Monday, October 01, 2012

Vegan recipes and eczema

This post probably should be linked to my other blog : At Home With Montessori as it is connected, however, Mr Beehive has been in Munich since Friday morning at 4am so I'm slightly tired this evening having done all the week, plus the weekend and he's off again tomorrow to Budapest. So forgive me that you need to join the dots yourself tonight!

So, Master Beehive the elder has had terrible flare ups of his eczema which came back with somewhat of a vengence last September.
Initiallly we thought it was cold, then in the summer, heat; perhaps it was mould induced from the poor quality windows in his room, but having them replaced hasn't changed things; perhaps it was stress from starting a new school, but he's been just as itchy this year and he's now in year 8. Then my mum put me onto a programme about a little boy who had eczema who reacted well when dairy (cow's milk in particular) was taken out of his diet.

We have tried different combinations of emolients, different steroids, hydrocortisone, wearing gloves, he has cotton clothing from the eczema society, we change his sheets every week.
Obviously our health is affected by what we put in our bodies and, whilst he has a very healthy diet, there may be something within in it that is causing him to itch. Then the cycle returns: the inducer takes hold and causes adrenalin and histamine to release, this causes him to itch, he then scratches and his body will then release more's one of the most helpless vicious circles to observe from the outside. I cannot begin to understand how painful it is for him when his skin cracks open and weeps.

So we thought we'd try this. He has been dairy free now for around three weeks but he obviously misses some of his favourite foods, so I have a couple of recipes below for a vegan lasagne and a vegan curry.

Interestingly, however, I was reading about the four planes of development and how Montessori likened the 12 - 15 years to the 0 - 3 year period. She talks about the tantrums that a 3 year old may throw because they are, as yet, unable to communicate sufficiently to express their desire, is similar to the tantrums a teen may throw because their bodies are changing and they don't know what is going on or how to express the weird feelings - the angst of friendships, puberty, feelings towards someone they're attracted too perhaps...

She goes on to say that children in both these periods are more vulnerable to diseases or conditions that they have experienced before can recur. When thinking about it, it's true: babies are more susceptible to things like Meningitis and so are teens. Glandular fever is more likely to occur in the teenage years etc.

When MB the elder was a baby, his eczema was terrible. He would scratch himself raw and we thought he had an egg allergy, he would come up with hives when he ate egg, even if I put the shell on his skin. I'm pretty positive this is not a recurrence of his egg allergy, but maybe he also had a dairy intolerance as a baby and we were unaware? So, we are eliminating for now, then we may introduce some goat cheese or milk and see what happens. If we see no change then we'll be off to the allergy clinic as our next port of call.

So whilst we have been dairy free it's opened my eyes to what exactly is in food and how hard it is for children, especially those on a dairy free diet, to enjoy a fulfilled and healthy diet. It is actually so SIMPLE to alter things slightly so that kids can enjoy the same foods as they did before, but with a slight twist and that doesn't mean buying soya products or artificial cheese mixes.

We have discovered that Rice Milk makes a fine substitute for regular milk in a white sauce for lasagne or other dishes.

  • Some Rice Milks are nicer than others.
  • Almond milk is tasty, but high in sugar!
  • Coconut milk with chocolate from Tesco is a lovely rich treat, with this you can make chocolate pudding or banana custard!
  • Creamy sauces for kormas can come from coconut cream.
  • Butters can be substituted for Marg, veg. oil (in cakes) or coconut oil (in curries)
  • Our local farm shop makes dairy free chocolate cakes, treacle tarts and vegan blueberry slices.
  • If you're making porridge, use rice milk for a thicker result than water but CHECK THE LABELS, some porridge oats, particularly the individual packet ones, have milk powder in them.
  • Making your own bread in a bread maker, or by hand, is a better, if not cheaper option than shop bought. If it is white bread and doesn't have a label on it and there's no one to ask, presume there will be milk powder in it. We had a horrid reaction last week to some bread.
  • Sweet treats are not impossible - if you have a good farm shop, check them out, alternatively substitute butters and fat for oil or applesauce.
  • And just because I found this out today...anyone with an egg allergy or vegan (and over 18) - egg whites or fish bladder are often used as isinglass finites particularly in casked real ales and some red and white wines! Hmmm, I wonder how many bearded CAMRA veggies are still tipping real ales down their throats?

MB the elder's school is fairly useless with its variety for kids with special diets other than vegetarian, so I'm going to see the catering manager on Friday as his dinner today consisted of rice, nan bread and potatoes (WTF!) as the veggie option was three cheese pasta and the meat option was chicken korma with butter and cream in it! We have informed them of his diet, so I am hoping they may start to put something in place, even if it is steamed veggies or some salad options.

Anyway, here's my vegan lasagne

Vegan Lasagne with Herby sauce

In a large pan gently melt some olive oil,
Fry onion and garlic.
Add all your veggies that you want and allow them to slightly brown
Add your tin of tomatoes
I also add some of Sainsbury's kidney beans in chilli sauce because it helps to thicken and gives it a kick.

Once the veggies are softer, put them into your lasagne dish.

Layer your pasta - be careful if you are doing vegan as some lasagne is made with egg.

Making the white sauce:
Gently melt coconut oil in a pan.
Add the flour to make a paste
I then add a dash of rice milk each time it starts to bubble and stir fast. This is always my failsafe way of ensuring no lumps.
Season it because you won't be adding cheese - so herbs and salt and pepper will give a nice herby sauce.
When you have the consistency you want, pour it over the lasagne and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Vegan Potato and Mushroom Biryani

Yes, doesn't look much as this was what was left!
You'll need mushrooms, potatoes, onions, garlic, beans, lentils, rice, cumin, tomato paste, coconut milk, garam masala, corriander, veggie stock or bouillon

Fry your onion and garlic
Cut the potatoes into small chunks and add to the pan,
sprinkle your garam masala and your cumin over the veggies in the pan and coat them.
Add the beans and a dessert spoon of bouillon or a veggie stock cube with around 1pt of water.
Stir well. and allow to simmer so things soften.

In another pan boil some rice and lentils together.

In your main pan, add the coconut milk and tomato paste and then your mushrooms.

Once your rice and lentils have boiled you can drain them and add them to your main pot.

Allow to simmer gently for around 5 minutes but be careful, you want the liquid to reduce but you don't want the food to burn. Biryani is a drier curry than something like a korma.


It's yummy!
Saturday night's dinner - not vegan, but dairy free none the less.

And finally here's a picture of LMB's new quilt, finally finished!

1 comment:

Blissful Mama said...

mmm... i tried life without cheese once... it ended with a 4 cheese pizza! I do however eat vegan food quite a lot, I have some great books, including 2 huge tomes from when I studied nutritional medicine (would love to go back to that one day). You are welcome to borrow them, but they are rather too large for posting!