I read an article today – 8 Things I’ve Learned About Cooking Without Gluten, Dairy, Nuts and Sugar – and I totally related to the author when she said ‘The funny thing is that friends and family seemed more sad about my new diet it than I did!’. Personally, I find, more often than not, the one question I’m asked when I tell people I can’t have dairy, soy, sesame or some preservatives in meat and The Canadian One has diabetes is: ‘So, wait, what do CAN you guys eat?’, like they imagine us sitting around eating salad all day with a balsamic dressing. I think people forget that I know how to cook!
For example ,today we had Steak Fajitas with Homemade Salsa. They were so-so, the fajitas not the salsa. The salsa was nice. I was trying out a new fajita recipe and it didn’t enthrall me. I won’t be making it again. Yesterday, we had Soy-free, Sugar-free Beef Teriyaki with Basmati Rice which The Canadian One SWEARS tasted like seolleongtang! I’m skeptical. Oh seolleongtang how I miss you…A LOT…Although I just bought Maangchi‘s Korean cooking books so I’m hoping her recipe is good. Apparently her Soegogi-muguk is good and looks crazy simple! If you wanna learn to cook easy Korean food check out her website!
Tomorrow we shall be eating Shepherd’s Pie and later in the week, we have Beef and Lentil Tacos and some Irish Stew coming up. Irish Stew is basically just to use up all the leftover vegetables we have before we move on Saturday but still! Speaking of moving, my God, I never realised how much stuff we had until we had to cram it into small boxes. I mean, we’ve only lived in Canada for 18 months, how did we amass so much stuff in such a short period of time?!
Back to the dietary needs, I feel it makes people awkward. They don’t know what to feed me. But the thing is, I don’t feel left out of things. Ever. OK, yes, I once brought my own mayo to a friend’s house back when I was banned from eggs and my own bun to a BBQ but that’s the extent to which this has affected me. I just avoid things like free food days at work or if there is free food, I claim it and then give it away to someone else. But then again, a wonderful manager at work made me a soy-free, dairy-free cake for my going away last day of work last Friday (words cannot express how awesome a: having cake was and b: this cake was!) and whenever we got pizza, my team’s fantastic manager would get me a tiny no-cheese vegetarian just for me. No sharing! It was great. At Thanksgiving this year I had my own separate mashed potatoes and butterless green beans and it wasn’t a big deal. I also had Smirnoff Raspberry Ice Vodka with Moonshine Cherries, just to throw that in there too.
Now, I always bring my own snacks wherever we go – movie theater, trips, friends houses – and most of the time, if I don’t trust a menu of a place, I’ll go with fries! Ah, potatoes, the food of my people. I buy fries so often in the cafeteria, the cashier just now says ‘Small fries?’ whenever she sees me. That’s all I ever get, despite the many many other delicious looking things on the menu.
Has my cooking style changed? Yes.
Do people look sad when I tell them I can’t have many foods? Yes.
Do people get confused and look at me with a sad when I tell them what I can’t eat? Oh yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Though that’s mainly when I tell them I can’t have chocolate.
Has it changed my life? YES! Yes, of course it has! I’m no longer spending my evenings curled up in a little ball hugging my hot bottle telling people I’m never eating again. I’ve gained back the 5kg I lost earlier this year during tests – discussed here – and am maintaining a healthier looking weight. I’ve slowly reintroduced breakfast into my diet and have begun to eat oats again, having FOR YEARS thought I was intolerant to oats but it turned out to be the milk with the oats that was the problem.
And beside, another thing I think people forget is, it could be worse, I could be allergic to vodka.