Living With Food Intolerances

Living with Food Intolerances

By Kristin Cosgrove

I always thought I was pretty healthy.

When I was growing up, my Father had a fruit and vegetable business. As children, I remember always having an abundance of beautiful fresh produce available to us, which we were happy to take advantage of.  Friends would visit in the summer and be in awe of the trays of peaches, boxes of cherries and huge bowls of every kind of berry sitting on our bench top. We always had great things to eat but as I got older and left my parents home, things started to change for the worse.

I was busy with work and shall we say, a very active social life. All I could really cook was a few simple pasta dishes and chicken cacciatore! I began to rely on jars of this and packets of that. Cereal became a big part of my diet as did bread, pasta and take away Thai curries.I began to experience weight gain, skin problems and the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome – bloating, constipation, discomfort and tummy upsets. I began to make connections between what I ate and how I felt.

I became more interested in cooking and passionate about food.  I loved shopping at markets and visiting specialty shops. My husband gave me a Jamie Oliver cook book for Christmas one year and I remember how inspired I became, how I couldn’t wait to make my own pasta, to invest in some good quality kitchen ware.  My education in food was slow moving and self led but I was on my way.

When I became a mother, the idea of being healthy took on a whole new meaning. I started to think about food as nourishment and began buying more organic food and cooking more.  My first daughter suffered with a mild dairy intolerance.  We stopped giving her milk and she improved so we forgot about it. When my second daughter was born it was clear by the time she was six weeks old that we were facing some serious problems.

Mamacino family

After seeking help from several doctors, Maternal Health Nurses, Dieticians and Naturopaths, Francesca was finally diagnosed with intolerances to wheat, dairy, soy, fish and nuts when she was eighteen months old. I didn’t know what to feed her!  I panicked at first, then burst into tears at the thought I had been causing my baby such discomfort through the food I was feeding her.  Then as all mums do, I decided to take control of the situation and educate myself about true health, real food and whole food eating.

It turns out that there is a lot to eat without wheat, dairy, soy, fish and nuts!  Vegetables for a start! Fresh fruit, good quality grass fed and free range meat, eggs, beans and pulses and gluten free grains like rice and quinoa.  I actually enjoy getting up in the still dark morning to prepare a proper breakfast for my kids – it is so satisfying. Rice porridge with stewed fruit, scrambled eggs and delicious super food smoothies has replaced the boxed cereal with skim milk combinations I had once relied on.

The more we learnt about what food was healthy for my daughter, the more we realised we could all be eating this way. And in time, we all felt the benefits.

I am so grateful to have been faced with the problem of food intolerance. Yes, it can be difficult at times…not everyone understands and many think “just a little bit won’t hurt”.  Travelling can be challenging and children’s parties are a nightmare but I am lucky in that my gorgeous girl understands what works for her body and appreciates feeling well, healthy and strong.

In fact, I would say living with food intolerance has been less a problem and more a blessing, one that has improved the health and well being of our whole family and developed a keen interest in growing, preparing and eating food in all of us!

Sticky Orange Chicken

This is a simple dish that takes no time to prepare and can be cooking in the oven while school bags are unpacked, home work assisted and tales of the day are told.  My kids love it!  I usually serve it with some roasted potatoes and green beans.

Mamacino chicken



10 free range or organic chicken drumsticks or lovely legs (I prefer the skin off but it’s up to you)

Coconut oil, melted, about ¼ cup

2 oranges

A good drizzle of honey (around 2 tablespoons)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season


Rinse and pat dry the chicken then place in a baking dish.  Pour over the coconut oil and massage it in to the chicken.  Cut one orange in half and squeeze the juice over the chicken.  Slice the other orange and tuck it in around the chicken pieces, along with the juiced orange.  Drizzle over the honey and season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 200C for about an hour, turning once or twice.  Serve drizzled with the pan juices.


Mamacino portraitKristin lives by the beach with her three children and her husband, who is part time due to work circumstances.  She is passionate about healthy food – cooking it and eating it!  She loves yoga, travelling and learning new things constantly.  Her friends and family provide much adventure in her life and also give her a reason for celebration.  They keep her busy and entertained and at the end of the day (well, most days) laughing!


Your thoughts on this post


  1. Lisa

    A beautifully written post. I didn’t know about the intolerances in Kristin’s family. It just makes so much sense, that way of eating. And what a delicious chicken dish – must try it!

  2. Carolyn Tate

    Yum! That sounds amazingly easy and delish. I make a roast lemon chicken that I learnt from Nigella but it is more of a special occasion dish. My family will love this – thank you!

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