Casey Ellis has spent the last five years living every parent's worst nightmare -watching your child sick and upset constantly with no idea how to fix it. Her ten-year-old daughter, Keira had to endure years of pain and suffering before she finally got a diagnosis for her severe food intolerance. During this time to try and bring some normality into her daughter's life, Casey took to the stove. After hours of research and trial and error she created foods Keira actually wanted to eat! Next month Casey is releasing this fantastic collection of her own recipes in a cookbook called Mum Can I Eat This? A collection of my recipes to share with anyone who requires low fructose, low FODMAP, sucrose free, gluten free, and low or no lactose foods.
The book is a labour of love and tells the story of the absolute struggle this mother went through to get a diagnosis for her daughter. At age five, Keira was suddenly struck down with severe gastro and over the next few months her health began to decline as she became more lethargic and unwell. Her severe constipation went on for months on end and she would wake in the middle of the night spending hours on the toilet shaking and crying. Finally, after countless doctors' visits, a gastroscopy and Keira missing nearly three months of school -Casey had enough. She requested a hydrogen breath test (a common test used to diagnose issues with digesting fructose) for her daughter trusting her own instincts and independent research about the cause of her daughter's mystery illness. It turns out she was right, and Keira was finally diagnosed with a fructose intolerance.
In 2014 figures by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that almost 4 million people in Australia reported avoiding a food type because of allergy or intolerance. Of those, about 560,000 were children aged between two and 18 years. In this group, girls were more likely than boys to be susceptible. Fructose malabsorption, formerly named "dietary fructose intolerance" (DFI), is a digestive disorder in which absorption of fructoseis impaired by deficient fructose carriers in the small intestine's enterocytes. This results in an increased concentration of fructose in the entire intestine. Managing an issue with the breakdown of fructose typically includes eliminating fructose from the diet.
Casey says, "This book was a labour of love. When I first found about Keira's intolerances I was so overwhelmed and had no idea what to feed my daughter. I often thought how great it would be to have a recipe book that would allow her to feel included at school or at Christmas or at a birthday party, so she could finally eat fun foods as well! So, after a gentle push in the right direction from my ever-supportive husband I sat down and collated all my recipes. My hope with this cookbook is to help others out there in the same situation who are struggling to come up with recipes that are quick, simple, delicious and fun. I hope it helps! "
Mum can I eat this offers a collection of fun, tasty and easy to follow recipes -for anyone who requires low fructose, low FODMAP, sucrose free, gluten free, and low or no lactose foods. It also offers a detailed insight into Casey's story and offers hints and tips for managing life with intolerances.
Casey Ellis is a Melbourne based mother and student. She is in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts degree with International Relations and Middle East Studies majors and a Politics and Policy Studies minor. This is her first cookbook, created in the hopes of helping parents everywhere. She is passionate about drawing attention to food intolerances and the need for more awareness in this space. Casey is also a wife and mother of two girls.
Mum Can I Eat This?
Author: Casey Ellis
Question: What inspired Mum Can I Eat This?
Casey Ellis: I was inspired to write Mum Can I Eat This?, due to the lack of recipe books out there that catered for children with intolerance. I wanted to make a difference to the lives of some children that otherwise struggled whenever there was a Birthday, Easter or Christmas party or even just an outing. I was trying to make sure that no other parent felt overwhelmed having to watch their children cry because they had to miss out on the lollies etc.
Question: How long did it take to collate the recipes featured?
Casey Ellis: The recipes took four years to create, write and test.
Question: What advice do you have for other parents of children with severe food intolerances?
Casey Ellis: Always try to make things as normal as possible for your child. Where possible don't let them miss out on the fun of food. Take a recipe and tweak it. What can your child eat? What does the recipe call for? How do the ingredients work? It may take a while but you can usually come up with something that your child will be happy with. If nothing else they will be happy that you tried.
Question: Could you share your favourite recipe, from the book, with us?
Casey Ellis: My favourite recipe just happens to be Keira's also! It is an only family recipe that my Nanna and Aunt taught me and I tweaked it; Red Spaghetti and Meatballs.
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Mum Can I Eat This?
Author: Casey Ellis