Saturday, March 24, 2012

Organizing the Frig

A few months ago, at D's 3-year well child exam, his pediatrician referred us to an ENT to test him for allergies. He's always had rosy cheeks and has been a bit snuffly, but we didn't really think much of it. We just thought it was a cold, or teething, or something. 

It took awhile to get our appointment, but after a very quick listen and look at D, the ENT suspected that D had some food allergies, and based on our conversation about the little dairy king, she suspected that the culprit was dairy. It took a few days to get the results of the blood draw. (during which, D was a total champ. Just held out his arm and watched. Not a peep, not a tear). And yes, no more dairy for the dairy king.

The good news is that he'll probably grow out of it eventually, and it isn't life threatening, though if he continued to eat dairy, it could lead to asthma. 

So, my project over the last few days was reading lots and LOTS of labels to see what is safe and what is not for D. It's easy to find substitute for the obvious things like milk, yogurt and cream, but dairy products are used as a binder is so many other things, we really have to check our labels. 

I decided that what would be easiest is to mark safe and unsafe items for D (who is quickly learning to read!). Here's how our frig looks now:
Our new frig is just the right size for everything we need.
Inside, I used labels and tubs to keep everything in order.

The Use First bin for is everything that's opened and nearly expiration. When I plan my menu for the week, I peek in there to see what I need to incorporate. We tend to buy produce on a weekly need basis, so this keeps us from wasting food.

 The bin on the bottom rack is where I thaw whatever meat I need out of the freezer.
The skinny section is just the right size for the non-dairy butter, eggs, flaxseed and wheat germ.
What's left of our dairy supply.
The bottom part of the frig includes a bin for cooking condiments,  a SAFE for D drawer so he can choose his own snacks) and the produce drawer.
By putting all the cooking condiments together, I can just grab the bin and pull out what I need, instead of hunting for  the right bottle. I consider cooking condiments as anything we would only use when making a meal, and not things that could be used for snacking or single purpose, like minced garlic, soy sauce, etc.
Good thing it's shopping day tomorrow. His options are limited!
On the outside of the frig, the top two compartments include cooking items (soup base, yeast and non-dairy butter), and regular condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc.
Niels isn't ready to give up dairy yet, so he gets a shelf for his dairy products.The lower shelf is a safe shelf with almond and coconut milks. 
D's non-dairy smorgasbord.
I'm very grateful that I'm already cooking most meals from scratch, because I already have great control over what goes into our meals. Almond milk and coconut milk are easy substitutes for cow's milk. Vegan butter (Earth Balance, for example), margarine and coconut oil work well for butter. I'm experimenting with canned coconut milk as a substitute for cream (it's not quite as thick, but it'll work). And after Easter, we're try some coconut ice cream. It's hard to give up cheese, especially as a Dutch family, but hopefully, we'll enjoy our kaas again in a few years.

Next to make safe: the pantry!

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1 comment:

  1. I love it! I wish our fridge was that organized. :-) The buckets and labels are really smart, especially if you have guests over, it's really helpful to label what is and isn't safe for Daniel. Thanks so much for sharing this at The CSI Project!


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