Our son is going through a fairly strict elimination diet regimen right now. Poor guy is a growing eight year-old with some long-standing tummy issues that we are attempting to resolve in a similar manner to the GAPS diet, but with a bit more freedom for his needs. As of today he is off dairy, eggs, sugars, nuts, and all grains except white rice.
I realize his current diet isn’t nearly as restrictive as those with severe food allergies and I often think of them as I spend quite a bit of time preparing and thinking about what it is that he can eat. I thought I would feel pity for you, Mama and Daddy with children with multiple food sensitivities. Instead I am finding myself in awe of all that you do and deal with, all of you for whom eating can be exhausting on a good day, dangerous on a bad one.
So I wanted to write to you to tell you a few things that I think need to be said.
Dearest Person Living With (or feeding those with) Food Sensitivities,
You are not alone. I can’t imagine how isolating it is to sit at a table unable to share a simple meal with those whom you love, but you do it with grace and patience and for that I commend you. What you are living with is not easy and while it’s just food, I understand that it’s also much bigger than that when your list of foods to avoid gets longer and longer.
You are working at this. Thank you for doing something about your situation instead of being a victim. It stinks, this situation you’re in, but you’re putting time, effort, care, and research into one of the most basics of human needs and it shows. It may be a long journey – one you’ll be walking your while life even – but I have hope for you. You take the time to eat real food, plan your meals carefully, and think more about what you can put in your mouth than most of us. I find that admirable.
It’s okay to struggle. This isn’t easy and while you’re putting in the work like a champ, it’s also okay to say “this is hard”. If eating a sandwich/cake/soup with my family made me feel sick, I think I’d show a lot more frustration than you do. I want you to know that I respect your lack of complaining but also know that I see this isn’t easy – physically, mentally, emotionally – these things are bigger than they can appear to be to us outsiders. It’s hard, and I’m sorry for that.
Our plates can look different. I don’t need you to eat the way I do and I know you feel the same way. I’m not calling your dinner weird or unappetizing, and if you come over I’m happy to make something we might all be able to eat so don’t shy away when I ask what it is you’re avoiding at the table. Let’s sit down together and eat the things that make us well and still share a meal and all of the joy that comes with that.
You have my respect – for working through this, for dedicating your time to it, for trying to make it better – you have my respect. Oh, and here is a recipe I fed my son last week that was just different enough from the meat/rice/vegetable/broth/ferments monotony that he actually got excited.
Note: you can change the volume of rice to 1 1/2 cups if you prefer more of a stew texture. Beans can be added just before serving for those who can eat them.
Source: Plan to Eat Blog
- 1/4 cup coconut oil or lard
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
- 6 cups chicken bone broth
- 4 carrots chopped
- 1 large onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1/3 cup chopped green olives
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder or paprika
- 3/4 cup uncooked white rice
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- sea salt to taste
- 1 can black beans (optional)
- Place a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the coconut oil or lard and allow to melt before adding the chicken pieces. Allow to cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes before stirring. Add the broth, carrots, onion, garlic, and olives. Bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any of the chicken.
- Add the chili powder, rice, and oregano and cook, uncovered, for approximately 15 minutes or until rice and vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through.
- Add salt to taste and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. If using beans, add them after serving up those who cannot eat them.