As if it were yesterday, I can recall the first clue that something wasn’t quite copacetic with my middle guy.
At his first Birthday, he cried when we gave him his first piece of Birthday cake. Not the cry that says I don’t want frosting on my face, but one that says I don’t want to eat this.
At three, he was diagnosed with asthma and environmental allergies as well as allergies to tree nuts and cats.
For over a decade, we’ve seen allergists, doctors, and the inside of emergency rooms. But always, the same treatments have been prescribed. And always, he’s never quite well. And always, as a mother, I worry. Constantly.
We’ve continued in this fashion for 13 years. A seesaw of knowing something isn’t quite right, but not knowing exactly what it is. Constant headaches, stomach aches, and fatigue.
Last year, he missed 25 days of school because he was sick.
This year he’s up to 15. February was especially bad.
I finally took him to my naturopath. She ran a food intolerance/sensitivities test on him. For three weeks, I anxiously waited for the results.
When they finally showed up in my in-box, my first thought after reading them was one of relief, “Thank God…we finally have some answers.” My second thought was, “What is he going to eat?”
The results showed that he has an extremely high intolerance/sensitivity to gluten, dairy, casein, eggs, and nuts (including peanuts.) Left unchecked, these intolerances can lead to full-blown celiac disease.
At first, my hubby and I joked, “Wonder how those hard-boiled eggs for breakfast and the peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread has been workin’ out for him? How about that ginormous bowl of ice cream for dessert? And pizza on Fridays?”
A few days later, I walked down the grocery aisle, riddled with guilt, and beat myself up with the realization that despite thinking that I was doing such a good job feeding my sweet boy with organic dairy products, whole wheat breads, and no-sugar added peanut butter, I was actually contributing to his illness.
Finally, I did what every grown woman in her mid-forties does; I called my parents and cried.
My mom has many of these same intolerances, so fortunately for us, she was immediately a wealth of information. The next time I saw her, she came loaded with food intolerance books for me, and a loaf of gluten-free banana bread just for my guy.
My dad encouraged me to go easy on myself. Not to look at this as what has been done, but what we could do now that we have some answers.
And my main squeeze, well, he has been nothing short of encouraging as he’s watched me try to overhaul our kitchen, and my way of thinking when it comes to nourishing our family. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t say, “He’s so lucky to have you as his mom.”
I share this story with you because we are in the crucible of a food overhaul in our family and well, I write about food and family.
I’m hopeful that in future posts I’ll be able to report that my sweet boy feels better.
And, perhaps something I say can help you, or perhaps there’s something you can share that would help me.
As always, thank you for reading and sharing…really,
|Spicy Pulled Pork Tacos||
- 4 lb. pork shoulder
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Red chili powder – Urban Accents Rio Grand Chili Blend is my favorite
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 7-oz. can chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (La Costeña brand is gluten-free.)
- Directions for Pulled Pork:
- In a large slow cooker, cover the bottom with your onion slices. Rub your pork generously on all sides with salt, pepper, and red chili powder. Place in slow cooker on bed of onions. Spoon salsa on top of meat and pour water around the meat. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 3-5 hours until pork is tender and falling apart.
- Once meat is done cooking, transfer to a cutting board to let cool slightly. Once cooled down, use two forks to shred meat. If not serving immediately, transfer back into slow cooker to keep warm and juicy. Before serving, drain meat from liquid and stir in a few tablespoons of spicy sauce.
- Directions for Spicy Chipotle Sauce (adapted from Fine Cooking recipe, Chipotle Dressing):
- In a blender, add olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times, until combined. Pour all of the adobo sauce from the can into the blender. Add chipotle peppers to taste. I use 3 chipotles, which is pretty spicy. I say add 1 or 2 and taste for spiciness. You can always add more. Pureé all ingredients until combined and creamy. Let sit at least ½ hour, or more, so flavors can meld together.
- When time to eat, I leave a skillet on low, with a ramekin of olive oil and a brush on the side. Those people eating the corn tortillas can lightly brush each side with olive oil and sauté for a minute or two on each side to soften the tortilla.
- Everyone can garnish their tortilla in their own with the fixin’s below. Enjoy!!
- Taco Fixin’s:
- Corn tortillas – for the gluten sensitive people in your life
- Flour tortillas – warmed
- Pulled pork
- Black beans – drained, rinsed, and gently heated
- Shredded cheese – omit for dairy/casein sensitive folks
- Sour cream – omit for dairy/casein sensitive folks
- Guacamole or avocado slices
- Chopped tomatoes and/or salsa
- Chopped romaine lettuce
- Lime wedges
- Chopped cilantro
- Spicy Chipotle Sauce