Spicy Yum Yums

As per my writing assignment, The Piper Project, I’m testing out different gluten-free, dairy-free menus at small business restaurants in Regina, SK. Today, I’ll review Tangerine and 13th Avenue Food & Coffeehouse.

Before I get into the reviews, I should probably preface this by addressing some of my tummy issues so you understand why it’s hard to find “safe” places to eat.

My gut problems developed about eight years ago. I noticed when I ate gluten I’d become constipated for a couple days, my acne would rage (we’re talking deep cystic acne, almost boil-like, that took months to heal), my eyes would get red, headaches, muscle pain and my depression would tank. I’d hit very bad lows and it would take me a week to feel like myself again. I eliminated gluten from my diet and felt better. I’ve stayed away from it ever since. My doctor has asked me if I’d be willing to take a celiac test but it would require me to start eating gluten again for a number of weeks, which would render me useless. I decided to forgo the test and just remove the allergen from my diet.

Since then, more sensitivities have developed, especially with dairy and eggs. I respond to them the way I do to gluten.

Other food cause issues, too, but I won’t get into it all. Basically, anything that’s too processed with a high sodium and sugar content will cause problems. The good news is those foods aren’t good for anybody. It’s just that my body voices her discontent quickly where others’ would take it silently.

By now you’re probably wondering what I can eat. Great question. Here’s my list of safe foods:

  • All fruits
  • All veggies
  • Unprocessed meats (chicken, beef, lamb, seafood, etc).
  • Vinegars
  • Oils (ie. Olive, coconut, veg)
  • Curries with coconut milk
  • GF meat sauces
  • GF oats (oats are naturally GF but if they are processed in a facility where gluten is processed there’s often cross-contamination and that can cause problems).
  • Fish sauce
  • Oat milk
  • Nut milks
  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Beans
  • Vega Protein Shakes
  • Haagen Daaz Coconut Caramel Dark Chocolate Non-Dairy Bars
  • Potato chips (some have dairy in the coating so I have to check that but most Ruffles chips are safe)
  • Lara bars
  • Kale Salad
  • Chia seeds
  • Dried fruit
  • Cashews
  • French fries from Safeway or Walmart

I’d say my diet is closer to the Paleo diet but I eliminate eggs and peanuts and add more carbs. The more natural the food, the better I feel.

Eating out is a bit of a gamble. Some restaurants aren’t as aware of these gut things so I’ve had a couple situations that made me sick. I’m hoping these reviews will highlight some of the restaurants that do care and let them know how much I appreciate it. Maybe it will even help other restaurant owners become more aware of food sensitivities so that I can eat there, too.

As a disclaimer, I’m not a doctor. I can only tell you what works for my body. What works for yours, will be different. These reviews are extremely subjective.

ALSO, THESE FOODS ARE VERY SPICY.

You’ll notice I took a dip before the photo because I couldn’t wait. There were more cucumber slices too, I just indulged ahead of time.

I love hummus but the stuff I get from the store can be very salty and oily which agitates my gut. Tangerine’s hummus was light and fluffy. I think they must’ve just made it because the garlic tasted fresh and the veggies were crispy. Coupling the dip with jalepeno, made the whole thing pack a punch that was super flavourful and spicy. There was enough hummus in the container that I could load up each vegetable and still have some left over. But it didn’t last. I ate the hummus on it’s own. By the end, I was scraping the bottom of the container to make sure I got every last drop. I paired it with an iced coffee (on special right now) and I was full by the end. The whole meal cost me ~$10.

I just had this today and so far so good. I’ll find out tomorrow if my gut accepts it or not. Let’s pray it likes it because my palate certainly did.

This is an all-time fave and a dish I turn to on the regular. I’m sure I could figure out a way to make it on my own but I don’t want to. It’s a treat and something I look forward to every time I go. Usually it comes with tofu but you can substitute for other protein options if you prefer. I’m not a big tofu person but the clerk offered me a sample of the baked GF tofu that they are testing out. I think it was BBQ flavour and I loved it! Will likely get it on my bowl next time. You can get the bowl with brown rice or substitute it for quinoa. Both are delicious and make the meal very filling. The green curry is what makes this bowl addictive. It’s creamy and spicy and satisfies the part of me that misses dairy sauces. They load up your bowl so your veggies are dowsed in it without it becoming soup-y. The portion size is perfect for me and feel very full after. Highly recommend.

I’m looking forward to when we can sit in the coffeeshop again. It’s one of my favourite places to go because of it’s intimacy and character. I love their art, plants and fireplace. Just a home-y feel. Plus, I almost always run into someone I know there and I like those surprises.

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I’ve heard spicy food can irritate your gut and cause acne. I’ve also heard it can help with circulation and inflammation. It’s one of my favourite things and at this point, it’s still a ‘safe’ food so I’m going to keep eating it. And let me say, I’m so happy I’m doing this little experiment! I’m having a lot of fun with it!

Do you have any recommendations restaurants that serve GF & DF food in Regina, SK? Let me know! I’d like to check it out!