Monday, September 15, 2008

Introducing or Reintroducing Foods

You know, I meant to talk about this after my post about peppermint. Instead, I got all excited about the things I was reading about ginger and nearly forgot about introducing and reintroducing foods into your diet. Let’s rectify that right now.

Okay, so you’ve identified some foods that are problematic for you. You may have done this on your own by trial and error or perhaps you’ve been tested by your doctor or allergist. This is good information and you’re altering your eating habits accordingly, right? But what about all those foods you haven’t tested? What about foods you’ve never encountered before? Are these to be avoided because you don’t know how you’ll react? Probably not. However, let me say this again because I really don’t think it can be said too often. CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN OR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL , FIRST. If you are cleared to give some new foods a try, great! But how? If you’ve ever fed a baby new solid foods, you have your answer. If not, or if it’s been awhile since you had that pleasure, let me go over it with you.

The process of introducing a new food into your diet can take several days. During this time, it is prudent to be very cautious with your food to be sure that all other foods you eat are known to be perfectly safe for you. Do not try introducing more than one food at a time. If you should have a reaction of any kind, it is important to be able to identify just what you ingested or were exposed to that could cause the reaction. If you are sampling several new foods, it will be impossible to know which might be your culprit.

Okay. So you’ve chosen the food you’ll be introducing. For the sake of our discussion, let’s say you are trying to add peaches into your food repertoire (which, by the way, I recently did so this is real-life experience I’m passing along). Don’t settle down on Day One and eat roasted chicken with a peach glaze and follow it up with a large serving of peach cobbler for dessert. Sadly, that’s just not a wise way to go about things. Rather, begin with a small serving that is about ¼ of a regular portion. That’s right. Start with a quarter peach. If all goes well, Day Two will see you enjoying a half peach. Do eat these portions on consecutive days. You want to see what you can tolerate as it builds in your system. In some cases, you will find that a single, small portion of a food will do very well but eating that same food on consecutive days will not (Yes, I am again speaking from personal experience. My ability to get along with iceberg lettuce, as an example, is limited.). Again, if all goes well, Day three will be ¾ or even a whole peach. Day four would be another whole peach (or the equivalent serving) and Day Five would be one and a half peaches. If you can tolerate an oversized portion such as this, after several consecutive days of eating the food, you are very likely able to tolerate it.

Is this a guarantee? Nope. I’m afraid it isn’t. You will always need to be aware of your foods since, as you probably know from your own experiences, food allergies and sensitivities can develop suddenly. A food that was just fine last month might not go at all well today. Be aware and trust your body.

So, with all that in mind, be Food Brave and let’s go eat that!


miss v said...

i love ginger! and peppermint!

Sandra Gordon said...

I do, too, Miss V! Such great flavors and so many extra benefits. You've got to like that.