A couple of years ago Aiden was having difficulties with food. We went to allergists and GI specialists and a host of possible allergies and conditions. Fortunately, he outgrew his mystery condition (the doctor was never able to say what exactly caused all of his trouble) but it took two years of constantly changing diets. First they removed milk, then soy, then anything dairy at all – finally they suggested a gluten free diet. That was a difficult 9 months – it’s hard telling a three year old that all of his favorite foods are off the table. During that time I followed his diet as closely as I could, so that he wouldn’t feel alone. When he was given the all clear to eat gluten again I was thrilled to have all of our favorite foods back in our lives!
It didn’t take long for me to realize something was off though. Aiden was happy as could be, but I was suddenly struggling with my own stomach issues. I developed a stomach ulcer, had trouble controlling my weight and found myself feeling “off” – sluggish, nauseous and overly full, even when I had barely eaten. Finally, after a number of desperate doctor’s visits and unsuccessful attempts to treat my ulcer, my doctor suggested cutting back on the only thing that had recently changed in my diet – carbs. She suggested trying to go gluten free myself, but not being a fan of gluten free foods I decided to start off with a less drastic approach. I simply scaled way back on carbs.
I still eat carbs and bread and gluten, but like processed foods and sugar – I eat in moderation. The change has been undeniable. Whatever happened to my body during those months, I’ll never really understand, but my relationship with food changed drastically. For someone who spent 20 something years eating pasta, bread, cake and much more bread (bread and ice cream are probably two things I would not want to be in a world without), I had to relearn how to eat. I was now avoiding gluten free specialty foods so my only option was to find meat, vegetable and fruit substitutes for my favorite meals. It wasn’t too hard. I cooked the same as always, just skipping whatever carb the rest of my family was eating and making myself an extra vegetable.
The biggest challenge was Sunday dinner, filled with pasta and fresh bread. I still eat small amounts of carbs, but pasta and bread together meant that by Sunday night I was terribly sick and didn’t feel much better until late Monday or Tuesday. So when I had a chance to try a vegetable spiral slicer I decided to take it and put it to use for Sunday dinner.
A vegetable spiral slicer is pretty straightforward. You take a vegetable like zucchini, squash, potatoes or carrots and turn them into long spiral slices that resemble noodles. I tried the Retseliney Premium Spiraralizer Bundle. The Retseliney Spiralizer comes with the vegetable spiral slicer, a cleaning brush and a jar opener. The spiralizer itself is good quality, made of BPA free plastic and heat treated stainless steel. The blades are sharp and slice through vegetables easily. I have tried using it with squash and carrots mostly.
Using it is so simple, take the vegetable of your choice and turn it through the spiralizer as if you were sharpening a pencil. Out come long “noodles”. My favorite way to prepare them has been to sautee the veggies in olive oil with some salt, pepper and garlic, then serve them with marinara sauce, fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. The end result was delicious and I wasn’t even a tiny bit jealous of the pasta everyone else was eating. Since then I’ve taken to making vegetable noodles in place of pasta every week. Using different veggies has been fun, and I’ve been trying different seasonings as well. so far zucchini noodles sauteed with olive oil, salt, pepper and basil are my absolute favorite.
Overall, I am really happy with the quality of the Retseliney Spiralizer. It is easy to clean and maintain. Vegetable pieces, especially seeds, tend to get caught inside the blades, but the included cleaning brush makes it very easy to keep clean. The small booklet included has some interesting recipes too. The only accessory I didn’t find too useful was the cap, meant to keep your fingers away from the blade as the vegetable got smaller. I find it really difficult to use, so I typically just go as far as I can with my hand and then cut up or discard the remaining vegetable.
If you are looking to add more vegetables to your diet, or to find a new way of preparing them, this is definitely worth having in your kitchen!