Thursday, November 6, 2014
I have learned a lot the past few years. When Abby was a baby and we had to avoid so much it was much easier. Produce wasn't covered with chemicals and raised in chemicals. Anything prepared or enriched was more novel then the mainstay it has become today.
We literally had to change everything. The food I offered Abby in the beginning was sad, pathetic and boring for a long time. Thank goodness that despite being the picky one in our family she had the good sense to understand she had to eat and she had to eat for her body not her taste buds.
1) Pace yourself. Find 5 safe basics at a time and toss 5 that aren't safe at the same time. When it dawns on you that pretty much everything in your local market is full of foods you must avoid? You will be overwhelmed. Breath. You will hunt down other sources. Human Instinct is pretty strong when it comes to food, put it to good use and go find safe food.
2) Join a food allergy/Mast support group. Their hard earned experiences they so willingly share with you are priceless!
3) Face the fact that it might be(likely) more expensive for awhile. At this point our prices have adjusted as I found crafty ways to not waste anything and my willingness to make as much as I can saves us money now. It will all balance out. And if not? Eating clean,safe and healthy for your body foods is WAY WAY cheaper then Drs, hospitals and medications and still feeling awful.
4) Don't give up.
5) Learn to cook. Many young adults honestly think cooking is opening a box and adding water- it isn't. Watch youtube, take a class at the community college, volunteer to help a friend who knows how to cook, your life literally depends on at least learning the basics.
6) No complaining. The web has endless(I really mean endless) blogs, websites, guru's with tons of relevant information on how to cook minus your allergens. If your food is boring? Start reading. Ask other folks with allergies for their favorite snacks and recipes. Even with removing many, many items and most being past staples for my cooking I have found endless ways to combine Abby's foods to keep it fun. It is more work, but you or your child are WORTH a few more dishes to wash or skipping out yet another boring mall shopping trip this week to put your food and health first. Before long it will seem natural and you will forget the old lazier ways.
7) Don't expect it to taste the same as your old food because it won't. Learn to embrace new food experiences, decide to appreciate the opportunity to have new food experiences because being miserable is not an option.
8) Teach your children(even if they have no allergies) about food. Where it comes from, why fresh is better, why organic is better, why we don't want to eat premade foods.. If they grow up and either develop food issues or have children with them? They will thank you. As a culture America tends to now eat based on fads and trends. That is fine as long as the basic nutritional needs are met and we can stay healthy. One of the most shocking things I have learned is how very little I knew about food and nutrition. Teach them the difference between "fad diets" and good old fashioned nutritional common sense.
9)Learn to take your own, and if possible enough to share. I have noticed some folks feel alienated from their friends over food. You can either sit at home alone or figure it out. Much of our social lives are centered around food, it is important to the social rituals. Make your favorite safe dish and take enough to share. I have heard families complain that their "food" is too expensive to share(sometimes with their own family!!!!) and it makes me want to flip. If you have ever hosted a dinner party even using cheap not safe ingredients, it is EXPENSIVE!!! So have good manners and share. You might be surprised that your "funky" food will be well received.
10) Learn to substitute. This is a little tricky and comes down to experience. For example, if an ice cream recipe calls for heavy cream and whole milk and you try to sub with rice milk, well you are not going to be happy with the end result. Rice milk doesn't have the fat to be a good sub at least when making ice cream. Try a full fat coconut milk.. Cannot have coconut milk? Remember rule number 7. Either embrace the new texture or move on.
11)"Healthy" "Organic" "local" "sustainable" doesn't mean it is either SAFE or Nutritionally beneficial. My biggest wake up call was stopping at various Health markets or the "organic sections" and reading the ingredients! WOW, holy moly some of those ingredients are far worse then eating twinkies!!! Read the labels. If needed, contact the manufacturer. Most companies don't want you to get sick from their products and are willing to try to be honest. If the company refuses to answer your questions? Don't buy their food, EVER.
12) It will and does get easier. One day you will wake up and realize that you enjoyed all the food you had today and none of it made you sick. After that day, it just gets easier.