Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Breakfast of Champions (Er, Vegans)

I took a picture of my quinoa to share with you, but Matt accidentally deleted it from our camera. Sorry for yet another shot of my baby!

I've been a vegetarian since 2001, so when Henry's pediatrician diagnosed him with a dairy sensitivity at his 2-month check-up and advised me to stop eating dairy while breast feeding, I effectively became an Almost Vegan.

I had actually been trying to eliminate some dairy from my life before Henry was even born. For example, when my midwife explained that she notices calcification on the placentas of women who drink cow's milk, I switched to almond milk with my cereal.

However, trying to eliminate all dairy has been very challenging. First, I love cheese. Secondly, I love baked goods. Baked goods made with dairy products.

I didn't notice much change in Henry's symptoms between his 2-month and 4-month appointment. When I explained it to the doctor, he said, "Well, he might have a sensitivity to something else, like wheat, soy, corn, peanuts..." He said I could do an elimination diet by just eating rice and chicken and then gradually reintroducing things. When I explained that I was a vegetarian, he revised it to be "rice and vegetables." Seriously? Little to no protein?

I asked him what would happen if I stopped worrying about Henry's dairy sensitivity and instead just ate everything in moderation. He said that would be fine, since Henry's symptoms aren't severe. His stools are mucousy and watery around the edges, but they don't show any traces of blood.

So when we left for vacation, I started eating dairy again. But here's the thing about having a baby: it's an incomplete science experiment. The sample size is way too small. There's no control group. There are too many variables. It can be frustrating!

So right when I reintroduced dairy, we also ascended to very high altitudes, slept in seven different places, ate a bunch of junk food, and went into a much drier climate. As a result (of what, I'm not sure), Henry's congestion was absolutely terrible. To the point where he had to breathe out of his mouth.

On the days when I wouldn't eat dairy, his congestion seemed noticeably better. In fact, the one day I ate entirely vegan meals was the one night he slept super well. [Again, I know my observations are not even close to being scientifically accurate].

So I'm back to not eating dairy for a while, which brings me to sharing this recipe. What a long-winded introduction!

I've decided that I'm going to rotate through different breakfasts each week. Last week, I ate quinoa with bananas and cranberries. Delicious! The original recipe called for honey, but once I added the dried cranberries, the honey pushed the sweetness over the edge.

I loved eating quinoa every day for a high-protein breakfast. I just made a big pot of it on Sunday and heated up a little each day.

I think next week I'll do whole wheat bagels with hummus.

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maya938 said...

Another awesome, protein vegan breakie is black beans on whole wheat toast, topped w/ avocado slices. Sounds strange. Totally delicious.

Ambaa said...

Do you plan to raise Henry vegetarian? What thoughts, concerns, and research do you have on that topic? I would like to raise vegetarian kids, but I'm worried about it.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Ambaa! Matt is also a vegetarian, but we haven't talked about what to do about Henry. On the one hand, I think vegetarianism is a choice that people should make for themselves. Children can start making choices pretty young, so perhaps I'll just offer him some sustainable meat and see if he likes it. On the other hand, I imagine that Henry will pretty much eat what we eat, so he might be a sort-of vegetarian by default. I'm not sure. I'll keep you updated!

Anonymous said...

In a lot of baked goods, doesn't the mixing and cooking of the milk turn it into something chemically different from milk? If that's the case I wouldn't think having baked goods made with some milk (obviously not a cream pie or something) would be a problem for milk sensitive people.

Also, I'd be annoyed at my doctor if he acted like it was definitely a milk sensitivity when at the 4-month check-up it seems he was just throwing anything out there. I don't like people just guessing at what could be causing a medical problem.

elementsofmylife said...

Having lots of food sensitivities myself, it seemed appropriate to chime in here and offer something that has made a huge difference for me. When I use a rotation diet (different staples every day on a 4 - 7 day cycle), I have far fewer symptoms. If I eat the same thing every day for a few days inevitably, I get cranky and miserable (my early warnings that something is not right).

Best of luck to you!

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