Monday, January 18, 2010

Allergy Free Eating on a Budget

     Over the last year, I have become more and more disillusioned concerning the safety of our food supply here in the USA.  Because capitalism seems to be at the heart of the American Dream (and thus the desire to make lots of money and own more things than we actually need), the food companies have experimented with fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, grains, etc in order to be able to make more profit.  Things are not as they appear, and the nutritional value of the foods we eat today is nothing compared to those same foods a hundred years ago because they are no longer the same foods--they just look the same.  You can find all kinds of information on the internet, in documentaries, in books, etc. about the growing concern over the safety of our foods and growing health epidemics that plague our society as a result of our diets, so I will not go into detail.  It would take up too much time and would be redundant.  I am just writing about my journey to provide safe and nutritious meals to my food-sensitive family.
     In an attempt to be the perfect mother, providing the perfect foods for my children, husband, and self, I have tried going the organic route.  I will still continue to buy some organic foods since I do not trust non-organic grains.  GMO's are too prevalent in our grains.  However, I have a family of 6 to provide meals for, and VERY limited funds.
 I realize there is the whole argument of not being able to afford the medical bills of developing chronic health problems due to eating the unhealthy foods in our markets, and, yet, I have to be able to put healthy food on the table, as well.  I figure that I just have to do the best I can do and trust God with the rest!  With that being said, I know that I am not in this boat alone.  There are many of us out there in varying financial states.  Some can afford all organic foods, some half, and some not at all.  So, when I come up with my recipes, just know that I buy organic when I can, and I buy "regular" when I can't afford the organic. 
     There are, however, some things I cannot budge on.  My family has to eat gluten-free.  My son (Nathan) has to eat dairy free.  My other son (Elijah) and I really should eat dairy free, though we can handle small amounts of dairy once in awhile.  My o and I have to eat soy free.  I have to eat peanut free, though I am not so allergic that I will die if I come into contact with peanuts, I will just get severe reflux.  Elijah cannot have high fructose corn syrup and is somewhat sensitive to corn as a whole.  My youngest daughter (Moriah), Elijah, and I cannot have MSG without getting headaches, stomach pains,e tc.  I have trouble with carageenan, coffee, and guar gum.  As you can see, cooking and eating can be a sticky situation in my home, as it may be in yours. 
     Since I have all these food restrictions to think about, I naturally end up on many websites looking for recipes.  These websites are largely concerned with healthy eating, and most of them end up using expensive, organic ingredients and have recipes on them that would not fall into the category of "normal" dishes that my family would eat.  Don't get me wrong.  I love trying new things, and I have really been enjoying some of the interesting recipes I've come across.
     However, I need to be able to make meals that remind us of the meals we used to eat.  As I have been walking this path and learning more about food, I am realizing that it is possible to eat allergy free on a budget, though it can be difficult for busy families on the go.  It is still possible, however, with a little planning and ingenuity.  It takes some adjustments to change old habits, but we can all do it if we determine that we are going to be successful for the health of our family. 
     Over the next few days, I will begin to write some tips for healthy allergy-free eating on a budget that will perhaps help some of you as I have found these things have helped me.  I will include some basic recipes for healthy and affordable alternatives that will not, perhaps, take up too much time (or money) to make. 

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