Food Allergies and How to Deal

Alternative Lasagna.

Like many people, I have battled with food allergies. This is one reason I became a Dietitian. Years ago, I was having symptoms partially caused by food allergies, which were discovered by a nutritionist. Though I was never officially tested, we were able to pinpoint the main culprits (cows milk and gluten) and I was able to fix most of the problems I was experiencing. After an elimination process and reworking my diet, I was even able to eat gluten again. This was very effective – effective enough for me to go back to school and study nutrition – and has been working for me for the most part ever since. However, as often happens with our health and diet, my diet is in need of some re-tooling.

It is worth noting that food allergies can be triggered by stress. Which was the case with me, then and now. Also, once you have food allergies you are more prone to getting them and should eat foods on a rotation diet, not consume any food too frequently, and manage stress.

Recently, in response to symptoms I was experiencing, I was tested for food allergies. The test came back positive. It showed I have allergies to gluten, bananas, cucumber, onion, garlic, avocado, eggs, beef, lamb and cod fish. Wow!

My body is reacting differently to all of these foods. For example, I am barely allergic to cucumbers, but severely allergic to eggs, which I knew based on my body’s response to eggs. So now, I am once again doing an elimination diet (wish me luck), and am taking enzyme and probiotic supplements to help purge the residual allergens and reset the system.

This process has been at times frustrating but mostly empowering. Empowering, because I believe in knowing why our bodies are acting a certain way. I am not a fan of just taking a pill or pills, suffering and eventually removing the body part that is in trouble, in this case my colon or intestine.

So, now, what to eat? As many people know this can be a difficult and frustrating process. Like many people on special diets, I had to figure it out- again.

During this “adventure”, I made vegan, gluten-free “lasagna” style pasta. It was delicious! I have included pictures as well as a link to a recipe similar to the one I based mine on.

I used a bottle of organic pasta sauce, which included the hopefully temporary allergen; garlic. But, this was the best I could do on this particular day. I substituted gluten-free lentil pasta for regular lasagna noodles, which usually have gluten.

The elimination diet should be tricky, but ultimately rewarding, as my digestive issues will hopefully improve and I will once again be able to eat many of the foods I am currently reacting to.

I will have to take this one step at a time, do my best, try to minimize frustration, and be patient. In the process, I will hopefully not be excessively hungry, as I figure out what to eat for each meal.

During the first elimination diet years ago, I stared into the cupboard in tears, hungry and frustrated. Hopefully, the second time around, my Dietetic training and experience will make the trip much smoother. I am confident the outcome, as before, will be worth every second of effort. After all it is why I get up every morning and do what I do…..because this stuff works!

I will keep you updated. In the meantime, here’s to us all plugging away, paying attention, asking questions, being enlightened and working to achieve optimum health! Be well. Cheers.

A Nutrition Revolution offers personalized nutrition counseling to families and individuals, via email, phone and/or video chat. Contact us so you can achieve your health goals and live your best life! And check out the book: A Nutrition Revolution!

Vegan Teriyaki Stir Fry

For the past 4 years I have been teaching freshman Health class and we discuss healthy eating. After learning about the health effects of heavily animal vs. plant based diets, students asked me yesterday and often do, “How do I do eat a more vegan diet?”. Since I eat a mostly plant based diet, I documented last nights dinner. The reason for the ingredients is because that is what I had in the fridge. ūüôā

Vegan Teriyaki Tofu Stir Fry

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1/4 cup red onions

1/3 cup chopped tofu (I used baked, teriyaki flavored)

1/4 cup teriyaki based Hawaiian sauce

1/4 cup white wine (optional, I left this out of the kids recipe, even though the alcohol cooks off)

1 cup pre-cooked brown rice

2 cups Brussels sprouts, basted with garlic olive oil, salt and pepper, steamed and chopped.

Saute mushrooms, onion and tofu in plant based oil (i.e. coconut or cooking spray). Add teriyaki sauce and white wine and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add chopped Brussels sprouts and stir. Heat rice (stir fry or add to hot water for 1 minute and remove). Add vegetable mixture to rice and enjoy! This has plenty of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Tastes great and you will feel great too….

 

 

Become a Part-Time Vegetarian! This Delectable Portabella Burger Recipe Will Make a Convert Out of Anyone

By Dietitian and Wellness Educator, Elizabeth Kahn

Why become a part-time vegetarian? Because it is healthy and delicious.

One does not have to be completely vegetarian, carnivorous or vegan (plant-based) to be healthy. You can, like me, become a part-time vegan and vegetarian.

As a nutritionist, I do not regularly advocate a completely vegan or vegetarian diet, as I think meat can be fine in moderation, but, since most of us need to eat more vegetables, I do advise more fruits and vegetables and less animal products for most people. However it is worth noting, and as I have said before, we CAN get all necessary nutrients from plants.

The obstacles most people face in eating more plants and less animal products are knowledge, convenience and habit. I have been on a learning curve myself, as I continue to evolve and become more and more vegan or “plant based”.¬† I am leaning vegan for health and ethical reasons, though it is a personal choice. Ignorance can be bliss, but bliss is not a good word for many of the animal products I was eating. I eat about 80% less animal foods than before, but, converting is not always easy.¬†So if¬†you want to¬†eat more vegan foods, be it for moral, health reasons or both, I will continue to share my¬†successes in vegan and vegetarian cuisine¬†with the¬†hope that¬†it will lead to more people¬†eating¬†more fresh, whole plant foods, as that is what the data says is most healthy.

My latest vegetarian creation was a Portabella BBQ Western Burger. Compare the nutrient value of this delectable dish with a typical beef hamburger. This mouthwatering creation has 220 fewer calories, 7 grams less saturated fat, 17 grams less total fat, 60 milligrams less sodium, 80 mg less cholesterol and much more fiber than a beef burger does.

Portabella BBQ Western Burger

Ingredients:

1 portabella mushroom

1 whole-grain hamburger bun

1 tablespoon barbecue sauce

1 onion slice

1 tomato slice

1 piece lettuce

2 slices mozzarella or vegan cheese

Non-stick cooking spray or 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Directions:

Sauté mushroom in oil or cooking spray for 2-3 minutes. Turn mushroom over, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Toast bun for 1 minute. Place mushroom on lightly toasted bun and place cheese slices on top. Set in oven open-face or closed, and bake or broil until cheese is melted (2-3 minutes).  Remove. Add barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion and slice in half (as it may get messy). Serve and enjoy!

Adaptations: You could use a teriyaki or other sauce instead of barbecue sauce. Get creative. Some of the most delicious meals I have cooked were based on what I had in the garden, cupboard or fridge!

 

Vegan Goulash – By Beth Kahn, Dietitian

So what to make for dinner? Tonight I answered that question by creating a delicious and simple, vegan dish. Try this easy recipe to enjoy a low-cal, healthy and hearty meal.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup quinoa grain

1 vegan sausage, sliced

1 half onion, sliced

1 teaspoon vegetable oil or non-stick cooking spray

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce, spices or other flavored sauce

1 portabella mushroom, sliced

1/2 cup frozen peas

Directions: Cook quinoa per instructions and set aside. Blanch frozen peas in hot water. Set aside. Saute onion, mushrooms and sausage in oil or non-stick cooking spray for 2-3 minutes. Add peas, sauce or spices and stir until heated. Add sausage mixture to quinoa. Serve, enjoy and feel and look great! Serves 2.

Note: Many other vegetables can be added in place of peas. For example, try adding fresh spinach or chopped broccoli.