Woe is Wheat

It has been a pain learning about my new wheat allergy. So many easy to grab foods contain wheat, and if they don’t contain wheat, I’ve discovered they likely contain nuts or something else I’m allergic to. And after agonizingly watching my family enjoy a cheesy pizza last Friday night without me, I was determined to do my research and find healthy snacks and meal recipes that…

  • A) aren’t super expensive
  • B) aren’t crazy complicated 
  • C) don’t taste like dirt, and 
  • D) actually keep me full!

…So that I don’t have to miss out on enjoying my food!

Here’s a list of foods and brands that I’ve purchased recently that have helped me transition to a diet that excludes all wheat, nuts and white potatoes.

  • SunButter and Quaker Oats Chocolate Rice Cakes (the big ones) have been my favorite breakfast. 2 cakes generously covered in the sun butter is delicious. Dare I say I actually enjoy the SunButter more than peanut butter because it’s not quite as dry….!?
  • Quaker Oats (flavored) Rice Cakes (the small crisps). I particularly like the cheddar and barbecue chip flavors. I love sour cream & onion, but the Quaker ones don’t quite get the job done for me.
  • Bean Chips are my new go to after work snack with some cheese and salsa. As the article image shows, I threw chili on them for dinner one night and it was so good! Yummm….
  • Chex Rice Cereal, raisins, and semi-sweet chocolate morsels make for one big stash of homemade trail mix that definitely gets the job done.
  • Kind Bars! This one flavor – chocolate quinoa and flax seed is absolutely AMAZING! I found boxes at Walmart for super cheap.

Of course I still enjoy my usual go-to’s like yogurt, oatmeal, bananas, and homemade smoothies, as well as normal dinner foods like grilled chicken, rice, and broccoli or other meats and veggies… But these few brands have proved worthy of my grocery cart and can remain in my kitchen for now.

Unfortunately, I’m still experimenting with different brands of Gluten free bread. So far all the ones I’ve tasted are very bland and it’s a whopping $6 for a half loaf of slices that are barely the size of my palm. Stay tuned.

I’ll be sure to add to this list as I continue to grocery shop and test my taste buds on my new wheat free life!

Recipe of the Month: Caprese Salad Lettuce Cups

This weekend I saw a recipe on Instagram to make caprese salad lettuce cups. I LOVE caprese salad so I decided to make it… As I prepped, I made a few changes to it to better suit my taste, but the original recipe can be found on @feelgoodfoodie’s Instagram (here).

In a bowl, I mixed 1.5 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette (with maple syrup flavor), 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp crushed basil, a dash of salt, a dash of pepper, and a dash of garlic powder.

Then I added the good stuff. I diced up 2 small tomatoes, 1 whole avocado, and about 1/3 cup of mozzarella cheese chunks.

I stirred it up until the dressing coated it all, and scooped it out onto big leaves of romaine lettuce. This made 3 (good sized) leaves. 

If you’re a cucumber lover (sadly I am not) then you’d enjoy @feelgoodfoodie ‘s original version on Instagram. But if you’re like me and choose to forego the cucumbers, this was still delicious!

  
 

Eating My Way Around Food Allergies

It was recently discovered that in the past few years, I’ve developed some bad food allergies. I guess stomachaches, cramps, and headaches have become such a routine part of my life that I hadn’t really considered being allergic to what I was eating. But my environmental allergies have progressed to a pretty severe level that I decided to look into immunotherapy, aka allergy shots.

The doctor and nurses were shocked I hadn’t come in sooner given how the testing went. So now I’m getting shots every week to help build immunity to basically everything God created on this planet – trees, grass, mold, dust, etc. and the food allergies I have developed work in tandem with those allergies to make my immune response way over dramatic. 

I’m allergic to hops. But I can live without beer, given how infrequently I drink and my preference for sweet anyway.

I’m allergic to melon and cantaloupe. But I rarely opt for those fruits over bananas or berries anyway.

I’m allergic to a few types of beans, but not black or kidney, which are the only ones I usually eat anyway.

I’m allergic to white potatoes, but I can deal with switching to exclusively sweet potatoes when I eat them.

But the last few actually upset me. I’m allergic to nuts. All the best ones I love. Peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios … my FAVORITE, my number one choice of snack on the go, the best blends of trail mix… But since I’ve developed a progressing allergy to these nuts, I have to remove them from my diet.

And last but certainly not least, wheat. 

Wheat!

American diet consists highly of wheat, right!? As I’m sitting here considering my options, I’m shocked at how much wheat even I – someone pretty conscientious of her nutritional choices and intake – consume. Forget the junk food I eat when I’m cheating, I now need to find alternatives when I eat any of my normal meals. 

Bread, pasta, granola bars, pretzels, dumplings, crackers, soy sauce, ice cream, prepared bake mixes, cereal, salad dressings, mashed potatoes, macaroni, most Chinese takeout (and New Years is coming 😦 ), pizza, soups…. So many foods have wheat or wheat flour used as its primary ingredient or as a thickener. I had no idea it was in so much.

Now, this wheat allergy is different than a gluten sensitivity, and it isn’t the same as Celiac Disease. This is a common misconception. While ingesting wheat causes me gastrointestinal discomfort – nausea, stomachaches, cramps, etc. – and headaches, it doesn’t make me vomit, it doesn’t affect the lining of my gastrointestinal tract, or any of the other more severe symptoms that Celiac Disease causes.

However, continuing to eat these foods is making me more sensitive to all the other allergies that give me symptoms. And those symptoms are pretty bad – seriously swollen eyes and lips, itchy hives and painful welts literally everywhere, and wheezing. And I’m told I will feel a lot better (bye bye to my daily head and stomach aches!) when I’m not eating these things.

So, from now on I really need to thoroughly read labels and start learning how to cook with some new ingredients: quinoa, different rices, sweet potatoes.

And I also need to learn what some good alternatives are to peanut butter, almond butter, trail mix, bread, etc. etc. etc.

So if any of you have advice or recipes to share, I would be eternally grateful if you’d comment for me!