Eating Clean + A Seasonal Salad

seasonal salad with veggies, goat cheese, nuts and seeds plus tips for eating clean

Easy Gluten-Free Recipes 

This year I want to focus on some super simple gluten-free recipes and eating clean again.  

And highlight some of my favorite products I’ve found that make eating gluten-free so much easier and tastier.  

Like how to make a super simple but really tasty gluten-free pasta dish or goat cheese mozzarella sticks.

And we are starting with this seasonal winter salad made with local products we love.  

Goat Cheese

As you may know, after giving up dairy for several years I’ve introduced some goat cheese back into my diet again.  And I’m so excited!  

There are so many different varieties of goat cheese now, too.  

Soft, hard, semi-hard.  Funny Farm makes a fantastic pepper jack and mozzarella that don’t have that goat cheese tang.  I love using it to make white chicken enchilada casserole.

We are moving toward a more plant based diet, too.  Heavy on the veggies while finding some great new vegan products that fill those comfort food cravings – like vegan nacho sauce made with veggies. 🙂

gluten-free seasonal salad recipe with apple cider honey vinaigrette

Food Choices & Eatin’ Clean

I really think trace pesticides in our food are making us sicker than we should be, especially if you have the MTHFR gene variants that limit the body’s ability to detox.  

Read more about that in my post about having these variants myself.

I think this is part of why everybody loves the Whole 30 program.  You eat pretty clean and shed a few pounds.  But it also removes a lot of foods that likely have trace pesticides.  

Take wheat for instance.  It is sprayed with glyphosate right before harvesting.  So maybe that might have something to do with why gluten (or actually the pesticide-laden wheat not the actual gluten protein) bothers some people even though they don’t have Celiac disease.  

And you know, cow’s eat all that GMO corn sprayed with glyphosate.  Goat’s do not.  

Besides the casein protein from goat’s being digested differently, perhaps their milk is cleaner when it comes to pesticide residues as well.  

Coconut milk has been a great milk substitute, too.  I make my own ghee and use it instead of butter.

So to me eating clean means eating real food but also avoiding trace pesticides and other chemicals (BPA from cans, arsenic in rice) that could be lurking in our food.  So we try to keep it mostly organic and non-GMO.  

Except for things like avocado oil.  It’s fine that it isn’t organic or non-GMO because they aren’t covered with pesticides.  And it is such a healthy fat, too.

Check out my recipe for healthified artichoke spinach dip made with homemade mayo using avocado oil!  

Because you need to avoid barley, rye and wheat on a gluten-free diet, I turned to a lot of products made from almonds.  

But if I had too many almond crackers or ate them a few days in a row, I would feel the inflammation starting up.  Turns out they use a lot of pesticides on almonds.  So those must be organic for us, too.  

We’ve been stocking up on organic spices and making our own seasoning blends.  Plus my new favorite spice for everything is the organic and gluten-free Redmond’s Real Salt Seasoning Salt.  

It makes everything tastes a little better, like my Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Lean Meat and Protein

Besides cleaning up everything, we’ve also reduced the amount of meat we eat.  

Especially fatty meats and pork – that is unless we go to out for BBQ or have the green chorizo brussels sprouts at ATX Cocina.  I gotta have my burnt ends, baby.

But we try to avoid eating too much animal fat in general.  

Dioxins accumulate in animal fat and move up the food chain.  Meaning they are persistent environmental pollutants.  It isn’t supposed to be as much of a threat to U.S. meat anymore but things are going global now so IDK.  

Although we have been eating more red meat than usual the past few weeks, we choose really lean cuts.  We recently just made a killer pot roast with bottom round roast and cut off the fat layer.  Still so good.  

But we mainly just eat organic air-chilled chicken and some turkey now.  

And I take vegan omega 3 sourced from marine algae as a supplement.

The pork ban is a long story but mainly because of how the former Smithfield, now Chinese-owned company let all the pigs die when the hurricane hit North Carolina and just collected insurance on them.  It was horrific.  Kind of the last straw for us.  

So we switched to turkey bacon and pepperoni.  I don’t hate it.  

Seasonal salad with pears, goat cheese, pecans and turkey bacon - eating clean in 2019

More Dietary Fiber

And we are still trying to incorporate more dietary fiber to feed our gut bugs.  This is so important!

Probiotics are not enough.  You need to actually feed the gut bacteria so that they can make by-products that we need.  It’s pretty cool how it works.

You can read more on the importance of prebiotics and probiotics here. #feedthegutbugs

So as our food preferences are constantly shifting, I feel more compelled to blog and talk about it.  I don’t know where this will all go this year…  but I can tell you I won’t be jumping on the Keto diet craze for sure!

Seasonal Salad with Apple Cider Honey Vinaigrette

So basically for this salad we found a bunch of organic seasonal veggies and fruit:

  • yellow bell pepper
  • Persian cucumber
  • rainbow carrots
  • green onions
  • broccoli carrot slaw
  • Anjou pear

As far as salads go, it doesn’t really matter what kind of veggies you use as long as they have a variety of textures and colors.  

I really try to eat the rainbow to get lots of nutrients and fiber!  

Oh and we’ve been using this amazing and easy to digest, pesticide free, hydroponically grown lettuce from Leaf Safari.  

I can’t say enough good stuff about it, especially since I was having trouble digesting so many types of lettuce…

Then we add the nuts and seeds.  I tried to candy the pecans but it didn’t quite work.  So they were basically tossed in warm ghee and organic cane sugar but the sugar didn’t stick.  Oh well.  

There are some sunflower seeds and pepitas in there.

We added some turkey bacon and honey goat cheese.  Then tossed it in an apple cider vinaigrette.  Recipe for the apple cider honey dressing is below.  

And right now Meyer lemons are in season so that would make the dressing even better! 

Apple Cider Honey Vinaigrette | Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free

A wonderful sweet and tangy apple cider and honey vinaigrette perfect for any seasonal salad!

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword homemade salad dressing, salad, seasonal salad
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6
Author Deana Larkin Evans


  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup local wildflower honey
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch pink Himalayan salt


  1. Add all the ingredients into a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk until well combined.  

  2. Pour over the salad and toss.  Enjoy!

wedge salad made with goat blue cheese

Want More Salad Recipes?

Deana Larkin Evans

You get one life - do your best to ENJOY IT! So hi, I'm Deana. This food blog is all about cooking wholesome real food and developing gluten-free recipes for some of our favorite comfort foods. I had to start eating gluten-free in 2010, then cut dairy and casein (except for the occasional Parmesan) in 2014. We learned A2 casein (goat, sheep and buffalo milk) is easier to digest than the predominate A1 form in cow milk. So we brought back goat milk dairy into our recipes in 2016. Thank goodness, right! So I'm kind of a science nerd, too. In the '90s, I earned an undergrad degree in biochemistry from The University of Texas at Austin. Hook 'em! Then followed up with a PhD in biochemistry and a law degree from the University of Houston. I recently earned a certificate in genomics/sequence analysis from Johns Hopkins University, where I also took a very cool food microbiology course. Currently, I'm learning about the microbiome and gut health. And trying to come up with healthy recipes to feed those gut bugs! #feedthegutbugs

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2 Responses

  1. This is so great! I’m trying to eat less red meat and saturated fats to work on my persistently high cholesterol, and just eat more greens and plant-based stuff in general too. Looking forward to learning from you this year! Thanks for the work you do here!

    • Thank you so much Arielle! I hope that what I find and what I do helps! I’ve honestly seen a difference in myself and how I feel. Oh and if you haven’t already found it, next time you are at Wheatsville look for The Honest Stand spicy nacho vegan cheese. So good!! 🙂

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