I love the story of the Leake family and can’t help but see parallels with my own family’s journey. Four years ago, I was the mother of two little girls (ages 3 and 5) and a classically trained French chef that happily would have named refined white sugar, flour, and butter as my best friends. And I suspect I would have continued on that path indefinitely had the health of my two little girls not started to rapidly deteriorate.
My oldest, Pia (who was 5 at the time), had been sick since she was born. Colic, ear infections, eczema, stomach problems, and eventually chronic sinus infections, migraine headaches, and symptoms of Tourette’s Syndrome. She was being treated by lots of different specialists who would prescribe her medications and treat symptomatically.
As her health continued to deteriorate with no real answers as to why, I decided that I would take my own action. I started food journaling everything she was eating and making small changes here and there. I was encouraged by some small improvements and decided to take both girls to a naturopath for food allergy and sensitivity testing. That is when I learned that most allergies and sensitivities are hereditary, and combined with a checklist I saw for food sensitivity symptoms, I knew I should be tested as well.
In the winter of 2014, we received our results and found that all three of us girls had allergies and sensitivities. They ranged from mild to severe and numbered just over 30 foods and spices between the three of us. The main overlapping foods were dairy, gluten, and eggs. We all had other things as well, but Pia probably had the most difficult list, which included some tree-nuts, peanuts, cane sugar, and soy, among others.
We went cold turkey on all of our flagged foods and cut out processed foods. Within a few days we were already seeing results. Eight weeks later, we had achieved a full-blown health transformation that is still astounding to those who know us. You can learn more about our journey here.
With the huge change, I learned to cook in a completely different way – primarily with whole foods and fresh ingredients. We are now 3.5 years into our new normal. The whole family is thriving on our new diet and relishing how delicious eating allergen-free can be! We are all in great health, there are no medications being taken by anyone, and I have two happy, well-fed girls.
Today I am sharing a typical easy weeknight meal for our house: Chicken Nectarine Stir Fry, an unexpected, but really delicious combination! I add a jalapeno for spiciness, but depending on your spice tolerance, you can omit or adjust the amount that you add. I can happily eat the stir-fry as it is, but I steam jasmine rice for my kids and husband to eat with it. This dish also happens to be free of sugar and the “big 8” (most common allergens) – wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, and fish. I hope you enjoy!
Chicken Nectarine Stir Fry
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1.5 pounds chicken breasts very thinly sliced against the grain
- 1 red onion chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 red bell pepper chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 jalapeno thinly sliced
- 2 nectarines sliced into wedges
- 1 cup basil fresh, loosely packed
- kosher salt to taste
- 1 cup brown jasmine rice cooked according to package directions
In a heavy skillet over high heat, add 1 tablespoon coconut oil and add 1/3 of the chicken pieces. Lightly brown on each side, about 30 seconds (they should be really thinly sliced so they should cook through quite quickly). When the chicken pieces are cooked through, transfer them to a separate bowl. Continue to cook the rest of the chicken in batches. Set the bowl of cooked chicken pieces aside.
Add the remaining coconut oil to the same skillet (still over high heat) and add the red onions and fry them for 1 minute, constantly stirring with a pair of tongs.
Add the bell pepper and let cook for another minute and then add the jalapeno and nectarine slices along with adding back in the chicken and any juice that collected in the bowl. Cook for another 1 - 2 minutes until everything is hot and the vegetables are crisp-tender.
Remove from heat and stir in the fresh basil leaves, then season to taste with kosher salt and serve hot over steamed rice.
1. Coconut is not a tree nut. However, if you have a tree nut allergy, consult your doctor before consuming.
2. We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.