Sunday, June 28, 2009

Apple tree scenario...

I am my father's daughter. Hand washing my dishes is my latest evolution....and avoiding the microwave. My friend Brooke and I sat around one afternoon last week looking up additives. BHT is my newest to avoid. I noticed it as a preservative in cereal....nasty stuff.

We had our appointment with our naturopathic doctor on Thursday and I think it's the change we've been looking for as far as medical guidance goes. He put Jack on an allergen free probiotic (I had him on a soy based one before we learned of the soy allergy - ugh), he ordered an array of blood tests which we did Friday morning, and we're going back this week for a heal stick blood test to test for more allergens. In the meantime we're giving Jack gluten which he said will help with the testing for gluten allergies because with exposure they'll be able to better detect the antibodies. So Friday I gave him oat and barley and he did great with that as far as I can tell although some allergies (delayed response allergies) take up to 72 hours to affect the body. Yesterday afternoon we gave him a piece of organic whole grain bread and some organic whole wheat pasta. He went to bed at 7 pm and then from about 1:30 am to 4:00 am he tossed and turned, burped, itched, and mumbled. No fun. It's possible it was the wheat and he has a wheat specific allergy/intolerance/sensitivity or it could have been the yeast in the bread. That was way out of character so something was up. He rashed all over his body if I ate wheat while I breastfed him so this is not a new development,that's why I've had him off of it. Hopefully between test results and the naturopath's guidance we'll find what's best for Jack. I'm so tired of the trial and error but I'll do what it takes to figure this out. Next week he'll be prescribing us a vitamin/mineral supplement, once we see if he has any deficiencies. That's what's new on that!

I've been doing a lot of self exploration this week as well. I think it's very easy for someone on the outside of this situation to look in and conclude that we're too strict with Jack's food, that perhaps he could have a "little" bit of the allergen and be okay, or that it can't be as serious as we make it out to be. The truth for me is that the body's response to an allergen is the response it would have if it were poisoned. I wouldn't feed my child a "little" poison nor would I give him a bite of ice cream or egg containing baked good. His leaky gut won't heal if he's constantly exposed to allergens. I have to let others' opinions glide off me because in the end this is my son and he is my responsibility and what other people would do isn't what matters. It's so easy to get angry knowing that our environment and food industry are causing so many children to be plagued with allergies but my hope is that as we learn more about this epidemic we'll be forced to take a harder look at what we're exposing these kids (and embryos) to. These allergies are a result of greed for money and power and immediate gratification. I'm working hard to breathe deeply and rest assured that our higher power is in control, this journey is getting easier.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Vegan Sweet Potato Chili

I make this in a big dutch oven but any large pot will do! Enjoy and tell me what you think.

1 medium yellow onion diced
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 large sweet potato peeled and cubed
2 small zucchinis chopped
5 cups good organic vegetable broth
28 oz can crushed fire roasted tomatos
30 oz canned kidney beans drained and rinsed
15 oz canned black beans drained and rinsed
2 cups texturized soy protein (I buy from the bulk bins at Henry's)
2 tblspns chili powder
1 tblspn cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tblspn savory

Drain and rinse beans and set aside. Chop all veg and have ready to drop in pot. Coat bottom of pot with olive oil, I'm liberal with it. Sautee onion for about 10 min on medium heat until translucent. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and sweet potato. Stir and sautee for another 10 min until sweet potato becomes tender. I throw the lid on during this phase to soften the sweet potato.

Add fire roasted crushed tomatos, zucchini, and 5 cups of vegetable broth. Turn heat up a bit and bring to a boil. Add texturized soy protein and savory, stir together well, add beans, lower heat to simmer and allow chili to simmer with lid on for about an hour. Stir often if you're using stainless steel, don't want it sticking to the bottom. Less often if using a ceramic coated pot.

Top with avocado, green onion, cilantro, or vegan cheese. We do avocado and cilantro - YUM!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Slow digestion...

I'm still digesting all the information from Friday's allergist appointment. Not only did Jack's allergies not improve (milk, egg) but we learned that he has a severe peanut allergy, he's allergic to soy, corn, tree nuts, cats, dogs, mold, and dust mites. Don't get me wrong, the information is empowering, it's information that we need to help our son. But I get sad thinking about how little he can eat and frustrated thinking about how little he WILL eat and I get furious thinking about all the modification to foods and additives in foods and cheaper faster b/s that is the food industry. How's that for a quick vent? Almost cried in the cereal isle when I couldn't find a single box that he could eat. I bought some plain puffed rice cereal (ingredients: puffed whole grain brown rice) but he turned his nose up at it. So it's noon and today he's had rice milk, a banana, an organic dried pureed fruit snack thing, and some apple juice and water. I am hoping that having him off soy and corn completely will bring some pleasant surprises, better sleep, better color, better overall health, maybe even an appetite?? I have been suspicious of corn so hadn't been giving it to him but I wasn't being a stickler about things like vanilla extract, citric acid, etc which are corn derived. He has been eating rice noodles with tomato sauce so I'm going to start adding some pureed vegetables to the sauce, every little bit counts.

Sorry this is all venting and little Jack's health is consuming 99% of my thoughts right now so it's all I've got. And even if no one reads this, it feels good to type it. Shrinks the lump in my throat just a little.

We've tossed stuffed animals, are replacing flooring, and covering pillows and mattresses with dust mite covers. Waiting for a call from a naturopath today, that will be our next step in this journey. Stay tuned...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Weaning off the bean...

That's right, I'm kicking the habit. Sure, I'll indulge in a cup now and then but I just don't want to be a dependant junky anymore. I've switched to green tea which is keeping withdrawal symptoms at bay. Looked at the ingredients of my Good Earth lemongrass green tea this morning though and found that it contains soy lecithin...WHAT!?!? Can't I drink a little flippin' tea without chemical additives? I'll be combing the tea section today for something less commercial. My new favorite mid morning snack has been sauteed chard with mushrooms and garlic. It gives me a huge energy boost and Harvey likes it! I'm going to throw some brocoli rabe from our neighbors garden in it today. We have another neighbor across the street with a huge urban garden and we had zucchini from it last night. Was also given green onions, lettuce, and green beans. Love it!

Made a vegan lasagna a couple nights ago and it turned out great. I used tofu which I blended with herbs as a ricotta and layered that with the noodles, sauce, eggplant and zucchini. I think that next time I'll leave out the eggplant, I'm finding that I only like eggplant if it's spicy. Next time I'll use more mushrooms too. Justin loved it and said it tasted like regular cheese lasagna. Score.

Heading outdoors to enjoy this beautiful day with my beautiful boys!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bah-da bah-da da da..

Monday Monday, knee deep in snot. Justin woke up sick too so that makes three. I always seem to either avoid the virus or I get it just as they're all getting better. I think it's due to sleep deprivation and a weak immune system. So I'll be upping my greens and water intake. And hopefully we'll all get a nap today! Poor Jack is too miserable to play which Harvey doesn't seem to understand. Fortunately Jack has perched on the couch where Harvey can't pound on him.

Weekend grub was pretty simple. Roasted some acorn squash, made sandwiches. Soup, cereal, easy stuff. Working on a chili recipe that I'll share once perfected. Super yumm! Watched another documentary this weekend called King Corn. We all know that corn is way overused here, it's in EVERYTHING, even's all our livestock eats anymore and it's not at all what they're meant to eat. If they weren't slaughtered they'd die soon after just due to poor diet. Corn makes them fat fast and it's dirt cheap so it makes financial sense. Just another reason to avoid the stuff. The process of corn farming is fascinating. The corn seeds themselves are genetically tampered with so that the corn isn't affected by the weed killer that it's sprayed with and it's altered so that if you plant it, it won't grow. This way the farmers have to purchase the seed from the seed peeps instead of saving seed from their crop to plant the next season. Same goes for all of our fruits and vegetables. You can't plant an apple in the backyard and grow a tree anymore, those seeds are infertile. Healthy stuff eh? Why don't we know these things, and more importantly why don't we do something about it?? Farmers markets are my best solution. "Organic" and even "locally grown" are now buzz words and the supermarkets are going to use them. We can't live in paranoia, that'll send you to an early grave as well but I have a feeling my little garden won't be so little next year. I remember being young and watching my dad grind wheat berries to make flour.....that doesn't seem so crazy anymore. Heck, I could go a step further and grow the wheat (saw some kids do it on sesame street, can't be that complicated)! But hmmmm....where would I get seeds that haven't been tampered with??? And this is why I can't over think this stuff....I'd never sleep again.

Sweet Potato Zucchini and Tofu Chili

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It's not....

Oh but it is...snot again. Boys came down with snotty noses within hours of each other yesterday. Poor babies. Can't breathe, can't sleep. I was up rubbing Jack's back and Harvey's forehead for the bulk of the night.

I highly recommend you see the documentary "The Beautiful Truth". It's available to watch online on netflix if you use that.

Lots more to update on, will do tomorrow!!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Somebody likes her food"

A well meaning granny had this to say about Harvey in line at Henry's yesterday. "Yes, HE does" was my response. Oh, my little fatty. I played with some ingredients and made a delicious coconut curry rice. 1 cup basmati rice, 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (preferably the organic stuff that LOOKS like vegetables, not water), 1 can coconut milk, 1 tblspn curry powder, and 1 tsp good salt. Just threw it all in the pot, brought it to a boil, and then let it simmer for 40 min or so. Jack sounded like a screeching weasel when I put it in front of him and then dry heaved when I brought a spoon to his face but Harvey LOVED it. *sigh* I'm going to make it again only with a little more curry and I'll add diced tomato and sliced carrot and maybe top with with a little shredded coconut and apricot preserves... YUM!

For dinner I went ahead with the roasted vegetable wraps and Justin opted for a microwaved costco frozen chicken bake. He asked to taste my wrap and then said "wanna trade?". I'm making a believer out of him! Wraps consisted of: 1 sprouted wheat tortilla, 1/2 smashed avocado, 1/4 c. black beans, roasted zuchini, fresh salsa, and green leaf lettuce. Wrap and soy milk, that's a vegan meal my friends.

Jack really likes the gluten free brown rice bread that I found yesterday, I toasted it and gave it to him with vegan butter. The slices are little but describing them as "dense" is putting it lightly. He ate that for dinner. *sigh* again. I've started supplementing him with coconut oil which is good for the immune system, digestive system, and is a form of good cholesterol. We have more allergy testing happening next Friday so I'm anxious to hear if he can have tree nuts as well as some other things. And to see if his big allergies (milk, egg) have improved in reaction. I don't know that he should ever EAT those foods, his body responds so violently, but for his safety I would like to see improvement.

Considering taking the boys to Kidsville today after Harvey's nap. Right now Jack is playing "puppy", he barks, pants, fetches, and occasionally poops on the floor. That of course occurs when we're not playing puppy. *grumble* He has woken up dry three mornings in a row now so we are making some major progress in the potty training department. Okay, puppies need to be tended to. In the words of the wise one (Elmo) "kiss kiss".

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

June glooooom...

My partner in crime was on the scene yesterday so we took the boys to the zoo. Super crowded for a Tuesday but the weather was perfect. Jack wanted to walk but he won't hold hands and he does this sort of running in place bit and looks at us like "I'm getting away".....hmm. At least he didn't pee his pants.

Made tabouli which Jack can't have but guess who loved it?? Also roasted some veggies in olive oil and garlic. Yum! Even Justin liked them! Going to make wraps with the leftovers and avocado and hummus today. We were planning to go to a water park this morning but our buddy Troy is sick and the
weather is poo. Going to do some grocery shopping after Harvey's nap. I'm going to make rice in coconut milk, hopefully Jack won't act like I'm trying to kill him when I put it on his plate. I'm also in search of a palatable gluten free bread for him.

Still feeling awesome. Realized yesterday that people think I'm straight nuts. Oh well. First question I've gotten (3x) is "where do you get your
protein?". Just a few examples: 1/2 cup of walnuts - 7 g protein and 10% iron, 1 cup of soy milk - 7 g protein and 6% iron , 1 sprouted wheat tortilla - 5 g protein, 6% iron. Not only am I getting enough protein but the foods I'm getting the protein from are healthier because they're full of nutrients. We don't like eating empty calories but eating empty protein seems to be readily accepted by our nutrition guidelines. Interesting.
* * * * * *
"People are the only animals that drink the milk of another species. All other animals stop drinking milk altogether after weaning. It is unnatural for a dog to nurse from a giraffe;
a child drinking the milk of a mother cow is just as strange. It is not surprising that problems ensue from this inherently unnatural act."

"The protein of animal muscle (steak, chicken, meat, fish fillets, etc.) is far more concentrated and acidic than the plant protein found in whole grains, legumes, and green vegetables. This concentrated, acidic protein load can leach calcium from the bones, contributing to osteoporosis."
Michael A. Klaper, M.D., American author and lecturer, Pregnancy, Children and the Vegan Diet, Vegan Nutrition: Pure and Simple

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Endeavors..

If you're reading this (duh) you may be wondering why on earth I would blog....I'm always complaining of being tired from being up with the baby, I'm uber busy keeping Jack entertained, not to mention the slight obsession I have with keeping our home intact. Well, for one, I have recently taken on the challenge of vegan eating and with that has come some pretty amazing energy! I'm six days in and already my skin is sparkling, I don't neeeeeed coffee, and I can walk on my hands without wrist pain again - so useful. This blog will be chock full of what we're eating, what we're up to, the obstacles we face in nourishing our food allergic boy along with it's many rewards. And probably a good amount of sarcasm and grammatical errors!

Harvey had me up at 5:30 am. I brought him downstairs and tried to sleep between peek-a-boo giggles with the blanket but as time passed my eye lids propped open on their own. I'm slowly weaning off the bean so I had one gorgeous cup of joe before Jack woke at 7. Here we are snuggling. Breakfast was a smoothie and some raw walnuts for me, soy milk with a probiotic and a banana for Jack, and whole grain toast with vegan butter and organic strawberry jam for Harvey.

For lunch we made burritos with sprouted wheat tortillas, black beans, salsa, lettuce, and avocado. I ate two......minus the bits I gave Harv....and Jack apple and rice noodles. Still working on this kid. His appetite is awful and I will not give up on finding ways to keep him fed.

Harvey loved it! He's my little foodie! Dinner plans are still rolling around my brain. Justin isn't fully on board but is willing to at least try what I prepare so I'll be juggling for a while. He'll eat spinach salad but not sauteed, he'll eat a veg sandwich but he'll want cheese on his, etc. He described butternut squash soup at tasting like thanksgiving and couldn't finish it because he has a low threshold for veg consumption. This will take time but it's no mission impossible.

Just finished the book The China Study and I don't know if it's the information in the book or just that I'm feeling so much better eating a plant based diet but I don't even WANT animal foods anymore. Keeping the house full of fresh delicious options is key so we'll be doing more farmers markets and grocery runs but I look forward to the shopping and making new discoveries. Obviously I'm excited about this lifestyle shift or I wouldn't be blogging it....hopefully it will inspire at least one other person to give it a try, even if it's one meal a week. Every little bit counts!

Ref is needed as the boys have dismantled the couch and are using it as their own personal WWF ring. Wrestling starts at 11 months old?? Really????

Peace and much love,