Category Archives: Dairy Free

Casein or dairy free

It’s time to share… where did all this start?

Have you ever stopped to realise that something that has been a pretty harrowing experience in your life, was the best thing that could have ever happened to you?

That’s what this “little” story is all about.

I’m actually not really sure where to start, because while my road to discovering our family’s underlying health conditions started after the birth of our third child, there really were warning signs years before in my older children’s health, and dating back to my own childhood and beyond…

So, I’m going to start this current part to the story when our youngest was born, and with time, I’ll go back and cover the other realisations I have had since.

Her arrival has meant so much more than just the joy of another child in our family. So much more than the joy we get from seeing her growing up into a gorgeous little girl with personality plus. She’s meant that ALL of our family – within our own direct family unit, but also further afield… and many families outside of our network, have come to learn more about their health.

All from one little girl… and a somewhat determined mother I suppose too…!!

Let’s backtrack a little to October 2012. I was due with my third child… I had just completed the sale of our business of nearly 10 years, and had literally JUST finished the majority of the handover process the day before she ended up arriving.

Her siblings are twins, at the time they had just turned 6… they had significant health issues at birth (premature) plus silent reflux which caused no end of pain for our eldest (“K”) and all of us who didn’t get sleep in blocks longer than 40 minute stints until they were nearly 1. Food intolerances were found, more drugs (& different types used) and voila, reflux gone. Problems gone, right? Maybe not… but at the time we thought it!

By the time I got to the arrival of our youngest daughter “L”, I was much more armed with knowledge to push the typical “its reflux and that’s just the way it is” with her.

I had a natural delivery – VBAC too after being pressured into a c-section with the twins… so a big achievement in itself. I specifically requested no antibiotics to be given to either of us unless absolutely necessary… and it wasn’t needed – BONUS! (My research had taught me that AB’s during pregnancy and just after birth could lead to gut imbalances and reactions, so I fought hard for this).

Lydia newborn 15 October 2012

Just minutes old… photo credit to Jen Shipston from The Heart of Motherhood (http://theheartofmotherhood.com.au/)

One step forward, two steps back…

Catch 22 came, when our gorgeous little 8 pound (3.6kg) munchkin arrived, she was tongue tied and didn’t feed properly, which I am sure contributed to me getting mastitis. We had the tie snipped when she was 4 days old, but the damage was already done…

By the time she was 8 days old, I was on Augmentum as I had tried every non-AB option I could in combination with guidance from my midwives. Within 24 hours, she was a screaming mess.

Worth noting here that this is what I feel to be an extremely significant (backward) step in our journey. To this point she had been fairly content and feeding ok (within the realms of expectation for a tongue-tied newborn!), sleeping “ok” as a newborn will, etc. Then she just stopped sleeping and would only do so if completely upright. Projectile vomit, horrible explosive nappies… it was never-ending. I had been used to two severe reflux babies… and handling this ONE child, was more work than they were.

By the time she was 2 weeks old, a friend suggested me looking at becoming gluten and dairy free – it had helped her with her second child a couple of months before. This seemed fairly logical as we knew the twins had reacted as babies to dairy… but I had never gone to the extent of removing it from my diet (even though they were breast and/or express milk fed, I didn’t connect the dots for it – even though I realised other foods which definitely impacted on them like onion and garlic!).

Sooooo… from that day, my world changed. Dramatically.

Have you ever seen how much gluten is used in every day foods you buy? Have a look at the labels of every single product you buy. I bet if you have a ‘standard’ Australian diet without already being restricted… foods you buy have either got dairy, or gluten, or both in them.

She did improve at least a little with this, but was still overall very refluxy and reactive.

Next step was what I had tried to avoid… reflux medications.

….step 1… Infant Gaviscon

Credit to my GP here… he wanted to try the ‘gentler’ things before the strong medications I was asking for… to help ease the symptoms while we worked out triggers. He never once suggested I wean her to formula to help. He never once tried to coerce me into doing things that I didn’t want to do with the exception of trying to slow down the heavy meds… I didn’t understand at the time, I just wanted pain relief for my baby, but, I quickly realised it was worth a try.

It did actually help at the time to ease the symptoms, especially while she was probably in withdrawals, as was I no doubt too. Not thinking straight. After a month of varying uses of it and regularity of doses, etc… plus gradually taking out obvious triggers from my diet that came along… it was time for the ‘big guns’.

….step 2…. Losec (Omeprazole)

This medication actively reduces the amount of stomach acid which is going to burn and hurt in an individual with reflux. It makes a difference in pain and is used so commonly in children and adults alike. They are called “proton pump inhibitors” (PPI).

By reducing the amount of acid in the stomach, it also means that food particles may not be broken down into the smallest unit they can, and then if gut damage exists (which clearly in L it did, and many other babies with reflux it does too)…… these larger molecules can then go into their blood stream and put a massive strain on their bodies to break them down where they shouldn’t normally need to.

It also has serious impacts on health when used long-term, but these parts don’t get talked about. Mineral deficiencies they cause…. making food intolerances worse… yep… awesome. These parts were never discussed more than a glean… by multiple physicians. More about that later.

….step 3…. Zoton (Lansoprazole)

For some reason, the way my kids responded to the PPI drugs wasn’t “normal”… they didn’t actually get much relief from Losec, it helped a little, but didn’t solve a lot long-term. All of them ended up on Zoton and that’s where the changes in behaviour happened at least… pain relief… rest… recovery… (and some more mineral deficiencies)

This is the medication that helped us to find baseline with more significant diet changes… this is what let us see the huge amount of inflammation that was happening in L’s body… but its also what probably contributed to a longer recovery.

Luckily when she was about 8 months old, once I had gone through very extensive dietary changes beyond the dairy and gluten, a single pharmacist clued me up to the magnesium deficiency that would be created by her ADULT doses of this drug. A tiny little baby, borderline failure to thrive… and she was barely kept “maintained” reflux wise on something which actively pumps magnesium out of the body’s stores.

As quickly as I humanly could, we dropped the medication. Weathered the withdrawal symptoms (everything gets worse for a bit!) and found she was remarkably happy off them, but using the gaviscon again to manage symptoms of flares. At the same time, or soon after, we introduced magnesium via epsom salts, and via transdermal magnesium for me…. and that then led to a whole different path.

So beyond the gluten and dairy, then medication… what did I do to help her?

That’s for another day… please check by and I’ll link to the next post soon.

Filed under Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Health and Wellbeing, Mineral Balance

Thick, creamy rice milk

I have stumbled across a way to make my DIY rice milk quite thick and creamy… completely by fluke.

Now this may bring up nightmares from some peoples’ childhoods, but, its really not that scary…

Chokos. Yep. Those strange green vegetables (that double as a fruit?)…

Choko

Click on the picture to go to original source & find out more on chokos

How? What the?

OK so I used my Thermomix to chop up some swede and choko to add to a lamb mince bolognese the other day… and then gave it a quick rinse but used it immediately to make our standard rice milk recipe – which is a variation of Quirky Jo’s Rice and Almond milk – here.

So normally when I do Jo’s recipe, I make a double batch (I use a lot of this milk!) and instead of using cashews, I do about 2 x 90g (ie 180g total) of rice turned into flour as per instructions … as littlest miss cannot have nuts at present. For a long time I just did the suggested amount of rice plus a little, but I was finding it too runny. I also always cook it with 1L of water and then add an extra 1L as per Jo’s doubling suggestions.

Instead of being cooked for 6 minutes, I’ve been starting to do it for 7, to again just help it thicken/cream up.

The other day I made it, promptly forgot about it and was engrossed in one discussion or another online, came back to it some time later, and it was SO thick and creamy, I couldn’t believe it! It hadn’t settled out into gluggy rice flour at the bottom and watery rice milk at the top. It was thick the whole way through.

I *think* that it is because of the saponins in the choko. Anyone who has peeled a choko knows it makes your hands feel a bit funny as you peel it. It can make them actually quite dry/strangely tight skin, to the extent that hubby and I wear a glove when we are doing any more than one at a time to avoid the sap.

Today I experimented and found that the following combo worked a treat, and its now in my fridge, thick and mixed, and tastes great.

This is to make 2L:

  • 120-130gg rice turned into flour (I use a 50/50 mix of medium and long grain white rice)
  • ~60-80g rice malt syrup
  • piece of a choko (literally can be a 2-3cm piece only – use the rest in a cake, stew or casserole. It is a good source of vitamin c and takes on the flavour of whatever you cook it with! I often use about half a choko just because its some more nutrients in there…)
  • Pinch of your preferred salt
  • 1L + 1L of water
  • 2T coconut (approx 40g…. or whatever failsafe/other oil you can use – canola and rice bran oil work fine)

Method:

  1. Grind rice flour ~1.5 mins sp 9 and set aside. [I have a tub of pre-milled rice flour ready to go for all my recipes]
  2. Chop choko about Speed 6 for 2-3 seconds or until its fully chopped and on the sides of the Thermie bowl
  3. Add rice flour, salt, 1L of water, rice malt syrup and oil.
  4. Cook 70 degrees C, 7 minutes, speed 4 and then I blend for about 1 minute gradually stepping up to speed 9 (like the method used for soups/veggie stock etc).***
  5. Strain via nut bag or cheese cloth/muslin etc. If desired.
  6. Add extra 1L of water to strained mixture and refrigerate.

I have previously used a nut bag to strain the remaining rice flour off, but to be honest, there’s very little left now so I think its probably just as easy to put in a jug and store! There may be a little sediment at the end, but its so thick now its a pain to use the nutbag.

My 'take' on Quirky Jo's Rice MIlk

My ‘take’ on Quirky Jo’s Rice MIlk

 *** I have been finding in cold weather it is taking longer and sometimes even a hotter temp (80C) to get it thickening. The individual choko used can impact on it too, so I think how fresh they are may impact on it, but I don’t have any on my vine at the moment so I have no way to judge it!***

Filed under Dairy Free, Egg Free, Failsafe, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Soy Free, Using the Thermomix

Happy New Year!

Best wishes from Kristan and family - here's to an awesome 2014 for all! :-)

Best wishes from Kristan and family – here’s to an awesome 2014 for all! 🙂

The Newsletter

I’m getting in early this month so I can wish everyone a Happy New Year, but also give you as much time as possible to consider Interest Free purchase options, as well as getting in quickly to book into a Demonstration if you have been thinking about it during January.

You can read the newsletter via PDF from……….. HERE

(I will edit in the details for January promotions to this area once available)

Some thoughts on food, Thermomix’s and having survived my first food-intolerance-filled Christmas…

I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have had my Thermomix this Christmas. It has meant I could do easy meals, quickly and under pressure with hungry kids on those busy days in the lead-up to Christmas… not to mention allowing me to travel with our highly food-intolerant toddler without much of a food-fallout either.

The easy clean-up even in someone else’s kitchen was fantastic, as was the ability to make batches of goodies in advance when my older children needed food so they could stay with their grandparents for a few days between Christmas and New Year.

Gluten, dairy, soy, egg and corn free bread rolls

Gluten, dairy, soy, egg and corn free bread rolls

These bread rolls are one food I prepared for my family around Christmas – nice easy snack and gets them away from thinking of gluten filled bread!

It’s been my current project to get them more ‘normal’ … I’ve managed to get them to a fairly stable point now – they come out consistently fluffy and similar to ‘normal’ bread rolls. Big catch with them seems to be the oven temperature that you cook them at. I pre-heat the oven to 200C and generally cook there or a bit cooler, for around 15-20 minutes. If you are finding that your bread/rolls aren’t cooking through, maybe try having the oven hotter in the pre-heating stage at least. It will probably come down to experimentation with how your oven best functions.

I will update the recipe (here) with some more pictures and clarifying what I do in the coming weeks.

Enough from me for now! Best wishes for 2014, and I hope that it is everything you had hoped for, and not too many of those nasty unexpected things pop in!

Please take care in the remainder of this festive season.

– Kristan

Filed under Corn Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Failsafe, Gluten Free, Health and Wellbeing, Ingredient Specific Restrictions, Nut Free, Soy Free, Using the Thermomix

Fluffy and tasty Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Corn and Soy Free Bread…

Yes, you did read fluffy bread which is gluten and so many other things free!

First of all, full credit to Trish, the lady behind ‘Failsafe Foodie’ (see original here)… she gave me some sanity back, and saved my hip-pocket from trying more breads that I just couldn’t eat anyway due to reactions to ingredients AND which is quite tasty too.

Now I have changed the recipe to be Thermomix friendly and swapping sugar for rice malt syrup since I have my Thermomix to do it now and am trying to minimise processed sugar, which is hard when you are on a heavily restricted diet.

The recipe seems to be much fluffier and more perfect than I have ever managed to achieve with a stand mixer.

DSC_9437

Mind you, its important to note, I have found rice flour type does matter with this. More about that below the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 600g water
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp rice malt syrup (or approx 20g works fine)
  • 2 tbsp psyllium husks (I’ve been adding 4 tbsp and it results in a more ‘normal’ loaf AND you can even roll them out as bread rolls)
  • 20g oil (I use rice bran or failsafe canola)
  • 100g brown rice flour*
  • 170g white rice flour *
  • 100g sorghum flour
  • 170g tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder

* –> I actually just do 270g white rice flour. Results will be best with brown and white flour; picture is from using rice flour prepared in the Thermomix from medium grain white rice.

Method

  1. Add water and rice malt syrup into Thermomix bowl. Mix at 37 degrees C for approx 2 minutes on speed 1 – until  heated and well mixd/dissolved.
  2. Add yeast, mix on speed 1 for ~30 seconds.
  3. Leave approximately 10 minutes to activate yeast – ideally while preparing dry ingredients to add later.
  4. Add psyllium husk and mix on speed 1 for 10-15 seconds until gently mixed. Ideally leave for a few minutes to ‘gel’ up. Leaving longer is worth it! Another 10+ mins is ideal.
  5. Add oil then dry ingredients.
  6. Knead mixture for 2 minutes on the interval setting.
  7. Put mixture into prepared/greased loaf tin/s**. Leave in a warm place to proof for 20-60 minutes. With this proofing time – the longer the better I have found, but it works well ok with 20 minutes on a warm day. Aim is to allow to double in volume.
  8. Bake in a pre-heated 200-220 degree C oven for about 50 minutes (will vary between ovens, mine cooks extremely quickly, so after ~40 is done).
  9. Remove from tin and cool on rack.

** –> Worth noting that when made in the Thermomix, it does get more aerated and/or rise more, so, it can be prone to overflowing in a standard loaf tin.

I’ve taken to keeping a little out in another smaller loaf tin (as pictured) that I have and doing a ‘mini’ loaf as well. I intend on tweaking the recipe soon so it will stay in one loaf tin!

So in the mean time, maybe about half-fill your loaf tin and then put the rest into silicone muffin cases or a muffin tray to make bread rolls? Only about half-fill them to allow room to rise.

Some hints:

  • If you spray your measuring spoons with a little oil before adding the rice malt syrup, it will all come out easily and avoid a sticky mess. Or just weigh it 😉
  • We use silicone baking trays and actually do some of the cooking in the microwave to speed up the process. After being allowed to proof, I cook the loaf for 7 minutes at 700w and then 15 minutes at about 200C. Our oven cooks relatively hot, so most ovens will probably need a little longer
  • For best fluffiness and texture with this recipe, use rice flour milled yourself. I use medium grain white rice and make my own rice flour with it. The imported (Asian) brand that I can get from local supermarkets is better for other baking, but will leave loaves flat and soggier.

 

Filed under Corn Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Failsafe, Gluten Free, Ingredient Specific Restrictions, Nut Free, Soy Free