Hello from Maya's mom.
Two years ago I heard about an anti-inflammatory diet that was developed by a woman on Vashon Island in the Pacific Northwest. I wanted to address a health issue and had friends who had found the program to be helpful. The initial three-week regimen requires you to abstain from dairy, sugar, gluten—even the tiniest bit added to foods you would not suspect i.e. soy sauce. But there was plenty left to eat and I did feel much better following the plan. After the initial stage, you move to a maintenance program that I have adapted to my own needs ever since.
What I find is that I eat much less bread, cheese, meat, and dairy fat, though I still enjoy those things when I feel like it. For example, instead of toast for breakfast I now enjoy oatmeal with nuts and bananas or homemade granola with yogurt and berries. Now I find my food choices emphasize whole grains, vegetables, fruits, eggs, nuts, seeds, chicken, and fish. At least once a week I make a big dinner salad like this quinoa salad with roasted vegetables.
As for sugar, it is the ingredient I’ve mostly abandoned. Of course I still make a killer flourless chocolate cake for special occasions, but the days of buying a cookie or muffin to go with my coffee at a café are long over. Those sweets taste strange to me now. I’ve replaced many desserts with healthier options - like this delicious Moroccan Almond Cake. I had it at a party and got the recipe, surprised to find out you had to cook whole oranges (?!) This is a new family favorite; it does have a cup of sugar but I use coconut sugar (Trader Joe’s) as it has a lower glycemic index and adds a note of caramel to the cake. I have a friend who likes it so much she has it for breakfast topped with yogurt and fruit. Give it a try for Mother’s Day!