Before my first child was born, I was certain that I’d breastfeed, for all the obvious reasons. When our pretty little girl finally arrived 10 days late and incredibly hungry, I latched her right on, and waited for the romantic euphoria. Instead, our sweet little angel turned into Godzilla at my breast. Why had I not been warned that this could happen? I knew then that our sweetie had either sprouted teeth made of cut glass, or this nursing thing was going to be quite a challenge.
Not one to give up easily, I cried, I bled, but I persevered. The pain eventually resolved, and nursing became habitual, even enjoyable. This entire experience repeated two years later when my son was born, and then doubled 5 years later when my identical twins arrived. And every time, I pushed through.
Not every mom can push through, however, and for legitimate reasons. Some reasons are physical, and some are logistical. But it’s all ok. In fact, it’s perfect. We nurture our babies not only with our bodies, but with our hearts and our souls, each one of us as different a parent as the next. We feed them our tastes, our preferences, and our cultures. We cook foods from our own childhoods, we trade recipes with friends, we search for and try new ways to encourage a love of all things healthy. Of course, we also throw in a few chicken nugget days and pizza nights, but that’s ok. We SO deserve those.
My own story picks up about 5 years ago when I visited a naturopath in a desperate attempt to find and treat the cause of my severe eczema. After dropping both gluten and dairy from my diet, my skin cleared, and I never felt better. I was so inspired. I taught my family to read ingredients, and to be more aware of how certain foods make them feel. A few years later, when one of my kids was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, we added carb counting and insulin management to our repertoire. Going out to dinner became quite a complicated event! But, as time wore on, we became experts at gluten-free and Diabetes management, and now it’s all smooth sailing. In fact, I followed my passion for gluten-free living, and launched www.glutenfreeconnecticut.com in August of this year.
My kids still love cookies, they still beg for ice cream, and they’re not totally gluten free. But they make decent choices, they like broccoli, and they understand the importance of eating right, even when they don’t. And, on chicken nugget night, at least they watch me eat my salad. I figure that’s got to count for something.
Abby Helman Kelly, a Simsbury mom of four, is the owner and founder of www.glutenfreeconnecticut.com, the state’s most comprehensive and up-to-date gluten-free resource. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abby’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
(recipe from Smitten Kitchen)
- 2 cups quinoa flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate)
- coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place flour in a large skillet over low heat. Stir frequently to toast the quinoa flour for 10-15 minutes then remove from heat.
- In large bowl whisk together quinoa flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- In bowl of an electric mixer beat together melted coconut oil and brown sugar until smooth. Add in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla; beat again for 2 minutes or until smooth and creamy.
- Add in flour; and mix on low speed until just combined. Slowly add in chocolate chips.
- Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet leaving 2 inches apart. Bake 8-11 minutes or until edges just being to turn a golden brown. Do not over bake; we don’t want crispy cookies here! If you noticed that your cookies are baking flat, then you may want to chill your dough for 10-20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool at least 5 minutes on baking sheet. The cookies will need to set and will be very fragile at first so you have to be a little patient for the edges to harden a bit before removing them. Once the edges and bottom harden a bit, transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. Makes 22-24 cookies.