Earlier this week I enjoyed a little quality time with my friend Bebe and her kids at the pool. As so often happens, we started talking about food and its chemistry. We may have had these deep conversations about ingredients because we met while students at the “nerdy” high school and secretly loved Biology class. But if that wasn’t motivation enough, Bebe’s youngest son, Roe, has been diagnosed with severe food allergies forcing her to analyze every bite and sip he takes. She has put so much effort into learning how to help her son thrive without triggering Eosinaphilic Esophagitis that she inspires me to try harder with my own kids.
I love talking food with Bebe because in a society that has adopted the rather dangerous food philosophy that “it can’t hurt” when manipulating food flavors and colors, Bebe has proof that actually it can. Roe is allergic to dairy, pork, beef, gluten, soy, and food dyes. Every kid loves treats like apple juice, Skittles, and ice cream—harmless, right? Obviously with Roe the ice cream would have to be dairy free, but did you know that most ice cream has gelatin in it (even the dairy free)? So do Skittles! And some brands of apple juice use gelatin to filter for clarity but don’t disclose it as an ingredient on the label. In case you’ve forgotten, gelatin is a made with pork and beef! Most candies, ice cream, yogurt, marshmallows, and many other seemingly vegetarian foods aren’t vegetarian at all. It wasn’t that long ago that one of the biggest fast food chains in America was sued for putting beef products on their fries.
I try to keep the ingredient list short on the foods I feed my family. Why pretend to make food better by complicating it with hard to pronounce chemicals and compounds? But are you REALLY reading and understanding the labels of the foods you are feeding your family? There are so many culprits that appeal to us with their seemingly healthy labels, though a different truth is revealed in the fine print of their ingredient list . When was the last time you found a loaf of bread that didn’t have the word “soy” on the label? Even the “dry roasted” almonds I bought on sale last week smuggled Mono Sodium Glutamate into my home. We all need to be more aware of the things we eat. Did you know that “Natural Flavorings” on an ingredient label can actually mean Mono Sodium Glutamate, animal products, or many other things that may not be good for you?
Try more whole foods, make more yourself, and do what you can to eat healthier. I know this is sometimes a struggle. I am with you on that! This can make it really challenging to feed a picky kid who needs to fuel their growing body. If you can convince your kid to overcome the fear that many have for something potentially healthy and green, avocados are a wonderful option. Especially when you can’t have dairy but need a creamy treat. They also happen to be readily available at our farmer’s markets and produce departments right now. For the next few days I’m going to share a few allergy- friendly, vegan recipes that feature avocados, along with a few tips about choosing, storing, and enjoying them! You’ll notice the creative names—they’re for Roe!
This is one of my favorite snacks/treats to enjoy—especially for breakfast. It is quick and simple to eat, and the awesome nutrition value of an avocado doesn’t just fill you up but can also help keep your diet healthier.
Dinosaur Eggs (or Alligator Pears)
- 1 ripe avocado
- lemon pepper/garlic salt/or seasoning of choice
Wash avocado and cut all the way around the pit; twist then separate into two halves. Use knife to remove the pit and then season as desired. Eat avocado with a spoon—the peel makes a perfect bowl.