Food – Page 2 – Grace and Glory

Musings from the Threshold

Category Archives: Food

An update on Andrew’s diet

I mentioned near the beginning of the month that we had discovered that Andrew does not deal well with the bovine milk protein that comes through in my milk (a condition called allergic colitis), that I had gone off dairy, and that he seemed to be improving.  I’ve now been off dairy since around 1pm on Thursday, September 30 (not that I’m counting or anything) and thought I’d give an update on how Andrew and I are doing.

Andrew is doing much better.  Over the first couple of weeks, we saw a dramatic improvement in his comfort level, cheerfulness, and the quality of his stools.  About three weeks in, however, it seemed like he was moving backward.  I felt quite unsettled about him, and called wonderful Mary, our midwife.  She connected me with a friend/client who has dealt with allergic colitis with a few of her babies and who has, through necessity, become an expert.  It was very helpful to talk with her, and I tweaked a couple of things after our conversation, including dropping goat cheese, as her experience indicated that it is any dairy, not just cow dairy, that causes trouble.  That helped a bit more.

Early this week, with Andrew still having the occasional pre-bloody (I can explain that in more detail if you really want) or blood-tinged diaper, I became more convinced that Andrew is one of those babies who cannot handle dairy or soy.  I have generally avoided soy products for years now, but I had not realized how many innocent looking foods have soybean oil in them.  I’ve peeled off a whole other layer of the dietary onion this week. And it seems to be paying off.

Just to give you an idea of the changes I’ve made, here are some of the things that are in the works in our kitchen:

Things at which I feel the need to develop proficiency/for which I need to find recipes that are dairy/soy free –
~ Tortillas
~ Mayonaise
~ Biscuits
~ Potato soup – a fall/winter staple in our home.
~ Popcorn. I tried it tonight with seasoned salt (and olive oil to hold the salt on the popcorn). It was passable, but nothing to hoot and holler about. I’m looking for ideas.
~ There are more on my mental list, but I can’t find the mental paper it’s on. I guess that’s a sign that I need to write it down with pen and paper.

Things I’ve tried/am trying –
~ Experiments in substituting for butter in various recipes. I have some coconut oil, but it is quite pricey, and I’m definitely not going to be making cookies with it at a cup or cup and a half per batch.
~ Today I tried an idea suggested by a friend – using mashed up white beans as a substitute for butter. I found a recipe for oatmeal cookies using beans and they were quite yummy. I’ll post more about this on my Love You Can Eat blog, because, well, it qualifies!
~ I have a batch of artisan bread dough in the fridge so I can start making bread again. Need a carrier for my homemade apple butter, you know. (Store-bought bread is pretty much an automatic fail)
~ I made cornbread last night. I generally use bacon drippings for the fat in my cornbread, so the only sub was almond milk instead of buttermillk. Quite tasty.

Foods for which I’m developing appreciation (read: my sanity savers) –
Almond Milk
Dark Chocolate Almond Milk
Dark Chocolate that doesn’t use soy lecithin as an emulsifier
Almond butter on gala apples
(Do you see an almond theme here? I’m extra grateful that almonds are an alkalizing food, or I would be in a world of hurt!)

In the midst of our food journey, I am thankful that we do not have to be concerned about one of the most common side effects of allergic colitis, failure to thrive.

A week for alkalizing

I noticed on Sunday afternoon that I was starting to feel awfully acidic (heartburn, general yucky feeling, etc). I tried to ignore it, but by Monday morning, I realized that I needed to focus on moving my body toward alkaline this week. And I needed to do it fast, because my beloved sis-in-law and The Cousins are coming on Friday (woohooo!!!!), and I know I’m going to be eating all sorts of fun stuff while they’re here.

Without getting into a bunch of details, I’ll try to give a brief explanation of the acid/alkaline (ph) issue. Everything you eat has the effect of causing your body to become more acidic or more alkaline. For your health, it’s best to have a ph that is slightly alkaline (around 7.2). I believe most Americans have a very acidic body ph, something that leads to all sorts of health problems. Rule of thumb – fresh fruits and vegetables are the most alkalizing, meats and processed foods are the most acidifying. I’ve done a lot of learning and have long way to go, but that’s probably the simplest way to sum it up.

I started learning about ph in the midst of my cervical cancer concern, and in conjunction with figuring out why I could no longer tolerate coffee and had constant heartburn. When I started testing my ph, it was around 5. That’s truly dreadful. With a radical change of diet for several months, I brought it up to around 7.2, and have been able to maintain that with a way of eating that seems reasonable and workable for me. But there are times when I get off track with my eating, and I realize I need to adjust course.

This past weekend is the first time that I’ve had such obvious evidence that I was off track and needed to re-stabilize my ph. Since Monday, I’ve been eating more alkalizing foods and very little of foods that acidify my body, and I am feeling much better already. By the weekend, I should be ready for a few splurges. Woot!

Perhaps the reason I’m blogging about this at all is that it is a reminder to me of some of the lessons I’ve learned in the last few years.

In general, I believe that it is important to live in moderation. As I’ve learned more about health and nutrition, I’ve sought to implement that knowledge in a way that is workable for our family and not too extreme. I’ve done this with varying degrees of success, so I’m not tooting my own horn, just sharing my perspective/goals.

Alongside a growing commitment to moderation and grace has come the realization that there are times when a less moderate, dare I say – radical, approach is appropriate. When faced with the possibility of cervical cancer, I was very willing to get extreme about my way of eating! There are other times when, usually for a temporary period, it seems appropriate to “get radical” in one way or another.

The goal for me is to be able to come back to a moderate way of life. I want to be radical in my love for my Savior all the time, and I want to walk with Him steadily, in a way that demonstrates His amazing grace.

Laurel’s Chicken Pot Pie

P-Dub is giving away a KitchenAid stand mixer today, my friends. Oh how I yearn to win! To enter, you just have to post a recipe. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator, but since she might use some of the recipes on her cooking blog in the future, I figured I’d give her my best.

So here it is – my chicken pot pie recipe. Never typed out before today!

Laurel’s Chicken Pot Pie – makes two pies

Pot Pie Filling
4-6 split chicken breasts, depending on your taste/budget
1/2 c butter
Medium Onion
Milk (optional)
2/3 c flour
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1-2 pounds frozen vegetables (I usually use corn and peas or mixed veggies)

Start by boiling the split chicken breasts in enough water to just cover them. Once they’re cooked and have cooled enough to bone, clean those bones and cut or pull the meat into bite-sized pieces. Set aside the chicken meat.

If you want to use some milk in your pot pie (and I strongly suggest you do, unless you have allergies!) take 3 cups or so of broth from boiling the chicken. Add however much milk you need to make 5 cups. The proportions here are very fluid… use all broth if you want, add water if you want, or do it my way. Just be sure you have 5 cups of wet stuff ready to go.

Get a small bowl and measure 2/3 c of flour into it. Add 1 t salt and 1 t pepper. Set aside.
Chop the onion into a small dice. You guessed it! Set it aside also.

Now melt the 1/2 c butter in a medium stock pot. Add the onion and saute until slightly translucent.
Add the flour mixture and stir while cooking for one minute.
Slowly add in the 5 cups of liquid, whisking if needed. Then cook, stirring constantly, until the gravy starts to boil and thicken. Boil for about a minute, still stirring.

Turn off the heat and stir in your vegetables.
Then cover the filling, preheat the oven to 350′ and prepare your pastry.

Double Pie Crust – make twice
Mis together:
2 2/3 c All-purpose flour
1 t salt
Cut in with pastry cutter:
1 c butter
Sprinkle in 7-8 T cold water (1T at a time) while fluffing with fork.
(You’re looking for the pastry to start clearing the sides of the bowl)
Divide into two balls. Roll out one ball for bottom crust, fill pie, then roll out the other ball of dough for the top.

Finish edges and slit crust as you wish.

Place pies on a cookie sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, until crust is golden. For a “crust guard,” I cut a nice big piece of tin foil, cover the pie, and cut out the middle. I take off the guard when I think there’s about 15 minutes of bake time remaining.