Read along if you want to try my tahini and eggplant salad. tend to be intolerant to / distrustful of dairy products, or simply want to learn about new wys of fueling up on calcium!
CALCIUM DAILY NEEDS – 1g daily is the common recommended dose. If you’re not pregnant, eating enough calcium helps you avoid issues such osteoporosis in the long run. If you are, or are breastfeeding, the precious mineral is integral to your baby’s development!
- 4 baby eggplants
- Olive oil
- 1 handful pine nuts
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 small lemon
- 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
- Herbes de Provence (or any herbs you may have at hand. I am cooking this a week after bring some fresh herbs from my grandfather’s garden -thyme, rosemary and bay tree that he kindly prepared into a bouquet garni)
Preheat the oven at 180°C. Place the baby eggplants on a baking sheet, after slicing them into thin strips. Spread some olive oil, salt, black pepper, and herbes de Provence on top of them.
Whilst baking the eggplants (15-25 minutes overall), toast the pine nuts for a couple of minutes. Set them aside. Place the spinach into a frying pan with a little olive oil. Let it wilt at medium heat to avoid losing out some of its calcium content. When the eggplants are ready, add them to the pan, along with the tahini, sundried tomatoes, and lemon juice.
Serve – sprinkling your salad with the toasted pine nuts (and chickpeas if you’re following the full menu and calcium target).
THE STORY: WHY GO OFF DAIRY FOR A WEEK?
I love my cheese. Last summer, right after landing in Corsica, in a cute off-the-(muddy)road wooden shop, my husband snapped as he realized that I was about to pay for locally produced (read unpasteurized ;)) cheese. ‘What are you thinking?’ he said. I was thinking: ‘I love Corsican cheese, let me have some!’. He was right though. My allergies were up the roof and I am not immune to toxoplasma, which makes my consuming unpasteurized products perilous. I reluctantly placed the cheese back onto the shelf I had selected it from and reached our Corsican family place a bit daunted.
His reaction draws us back to a couple of years ago when my doctor prescribed a food intolerance blood test. The test results showed that I was overreacting to a number of animal proteins found in cow’s and goat’s milk. One of the main reasons why mums are encouraged to stop eating cow’s milk nowadays is that children whose parents are allergic to those proteins tend to have allergic reactions to it themselves: 30% of them if it is only one parent, 60% if both are intolerant!
I had tried the Clean Gut diet, an elimination diet developed by Dr Alejandro Junger, a few months prior. Although the diet was a bit too intense for me (I feel too active to only be eating 3 light meals a day) my allergies were completely gone after three days. I had suffered from allergies for years in Paris and London. All of the sudden, no more sneezing. No more puffy eyes. I was free!
Unfortunately my willpower lessened in the face of the beautiful cheese platters you find yourself confronted to wherever you go in the city of love… And I slowly went back to my old ways. At 24 weeks now I have decided to break free from my cheese addiction and focus on eliminating the ingredient I know is most likely to create inflammation in my body. Doing so I have elaborated dairy-free but calcium reach meals to ensure Noisette’s teeth and bones development whilst attempting to free myself from the use of anti-histamines!
MY IDEAL DAIRY-FREE MEAL
A tahini and eggplant salad, some fresh sardines, and a delicious banana-strawberry smoothie with chia seeds are all you need to reach the 1g daily target.
MORE DAIRY-FREE IDEAS – Portions are easier to include in your meals than quantities so here are a few ideas for you to pick from. Ideally you will have all these ingredients in one day to reach the 1g target.
Hélène Defossez is the author of ‘Enceinte & végétarienne’ (‘Pregnant & vegetarian’), the passionate mum of 2-year-old Johanna, and a dear friend of mine whose interview is coming up! Stay tuned 🙂