Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuestorial: Sloppyaki Joes

In case you missed the memo. . . I have a really annoying food allergy.  It's actually more common than you'd think, it's just that my reaction to the allergy is uncommonly severe. Most people only feel crappy for a while when they have a reaction. . . I can't breathe. The nightshade family of plants is very common in food and medicines.  You may not know it, but you probably eat them every day without thinking about it.  They include tomatoes, potatoes, all peppers, eggplant and tobacco.  Yep.  When you eat a tomato, you are eating the slightly less toxic cousin of a cigarette.  All nightshades contain varying levels of nicotine.

Many people have sensitivities to nightshades that can include nausea, diarrhea, severe stomach pain, dizziness, inflammation, stiffness in the joints, migraines and weakness/fatigue. Sometimes, this is just a normal human reaction to the toxins and is considered an intolerance (yeah. . . potatoes are mildly poisonous and eating them raw is a really bad idea), but for some people this is actually a life-threatening allergy.  For years, I suffered all of the above symptoms off and on at varying degrees, but it wasn't until I started suffering anaphalactic reactions (throat and tongue swell, can't breathe, it's awesome) that I went to an allergist.  And since I've cut them all entirely from my diet, the symptoms are GONE. Well. . . I still get the inflammation and stiffness one, but that's only after I've run 15 or so miles.  Has nothing to do with tomatoes.

It's actually not good for anyone to eat nightshade-heavy diets, and since I've had to cut them out of my diet because of the whole thing where I like to breathe, I've discovered the stupid things are in EVERY-EFFING-THING!  Seriously.  Paprika?  In mustard, salad dressings, dips, etc.  Potato starch is in stuff like bread and pretzels.  We are crazy for cayenne and chili powder in this country.  And don't get me started on pizza.  I have become an obsessive label reader and we don't eat out much these days.

Experts recommend that people suffering arthritis should cut back or eliminate nightshades in their diet, as a nightshade intolerance can cause or aggravate arthritis. Eliminating these nicotine-containing foods can make quitting smoking easier.  Cutting back on them can improve your digestion and increase your energy.  And if you suffer migraines, try a few weeks nightshade-free and see if it helps.  It's beautiful to be free of migraines after 15+ years!

My point is. . . if you invite us for dinner, please don't have pizza or spaghetti.  And it's probably worth for everyone out there to at least cut back on the nightshades that are so common in the American diet.  You might not notice a huge difference in your health, or you might be free from a health problem that's been plaguing you for years. For all of these reasons, I give to you today my replacement for traditional sloppy joes. Just for your information, if you look through my recipes, you'll see that the older ones are not all nightshade free.  We identified peppers as a problem first last spring and over the course of this past year, I've started reacting severely to eggplant, tomato and white potato (thank God sweet potatoes are unrelated), so as the year wore on I had to find replacements for more and more foods.  All recipes from here forward will be completely nightshade free.

Sloppyaki Joes (Nightshade-free Sloppy Joes)

1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 sm or 1/2 large onion, chopped finely
1 tbs minced garlic
Olive oil to cover bottom of pot (a few tbs)
1 small can of mushroom slices in water (not fresh mushrooms- it's a texture thing. . . trust me)
4-6 tbs soy sauce (give or take, according to taste)
4-6 tbs honey (give or take, according to taste)
1/4-1/2 c flour
ground black pepper (it's not actually related to bell or hot peppers at all)

  1.  In a large, thick bottomed pot (preferably cast iron), add onion, garlic and olive oil. Add approx 1 tbsp each of spices and heat on medium-high, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent.
  2. Add ground beef and cook until brown, all the while stirring.
  3. Once beef is brown, add soy sauce, honey and mushrooms (do not drain first).  Stir well and add about 1/4 c of the flour while stirring. Turn heat to low and cover pot.  
  4. Cook on low for about half an hour or so, stirring occasionally and adding more flour as needed to thicken.
  5. That's it!  I put it on hamburger buns and called it sloppy joes and the kids loved it!  It would also be good in lettuce wraps, taco shells or over rice.  For that matter, I might scramble some of the leftovers up with my eggs tomorrow morning.

Disclaimer: I'm aware of the suckitude of this picture. If there's someone out there who would like to give me a good camera, I'd be happy to shamelessly plug your camera brand/store/blog/whatever.

1 comment:

  1. I often make a "sloppy joe" using cream of mushroom soup and a slice of American cheese. :-)

    Pretty close to this recipe, but easier.