Tag Archives: personal

Making Dinner for Friends with Food Allergies

I love having people over for dinner, lunch or whenever. I just enjoy spending time with my friends and setting up around meals is usually the best for everyone. But there is a pressing question these days:

[faq] [faq_question]What do I fix for my friends or family with food allergies?[/faq_question] [/faq]

Question Mark
Well I hope to make it not such a daunting task – because it’s actually very simple. This will also be a good article to send to you friends if you suffer from food allergies or have a special diet, and they would love to have you over but are a little unsure of what to do.

First there are two ways you can deal with this:

  1. Have your guest bring their meal.
  2. Make your guest a safe meal.

I know it sounds really mean to ask someone to bring their own meal, but trust me, it’s not. If you aren’t able to make something, for whatever reason (time, money, etc.) don’t fear asking your guest to supply their own food. I know it’s like a code of society that the host has to make everything their guests eat, but food allergies, sensitivities, or special diets can sometimes make it impossible or extremely hard on the host. [quote_right]So don’t be afraid to ask. Just do it nicely.[/quote_right]

But that isn’t really what makes us uncomfortable to have people with “different” diets over is it? No it’s trying to make them a meal. That’s why I’m going to write the rest of this article about:

The Care and Feeding of “Special” Friends

Before we get into the really nitty-gritty stuff I want to remind you of 2 very important things:

1.) Don’t be offended if your guest wants to bring their own meal or decides to bring one anyway even after you’ve made a whole meal.

I know it may seem like we don’t trust you but please understand when we go out to eat at someone’s house we usually find out that the host has put something in the food we can’t eat or that there could be something in it that we can’t eat. Backup is usually a safe thing to have just in case. (I know because I’ve not eaten anything and waited to get home – I was starving!)

2.) Don’t stress about it!

Please know that your guest(s) are as happy and appreciative as they can be that you are willing to go out of your way to make them something to eat. That’s huge! Did you know that? Not many friends will jump that hurdle and it touches us very deeply.
[styled_box color="red" title="But don't feel like you have to:"]

  • Make a huge meal.
  • Impress us with a difficult meal.
  • Or make a perfect meal.

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[styled_box color="green" title="Instead:"]

  • Keep it simple.
  • Know which dishes are safe (especially important with things like peanut allergy).
  • Treat us like normal guests.

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I know it might be starting to sound a whole lot easier but usually it’s ourselves, the hostess or host, that makes it difficult. Now, on to the important steps you will follow in making you’re friend or family member a wonderful, safe meal!

Planning a Safe Meal
Salmon Dinner

Step 1

The first and most important thing you can do is to gather information. I’m not talking about surfing the internet and overwhelming yourself with data. Ask your friend “What can they eat?”. Just knowing, okay, no gluten or sugar can be a huge leap in dinner preparation.

Step 2

Now plan, with your friend, a simple meal. Remember that you want to start simple (you’ll have chances to make harder or fancier ones later) and the wonderful thing about simple meals is they’re delicious. It can even be helpful to have your guest bring a dish they can eat for a side. In any case here are some menu ideas to get you started:

[quote_right]Be sure you read the tips at the bottom of the page to avoid common mistakes when making a special meal.[/quote_right]
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  • Roast Chicken, Beef, or Pork with Veggies
  • Fish and Salad
  • Grilled Chicken and Salad
  • Hamburgers and Salad or Roasted Veggies

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Step 3

Since all that groundwork has been laid this last step is deceptively easy, go ahead, make your dinner and enjoy. Yes, it’s really that simple! If you want to add a dessert cooked fruit (in a little water and butter) is a great addition.

Tips for avoiding common mistakes.

  • Keep your spices simple: Stick to using sea salt, fresh pepper, and fresh herbs. Most spices and spice mixes contain unwanted and even hidden ingredients.
  • Read food labels: You might be surprised at what you find in simple things like mayo, ketchup  and pickles.
  • Try to avoid as much prepackaged and processed foods as possible: Most of these foods contain unsafe ingredients for you guest. Usually only canned tomatoes are pretty safe just look for one with the least added ingredients as possible.
  • Run through what you’ve done in your meal with your guest before you eat: This has saved me on several occasions, and I always appreciate when someone will take the time to tell me what they did because I can usually spot anything I can’t eat.

Do you have any tips? I would love to hear them! Just leave a comment below.

(If you still have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below or contact me and I will try to help you out.)

How to Eat at a Friends House with Food Allergies: Part 2

In part 1 of this series we covered the basic idea and question. Today we’re going to to focus on practical ideas of how to eat at friends and family’s homes safely.

The most common way of eating at you’re friend’s homes should be this first one. It’s the one that will keep you on the GAPSâ„¢ diet, but one of my questions when I began to eat differently was “How exactly do I do it?”. That might seem like a silly question, but it’s an honest one because I really wasn’t sure. So how do we navigate the waters of eating out safely with food allergies?

Question, How?

Eating out as/with a Severe GAPS patient.

This is my happy hunting ground – where I exist when I go out to eat. Yes, I am one of the severe and it effects every aspect of my outings. I can’t say I really mind though because when you’re severe enough just being able to function is a blessing you don’t want to give up.

Here’s a question to help you see if you fall into this category:

  1. If you cheat do you feel the consequences – no matter the size of your cheat?
  2. Were your problems debilitating before GAPS?
  3. If they came back for a short time would you mind or would it be difficult?
  4. Does it take you a long time to recover from a cheat, even a small cheat?

If you answered yes to one or more of those questions you should consider yourself more to the severe side of GAPS, and if you’re confused ask the person closest to you (who knows you best) and if they answer yes to one or more of those questions you’re on the severe side of GAPS.

So here’s the two ways you can eat at family’s and friends:

  1. Eating what they make – this is very tricky as a severe GAPS patient and it requires someone that is willing to go a little out of their way for you. I have several homes that fall into this category. The best tip to make it safe is: talk to the host and plan a simple menu together. I find most people can do plain chicken and vegetables or a beef roast – just keep it simple.
  2. Take your own meal – Most of the time this is what I do. This way I feel comfortable and the host doesn’t have to think of what to fix. It generally makes it a little easier (especially in stress level). Even if I’m going to someone’s house where they are preparing the meal if I feel a little unsure whether I’ll be able to eat there I bring a meal in a cooler – I just leave it in the car.

One thing that has happened, 100% of the places I’ve gone, is when you’re upfront about your problem and candidly speak with them about what you can or can’t eat – they’re fine with you bringing your own meal! That is the biggest secret when eating out – be upfront. Be honest. Don’t talk down to someone, explain your problem and be willing to go the extra step in preparing food or their understanding to make the get together the best it can be. Personally the best times to me are when I’ve gone to the trouble of going the extra mile. That way the host, everyone else and I aren’t stressed!

The Not So Severe GAPS patients.

I recommend you follow the above rules to be safe, but if you don’t feel like you’re willing to do that here are some tips to help you navigate other people’s dinner tables. I call it grading your food. Not so you look down on your host, but so you can get an idea of the safest foods on the table and stick with those.

[styled_box title="Grading Your Food" color="purple"]

  • Good – any meat, cheese, veggies on the allowed foods list, canned fruits and veggies.
  • Better – meats with homemade glazes from honey, a little bit of additives in something, “fancy” cheeses, veggies, fruits, and butter.
  • Best – veggies, butter, roasts, plain chicken, hamburgers, fish, beef, fruit, and nuts are usually your best bet. Just make sure they don’t have coatings or glazes.

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Remember try to only eat fruits, veggies, and cheeses that are on the allowed foods list!

[quote_right]These are just general lists. If you have a question about a specific food leave a comment or contact me I’ll be happy to help.[/quote_right]Personally you want to try sticking with the best list first, but if you don’t see anything like that take it down a notch to better. If you’re really stuck then go to good, but don’t just head for good because it means you can eat “that” food you like. Take time to decide what foods are the safest according to GAPS and stick with them.




Stop Sign

Most important rules.

When all is said and done, whether you’re on GAPS or Nourishing Traditions, GF/CF diet or some other program make sure you follow these rules every time you eat something out.

  • Remain as close as possible to you’re diet – don’t use it as a chance to cheat or blow you’re diet!
  • Be polite when discussing your diet with your host, and don’t disparage the meal they made – if you can’t eat something be polite but know you don’t have to eat it. It isn’t the law, they can’t make you!
  • Always make the next day after eating out as nourishing as possible. Broths, cooked vegetables, boiled meats, or other easy to digest meals are the best way to get yourself back on track.
  • Take a good quality probiotic – you may want to raise it after eating out (depends on how much you normally take).
  • Always skip dessert – it’s the most dangerous place as sugar, starches, and other ingredients you need to avoid are usually abundant.

Those are all the tips and tricks I can think of from the guest’s side of things. Leave a comment if you’ve found something particularly helpful while eating out. I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Stay tuned for the next article – Making a Meal for Friends with Food Allergies.

Soapbox Thursday: Splenda might make you FAT

I’m sorry I haven’t posted much this week I’ve been really busy and still getting over not feeling well.

My sister sent me an article that I knew had to become a Soapbox Thursday. This was the piece of the article that caught my eye from MSNBC.com

Cupcake

“Sugar substitutes may seem like a good choice for people looking to watch their weight because they cut down on calories in sweetened beverages and foods. However, researchers have found that artificial sweeteners may actually make people more prone to overindulge and crave sweet foods because they trick the body into thinking they are getting calories. When the calories do not follow the sweetness, you look for them elsewhere. Research suggests that artificial sweeteners not only leads to weight gain, but also can cause damage to beneficial bacteria in the gut.”

Now there are many reasons why you shouldn’t eat Splenda if you want a fantastic article head on over to Dr. Mercola’s and read this one. But today I don’t want to focus on the health problems that can be caused by Splenda but the problem in our heads that leads us to getting fat.

I can eat more if it’s healthy.

This is the mindset that gets us into a lot of trouble these days, and it’s propagated by food companies and the media. Unfortunately it’s easy to believe – I know I believed it for a long time. The problem when you buy into being able to eat more because it’s healthy is we overeat.

Generally this is because we use this idea as an excuse to eat more desserts and sweets. At least I know that’s what I did! Eating more if it’s healthy only doesn’t really work. If we truly eat healthy food then we don’t need to eat more to be satisfied because it isn’t empty food it’s nourishing.

When you began to eat more healthy food did you find it more nourishing? Or satisfying?

I know I feel more nourished on good fats, proteins. and veggies. I’d love to hear you comments on this!

 

How to Take Homeopathics on GAPSâ„¢

I know you’ve probably all been wondering where I’ve been. Some of you? Okay, maybe one person wondered where I was the past week and a half. Well it’s my sister’s fault… just kidding. I picked up a nasty virus.
Sick Teddy Bear
From sore throat and exhaustion I headed into congestion in my throat, and that was so bad I felt like I was suffocating. I had one night of ear pain so terrible I resorted to taking 2 Tylenol’s (I basically never do that). Nasal congestion stopped by but quickly changed into pink eye in my right eye and a stye in my left. Boy, I looked weird in the mirror! All this has been hanging around not to mention the nagging, annoying, ever present, pull a muscle in my neck cough that has my stomach muscles screaming for mercy. I’ve had a full 12 days – and I don’t want a repeat.

During this time I kept thinking “Oh this could be an article!”. I must be slightly obsessed with this blog if I’m thinking about it when I should be resting. One of the questions I thought I could answer was how do I take homeopathics on GAPS. I must admit this is completely my opinion and I have no idea what Dr. Natasha would say, but I’m going to write it anyway (just know I could be wrong).

In case you have no idea of what homeopathics are please visit here for more details.

First I view homeopathics as:

  • Emergency care – like Arnica Montana for bruises (yes I know Arnica is poisonous but homeopathics are different from ingesting the plant).
  • As a help when I’m sick with a cold
  • Or help when I’m struggling with a health problem that won’t clear.

The problem for GAPS patients arises when we realize that most remedies are made with sugar – and we can’t have sugar!

So what do we do?

In my opinion there are 2 options. First:

King Bio

King Bio Remedy

King Bio is a homeopathic made with water. No sugar. Which means you can use these easily and according to the instructions on the label. They are a help when you’re sick and I highly recommend using them.

But what if you need a single remedy instead of a medley?

Boiron Homopathic Medicine

Well if you buy homeopathics that are the hard sugar pellets like from Boiron you can do what I do. I take a hard pellet (the instructions tell you to take 5, but taking 1 works exactly the same way, remember more isn’t necessarily better), and I twist it into the cap . Please don’t touch your homeopathics. Transfer it to under your tongue. Now here comes the difference they’ll tell you to let it dissolve, but we don’t want the sugar. We want as little sugar as possible.

The fact is the homeopathic remedy is a coating on the sugar pill. They swirl the sugar pill in remedy so all we’re after, and all you need, is that coating. So let it rest under your mouth for a few seconds then spit it out! I usually spit it into a sink or a tissue, but if you’re out you can spit it onto the ground or into a trash can. Just don’t let it dissolve in you mouth.

So that’s my secret to using homeopathics.

A few tips/points before you go.

  • If you are an extremely sensitive GAPS patient please use caution with the sugar pellets.
  • If you experience any negative side effects stop taking the remedy immediately. Then drink a few sips of coffee to negate the homeopathic (make sure to swish it in your mouth and get the flavor spread throughout your mouth.
  • Don’t ingest/use coffee or mint while on a homeopathic as it can negate the remedy (yes that even means no mint toothpaste, here’s a good alternative).
  • Don’t take any homeopathic remedies that are sugar tablets you can’t get the remedy off them and spit them out. Trust me they turn to dust in your mouth.
  • You can buy homeopathics from other companies just make sure you buy remedies that are hard sugar pellets not tablets.
  • Two excellent resources for finding remedies for your family. Free or the best Book we use it all the time when we’re sick.

I hope this article helps, if you have any questions or don’t understand something I’ve written please leave a comment and I’ll help you the best I can.

 

Soapbox Thursday: The Problem with Cough Syrup

I know I haven’t posted all week, but I have a good reason. I got sick. Yeah, I know.

One of the questions I dealt with, after getting sick on a diet that’s healing my immune system, was how could I get sick? Well healing an immune system takes time, especially if yours was as shot as mine. But I can see definite improvement in spite of all my griping.

For one I can hold up better when I’m around someone who’s sick, but most important to me I don’t stay sick as long or feel as terrible. The only difficulty is what do do when you have a terrible, tickling cough that is driving you crazy! After all I can’t take cough syrup, they either have some form of corn syrup, sugar, or rice syrup all of which are off the allowed list for someone like me, and I’m not about to take one with artificial sweeteners (I like my brain to much for that, and they’re off the list too).

Cough Syrup Kid

I just want to know why cough syrup makers don’t have a product that’s made with raw honey as it’s sweetener that people like me can take. I do know how we can get them to make one though… make them have to deal with a terrible cough without the benefit of sugar laden syrups. They’d invent a healthy one like that.

But since there isn’t one like that out there I was wondering:

What do you use to calm your coughs down?

I need your help here folks because it’s driving me batty! So please leave a comment.