Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What we can eat

I was reminded recently that there are lots of lists of what allergic folks can't eat, but much fewer lists of what we CAN eat. Our own list of 'can't eat' is pretty extensive, for example.

My son is gluten free and dairy free and can only seem to tolerate limited quantities of eggs, GF grains, dyes and preservatives, non-organic fruits and veggies, and palm oil.

My daughter is gluten free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, onion and garlic free, and grain fee. She can only seem to tolerate fruit, dyes, and preservatives in limited amounts, and some fruits are no good at all.

Myself, I'm gluten free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, grain free, sugarcane free, coffee free, chicken free, and sulfite and high-in-sulfur-foods free. I have to limit my consumption of legumes, potatoes, and sweeteners, as well.

But what CAN we eat? Well, in the spirit of looking at the positive, here's a few foods on a 'can eat' list.

I can eat this, for example. Probably.

To my knowledge, we can eat:
1. Many fresh organic fruits without coatings, waxes, soaps, sprays, pest-killing agents, or gases (we get most of ours at Farmer's Markets) - apples, pears, citrus, berries, pomegranates, melons. (see notes 1, 2, 4)

2. Many fresh organic vegetables without coatings, waxes, soaps, sprays, pest-killing agents, or gases (again, we get ours at farmer's markets) - bell peppers, chile peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, carrots, parsnips, eggplant, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, cucumber, beets, winter and summer squashes, lettuces, spinach, okra, celery, swiss chard, peas. (See notes 3)

3. Fresh herbs - we grow our own to avoid potential processing contamination issues. We can also buy fresh root ginger and fresh root turmeric.

4. Home-grown/made seeds - sunflower seeds, roasted squash seeds, roasted melon seeds.

5. Whole cuts of meats, dried beans, and unflavored nuts -  These have to be sourced properly to make sure they lack contamination by any of the previously mentioned allergens. Many of these may have contact with sulfites, gluten, and so on, due to processing cc, packaging, or preservation methods used. But if they aren't contaminated, the foods themselves are okay.

6. Sweetener - We grow our own stevia, which has worked well so far. although my son dislikes the taste. Honey is on our maybe list. Usually, we juice fruits, reduce the juice through boiling, and use the concentrated juice for a sweetener.

7. Oils and fats - We render our own fat from beef and make beef tallow. We use a special brand of olive oil, as well. Avocados are sometimes a source of fat, as well.

And that's what we usually eat! My son gets rice or rice pasta sometimes, and every once in a while some popped sorghum. We buy him a brand of hummus and sometimes get a bag of corn chips for him, as well. My daughter and I use our sea salt and brand of oil and otherwise make everything we're eating at the moment.

I'm becoming a MUCH more creative cook these days, and so is my daughter! She's currently fiddling with the idea of juice some of our fruit and seeing if she can mix it somehow with beef tallow to make a candy substitute of some kind. I hope she manages it! :-)

1. Organic bananas in the USA are allowed to be gassed with ethylene gas that is created with a method using potentially corn-derived ingredients. Other organic produce in the USA is not allowed to be gassed, in theory.

2. Almost all grapes have sulfites used on these to help with fungus, I understand, so sulfite sensitive folks need to be careful of these.

3. The allium and the brassica family can be bad for some sulfite sensitive folks, those that react to naturally high-in-sulfur foods. These families include the following foods: canola (oil, too), arugula, watercress, daikon, onions and garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, rutabaga, turnip, kohlrabi, cabbages, kales, radishes, brussel sprouts, horseradish, collard greens, bok choy, wasabi, and mustards.

4. For those with all the above issues, imported tropical fruit may not be the safest here in the USA. I don't know if it's pesticides, gases, or what, but I know I certainly react to most of them, and I know of other super sensitive celiacs, sulfite sensitives, and corn sensitive folks who do as well. So use whatever caution is appropriate for your particular allergy/intolerance.

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