What Do You Even Eat?!

When people hear of all the foods I must avoid (for myself or Leo), I’m met with looks of disbelief and questions about what I do eat. The answer: quite a lot of things, actually.

First, the list of what I can’t eat: dairy, soy, eggs, alcohol, nightshades, beef, pork, almonds, fatty foods. Technically I can eat almonds, but my husband can’t so I don’t keep them in the house. I have some nightshade intolerance, but the rest is because of Leo’s intolerances (whether from his gallstones or not, I don’t know).

At first, that list is daunting. After all, when I started figuring out these things I was practically living on eggs and dairy. But I have since found acceptable substitutes. While nothing can replace an egg salad sandwich, I can replace eggs in baking with flaxseed meal. Rice milk, while thinner than cow’s milk, works in most things for me. I can even make a decent white sauce with it! Earth Balance Soy Free is pretty good. There’s good chicken sausage that I can eat in moderation. I make everything from scratch, which certainly tastes good.

After 9 months of this diet, I really don’t miss most of the things any more. Ok, there are times when I get frustrated. It gets annoying having to scrupulously check labels for everything to look for hidden soy (it’s in everything!). Eating out is impossible unless I want Mellow Mushroom; while good, I do get tired of just eating there. I know others in the household can get annoyed with my dietary requirements, so I do try to accommodate them by making more than enough of one meal so I can have left-overs while they have something different the next night (tonight, for example, I’m letting Kieran make his fave dish, French onion soup, while I have the pasta from last night).

I also have people tell me they couldn’t do my diet. My answer: yes, you could. If your child had these intolerances, you’d find the motivation and strength to do this. I am not a martyr, just a mother trying to give her baby the best start. I feel certain that doing this is why he’s doing so well and hasn’t needed his gallbladder removed yet. (If i slip, he is miserable and sometimes has a gallbladder attack, so i try to be careful.) So I’ll keep it up, knowing it’s helping Leo.

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