Last Saturday Keith, Charlie, and I attended a free PKU event/cooking class at the cooking school here in St. Louis (L'Ecole Culinaire). In a word, it was awesome. I had been incredibly excited for this ever since we got the invitation in the mail over a month ago. We started off by having low-phe snacks and while we got a chance to meet others in the group. Their were PKU'ers ranging from 5 weeks old to adults. Talking with others about PKU without having to give the back story (what it is, how we deal, etc) was simply wonderful. It did good things for my heart to talk with others who had "been there, done that" with PKU and lived to tell about it.
One of my biggest fears with PKU has been that it would hold us back from doing what we want with life. It did me a world of good to meet teenagers that did school sports, families that traveled internationally, and others who didn't let PKU interfere with living their life.
Side note: the lady in the picture above is married to a man with a different metabolic disorder that also requires a low-protein diet. Too much of a different amino acid would leave him blind. There are only 150 known cases in the world. Yep, 150. When I learned that I thought two things: 1)everyone has something (I am realizing this more everyday), and 2) count your blessings.
After getting to know people and listening to some presentations on possible medical treatments for PKU and how to make the PKU diet as nutritious as possible, it was on to the cooking! Chef Jeff divided us into groups and gave us pointers as we worked on several low-protein recipes. All ingredients could be found in local stores (a plus as a lot of PKU-approved food is special order only) and the food was delicious! A couple of my favorites were the potato salad (I don't care for potato salads but this was great, and no mayo), and the grilled portobello salad with roasted red pepper dressing. Yum!