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Dakko

Help For The World's Pickiest Eater

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My wife has the challenge of having both intolerance to gluten and some other items as well as being an already picky eater. As the cook of the household, I've worked to incorporate her dietary needs. In addition to being gluten-free, she is also dairy-free, low-acid (including things like tomatoes) and can't have anything spicy (spicy being a relative term -- e.g. she's not supposed to eat bell peppers).

To boot, she doesn't like any seafood -- from shrimp to canned tuna fish -- no meat with bones in it, no pork except bacon, no mushrooms, eggplant, mayo, soy sauce, and various other random dislikes.

And now she's trying to get in shape, so in addition to the above, the food needs to be "healthy" -- reasonable calories, relatively low fat, etc.

I've rolled with it the best I can, but my recipe repertoire has slowly been winnowed away to almost nothing. I've read through a lot of recipes for special diets, but understandably most of them that suit diet need A don't suit diet needs B, C or D. I've worked substitutions as best I can, but short of a few reliable recipes, I'm falling forever back on chicken or beef with side of veg and potato/rice. As someone who loves cooking, it's frustrating (if she went vegetarian I might have to resort to food pellets ;) ).

I've gotten a couple ideas just skimming the boards, but thought I'd throw out a request for anyone who has a favorite recipe that somehow meets the above constrictions to point me in the right direction.

Thanks!

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My wife has the challenge of having both intolerance to gluten and some other items as well as being an already picky eater. As the cook of the household, I've worked to incorporate her dietary needs. In addition to being gluten-free, she is also dairy-free(coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk-some are not gluten-free so check carefully, Vegan Gourmet "cheese" Tofu makes a good substitution for ricotta cheese in some things), low-acid (including things like tomatoes) and can't have anything spicy (spicy being a relative term -- e.g. she's not supposed to eat bell peppers).

To boot, she doesn't like any seafood -- from shrimp to canned tuna fish -- no meat with bones in it, no pork except bacon, no mushrooms, eggplant, mayo, soy sauce, and various other random dislikes. Bacon is great added to many dishes to flavor them-soups, crumbled on spaghetti squash, with roasted brussel sprouts http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-ne...cipe/index.html

my DH wraps it around cut asparagus spears to make bundles and sautees them.

Here's a good chicken recipe.

http://www.befreeforme.com/ViewRecipe.aspx?RecipeID=128

And now she's trying to get in shape, so in addition to the above, the food needs to be "healthy" -- reasonable calories, relatively low fat, etc.

I've rolled with it the best I can, but my recipe repertoire has slowly been winnowed away to almost nothing. I've read through a lot of recipes for special diets, but understandably most of them that suit diet need A don't suit diet needs B, C or D. I've worked substitutions as best I can, but short of a few reliable recipes, I'm falling forever back on chicken or beef with side of veg and potato/rice. As someone who loves cooking, it's frustrating (if she went vegetarian I might have to resort to food pellets ;) ).

I've gotten a couple ideas just skimming the boards, but thought I'd throw out a request for anyone who has a favorite recipe that somehow meets the above constrictions to point me in the right direction.

Thanks!

Your wife and I sound a bit alike, both in terms of preferences and restrictions, we have some in common. Maybe you could throw out a few more things she does eat/ like and we can give some more ideas. I too like to cook different things and get frustrated cooking for myself. My advice is always focus on what we CAN have and see what we can do with it. Sometimes I actually make a list. It helps. Sometimes we are picky eaters because consciously or unconsciously, these things bother our systems. As a holiday treat, pumkin or sweet pot. custard is very doable gluten-free/CF. Maybe we could swap ideas. I could use some for red cabbage with similar restrictions as your wife if anyone's got any.

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My wife has the challenge of having both intolerance to gluten and some other items as well as being an already picky eater. As the cook of the household, I've worked to incorporate her dietary needs. In addition to being gluten-free, she is also dairy-free, low-acid (including things like tomatoes) and can't have anything spicy (spicy being a relative term -- e.g. she's not supposed to eat bell peppers).

To boot, she doesn't like any seafood -- from shrimp to canned tuna fish -- no meat with bones in it, no pork except bacon, no mushrooms, eggplant, mayo, soy sauce, and various other random dislikes.

And now she's trying to get in shape, so in addition to the above, the food needs to be "healthy" -- reasonable calories, relatively low fat, etc.

I've rolled with it the best I can, but my recipe repertoire has slowly been winnowed away to almost nothing. I've read through a lot of recipes for special diets, but understandably most of them that suit diet need A don't suit diet needs B, C or D. I've worked substitutions as best I can, but short of a few reliable recipes, I'm falling forever back on chicken or beef with side of veg and potato/rice. As someone who loves cooking, it's frustrating (if she went vegetarian I might have to resort to food pellets ;) ).

I've gotten a couple ideas just skimming the boards, but thought I'd throw out a request for anyone who has a favorite recipe that somehow meets the above constrictions to point me in the right direction.

Thanks!

Perhaps inspiration is needed. This blog for visual inspiration as well as practical cooking ideas - glutenfreegirl at blogspot dot com - is one source.

A major dietary change takes time and adjustment but may well lead you to create new and surprising recipes of your own. Maybe focusing on the foods your wife likes and can tolerate, together with the foods you like, will allow you to continue to cook in the way you love.

Simplifying meals helped tremendously. Basic nutrients (protein, carb, fat), lots of veggies, and pure water helped, and from there the gourmet dishes appeared. Healthy eating to you both, and know that your searching for how to help your wife is the best direction of all.

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How about some hearty soups? Lentil with bacon, chicken and rice with lots of veggies.

Wraps using the meats she likes, using lettuce, rice paper wrappers, corn tortillas.

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Thanks for the notes, folks.

Your wife and I sound a bit alike, both in terms of preferences and restrictions, we have some in common. Maybe you could throw out a few more things she does eat/ like and we can give some more ideas.

Her likes are basically beef, chicken, fruit, veg, eggs, bacon, pasta. Has a sweet tooth. She doesn't like sauce-heavy food, so I gain little with creative toppings for the proteins. Likes salads and wraps, but ends up falling back on those a lot for lunch at work, so come dinner time she doesn't want another.

But she is a big fruit/veggie fan. It's definitely there that I've tried to get some creativity to offset other areas that are constricted. Being from New England, I introduced her to squash which is nice this time of year. I try to bring in stuff that's seasonal, but I probably need to find more things that are integrated and not just "a side of ________."

She likes pasta a lot, so we do gluten-free pasta, but I can't do tomato sauce or cream sauce, so it's always just tossed with olive oil (with sausage, garlic, spinach, etc.) or sometimes a pesto. I've done asian as that lends itself well to gluten-free, most recently the rice wrappers for spring rolls which is a nice alternative to stir-frys.

We'll do tacos/fajitas with corn tortillas with tomatillo salsa which is relatively easy on her stomach. gluten-free popovers have become a welcome substitute for dinner rolls.

The challenge is in basically finding creative ways to remix the same finite ingredients (much like Taco Bell, who has 30 things on their menu all made out of the same 6 things). I know part of the issue is that I am as unpicky as she is picky. I can count the things I won't eat on one hand, so I need to try to focus my culinary creativity within the given limits.

I could use some for red cabbage with similar restrictions as your wife if anyone's got any.

Most of the cabbage recipes I've seen involve vinegar which is out for her. If you can handle vinegar, there are some good recipes out there for braised cabbage with vinegar, some variations including bacon. If not, consider a variation of colcannon, a traditional Irish dish done with mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale and often kicked upup with some leeks, bacon and other bits.

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Thanks for the notes, folks.

Her likes are basically beef, chicken, fruit, veg, eggs, bacon, pasta. Has a sweet tooth. She doesn't like sauce-heavy food, so I gain little with creative toppings for the proteins. Likes salads and wraps, but ends up falling back on those a lot for lunch at work, so come dinner time she doesn't want another. Maybe try stuffing and breading chicken breasts-with pesto and something or ham and something or a garlic or herb "butter" using something like Earthbalance spread. Finding ways to flavor chicken is a challenge for me. I've taken to marinating them in simple herbs, seasonings, oil and sometimes lemon or lime juice for a few hrs. before cooking. Lately I like fresh rosemary, lime and olive oil. Sounds odd maybe but somehow it works for me-I can't have lemon right now so I tried lime and it was good.

But she is a big fruit/veggie fan. It's definitely there that I've tried to get some creativity to offset other areas that are constricted. Being from New England, I introduced her to squash which is nice this time of year. I try to bring in stuff that's seasonal, but I probably need to find more things that are integrated and not just "a side of ________."

I used to make pasta with butternut squash. Peel and cube it. Saute in a good amount of olive oil 'till nicely browned. At some point add salt and pepper, garlic, plenty of fresh sage. Add some broth or pasta water, put a lid on and steam 'till the squash is tender-not long. That's basically it. Serve with something like chicken sausages and a salad of spinach, apple, red onion and a honey-mustard vinaigrette.

She likes pasta a lot, so we do gluten-free pasta, but I can't do tomato sauce or cream sauce, so it's always just tossed with olive oil (with sausage, garlic, spinach, etc.) or sometimes a pesto. I've done asian as that lends itself well to gluten-free, most recently the rice wrappers for spring rolls which is a nice alternative to stir-frys. Where my DH is from they have alot of pasta dishes made with a base of salt, pepper, garlic(if desired) and chicken broth with various veg-cabbage and franks or sausages of some sort or ham and peas.

We'll do tacos/fajitas with corn tortillas with tomatillo salsa which is relatively easy on her stomach. gluten-free popovers have become a welcome substitute for dinner rolls.

The challenge is in basically finding creative ways to remix the same finite ingredients (much like Taco Bell, who has 30 things on their menu all made out of the same 6 things). I know part of the issue is that I am as unpicky as she is picky. I can count the things I won't eat on one hand, so I need to try to focus my culinary creativity within the given limits.

Most of the cabbage recipes I've seen involve vinegar which is out for her. If you can handle vinegar, there are some good recipes out there for braised cabbage with vinegar, some variations including bacon. If not, consider a variation of colcannon, a traditional Irish dish done with mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale and often kicked upup with some leeks, bacon and other bits. The braised with bacon sounds good!

Sometime the vegan websites and blogs can be good resources for those who are CF.

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I don't do bones or seafood either. I am allergic to eggs, dairy and almonds. Also a diabetic so can't have too many carbs. And I'm not keen on sauces. I don't have the spicy restrictions though.

We eat a lot of beans in this house. I eat them pretty much daily. Sometimes twice a day. I am also happy to eat the same things day after day so I don't need a lot of variety.

Tomorrow we're going to have potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes. I'll probably have bacon with them. Daughter might have ham. Or bacon. Whatever she wants. And green beans. She will happily eat green beans daily.

Things we eat a lot of are chicken and rice, chicken and noodles, potato pie (kind of like shepard's pie), and pot roast.

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I am very picky too and find myself eating a lot of the same foods. Here are some of the foods I eat:

fresh blueberries with a banana or two and 1/2 cup of crushed ice in a blender for about 5 to 8 seconds makes a great fruit smoothie. (don't blend too long because then it gets too watery) This is great in the morning, plus my kids have a glass too before they go to school!

apple with p-nut butter and an orange for snack (orange is nice because I take my iron at this time and the vitamin C is good with the iron)

Brown rice with chopped chicken, tomato's and cheese all mixed together is a nice quick meal, especially to take for lunch

Get an iron griddle at Target and make fajitas with onions and peppers. This is good with corn tortillas.

Hope this helps! It's not a lot, but a suggestion here or there will add up.

You wife is lucky that she has someone who does all this for her!

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Thanks again for the ideas. Just got some fresh fruit & veg from the farm stand next door, so hopefully I'll be inspired to go for something new.

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Went to a sandwich shop in Annapolis once, but they didn't serve bread. Every sandwich was served as toppings to a baked potato. They tasted SO different from one another and were very filling.

Maybe this could provide an alternative to a wrap. . .

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I'd encourage you get grab a few cookbooks for the new year, and let them inspire you. The recipes don't have to be gluten free if you feel fairly comfortable about modifying, nor do they have to be quite right in terms of other restrictions - you just need something to inspire you to other dishes. What you describe sounds a lot like my food preferences during this pregnancy (especially during the first trimester), but it needn't limit your cooking much at all. You might have to think "outside the box" (maybe even "outside the room") but food is not bound by our ideas of it. :D

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I'd encourage you get grab a few cookbooks for the new year, and let them inspire you. The recipes don't have to be gluten free if you feel fairly comfortable about modifying, nor do they have to be quite right in terms of other restrictions - you just need something to inspire you to other dishes. What you describe sounds a lot like my food preferences during this pregnancy (especially during the first trimester), but it needn't limit your cooking much at all. You might have to think "outside the box" (maybe even "outside the room") but food is not bound by our ideas of it. :D

I've got several cookbooks, both general and gluten-free-specific. The challenge I'm finding is that in addressing several dietary needs at once, unless a recipe is very nearly ideal already, it becomes extremely difficult to substitute out verboten ingredients and still end up with something decent.

I'll keep trying. We got a nice gluten-free gravy, so I'm going to make shepherd's pie.

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