you just hire someone to cook for you. So you have more time!” I suppose I agree and understand their sentiments. Sometimes it frustrates me, not having enough time to spending time with my daughter or my husband because I’m too busy cooking.
I believe that what we eat is not only feeding our body, but also feeding our spirit. If we are happy eaters, our souls will be happy, too. Yes, I might have less time with my family, but I believe my daughter will understand the gifts she receives from me. I want to do my best to feed healthy food to my family and teach my daughter a healthy and happy eating habit. How I cook for my family is my way of expressing how much I love them :)
Our body is the reflection of what we eat and how we feel
I am not going to write about the relationship between our health issues and our mind and feelings. But I am certain that our body is created as a reflection of both, our mind/feeling and eating habit. My body used to suffer horribly because I wasn’t diagnosed with the Celiac disease until the end of my 39th year. Stopping the consumption of gluten gave me a completely new life. All symptoms, which the doctors told me that I would have to deal with for the rest of my life because there were no known solutions, were simply gone! People would tell me, “I am sorry that you cannot eat gluten! It must be so hard!” I do not feel any sorrow, I am just SUPER HAPPY not to have to deal with all the painful and depressing symptoms I had before, such as terrible and painful eczema and terrifying stomach issues. Sometimes, people would ask me, “Couldn’t you eat a slice of pizza and get sick just for one day, if you really miss it? “ Yes, I could. But I do not miss any of the problems that would come along! It just not worth having these symptoms, even if it were only for a few hours. I don’t want to damage my body anymore :) My body is my temple, so why do I harm it consciously?
I cook because I know what is in my meal
Because I educated myself to protect my health from gluten, I started to carefully read all food labels to find any hidden sources of gluten. I’ve also learned much about additives, preservatives, and GMOs… There’s so many things to learn! You would be actually surprised, learning how tricky it is. For example, orange juice may contain gluten for quality purposes, or the juice from large production companies might get some flavor additives to maintain a consistent taste. Because it’s for the purposes of QUALITY CONTROL, you will not find these additives in the ingredient list on the label. Another good example is shredded or sliced cheese. It sometimes contains some type of flour or starch so that it does not crumble or stick. This is also part of quality control, so we do not see it in the ingredient section either. Crazy, isn’t it? It’s actually pretty scary how much I used to eat these items without knowing what I had consumed through those products. If we truly care about what we eat, we really need to hand pick and cook everything ourselves.
Now my husband and I try to buy food as close as possible to the producer. Less label reading is better - meaning, less manufactured and less handled products.
DO NOT PRESSURE YOURSELF.
LET HEALTHY-EATING BRING YOU HAPPINESS!
Well, I could talk about eating & cooking for hours. But it is not my intention to push my way and opinions. On this site, I just want to share some tips and recipes which might give you a bit of fun, happy eating ideas! As I said earlier, eating should bring smiles into our lives, not stress - because stress is the WORST ENEMY of your health!
If you do not enjoy eating and it does not make you smile, let’s change some recipes and create a healthy eating life which will certainly give you a happy smile! It’s really about giving love to your body and your loved ones. There’s no need to create pressure. Let’s find some joy and start cooking!