Tag: dairy-free

26220225410_75a5975aaf_b

My cookbook obsession: pure delicious

At my daughters’ pediatric practice, there’s only one doctor who looks at the body holistically. One out of a total of ten doctors and she just happens to be the head of the practice. I’m not trying to pick on them by any means as my girls receive good care there but this narrow view on how to treat the body is my ongoing issue with Western medicine.

For many years, I’ve been trying to incorporate healthier food choices into our lives for various reasons–from my ongoing issues with indigestion, bloating and IBS, to Natalya’s chronic ear infections and eczema, Sasha’s chronic ear and respiratory infections and constipation, and Eric’s chronic sinus infections. While this might seem like a lot for one family, we are hardly unique knowing that nearly one in five households have at least one member who suffers from a food allergy or intolerance.

From age one to almost age two, Sasha was allergic to eggs. During that year of our lives, I was forced to move out of my comfort zone as eggs have always been a daily staple in our lives. Just when I got comfortable and felt like we had a whole new arsenal of options, Sasha outgrew the allergy and decided she wasn’t going to eat anything but eggs, cheese, noodles, bread and tortillas. Hence, her constipation issues that still exist today.

While we’re not completely gluten-free or dairy-free (how can you be with kids who like hot lunch at school and a husband who loves burritos?), we’ve made significant strides in this past year thanks to the incredible amount of resources out there that are making it easier and less time consuming to make healthier choices.

My current obsession is a relatively new cookbook by Heather Christo called “Pure Delicious.” Heather is a mother and a chef who decided to take control of her family’s health by completely revising the way they ate due to chronic illnesses many of which are the same ones I’ve listed above.

I love everything about this cookbook. Everything. The recipes are simple and easy to make and the ingredients needed are minimal which saves us money at the grocery store. Most importantly, I don’t feel like we’re giving up anything–in fact, I think we’ve gained more than we’ve given up in terms of taste.

It’s hard to narrow down my favorite recipes but here are some of our “Pure Delicious” staples:

  • Pumpkin muffins
  • Lemon-artichoke hummus
  • Spicy Thai curry noodle soup
  • Penne with creamy tomato-vodka sauce
  • Grilled skirt steak with chimichurri
  • Chocolate zucchini bundt cake

“Pure Delicious” also has an eight week elimination challenge which I’m hoping to start this January. I don’t know how realistic it will be for Natalya and Sasha to fully participate but I’ll take anything that helps us keep inching toward more consistency when it comes to healthier food choices!

With love, lavender and lipstick,

Olivia

 


Different types of non-dairy milk

How to transition a dairy-obsessed toddler away from cow’s milk

As part of Sasha’s journey toward building a stronger immune system, I knew we had to transition her away from her beloved cow’s milk. Now I realize there are varying opinions about dairy, and we’re certainly not a dairy free family. However as I’ve aged, I’ve become more sensitive to dairy products and I’ve given up milk, creamer, yogurt and many cheeses (although I can’t bring myself to completely let go of cheese). Additionally, based on my experiences with Eastern practitioners, I’m more aligned with the theory that our bodies were not meant to drink milk past breastfeeding age nor we were meant to process another species’ milk.

As someone who was still drinking at least three “babas” a day in sippy cups, I can’t describe how traumatic this was for Sasha. When I first raised the idea, she cried so hard I felt like she was going to nominate me for “worst mother of the year.” But two months after making the switch, she promptly told on my mom who had offered her cow’s milk for breakfast. Not only did she rat her out, but she also told my mom that cow’s milk was “not good for her body.”

Here’s what worked for us:

  • Start laying the foundation a few weeks before you make the big switch. Because Sasha tends to get sick on a frequent basis, I wasn’t short on opportunities to start explaining why cow’s milk wasn’t helping her little body fight off viruses and infections or poop regularly (constipation is also an ongoing struggle for Sasha and I’m sure she’s going to be thoroughly embarrassed when she reads this as a teenager). To reinforce my messages to her, I would also bring up the subject during our visits to various practitioners. Eventually she stopped balking less at the idea and started becoming more curious about the change.
  • Let your child choose his/her new “milk.” We planned a special date to our local Whole Foods just to pick out some new “milks” to try. As hard as it was not to grab some additional groceries while we were there, I wanted this trip to feel special and all about Sasha so we only shopped for “milk.” She picked out five different varieties/brands which certainly wasn’t cheap but was definitely worth the investment in her long-term physical and emotional well-being.
  • Throw a taste test party. Continuing to play up this moment as something positive and exciting, we had a taste test party when we got home from the store. The entire family gathered around our kitchen island and watched as Sasha poured and tasted each one of her new “milks.” We cheered her on as she tried almond, coconut, almond-coconut and cashew finally landing on coconut.
  • Reward progress with milestone treats. After the excitement of the taste test died down, we experienced a few more tears that evening (and the following few evenings) at bedtime when reality sunk in. It took her a few days to get used to her new coconut “babas” but I kept telling her how strong she was and how proud we were of her for making good choices. I also let her have a small glass of chocolate almond milk here and there to acknowledge her progress.

Since giving up milk combined with treatments from the craniosacral therapist, regular visits to the chiropractor and regular use of essential oils, we’ve seen a big difference in Sasha’s ability to fight off viruses and bacteria. In the short time we’ve been back at preschool, she’s already moved through three colds without them worsening and moving into her lungs. Certainly there’s a part of me that’s already worried about the heart of cold and flu season since this year was so rough. But I do feel like we’re better prepared this time around and have many more tools to help us pull through the season!

With love, lipstick and lavender,

Olivia

 

 

 


Banana smoothie and fresh banana on wooden background.

Chocolate, peanut butter, banana, oh my!

I love smoothies and fresh juices but let me be honest: I don’t take the time to make them as much as I should.

For one, I’m often overwhelmed by the amount of concoctions available to explore and find myself spending double at the grocery store for produce and fruit that might not get used in the way I had originally planned for. And two, because smoothies and juices are trendy right now, there are multiple juice bars within five minutes of my house that are relatively the same price as making one at home.

Excuses aside, there is one recipe that is my go-to that I make at least 3-4 times per week. I don’t start off my day with it because I prefer savory foods in the morning so it usually ends up being my lunch and my girls’ afternoon snack. Additionally, it’s easy to make because I always have the ingredients on hand and can easily swamp things in or out depending on what’s in my fridge and fruit bowl.

1 cup almond milk

1 frozen banana

1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter. I love Justin’s peanut butter.

1 scoop chocolate organic plant protein powder. I use Garden of Life’s smooth chocolate.

Usually this has a nice consistency with just the frozen banana but sometimes I will throw in a few ice cubes as well. To mix up the recipe, I’ll switch out the chocolate protein powder for Garden of Life’s smooth vanilla. And if I’m feeling crazy, I’ll eliminate the peanut butter and add in other seasonal fruits and sometimes spinach although my girls are too smart for that version these days.

While I know this recipe isn’t innovative or unique by any means, it’s simple and that’s what the middle ground is all about!

With love, lipstick and lavender,

Olivia