How to Do an Elimination Diet: Choose Your Own Omission Adventure

My stomach has been off recently. Not emergency, keep-a-bathroom-in-my-field-of-vision-at-all-times off. But off all the same.

Charlie’s stomach has been off for the last decade. So to help him figure out the root cause, I’m going to dedicate the second half of January to something that I haven’t explored in a while: an elimination diet.

What is an elimination diet? I’m so glad you asked!

An elimination diet is when you remove irritating foods from your meals for a short period of time—usually, three weeks—to give your digestive system time to reboot, and more importantly, to discover your own particular set of intolerances and sensitives. Continue reading

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Vegan Butternut Squash Soup with Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Ginger

Last year, my idea to execution ratio was dismal. I had so much planned for the blog, and followed through on very little of it.

Among the notebook scrawlings and mid-subway ride sticky notes started: a beginner’s guide to organ meats (they really help your organs!), a wellness-project style investigation into the best natural tooth care, a collection of lactation recipes for new moms, a homemade beef jerky how-to, and a series of back pocket creamy soups for every season.

I decided that my theme for 2017 is going to be action. And the first step to chipping away at that blog to-do list is this vegan butternut squash soup.

The big reason why so many of my ideas—especially the wellness-related ones—got swept to the wayside is that I spent most of the year with my head underwater working on The Wellness Project book! I’m hoping that come May, when you have that sucker in your hands, that this will be a worthy excuse? Continue reading

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How to Design your own Wellness Project: A Guide

Two years ago today, I decided to give resolutions the boot and take on a different type of health odyssey.

The failure rate for the annual promises we make ourselves is high (92 percent!), with the biggest drop-off date hitting just around the one month mark. The reason why is simple: we make too many resolutions, we make them too vague or ambitious, and we try to do all of the above all at once.

For me, these lofty goals made me feel like a failure year-round—not just on February 1st when things started to slip, but every time I went to the doctor. Like my own personal resolution school marm, she would look at my bloodwork and rattle off another laundry list of lifestyle labor that made me feel like I was destined to spend my days dry brushing, trampoline hopping, and bone broth simmering with very little time leftover for actual living.

I’d nod my head, make my promises, all the while deep in my gut some feisty little force would be saying: “Bitch, you crazy.”

Enter: The Wellness Project. Continue reading

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Gluten-Free Dutch Baby with Vanilla and Pear

These days, “gluten-free” is one of the slyest healthy eating loopholes around.

Luckily, I’ve never deluded myself into thinking that a loaf of gluten-free bread is that much healthier than regular bread. But as I discovered during my wellness project, I had, it turns out, been deluding myself that I wasn’t eating a whole loaf of it every week.

One of my realizations from this year is that I’ve developed a scarcity mindset around my dietary restrictions when I travel. I always do so with a loaf of gluten-free bread in my carry-on, wedged between my iPad and pink fleece airplane socks, leaving a stream of confused airport Quiznos managers in my wake.

But after my recent trip to Paris, I think it’s official that I don’t need to compensate anymore. The rising gluten-free lifestyle has up and came. Continue reading

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Vegetarian Cassoulet with Mushrooms and Chard

If I told you that I spent my first few years of life in Greenwich Village, you’d think it was the chic-est of childhoods. In the 80’s, however, downtown Manhattan had a much different vibe. You were much more likely to find a used condom or discarded needle in the Bleecker Street sandbox than a stray Marc Jacobs handbag receipt or Magnolia cupcake wrapper. My parents love reminiscing about the time they were feeding me in my highchair when I let out an enthusiastic giggle and pointed to the countertop, where a massive rat was helping himself to scraps from the cutting board.

There were still many charms, mind you. My green-haired preschool teacher, and the rock candy from Cowgirl Cafe that I’d get to eat after class were among the highlights. But when a work opportunity presented itself in Paris, my parents seized the day and moved our small nuclear family across the Atlantic for a new glamorous adventure, in a city with too many charms to count.

Our new apartment was around the corner from the gold-domed Les Invalides, which I used to call The Emerald City. Preschool included bilingual vocab, and my afternoon snack involved a warm torn piece of baguette grasping a chunk of dark chocolate like a baseball mitt. Over the years, I’ve held onto these food memories far more vigorously than the vocab-—with the same enthusiasm, no doubt, that I clenched that afternoon chocolate tartine back in the day. Continue reading

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Spinach Balls with Sunflower Seeds, Manchego and Turmeric Honey Yogurt (Gluten-Free)

Blogging is such a different ball game than it was when I started in 2008, from the dark corner of my corporate cubicle

I launched my first site on a whim. It was supposed to chronicle the high high’s and low lows of entertaining friends in a pint-sized New York City kitchen, with far too many people crammed around a coffee table in my fourth-floor walk-up. The question I was trying to answer was not just how to get creative with flavor combinations, but how to cook meals with no money for high-end steaks or fancy spice blends, no time to make a formal three-course dinner, and no counter space for bulky food processors or stand mixers.

I didn’t even own a ladle.

At the time, I didn’t see anyone out there in the food world who spoke to me. So using the small amount of brand savvy I’d built from one year of working in a dark corporate cubicle, I decided who better to occupy that dark corner of the food space than ME. Continue reading

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Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Cookies with Buckwheat and Sea Salt

The holiday season breeds FOMO like a virus. And the condition worsens if you happen to also catch an actual virus, forcing you to leave your friend’s holiday party early or not attend at all. Such was the case for Charlie on Saturday night.

Buckwheat Double Chocolate Cookies | The Recipe is adapted from The Bojon Gourmet's Alternative Baker | Gluten-free, Healthy and Delicious for the Holidays Now that I’m officially in my thirties, I don’t stress as much about the nights I elect to wear grey sweat pants instead of a cocktail dress. For me, the FOMO comes mostly in bite-sized form. Usually in the shape of a non-gluten-free fried potato or doughy chocolate chip disk. It’s not the type of FOMO that sets in when you’re home alone watching a Sandra Bullock marathon on AMC with a bowl of pad thai balanced on your chest. No—these days, I only get hit when I’m surrounded by friends in ugly sweaters and dogs in homemade dreidel costumes, in crowded rooms where the airspace is made up of 90 percent eau de latke. Such was the case for me on Saturday night.

When Charlie begged off early to drink mint tea and blow his nose, I decided to join him, knowing that I would carry the scent of potato grease home on my ugly sweater, but that at least there would be a few leftover gluten-free double chocolate cookies waiting for me when I got there. Continue reading

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Gluten-Free Buckwheat Blinis with All the Fixings

During my brief stint living in the burbs, I was the only kid on the block without a Christmas tree.

This buckwheat blini recipe is an easy, healthy spin on the traditional pancake, but tastes just as delicious! Serve to your gluten-free dairy-free friends! Top them with smoked salmon, beets, Greek yogurt and/or chopped kimchi

The neighbors would go all out with illuminated sleighs affixed to their roofs, wreaths on every window, gutters dripping with pine trim, and, of course, lights covering every bit of flora in the front yard.

Every year, I would plead with my Jewish father to let me get into the Christmas spirit.
But he seemed to look back upon his own stint of being the only kid on the block without an illuminated tree with masochistic fondness, and wished the same fate for me.

Feeling charitable and/or worn down one December, he finally agreed to let me decorate the lawn with a few lights outside the traditional color palette of red and green. “But you’re not allowed to put any on the evergreens,” he warned.

Since embracing my otherness with a few measly blue and white Hanukkah bushes wasn’t the end result I was after, I began redirecting my repressed Christmas spirit to my mother, who once upon a time had some herself. Continue reading

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Your Healthy Hedonist Holiday Gift Guide: Wellness Stocking Stuffers and Practical Presents For the Whole Fam

One of the reasons I started The Wellness Project was to try to figure out what products are actually worth the money we spend on them.

The Best Wellness Stocking Stuffers of 2016, plus more healthy gifts for your loved ones.

For years I felt like I was bleeding green on everything from foam rollers to green juice to magnetic back braces. My experiments were designed to cut the fat and focus on the bigger picture. But of course, despite my attempt to be discerning, I acquired lots of things along the way that, until my move in February, were mostly collecting dust in my hallway.

This year, I’m all for making holiday gifts about the practical things that will actually better your loved ones’ lives on a daily basis. No one needs more crap! Trust me, you will be a healthier human without drawers full of soon-to-be outdated gadgets, useless doodads and weird socks. (Though some would beg to disagree on that last one).

Continue reading

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