GMO’s and Gluten Intolerance. Our Journey Of Healing.

I has been 3 long months of being absent from the blogging world. I am now more than half way through my pregnancy with our fourth baby (it’s another girl!) and feeling a tad bit more energy. I have been anxious to share our health update with you for a while now, but having the time amidst pregnancy, homeschooling and 3 children has left little time for blogging.

 

Our journey started in February, you can read about that here. I was on a quest to heal my then 3-year-old sons gut naturally. He was displaying  reactions to something he was eating and I needed to figure it out. We totally re-vamped our diet, eliminated GMO’s and gluten and started our healing process. We spent 60 days on a very strict, organic, non GMO, gluten free diet. I will be the first to admit it was extremely difficult at first, but after a few months it became habit and we were used to it.

 

Fast forward to 9 months later, how are we now? Well, for one, I am pregnant. Something that was not supposed to happen again (according to Doctors). But, to me, the biggest change we have seen from our lifestyle change is in our son. He is now four and has never been healthier or happier. We were able to introduce gluten back into his diet 2 months ago…I think I can hear angels rejoicing! Before I start getting emails about how horrible gluten is and how I should keep him away from it, hear me out.  At first I got so excited and started baking up a storm, a gluten wonder world….it tasted soooo good after months of gluten free. We quickly realized that his body was going into gluten “overload” and it needed to be in small amounts and less frequently. We have now figured out a good balance. We eat a gluten free diet during the week and then on the weekend we allow him to “cheat”. The nice part with this is we can go out to eat, over to friends or church without having to be a gluten-nazi about it. It has been so freeing! His sleep has drastically changed. He finally sleeps through the night, no more bed wetting! The dark circles under his eyes are gone, his poop is normal and he is getting taller and gaining weight at a normal rate. Looking back, I am so glad we made this change, my only regret is we did not do it sooner!

 

For those of you considering a diet change, gluten free or non GMO, my best advice for you is to start slow. Unless you have severe problems like my son, then I would go cold turkey. You can do it, you will feel a difference and be grateful you made the choice in the long run. I would love to hear your stories and support you through your journey.

 

I have not had much time for cooking up new recipes these days, but the colder weather has inspired some new soups. Here is one we had most recently and it was so good I had to share it. It is also a Paleo dish, double bonus.

 

Roasted Sweet Potato, Sausage and Kale Soup

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Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into but sized chunks
  • 1 T. coconut oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1-1/2 lbs sausage (Applegate Farms makes good ones!)
  • 1 bunch of kale, chopped and stems removed
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 5 cups of homemade chicken stock
  • 1/2 t. fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spread sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet and cover with coconut oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast until tender, but not falling a part, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. In a large pot brown sausage (I removed it from the casing or you could slice them)
  5. Drain off excess fat and add onions, sauté until translucent. Add more coconut oil if needed.
  6. Add garlic, sage, nutmeg and red pepper and cook an addition 1-2 minutes.
  7. Pour in coconut milk and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat to simmer.
  9. Add in kale in batches. You could lightly sauté it first in a separate pan or just add it directly to the soup. It’s up to you!
  10. Let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes to cook down the kale and then add in the sweet potatoes.
  11. The long the soup simmers, the better the taste!
  12. Add salt and pepper and serve hot!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know we have MUCH to be thankful for in our home this year.

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

 

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When The Unexpected Happens {an explanation of my absence}

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We were finally getting into a groove, I was comfortable with cooking clean, nutritious and gluten free meals that my family actually liked. Weekly visits to my chiropractor were significantly helping my digestive system and managing my endometriosis pain.  I was busily planning for homeschooling 1st grade to my daughter, planning fun preschool crafts and projects for my son and training my baby to take a long nap so we could accomplish school in peace. Then it happened. Of course, I should have guessed that because I was getting comfortable with our new routine that a huge curve ball would be thrown into my court. Last month, I found out I was pregnant with our 4th baby.

 

This came as a HUGE surprise. We always wanted four babies, but right now, seriously? My baby just turned one! I will admit, I was completely overwhelmed and felt scared. You see, my pregnancies have typically been very rough. Morning sickness that lasts all day and night for weeks on end, cysts that rupture, babies that want to be born early causing me to go on bed rest, along with all the other joys of pregnancy 🙂 I did not know how I was going to keep our “routine” that we had worked so hard to perfect while growing another baby inside me.

 

Here I am, five weeks later, and we are still “making it”….barely. Morning sickness has been extreme, thus my non-posting for a long time. Cooking has been non-exsistant. But, we have survived. My husband has stepped up so much by slowing down his work schedule so he can be available to help, take- out has been frequent, my six year old daughter has been amazing and served me in so many ways. She helps with breakfast and lunch, changes the occasion diaper when I cannot handle the smells and managed to maintain a happy heart. I love my family.

 

As scared as I am with the thought of managing four babies under six, I cannot help but be humbled and grateful for the opportunity to raise four little people, MY little people. Doctors told me when I was younger that I would never have children. Here I am, pregnant with a healthy fourth baby and we have had no help, beside a surgery to clean out some endometriosis 7 years ago.

 

I am almost nearing the end of my first trimester and I am hoping to be back to posting and cooking soon. For now, it will still be sporadic. We just finished our first week of homeschooling and I am trying to figure out a new normal for our family during this season.

 

I will leave you with an introduction to my new favorite non-GMO company, The Ginger People. They make a variety of different products and some of them have become genuine life savers for me! I encourage you to find their products in your nearest health food store and give them a try! Here is a little more about them:

“Established in 1984, The Ginger People® began its mission to produce the world’s finest range of ginger products and ingredients. Why? Herbalists have used ginger for thousands of years to restore vital energy, stimulate circulation and relieve countless maladies including nausea, headaches and arthritis. Modern science backs what the ancients have known for centuries: Ginger is one of nature’s most powerful herbal remedies. Add in ginger’s versatile flavor and culinary prowess, and it’s clear why we’re passionate about this venerable spice.”

 

Thank you for understanding my absence, you are all the best! I have continued to gain more readers and encouragement from you, even with the lack of posting or new recipes. I love blogging about our journey and hearing from you! Thank you for supporting me.

Summer Eats. Poor Man’s Crab Cake {Tuna Cakes}

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My Husband and I absolutely love a good crab cake. You know, the kind that has huge chunks of meat and is not overloaded with breading or overpowering flavors. It is simple, fresh and full of natural flavors. Ah, so good. Well, unfortunately we cannot afford to eat them all that often because a good crab meat is so expensive. I was craving crab cakes on our tuna budget the other day so I had to come up with something to satisfy that craving. This is how my “Poor Man’s Crab Cake” came to be…I hope you try it and are just as pleasantly surprised by it’s flavor. My husband even made the comment that these could fool you to thinking you are really biting into a crab cake!

 

The most important ingredient in this is getting the right tuna. The tuna I used is from Costco, if you have a Costco near you please go by yourself this little treasure. The brand is Wild Planet. It is 100% pole and troll caught wild albacore tuna. It is NOT in water or oil, just the natural tuna juices, which is one reason this tuna is so good. The label reads perfectly so I will just quote it for you:

You’ve never tasted tuna like this before! We hand-cut and pack delicious, premium tuna steaks in a micro-cannery process. All the Omega 3 oils are retained and no liquid is added; please don’t drain. We selected smaller albacore which accumulate less mercury than the larger albacore typically used by conventional tuna companies. Wild Plant packs 100% pure tuna! No water, oil or fillers added. No BPA used in can lining.”

The label is not misleading by any means, what they say is what you get with this little can. It truly is a tuna “steak” and comes in one nice big piece, this makes it perfect for cutting bigger chunks for the tuna cake recipe. It is around $10.00-$11.00 for 6/5oz cans. Although when I bought it Costco had a coupon making them only $9.00! Gotta love Costco.

Here is what the packaging looks like:

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Poor Man’s Crab Cake {Tuna Cakes}

Makes 6-8 cakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans 10oz Wild Planet tuna (not drained)
  • 1/2 c. plain bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T. mayonaise (*see note at bottom on organic mayo tips)
  • 2 T. parsley, chopped
  • 1 sprig green onion, chopped
  • 1 t. old bay
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • organic olive or grape seed oil, for frying
  • 1 lemon, for squeezing on cakes after they are finished
  • Tomato, lettuce and raw cheddar cheese for the toppings

Preparation:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Form the cakes to your desired size
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium/high heat
  4. Add your cakes to the pan, I fit 8 in a pan
  5. Sprinkle more old bay on them before flipping
  6. Fry until brown on both sides, about 4 minutes each side
  7. Serve warm on a toasted bun, I found some really yummy cheddar buns at the store

**Tips for buying mayo:

Your typical store bought, white and creamy mayo is full of GMO’s. I have to admit, it is really yummy and finding a good alternative won’t happen. Although there are some options out there. You can find this brand:

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Spectrum Organic Olive Oil Mayonnaise at most health food stores and it is a decent alternative.

 

 

Or I have found some recipes for making your own. Here is one that I have not tried, but it looks pretty good! Here is a video tutorial on the recipe via Girl Meets Nourishmenthttp://girlmeetsnourishment.com/gmnwordpress1/how-to-make-lacto-fermented-mayo/

 

 

 

Day Fifty Three. Comfort Foods {Savory Meatloaf}

Day Fifty Three.

 

I will be the first to admit I love food. Food is comforting to me and even more than just eating it, cooking it. I can zone everything out and cook or bake and my world is just fine. For instance, tonight my husband was home early from work and I was in the “cooking zone”. I was busy making meatloaf, honey glazed carrots and buttery mashed potatoes. The littles (3 of them and a dog) were all running around screaming, wrestling and well, just being the noisy kids they are. Me, I was in my kitchen, cooking and not really hearing the loud-chaotic household. My Husband looked like a poor deer in headlights. Obviously he was not feeling my zone.

 

Comfort is something we all crave. The last few months I have felt fairly uncomfortable in my kitchen. Learning the art of cooking gluten free, and believe me it IS an art, knowing my “new” ingredients, understanding healthy cooking, it has been a huge learning curve and it has been a long time since I could get in that “cooking zone”.  Tonight was complete kitchen bliss. Topped off with every one, including the baby, gobbling it up and asking for seconds. That does any cook a world of good. Doesn’t it?

 

I hope that my posts encourage you to jump all in and start the healthy real food lifestyle. It DOES seem impossible at first, it IS overwhelming and it IS a budget increase. BUT the benefits have far outweighed all the cons and you DO adjust, taste buds DO change and you WILL find ways to make your dollar go further.

 

Here is the recipe for my Mom’s meatloaf. She has made this for our family for years and it one of those things that when I make it and start to smell it baking in the oven my heart is warmed and a smile inevitably comes to my face. It reminds me of “home” and good times as a child around the dinner table with my family. I hope the smell of this meatloaf becomes a familiar one for my children and in the future it brings them the same feelings. Do you have a comfort food that does that for you?

 

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Savory Meatloaf {Gluten Free Version}

Ingredients

Meatloaf:

  • 2/3 c. dry bread crumbs, I crumbled up gluten free sandwich bread
  • 1/2 c. organic whole milk
  • 1 1/2 lbs organic ground beef
  • 2 slightly beaten eggs
  • 1/4 c. onion, finely diced
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1/4 t. cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 t. sage, I did not have sage so I used 1/2 t. fresh oregano 

Piquant Sauce:

  • 3 T. organic brown sugar
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/4 c. organic ketchup
  • 1 t. dry mustard

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Soak break crumbs in milk, for around 5 minutes
  3. Mix the meat, eggs, onion and seasonings. I like to use my hands to get a good consistency
  4. Mix in the soaked bread crumbs
  5. Form the meat into a loaf and and place in a greased 13×9 pan
  6. Spread the piquant sauce over the top
  7. Bake for 1 hour or until desired doneness.

The “Art” Of Health {updated budget & a new business}

Summer. Relaxing days spent outdoors blowing bubbles and lounging by the pool while the children swim happily. No fighting, everyone can swim without some sort of floatation device needing to be blown up. They can go potty alone, feed themselves and always keep a tidy room oh and no schedules, homework or field trips. What a dream. I don’t know why I wake up most days and think this is reality? We lead a very busy life, probably more busy than most and the last two years has been insane.

 

My Husband and his Brother have been tirelessly working hours on end, after their normal day job, creating an iPhone app. The last two years I have given up my Husband to pursue his dream, creating something with his brother for the iPhone. The day has finally arrived, the app is FINISHED and releasing in the iTunes store TODAY. I could not be more proud of them and I must say the app is really awesome. Here is a little bit about the company:

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 8.50.37 PM is an iPhone app that enables artists to share original art with their community and locals to find and buy art. A wall often exists between regular people and the art world. Artists, whether hobbyist or professional, have no simple way to make their art accessible, and everyone else has no simple way to connect with local artists and purchase their work. Finestra changes all that by giving people a chance to preview art on their own wall while hearing the artists themselves tell the story behind the art. Potential buyers can email an artist to set up an appointment or get directions to see the art in person right away. Artists use the app to easily capture, manage, and promote their work professionally, or on a casual basis. Art surrounds us, and Finestra connects us through art to restore the role of artists in our communities and re-imagine our living spaces.

You can watch a 1 min promo video: 

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/61433410″>Finestra Art App</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user16940238″>Finestra Art App</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

It would be really awesome if you could go like them on FB: Finestra! Also, if you have an iPhone go download the app and check it out and request your city! You won’t be disappointed 🙂

Thank you for letting me go outside my normal posting to brag on my Hubby. Now back to foodie talk 🙂 The last 4 months has been a time of learning and figuring out “what works” for our family. Thankfully we have finally gotten into a pretty nice groove and I have tailored down our budget A LOT!

After the great purge of GMO’s from our house we were left pretty bare. I had to do a lot of stocking up on normal everyday items that I threw away. It was an expensive first few weeks! Thankfully I have figured things out and I have barely stepped foot into Whole Foods in 3 months! Crazy. I hear from several people that “it was just too expensive”. I get that. It IS expensive. But, you have to weigh the pro’s and con’s of cheap food now… potential health problems in the future or a little more expensive food now and great health later.

 

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Here is the break down of a general week in food for us. First, I get this really amazing farmer’s market basket every week that consists of local produce. I get a large basket and I typically add on 18 organic farm fresh eggs. It generally costs me around $30 dollars a week for everything you see pictured above. I also get my local raw honey from here for a great price! Do you have a local farmers market or farm share near you that you love? I would highly suggest looking into it if you do not know.

I do the rest of my shopping at Publix and Costco. Publix is generally just for spices, organic chicken, milk and gluten free items. Costco is awesome for frozen organic veggies, snacks and organic beef! We spend around $90.00-$100.00 a week in these places, sometimes it is less depending on what toiletries we need. So, in a month we generally spend $490.00 on groceries and toiletries.

I will do a much more detailed post in the future, but for now I need to help my Husband finish the last touches for our app release party here tomorrow night.