Thursday, October 11, 2012

7 Quick Takes: Food Edition

I've mentioned a few times that I suffer from severe life-threatening food allergies. I'm allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, seafood, wheat, eggs, milk, soy, green beans, and black beans. I also have a severe form of Oral Allergy Syndrome that makes it impossible for me to eat any raw fruits or vegetables. Yes, it sucks. But I've learned that I FEEL better when I'm avoiding all of these things (not all are life-threatening, some only do major gut damage).

A question I hear ALL THE TIME is, "So, what can you eat?" Today's Quick Takes are an answer to that. Here are the 7 major staples of my diet:

— 1 —
I feel like I need a disclaimer here. Not ALL people allergic/sensitive to wheat can consume oats. There are trace amounts of wheat found in oats. Gluten-free oats do exist, too, but some say it's debatable whether or not they are truly gluten-free. Anyway, for me my wheat allergy is one that affects my gut, and apparently the trace amounts in oatmeal don't matter. I eat oatmeal for breakfast. I bake with oatmeal A LOT. Did you know oat flour is just ground oatmeal? Yeah, and they try to sell it separately in the grocery store! One of my favorite recipes is blueberry oatmeal pancakes. Yes, you can make pancakes without wheat, eggs, and soy. And they're goooood, too!
— 2 —

I get really sensitive about all the information in the news about genetically modified corn. I know that most corn is genetically modified and I shouldn't eat it (we're pretty "green" around here), but I just can't "let it go." To take corn out of my diet would be devastating. I snack on corn-based cereals and corn chips, we eat quite a bit of polenta, I use corn-based pasta occasionally, and corn tortillas and corn taco shells make it possible for me to enjoy some varieties of Mexican food.

—3 —
I love potatoes. I really, really do. I love them for any meal. I tend to have them at breakfast (hash browns, or Potatoes O'Brien), and love roasted potatoes or mashed potatoes (especially reds--with the skins--mixed with garlic and olive oil). One of the foods I miss the most is potato salad.

— 4 —

 There are many, many, MANY products involving rice that I use almost daily. Whether it's straight-up basmati rice with lunch, or Enjoy Life's Crunchy Rice cereal (which they recently discontinued--BOO!) ground up as breading for chicken or pork, or a bowl full of rice pasta for dinner, I could NOT survive without rice.
— 5 —

Cooked Fruits.
 THIS is a tricky one. Any fruits you can buy canned are pre-cooked, so while they are ALL safe, for some reason I struggle to find ones that agree with me. Right now, I buy Del Monte's Diced Pears in light syrup and Treetop applesauce. Those are the only precooked fruits I buy and consume. The rest, we do. I love living in an area where fresh produce is available year-round. During strawberry season I make strawberry "sauces" (just strawberries, sugar, and water and some thickener like pectin or cornstarch) and eat them straight-up or add them to pancakes, applesauce, etc. I bake apple crisp as often as possible. During blueberry season I go wild making the aforementioned blueberry pancakes, as well as blueberry sauce. I wish I had more variety in terms of fruit, but I try to remind myself that it's better than nothing. And, I eat PLENTY of veggies.
— 6 —

Oh yeah, no way this girl could be a vegetarian. NO WAY. Because of my allergies, we eat very little processed meat. I do have safe hot dogs (Foster Farms Turkey Dogs) and safe turkey burgers (Jennie-O) that I eat occasionally, but for the most part we buy our meat in bulk and cook it up daily. I love dark meat chicken. I'm not a HUGE fan of beef, but it's always good to have when I'm feeling anemic. I love salami, and it took me YEARS to find a Top-8 Free Salami. Thank you Hormel Natural Choice! We grind our own meat, too, and I make a lot of meatballs, meatloaf, burger patties, etc. that I can have. So, yeah, meat. And lots of it. 

— 7 —

Okay, this isn't a major staple of my diet, but everyone needs a treat some time. Believe it or not, there ARE some candies out there that I can eat! I love Enjoy Life Food's Boom Choco Boom Crispy Rice bars. They're me-safe "Krackels." Surf Sweets' Fruity Bears are not only allergy-friendly but they're dye-free and natural as well, so I eat those A LOT. And for the occasional indulgence, I am also a fan of Swedish Fish, Sour Patch Kids, Sour Patch Watermelons, and Dots. There are other candies out there safe for me, but these are the few that I seem to gravitate toward in the checkout!

I just want to give a shout-out to some of my favorite allergy-friendly brands in case food allergy families come by: Enjoy Life Foods, Ener-G foods, Surf Sweets, Hormel Natural Choice, and Cherrybrook Kitchen.

Thanks for reading my QTs! Make sure to head over to Conversion Diary and read more!



  1. Remind me to tell you about the fun conversations we've had with parishioners about my husband the vegetarian and what he can eat.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Some great info!
    My mom is currently on this diet, save the nut restrictions. I have some of the same food intolerances that she does (garlic/onion)so I'm wondering if I'm headed this way as my body continues this wonderful process called aging...


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