A Weaning Update: One Month On

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It’s been well over a month since I wrote about starting the weaning process for my then 24 week old. Shortly after that he got sick so weaning went on hold for about a week, and it’s now been a month since he’s been properly eating food.

First time round with my 5yo I did what all the books say to do, and her first meal was baby rice mixed with breast milk. She was not impressed with it at all and spat most of it back out. She also point blank refused to be spoonfed which forced us down the traditional baby led weaning road – toast slices, soft fruit and veg. She loved weetabix back then and we’d crumble them up, mix it with a little rice milk and create tiny truffle-like balls for her to easily pop into her mouth.

I think BLW scared me initially for obvious reasons – the mess, the fear of choking, the mess, worrying that she’d not be eating enough, oh and did I mention the mess? You get used to it though, and after a short while it became part of our routine. I think it’s great for their fine motor skills, and encouraging them to eat real food early on.

Second time round we went straight for Paleo BLW (no grains, dairy or refined sugar) and 2yo’s first meals were big chunks of tender meat that had been in the oven for hours, along with slices of avocado and roasted root veg. Again she was very opposed to being spoonfed and wanted to do it all herself. Even now she won’t let me feed her, no matter how hard I try to gee her along sometimes.

I don’t know why I thought things would be different third time round. I guess if I’m honest I got caught up in the hype of ‘boys being easier’ which is what everyone loves to tell you when you’ve got girls already and a blue bubba. I’ve been told time and again where food is concerned that boys aren’t fussy and will just take it in whatever form it comes. Clearly they have never met my son. He is as bloody minded and determined as his sisters and absolutely refuses to be spoonfed too. He is also the messiest eater I have ever encountered!

I pureed soups and stews for about a week until it became apparent that it was a lost cause. Now he just has his food in big chunks on his high chair tray. The mesh feeder in the photo above is a life saver as it helps to ensure he’s actually eating the food and not just covering himself in it.

Here’s a typical GAPS menu for a 6-7 month old baby:

Breakfast
Freshly pressed carrot and beetroot juice
Lightly cooked egg yolk with ghee or coconut oil
Mesh feeder filled with mashed banana and avocado
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Lunch/dinner
Tender meat from stew or casserole
Boiled chicken from my stock
Roasted root veg
Chunks of avocado

Desert
Home made apple or pear puree, mixed with home made yoghurt and/or raw egg yolk
Squished berries or grapes
Quartered plums
Home made jelly

Baby boy is almost 7 months now and overall weaning is going well. He’s also (dare I say it) finally sleeping a bit better after a torturous month of waking up on average five times a night! He loves his food and is a joy to watch eat. The only problem I find is that I can’t get much into him when we’re out and about, so am trying to be home most mealtimes. I bought some empty Ella’s Kitchen type pouches so I can put my own food inside, but he hasn’t mastered them yet. Once he has it’ll all get much easier I’m sure 🙂

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Grain Free Breakfast Scones

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For my family the most difficult part of a grain free diet is breakfast. Eggs score high in the GAPS and Paleo world, but until very recently 5yo was not tolerating egg at all. Over the last couple of months I’ve been gently reintroducing them into her diet and she appears (touch wood!!) to be ok with them. This is great news for our mornings, as it opens up doors to recipes like this one! A very simple, yet exceptionally tasty and filling, grain free scone.

Not only were the girls able to help make these, but once served they got to cut them and spread on their condiments. This food is not only nutrient dense but really fun. It enhances fine motor skills, and keeps little hands busy. What’s not to like?!

Ingredients for 8 decent scones:
4 large free range eggs
100g coconut flour
160ml milk (I use cultured goat milk)
80ml coconut oil
Tsp vanilla
Tsp honey

Method:
– preheat your oven to 175c and prep a baking tray

– whiz or whisk together all ingredients except the flour

– once fully combined slowly stir in the flour until you have a thick, sloppy batter

– bake for 20 mins, allow to cool then serve with whatever takes your fancy* and store in the fridge

*my girls have been enjoying blueberry compote (as per this recipe), and home made goats sour cream

Liquid breakfast for me and the boy

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When hubby and I first went Paleo two and a half years ago, we got really into bulletproof coffee. It entails chucking a black Americano into the whizzer, along with a big knob of unsalted butter and a dash of coconut oil. Sounds a bit weird but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Trust me, this drink is better than any skinny latte Starbucks could whip you up. I drank them daily for months and loved the kick start to my morning. The combination of caffeine and good fats not only tastes amazing, but is magical for getting the metabolism going. This drink satisfies me until lunchtime.

Around Xmas 2012 I knew I’d developed new food intolerances, so went to see our allergy nurse a few days before new years. She delivered a huge blow: I’d need to exclude coffee, cocoa, cashew nuts and butter. I didn’t know about the wonders of ghee back then, which is butter that has been clarified and the milk proteins removed. What would I do without my caffeine crutch; my chocolate pick me ups and my favourite nuts?!

I was super strict with my elimination diet for a couple of months, at which point I was able to start reintroducing the problem foods. Then I had to be careful not to overdo them. Shortly after this I became intolerant of a handful of other things, and had to do another diet. This is why I’m on GAPS – elimination diets are boring and annoying in equal measure. Hopefully once my gut lining is healed and my good gut bacteria is winning against the bad, food intolerance will become a thing of the past!

So anyhoooo, on with the recipes for mine and baby boy’s current breakfast of choice!

Bulletproof Coffee
Make yourself a black coffee, then pour it into your blender. Add 30g of unsalted butter or 2 tbsp of home made ghee and a tbsp of coconut oil. Feel free to add a dash of honey if you need some sweetness. A little drop of vanilla is also fab. Whiz on high for a few seconds and voila – the perfect coffee (in my humble opinion anyway!)

Carrot Juice
Baby boy is doing well with his weaning. For his breakfast every morning, he’s been having carrot juice which he absolutely loves! Yesterday’s concoction was half a carrot, a slice of apple, half an apricot and a few shreds of cabbage. We don’t have a juicer so the way I make this is by chucking all ingredients into the blender, covering with about 50ml of water and whizzing on high until fully combined. I then pass it through a fine mesh sieve and am left with juice that looks like the photo above.

 

Weaning my baby the GAPS way

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My boy is 23 weeks old on Friday, and a very hungry baby. He would happily feed all day given half the chance, and his eyes have been following hubby and I intently while we eat for a while now. Although he isn’t quite six months, I decided to start weaning him onto solids last Wednesday. I say solids, but actually first off it’s the same clear stock that I’ve bee drinking all this time.

I’m following Dr. Campbell-McBride’s GAPS 10 week weaning guidelines, and because he’s under six months have decided to do two weeks on week one. So my little fella had a few teaspoons of stock on his first day, and I’ve been increasing the amount each day.
Today he’s had 100ml three times, and he absolutely loves the stuff! He grabs at the beaker and sucks furiously on the teat. He drank about half this way, and I held the cup up to his mouth with the lid off for the other half.

Both my girls were quite difficult to wean, so it would be fab for him to be nice and easy. Next on the list is freshly pressed carrot juice and home made yoghurt, which we’re going to try tomorrow. Can’t believe how fast my littlest is growing up!

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Salt & Pepper Crispy Duck

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When I was diagnosed with an MSG intolerance a few years back, it came with the realisation that our monthly Chinese take aways were officially struck off the menu. Fortunately my favourite dish – crispy duck – isn’t too difficult to recreate. This recipe is too easy, and only has a few ingredients. For added flavour why not finish off on the barbie for the last five mins, breast side down?

Ingredients:
2kg whole free range British duck
4 carrots
4 small onions
Freshly ground salt and pepper

Method:
– pre-heat the oven to 200C/425F/GM7

– peel the veg and chop each piece in half, arrange on the bottom of a large non-stick baking tray

– place the metal grill over the top so the fat drips down onto the veg

– remove the giblets from the duck, stab the skin all over with a sharp knife and place on the metal grill

– coat the duck skin generously with salt and pepper

– roast for 30 mins, then remove from the oven

– flip the bird over so it is breast side down, reduce the heat to 170C/350F and cook for 60 mins. Optional: cook on the barbecue for the last five mins

– serve with the roast veg, a huge salad and a jug of my coffee bbq sauce

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Simple Sauerkraut

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Once fermented, cabbage is one of the best natural probiotic foods we have available – home made sauerkraut is a delicious and simple way of enjoying it. Although making it for the first time can be a little daunting, once you get into the swing of fermenting your own foods it only takes a few minutes per batch. This recipe is from the GAPS book, and it is best to use organic ingredients.

Ingredients (to fit into a 500ml jar):
300g cabbage
3 carrots
1.5 tbsp sea salt
Sterilised glass jar

Method:
– finely slice (shred) your cabbage and grate your carrots, then put everything into a large bowl and sprinkle over the salt

– cover with a loosely fitting plate or a tea towel, and leave in a warm place overnight (as you would with home made bread). By morning your veg will have wilted down to about half and the salt will have naturally drawn out a lot of the probiotic juices. It will also kick start the fermentation process

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– using both your hands squeeze out every last drop of juice. You’ll notice that a fair bit of liquid comes out of it

– when your veg is literally swimming in juice it’s ready to transfer to the jar. Push it down hard so it’s packed in really tight

– ensure the juice covers all the veg because if the veg is exposed to air it will start rotting

– you’ll also need to leave about an inch at the top just in case air escapes in the fermentation process

– cover loosely and leave in your warm place for 4 days, then transfer to the fridge

– it should keep for a few months, but it’s good to get into the habit of enjoy alongside every meal to aid digestion

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Strawberry topped chocolate pots (dairy free)

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Avocado, cocoa and coffee may sound like an odd combination, but I promise you won’t be disappointed. I guess you could call this my version of a Gu pot, which is free from dairy and refined sugar. Topped with little slices of strawberry – the perfect flavour and texture needed to complete the desert. As I’m off chocolate and coffee it’s torture making deserts like these at the mo, but my hubby and guests really appreciate it which helps soften the blow 🙂

Ingredients (to serve six):
250g very ripe avocado
100g dates
100g pecans
50g cocoa powder
150ml coconut oil
50ml freshly brewed espresso
tbsp vanilla extract
tbsp honey
free range egg yolk
6 strawberries

Method:
– wash your strawberries and cut off the green tops. Slice each fruit into 4 pieces and set to one side

– blend all other ingredients until smooth then divide into bowls or glasses

– top with the slices of strawberries. Serve immediately or make in advance and store in the fridge

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