You may have noticed that there are a few common food items that are missing from from our 1000 foods list. Undoubtedly there will be common foods that will never make it to your list either. It’s a new year, and lots of people are following special diets by choice to improve their health. There are also many people on restricted diets for reasons related to health, religion or philosophy. Following are some reasons you may be restricted in your diet, and some suggestions on how to turn your special diet into an asset in your quest for diversity.
In our household we have to stay away from gluten due to food allergies. When we first met this challenge we were discouraged, it felt like there was nothing we could eat. But ultimately, gluten-free eating opened our diets up to a whole world of alternative grains and the cuisine that went along with them. There were a few things we couldn’t eat, and then a ton of new things that we could. When one door closed several new doors opened.
For a time my daughter was allergic to chicken eggs. First we avoided all eggs. Then we discovered that she could eat duck eggs without a problem. They have a different protein. Since then, we started raising our own ducks for the eggs, and we love having them around.
There are certainly food allergies to lots of different foods, but there are thousands of foods to choose from. Try to look at your restriction as an opportunity to try new things. You may be surprised at the diversity of foods that you never knew existed.
Trying to avoid chemicals, pesticides and genetically modified foods, we often opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, organic foods, and antibiotic and hormone free meats. You won’t find any recipes with conventional hot dogs, and we aim to stay with only organic corn. The ingredients in many processed foods are a problem for us, so we tend to cook mostly from scratch. Trying to eat chemical free and organic may at first seem quite difficult. It closes the door on a lot of convenience foods especially if you live in a small community where it is difficult to find organic chemical free foods. This choice has caused us to purchase more fresh foods and drawn us closer to our local farming community. Pick your own farms, farm markets, the home garden, the bulk foods co-op and the csa (community supported agriculture) farm became the supplier of the majority of our food. The grocery store more for incidentals, the bigger grocery stores usually offering some interesting ethnic vegetables and fruits in the produce section.
Many special diets avoid or minimize animal products, or specific animal foods. Other diets focus on increasing fruits and vegetables leaving meats to play a smaller role in the diet. Meat is not really missing from our list, but we focus our meals on the many fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. There are many different animal foods that we expect will contribute to our thousand foods, but again we try for antibiotic and hormone free meats along with wild game and wild caught fish. (Sadly, due to polluted fresh waters, many of our local fish are not recommended for eating.) Probably we will even venture into some of the edible insects which are uncommon in the U.S. but quite common in other parts of the world. Much of the variety in anyone’s diet comes primarily from variety in fruits and vegetables. If you eat animal foods hopefully we can expose you to something interesting and new. If you don’t eat animal foods, I know we will showcase some different and new plant foods.
We, like most, have been on different special diets for different periods based on health conditions and choices. Food restrictions and special diets are pretty common these days. From allergy-free menus to vegan menus our diet choices and restrictions are as varied as the cultures and histories we represent. When there are greater than 2000 different edibles around us, these limitations will hopefully seem miniscule.
We will try to mention throughout the blog if a specific recipe or food is particularly good for certain diets. If you would like to see us post on or give recipes for a specific diet, leave us a message in the comments below.