Saturday, August 31, 2013

My Kitchen is Not a Restaurant!

My daughter informed me she doesn't like chicken and will not eat chicken.  Although, she will eat chicken nuggets.  When I was growing up we ate what my mom prepared.  We didn't have the option of saying "I don't like that, can I eat chicken nuggets instead".  If you didn't like what was cooked, you didn't eat.  First of all, chicken nuggets didn't exist.  And second of all, this was the 60s and 70s.  My mom was old school; dare I mention more.

My kitchen is not a restaurant.   In order to avoid constantly whipping around the kitchen like a schizophrenic chef, I have that same fundamental philosophy with my daughter and husband. When I cook, I do have to factor in food intolerances/infractions; mine and my daughter's.  And that is enough to deal with, no nightshade foods and diary at a minimum for her and no soy, egg, or dairy for me.  This challenge is enough to work around without other factors, such as: "I don't like that."

 "the worst chicken I have ever had"

The "rabbit incident".  One day, my mom tried to pass off rabbit as chicken. It was awful. I finally told her this is the worst chicken I have ever had.  She then confessed to us it was rabbit and not chicken. The "rabbit incident" is why I refuse to eat rabbit to this day.  While I choose not to disguise rabbit as chicken, I suppose my expectation is for all to eat what I prepare.

Pizza Day.  At times we have pizza day.  I buy dough from Fresh and Easy or Trader Joe's.  I can best determine the dough contents and control our food intolerances when we make our own pizza rather than purchase at a local pizzeria.  On pizza day, it is easier to have our own individual pizzas.  I don't fair well with dairy which eliminates (cow milk) cheese and my daughter can not eat tomatoes (nightshade) which eliminates the typical pizza sauce.  I have to make my daugther's pizza with an Alfredo cheese sauce and mine with tomato sauce.  My husband usually prefers the Alfredo sauce as to the tomato aggravates his heart burn.

While, at times, I have to make allowances for our food intolerances.  Furthermore, I also keep cross contamination in mind; not mixing utensils while I am cooking.  For these reasons, I do feel like a restaurant chef.  For the most part, my family gets the point and realizes when I cook, my kitchen is not a restaurant. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Thank You for Trying Palmolive-Colgate Company!

I must commend mainstream companies such as Palmolive-Colgate Company who have attempted to supply persons like myself with fragrance-free products.  This has not always been the case. When I saw that the product's name was “Pure + Clear”, I decided to buy it.  After all, it was being sold in the 99¢ Only Store; so I had to try it.

After bringing my new purchase home, I quickly found “Pure+Clear” to be quite misleading.  First of all, it is not fragrance-free.  Palmolive-Colgate Company’s website states that this product does not have heavy fragrances. Therefore, they are admitting that it has fragrance. (I detect an apple scent.)  Yet, on the Target website, it may be found in the “unscented” category.  This product is not unscented.   Further, it does not appear to have any dyes, yet the ingredients state that it does in fact have dyes.

Secondly, this product states that it has no unnecessary chemicals.  Therefore, are we to understand that this product contains "necessary" chemicalsIs that pure and clear?  That is a misnomer.  In my mind, no chemical is a "necessary" chemical and should not be labeled Pure + Clear.  One of the "necessary" chemicals is the cleansing agent sodium laureth (2EO) sulfate.  This surfactant, or cleansing agent, is generally found in shampoos, soaps and body washes.  Sulfates strip the skin of beneficial moisture.  This is the reason my skin is extremely dry after using the product.  (And, yes, I know . . . I should use gloves to wash dishes.)

Sodium laureth sulfate can contain 1.4-dioxane which is a petroleum based carcinogen known to cause cancer.  Other ingredients includes: water, sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate, lauramidopropyl betaine, lactic acid, SD Alcohol 3-A, sodium xylene sulfonate, fragrance, and dyes.

Consult the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for more information on chemical definitions and safety.

For me, in the Fragrance-free Category, Pure+Clear:  FAILED.

Would I buy again? I would probably not, but that's my opinion.   I wrestle that a product is labeled Pure + Clear when it is clearly not . . . after all, it’s the principle of the matter.  Nevertheless, thanks for trying Palmolive-Colgate Company.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

One Cookie Won't Hurt?

As 17 year olds we feel invincible.  We could leap tall buildings in a single bound. We could, as my father used to say, "burn the candle at both ends"; and not get burned.   Yet the older we get we find that any little indiscretion on our part has a way of being less forgiving.

Last month, I brought home cookies for my daughter.  Yes, I read the labels.  And yes, I know they had my known allergens/intolerances; soy, eggs and dairy.  Yet when I gazed back at the kitchen counter, my mouth watered for the vanilla sugar cookies I bought. I reasoned "one cookie" won't hurt. 

Of course, I was wrong.  By the intestinal trauma that ensued my body let me know that "one cookie does hurt."  The pain let me know I was not 17 anymore.  My body let me know, I would not bounce back as quickly either.

While these food intolerances are not anaphylactic, we tend to give in to our wants despite our needs.  So if you are like me and you let your eyes overcome your need, remember we pay in the end.  And let me tell you, "one cookie" does hurt.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Spice Up Old Favorites!

I am often asked, what do you eat when you're allergic to everything?  First of all, I am not allergic to everything.  I do have challenging food intolerances and so does my daughter (just different ones.)  Our food intolerances are not anaphylactic.  Our food reactions do not come at a rapid pace and are not at a quantity that can cause death, therefore it is not considered an allergy. For Lana, her food allergies aggravate her eczema.  An antihistamine, like Benadryl® is usually a quick fix.  I like the dye-free version of an antihistamine, as my daughter has a reaction to red-dye contained in food or medicinal products. I have only found the dye-free in the liquid children's product.

Back to what do I eat?  Soy and egg intolerances are the main culprits for me.  The nightshade foods (tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, to name a few) are my daughter's main challenge, and then there is chocolate and dairy.  The chocolate intolerance is the most difficult for her.  At nine years of age, the benefits of a life without chocolate is very difficult to comprehend.  And for me, most chocolates have soy. Soy is used as an emulsifier in chocolate.  Therefore, because these ingredients are in almost everything, the majority of processed foods are ruled out.

I remember, in not the too distant past, I would dread grocery shopping.  I felt crippled, adjusting to the changes I had to make.  I like to cook, but making everything from scratch, I thought, would be time-consuming.  I've mentioned this before... I do not know when soy became a staple ingredient in our food source but it is now.  It is in so many processed foods, from boxed items to soups.  When I was growing up, I don't think companies like Campbell's® Soup contained soy.  My mother used Campbell's® all the time in cooking, and so did I.  Nowadays, I can no longer use this product.

I have truly had to go back  to basics.  In this way, I know what is in my food.  It can be fun being a mad-scientist in the kitchen.  Some you win and some, well not so successful.  However, that is how you learn.  So spicing up favorites like oatmeal can be fun!  (See my soy-free, egg-free and dairy-free recipe page.)