Before and After Having a Baby (1)

April 24, 2014

Since becoming a mommy, there are some random things that I’ve noticed that no one mentions about having children. I’ll be posting about these things now and then.

The first one I noticed has to do with baby wearing. It has been my intent all along to have the baby in a carrier, on me, in order to get things done throughout the day. When he was a bitty baby it was also one of the best ways to get him to nap. This means he was in the carrier a good portion of daylight hours. If you aren’t familiar with baby wearing, especially infant baby wearing, picture a baby shoved down the front of your shirt with his head sticking out…his forehead just about at your chin level.

Now…since he’s there most of the day, that means if you want to eat, you’ll be eating over his head. What no one told me, was that you’d need to avoid dropping crumbs on the baby’s head. (This also applies to eating while nursing the baby…since this is how he spends a lot of the time that he’s not sleeping.) So many foods that we think of as “easy” suddenly AREN’T.

  • Soup, Stew, and Chili – easy to make, easy to reheat, not easy to eat without dripping onto the baby…unless it’s a “drinkable” soup…but that’s not how I like my soup!
  • Salad – requires no cooking, but fluffy leaves don’t get onto forks well when you can’t brace the bowl with your other hand (when nursing) and like to pop off the fork anyway. Dressing also likes to drip off the leaves.
  • Chips (of any sort) – aren’t exactly the healthiest food choice, but when you’re desperate! I remember how I used to like to find the largest chips that were whole. Now, those large chips mean I have to break the chip to get it into my mouth…which means crureciperecipembs on the baby. The small , broken chips are now my friends.
  • Sandwiches – unless you cut them into bite sized pieces (that fit all at once in your mouth) you’re dealing with crumbs again!
  • Cereal – cold cereal is drippy, hot cereal is hot and blobby.
  • Tacos – Forget it!

So…I’ve learned to eat mostly acceptable foods with low dripping or crumbling rates. Like what? Anything that can be popped into your mouth in one bite without dripping.

  • Almond Bites – frozen yumminess without drips. Perfect! What do you mean they aren’t nutritious? They are made from almonds…it’s right in their name!
  • Tater Tots – baked bites of potato goodness. Of course they’re so processed they have almost no fiber or nutrition left in them, but they taste good alone, or to be gourmet, dipped in almost any condiment!
  • A “cereal” that I’ve concocted that is so thick it stays on the spoon. (Recipe below.)
  • Fruits and veggies that either are already bite sized (like grapes and mandarin orange segments,) or that I’ve found time to chop into bite sized pieces. Bonus if I have something to dip them in! (Usually hummus…for veggies anyway.)
  • Homemade granola bars made bite sized.
  • You’ll get used to eating this way, and then when you get to eat without the baby being in the drip and crumb zone…with both hands…and utensils…you’ll think it’s wonderful! (Even if it’s just quinoa pasta with tomato sauce.)

    Amy’s Cereal
    For a single serving use tablespoons as the measurement, but I usually use cups as the measure, then about one cup of the mixture is a serving. I use all raw ingredients, but I didn’t see why toasted wouldn’t also work if that’s what you have or prefer.
    Ingredients

  • 2 parts pepitas
  • 2 parts hemp seed
  • 2 parts chia seed
  • 2 parts ground flax seed
  • 2 parts ground sesame seed
  • 2 parts shredded coconut
  • 5 parts gluten free oats (Optional. If omitted, use 2/3 cup total as a serving.)
  • Directions
    Combine all ingredients. To serve, combine 1 cup or one serving of the cereal mixture with 1 cup of water. (If omitting the oats use 3/4 cup water.) Let soak for 10-20 minutes, or longer. Add sweetener, fruit, or other toppings you like. I like to add raisins and freeze dried fruit. The longer it sits, the thicker it gets. Feel free to add more water if it ends up thicker than you like. (You can also use any other thin liquid such as rice milk or apple juice. Whatever you like!) I usually store the dry mix in the fridge because the seeds, especially flax, can go rancid so easily.

 

Easy Vegan Falafel, Soy & Gluten free (easily oil free also!)

April 9, 2014

The other day I was going through what I had in the fridge that needed to be used. I’d made a large pot of garbanzo beans over the weekend and used some for curry and some more for chili, but there were still almost 2 jars left. I thought about freezing them, but I really needed to make something easy to eat for the next couple of days. (Caring for an infant and trying to work part time from home makes it hard to find time to cook for every meal!) I thought about what would be easy to eat, and decided to make falafel.

I checked out a few recipes on line, but most of them used ingredients I didn’t have on hand, started with the dry garbanzos, or used ingredients I’m avoiding. Most of them are also pan fried in oil. I realized that it was really just a matter of mixing cooked garbanzos with spices, a binder, and cooking them. This is what I ended up with, and they came out quite good if I do say so myself. (Hubby agrees!)

Easy Vegan Falafel

Ingredients

  • 3 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed (or about 6 cups of cooked dry garbanzo beans.)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 T tahini
  • 6T ground flax seed
  • 1 7/8 t baking powder (just under 2 t)
  • 3/8 cup dehydrated onion flakes (fresh diced onion would probably work too, but might require a bit more flour later)
  • 3/8 cup dried cilantro (again, if using fresh you might need more flour later.)
  • 3t cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (about 3t)
  • 3t coriander
  • 3t chili powder
  • 3/4t salt
  • 3t lemon juice
  • 6 drops doTERRA lemon essential oil (or 6T lemon zest, but again…you may need more flour later.)
  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Mix because I had some that I had no plans for, but any type should work.) (You may need slightly more or slightly less depending on the moisture of your ingredients and how humid it is.)
  • Olive oil (for greasing the pan and brushing on top.)

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 450*F
  • Place all of the ingredients, except for the flour and oil, into your vitamix with the garbanzos on the bottom. (If you don’t have a vitamix, a food processor or stick blender would probably do an adequate job.)
  • Blend or process the ingredients until they’re combined and a bit pasty. You don’t want a puree, so make sure you leave some chunks! Scrape down the sides or use your tamper often.
  • Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl
  • Add the flour a little bit at a time until the mixture is somewhat dry (when you make a ball and flatten it the edges should crack a little bit.) If your mixture was already quite dry you may not need all of this. (I only needed 1/2 cup when using all of the drier ingredient options.)
You can see that it's pretty dry.

You can see that it’s pretty dry.

  • Form patties from the dough. I didn’t measure each patty, but I’d say each used about 2-3T of dough…a small handful. Roll each portion into a ball and flatten slightly to make a thick patty.
  • Liberally oil a baking sheet (this could be skipped if you are avoiding oil, but make sure to use parchment paper or another method of avoiding food sticking to the pan.)
  • Place the patties on the baking sheet, making sure they aren’t touching.
  • Brush a little bit of oil over the tops of the patties.
Falafel patties ready to be baked. (This is a toaster oven pan...they aren't huge!)

Falafel patties ready to be baked. (This is a toaster oven pan…they aren’t huge!)

  • Bake for 25 minutes, flipping over halfway through
  • Serve on its own, over a salad, or in a wrap (I prefer over a salad with the sauce/dressing I’ve shared below.)
  • Makes 5 servings of 6 patties each
The ones to the back/left were pan fried (hubby though he'd prefer them that way, but he didn't!)

The ones to the back/left were pan fried (hubby though he’d prefer them that way, but he didn’t!)

 

Vegan Falafel Sauce  

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soy free veganaise
  • 3/4 cup relish
  • 3t lemon juice
  • 1 1/2t chopped garlic
  • 3/8t black pepper
  • 3/8t celery seed

Directions

  • Stir all ingredients together in a bowl with a fork.
  • Serve over Falafel.

 

Yummy! (Ignore the shriveled tomatoes...I told you I was cleaning out the fridge!)

Yummy! (Ignore the shriveled tomatoes…I told you I was cleaning out the fridge!)

These were yummy fresh from the oven, and cold the next day as well. If you want them warm as leftovers, I recommend waiting to bake them until the day you want to eat them. Being heated twice dries them out a bit (but they’re still yummy!) This was a quick nutritious meal I could eat one handed while holding the baby, and beyond the intial (pretty fast) prep, doesn’t take much time to get ready to eat.

Pregnancy and birth…the abridged version.

April 2, 2014

Today I’m sharing my pregnancy and birth experience. I’ll elaborate on parts of it later based on interest. Like I said…this is the abridged version.

Getting pregnant
When I decided that I did indeed want children (that process in itself is a long story,) I never considered that it would be difficult. After so many years of preventing pregnancy, surely it’d be easy. Well, it wasn’t. I did get pregnant that first year, but had a miscarriage. That baby would have been born the end of January, 2011. I didn’t get pregnant again until March of 2013.

Being pregnant
Throughout the pregnancy I was terrified of losing the baby. It was a relatively easy pregnancy physically. I didn’t really have morning sickness though I did have a few food aversions and a keen sense of smell. Once I reached the point of viability, (around 28 weeks,) I started to relax. I had been worried about my back issues worsening as I got larger, but I actually was in less pain than when not pregnant. I did develop PUPPPs rash towards the end of the pregnancy, and that was pretty miserable, but still not as bad as things could have been. I’d been planning a home water birth with a midwife, and my doctor saw no reasons to stop me. If he’d had concerns I’d have considered changing my plans. I went into labor at 42 weeks.

Labor
I woke around 1:30am on a Tuesday to go to the bathroom. I noticed I was contracting, but not so much that I felt the need to wake my husband. I laid down and tried to go back to sleep. Hubby woke up a few hours later and I let him know what was going on. We have the midwife a heads up, and started getting ready. We set up the pool, got the hose connected, picked an outfit, and mixed up my labor-ade. In the early afternoon the contractions picked up, and the midwife and doula came over. My contractions were stacked, and even when they would have a pause there was intense pain across my pelvis. When I got in the pool it helped a little bit, but it eventually was to a point where no matter where I was or what position the pain wouldn’t subside.

After about 24 hours of laboring I hadn’t dilated much, and the baby hadn’t moved down any further than he’d been when I started. I was in pain and getting exhausted. We discussed options, and decided that transferring to the hospital was the next step. If I got an epidural maybe I’d be able to relax enough to finish dilating and could get some rest before needing to push. My doctor was surprised to see me, but approved the epidural. It definitely took the pain away, but I still took my time dilating. Finally, sometime late afternoon or early evening on Wednesday I was fully dilated and told it was time to push. They turned down the epidural, (I thought they’d turned out of entirely,) my water finally broke, and for another couple of hours I pushed. The pain only got worse, and he still didn’t get any lower. There also was meconium in the fluid. After over 40 hours of labor we decided a c-section was needed.

Delivery
The anesthesiologist was called in, and I was proud for surgery. The pain was so intense, that after they had me on the operating table and got the epidural turned back up I passed out from the relief. I woke up to hubby holding a swaddled baby to my face so I could meet our son. I slept through the birth, and his first cries. I didn’t get immediate skin to skin, and I had to wait until I was in our hospital room to get to nurse. Missing out on those things can never be replaced, and I mourn that. I’m glad we’re both ok since it turned out his head was in such a position that he couldn’t have gotten out naturally. He had a deep ridge across his head because the pain I was feeling even between contractions was his head being jammed against my pelvis. The doctor made sure to show hubby that so I would know the surgery really was necessary, and I had done all that I could. About 44 hours after I knew I was in labor our healthy baby boy was born. He weighed 7#13oz and was 21″ long with a full head of hair, and despite the drugs was very alert and was able to nurse well right away. I’m so grateful for those things.

Recovery
The hospital stay was tedious, but I was glad for our small town. I have been friends with the ladies who work in the hospital kitchen for years. They made sure I didn’t starve and that I got food I could eat without getting sick. I’m grateful to them. I hadn’t planned on surgery, so it took some juggling to get things done at home, and the “home birth” baby shirts got me a bit emotional for a while, but we’re doing well so far. I was able to have my placenta released to my midwife. She helped me out by encapsulating it for postpartum use, and it has helped moderate the hormone fluctuations. I recommend it to anyone.

My birth was far from what I’d planned, but I know that for the most part it went the way it needed to. I mourn the things we weren’t able to do, but overall all elated to have our precious little guy. He’s shown us what true love is.

Thinking about making a change…

March 26, 2014

A quick note about a thought…this blog is “Vegan Without.” It has so far been solely recipes. I want to expand into posting other aspects of life, including parenting without animal products, and other lifestyle issues (like finding shoes!) I just wanted to give everyone a heads up, and maybe see what other sorts of things you’d like to see. (Yes, I know I haven’t even posted recipes in ages…I do have some that I need to make again to get pictures, but they will come!)

Thanks for understanding!

2013 in review

December 31, 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,700 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

An Announcement (and recipe for vegan orange Julius type smoothie)

May 22, 2013

So, some of you might be wondering why I didn’t go through with the biopsy after going through the gluten challenge (which was my full intent to have a definite answer.) The answer is that I’m pregnant! We are thrilled, and I so am avoiding gluten (and everything else I can’t eat) and at some point in the future I may do another challenge for a biopsy. On the plus side, my thyroid levels have continued to be in the subclinical range, B12 is more than adequate, and other blood work looked good. The only thing of concern is that my vitamin D is very low again. I’ve doubled my vitamin D supplement, and hopefully will get back to a good level quickly.

It’ll be fun to see what recipes I end up making and creating over the next several months, so stick around!

My favorite protein packed breakfast lately is an orange creamsicle type smoothie.

Ingredients:
» 2-3 oz by weight of your favorite nuts or seeds (my favorite is to use half of each: raw hemp seeds and raw pumpkin seeds)
»1-1.5 cups of water
»1 frozen banana (unfrozen can work too…)
»1 teaspoon vanilla extract
»6 ounces (half a can) frozen orange juice concentrate
»1-2 cups of ice

Directions:
» In a high powered blender (I use a Vitamix) blend the seeds and/or nuts with the water on high until smooth.
» Add the banana, vanilla, and orange juice concentrate to the blender and again run the blender on high until smooth.
»Add ice to the blender until the total volume reaches the 4 cup mark, then blend one last time on high.
» Serve immediately :) Yum!

Cauliflower Pakora (or as I like to call it – Vegan Popcorn Chicken!)

May 14, 2013

 

A short update on the gluten challenge – I did the 90 days and got my blood-work done. The tests came back negative for Celiac Disease. Initially we planned on doing a biopsy as well, but that’s just not feasible at the moment, so since we already know I am gluten intolerant  I’ll be avoiding gluten again.

Now…Dinner tonight was one of our favorite not so healthy meals…cauliflower pakora (an Indian dish,) which reminds us of popcorn chicken!
Vegan Popcorn ChickenPakora

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chickpea (garbanzo) flour (milling dried chickpeas works)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1 large head of cauliflower chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2-6 cups of oil for frying (I use olive oil)

Directions:

  • Blend together all ingredients except for the cauliflower, onion, and oil. The batter should be smooth, and slightly thick.
  • Stir in the chopped cauliflower and diced onion until coated with batter

IMG_2779

  • Heat the oil in a heavy pan to 375*F (We use a wok with a couple of inches of oil in it.)
  • Fry in batches for about 4-5 minutes, until golden.

IMG_2782

  • Removed to a paper towel lined bowl or plate to drain.
  • Serve hot with optional chutney like sauce (recipe below.)

Chutney (may bear very little resemblance to actual chutney since I’ve never had it, and sort of made this up randomly.)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 half cup of apricot preserves (check the ingredients for any ingredients you might need to avoid)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of juice from canned or jarred jalapenos. (optionally include a few bits of diced jalapeno)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • dash of powdered ginger

Directions: 

  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly and serve as a dipping sauce for pakora

The pakora (vegan popcorn chicken) works great in a big bowl shared during a movie or party. Stay tuned for how to use cauliflower as a buffalo wing substitute!

Using Sweet Rice Flour!

March 21, 2013

Today a friend gave us five pounds of Asian Sweet Rice Flour.  I know that many things I’ve gotten in Asian restaurants is made with this, my favorites being Sesame Seed Puffs and Mochi. In looking for recipes (that wouldn’t need too much tweaking)  I found THIS website. Not everything there is vegan, and several of the recipes have ingredients that I can’t eat, but the recipes I really want to try, and that are good as they stand are:
Sweet Coconut Rice Balls (without the food coloring.)

Dim Sum Wrappers (Sweet or Savory.)

Sesame Seed Puffs (Though I can’t eat the bean paste, and am also not sure what to use instead of the vegetable shortening if you did make it…possibly Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread would work, but I’ll need to think of an entirely different filling.)

Tikoy (I had to look up what this was, and found a slightly different recipe that has more thorough instructions, including a video.) It’s not in pure English, but watching and listening I was able to make sense of it.

Coconut Mochi

Another type of Mochi (Dila-Dila)

I’m excited to try some of these, and I’ll keep you posted on the results! Hopefully I remember to take pictures before I eat them all…I’ve made a few things recently but keep forgetting to take pictures! I’ll just have to make them again and make it a point to take pictures.

(I’m still in the middle of my gluten challenge, and will keep you posted once I get testing and diagnostics done.)

http://gfrecipes.com/glutrice.htm is the main URL in case the links above didn’t work

Not so Gluten-Free for the moment…

January 13, 2013

First – A public service announcement:

If you even SUSPECT that you have a gluten intolerance, get tested for Celiac Disease BEFORE you go gluten free. The tests will not be conclusive after you’ve been eating gluten free, and you will need to suffer what they call a “gluten challenge” in order to be tested. A gluten c

hallenge means eating the equivalent of at least 3 slices of gluten filled bread, every day, for about 3 months. THEN you will be tested an the results are more likely to be conclusive. Unfortunately you already know that gluten makes you feel icky, and so you’re going to feel extra icky for the next three months or so.

My husband and I on our wedding day...long before I decided to figure out what was going on with my health, and happily ate whatever crossed the table.

My husband and I on our wedding day…long before I decided to figure out what was going on with my health, and happily ate whatever crossed the table.

I wish someone had told me that. Now I’ve been gluten free for almost 3 years, and since I still don’t feel well (though I do feel somewhat better in some ways) they want to test me for CeliacDisease, because if I have CD then even slight bits of gluten from cross-contamination can be doing damage and making me feel miserable. Starting yesterday, I

am eating gluten. My mouth and psyche are happy for the foods crossing my lips…my gut is not so happy as it makes its way through. I will still be avoiding the other foods I’ve tested as intolerant to or allergic to, so that I don’t feel more miserable.

If anyone knows of a chart or list of foods and how much gluten they contain, please share it with me because all I can come up with via internet searches are how to avoid gluten (which I know how to do!) I’ve also found out that hard wheat flour contains the most gluten, but I want to know how many bagels equal the gluten in 3 slices of bread, and how much pasta equals the same. I need to make sure I eat “enough” gluten, but I also don’t want to eat much more than necessary.

I will probably share bits of this journey on this blog, not to rub it in anyones face that I’m “getting to” eat they foods that we’ve all been missing, but to share the experience that you truly don’t want to go through if you can avoid it. Any recipes I share will still be without soy or gluten, and as I said before, possibly without other things as well. If anyone else is going through, or has gone through, a gluten challenge, please share your experience as well.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers…I’m hoping that I don’t end up too miserable, and that I get some answers at the end of this. If I don’t have Celiac Disease I will have to move on to finding out what I do have.  Thank you :)

Vegan Without’s Plan for 2013

January 1, 2013

I didn’t post much in 2012, and I apologize for that. I have been trying to find answers to some continuing health issues, and besides the fatigue deterring me from posting, I’ve learned that I may need to avoid many other foods. Bloodwork (which may or may not be conclusive) showed that I am allergic to pinto beans, red & black beans (and all those that are similar), sunflower seeds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, as well as oysters, dairy, and casein (which of course don’t matter much since they aren’t vegan ingredients anyway.) It was recommended that I avoid all legumes and tree nuts, and that I eat some salmon or tuna each week. I’ve greatly minimized my legumes (sticking to mostly garbanzos, lentils, peas, green beans, and lima beans as well as carob) and minimized how many almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamias, brazil, and hazelnuts I was eating. I did also include some fish (so technically not vegan for now…but I’m working on figuring out how to work it.) I’ve also figured out that corn, nutritional yeast, processed sugar (especially in quantity,) and preservatives give me headaches.

I no longer have any health insurance, so I plan on going into the “city” to the free clinic to see if they can help me figure out what I truly need to be avoiding or not. My general diagnoses are IBS (leaky gut) and “myalgia.” I’m taking probiotics, digestive enzymes, l-glutamine, flax seed oil, vitamin D, multivitamin, calcium, and magnesium. I’m considering adding aloe vera juice back into my routine, but I will wait until I talk to the doctor this week.

I look forward to sharing many recipes that I’ve come up with, and they will all still be gluten and soy free, as well as vegan. Going forward there may be some that are free of other ingredients as well. I even have a “cheesecake” that I can eat while avoiding all the above listed ingredients…you’ll be surprised at what it’s made out of.

Thank you for sticking with me, and a Happy New Year to you all!


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