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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bring on the Milk

Today, Ally and I went grocery shopping, and she finally broke down and said yes to lactose-free milk.  This was a big step for her because she has heard many family and friends talk about their experiences with lactose-free milk and, believe me, the reviews were not  positive.  In preparation for this moment, I first went to our local Schnucks and saw what products were available.  Then, I researched online for customer reviews.  The winner?  Smart Balance Lactose-Free Milk.

But how did it fare with Frosted Flakes?

I can happily report that Ally loves this milk!  So much so, she drank the entire bowl of milk right after she ate the last Frosted Flake.  She is a very happy girl and I'm so happy for her.  I've been reading and I've found we can substitute this milk for regular milk in cooking although a sweeter tasting food product may be the result.  We will have to just cook and find out!

So, here is our milk.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dairy-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ally has been dairy-free for about two weeks.  For a seven-year old, going a week without chocolate is terrible so I wanted to give her a treat as soon as we verified she was, in fact, lactose intolerant.  I've been doing a lot of reading on this due to her pain levels and I did find that a person's intolerance level can vary.  Some people can enjoy cheddar cheese, yogurts and a little dairy in the diet while others simply cannot without terrible pain and side effects.  Ally seems to be the latter, unfortunately.

Although this recipe is not gluten-free, for Ally it works as it is completely dairy free.  I will say it...I ate some of these cookies and my, my, my...they are so good!  Baking the cookies on a light-colored, nonstick pan helps keeps the color a light, golden brown (since they are made with dairy-free margarine they tend to brown and crisp quickly) and, by sifting the flour first, the cookies are light and airy even with the oatmeal added.  My oven runs a little warm so I baked these at 350 degrees for 12-13 minutes but do watch your oven temperature.

Ally's Fav Dairy-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) Fleischmann's  Original Margarine, softened
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla
  • 1 c. rolled quick cook oats
  • 1c. Enjoy Life! dairy-free mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Gently mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.  In large bowl, cream margarine, both sugars, egg and vanilla together.  Add flour mixture by thirds to creamed butter mixture stirring in between additions.  Once combined, add oats and chocolate chips, mixing until combined.  I then chilled the cookies in the refrigerator for about ten minutes, just to let the batter stiffen slightly before cooking.

Place by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet  leaving , at a minimum, 1 1/2 inches between cookies.  Bake for 12-13 minutes or until cookies are light brown.  Remove and cool for 3-4 minutes on pan then transfer to wire rack.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A New (and Confusing) Beginning

Hello and welcome to the wonderful world of food allergies.  My name is Tinea and I'll be your guide through this journey.  Although, if I may be so blunt...I have no idea what I'm doing at the moment.  I'm lost. Utterly.

Herein lies the problem. I am gluten-intolerant and have been living an (almost) gluten-free lifestyle for the past two years.  Yes, I have breakdowns along the way when I can't bear going without the wonderful things I simply cannot find gluten-free (mainly white bread and Chinese food) and I stray.  I eat things I shouldn't.  And I suffer the horrible consequences of doing so.  However, I have suffered for so long with the terrible symptoms gluten causes me that I sometimes see it as the cost for having good food.  Gluten food.

But then food allergies hit me where it hurts the most.  My child.

My daughter started having almost the identical symptoms I suffered with for so long and I began to panic.  Was it gluten too?  We both went right back on a strict gluten-free diet and I was so much better.  I didn't have stomach pains or upsets, my rashes started to heal, my moods evened out and I started sleeping like a baby.

Ally's symptoms, however, became worse.

She began to quit eating and, total, she lost eight pounds in less than two months.  She couldn't go through normal daily life without making numerous trips to the bathroom.  On a car trip, we had to pull over three or four times and she had to go in the woods "like the animals do".  At the worst, she was doubled over in pain sitting on the potty and crying so hard because her tummy was cramping and she couldn't take it.  She just gave up.

After that last week where she had no relief and virtually quit eating, we called the doctor.  I was bracing for the battery of tests for her that I've been through, such as blood tests, an EGD, a never know.  Her doctor, however, wanted to try something so simple at first.  No dairy.

Could it be something so simple as lactose intolerance?

Yes.  It could be.

After a week of dairy-free living, Ally was back to being herself.  She had an appetite, chatted incessantly, was hyper like a normal seven year old should be.  Her color even improved and we all, once again, saw her rosy cheeks and sparkly eyes come back to life.   It was great!! More importantly, she was not having an ounce of pain and her bathroom trips were cut dramatically.  She was living normally again.

This is where we are currently.  Ally cannot have diary or whey.  I cannot have gluten.

Now I ask you.  What are we going to eat?  Anyone who lives with a food allergy knows specialty foods are expensive!  So here's the next huge question:  What can we afford to eat?

This is a journal of what we are going to figure out along the way and how we are going to make this work.  I'm sure we will have slip up's and we will document each and every one.  More importantly, we are going to have many, many successes and we are going to figure out how to live normally gluten-free and diary-free.  In the same house.  We are going to live better without.