Cleaning out the cabinets

I've been meaning to clean out the kitchen cabinets anyway, and the news about 'A's new food allergies is making me do it sooner rather than later.

It's easy to avoid dairy, eggs, corn, peas and sesame if you're cooking everything from scratch. But hey, I'm a busy mom and sometimes I don't feel like making each and every meal from the ground up (that's 3 meals a day, if you're counting). Sometimes I want to use pre-made soup stock instead of making my own (can't do that anymore - Better Than Bouillion Organic Vegetable Base contains maltodextrin, which is derived from corn); sometimes I want to use a falafel mix instead of grinding and mixing my own (but Fantastic Foods' Falafel Mix has corn in it).

Okay, okay, back into the kitchen I go, rolling up my sleeves and dedicating more time to cooking everything from scratch. That doesn't solve everything though.

There are the foods she loves that don't seem like they should contain corn but do. Like the Earth Balance margarine that 'A' knows and loves; all of the Tofutti products, such as cream cheese, cheese and ice cream; Boca chicken patties (a dinnertime staple), I.M. Healthy Soynut Butter (a lunchtime staple), marshmallows and graham crackers (s'mores, our summer favorite), and So Delicious ice cream.

Let's not forget about the foods she loves that are overtly made from corn, like corn (she loves seeing it on her dinner plate); corn on the cob; popcorn; and lollipops and candy (it's pretty hard to ignore all the corn syrup in them).

I realize that I'm already a few steps ahead because I do make so many things from simple ingredients on a regular basis. I make our bread, our cereal and the vast majority of grain dishes and sauces we eat from scratch. I don't use boxed mixes for sweet treats like cakes and cookies. I can my own jam and mix up smoothies in my own blender. I'm also an experienced label-reader, having dealt with food allergies for six years already, and I'm going into this new world with experience and wisdom.

So yes, I'm sort of prepared, but I'm definitely feeling that this is a challenge. It's as if I'm running on the track and someone raised the hurdles without telling me. Just when I was getting used to clearing them with confidence, a whole new set apprears.

Since 'A' is so upset about her corn allergy diagnosis, I'm planning to move along s-l-o-w-l-y as I "de-corn" her diet. I'll use up what we have on hand and quietly not buy more. I'll make an effort to create new favorites. I'll spend time coming up with a few veggie burger recipes she loves, then make and freeze them in bulk. I'll create the best breaded tofu recipe in the world and jazz up my cooked carrot recipes and make them her new favorite. I'll get that homemade wheat thin cracker recipe I've been wanting to try.

And most importantly, I'll show her that eating and cooking can be fun, relaxing and fulfilling no matter what the limitations are.

I know what I need to do, and I know how to do it. I think part of what gets me so emotional, or at least gives me the feeling of being beaten down, is knowing that I have to say good-bye to convenience foods once again until I figure out what's safe and what's not. I did this five years ago, when she was starting to eat table foods. Then I found that I was spending more time in the kitchen than I wanted. Happily, I found a few things on the grocery store shelves that she could eat without having an allergic reaction. Now those items are off-limits. It's one thing to say no to processed convenience foods because you don't want to serve them; it's another thing to say no because you can't serve them.

Thanks for seeing me down this new path.


Erika Says:

Well she's lucky to have a super good mom like you, and in the end she'll probably be eating better than most kids in the country.

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About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!