To follow up on my last post about my experience with food allergies, I wanted to share some information about my diet and how I choose foods to eat. Instead of exhausting a long list of what you can NOT eat, I will stick to the things you CAN eat. There are a couple tricky things I’ve learned along the way in terms of what you can NOT eat and will share them first briefly to help you save time in learning them for yourself! For example, I never knew vinegar was distilled from wheat, but it is. So, vinegar is a no-no, along with all its products like pickles and vinagraittes and mayonnaise. I’ve also learned that cane sugar and fake sugars are off limits as well. Cane sugar is in the corn family, and I react every time I have it. I also learned that grapes have yeast naturally occurring under the skin, and that wine has yeast in it. I am a big fan of wine and have yet to fully give it up, and yes I do stay somewhat rashy all the time because I choose to keep my vice. But I do avoid grapes and other forms of yeast in general. There are lots of gluten-free items on the market these days, but if you are also allergic to corn, like me, gluten free does not mean corn-free. In fact I’ve found most gluten free products contain corn under another name like xanthan gum etc.
So, when it’s time to eat, how do I choose? Fruits (except grapes) and veggies are always ok, and thank goodness I like them all. We’ve made the switch to grass-fed, free range beef and chicken, and we also buy the wild caught salmon (instead of farm raised) and natural pork. You have to be careful because lots of meats have starches or sugars in them and unless you read the package you wouldn’t think of that. For example, rotisserie chickens have corn starch and are rubbed with spices that include wheat and corn starch (maltodextrin etc). Lunchmeats also contain sugars and spices so steer clear. Block cheeses work the best for me. Shredded cheeses frequently have corn starch added to prevent caking. This is true of all shredded cheeses including parmesan. Since I can’t have bread or tortillas, I wrap things in lettuce and seaweed or just stick with salad or dinner entree style. I have found one brand of salsa (Herdez) that only contains veggies and nothing else. I cook with butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. My salad dressing is olive oil and lemon.
Breakfast: coffee (with cream and honey), fruit, yogurt (I’ve found one brand that is only sweetened with fruit and doesn’t have starch), rice cereal with lactaid, whey protein/lactaid smoothie (frozen fruit optional), gluten/corn/sugar free waffles w/ real butter
Lunch: veggie salads, cottage cheese, boiled eggs, chicken, shrimp, avocado, cheese, nuts, beans, tofu, any combo of lean meats, veggies, fruits, (block) cheeses, etc.
Dinner: meats, rice, potatoes, rice noodles w/ cheese or olive oil/garlic sauce, quinoa, veggies, salads, beans, tofu, lettuce wraps, home made soup or chili, home made spaghetti sauce
Eating out is pretty much impossible since they always seem to have something starchy or sugary! I always talk to the chef about my allergies and ask for things as plain as possible, but some places can’t accomodate my requests and I just have to do the best I can based on common sense. I pretty much know I will end up with a rash and belly ache after eating out, but sometimes it’s worth it just for the experience. Food is such an enjoyable party of life, so it’s hard to give up absolutely everything including dining out with friends and family. But I do my best to keep it to a minimum and cook at home as much as possible.