Tag Archives: additive free

A Stitch in Time: Why Start Now

We’ve all been part of discussions about babies and toddlers and their various health conditions why they are unsettled generally, getting reflux etc. Parents are often desperately trying to find a medicine to fix their child. My experience, those I chat to on a number of forums online and elsewhere, plus my clients, is that dietary changes are actually easy for young children and in fact, these kids can go from ‘reflux’ or ‘colic’ to dream babies.

Why not try food as a solution, while your kid is still a little one?

Often the order of things is child gets sick, parent treats with pain killers, reoccurs or doesn’t help enough, so they visit the doctor, get antibiotics, which help for that round but either don’t eliminate the infection fully and/or never treat the base cause for the irritation. Inflammation. Irritants from allergies or intolerances (food or otherwise). Then this keeps happening, they get offered grommets, adenoids/tonsil removal and things may improve for a while. Look they are better!

Hurrah! Then school hits as a major stressor. The child can’t concentrate, sit still, or are disruptive. Maybe they still bed wet. Maybe they are very emotional all the time. Maybe they are on the border between being diagnosed as ADHD or Autistic, or maybe they are none of these but are just not well a lot of the time, quiet, slow weight gain, etc. Physically and/or mentally they are struggling. Things get desperate, Mum (sorry Dad, its more often Mum) hears about an elimination diet to get rid of food intolerances. They go through much trial and tribulation because now the child is older, they struggle with catering for school lunches, excursions, birthday parties, special events like Christmas or visiting family who don’t understand. You name it. But they get results…. and often they find that kids who  did the elimination  are new kids. Assertive, learning quickly, willing to help, concentrating. SLEEPING. This is wonderful, of course … they might have found it easier to do all this before the kids got mobile!

What’s my opinion antibiotics and medical intervention? They are necessary for those who are very ill, but offer little in the way of long term solutions or full ‘health’. They don’t help you work out the true causes to the ever-growing list of symptoms.

Can these common childhood problems be prevented from reoccurring and needing ongoing treatment by standard ‘medicated’ methods?

My family is living proof.

So, when you look at your toddler, thinking its too hard to consider looking at diet now because you’re too tired and overworked…maybe think about giving it a try because after a matter of days or weeks, your child may be sleeping through the night without wetting the bed, fighting at meal times, eczema, asthma, reflux, or simply being ‘unwell’ and clingy all the time or crying. There is a massive payoff to all your hard work. In my case ­ waking up at 8am and realising that I had an awesome night with our ‘reflux’ baby – priceless!

Get started with the ‘FAILSAFE’ or the RPAH Elimination Diet and consider addressing wheat and dairy within that (as these often make inflammation worse!). At worst you have put a bit of effort to feed your child a low chemical diet for a matter of weeks… and they may stay the same. Or, they may surprise you and improve beyond what you could have imagined.

Toddlers are pretty accommodating with food, you may tell me you have a picky kid, but, I bet I could make Failsafe food which they will eat. If I can, you can. Trust me, it’s a whole lot easier to start even younger with a baby on early solids giving them swede, choko and celery than it is arguing with a 7 year old who is asserting their independence!

I offer coaching to help parents who are overwhelmed, in the midst of sleepness nights and behaviour problems… trust me, you can do it without me… you just might prefer to have someone alongside, giving you a hand. There are online communities to help you along if you want to research before going forward… or dietitians who are experienced in the FAILSAFE/RPAH side of things (beware, plenty are not! You risk taking a lot longer by doing one food type at a time, or by them not being at least aware of the benefits of the full elimination-diet.

Once you determine intolerances, their little bodies can rest, the inflammation response by the body is reduced, and you have a fantastic place to start healing and working on fixing the underlying cause/s… gut health… mineral balance… combination of the two. While the body is irritated by food or environment, the capability for the body to recover is that much harder.

Goodluck! Don’t forget to ask for help and guidance… please don’t do it alone.

Filed under Failsafe, Health and Wellbeing

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

Breastfeeding Mums and Refluxy, colicky babies… can diet changes help me?

This is a loaded question depending on who you ask!

Many paediatricians and GPs will tell you that nothing you eat goes through breastmilk. All food in moderation.

I’d like to challenge this. Infact I say this statement is rubbish.

Irrespective of those who become aware food intolerances in their kids, like I myself… how many breastfeeding Mums have noticed that if they eat ‘gassy veggies’ like broccoli, cauliflower, onion or garlic, that they end up with an unsettled baby?

What about alcohol? If nothing goes through into breastmilk, why is it recognised that alcohol goes through? Food molecules are not necessarily larger than alcohol, so surely its logical that some things may go through.

Have you ever heard of a mother taking probiotics to help their baby’s digestive system? How is that possible?

Our intestines look something like:

Small and large intestine cross-section.

Small and large intestine cross section. Full credit to Vetmed for this graphic.

The theory is that our digestive system starts at our mouth when we chew, and it continues the whole way until it… exits. In an ideal world, it is a separate entity from our blood. Food doesn’t cross into our blood stream thanks to those villi and multiple layers of intestines. So we are lead to believe anyway as 1st, 2nd, 3rd and beyond year Science Students!

The thing is, the food we eat has loads of things hidden in it that we would never have eaten in bygone days.  Preservatives, colours, additives, chemicals to keep food stable for extremely long periods, you name it… do we truly have an understanding how these impact on our digestive system? It is within comprehension to think that these molecules could do damage to our digestion over time, causing gaps in the membranes… damage which may allow other molecules through…

I personally think that bread shouldn’t be able to sit on a shelf for a few weeks without growing… nor should many things we eat survive in the pantry as long as they do! What about the preservatives in soft drinks? Isn’t there enough sugar? No, they add it to almost every fizzy drink out there… needed or not.

Another thing which is more commonly used now than (say) 100 years ago… antibiotics, and the massive variety in types and composition. Now don’t get me wrong, these save lives and help us to lead the busy and diverse lives we do without being brought down by the common infections which were once so much more dangerous. However, the ingredients within these medications are well beyond just the antibiotics… have you see how brightly coloured and flavoured most kids antibiotics are? Probiotics are encouraged by some physicians, but they don’t emphasise how these may need to be taken for MONTHS to reverse the damage to the gut flora.

Gradually gaining recognition in medical fields is the concept of a ‘leaky gut’. Many medicos only recognise it in a very small group of patients, but, I believe there is plenty of evidence that something is going on! Those using elimination diets identifying food triggers are inadvertently supporting the concept… eat food, some of the food proteins or other molecules go through the digestive wall, which would normally prevent the entry, and the body reacts to these extra molecules being in the blood stream with migraines, behavioural issues, eczema, asthma, etc.

Leaky Gut Syndrome - how food gets into our blood stream

A graphical summary of leaky gut. Click on the image to go to the source…

As you can see, there are way more triggers listed in the image for intestinal damage (anyone pick the typo too? hehe)… including pregnancy. I have heard so many times when pregnant that our body absorbs more of our food when pregnant. Maybe this is what they meant?! Pregnancy puts our entire body under a lot of physical stress, far beyond the cankles and tiredness that many will think of.

So, lets think about it… we eat food, especially mothers of newborns (or newborns + other kids), in a tired daze we grab whatever food is easy and quick to consume… do we think about whether this will go through into our blood stream? Hardly. We eat the bread that can quickly be smothered in… margarine (err almost all of which have preservatives in)… and then we put vegemite or any number of other spreads on it which may be high in preservatives, additives, things to make it stay emulsified etc… or we have a quick sugary hit which may keep us awake in our never ending weary state, but is probably full of more colours and additives. SO many of us eat wheat and dairy-based products thinking they are just what we need to keep our energy up, but in a leaky-gut state, wheat and dairy are often the hardest things for our body to break down (gluten and casein – the proteins of these foods)… so they enter the blood stream… along with other proteins and food chemicals which shouldn’t go there.

In sensitive babies, with ‘open’ guts (not yet fully mature, designed to absorb the nutrients from breastmilk), they can’t process these extras that they are inadvertently getting. It takes more metabolic energy to digest, and this puts a strain on minerals such as magnesium, zinc and calcium as the body tries to flush them out. Let alone the immediate response to these foods can be of physical irritation – severe reflux, colic, inability to sleep, not wanting to be put down, slow weight gain, large weight gain (from wanting to drink constantly to soothe the pain).

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that a mother’s milk is ‘bad’ and that she should give up breastfeeding because there isn’t enough there for the baby… meanwhile the baby was probably just reacting to something she was eating and trying to ‘self soothe’ by drinking more. Let’s not even talk of others. *I* have been told so many times I should give up breastfeeding and put my children on formula. It would be better for me (!), better for them… why? So that I can have the convenience of eating more variety? So that I can risk them reacting to the formula and then having my supply dropping off and being unable to regain it easily? Luckily by #3 I learned to just ignore the comments.

I’m starting to realise in my reading and talking with parents that there are a lot more babies out there who would benefit from parental awareness on this concept of an open gut. Just because you can’t see a rash, your baby is ‘just a bit colicky’ or even ‘one of those’ who are chronic nappers and who never really settled well into long sleep patterns… doesn’t mean your child has any less ‘open’ of a gut than the next child… and their tummy may be far better off taking things slower with solids or with what you are eating (if breastfed) than you realise. As more and more families get settled, sleeping children when they review diet and find the underlying cause of food intolerance…. maybe this will become more recognised?

How many times have you heard “…my child didn’t sleep through until 3…” but then they continue to explain how the child has always been a strong-willed child who didn’t want to go to sleep, to eat what was given to them, etc? Many of these characteristics are common to those reacting to natural chemicals in the foods (amines, salicylates, glutamates and even gluten/dairy)… so the symptoms just change over time as the child matures.

You don’t pick to have one of these kids. You don’t aim to be one of ‘THOSE’ Mums with kids with food intolerances (or worse, allergies)… but you may already have one and not recognise it yet… you may have a few who do and not realise it. All of ours have, and we NEVER considered ourselves one of ‘those’ families!

I digress from the topic… breastfeeding Mums.

So, if you are breastfeeding, and you have an unsettled baby, what on earth can you do to determine what the trigger/s are, before you start looking into a full Elimination Diet?

  • Get rid of anything with ‘numbers’ – especially preservatives, colours and flavours. Flavours are often just listed as that… they are proprietary and may be safe, but honestly, best excluded and you can challenge them later.
  • ….this includes looking at margarine’s (try preservative free butter?), spreads, dips, sweet and savoury biscuits.
  • Minimise tomatoes, citrus, onion-family (some of the onion-family veggies are ok in the RPAH elimination diet but seem to still stir up little bellies), berries (sorry!), and be mindful of what fruit/veg you select. Aim for pears, ‘just’ ripe bananas, red or golden delicious apples.
  • Aim for 2 fruit servings and 5 veggies per day. Not the other way around…
  • Be mindful of dairy and wheat intake (more on this in another post!)
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks… sorry, but if you have to, go for decaf. Even milo has a high chemical load (try other things for your hit of iron and calcium!)
  • EVERY ‘standard’ commercial softdrink (coca cola, schweppes etc) in Australia has a preservative in it EXCEPT Schweppes Lemonade in a bottle. Not in a can. In a bottle. Preservatives alone can be a massive trigger of unsettled behaviour in babies, not the sugar or anything else you find in the softdrink.
  • Try to get butcher-fresh meat, especially chicken and lamb. These are lower chemical options than pork or beef.

Sound impossible? Its not, trust me… it just takes a *little* planning.

Soon I’ll post about some quick ideas to help overtired and time poor Mum’s know what is ok to cook here… but for now, think quick pan-fried chicken, steam some carrot, potato, swede, choko and zucchini, or grate and mix into chicken mince, or any other combination therein… and viola, you have a meal.

If you want help with where to start, please contact me to arrange a consult.

xxx

Filed under Failsafe, Health and Wellbeing

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