A Little Summary
Hi I’m Deana, creator of this blog – The Weekly Menu: Healthified Gluten-Free Comfort Foods. Thanks for stopping by!
I’m 51 years old and glad to have made it this far in life. I’ve had some amazing ups and terrible downs in this life journey but for the most part really just figured out how to live a happy simple life. My husband, Brett, and I live in Austin, TX – the ATX – and focus on a life of simplicity.
We love the concept of essentialism and that less can be so much better. When you start to really live it, it almost seems too easy.
He’s a lawyer and I’m a trained scientist (and I have a law degree, too). I’m obsessed with the microbiome and how food choices affect gut health and our overall well-being and health. #feedthegutbugs
I love to cook, write, grow stuff in our little urban patio garden, and get outside often to walk around in this amazing city!
We love to travel. So far I have had the privilege to travel throughout the US, Europe, Mexico, the Middle East and even New Zealand. There are so many places we still want to go.
I so enjoy people of other cultures and appreciate the food and lifestyles. I work hard to make choices in my daily life that improve the lives of others and will not hurt or create injustice.
An interesting fact about me is that I actually lived in Iran when I was a child and we fled during the revolution. My mother was Persian and my father is Irish American. She passed away when I was 20 and she was 48. I miss her always.
Our Sweet Dogs
Between my husband and I, we’ve loved three fur babies that have passed on to doggie heaven – Sunny the Lab, Benji the Maltipoo, and Cassidy the Miniature Pinscher. RIP Sweet Dogs.
In January 2016, after our last dog Cassidy passed on, we adopted Elizabeth “Lizzy”, a rescue dog from Austin Pets Alive. It was love at first sight and we are even more in love with her to this day.
She had parvovirus and was either surrendered or found on the streets in Dallas. Some wonderful kind soul drove her down to Austin and took her to the Austin Pets Alive Parvo Puppy ICU and they saved her. Good people doing such good things!
And now she is part of our pack and the smartest, sweetest, most playful little dog. She loves toys and catching tiny tennis balls. She’s actually a little obsessed with catching the tennis balls. 🙂 A perfect gift from the universe to us since we don’t have kids. ❤ #adoptdontshop #gratitude
So why did I create this blog?
Brett and I love food, especially comfort food. And when we started dating I loved cooking together and we often made pretty decadent dinners. But I was also experiencing some really horrible digestion issues during that time. I had gone through a toxic mold exposure several years earlier that made me really sick.
And then contracted a MRSA infection twice. The second month long antibiotic regime left me exhausted. My digestion wasn’t working. I was showing signs of chronic inflammation.
I gained so much weight so rapidly and had a brain fog that I couldn’t get rid of. I felt like I had dementia. And I kept getting this weird gross greasy diarrhea. Too many things happening to know what caused what.
But I’m proactive and started talking to people about it and researching it and it turns out that 2010 was the year of understanding celiac disease and gluten intolerance. But that was just the beginning.
Clean Eating to “Healthify” Comfort Food Faves
So after realizing I needed to avoid gluten in foods, we started to really clean up our diet. Started to read the labels on everything we buy. Make better choices with real unprocessed foods, better fats, lean proteins, whole grains and fresh diverse veggies. Basically, the Mediterranean diet with a little Texas flair.
We started to avoid certain chemicals and I became obsessed with understanding the role of the gut microbiome. How important it is to feed the good bacteria with prebiotics and dietary fiber. To avoid foods and ingredients that might disrupt the gut flora, like xanthan gum or glyphosate.
My inflammation calmed down. My digestion improved. The weight started to go away. Although if I eat out too often, the inflammation comes back.
This blog became a record of that journey. It has helped me keep track of our food choices (because we are constantly learning and evolving) as well as all the science/health/nutrition topics I’ve researched over the years.
We learned that gluten free diets can use too much rice which contains arsenic, especially brown rice. Diversity in our diet is key. And I try to avoid antibiotics, BPA, plastic, heavy metals, and other toxic elements. I talk more about this wellness journey in my first eCookbook.
I gave up dairy in 2014, but as my health improved I reintroduced goat’s milk around 2017. And I’m okay. It may have to do with the different variants of casein and how it is digested.
Although I’ve always tolerated a little Parmesan, I’m so happy to be able to eat goat cheese again! And goat yogurt. So clean and beneficial. I think the goat’s milk has actually helped improve my overall digestion, too.
Then things got even more interesting because I had my genetics analyzed. I have so many wonky genes that are related to my metabolism and how I process fat and digest and metabolize everything. I have several of the Celiac disease markers.
The MTHFR variants make it harder for my body to detox normally. Everything makes so much more sense. You can read more about that here.
The Weekly Menus
I really hate wasting food so we usually take a recipe intended for a family of four and cut it in half unless I want leftovers for lunch or another dinner. Or I plan on freezing it.
Then plan out a weekly menu which focuses on seasonal foods or what I’ve got in the fridge. It also saves me from stressing about dinner every night. And we save money!
I started to publish those weekly menus and talk about some of the stuff I’ve learned along the way. Plus I show you how to adapt a recipe to deal with dietary restrictions. How to “healthify” comfort food favorites.
Come find me on social media. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org