WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What's in My Pantry?

I have had a couple folks express an interest as to what I keep in my pantry. Please keep in mind, that each person has different tolerances when it comes to allergens, so what Abby is able to tolerate may be different then what you can tolerate. Abby is a "bucket" allergy type. If her exposure has been low(not exposed out of the house to sizings,exhaust,chemicals at Dr office ,hayfever low)and good food choices her bucket is "empty" and she can tolerate tiny bits of exposure to various allergens. IF she has been exposed to more allergens, her bucket gets full and she will and does react to EVERYTHING! So we rotate based on the status of her "bucket."

Rice Milk
- We use Rice Dream Original/Classic. Not fortified! Any fortified product is CORNY! Rice Dream original is pretty clean in a pinch though if you are celiac it does have gluten contamination(so I have been told)Since Abby is off gluten for ease of digestion and not allergy we haven't worried about it. Our preference is coconut milk, but rice dream is what we use when Abby is in a flare- it is simply easy to digest. She is unable to eat any of their other products because of various ingredients. 17 years ago when she quit nursing this was the only milk she tolerated then, and does well enough with it now. Sadly, not a lot of value but better then nothing.

Domino Sugar
- We used Imperial and C&H for awhile. But, recently swapped to Domino and it does seem to reduce the flares Abby was having. IT is also important to consider what packaging your sugar comes in- you know the boxes with the wax paper lining? Not a good choice for Abby. We stick to the paper wrapper packaging. (Their powdered sugar is NOT safe because of Corn)

Chickpeas- I buy dried chickpea's. Not canned. So far I haven't had to be super picky about dried.

Coconut- Hands down Tropical Traditions brand is the safest, but unless they are running an online deal it isn't a "must" for Abby. We have used a number of different brands of Coconut for Abby. "Let's do Organic" for the coconut cream. NOW brand coconut flakes have been fine. We try to stick to Spectrum coconut oil but have used other brands without penalty. At times we worry more about corn contamination sometimes more about soy or dairy- just depends where Abby's bucket level is at...

- I mentioned Spectrum Coconut oil. Spectrum Palm Shortening is in my pantry as well. I rarely use it- I stick to coconut oil and grapeseed oil as much as possible, I would say 80 percent of my cooking/baking is with coconut oil. It just seems that Abby digests coconut fats the easiest. Her GI will complain about other fats no matter how clean. The palm shortening I have only used a couple times I think I was making biscuits and found it as the best option.

Baking Powder- is "corny" except Hain brand. You can make your own, but I do have a container of this in my pantry.

- this has been a lot of trial and error. First off going gluten-free and then trying to avoid corn and soy and dairy contaminations. Bob's was what we tried first and she reacted to all of Bob's- they admit there may be some corn contamination so maybe that was the problem. We use ArrowHead Mills a lot(brown rice,millet,and buckwheat flour), though we think she reacted to the puffed rice once or twice but aren't sure however, the puffed millet has been safe for her. ArrowHead Mills is easier to find and the prices are generally fair. However ArrowHead Mills does process a lot of corn products which would make their products at higher risk for corn contamination. We have used Barry Farm, SpiceHouse(guar gum), Ener-G(sweet rice flour), AuthenticFoods(potato starch)... From talking with other corn allergy and soy allergy sufferers some react to some of Abby's choices but so far so good with Abby- maybe because we rotate or pay attention to her "bucket?" I have suspected a reaction here and there but with her huge list of intolerances and allergies it often very hard to tell what product is the issue.

BlackStrap Molasses-
We have used both Plantation Brand and Tree of life un sulfered organic. So far no noticeable reactions to either. If you have read my blog, you know how important I think it is to add Blackstrap to your diet. :-)

We have lots and lots of other products we have found but that is enough for this post. Lots of trial and error. Some items are available at Kroger, some at Whole Foods, and many at our favorite Health Food Store in Conroe TX, The Granary Street Natural Foods. We were very disappointed with Trader Joes. Not sure if when we shopped with them in Seattle years ago we just did not have as many allergies to content with, or if they have just quit carrying single ingredient foods. I understand Sprouts health food stores are coming to Houston in 2013. Mixed reviews on what they offer, but I suspect they will carry a few brands that we will be able to use.

We try very hard to only buy single ingredient, organic foods for Abby. Any chemicals, vitamins, mixed ingredients tend cause reactions and flares. I have found myself ordering more of her food online. Amazon, vitacost and a few other online shops carry a much better and safer selection of single ingredient foods. We try to research and look out for possible contaminations but usually with Abby it comes down to a trial on each new item/brand. Too many times something that has "looked and sounded" clean- triggered a reaction. Buyer beware. Worse then that, something that has been clean for years will suddenly change their ingredients and Abby will start reacting. Every time I think we have this all figured out, something changes- It leaves me staying on my toes. :-)


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