You know the drill, you walk in to a party and take a look at the buffet line and give all the offerings once over. Chex mix? Uh, no. Extruded grains. Cheese dip? Not if it is Velveeta. Store bought cookies? Hydrogenated fats, artificial colors, artificial flavors and who knows what else. What are you going to eat?
Attending parties can be difficult if you are dedicated to your real food principles. I am blessed with many friends and family members who are of the same persuasion but there are definitely times when we have tough choices to make. I am one tough customer, I know and readily admit it. We have quite a long list of foods I want to avoid. But I can’t bring all the food to a party, nor do I want to. Here’s what I have found to work for us. I am going to be up-front, I know that the foods are clearly compromise foods. But balance is about 80/20, and these foods aren’t beyond the pale.
- Make a bee-line for the fruit and cheese platter. Even if the fruit is not organic and the cheese is pasteurized, it is a far cry from the Oreos and Chex-mix. Stick to cubes of cheese which are less likely to be processed than slices and avoid the dip, which almost always is.
- Look for dried fruit by itself and not in a prepared mix. Many times expensive dried fruit is cut with cheap soy oil based crackers and nuts roasted in soy oil.
- Look for the plain Carr’s Water Crackers. They have their name written neatly on them making them easy to identify. Plain Carr’s are made with white flour, which is largely devoid of nutrition but has no phytates and are made without soy ingredients. They are flour, water, fruit of palm oil and salt. That’s it.
- Look for Bugles brand chip-thingees, which are also easy to recognize. Bugles is the only name brand product made with coconut oil. They do have BHT as a preservative but they are MSG and soy free, and that is something I can feel better about.
- Look for plain, unroasted nuts rather than the roasted variety. That is because soy oil is cheap and almost all the nuts have been roasted in it. Even the ones with sea salt, which might tempt you. The next time you are shopping, take a cold hard look a the oil these nuts are prepared with, and see why I avoid them.
- Avoid the soy-nuts and edamame. They are soy, okay? What more is there to say?
- Avoid the popcorn and potato chips. Again, soy fry oil and microwave popcorn are on my hit list. Thanks but no thanks.
- Tell people you are allergic to soy. I believe everybody actually is and there is no lie there. You can get away with refusing food, checking labels and bringing alternatives if you are protecting your health because of a soy or other food allergy. They may get annoyed but it is perfectly socially acceptable.
- Look for whole meats liked spiral sliced ham and avoid “sheet meat”. That is what my husband calls all those nugget-type foods which come prepared and ready to cook on a cookie sheet. This will help to avoid the greatest number of food additives.
- My mom’s nut and date balls, recipe HERE
- My (nut-free) date and coconut balls, recipe HERE
- My real-food cheese dip, recipe HERE (kept warm in a small crock-style warmer)
- My CF/GF and grain free brownies, recipe HERE