If you or others in your family have a food intolerance and you’re expecting a new family member, NOW is the time to act. Whether you’ve discovered your current baby or child has a dairy intolerance or milk allergy, is gluten-intolerant, or reacts to soy, nuts or other foods, you will be making major changes to your diet. Your weekly grocery shop will never be the same! You will become intimately acquainted with food labels and the ‘numbers’ that food manufacturers hide behind when adding the nasties to basic foods.
You will also be amazed how many foods contain a milk or wheat product to give it more substance or enhance the taste! A few shockers included crisps, gravy, stock cubes, bread crumbed food, cereals, sweets and processed meats. Then when you take a look at the products that are manufactured on ‘production lines also manufacturing soy, milk, wheat, nut products’ you’ll start to wonder what you’ll ever be able to feed your family again.
Be prepared for any new addition to have some intolerance as well. That’s where NOW is a very good time to start changes in your own diet. What you eat feeds your fetus for nine months and if your unborn child has a tendency toward an intolerance the food you eat will lessen or increase that intolerance. Play safe.
When faced with the dilemma of a child with allergies, it is far easier to start from scratch – slow cook from raw verifiable foods or feed raw finger foods. Shop for meats in a butcher who prepares the cuts for you that day. Ask whether they use preservatives in their mince or sausage products. If you shop for meat in a Supermarket you can expect that some preservatives are added to prolong the shelf-life, and shop assistants won’t have a clue.
Even supposedly non-gluten food like rolled oats may in fact contain gluten through cross-contamination from wheat in the location. Cereals are commercially grown in a rotation of crops where wheat is one crop. Wheat seed dropped during harvest may grown among rye or oats in a following harvest. Mechanical harvesters don’t discriminate when they harvest the next crop – they just gather the seed whatever the plant. Only grains that are grown exclusively on cropping land and tested for the presence of gluten can be relied on to be gluten-free.
Cook your baby foods from raw, adding little or no salt. Babies (and you) don’t really need it as a taste enhancer – we’ve just become so used to over-salted foods like crisps and crackers that our adult palates expect the extra taste boost.
Often the change in diet will improve the health of the whole family. Except from causes like celiacs disease, when gluten is an absolute ‘No-No’, an extreme reaction in one child will indicate that there is the likelihood of a level of intolerance in others. Afterall, all your children will have come from the same gene-pool and each parent has provided half that gene-pool. The chances of most of you having some intolerance to the offending food is high.
The diet change is likely to lead you too review other products you use around your children. What is in the creams and lotions you massage into their skins? What is in the fabrics you place against their skin?
Welcoming the new addition
Be aware that not everyone will understand the changes you’re putting into place. If you’re welcoming a new addition or holding a birthday party, be up front about your preferences.
Your friends should know that you want a green baby shower or birthday party, so include eco-friendly baby websites, stores, gift ideas, and wrapping suggestions on the invitations. Ask your guests to wrap the gifts in recycled or reusable materials, like a baby blanket or in a box that can later be used as storage. And if they are bringing food to share, ask them to restrict it to fresh fruit and raw vegetable nibbles.
You can also serve the food with regular dishes rather than disposable ones. Load up the dishwasher (not your rubbish bin) and celebrate with a clean conscience.