When I was first diagnosed with a soy allergy many foods fell out of reach-fast.
Ice cream flavors.
Many, many oh help me, many restaurants.
My entire food world changed in an instant, plunging many of my food favorites into food oblivion. Boo.
There is no real way to describe how it feels to understand that many of the foods you love you can no longer enjoy. All at once you are grateful for not having a more serious health problem (I am still grateful for this and always always always will be) and frustrated that so many of the foods you love are lost.
It takes time to develop a food/life strategy after a food allergy diagnosis. It is not easy. It is not fun. It is definitely not fast.
In time, though, you start to find your way. Pizza places that do not use the allergen. Grocery stores that cater to allergic individuals. Online companies that sell specialty allergen-free products.
And, you start to realize that many of the foods you once loved (and bought in an instant at the store/bakery/restaurant/fast food place) you have to make, at home. By yourself. On your own.
With the love and support of my family and Boy Eat, I slowly navigated my own food allergy diagnosis. We found restaurants that served food without the allergen. We found sweets galore at the Whole Foods bakery. We found almost everything galore at Whole Foods.
We researched online companies to find specialty oils and sauces that made cooking at home more fun, more interesting.
And although I had always enjoyed cooking, I started a recipe book to document my journey into cooking all the foods I had never cooked before-never had to cook before.
We baked cookies, and brownies and jumbo muffins. We made curries and noodles and stir-fries. We made pastas and enchiladas and salad dressings. Oh my, the food was tasty, and slowly, we mastered our craft.
There were certain foods, throughout my journey, that I thought I had said goodbye to forever. Chinese food is still on that list.
One of those previously favoritest foods was pad thai. I thought that there was no way on earth a girl with a soy allergy could eat or make pad thai. I wrongly assumed that it needed soy sauce. One day, having cast pad thai aside with Snickers bars and Oreo cookies (oh Oreo oh Oreo why must you use soy-o?-last o for rhyme purposes only)
Then, thanks to a random google search on a particularly dull Thursday afternoon I realized pad thai did not need soy. Not at all. Not a drop. Not one bit. Hooray. And, only a couple of nights later, after a couple of years of casting it aside, I had this for dinner…
…and it was delicious. Now, before I brush aside whether or not something is possible, I tell myself: remember the pad thai, and I get to work on making homemade Oreo cookies and Snickers bars.
Food can give us so much. It feeds our bodies and our souls. It brings us together. It inspires creativity, passion, art. But, my favorite most wonderful thing about food part? Food challenges us. It moves us to reach impossible goals. Food teaches us that anything is possible. Even pad thai. No soy included.