Killing two birds with one ball: Two gross stories and a healthy recipe

I’ve had two rather minor, but still pretty annoying, health issues going on in my house lately. And, I think I’ve found a solution to both. Here’s the run down:

Bird #1

I’ve mentioned before that Jacob never quite took to baby food. In spite of countless attempts of everything made for babies, nothing really worked…unless I mixed it with yogurt. In fact, my son has never discriminated against anything in the dairy department. Cheese of all kinds, yogurt of any flavor, and milk are, by far, his very favorite foods. I even can sneak a whole jar of baby vegetables (peas, carrots, or green beans) into an equal amount of yogurt, and he eats it the same. Milk with a liquid vitamin (Polyvisol with iron is what we use) goes down no differently than its white, less nutrient-dense counterpart.

Anyway, as you can imagine, a toddler cannot live on dairy alone (even if it includes a bit of pureed veggies and a shot of vitamins)…especially if he plans to have regular bowel movements, that is. (Sorry for the TMI—I realize that not everyone is as comfortable discussing poo as I am. You should definitely stop reading now,  or at least scroll down to the recipe if you fit into that category, because this post is going to get more disgusting before it gets better.)

Generally, constipation has not been a huge issue with Jacob because, as I said, I can mix veggies into his yogurt. Plus, he’s interested in lots other foods and especially in trying at least some of whatever I’m eating. If I feel he needs to “get things moving”, I eat fruits or veggies or something else fibrous in front of him. He always ends up pointing, asking “uhzzhat” (“what’s that?”), and opening his mouth.

Lately, however, Jacob has begun a boycott of sorts. He refuses any food that he cannot feed himself. This translates into a limited menu of foods that include only those he can (a) grip with his tiny fingers, (b) stab to get onto his own little plastic fork, or (c) scoop up with one of his toddler spoons and make to his mouth without dropping or spilling it all. Mealtime has become a much longer and messier process, and it’s been especially difficult to travel (which we often do on weekends in the summer). His bowel movements have become few and far between. On a bad day, for him, going number two has been a combination of grunts and screams. For me, it has meant either rubbing his bottom nearly raw in attempt to remove the spackle-like substance stuck to it, or having to stick my fingers up his backend to dislodge rock-hard poo that got caught in the exit on its way out. Not fun. Quite horrible actually.

In case you are not grossed out enough…

Bird #2

My husband has been telling me for a while now that I belch like a sumo wrestler. I don’t know if there is such thing as a sumo-wrestler style of belch. However, the imagery sort of speaks for itself. If something coming out of the mouth of someone like me (barely 5 feet tall and about 115 pounds) can paint the picture of obese men bouncing around a ring, then something is very, very wrong. And, it’s true—for the past several years, I’ve had some serious Revenge of the Nerds: Booger/Snotty burping contest quality stuff going on. (Again, sorry for the grossness of this post, but I’m trying to get my points across.) A few years back, I felt so bloated and so much pressure in my chest that I had a bunch of tests done: an upper endoscopy, tests for allergies, and several other related exams. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was going on. Neither they nor I ever really did.

And then there’s my belly. Again, I don’t have a weight problem. I never have. I eat what I consider healthy and exercise regularly for many reasons. Still, now, well over a year after I gave birth, I still look pregnant some days. I get asked if I’ve got another on the way about once every couple of weeks, no joke. And, that’s from the people who lack the tact to hold back from asking the question. I’m sure dozens of others are thinking it. I would be.

When I told a friend of mine about my sumo belching and non-preggers-but-looks-preggers belly, she said “duh, you have a food intolerance.” She suggested I take soy and gluten out of my diet. And, here I am, a few weeks into this soy-free, gluten-free eating plan, and it’s actually going pretty well. One of the biggest challenges has been finding substitutes for the Luna and Kashi bars in my diet, which have both soy and gluten and of which I used to eat about four a day! In attempt to find a good replacement, I’ve been experimenting with various ingredients to create something sweet, portable, and healthy to replace all the bars in my life. (I tried this before with a chocolate covered bar, but those don’t keep too well in the summer.)

In the process of my experimentation, my son has been fascinated with my creations (mostly, I think, because they are in the shape of balls, which he happens to be semi-obsessed with lately.) Thankfully for the two of us, the product of my science is something that works for my sweet tooth and soy-free, gluten-free diet and that is perfect for pushing the poop through his body and all the way into his diaper—minus his grunts or my fingers as pliers.

So, I thought I’d share. Here ya go. Drumroll, please…gluten-free, soy-free, vegan, raw, super yummy…

No-Bake Muffin Balls

Ingredients

1/2 cup dates (packed well into the measuring cup)

1/3 cup raw cashews

1/3 cup raw pecans

2 T raw coconut flour (it’s just coconut ground into flour)

1 t cinnamon

2 t alcohol-free coconut extract (vanilla or other extract works too—alcohol free is key)

2 T water

Instructions

  1. Throw the dates and nuts into a food processor until they are chopped fine.
  2. Toss the date/nut mixture into a bowl with the coconut flour and cinnamon; mix.
  3. Stir in extract and water.
  4. Roll into 1-inch balls. (It makes about a dozen.) I wrap mine individually in plastic wrap or foil (or first plastic wrap, and then foil) so I can take them wherever I go. I’ve found they keep outside the fridge (wrapped as I have shown above in plastic wrap and in a sealed container) for about five days. They probably keep much longer in the fridge.

Nutrition info

Per ball (1/12 of recipe): 75 calories, 4 g fat, 1.5 g protein, 1.5 g fiber.

So, there ya go. They’re portable, healthy, yummy for mommy and kids, and they’re super easy to make. I think I have killed more than two birds with these balls. Let me know if you try them or if you have any ideas for additions or substitutions. I have a special variation with cocoa powder and walnuts that I’ll save for another day.

Until then, try out the recipe. De-constipate your kids. Have a ball.

 

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Posted on August 8, 2011, in Natural Mom, Nutrition & Recipes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Did you get tested for celiac disease when the doctors did their tests? I recently got tested because my mom has it and she thought I might have symptoms too. Luckily, my test results showed no celiac disease. But if you do have it, I’m sure the doctor would gladly provide information on a diet for you…even though I know you’re an expert in that department.

    • I did! (get tested) And, I don’t! (have celiac disease!) Just nasty indigestion and bloating after eating certain foods. For now, I’m avoiding all soy and gluten…well.,.except the occasional chocolate chip cookie dough hot fudge sundae. You know, I simply can’t live without one of those every once in a while. Speaking of, why don’t they have UDFs in CT? Ha ha. You knew I would say that!!

  2. Nikki, have you tried LARABAR’s? (They are date based like your muffin balls, raw, vegan, etc.) I love them!

  3. Good luck with giving up gluten and soy. I know I’ve felt so much better avoiding both.

  4. Good luck with the new eating habits. It can’t be easy to re-evaluate everything in your kitchen. Here’s a great site for recipes that are gluten-free: http://www.thespunkycoconut.com/

    By the way, I’m completely immune to poop stories!

  1. Pingback: Healthy Eating for Toddlers: Tips and Tricks « On Becoming Mommy

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