Sunday, February 23, 2014

Separate meals at the same table

Feeding our family is a little tricky these days, and is continuing to evolve.

Lisa: no grains or starches of any sort, including wheat, rice, corn, potato, sweet potato, soy, beans, gums. No sweeteners other than honey. No banana, no kiwi. “Gluten-free” products almost always use a substitute that she can’t eat. Diet is basically non-starchy vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, cheese, nuts, oils, vinegars, spices. Caveats: meat that has been injected is usually unsafe (this happens a lot with poultry), marinated items are usually unsafe, shredded cheese and nuts often have unsafe starches added, and even spices sometimes have unsafe starches added.

Michael: no shellfish, walnuts, pineapple. No dairy (including milk, cream, sour cream, milk powder, whey, nisin, and lactose). No red meat (beef, pork, lamb).

David: no tree nuts (especially cashew and pistachio), no mango, no pink peppercorn. We carry an epi-pen for him. We do not currently avoid items processed in a facility that also processes tree nuts. Peanuts and coconut are ok.

We spend a lot of time reading lists of ingredients, and we rarely go out to eat these days.
And here’s the biggest problem: unless you’re used to worrying 24/7 about cross-contamination issues, it’s basically impossible to avoid cross-contamination. You drop crumbs into the (no longer) safe food as you pass a roll across the table. You touch a serving spoon to a plate with unsafe food, and then put it into the (no longer) safe food. You spread mustard on a roll using a knife, and then put the knife back into the (no longer) safe mustard jar. And you won’t even notice it.
This is difficult for us, and we don’t want to make it difficult for other people or add to our own stress in worrying about all of this. Unfortunately, good intentions aren’t enough. These aren’t cooties or simple dietary preferences. We’d rather not discuss the gruesome medical details, and trust me that you’d rather not think about them.

We would like to be able to eat with other people. We’ve worked out specific foods that we can eat. If you want us to come over for a meal, please let us bring our own food that we can keep separate. We’d be happy to bring some for you as well if our food appeals to you, and just ask you to keep it separate. We’d like to share your table, enjoy your company, hear your stories, and share some laughs. We just cannot break the same actual bread together.