Who doesn’t love traditional stuffing? I remember I made my first allergen (top 8) free Thanksgiving meal in 2005. This was necessitated when I first found out that my son had various medical conditions, at that time it wasn’t even clear if he could eat food since we were still exploring whether he could tolerate a top 8 allergen free diet or not. Without going into the complex medical details, I felt that this was the make or break Thanksgiving. So I made a completely allergen free meal-meaning no dairy, wheat (gluten), eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish. But how can you make a tasty, traditional meal without all this?
I thought I perfected holiday meals but now it was a new set of rules, still driven by the same goal.
Stuffing was a challenge-make a gluten free bread (every baked item can be cross contaminated so store brought bread is not an option), substitutions for eggs and so forth. The meal was a success. The family was expecting a tasteless bland meal for the “good of the child.” Instead they got a tasty traditional meal but so much better, healthier.
Since then I’ve added eggs, soy, wheat and fish back because we no longer have to avoid this.
Many may say “Oh yes, I wish I could eat and provide a healthier diet, but I’m not a full time stay at home mom, so I need my unhealthy processed food because it saves me time.” Well, I’m not a “stay at home mom” either. I’m a single mother with a full time career, a long daily commute, with three dogs and a son with all kinds of food related health challenges (my daughter doesn’t have these issues, but she is kind of vegan-so my cooking also needs to make her happy).
I’ve had five years to master these techniques. I did quit my career for a while and learned all about how to cook without garbage – let’s call it what it is. But now I’m in production mode. The massive research and experimentation is done. I still research new foods and ingredients, but it’s not a full time job anymore.
As this new blog evolves (not even a day old), I will share tricks and tips about healthier cooking. No, you don’t need to have food allergies or special circumstances to live healthier, be at your optimum weight and not develop diabetes coupled with high cholesterol. It turns out that the old adage: “you are what you eat” is true.
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