I am crafty, right now most of my craft energy is happening in the KITCHEN. Yikes. I don't cook, I can make 3 meals really well and that is what we eat: Meatloaf, Spaghetti, Baked Chicken oh and Tuna Casserole, so four meals. I make enough for leftover and it is a really good week if I make three, otherwise we are likely to have cereal for dinner. NOT so right now! in the last two weeks we have seen new and amazing dishes like homemade gluten free pizza, homemade granola, sauerkraut the list goes on and it is really kinda fun. Some of the fun comes from the fact that the girls are old enough to clean the kitchen up when I am finished, some from moving outside of my comfort zone. I have been feeding a family since I was 16, that was my job. I made the list, went to the store and made all the meals. It was not really a huge bit of fun for a teenager and that is where I mastered my four meals.
So fast forward my life, married with kids, and in charge of feeding and watering, but there is a glitch, my youngest is allergic to milk and wheat (Dairy Free/Gluten Free are we!) and apparently so am I. I was not before I had Arabella, I ate bread and cheese all the time, was I tired, cranky, yes probably but many would say I still am, so how did I become "allergic" after I had my second child. Here is the story:
Arabella was three weeks early, not too early, I had just had my 36 week appointment and the doc said we were good to launch. Arabella took him at his word and arrived the following Saturday. She was different from her sister, tense, crying and her poo was green. She took to the breast easily but would stop & scream, colic, you say. Yes, that is what the doctor said. I went with evil spawn. My Le Leche Leader said FOOD ALLERGIES!!! My response was, she is allergic to breast milk? NOOOO, she is allergic to something you are eating, silly. Think what? Okay right, what ever I eat ends up in the milk, that why when you express your milk every batch is a slightly different color.
What does this mean? Well the doctor wanted to try her on a REALLY expensive formula, not a breast man. LLL has a different recommendation; I went on a super simple, very strict diet. I ate meat, rice, sweet potatoes, peas, apples. This is not an official diet, I was basically eating what you would start a one year old at if you were watching for food allergies, so no strawberries, dairy, soy, wheat, chocolate, nuts, etc, avoid all high allergy foods.
Guess what, my child was transformed, within 2 weeks her poo was beautiful mustard yellow and she still cried but she no longer screamed. I started adding things back into my diet SLOWLY, watching for a reaction. MAN did we get one after I added milk back and again when I tried bread. Those two were a no go, instant devil spawn. So for the next 3 plus years I did not eat any Dairy or Gluten. When she weaned, I gave them both a try, like instantly and I was miserable, so sick I had to go to bed, bad move, bad intestines.
As a toddler, when she ate Gluten or Dairy she would instantly break out in hive across her back and legs and she would have intestine issue too. "I have a tummy ache" is pretty common ailment. She no longer breaks out, but I have not feed her a grilled cheese sandwich to check. Now she is verbal, very verbal, and she knows to ask about foods and to check with me or to say no thanks. This is a hard life for a little kid, it is hard enough as an adult, but birthday parties are a pain, holidays are a pain. And remember I don't really like to cook so... thank the powers for my mother in law, she makes great gluten free - dairy free stuff for us.
What does this have to do with my new kitchen obsession?? Fermented foods. She & I have destroyed the garden in our guts. Arabella was born with her allergies but she breastfeed for over 3 years, which is supposed to be super good for your intestines. Our bodies can't process gluten or dairy. The gluten thing is painful but I am more interested in getting dairy back on the table. So I am trying to build up our GUT GARDEN with pro biotic. I am not sure why it took me so long to come to this place. I know you eat yogurt while taking antibiotic to keep from getting a yeast infection. I think I just never really thought that the gut garden could help with the digestion of your food (that sound like a truly stupid statement). I was in the mind set that allergies are allergies. I probably always had my food allergies but my body built up a tolerance to it, a what, it built up, what??? Oh my, like an allergy shot, how did it take me 7 years to get here.
I am here now. How do I repair our guts with out yogurt, cause until 8 weeks ago that was the only good gut food I knew. Please don't say supplements, cause there are some in the fridge from forever ago, I just don't remember to take them.
Fermented beverages and veggies are the answer. The problem, I will eat them, she needs to be threatened. I started with kombucha, then sauerkraut. I do feel better overall, now I need to add in an allergen. Last week I added raw milk and yogurt to my diet. I am doing far more experimenting with what I consume that what she consumes. Drinking the raw milk caused no overall weirdness, other than a little reflux. When I had it in cereal I noticed no issues. The I tried raw milk cheese, not good, come on gut it is cheese I need!!!! I tried plain raw milk yogurt, okay, then I tried Greek Style yogurt (not raw milk, Trader Joe's). Man that stuff is really good. Yesterday, I made my first batch of yogurt using the Greek TJ's as my starter. During my research I found a site (nice if I could link to it) that said to remove as much lactose as possible from yogurt and make it as easy on your gut as you possible, you should hold the yogurt at 110 degrees for 24 hours and then let it sit in cheese cloth over a bowl to get as much whey out as possible. This removes almost all of the lactose. It also is the way to make Greek Yogurt or if you let is drain for 24 hours or more yogurt cheese. If your body is reacting to the lactose that is how to get rid of it. We will see.
I also purchase a Ricki's Cheese Making kit, cause I just can't abide the cheese alternative we use, oh they are awful and I MISS cheese. So I will give mozzarella & ricotta a try later today.
That bring me to WHEY. What I am removing from my yogurt is whey and that in theory has all the lactose in it that might upset out guts. Why do all of the lacto fermentation recipe call for the use of whey? Is it really important? Can I do a non dairy starter? I think I can, cause I made a soda starter last week and I have used that with a few things. Is the need for whey mostly about adding good bacteria? My kraut fermented beautifully with out whey. Is kraut fermented with whey better for you than kraut ferment with only salt? I don't want to use whey in food for Arabella yet. She is not as on board with the fermented foods and I need to make more that are kid friendly. Her gut has not been repairing as much as mine. I will send this post to a couple of the folks who write about lacto fermentation and maybe they can give me some answers.