Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A New Adventure

I was doing an okay job of cooking and blogging through the summer... and then we went on vacation and school started. And, well, it was impossible to get it all done. I kept cooking but couldn't find any time for writing about it. We're starting a new culinary/dietary adventure, and I'm going to try writing about it- I'm looking for motivation and inspiration!

Our older daughter, Maia, is 4 1/2. Over the years, she's had many respiratory issues from mild colds to three bouts of pneumonia. As a baby, she definitely showed symptoms of a dairy sensitivity, if not an outright allergy. Our pediatrician didn't think so, but we saw a number of alternative health practitioners (mostly acupuncturists) who thought her symptoms clearly pointed in that direction. We took her off dairy for about 3 months and it made a huge difference. We very gradually reintroduced it, and she seemed to handle it fine. Not wanting to live without cheese ourselves, we didn't and continued eating dairy, though we were careful and very cautious about introducing it to our younger daughter.

Maia is now being diagnosed with a mild case of asthma. When she does get a cold, she gets an incredibly awful cough that lasts for many, many weeks and keeps her from sleeping, playing normally, etc. (It's worse at night and when she's active.) We've also noticed that her energy has been very low lately. We've been giving her asthma treatments for 4 days now (pulmicort and albuterol via a nebulizer), and they have made a huge difference in treating the cough. (We see the doctor for a follow up today, and it's likely the diagnosis of asthma will be made at this appointment.) We, don't, however like the short and long term side effects of these medications, and are interested in seeing if there are other ways we can manage the asthma or even eliminate it.

We did lots of research over the weekend and kept coming across recommendations to remove dairy from the diet of someone who suffers from both asthma and/or frequent respiratory illnesses. (There's a duel going on in theories of asthma and the influence of dairy on it- one theory believes that dairy increases mucus production which affects the lungs which causes an increase in asthmatic symptoms. A second theory believes that asthma itself is a symptom of a dairy allergy. Both theories agree that removing dairy from the diet can alleviate most symptoms of asthma, if not remove them entirely.) Given Maia's history with dairy, this seems a logical place for our to start. So... we are now a mostly Vegan family. (I say mostly because we will continue to eat some eggs as well as honey.) Our biggest challenge is giving up cheese. We all love it, and it has made up a huge part of our diet (the reason we didn't give dairy up entirely in the first place!) I've ordered a number of highly recommended vegan cookbooks and am anxiously awaiting their arrival. I'm also trying to find a reasonable yogurt replacement. We already consume a good amount of soy, and I don't want this to significantly increase. We tried coconut yogurt in the vanilla flavor- not a huge hit, but better received when I mixed in some Gorilla Munch. I'm going to get some more flavors today and see how those are tolerated. For tonight's dinner I'm going to make Sweet 'n Sour lentils. I remember loving it as a kid, and am hopeful Maia and Cecily will have a similar feeling. We'll see...

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