Ideas for recipes and resturants when on a restrictive diet
April 22, 2016 6:54 AM   Subscribe

My niece has been having some GI issues and has just been put on a restrictive diet. She is at my house this weekend and I am looking for some recipes and possible restaurants that would have a lot of options for her this weekend and going forward? Cuisines that don't tend to utilize these elements? websites with recipes for people on restricted diets?

The restrictions are as follows:
1. Acidic foods
2. Spicy
3. Too much gluten
4. Apples and apple products
5. High fructose corn syrup
6. Too much dairy
7. Berries
8. Mangoes
9. Mushrooms
10. Cauliflower
11. Salsa
12. Salad Dressing
13. Gassy foods like beans

We live in New York, so have access to any stores here - Stop and Shop, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Fairway, etc. I live in Brooklyn and she lives in the Bronx. We will mostly be in Brooklyn and Manhattan this weekend. I'm a confident cook, but a lot of my cooking relies on stuff that she can no longer eat. She loves Mexican and Japanese food. I was planning to make pizza for dinner, so that is out! so a secondary question - can you freeze pizza dough?
Thanks for any help.
posted by Julnyes to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A stir-fry would work wonderfully within those complications. Just make sure to use vegetables that she likes and is able to eat--broccoli, eggplant, bok choy--whatever looks good at the store and fits within her restrictions. This is a good "outline" recipe, and make sure to use the HFCS soy sauce (or maybe temari sauce instead, if you're trying to watch the gluten entirely).

Alternatively, if you were feeling ambitious, I'm sure you could make sushi together. Something like California rolls seems like it would fit within the requirements, without too many complications or needs for substitutions. Just keep an eye out for the HFCS; it shows up in so many things, even things you wouldn't really expect it to be in.

Also, pizza dough freezes beautifully. I usually make 2-3 batches at a time, then freeze it after it's completely finished. I stick grocery-store pizza dough in the freezer right in its bag. Then, I just pop the frozen round of it into the fridge the night before to defrost. Afterward, I roll it out and bake per usual.
posted by PearlRose at 7:08 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm guessing you're saying pizza is out because of gluten, the tomatoes in the sauce, and the cheese, but if she really loves it and you want to make it for her, you can redefine it into something she can eat. I don't eat dairy, so I just leave the cheese off of my pizza - it's still delicious. If she can eat cashews, you can make a fake mozzarella. My daughter is allergic to tomatoes - she hasn't given up on pizza either. If you Google "pizza without tomato sauce," you'll get lots of hits. There are also lots of recipes for gluten-free pizza dough. I've heard good things about the polenta crust in this recipe.
posted by FencingGal at 7:22 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

In your situation I'd be making a very mild vegan curry, with whatever veg works for her. Rough recipe as follows:

Fry some chopped ginger and garlic in lots of coconut oil for one minute, then add one chopped onion as well as any spices she can tolerate, non-hot ones I would use would include coriander, cumin, turmeric, asafoetida. Fry til the onions just start to brown.

Chop whatever veg you want to include (my faves for this are sweet potato, mushroom, courgette, carrots). Add the hard veg (eg carrots) first and fry for a bit. Add the soft veg next, you can be chopping those as the hard veg fry.

Simmer it down and then pour a can of coconut cream over, add water if it is very thick and stir everything together. Simmer until the hard veg are easy to poke with a fork. Taste and add salt as needed. Serve with mixed-grain rice.
posted by greenish at 7:25 AM on April 22, 2016

Please don't try to be too creative! Stir-fry could be good, or it could be too oily for her. Introducing new foods that she's not ever had before could confuse the results of the food restriction period, too.

If she's had sushi before, I think that's a safe choice. Not tempura (sorry), and you should _ask_ her doctor if she needs to avoid the type of soy sauce that's made from wheat (or find a sushi restaurant that will provide wheat-free soy sauce). However, sushi itself is very mild, certainly the kind I get: rice, avocado, nori.

For some people, broccoli is a gassy food (ditto all cabbabe/cruciferous vegetables).

Really, if it were me, I'd focus on eating in (and packing food to bring along) and keeping the food selection _boring_ but fresh and well-prepared. That way, if she's feeling awesome (which is apparently rare for her), you and she can have the best time touring museums and walking around outside and shopping.

**Yes you absolutely can freeze pizza dough. I've bought it frozen from the store before.
posted by amtho at 7:30 AM on April 22, 2016

Let's concentrate on what she can enjoy and work backwards from there:

Lean meat and seafood
Mild veggies

So perhaps Frittatas instead of pizza for dinner. Udis makes a nice gluten-free baguette, with fruity olive oil for dipping. Whole foods will have gluten-free breads too.

A seafood risotto might be nice, or a seafood paella, made with Valencia rice and saffron (which is not spicy, but is super flavorful.)

Steaks and fingerling potatoes roasted in olive oil with salt and pepper

Gluten free pancakes and mild sausages, either for breakfast or dinner for breakfast.

For a quick meal out, how about gyro over rice with veggies? I used to get that for lunch at Rafiqi's which is a food wagon you see all over Manhattan.

Chinese food can be a good choice, roast duck over steamed rice is ubiquitous and damned tasty.

Japanese should be fine! Terikayki over rice. Grilled veggies and some sushi. Miso. Nothing wrong there.

I am truly bummed to hear that Risotteria closed.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:46 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would aim for really basic meals since you're feeding her for a weekend and not the rest of her life. For example, I do a yummy salmon-rice dinner that is basically roasted asparagus and salmon seasoned with a little soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic, over white rice. Easy, simple, and should do just fine with her requirements. Similarly, chicken or steak with non-spicy herb or spice seasoning, roasted potatoes, and a green vegetable on the side.

Or, you know, ask her what foods work best for her (or her parents - I'm not clear if she's a kid or not).
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:54 AM on April 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

A really good and affordable Japanese place is Tataki. It's basically at Canal and W. Broadway, walk down W. Broadway past the subway station and turn left onto Lispenard Street.

I really like the food there, the portions are HUGE and I know they have grilled veggies!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:57 AM on April 22, 2016

I've had similar restrictions in the past. I'd suggest basing meals around plain brown rice or potatoes, prepared very simply, with cooked vegetables and proteins prepared on the side with an optional sauce.

Pick up some plain nuts for snacking if she likes nuts. For beverages, it's nice to have a pitcher of unsweet iced tea in the fridge, or you could pick up some seltzer or a cane-sugar based soda like Maine Root. (Or diet soda, of course, but I know that's a trigger for a lot of people.)

She might be able to do some restaurants that do quinoa or rice bowls, especially if they're willing to customize or put sauces on the side.
posted by pie ninja at 8:54 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Quick note - these restrictions happened this week, so she (and her mother) are floundering a bit. I would have just asked her, but she doesn't really have a set of foods she can pull from yet. I'll use the info from this thread, but also pass it along to her mom / my sister.
posted by Julnyes at 9:42 AM on April 22, 2016

Look here for recipes that fit that description. It's a low FODMAP diet -- for digestive issues -- and will fall into your category well. You might could Google "low FODMAP dining" and find suggestions for your area. I've been on this elimination diet myself as I have IBS-C, and it's not fun, but it can be tasty if you find the right recipes. Good luck!
posted by patheral at 11:57 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't see any restrictions in there that would prevent her from eating a fabulous steak at any fine steakhouse in the city. Every restaurant in NYC is used to dealing with dietary restrictions so you can call ahead and make sure they'll prepare one (or they DO prepare one on menu) without any verboten additives. Along the same lines, Takashi is mainly just all the different parts of animals and shouldn't pose a problem if she can handle salt, garlic, and sesame oil.

At home, I'd roast a chicken with safe veggies. If you don't have a go to chicken roasting method, this one works great.
posted by telegraph at 1:10 PM on April 22, 2016

Agreeing with patheral that this looks like FODMAPS. God I miss onion & garlic.
posted by goshling at 6:01 PM on April 22, 2016

Looking for any recipes related to GERD will fall likely fall along the same lines as her restrictions. Here's a list of recipes that could help!
posted by thebots at 2:47 AM on April 23, 2016

One thing that might be helpful is to do some homework and prepare lists of foods that she CAN eat, and keep it separate from the list that she can't.

You could look all over the internet - lots of diet plans have lists of foods: paleo, southbeach, mediterranean, FODMAPS, gluten free, etc. Even just calorie counting lists or Weight Watchers. Go crazy and collect as many as you can. Then print them out or dump them into a spreadsheet and go through it line by line to cross off the things she can't eat.

Once you are done, you should have a list of foods that she can eat, and it will help to inspire you as to what you can cook or what restaurants you can find that will stay within the limits of the good list.
posted by CathyG at 9:45 AM on April 23, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks for the ideas and links. I'll pass on the links to her Mom. The weekend went off with very few hitches.
posted by Julnyes at 10:08 AM on April 25, 2016

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