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!

 

 

Day Forty Six. A Mommy Always In Pain, Part 2.

Life is difficult with a chronic illness(s). It is even more difficult when you bring a husband and three small children into the picture.

Our journey the last few months has been exhausting, exciting and very informative; we have laughed, cried, worried, prayed and “grown up”. If you are new to our blog last month I described what I, the Mommy, struggled with in my health. Today I want to tell you so badly things are getting better, but they are not. I am still in daily pain and struggle to find my ‘triggers’.

What has gotten better? My perspective, my love and appreciation for my understanding, helpful and supportive husband. The three amazing miracles who still want to cuddle me, they daily giggle and smile filling our home with joy when Mommy can barely break a smile, my children have faith that is inspiring! They pray out loud for God to heal their Mommy and do not hold my “lash out” moments against me. Even though the last few months have been so difficult, I am grateful.

My follow up GI appointment was yesterday. I have been waiting for this appointment for weeks, hoping to finally get answers. The night before I got hit with the worst stomach bug I have had in a long time. Determined for me to still make this appointment my husband did all he could to help me get there. He was up in the night with me, he was up with 2 of our children at various points during the night and He helped me drive the kids to the babysitter so I could lay in bed as long as possible. I love him. When I think about my situation I can be tempted to despair, but the thing that makes me the saddest is watching my husband have to deal with this. He didn’t sign up for a wife with all this sickness, who struggles daily with pain, cannot keep up with housework, schooling, energy, etc…but he does it and never really complains. He loves me, tries his best to help and learn better ways to comfort me. I am thankful to have him by my side to face this season of life. Hopefully the season will pass quickly, for all of our sakes.

My doctor originally thought I had Crohn’s right after my colonoscopy. They started me on medicine right away, which was so hard for me because I rarely take medicine. They gave me the one with the “least” side effects and I was told to take 8 pills a day. I wanted to get better and this medicine seemed an easy “fix”. After one day on it I noticed a constant headache, not what I needed, and my heart would frequently race and skip several beats in a minute. I called the doctor and they quickly took me off of it. But then, they prescribed me with a very strong steroid. They told me it was so strong that I could not stay on it long, just very temporary. The long list of side effects was intimidating. I decided to not take it and try natural remedies, regular chiropractic visits and very closely watching my diet. Which is where we are today. Trying to figure out what food modifications, beyond no GMO’s, I need to take.

 

The Doctor by the way was very respective to me not taking the steroid and said “oh yeah, you were right to not take that. That was too much medicine for you!” Good grief! Glad I didn’t listen to her and wreck my immune system for this medicine that she later said I didn’t need! They drew more blood yesterday to test for Celiac’s and/or a gluten intolerance. They did the igA and igG antibody test and I should get those results sometime this week. I doubt I have Celiacs, but I guess it is the next thing to test.

 

I will end this post that can seem rather depressing with a recipe. Recipes always make me happy, especially tasty ones that are also healthy 🙂 This peanut butter chocolate smoothie is my “go-to” when I am craving something sweet.

 

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Heavenly Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe banana’s
  • 3 T. cocoa powder
  • 2 T. raw honey
  • 1/4 c. peanut butter
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 large glass full of ice

Preparation:

  1. Blend it all in your blender until smooth.
  2. Top with chopped peanuts.
  3. Makes 3 heavenly glasses.

 

Cinco de Mayo, Recipe #5 {Organic Margarita}

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I am ending today with a classic Cinco de Mayo favorite, margarita’s. Did you know there are organic tequilas out there? I was pleasantly surprised. The unfortunate thing is they are not sold everywhere. If you cannot find one near you I would suggest getting the highest quality tequila you can find. Here is a list of all the organic tequila’s I could find: 

  1. Republic Tequila 
  2. 123 Certified Organic Tequila 
  3. Tequila Alquimia – Añejo
  4. Tequila Tierras – Añejo
  5. Artá – Reposado
  6. Casa Noble

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Photo Credit: www.examiner.com

This margarita is simple and refreshing:

  • 2-parts organic tequila
  • 2-parts agave nectar
  • 1-part fresh lime juice
  • 8oz ice
  • shaker

Serve it blended for a frozen drink or on the rocks, my personal favorite. Drink responsibly and Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

 

In case you missed the 5-days of healthy Cinco de Mayo recipes here they are again:

photo-43 Recipe #1 – Homemade taco seasoning 

photo 2 Recipe #2 – Fresh Salsa 

photo-23 Recipe #3 – Kicked-up Guacamole 

photo-44 Recipe #4 – Slow-Cooker Chicken Taco Soup 

Cinco de Mayo, Recipe #4 {Slow-Cooker Chicken Taco Soup)

I absolutely love using the slow-cooker. The only down side is most recipes are gross. They turn out mushy and just taste bleh. However, there are a couple recipes I have done recently that utilize the slow-cooker and happen to taste wonderful. This soup recipe being one of them. You can double the recipe, eat half and freeze half. It holds up well in the freezer and does not taste watered down when thawed.

 

Why don’t you throw this soup in the slow-cooker tomorrow morning? You can enjoy your Cinco de Mayo festivities, maybe even have a nice cold margarita, while your dinner cooks for you!

 

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Slow-Cooker Chicken Taco Soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 organic whole chicken, meat removed from bone and shredded 
  • 1 can organic black beans
  • 1 can organic kidney beans
  • 1 can organic diced tomato’s
  • 1 can organic corn kernels
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium orange pepper, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 handfuls cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (seeds removed if you do not like spicy)
  • 2 c. organic chicken stock
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1 t. dried oregano
  • 1/2 t. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • 1/2 t. paprika

Preparation:

  1. Throw everything into your slow cooker and turn on low. Let it cook for 6-8 hours.
  2. Serve topped with shredded cheese, fresh cilantro and a dab of organic sour cream.

 

Cinco de Mayo, Recipe #3 {kicked-up guacamole}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday I shared my favorite recipe for a basic salsa, today I am introducing you to yet another dip obsession of mine…guacamole. I love anything with avocados, yes, even the raw chocolate mousse made from them. They are not only delicious but they are packed full of nutrients, essential vitamins and minerals. Take a look at how jam packed 1/5 of a avocado is with nutrients:

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http://www.californiaavocado.com/avocado-nutrients/

 

Guacamole is a very cheap and easy to make at home. Currently, at Publix you can get a 7oz package of Wholly Guacamole for $3.49. Now, I do think this brand is really good and if you need to have some in a pinch I would recommend it. But, there is absolutely no need to spend that amount when you could make it for a fraction of the cost at home.

Here the price break-down for my recipe, it makes roughly 2 1/2-3 cups:

  • $.96 (4) Haas avocado @ Aldi – if you do not have an Aldi near by Costco has a 6pk for $4.99 and Publix is $1 each.
  • $.46 (2) roma tomato’s @ Aldi
  • $.25 (1) lemon @ Publix
  • Spices and oils I had on hand: olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, cumin, salt & pepper

TOTAL = $1.67 + the ingredients I had at home already.

You absolutely cannot argue with that price! It is different than your typical guacamole because I add the dressing, but I really enjoyed the extra creaminess it provided. Give it a try this weekend and tell me what you think.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe avocado
  • 4 Roma Tomato

Dressing:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 heaping t. cumin
  • Half lemon, squeezed
  • 1/4 t. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Chop the avocado and tomato and place in a medium size bowl.  Whisk dressing in separate bowl and pour over the avocado and tomato mixture. Chill and serve.