Living with food allergies suck for many reasons. And with me having so many allergies, it’s hard to find any premade, ready to eat meals that don’t cause me to have some kind of reaction. All of my meals are homemade, from scratch, and take up a good three or more hours of my day making.
So, on the one day that I forget to bring my own lunch from home, I was in an obvious bind. I haven’t had any processed foods in a good three months (probably more) and I hadn’t been interested in changing my routine. But I didn’t want to drive home and try to swallow down meager leftovers only to try and rush back immediately. Knowing me, I would have been stuck in traffic while doing so too. It would have been a quick mess if I had tried.
So I sulked around a grocery store’s frozen section and tried my best to find something. Something with meat that was already cooked and could be nuked in a microwave, because it isn’t a lunch for me unless it’s warm and has meat at the center. Among the “healthy” options, there was a paleo tv dinner that had chicken in it. On the ingredients, it had chicken, green beans, a chimichurri paste, spices, and plantains in it. Less than fifteen ingredients listed on the box. That’s less than any Lean Cuisine meal I’ve ever seen. I desperately wanted something to eat, and so I bought it for six dollars. Yikes.
I nuked it in the microwave, opened it, scraped the paste off the chicken, and ate half of the chicken, and about ten of the green beans.
Verdict: Nope. Not safe.
I mildly reacted a good minute after consuming bite one. By bites nine and ten, my throat was in pain. I stopped and shoved the dish aside and tried my best to not test my limits. And when my coworker/friend came in for his break, I shoved it in his spot and said, “Either you eat this, or I eat this and die.” And so he obliged and ate the rest of the pricey meal.
If I had to guess why I reacted to this, I’d assume it was either the paste or the spices. I rarely use spices in my own kitchen, and the paste was a new thing for me. And it was riddled with not only spices but an oil blend too. I’ve only been okay with olive oil and hadn’t really experimented outside of that. Even after scraping most of it off, there were minuscule portions of it still on the chicken. And spices are a bit iffy for me now, and I don’t know what my situation with them is since there’s not a really solid test to see which ones I’d be allergic to.
Well, at least my friend liked it. But I hate that I spent six dollars on a meal that I couldn’t even finish. I grew up in a household that hates wasted food; having to deal with potentially throwing out a plate that had at least half of the food still on it was difficult to process.
And now I remember why I don’t buy premade meals. Something always goes wrong, and it’s a waste of time and money to try.