There are times in life when taking a step back and evaluating our food choices can mean the difference between feeling good within our bodies or simply getting by. Once in a while, it's important to ask: "Is how I'm nourishing myself supporting my health or diminishing it in some way?" or "Why do I all of a sudden have _______ health issue; what am I eating that may be contributing to it?"
I've gone through periods when I've eliminated certain foods - typically ones I eat frequently - because something was off with my health, only to discover food sensitivities or that I simply feel better eating differently. This time, I had to evaluate what, if anything I was eating, was causing my son to have eczema because I was still breastfeeding.
If an inner voice is telling you to take a careful look at what you're eating and to consider taking certain foods out, listen to that voice. There's never any harm in experimenting. You can only learn from doing so.
When I made the decision to eliminate some of the most allergenic foods, I realized that, of the 8 biggest allergens - wheat, soy, eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish - I ate wheat, dairy (milk not too often, but definitely yogurt, kefir, and cheese), and eggs almost daily if not multiple times a day. So I started with these first. I also decided to stop having oatmeal for breakfast because, by then, I literally had oatmeal almost every single day for an entire year and, frankly, while I loved starting my day off with that warm bowl of goodness, I was getting a little sick of it. Given that eggs, yogurt, or toast on local sourdough bread for breakfast were three of my go-to's, I had to get creative and open myself up to non-traditional breakfasts - at least nontraditional in the US.
Within 5 weeks of my elimination my son's eczema pretty much cleared with some dry spots still on his belly and within 7 weeks his belly and knee and elbow creases were baby soft once again. While he still gets red cheeks and I'm trying to figure this out now, the worst of it is gone. This was miraculous given that he could have easily been sensitive to other foods. I've since added back wheat about once a week and he seems to be doing fine, though he hasn't had any grains yet as part of his solid food introduction. I'm hoping to introduce some dairy back soon and eggs too, but I will do so little by little. For now, I'm grateful I don't have to worry about the eczema getting out of control.
There's nothing like limiting the foods you can eat that gets your creative juices flowing when you feel those hunger pangs! So for you mamas who are breastfeeding and have been curious about cutting out potential allergens for your little one, here are some ideas for breakfast if you cut out the big three - wheat, dairy, and eggs:
SOUP. Have a big cup or bowl of nourishing soup! It's winter here in New England and there's nothing better than a heartwarming veggie soup to start your day. The options are limitless! Here are some ideas.
- root vegetable soup - carrots, parsnips, rutabags, turnips (garnished with olive oil, sumac, and parsley)
- butternut squash soup (garnished with olive oil, sumac, and parsley)
- miso soup with wakame, daikon, carrots
- veggie or bone broth with red cabbage, julienned onions, rice noodles
COCONUT YOGURT: I love plain whole milk yogurt or kefir - and if either is homemade, all the better. While coconut yogurt doesn't quite do it for me like real yogurt, it's an excellent alternative. I love the plain So Delicious brand with berries, nuts, and seeds. I also just heard about Coconut Cult probiotic yogurt, but haven't tried it yet!
GRAINS, GREENS & VEGGIES: Have root veggies, squashes, greens, or grains lying around from the night before? I love squashes, potatoes, cooked beets for breakfast. Sprinkle a little umeboshi plum vinegar for flavor and mix with quinoa, rice, millet, farro, or any other grain to make the dish even more filling. And if you have hearty greens like kale, collard greens, swiss chard from the night before add those in too for more vitamins. I love a quick sautee/ steam of spinach too. You'll have a colorful nourishing plate and you'll feel like superwoman ready to start the day.
FRUIT: If you're more of a light breakfast person, a bowl of seasonal fruit is a lovely and cleansing way to start the day. Go for berries in the summertime, pomegranate in the wintertime, for example. Take advantage of the fruits that aren't in grocery stores all year round.
If there's a fear around what exactly will take place of those foods that you seem to constantly eat, know that each time you give yourself permission to experiment with food, you'll find substitutes or, better yet, new recipes and a broader range of foods to nourish yourself! Happy experimenting!
If you have any other awesome ideas for breakfast, share in the comments!
Are you a nursing mother who is struggling to eliminate certain foods that could potentially help your little one, let me know in the comments or send me a note! I'd love to help!