Grocery Diaries: An Avid Meal Prepper With Endometriosis and a Mushroom Allergy

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In the case of food allergies, a person's immune system reacts after eating a specific item, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms vary for each person, but consuming any amount of an allergy-triggering food can cause issues such as gas, hives, and breathing problems. 

Undoubtedly, Danielle has a lot to consider at the grocery store. Thankfully, she is fortunate to have a variety of grocery options so she can buy specialty foods that suit her preferred way to eat. Here are 10 items she picks up in a typical grocery trip.

1. Bananas: $1.76

Danielle likes to eat a complete meal in the morning because it keeps her full for several hours. “Breakfast is the meal I look forward to most. Taking the time to fuel my body properly is a small act of self-care to start my day,” Danielle says. Bananas are a breakfast staple that Danielle eats alongside some nut butter, blends into smoothie bowls, or mixes into her protein pancakes. “I eat at least one banana a day,” she says. She likes that bananas are versatile and can easily sweeten so many meals. Danielle’s roommate is also a big fan of the fruit. “We joke in our house that it’s a tragedy if we run out of bananas,” Danielle says.

“This I use for everything,” says Danielle, who relies on peanut butter as an easy source of satiating fat and protein. She adds a drizzle on top of her smoothie bowls, stuffs some into celery, and makes snack bites using peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips, and maple syrup. “Sometimes I eat just a spoonful out of the jar,” she says.

Danielle makes spring rolls because they are easy to prepare in advance. “When I don't meal prep, I find myself reaching for whatever is quick and available and it often doesn't leave me feeling well after,” she says. Her wraps include crispy tofu, jasmine rice, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables that she has on hand. “It’s pretty easy to chop and cook and just have them ready to throw together for either lunch or dinner,” she says.

Also on the easy-to-prepare list: fajitas and breakfast burritos, which are common meals for Danielle. But she doesn’t just relegate breakfast burritos to the morning. “I’ll eat these any time of day,” she says. Since Danielle also doesn’t eat gluten, she’s had to look for alternatives to flour tortillas. She likes this brand best because the tortillas don’t fall apart like some other gluten-free options. “These are solid and they taste good,” she says.

On top of viewing breakfast as a great way to fuel her body for the day, Danielle just loves breakfast foods like this Purely Elizabeth Granola. “I tried this on a whim from the grocery store, and I can’t imagine eating any other granola,” Danielle says. She commonly eats this with Greek yogurt or on top of a smoothie bowl for a satisfying breakfast.

Chelsea Kyle. Food Stying by Drew Aichele. Prop Styling by Campbell Pearson.

“I live in Vermont, so I’m a little biased toward Vermont maple syrup,” Danielle says. She usually buys whichever local syrup her grocery store sells, or picks up Purinton Maple at a local farmers market. “It's really nice to be able to see where your money is going and how it is being used to help your local community thrive,” she says. That’s why Danielle buys some of her produce through a community supported agriculture (CSA) program at a local farm and purchases local syrup to top her protein pancakes. “Vermont is a truly special place, so I want to do my part to help keep it that way,” she says.

7. RxBar (Mixed Berry or Blueberry): $7.99

“I usually keep at least one in my purse if I get stuck somewhere, and I'm hungry,” Danielle says. “If I could only pick one, I think Mixed Berry would be my favorite flavor.” She prefers RxBar over other protein bars because she doesn’t think they taste as sweet.

8. Unsweetened Califia Farms Dairy Free Almond Milk Creamer: $4.59

Since Danielle doesn’t consume dairy but still prefers not to drink black coffee, she looks for creamy substitutes to traditional creamer. “I like this because it’s nice and thick like a normal dairy-based creamer would be, but it’s almond milk instead,” Danielle says. “It sweetens my coffee just enough.”

9. and 10. Lemons: $3.99/Ginger: $2.15

Every week, Danielle makes a batch of juice shots that require lemon and ginger. She originally discovered these shots at a local juice shop and began making her own after the business unfortunately closed down during the pandemic. Danielle likes that the shots give her a little extra boost of nutrients. Lemon juice has vitamin C, and ginger contains antioxidants, which are compounds in food like fruits and vegetables that help prevent or delay cell damage. Granted, mixing a lemon ginger shot is not a magical way to drastically change anything about your health, including your immunity, especially because a shot will only contain a small amount of each ingredient. Danielle acknowledges that any positive benefits she might attribute to this concoction could very well be a placebo effect—but she just feels like her best self when she adds these into the mix of her larger healthy-eating picture.

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