Rotation Diet – Week 2!

We just finished our first full week of having our daughter on a food rotation diet to aid in healing her leaky gut.  It’s actually now been about a week and a half.  But I didn’t actually make a full menu for her until a week ago.  The week went okay.  There were a few days when she did not care for something or I didn’t have enough snacks planned for her appetite.  She is very active and athletic, and I need to take that into account.

So for this week, I made some adjustments and I got more creative with the menu.  It helped that I got her to agree to eating some vegetables for breakfast.  That helps, since that’s what her brother and I eat for breakfast, and really, my goal here is to make one meal for the whole family.  I’m not sure how veggies are going to fly with my little ones.  But having homemade granola or oatmeal in the house usually makes them pretty happy.  And when all else fails, smoothies are always a winner.

I’ve attached this week’s meal plan.  This is the first week in a few months where I am cooking all of our meals.  Your good thoughts and prayers are appreciated.  I am really hoping I don’t spend the whole week in the kitchen!  I kind of have other things to do, too!

Weekly meal planner week2

Homemade Grain Free Granola

Today is coconut day for my daughter who is on a rotation diet.  It’s also pork, cherry, pecan, etc., day.

I made homemade coconut yogurt, which turned out so so.  It still needs some tweaking, but it was passable and she was fine with it.  I served it with frozen black cherries and a homemade grain free granola, which she liked.  Thumbs up from her on this breakfast.  Thumbs down from my son.

That’s okay, he is currently he’s still eating some sugar and his taste buds are ruined for my no-sugar breakfast.  Daughter, on the other hand, has been off sugar for over a week, now, and is much more grateful for my efforts.

Here’s  how I made the grain free granola:

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F

1 Cup Shredded, unsweetened coconut

1 Cup Raw sunflower seeds

1 Cup Pecan pieces

Mix by hand in a medium-large bowl.

1/2 Cup coconut oil

2 T. Xylitol (or adjust the measurements for stevia, which we don’t use)

2 t. Cinnamon

Melt in small saucepan.  When melted, remove from heat and add vanilla.

1 t. Pure vanilla extract

Stir in vanilla and then pour melted mixture over nuts and coconut in bowl.  Stir to combine, making sure everything gets wet.  Bake for about 10 minutes, watching closely.  It can brown too quickly.

If you have more time, you could adjust the heat and bake longer.  I’d do 250 for about 20 minutes.  I’ll be trying that next time.

Enjoy!

More Challenges

Well, we received our daughter’s food intolerance test results and the foods she has issues with are pretty much the same as the rest of us, plus a few more.  This is common within a family, as the individuals within a family share a common diet.  That’s actually the good news.

The bad news is she has an extremely leaky gut, even more so than I had over a year ago.  Leaky gut is caused by a variety of things, including use of antibiotics, GMOs in the diet and candida albicans.  In her case, all three have played a role.  According to her test results, she should be much sicker than my son, who also has a permeable gut.  But his issues are different, in that he is still recovering from CMV Mom.

How do you tell by looking at someone’s basic food panel that they have a leaky gut? In her case, it was unmistakable.  She reacted to nearly every single food on the test.  No one is intolerant to every basic food, which tells you that her gut health is severely lacking.

So, what is a leaky gut or gut permeability?

A permeable gut is damaged intestinal lining where the tight junctions between cells loosen, allowing undigested food particles back into the bloodstream.  That’s not supposed to happen, so it triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system.  This cause a boatload of problems I won’t get into here.  A few are diabetes, skin inflammation, asthma, etc.  For more information about leaky gut, I’d encourage you to research it.  It is very interesting.  The thing about leaky gut is that it causes a myriad of different symptoms and each persons symptoms are different.

Our guts contain approximately 70% of our immune system, so when it is not healthy and working properly, we are at risk.  How to heal the gut?  Well, the first step is to avoid foods that give a strong immune reaction for at least six months.  Sis is reacting to everything, so the moderately reactive foods will  need to be rotated, because, well, she has to eat SOMETHING, right?  This means we must rotate her foods out every four days, which can be a challenge in the kitchen as I try to create menus and snacks that literally EVERYONE in the family can eat.  At this point, I am making 2-3 different meals at each meal to accommodate everyone’s issues.  I really don’t have to time for that, so I need to put a lot of thought into this.

She and my son are both also on supplements, which require me to have a supplement schedule so I can keep it all straight.  I spent some time yesterday getting it all down on paper so I can post it in the kitchen, just underneath my bulging vitamin and supplement cabinet.

Attached is Sis’s menu for this week.  At least I’ve got her figured out for now! Weekly_meal_planner

I’m losing my chef after this week, so it’s all on me next week.  Can I do it?

Special Diets: Going Paleo

In addition to our already overwhelming changes to our diet, our oldest son has had to go Paleo.  Our naturopathic doctor actually suggested we do it as a family, minus eggs, of course.  A Paleo diet is a diet based on our ancestors hunter/gatherer diet and includes:

  • Grass-produced meats
  • Fish/seafood
  • Fresh fruits and veggies
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)

I don’t know that we are all ready to do that, yet.  But our son is quite happy to do whatever it takes to get himself healed as soon as possible.  He is tired of being . . .  tired.

To keep me from having to make six different meals per day, plus snacks, my current research involves figuring out meals we can ALL eat, or I can just simply have him avoid one dish from.  He does seem perfectly happy with meats and vegies and does not complain about not being full from lack of carbs.  But he is also not expending much energy right now, either.  The Paleo diet I can see being very expensive to follow, especially since we cannot do eggs (which we raise!).  Are you sensing my frustration, here?

We’ve cut way back on gluten, although some of us still consume it.  The goal is to get it out of our diet altogether.  Baking, which is not something I really enjoy, but has proved in the past to be a very efficient way to feed my larger family, has changed for me and I have not been able to get my footing, yet.  I find I get good results baking without dairy or eggs, but throw in gluten free and I am completely messed up.

Today’s pancakes are a great example.  They were gluten, dairy and egg free, mostly whole grain, and they stuck to the greased pan so bad that I just gave up cooking them.  And this was not the first time.  I know I can get good mixes out there that mimic white flour, but we don’t normally eat white flour baked goods and the mixes tend to be very high glycemic (blood sugar raising) -also a concern of mine.

The Paleo flour options of coconut and almond are my only hope, at this point, to get a good product that everyone can eat.  But I really think I’m going to have to re-program myself not to expect the same types of muffins and scones I am used to getting.  I did make some Paleo coconut muffins the other day, which were moist, but dense and different.  They didn’t eat them all up in one sitting, as they normally would.  But they were gone by shortly after lunch time.  I just have to keep pinning and testing, I guess!

All of this to say, no, I don’t “have it all together.”  I do struggle to feed my family well within the confines of time, budget and food intolerances.  I don’t have it all figured out, yet.  But it’s my job, so I am trying.  I get discouraged sometimes and give up and do stupid things like making a run for the border.  I ALWAYS REGRET IT.

I will keep you updated on this journey we’re on, and continue to try to help others as best I can.  That’s what I’m called to do and I do love it.  Questions, comments and recipes posted below are always welcome, folks.

Glad to be back!

 

A New Year & New Challenges

I’ve been absent for an extended time, again, and thank you for your continued patience with me.

We have had a challenging year and this new year looks to be a continuation of some of those challenges, plus a few new, more delightful ones.

Our eldest son has had a long term illness since May that has required a lot of my time and energy.  It started as CMV Mono and just snowballed.  We’ve been working with a naturopath and are seeing some results.  He is keeping a blog and you can read his story here, if you like.

Noah

Noah at his last Judo Tournament in April.  This is where I am sure he contracted CMV.

In addition to my own food intolerance issues, and those of my next son down, we are dealing with his, as well.  The good news is that we have mostly the same issues.  The bad news is I have spent the past year trying to re-program myself in the kitchen and it’s been a tough road for me.  We are currently waiting for our oldest daughter’s test results, which will hopefully show the same food intolerances and no big surprises!

I had my kitchen pretty organized and my meals all laid out, my pantry inventory in writing, (all of which may be found on this site!) and I even spoke on this topic to encourage others.  It’s a topic that is important to me and I like to share what I have learned and discovered along the way to help other busy Moms feed their families with a plan to keep stress and food costs down.  I still feel like I can help others with this, but I am learning more about doing it with food issues in mind which requires me to do a lot of research and sometimes get creative.

Between this and my son’s slow progress in healing, this past 8 months has felt like a long road of two steps forward, one step back.  He’s frustrated.  I’m frustrated.  We’re all just pretty darn frustrated.

In September, we got a bit of a surprise when we discovered that Baby #7 was on his/her way! Wow!  It was a lot to take in at first, because we just weren’t expecting that news, HEHEHE.  If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know I get very ill during pregnancy, so it’s been a challenge to keep up our usual pace, make sure the housework is done and keep everyone fed properly not to mention keeping everyone educated, to doctor, dentist, orthodontist, chiropractor appointments AND our outside commitments (which we could not just drop without leaving others holding the bag)! Life can’t just stand still while I develop a long-lasting relationship with the throne.

In November, our youngest got Pertussis.  I was up every night for three weeks with her.  The Chinese call it the 100 day cough.  Yep, she’s still coughing!  I was exhausted.

We had to get help.  There is no shame in getting help when you need it.  NO SHAME.  Hugging the toilet is not very conducive to scrubbing it, although I guess since I was there, anyway, it could have worked. But you know what I mean.  It was about survival.  So Beloved got me some help, after I nearly had an emotional breakdown before Thanksgiving (pregnancy hormones, and all that).  It was either hire help, or send the kids to public school (not MY suggestion).  It did not take me long to insist that made no sense AT ALL.  NONE!

He instructed me to hire a chef, and that is what I did.  Why a chef when I enjoy cooking so much?  Well, when I’m nauseous, I really don’t enjoy it that much.  We were living on frozen pizza, and it wasn’t working.  Plus, I tried to hire someone to come in and clean, too.  But I found someone to cook, first, so that is what we went for.  She is a trained chef and it’s been a great experience.  He found me someone to clean, too, but he never followed up, and I’ve been doing it, so everything worked out okay.

So, now as we prepare for a May baby, we have a bunch of projects we are trying to wrap up for our business:

  1. Get our new business website finished.
  2. Hire a secretary.
  3. Hire a technician.

Boom!  YEAH!

At home:

  1. Re-organize and decorate family room. (Nearly finished!)
  2. Re-organize and decorate girls’ room and move C in with Big Sis. (Sis grew impatient and started this project without me.  Will post pics, soon!)
  3. Install kitchen backsplash and new shelving.
  4. Move new baby things into C’s dresser, and adjust crib to correct level.
  5. Get new dog quarters and new storage shed built. (We’re half way there!)
  6. Remove side fence and relocate, with new materials/design.
  7. Take apart master bedroom, re-organize and do a deep cleaning.
  8. Freeze meals, stock pantry and dry goods to keep from having to leave the house after baby is born.
  9. Assemble birthing supplies.

We have a lot to do.  How are we going to manage?  Stick with me and watch as we figure it out was we go along.

“Labor” Day Weekend

Well, my weekend was filled with labor, in the truest sense of the word.  We had a lot of projects to finish and things around the property to take care of.  We’ve been so busy, that our weekends are taken up with getting all of the things done we can’t during the week, and that’s starting to get a bit old.  It would be nice to take some time to do something more diverting!

We had a few woodworking projects to finish, and Beloved worked on those, with a bit of help from myself and our oldest daughter.  General clean up around the property and some planning were taken care of.  We are finally ordering our metal carport this week.  We’ve been using portable ones from Costco for years, and are finally upgrading.  The dogs and some locked storage will be built into the rear of the carport.  It will also be used as a work out area, completed with heavy bag, etc.

I worked in the garden and took care of a bunch of preservation projects that needed to be done.  I had my boys pick tomatoes, which really needed to be done, and then I slow roasted them in the oven.  Next, I will puree them and can or freeze the result.

I finally roasted up all of the jalapeno peppers that have come out of the garden and made a puree with sea salt to add to salsas.  I’m just going to keep that in the frig with some olive oil on top to preserve it.

I  made more lacto-fermented pickles, including a half gallon for my Mom, but I am so done with pickles.  The lemon cucumbers keep coming, and I will be giving a bunch of them away this week.  I don’t think I’ll plant those next year.  If you like fresh eating cukes that are prolific, I would recommend them, though.

I made some grape jelly, putting me closer to my goal of 52 pints of jams/jellies for the year.  Current score:

16 Pints Peach Jam

4 Pints Blueberry Jam

4 Pints Mixed Berry Jam

8 Pints Grape Jelly

20 Left to go!  I will be making plum jam this week.

Today, I have red chilies to dehydrate in the oven.  I am dehydrating them whole, and then will store them in sealed, vacuum packed jars. Others I will grind up, first, before putting them in jars.  It’s been a good year for my garden, as I’ve put up hundreds of pounds of food.  After years of struggling with gardens, I am really enjoying my bumper crops!

I have some orders for dairy free pesto to fill this week, and then I might go ahead and harvest the rest of my basil and make more for myself to freeze and dry the rest of the leaves.

We did find some time to do some fun things this weekend.  I took my daughter to a formal dance, which required me to dress formally, as well.  That was a switch and I have to say I really am a jeans kind of gal.  But it’s nice to dress up every so often.

We took the whole family out to see Monsters University on Sunday and were quickly reminded why we only go to the movies once or twice a year -$52 admission!  CHA-CHING!  The movie was cute and baby sat on my lap the whole time.  She did get a fright and jumped out of her seat once.  Poor thing!

We had fun.

I ordered the rest of our school books, and now I’m really excited to receive them.  Books on my porch is like Christmas to me.  How about you?  I think I have a good plan of attack for schooling five children at once . . . I hope!

All in all, it was a good weekend.  We didn’t get everything on our list done, but we almost never do.  I have a few more weeks left before school starts, so I need to put my head down and get busy.  This week, we start some of our new routine with music lessons for my two middle children.  It looks like Wednesday is going to be music lesson day at our house.  This makes me think of a  friend, who has since passed away, who used to take her children to several music lessons on Wednesdays.  She put together packets of schoolwork for them to do in the car and called it Wednesday School.   I always remember her telling me about that.  She was a neat lady and is missed by many.

I also have a few sewing projects to complete this week: nightgown for the little one, curtains for her play kitchen (which is finally almost completed!), Judo pants hemming for my seven year old, and setting a waistband on a new skirt for me.  Lots to do!  September is always a busy time.

What’s keeping you busy this week?

Blessings today, Kris

Let’s Try This, Again: Lacto-Fermented Vegetables

I tried these once before, but it didn’t work out. This year, we have such a bumper crop of cucumbers, 3 different kinds, that I had to figure a way to use them up and I didn’t want to water bath can them all. I wanted to make lacto-fermented, probiotic pickles. So I did.

There are many recipes on the internet, and many call for the use of whey as a kick start to the process. I didn’t want to use dairy, for various reasons, so I found some recipes that called for sea salt only, and it worked just fine. I made 3 and a 1/2 gallons of cucumber pickles and a jar of red onion pickles. Now, I am very much looking forward to making some carrot pickles.

DSC01642

I did all kinds of different cuts and sizes for my pickles.  But the best were the halves.  They came out just right.  It helps that they have red pepper from the garden in them to give them a bit of a kick.

These do not have to be refrigerated, as long as they are put in cold storage, 65 degrees or cooler.  It’s one of my goals to become proficient at preserving food in the traditional ways, which do not require refrigeration or freezing.  I’m a novice, just figuring it all out.  But I’m working on it.

I found watching this English lady helpful.  http://www.youtube.com/user/dieteasily

Also, I found a lot of recipes using Pinterest.

After this project, I made some lacto-fermented catsup.  I used this recipe, except I used some liquid from some kimchi I already had in place of the whey.  http://nourishedkitchen.com/homemade-ketchup/  It turned out pretty good and we enjoyed some tonight in some homemade Thousand Island dressing..