Baby M has had gut issues pretty much since we brought him home in mid-June. First, it was gas and fussiness, but that progressed to diarrhea, then to green, mucous-y diarrhea, followed by all of the above plus blood. At that point, we were able to get in to a pediatrician, thank goodness.
By the time we got to the pediatrician, I had already started experimenting with eliminating allergens from my diet, including dairy, peanuts, and tree nuts. I was about to try getting rid of soy, too. I was ready to give up breastfeeding entirely, and put him on the bottle, just to see if it was something I was eating. Baby’s constant crying and obvious pain were making us crazy, and the level of helplessness we felt was really overwhelming. After two months of constant screaming, diarrhea, and lack of sleep (on all our parts), I would have cut off my left arm if I thought it would help.
The pediatrician suggested going one step further than cutting the dairy, and also cutting all beef products.
Unfortunately, that worked.
I say unfortunately because I was hoping it would be something else. Something that did not involve having to cut all my favorite foods from my diet. I mean, no burgers, no roast, no butter, no yogurt, no cream, no cheese, no milk chocolate, no ice cream…really? Add to that the fact that it’s been 30+ degrees, and I’ve been miserable. My go-to foods for a hot summer day include cottage cheese and fruit, cucumber-and-cheese sandwiches, and barbequed burgers. Hmm. Can you tell I’ve been feeling sorry for myself?
We’ve been on the hunt for suitable replacements, and found a vegan margarine that is passable, and some rice-based “milk” chocolate that’ll do in a pinch. Unfortunately, cheese is out. Most of the non-dairy cheese replacements I was able to find contained milk ingredients, and the one that did not, tasted fairly awful. This is a tragedy. I eat cheese with everything. Like probably at least two meals a day. Because of that, most of my cooking involves cheese. I can substitute ground pork or chicken for the meat in most recipes, but spaghetti without parmesan? Chili without cheddar? Chowder with no cheese? And seriously, no pizza? Bleh. So, basically, all my go-to recipes are missing something. Something important. Something that reminds me how much I’m missing out every time I try to eat a ‘regular’ meal.
I got to feeling so sorry for myself that I was polishing off a bag of Fudgee-O cookies (the only non-dairy cookie in the whole aisle) and a bag of wine gums every two or three days. We were eating a fair bit of fast food, too, just because we did not know what else to eat. Besides the aforementioned cookies and candy, plus barbequed pork chops and grilled peppers, I did not feel like there was anything in the house to eat. My diet was taking a serious turn for the worse. Usually I eat a very healthy diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, plus made-from-scratch meals, so the sudden influx of deep-fried chicken and sugary crap had me feeling physically terrible, too.
Yesterday, I decided I needed to snap out of it before I hit 300 pounds and gave my poor kid rickets or scurvy or some other horrifying deficiency. I mean seriously, he can only get as good of nutrition as I do, right? An attitude adjustment was clearly in order.
I needed to cook something new, something that had no associations with beef, butter, cream, cheese, and all the rest. Something that did not remind me of my enforced dietary changes every time I ate.
Today, I went through the freezer, trying to decide what needed using up. Corn season is almost upon us, and we still have a few bags of frozen corn from last year, so that became the base of the meal. As it is cool today, I decided on soup, since it’s been a long time since it’s been cool enough to cook soup, and soup is such a quick, easy meal. Though I am not good at measuring, here is the approximate recipe:
Fill a 2-quart pot about 1/3 with chicken broth (or vegetable broth, for a vegan meal; I used a couple of chicken bullion cubes and 1/3 pot of water). Add a few carrots, chopped small, and around 3 cups of frozen corn. Spice to taste with mild yellow curry (I used around a tablespoon) and hot chili paste (about 1/2 tsp for me). When the carrots are cooked, add one whole can of coconut milk (unsweetened). Bring the whole thing back to a boil, and serve.
As I was eating my dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, beef-free, but still very tasty soup, I realized that every single ingredient started with the letter “C” – this soup should be sponsoring a Sesame Street episode! Chicken stock, Corn, Carrots, Chili paste, Curry, Coconut milk…this is a real C-food soup!