Food is a dear friend. It has been beside me for the good times, great times, bad times and sad times, and I really like it a lot. I don’t love food, because I like to reserve the word love for the big nouns in life, like God and people, but that’s just me. It’s okay to say that you love food because love has many facets. I would say that I have a heavy-duty crush on food. Like most people, I have enjoyed a cake, pie or doughnuts, with every birthday; the obligatory wedding and groom’s cake; “Muffins with Mom” and “Donuts with Dad” in kindergarten; massive quantities of chocolate for every single holiday, and ropes and ropes of Twizzlers to keep me awake while I’m driving on long, cross-country trips. Blessedly, every day of my life has been punctuated by something delicious, and that is not something that I take for granted…especially now.
Like so many in the world, I have lived with mystery pain, illness, and sundry symptoms that stymie the medical world and frustrate doctors to a point just short of breaking their Hippocratic Oath and taking out a contract on my life, just to give some peace to theirs. I don’t mean to be a bother, but I really want to know why my legs have been swelling since I was in my 20s; why my hair is falling out; why I am so tired, but can never get any kind of restful sleep; why I’m gaining weight, and how after ingesting one, tiny Twinkie, I can clear a room in eight seconds flat with the ensuing noxious fumes of a highly volatile colon. Twinkies shouldn’t do that, but because they do, I have recently been cursed, by a well-meaning physician, to a gluten-free (GF), soy-free, beef-free, caffeine-free, and stevia-free existence. It appears that Twinkies are not my only enemy.
While this may seem like an odd combination of allergies to have, I have come to lovingly call it my “Cardboard Combo”. To understand this, consider emptying a box of snack cakes on a table, then watching your family relish the cakey, creamy goodness, while you sit and eat the box. That’s what I feel I’m left with at the end of the day…cardboard. However, with the onset of gluten intolerance and Celiac disease in more and more people, I find myself sharing my cardboard with the masses. It is getting slightly easier to find reasonable facsimiles of my favorite foods though. As an example, I recently found some chocolate crème cookies that mimicked Oreos, and though they tasted very close to the real deal, the texture was indescribable…something akin to sand, but not as gritty. Please don’t think that I only eat junk food. I eat healthy foods too, but the “junk” is what I miss. I guess it says something when you realize that all the healthy foods are the foods to which you aren’t allergic. What I wouldn’t give to be diagnosed with a green bean allergy, but alas, green beans are a “can do” food for me.
Since I still like food so much, and miss all of the best tasting edibles, I have taken to looking online for the very best of the best recipes to accommodate my “Cardboard Combo” diet. It is amazing how many substitutions can be made for simple ingredients, and how tasty they really are in the end. My favorite ingredient thus far, is coconut flour, and bearing in mind that this flour sucks up moisture and requires more eggs and oil in the prevailing recipes, thereby making it super fatty and delicious, you may want to use it in moderation. This is very likely the reason why it’s my favorite. Allergy accommodating recipes are not cheap by themselves, but add in the extra ingredients and it becomes that much more expensive. That’s why you want to make sure that you find the best recipes that not only fulfill your cravings, but also keep the costs low. I recently had a craving for pound cake, so I went online and found a reasonably easy recipe. My only problem was that I didn’t have the correct brand of GF flour. I had another brand of GF flour, so I used it instead. That was a memorable mistake. I failed to notice that the main ingredient was garbanzo bean flour, and when my family tasted the bean flavored pound cake, and experienced the ensuing gas, they decided to stay away from my GF food. They figured it wasn’t worth it to experience that more than once. That’s okay, more for me!
Having converted my eating habits to a new-and-improved plan, I have been blessed, and no longer feel cursed by the doctor (she may make it back onto my Christmas card list yet). The swelling is no longer present at all, and my weight has dropped, albeit just a bit. I do miss my Twinkies, but now that they look so much like Minions, I don’t want to eat them anyway. I am enjoying the recipes that I find online, many of which are on Pinterest, and have actually shared some accurate reproductions of favorites with my family…with minimal gas and gagging. Whether friend or foe, food is very literally a huge part of life, and while it may be a struggle, I hope you can discover your friendly foods and enjoy the deliciousness in life.