Monday, August 1, 2011

Sans Soy & Dairy : A Confessional

Here I am, again, in an oh so familiar place.Within the first month of Baby L's birth he became congested and had a hard time breathing. We all had colds so I figured that was what he had, too. I was very wrong though. When we all got better but he did not, I became concerned. Then I thought more deeply on the matter. He couldn't breathe well, yet when I suctioned out his nose nothing would come out. The memories came flooding back, I went through this before with C - there was a food intolerance issue at hand. Instead of doing a complete elimination diet I targeted what I believed was the offender - Soy. I knew if I got rid of soy that 1) it would take a whole month to leave my system so I was up for a long process and 2) I would need to get rid of dairy as well. I was told a few years ago by my local La Leche League leader that soy and dairy mimic each other so if you need to eliminate one, you should eliminate the other as well.

Granola in progress

So started my journey of soy and dairy free living. I was pretty ok with eliminating them because I went through something similar with C. I had to give up soy with her for almost 18 months. I was still quite depressed over the realization at first, it can be hard for me to make changes. I got over it though, I would do anything for my children and I trusted that all of this was for the better. An intolerance showing up in my nursling meant that my own body was unable to tolerate the offenders, too. I was just ignoring my body's signs.

Cashew 'Cheese' recipe from my favorite place to eat when I lived in California

I no longer ate the processed soy I was addicted to years before but giving up all soy and dairy meant making all my meals completely from scratch (most of them were to begin with but now even the little things would have to be made by me like barbecue sauce and marinara sauce, etc). No more 'nights off' from the kitchen,and forget about ever eating out (not that we could afford it anyways, but still, it was nice knowing in the back of my head I could if given the chance) Minus produce, 90% of food found in your local grocery store has either soy, dairy or both. I tied not to think about the struggles ahead and just to see it as an opportunity to be more creative in the kitchen.

Destined to be the yummiest black bean burgers known to man!

And boy, did I start getting creative! Thanks to this 'inconvenience' my whole family is eating even healthier than before. We are still sticking with eating whole foods but now there is a lot more variety. K has discovered she really loves just about every kind of bean there is.

For a little background information: I was vegan for 15 years of my life. Wow, can I just stop here and say how funny it feels to say 'was vegan'. The cats out of the bag. I haven't really openly admitted to the fact that I am now 'just vegetarian', I was afraid of the backlash I would get from old friends and the 'vegan police'. I guess I just feel the need to be completely honest and that outweighs the possible ramifications.

I can remember the exact day when I made the change. I was fifteen years old at the time. I had already been vegetarian for a couple of years or so. I went vegan for the animals, but I discovered another perk to it - I was no longer constantly sick. You see,I loved dairy with a passion growing up, especially milk. I could drink 6 glasses a day of it. But I was always, always sick to my stomach. I never thought that it could be the dairy I was eating that did it to me. A few weeks after I went vegan the stomach pains were gone and I felt great. It ends up that I was more than likely lactose intolerant. Go figure!
I though that the vegan diet was the perfect diet and only way for everyone to eat. I didn't realize that, yes, while it is healthy that doesn't mean that all vegan food is good for you. I lived off of processed soy for most of my vegan years. It wasn't until I had my children that I realized how awful processed soy is for our bodies.

I only started eating dairy again about two years ago. Kevin and I both decided we wanted to eat simpler and to eat food that we could live off of when we have our little homestead far away from civilization. My body has been ok enough with it, but I only ate the organic or raw and didn't really eat a whole lot of it. I never went back to cow's milk, I don't know if I ever could, I am so used to rice drink now. I know that if I want to truly fulfill my dream of living self sufficiently off of our land I will need to give up that rice drink and learn to like cow milk, again...perhaps goat milk, instead?? It's funny how life works - I am pretty much back to eating vegan, again. How long will I have to eat this way? I foresee it lasting at least until Baby L is 18 months. Then again, seeing that these foods cause so many issues for myself and my family - should I really ever go back to them?

Black bean and sweet potato enchiladas

Anyways, after giving up the soy and dairy, Baby L got better and better each day. Around a month after I gave it up he was a happy, healthy baby. When he was about three months old I tested it out again and ate a bite of some chocolate that had both soy and dairy in it. Within two hours of eating it and then nursing him he was congested all over again. It wasn't worth it and I will not make that mistake again!

Well, here I am going on and on yet again. I apologize this post is rather all over the place. I could keep going on this new chapter in eating but I think I will end it here... for now.

Do any of you have any allergies/intolerances in your families that are/were a struggle for you? How did you get through them?

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