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What can we eat? Mother with 3 kids and stubborn hubby

by (5) Updated April 04, 2013 at 7:16 PM Created April 04, 2013 at 1:03 PM

I am trying to get my family more in tune with nature. I want to do things the "right way". My 7 month old appears to have severe reactions to gluten and I cannot tolerate dairy. I took 2 of my 3 kids to a more "natural" doctor (still has his MD--but he practices paleo lifestyle and suggests it to patients) after my "normal" doctor told me not to change my diet-that my baby was just colic. I cut out dairy and gluten and I have a happy baby. Like most-I was overwhelmed with WHAT CAN I EAT? Now, I have it figured out what is ok and what isn't...but the doctor suggested my whole family goes df/gf and I am cutting out all artificial colors and sweeteners as well. Extended family is so not on board-going anywhere is a nightmare. What can I fix for my kids for school? What can we eat when we travel? I have my plants getting ready for my garden-and it looks like paleo diet-though I am interested-severely cuts out a lot of the things I wanted to grow. (Potatoes? Beans?) I cannot afford to buy fresh produce-I am a believer in buy/grow local and I am hoping to stop shopping all together when it comes to food and many other things. I want to take things back a step and grow/freeze/dehydrate foods and make and reuse a lot of things. We eat venison (it is free)I am trying to find a healthy/yummy way to fix fish. I am not a fan of the chicken at the market-it is supersized and I dont even want to know what kind of steroids they have those birds on. I would love to have my own hens but need more money to get them "coon and dog proofed" . Any help would be appreciated. Family thinks I am nuts. I am not sure if we can go totally paleo-financially we need to eat potatoes and green beans and such to survive...and the kids love mayo and p.b. thank you

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15261 · April 04, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Not sure what your specific questions are :-) but here is some general advice.

I too am skeptical of / frustrated with doctors that don't consider dietary changes to be a valid way to address problems. I think all health starts with your diet. Keep looking around for another doctor, or you could look up midwives, who tend to be more holistic and mother-friendly, we had great success with them (my kids are now 7 and 9).

I am pretty much 100% Paleo, my wife isn't, and the kids are somewhere in between. My wife and kids have shown no issues with gluten or dairy. I definitely have a problem with gluten. So we make meals that we can all eat. I also have a good friend who comes to dinner a lot, who is vegetarian but eats seafood. So there are a lot of rules to work around :-). If we cook 3 things everyone can always have at least 2 of them.

Not sure how the Paleo diet can cut back on the plants that you can grow since the whole premise of the Paleo diet is to eat foods that are naturally available, and there's nothing better than produce from your back yard. If you have the time and energy then plant a huge abundant garden and eat as much as you can from it. White potatoes from the garden are fine to eat, the problem with white potatoes is when they are super processed and fried (tater tots). I don't grow them because they're so widely available in stores year round but you can certainly include them. Green beans are technically legumes but I think they're great for you, delicious, and fresh from the garden there's nothing better.

I focus on high quality meats and get grass-fed beef and lamb, organic, free-range, wild-caught everything else, game meats when I can, and also eat organ meats on the regular. This doesn't have to be a budget breaker, we bought a half grass-fed steer a while back which, fully broken down, processed, frozen, and delivered was $5.50/lb which lasted over a year. If you are in a farm area check around for farms that will sell meat direct and where you can see how the animals are raised. If you're in an urban area, there are tons of options. Asian markets tend to have abundant and cheap produce.

Dairy-free and gluten-free with the kids can be tricky. However, my kids have never liked milk, strangely enough. They have occasional ice cream but never drink milk. If you want dairy-free ice cream look at those based on coconut milk. If my kids had to give up dairy it wouldn't be a big deal.

Gluten-free with the kids can be trickier since they will want their crackers, cookies, pasta, etc. Really the biggest problem we have had is the texture, my daughter likes crunchy things, but turns out that crunchy vegetables are just as good for her as crackers.

The kids will surprise me sometimes, for example my son likes beef liver, prefers to eat his hamburgers without a bun, and loves sushi. My daughter has taken a liking to pan-fried smelt (the whole thing, including bones), and sardines (including the head!), in fact asked for this for her 8th birthday dinner. We just put stuff in front of them with little explanation or fanfare and sometimes they like it and sometimes they don't but it's sometimes amazing what they'll eat.

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24412 · April 04, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Potatoes are probably the biggest bang for your buck in the garden. They were mostly forbidden in early paleo diet plans, but if you aren't in this for low carb style fast weight loss, and don't have a specific sensitivity to nightshades they are fine. Carrots, parsnips, rutabegas, and beets are other good roots for the garden that can save well.

Pickling is a good way to keep you veggies without having to use up valuable freezer space. Carrots, okra, cucumber, beets, green beans, onions, and garlic make awesome pickles, and I've yet to meet a kiddo who isn't obsessed with pickles.

Kale and collard greens are big producers, in the garden too. My climate is pretty temperate so it grows year round, if you live somewhere that freezes hard you can build cold frames or harvest, blanch, and freeze it them in the fall.

Don't worry about the green beans, they get a green light from Mark Sisson. The problem with legumes is when the seed is dried and then rehydrated for consumption without neutralizing the antinutrients that keep the seed from sprouting. Fresh or harvested fresh and frozen is far less problematic. Peas grow fast too, and you can use the same rows you'd use for beans later in the season after they are done.

If you get a lot of sun in your yard and rich soil (I've heard you can grow them in almost straight compost) pumpkins, butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash are pretty popular with kids, and store well at both room temperature and on a sheltered porch.

If you have a good climate for them onions are a good storage crop. Even if you don't have a long growing season growing other alliums like chives, garlic, or leeks can be a good choice.

Parsley and oregano have a tendency to go crazy once established, and pack a mighty nutritional punch in a small package.

Don't forget about bone broth based soups, it makes good use cheap bones, little scraps of meat, and using up veggies on the verge of turning. Making sure to add something starchy to soup will keep the kids fuller for longer.

Is there anywhere to forage berries where you are? We are up to our eyeballs in blackberries here at the end of August.

If you live somewhere where you are allowed to have livestock, and want to make use of your kitchen scraps, a pig or a goat is a garbage disposal on feet, that you can turn into dinner later.

What kind of fish do you have access to? If you can get salmon that can be smoked, turned into gravlox, made into jerky, or frozen in fillets. If you have access to trout it keeps well for a few months in the freezer. My kid is obsessed about whole trout with eyeballs, and all I do is pan fry it. I like it with garlic butter and parsley.

...And don't stress too much about the crappy snacks the kids will have at friends houses, if they are fortified with what you make at home it either won't impact them too much, or will give them a stomach ache and their enthusiasm will be self limiting. Same with traveling, pack some good snacks like jerky, bananas, apples, etc, but do whatever is easiest out on the road because it is only a small fraction of what they are eating.

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5814 · April 04, 2013 at 6:01 PM

My personal opinion is, if you can grow it in your backyard, you can eat it. :) Yes, even potatoes and green beans. Even corn. If you are eating it in season, that's a long way from SAD. You may find over time that you feel better if you do or don't eat certain things, but don't start out too restrictive or you'll give up. Just eliminating processed foods, to me, is 90% of the fight. After that it's tweaking.

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7989 · April 04, 2013 at 3:12 PM

Www.paleoparents.com has answers to many of your questions. This is a family who was once where you are now.

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