Sara cooking low nickel meals!

Low Nickel Family Cooking Edition

When Christy came home with a note card of all kinds of random ingredients listed on it, I had no idea what I was in for. One of those horrible torture devices known as a patch test had revealed that she had a severe nickel allergy. There it was, a single square, swollen bloated blistering and red that was the nickel square.

The real question was, what did this mean? There in tiny little letters on a three-by-five card, was my entire culinary future. I did most of the cooking in the house, I still do. It’s likely that our time management destiny and domestic duties are about to change for reasons outside of the scope of the blog.

I did what any reasonable person would do. I went to the internet. And started Googling:

“low nickel foods”
“nickel free foods”
“foods without nickel”

How the hell does chocolate have so much nickel!? You know what I found? Nothing.

I began to wonder how exactly I was going to reconcile this many ingredients and these many common foods with how I was going to find recipes. How was I going to find the time to completely overhaul all of our regular eating habits? How is this going to affect me? I have insulin resistance, so everything with white flour, white rice, all of the other delectable carbolicious treats that Christy can eat; are “good” for her are terrible for me.

After much Googling and using some of my favorite tools, I found some solutions. Christy lost close to 20 lbs. I gained close to 50 lbs. This could also be blamed on a move to Portland Oregon, a fantastic food city in the United States and not having any friends in Portland which motivated a lot of eating. When we finally did make friends, we went out to eat.

Restaurants are fantastic solution when you have a partner with a food allergy. You can each order exactly what you want. But it has serious challenges of limitations for Christy. Servers just don’t always tell you what’s in an appetizer or entree. Then what you ordered and thought was safe to eat shows up with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, peanut oil, sesame oil, or God damn peanuts on the top of it. PEANUTS! What are they trying to kill people? Peanuts?! Needless to say, pad thai is not our thing.

Gradually I figured out how to incorporate this unique food allergy. And it made sense. And it was much easier to grocery shop. But I still have to read labels carefully. I have to Google ingredients, because manufacturing companies regularly change ingredients to save costs and because certain things are more available than others seasonally and otherwise. Christy used to love multi-grain Cheerios. Well now it includes oats. Multigrain? Not anymore.

Over the coming weeks and months, you’ll see some adaptation of recipes. Where to have significant alternatives in ingredients, or to prep even individual ingredients for a single meal. Some with nickel allergy friendly variations and others for what I’m actually eating. It’s not necessarily a regular thing because most of the time I don’t have the energy to cook two different meals.  But every now and then a girl needs her spinach.

In the meantime feel free to use some great tools that are available. I personally love Sunset magazine. They have great regionally available ingredients for the western US. Many of these are unintentionally nickel allergy friendly. I also love Don’t bother with their app, it’s total crap. You’ve got to go to the website, that way you can select recipes with certain ingredients and omit other ingredients, it’s a powerful search tool.

I’m very proud of Christy. Even though sometimes I miss spending time with her, I’m grateful that she dedicates the time to blog and create a resource for you and others that we didn’t have. Also I love that my food is famous on the internet!

What have your experiences been on the low nickel diet, for both you and how has it impacted your family cooking? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section below!