Mommying BabyT

Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

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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Embrace Your Curls with Little Extra Coco Onion Hair Fall products

Are you tired of battling frizz and hair fall while trying to maintain your gorgeous curls? As a curly haired girl myself, the search for the perfect hair products is somewhat endless. Until I came across this brand called Little Extra. I tried their Coco Onion Hair Fall Control Pack which in my view has been a God-send for my curly hair care. This innovative shampoo and hair oil combo is specially designed to cater to the needs of all types of hair from oily, combination, sensitive, dry or normal hair, providing a host of benefits that will leave your curls looking and feeling their best.

The best part?

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My Vipassana experience – The ‘Why?’

Scene – In the car on the way to Dhamma Pattana, Vipassana Centre at Mumbai

So the day is finally here. I’m leaving for a 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat today (29th November’23) and I’ll be back home on 10th December’23. A whole 12 days away from home, people I love, my comfort zone (or is it?), work (not a good place to be, for me) and my friends, ,colleagues et al. I am feeling nervous and anxious! This last last weekend I’ve felt pangs of anxiety, constant nausea, lost my appetite, sleep’s been erratic (isn’t it always for me?) But today as I am all set to leave I’m feeling calm, and looking forward to getting there and turning my phone in after I say my goodbyes.

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Building inclusion from the home

As the debate on same sex marriages rages in the Indian courts, it’s not just the nation but the world that watches with baited breath, on what the outcome and the aftereffects are going to be. But more than this, what is really evident is that the world is a truly diverse place, and every individual has a right to live a life of dignity and safety, experience love, and joy. What role then can we as parents play in ensuring that our children who will come in to this world a decade or two down the line, don’t have to fight for basic rights but will thrive where there is mutual respect and love?! This thought plays in my mind every time I watch or read the news these days. Moving into a role at work that focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion has only made this a more pressing need for our family – how can we raise our child to be more inclusive?

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The morning run

I’ve never been a morning person. Early morning school when I was a kid was a nightmare. Even as a grown up, I found that I was at my best in the evenings. My energy levels suddenly went up, I had blazes of creativity (like now at 11 pm) and work would be great quality and super quickly, especially if it involved creative writing (like now, at 11 pm)

Even when we had babyT, he was never the one who would rise and shine at the Crack of dawn. Both of us would lay in, till the sun warmed our cheeks and crinkled our eyes. I would slink away from the bed and he would follow in no less than 10 minutes. Somehow, they know when you’re bodily warmth slips away from them.

So this past year when Tasmai started full-time & in person school I knew my days of that late morning start were over. Kaput, vanished into thin air just like that. Now I would have to wake up even before the sun had risen to cook up 2 meals, a snack and a treat. It gave me the shudders.

But wake up I did. Cook up elaborate meals I did. I mean freshly made pesto for pasta. Who was this woman? Salad, roti sabji, Dal rice – a full thali meal? In fact the teacher sent home a note saying, can you tone down the elaborate meals you send T, as he struggles to finish it in time. Oops!

How? I don’t know! Has my wiring changed? Have my poles interchanged? Not at all. I’m still the night owl that i am. Awake after all the lights are out. I now survive on very little sleep on weekdays. Weekends are the time to lie in.

Question to be asked is why? And it’s not as simple as just love for my child. Well mostly it is. But it’s also purely practical – T cannot consume food outside until all eating places became more conscious of food allergies and started learning that dairy free needs to be a thing. And food for kids needs to rise above cheese and butter, the so called nutrient powerhouses. That or T has grown up enough to understand the ingredients that go into cooking the meal and asking pointed questions. “Yes this is vegetarian but does it have milk cream or butter?”

Utopia is still far away, but until then, I shall wake at 530. I shall waft sleepily to the kitchen. I shall rack my brain to think of creative ways to make fun meals, and I shall wait for the weekend to laze in bed till the sun warms our cheeks. Good night!

How to re-Kindle your reading habit

(No pun intended there)

The pandemic and lockdown has ignited many hobbies and people have picked up on long lost interests and passions. Some baked, some painted. Many read. I am one of those people who went from reading no books in years to reading 12 books in 2020 and already half way through my 2021 goal.

What happened? Did I suddenly find free time which never existed before? Not really. There’s always time to do the things you really want to do right? Finding my love for reading and actually reading took time, effort and sustained efforts. Today on National Reading Day (yes, its a real thing) I thought I would list down the efforts and how I actively read.

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Saying goodbye to our red fairy

We bid a teary goodbye to our beloved car this week. She’d been with us for a good 13 years. That’s eternity in these days when cars get replaced every few years.

It was March 2008 that @karksons bought the ? car and then as he picked me up on the way to work and we drove the daily commute, this car saw our friendship, love & then life blossom.??
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We went from being friends to making the first date plans in this very car.? Endless dinner evenings at a time when you could drink a bottle of wine & still drive in Mumbai.? G proposed in this car. We decided to get married in the car.

I came home as a new bride ?in our red car. we moved to our first home ?& then subsequent homes in this car. We heard the news of our pregnancy?, from our health center when we were traveling in this car & of course went to the hospital &? brought back our baby boy in this car.

She saw many battles when not once but twice she was battered – one by a drunk driver & then by an angry mob. Yes!! She’s endured it all.? Our special red car. She lived a full life & now she’s hung her boots.

Thank you for the love, our beautiful car. This is a memory capture for you. ????
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#MommyingbabyT #ourcar #lovestory #valentinesday #storyofourlove #storyofourlife #ourfamily #redcar #swift #retiredcar #sustainable #memories #hereinmycar #garynuman #cars #farewell

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