I have to admit that when I was first diagnosed with food allergies, and then again when I found out two of my allergies were also intolerances to gluten and dairy, I did not have the reaction that the Gluten-Free Girl had to her diagnosis.
I wish I had. I wish I could have just been like, “Yes, that’s it! Just cut out these foods, and I’ll be fine!”
Don’t get me wrong: I was happy to start feeling better. But it felt like one more thing, one new thing wrong with me in a string of things, one more change to make in a life with eating habits that have been flipped upside down several times now. I panicked about what I could manage to eat with 90% of the foods I was eating taken away. I realized I needed, at least for a while, to add meat back into the equation with soy and dairy gone. I did not feel any joy or peace about the diagnosis.
But I’m getting there.
The fact is, I do feel better. I feel much better: my headaches are gone, my stomachaches are greatly diminished, my exhaustion has decreased, and I feel depressed less often. I’m also starting–starting–to get the hang of cooking without those various foods that I cannot eat. There is life–a good life–after gluten, dairy, eggs, etc.
One of the most enriching aspects of my life lately has been the simplicity circle that I started a few months ago. We meet approximately every other Sunday night to work through exercises and discuss readings that have to do with living an enriched life without using up all the world’s (and our own) various resources. One fear I had with my discovery of food allergies and intolerances is what it would do to social time with people, as social gatherings so often revolve around food. My simplicity circle members, without me asking them, embraced the idea of making sure that I could eat nearly everything that everyone brings to each meeting. They have reworked recipes and created recipes and experimented with new recipes in their efforts to make sure that I am fully included in our meals, and I am beyond grateful. From the beginning of my diagnosis, they have helped me see that it’s possible to have excellent, fun food that is free of my food allergens/intolerances.
Here are some of the great recipes culled from the group’s efforts.
From our celebration of fall:
Chris’s Autumn Beef Mushroom Soup
1 lb. organic, preferably local lean ground beef
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 zucchini, thickly sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
4 T. olive oil
1 1/2 t. paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 t. garlic salt
1/2 t. ground pepper
2 cups water (use canned tomatoes and juice instead if you can)
1 allergen-free vegetable bouillon cube
In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Remove beef and discard fat.
Return skillet to stove. Heat olive oil over med-high heat and sautee mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, onion, paprika, basil, garlic salt, and pepper. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in beef, water, and bouillon. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
(Makes 5 servings: ~291 cal, 21.5 g fat, 7 g carb, 3 g fiber, 18.5 g protein; 7 WW Points)
Amarinthia made this awesome caramelized butternut squash dish from The Wednesday Chef. It uses pine nuts, lemon juice, and rosemary–it’s more savory than most butternut recipes. (4-6 servings. 4 servings at ~230 cal, 13 g fat, 29 g carb, 5 g fiber, 3 g protein; 5 WW Points)
Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie with Teff Crust
(I think the teff crust could still use some work–maybe a bit of dilution with a gluten-free flour mix. Two of our group members preferred this crust over a regular pie crust, and everyone expressed pleasure and surprise at how good the pie tasted. My husband wants us to experiment with making teff ginger crisps because of teff’s grainy texture. The crust is good, but it’s not in the “oh, this tastes like wheat” variety of gluten-free recipes. It’s a different crust altogether from a gluten-based crust.)
1 2/3 cups teff flour
1/2 c. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 c. unrefined corn oil or canola oil
1/4 c. ghee (clarified butter–casein-free)
1/2 t. sea salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Wihout sifting, combine ingredients and mix well. (You may want to use your hands.)
Lightly spray or rub a pie pan with oil.
Without rolling or refrigerating, press dough with your fingers into a pie plate.
Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool for five minutes before filling.
(8 servings with each serving containing ~255 cal, 15 g fat, 28 g carb, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein; 6 WW points)
Allergen-Free Pumpkin Pie Filling (Adapated from an AAAAI recipe)
(This pie filling has a more true pumpkin flavor than your typical dairy-doused filling. A bit of rum in the mix and some pecans on top would be nice additions.)
1 can of pumpkin (or 2.5 cups or so of prepared pumpkin)
3/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 c. hazelnut milk or other non-dairy milk (the consistency of hemp milk would work well)
6 1/2 T. corn starch
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken, stirring constantly. Pour into pie crust.
Cover crust edges with tin foil to keep from burning.
Bake for 30 minutes or until firm on top.
Mix together the coconut and brown sugar in a small bowl. Remove pie from oven, and sprinkle coconut topping on top. Bake 5 more minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool for 2-3 hours.
(8 servings with topping means each serving contains ~189 cal, 2 g fat, 44 g carb, 3 g fiber, 1 g protein; 3 WW Points)
I also made the ginger apple cake from Top 8 Free, with these changes/specifications: I substituted ghee for shortening, I chopped my apples into larger chunks than the recipe calls for, I added 1/2 c. chopped pecans and a bit of cinnamon to the cake mix, and I used the Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour mix for the flour. (Without the pecans, if you serve in 12 3″x4″ slices, each slice has ~328 cal, 11 g fat, 56 g carb, 2.5 g fiber, and 2.5 g protein, or 7 WW Points.) Everyone swore you could not tell this was a gluten-free, egg-free, casein-free cake, and people who can eat those things went back for seconds.
From another meeting:
Marcella’s Tasty Fat-Free Moroccan Vegetables
1 organic carrot
1 can baby lima beans
1 cup organic snap beans (green beans)
1 T. honey
4 diced figs
juice from 1 orange
1/2 t. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Cook on medium-low heat for ~15 minutes until carrots and beans are tender.
(Makes 6-8 servings; with six servings, each has ~142 cal, 2 g fat, 29 g carb, 5 g fiber, 5 g protein, or 2 WW Points)
Amanda’s modified spinach casserole recipe:
Amanda’s Allergen-Free Spinach-Cheese Casserole
4 packs frozen spinach (10 oz each), can be chopped or leaves
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 T. ghee
1/4 c. gluten-free flour mix
1 c. hemp milk (or other UNsweetened allergen-free milk)
8 oz. soft goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Defrost the spinach and put it in a collander. Press most of the liquid from it.
Heat the ghee in a pan on med-high. Add the flour, garlic, and chopped onion, and whisk constantly to make a roux. Add the hemp milk and whisk well. Let the mixture reduce for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the goat cheese, and whisk until combined.
Tear apart your spinach into small clumps. Stir it together with the cheese mixture in a 7″x11″ pan.
Bake 30 minutes.
(Makes 8 servings with each serving containing ~180 cal, 11 g fat, 13 g carb, 4 g fiber, 10 g protein, or 4 WW Points)
Margaret’s Choco-Cran Oatmeal Cookies (modified from Quaker Oatmeal box):
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
2/3 c. canola oil (sometimes a little less–when not baking for me, she uses 4oz of apple sauce and 1/3 c oil.)
2 eggs’ worth of Ener-G vegan egg replacer mixed with water
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2-1 c. dried, organic, sugar-free cranberries
1.5 c. Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour mix
1 t. baking soda
2.5 c. organic rolled oats
1 c. dairy-free semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (preferably the dairy-free Ghirardelli kind)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream sugar and oil.
Mix together egg replacer and appropriate amount of water (following box directions). Stir egg replacer and vanilla into sugar/oil mix.
Stir in flour and baking soda. Stir in oats, cranberries, and chocolate chips.
Grease a cookie sheet, and drop the cookies on it by the heaping tablespoon. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes.
(Makes ~24 cookies with each cookie containing ~183 cal, 6 g fat, 32 g carb, 2 g protein, or 4 WW Points)
Variation: Leave out the baking soda and use more 1/2-1 c. more oats for your cookies to turn into granola that you bake.