Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Food Sensitivities to Go!

Recipe: Lacto-Fermented Mayonnaise

I know it's late in the summer season, but it's always helpful to have some helpful hints on traveling with diets outside the cultural norm. A little planning can go a LONG way.

Here are some things that work for my family when we’re traveling.

Supplements - If they're part of your regimen, don’t forget them! A day or two off your regular doses of vitamins and other helpful nutritional powerhouses might be okay, but I find if we try to go too long without we get into trouble. If your bottles are too bulky, count out what you need into snack sized ziplocks and label them with permanent markers.

Air travel - If you’re flying, the snacks offered will not be health friendly. We don’t even look at the packages anymore, just say a polite ‘no thank you’, and ask for a glass of sparkling water or acceptable juice. It’s a good idea to ask to look at a can before it’s served, sometimes there are strange additives in canned juices. For longer flights, you can order special meals, but they will not cover cross sensitivities. Bring what you can to supplement what your obviously can’t eat on the tray.

Remember - no pastes or liquids are permitted on airplanes! Fresh veggies and fruit, boiled eggs, whole avocadoes, some acceptable crackers, cheese if you tolerate it, nut butter, hummus or healthy meat sandwiches are all things that work for us.

Road trips and car camping
- Bring your cooler and pack it with the things you usually eat. Make double meals for a week or two prior to your trip and freeze the second half. You can use the frozen meals to supplement the ice in your cooler for a couple of days, and once thawed, they’ll be good for a few days after that.

Back packing - This will take more planning. Most prepackaged dehydrated foods are packed with hidden additives that will ruin your day. Rice pasta packs well, and all other permitted grains, and you can buy plain dehydrated vegetables or make them yourself to make into soups. Bring some coconut butter or cream in a plastic bag for added richness and energy. Healthy meat jerky and nuts are good protein options.

Hotels - Look for places with at least a refrigerator. If you can afford a place with a kitchenette, go for it! The money and headache you’ll save yourself in having to negotiate restaurants for every meal, or trying to create meals without access to any equipment will be worth it.

Staying with family - Ironically, this can be the most challenging situation we deal with when traveling. One would think it should be the easiest - you’ll have a kitchen available to you, people you’re looking forward to seeing will be there to take care of you, usually a familiar environment you’ll be settling into.

But let’s face it, most of us didn’t grow up knowing about our food intolerances, or how to eat healthily. And most of our, or our spouses family members haven’t gone through this nutritional process of change with us. If you’re lucky your family wants to help and understands the importance of the changes you’ve gone through. But many of us have families that don’t understand, and think you’re making much ado about nothing. That ‘a little cookie won’t hurt, how can you deprive your child of treats. It’s vacation time!’ can undermine months of work you’ve done with your family.

Not to mention that we’re entering the zone of firmly entrenched family patterns here. It’s not just about food, it’s about your relationship with your or your spouses family members, and their spouses, their children.... These can be complex waters to negotiate. You’re introducing a change in the current, and the water will resist, will keep wanting to revert back to it’s original pathway.

This takes planning and sensitivity. Call ahead and explain clearly that things have changed, that you or your child(ren) are sick in various ways, or have been dignosed with allergies. That you’re feeling so much better since you’ve made the changes that your health care professionals have recommended. Keep it simple and matter of fact. Ask for support.

Offer to cook for yourselves. At the very least request an area in the refrigerator and pantry to keep safe products for your family to supplement meals that contain items that are off limits. Because I have cooking skills, a tack I have taken is to offer to shop for and cook dinners for the whole family. It has ruffled feathers a few times, but when I’ve explained how complex our family’s needs are, often people are happier handing the reigns over to me.

If these kinds of requests meet strong resistance, and you can afford it, you may want to consider staying in a hotel and keeping your visits with family more in your control. Keep time spent together around meal times to a minimum, and plan your time together during the days.

And pack your own lunches.

Lacto-Fermented Mayonnaise

I have yet to find a commercial mayonnaise with ingredients I consider healthy. The oils are usually poly-unsaturated and fragile, there's sugar, soy, or ingredients our bodies do not recognize as food. Learning to make your own mayonnaise is simple, and once you get into the rhythm of it, you won't feel the need to compromise your health with expensive packaged products.

1 egg and 1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp live sauerkraut juice (optional)
1/2 tsp mineral salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 - 3 drops stevia extract (optional)
1 1/2 - 2 cups mono-unsaturated oil of choice, sunflower, safflower, or almond recommended, olive will give a stronger flavor

Place all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Mix well in the processor, then add the oil slowly in a steady stream with the processor running the whole time, until the mayonnaise in the desired thickness.

If using the sauerkraut juice, leave the mayonnaise on the counter for 6 - 8 hours to culture before putting in the refrigerator. If not using sauerkraut juice, place in fridge immediately.

The mayonnaise will last 2 - 3 weeks if cultured. If not cultured, discard after one to one and a half weeks.

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday, hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop!

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