So the reality is, I have Eosinophilic Esophagitis. It’s an unpleasant disease which has a significant impact on my life, as the symptoms are caused by allergies, mostly food allergies but sometimes also environmental allergens. I have to go back to a strict elimination diet, based on the Top 8 elimination designed by my dietitian, to figure out what my food triggers are. So for me that means eliminating all grains except rice, all dairy, corn, soy, seafood, nuts. I can’t remember if there’s more. I can’t eat fast or processed foods, because almost all processed foods contain wheat, corn, or soy, even if they are in very small quantities. So a simple risotto is one of my go to meals now, and my current fave is Mushroom and Sundried Tomato Risotto.
But I need to develop a repertoire of easy recipes that are tasty, allergen free and EASY to cook. I used to love cooking, but my kids are fussy eaters. My son has Asperger’s Syndrome and eats a very limited diet. My rheumatoid arthritis means I can’t spend much time chopping and prepping, because my hands swell up and give out very quickly. When you spend hours cooking healthy, delicious food that no one eats, you get very sick of it, very quickly. And lately, I mean within ten minutes. I have to buy pre-cut vegetables, pre-washed salad leaves, packaged and preserved ‘semi-fresh’ herbs, because my hands do not have the strength, dexterity or stamina to chop my own herbs, make my own spice pastes or all the other things I used to love doing in the kitchen. But its time to be grateful that these products DO exist, rediscover my kitchen skills, and find some love for it again. And maybe give other people ideas for simple, allergy-friendly food.
For me, this diet is entirely about food allergies, but many people find that changing their diet to one based on fresh, whole foods, rather than processed foods, benefits their inflammatory arthritis. It hasn’t helped me in that regard, I think most likely because I have always followed a diet based on fresh fruit and veg, lean meat, few processed foods. So its not a big change. But I always say its worth trying, and following a healthier diet will improve your general health, and is worth the extra overhead if it reduces your pain and other symptoms.
This is where my thermomix knockoff – thermoknockoff as I call it – comes in. It does a lot of the chopping and grinding and sauteing and frying for me. It cooks great risotto, and I don’t have to stand there and stir for 30 minutes to get that perfect texture. I have to admit, sometimes the thermoknockoff over cooks it a little, but being able to lie down and rest while the machine does the cooking makes that a fair price to pay for me.
The risotto still tastes great.
So this is my basic risotto recipe. The great thing about risotto is you can put pretty much anything in it. Sometimes I throw bacon in it, sometimes chicken. Pumpkin and bacon is very tasty. I also throw in whatever herbs and spices I feel like. I added some basil and oregano to this batch to make it a bit more interesting. I should cook up my own stock, but I used a packet stock this time because all the ingredients are allergy friendly. The only questionable ingredient is yeast extract, and yeast extract is not on my forbidden foods list. This brand used to contain barely which is forbidden, so its pretty exciting that they have changed their recipe and now it’s fine for me to use.
Cooking up your own stock is brilliant, but we’re talking a lot of time and effort, and as previously stated, with Rheumatoid Arthritis, fatigue is a big issue. So when you have multiple food allergies you have to check labels constantly. Ingredients change all the time, and you have to be aware. It makes food shopping that little bit more work, but most things I buy don’t even have labels – fruit, veg, rice, meat. I will be scouring the sauces shelves looking for allergen free sauces, because I’m going to get sick of the available flavourings pretty quick. But right now, the main thing is to get my diet cleaned up for a few weeks, and hopefully feel better. Doing that means having ‘safe’ food readily available and easy to grab.
Today I’ve had risotto for breakfast and lunch. Don’t think I can face it for dinner but here’s the basic recipe.