Food. Who doesn’t have an opinion about food? Even if it is not a loving one, people care whether they are forced to eat something or not. Growing up, my mom instilled in my brothers and I a very healthy relationship with real, wholesome food. Yes, my older brother may have hidden his dinner snap peas, in his pants pockets. And yes, when they were found in the dryer I was blamed. Regardless of what we “thought” we hated, my mom made us eat it anyways, or else it was “zucchini for breakfast!”
Through my illness, I have really taken the diet aspect by the horns. When I completely hit the brick wall in late 2011, I took “advantage” of being bed-ridden to search the internet. Not only did I find amazing moms like the SpunkyCoconut and, but also others my age struggling to reclaim their health by getting smart and thinking for themselves. Some of the long-term effects of my Chronic Lyme are severe leaky gut (dozens of ever-changing allergies), multiple co-infections (parasites, SIBO, Bartonella, aeromonas, etc…), and small nerve damage (autonomic neuropathy). None of these elements can be fixed until the further damage done to the structure of my cells is healed (I will get into my treatment for that in another post). Due to these recurring traumas, eating has become anything but pleasant for my body. Pretty much anything I put in it ticks off histamines or unfriendly bacteria, which then triggers another series of debilitating symptoms. Because of this autoimmune response, and lack of intestinal peristalsis, I follow a Low FODMAP-AIP-Paleo diet, in which I rotate specific foods every 5-7 days. Because of how depleted my body is, no, this diet alone has not cured me like it has done for others. However, it has given me a way to maintain what strength my body is left with, and try to help it not slide any further downhill. That being said, I have not let my bodies condition give me an excuse to create an unhealthy relationship with food. Yes, sometimes I want nothing to do with it, and no, following a strict regime is not fun. But it is important to also remember, food is not the end all be all! There is so much more to life than BBQ’s and dinner parties! I believe one should never allow their situation to take them over, but instead mold them into something even greater. That does not mean some days are not harder than others, and sometimes giving up seems like the only plausible option. However, as my mom always says,”you just have to pull yourself up by your boot straps, and keep on going.” So back to where I began…Your either one of two persons regarding food. Either, you live to eat, or you eat to live. In my case, I’d say I am both. Through my illness I have become a total foodie, while also super adventurous in trying anything new, as I grasp for something I am NOT allergic too. Yet at the same time I have to eat regardless of the pain. Losing more weight is not an option, due to my bodies state of inability to gain weight (again, loss of cell function) I may look very thin, but believe me, my plates at dinner have remained the same size as my 14 year old brothers 🙂
The difference? I eat “weird foods.”
That is what brings us to today’s post of Plantain Tacos!!!
Now, plantains aren’t necessarily anything “weird,” but I can assure you there may be future posts highlighting things you may never see in Stop&Shop or Walmart (yuca root, or tiger nuts anyone?!)
Really, these foods are staples in many countries outside of the U.S. Including Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Venezuela, and the list goes on! Most American stores sell plantains as roasted or fried chips. However, because of their starchy, dense structure, you can virtually create anything with them (cookies, breads, waffles, etc…)
Though this recipe was originally made with ripe plantains, I found using green ones to be just as successful. Note that the cooking time will change depending on how hot your oven is. At 350, in my convection oven, the shells took about 30 minutes total. Ultimately, you want to take them off the baking sheet when they are still flimsy, so that you can fold and hang them over the oven rack. I filled mine with a grilled tuna steak caught last summer at the Cape, locally sourced shredded lettuce, and tangy sheep yogurt for the “sour cream” effect. My mom piled grilled chicken, lettuce, and salsa in hers. Both ways were delicious, so have fun exploring the endless possibilities!
Plantain Taco Shells
(Makes 10 shells)
- 3 green plantains – peeled
- 1/2 cup avocado oil
- Salt to taste (plus for sprinkling on top)
- 1/2 lime – juiced
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. *You should be left with a thick, yet workable “paste.”
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Dollop a big spoonful of the mixture and spread thin with the back of the spoon *It helps to use a spoon dipped in water so that it wont stick.
- Make sure the tortillas are thin and even so that they don’t crack when folding, then sprinkle with some sea salt
- Repeat with remaining batter, it should total to around 10 shells.
- Place in oven until they are lightly browned and become durable. *Mine took around 15 minutes.
- Take of sheet and carefully fold the tortillas in half, simultaneously hanging them over and through the oven rack.
- Let cook for another 15 min or so… *They should become crispy and brown like a corn tortilla chip.
- Remove and cool upside down so that the shells stay propped open.
Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”