Oh hello wonderful readers. I’ve missed you. It’s been more than three weeks ago that I last came to this wonderful space to share the recipe for my French breakfast bread as well as some thoughts on the Gotland workshop. I still owe you a blog post about that magical photography retreat. It’s coming, I promise. I owe it to myself too because I forever want to keep that memory and thus it needs to be written down and photos need to be shared. But today, I want to tell you another story. The story of this Vegan Fresh Herb Pesto.
I’ve never considered myself a health fanatic or wellness enthusiast. I like vegan and healthy food because it tastes good. And I love the challenge to come up with vegan recipes of traditional dishes. But I basically eat everything and don’t restrict myself much. I rather listen to my body and when that body calls for cake, I bake a cake. I eat wheat, I sometimes even eat diary, I eat nuts but I also eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I’ve always been convinced that a balanced diet is the best kind of diet, right? However this year I’ve noticed some changes in my energy level. I also had to deal with pretty strong skin inflammation which came and went in phases. Honestly my skin didn’t even bother me that much because once the inflammation was gone, it usually took a week, I forgot about it. But the weeks and days I felt super tired and exhausted made me do something about it,
No matter what I read, who I talked to or which friends I asked, it all came back to one answer. My diet. So some time in spring I started writing a food diary. Unsuccessfully. I skipped days and sometimes even weeks. And whenever I had my usual symptoms I couldn’t make sense of it, even if I knew what I ate the days before. At that point I just started randomly eliminating certain food groups like peanuts, soy, wheat. Nothing changed. I looked for professional help in Istanbul but I found nobody who would do an extensive food allergy or food intolerance test. What I found where doctors who would do a general health check where there would test my tolerance to the main allergens. And then I discovered Pinnertest. I reached out to them the same day and so far this was one of the best decisions in a long time.
Pinnertest is a blood test that you can do at home and which identifies more than 200 individual food tolerances. It’s super easy to use, doesn’t hurt at all and once you send of your small blood sample, it only takes a few working days to get the result. They have labs all over the world so I was even able to send my blood sample and documents to an Istanbul address. Once the lab identified the foods that respond negatively with your body, you get the results and some information on food intolerances send to you by email. If you’d like to know more about the Pinnertest iteself and its process, this page might be helpful for you.
In my case, I received that highly anticipated email during my trip to Iceland. The funny part is that I though I knew the results. I thought I would probably be intolerant to diary, soy beans, maybe even wheat. Just to find out that I was completely wrong. My reactions are the strongest to shellfish, octopus and nightshades. Nightshades is a group of more than 2000 different vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. The main edible members of that family are potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes and peppers. So depending on who I talked to people either feel sorry about not being able to eat tomatoes or potatoes anymore.
In the beginning I thought that eliminating potatoes was the easiest part, especially since I have a moderate (+2) reaction to them. Which means avoiding potatoes will make me feel so much better. But even though I sticked to my new diet I was still seeing some symptoms. So I started reading labels. That gluten-free flour mix I bought the other day included potato flour. The bottled smoothie my boyfriends brought back home on the weekend had potato starch in it. And so did the pesto I bought at the super market. Avoiding potato might not be the easiest in terms of knowing where it’s included but I don’t miss eating potatoes. Eliminating tomatoes on the other side is quite a challenge. Especially since I currently live in a country that basically bases almost all of its dishes on fresh tomatoes, tomato paste or tomatoes sauce (bye bye wonderful shakshuka, lentil balls and Turkish pide).
When I received the Pinnertest results, my boyfriend was most concerned about our weekly ritual of having zoodles or pasta with tomato sauce and baked chickpeas. Personally I also prefer my pasta with a tomato based sauce because I always find cream sauces too heavy and overwhelming. But giving up pasta was not an option. So I started exploring non-tomatoey pasta sauces and more or less accidentally created the most delicious Fresh Herb Pesto. Vegan Fresh Herb Pesto. Similarly to heavy cream sauces I often times find traditional basil pesto too overwhelming flavourwise. Adding in mint and dill, a dollop of roasted almond butter and a heap of nutritional yeast gives the pesto a beautiful balanced taste.
I think I really enjoy my new tomato and potato-free diet because it let’s me explore new recipes and dishes. What is your favorite tomato-free pasta sauce?
And here is another amazing thing. Pinnertest offers $60 off and free international shipping when you use the code BWV60 at check out. The investment is so worth it and if you check other Pinnertest reviews online you’ll quickly notice that the response is genuinely positive and enthusiastic.
This post was sponsored by Pinnertest. All words and opinions are my own. I’ll keep you posted on the long-term results but so far the Pinnertest has improved my life significantly. Thank you for supporting the work I do here on black.white.vivid. by supporting its amazing sponsors.
Vegan Fresh Herb Pesto
- 40 g / 3 handful of basil leaves
- 20 g / 20 small branches of dill (trim the ends so only the part of the branch with leaves is left)
- 20 g / 9 branches of mint (only leaves)
- 1/4 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp roasted almond butter (or any other roasted nut or seed butter)
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 10 tbsp / 150 ml olive oil (more if you like it more oily)
- Add basil leaves, dill leaves and mint leaved to a food processor or any kind of mixer/ blender. Also add lemon juice, salt, roasted almond butter and nutritional yeast. Blend on high speed for about 1 minute.
- Serve with pasta or on a sandwich.