Cooking is hard in my house lately. On doctor’s orders, we are doing two months of dietary restrictions, and it has thrown all of our eating habits into an uproar.
Confession, I didn’t think it would be this hard. I mean, my husband was already intolerant of gluten, meaning that we have gluten free meals all of the time, essentially. Not to mention that I am part of a blog and business that deals with food allergies and making allergy-friendly foods. So…maybe I went into this diet more than a little prideful about my ability to seamlessly adjust our meals for a measly eight weeks of dietary restriction. But as they say, “pride goeth before a fall”…
I was wrong. It is not going seamlessly.
For one, I can’t seem to find one unified version of the restriction list. This particular set of restrictions is called the FODMAP diet, which, as I understand it, is related to the way that sugars ferment in the intestines. The only problem is that the doctor didn’t provide the list, and Google has yielded searches with multiple different versions. There are some restrictions that are the same across versions (they all agree about tomatoes and cashews for example) but other things that are more variable (bell peppers, some beans versus all beans, types of dairy). So, in an effort to be make the restriction worthwhile, we are holding to the most conservative standards; if I found it on any list, we are doing it.
But this leads to the second obstacle: this diet doesn’t follow the rules about food allergies that my brain has organized itself around. And yes, that is because this isn’t about food allergies–those at least seem to follow some logic or rules around types of food. It absolutely blows my mind that tomatoes are a no, but eggplant is okay, both of which are nightshades. It is harder to believe that almonds or cashews are definitely a no, but pecans are okay, both of which are tree nuts. It’s definitely easier where whole categories have been cut out, like dairy, wheat, and soy. I know how to adjust for that.
The third (and probably) hardest thing for me is that our food buying is all off. Like I have mentioned in the past, I subscribe to a community-supported agriculture (CSA) box that supplies most of our produce. Well, many of the things they deliver aren’t on this diet. Thankfully, the harvest is shifting from summer into fall, which brings many more items that we can eat, as opposed to the summer produce we have been getting. Even so, there are tomatoes and broccoli and so many other things in our fridge that I am struggling to make use of–and I absolutely hate to waste food.
And to make everything harder, this diet essentially means we can’t eat out. Other no-gos on this diet? Garlic and onions and beans. So we have to eat at home. Or we could eat sashimi. Plain. With no soy sauce to dip in.
I only wish that you could see the almost comic range of chagrin, frustration, and melodramatic despair on my face throughout my writing this post. I most certainly have been making them. But even poking fun at myself in this last moment has helped remind me of a few more serious points that I will leave you with: 1) we never master all of the food world; that is, we are always growing and learning new ways of cooking … sometimes because we have to, and 2) even a little humor can go a long way in making it less stressful.
I am going to leave you with this DELICIOUS recipe for pumpkin simple syrup, because it is the perfect time of year for hot pumpkin drinks, and adding pumpkin flavor into your year-round favorites is never a bad thing. Enjoy!
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ cup water
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-low heat so that all of the ingredients are mixed together and the sugar has dissolved completely.
- Let boil for one minute, stirring frequently and then remove from heat.
- Let sit for five minutes so that the syrup begins to thicken slightly.
- Give a good quick stir.
- Strain if desired (the cinnamon has a tendency to create tiny balls).
- Use as desired in drinks, over ice cream, or in baked goods. Be creative!