Many people with chronic illnesses develop food allergies. I am one of them. Two years ago I developed an allergy to nearly every fruit and most vegetables, which made my diet very limited. Unfortunately, when one eats the same foods over and over, it increases the likelihood of developing a sensitivity to that specific food, so over the past year I have rapidly developed sensitivities to nearly every food I have introduced into my diet. It’s hard enough to be sick, but then to have all the foods you like get ripped away from you one by one… Feels like a punch to the stomach every time.
On top of my developed allergies and sensitivities, I also have to follow a very strict low carb and no sugar diet for the mold treatment to be successful. Carbs and sugar feed viruses and everything we are trying to get out of my body, so for the past year I’ve had to be as low carb as possible. That, unfortunately, took out a few of the only foods I could still eat, which limited my diet even more. And now, on top of it all, I have been diagnosed with histamine intolerance due to some genetic mutations, so I have to eat only low histamine foods, which basically cuts out the last few foods I could eat. Because of this, I’m not able to fully commit to a low histamine diet yet. Not until I’m able to gain back some of the old foods I’ve become sensitive to.
But one great thing that came out of this unfortunate situation was my love for finding unique foods to cook. I scoured the Internet on websites such as Pinterest and various Paleo blogs to find low carb, no sugar, dairy-free, wheat-free, soy-free, no grain, no anything, Rachel-approved meals. Suffice to say, I didn’t usually find much, but I became really good at altering recipes to fit my needs. Almond flour and coconut flour—those are my two homeboys.
I have a few favorite foods that I’d like to share for those with similar dietary restrictions. The first being my famous yam with cinnamon and butter dish. It’s very simple. Take a yam or sweet potato, poke holes in it and stick it in the microwave for about 8 minutes. (Microwaves vary) It should come out nice and soft. Squish it down with a fork and lather it with butter. Any butter will do. First I did cow’s butter. Then I had to eliminate that so it was on to goat butter. Then I became allergic to all things goat so it was on to Earth Balance Coconut Spread. Once the butter is fully coating the yam, pour on a bunch of cinnamon. Stir it all together and you have a truly delicious yam dessert! I was also pretty low in sodium so I would put a shake or two of salt on it, but that’s totally optional.
I had that baby almost every night for a number of months. It shouldn’t have been a big surprise when I finally became sensitive to it and had to say goodbye to my delicious yam dish. But for those who still have yams in their life, I highly recommend this! It doesn’t need any added sweetener—the yam makes it just perfect!
One of the best finds actually came from my mom, who stumbled upon Paleo Coconut Flakes cereal at Whole Foods, made by Julian Bakery. The only ingredients are: coconut meat, coconut water, and palm starch *from a sustainable source. It is the only cereal I can eat and it actually tastes good! It’s sort of the consistency of crumbly corn flakes, and I’ve actually grown to like it just plain on its own. I think it tastes almost like cookie pieces, so I often consider it my dessert for the day. But when I want to eat it as a cereal, here’s my recipe: Paleo Coconut Flakes, chia seeds, flax seeds, Camelina seeds (I get them from the farmers market where I live…not sure how widespread they are, but they are similar to chia seeds…) sprouted sunflower seeds, unsweetened goji berries, shredded coconut (because who doesn’t want to put coconut on top of coconut?) and to finish it off, coconut milk. I sometimes add cinnamon to give it an extra kick. I would definitely add nuts if you can. Same goes for fresh fruit. They would certainly add to the whole experience. By dumping all the seeds and goji berries in there, it definitely feels more like a granola. It’s really good, and for those of us with multiple food sensitivities, we are lucky that cereal like this exists!
The same company that produces Paleo Coconut Flakes also makes these amazing Paleo Wraps. Holy cow they are so delicious! I got them based on the fact that I liked the cereal, but I had no idea how wonderful these tortilla-like wraps would be! There are two versions: plain and turmeric. The ingredients for the plain ones are: coconut meat, coconut water, and unrefined virgin coconut oil. Same goes for the turmeric one, except that one obviously has turmeric as well. They are both so tasty! They have such a great flavor, and they hold together ridiculously well. You can treat them like you would any normal tortilla.
Here’s my favorite recipe for the Paleo Wraps. Cook up some grass-fed ground beef or ground lamb, add sautéed bell peppers, onion, leek, and fresh minced garlic. Combine with salt and pepper and put mixture inside the wrap. Eat with a smile, because it tastes so great!
Another food that I hadn’t eaten for a long time was bread. I lasted quite some time without being too bummed out about it, but finally I had had enough. I wanted bread and I needed to find a way to make that happen. So I looked online and found out how to make a simple and actually quite tasty little thing of bread!
¼ cup almond flour
1 tablespoon coconut flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 egg (one flax egg for me since I can’t do eggs)
½ tablespoon coconut oil
Okay, so first off, the egg had to go. I looked online and learned about “flax eggs” which can replace an egg in most recipes. Mix together 1 tablespoon of flax meal with 2.5 tablespoons of water. This equals one egg. Let it sit in the fridge for 5 minute to firm up, and once it’s ready, put it in the recipe like you would an egg. The consistency makes the flaxmeal act like an egg would. I now do this all the time and it works great!
Here’s what you do:
Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add in the wet ones. Transfer the whole thing to a greased microwave safe dish. I use a 3-inch round microwave bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and flip the bread over in the dish. Microwave for another 2 minutes. You want the bread to be less wet, so sometimes I have to microwave once more. As soon as it’s to your liking, take it out, cut it in half, and place both halves in the toaster. Top with butter or whatever you usually top bread with, and enjoy! It’s actually quite good, and it’s a super fast way to get tasty bread!
One last recipe that has been a life changer is vanilla coconut ice cream. WHAT?!? Yeah, you heard me! And the crazy part is that it tastes like normal ice cream, yet it’s only sweetened with one packet of stevia.
What you’ll need:
2 cans of full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
One packet of stevia
A little bit of regular coconut milk not from a can (I like the unsweetened SoDelicious brand.)
What to do if you don’t have an ice cream maker:
Stir together the two cans of coconut milk to make them nice and creamy without lumps. Then pour into a rimmed cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 2-3 hours. Once frozen, break into smaller pieces and put in a food processor or blender (something that won’t get broken by ice) and blend it up. Add in a little bit of vanilla (to taste) and pour in a little regular coconut milk, not from the can. The original recipe didn’t call for the regular coconut milk, but the consistency wasn’t normal until I added in just a bit. Go figure. Then add the packet of stevia and you’re good to go! The ice cream is ready when the consistency is that of normal ice cream. It’s SO delicious, oh my goodness! I hadn’t had ice cream for years and I thought I’d never have ice cream again! This was a game changer.
Now, if you happen to have an ice cream maker (I ended up buying one because it was so worth it…) then just dump all the ingredients in the ice cream maker like you would with any other home made ice cream. I think it tastes great with some shredded coconut, but feel free to add in nuts, fruit, seeds…you name it. So good!!
For those who prefer audio over text, I’ve recorded myself reading the blog here: