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Stressing Ourselves Out With Food
Are we making life more difficult than it needs to be?
Almost daily, I talk to a lot of people lamenting about the lack of gluten free, dairy free, nut free, (fill in your specific dietary restriction here) in grocery stores. They often state that their weekly food shopping includes trips to three different stores and the farmers market (or a similar ritual). Having worked in a specialty grocery store for many years and having cooked for myself and my family for many decades, I have to wonder if the search isn’t really for “foods” that will feed a family with dietary restrictions, but for “conveniences”.
Consider that fresh meat and fish (not processed) are naturally gluten free, dairy free, grain free, and nut free. Fruits and vegetables in their natural state are also gluten free, dairy free, grain free, and nut free.
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A number of years ago, I seriously researched switching to a gluten free diet when my mom was diagnosed as celiac and we discovered it could be hereditary. My sons were very young at the time and our thought was that it would be better to get them used to a new diet sooner rather than later.
Her diagnosis was eventually changed, but I kept the knowledge I gained and still apply much of what I learned. Back then (in the late 1990’s), there weren’t many convenience foods that catered to special diet needs so I had to get creative. There weren’t many frozen, shelf stable, or ready made meal options available. Going back to basics (fresh meat and veggies), as well as finding a couple of celiac friendly grains (rice, most oats, and quinoa) was our solution. It was really much simpler than I had imagined it would be.
While I’m not arguing the very real adjustments that need to be made when a family member is diagnosed with a food sensitivity, I am pointing out that sometimes we often make things more complicated, and feel more difficult, than they need to be.
If we’re looking for conveniences (ready made, processed foods), then yes, while the selection may seem limited, consider that just 20 years ago there was virtually nothing in the grocery stores that catered to these many sensitivities. However we don’t really need to find the pre-made microwaveable meal that “tastes just like the family favorite”, but without all the forbidden ingredients.
If we go back to the basics and learn how to cook, we can eliminate much of the stress we put on ourselves to find all the “specialty processed foods” and simply learn to eat whole, wholesome foods again. And, before you start with the “I can’t cook” and “I don’t have time” excuses, you don’t need to be Julia Child to prepare quick, simple, healthy meals in under 30 minutes that your families will enjoy. Heck, back in the day, there was no air fryer or InstantPot to cut cooking time down. The best we had was a crock pot and that took all day!
So, instead of spending hours driving to three different grocery stores each week, we can spend less time gathering a few quick and easy meal recipes for our families. (C’mon, how much time do we spend researching the latest movies, exercise plans, or other random stuff online? Let’s be real!)
Life is about priorities and making choices. When we find ourselves unsatisfied with a particular situation in life, consider how we just might be making it more difficult than it needs to be.
If you’re having trouble with finding or creating recipes that meet your family’s needs, post in the comments and let the community help you out!
If you have discovered other ways we tend to make life more difficult than it should be, post those as well!