You do not like Green Eggs and Ham?

Yes – this is another post about food!

I love food – have you gathered that yet? Most of my posts the last few months have been about food, and I am still very much into exploring the seemingly endless possibilities this ‘restricted diet’ has revealed to me. The Real Food Challenge with Nourished Kitchen has also re-kindled an interest in the quality of the food I eat and it has all come at a really good time for me: pregnancy is a great time to become really conscious of the food you eat!!

There are quite a few items I can’t eat at the moment: wheat, rye, spelt and barley cause minor pain associated with digestive problems, also I suspect they contribute to my asthma. Cow’s milk dairy is a definite contributor to my asthma – an instant response! Some nightshades, particularly potato cause itchy hands, face, throat and instant pain in my stomach, back and neck. I’m not convinced tomato is that bad for me, but for now I am avoiding all nightshades (tomato, potato, capsicum, eggplant, chillies). There is also shellfish and soy, which (as Melissa put it so well) is not my friend, and a list of fruits that are testing as toxic for me at the moment too. These are all good, nourishing foods – just not good for me. I also cannot tolerate any amount of preservative (without dissolving into a sea of snot and sneezes) and life is much better and happier for me without any additives at all actually.

I don’t know how long I’m going to have to avoid those foods. I think for gluten, dairy and potatoes … maybe forever. With the others it might be just until the end of my pregnancy. So with a list like that you’d think it doesn’t leave much for me to eat. And that is the question I get asked most often …. what CAN I eat?

Well, if I step outside of my home then the answer is … not much. I don’t leave home without snacks any more because the world just isn’t ready for people who need to live life without the ‘usual’ ingredients. Our society is so reliant on wheat and dairy! I never realized it before. Sure gluten-free is coming in strong now – it is even trendy – and you may be lucky to be offered at least one gluten-free option in a cafe, but I can’t even buy the usual gluten-free products because they usually contain soy and potato flour as an alternative (I never realized how common soy is as an ingredient!). Restaurants are more likely to offer you the same foods as everyone else, but without the gluten or dairy – or any other alternative. My worst experience so far was being served a lunch at a restaurant that provided me with allergy-friendly dips, but nothing to dip in them. After this came a delicious salmon made flavourless because it was served without the sauce it is usually offered with (it contained dairy). No dessert. That was chocolate mud cake for everyone else. Nothing like watching other people eat dessert when all you’ve had to eat is a bit of dry salmon and about 4 green beans! I went home hungry and cranky that day. You’d think chefs would get excited about a food challenge, but no, I think they get pissed off. Another fussy eater. Sushi is about my limit in terms of eating out.

Inside my home, however, my kitchen is a busy place. I think that my kitchen sighs in relief at the end of the day. Here, there is PLENTY to eat, and this is the most fun I’ve had with food since …EVER! Nothing like being told you CAN’T do something is there? I think these are the times when the Universe is trying to shake and wake us up a bit. See if we can rise to a challenge.

In the last two months I have learned there is life beyond the usual foods. I’ve been forced to become creative – not to view my diet as a bunch of things I can’t have … but as an opportunity to look at how many other foods there are to eat. For example, while I put onion and garlic in almost everything, I never realised how reliant I was on tamari for flavour in my foods … a sprinkle of tamari would go in everything! Now I’m back into using a few teaspoons of selected spice, fresh herbs, vegetables like fennel and spring onions, home-made chicken or beef stock. Back to raw and basic ingredients.

I’ve been inspired by the Real Food Challenge, through cookbooks like Nourishing Traditions and Recipes to the Rescue, and also have discovered the wide and thrilling world of food blogs! Now I have in my kitchen all I need for making ALL of my own food. I’ve never bought packet mixes or pre-made sauces. I like to cook my own cookies and cakes. My parents taught me to cook from scratch and I continued to do so, but in the last three months I have learned how to do away with everything else I would buy that are considered ‘staple foods’ in a kitchen: I can make my own sourdough bread, crackers (no more tasteless and nutritionally void rice or corn crackers!), cream cheese, fermented vegetables, yogurt, pate (liver!), ghee, stock, pasta, sprouted flour, sprouted legumes, grains and seeds, oat milk, almond milk, nut butter, coconut butter …. EVERY meal is made from scratch using fresh ingredients and using them in a way that preserves or enhances their nutritional potential. I have even conquered pizza – that glorious tribute to wheat, tomato and cheese!

It takes a bit of planning, and a bit of preparation. I’m still not much good at menu planning, but there is always something soaking, drying, boiling and some days there are three of four meals going at once – in various stages of preparation. It is an exciting place to be … and it is lucky I like cooking!

So when I get the questions about my adventurous eating, and using foods that aren’t commonplace in most households any more (whoever heard of beetroot and carrot pasta sauce or fermented carrots? Who in their right mind would voluntarily eat offal? Why bother sprouting rice before you eat it? How could you contemplate sheep’s cheese?) I can’t help thinking of a few lines from the end of the Dr Seuss Book Green Eggs and Ham:


You do not like them,

So you say.

Try them! Try them!

And you may!

Try them and you may, I say!


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6 thoughts on “You do not like Green Eggs and Ham?

  1. Hi, I’m a friend of Rebecca’s. I haven’t been onto your blog before but your latest blog took my interest. I think you are brave and disciplined to be making all your own food. It’s great that you have researched what is in the food you eat to such a degree. I was just wondering though, as I don’t know how old your children are, that when they get older and have sleep overs or go to other peoples houses for dinner, do you worry that they will have a reaction to food that other people cook and processed foods, that they may have built up an intolerance to certain foods. Sorry, I don’t mean to come across as a smart arse, I was just wondering. I would love to be more creative and cook more things from scratch. I love a lot of vegetarian meals, but unfortunately, my family don’t share my love of lentils, lol. I definately need a bigger kitchen and a food processor.

    • Hi Kelly, lentils can be hidden in anything! I put them in almost every soup (red lentils just dissolve!) and in the bolognaise sauce (which is where I intend to put the liver too!).

      In answer to your question about my children – they are young – five and two with another on the way – I always think about what they eat. My family know about what we value in our food and do their best to provide for this when we come over (with the occasional treat) but fortunately both David and I come from families that eat really good food. As for friends – well I am not alone in my world of eating! I don’t worry about my friends providing my children with food. They cope well with most foods although dairy isn’t great for them either. The odd preservative can send them a bit nuts for 24 hours – but that is something you can plan for! We haven’t hit the world of sleep overs yet. I’ll cross that bridge when we come to it 🙂

      And yes … I love my food processor!

      Jennifer

    • I saw this linked from Nourished Kitchen on FB and had a thunk… might it not be advantageous if kids never build up a tolerance to this stuff? The more parents turn to real food and eschew the industrial stuff, the less the kids tolerate the industrial stuff, the more demand there will be for food sources that don’t involve a factory or fake fillers or questionable chemicals.

      Also, unless you’re Jewish or vegan (and sometimes Muslim, though I notice that’s as often mocked as respected), people have more respect for you if you can’t have a food than if you won’t have one. Heaven forbid you have an opinion about what foods are healthy and which not, but if the stuff gives you hives, well that’s OK. Hives yes, diabetes in ten years no… I guess people only take it seriously when it’s immediate and apparent. :/

    • Oh and, I’m pretty sure that intolerance thing is going to happen to some extent. I say that because I started out in life using bath and body and cleaning supplies that were for the most part synthetic (born in 1974, grew up in the 80s). Then when I learned about natural body care and that kind of thing, I switched. Years later I wound up using synthetics again because that was what was “in the budget.” I immediately began breaking out in a rash all over my forearms. It’s amazing what you can make room for in your budget when it’s that or itch.

      I’m not positive the sensitivity came from that long period of abstinence. Other stuff was going on with me too, at the time–I think my liver was starting to be bogged down, for one thing. But I’m sure lack of contact didn’t exactly help me maintain resistance.

  2. I’ve thought some more about the issue of food and my children …. they eat the food I eat because it is easier for me not to make two separate meals and because I think it is healthy that they vary their grains and not become dependent on wheat for every meal.

    I can also monitor how much they eat in terms of healthy fats and sugars.

    But it is about balance isn’t it? I can’t live alone in my little bubble, lovely though it is. It is the same for everything – food, parenting, work, lifestyle … you have to go with it and trust that the foundations you have laid are sufficient for your children to cope with most other situations. I don’t like my children eating preservatives and colourings, nor even foods like sweet yogurts – they both react instantly in behaviour and in their health. But it isn’t all the time they have these things, and when we see their behaviour change then we adjust our our daily activities to help them release what they need to release and find their own balance again. When they are older I expect they’ll be able to do this for themselves – and also have the knowledge within themselves about what makes them feel good and what doesn’t. It is my hope that by making nutrition a part of our every day life in conversation as well as meals, and talking about how we feel when we eat certain foods, that they will develop this awareness within their own bodies and be able to self-monitor themselves.

  3. Jennifer,
    I’ll bet your kids will be fine! My sister raised her daughter and son with a good solid base in good, healthy food. They are 7 and 12 and will still choose to drink water at restaurants, eat the heck out of some fruits and veggies, and enjoy a wide variety of different types of meats and dishes. I’m amazed sometimes at their choices, since they are not what you would expect from a typical American child.

    My husband and I have just started our “real food” journey, so we are in the process of learning how to eat again. Sounds strange, but we realized that we are too dependent on restaurants, fast food, and packaged foods much to our detriment. Now, we eat “real” foods, cook at home every day, and find ourselves feeling better and losing weight. It’s been a real eye-opening experience!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences!
    MiMi

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