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!

 

 

Food Fight. When Activism Leads to Mass Murder.

Tonight on Fox News channel I watched a show called, The Five. Greg Gutfeld was speaking and he had a few things to say about people who disagree with GMO’s. This particular five minute segment has me so upset, I need to take a few moments to respond.

First, he opens the show with a title: “When Activism Leads to Mass Murder.” He calls the people who disagree with the benefits of GMO’s an “accessory to murder, loopy celebrities and enviro-terrorists”.

Well, excuse me Mr. Gutfeld, but I am no loopy celebrity or enviro-terrorist. I am simply a stay-at-home Mom who has seen the ill-effects of GMO’s on my families health and I am doing something about it, for the sake of my family. 

He then further has the guts to say that “natural is just the elites way of saying I am better than you to the poor. Lucky for them they have no problems getting vitamin A, their maids do it for them”. 

Maybe it is my newly pregnant hormones raging, but I almost threw something at the screen. Seriously, Mr Gutfeld don’t you think this is a big extreme and harsh? I am most definitely not taking the stand of a “elitist” with our natural eating. If anything, I strive on this blog to be real, to come across as the exact opposite of this. I know it is hard and expensive to eat healthy, but I also do not want this is discourage anyone from making changes where they can. Moderation and any sort of change from the processed, chemical laden food will benefit anyone. Oh, and by the way we DO have problems finding our vitamin A because your big corporations, like Monsanto, that you stand behind strip all the nutrients from our food and replace them with artificial vitamins, in case you did not know, are not better for you. And please, if I could for one second trade my place with you so you can see what my “maid” looks like I think you would take your words back. This is a slap in the face to any typical Mom who tries to make the most of her family’s healthy eating habits. Grouping all people who eat natural as those rich enough to afford maids is by far a stretch.

I am just an average American, we are not “rich” by any means or in any “elite” circle.  I am not a celebrity or a environmentalist. I am a Mom who saw my children, and myself, suffering. We took steps to figure out what was causing our sickness and you know what we found? It was genetically modified food. Those exact GMO’s you are claiming I have murdered people for by standing up against them. Those GMO’s were causing pain and suffering in my family. You tell me what Mom can obviously see that something is causing her children to suffer and continue to give it to them? No Mom. No Mom, Mr. Gutfeld.

You said, about me, “in service to their ego they turn a blind eye to the suffering of others who’s actual blindness they cause”. I am not servicing my ego by refusing to eat GMO’s, I am servicing my families health and well being. For us, this is the right choice. The fact that you would go further to say that I am turning a blind eye to those suffering is absurd. You.have.no.idea! Do you know how much I fight for people who are suffering? No. Did you know that my family contributed to third world countries and the building of clean wells for fresh water? No. You are not here when I pray with my children over our dinner for those who do not have enough money to eat. We are thankful for every God grown, nutritious meal we are able to provide. I take the time to teach my children about those less fortunate than us, we serve with our local church and homeless ministry by making lunches for those in need. We take food and donate it to a local food pantry. We reach out, we serve and we are doing our best to teach our children to be the kind of people who notice those that are suffering and DO something about it.

On a side note, I found this website detailing all the third world countries who THEMSELVES are refusing the GMO foods we are donating. Interesting. Third World Nations Fight Back Against GMOs Food – Rosebud Magazine Hydroponics Lifestyle Growing And Entertainment! http://shar.es/yPmUs

I will end my rant by saying I do realize Scientists are trying their best to help those third world countries by creating food that can help save lives for starving nations. I commend that. I do not think there is anything wrong with it, nor do I think there is anything inherently wrong with GMO’s. I just know that through our journey I have learned that GMO’s, for whatever reason, are harmful to my children and family as a whole and I will do everything I can to protect my family. So if I must be labeled a “loopy environmentalist” for sake of my son growing and thriving in life, so be it.

You can watch the entire segment of this show here:  http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/the-five/index.html

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.

Ezekiel Blueberry Muffins.

I will be the first to admit, Ezekiel 4:9 cereal is not the tastiest of cereals. It needs “help” in order for the kids to even bring a spoon full to their mouth. I wanted to attempt soaking the cereal and using that as a base for a muffin. Last night, after doing lots of research on gluten free baking I came up with these. Now, I am no expert on gluten free baking, I am very much a novice when it comes to this department. I am trying to make gluten free easier, cheaper and more accessible to everyone. I have always been intimidated by all the different flours and unusual ingredients, like xanthan gum, so my recipes are basic and use common ingredients you would typically have in your home.

I am not sure if you know much about sprouted grains. They are awesome. I am attempting to eat them and give them to my son to see if they bother his stomach. Since he was not officially diagnosed with Celiacs Disease we have the ability to play around with ingredients like this. Here is a good description of sprouted grains and their benefits from Food For Life’s website (they make Ezekiel 4:9).

“…More and more people are finding out that the only way to unlock the vital benefits we expect from grains is to sprout them first. Here are some benefits you’ll get from sprouted grains:

  • Increased Digestibility - Sprouting breaks down starches in grains into simple sugars so your body can digest them easily.
  • Increased Absorption of Minerals – Sprouting breaks down enzyme inhibitors, so your body can more easily adsorb calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.
  • Increased Antioxidants – Sprouting releases more antioxidants that are naturally stored in the grains and seeds.
  • Increased Vitamin C - Sprouting produces vitamin C.
  • Increased Vitamin B - Sprouting increases the vitamin B2, B5 & B6

In addition to all the vital benefits you’ll receive from sprouted foods, we at Food for Life, craft our food to promise you even more integrity.

  • We use only freshly sprouted certified organic live grains.
  • Our products are kosher.
  • We use absolutely no flour. Studies have shown that grinding grains into flour increases the surface area upon which enzymes in the body can work to more. quickly convert starch into glucose.
  • We don’t use any genetically modified organisms (GMO’s)
  • We don’t use refined sugars. When sugar is refined and processed there are many harmful ingredients that are added to the sugar as a result. Instead, we use malted barley, a natural sweetener produced from sprouted barley, which is basically a carbohydrate comprised mostly of complex carbohydrates rather than the “sugar” carbohydrates.
  • We don’t use anything artificial – no preservatives or shortenings.
  • We use a unique slow-bake process to preserve the natural fiber and bran benefits of grains.

I hope you venture out and purchase this cereal and try these unique muffins. My kids gave them 2 big thumbs up! I will warn you they are not super sweet. I enjoy the natural sweetness from the blueberries coming through without an overpowering sugary sweet. I topped the kids with raw honey.

Ezekiel Blueberry Muffins

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Ingredients:

  • 2 c. Ezekiel 4:9 cereal
  • 1 1/4 c. whole organic milk
  • 2 1/2 T. vinegar
  • 1 organic egg + 1 egg white
  • 1/4 c. packed organic brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. raw sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. orange juice
  • 1 c. + 2 T. All Purpose GF Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 T. organic baking powder
  • 1/4 t. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh blueberries

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Soak cereal with milk and vinegar for 5 minutes or until the cereal is soft. Stir to make sure it all gets covered
  3. Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla and orange juice, mix well
  4. Slowly add the all purpose flour and blueberries and stir just until incorporated
  5. Pour into greased muffin tins all the way to the top. It will be very runny. Mine made 15 muffins
  6. Bake for 20 minutes

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/