Tuesday, January 29, 2013

helping out baby Ronan with my diet

hello, it's been a while. one month after that post I got pregnant! on june 15, 2012, I delivered a healthy 8 lb 1 oz baby boy named Ronan Jamie. he's the center of our life now, and since I am nursing him, I pay close attention to how what I eat affects him.

I went off GAPS and started eating everything, still sans gluten, of course, around nov 2011, and continued after the birth. lots of eggs, butter, aged cheeses like cheddar, some grains and legumes, nuts and seeds, and tons of veg and fruit (just shying away from cruciferous fam and citrus for the babe). he had some spitup and gas and hiccups, and then started having dry skin and little rashes on his shins, thighs and wrists around 2 mos. then he started teething early and cut his first tooth just shy of 5 mos. teething has confused us as to what was a reaction to food I was eating or just a side effect of teething.

he got a full trunk rash after we started him on baby rice cereal, and he got constipated, around 6 mos. poor Ronan! so we stopped solids and I stopped eggs and dairy for 4 weeks. we started him on veg to stimulate his bowel -- avocado, butternut squash, and sweet potato. then I added eggs and dairy back in minimally, and the trunk rash was finally gone! but, he still wasn't pooping every day. one day he puked a few times, and went off solids completely, only wanting to nurse. sigh~ so now I am on another elimination diet -- no eggs, no dairy, no soy, no chocolate. we hope this helps! he seems to be self-regulating, which is good. then we can start him on avocado again...hopefully a third time starting solids will be a charm!

in the meantime, I adapted this Living Without recipe for avocado pancakes -- really good! no gluten, no eggs, no dairy, no sugar:

Avocado Pancakes
(add chocolate chips for someone you love on Valentine's Day)
1 cup your fave g-f flour blend
1/2 c almond meal
1/2 c brown rice flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t sea salt
2 T olive oil + 1 T for skillet
1 t vanilla
1 med avocado pureed
2 c non-dairy milk of choice (I did almond)
opt choc chips (none for me, sadly)
combine dry ingred and form a well. add wet and mix.
heat a skillet and add oil, drop in about 1/4 c at a time and flip after you see bubbles forming. add more oil to pan as needed. if you're doing the choc chips, add them in before you flip.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

3 months on GAPS

found a really helpful site to share: simply being well

it's been a steady uphill climb, but now I feel like I have leveled off. my vitality is almost fully returned, and I feel...healthy! grain and legume free is working for me.

I am not full-on GAPS diet yet, even. I had major detox and die-off going on, so I am moving slowly. I am not incorporating so much broth these days, just ensuring I get 15 g protein with each meal, mostly relying on fish, eggs and poultry while my HCl production gets restarted. Mostly, I am eating vegetables. I think if it was winter and not 100 degrees out every day, I might be eating more chicken stock based soups like I did in spring, but that just wasn't feeling right. So long as I feel really good, and my digestion remains clear, I am happy!

favorite recipes from the GAPS guide blog: http://gapsguide.com/
are butternut squash pancakes (with blueberries)
cauliflower...any way! "rice", fauxtatoes, you name it
breakfast bars (see previous post which I adapted from Living Without Mag recipe)

if you are having digestive issues, bacterial overgrowth, miscarriages, thyroid/adrenal issues, mental issues...GAPS might help you. it's a commitment to go all the way back to the intro (and I did not feel too great when I did it), but the health I have regained made it all worth it.

be well~

Friday, July 22, 2011

ch ch cherry bars!

it's a swampy 105 degrees here in northern VA, so what better afternoon activity than baking, I say? ...it was totally worth it. the soundtrack made it -- dr john and his swamp-rock record gris gris. don't fear the voodoo magic.

almond-coconut bars (also can be pie crust, just add fresh or stewed fruit!) these are great raw, as well. I always use soaked nuts...
2 c any combo grated coconut, almonds (or other nuts), dried fruit
(I did 1/2 c coconut, 1/2 c apricots and dates, 1 c almonds)
1/4 c nut butter
1/8 c coconut oil
2 T raw honey
pinch of sea salt

oil a small pan (mine was a very small le creuset, like 6 x 4, so double this recipe for 8 x 8 or pie). preheat oven to 300.

food process finely grated coconut and fruit. add nut butter, oil, honey and salt and pulse about 20x or til it looks chunky.

press it into pan. if it's too dry add more nut butter and/or honey.
bake for 20 mins. pull it out and cut squares. put it back in for 5-8 mins til it's golden on top. let cool a bit (will fall apart otherwise; it will be worth the wait!).

in the meantime, make some stewed fruit for a topping. I did a handful of black cherries and a peach with a hit of cinnamon. you could add honey, but I felt like it didn't need it. if I wasn't saving my last bit of homemade yoghurt to make the next batch, I totally would've topped it with a dollop. or whipped cream, or ice cream. the possibilities are endless!

these are really good by themselves, too.

enjoy! and be well.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

story update and GAPS diet

the light has appeared at the end of the tunnel! everything that heretofore was completely mysterious now makes total sense in regards to what has been happening with my health. I hope that if you're reading this it may help you or a friend or family member achieve optimum health.

baby-the teen years:
growing up I was always a picky eater, but I loved carbs. especially baked goods. around jr high, I started getting really restrictive at meals and wasn't sure if I wanted to eat meat. paradoxically, I would spend lots of time in the kitchen, baking cookies. weirder still, I counted calories (I was not overweight). after a while of this, I was really depressed and had anorexia during my freshman year of high school. I stopped having my periods for 8 or 9 months. after a few trips to an ob/gyn, I was told if I didn't gain weight I'd be sent to a eating disorder clinic. I snapped out of it, and started drinking milkshakes every night, and stopped eating like a bird at meals. after I regained some ground with weight and health (and was taking in good nutrients and fats to help my brain see how unhealthy I had been), I never looked back. and, I could eat a ton of candy, baked goods, french fries, pizza and later, beer, and never get too overweight. I thought it was great. fast metabolism, I told myself. and I was always hungry, like the food I ate never sated or filled me.

I always had ear infections and tonsillitis and a round of penicillin once or twice a year, for as long as I can remember, up to age 20 when I had a severe allergic reaction to penicillin.

age 21-36:
then I started getting anxious. and irritable. and anemic. I had canker sores and painful cracks in my fingertips. I developed skin rashes and acne (I was prescribed an antifungal cream with steroids, a few years of tetracycline and one round of prednisone). I had pain in my chest and middle back that felt like a heart attack (I was told it was reflux or nerves or both). I got muscle spasms in my neck and upper back, the kind where you can't turn your head, every month just about. I had worse and worse PMS symptoms, chronic yeast infections. varicose veins and hemorrhoids. headaches and sinus problems. I felt very erratic. I had trouble maintaining relationships and made bad decisions about dating. I felt really stressed out. I became allergic to pets and developed asthma. I had reactions to mold and cigarette smoke and fresh paint smells and car exhaust. I was too nervous to drive a car on a highway. anything over 40 or 50 mph and I had vertigo behind the wheel. I had performance anxiety at concerts and shows. I started feeling insecure and unstable much of the time.

age 36-41:
I decided enough was enough. no doctor was helping me figure out what was going on. I knew there had to be an underlying cause to all of my issues I was dealing with. they weren't going away, and I didn't want to just live with it.
I went on an anti-candida diet, crazily and abruptly, because I didn't know it was better to ease in...I thought it would eliminate everything that I could be sensitive to (wheat, gluten, grains, dairy, sugar) and that then I could rotate trying them out to see how I reacted. my thinking was that I would cure my skin rash (diagnosed as dermatitis, eczema, DH, hives, depending on the doc). well, I was a mess. Jan '07-Mar '07 I had the most severe "die-off" symptoms - irritable, depressed, headache, fatigue, achiness like the flu. I had no idea really what was going on. I finally saw a naturopath who put me on the right track. I had chronic hives that lasted almost the entire year of 2007. we tried different things to heal and seal my gut. I thought it was all working. we identified gluten as the baddie, and I went on with my life, happily gluten-free, thinking that stellar health was just an arm's length away. any day now I would be completely healthy.

think again.
after some microscopic gluten cross-contamination exposures, I got the rash back (DH? chronic hives? both?). then I developed chronic cystitis. then I couldn't conceive. then I was borderline hypothyroid. I was tired all the time, trying to work 6 days/week at 2 different jobs. I got pregnant and miscarried. at the time there was a second fertilized egg; that one was ectopic, and they figured it out as my tube was rupturing. emergency laparascopy came a day after a shot of methotrexate (administered too late).

then the hives from 2007 came back, much to my horror, and my cognitive function was at an all-time low. I was on the couch or in bed as much as possible. I thought I just needed time to recuperate. I started getting palpitations. my skin was dry. my tongue looked coated. I felt sweaty and anxious.

in Jan 2011, I was diagnosed with a yeast allergy (I already knew I was sensitive to dairy and allergic to cane sugar). and then in Feb '11 I was diagnosed with gut dysbiosis: a bacterial overgrowth of H pylori and klebsiella pneumoniae. I started crazy probiotics and got severe gas pains and felt horrible. I started taking caprylic acid and pau d'arco. then I switched to activated charcoal, berberine and oregano oil, still taking high potency probiotics. I did another anti candida diet in Feb (eased in and out this time! :), then after March I started adding in fruit and whole grains in small amounts. my digestion never cleared, and I was losing weight. my hair stopped growing. I was fatigued. I was frustrated.

in early May, I learned of the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) in the latest issue of Living Without. (I was just about to cancel my subscription to this magazine for another year because of the crazy amounts of sugar used in their recipes over the last year, but I am sure glad I stuck with them, otherwise I wouldn't have learned about SCD.) I mentioned my interest in this diet to my naturopath, and she turned me onto a form of SCD called the GAPS diet. After one day of removing grains and seeds and adding in meat broth, I felt like a new human, and my digestion cleared for the first time in months. I am a week in now, working backwards to the Intro Diet, and my hives are better and better; my energy is back, as is my cognitive function.

in summary, I think I have had GAPS since sometime in childhood. it's been the condition behind a dizzying array of physical and mental health issues that I have struggled with for my entire life. I know now that there's more to it than celiac disease/NCGI. if your gut is out of balance, going gluten-free may help, but the underlying issue (gut dysbiosis)needs to be resolved.

I am in my fifth month of killing the bad bacteria and trying to restore the correct balance, and healing and sealing my gut. I am looking forward to adding in different foods and eventually doing the full GAPS diet, but for now I am enjoying the baby steps to health.

I hope you or someone you love finds this helpful. I sure wish I had read a post like this when I was so lost during the last 2 decades.
best of luck on your path.

be well~

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

week 13, kill, kill, kill!

man. you know things have changed when your treat of the week turns out to be:
Erewhon crispy rice cereal!
(pronounced AIR WOHN, like a Lord of the Rings character)
less than 1 g of sugar, 3 ingredients, a tried and true company...I had to try it! and it was good; satisfied my need for a treat.

for 13 weeks now, I have been on a special diet to starve the little bacteria friends in my stomach and intestines, and taking oregano oil and berberine for the past month to help my kill along its way. we all have bacteria, good and bad, but when the bad take over, you start to have symptoms of extreme fatigue, depression, carb cravings, skin rash, headaches, brain fog...all of which I thought was candida and hormones. turns out, it was H pylori and another bacteria buddy = intestinal dysbiosis. boo.

also, it turns out that there is a connection between celiac disease and H pylori overgrowth -- read all about it here.

low stomach acid can be a factor in developing both overgrowth of H pylori and food allergies and intolerances, and vice versa. a little like the chicken and the egg.

if you have been diagnosed with these lovely health issues, you too can really make profound changes in how you feel through diet and supplements. for my regime, I started with 8 weeks of candistatin, then switched to 4 weeks of gastro mycin and berberine, and now I am on a month of berberine plus oregano oil. and of course a good probiotic.

here are the diet dos and don'ts.

do eat:

as many servings of lightly steamed veg as you wish, but stay away from high starch ones, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and winter squashes, at least for one month. some raw, especially juiced veg.

fruits can be added in after one month, but not every day. berries are best. no dried fruits.

coconut oil and meat -- contains large amounts of lauric acid, which is antifungal and antibacterial, and in general it is a good saturated fat.

other good oils, like walnut, flax, avocado, olive oil.

some soaked nuts and seeds, nut and seed butters (no peanut).

some sprouted legumes.

some whole grains, but stay away from pastas, and try to avoid them for the first month.

eggs, eggs and more eggs, if you're not allergic.

yoghurt and kefir, if you can tolerate dairy, in small amounts.

sea vegetables, cinnamon, ginger root, garlic, fresh herbs.

fennel or other herbal tea, and green tea is really good too.

lots and lots of filtered or bottled water (1/2 your weight in ounces every day).


no sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, brown rice syrup, date sugar, etc.

try not to lean on carbs. do small amounts of whole grains (drizzle grains with a good oil, slows down its conversion to sugar as you digest it) and larger/more veg.

no corn (is a moldy food), peanuts (another moldy food), alcohol, coffee, black tea, dried fruits.

avoid leftovers for the first month. (mold factor)

here is an example of a daily menu plan. it might sound boring, but you'll find ways to spruce it up. as your palate changes, it gets easier...:) ease your way in, take your time. treat yourself once a week to something off-diet. if this way of eating is a drastic change, try just cutting down on refined sugars and carbs before going full hog.
if it is any consolation, I did this in '07, but I think I stopped short of killing it all (at the end, only the hardiest strains remain, so just when you think you're ok, think again, and send off another stool sample til you're all clear) and it's been lurking. it just took two major surgeries and some hormonal changes to give it an in. so, in other words, it's a long road...start with small steps.

(I try to have my grains in the morning when my digestion is at its best and fastest)
cream of buckwheat cereal, or amaranth, or brown rice, or g-f oats if you can tolerate them, with 1 T of coconut oil swirled in, plus flax seeds and a little homemade almond milk (more on that later) and some soaked nuts like pecans. sprinkle on some cinnamon, and you'll be surprised that you don't miss any sweetener. if you do, try a pinch of stevia.

2 eggs and an avocado

salmon and an avocado

green or herbal tea

snack: handful of berries

water, water, water (stop 1/2 hour before meals, dilutes your stomach acid)

pick 3 veg and lightly steam. for example, 1 cup each of broccoli, beets and beet greens. drizzle with flax oil, add some chopped herbs and some celtic sea salt.
if you're having adrenal fatigue, add 3 oz of poultry or fish, or 1/4 cup sprouted legumes.

water and herbal tea

(I try to eat before 8 pm, some nights this is a tall order, tho. digestion slows way down and I get itchy, so I try to eat dinner by 6 if possible!)
3 oz poultry or fish or sprouted legumes (I avoid grains and legumes at the dinner meal b/c of slower digestion).
3 different vegetables. try grilled, roasted, lightly steamed. add some sea veg.
make a sauce from Bragg's and tahini and/or almond butter, garlic and ginger. add scallions and fresh herbs. go crazy!

water/herbal tea

I hope you find this helpful on your path to good health. if you're super cranky, irritable and headachey at first, this is normal. ease your way in, don't do anything too drastic.
be well~

p.s. a little side benefit to eating this way is that I have had no seasonal allergies!! woot.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

sprouted lentil burgers, drinking kale juice and coco macaroons

Hello, Goat City followers!

I have just finished level 2 of my 5-level Holistic Nutrition Course at Tulsi here in DC. Wow, I have learned a bunch, and I have so much more to learn. Brain exploding!

Started drinking my kale cooking water and using it to make tahini or almond butter sauces and drizzles. It has all the good stuff in it, and I usually just toss it! Now I am trying to toss it back. Just one of the many good nutrition tips I have learned in my classes...

Last night I wanted to have germinated brown rice, sprouted lentils and kale -n- dandelion greens, with a tahini-parsley sauce drizzle, only...I wanted that to not be boring! So, I highly recommend turning your "boring" lentils into burgers -- throw 1 c lentils cooked for about 10 mins (the sprouted variety cooks faster) into your food processor with 2 cloves of garlic, some sea salt and black pepper, and a splash of your cooking juice from the kale (just so it holds together). Bake for 20-25 mins in a baking dish with a little olive oil brushed on the burgers and in the pan at 350.

Perfect timing for 25 minute germinated brown rice to cook simultaneously.

In the meantime, make your sauce: 2 T tahini, splash of kale/dande green cooking water til you like the consistency, 1/4 c finely chopped parsley, splash of Braggs, sea salt and bl pepper (sorry I don't really measure, so it's just to taste). A hit of ginger root would have been nice too, next time!

And then for dessert, goat balls, I mean, coconut almond macaroons:
food process:
equal parts sprouted almonds and coconut flakes
add 1-2 t gf bourbon vanilla
dash of sea salt
3-4 large spoonfuls of coconut oil
pulse til it looks like it will form balls, adding more vanilla or oil as needed.
I don't miss the agave, but I guess you could add honey, agave or maple syrup at will. You're on your own there, since I have a no sugar diet, so both recipes are candida/bacteria kill-friendly! yay.
More tips: coconut oil is a good for you saturated fat that also has anti-fungal properties and is in general very healing.

enjoy xo

Monday, February 14, 2011

gluten-free valentine's day

hello, lovers! I hope you're enjoying valentine's day 2011. here it's windy and in the 60s and sunny -- prompted me to get out the juicer and the spiralizer! and my flip flops...

the day started out with a green smoothie:

2 carrots
1 cuke
2 leaves of purple kale or any other greens
chunk of fennel bulb
toe of ginger
sprigs of mint and parsley

blend juice with 4 oz of coconut water and one avocado.

creamy like a smoothie. nice for those of us who are allergic to bananas...:)

then, lunch.

sprouted lentil fennel salad

cook 1 c sprouted lentils in 3 c boiling water for 5-10 mins.
drain and set aside.

one cuke
one avocado
1/2 bulb fennel (thin slices)
1 scallion and/or bunch chives
sprigs mint, parsley and/or cilantro

add grated toe of ginger, glug of olive oil, hit of Bragg's, season w/ sea salt, black pepper and dulse flakes.

serve on a bed of greens and garnish w/ more fresh herbs, sprouted sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds and a dollop of yoghurt if you're feelin' it.

for dinner:

the menu ~

zuke nut crust pizzas
cuke avocado nori rolls
cacao coconut almond macaroons

nut crust

2 cups of soaked/sprouted nuts and seeds, your choice (I did almond, walnut, sunflower, pumpkin and flax)
1 egg
1 clove garlic
sea salt and black pepper
fresh basil
2 T water

throw it all in your food processor til it looks like a paste. scoop it out roll out between two pieces of parchment til it's about 1/4 inch thick. put the parchment onto cookie sheet and peel off top parchment. bake at 350 for 10-15 mins.

spread guacamole, pesto or hummus on it and some lightly sauteed garlic, leek and spiralized zukes.

side dish:

cuke and avocado nori rolls

matchstick slice cukes, carrots, avocados, whatever veg you've got that you think would be good in sushi. lay out your nori sheet and spread some greens on the first layer. line up your veg sticks horizontally. start rolling from the bottom. when it's time to seal, use a little room temp water with a little salt in it. dip your slicing knife in the same water and slice into rolls. serve with fresh grated horseradish, pickled ginger and Bragg's.

and now for dessert:

I bought Emmy's dark cacao coconut macaroons.

and I highly recommend them!

if you're feeling like making something, here is a nice recipe for raspberry chocolate raw tart that looks nice.