Food Challenge Round 9: Cindy vs. Sunflower Oil

Given the sunflower oil pre-glamping snafu, this week’s food challenge was a bit easier to prep. I just defrosted some potentially poisonous food and brought it over to the doctor’s office. Well, it would have been easy, except I needed a costume…

I challenged the food on Halloween, which is a big deal at my allergist’s office. But I’m not much for dressing up, so I didn’t quite know what to do. The night before, something hit me: I could dress up as the essence of a sunflower, since I was challenging the oil (aka essence) of a sunflower! Super easy, really meta, and seemingly creative.

i’m totally a sunflower…can’t you tell?

I threw on green pants, a black shirt, and a yellow sweater, with a little sign that read “Essence of sunflower.”

It was nothing compared to my doctor’s costume. He was dressed as a full blown chassid. The nurse was a vampire cat, complete with ears and makeup, though she’d removed her fangs because they were irritating her. My costume was not good enough.

Luckily, though, the food was! I ate the turkey and sweet potatoes that I’d accidentally cooked in sunflower oil, and it was totally fine. It felt more like breakfast (a big breakfast, but still) than a food challenge. And now I can eat sunflower oil!

You might be thinking, why sunflower oil? Who uses that?

Sure, it’s rarely used in home cooking. But go over to your pantry — go on, I’ll wait — and look at an item in there. Some sort of processed food, dried fruit, etc. Chances are it says sunflower oil. Or canola/vegetable/safflower/sunflower. Because that’s helpful.

My diet just totally expanded. I can eat so much more that I don’t cook myself. This was evidenced even further when I was shopping for a party this past Saturday night and needed to grab party snacks. BevMo had no Fritos, which was the only chip/party snack I was eating (corn oil!). But then I realized I could have more chips! And while most are still off the table for other ingredient reasons, I found a bag of Kettle chips and Pirate’s Booty that worked. Pre-party in aisle 7!

Now the trick is to make sure I continue eating healthily. Just because I can grab a bag of chips, doesn’t mean I should. But that’s where the 3 times a week rule kicks in. Why trade in a baked potato for a bag of potato chips? I’m thinking snack food is now in case of an emergency — which is way better than snack food being the cause of an emergency.

Food Challenge Tally

Cindy – 7

Allergens – 2

Up Next: Cottonseed oil (aka Bagel Factory bagels)

4 responses

  1. Just found your blog post, my son (17 months old) has a sunflower allergy and our friends think that sunflower should be easy to avoid. Until I tell them to look at the ingredients of the Tostitos they just put on the table… and the crackers…

    • Most people have no idea what they’re eating. They think, “Oh, I don’t ever have sunflower seeds…” but they don’t read the ingredient labels. But as hard as it may be to avoid sunflower oil, there’s something really great about making your own chips or crackers. It’s healthier and cheaper and while it’s far less convenient, it’s ultimately probably better. I can eat sunflower oil now, but I still can’t have cottonseed, which (as I’m sure you know from reading labels) is so prevalent. But if it means I eat healthier because I literally cannot have “junk food” then that’s not horrible. As your son gets older, I hope he’s reminded that he’ll do just fine without all those processed foods — and hopefully your friends will learn to read better! Good luck, and thanks for reading!

      • Thanks! Yes, it is nice that he eats a mostly fresh diet (aside from breads and some other things that are safe for him). He eats fruit, cheese, green beans – he doesn’t really need crackers. It just seems that everywhere we go there is snack food and he still eats off the floor or table, since he doesn’t understand or talk yet! Thanks for the reassurance!

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