Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thoughts on Food

Partly out of a personal lifestyle philosophy, and partly for economic reasons, and partly to retain control over what our family eats (yeah, I'm a control freak.. giving it up bits and pieces at a time), I cook almost every dinner we eat. I love doing this - I love to cook, I love to eat, and I love providing for my family in this way. 

We've been beyond lucky with Ellie and her culinary habits. From the beginning, she was easy to feed. Breastfeeding was second nature, and as soon as we introduced her to solid foods, her repertoire of foods she wouldn't eat was almost non-existent. I suppose we did a modified "Baby Led Weaning" approach with her (ie, no/minimal purees, and straight to grown up types of food, allowing baby to feed herself), but more for convenience than any philosophical reason. It was, and is, much easier to cook one meal for everyone that be a short order cook for my family. (that being said, we also did purees when convenient and I fed her when I wanted to avoid a mess). It's also easiest to have everyone at the table together. She's got an amazing appetite and a great sense of adventure with trying new foods. She'll try anything I give her, and usually eat the whole portion. It's so satisfying, and so relieving to watch her gobble down a tray of what's on the menu - the only problem now is that I have to cook for basically three big appetites every dinner. (she ate a 1/4 lb filet mignon the other night, and she will easily put down a whole tilapia filet). I'm sure a small part of our success comes as a result of being so relaxed about what we fed her from an early age, and being inclusive of all "grown up foods" in her plate at mealtimes, but I know that the majority reason is simply because we lucked out. 

Dash, at 2 months, is also fed exclusively by me (yay!). I say "yay" because this was my number one concern regarding our rough start to his life (beyond any health concerns). Without the skin-to-skin, without the nursing on demand from the beginning, with bringing my milk in using a pump and all the trouble that caused (I'll be honest here: cracked/bleeding nipples, massively engorged, plugged ducts, blisters, many visits with the Lactation Consultants on staff at the hospital, trial and error with flange sizes for the pump - it was NOT fun). I've talked a lot about how much I love breastfeeding, and it's no different this time around. I love it, and will do this as long as I can, which will hopefully be as long as Dash wants to. 

I've mentioned here before (I think) that Dash seems to have a dairy sensitivity. Meaning - the dairy in my diet does not sit well with him at all. It shows up via bloody poop, which is (not) awesome. Our pediatrician says it doesn't cause him stomach pain, but I have to question that - on days when dairy sneaks into my diet, he's so squirmy and uncomfortable acting. This is HARD for me. I'm a dairy/carb combo addict: cheese and any bread/tortilla/pasta/cracker - that's my comfort food, and a major staple in my diet. It was easy enough to cut out milk - substitute coconut milk in my coffee, and that's that. Giving up yogurt was more difficult, but doable, as was ice cream and certain other desserts. Giving up butter frankly stinks, but I can cook with olive oil or use a butter substitute on bread if need be. But cheese - it's so, so hard. 

Where am I going here? I'm being forced to change up my diet a lot lately, and it requires a lot more forethought into what we/I will eat (no getting hungry and grabbing cheese anymore!). I'm finding that shopping vegan is a lot quicker of a way to avoid having dairy sneak into whatever I'm buying. I've never had anything against vegan products or recipes, and my previous general rule was that I would cook and eat whatever sounded/tasted good/easy/inexpensive/whatever my criteria was. So it's not like I had to have dairy in everything I put in my mouth. But now when I'm looking up recipes, it's easier and much quicker to search for "Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies" or "Vegan Zucchini Muffins." (side note: if a recipe explicitly calls for an ingredient to be "organic" or "non-gmo" or whatever, I move on. Thanks, but I can make that call for myself. It just seems so pretentious!). My sister has been off-and-on vegan for several years, and I've tried a couple of her recipes too. Hummus is a staple now, as are lara bars, and vegan (or milk/yogurt/butter free at least) muffins come out of the kitchen at least once a week. 

All in all, it's fun to have a new challenge in the kitchen. I know Dash's intestines appreciate it, and I'm sure mine do as well. :)

Ellie tackles Orange Bundt Cake with me. 
She's heard there may be an opening on The Food Network and practices with Dash as her audience
"hmm.... let me just try this...."
"pretty good"
enough said.


  1. Both of my boys were dairy sensitive, too. It was a tough road for about six months, at which point they seemed to develop the stomach enzymes to deal with dairy again. The hard part is that it takes, like, TEN DAYS for dairy proteins to get out of your system, so any backslide has lasting effects. I made a lot of meat & rice/beans/potatoes/pasta & veggie dinners in those days and stopped making all my casseroles (all of which included cheese or milk).

    When we're done with babies and all these crazy diet restrictions, let's get together for a lavish wine-and-cheese night, hmm?

    1. No casseroles is hard for me too. Plus, lame because that means there aren't casseroles around to provide leftovers for 2-3 more days (my favorite thing ever). The other day I told myself when I'm done nursing and finally, finally have my body to myself again (who knows when this'll be), I'm taking myself to Disneyland. You should come, okay?

    2. Oooh, I like the sound of that!

    3. Um, can I come too? (no babies, but I love sister time at disneyland!!)

    4. Of course you can come, but only if you don't have a baby of your own to gestate and/or nurse. Thinking 2 years from now, you may be busy...? Of course, we can always do it again, and again, and again. :)

  2. Oh my goodness, your kids are so cute. Can I come play with them again soon? How about lunch sometime later in July? You are such a good mom. I love reading your posts!!

    1. Yes please!!! Late July works - let's connect on FB. :)