Hi everyone! I’m Heather of HeatherChristo.com, a website that specializes in deliciously allergen-free food, and I am so excited to be guest posting here on 100 Days of Real Food!
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.
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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!