Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Menu planning just got a whole lot harder

Just as I was getting right back into the swing of things after our house move, a new dietary challenge begins.
Blossom (16yo daughter) has had some niggling health issues over the last two years. Our previous doctors always said, "She'll grow out of them..." and so we tried their few suggestions, but no relief. Now here we are years later and finally, a doctor who listened to every symptom Blossom had written down. \o/ She didn't just listen, she asked questions, arranged numerous blood tests, AND believes that all/most of Blossom's symptoms are caused by food intolerances - dairy is one we were pretty sure about all along, but now we're looking at salicylates and amines, preservatives and artificial additives. 
Our doctor has put Blossom on the Failsafe Elimination Diet. This is no easy diet. It is a very restrictive menu, and requires me to spend a good portion of my day preparing meals with the allowed food items - but I am so grateful to find a course that may bring Blossom's health back. 
You can read all about the Failsafe program HERE.
 Here is a rough picture study of what she can use in meals...
The only fruit is peeled soft pears, or tinned pears in syrup. The only vegetables are those shown above, plus thickly peeled potatoes. She can eat skinned chicken...
...which I marinate in garlic, shallots, maple syrup and sunflower oil. 
Fortunately she can eat rice and pasta, so we made a fried rice with last night's chicken. The 'sauce' is made with golden syrup and water. Bizarre, I know, but not bad to taste.
I have made Pear Jam, Pear Chutney, Pear Ketchup. These are her only condiments. In place of peanut butter (not allowed) I made Cashew Maple Butter, which tasted 'better than peanut butter' according to her, and I agree. 
The only drinks are water, decaffeinated coffee, soy milk, and 'magic' cordial - this is made with citric acid/sugar/water and is used diluted with water (or soda water for a sparkly drink).
Fortunately she can still have flour and eggs, so I made pancakes for breakfast, and pear muffins for snacks. 
Because we are a family, and also because some of us share the same physical symptoms that Blossom has, I am on the Failsafe Elimination Diet with her, and my husband is going to try and stay as close to it as possible. This is great because I can make most meals to suit everyone, just need to tweak them to conform with the Failsafe menu items. My 17yo son isn't keen, but he's not complaining about the meals so far. I even managed to alter a lemon syrup cake recipe to please everyone's palate - and it doesn't even have lemon in it! 
I used some citric acid with sugar and water - boiled in down to 1/2 and poured it over the cake. Wonderful! 
As long as the sweet tooths in the family can have their dessert fix, they will play along. 
Tomorrow's breakfast is rolled oats with soy milk and brown sugar, morning tea will be rice cakes with cashew maple butter, then chicken/lettuce/egg salad Mountain bread wraps for lunch. After that? No idea!! 
Have you ever tried Failsafe eating?
Healthy Hugs


Leanne said...

Hi I stumbled onto your blog. Just want to give you some encouragement - living on limited diet gets easier. DS is severely allergic to milk & dairy, eggs, fish, nuts - intolerant to wheat, gluten.

DD intolerant to dairy - we are facing taking wheat & gluten out of her diet too.

All the best!

love Leanne Nz

BubzRugz said...

You are already finding all sorts of ways to make great food with limited ingredients...... Glad you are getting to the bottom of health issues - much better than just not knowing and having to 'live with it'... All the best... Hugz

Jan said...

Jenny I think you are wonderful to embrace the new diet for your family. If I ahd the energy I would like to embark on this diet too. But with the family I have there is ni chance.
I hope your family enjoy great health.

Dot said...

You are a wonderful mother embracing these changes wholeheartedly for you family.

I'm so pleased to read that you found a doctor that appears to understand and believe that food may well be the cause of many ailments. I also have issues with certain foods but in 30 years have never been able to find a doctor that takes me seriously with my health problems. (sigh) I rarely get more than "take Panadol" when I explain all my health problems. I will press on and may be one day be blessed with such a doctor.

I looked at Failsafe several years ago but found it very dificult cooking separately for my family whilst struggling with my own health issues. It was just easier to put up with what I had been since my teens than to change. Maybe reading about your efforts will encourage me to persist.

I just love reading about your pursuit for better health Jenny. You are a blessing to me. :o)