Can Food Allergies Cause A Disconnect From Your Culture?
Have you ever felt a disconnect with your culture because of your food allergies, intolerances or special dietary restrictions? I have. It’s quite frustrating and feels lonely. It’s hard to celebrate with holidays with the fam and not be able to eat traditional foods.
I love using Greek flavors and inspiration where I can but sometimes it’s just not the same. I had a pretty emotional moment a few months ago when I got to experience REAL Spanakopita … made safe for me. It wasn’t imitation or a “replacement” — it tasted like the real thing because it was the real thing. For the first time in awhile I felt super connected to a piece of my culture through food. I made spanakopita the way my yiayia (grandmother) or papou (grandfather) or theia (aunt) would make it but with filo that is totally grain free, gluten free & paleo friendly thanks to Misfits Bakehouse. I used a little sheep’s milk feta (something I only eat on occasion), fresh spinach, dill, onions and garlic. I held back tears after the first bite.
To say I’m PROUD would be an understatement. Proud to not only eat a traditional dish but to make it from scratch just as my family would. Proud to know that I can rest assured knowing that this part of my culture isn’t lost on passing it down to my own children someday. I am so grateful!
We connect to our culture through food. We celebrate our culture through food. We take pride in our culture through recipes passed down from our loved ones who are no longer with us. So, when that part of our culture is taken away from us (enter food allergies / special dietary needs etc) it can feel like a HUGE piece of our culture is gone.
Thank you to my favorite baker, Mina (Misfits Bakehouse) for creating something that NO ONE IS DOING! Paleo, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free FILO DOUGH! He already makes incredible fresh baklava (ships nationwide, too) amongst other things & is allowing for people like me to still be able to celebrate our culture & have those special food moments again.
If you're ever feeling a disconnect from your culture just know that you're not alone but also I encourage you to find ways to get creative in the kitchen. See what you can do to make foods inspired by the dishes or recipes that you love and miss. Also, the internet can be a wonderful thing -- chances are, you might be able to find safe, compliant recipes that are just what you're looking for. A big part of my new book Together For Christmas has recreations of family recipes that I've adapted and recreated to make paleo, gluten free, grain free and dairy free.
Preorder Together For Christmas and use code SANTA at checkout for a discount.
Here's a video of yours truly making some spanakopita for the first time.