Sunday, 27 May 2012

I eat fermented cabbage

When we cut out dairy, sadly it also meant that the good stuff in yogurt, the intestines-friendly bacterial cultures were cut out too. This was a concern. 

I soon discovered that there was this Polish recipe, sauerkraut, that had the healthy flora that was missing from our diet. I purchased bottled sauerkraut. The whole family found it tolerable but, I knew that I would have to eventually make my own.  There is one serious drawback though. Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. Think about that for a minute or two. Do you think that you could swallow a forkfull of homemade cabbage that had fermented? I didn't mind the stuff when it came from the store. But, what would mine taste like? There were so many on-line people that pushed how easy the stuff was to make that I eventually took the plunge. 

The recipe from Balanced Bites just seemed too good to be true. I followed the directions. I placed my bottled cabbage on the kitchen bench for two weeks. I waited anxiously. Actually, I couldn't wait for the full 14 days. Today, marked day 13 and I was desperately keen to taste the fermented goods. Well, sort of keen. What was it going to taste like?

The whole family had a taste. It was pretty good. I could not stop smiling at my glass bottle of good bacteria. Anyway, tonight, I also found out that the good stuff in sauerkraut has been shown to be a wonderful preventative for breast cancer! This has made my night. Not only do we now have an easy little recipe that will see the reintroduction of healthy bacteria in our bellies, but it's another cancer fighter. It's a new way that I can actively prevent cancer recurrence for me and it ever touching my children. 

The next item on my "To do" list is bone broth. I'll keep you posted. 

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Do kids need dairy?

When the husband brought home the idea of us eating, "paleo", I was quickly convinced of the benefits of eating clean. That was until he mentioned that changing our foodstyle also meant eliminating all dairy. As a mother of two small children, I was very reluctant to be going down that path. The food pyramid came to mind, so did thirty-plus years of images of children drinking milk on advertisements to toughen their teeth and bones, and the thought of another food group leaving our house was all just too much. I was happy to give-up the grains, sugar, chemicals, legumes, pasta and rice, but milk was always going to have its place in my fridge.

Well, as you already know, I was eventually convinced of the evils of dairy. After reading Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution and then a search around the internet, I saw that it wasn't necessarily dairy that child one and two required, rather, they needed to be getting calcium. And, surprisingly, they could actually absorb more calcium into their little bodies if we ditched the dairy and concentrated on calcium-rich vegetables. And besides, I was interested to see the children's reaction, and mine, to dairy once we reintroduced it after going without it for 30 days. 

But before I share the reaction to dairy once it was reintroduced, I'd like to share with you three very simple arguments that convinced me to eliminate dairy for 30 days initially. First of all, it has been found that dairy actually provokes an inflammatory response in the gut when consumed; this is no good. Secondly, consuming milk spikes insulin levels; this is no good. And finally, there seemed to be enough evidence that allergies disappeared with dairy; this is good. We had nothing to lose (perhaps a lower calcium count for 30 days at the worst), so I figured it was worth doing. Oh, and there's also the argument that cow's milk is for their babies, and not for humans. That's an interesting argument too. 

When the 30 days were over (actually I think we went longer than 30 days because we all felt so amazing) we treated ourselves to ice-cream. Aside from a sore belly that night, from the sugar, it seemed like the treat was fairly well handled. The next morning however, brought some interesting news. While child two showed no side effects from the indulgence (typical), child number one could be heard sniffing and sneezing in the early hours of the morning. The husband had the same. Coincidence? Did they have a bug the night before that only presented itself the next morning? I was happy to shrug that first incident off. But, since then, time and time again, both child one and the husband suffer with "hay fever" the morning after having dairy. It's pretty unbeleiable. It's a guarantee.

So to answer the question, "Do kids need dairy?" I would have to say no way. Children definitely need calcium. And from now on, their daily calcium intake will come from sources other than dairy. And, I'm absolutely satisfied with that.