The New Alternative Chef Survival Kit

Finding out you have a food intolerance can be a bit daunting and the whole thought of having to learn new skills in the kitchen might be fun for some and painstaking for others. Either way, learning how to cook for and live with your new alternative diet is going to be a life long journey. Sometimes the path will be easy, sometimes less so. So if you were going to have a “survival kit” for this journey, these are the important things that we think should go in it.

1. The right attitude

We’ve been cooking with and tasting different alternatives for years. We’ve spent many hours (and dollars!) trying commercial products, and home made alternatives. Not everything worked. In fact, in one future episode Lisa made 24 versions of a recipe trying to get it “right”.

There is a great quote that says

“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried”

That is definitely applicable when it comes to alternative cooking.

So the top attitudes that go in this survival kit are:

  • A willingness to give it another go when failures happen (and they will. If for no other reason than your taste buds haven’t adapted to where you are on the journey yet). Accept, there will be times when it might not look exactly like the original (that you can no longer eat) or taste exactly the same.
  • A willingness to like something new. There are some up coming recipes that are going to knock your socks off as they are so tasty and you’ll find it hard to believe that they are gluten, dairy, soy, egg or meat free.

2. The right equipment for the job

When Lisa was learning about cameras and how to film the show she did an online course with Andy Jenkins and the best advice from that course was this:

“The best video camera to use -is the one you already have”

That is completely applicable to having your own successful alternative chef kitchen. The best blender to use – is the one you already have. The best food processor to use  – is the one you already have. If you don’t have a high speed blender then use equipment you already have.

If you don’t have any equipment and can’t afford to spend >$500 on a high speed blender, then check out this post (and the comment thread within). Lisa and Anne don’t have high speed blenders, and yet there aren’t too many recipes stopping them.

So to help yourself “keep on” this journey, don’t make it too hard. Start with using the equipment you have, or can afford and actually use it. A lot of cooking tools and gadgets can become like the home exercise equipment of the 80s. Sounds great in theory, but how many people really used their Thigh master daily?

3. A good map & a good guide

Years ago, Lisa saw the passage by Souza which finishes with “Happiness is a journey not a destination” and ever since then she’s said “Health is a journey not a destination.”

If you’ve just found out that you have a food intolerance, or you’re deciding to adopt a more plant-based diet, or you’re wanting to bring more whole foods into your diet get advice from the right people. See a health care practitioner that actually has a food intolerance (ideally the same as you) or actually follows a plant-based diet or mostly plant-based diet. Learn from whole food enthusiasts who have a family etc.  Also make sure these people have been following their diet for a while. We say this because there can be some pitfalls along the way and you really want a guide who knows where those pitfalls can be. Someone who has just decided to “specialise” or start a blog because they’re all enthusiastic, and haven’t yet come across some of the pitfalls can make you feel like there is something you’re doing wrong, or that it’ll be too hard.

If you’d like to learn more about the nutrition side of things, check out our ecourse at