Dietary conundrums…

When my life first collided with Jeremy’s, we had the most complicated dietary concoction going on. I had, some months previously, visited a homeopathic doctor to investigate why I was always exhausted (aside from being a busy mother-of-many) and been recommended to give up wheat – not gluten, but wheat – for at least nine months to see how much better I felt afterwards. At around the same time my Wilfy, who had been under a specialist in London for a bowel problem and had endured two years of laxatives in his bedtime milk, was diagnosed independently as dairy intolerant. With some trepidation, but with the specialist’s knowledge, we gave up the laxatives. So our home was, as far as possible, wheat-and-dairy-free.

Our milk deliveries were impressive: the grown-ups drank skimmed milk; three out of four boys drank whole milk and the fourth drank goats’ milk. And my bread machine was cranked into action to bake wheat-free bread, which turned out to be rather easy and quite delicious when toasted.

So when Jeremy joined our lives, we were already au fait with wheat and dairy-free food. Good job, since Jem was both. Somehow, however, over the years Wilfy and Jem seem to have managed to reincorporate dairy and Jem and I to reincorporate wheat. But should we have? The symptoms that prompted the two adults in this situation to change their diet so drastically have crept back in (I won’t go into detail), and we seem to have allowed them to stay.

Then a kind contributor to Jem’s astrology page mentioned that she swore by the Blood Type Diet. We had never heard of it and decided to look into it. Suddenly, we became aware of hundreds of testimonials in favour of this way of eating. We ordered the book, which contains reams of information pertaining to what is 1) highly beneficial 2) okay and 3) not good for each type, but our next hurdle was finding out Jem’s blood-type. I know mine is O+ because I am a regular pincushion (they do like to prod you during pregnancy, don’t they?) but Jem couldn’t get hold of his for love or money. The doctor didn’t have it, and wouldn’t perform a test (“It’s not something we do.”) so we ordered a test online, which left me with the rather icky job of nurse for a bloody half-hour (which I say literally). I drew the line at pricking his finger and he was left to do that himself, but I squeezed out the four drops, smeared them in the circles and we had an instant result – thankfully for us, his blood-type is the same as mine. Had it been different, this whole new experiment would have been possibly unworkably difficult.

We have been following this method of choosing what food to eat for just three days so far and are already really quite impressed. Skin tone has improved, digestion is more efficient, vitality is boosted. (If I could just get the baby to sleep through the night, I’m sure I’d notice the benefits even more! πŸ˜‰ )

We are left with a couple more conundrums: 1) What are the other boys’ blood types? I am going to have to do a test on each of them; 2) Expense: Unless you can find a cheaper way of creating your own wheat-free products, the commercial world does like to hoik up the prices of anything ‘out of the ordinary’. They have a captive market, after all! I had always joked that to keep five boys in food when they are approaching their teens is going to take mountains of bread, pasta, potatoes and rice. All we’re left with is rice! So, the bread machine is back in action and I am on the prowl for cost-effective ways to implement a wheat and mostly-dairy-free diet for a family of seven.

Wish me luck!

Note: If you have the time and the inclination, please consider taking part in the poll below. Thank you. πŸ™‚

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5 responses to “Dietary conundrums…

  • Susannah

    I have heard of it and found it very interesting but like Jem, I didn’t know my blood group, I still don’t!

    But I am a firm believer that we need to monitor what we eat as so many of us are sensitive to foodstuffs. (Particularly me with my 6th house Neptune.) I have been vegan since the early eighties but suspect that I am sensitive to both wheat and potatoes…and I LOVE potato’s!

    Just lately I have cut out bread and my energy levels are much better. (and potatos, as they tend to send me to sleep.) despite all of this attention to diet, I am and have been for the majority of my adult life, pretty overweight.

    I was very interested in one of Jems tweets the other day when he said venus in virgo is sensitive to starch and sugar, I have been thinking about that too, as I have venus/pluto conjunct in virgo.

    Interesting topic, keep us informed on how you find it…it may be worth pricking my finger for. πŸ˜‰

    • erisian

      Hi Susannah,

      We bought a blood-testing kit online. It’s very easy to do, though not if you can’t stand the thought of pricking your finger. πŸ˜‰

      From what I have gathered so far, all blood types have at least a bit of a problem with wheat, but type O the most. It is also type O who have a problem with potatoes (Jem gave them up some time ago and I had decreased my intake considerably – and I love them too!) What is ringing some alarm bells with me, though, is that if you are type O, then lots of protein is what you need most, and very few carbs. There are also few cereals that are even okay for Os. On the plus side, there are tons of vegetables that are okay, even highly beneficial. All of this would tie in with your Venus in Virgo, wouldn’t it?

      As far as weight goes, the testimonials say that people who have followed the diet just to be healthy have found their weight falling off…

      I’ll keep you posted, anyway. I haven’t yet figured out where chocolate sits in this: my preference is very, very dark, and I’m hoping that the lack of dairy saves it! Eek… πŸ˜‰

  • Susannah

    Oooh, I hope you figure out your chocolate dilemma! I am SURE the lack of dairy will save it. πŸ˜‰

    I know that I feel best when I eat fruit, salad and vegetables (thought not bananas or potatos.) I have been cutting down on carbs and feel better for that too. I have just eaten a bowl of fresh raspberries, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and a spoonful of plain soya yoghurt! Delicious.

    Keep me posted. And have a wonderful day. x

  • erisian

    A friend of mine just posted this on my Facebook page, and I thought it worth sharing:
    “Alice, really interesting reading. Tom is on a gluten, dairy, aspartame and msg free diet because he has Aspergers syndrome and it is well documented that it is a v effective treatment for Aspergers although not a cure by any means. It alleviates his problems a little and therefore well worth doing in my mind. We are sometimes rigid and sometimes not (not since jack has been born and we have noticed him slipping back into old behaviour) he’s also highly allergic to nuts just to make things that bit harder!
    It’s mighty expensive as you said so I’m interested in your bread machine recipe because all gluten free bread recipes I can find require obscure flours which I can’t get hold of. What’s your recipe? Also, do u have easy yet delicious cake/ biccie recipes?
    Sorry for the questions but ‘genius’ bread costs Β£3 for a small loaf!! The manufacturers are certainly genius’s for coming up with such a money spinner! X”

    Clare, I couldn’t agree with you more about Genius bread. It costs an absolute bomb. We were thrilled when we found it, because the challenge of a wheat-free bread is to have it taste nice when it’s bread, not just toasted. But for seven of us?! I have to say, my recipe doesn’t really fall into that category. It’s okay when it’s just made, but really it’s best as toast.
    The recipe is one I found in a book called 101 Easy Recipes Wheat-Free by Good Housekeeping. The book is very hit-and-miss, as it has ingredients such as “4 wheat-free pizza bases”…! Erm. I want to know how to make the pizza bases, not buy them!

    Anyway, this is it:

    2 tsp easy-blend dried yeast
    2 tsp light muscovado sugar (any sugar will do) πŸ™‚
    300g gluten-free white bread flour
    200g gluten-free brown bread flour (Doves Farm make these)
    1 tsp salt
    1 medium egg, lightly beaten

    At this point, I no longer need the recipe, because I just throw all that into the bread machine with 400 ml water and bake it on a normal program. (I also add 2 tsp of Xanthan gum to replace the qualities of gluten). But if you are making it by hand, this is it:

    1. Stir the yeast and sugar into 150ml tepid water and leave to stand for 15 mins until frothy. Lightly oil a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.

    2. In a large bowl, beat together the flour, salt, yeast mixture, egg and a further 250ml tepid water to make a soft, thick, pastey dough (a food mixer would be good here!) Form into an oblong shape on a lightly floured surface and drop into the loaf tin. Cover with lightly oiled clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place or until it reaches the top of the tin. Slash the top with a sharp knife and dust with flour.

    3. Bake at 200C (180 fan oven) Mark 6 for 45-50 mins or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

    When I started making this, I resented the cost of the gluten-free flours, too, and looked at the ingredients on them: things like gram flour (chickpea), rice flour, potato flour, most of which are available at the supermarket or in wholefood shops. And I started experimenting. I used a lot of gram flour as it seemed to make the toast quite crunchy, but you can’t go too drastically wrong if you start experimenting, especially if you keep roughly half the flour as one of the pre-mixed ones, at least initially.

    (And just FYI, for the first time in ages – and I have a shocking memory at the best of times – I have just put a loaf in the machine which is 300g rye flour and 200g brown rice flour (to replace the two recipe mixes), with 2tsp Xanthan Gum and the rest of the recipe the same. I’ve put it on for a 4-hour basic white program and I’ll let you know how it turns out!)

    As for biscuits and cakes, the Doves Farm self-raising wheat-free flour makes lovely cakes. I made them for Wilfy with soya margarine instead of butter, and never had any complaints from him!

    I can’t remember the biccie recipes, but rest assured I’m going to be experimenting, so I’ll keep you updated πŸ™‚ I seem to remember that rice flour is particularly good for cookies… Watch this space… xxx

    • erisian

      Okay, so I’m back to report two official disasters. Well… semi-disasters anyway.

      The bread, I remembered too late, needs to be mixed up even if you’re using a bread machine. I didn’t. I have a very misshapen lumpen thing, which half passes for a loaf of bread, but which tastes, I should add delicious! I also suspect I used to use the 2-hour quick bake program. So, tomorrow I’ll be attempting it again. I will report back. (Keep everything crossed). 300g rye flour and 200g brown rice flour seems to be a really tasty mix, though.

      I also baked my favourite cookies.
      Recipe:
      125g butter (or soya marg), melted
      150g sugar (mixed types are nicest)

      mix sugar with melted fat, then add:
      1 egg, lightly beaten

      Then mix in:
      175g plain flour
      1 tsp baking powder

      And finally:

      100g chocolate or raisins or… whatever you like.

      Bake at 170-180C for about 10-12 mins

      I replaced the plain flour with ground rice. Hmmm. I’ll be trying a different replacement next time. I was left with a rather greasy tray of cookies that collapsed very easily unless very well done and that had a rather crunchy and peculiar texture. I was unconvinced. The boys, on the other hand, loved ’em.

      Go figure πŸ™‚

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