In the spring of 2018 my husband was diagnosed with EOE (Eosinophilic Esophagitis), a rare disorder that causes swelling in the esophagus and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) due to what is believed to be an allergic reaction to food by the specific Eosinophilic cells of the throat. After months of worrying and wondering why exactly he kept getting food stuck in his throat and couldn’t even swallow saliva during these “episodes” we had our answer.
While the news was positive, and non-life threatening, we couldn’t help but be a little disheartened by the treatment protocol. The most effective treatments are said to be a 6 food group elimination diet (eliminating soy, wheat, dairy, egg, seafood and nuts) alongside antacid medications…for life. And while I discovered many studies that stated that the majority of people find the same effective results from a 4 food group elimination diet (wheat, dairy, egg and nuts), that’s still a LOT of foods he can no longer consume!
You see, my husband, and family for that matter, loves food! Food of all tastes, ingredients, preparation methods and cultures, food is a big part of our life’s adventure! Food is a big part of our means of connecting, family meals together, date night at restaurants, festivals, and cozy memory making moments with our son in unique cafes and bakeshops. I watched as the news began to sink in and he started listing off the many foods that he truly enjoys that are no longer on the list of items he can consume. I watched him slowly appear more and more defeated as he realized some of his go-to meals, or back up options on the road as a police officer became no longer possible. So I decided I needed to do something about it.
I try my best with our busy schedules to make a meal plan weekly that we can all access and follow to manage our grocery budget, time and nutrition efficiently, and it suddenly dawned on me. I need to revamp our whole recipe box! OVERWHELMING!!!! So I started looking online for 6 or 4 food group elimination diet meal plan or guide or anything to throw me a freaking bone here! Nada. Nothing. I could find each of the restricted foods easily individually, but no good resources for all of the above.
This is when I decided, I would have to fill the void. I am fortunate to have a background in healthy living and am a graduate of the Culinary Nutrition Expert program by the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, so I guess he really couldn’t have chosen a more fitting wife. I plan to format a delicious and enjoyable lifestyle for my whole household that helps my husband to feel like he can thrive, be a part of family meals and continue our foodie lifestyle in spite of this lifelong diagnosis. I hope that the recipes I develop on this site and future meal planning guides can serve as a resource for anyone else exploring a 6 or 4 food group elimination diet, living with celiac disease, lactose intolerance, or other food allergies. I invite you to tune in as we explore this new stage of life. A life not of restrictions, but of possibilities.