Wednesday, April 20, 2011

flow charts and venn diagrams

I need a series of flow charts and diagrams in order to feed my family. Excel Pro or Power Point or something. I  have gotten part of my "diagnosis" from my GI "issues" and am officially allergic to wheat and peanuts, and probably some other stuff, like apples and some veggies, but we don't know what yet. And that kinda really sucks because I'm a big, BIG fan of carbs. Breads, pastas, lots of pasta, noodles, pastries, pasta, cinnamon rolls, pie... all of it are favorites. Did I mention pasta? Yep, love it. And I don't mean that healthy smart pasta either, I mean the wholesome goodness of enriched bleached flour pasta. And bread... again, not whole grain/ multi grain/ bird food bread. I'm talking the kind of bread that is so soft and preserved that you can roll it up into little balls and it will stay that way until you pop it in your mouth.

But alas, there will be no more delicious pasta or bread in my life. And that makes me sad because bread and pasta are the perfect catalyst for pretty much everything. Radishes? Gross. Until you put some Mediterranean yogurt cheese and sea salt on a piece of fresh bread and add the radish to it. Arugula? Disgusting! Until you add some olive oil, shrimp and capers, lemon juice, white wine, artichoke hearts, fresh oregano and parsley with some fresh chopped tomatoes and toss it all with some pasta... AMAZEBALLS. Have some fresh berries and buttermilk and eggs that are about to go bad? Make some French Toast!

Yes, there is rice pasta and wheat free bread but what is the point? The textures are wrong and it just doesn't feel right. And that is really lame for me to say because half of my kids have never even tasted real bread and pasta before. CB just started eating wheat last year. They have to suffice with the "fake" stuff so it should be good enough for me too. But I just can't do it. I don't want to do it.

Feeding my family is difficult enough already and now throwing my allergies into the mix make it even more ridiculous. The only person who can eat "normal" is M. He has no food issues, well, only if there isn't enough hot sauce... then there is a major issue. W can have almost anything but not "raw" dairy, like a glass of milk or regular milk in his cereal. Cooked milk, like cheese and yogurt are ok. But we do have to limit that and the amount of nuts he has. He also doesn't do well at all with processed foods or things that have sugars, preservatives and food dyes in them. So we pretty much keep him on a whole foods diet as much as we can.

CB can have wheat and eggs in moderation and she can have oatmeal too but anything with dairy, soy, beef and nuts are out of the question. She also can't eat apples or pears which eliminates most fruit snacks and juices.

Baby A is officially allergic to soy, barley and grapes (?!?!?) and can't tolerate diary, soy, wheat, oatmeal, eggs, nuts, beef and almost all fruits. Except bananas. Girl loves her bananas.

Baby MJ is not officially allergic to anything but will get a diaper full of blood if she has even a nibble of something with trace dairy, like a McDonald's french fry. She is also extremely symptomatic to everything Baby A is: soy, wheat, nuts, eggs, beef, and pretty much all fruits, but she can have barley and grapes. 

They can do potatoes but we can't just get them french fries while we are out because we can't be sure they aren't made with vegetable oil, which is almost always made from soy beans. We can't just order them a chicken breast without a fuss because most are marinated or brushed with oil or butter while cooking. I can't just give them a cracker or a cookie to snack on and almost all toddler geared "snacks" are made with at least one thing they can't have.

W and CB have been eating Wheat Free/ Dairy Free Fig Newmans for years so I figured they would be ok with A and MJ. But, they are made with barley flour. So MJ gets to eat "two cookies" but A can't. I personally really love the allergen free Enjoy Life Snickerdoodle cookies and ordered a huge box for A, but then I saw they are sweetened with grape juice, so that is out. It is hard to bake anything for them. Most substitutions are not agreeable to them so that really isn't an option either. 

So obviously, all of this poses a problem. If I want to make pancakes in the morning I'll need to make 3 kinds: one regular (flour, eggs, buttermilk and butter) for M and W, one with oat flour and the rest of the ingredients for me and one allergen free one for the babies and CB. Or I could make 4 kinds and make CBs with wheat flour and a diary substitute. And by the time I'm done cooking, Saturday morning cartoons would have given way to Saturday afternoon golf. And yes, I could make one kind but lets face it, the kind that all of us could eat is really not that tasty and is really super expensive to make once you add up all of the ingredients, so I'd rather make 2 cheaper batches and one expensive "half batch" for the girls.

What I need is a huge venn diagram to assist me. One that will fit nicely between W's drawings of Mario and CB's drawings of Frosting Princesses and a "box of wind". It would be a ridiculously lopsided diagram though-- the circle in the middle with what we could all eat would be, by far, the smallest of them all. As it stands now, the only things we can all eat are:

Starches: rice, quinoa (in moderation), potatoes and corn (in moderation and only in "ground up" form)
Meats: chicken, turkey and salmon  
Fruits: bananas and blueberries
Veggies: carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, peas and green beans

Sounds delicious, right? By Tuesday night, we have exhausted most of our options for meals we can all partake of and then I end up cooking 2 to 3 dinners a night. And that isn't including lunch and breakfast because then we get into the fact that we have 3 kinds of "peanut" butters to choose from: natural peanut, almond and sun butter if we want PB&J and the fact that the babies and I can't have bread so we would eat it on a rice cake... yum. Or if we wanted to have, say, a chicken pasta salad I'd have to make 3 kinds, one with everything for M and W, one with everything CB could eat and then one for me and the babies with rice pasta and cheese and dressing on the side so I could add it later for myself.

And then there's the milk situation. In summery: 1% and Soy for M, 2% for me, Rice milk for W, CB and the babies and then Neocate for the babies also to make sure they are getting enough nutrients. 5 kinds of milk, for 6 people. Consumerism at its finest, I tell you.

I guess I should be thankful I'm still on the "tator tot and milkshake" diet-- at least it makes it so I have one less meal to think about.


I heart said...

Um yeah, my head just exploded.

Lisa Wilkinson said...

You need to write a book!! -Lisa