Actually Good-for-you Carrot Cake

Gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free– and YES, this carrot cake is still full of flavor and good texture — for real!  |  See below for my “dad tested, dad approved” recipe —

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Recently, my dad started a new healthy diet. Correction — he started new healthy eating habits as part of an overall healthy lifestyle (he’s had to correct me a couple times when I forget this isn’t a “diet” — and he’s right!). I think you’d agree that hearing about the benefits of eating healthy isn’t really new news at this point.

However, truly taking the time to understand how certain ingredients (i.e. gluten, dairy, sugar) effect your body and change the way you’ve been eating for decades is NOT easy!

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My dad’s new “healthy eating habits” are made up of gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free foods, collectively. He’s been doing it consistently for just over 2 months and I’m BEYOND proud of him — FullSizeRender 16

Especially when my mom and I haven’t been able to resist a pizza or ice cream craving — That we eat. Right. In front of him. (Don’t judge me! We all can’t eat clean all the time!).

Now, I’m nooooooo chef or baker, but when I do hit the kitchen, it’s usually to open the microwave and reheat something someone else made or throw things into a pan without a recipe. But, I’ve been wanting to help my dad succeed in this new healthy eating habit and so I’ve recently put my “skills” to the test by researching recipes I think he’d like and then adjusting ingredients to align with his “can eat” list best I can. Oh, and making a mess in my mom’s kitchen. Woopsies!

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Here’s the carrot cake recipe I updated from this one to reflect a gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy free “non-diet” ;):

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Aaaand the frosting:

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For dinner recently, I wanted to make something different with zucchini noodles, chicken and the last of our garden’s cilantro. I found this recipe for a Thai chicken/zucchini noodles dish and made my way to the grocery store to buy spices and sauces and dad’s substitute ingredients — oh my! So, $500 and 5 hours later… JKJKJK, kinda… To all you “home cookers” out there, I give you sincere props for making frequent trips to the grocery store to buy a bunch of “I’ll use these once” ingredients I can’t even pronounce, then go home guilt-free and ready to make a meal. Meanwhile, I’m like, “Dad, I’ll make you dinner tomorrow night. Today, I went to the grocery store. Now, I’m going to take a nap. Also, now that we’ve invested in the only size bottle of fish sauce available, which is too big because, well, it’s fish sauce, let’s try and use fish sauce daily.”

Despite needing to use a few substitutes to the original recipe, the whole fam LOVED it! It even inspired my pasta-loving mom to start asking me to spiralize her zucchini, too. Don’t you love it when that happens?! 🙂

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