Do you remember me kind of telling you what we thought was going on with our 6 year old daughter a few months ago? After years of chronic sinus infections, ear infections, illness and pain, the unexplainable causes of the trips we took to the ER for crippling abdominal pain, the welts, hives and excsema, the dark circles and puffy eyes we never had one Dr. suggest that maybe there was a real reason why she was like this.
In fact, looking back, I feel some sense of embaressment that I did not push for better answers earlier. But it is so engrained in me to accept the conclusions of the “authority” (in this case the doctors treating her- at least 6 off the top of my head) and I think I wanted to believe that the answer was that all of these things were flukes and a “normal” part of a young kid with a developing immune system. I mean, she has a great attitude and a brilliant little mind, so the truth is, I just didn’t look further. Well, until this fall.
Her father and I flirted a little with following the “Eat right for your blood type diet” (remember that book?! Like from the 90’s?). Anyways- she is an O like her dad and it says “No gluten and limited dairy” so just by nature of me trying to cook for him, we started cutting back on that stuff. I also had started tracking everything she was eating and was beginning to see patterns in her headaches, stomach aches and welts that were alarming.
Very long story short, I finally got her into a food allergy specialist in December. She went through extensive blood testing and interviews (well as extensive as you can get with a 6 year life span!) and then we sat back and waited. Well the results came back while I was in Mexico, which was merciful, because I certainly needed a margarita after reading the results.
Are you ready for this? Cow dairy, Goat dairy, Eggs, Coffee Beans, Cane Sugar, Garlic, Oranges, Grapefruit, Pineapple, Gluten, Whole Wheat, Rye, Flax, Spelt, Soy, Barley, Hazelnuts, Peanuts, GARLIC, ginger, curry, Green String Beans, Lima Beans, Navy Beans, Psyllium, and Kamut.
I am serious. And in fact, these are only the ones that registered a 3 or higher on a scale of 0-6, so they are the most severe. As a family we are trying to stay really calm and just attack this. I love a challenge and am trying so hard to try and create recipes that make her feel as normal as humanly possible at school and in life. But I won’t lie, I have teared up a couple of times- it is just so difficult to navigate these restrictions, and still make things that resemble food she likes that tastes good. I do have to say- I cannot even imagine how parents that don’t spend all of their waking time in the kitchen can handle this. I mean, if I am overwhelmed, how are they handling it? I am figuring out how I can integrate a collection of these recipes into my website, or somewhere else for anyone who is interested in SERIOUSLY allergy-free recipes.
This is actually one of them. In this delicious uh, breakfast porridge?? Quinoa takes the place of oats and I replaced milk with coconut milk. It is sweetened with agave and vanilla and topped with crunchy almonds and crispy toasted coconut chips. I loved it best when I ate it with sweet and tart blueberries or fresh cut strawberries. It was a tasty break from oats (whether you are trying to avoid them or not) and the natural sweetness of coconut and vanilla really make it lovely.
In the meantime, if any of you out there have any favorite resources (blogs, books) for allergy cooking, I would love to know! Please Share!! I mean I am not just in gluten-free territory (not to minimize how serious that is) but full on “what the hell do I feed my daughter!?” mode.
Recipe: Coconut Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
- 1 15 ounce can coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (paste or extract)
- 1 cup Quinoa, rinsed and drained
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons agave
- Toppings: extra agave, almonds (optional), coconut chips and fresh fruit.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk, vanilla and salt to a simmer. Add the quinoa to the milk and bring to a light boil.
- Put the lid on the quinoa and turn the heat to low. Simmer the quinoa on low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until it has reached a creamy porridge consistency.
- Spoon into bowls and top with desired toppings. Serve hot.
Preparation time: 2 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2