I have so enjoyed this past month of posts by Jane Catherine Sherman. I hope many of you have gained from her real life experiences as a new mom, struggling with food choices and discerning the right path for her growing family. Last week we learned that croup can often be aggravated by sensitivities to dairy products and that healing symptoms can be as easy as eliminating those products from the diet. Unfortunately these early signs are often overlooked by new and even experienced parents who seldom make the association between what goes in and the symptoms the body produces. This happens to be a favorite topic of mine (just in case you haven’t heard). I love nothing more to see these issues handled early in life before the body learns compensations and work-arounds so it can keep going. Here’s a classic post I have written and recently revised that sums up what parents should be on the lookout for and why.
Feeding Baby Part 4: Feeding the Whole Family
As my husband so bluntly put it, if our daughter can’t eat it, then we all won’t eat it. It’s not fair for us to all eat separate things. I’m paraphrasing a bit, but this sentiment started a whole new trend in our family.
(Savannah age 1)
As we watched our daughter struggle with her diet, we saw how certain foods can really wreak havoc on your body and even how some good foods just may not sit well. So, for the last few months, I’ve delved into the proverbial research rabbit hole to learn as much as I could about diet and what to feed our family. I was learning what to put in my daughter’s body, but what I didn’t expect was that it would cause me to want to change my diet and that of my husband.
Working with Lauren over the years has taught me to rethink what I put in my body but, truth be told, I was never able to completely give up the dairy and the meat. These were integral parts of my diet, and who doesn’t love a good hamburger or a nice blue cheese. But, I came across the movie “Forks Over Knives,” and everything finally clicked in my brain. I began to think, if we could do this at least 85%- 90% of the time, then we would definitely be improving our health drastically. As with any life change, it doesn’t matter how much you read or hear about something, you have to be ready to change in order to be successful. And, our daughter had taught us that we were both now ready.
Although we have been progressively eating better as a family, this was a big step. You don’t realize how much meat and dairy you eat until you try to eliminate it from your diet. But, here we were, adopting a plant-based diet.
Within the first week, we immediately saw improvement in our health. I didn’t wake up with that bloated feeling in the morning, and my husband and I both starting having less headaches. Our clothes were looser because we weren’t carrying around that extra water weight, and our sleep was improving. Seeing those immediate effects encouraged us to stick with this new diet.
We’ve just started down this road, and it takes time to change years of eating habits. But, in the meantime, we’ve found some great recipes that don’t make us miss meat or dairy.
Middle-Eastern Spiced Squash + Bean Stew (Courtesy of Sprouted Kitchen)
This recipe lends itself to lots of adaptations depending on your mood. You can use an almond milk or coconut milk yogurt for garnish as well.
YotamOttolenghi’s “Plenty” cookbook has some great recipes that can be adapted to various diets. This is one of our favorites, and it’s a great way to get our daughter to eat vegetables.
I commend Jane Catherine and her husband for not only their awareness of their daughter’s needs but also for seeing the benefits in making dietary changes themselves. As she said, knowing something intellectually and taking steps toward change are two different things. Sometimes what we need is a catalyst. For Jane Catherine and Jason it was the symptoms expressed by their sweet daughter. Unfortunately for some it takes a more serious diagnosis before real lasting changes take hold. Trust me early symptoms like sinus congestion or croup are much easier to heal than chronic conditions that having taken root in the body.
A big thank you to Jane Catherine for her amazing 4 weeks of blog posts. No doubt we will hear from her in the future. And, because what we eat should always be our first medicine, I will continue more on the benefits of going plant based next month.