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!

 

 

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/

 

 

 

Summer Eats. Georgia Peach Crisp.

 

 

One thing I love about living in the state of Georgia is in the summer the peaches are in abundance and super cheap. I love peaches all ways: plain, grilled, baked or even in a salsa. One of my favorites is my Great Grandmother’s peach pie my Mom used to make, my Mom is a fantastic pie baker. Since we cannot all eat gluten I have not baked a pie in SO long. It is rather depressing. I am not ready to attempt a gluten free pie crust for fear it will flop and add to my disappointment. So I opted to make a really crispy peach crisp. It hit the spot and satisfied all our “pie” cravings. The topping is very crispy and the inside is creamy and warm. I hope you enjoy it.

Georgia Peach Crisp

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Ingredients:

filling.

  • 8 peaches, sliced
  • 1/4 c. raw sugar + 1/2 t. molasses (makes homemade brown sugar)
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 1/4 c. gluten free all-purpose flour or regular if you are no gluten free
  • 2 heaping t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg

topping.

  • 1 1/4 c. old fashioned oats (could use GF or regular)
  • 1 c. gluten free all-purpose flour or regular if you are no gluten free
  • 1 c. raw sugar + 1 T. molasses
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • pinch of all spice
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 3/4 c. almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick organic unsalted butter, really cold – cut into chunks

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Lightly butter an 8×8 dish and set aside
  3. Mix together your topping ingredients, all except the butter
  4. Add the butter and use your hands or a pastry cutter to work the butter into the dry ingredients. I found my hands the easiest to use. Keep mixing until you cannot see chunks of butter anymore
  5. In a large bowl, mix all of the filling ingredients together gently. Peaches tend to fall apart, so be careful when mixing. Make sure all the peaches are coated evenly
  6. Pour the peaches into your glass baking dish. It doesn’t need to look pretty, just evenly divided out
  7. Slowly add the topping, pressing it down firmly. Make sure all the sides are covered and you cannot see the peaches
  8. Bake uncovered for  40-50 minutes. It all depends on your oven. I would start checking at 40 minutes, mine took 45 minutes. You know it is done when you top is lightly browned and you can see the peaches bubbling out (SO GOOD!)
  9. Serve it with vanilla bean ice cream or eat it alone. Enjoy!

*TIP* place a baking sheet on the rack under your peach crisp. Some of the peaches will most likely bubble out and this will save it from smoking at the bottom of your oven!

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.

Day forty five. Keeping Up With The GMO’s. {health update}

We are chugging along on our little challenge of keeping our home GMO free. While we have noticed significant changes in our health, we still struggle. I would love to say if you stop eating GMO’s all together it will be a magic “cure all” for everything. It isn’t. But it has caused improvements and I would hope to think in the long run, several years down the road, we will reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Our son, who is the whole reason this “non-GMO for 60-days” started has been cleared for not having Celiacs Disease. I am so relieved to know that we do not have that hard, life-long battle ahead of us. My heart goes out to those Mom’s who do have children who suffer with this disease. His biopsy also came back negative for a lactose allergy and negative for any enzyme deficiencies. AND he gained 1 pound, he was most excited about this! Praise God!

His GI Specialist was very intrigued by our new diet changes and asked several questions. It was nice to connect with a Doctor who did not just throw medicines and a “diagnosis” at us. He agreed that staying away from processed foods and gluten could only benefit his little body. He also was pretty sure that he has a high gluten intolerance, while not full blown Celiacs, he just cannot process gluten the way he should and reacts. Over time, if he continued to eat gluten without changing his diet, he could develop Celiacs later in life.

We have done a “test” and gave him a small bit of gluten at dinner one night- not telling him – just to see how his body would respond. I was pretty surprised (and sad that I caused this) but he wet his bed, started biting his nails, was super irritable and complained of a tummy ache over the next couple of days. Poor kid! Thankfully, we know what causes his problems and I am learning how to cook gluten-free. If you have a favorite gluten-free recipe please share!

I have a follow up with my GI Specialist on Wednesday this week. They have been pretty vague and really will not give me much information as to the results of my colonoscopy over the phone. Talk about frustrating! They just tell me to “keep taking your medicine and we will talk at the appointment”. I will have a whole post on that medicine and it’s nasty side-effects and why I stopped taking it. It should be fun talking with the Doctor about it on Wednesday 🙂

Did you get a chance to guess the secret ingredient yesterday? If not, take a look at these ingredients and see if you can guess this product from the ingredient list before reading the answer.

Know Your Product Icon

#8

CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WATER, CELLULOSE GUM, CARAMEL COLOR, SALT, SODIUM BENZOATE AND SORBIC ACID (PRESERVATIVES), ARTIFICIAL AND NATURAL FLAVORS, SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE.

The Answer:

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 9.47.39 PMAunt Jemima Original Syrup. Full of sugars, artificial and GMO ingredients. Yum. Why not try a pure maple syrup instead or maybe some local honey? We love the 365 brand from Whole Foods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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