I require kitchen assistance.

You know what I've realized? My diet is pretty pathetic.

I mean, it's not that I eat unhealthfully, per se, but I know that it's pretty unbalanced. How's that, you ask? Well, I pretty much just eat the same things all the time right now, and even though they're "good" things, constant repetition is not exactly your friend when it comes to meeting nutritional requirements.

It started when I cut out gluten and soy from my diet. That helped some, but I was still in a lot of agony a lot of the time... plus I didn't know what to eat. In addition to that, I was at a school where meals were prepared en masse and served up at certain times. I had very little control over my food, but I managed to scrape through... somehow.

Then I was diagnosed with a bunch of food allergies. What the heck do I eat now?!
As I fumbled my way into my new lifestyle, I had friends with experience in the allergy realm helping to guide me.

Then I moved in with the S's, and the education began. I learned to cook-- I mean really cook-- and how to feed a family. I don't think I've ever eaten so well as that year and a half that I was with the S's. It seems to me that having other people around that eat similarly to me, or that can at least help guide me (a.k.a. kick me in the butt to create real food) is a key part of my adherence to actual meal creation. Once it was just me, well... It's hard to cook for one person, especially when you're living with non-allergy people, and there's no room for you to stockpile ingredients or freezers full of pre-cooked foods. That's been the situation so far. I've moved into previously established non-allergy households, and carved myself a little niche, but I've never really had my own space to stockpile what I needed.

Once S moved out, that changed some, but I've become so sick that food doesn't even really hold any appeal for my any longer. I get hungry, sure, but that's the only reason I eat. Cooking is not enjoyable for me. It's a chore.

No, I take that back. I do enjoy cooking, but I'm usually nauseous or just plain sick while doing so, and the energy it takes just doesn't seem worth the outcome.

Also, I went through that phase where my guts were rejecting anything "heavy" or remotely resembling protein, so I've pretty much been on a tweaked version of the BRATY diet for the last three months or so.

I don't even have to take a list to the store with me anymore, a remarkable feat for my foggy self, because I know exactly what I need and in what amounts to make it through an average week. Some weeks I find myself actually hungry, and I eat more, but some weeks I find that I'm sicker than usual and I hardly eat at all. So I may run out, or I may have excess... regardless, the amounts usually don't vary.

I get 5 apples, a bunch of bananas (although there was a few weeks where I was just done with bananas), 4-5 sweet potatoes, 2-3 broccoli crowns, a head of cauliflower for baking, and 3 zucchini or yellow squash. If I need onions, I'll pick up a bag, and that lasts me for weeks, depending on what whims of cooking I succumb to. Sometimes I'll splurge on blackberries if they've got them. I've taken to keeping frozen fish fillets on hand for broiling, and sometimes chicken, but usually not. Honey and peppermint tea are kept replenished at all times, and if I have the money I get cashew butter from a store in the Foothills. Of course I need plain rice cakes to put it on, and a few bags of rice/root chips for easy "I need food NOW" moments, or when I need to take food to class with me. (Chips and an apple are easily portable and not disruptive.) At least one jar of unsweetened applesauce is a necessity, and 3 cans each of sliced peaches and pears in fruit juice. I get a bag of Udi's GF granola when I can, but I also found a new GF cereal that I like, which is handy for the mornings when I'm super nauseous but I have to eat something. Some sort of GF hot cereal, be it rice grits or Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal, and rice milk, original and enriched, if I'm running low on either of those things. Last but not least, one large container of Chobani vanilla yogurt, which I sweeten with agave nectar, and sometimes a medium container of the vanilla chocolate chunk if I'm feeling splurgey.

I already have a stockpile of rice at home, so I never need to buy that. I have a can of coconut milk on hand, should I ever get around to making corn chowder. Sometimes I'll pick up GF pasta to use in soups, but I have a bunch of that in the cupboard already.

That's it. That's what I eat these days. And it hasn't really bothered me until now, because I have this tendency to get into food ruts, I guess you could call it. I latch on to one thing in particular and eat it again and again until I'm tired of it. When I was a teen, it was toast with peanut butter, and baby spinach leaves with Italian dressing. Not at the same time, 'cause that's gross, but those were my go-to's. For a while it was boiled red potatoes with salt. When I was depressed, it would be a large container of Arizona green tea and a box of Ritz crackers.

If you ask the S's what "my food" was, they would all invariably answer "rice cakes with peanut butter and fruit". That was my thing, without fail. I finally got sick of peanut butter, and I couldn't stand the thought of rice cakes with nut butter and fruit for a while, but I'm kind of over that now. I think right now my thing is very well baked sweet potatoes, plain. Super yum. The only problem is that it takes time to bake a sweet potato, so you kinda gotta think ahead... A few months ago, I was obsessed with quesadillas for about three weeks.

But I need balance. I need more "real" foods. I just wish that I didn't have to be the one to make them :) I wish that I could just pay someone to cook for me so I can heal. (Although my guts have healed up beautifully, and I've seen the pictures to prove it!)

Anyway, I found this website/blog called 20somethingallergies, and the lady totally deals with a TON of food allergies, and it's all about eating well and real and right so that your body can heal itself. I'm all for that, but I get easily overwhelmed, and often feel judged and very defensive, even if nobody's saying anything. She straight out said on her site that there's no judging, that everyone is at a different place on separate journeys, and that's fine. I love that outlook. So I signed up for the newsletter, "Baby Steps", because that's what I need. Baby steps. One little change at a time. Maybe starting with cooking a "real" meal at least twice a week... and making big batches to freeze the rest for another time.

Drat. Now I'm hungry... and none of my sweet potatoes are baked up. I guess that means cereal... since I ate my salmon and broccoli earlier, and I have no rice cooked, either. Plus it's Grocery Day (um, night? We go when C gets home from work), so I'm running low on supplies. Maybe I'll be able to drag myself out of bed long enough to make that corn chowder today? That'd be nice. I'm going to try subbing turnips for the potatoes in that soup. Though mashed turnips are NOT the same as mashed potatoes, I think that in soups they swap out pretty well.

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