Updated: Oct 24, 2019
We're sitting. It's a fun family day out. There are smiles, laughs, bad dad jokes, and then...panic. Living with someone with food allergies is not for the faint of heart. It’s not something I’d wish on anyone. It’s some of the most panicked moments I’ve ever had as an adult. Realizing that my food choices are literally toxic to the person I love most in this world. For the first 4 and half years of our marriage, I lived in fear every meal we had that Randy would have an allergic reaction. I looked at every ingredient to try to narrow down the “unknown” culprit…and to this day, I still don’t know. I know I can’t buy chicken breast from Trader Joes and the Italian Sausage from Lucky’s Market is a “No-Go”, but the specific ingredient(s) that causes Randy to have an allergic reaction and my panic is one I’m not familiar with.
To be honest, I got to a point where I was just overwhelmed by it all…until I finally asked for help. In December 2016, I decided to reach out to one of my favorite singers, turned health coach, Tristan Prettyman a.k.a., The Goodpath SD. To my surprise, she answered my Instagram message. I was floored over the next few months by the information she gave us and slowly, the allergic reactions stopped happening every other night. The panic slowed and I finally felt somewhat healthy.
It was during that time that my mindset finally started shifting to understand what a healthy lifestyle is actually intended to be before it was twisted around by the food industry. I finally started putting together the knowledge I’d learned during grad school and my career in research safety with the outside world, and in particular, our family meals. During that time, Tristan guided me towards choosing more whole foods and expanding my recipe book, while cleaning up our pantry to include safe options for Randy and Auggie. I’ve always loved cooking, but because of the weird food allergies/sensitivities we have to navigate around in our family, I had begun relying on the “safe” restaurants as staples in our weeknight dinner rotation.
My rationale for spending that extra money on dinner out:
I work two jobs and I just wanted to spend time with Auggie and Randy at night.
Truth is, we spent more time battling Auggie at the dinner table than we spent playing with him in his room.
If I wasn’t making the food, then I wouldn’t be the reason my husband ended up In the ER because of an allergic reaction.
I got so overly emotional every time I cooked, and Randy had a reaction or Auggie hated the chosen meal.
It would be impossible to take the knowledge I learned in that time period and put it into one blog post, but I’ll try to hit the high points:
Read your labels:
This is for YOU. Ultimately, you can decide what foods and ingredients you let into your home. It’s up to you, not a health coach, not a doctor, not the media or food industry. If you decide you want a gluten free, dairy free home, that’s up to you and that’s great. If you choose to have a pantry with crackers and a fridge with yogurt and cheese, that’s great, too! It’s what works for you and your family, but you should know what is in the foods you eat so you’re able to make an informed decision based on your lifestyle.
Eating whole foods and quality meat doesn’t have to break the bank.
When we first started, I spent way too much money on food. I’d buy packaged foods with all the “_____-free” ingredients and it was expensive. When I started creating meal plans that included meals like baked potatoes, chicken, and roasted vegetables, we were able to save money and still spend more on things like grass-fed beef, organic chickens, and pasture raised pork. Vegetables aren’t expensive when you buy them in season, and there are always deals on steamer bags of veggies!
Always keep fresh-made sauces on hand or find good brands you love!
I love sauces! Randy and Auggie not so much. So, when I make dinner, I keep it pretty simple.
I try to make 1-2 different sauces for the week and freeze half for a later date. Some of my favorites include the 5-minute magic green sauce, cashew ranch, and Boss Sauce (it tastes just like the Zax sauce, but it’s so much cleaner!).
I won’t say we have it all figured out, but we are better than we were 7 years ago. I’m lightyears ahead of where I was in my understanding of what healthy choices looked like. I’m slowly figuring out my body and how to get the results I want with cleaner foods that don’t jeopardize my family’s health. Every family’s journey is different and most probably don’t focus on food as much as ours, but this is a part of our story and it’s important for me to share in the off chance there is some new wife trying to figure this out on her own like I once was.