How to Explain Your Illness to Others

“these conversations are never easy but if it’s with the right people, they’ll understand”

Sharing health issues with others can be very personal and intimidating. Here are some quick tips for starting the conversation:

  • decide up front how much you’re willing to share and stay firm with those boundaries
  • be clear on your limitations and what support you need
  • if it helps, you can share articles explaining your illness so you don’t have to get into the nitty gritty
  • do not feel guilty for advocating for yourself, you deserve to feel comfortable in all spaces
  • remember there is nothing to be embarrassed about, we all have bodies some just function different than others!
  • only answer questions you are comfortable with
  • you can stop the conversation at any time and revisit later (if you choose)

Ultimately, it’s your choice what you do and don’t share with others. I have found these conversations helpful so others understand why I’m not as available as before, and can’t eat certain things, and sometimes have to cancel last minute.

The most important reminder of them all: if the person you are sharing this with does not understand, or they make you feel guilty or different, then they do not deserve you.

A vital part of healing is surrounding yourself with people who support you, the last thing you need is someone who makes you feel bad about being sick (because we all know we can’t control it!)

These conversations are never easy but if it’s with the right people, they’ll understand.

Egg Free Quiche

a vegan twist on a breakfast staple

made without gluten, dairy and eggs

I have been loving quiche lately, so when I had to cut eggs from my diet I knew I needed to find an alternative.

I know what you’re thinking — how can a quiche be made without eggs?! Well, there is a beautiful product called Just Egg that makes this possible. (not sponsored, just very impressed!)

For the crust, I used a premade frozen crust from Wholly Gluten Free. You can also make your own crust for this recipe.

Start my instructions below once your crust is ready to be filled and cooked.

All ingredients are gluten, dairy and egg free. It is vegan if you substitute a meat replacement or just skip the sausage altogether!

The following recipe makes 4-5 servings:

  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 bottle of Just Egg
  • 6 sausage links, sliced (or any meat substitute)
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheese
  • 3/4 cup vegetables of choice, diced (I used broccoli, onion and zucchini)
  • A dash of pepper, cinnamon & nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375F. Follow pie crust prep instructions and set aside. Sauté sausage, diced vegetables and spices together until tender.

Meanwhile, layer cheese at the bottom of the crust. Add sausage and vegetables to the crust and then pour Just Egg mixture on top.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until no longer runny. The quiche should be firm, but still jiggly so it does not dry out. Let cool for a couple minutes and enjoy. This reheats very well!

Nut and Dairy Free Pesto

a sauce alternative made for sensitive tummies

free from: gluten, dairy, nuts and refined sugar. this is vegan too!

Since I’ve recently cut out tomatoes I’ve had to get more creative with my sauce options. Earlier this week, I shared a dairy free alfredo sauce and decided to take it a step further with this pesto recipe.

Traditional pesto has always hurt my stomach between the nuts and cheese, but it tastes SO good so I was determined to make an easier to digest option.

This recipe is made without gluten, dairy, nuts and refined sugar. It is also vegan depending on what you pair it with!

I had it on top of Chebe gluten free pizza crust, Canadian bacon, pineapple (don’t hate), and Vevan vegan mozzarella.

The following makes two servings:

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 cup spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder (omit and use garlic infused oil if Low FODMAP)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/8 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp parsley

Add all ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender. Put avocado oil in first as it makes blending easier. Blend on high. If having a hard time blending, add more oil as needed.

Continue to blend until spinach is fully broken down and ingredients are mixed well. Once it looks like a thick sauce, it is done.

If adding to pizza or baked pasta, add to dish and bake as needed. If putting on top of precooked item like noodles, warm sauce in saucepan for a couple minutes then add to dish. Enjoy!

Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce

a dinner classic made tummy friendly

free from dairy and gluten; vegan option available!

I recently had to cut out tomatoes and wanted to find a new way to enjoy pasta. I used to love alfredo sauce before going dairy free so this felt like the perfect swap!

My alfredo sauce is seriously so easy, it takes roughly ten minutes to make. This recipe is only for the sauce–add with 1 box of pasta (I used Jovial Gluten Free Shells) and any other add-ins (I added diced chicken but omit if vegan).

The following recipe makes 5-6 servings

  • 1/2 cup non dairy butter
  • 1 container non dairy cream cheese (I used Spero Sunflower Cream Cheese)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder (swap in other spices for Low FODMAP)
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 5oz vegan parmesan (I used Good Planet)
  • 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella (I used Vevan Foods)
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Add butter to a sauce pan on medium heat. Once melted, add in cream cheese and garlic powder and stir. Slowly add milk, whisking continously. Then add in cheeses and pepper. Mix until fully combined and creamy. Once done, remove from heat and let cool for a couple minutes. Mix with cooked pasta & enjoy!

Brownie Frosting

a delicious topping for your favorite brownies

free from: gluten, dairy and refined sugar. this is vegan too!

I personally love frosting on everything–cake, cookies, brownies, a spoon… When Otto’s Naturals sent me some of their new grain free brownie mix I knew I had to make them into a childhood classic.

Introducing: COSMIC BROWNIES

Who didn’t love cosmic brownies as a kid?!

With your fave brownie mix (get Otto’s grain free one here – code “livwell” for 10% off), use this frosting recipe and some sprinkles to recreate this classic at home!

This is gluten free, dairy free, refined-sugar free and vegan!

The following makes frosting for one tray of brownies:

  • 3 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 1 cup monkfruit
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Toppings: sprinkles (I used Supernatural sprinkles)

First bake your brownies. While those are cooling, place a saucepan on medium heat. Add in all ingredients and stir lightly until melted. Once mixture is fully bubbling, set timer for a minute. Then take the frosting off the heat and let cool for 1-2 minutes.

Beat the mixture until thick, you can do so with a whisk or spatula. This should look like a thick syrup and get harder to stir. Once thick, pour over cooled brownies. Add sprinkles then led settle. It will take about 3-5 minutes to harden. Then enjoy! Best stored in fridge.

Chocolate Chip Baked Oats

TikTok trend made gluten & dairy free!

free from: gluten and dairy. this is vegan and can be made refined-sugar free

I love trendy foods, but they are rarely tummy friendly. I was excited to see how simple the baked oats trend was, and knew I had to add a gluten & dairy free twist.

This is a great meal prep option for breakfast, especially if you double the recipe! Think of this as a ~healthier~ cake. You can use a smaller oven safe dish like I did if you want it thicker and fluffier, or a wider pan to create individual slices (like blondies!).

This recipe is vegan and can be refined-sugar free if you swap maple syrup for a different liquid sweetener.

I made a step-by-step video on my Instagram as well, which you can view here:

The following makes two servings:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp nut butter (can use a chocolate one for extra flavor)
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Toppings: chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Blend all ingredients (except chocolate) together until smooth, then pour into an oven safe dish. Mix in handful of chocolate chips. Bake for 35 minutes and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Enjoy right away or store in the fridge for later. This reheats really well!

Optional: add a piece of chocolate on top when it comes out of the oven so it’s extra melty and chocolatey 😍

S’mores Donuts

the perfect summer treat

free from: gluten and dairy. can be made vegan and refined-sugar free

Besides ice cream, my favorite summer treat is s’mores! With these warmer temperatures coming I wanted to make a dessert to get us all in the summer mood. Anyone who knows me knows donuts are my all-time FAVE dessert any time of the year, so it just felt like fate to combine the two. These are honestly super easy to make, and take less than 30 minutes to fully put together. The hardest part will be waiting for these to cool before you dive in 🙂

For the donuts, I used gf naturals flour, though any all purpose flour should work.

The “frosting” is actually Lekkco’s Belgian Dark Chocolate Spread which I HIGHLY recommend trying if you have not. If you do not have this product, feel free to sub another chocolate spread/frosting. This one works really well because it isn’t too runny.

The toppings are Nairn’s Oat Grahams and Dandies Vegan Marshmallows but again you can use any brands that fit best in your diet!

The recipe is gluten and dairy free. It can be made vegan by substituting in a flax egg, and can be refined-sugar free depending on the toppings you use!

The following makes five donuts:

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour (I used gf naturals)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup brown coconut sugar
  • 1 egg (or flax egg), room temp
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp non-dairy milk , room temp
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Toppings: Chocolate frosting (I used Lekkco chocolate spread), gluten free graham crackers (I used Nairn’s), marshmallows (I used Dandies)

Preheat oven to 350F, grease your donut pan and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl until fully combined. Then add in wet ingredients one at a time, mixing in between. Once all ingredients are combined, slowly pour into donut pan filling each mold to the top.

Bake for ten minutes. While you wait you can prepare your toppings. Either make your frosting, or use a premade spread like I did. For the graham crackers, break these apart so you can crumble on top of the donuts later. If you can find mini marshmallows, set aside a handful–otherwise, tear your full sized marshmallows into smaller pieces.

Once donuts are done, let cool for five minutes in the pan. Then take out and let cool on cooling rack for ten more minutes. Frost donuts and sprinkle on your toppings!

These should be stored in a container, preferably in the fridge. Best eaten right away, though. Enjoy!

Chai French Toast

two classic flavors combined

free from: gluten, dairy and refined-sugar

A while back I made Sourdough French Toast and have been looking for a way to change it up. My favorite drink is chai, so I decided to combine these two classics!

This French toast recipe is fully gluten free, as I use GluteNull bread. This is the best quality gluten free bread I’ve found–but feel free to use your brand of choice.

The recipe is also dairy and refined-sugar free, but this may change depending on the brand of bread you use.

The following makes two servings (two slices of toast each):

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp chai spice (I used this brand, otherwise you can combine the following: cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, allspice and clove)
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp monkfruit sweetener
  • 4 pieces of gluten free bread (I used this brand)
  • Optional toppings: cinnamon, dairy free whipped cream, syrup

Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Next, warm a greased frying pan on medium heat. Pull out 4 pieces of bread, you can slice in half or leave as whole pieces.

Place one piece in the mixture for a few seconds, then flip over. Let soak for a minute. Place soaked piece of bread on pan and flip once golden brown. Repeat last three steps until all pieces are cooked.

The mixture should still be enough, but you can always make a little more as needed.

Top with cinnamon, dairy free whipped cream and/or syrup. Enjoy!

No Bake Cheesecake Bites

Quick & simple bite-sized treats

with no gluten, dairy, eggs or nuts

This is my new favorite treat. It’s so easy to make and doesn’t require any baking! Perfect for when the weather gets warmer and you don’t want to turn the oven on.

I made this recipe with Homefree Ginger Snap Cookies and Spero Sunflower Cream Cheese. These brands are free from multiple allergens (no gluten, dairy, eggs or nuts) and are also low in sugar and vegan!! I think this is the ultimate gut friendly treat.

To create the crust, you will need to crush your cookies into a crumble. There are multiple ways to do so, but I wanted to share how I did it. Put the cookies in a zip lock bag and seal it. Then using a rolling pin, smash and roll the bag with cookies inside. Flip the bag over and repeat. Do this until cookies become an even mix of powder and some chunkier crumbs. Here is a photo for reference:

Once your cookie crumble is ready, you can begin the recipe.

Another option for toppings is to add fresh fruit and a chocolate drizzle like so:

Let me know if you try it!

The following recipe makes 8 cheesecake bites.

Crust

Cheesecake Filling

  • 1 container vegan cream cheese (6.5oz) – I used Spero Sunflower Cream Cheese
  • 4 tbsp monkfruit
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Toppings

  • 4 cookies & a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
  • OR 4 strawberries & 1/4 cup melted chocolate

Line cupcake tray with wrappers and set aside. Crush cookies (see tips above for steps) and mix in bowl with oil and sun butter. Put two spoonfuls of mixture into each cupcake wrapper and press down with the back of a spoon. The crust should be about 1/2 inch thick. Freeze for 10 minutes and begin working on the filling.

Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk until fluffy and fully combined. Take crusts out of freezer and add 2 spoonfuls of filling on top of each crust. Spread evenly with back of spoon. Freeze for 15 minutes, and then take them back out to add toppings.

Break cookies in half and place on top of each cheesecake. Sprinkle cinnamon and/or nutmeg on top OR you could slice strawberries in half and drizzle chocolate on top (see photo mid recipe). Then put back in freezer for at least 10 more minutes.

Enjoy right away, or store in freezer until ready to eat. Put in fridge 10-20 minutes before you are ready to enjoy. The longer in the fridge, the creamer the filling will be. These should stay cool and not be left at room temperature. Enjoy!

Hummus Deviled Eggs

a fun twist on two classic appetizers

made without gluten, dairy, grains & refined-sugar

Growing up, I always hated deviled eggs because I didn’t like mustard. I recently starting loving them, and then conveniently had to stop eating both mayo and mustard for a bit (had to avoid vinegar and certain oils on the candida diet). So a while back I was craving deviled eggs and had to get creative!

These are absolutely delicious, and I might even like them more than traditional deviled eggs…

My favorite part is that this recipe is only FIVE ingredients and takes less than 20 minutes to make.

All ingredients are gluten, dairy, grain and refined-sugar free. For the hummus, you can make your own or use your favorite brand.

The following recipe makes one dozen deviled eggs:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • A dash of paprika, salt & pepper

Add eggs to a saucepan, fill with water and place on high heat. Once boiling, cover pan with a lid and turn off heat. Let cook for 10 minutes and then drain. Place eggs in a cold bowl of water to cool, this also makes them easier to peel.

Once cool, peel off the shells and cut eggs in half. Scoop the yolks into a medium bowl. Add a sprinkle of salt, pepper and paprika and then mash the yolks with a fork until smooth. Add in hummus and mix until creamy.

Scoop mixture into eggs, top with a sprinkle of paprika & enjoy! Best if eaten right away.

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