Tuesday, September 20, 2011

No Dairy, No Cry

I love cheese.  If you know me, you know this fact about me.   I basically lived on cheese (specifically cream cheese) during my pregnancy.  Unfortunately, Alex does not love cheese, and really does not love it when I eat cheese. 
 What a stinker!

Alex has an intolerance to dairy that makes him very fussy and uncomfortable and have stinky green mucousy poop (becoming a parent means you have to spent at least 20% of your time talking about baby poop - they make you sign a contract before you leave the hospital).  I cut dairy out of my diet and things got a bit better, and then they got worse again, so then I cut soy out of my diet, which is the next big offender.  Cutting dairy out was sad, it meant I had to read labels and couldn't have some of my favorite foods, but mostly just meant I had to find different brands of food.  Cutting out soy meant that I basically can't eat processed food anymore.

Read a label sometime - soy is in everything.  I screwed up on that one so many times because I would make the mistake of assuming something didn't have soy in it.  Cooking spray, olive oil cooking spray, has soy in it. 

I also can't really eat at restaurants either.  If we go out, I get the salad bar at Ruby Tuesdays, because they have an extensive allergen menu (which says that I can have the salad bar and oil and vinegar for dressing), or we get sushi and I get the most basic sushi that is just rice and fish (no dipping in soy sauce, obviously). 

Surprisingly, this isn't as bad as it sounds.  We eat out a lot less, which saves us money.  We also make almost all of our own food now, including bread (YUM!), which is both healthier and cheaper.  I eat a lot of rice and beans and quinoa and tons of fresh veggies.  Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian" has been an amazing resource.  I've stopped just using recipes and started really cooking - making things up as I go along. 

Last night I made a vegan risotto with acorn squash, red pepper, onion, and kale.  I cooked the onion with some garlic first in some olive oil, then added the red pepper, then added the squash, cut into small cubes and a little bit of stock and just let that cooked covered for about 15 minutes (I took this opportunity to nurse the baby).  I added the kale and let that cook for about a minute, then added the rice and some white wine (technically some white zin left over in the fridge).  Cooked that for a few minutes, then started added thing stock, about a half ladle at a time.  I use Bittman's recipe for making our own stock and make a double or triple batch so that we can freeze some, or use it throughout the week.  I made the stock while I was chopping vegetables, and then just ladled directly out of the stock pot into the risotto.  Multitasking!  The risotto took about 30 minutes to cook after I added the rice with pretty continuous stirring (Dan played with Alex).  Season with salt and pepper and then I added a splash of lemon juice for a little acidity.  The squash basically became a puree and added the creaminess that would have been added by butter and cheese.  The fresh stock added a lot of flavor to the rice.  It was delicious!!  I never would have tried risotto without cheese, risotto was basically a fancy delivery method for as much cheese as possible, but this was amazing and super healthy. 

 Pictured here with homemade bread - so good!

We still don't seem to be out of the woods though - Alex is still having symptoms, which suggests that he has another food intolerance.  I thought it might be eggs, because it got really bad after his 4 month shots, but cutting out eggs hasn't seemed to make a difference yet.  I think we need to call in an allergist (and possibly a registered dietician for me).

At least I'm no longer tempted by fried food - it's just not an option anymore.  (Most fried food is fried in vegetable oil which frequently includes soybean oil). 

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