You’re allergic to WHAT?

Funny this should come up a few days after my friend on The Green Phone Booth got a thorough dressing down from some particularly “compassionate” vegans about her decision to not be a complete vegetarian any longer

Okay, so Saturday my husband goes to the allergist.  He’s been having some sort of odd rashes and stuff, and lots of snuffliness in his nose, and started wondering if he might have any food allergies (he’s already allergic to practically everything else).

This is the husband who, if you recall, would love to be a carnivore but not enough to actually cook on a regular basis, so I’ve managed to get us to a point where meat is a comparatively infrequent dinner guest–maybe once or twice a week.   He’s resigned to When Jenn Cooks, Probably No Meat. To do so I’ve relied heavily on grains and legumes and stuff, since he also doesn’t much like cheese.

So he brings home the list, and what’s he allergic to?

Beans. Peanuts. Almonds and most other tree nuts. Soy. Rye. I think that’s about it.  He’s supposed to stay off of them all for 2 months, to see if it changes the way he feels at all.

I’m in a slight panic…on the one hand, it sort of feels like we’ve been handed this “get out of veggieguilt free” card, because without beans or nuts where the heck is he supposed to get his protein? We can only eat so many eggs, and he doesn’t like cheese. Except on pizza. On the other hand, I don’t think I WANT a get out of veggieguilt free card, because veggieguilt is only the smaller part of my leanings in that direction–meatscariness is the other, since it’s increasingly difficult to get non-scary meat these days.

I can still eat beans.  My kids don’t love meat so much anyway, though they eat a little of it sometimes.   But this puts a new spin on the family dinner.

Anyone got any great recipes to share? Non-legume-non-cheese-non-nut-high-protein-vegetarian dishes? Or is this Real Man going to have to learn to eat quiche?

This could be a challenge.

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Posted on February 1, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Wow, that’s a tough one. It kind of heads him in a meat and potatoes direction doesn’t it. I have no ideas for you, but you certainly have my sympathy.

  2. I can relate. I was a vegetarian when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease. This meant I had to give up all the “pseudo-meats” (veggieburgers, etc.) and a host of other gluten containing veggie products. Beans, which I love, tore up my fragile insides. I am also lactose intolerant which put a crimp in dairy products. I suppose there are places in the world where one could get interesting alternatives but not “back of beyond” where I live. After losing so much weight that I looked like a skeleton I finally realised I had to sacrifice some of my idealism or “die for the cause.” I now eat meat again – not a lot and mainly poultry – fish (I am lucky to live by the ocean) and I can finally eat beans again.

    We make eating so complicated and laden with various guilt trips – something we can only do because we live in a part of the world that affords us so much choice. If we were starving we would gratefully eat whatever we were given. Once you start adding in “locovorism”, carbon footprints, water footprints and all the other “isms” and “prints”, it can become a nightmare to find something that fulfills all the requirements we have set for ourselves.

    Is all this really necessary? Does the world not face far larger problems than what we are putting on the dinner table? Eat what you can, simply and gratefully.

    I would just “google” all your terms and see what you come up with. Good luck – I certainly know how challenging allergies can be.

  3. Not fun! I have food allergies and that can make it hard to eat anywhere but home (and sometimes even at home!).

    Glad they aren’t life threatening so you can still eat the items. My mushroom allergy is life threatening enough I can’t have mushrooms near my food.

    Be careful though because allergies can get worse the more you eat the items. Peanut and soy are two that are in everything so ones you really don’t want to get bad enough you have to stay away from all things that could have been made around those items. I had to give up peanuts for awhile and it’s hard to find things totally peanut free.

    With V-day coming up, not sure you do anything for it but if you do, http://www.naturalcandystore.com has some allergy free candy.

    • greenmomintheburbs

      OMG, thanks for the candy site! (Something new to drool over…I’ll have to try them out, all in the interest of blogging, of course…)

      Yeah, I used to work for an allergist so I know about the increasing sensitivity thing with allergens. He’s not at the highest level of allergies for any of these things, but he’s been having some general malaise and rashiness, so he’s trying to go off these things for a little while, to see if re-introducing them causes any problems. In the meantime, I’m not sure what I’m going to be cooking…

  4. Holy cow! Your hubby doesn’t like cheese??? How can a person not like cheese? Like with chocolate, everything tastes better with cheese.

    Anyway, I don’t think I have any beanless AND cheeseless recipes, but I feel for you. After reading Kellie’s post about taking her son off milk, I’m convinced that my oldest has some kind of food allergy. He’s constantly congested and always seems tired (not to mention some of the behavior issues that Kellie mentioned for her kid). I thought he had seasonal allergies, but they didn’t go away when winter started so now I’m thinking food. I have a doctor visit set up for Wednesday, and I’m so worried he’s going to be allergic to something like gluten that would mean I have to change the whole way I cook. I didn’t even know people could be allergic to beans!

    Good luck, and don’t feel bad if you have to eat more meat. Find yourself a good local farmer that you trust, and you should be fine with the meatscariness.

    • greenmomintheburbs

      Erin–I know, no cheese? How can anyone not like cheese? (I’m suspicious, though. He doesn’t like cheese, but he likes pizza. And quesadillas. Hmm.)

      Where’s Kellie’s post? Can you link me? We’ve been wondering similar things about my daughter, who’s been having some behavior processing issues too, and a friend suggested that food allergies might be contributing somewhat.

      Read a really fascinating article a few months ago, though I have no idea where it was, about how the ability to drink and digest cows milk is actually a MUTATION, not a natural thing, and that tons of people who actually are lactose intolerant (which is the natural way to be, as opposed to the rest of us dairy-loving mutants who because of some little genetic twist can thrive on the baby food of a different species of mammal) don’t even realize it.

      We’ll be fine, I just have to get over my righteous semi-meatlessness and all. We have homemade pizza at least once a week anyway and pasta twice, and usually some kind of risotto thing once, so that’s several meatless nights right there. So that leaves only a few nights when I need to come up with something else. I can learn to make soup without beans, and probably a number of other things, they’re just my “go to” item in practically anything…sigh.

  5. I feel for you and I do have suggestions. First, it is surprisingly hard to not get enough protein. North Americans are more likely to have too much. That being said, whole grains can be a good source of protein, especially quinoa because it’s the only one that’s a complete protein. Mushrooms are also high in protein. You might be surprised at the plant based sources of protein. You can do a lot of yummy stuff with quinoa (it’s really good with strifries). I hope this is helpful!

    • greenmomintheburbs

      Ooh, quinoa! Thanks for the tip, I’d forgotten that one. I honestly don’t much care for it, but I can try to be creative…

  6. Did they give you any idea of WHAt in beans is the allergen? I ask because beans are actually quite different from each other. FOr example Black beans and lentils do not have the sugars that cause the supreme gassiness that other beans have. So maybe it isnt ALL beans (or maybe it is!)
    Bulghar is good for a lot of veggie casseroles and salads – I make a chile from it instead of meat, use lots of veggies (succhini, onion, peppers, peas, (Is he alergic to peas?) corn, etc. And beans can be omitted.
    Is it possible that he might eat mozzarella (or whatever you put on pizza) on other stuff? Likewise quesadilla cheese? With cheeses being so diferent in flavor and texture its hard to believe that he doesnt like ALL cheese! Unless its a mind thing. Bet he would like cheese bisquits!Which are good with some sort of creamy sauced mushrooms, vegies, or????
    Also another good meatless meal is Palacinta (crepes) with something inside – cottage cheese, jelly, apple butter, or fillings like mushrooms or veggies in some minimal sauce. The crepes have milk, eggs, and flour.
    Quinoa, as Kristin mentions, is a grain which is a complete protein source in itself – and if you rinse it well before cooking, it doesnt get gummy at all.

  7. one more thought – perhaps its time to begin looking into the asian philosophy/recipes for recipes that use a little meat or fish to enhance the flavors of lots of veggies with rice. “Real” Chinese cooking is big on this and you dont have to compromise your principles re veggi-ism MUCH to have some really good meals. Mediterranean DIet type cookbooks also have a lot of recipes which use just alittle meat and cheese (or none!). Feta cheese is one of those cheeses you can put in things like Spanakopita in relatively small amounts for lots of flavor. Also, Allen may find that like most of the folks I know who have (relatively new) food allergies, he may have to change his present ideas about what he does and doesnt like as his choices become more limited. And finally, those food allergy tests are so sensitive that sometimes you test positive to things that really dont cause you problems, at least in relative small quantities. So perhaps eventually he will be able to phase in some of the things that he has tested positively if you/he are willing to experiment some.

    • greenmomintheburbs

      Yeah, actually we’re already sort of at that point with meat–I’ll occasionally throw a little into a soup or risotto or something, though usually things like that that can taste perfectly good without meat, we just go without. Meat as condiment. And honestly the challenge with fresh veggies is partially that (despite your best efforts!) I still don’t like them all that much myself. And when I do buy them, I’m more likely to munch on them raw than to cook them. Hey, nothing wrong with a handful of raw sugar snap peas as a side dish, right? (Except that they were grown in California, I guess.) Why defile them by putting them into a pan?

      And honestly I have high hopes that we won’t have to keep this up forever, that in fact we’ll be able to bring small amounts of some of these foods back over time–we’re right now in sort of the “control” 2 months period, where he doesn’t touch any of the things that made him react, and if stopping all of those foods doesn’t produce any change at all in his health and how he feels, we’ll probably re-introduce them a few at a time. And no, they just said “beans,” which you’re right is less than helpful!

      Re his likes and dislikes (Allen! If you are reading, skip this paragraph!:-), the reality is that if I cook it he will probably eat it. Whatever “it” is. Cheese and all. So I’m not unduly worried, it’s just a “prepare for the worst case scenario” kind of thing. I’d just rather make stuff he likes so he won’t go to work and keep buying Italian Beef sandwiches for lunch, know what I mean?

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