If you have read Tasty Yummies for some time, you guys have definitely heard me speak of my love of balance. For me the concept of individualized moderation is important, to not feeling trapped by my dietary restrictions (whatever they may be at the current moment), but also to being able to live my life normally, despite my autoimmune conditions and said restrictions. But, the word “moderation” can be a loaded one and I am very keenly aware that for some this word it can be very much overused, it can be a scape goat and an excuse to over indulge. Moderation can be the place where we dwell without self-judgement, 100% yes, without feeling trapped by rules and to just live and enjoy life. But, if the need for restrictions in our diet comes out of necessity (whatever the reason) than this concept of “moderation” just might actually be a detriment to our health, even in all it’s innocent and fleeting goodness. It might be the overlooked moments in your week that are causing that still lingering distress, as much as you don’t want to admit it. Why work so hard 80% of the time to, in the other 20% undo all of your hard work, only to have to work that much harder the other 80% to undo that damage? There has to be a better balance. To enjoying life without doing harm. To me that balance is honoring your individuality and not just following others’ paths.
What do I mean by that? It’s not to say we should be all or nothing and that indulging on occasion is a bad thing, it absolutely is not. For many of us, we avoid eating certain foods for more reasons than just allergies or intolerances. When you are living with autoimmune conditions, you likely have discovered your own trigger foods for your illness and/or inflammation. Whether that be gluten, all grains, dairy, sugar, eggs, what have you – to be truthful that list can be as long as there are conditions. For some people they can tolerate sugar once in a while, a treat on the weekends won’t cause a flare-up. For others, one small serving of even a “healthy paleo treat” can send their body into a very bad place. Grains might be OK for you as long as you don’t indulge every single day, where for some even a 1/4 cup of a gluten-free grain like rice can trigger an episode or a relapse. If these people followed other’s concept of “moderation” they may actually be overlooking these small, simple, seemingly innocent moments of moderation as one of the major things keeping them from fully healing. So yes, I suppose in theory moderation is important, to a point, but more important is the quality of the foods you are consuming. Because I have also met people whom their idea of “moderation” is fast food just once a week (“it’s not that often, I don’t do it EVERY day”), a scary hot dog situation or a whole tray of store-bought cookies (but just like, ya know “sometimes”). So what does this word “moderation” even mean, really?
Mostly, I have started to realize that I have a fundamental issue with any dietary dogma of any kind, with any list of rules, a code of conduct, with a very strict black and white or the need to follow some “guru’s” approved way of eating. It’s the main reason why even though I generally follow a paleo diet these days, I personally refuse to label it as such. Not because I don’t like it or that I don’t subscribe to the notion of it’s healing powers, I have proof that it’s what works for me. More so I take issue with this concept that when I choose to eat a slice of gluten-free sourdough bread, which I can certainly tolerate on occasion, that to some I am “cheating”. I hate the underlying notion of failure, especially with food. This is how eating disorders develop. At my core, I want to empower myself and those that I work with, speak to or interact with, to listen to their own bodies. To not just follow those of us taking one specific path and to just copy and paste – using that as their own map to finding success in their healing journey. Instead I want to encourage people to tap into that intuition that we are all blessed with and to honor what works best for them.
I say all of this because I will be honest and tell you that this is all something I still struggle with at times. I want to be able to go to a restaurant with my husband or with friends and just order what sounds best to me. I want to forget for a moment that I have restrictions and autoimmune conditions. I want to feel “normal” and just eat what I want and not be the annoying one at the table asking about what is in everything. I often lie to myself and say “everything in moderation, Beth. Balance.” But, generally if I make this concession and I have in the past, if I let myself use this as a scapegoat, I enjoy the food in the moment, I think “F*$k Yeh, what digestion issues? – this is good and so worth it” and sometimes honestly, it totally is, but very often a few hours later, it isn’t worth it and I regret it. Mostly, what I have come to realize is that this approach of self-discovery has actually taught me to listen to my own body and instead not just follow an arbitrary set of rules. What I mean is that there are foods where I can enjoy with this approach of moderation and it’s fine. A little bit. Quality (usually goat or sheep’s milk or raw) dairy within reason, *some* select grains, sometimes. But there are also foods that I just can’t apply this same logic too, it’s never worth it and generally it’s never fun.
This recipe came from a precisely a moment where I embraced this realization. We were in Palm Springs a few months ago celebrating our anniversary. We were at Cheeky’s for brunch, a favorite spot of ours. Mark ordered their amazing chilaquiles and to be fully honest, it is what I really wanted to order. But I knew that much corn, fried in (I am sure) hydrogenated vegetable oils probably tainted with gluten from other fried foods, topped with cheese – I would have instantly regretted it or maybe I wouldn’t I don’t know but I am sick of that gamble. Instead I got a veggie scramble and I loved it. I tried Mark’s chilaquiles and instantly was inspired to create my own version. Grain-free, with some of our pasture-raised eggs, a homemade salsa verde and a small amount of high quality cheese. So much better.
I made these chips with homemade cassava flour tortillas. You could also make it with store-bought grain-free tortillas (I love these) and if you don’t have issues with corn, you can even make the tortillas with a high quality corn tortilla (I like these sprouted corn dudes). We bake the chips rather than fry them and we load them up with all kinds of goodness. You could definitely scramble the eggs instead of frying and you could also add some crumbled chorizo, too! Leave off the cheese if you have issues with it or swap itfor a high-quality, nut cheese. Honor your individuality!
Oh and if you want to continue the chatter about moderation check out this wonderful article I came across a few months back. Great read.
- 6 grain-free cassava flour tortillas (or other tortilla of your choice)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil, olive oil, melted ghee, etc
- 1 lb fresh tomatillos
- 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ small white or yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 large jalapeño, stems removed and deseeded (for extra heat use serranos instead)
- juice and zest from 1 lime
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1-4 fried or scrambled eggs
- ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
- small handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- queso fresca, feta cheese or other cheese or non-dairy alternative of your choice
- fresh limes
- red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF
- If the tortillas are uncooked, to start, cook as you normally would in a dry skillet. Set aside.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil.
- Slice the rolled tortillas into 6 equal wedges and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet and brush the tops with the remaining avocado oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and crispy, turning the pan halfway through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Once the chips are done, make the salsa verde.
- Preheat your broiler to high.
- Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse them well. Cut the tomatillos in half and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Add the garlic cloves. Place the pan under the broiler for about 5-7 minutes, to lightly blacken the skin on the tomatillos. (You can also roast them in a 450ºF oven for about 10 minutes). Allow to cool for a couple minutes.
- Put the tomatillos, garlic, onion, cilantro, jalapeños, lime juice and zest, cumin, honey and salt into a high speed blender or food processor and blend until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed.
- To prepare the chilaquiles, place the chips on a serving platter. Spoon the salsa verde evenly over top. Use as much or as little as you'd like. Top with red onion, cilantro, egg(s) and finally, sprinkle the cheese (is using) evenly over top. Enjoy immediately.
If you prefer, you can use a store-bought salsa verde
Add cooked, crumbled chorizo on top, if you'd like
Use (or don't) whatever cheese you'd like, there are some great crumbly nut cheeses available.