Why did you start a blog?
I realized, after a hot minute of introspection, that I could contribute to the blogosphere. I also had lots of encouragement from friends and family: “You should start a blog! Post your recipes!” So I finally did. Gracias, familia.
Why is your blog named “Yaya Recommended”?
Yaya is my nickname! And I love recommending things, whether it be nutritional advice, cooking tips, reading material, etc.
Why gluten-free? Are you trying to be trendy?
I wish I could be as trendy as I feel. I actually went gluten-free a few years before receiving my doctor’s orders to do so on a forever-yes-forever-type basis. I became very sick after reintroducing gluten into my diet, which catapulted the rabbit hole of doctor visits, treatments, medications, etc. Although I like the trendy aspect to it. It means no longer having to feel embarrassed when I eat out. Everyone is in the know these days with the gluten-free stuff, which is nice. I still get eye-rolls sometimes, but what can you do? Haters gonna hate.
What happens when you eat gluten? Do you ever eat gluten?
Not on purpose. It only happens when eating out, usually from cross-contamination. Accidental ingestion gives me excruciating stomach pains. My hands will swell. Eczema, psoriasis, and keratosis pilaris outbreak. My intestinal lining throws down the white flag. Not cute.
Why do some of your recipes include dairy ingredients?
The paleo/low-carb communities tend to overlap, and I want my recipes to be accessible to everyone. It’s also very hard to say no to goat cheese. I’m weak sometimes. I have lots of recipes from before I discovered my dairy intolerance, and I cook for family and friends that eat dairy. Dairy is also a gray area in the paleo world. I have different versions of the same recipe, so I’ll always try to link to the alternative version when possible or list the non-dairy alternative. Remember, dairy tolerance is a very personal thing. Check out this post by Mark Sisson, who goes into the nitty-gritty. My recipes are all minimal to no dairy. I think you’ll still enjoy them!
Where do you grocery shop?
Mostly Trader Joe’s. I can zip in and out of there in 10 minutes, but they are lacking in the produce department. Whole Foods, Central Market, and Kroger are my other stops. Not all on the same day though. I get my “specialty” items from Amazon, which I love, because it means you can shop without putting on pants.
Can I substitute this for that?
Yes! And you should. Experiment in the kitchen. Recipes are guidelines. Figure out what works, what doesn’t. Sometimes you end up with something great. Other times, you realize there’s nothing in your fridge or pantry that you can substitute for eggs in your egg dish. Just allow me to save you some
money experimentation on one thing: almond flour and coconut flour are not really interchangeable ingredients. And by “not really”, I mean not at all.
Where’s the nutritional information?
Good question. There are lots of fancy gadgets out on the interwebs where you can plug in your food and get the nutritional breakdown. There’s also a lot of variation in weight, volume, etc. (you might throw in a little extra onion or exclude an ingredient from a recipe, which will affect the nutritional data). I occasionally provide nutritional data, mostly on bread substitutes. I’m not a fan of carb creepage, so it helps to keep track of how many gluten-free tortillas you’re eating!
What’s your food philosophy?
Paleo intentions with modern day concessions. What the hell does that mean, you ask? This means that I still want to participate in a somewhat enjoyable life. Not a lot of concessions are going on at home in my kitchen, but it’s practically unavoidable when you go out. Food will inevitably be cooked in canola oil, the proteins are probably not grassfed, the produce is not organic, etc. And then there’s alcohol. It’s not part of the paleo protocol, but every once in a while I let out a yeehaaaw and yolo my evening. It’s usually wine, and no more cerveza for me these days. Even beer has gluten in it. I have yet to venture out and try out any gluten-free beers. Any recommendations?
Why do you put jalapeños and fennel in everything?
Come on, it’s not in everything. It’s a Mexican-Indian household here. A lot of my dishes are paleo versions of what my boyfriend and I grew up eating. We also have a 10-pound cat named Winston that begs to eat curry and picadillo. He’s a sofisticado.
Do you ever screw up in the kitchen?
Oh dear. Yes. Every once in a while, I make something that tastes like an episode of Chopped exploded in my mouth. This usually happens due to two reasons:
1) I’m accident-prone and forgetful and will drop food on the floor, or the lid falls off a spice bottle, and 1/4 tsp of paprika just got upgraded to an entire cup.
realize forget that I’m out of something and end up substituting ingredients.
This last part has led me to creating great recipes, but also disastrous ones. Nothing tasty happens when you are scratching your head trying to figure out how to make a tomato sauce without actual tomato. And then you spend some considerate amount of time trying to rationalize/convince yourself that it’s a-ok to knock on your neighbor’s door and ask to borrow some tomatoes.
My doctor doesn’t listen to me. What should I do?
I found my current doctor through the Paleo Physicians Network. Paleo-friendly doctors are well-versed in autoimmune disease and take a more holistic approach to health and medicine. One of my worst experiences was with an endocrinologist who said, “I don’t think you’re dying” in response to my symptoms and walked out of the room! If your doctor doesn’t listen to you or take your symptoms seriously, march yourself and your co-payment out of that office and find someone who does!
Are you a nutritionist? Are you an MD? RD? WHAT ARE YOUR CREDENTIALS?!
I have an undergraduate degree in a non-science field. I’m not a nutritionist. Or an MD or RD. My experience is anecdotal–you don’t need to be a food scientist to see how the food you put in your body affects you. Everyone in my family suffers from the complicated spider web of autoimmune disease, something that I never imagined having to deal with. Do your own research and come to your own opinions so that you can do what is right for you. Don’t give up!