Soyless Joyless Halloween

2 Nov

Just 2 months left of structured eating! I really do apologize for the lack of information regarding the most recent diets.  Again, laziness is my sin.  However, I reiterate that the information in my book will be far more complete! 😀  Here’s a quick overview of soy and egg allergies:

Soy allergies: Similar to dairy, soy allergies generally develop in infants & are often outgrown.  Almost half of all babies with an allergy to cow’s milk develop soy allergies when fed soy-based formulas.  Breastfeeding (when possible) is one of the best ways to avoid soy allergies. Some common symptoms involve skin reactions such as eczema, acne, canker sores, & hives along with possible rhinitis, asthma, & gastrointestinal disturbances.  Soy is a rare cause of anaphylaxis.  Similar to peanut oil, pure soy oil should not theoretically cause an allergic reaction.  However, due to the possibility of contamination with soy protein, it’s best to avoid soy oil.

Egg allergies: The proteins in egg whites cause most of the allergic reactions, but people can have reactions to the yolks as well.  Egg allergies are  again, common in children and generally outgrown but can be very serious while active.  Some vaccines contain egg proteins and must be avoided by those with egg allergies.

As previously mentioned, I followed a soy free & egg free diet for the final 2 weeks of October.  Translation: soyless joyless Halloween.  Soy lecithin is a food additive that serves as an emulsifier.  It’s found in virtually EVERY Halloween candy I encountered (except for Smarties, Dum Dums, and other fruity candies that I could care less about!)  If we are talking about the most sought after Halloween candy, such as Snickers bars and Reese’s peanut butter cups, these were a no go.  Luckily, I did discover the most amazing dark chocolate that I have ever tasted in my life at my favorite health food store.  Made with stone-ground Mexican chocolate and free of soy, it was the lifesaver I needed to rescue me (and those around me) from my pouty I want Halloween candy too! phase.  I ate waaayy too much of it though.  The consequences included spending a ridiculous amount of money (one bar costs ~$5.50, because it’s QUALITY stuff) and not sleeping well for a couple of days (Hello caffeine!)

What I ate my last day with a dairy & tree nuts allergy (October 15th)

Breakfast: bacon wrapped cucumber slices + homemade hashbrowns fried in olive oil & bacon grease with shredded carrot, zucchini, homemade tomato sauce, spinach, & nutritional yeast flakes (remember that cheesy vegan stuff?); 1/2 cup blueberries & strawberries

Lunch: smoothy made with banana, coconut milk, and baby romaine leaves; more hashbrowns & 1 slice of bacon

Supper: turkey salad with baby romaine, romaine hearts, tomato, cucumber, bean sprouts, 1 dehydrated tomato slice, & grated radish

What I ate my first day with an egg & soy allergy (October 16th)

Breakfast: hashbrowns + 2 pieces of bacon; glass of coconut milk + a few bites of coconut cream [FAT!!!];  1/2 cup strawberries & blueberries

Lunch: curried turkey soup (with butternut & delicata squash)

Supper: more curried turkey squash soup + baba ghanoush with dehydrated tomato “chips”, carrots, & cucumber slices

After work/before bed: tomato “chips” with baba ghanoush, 1/2 banana with coconut cream & several spoonfuls of coconut cream; MORE curried turkey squash soup (Why not?)

So I need to reign in my love of food fat a lot a little.  Freudian slips? 😉 No need to point this out to me!  This experiment has taught me just as much about my disordered eating habits (and the disordered eating habits of others) as about food sensitivities.

What I ate my last day with an egg & soy allergy (October 31st) – [Also my last opportunity to binge on carbs before starting my diabetes diet mind you!]

Breakfast: Cheerios with almond milk, coconut flakes, banana slices, blueberries, almonds, & cinnamon

Snack: strawberries & almonds

Lunch: whole wheat cheddar potato pot pie; smoothie made with romaine hearts, raspberries, banana slices, & strawberries; spelt flaxseed pita chips with hummus

Dinner: spelt flaxseed pita chips with hummus + brown rice tortilla with pepperjack cheese, green onions (green parts only), spinach, & lettuce

Sins to confess:

There’s a lot, so brace yourself!

While on my honeymoon, I was avoiding dairy and tree nuts.  I was careful to inquire about whether or not there was dairy in the bun of my fish sandwich without asking about the fish itself.  I had expected and hoped that the walleye sandwich I ordered was going to be fresh rather than fried.  I don’t order fish at restaurants very often, but I should have known better.  There is a good chance the breading on the fish contained dairy. I felt too guilty when it arrived (after the previous ingredient list scavenger hunts I sent the waitress on) to change my order.

I wasn’t as hardcore towards my allergic diet as I originally intended.  Somewhere into the 2nd week (technically speaking, 6th week of overall allergic dieting), I stopped avoiding packages with warning labels stating: “Processed in a facility that also produces…”.  Different kinds of terminology are used on food packages, and I’m not sure any are more accurate than the others.  However, if I had encountered a label that stated “May contain…”, I wouldn’t have bought and/or consumed it.  Here’s where the experiment becomes even less scientific.  While I was making a conscious effort to avoid these warning labels in the beginning of the allergic diets, I wasn’t bothering to purchase every prepackaged item with allergen free promises on the label.  Companies who use these warning labels are essentially just being nice and/or covering all of their potential lawsuit bases.  There in no law requiring such labeling.  There is, however, a law that any of the top 8 allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat, peanuts, and/or tree nuts used in the product itself must be clearly stated.  For example, if there is an additive derived from milk, the package must clearly state this in the ingredients list or somewhere else on the label.

Towards the very end of the soy-free, egg-free experiment, I went grocery shopping to buy items to feed myself for the first week of my diabetes diet.  Once again getting my brain in a whirl between what I could have on 1 day and not the next, I ate crackers with soy in the ingredients list!  I noticed this as I was eating them and had a couple more before the guilt sunk in enough to stop me!

Cravings: During my soy & egg allergy phase, I wanted cookie dough ice cream REALLY BAD!  Since eggs are so common in cookie dough, and I wouldn’t settle for anything else, I had to give up the dream. 😦

Lessons learned:  I promised an overview of a honeymoon with dairy and tree nut allergies, so you’re going to get one!

At the first restaurant we went to, there were NO dessert options that did not include dairy: cheesecake, ice cream topped cake, etc. Lesson #1: Life is unfair, & dessert options are far more limited when you cannot have dairy.

As much as Derek and I enjoy each others’ company, we are human with human vices that follow us on vacation.  “I want a cigarette so bad right now you have no idea!”  wined Derek as we sat around our cabin’s fire pit.  I had tried to guilt him into giving up cigarettes before the wedding, because he had always said he would quit by the time he was 30.  (This is based on science by the way.  Much of the damage done to the lungs of young smokers in their 20s will fix itself if smoking is given up early.  After that, all bets are off!)  I don’t know where he got the great idea to try and give up smoking on our honeymoon, because the last thing I wanted was to hang out with Cranky McCrank pants while taking in beautiful Lake Superior.  Utilizing all of the willpower and coping skills of a 3 year old, I offered: “Should we go get cigarettes and ice cream?”

So we did.

I had a heck of a time trying to find something awesome to put in my vanilla Soy Dream “ice cream” at the small town grocery store we happened upon.  Luckily, before deciding that a container of cocoa would have to suffice, I spotted a small allergen friendly section in one of the aisles.  “K-toos!”  K-toos are dairy-,tree-nut-, and gluten-free Oreo type cookies that taste pretty amazing (better than Oreos if you ask me).  Lesson #2: While it’s harder to be picky about dessert when you’ve got multiple food allergies, the food industry has got your back in making sure you can still feed your sugar addiction! 

Update: Derek is still smoking, and I’m still a sugar addict.  Sigh…

Without the threat of death staring you in the face, it’s hard to convince yourself to avoid numerous packaged goods “just to be safe”.  I did some reading, including various allergy discussion forms.  It seems that unless you are feeding a child, paranoid (such as myself), or susceptible to anaphylactic shock, many people with allergies will still purchase products with warning labels concerning cross-contamination.  Company phone calls are another common approach.  However, if you are paranoid (like me), you might not trust what the dispatcher tells you.  Basically, it is the severity of the allergies weighed against the threats and conveniences of the modern food system that may determine how far a person is willing to take his/her allergen-friendly shopping endeavors.

Sources:

Joneja, J. (2003) Dealing with Food Allergies (Pg. 151-159, 181-187)

Larsen, L. (2008) The Everything Food Allergy Cookbook (Pages 11 & 13)

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