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Jun 29, 2013

Freedible :: Because food is not one-size-fits-all {and a little bit of a soapbox rant}

"Because food is not one-size-fits-all."

I love this tag line. It speaks volumes.

So often in this crazy, food-driven society, it seems almost an expectation that everyone is just alike and can eat anything they want whenever they want. We are so focused on food as the center of our daily life. As if our children cannot exert any physical energy without following it up with brightly colored sweets and sugar-laden juices. As if we cannot go grocery shopping without trying a sample of this or that. 

What happens though, when we are NOT all alike? When we CANNOT all eat the same things? Sometimes the response from others goes like this: "Oh no, poor thing. You mean you can't even have ________? That's too bad." 

I tend to get on this particular soapbox often... Being restricted from eating a certain food, or multiple foods, does not mean a person is malnourished or deprived. Yes, it can be difficult. It can be frustrating. Nerve-racking even, for someone with a food allergy, intolerance, or restriction for whatever the reason. 

It takes a little more time at the grocery store. It takes a little more reading, researching and being aware of what is in the food you are about to ingest. But seriously, since when is that a bad thing?! 

We are all so busy cramming as much as we can into this life, we think we need modern day conveniences like fast food and microwaveable meals. Kids can be picky, and sometimes it is just easier to heat up chicken nuggets for every meal than it is to listen to an upset kiddo because they don't want ______ for dinner. I'll admit it. I often sometimes fall victim to a pair of sweet, big, blue eyes and a "but mommy, I want fish sticks for dinner!"

It's hard, I know.

But when you really, really think about it, if we expect to be able to eat the way we do, be oblivious to the ingredients in our foods, choose convenience over nutrition any day of the week.... why then do we not understand why obesity is running rampant in our country? Or why food allergies and intolerances are becoming increasingly more prevalent?

I'll be completely honest... I'm not sure if I would make the effort to eat healthfully if it had not been for Mason's diagnosis with food allergies. In fact, for the first couple of years, I spent so much time learning to read labels, figuring out which brands were best, and how to adapt to his diagnosis that I didn't think about myself at all. I never even considered that the foods I was eating could be having a negative affect on my health. 

I look at food allergies and intolerances as having an enormous silver lining. When you are acutely aware of the ingredients in each and every product you buy, you begin to realize the strangest thing... that you cannot even pronounce a good majority of those ingredients. Does that frighten you as much as it does me? 

Personally, between Mason's milk allergy and my experience with eliminating gluten, I am actually pretty happy about our food restrictions. (I know, you think I'm nuts, right?) Frankly, he and I are much healthier than we would be otherwise. We are reaping incredible health benefits from a diet of mostly healthy, fresh, clean, organic foods. 

I see multitudes of people with one ailment after another and I want so badly to say, "Look at your diet!" 

Now I know that not everything has a direct correlation to the foods we eat, but what if it does? What does anyone stand to lose by cutting out the junk and instead eating good, wholesome, nutritious foods? Sure you may lose a little weight, have increased energy and feel better in general. As for the cons... I'm still waiting to hear of any.

I am going to jump off of that soapbox now, because I want to mention something else. Something positive that is a great resource for anyone who needs a change. Whether the change is necessary due to a recent food allergy diagnosis, discovery of a food intolerance, or warranted because of health issues. Whatever the reason, support is important. It is really tough to know where to start out if you don't have someone to lean on.

Enter Freedible. A new social site and information resource for people with food allergies, intolerances and other restrictions. 

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Cheryl, the founder of Freedible. I checked out the website and at first glance I was hooked. Finally! A place where we can all come together and share information that may be helpful for someone who is just stepping into these shoes. 

By joining the Freedible community, you can create a profile, set your dietary preferences, and seek out others who may be in the same boat. Search recipes, try them out and review them. Even join or start a discussion group to share insight with others in the community.

I absolutely love that I can search for recipes based on our specific dietary restrictions. One of my biggest purposes when I began this blog was to search out recipes, adapt them to fit our needs, and then to share them with others. Well, I can tell you from lots and lots of experience that making a recipe already suited to those needs is much simpler than modifying every single recipe you come across (especially when it comes to gluten-free baking!)

Freedible categorizes recipes so they are easily searchable. <-- Seriously, visit that link and check out the recipes Cheryl posted recently that would be perfect for a 4th of July barbecue...amazing. One of the best parts? The recipes are healthy, nutritious, and free of many common allergens. If you were to host a get-together and have allergy-friendly foods, you would instantly earn Superhero status among your guests with food restrictions. And the food will be so delicious that the feeling will be mutual from those without restrictions! 

I also happen to love the Kids' Favorites in the recipe section. Find the recipes and support needed to make the transition to a healthier lifestyle that much easier for those picky kiddos! You can even find my Chocolate Ice Cream recipe there! ;) 

If you want to a good place to start, I would recommend the Know-How section. I love the super helpful New Diets Survival Kit and the wealth of information from home to school to staying positive in Getting Kids Started

Don't try to go it alone, the support is there, go check out Freedible and you will see what I mean!

All text and opinions are mine alone.
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