Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Making Bone Stock

I've had many requests to get this info out there so here you go...

Why make your own bone stock?
There are many blogs that answer this question already. For a good one go here
In my own words, basically its one of the most nutritious things you can do for you and your family. Its been traditionally used for centuries as a healer to the gut but you don't have to have gut issues to benefit from it. Home made beef stock (from pasture raised animals) has as much calcium as milk and tons of other vitamins and minerals. It is also loaded with lots of good fat that we all need. It is the staple of the diet we are following.

Commercial stock adds flavor to cooking but does contain anywhere near the health benefits and may even contain genetically modified organisms, MSG, and hormones.

How do you make your bone stock?
Again, there are many, better blogs out there that answer this question. Two I like are:
1. From GAPSters
2. From the Simple Dollar: this one talks about how to use all parts of the chicken and not waste anything.
3. From Simply Recipes: this one talks about roasting your meat bones first to get a good flavor

I have found that I like making it in the crock pot keeps our kitchen cooler and I don't have an open flame going all night.

I have also found that you shouldn't go light on the salt. Put in LOTS of salt.

Where do you get your bones?
The best place I've found is from Greenwood Farms at the Tower Grove Farmers Market. We go on Saturday mornings. You can buy a bag of backs and necks for about $2/lb. One bag makes about 3 mason jars of stock. You can also buy a bag of legs and thighs (also about $2/lb). One bag of these also makes about 3 mason jars and also lots of yummy chicken to pull off and eat for dinner or save for snacks/lunches. You can also make stock by boiling the whole chicken or using the bones after you've roasted and eaten the chicken.

Greenwood Farms will be supplying meat, pork, chicken and eggs throughout the winter. You call them at 800-253-6574 to place your order (by Thursday each week) and then you go pick it up on Saturday at a place on Kingshighway.

What do you do with your stock?
We drink it with our meals to aid the digestion of your food. Its supposed to act like a digestive enzyme. I send it in thermos straw cups with the kids to school for snack and lunch time. I make all kinds of soup with it. I boil vegetables in it. I freeze it in ice cube trays and pull out when I need to add flavor or in cup size containers to make soup later. I put it in Annabelle's bottle instead of milk.

Happy soup making!

GAPS diet: Kid's Day 1 & 2

All the kids started the diet yesterday. We've been talking to Tyler about it and he was all on board (in theory). I think he was still a little shocked when he sat down to a breakfast of chicken soup. Grayson was not happy about his soup and neither ate very much. I sent them off to school with their thermos' of chicken stock and little snack coolers with boiled chicken and broccoli. Oh, how I never wanted to be "that family."

I was positive as they day went on. Their teachers were on board with their new snacks and didn't look at me like I had five heads when I explained they would be drinking broth while their friends had kool-aid. When I picked Gray up, his teacher said he ate all his snack and asked for more broth. He and AB both downed their zucchini soup at lunch. I felt great victory.

Then, Tyler's teacher called in the afternoon to say Tyler had been sitting at the table with his head down and asking to go home. My mom went to pick him up. She is here for a few days, which is so wonderful. I couldn't have done this last two days without her. He fell asleep on the way home, then threw up all night and all day the next day (yesterday).

When I brought Gray and Tyler their breakfast yesterday morning, they looked at me and both started vomiting at the same time. I was literally still holding their bowls in shock. I ran to get a trash can and had to alternate between the two of them. This went on the whole day. Tyler; probably over 10 times throughout the day and Gray; probably 6 times throughout the night. We had to change his PJS, blankets, and sheets each time. We pretty much spent the whole day doing laundry and cleaning up. Please pray that this is the worst of it and it is over.

Apparently, this is a pretty common reaction to the start of the diet. Its called "die off." I'm on a yahoo group which has been very helpful to talk to other families and get encouragement. Everyone seems to think this is normal and part of healing. Its the body getting rid of all the toxins.

Tyler ate some eggs, peas and a little bit of broth this morning. Gray just woke up.

Please pray against an aversion to soups, especially broth. Tyler thinks that is what is making him sick. It is a staple to healing the gut and he needs it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

GAPS diet: Days 5-9

It has been a very hard week. I've been continuing on the intro stage of this diet. To answer some questions: There are five stages to the intro to move through before going full into the diet. I'm on stage one. The time frame for moving through each stage is different for each individual. I've been confused as to when to move on to the next stage. I finally emailed one of the gals who works closely with the doc and she told me to move forward even though I'm still having symptoms.

My symptoms have decreased and I'm not in pain so that is a good sign. I was expecting to be symptom free before moving forward but I'm realizing that my not happen for a very long time. Once I'm on the full GAPS diet I can probably expect it to be a couple of years before I can start eating normally again.

I'm just really mourning the loss of good food. Brian has been such an encouragement. Every couple of days I say that I'm going to quit and that this isn't worth it and he reminds me it isn't forever and going back to how I was feeling isn't an option. I just keep trying to remember that at the end of this I should be able to eat more foods than I've been able to eat in a long time (not that I didn't eat those foods anyway...they just put me in a lot of pain).

We are starting the diet with the kids next Tuesday. I sat down with Tyler and explained to him all about the good gut flora and sick flora and what the flora's job is in our intestines. I showed him pictures and explained that I loved him very much and I wanted him to have all the good flora he could get. He was very on board and is actually excited to start "soup day." He was even more excited when I explained that after a long time he might be able to eat soy and milk again if we could build enough good stomach germs. He keeps talking about how when he's seven and we go to Minnesota he'll be able to eat ice cream. Please pray for that to come true. I would love for my boys to be free of their food intolerances.

I've been experiencing another round of die off. This is also known as the healing crisis. Its basically when your symptoms get worse before they get better. My eczema on my face is so bad it hurts and there are days I can barely open my eyes they are so swollen. Fatigue and lethargy are also some of my die off symptoms. Some days I feel like I can barely stand up. But, I have to. Someone has to cook all this soup!

Thank you for notes and call of encouragement. I know I will need even more next week when the kids start with me. If anyone has an urge to cook something for Brian, we would both be so grateful. Poor guy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

GAPS Diet: Day 3 & 4

Today (Day 4) was easier. Partly because its Monday and I'm busier than we were over the weekend so my mind isn't as filled with food fantasies. It was also easier because my cravings seem to be lessening. I made a better soup yesterday, I ate the whole thing; probably 7 bowls. I was really hungry. I'm still experiencing symptoms so I did more research and realized I wasn't following the into diet completely correctly. I need to start with a bone stock base and add one vegetable at a time.

The following vegetables are the easiest to digest and where I'll start. If anyone has any soup recipes you like or think I could adjust, please pass them on.
Artichoke, French
Bok Choy
Brussels sprouts
Collard greens
Ginger root, fresh
Mushrooms (some say folks with candida overgrowth should avoid)
Peppers (green, yellow, red, and orange)
Squash, Spaghetti
String beans
Turnips (caution re: fibre)

I made this soup today. It turned out pretty good, I used too much salt and like most of my soups its too thin. I copied it from the blog Thinking Outside the Box

Broccoli and Garlic Soup – simple but tasty soups for GAPS Intro

  • broccoli (1 lb / 450g)
  • broth (1 litre)
  • garlic (3 large cloves)
  • onions (2 medium size)
  • salt (3/4 tsp or to taste)
  • freshly ground peppercorns (3/4 tsp or to taste – pretty finely ground)

Wash the broccoli and cut into florets. Later, on GAPS intro, I also used the peeled, chopped stalk, but not early on. Peel the garlic cloves and peel and chop the onion coarsely. Place them all in a pan. Sprinkle over the salt and the freshly ground (this REALLY makes a difference!) peppercorns.

Add the broth and bring to simmering point. Put a lid on and simmer gently for about 25 minutes. Blend, dust with ground pepper and serve.

Alternatively you can add the garlic at the end of simmering and bring back to the boil briefly before blending. This method increases the health benefits from the garlic but I prefer the flavor when the garlic is included from the start of cooking.

Easy Breakfast

Dutch Babies (like pancakes baked in oven)
Here is the basic recipe:
2/3 c. milk
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix all together, pour into greased pie pan or 8 X 8 pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until brown on top. Sprinkle with sugar and serve with fresh fruit and yogurt.

Here are my variations:
2/3 c. coconut milk (So Delicious Brand found at Whole Foods)
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. sea salt (I've learned that coarse sea salt is far superior than refined table salt)
2 local, range fed eggs

The night before, pour 1 Tbsp of lemon juice into measuring cup. Fill up measuring cup with coconut milk until it measure 2/3 cup (This is my version of buttermilk). Mix in flour. Cover and let soak overnight. (I'll post later on the benefits of soaking grains). In the morning add eggs and salt and bake. I greased my pan with coconut oil to avoid bad vegetable fats and dairy. (I'll post later on the good and bad fats).

I served it this morning cut into strips with a bowl of honey to dip in. They loved it! I also had the thought of cutting it in squares and spreading something yummy (peanut butter, fried bananas, etc) in between two pieces as a breakfast sandwich.

You could also add applesauce, mashed bananas or other yummy stuff into the batter before baking.

Any other ideas?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

GAPS diet, day 1 & 2

These have been difficult days, to say the least. I've decided to follow the GAPS diet. I'll post later more on what the philosophy of GAPS is all about. In the mean time if you would like to find out more take a look at: or If you struggle at all with GI issues, if your child has allergies or food sensitivities, or has SI issues or is on the autism spectrum then you need to just take a look to see what you think.

So here is what my diet has consisted of:
1. Bone Stock (beef and chicken). I've learned how to make this myself and pretty much have a pot on the stove making some type of stock all the time now. I supposed to drink cups of it with and in between meals but I can't stomach the taste of broth by itself. It reminds me too much of being sick as a child. Bone stock will continue to be a staple in my diet. "Meat stock aids digestion and has been known for centuries as a healing folk remedy for the digestive tract. Also bone-stock meat is extremely nourishing, it is full of minerals, vitamins, amino-acids and various other nutrients in a very bio-available form." GAPS. I'll post later on how I've learned to make it. This was my very first step in the diet overhaul process.
2. Boiled meat and non-starchy vegetables. I'm trying to make soups with these. I've made four different soups and I only liked one of them. It would really help if I were a good cook.
3. Ginger, mint, and chamomile tea.
4. Juice from fermented vegetables. I know that sounds crazy and I'll post on that later. Its not too bad and has great probiotic value.

That's it.

Can you see why its been a hard couple of days. All I can think about is the Chick-Fil-A add I watched on TV. I can feel the hot grease squirting into my mouth as I take my first bite of their fried chicken sandwich. The cravings I've had today are harder than any craving I felt the first week off sugar. I don't crave sugar right now though...that's a positive.

I'm supposed to be on this introduction diet until my GI symptoms normalize. Pray it goes fast.
To read the full GAPS intro diet click here

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Last Cupcake

My ability to cook has grown over the years. Many of you know and love to story of me cooking brownies in high school and when the box said "mix by hand" I literally stuck my hand in the batter and mixed by hand. That was the season in life when my diet consisted of cereal, Hungry Man Fried Chicken TV dinners, and buttered corn in the school lunch room. The only vegetables I ate were my grandma's green beans, creamed corn, occasionally cooked carrots and peas. I can still remember ordering roasted vegetables for the first time at a restaurant with my friend Lauren...I was in my mid-20's. I was so surprised how good they tasted. I can remember the first time I tried cooked broccoli and liked it was also in my mid-20's at the Sweeney's.

I share all this to express that I am not historically a health nut and I have very little experience in the kitchen.

Last week, when I was overwhelmed with the gap between where we were and where I wanted to be I decided to make a list of baby steps. I wanted to pick a first step that did not require new cooking skills or recipes. So, on September 10th I gave up sugar. Annabelle turned one on the 9th and I savored every bite of my last piece of sugar, my last cupcake. The next day I tossed out the left over cupcakes and when there was icing on my finger I washed it off in the sink instead of licking it. That's when I knew this was serious.

I am addicted to sugar. I can not eat small amounts. If there is a pastry sitting on my counter I will eat all of it before the day is over, it doesn't matter what size. It doesn't even matter if I know its something Brian will really want when he gets home. I try. I try to save it for him but I have no self-control. This is one of the reasons I know I need to give it up.

I'm also giving it up because I think it makes me sick. Everything I'm reading, regardless of how much opinions agree on something else, they all agree sugar is bad for you...especially refined sugar (table sugar) and even worse; high fructose corn syrup. Your gut is full of good bugs and most of us have guts that also host the bad bugs. The bad bugs feed on sugar, refined grains, and yeast. The normal western diet is full of processed foods which are foods that have been changed so much from their natural state that they often don't taste very good so sugar is added to make us want to buy them. And that's just normal food, not solely sweet items. Take a look at the boxes and cans in your cupboard. I will be surprised if you can find many things without sugar in them.

A child or adult who eats a diet high in difficult-to-digest carbohydrates such as grains and processed foods will continue to encourage the underlying condition of gut dysbiosis. Dr. Campbell-McBride states that people with damaged flora will crave the very foods that support the survival of the unhealthy bacteria, often to the exclusion and refusal of others.”

I know there are some of you out there who have already done this and if you have ideas on what to eat when you have a sweet tooth, please comment below and share your recipes. I would especially love something kid friendly.

If you are not ready to totally kick out sugar then here are some ideas:

In the latest Wise Traditions, Sally Fallon gives these suggestions:

  • If you want something sweet, eat a piece of fruit, not a candy bar labeled as a “health food”.
  • Use sweeteners that are known to be safer. For uncooked dishes, unheated raw honey or dates work well. For cooked dishes or sweet drinks, a good organic maple syrup, or even freshly juiced apple juice or orange juice can provide delicious and relatively safe sweetness; dehydrated cane sugar juice or maple sugar may be used in moderation in cookies and desserts that contain nutritious ingredients and good fats such as butter, egg yolks and nuts.
  • One should limit total sweetener consumption to less than five percent of daily calories.
  • Many people do best by avoiding sweeteners completely.
Here is info copied from one of my favorite blogs This links below won't connect you to anything because I just copied and pasted them but if you want to view this same information on her blog so you can activate the links it is

These are in order from best choices to the worst choices:

  1. No refined sugar is best, and only small amounts of natural sugars. (Hopefully someday I’ll get there!)
  2. Stevia, rapadura, sucanat, maple syrup, maple sugar, honey, coconut or palm sugar, molasses, dates – these are all the least refined, the most natural, and contain the most nutrients - more info below about some of these natural sweeteners.)
  3. Turbinado, organic regular sugar (this one is a little better because organic has no GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) from the sugar beets), evaporated cane juice
  4. Regular refined white table sugar or brown sugar (see above about GMOs) - refined sugars have no nutrients left in them at all…
  5. Avoid: high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, xylitol, erythritol, artificial sugars (Splenda, Nutrasweet, etc. – it’s better to use small amounts of real sweeteners above than to use these fake sugars.)

What I’ve (Kelly the Kitchen Kop) learned:

  • I haven’t had much luck with Stevia, so I’m afraid to experiment more. Please comment and tell us what you like it in.
  • Rapadura or sucanat is great for some things, like cinnamon toast or to sweeten a sauce, but I have found it to give baked goods too strong a taste. However, I just tried Ann Marie’s sucanat and hers tastes milder than my rapadura, and she has good luck with it in baked goods, so maybe it’s just a brand difference! Be sure to experiment to find what you like.
  • Ann Marie also just had me try her organic evaporated palm sugar and it’s so good! I could use that to replace 100% of the refined sugar in cookies and it would taste exactly the same! I’m so excited about this, because I’ve still used some refined sweeteners in my recipes if I couldn’t get them to taste good otherwise, but this may get me totally away from refined sweeteners!
  • Molasses is a sweetener with a strong taste, I use a little in the nut bar recipe that I’m posting soon – what have you had good luck with it in?
  • As I said last time, this chocolate mousse is a great recipe using dates as the sweetener. You process them up really small and they give a good flavor.
  • Maple syrup (or maple sugar) is great for the ooey gooey layer in the bottom of the pan of cinnamon rolls, in homemade ice cream, to give smoothies a little sweet taste, and in homemade applesauce!
  • I like raw honey in my homemade bread, in a homemade hot fudge sauce or chocolate fudge, and to substitute part of the sugar in cookie recipes, but if I substitute it for all the sugar, the honey taste takes over.
  • I don’t worry so much about the tiny amounts of xylitol in gum or toothpaste, but maybe I should…any thoughts?
  • Often you can drastically cut the amount of sugar in a recipe without anyone noticing.

Other information on sweeteners:

  • Passionate Homemaking has good info on the difference between rapadura vs. sucanat!
  • The Nourishing Gourmet has more information on palm sugar and the glycemic index of these sugars (in the comments section).
  • More info on these natural sweeteners:
    • Blackstrap Molasses is approximately 65 percent as sweet as sugar and can be used in both cooking and baking. Blackstrap molasses is an excellent source of manganese and copper, and also contains iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin B6.
    • Maple syrup is most widely known as a topping for pancakes and waffles, but it’s also a natural sweetener that can be used in baking and is a good source of magnesium and zinc. Maple syrup is about 60 percent as sweet as sugar. Maple syrup can cause blood sugar levels to rise, so those with diabetes should use it sparingly.
    • Raw Honey is a natural sweetener that has powerful disease-protecting antioxidants that are thought to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Honey is 25 to 50 percent sweeter than sugar and can be used in cooking, baking, and beverages. As with maple syrup, honey can cause a spike in blood sugar levels and should be used sparingly by those with diabetes. (Note: Do not give honey to children under one year of age as it may put younger children at risk for botulism.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why We're Doing What We're Doing

Here are the basics for why we're changing the way we're eating.

I have had severe eczema since I was an infant and continue to struggle with it, I've had little breaks throughout my life where it hasn't been that bad but it is currently moderately severe on my face and neck. I've had IBS since I was 10 and discovered in my 20s that when I limited dairy it helped significantly with my gut issues. When I graduated college I saw many doctors to see if someone could pinpoint a way to cure my eczema and why I was always getting sick and was always so tired. No one could help.

I continued searching for someone to help until I had my first child in 2004. He has reflux that was alleviated when I completely cut dairy out of my diet ( I was nursing). We have always kept him on limited dairy.

In 2007 after the birth of my second son, my IBS symptoms increased greatly. I got to where I was in pain everyday. I also suffered from gall bladder attacks. After many months of tests under a GI I was on the road to have my gall bladder removed when I got pregnant with our third child. She was a surprise blessing in so many ways. Because I was pregnant I reached out of the common western medicine and sought out a natural approach to my symptoms. I started seeing a natural pathologist in 2008. With diet and supplements we were able to alleviate the gall bladder symptoms but my IBS symptoms still reside and are often debilitating. It has recently been suggested by my natural pathologist that I might have a Fructose Intolerance.

My boys struggle as well. Tyler (5) reached a crisis point in his behavior in Jan 2009 leading us to pulling him from his preschool, starting OT and completely eliminating dairy and soy from his diet. His behavior is consistent with a child with ADHD (I also have been dx with ADD). Grayson (2) had chronic ear infections and was put on many antibiotics in his first year. This led to intense diarrhea (up to 12 a day) until he was about 15mo. when we started him on a probiotic and the number of BMs decreased. He still struggles with 1-4 a day.

My husband read the book The Omnivore's Delima and is personally convicted on the idea of buying our meat and eggs from organic, local farmers. He feels that we need to care for animals in the way God intended us to care for them by letting them live and eat as they were created.

The more I read about I current food system and the unnatural way food is by the time it comes to our homes, I am convinced I need to be making most of our food. I know that sounds so extreme and I'm not sure how that will happen but I believe in it.

Here are some of the links that I have been reading and have helped my research:

The Gut and Psychology Syndrome
This has been the most helpful. I am planning to follow their suggested diet. The main idea here is that all disease starts in the gut. Heal the gut and you heal the body/brain

Robyn O'Brian's site which talks about our current food system and how it contributes to our most common diseases

The Body Ecology Diet This has also been extremely helpful. I have read her book and it is much in line with The GAP philosophy.

KellytheKitchenKop This is a great blog and where I first heard about the GAPS diet

Cheeseslave Another great blog of a woman with a 1.5 yr old which has given me very different ideas on how to feed Annabelle

The First Post

I can't believe I'm blogging. Until about a month ago, I wasn't even really sure how the whole blog thing was. I'm still not entirely sure how the whole thing works. But, I am starting one nonetheless.

I am changing the entire way our family eats...starting with me (baby steps). I have had many questions about this from friends and especially friends that struggle with some of the same health issues themselves or with their children.

It's been on my heart to start this blog for a few reasons. 1) It might be therapeutic as I am very overwhelmed by the amount of info and the new way of cooking, shopping, etc. 2)I need a way to organize my thoughts for myself 3)It might help someone else wanting to make changes in their health or their family's 4)I need help. So many people have offered to help and don't really know how to and I don't know what to ask for. Maybe as I am posting things, someone will have some great ideas on how they can contribute.

So, here we go...