Saturday, March 16, 2013

My Favorite Things (MSPI edition)

So I've been faithfully soy and dairy free for over 2 weeks now and as I mentioned in my last post (view it here) it is DEFINITELY helping alleviate Nicolette's upset tummy and night waking!  Eating soy and dairy free is not for the faint of heart (or for the picky eater).  I used to live on edamame for quick and easy meals or would grab some of the Fried Tofu from Whole Foods (sigh....I really do miss that tofu!).   I was surprised to learn that nearly every convenience food that you buy contains soy in some form.  Luckily I have researched and learned that soy lecithin and soybean oil do not irritate many of the babies with MSPI (Milk & Soy Protein Intolerance) so you don't have to be as careful with those items which does open the doors quite a bit.

Sidenote: it was enlightening (and frightening) to learn how much of our food contains soy in some shape or form.  I was reviewing the allergen list for the Olive Garden since we were planning to go there for lunch one day and EVERY ITEM ON THE MENU contained SOY!  This is particularly frightening because something like 99% of the soy in America is Genetically Modified (a GMO) - it's not even naturally growing soybeans - it's something some kook worked up in a lab...sheesh!  And we wonder why cancer rates, asthma, allergies and everything else are on the rise...we're not eating REAL foods anymore.  But that's a post for another day.  

Here are a few of my favorite Soy & Dairy Free foods:

So Delicious Soy & Dairy Free "Ice Cream"
Chocolate Brownie Almond and No Sugar Added Mint Chocolate Chip are my favorites so far.  I can't wait to try the ice cream sandwiches and some of the other flavors.  And the best thing is that the Italian (who usually eats any and all snack foods and sweets as soon as they enter the house) won't touch this stuff because it says coconut on it and he swears that he doesn't like coconut (even though I make his toast with coconut oil every morning)  :)

Trader Joe's Coconut Oil
I use this stuff as a straight up replacement for butter in nearly everything...cookies, brownies, as cooking oil, on toast, etc.  It's delicious and crazy good for you.  Trader Joe's has by far the best pricing on Coconut Oil ($5.99 per 16oz jar).  I also use Coconut Oil for a myriad of other purposes (diaper rash, dry skin, chapped lips - you can view a list of 101 Benefits of Coconut Oil HERE)

Snap Pea Crisps
I LOVE snacking on these!  Probably a little too much!  They're light and crispy and a yummy, easy to grab snack!

Pacific Organic Cashew Carrot Ginger Soup
This is my new favorite dinner along with a slice of organic wheat bread toasted with my organic coconut oil on it!  mmmmmmm, tasty!

I'm sorting through some new recipes from my friend Toby who just finished nearly an entire year Soy and Dairy free in order to breastfeed her son through his first birthday!  Looking forward to getting creative in the kitchen and hopefully loving some yummy soy and dairy free meals!  I'll share any fantastic recipes that I test!

Here is my Soy & Dairy Free Brownie Recipe to get you started:

Yields 9-16 servings

1/2 c. Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Oil, melted
1 c. Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 eggs

1/2 c. All Purpose Flour (I've also done a combo of 1/2 AP Flour and 1/2 Whole Wheat Pastry Flour)
1/3 c. Trader Joe's Cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease a 9"X9" Square pan (or line with parchment
  • Stir together Coconut Oil, Sugar & Vanilla in a large mixing bowl
  • Add eggs, beat well with spatula 
  • Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture, beating well until blended
  • Spread batter into a prepared pan (I grease my pan with coconut oil)
  • Bake 25 minutes until sides pull away from the pan
  • Cool COMPLETELY in pan or on wire rack
  • Cut into 9 or 16 squares and ENJOY!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Night waking update

So a few weeks ago I wrote about our issues with night waking (you can read the original post here).  A few days later I took Nicolette to the pediatrician because I really felt that the gas was what has been waking her up this whole time.  He suggested that I start her on a probiotic called Bio Gaia and that I eliminate dairy and soy from my diet.  Many babies have a milk and/or soy protein intolerance (MSPI) which can cause painful gas and night waking.  The doctor said that it would take 2-3 weeks to eliminate my body and hers of the accumulated milk and soy proteins so not to expect immediate results.

I started the elimination diet and probiotic 2+ weeks ago and literally 1 week and 6 days after starting the new regimen I saw a change in Nicolette's gas and night time sleep pattern.  Previously Nicolette would fall asleep easily and then awaken approximately 30 minutes after being put down.  I'd rock and/or nurse her back to sleep and she would reawaken every 30-45 minutes over and over and over again until I gave in around 11 or midnight and brought her to bed with us.  Well, 1 week and 6 days after starting she slept for nearly an hour and a half and even woke up a little and put herself back to sleep (I was watching like a hawk on the video monitor).  When she woke up after an hour and a half I rocked/nursed her back to sleep and she slept for nearly 2 hours.  Same thing happened last night.  a 1 1/2 hour stretch, then a 2 hour stretch, then a 4 hour stretch.  At 2am when she woke up crying The Italian asked if he could please go get her and bring her to bed with us :) ... he's an even bigger softie than I am!!!!  As I type this she's in the midst of an hour long stretch (still going strong...fingers crossed!).

I know it may seem silly to celebrate 1 hour or 2 hour stretches of sleep but this really is a huge accomplishment for us!  Since she turned 4-4.5 months old I've had to spend 3, 4 sometimes 5-6 hours on a bedtime struggle routine before giving in and bringing her to bed with us.  While I feel guilty for not realizing that the gas was bothering her so much I'm grateful that we seemed to have identified the sleep disruptor and are on a path towards more peaceful nights for her.  Now I can tell that she's feeling better and starting to be able to sleep for longer stretches of time on her own.  I'm not expecting full night sleeping on her own any time soon but am so thankful that her tummy seems to be soothed enough to sleep for longer than 30-45 minutes at a time!  Honestly in a perfect world the Italian and I would be so happy for her just to sleep on her own from the time we put her to bed (6:30/7:00 until 11 or so when we go to bed and then she can come to bed and snuggle with us all she wants).

For those interested here is more information on MSPI from MSPI Mama's website (which you can view HERE)

Milk Soy Protein Intolerance

You may be asking yourself: What is MSPI? Well, it stands for Milk Soy Protein Intolerance.

Basically, it's when a person (usually an infant or small child) can't tolerate eating ANYTHING that has a milk or soy protein-derived ingredient. 

Reactions vary on a personal basis, however, common symptoms include: reflux; upset stomach; gas; runny, painful bowel movements; blood in the stool; congestion; a rough skin rash on the face, head and chest; colicky behavior; abnormal sleep patterns; refusal to eat or sometimes constantly eating and purging. Yes, it's a lot of fun!
*The only symptoms Nicolette ever displayed were abnormal sleep patterns and gas.  We just thought she was a gassy little girl and even jokingly called her "Tootie" 

Unlike a food allergy, there really isn't any medical test that can be given to determine whether someone has a food intolerance. It's mainly diagnosed through the symptoms. Unfortunately, not all physicians are aware of MSPI, and the intolerance goes misdiagnosed leading to failure to thrive and even unnecessary medical intervention.

If your baby has reflux, medication can sometimes help relieve some of the symptoms, but ultimately, you must remove all dairy and soy protein from the baby's food in order to see true improvement. If your baby is bottle-fed, usually switching to a dairy and soy-free formula will take care of the problem. But if your baby is breast-fed, the mother must remove all dairy and soy protein from her diet ... thus the reason for this website! Please seek the guidance of a knowledgeable physician if you experience any complications.

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for MSPI. Just time. Most children will grow out of the intolerance. Some as early as 1 year old or much later. (My son grew out of his MSPI when he was 3½ years old.) A few unlucky ones may never grow out of it. I can tell you from experience that maintaining the MSPI diet isn't exactly easy or fun, but it's definitely doable! It's worth a shot. Give it a try!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

8 Month Birthversary (mommy's late with her pictures)

Nicolette turned 8 months old last week and mommy had a hard time with it.  Time is going much to quickly!

Nicolette's 7th month was a busy one, she started saying "mama",  got her first tooth and started crawling (BOTH on February 6th, one day after her 7 month birthversary!)  So I've been busy chasing my little peanut around!

Here are a few pictures from our 8 month photoshoot...(sorry for being a little photo crazy...I can't help myself!

The official photo
Standing up now in the glider...that's safe, right?   
"I'm gonna get you Elli!"
Debating her escape
Curtains are fun!
And I love this series of photos where she spots mommy and comes crawling over as fast as she can.  Melts my heart!

Look at that sweet toof!
"Hi Mommy!"  I got you!!!!"

Mommy's view...beautiful!
Soooooo happy!

When did she get to be such a big girl?????

sniff, sniff

Monday, March 11, 2013

Never say Never

Oh being a mother has brought such wonderful, new experiences my way.  There are quite a few things I "never" thought I would do before sweet Nicolette:
  1. Lick my finger and use it to wipe something off of my baby's face (do it daily now)
  2. Use my sleeve (or bare hand) to wipe snot from my baby's nose when I don't have a tissue handy
  3. Drive around aimlessly or sit in parking lots (or our garage) with a sleeping baby in the car
  4. Bring my baby into bed with us to sleep on a "regular basis" (but only if you consider every night a regular basis) 
  5. Thoroughly examine poopy diapers (Is that avocado?  I think I see sweet potatoes!)
  6. Anxiously and excitedly await aforementioned poopy diapers
  7. Suck snot out of my baby's nose with my mouth (not as gross as it sounds...check out - it totally works and is way better than the bulb syringe.  I highly recommend it!)
  8. Squirt breastmilk up my baby's nose (don't laugh - it honestly helps with congestion/runny nose)
  9. Pray for my baby to sleep and then sit around wishing she was awake so that we could play
  10. Pray for my baby to sleep and then spend her entire nap time flipping through pictures and videos of her on my phone
  11. Be the mom who is late for everything (I used to be known for being 15 minutes or even more EARLY for I'm struggling to get places 15 minutes late!)
I'm sure there will be more and more to add to this list as the days, months and years pass and I'll love every minute of it!