I won’t lie. When I started dating Yvonne and learned more about her extreme dietary restrictions, I was terrified! How on earth was a Cajun girl who absolutely loved to cook going to survive when the person she was in a relationship with could eat hardly anything? What on earth could I do with a grocery list that contained less items on it than the number of letters in courtbouillon (which was NOT on the list, by the way)? Well, in case you don’t know me, I do not back down from a challenge. In fact, I like to say that if you tell me not to do something or that I can’t do something, I’m going to make sure I do it twice and take pictures to prove it. (What can I say? I’m a Coon Ass, and we tend to be extra salty like that.) And so, although my kitchen repertoire has been slightly adjusted, taste and creativity have not been forgone.
One of the biggest changes we’ve had to make as a family has been to eliminate grains. (The kids still have them occasionally, but we limit their grain intake as much as possible, as well.) I think many people assume the kids and I just eat whatever we want while Yvonne gets a special meal made just for her. First of all, that’s not how my momma raised me, and I don’t do it for my kids. I cook one meal, and everyone in the family better find something in there they like. (Or they’ll just have a bigger appetite for the next meal.) I don’t believe in cooking a different meal to suit everyone’s palates. I just don’t find it necessary. I’m a good cook. I cook well-seasoned, hearty, nutritious meals. If you can’t find at least one part of every meal I cook enjoyable, then you’re not really that hungry. Secondly, Yvonne is my spouse. She is a parent to our children. She is our loved one. I would find it incredibly insulting for us to sit down as a family with three of us indulging in whatever our little hearts desired while she had a separate meal designed for her dietary limitations. Do the kiddos sometimes make themselves tortilla pizzas or throw some chicken nuggets in the microwave on a late weeknight because the dinner I’m preparing is going to take past their bedtimes to finish? Sure. Do we keep ice cream and leftover Halloween candy on hand as treats? Absolutely. But, for the most part, we try our best to bring the whole family into the kitchen to enjoy one healthy meal designed to meet everyone’s needs as often as we can. And, call me sappy, but not much makes me happier than knowing I have created a delicious meal that Yvonne can truly enjoy. I love leaving her wondering how I can make something so healthy taste so good! “Secret’s in the sauce!”
Note: Pictured in this post are just a very few examples of some of the ways I get creative with the ingredients Yvonne can tolerate. They are all gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and beef-free. (Click on the picture to see what each dish is, and feel free to inquire more about any that interest you.) I will use my “Cooking With Love” category to share more meal ideas inspired by those with extreme dietary restrictions.