Thursday, October 21, 2010

Being instead of doing

So the visit this week with the specialist was not what I expected. It reminded me why we decided to stop going down the traditional medical road. What the doctor said was, in a sense, what I wanted to hear...I do not need to worry about Grayson's diarrhea, I don't need to worry about his huge bloated belly, I don't need to worry about undigested food in his BMs, and I should feed him everything. The problem is he said this without putting a hand on Grayson, not looking at him for more than 2 seconds, not letting me finish a sentence, not reading Gray's medical history, and telling me that he will have Irritable Bowel Syndrome his whole life. He rolled his eyes at the idea of an imbalance in the gut flora theory. He said that what we eat makes no difference in our digestive system. He said I myself do not have lactose intolerance because I am of German heritage. There were many gross generalizations made and seemingly unfounded conclusions.

But I don't want to discount that he is a well respected doctor and at 78 years old, has to have much wisdom. He said that Gray does not have any of "their diseases." I believe that, and I'm thankful we went to see him to hear that and I can now remove that nagging thought in the back of my head that he has some chromosomal disorder going on. Going through Gray's medical history was helpful for me to realize how many things have improved.

He doesn't have a disease but is he in optimal health? I don't know. When you go out of the traditional medical model there is much talk about optimal health. That is the driving force behind most diet and nutrition gurus. There is even a sense that if you do everything right (i.e. perfect diet, correct supplements, all toxic avoidance) you can have perfect health. It can be a crazy trap for someone like me who wants to do everything right. I have had to step back many times and remind myself that we are in a fallen world. Things in this world are broken. Many things are beautiful but nothing is perfect. We have the promise that God will restore the world and our bodies back to perfection. But its a promise of things to come, not what we will experience on this earth.

My kids are not perfect. I can not make them perfect. I can not be the perfect mother. There is a not a perfect discipline tactic that if I follow perfectly will produce well behaved children. There is a not a perfect set of activities that if I complete in a week will make my children smart. There is not a perfect way to teach my children about the Bible or memorize versus that will ensure they feel loved by God and love others. AND...there is not a perfect diet or program or medicine that will ensure my children never get sick or never experience pain.

When I got home from the doctor's visit, I had a wonderful talk with Brian. It was mostly about the things I've just been talking about. I realize there is a part of my heart that is seeking to control things I can't control because it gives me a sense of security. But it is a false sense of security. I am going to drive myself crazy and I'm going to miss out on enjoying these years with my kids if I try to find my security in "fixing" them.

Yet, I am their mom, and I can't ignore issues if they are there. Balance. That is what I am trying to find. How to move forward when I think I need to to care for them, while at the same time resting in knowing that they are more than cared for by God.

Being instead of doing.

I don't have a master plan for where to go from here and I like that. We are already at the stage in our diet when we can start to add in some more foods so we'll slowly start to work our way into more and more variety. For the most part, my kids are doing great and I am going to choose to focus on their awesomeness. I am going to drink more water during the day...not because I am "supposed to" but because it is relaxing and it makes me slow down. I am going to sit still more. I am going to try to find a hobby. I am going to delete all 1200 unread emails in my inbox and not worry about trying to get to them all. I am going to try to think about just today. I am going to be a mom to my babies. I am going to enjoy my husband. I am going to rest.

We have a God who offers to take our burdens, I might as well take advantage of that.

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness" Lamentations 3:22-23

Monday, October 18, 2010

On the Road Again

I take Grayson to see a specialist tomorrow at the Diagnostic Clinic at Children's Hospital. It was recommended that we take Gray to see this "jack of all trades" about a year and half ago by our ENT and then confirmed by the GI specialist. The collective reasoning was to see if there was an underlining diagnosis that would explain all the many health problems he has, something like a chromosomal thing.

At the time, Brian and I decided not to take him. We had just finished 6 months of various exams and tests that were hard on Gray (and me) and very expensive. All coming out normal. At the time, we did not feel we were getting anywhere on the traditional medical road so that was when we decided to put all our efforts into nutrition and diet changes.

We have been on the GAPS protocol for a year now (I plan to write a post on reflections of this year soon). Grayson has greatly improved but still experiences many of the same symptoms that we have no explanation for. A few weeks ago, he started a new (probably unrelated) symptom of frequent urination. REALLY frequent! Our doctor decided to test him for diabetes. After a very, very long week of waiting for test results, we found out the tests came back negative.

I'm so thankful for those results and I'm not too worried about the high amounts of urination. I do wonder about God's sense of humor sometimes. I have said for a while now that the majority of my work and chaos of daily life revolves mostly around bodily fluids and that my life would seem much calmer if everyone could keep their fluids inside their body or in the appropriate waste receptacle. At the season of my life when I think I might be able to potty train my youngest and burn the diaper champ, we now are buying more (bigger) diapers and the bodily fluids have increased! Ha, ha...

The week of not knowing was very difficult. I just hate not knowing what is wrong with my babies! I pray a lot for wisdom and guidance. Everyone has an idea, a pill, a method, a test, a treatment. There are so many options, all of which are expensive and may lead you to a dead end. We've been on so many roads and I'm not sure sometimes if we've even moved from where we've started. How do I know when to try a new road, to persevere down the one we're on, or if I'm even following all the directions?

All of this to say: I'm going down this medical road...again...for a while. I'm sure this doc will order many tests, which, because of our sucky insurance, will cost us greatly and may not give us any answers. He may diagnose him with something that makes no difference to his treatment or how we love him. He may also provide a piece to the puzzle. He may be able to tell me one small instruction. I've decided either way, its worth a journey down this road.

What I feel like God has pressed on my heart this past two weeks is that it is good and right and part of how he made me to fight for my kids. I feel crazy sometimes, and sometimes I am. But other times I am deeply in love with a God who is deeply in love with me and my kids. And when I remember how deeply he loves them I remember that if I never have answers I can still find rest while continuing on the road.

Here is a summary of Grayson's road that I had to type up for the specialist appointment tomorrow:


  • low body temperature, taken to special care nursery in warmer, temperature did not change, taken to PICU temp raised (all lasting about 12-16 hours, formula given in PICU)
  • cried the most of the hospital stay. Difficulty sleeping even when held. Difficulty nursing
  • Nursing at home, continued to have sleeping difficulties. Cried at all times of day and at all times of being awake. Could not sleep for more than 10-15 minutes without waking up with a piercing cry and body wincing. Appeared to be in pain most of the time.


  • Started Prevacid, made little change in temperament
  • Eliminated Dairy in mothers diet which helped some
  • Mom did a elimination diet (Dr. Sears) for 2 weeks
  • Challenged dairy with noticeable negative reaction
  • Colic type behavior continued until 4 months then much better
  • Continued to have reflux “burps” with the sound of food coming up and going back down, frequent hiccups
  • Soy and Dairy avoided by mom
  • Ear infections started around 4 months and were continuous (around 6 in 4 months)
  • High amounts of drooling
  • Frequent illnesses
  • Developmental milestones met WNL with noted Hypotonia

December -January 08 (9 months)

  • Tube surgery after multiple ear infections
  • Mother became pregnant which eliminated breast milk
  • Started on predigested dairy formula…eczema, increase in reflux burps and diarrhea started
  • Switched to soy formula and seemed to do great with formed bowel movements
  • Continued to have large amounts of drool, open mouth breathing and gagging with solid food (not initial pureed food but later chewable foods)

March 08 (11 months)

  • Frequent diarrhea returns (10-12 large, loose or mushy stools a day with a very foul odor) Stools often not held by the diaper due to consistency and/or volume. Food particles and mucus in stool
  • Continued to have multiple ear infections after tube surgery
  • Frequent illnesses
  • Continued high amounts of drool and open mouth breathing

June 08 (14 months)

  • Fitted by Physical Therapist at St. John’s hospital for orthodics due to hypotonia and late stage walking
  • Switched to rice milk at a year
  • IgA blood and skin testing done at SL Children’s Hospital-negative results
  • Celiac blood test-negative
  • IgG blood testing with following results:
    • 3+ reaction to garlic
    • 2+ reaction to peanut
    • 2+ reaction to soy
    • 1+ reaction to rice
    • Very Low reaction to almond, cane sugar, cow’s milk, goat’s milk, lentil, pineapple, tuna, beef, cheddar cheese, egg white, grape, oat, sweet potato, turkey, buckwheat, cod, egg yolk, grapefruit, orange, sesame, zucchini, cabbage, cottage cheese, gluten, lamb, pea, string bean
  • Attempted cow’s milk with strong negative reaction (intense stomach pains and listlessness).
  • Stools remain same (10-12 large, loose, food and mucous), reflux burps continue, drooling continues, gagging with food continues, eczema continues

August 08 (16 months)

  • Dietician consultation. Barb Lindeman advises to stay away from 3+ and 2+ foods but not to try to avoid 1+ or Very Low reaction foods. Increase fat, Carbohydrates, Vitamin D, and calcium
  • Gastroenterologist visit. Dr. Elizabeth Utterson orders Upper GI and small bowel follow through—done at SLCH—results normal
  • Start probiotic
  • Reflux burps improve
  • Diarrhea decreases in frequency 2-4/day. Not as loose.

December 08

  • Digestive Stool Analysis done-increased cholesterol in stool, no Lactobacilli noted

January 09

  • Soft Neck Tissue Xray at St. John’s notes adenoid enlargement

March 09

  • Adenoid and Tonsils removed
  • Drooling and open mouth breathing improve
  • Stools continue at 2-3/day large, mushy, food and mucous in stool
  • Continues to need orthodics due to hypotonia
  • Congestion continues
  • Eczema continues

September 09

  • Begin strict diet with elimination of sugar, grains, dairy, soy. Diet high in meats, vegetables and good fats.
  • Increase EFAs and add cultured vegetables and digestive enzymes
  • Skin turns orange in color for months
  • Catches a virus that caused vomiting and resulting dehydration-hospitalized for 3 days because he continued to be listless and often unresponsive. White blood cell count high enough to cause concern. Discharged when his count lowered and he would eat a couple bites of food.

April 10

  • Stools start to improve. Move to 1-2/day. Begin to see some formed stool with intermittent soft/mushy and intermittent diarrhea. Continue to see undigested food and mucous. Stool floats and is oily and dark in color.
  • Eczema eliminated

May 10

  • Anitbiotic started due to ear infection
  • Stools improve greatly. Start to see formed stools the majority of the time.

October 10

  • Begin urinating with high frequency (4-8 times an hour) with increase in thirst
  • Blood test for diabetes-negative
  • Stool continues to be soft, mush with intermittent formed stools. Undigested food continues to be seen in stool at much lesser degree and not as often. Mucous noted occasionally when stool is looser and more foul smelling. Occasionally looses stool when passing gas or throughout the day.
  • Distended belly gets larger through the day.
  • Has a large appetite and can be insatiable even after large amounts of nutrient dense food.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Apple Pie

I have been avoiding cooking for a while now. I cook what I have to to get us by but I have been making the same few meals and have not baked anything for the kids. ("not cooking" is a very relative term...I use it to compare to the 2-6 hours a day I was spending). Thankfully I have an incredible church community that has rallied around our family to get us through this GAPS protocol. We have one more year to go.

I found a new blog that has inspired me to get back into cooking more and providing more healthy variety for the kids. She follows the SCD diet which is very similar to the GAPS protocol. Almost all her recipes are make with almond flour. I learned from her today that there is a difference in almond flours. I have been using Trader Joe's Almond Meal which is much cheaper then the Bob's Red Mill that Whole Foods carries. She recommends baking with blanched almond flour because the finer texture allows for more rise and a fluffier texture. She give many recommendations for where to buy more economical almond flour. I just bought 5lbs at $6 a pound at Much cheeper than my choice at Whole Foods but still more than my current TJ's brand. Its worth it to me right now as I am hoping to make a baked good Tyler is excited about.

So today I made my first apple pie...ever. I used my Trader Joe's Almond meal and it worked fine. I'm excited to try it with the blanched almond flour to see if it makes a difference. We ate it for dessert tonight and even Brian loved it. (Annabelle had just the filling to avoid the eggs in the crust). I followed the recipe from Comfybelly. I used clarified butter instead of butter to make it dairy free. I also forgot to peel the apples. When I realized it I decided just leave the peels. That is the only part of the pie we didn't like. This may be obvious to everyone, (but since I have such little experience with cooking it was not to me) you really need to peel the apples.

To anyone following the GAPS protocol or suffering from any Inflammatory Bowel Disease, you will find Comfybelly a gold mine. For everyone else, I would encourage you to consider trying out some almond flour. Its easy to digest, lowers cholesterol, provides more vitamins and minerals than wheat flour, is high in protein, and a good source of fiber. The almond meal from Trader Joe's is very economical and states on the package you can substitute it for up to 50% of all-purpose flour in any recipe.

Happy Alternative Baking!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Morning Smoothie

My oldest started kindergarten last week so we have been in a big state of transition. Our diet has needed to adjust as well. Tyler's school serves breakfast so every morning I send in 2 snacks, a breakfast, and a lunch. I'm hoping to post soon some of the fun lunches and lunch systems I've found as I've been preparing for the last month.

Anyway, I've decided to start doing smoothies for breakfast and then I'll send something for his breakfast to school. I think it will make our morning go faster than cooking a big breakfast and then I'll know he'll get a large serving of vegetables.

I was inspired by this article from the Body Ecology Diet website on healthy breakfast ideas. You'll find more recipes there for more smoothies and other breakfasts.

Here is the smoothie we had this morning (it was a hit):

Juice made from 4-5 carrots and 2 celery stalks run through the juicer
1 medium zucchini
2 handfuls of raw spinach
1 green apple
1 cup of frozen broccoli
3 Tbsp of nut/seed oil blend
1/2-1/4 cup of Coconut Milk Kiefer

Next time I think I'll add some liquid from our cultured vegetables to add some probiotics.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Quick, easy lunch

I seem to always forget about this easy option for lunch and when I remember its like a light beaming through the dark clouds. Do you have those clouds? The clouds of: I forgot to plan for something, there is nothing in the fridge, and I don't feel like cooking.

It only requires 2 ingredients and I usually have them in the freezer. It takes less than 10 minutes. It is very nutritious and healing for the tummy and builds the immune system. Are you dying to know? Its, Pea Soup. Kind of a let down after all that build-up, isn't it? You aren't going to win many friends by inviting them over for "Pea Soup." But, if you can get over the name, the green color, and the fact that its probably the top meal served at nursing homes, I think you'll love it as much as we do. Here is the recipe:

Pea Soup
One bag of frozen green peas
Chicken Stock

I make ours in the VitaMix so you if you do not have one you'll have to adjust. First I dump the entire bag of peas into the containter. (You can reserve some to put in after the soup is done for garnish). Then I add enough chicken stock to meet the top of the peas. (This is usually about 3 cups). I add about 1TBsp of sea salt and blend. I blend for about 5 minutes until hot. That's it!

As I am typing my kids have asked for more soup 4 times.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Yoda Bars

My cousin Laura has been making these yummy bars for us for a while. I originally found the recipe at the blog Thinking Outside the Box.

She calls her granola-type bar: Walnut, Coconut & Cinnamon Bars. We have termed them Yoda bars because Laura served them as such at her son's Star Wars themed 5th birthday party. My kids love them, they are freezable, portable and just delicious. We have a hard time keeping them around. Here is the recipe (if you want to see step-by-step photos go here:

  • 1 & ½ cups of dates

  • 1 cup of walnuts

  • 2/3 cup of desiccated coconut

  • ½ tsp cinnamon


Soak the walnuts for several hours and dehydrate until dry and ‘crispy’ (about 24 hours).

Place the dates in a food processor and work until they are completely mashed and form a ball. Place into a mixing bowl. Next pulse the walnuts and coconut in the food processor until they become pretty fine but not a flour. Add this to the mixing bowl together with the cinnamon.

I do this in the VitaMix. I do the walnuts and coconut first and do not rinse. The nut powder helps the dates not stick so much. Then, cut up dates first and put in 2-3 at a time. Run in the dry container if you have one at speed 7.

Working with your hands knead the ingredients together well. Then divide the mixture into six equal sized balls.

Mould each ball into the shape of a bar with with your hands. Then using a piece of non-stick paper on a flat surface press the bar against the surface on each of its edges to form a fabulous firm bar shape!

Repeat with each ball of mixture.

Wrap the bar in a piece of non-stick or greaseproof paper and seal with a little tape. Refrigerate. If freezing, put in freezable bag.

The recipe makes 6 bars. I have made another two varieties with pecans or brazil nuts instead of walnuts.

GAPS update and our little adaptations

I know it has been forever since I've last posted. I've noticed that is a common theme among GAPS bloggers. When I visit another GAPS blog and see that they haven't posted in a very long time I feel an instant connection to them. I am pretty sure I know what they are going through. Following GAPS does not permit you much time for anything else. So hats off to you GAPS bloggers that manage to blog regularly and follow the are amazing! For the rest of you: hang in there, we'll make it! If you are anything like me, it is also hard to blog when you are not feeling "rah, rah, rah" about the protocol. So, if you are following my blog and I haven't written in a while it is probably an indication that I am struggling with being fully on board with this crazy thing. I am constantly re-evaluating this approach and its practicality in our family.

We are beginning our 11th month on GAPS. I should clarify that the kids are the only ones that have been consistently on the protocol for the entire time. I have decided that I can not stick so strictly to it at this time in my life. It is too hard to plan for my meals and theirs. I am allowing myself freedom but I am also trying to eat as best as I can.

Honestly...The trying started yesterday. For the 2 months prior to yesterday (the 2 months I was not blogging), I have been eating everything in site. Needless to say, I don't feel the greatest.

So, here is to a new start at a road of moderation for me. For the kids, things are going great! Tyler hardly ever shows signs of hyperactivity, impulsivity, high irritability, sensory defensiveness, rigidity, etc (at least not more than most 6 year olds). All of their stools have normalized for the majority of the time. They all still have very distended bellies after meals and there are still days when diarrhea strikes and because I don't take records, I really don't know why. While many people that follow the GAPS protocol take data religiously, I have come to terms with the fact that that will not work for me. I can not do that, and I am okay with not doing this protocol perfectly. For me, if I stress out about doing it perfectly it is too overwhelming to do at all.

So, for those GAPS purists that will be aghast at my following list of adaptations: close your eyes. For anyone else following GAPS that is overwhelmed or on the verge of quitting, here are some of the adaptations we make:
-Applegate Farms Organic Chicken Hot Dogs (we eat at least once a week now)
-Trader Joes Raw Almond Butter instead of making my own
-Trader Joes Almond Meal instead of grinding my own almond flour
-Whole Foods Brand all fruit jelly
-canned coconut milk with guar gum (guar gum is a no-no on the protocol)
-baking special occasion treats with baking soda and/or baking powder
-baking special occasion treats with organic cocoa
-commercially available dried fruit and fruit leathers with no sugar
-most of our vegetables are not organic (we can't afford it otherwise)
-Spectrum Canola Oil Mayo

That is all I can think of now; I'm sure there are more. Its good to be back blogging again and hopefully I will be a little more regular. I have lots of new recipes to share.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

REAL Pancakes!

It's been a while since I've done any baking. Mostly because its a lot of work and the kids will gobble up 30 minutes of work in about 3 minutes. I am also really limited in recipes as we can not tolerate any sweetener, even honey. Also, about half of the new recipes I try end up failing. It would help if I was a better cook. I don't have that natural skill..maybe someday.

Well, I was motivated to get some freezable snacks for our vacation in a couple of months. Even though its about 90 degrees in my kitchen today, I decided to do a mass baking day. It was a successful cooking day.

Tyler helped (which means he mostly licked all the spoons and bowls) me make muffins and pancakes. We tried a couple of recipes and the last one we tried was a hit! "These taste like REAL pancakes," Tyler yelled after he tried one. They really do. We made them with sunflower seeds which is the first time we've tried them on the GAPS diet. So, the hope will be that our tummies can handle butter made from sunflower seeds and then these can become a staple in our house.

Here is the recipe:
from Pecan Bread

1 ripe banana
1/4 cup peanut butter (we used Sunflower Seed butter) (see below for how I made the butter)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (not GAPS legal so we left out)

Mix all ingredients with a mixer. Spoon into hot oiled (coconut oil) skillet and brown on both sides

Tip: Small pancakes are easier to turn.

How to make sunflower butter
Sprout seeds first to nuetralize phytic acid which inhibits absorption of minerals and neutralizes enzyme inhibitors which can make seeds difficult to digest.
Fill a mason jar 1/3 full with raw, hulled sunflower seeds. Add filtered water to the top of the jar and screw on the top with a screen insert. Allow the seeds to soak overnight, for one night only, and pour off the water. Rinse the seeds well-you can do this without removing the top. Invert the jar and let it sit at an angle so it can drain, and to allow air to circulate. The seeds should be rinsed 2 times per day. Sprouts are ready in 12-18 hours, when the sprout is just barely showing.

Rinse the seeds again and drain before putting into a food processor or blender. I used my VitaMix which is my most favorite thing in my kitchen (thanks mom and dad!). Blend into a butter.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Taco Skillet

This was one of our favorite recipes before we started GAPS. We loved it because it only requires dirtying one pan, it makes great left overs. You can fill tortillas with it, put in on a salad, or make nachos out of it as a second meal. I finally figured out how to adapt it and it has become a weekly staple. Discovering that cauliflower can be shredded and used like rice has opened the door to new meals like this as well as Turkey Hash and Chicken Fried Rice

Here is the original recipe (not GAPS legal)

1 pound ground beef
1 envelope (1 1/4 ounces) taco seasoning mix
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup thick and chunky salsa
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1 1/2 cups uncooked instant brown rice
3/4 cup shredded taco-seasoned cheese ( 4 ounces)
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
sour cream, if desired

1. Cook beef in 10-inch skillet over medium heat 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown; drain
2. Stir in seasoning mix, water, salsa and corn. Heat to boiling; stir in rice. Boil 1 minute remove from heat. Cover and let stand 8 minutes .
3. Fluff rice mixture with fork; sprinkle with cheese. Cover and let stand 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle lettuce around edge of skillet; sprinkle tomato in circle next to lettuce. Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips.

GAPS legal recipe
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion finely chopped
2-4 Tbsp of fat/oil for sauteing (olive, coconut, lard, tallow, ghee)
1 large head of cauliflower (this will be used as a rice substitute)
2 Tbsp of chili powder
1-2 tsp. of ground cumin
1-2 tsp. of garlic powder (eliminated for us because of Grayson's allergy)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 to 1 whole bag of frozen pepper strips (from Trader Joe's)
Handful of broccoli broken into small pieces
1-2 cups of homemade chicken, turkey, or beef stock

1. Cut the core and large stems from head of cauliflower, discard. Wash cauliflower chunks.
2. Shred cauliflower in food processor or with a grater. We used the VitaMix and it is awesome!
3. Saute the onion in skillet with the fat/oil until translucent but not browned.
4. Add ground beef and cook until browned
5. Add seasonings while cooking beef
6. Once beef is cooked, add 1 cup of stock, shredded cauliflower, and frozen peppers
7. Saute until cauliflower rice is soft, adding more stock to keep from drying out
8. Add broccoli in the last few minutes of cooking just to soften
9. Cook until the liquid has evaporated and cauliflower rice is soft and caramelized

Why my friends ROCK!

I have been overwhelmed lately by the outpouring of love to our family. Last week, two women from our church made and froze 30+ hamburger buns for us to keep on hand. We use tons of these in place of bread for sandwiches, hamburgers, etc. You can read Maddie's comments about cooking for us with her mom on her blog.

Yesterday, Maddie came over for about 5 hours and we cooked all kinds of stuff. She helped me experiment with some GAPS cupcake recipes to come up with one that is sweetened without honey (we are having bad reactions to this) or Stevia (Stevia has a funny taste). We have a wedding next weekend so I need a cupcake to bring as a wedding cake replacement for the kids.

Two days ago a friend in the church went to Whole Foods for us and made a much needed grocery run.

Last week one friend sent me a lengthy card with tons of encouragement and love. She then followed up with emails.

For the last three weeks, my cousin has cooked large batches of staple food items for us to freeze and have on hand.

Last week my wonderful friend threw me a surprise party. She invited five other women and they showered me with love. All the women contributed to a GAPS friendly dinner and dessert. While we enjoyed our ginger tea and pumpkin meringue the women went around and shared answers to prepared questions about what they valued and saw in me. It was humbling and overwhelmingly wonderful. The point was to communicate to me that they are "for me" and in my corner during this trying season.

I know there are other ways people have loved us that I am forgetting.

I am in a season of feeling like I have been stripped of everything. It has been painful (physically and emotionally) but it has been the richest season of my life. Our God is more than enough to fill me when I feel empty.

We sang in a hymn last week: "Empty handed, but alive in His hands" That is a perfect description of how I feel right now. I wouldn't have asked for it, but I am grateful.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My new favorite food

I discovered this recipe last week on Grain-free Foodie. I had to make a few modifications because we can not tolerate honey. My sweet cousin offered to make them for me and she loved them. I love when the food we eat tastes good to other people too. Laura made a batch with 3 lbs of sausage and I froze them by the dozen. They are perfect for snacks or meals on the go. I feel so good when the kids eat them because they are getting protein, fat, and veggies all at once.

Sausage Patties
1 lb ground pastured pork
1/4 tsp of liquid Stevia or 1 packet of powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp chopped or grated onion
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2-1 cup of pureed cooked veggies (we used green beans)
2 frozen fat pureed from previously cooked chicken (optional)

Form the meat into patties and fry in fat (lard, tallow or ghee) or coconut oil. I find that smaller patties work better. This is a great way to "hide" healthy things, such as marrow or pureed or chopped soft tissue.

Caring for Us

Many people have offered to help us in some way and I am so thankful. They feel at a loss, as do I, as to what to do. I am attempting to provide a way to make that easier. I am going to make a list of things that would be helpful. It will take me a while to gather all the links to the recipes so this post will be a work in progress.

If you would like to cook for us or have us over for dinner:
All the recipes on the blog are safe to make. If you are unsure of an ingredient you can check the page: what we can eat. The following list are recipes and items we use the most.

Freezable Snacks and Staples
Sandwich Buns (we need these the most)
Sausage Patties (we need these the second most)
Veggie Muffins
Egg Muffins
Egg Pizza
Chicken Nuggets
Chicken Stock
Beef Stock
Banana Pancakes
Yoda Bars

Shepherd's Pie
Beef Stew
Chicken/Turkey Soup (like chicken noodle soup without the noodles)
Cilantro Chicken Salad
Stuffed Cabbage Soup
Turkey Hash
Roast with veggies
Roast chicken with veggies
Salmon, Tilapia or any fish grilled, baked, broiled, etc. with veggies
Pork Chops
Hamburgers with avocado buns or with lettuce wraps
Spaghetti Squash with tomato sauce or with olive oil and basil
Shrimp with avocados
Stir-Fry (without rice)
Broccoli Cauliflower Salad
Pea Soup
Tuna Salad
Roasted Red Pepper Soup in acorn squash bowls

If you would like to run an errand:
It is very difficult to go in any store with three little children, especially when you can't buy them food to occupy them. If you are going to run an errand for yourself, give me a call and see if there is something I might need there too. The places I most often need stuff from are: Target, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and any grocery store.

If you would like to come spend time with me and my kids:
I could always use company or a helping hand to play with the kids, fold laundry or do some other household chores that are more than neglected.

If you would like to pray for us:
I have prayer requests listed here

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Prayer for us

Our sweet church has been so wonderful at caring for me and my family during this season. I was asked today to write down prayer requests. I thought I would share them here in case someone else is led to pray for us too.

1. Healing: That God would heal our tummies, provide our body with the knowing of how to digest food properly
2. Wisdom: That God would provide Brian and me with wisdom in regard to which avenue to seek for healing, wisdom and discernment to sift through all the varied opinions and options regarding how to heal
3. Relief: That God would provide and lead me and my doctor to something that will relieve my painful eczema and intense itching
4. Strength: That God would give me the self-control and strength to avoid food not on the protocol and endurance to keep up with the organization and amount of cooking...and amount of kiddie poop clean-up.
5. Sanctification: That God would draw me closer to Him as I learn to rely on Him and not on myself.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Roast with Rice and Gravy

I really don't have time to be posting right now but I'm too excited not too. Tonight's dinner got rave reviews from everyone...including my husband. My husband is very sweet and supportive but a lot of our "GAPS" meals are not his favorite. He smiles and says thank you on most nights because he knows I might cry if he doesn't. :)

But, tonight's dinner got more than a few "this is really good" comments. Rice and gravy is one of his favorite dishes so I tried to replicate that for him tonight. "More rice," was heard lots around the table.

We ate it with a chuck roast I cooked in the slow cooker. I purchased the meat from Sappington Farmers Market which has become one of my favorite places to shop. The prices on produce are very low and they have a selection of pastured meat and chicken from local farmers. (Pastured means the animals are grass fed and cared for humanely. Grass fed animals produce meat that is much better for you and easier to digest).

The prices on meat are more than if I order from Greenwood Farms and others that are at the Schlafly and Tower Grove Farmers Markets but in the winter I don't have access to those as easily. Sappington FM also usually has some cuts of meat that are highly reduced in price for quick sale.

Here is our dinner and how I turned it into soup for tomorrow:

Crock-Pot Chuck Roast
Put roast (grass fed organic chuck roast) in crock pot in the morning (I had our in by 9am and we ate at 5)
Pour 1-2 cups of home made beef stock in
Roughly chop one onion and spread around
Around lunch time drop in a package of organic baby carrots
Sprinkle salt and seasonings to taste

Cauliflower Rice
Grate cauliflower
Steam 3 minutes
Serve topped with gravy

Gravy (dairy & gluten free)
Scoop juice from crock pot into sauce pan
Heat to boiling
Slowly sprinkle
Xanthan gum while whisking mixture (not GAPS legal)
It doesn't take much and the gravy will thicken as it stands
If it gets too thick, add more juice from crock pot

Left over Beef Stew
Pull out any meat that was not eaten
Pour left over gravy into crock pot
Using a hand held blender, mix up all the juice, onions, carrots and gravy in the crock pot
Shred the reserved meat and add to stew
Add more veggies if desired
Tomorrow's lunch!

I just have to add that while I was typing this Grayson ran up to me to say something funny. He then ran away as fast as he could, about six feet...straight into the kitchen cabinets. Literally, straight into them! Not a turn, or a slip, just full speed face right in the cabinet and then bounced back, sprawled out on the floor. He just shook it off and went on his way. You got to love him!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Chicken Nuggets-GAPS style

Tomorrow, when I pick the boys up from school I hope to go shoe shopping. Simple errands are not simple anymore because I can't pack up a simple snack or stop to get something while we're out. Since my children are bottomless pits, I always have to think ahead about what we'll have to eat. I am always looking for food options that we can eat on the go. Today I tried making chicken nuggets for our outing tomorrow. I was inspired by my friend Almut's blog post on recycled chicken nuggets which look awesome. They have a lot of stuff we can't have right now but for anyone else they would be worth checking out.

Ours turned out okay. They taste great but don't hold together very well.

by Liz at Pecan Bread

1 cup of finely ground cooked pastured chicken (better boiled than baked)
½ cup of pureed cooked green beans (or another veggie/s)
2-3 ground or cut raw garlic cloves (we can't do this b/c Gray is allergic to Garlic)
unrefined coconut oil, lard, tallow, or ghee
spices (optional)
pastured chicken liver (optional)

1. Combine the chicken, green beans, liver, and garlic in a bowl.
You can also just grind the chicken, green beans, liver, and the garlic together in the food processor.
Add spices or seasoning if you like. It should come out moist and pasty like tuna salad.
2. Roll into little meatballs and flatten like patties.
3. Add sufficient fat/oil in a pan or they'll stick. (I used lard for frying as I have read that heating olive oil changes its nutritional value and turns it into a trans fat. I am also trying to get more saturated fats into the kids diets since we do not eat dairy)
4. Fry the little patties on both sides until brown.

They should look like tiny breaded burgers.
Sprinkle with salt.

Diving off the Wagon

I would say I fell off the wagon, but that would be describing the last 2 weeks lightly. Running and then diving off the wagon would better describe the eating frenzy I've been on. I knew starting over on the intro diet 3 weeks before the Holidays would be hard but I overestimated my willpower.

Tyler had a Christmas program at school followed by a cookie exchange. The room was filled with probably 50 different types of cookies and they were all calling me. After being strong for at least 30 minutes I decided I could have one bit of one cookie. I walked all around looking for the perfect cookie and tried to savor my one bite. It was not the best cookie. I looked for another option. Took one more bite and was still disappointed. I stopped there but on the drive home I sat with Tyler's "special" cookies on my lap. Mad and feeling sorry for myself, I ate all dozen of Tyler's cookies (knowing it would upset my GI issues the next day).

When I got home I was unstoppable. From that moment on I ate "anything in front of me," as my husband described it. I ate pounds (yes, multiple) of chocolate covered nuts, cookies, and pie.

I recommitted to the GAPS protocol yesterday (1/1). Happy New Year. I am frustrated with myself. My symptoms are back in full force. 2 weeks ago I was feeling so great, I was really making progress and now I'm faced with the reality that I my body may be back in the state it was in in September.

I am debating whether or not I will start over on the Intro Diet. The Intro Diet has 8 stages that start with just stock, boiled meat and veggies and then progressively adds harder to digest foods. I could start all over or I could try moving forward from where I ended. Or, I could eat the full GAPS diet which would seem surprisingly nonrestrictive. I know the best thing for my gut would be to start all over but I just don't know if I can do it. I'm wondering if it would be wiser to follow the protocol that is the least restrictive with the expectation that I can follow it without feeling deprived and without the risk of diving off the wagon for the third time.

The good news is we are seeing great progress with Grayson. Its nice to know that there is a point to this.