Living with food allergies can be difficult for anyone. There are some people may only have one or two allergies. For instance, some people are allergic to just gluten, dairy, or nuts, or a combination of the three. Then there are some people who are allergic to gluten, dairy, nuts, soy, and eggs, or a combination the five. Then there are people like me, who are allergic to all five plus a myriad of other things.
My journey into changing the way I ate began two years ago when everything I put in my stomach caused me to vomit. After telling my doctor, he ran a few different tests, including one for cancer. When all the tests came back negative for various diseases, we decided to run a food allergy test. Here are the results:
AVOID MEATS: Beef, Buffalo, Lamb, Venison, Duck
MEAT MODERATION: Chicken, Turkey, Pork
SEAFOOD AVOID: Shrimp
SEAFOOD MODERATION: Oyster
DAIRY AVOID: Casesin, Cheddar Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Cow’s Milk, Goat’s Milk, Mozzarella Cheese, Whey, Parmesan, Sheep’s Milk, Yogurt
EGGS AVOID: Egg yolk, egg white, duck egg
VEGATABLES AVOID: garlic, Green, Red, and Yellow Peppers, Soybean, Butternut squash, Eggplant, Leeks
FRUITS AND VEGATABLES MODERATION: Alfalfa, Avocado, Black Olives, Artichoke, Chili Pepper, Jalapeno, Zucchini, Kelp, Watercress, Banana, Pineapple, Cherries, Currants, Figs, Kiwi, White Grapes
NUTS AND SEEDS AVOID: Almonds, Peanuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Pistachios
NUTS AND SEEDS MODERATION: Hemp, Walnut, Flaxseed, Safflower Seed, Poppy Seed
BEANS MODERATION: Black Bean, garbanzo Bean, Navy Bean, Pinto Bean
FLOURS AVOID: Barley, Gliadin, Wheat
FLOURS MODERATION: Millet, Amaranth
SPICES AVOID: Cumin, Ginger, Tumeric
SPICES MODERATION: Horseradish, Mustard
Let me clarify what moderation means. Moderation means I can only ingest those items every four days or suffer the consequences of being sick for three days if consumed more than once. I know what you are thinking – what does she eat? That is the exact thing my doctor said to me when he handed me the results of the food allergy test. I went home and started my research. I found cookbooks that catered to those with the five main allergies, gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and nuts, but none that encompassed all the allergies I have to foods. At first, it was a struggle finding recipes and places where I could eat out with my friends. While there are quite a few restaurants that are becoming gluten friendly and leaving dairy off the plate, if you ask, there are still very few places I am able to consume a meal without suffering some sort of consequence.
However, when I look up a new recipe, I can see what it entails and cut out the things I cannot have. For instance, when a recipe calls for garlic, which most do, I leave it out of the recipe. However, when a recipe calls for cumin, I substitute coriander and it works beautifully. Chili powder is a favorite to use in quite a few recipes, I looked up the ingredients as to what goes into chili powder and have made my own using paprika, oregano, coriander (instead of cumin), cayenne pepper, and onion powder, omitting the garlic powder. It tastes the same and works wonderfully in chili. I have done the same thing with taco seasoning. I use my chili powder mix along with more coriander, onion powder, oregano, paprika, sea salt, and cayenne pepper.
When I was first diagnosed, my doctor said we could try to reintroduce the foods I am allergic to one at a time beginning at eight weeks. We did and the same result took place. We have concluded there will never come a time where I can safely ingest these foods again. It is a struggle sometimes, but I have made the shopping process for each week a breeze.
Before shopping each week, I take the time to go through the six recipe books I have and make a list of ingredients I will need for the week, marking the recipes with a bookmark. I break up my list into categories, meats, vegetables, canned goods, and misc. This saves me time from forgetting things and running all around the store. Once the list is complete, I can head to the store and get the things I need. There are times when I need to go to more than one store because one may not have all my ingredients. For example, when a recipe calls for cheese, I can use a non-dairy cheese. Not all stores carry them, but I am beginning to find them in our local Winn Dixie grocery stores instead of always having to go the health food store.