Food Allergy Kid- MDO Lunch & Snacks

I forgot to post on Wednesday, sorry! I had a few work engagements last week & got a little distracted, but I did remember to take the pictures, so here is Wednesday’s post, via Monday!

One thing that took me a little while to figure out, was how to pack lunch for my son when he had MDO (Mother’s Day Out). It took some trial & error, but eventually I figured it out. You just feed him like you do at home. I feel like it has also gotten easier as he has gotten a little older. Sometimes he gets left over pasta from the night before & sometimes he gets a more traditional school lunch. Here’s what he took last week:

Food Allergy Kid- School Lunches & Snacks www.marissa-dodgen.com

1 Slice of Rudi’s Honey Wheat bread sliced in half with Mara Narth Sunbutter (Sunflower seed Butter) & Cascadian Farms Organic Strawberry Jelly, Kind Vanilla Blueberry Bar (which has become one of his new favorite things), Lundberg Seaweed & Sesame Rice Chips (these are soooooo good!), & 4 washed, sliced strawberries. I always give him Organic Apple Juice cut with water. I know I have scored when his lunch box comes home empty…this lunch was for sure a winner.

For snacks he has discovered what he refers to as “crackers”. A cracker to him is a Lundberg Rice Cake with sunbutter & today a small drizzle of honey. I have noticed with him, like me, he really thrives on a varied diet. He will rebel if he gets the same thing over & over. So I try to continually introduce new foods, textures. & flavors. Plus i really don’t want him to become a picky eater. 

snacks

 

So hopefusnacks2

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Convenient vs Fast Food

One of the things that is the most difficult about clean eating is giving up fast food for its convenience purposes. That has certainly been one of the biggest struggles for our family. But recently we have made the decision to cut back, way back, on fast food (which really isn’t that much compared to a lot of people). Mainly for financial reasons, because it really is a HUGE waste of money, but also for health reasons. I purposely don’t think about the absolute awful quality of fast food because I would probably yack on my shoes. It really does make me nauseated some times to eat out.

So what do you do for convenience when you rule out fast food. Here’s the answer…. The grocery store. If you keep a stocked fridge & panty it is easy to make a meal quickly, almost quicker than you could pick up fast food. Even if you have to run to the grocery store to pick up dinner (like I did this afternoon) it is still just as quick as going to pick up something & a lot cheaper.

So this is how I chose convenience over fast….

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I picked up an Amy’s Meat Lasagna & for the sides I steamed some asparagus (add a little water & salt to a skillet with asparagus. Turn the heat up all the way until the asparagus is hot but still bright green) & roasted the broccoli (drizzle olive oil over broccoli & sprinkle with salt, pepper, & garlic powder. Toss & roast at 425 until the edges start to char) . For dessert, the strawberries that will be used in a smoothie with bananas & whatever else is left over in the freezer.

What I love is that I have a ton of asparagus left over & a little lasagna for lunch tomorrow & the strawberries will be a good breakfast, so it was a far better investment than a quick, nasty meal & so so so much better for our bodies.

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Food Allergy Kid- what does he eat?

By far the question I am asked the most is “what does he eat?”. Which makes me want to ask “well what do you eat?”, but I digress.

Let me back up slightly. My 2 year old was diagnosed with food allergies to eggs, milk, wheat, soy, peanuts, & tree nuts at 13 months. This fall we will be coming up on the 2 year mark for this diagnosis & I can say with all certainty that we have learned to handle it. It has taken multiple ER visits, doctors appointments, tests, & trials to learn how to handle it & what is tolerated verses what is dangerous, but we can handle it.

Through our own food trials (encouraged & monitored by an allergist) we have figured out he can tolerate wheat & tree nuts just fine. I do, however, try to limit his wheat consumption to once a day & only from reliable, organic sources.

So what does he eat? Well what do you eat? Do you eat cardboard boxes, grass, or hay? Neither does he. His diet consists largely of ancient grains, fruit, vegetables, coconut & almond sources of dairy, & meat. think of it like this, if it weren’t for the meat & the honey, he would be a vegan.

I keep a lot of plant-based food sources in his diet, but am very much against soy-based products. I have my own personal issues with the consumption of soy, but for him it is an issue of comfort. His skin reacts heavily & quickly to soy, so we keep it out of his diet. This also means that he & our house are on a very limited amount of processed food.

Thankfully for him, and us, he only has one allergy severe enough to be life threatening & that is eggs. We have watched him have anaphylactic reactions to eggs & it is terrifying, so we don’t even allow eggs in our house. I would rather our house be a safe zone, so I just stopped buying them.

So what does he eat? That’s why I am starting this weekly column; because I get asked that every single time I talk about his food allergies. This was today’s breakfast:

Non-dairy coconut yogurt (vanilla) & Kind coconut granola. He really likes yogurt & I hated having to take it away from him after his tree nut diagnosis, but thankfully he is handling tree-nuts just fine & we have found some good sources for yogurt.

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Another frequent breakfast is a Vans GF Waffle with almond or Sunflower butter & local, organic, or raw honey & fruit:

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Then there’s also the organic Whole wheat bread with a seed or nut butter & honey & almond milk or organic apple juice:

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How stretch marks & an 8 week old baby healed me

There is something that most people who know me today don’t know about me & it has everything to do with how I arrived at this place in my life as far as my passion for food & health.

Around the time I was 12, I started exercising & reading about clean eating. But it started to take on a life of its own & become an obsession. My all or nothing personality led me straight into full-blown exercise bulimia.

Exercise bulimia?! What is that? Exercise bulimia is a type of bulimia that is characterized by eating a lot of food & following that process up by excessive amounts of exercise. In my case excessive was 4-5 hours of lifting weights, cardio, & yoga….a day. Every day. For years. EB is not quite as physically destructive as traditional bulimia or anorexia, but it is every bit as destructive mentally.

I never looked like I had an issue. I looked healthy & I was really strong & in good shape. I mean, I could out lift half the guys in my PE classes in High School. But I was struggling mentally. Every time I ate I would be thinking about how much it was going to take to undo the effects of what I was eating. Ever food had 2 labels attached to it, good or bad & calories.

As high school came to a close I started to deal with it better, but still had issues. The day I realized it was a problem, I had come down stairs & asked my parents if my outfit for senior pictures looked ok & if my arms looked fat. I don’t remember what they said, but whatever it was sent me into a tail spin & I freaked out. I was gasping for air after running to my room & cried for hours. I was not happy the day of my pictures & I can see that sadness when I look at my senior pictures.

That day, however, was a turning point for me because I realized I had a major problem & was headed down a troubled & dangerous path. As I entered college I started to make a change & was eating better in order to maintain my shape without having to exercise excessively. I got my personal training certification & started to work at a gym. But even through college & after getting married, that demon of bulimia was still sneaking in the back door & controlling my thoughts.

When I got pregnant with my son, I would say my actions where under control, but I still had food issues. Most people eat when they are stressed or upset. I venture the opposite way & won’t eat but maybe once for days, until I’m no longer upset. After my son was born, I dealt with baby blues for about 3 weeks & would go an entire day without eating, which is not good for a nursing mom to do.

Following his birth & his health issues, I began to really understand what I had put my body through for the 10 years I struggled with EB. I started to understand the dynamics of food & our bodies. But it wasn’t until a month ago that I made peace with my body & my teenage self.

One morning I took a yoga class when my daughter was about 8 weeks old. I rocked it out. I couldn’t believe how quickly my body had bounced back. It took 15 months after my son, what I was doing 8 weeks post baby the second time. I was so impressed & shocked that I went home & looked at myself & said “I’m ok!”

It took 17 years to undo the mental damage that EB did to me. That I did to myself. But I praise God for stretch marks & a post baby body.

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Sausage Pepper Pasta || Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-free

I LOVE when a recipe comes together perfectly the first time. LOVE IT! This was one of those recipes. The funny thing was it started out as something else but as I started to make, this, recipe I realized I left most of the ingredients off of my grocery list. Luckily, I have a pretty well stocked kitchen so I was able to improvise. Oddly enough, as I started improvising I realized some of my kitchen staples where missing too. 

Sausage Pepper Pasta- www.marissa-dodgen.com

Where the original recipe called for multi-colored peppers, I only had red. It called for 28 oz of diced tomatoes, but I didn’t have the can i thought I did, so I used 2 steak tomatoes I had sitting out. I was going to substitute beef stock for the juice in the diced tomatoes, but to my surprise, I didn’t have that either. So I used 2 cups of water instead (this substitution usually requires a little more seasoning & extra cooking time to develop the flavors). The recipe also called for wine. Now, here’s the thing…I don’t really drink & when I do it is at a restaurant. So I am not going to keep wine or alcohol at my house just to cook with it. Because of that, a while back I had done a little research on wine or alcohol substiutions to achieve similar flavors- One of those subs in vinegar. I had white wine vinegar, so i figured the zip from the vinegar would replace the very slight, zip of the wine. 

Sausage Pepper Pasta- www.marissa-dodgen.com

I was so right! That little bit of vinegar, totally made the dish. So yummy!  By adding the pasta straight from the water to the sauce, the starch helps to create a beautiful velvety sauce, so don’t drain & especially don’t rinse your pasta before adding it to the sauce. 

 

Sausage Pepper Pasta- www.marissa-dodgen.com

The only thing I may do differently next time is peel my pepper & tomatoes- to peel a pepper place it under the boiler till it starts to char, remove it from the oven & seal it in a zipper bag for 10-15 minutes to steam. Using a kitchen towel or paper towel, you should be able to scrape the skins right off. To peel a tomato, bring a pot of water to a boil, score an x in the bottom of the tomato & place it in the boiling water for about a minute. The skin should loosen just enough to peel it. 

***as with all my recipes please use organic or local. if you must pick & chose, use organic sausage, peppers, tomatoes, & pasta. Vinegar is also a great place to go organic because many vinegars are derived from corn which is the #1 gmo crop.  

Sausage Pepper Pasta
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tble olive oil
  2. 1 lb mild breakfast sausage, thawed
  3. 1 sweet or vidallia onion, peeled & sliced
  4. 2 red bell peppers, seeded & sliced
  5. 4 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
  6. 1 tsp salt
  7. 1 tsp black pepper
  8. 2 large steak tomatoes, diced- do not discard the juice
  9. 1/2 c white wine vinegar
  10. 2 c water
  11. 2 tble fresh basil, chopped
  12. 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
  13. 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  14. 16 oz pasta, flat pasta like tagliatelle or fettuccine
Instructions
  1. add olive oil & sausage to a large stock pot. Brown & crumble sausage. When completely cooked, spoon sausage out of the pot leaving the reserved oil.
  2. Add peppers, oinions, garlic, salt, & black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes on med-high heat until vegetables start to soften & slightly brown.
  3. Add tomatoes & juice to the vegetables & stir. Allow mixture to cook for about 5 more minutes.
  4. Add vinegar, water, sausage, basil, & seasonings & stir to combine. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occationally to keep from sticking.
  5. In the meantime, cook pasta accoridng to package directions for about 10 minutes, but do not drain or rinse.
  6. Once pasta is cooked, add striaght from pasta water to sauce. Turn heat down to med-low & cook for 5 more minutes to allow flavors to come together.
Notes
  1. For a Vegan or Vegetarian option, leave the sausage out, but add one additional pepper.
  2. For a Gluten Free option, use a gluten free pasta or vegetable like zucchini or spaghetti squash.
  3. Use a large pot to cook pasta & stir as soon as it is added to the water to keep it from sticking.
Marissa Dodgen || Photographer & Food Blogger http://www.marissa-dodgen.com/
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