SP Premium
350,000-499,999 SparkPoints 496,664

(pictures) How much food...

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

...does it take to sustain one beautiful, healthy extremely food sensitive teenage girl at camp (with a kitchen that refuses to accommodate food sensitivities to any degree) for a week:

This much (5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners, snacks) and everything is grain-free, sugar-free, low-carb/keto and dairy-free:

Here's the (impish, glorious, awe-inspiring and intelligent, woman-child, deep-as-still-waters, chili-pepper (kick-a$$), wise, guileless, kind-nearly-to-a-fault... the chili pepper saves her from becoming anyone's doormat, JOYous) girl: My Divine Miss O!

Preparing food to keep her fed while she's away from home is now second nature. Last year, same time, it took me a week to accomplish this task. This year I knocked it out of the park in 12 hours... including planning, shopping, cooking/packaging, and getting ALL of the dishes done myself (without a dishwasher). I've got this down to a science. Here's a breakdown:

Keto Omelette Bites (each the equivalent of one egg)... I made 24, so I got camp food, plus two family breakfasts... they freeze and warm well enough.

She'd live on bacon if I let her... I save it for times when I want her to feel that her options are special, too.

Melon: Hami (pale orange) & Peacock (white)

Fabulous Keto Waffles (seriously the best waffles ever... they freeze and reheat beautifully... you can just pop one in the toaster like eggos-but-SO-much-better)... I made enough for camp, plus another three family breakfasts.

Homemade Cherry Honey Syrup
NOT low-carb, and I used heavy cream, but because it's a condiment/occasional food and everything else is so low-carb it works... also, instead of sugar, I used Morello cherry jam (made for diabetics):

The creamy-looking one is Zucchini Scallop Soup
(Made-up by me... pureed zucchini and onions give it the creamy look and mouth-feel... I got enough for my own lunches this week, too)
The other is Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) Bò Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)... a staple in our house... a double recipe made enough for camp and 2 quarts for the freezer.

Keto Pretzel Buns
I got creative with a commercial keto bread mix which resulted in 8 dinner-sized rolls from one package... it's almost cheaper than if I made them from scratch and waayyy faster... the rolls held up really well for roast beef sandwiches... I have keto/paleo bread recipes I prefer, but the convenience of this can't be beat... in 45 minutes, from mixing to pulling it out of the oven, I have bread. There are several mixes, supposedly for different applications, but I prefer the texture and flavour of this one, so I uses it for everything... I just adapt it as I see fit.

Can you believe that the camp won't even ensure there is salad without dressing? So Miss O takes lettuce and homemade salad dressing along.

Grilled boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs, stir-fried Zucchini, butter-mashed Sweet Potato (about half a small potato... when Aunt Flo visits and/or when she's especially active my girl needs a slightly higher carb profile to feel her best... we grilled 2 large packages of chicken so I also got two family-sized meals for the freezer)

Meat Sauce & Gluten-free (and no junk starch) Noodles... and a family-sized meal into the freezer

They're hard to find, but worth the effort

Pork Chop, stir-fried Baby Shang Hai Bok Choy, butter-mashed Sweet Potato... camp food, plus one family meal eaten, and two in the freezer.

Roast Beef, stir-fried Yu Choy, butter-mashed Sweet Potato... I roasted two roasts at once so one went into the freezer, we had one family meal, and Mr. and I will finish the rest this week.

Salmon, roasted Young Carrots & Onions, butter-mashed Sweet Potato... package of two salmon fillets, so in addition to camp food, I have 4 salmon meals in the freezer.

A few squares of high-quality, sugar-free chocolate for dessert each day keeps her happy while everyone else is eating dessert... the whole bar will last her the week.

Excellent chip-replacement and GREAT flavour! A staple in the Divine Miss O's world delivering a solid hit of collagen and amino acids

Absolute favourite snack in nice serving-sized packages delivering a solid hit of minerals and iodine

Higher-carb, but still real food, tastes great, satisfying mouth-feel... very filling... it's mostly nuts/seeds

Keto Snack Cakes... the sugar in them is natural and comes from the fruit/veg added... they are actually really tasty/filling (the ingredients are nutrient dense) and for an occasional treat, a good option.

Refreshing ICE... sugar/calorie-free pop-replacement... they taste quite nice and don't have that in-your-face artificial flavour/sweetness... only for special occasions in our world (like when everyone else gets to go to the corner store and you have no other options)

Having to deal with food/health sensitivities at this magnitude can be so very overwhelming/exhausting, and I found it so for a long time. I decided to share in case my effort may encourage someone else in similar shoes.

I am ridiculously proud of what I've accomplished, and SO happy for the freezer meals in addition. At the same time, I still get really sad that these are the lengths I have to go to in order to feed my family on a daily basis in all circumstances. Nothing is convenient, or even dependable. 'Fast food' meals are those I have stocked away in the freezer.

Yesterday when we dropped the Divine Miss O off at camp, I discovered that we're not the only family that showed up to camp with food (there are 3 other kids in similar shoes), and I additionally learned that two kids last year went hungry all week because there was very little food they could eat... but they were too shy to say anything. After this week is over, I will be making an appointment to meet with the director to discuss what can be done to improve this situation (the facility where camp is held is actually a junior college and their kitchen is contracted to provide the food for camp). I'm told that while the last director wasn't very receptive, this one welcomes such conversations, so I'm hoping for the best.

I've also decided that I'm going back to school to get my certification as a Nutritional Therapist so I have the credentials/authority to teach facilities how to do this easily and well (and which would support a potential foray into running a B&B)! I haven't felt this excited about something for myself in a long time, and my family is excited for me. However, with a daughter soon going to University, I feel obliged to get a job to earn the money for my tuition and related travel, so I'm first developing a side-hustle business (the only thing that will allow me the freedom and flexibility I need to continue to care for my family at the level we all value and to which we have all grown accustomed). The coursework will mostly be completed on-line over the course of a year, but I have to travel away for four weekends within that year for practical assessment and practicum. Ideally, I'd like to complete it all before the Divine Miss O completes her grade 12 (that gives me three years), but it may have to wait for the year after she finishes high school.

I miss the time I used to have to spend here, but out of necessity, I've just had to prioritize differently.

I have an aging extended family that needs care... a week ago I did something I never imagined I'd have to do... I walked out of a funeral, and walked down the block to a second one. Definitely keeps things in perspective.

I still have anti-social, pot/cigarette-smoking, contentious, dogs-barking-at-all-hours neighbours that make life more difficult and much less peaceful than I want it to be... so continuing to work toward selling/buying elsewhere remains at the forefront... it's slow though, trying to move forward in the midst of keeping an even keel in all areas of life.

The agency I baked cakes for this winter as a fund-raiser (pictures in the previous blog) has continued to call my name/heart and I am spending more time helping where I can... I've been invited to do counselling for them on a volunteer basis. I'm doing what I can to clear some space to do so. The gift of my daughter demands I pay it forward.

I am having the most delightful time building and growing my relationship with my woman-child daughter... whoever said our children need more of us when they're little was flat out wrong. Yes, she does now take care of most of her physical needs and the details of her life on her own, but we spend literally HOURS a day teaching/learning life, supporting, cheer-leading, and getting to know this blossoming adult in our midst. Right now Miss O's actively working out how to be 'close and separate' at the same time... it's comical, maddening, and oh so endearing to see how much my beautiful girl wants to fly free but yet remain grounded to US... it's almost as if she fears WE might let go of her... as if that could even be possible! I feel so humbled and blessed... and, for the most part, entertained. She'd be mortified and wet-hen angry to know how often I scurry out of range to laugh myself silly at her earnest muddling about. It really is no different than when she was a baby learning to walk and talk... that delightful oh-so-earnest puffed-up self-importance, and at turns confusion at the obvious... as though she's the first person to ever figure out how to get through this life. Every day is pure gift and grace-full.

I'm also working on building up 3-D friendships... as much as I value this place and the people I love here, I truly need to feel a strong sense of connection to and within my community and with/to the people who make it so.

Like so many others here... I get to the end of most every day, needing at least 8 more hours to 'balance the books'... yet, while I'm always running at a time deficit, I continue to refuse to let the judgments and expectations of others define who/how I'm going to be in this world. I continue to prioritize self-care: CONSISTENTLY feed my spirit, make sure I CONSISTENTLY get the rest I need to keep up the pace, CONSISTENTLY fuel my body with the nutrition it requires and which sustains/maintains my health/weight (I continue to struggle to find ways to move in the direction of that elusive "goal weight"), CONSISTENTLY hydrate, CONSISTENTLY engage in a minimum amount of deliberate movement, CONSISTENTLY nurture in small ways the relationships important to me (though I currently have some "juggling balls" to retrieve... please, forgive me... you know who you are)... the DAILY LIFESTYLE HABITS I've honed over the years and which CONSISTENTLY SUPPORT MY GOAL to eliminate excess weight continue to hold me in good stead.

While occasional battles may be lost, good habits consistently applied to all circumstances, will absolutely win the war. You CAN do this!

Keep SPARKling, my dear friends... I pray that you may find peace within and all around you. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content. May the presence of Perfect Love settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

May God always and abundantly bless you, and those you love, in every way that you require. May he hold you gently in the palm of his hand in a very personal way, and may you rest in the fullness of his love, his grace, his strength, his wisdom, his rescue, his redemption, his healing, his inspiration, his restoration and his mercy as you require it! May you carry in your heart always an extra special awareness of how deeply you are loved, and may you see his miracles all around you. Amen!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

P.S. The absolute delight of my summer is this curious, entertaining, handsome and thoroughly unexpected fellow:

I have lived smack-dab in the middle of the Canadian prairie for very nearly 60 years. I've seen numerous buffalo ("Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam..."), countless deer ("...and the deer and the antelope play!"), I've even seen a herd of deer PLAY TAG and HIDE-and-GO-SEEK, but I have never seen an antelope... until NOW.

This youngster moved onto a comparatively small grassy area between the freeway and the rail yard at the southwest edge of our city... not too far from the city dump... near the end of June. I just about ditched the car the first time I rounded the curve and spotted him... I could not for the life of me figure out WHAT he was... at first glance I thought someone had lost their shaved alpaca... or a really tall goat. He's almost doubled in size since first spotted, and he's always alone. He comes and goes according to the weather (he doesn't like the heat, but loves the rain), and is as curious about me as I am about him.... he does a 'come closer, run away' dance as he bobs and weaves his head trying to discern what exactly I might be (I love the image of him peeking over the hill as I crept up on him). I've been working on getting closer and closer without frightening him. Yesterday I was able to get about 20 feet away... close enough to hear him gently snort (very unusual and distinct sound) and the quiet thud of his hoofs on the grass as he bounced off.

We've christened him Antoine (he's French Canadian, LOL), and I've claimed him for my spirit animal... I can't help but ponder why this fellow is here all alone... what called him? What role did curiosity play? What's he meant to learn? What's he meant to teach? How does a herd animal manage to live and survive alone? Is everyone created to be something more than the obvious? Are you ever too old/young to be who you are called to be?

...all questions relevant to my current state of being... and just by simply 'being' Antoine blesses me daily. Seems to me there's a lesson in here somewhere....

I now return you to our previously scheduled programming:

Why I'm Still Here... my SparkJourney Saga

No more Mrs. Doubtfire... or Picture UPDATE at nearly 100 lbs. ELIMINATED!

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Losing a Lot of Weight

How I Am Eliminating 'EXCESS Weight'

CICO Shove Off! 'New Kid on the (Nutritional) Block' Hits Mainstream

(ponder this some and you come to see this SPARKjourney in a whole new light)

I continue to maintain for the most part (I managed one year at the same weight, and for the last five months and counting (hopefully DOWN, now) within 20 pounds of that... life remains too hectic to do anything else.

(I started my journey at 250 lbs. & over 50% BMI... Obese Class III)

(...it's best to never forget from whence you came. Those who don't acknowledge history are doomed to repeat it.)

Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • GUDIV7
    I am incredibly jealous of the way you perceive your daughter& fondly and magically speak of your daughter.


    wish you were my mom ^_^
    334 days ago
    Absolutely amazing blog. Thank you for sharing.

    I admire you for the work you put into caring for you and your family. For your future plans and goals.

    Wishing you all the best and sweet success in all you do...
    405 days ago
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! What an informative blog! As one who frequently benefits from your wisdom and experience, I am very excited for your decision to become a certified nutrition therapist! You will most certainly excel, and I know you'll be able to help soooo many people.

    Hope Miss O had a great time at camp!
    408 days ago
    Impressive planning, organisation, and cooking. I'm also impressed with the way you are juggling your family's needs as they change over time. Including your own. Yes I know it's 'sexist' but the fact of the matter is, generally speaking even these days, mum tends to be the lynch pin of the family and so, it's vitally important for the family as a whole that your needs are satisfied too.

    Two further thoughts; I can see the impishness in the Divine Miss O. Just looking at her smile makes me want to chuckle with her. And, if you're developing your 3D friendships I may just have to add your neck of the woods to my grand travel plans when the time comes!
    412 days ago
    413 days ago
    Gorgeous mom; gorgeous daughter!
    416 days ago
    OMG, the Divine Miss O is absolutely gorgeous!!!!!!! Wow, lots of food prep to keep her healthy and going, but WORTH THE EFFORT. YIKES, and all that done in 12 hrs.! YOU’RE up for the Mother of the Century medal! The food looks absolutely scrumptious.

    TWO CHILDREN went hungry last year because they couldn’t eat the food! THAT is appalling, to say the least. Good luck and good outcomes from the discussion w/the camp director.

    Wow and the plans you have for YOU are outstanding. You are a perfect one to pursue this w/all your knowledge and skill.

    INDEED, these blossoming adults need us as much or more (in different ways, of course) as they reach young adulthood. And it takes a tremendous amt. of energy, persistence, patience, love, courage and LOVE to guide these blossoming adults as they need. And it pays off HUGELY . . . . definitely.

    My dear, it is always a true delight to read your blogs. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and know . . . you are doing an outstanding job parenting the Diving Miss O.


    417 days ago
    417 days ago
    What a wonderful blog! You are doing a super job supporting your beautiful daughter into young adult-hood and I love the way you're exploring future career plans too . . . when we live life, it lives US and takes us in new directions!!

    Antoine, your "spirit animal": very deer indeed!!
    417 days ago
  • BERRY4
    emoticon emoticon
    So glad you took the time to share! ~ I could "echo" much of what has been stated in the above comments!
    You ARE amazing! You gift those around you by your MANY talents!
    {{{ HUGS! }}}
    You will be able to use all that you have learned to this point as you venture forward on your new endeavor. What a helpful field--Nutritional Therapist!
    It's my opinion, that the limitations of fixing large quantities of food for a group such as a camp, could be somewhat difficult to accommodate all the variations of "needs" that people are currently presenting. However, salad w/out dressing seems pretty simple. -- Maybe when you meet w/ the director, you could go w/ the "simple" variations that would make things easier for kids w/ sensitivities.

    417 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12282919
    Wow, it is unbielivable that the camp won't accommodate food allergies, considering the number of people these days.
    You did an great job.
    417 days ago
    You are an amazing woman! The Divine Miss O is incredibly fortunate to have such a loving, devoted and competent mother. What an wonderful thing you've done for her supporting her ability to attend camp along with the others.

    I had an experience about 18 months ago where we took a group of students away on retreat. I was repeatedly reassured that my food sensitivities could be accommodated. Luckily I packed accordingly sensing that despite the reassurances that would not be the case. My intuitions were correct. There was little that I could eat. There were no special meals for me. I was somewhat hungry come the end of the retreat. Had I not packed some things it would have been an incredibly uncomfortable experience.

    This really hit me: "I am ridiculously proud of what I've accomplished, and SO happy for the freezer meals in addition. At the same time, I still get really sad that these are the lengths I have to go to in order to feed my family on a daily basis in all circumstances. Nothing is convenient, or even dependable. 'Fast food' meals are those I have stocked away in the freezer."

    Be proud! Also understand the mix of emotion: happy for the freezer meals, sad about the lengths to which one must go to meet a basic need.

    Life sounds rich and full. Very excited to hear about your plans for certification as a Nutritional Therapist and the B & B remaining a possibility.

    One more year and off to university for the Divine Miss O. Wow!

    And, the antelope … incredibly special woman. It is and I know that you know it.

    Take a look at this link and see if any of it speaks to you in your interactions with him:

    417 days ago
    Awesome food
    417 days ago
    Hm! What to say, my dear friend!

    First: You're an awesome mom!
    Second: Love Lilly's! That's my favorite (but then again most of the others have almonds in them and I'm highly allergic to almonds so...) She is blessed to have that in her pack of goodies!
    Third: HOW DARE THEY! Glad you've got her covered. No doubt it is a liability issue of not wanting to make a mistake and send someone into anaphylactic shock (not fun, been there)
    Fourth: You are allowed...graphic is my new fav! Totally knicking it from you!
    Fifth: Struck by the deep irony that what one person with allergies can eat, another with allergies cannot.
    Sixth: BELTING IT OUT with you.... ...and the deer and the antelope play!......
    417 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/6/2019 5:55:03 PM
    Thanks for posting this blog. You are a gifted writer and are so blessed! Your daughter is beautiful and I have no doubt that you are as well. Just going to the lengths you did to ensure she is eating what she needs is astounding. Kudos!
    417 days ago
    417 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.