Food allergies/sensitivities are very common among patients at our practice. It is often said that if a problem is chronic, the first place is to look is at your food, especially at your favorite foods. After all, you eat them all the time, right? The conundrum comes when those foods are identified as triggers, and you need to eliminate them from your diet. When I first started here as a patient, my breakfast was an English muffin, lunch was a sandwich, and dinner was typically pasta. (I was born and raised Italian, so it was not entirely my fault.) When Dr. Sprecher told me I had the Celiac gene, it was panic time. Literally, "what am I going to do now?" Turns out, that was the tip of the iceberg. I had sensitivities to eggs, dairy, many grains, and several nuts and seeds. I currently still live by these restrictions in addition to migraine-trigger foods such as vinegar, citrus, deli meats, chocolate and avocado. I have figured out some ways to still enjoy flavorful food without ruining my health in the process. Here are some of my favorite tips:
1. Look at flavored oils. If you are on a restricted diet, chances are you eat lots of sauteed foods, i.e. chicken, vegetables, etc. Flavored oils help boost the taste without adding any sketchy ingredients that are typically found in seasoning mixes. I love going to the Olive Scene in Chagrin Falls...it is like a candy store for people like me. My favorite oils include basil, orange, cilantro and roasted onion and Herbes De Provence. Vinegar options include strawberry, peach, passion fruit, mango and jalapeno. They have locations on the West Side as well. You can check out their website here.
2. Along the same lines, I love finding unique spice mixes. While I usually get them from the Farmer's Market, I recently found Penzey's in Beachwood, which is a store full of spice mixes. (Cinnamon, garlic, shallots, pepper, fajita, vanilla sugar, etc.) Again, another candy store for someone whose options are limited. They are naturally gluten-free according to the website and employees. You can see what they offer here.
3. Garden herbs are a great option at this time of the year. I am lucky to have a daughter who is into gardening and grows her own herbs. Fresh basil, oregano, chives, mint and dill can add amazing taste to just about anything. One of my favorite summer drinks is infused water, with different combinations of fruit and herbs.
I truly don't believe that limited food choices have to mean bland and boring food. Do not hesitate to contact me if you are looking for help brainstorming food ideas! You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.