What I’ve learned about food allergies (and the story behind this recipe):
About a year ago, I went to a doctor who figured out the root cause behind a plethora of chronic, longstanding, and bewildering physical problems that I have dealt with since forever. They weren’t life-threatening or even debilitating, but they were annoying as hell. From the time I was little, I have experienced unexplained flare-ups of everything from sinus problems to random rashes to intestinal upsets to chronic inflammation. This seemingly disconnected batch of ailments was—finally—explained by a diagnosis of food allergies. Though I had been allergy-tested multiple times throughout my life for each of these problems, the tests had always been done with the skin-scratch method rather than a blood-test. As it turns out, that’s a BIG DIFFERENCE.
I am allergic to most of the Big-Eight Allergens, and for most of my life, my body has been valiantly combating the daily assault of my insistence on consuming them.
The worst offender for me is Dairy. On a scale in which anything above 0.10 indicates some sensitivity to a specific allergen and 17.4 indicates a high level of sensitivity, my number for Dairy was over 50. That means that for me, cow’s milk, butter, ice cream, sour cream, or anything besides meat that comes from a cow is forevermore forbidden. I am also allergic to wheat (gluten), eggs, peanuts, and soybeans. How could I have gone my whole life up until now (you might ask) without recognizing this? Well, it’s because food allergies aren’t always immediately apparent. You could be highly allergic to the foods you eat every day without needing an Epi-Pen to bring you out of an extreme anaphylactic event. Some of the effects from consuming allergens are subtle—yet highly annoying and health-compromising. Many don’t manifest until days after you’ve eaten the offending food. So these effects accumulate and mix over time so there’s really no telling what set off the latest bout of stuffy nose or pink rash or belly rumbling or unexplained weight gain or puffiness in strange places (I hadn’t seen my collar bones in years until I cut out dairy; it didn’t matter how much weight I lost).
I’m relieved to finally gain some control over this pervasive problem, and now I’m on a mission to learn how to eat foods that my body will love as much as I do.
Honey Glazed Carrots Recipe (my healthier take on my mother’s recipe for copper carrots):
Slice peeled carrots into bite-sized bits and boil them in salted water until tender. Keeping the carrots in the pot, drain off most of the salted water and sprinkle the cooked carrots generously with nutritional yeast, then drizzle with high-quality honey. Add a big hunk of butter (or a healthy butter substitute – if not in stock on the website, you can usually find it at most Fresh Market or Whole Foods grocery stores) and reheat the carrots, stirring until the seasoning mixture is thick and gooey and thoroughly coats the carrots.