Big Problems and Slow Solutions

TILTed Food

Bon Appetit

Bon Appetit

I can’t eat dairy, gluten, corn, oats, soy, eggs, shellfish, or nuts. I have to rotate most everything else so that I can still eat them occasionally. There are plenty of foods to rotate; meats, some whole grains, veggies, fruits. So I am fine, as are the people I cook for – my food allergy daughter and pizza loving husband and son. But handling the food part of my life requires constant planning and vigilance. That gets old. I miss the flexibility of realizing it is 5:45 and I don’t have a whole meal planned and so I just get take out for the family. Nope. Or I miss being out on adventure with my family and the day gets longer than planned and it would be nice if we could just stop at a restaurant for a meal. Nope. I miss weekly dates with my husband where we try a new restaurant and I drink a glass of wine. Nope. Food is, instead, a constant presence in my head. What day is it in my rotation? What meals are planned? Do I have everything I need in the refrigerator? Will I spend the late afternoon chauffeuring kids around so that I have to cook dinner this morning? Lots of negative emotions there, are you picking up on some frustration, some resentment?

Even though I love eating I had developed a messy, usually negative, relationship with my food. So I have been trying to shift that somehow. Make it more personal and meaningful and hopefully more positive. It is slow going. First I got rid of every cookbook and recipe that contained ingredients I couldn’t eat. That left very few. Then I started compiling the recipes I like that I could eat. It’s a small folder right now.

In my dreams the squash and cucumber actually produced something edible.

In my dreams the squash and cucumber actually produced something edible.

The big project is to grow a garden. I have had earth boxes for a few years; sometimes they are successful, sometimes not. This year I envisioned bigger. I wanted raised beds (there is no soil to enrich when you live on a barrier island) with the veggies we actually eat (no tomatoes or peppers). Because acquiring the wood and the dirt involved exposures I was not willing to do alone, I waited till my whole family was here for Thanksgiving. Welcome, you want some turkey? Fine, build me a garden. My intrepid mother actually built the beds with me and my older brother got me a ton (literally) of dirt.
Mama and I building some raised beds.

Mama and I building some raised beds.

And then the typical novice gardener woes began. November is late to start a southern FL garden, whose season typically runs fall to spring. Then we had a very cold gray winter, so that’s two strikes. The delivered soil was supposed to be a balanced blend but in fact was dense and sandy. So I trimmed back my hedges in a butchering fashion to maximize sunlight onto the beds and then I waited til warmer temperatures had truly arrived in March and replanted. In April my mother visited again and helped me add in a some manure and mulch.
Enriching the soil.

Enriching the soil.

Making mulch out of palm fronds.

Making mulch out of palm fronds.

The manure she bought. The mulch we made from shredding downed palm fronds. With 32 palm trees on my small lot we always have that material available.

It might seem that all the time and effort put into a project that so far has only produced lettuce, kale and herbs should frustrate me. But MCS has long accustomed me to slow solutions. There’s a reason why one of my blog categories is Big Problems, Slow Solutions. I am comfortable with a prolonged learning curve. Additionally, I have been telling myself this might be part of the personalizing process. I am figuring it out. And I really do enjoy gathering up my own salad greens.

I ate this stuff.

I ate this stuff.

7 thoughts on “TILTed Food

  1. I can’t eat the same foods as you plus citrus, bananas, avocados, and nightshades!
    How do you rotate? I end up eating the same thing too much because I am so restricted.
    I miss the spontaneity of “just picking something up” also.
    Good for you for making a garden! Only please please watch do tick checks after gardening! There is a different tick in the South … it causes a similar disease though.
    I am a bit neurotic and worry about my fellow illness bloggers. 🙂

    • Wow, I can’t imagine being even more restricted! I will readily admit to sometimes rotating better with some foods that others. After having been so strict with rotation that it occupied my every thought (both in planning and cravings for things I couldn’t have) I realized that it was worthwhile for me to rotate things that are allergenic (like the additional foods you are allergic to) but not to worry so much about things like rice. That is obviously just something that works for me – can’t recommend it. I will indeed watch for ticks in the garden, thank you for the reminder! We like to camp quite a bit too and so even my 9 and 12 year old kids know how to strip and body search. A bit of neuroses is like and ounce of prevention, right?

  2. What a wonderful project!

    I am trying to get the energy (come on liver, stop holding me back) to start sprouting again, except that it gets too humid for good sprouts in the summer, and my teeth are a mess so I might not be able to actually chew them, and I don’t have a safe (no plastic, no motor fumes) juicer or SS Vitamix yet… So many challenges, but nourishing ourselves is such an important thing to do.

    In my dreams I have some raised beds where I can grow some of my own food too, including a lot of winter squash (maybe I also need a canopy system for them)…

    Wishing you an abundant harvest!

  3. Good luck with your gardening. I started gardening after I could no longer work because of my chemical exposure. I’ve killed everything at least once (zucchini included 🙂 ). I am learning though and I get excited when I grow a plant that produces.

  4. Dear Amy, is the use of quercetin helpful for multiple food allergies?
    How much does one take and when. Please respond. I also have

    • Quercetin is a plant derived supplement, found in either capsule or powder form. While it has not been approved by the FDA for any medical claims, there have been some studies suggesting it has anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine type properties. You can read up on it to make sure it seems right for you but I think any supplement usage (even non prescription) should be supervised by a physician. Anecdotally, my EI physician has seen very good results in her patients with multiple food allergies that use quercetin for a sustained time (like 1-2 years). I used the powder form (my doctor prefers that one) by Maxiflav; 1/4 tsp dissolved in some water 20 minutes before I ate. The idea being that the querecetin will sort of coat the lining of your stomach and get it “calmed down” before you put food in it -stop the reaction before it starts. I will be honest and say that I took it for about 2 years and did not see dramatic results. But I do know people who have had a great results. And it is one of the supps that can be obtained fairly easily and it has been studied enough to trust it’s safety. You may have to try it to know if it will work for you- good luck!

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