I realized I haven’t given you the low-down on little tummy’s allergy status after her appointment. They tested her for some common food allergies in addition to the ones we suspected. That list included: almonds, cashews, English walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, milk, eggs, and soy. They weren’t able to test all nuts since her small back didn’t provide enough space to, plus it’s hard enough to keep a 1-year-old calm and still for the few that they did. The results were not-so-surprising and yet somewhat puzzling.
Her largest reaction was to the cashews so we were definitely right about that one. Her other reactions were smaller, but still very noticeable and those were to: pistachios, peanuts, milk, and soy. We weren’t sure about the peanuts, but we knew she had some level of intolerance to soy. The reaction to milk makes sense because the proteins are similar to soy. We were told when we found out she had a problem with soy that she has a 90% chance of having the same issues with milk because of that.
The puzzling part was that she didn’t have a reaction to almonds or the walnut. We asked the doctor if that was normal for her to be allergic to only some nuts and not all. She told us it was unusual, that normally nut allergies are all-inclusive of the group. She also said it was possible for her to develop these allergies later on due to her exposure to them. It’s also a possibility that her body will decide over time that she is okay with nuts, peanuts, milk, and soy. Anything is possible, I guess. For now, her reactions were so severe that we were given a prescription to pick-up an EpiPen that we would have to carry around with us at all times and we also had to get a lesson on how to use one. All of this was a little overwhelming and slightly terrifying.
I grew up never knowing what a food allergy was and now I have one of those kids that people view as an inconvenience. As if parenting isn’t tough enough let’s add on the stress of worrying that your kid might have to be rushed to the emergency room after you stab them in the leg with a horse-sized needle someday. Not to mention the hell you will have to go through with schools and other children and their parents making them feel less of a person. I’ve read too many stories about kids with allergies and all the things they (and their parents) have to put up with for something they have no control over. I’m not looking forward to any of that negativity.
Even though little tummy did not have a reaction to all nuts we were instructed to steer clear of them all due to cross-contamination. Therefore, we are a fully nut-free house. We don’t want to take any chances with any nuts since her reaction to cashews was the worst. Besides we are a family that believes in sticking together. Papa tummy could eat whatever he wants to, but because I can’t have nuts since I’m still breastfeeding little tummy he doesn’t want to eat them either. I will admit we have made some exceptions with soy. Lately, we’ve been eating soy maybe once a month. Of course, little tummy doesn’t get any at all. The only times we do have soy is when it’s food we have bought already prepared from an establishment; such as Native Foods and Chipotle. We weren’t going to pass up the chance to get some free burritos last month!
Due to the no-nuts-in-the-house rule I have had some fun trying to be creative with substitutions. I wasn’t about to give up my lasagna rolls over this so I just had to create a new ricotta. I wanted to make sure it had good texture and I wanted to give it a nutritional boost. That’s why I decided to use three different seeds and an unexpected ingredient. I used sunflower seeds as the base due to their overall nutritional value; pepitas for the extra protein, iron, and magnesium; sesame seeds for the extra calcium; and quinoa to improve the texture. The outcome was just what I wanted and it worked perfectly with my lasagna rolls. The best part is, everyone can eat this ricotta! Unless you have a seed allergy, then I do apologize.
vegan, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, oil-free
yields about 2 cups
Note: You can use a full cup of sunflower seeds if you don’t want to use pepitas or sesame seeds.
- 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- filtered water
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup filtered water
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon basil (optional)
- 1/2 tablespoon oregano (optional)
- Mix all three seeds in a bowl and cover with filtered water. Let soak in the fridge over night.
- Drain through a strainer and add to a food processor or blender with the quinoa. Pulse until the seeds are somewhat broken down and mixed with the quinoa. Scrape down sides.
- While food processor is on, slowly add 1/3 cup filtered water. Let blend until all is mixed and no seed chunks are visible.
- Add the nutritional yeast, salt, and herbs, if using. Blend until mixed. If the texture is not creamy enough add in a little more filtered water until it is. You shouldn’t need more than a total of 1/2 cup.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and use in whatever recipe you like or as a dip. Enjoy!