Welcome to part 5 of our 7 part series exploring “healthy eating” issues. In case you missed it:
Part 1: Getting Started
Part 2: Eating Healthy When You Never Learned How to Cook
Part 3: Eating Healthy When Limited by Time
Part 4: Eating Healthy When Limited by Money
Part 5: Eating Healthy When Limited by Allergies
Part 6: Eating Healthy When Limited by Picky Eaters
Part 7: Eating Healthy When There Are Multiple Limits to Overcome
Food allergies in the household can be a difficult challenge to overcome. But it’s possible! Keep reading for tips about how.
One of the biggest challenges to overcome with this limit is avoiding that food in recipes. And it’s often a commonly used ingredient (like dairy, nuts or eggs). People with allergies frequently end up eating pre-packaged allergy-free substitutes. But as we learned last time, pre-packaged “food” is not real, and is does not give us the nutrition our bodies need.
So what does rising beyond this limit look like?
Healthy eating with allergies means eating real foods while avoiding the particular foods your body is currently reacting to.
I do not count reactions to processed foods, or dyes, as allergies. These highly changed, chemical-laden substances are not good for your body, and there is a reason your body is reacting to them. No one should be eating them!
Before we go on to practical tips, let me briefly mention that allergies don’t have to be forever. Most food reactions are either a food digestibility problem, or a leaky gut problem. You can do something about these! And when you address the issue, your food reaction may disappear. There are ways to prepare foods so they are easier for our bodies to digest. And you can begin healing your leaky gut by drinking meat stock daily, and begin eating fermented foods like sauerkraut with every meal. You received both of these recipes this month. If you want to know more about this, you can read this post I wrote on the subject.
Great! Now let’s talk about how to avoid certain foods when you are cooking, whether it’s for your allergy or someone else’s.
Overcome the Limit of Food Allergies
Look for recipes that don’t require substitutions
Look for recipes that start with ingredients you can have, instead of trying to do your own substitutions. An Internet search can give you many options. Try searching the name of the recipe you want with words like “Paleo,” “GAPS” or “Nourishing Traditions.” These recipes tend to be made with real food ingredients, rather than a highly processed look-alike substitution.
Know common substitutions
Get practiced at food substitutions for your allergy. Then you can follow a recipe, and simply substitute your allowed food. Keep a list of the substitutions in an accessible place for easy reference. Check out this great blog post listing many of the food substitutions for baking and cooking.
Compile your own recipes
When you have found a recipe that works well for your family, make sure you keep it! And don’t depend on remembering how you made it—change the recipe to reflect any substitutions you have made, so you don’t have to think about it the next time. This simple practice will make cooking quicker and easier.
Note: If you use Plan to Eat to store your recipes, you can experiment by creating multiple copies of the recipe in your recipe book. Press the “Duplicate” button on the recipe to create a duplicate that can be edited while leaving the original intact.
Know your resources
Many people are dealing with food allergies, including bloggers. Find a couple blogs that eat the way you do, and follow them. Search their website for recipes that look good to you, and save them for later use. (this is easy to do using Plan to Eat’s Recipe Clipper – Click here for instructions)
Here are some blogs to get you started:
When your body is reacting to a substance, even a minuscule amount can cause a reaction. This may be anything from a headache, low energy, restless legs, poor focus, a skin rash, intestinal symptoms or nerve pain. It’s important to avoid any exposure, which can be tricky.
If you eat out, go to restaurants that are careful with their food preparation, and let them know that any exposure to you food allergen could cause a significant reaction. This makes it more likely that they take care to avoid contamination.
Making your own food is the best way to avoid accidental exposure. But even in your kitchen, it could still happen. If only some members of the family react, chances are you will still have that food around. Be aware of cross-contamination on dishes and silverware, and wipe down counters regularly.
It may take more time to make food at home, but it saves you time worrying about rashes, allergic reactions, and may even save time by avoiding the ER or doctor’s office.
Allergy Limit: Overcome!
I hope these tips will help you feel prepared to face and overcome the challenge of food allergies. You can do it! You can still eat healthy, real (unprocessed) food even with food allergies. And your body will thank you for it.
We reached out to Amy to put together this series of blog posts that we are calling Beyond Limits to provide a little encouragement, and a lot of wisdom, for those of us going through a massive transition with food.
If you are struggling with food allergies, eating more healthfully, or a new way of eating that has been “forced” upon you, please join us:
Join us in Plan to Eat
Amy has put together 15 recipes that are available to you through your Plan to Eat account. Many of these recipes promote healing, some are designed to help avoid common allergens, and some of them are simply to get us in the kitchen cooking real food instead of pulling something out of a box.
All of these recipes are available through the desktop version of your Plan to Eat account by clicking on the Challenges tab and selecting “Beyond Limits” in the dropdown menu.
Join our Facebook group
Do you have a question for Amy? Or maybe you want to connect with others who are going through something similar to you? Our Beyond Limits Facebook Group is a great place to connect with others!
Hint: This is a great place to use the Friends feature to share recipes with other Plan to Eat users!