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Welcome to Spice and Smile, a blog for gluten, dairy and (mostly) sugar free recipes. My name is Thaïs and I love cooking delicious healthy food and sharing it with others. My recipes are easy to follow, simple and uncomplicated, and whilst healthy, won’t make you feel like you’re depriving yourself!

I gave up gluten and dairy in 2010 to see if it would improve my health as I was getting tired, congested and sick easily. I had been raised with healthy organic food as a kid and had always been sensitive to food so it seemed natural to give up the gluten and dairy. After giving up the bread, pasta, cereal, cheese etc. I felt much better and I started getting less tired, less congested and less sick. Once I had swapped to this cleaner way of eating, I found that when I tried a little gluten or dairy, my body reacted badly with bloating, heaviness and mucus and so I have not touched them since then.

However, it’s not just about eating gluten and dairy free, because you can still eat unhealthily on that diet, with foods such as potato chips, gluten free cakes and processed foods in general. Another main part of the way I eat is about choosing fresh, unprocessed, non-stimulating foods. I came to this later because at first, as I eased into my new way of eating, I bought gluten free pasta, cakes, cookies, cereal etc. and dairy free soy yoghurt and milk. However as my body got ‘cleaner’ and lighter, I started finding even gluten free bread, soy yoghurt or rice heavy, and so I gave those up too. Hence I also avoid grains, processed foods, caffeine, alcohol and most forms of sugar. I don’t see it as restrictive or rigid as my body simply does not want those foods anymore and I absolutely love the foods that I do eat. What I love to eat are foods like green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach, good fats such as avocado, nuts and olive oil and good quality animal protein such as fish, eggs and lamb. Foods that nourish the body and deliver essential minerals, vitamins, amino acids, fats and fibre, without the added bad stuff.

There are plenty of blogs and articles out there explaining why gluten, dairy, sugar and processed foods are bad for your body so I’m not going to write in detail about that as its easy to research for yourself. What I do want to talk a little about is how you eat. At first it was enough to give up gluten and dairy and feel great, but as my body changed, I found that I also had to look at how much I ate and how often I ate. You can eat the cleanest organic gluten, dairy and sugar free meals, however if you are eating too much, you’ll still bloat or gain weight. So when I eat, I try to eat slowly, sit down with good posture and be present with my meal, not whilst watching TV or working. What we choose to eat and the way we eat it is such an amazing reflection of what’s going on in our bodies, emotionally and physically. If it’s the afternoon and I want something sugary to eat, I try to ask myself first, why do I crave sugar? Is my body exhausted because I got too stressed in the day? Or did something upset me in my day that I want to avoid feeling?

I, like many people, have struggled with emotional eating and trying to find what is right for my body. It’s a constant work in progress and my relationship with food is always evolving. The key word in this is ‘feel’. Even if I’m told that something is really good for me, if it doesn’t agree with me or makes me feel heavy, then why should I eat it? It’s easy to convince yourself that something is nutritious and good for you, but if you are overeating it or your body doesn’t agree with it, then no matter how many vitamins it has, it won’t do you any good. I follow what my body tells me, not what a nutritionist says or not even the beliefs about food that have been ingrained in us as children. For example, the belief that we have to eat three meals a day. Who says? If two meals a day keeps you healthy, vital and strong, then why eat three? Or that its strange to have a vegetable soup for breakfast… If it makes you feel good then why not I say! As well as all this, I am learning to have fun and be playful experimenting with food and not beat myself up if I make mistakes; it’s impossible to be perfect.

I hope you enjoy reading and cooking the recipes that I have created from my heart, with a little Spice and Smile.

With Love,