A Juggling Act

May 11, 2010

One member of our household (who wishes not to be identified) has been experiencing intestinal pain for a while and I’ve finally convinced said person it is time to get serious about tracking down food causes. So we are investigating dairy and gluten as possible culprits. The plan is to take at least one full week to entirely eliminate each item (one at a time) from the diet, then add it back in and see what happens.

Sounds simple, but it’s so complicated to do. The gluten actually seems easier to me right now than the dairy, since there are small amounts of lactose in things that are made with small amounts of milk and butter, whereas it seems easier to just buy gluten free foods.

We’re trying to test the dairy this week. Sunday was Mother’s Day. Mr. MarthaAndMe made me a nice omelet for breakfast and I said I did not want to attempt to deal with the crowds in restaurants for dinner, so I cooked dinner. I really, desperately wanted fettucine with chicken and broccoli, but felt bad making it with the current dairy restriction for the certain family member (once we do determine what the cause of the problem is, I will make big changes to the entire family’s eating habits to encompass it, but am not going overboard until we figure it out).

I decided since it was Mother’s Day, I deserved to have what I wanted (especially since I was cooking it myself AND since no one had thought to actually run the dishwasher and put away all the breakfast dishes). But I was worried about the person in question, so I came up with a great compromise. I made some gemelli pasta (half a box). Once it was done, I scooped it out of the pasta water and put in some tiny broccoli florets and just let that sit a few minutes and it cooked completely. I cooked three chicken breasts in a pan with about half a jar of pesto. In a separate pan, I made a quick cream sauce with 1/8 stick butter, 1/4 cup cream cheese, 1/4 cup cream and some parmesan cheese to taste (with salt and pepper). I served all the ingredients separately so people could mix and match as they wanted. My thinking was the pesto was enough of a sauce for the pasta and the broccoli could be eaten separately (as could the noodles) for those who don’t like things mixed or with sauces. Those of us who wanted a regular cream sauce pasta dish mixed it all together.

This worked out quite well and was a pretty good solution to the dilemma, I thought. It also tasted really good! Of course, the person in question whined a bit about how he/she wanted the cream sauce, but we all survived.

If you have any tips for me on how to isolate a food allergy, I would really love to hear them. The initial testing isn’t getting us anywhere – no dairy for two days and the pain continues. But from what I’ve read we need to really give it at least a week. If we get nowhere, gluten is next on the list to eliminate. Wish us luck!

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