If you have allergies but aren’t the only one in the house who has them, chances are you can’t always eat what everyone else is having. There are a few takes on this. Some choose to ban the allergen so the whole family avoids it. This is fine if it’s just one allergen. Indeed, all nuts are banned from this house due to the severity of my allergy to them, especially peanuts. You can live quite happily without nuts and you will not be lacking in any particular vitamins or minerals.
However, things get complicated when someone in the family or household has multiple allergies. Why should everyone else miss out on major food groups? Personally I think that’s unhealthy for other family members but if allergies are very severe I can understand the need for vigilance and the only real way to keep your house truly safe is to ban them all.
When major food groups are cut out it’s essential to make sure you are getting all the important vitamins and minerals for a healthy balanced lifestyle. It’s hard enough when one person is struggling with limited food choices; I don’t think it would work if my husband couldn’t eat most foods. After all I’m convinced that my allergies are far worse since cutting stuff out so well. The reactions have got so severe, but what are the other options? When even small amounts give you eczema you naturally don’t want to eat that food.
If I asked you whether you could live without eating:
- All nuts, especially peanuts
- Dairy, including milk, butter, cheese, yogurt and all products, sauces containing traces etc.
- Gluten, wheat etc. including bread, cakes, stock cubes, sauces…
- Limit your consumption of eggs and avoid mayonnaise and salad creme
What would you say? Would you reply, “Hell yeah! Bring it on!” or would your mind be racing with thoughts of what on earth does she eat? Rice cakes and oat crackers…?
There is hope, you can eat really healthily with allergies, but you can also prepare meals for the whole family where one has freefrom and the others have the ‘normal’ stuff. Things like gluten free pasta have actually come a long way and would be perfectly tasty for everyone to eat. Spaghetti is getting there.
We manage to mostly eat the same thing and my husband has the naughty banned food when I’m away, or for lunch when he’s at work.
We do have milk, cheese and yogurt in the fridge for him that I can’t eat. Because these foods can be stored in sealed containers I’m fairly happy about it. His milk sits at the opposite end of the fridge door to mine. Cheese is carefully wrapped and he usually has the dairy free spread as it’s pretty good as a subsitute to margerine spreads and butter.
Sometimes though, we cook separate meals at the same time. I say we, it’s usually me who does the cooking! (had to get that little dig in somewhere)
For instance I cook chilli and we can both eat everything except the tomato and/or puree.
So, once all the other ingredients are in we split half into another pan.
But there are rules!
The rules of cooking two meals when one of you has allergies
- Very special care is taken when adding the allergen to the other pan
- All pans keep their lids on at all times
- All pans have separate spoons for stirring
- Mine is cooked on the right. R for Ruth. R for (always) right.
- His is cooked on the left. L for lucky so-and-so
- Spoons are kept on the same side as the pan when not in use
- Spoons or utensils are not mixed between pans
- Leave spoons in pans if leftovers remain
- Ensure you use the correct spoon for transferring any leftovers into bowls for eating the next day or freezing
- Carefully label containers with allergen freefrom status!
The rules are strict! But they have to be or it’s a painful night for both.
This works really well, most of the time. I think we transfered the leftovers into bowls using the wrong spoons recently as I had a very tomato infested night this week. It only takes a tiny trace for a nasty reaction. Not severe enough for me to have anaphylaxis and my reactions are delayed, but I wake in the night with blistering, itchy skin; liquid oozing out of my forhead and neck. Delightful! The innocent tomato does this to me – the swine!
Do you ban all your and/or your child’s allergens from your house? Or do live alongside the sloshing milk, the crumby bread and the evil tomato and celery? Would you risk cooking two meals at the same time, one freefrom and one with allergens?