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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dairy-Free Soy-Free Brownies (MSPI)


When Ella was a month old, she had a very scary vomiting incident that resulted in us taking her to the pediatric ER. Thankfully, she just had severe acid reflux. Medicine helped a little, but the most dramatic change happened after I removed dairy and soy proteins from my diet. I was happy to do what I could to help her while still nursing, but it was so difficult!  Try finding prepared food that does not contain soybean oil or soy lecithin***(see note below). Even my favorite pasta sauce from Trader Joe's was off limits. My saving grace was stumbling across the blog called MSPI Mama.  

MSPI stands for Milk Soy Protein Intolerance.  This is not lactose intolerance, which is the inability to break down milk sugar, but rather an intolerance/allergy to milk proteins, which are closely mimicked by those in soy. It's actually pretty common in young babies and they usually grow out of it and are able to tolerate dairy proteins just fine. I had to be dairy/soy-free for about 4 months before being able to introduce them in small quantities. For what it's worth, Ella is now completely tolerant of dairy and soy - one of her favorite foods is cheese!

During those months, I had to completely overhaul how I cooked.  Most of my recipes were off limits or had to be majorly revised.  I never thought of myself as heavily dependent on dairy, but I guess I am.  I felt very overwhelmed at the beginning and finding MSPI Mama was the biggest help. She has so many recipes that are MSPI friendly - even desserts!  Once I identified a core group of recipes, I felt more in control and things became easier. Eating at restaurants, however, did not become easier and is one of the biggest challenges of MSPI. So many restaurants use soybean oil or butter (dairy) in things you wouldn't suspect.

This brownie recipes is one that I made quite often while eating the MSPI diet. The sugar cravings while nursing are no joke and still being able to enjoy desserts was a must.  I figured I needed to "pay it forward" to other moms out there, frantically Google-ing for MSPI-safe recipes (likely while their new babies scream in their arms). I will be posting a handful of my favorite recipes - ones that are so good that they continue to be in our meal rotation despite the restrictions no longer being in place.  These brownie are one of those recipes.  They are so chocolatey and fudgey and have a  nice crisp top on them. You certainly won't feel deprived eating these!

***Note: many people with a soy sensitivity can still eat soybean oil and soy lecithin but at the beginning I had to eliminate everything and then add things back.

Dairy-Free Soy Free Brownies (MSPI Friendly)

1/2 cup Canola oil
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and vanilla. Beat in the eggs.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended.

4. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the brownies begin to pull away from the edges of the pan.

5. Let cool completely on a wire rack then place in refrigerator to cool down even more. The brownies are best when they've had time to cool and develop their flavor.

Source: MSPI Mama, adapted from

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