Monday, May 18, 2009

Boy, You Sure Can't Eat Much


The Title of this post is what an online friend posted, once, concerning my list of things I can't eats. When one looks at the list of things I can't eat it's easy conclude. However, what the average person eats without thinking about it or reading labels on is nothing more then various combinations of the same foods.

Consider the eight most common allergies – Milk, egg, wheat, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and soy. In packaged, convenience and fast foods these food items are widespread. If you add to that list gluten intolerance (Celiac's Disease) along with corn, these food items are pervasive. You run into them even in health food. This may cause others to think the list of what I can't eat is greater than what I can eat.

The truth is, this allergy situation is only the end of careless eating whatever is convenient- -unless you can afford to buy the expensive packaged food made just especially for people these allergies and intolerances. I am, also, allergic to the most common flours used in gluten-free baking. It means cooking with fresh foods from scratch.

Daunting, limiting, confining? Not really. I grant you, I have been raised on Grandma's cooking from scratch. I've cooked primarily from scratch for thirty years, since the discovery of my son's allergies (and because scratch cooking is cheap.) Cooking a pot of rice isn't any harder than cooking a pot of pasta. Chopping a fruit or vegetable didn't change since I have learned of my allergies and intolerances, nor has the cooking of meat, or the throwing on of a handful of nuts. It may mean a brown bag for lunch instead of a trip to a fast food place, but what is that, over feeling well for a change?

When I look at the wide variety of fresh foods available on the market and then look at the way I ate before diet change, I find far more food to eat than a sandwich, burger, or basic meat and potatoes. The most common grains in the average diet are wheat, oats, barley, corn, and rice. That's five grains with wheat being the primary source of all three meals. I personally can and do eat, rice, quinoa, teff, millet, garbanzo bean, soy, almond meal, and tapioca. That's nine grains I eat on a regular basis; nearly double the average daily habit.

I have days when I feel limited, but then, there are those days when I feel simply inspired to learn new things about new foods. It's an educational, creative, full of variety, and healthful way of life. From this way of life I find joy in what I can eat.