This post is part of the Food Allergy Blog Carnival

We’ve been on the food allergy/food intolerance/celiac trip for a while, starting with living with dairy alternatives for 9 years. We’ve been living gluten-free due to Celiac Disease for almost 5 years. We’ve been living berry-free for a bit over a year. In the past 9 years we’ve gone through times of needing to avoid citrus, soy, eggs, and corn, and a transition from vegetarian to meat-eating. Not all at once, though! ;) I’ve picked up a few ideas on how to make the transition to a new diet, and/or living with a restricted diet easier, and I hope they’re helpful.

I’ve got a new tip to start us off - my friend has a child who is anaphylactic to almost everything (no, really!). On their front door is a a sign saying “No Food Allowed”, because they live in a neighborhood with a bunch of kids who were coming over with food. If we lived in a neighborhood with a bunch of kids, we might well have a sign like that up, too. It’s a great way to reduce the risk of cross-contamination in your house, though you might have to pay for a bit more food so the neighbor kids have something to eat when they’re visiting!

Simplify. The most basic way is to make dishes out of whole foods rather than food replacements. Roasted chicken, baked potato, and roasted vegetables are all real foods, reasonably inexpensive, and have a low allergy potential. As an added bonus, everything on that menu can also be made in the oven, all at once! The same can be said for pork chops, sweet potato, and a salad (don’t roast the salad, though). I try to avoid buying too many specialty products, because it ends up being expensive, and there’s always the risk of cross-contamination from pre-made items. I routinely buy Tinkyada Brown Rice noodles, but otherwise I try to stick to “normal” foods that are safe for our diet. (Other than occasional treats, of course!) We often have meals with protein, veggies and/or salad, and then potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, kasha, or cornbread on the side, and life is good!

Eat fresh! The more food you can get from a farm coop, farmer’s market, or even the produce section, the better. It’s clementine season right now, and those little tangerines are like candy to my kids! We also can’t keep bananas in the house for more than a couple of days, and my 4 year old leaves apple cores everywhere. Baby carrots and celery sticks are another easy munchable that is healthy, easy, and allergy-safe. You can add nut/seed butters to the celery sticks, or leave them plain. I mix dried fruit with some seeds, and then I’ve got my version of a trail mix. Put it in a jar on the counter, and there’s something easy and healthy always available.

For bread, I can make great bread, and I do, but usually for special occasions. I can also buy bread, but given the high price, I don’t do it very often. I’m too cheap frugal for that. Instead, we use corn tortillas for sandwiches, including as a wrap for hot dogs. They work great, they’re inexpensive, and, unless you’re sensitive to corn, are pretty allergy-safe.

My favorite tip – give yourself (or your family member) treats! Having home-made (ideally) or store-bought meringues, brownies, cookies, and candies that are safe for your dietary restrictions make it easier to resist foods that will make you sick. As an addendum to that tip, actually bring those treats places! If you have treats with you, you won’t feel deprived when your friends are having a treat you can’t eat – it’s easy to feel deprived when everyone’s having cake and you have nothing! I like to bring enough treats for everyone to eat, to show people that food can be allergy-safe, but still yummy.

Treat yourself. OK, this is my close-second favorite tips! Use the Crock Pot, or make a casserole in the oven. The food will still be delicious, but you won’t have to cook during that evil time of day when everyone is grouchy! As an additional treat, find out what you can buy that is fast – we know which stores have Rotisserie Chickens that are are safe for our diet, so on a long day, we can pick up one of those and serve with some quick side dishes.

My final tip for this week is: don’t try to duplicate everything. Some foods are never going to be perfectly replaced with allergy-safe ingredients. Instead, try to find something else that you love that has a somewhat similar taste, or fills the craving you’ve been having. Not all of the alternative prepared foods are tasty, and they’re usually pricey as well, so it’s helpful to figure out what you’re missing – is it a tang? sweetness? greasy fried stuff? something you didn’t cook? When we were egg-free, I was longing for lemon meringue pie. There’s no way to make that without eggs, but then I found a recipe for a Jello dish, and adapted it – ta da! Lemon Meringue Jello!

I don’t like the dairy-free cheeses, so even though my girls make quesadillas in their Quesadilla Maker out of corn tortillas and Tofutti cheese, I don’t eat them. Instead, I make things with my white sauce on top for a creamy feel. I’m OK avoiding dairy if I can have shrimp alfredo, or lasagna with white sauce on top like cheese!

I’m looking forward to reading the other tips and ideas that are part of the Food Allergy Blog Carnival!

Comments

[...] I’ve got a new tip to start us off – my friend has a child who is anaphylactic to almost everything (no, really!). On their front door is a a sign saying “No Food Allowed”, because they live in a neighborhood with a bunch of kids who were coming over with food. If we lived in a neighborhood with a bunch of kids, we might well have a sign like that up, too. It’s a great way to reduce the risk of cross-contamination in your house, though you might have to pay for a bit more food so the neighbor kids have something to eat when they’re visiting! Read more tips [...]


[...] Read the rest of this great post here [...]


[...] ready for a holiday road-trip? Rachel presents A few tips to help you on your Food Allergy trip posted at A Gaggle of [...]


Rational Jenn on 13 December, 2007 at 9:47 am #

What a great post! As someone who is kitchen-challenged, I’m always looking for new ideas. We have fewer foods to avoid than you do, so that makes it easier on us–so really, what I’m saying is that I have no excuse! I believe I’ll roast some chicken and veggies all in the same pan tonight!


Food Allergy Recipe on 7 February, 2008 at 5:49 pm #

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    • A Gaggle of Girls


      About Me: I'm a Mom living a busy life with 3 girls (11, 9, 6) who have just started school for the first time, Celiac Disease, , Chronic Lyme Disease which acts like Fibromyalgia, job-hunting, 1 cat, 1 puppy in exile, and a lot of books as we stay with family in New England. We eat great, homecooked, allergy safe food due to our food allergies & sensitivities.


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