What I’m Eating (and Not Eating) Right Now

by Kim on November 15, 2012

As you know, Mason’s recent diagnoses of multiple food allergies have meant lots of dietary changes for me. Since I was determined to keep breastfeeding, I began stripping my diet of all the foods he tested positive for in the allergist’s office.

Currently, the no-no list includes: milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, wheat, and peas. (And that’s just what he’s been tested for-who knows what other more obscure allergies could be lurking…)

allergens That’s 6 of the 8 most common food allergens-so great news, I can still have fish and shrimp! (As long as they’re not breaded, buttered, nut-crusted, dipped in soy sauce…thank God for sushi.)

It’s been a rocky transition, but I thought I was doing ok…he was spitting up less, and the rashes/eczema seemed to be more or less under control. But then this happened. Basically, one particularly rough day had me running to the store to buy formula in total, end-of-my-rope frustration.

Then, because the fun just keeps piling on around here, he HATED the formula. Wouldn’t touch it, even when it was 90% breastmilk and only 10% formula. And I couldn’t blame him-I took a sniff and a (hugely regretted) sip, and it was completely disgusto.

Next, the allergist put in a prescription for a special amino acid based formula called Neocate, which was even MORE unimaginably gross. I thought we’d agreed to “try” this, but then the allergist’s office proceeded to send us 14 cans of the stuff. Most of which are still in boxes on the kitchen floor…

IMG_2042Don’t worry, they were NOT free. Or even cheap.

I even bought some (100% natural) apple juice to mix in, but the taste of that formula is so overwhelming, it could honestly overtake anything. The juice didn’t have a prayer.

In a panic, I briefly considered doing a total elimination diet, where you literally eat nothing but 5 foods (including turkey, squash, pears, and a few other super-safe things) until your baby’s stomach calms down, and then sloooowly reintroduce foods, one at a time, to see which ones he reacts to. (Sounds totally nauseating, right?) So I did a bunch of research, got Brent on board (he agreed to prepare his own dinners for awhile), and bought another turkey.

But then…things suddenly seemed ok again.

IMG_1994 Psyyyych! I’m fine. Relax, lady, for the love.

Which was a huge relief. I mean…5 foods?? A week before Thanksgiving??

So the formula is on hold, for now, and I’m still breastfeeding and sticking to the original restricted diet. To be honest, when I took a closer look at what I was eating, I realized that I wasn’t doing too well with soy and wheat, the last two things I had to cut out. For some reason, I’ve had a mental block about those two-like I was in denial about him being allergic to them. That, and I’m totally overwhelmed by how difficult it is to eliminate them completely. Especially wheat, mostly because I’m not educated enough about it. What’s the difference between wheat and gluten? If he’s allergic to wheat, does that mean he’s probably allergic to gluten too? What do I look for on labels?

Plus, my #1 go-to meal for the last several weeks has been stir fry, mixed with Trader Joe’s General Tsao sauce…which, of course, is loaded with soy. So now that’s out. (And I JUST learned how to make perfect tofu, too! Bah.)

It’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to completely reverse my thinking from what I can’t have to-seriously-what CAN I have?

I’ve been mainly eating:

–Meat, including lots of marinated chicken, beef tacos in corn tortillas (there’s a special taco mix I found that’s gluten, et al, free), and plain turkey. I’m getting pretty confident in my turkey-roasting skills-honestly, I can’t really remember why I was so intimidated by the process before. You throw the thing in the oven, baste it a little, and take it out a couple hours later. (Of course, these are teensy 6-8 lb. turkeys I’m talking about…)

–Salads (your standard, entry-level lettuce + cucumber with vinaigrette)

–Fruit/veggies (especially apples, bananas, and sweet potatoes)

–Grains

For example, this has been my lunch pretty much every day this week: brown rice couscous, turkey, and whole cranberry dressing. Just practicing for the big T-day!

IMG_2037

I used this couscous, which is conveniently often dirt cheap at Target because nobody wants it. (I guess?)

couscous

Last night, I made a giant pot of this pumpkin chili. Naturally, I didn’t realize the tomato soup I’d used had wheat in it until I dug the can out of the recycling much later…oops…See what I mean?? Tomato-based things are branded in my mind as “safe”-but I trust nothing and no one anymore!! :)

IMG_2051

I also decided to make my own granola the other day, since I’ve been eating it for breakfast a lot lately and the store-bought stuff is soooo crazy expensive. I used Katie’s recipe for pumpkin granola (to continue my pumpkin kick) but added pecans (which Mase is AMAAAZINGLY not allergic to).

IMG_2039

I was worried that it wouldn’t be crunchy enough, so I cooked the crap out of it (on higher heat and slightly longer than Katie suggested). It turned out pretty awesome! Not as sugary as the store-bought stuff (which is both a pro and a con, if you’re like me and you’re into that) and nicely, subtly flavored by the pumpkin.

So that’s been my menu lately, more or less. (Plus many handfuls of chocolate chips-thank goodness Ghirardelli’s are dairy free-and several glasses of wine…)

I’m slowly getting used to the diet, and as hard as it’s been, I’m honestly appreciating the lessons it’s forced me to learn about what’s in my food. I think I might even continue some of the eating habits I’ve picked up throughout this process after I’m done breastfeeding, since most of them have basically just directed me to healthier, whole foods.

 

What’s your go-to meal lately?

Does anyone know anything about eating wheat-free? Any pointers for me?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie November 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm

You had mentioned in your post about wheat free vs. gluten free, so here’s some info :) While gluten is found in wheat, gluten is also found in barley, rye, and cross contaminated oats. If you are only avoiding the wheat, then you still get to eat those things! (Although the cross contamination in oats is often from wheat).

Anywho, other names for wheat are: Spelt, Kamut, Einkorn, Emmer, Triticale, Durum, Farina, Enriched flour, Wheat starch, Wheat germ, Self-rising flour, Graham flour, Bulgur, Semolina, Cake flour, Pastry flour, Matzo.

Here are some flours and grains that you might find helpful: corn, quinoa, buckwheat, arrowroot, millet, garbanzo bean, flax, potato, amaranth, rice, teff, and tapioca.

Hope that helps!!

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Kim November 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Super helpful, thanks Katie! I’m struggling with the oats thing–I’ve read that “some” oats are ok, but was kinda just hoping the ones I have are in that category! :) How can I determine if they’re cross contaminated?

Haha, I’ve never heard of teff! :)

Thanks again!

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