Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Category: Health & nutrition (Page 1 of 3)

Dining out Dairy-free: Tips to stay safe & enjoy eating out

A major dilemma and source of stress when we want to eat out is ensuring safety of our son. Eating out can be a great source of experiencing new cultures, cuisines, meeting friends and bonding with family. Not to mention the celebrations and new experiences you get to enjoy. While we have had multiple experiences where things have gone wrong and we have had to administer medicines to our son after accidental ingestion of dairy products, we have not banned eating out. We have only learnt from it and today I would like to share some tips with you. These could help you not just if you are dairy free like us but also if you have other dietary restrictions or preferences.

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Culinary Cornerstones: Dairy free cooking alternatives

If you’ve been keeping up with the previous blog posts on this topic of Dairy Free living, then you will know that giving up dairy can be quite a challenging prospect. This is because a lot of dairy products are used as cooking essentials. Think butter for frying, yoghurt for marinating, cheese in sauces. A dairy free world then seems unimaginable. But for many this is not a choice, its a necessity. Hence finding dairy free cooking alternatives is the first step to adopting a dairy free lifestyle.

Milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt, cream are present in almost every cuisine and in all types of recipes – be it cakes & baking or in main courses, with meats, carbs or even in drinks such as milkshakes or the summer favourite spiced buttermilk. It is very easy to find substitutes for all of these and to suit the ingredients that the recipes call for. It may take a while for you to adapt to the slight change in flavour that comes with a dairy free diet. In the case of our son who has never been able to taste milk based products, due to his milk protein allergy, the adoption has been seamless.

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Back to Basics: Benefits of Going Dairy-free

It is estimated that around 2 to 3% of the population have a dairy allergy. 50% of children with cow’s milk allergies were also allergic to other foods. Additionally, a recent study by Hindustan Times highlighted that almost 60% of the Indian population had a lactose intolerance. Dairy allergies are more common than you may think and it becomes necessary for a large section of people to opt for dairy-free diets. In a land where milk and its allied products are considered next to God, the prospect of adopting a dairy-free diet seemed unthinkable even to us. But in practice we have realized that it may have been a God-send to not consume dairy after all – especially the milk which is far from its pure, Godly form that it once used to be. Maybe there are some solid benefits of a dairy free diet.

Yes enough research has been done to show that milk and the related products contain several nutrients that are good for the body and especially for the growth and development of children. But there are ALTERNATIVES and milk is not as essential as it is made out to be. A dairy-free diet can be healthy, nutritious and with some good planning can stand up to all the goodness and more that can come from including dairy in your diet.

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Allergic Adventures: Our Dairy-Free Life

Do you know people who have allergies? I am sure you do! There seems to be a rise in the number and varieties of allergies that people experience these days. And then there are the allergies in children – milk allergy, or allergies to nuts, gluten etc. Surely, allergies are not a new occurrence or worse a new epidemic. They have been around for time immemorial. But people may have put up with them as a ‘Maybe I was born with it’ or just an irritant that they manage. Today, we realize that there are options or alternatives and life can be normal for people with allergies. There may even be ways for people to deal with and overcome their allergies. Counter medications are also available as there are cases where allergies can cause considerable medical damage or even fatalities.

Living with an allergy is however far from easy. One has to be careful, cautious and find ways around it to ensure safety and at the same time to enjoy all that life has to offer. We are a dairy-free household and this happened when our dear son was born with a milk/dairy allergy. In the 8 years that he has been around, we have navigated our life quite well, barring one rude shock. This journey is all about how we identified, coped and manage his milk allergy. The intention is to share our learning and experiences and help others out there like us, who suddenly find themselves coping with an unexpected gift.

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Less painful vaccines – too good to be true? But they really are!

Speaking to a friend who recently delivered her baby, she narrated how the worst part of her motherhood journey thus far was vaccination. She related how her baby wailed endlessly and she struggled both at the doctor’s office and then later at home to comfort her baby. She explained how she felt totally helpless in the situation and that she wished that vaccinations could wait till babies were older to understand the reason for this infliction. Once we become parents, we would want to do anything to keep our little babies’ eyes from filling up with tears, right?

But the good news is that vaccination appointments don’t have to be a nightmare. You can now actually opt for something called less painful vaccines. When you now visit your paediatrician for vaccinations, you have a choice of the type of vaccine you would like to be administered to your baby. You can choose between the conventional vaccine or the less painful vaccine.

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Vaccination – Your weapon to safeguard humanity

If there has ever been a time that people across the world have wished for a relief in the form of a vaccine, it is now! Grappled by this invisible virus that is Corona, the world has been relegated to the confines of their homes. Everyone is at risk, everyone is scared. All of us are waiting for the time to tick and finally receive news that a vaccine has been found.

Vaccines have been saving lives for centuries. In the face of the Covid crisis, it is only becoming more obvious, how vaccines can preserve human civilization and all that we have achieved so far. All the progress that humankind has made – in terms of science, technology, art, business, ideology, culture, means nothing if we don’t have the opportunity to go out there into the world and flourish. Vaccines therefore preserve life itself.

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Is vaccination the way ahead in flu prevention?

I’ve learned to read the signs by now. I can see how my toddler slowly falls prey to the #Influenza virus almost every alternate month. It starts with his day care lunch & snack boxes returning home unfinished. He loses his appetite. His zest. One morning he wakes up fine, and by the same evening he has a full-blown high-grade fever and we know it’s the dreaded F word – FLU.

What kills me is, when I sit down to think about it, I realize the signs were all there. Mom guilt has enveloped my brain by now. When I start to see reason, I know that by the time I could see the symptoms creeping in, it was already too late to prevent the flu. I needed to do something about it earlier. But what and how?

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Healthy home cooked meals on busy workday mornings

Busy, workday mornings mean chaos in the kitchen. There’re multiple lunch & snack boxes to be packed for three people – my toddler son, my husband and I. And breakfast is sacrosanct too. As a family we really believe in home cooked meals and this continued even after I joined full time work.

The one thing that makes it all happen is PREP or if you are fancy (or watch MasterChef Australia), mise en place. 😉 Food ingredients are washed, chopped and stored the night before. In the morning the contents are ready to go into the pan and cook into fresh, healthy meals for all of us. This ensures that all the cooking – breakfast and lunch boxes is done in under an hour. In fact, we also get time for a sit-down family breakfast every morning.

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Traveling with milk allergy – food tips & ideas

Here are 3 photos of my son Tasmai (babyT) on our annual ritual of a family holiday in Goa, India. He’s aged 9.5 months, 19 months and 34 months here. We (as do many people) have to do at least one trip to Goa each year and we are glad that babyT has joined in our fun too. When I look at this collage of pics from the 3 holidays however, I realize  how it is becoming increasingly complex to manage his food allergies (milk) and take care of his meals. Traveling with milk allergy is not easy but we did it and very well too.

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Traveling with milk allergies can be a daunting task. This year our holiday showed us that it will be difficult for our child to travel and eat comfortably like normal people do, but it is still not impossible to find the right alternatives and have a good time. This prompted me to write this blog post so as to help others find support and help.

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Stop before you self-diagnose baby’s feeding issues

When I wrote my post about milk allergies in infants I got many questions from worried mothers. They shared symptoms they saw in their baby and asked me if it was a sign of feeding issues in babies such as a milk or lactose intolerance. Although I have gone through similar experiences with my baby, I am no medical expert in this field. So, one advise I gave all these concerned mothers was that they consult their paediatrician, an allergist or an infant nutritional expert to check for feeding issues in babies. Today, I want to talk about some of the common feeding issues in babies and what they imply.

I know it can be terrifying to think that your baby has a feeding issue. But always remember that only a doctor is qualified to advise you about the right course of action. Whether you should move to formula or switch to a lactose-free formula is something that your doctor will tell you to do. Self-diagnosis by reading up online is a complete no. Continue reading

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