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

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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.

It’s Not Rocket Science: You CAN Make Bone Broth

I have SO MISSED being here the last six months!  It’s just been so busy here that I haven’t made the time to write.  In addition, I have had some health issues to deal with which I may or may not get into here at some point.  But I am hoping to make more time to write in the new year.

Today, I felt like I should write a post about making bone broth.  I have had several people ask me if it’s hard to make, how to make it, etc., that I think this post is timely, at least in my own circles.  I hope it helps some of you who are reading from far away, too.

It’s easy to make nourishing bone broth and you can do it.  Just choose a day when you plan to be home to make it.

First, let’s quickly review why we should make bone broth in the first place.  According to the Body Ecology website (www.bodyecology.com), bone broth (and I quote, because I cannot say it better!):

  • Is full of minerals.
  • Fortifies the immune system.
  • Enhances digestion.
  • Nourishes all body parts related to collagen. This means joints, tendons, ligaments, skin, mucus membranes, and bone.

“A well-made bone broth will give your body calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfate, and fluoride.”  Many of us are magnesium deficient, and this might result in morning sickness during pregnancy, as new studies are indicating.  If only I had known this before!

“Bones, marrow, skin, tendons, ligaments, and the cartilage that sometimes accompanies a bone are all made of a protein molecule called collagen. Collagen contains two very special amino acids: proline and glycine.”

“Collagen has been found to help heal the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the stomach and the intestines. This means that heartburn or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and many of the conditions associated with intestinal inflammation can be helped with bone broth.”

  • Collagen and gelatin have been shown to benefit gastric ulcers. (1)
  • Proline is necessary for the formation of collagen.
  • Glycine improves digestion by increasing gastric acid secretion. (2)
  • Glutamine, also found in bone broth, is important metabolic fuel for cells in the small intestine.

Glutamine is also an excellent post workout supplement, helping you recover quickly afterwards.  My husband takes glutamine supplements 45 minutes before his MMA classes and it has really made a difference for him.

Unfortunately, for those on plant based/vegetarian diets, there is no direct equivalent source of collagen.  You might do some research to pinpoint the correct balance of amino acids you need to consume to stimulate your body to produce collagen.

All above quote and bulleted material is from www.bodyecology.com.  Non-quoted material is mine.

So, let’s now get into the nitty gritty of how I make my bone broth.  I’m sure everyone does things a bit differently.  I plan to be home all day when I make it.  Monday is a good day for me.

First, I choose bones that have been sustainably raised and are usually “organic.”  The important thing is to know what the animal has been eating.  We try hard to avoid animals who have been raised on genetically modified foods like corn and soy.  Knowing your farmer is the absolute best way to guarantee the quality of your meat and bones.  If you do not have that luxury (and I know I am sometimes spoiled) choose meat and bones from the store that are raised without hormones or in the case of turkey, one that has also not been injected with anything.  I waited too late to get my turkey this year and ended up with non-organic, but it was free range and didn’t have anything injected into it.  I am not a big turkey fan, but it was probably the best turkey I have ever had.  That might have something to do with how my Mom cooked it, though.  It was gorgeous!  Thanks, Mom!

In a large stock pot, I placed the turkey carcass, 12 cups of filtered water, 4 celery stalks, three large, peeled and trimmed carrots, a whole onion, quartered (leave the skin on for color), a bunch of cilantro (You can omit this or use any herb you like.  I’m a big fan of cilantro and I always have it in the frig.) and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  The vinegar helps extract the minerals from the bones.  You can use any type of vinegar, but I prefer to use Bragg’s ACV.  I let it cook all day, adding more filtered water if necessary.

Your broth should be golden colored when finished.  Before dinner, I strain all of the broth into canning jars, cool and freeze or refrigerate for the week.  Or, I strain some directly into a pot, re-use the now soft cooked vegetables and add meat from the bone broth or other meat I have set aside and some noodles and cook until noodles are soft.  I normally use quinoa or buckwheat noodles.  Then we have that for dinner. This wonderful for everyone’s digestion and a great thing to feed baby with all of those soft vegetables!

DSC01576

It’s possible to re-use your bones, especially if they are beef bones.  Just freeze them for another time and then add them to your pot frozen next time.  I do.

Bone broth has become my breakfast staple.  I just enjoyed a bowl of turkey bone broth soup for breakfast this morning.  I know it sounds strange, but it is a great way to break the fast and start my day.

I’ve read that others make bone broth in their crockpots.  My crockpots aren’t big enough for the amount I want to make to feed my family.  But I would encourage you to check into if it would work for you.

So, there you have it.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to make nourishing bone broth.  You need just some bones, a pot and some time.  Just do it.

6 Random Kitchen Tips for the Busy Mom

I haven’t had a whole lot of time to blog lately.  But I thought I would quickly share a few tips that have been helpful for me in the kitchen that may or may not be new to you.

Tip #1

We eat muffins a lot around here and I have found this to be  a great tool: my ice cream scooper.  Use an ice cream scooper to fill your muffin cups.  It’s the perfect size.

Tip #2

If you don’t like your hands smelling after you’ve worked with garlic, wash them and rub them on your metal faucet while washing.  It takes away the garlic smell.  I have no idea why, but it works.  Something about the metal neutralizes the garlic.

Tip #3

When baking or cooking, double or triple your batch and put the extra in the freezer.  Same effort yields more meals/snacks, and it  uses less power, too.  Plus you have instant meals ready to go.

Tip #4

Keep items in your pantry at all times that will make at least three meals.  I like to make meals in a basket, which I wrote about here.  However you do it, be sure that anyone in your family is able to make meals out of what you have on hand in an emergency/time crunch/what have you.

Tip #5

Train your kids to cook.  Our eldest two are coming along, although I would like to see them cooking full dinners for us very soon.  In my opinion, I’m a bit behind on this with them at 11 and 13 years old.  We’re working on it.

Tip #6

Prepare salads on the weekend that will keep in the frig through Tuesday or Wednesday.  Make them part of your meal plan.  Pasta salad, fruit salad and coleslaw are a few that keep pretty well.  You can then prepare more salads on Wednesday, rely on frozen veggies the rest of the week, or, if Wednesday is your shopping day (when the new ads start), you can change up your plan, buy fresh veggies, etc.