Fettuccine Alfredo Challenge

Guelph’s skies made it look like it was going to rain this morning. It’s Guelph though, so I didn’t expect anything different.  I woke up relatively early this morning and was bursting with energy from my carb-loaded meal from the night before. I don’t usually exercise that early but I decided to beat the impending rain and go for a run on the trail behind the townhouse. The trail gives my legs a bit more of a workout having to navigate the rocks, roots and uneven ground, but the aching is worth seeing the morning light through the trees.

I can thank my dinner from last night for giving me the energy to see this view. I love having a hearty pasta dish the night before I’m planning to go for a run. It gives my muscles the energy they need to do quick work. Then again, I love a hearty pasta dish any time… but to the point. My favourite dish to make and eat is fettuccini alfredo. In fact, I made a goal to eat this alfredo dish the first time I went to any restaurant, if they had it on the menu.

I thought of this tour d’alfredo when I was learning to make this delectable pasta sauce. I found that it was very simple to make as long as you have the right ingredients. It can also be quite versatile, acting as a base for many flavour combinations. But as I started this goal, I found that not every restaurant knew these basics, being served bland, runny, or separated sauces. I could kind of judge how good the cooks were based on their ability to make this simple sauce, which determined whether or not I’d want to keep coming back to the restaurant. I’m not even going to get into the overcooked pasta. The restaurants that hit the nail on the head (and this was the majority of them), gave me inspiration for future flavour combinations that I could try at home.

Unfortunately, this food-nerd goal of mine was cut short after a few rounds of antibiotics before discovering I had tonsillitis. I went from drinking about a litre of milk a day to getting stomach pain from having a few sips. I became lethargic, achy, anxious, and let’s face it, I became pretty bitchy. Why? Because antibiotics don’t just kill the bacteria that will make you sick, they also kill the bacteria that keep you healthy and provide your body and brain with nutrients. Specifically, I lost the colonies of bacteria that produce lactase (the enzyme that digests lactose, the sugar in milk) which meant that the sugar loving “bad” bacteria in my gut was eating all of this sugar up.

How can I tell, you ask? When these bacteria were digesting the lactose, they produced gas which caused bloating and belly pain which felt like I was being stabbed from the inside. Not so pleasant and highly embarrassing when in a crowd and finding out that you accidently ate the milk chocolate instead of the dark chocolate. Additionally, my poor food habits started to show as my stomach bloated. Healthy bacteria take a bit longer to colonize than “bad” bacteria, so the more I strayed from a healthy diet, the more the bad colonies grew and the more bloated my stomach got.

The way I think of it is that there are the good crowds and the bad crowds. The bad crowds thrive on bad food, and they can wreak havoc and multiply a lot faster than the good, healthy crowds. You can kill all of the colonies with antibiotics, but you need to eat a healthy diet and regenerate the healthy bacteria before you start expanding your definition of “moderation”. If you don’t, then you won’t have any healthy bacteria to fight off the bad bacteria. The bad colonies and poor health effects will be greater than before.

This is why clean eating detoxes and probiotics are so important to me. Combined, they have completely gotten rid of my lactose intolerance symptoms, especially my stomach bloating and cramping. Drinking less alcohol also highly contributed to this. I will be making a blog post in the future about doing a safe and effective detox that won’t leave you starving. I might even make a meal plan for a week long detox if enough people would like that.  Leave a comment below about what you’d like to see in a meal plan for such a detox. Detox pizza, for instance?

Probiotics were my main saving grace. Just adding these to my morning routine allowed me to go from stomach pains after two sips to being able to drink a whole bag of milk again. Which was ideal because that meant that I could start eating the butter, cream and cheese based alfredo the first time I went to every restaurant again. This also meant that when I had treats, like refined flour pasta or milk chocolate, my body didn’t punish me as much for it. I had to try a couple of different brands before I found the best one, Omega Alpha, which has prebiotics in it. Prebiotics help the probiotics to regenerate healthy bacteria by providing the diet they need to thrive. This is especially helpful if you are still having a hard time eating the healthy diet that they require to exist.

So, since I am able to eat this delicious dish without it feeling like it’s stabbing me from the inside again, this is the version of the Fettuccini Alfredo that I made for my energy boosting meal last night.

 

Fettuccini Alfredo (2 servings)

  • Fettuccini pasta
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream (or twice the amount of sauce you want, as the cream should reduce by ½; for a lighter sauce you can use a lower fat cream)
  • Grated parmesan or asiago cheese (as much as you want really, but at least 1 tbsp)
  • ½ – 1 tsp salt and black pepper
  • Optional: oregano, rosemary, onions, red pepper, spinach, chicken, bacon, etc.
    • Pictured: chicken, red onions, spinach & asiago

Method

  1. Cook fettuccini al dente according to package instructions. Strain (do not rinse) and reserve in strainer for later.
  2. Mince garlic and put the empty pasta pot over medium heat.
  3. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in pot and add garlic. If adding vegetables or meat to alfredo, sauté them in the butter first, and then add garlic.
  4. Sauté garlic (vegetables and meat) until browned, making sure not to burn the garlic.
  5. Add cream to pan and allow it to bubble for a minute.
  6. Add cheese(s) and stir.
  7. Add seasonings and herbs.
  8. Put al dente fettuccini back into the pot and stir gently to cover all of the noodles with sauce. Stir occasionally until the sauce is to your desired thickness and the noodles are heated through.
  9. Enjoy, and let me know how it turns out!

 
Where is your favourite place to get a pasta dish?
What are some things that you would like to know about detox diets? What assumptions do you have about detoxing?
Have you ever had an embarrassing lactose intolerance moment? Comments can be anonymous so don’t be shy with your stories 🙂

Have fun 😛

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