Tag Archives: organic

Letter to My Children: Health

I love you and that is the answer for so many decisions that we make.

I know that it doesn’t explain everything and I guess that is why I hope to explain it, in more detail, here.

Challenge is inevitable, as God gives each and every one of us things to guide and push us to be “more”. You have each been challenged early on, even though you may not really understand as it is just ‘your’ life. You know nothing different, because it has been that way for most of your life.

I believe that we are destined to help many families that also face challenges and that is why we were led down this path.

OK! Yes. I know. I will move on.

As a family I know that you both have different challenges, but we try to treat you the same.

Our goal is to give you tools that may not be popular or trendy, but real! We have experienced disease and chronic illness personally and professionally. We have had to learn a lot of the information that has kept you healthy and happy from non-traditional resources, but we have learned to trust our instincts.

Trust your instincts! Trust your gut!

As in any family, when one person is experiencing difficulty, we all are affected. We try to work together to solve the issues and come out stronger on the other side.  Sometimes you may have felt that you were having to deal with issues that weren’t necessarily yours. We know that, but realized that we can only do so much at one time. Everything happens for a reason and at the time that it is meant to.

Health-wise, we had no idea that starting a gluten-free diet would lead our family to a whole food lifestyle. When we first found out, we tried, like so many other families to do the minimum necessary to keep our children safe. Looking back, I can see how we were just like most other families that experience similar, we resisted the information to begin. We didn’t want to make those BIG sacrifices if we didn’t need to. It really was such a blow to our way of life. We were challenged by this and it made us stronger.

I am so grateful for the lessons that we learned! Through this we learned many things and have adjusted our diet to meet our needs, now and for life.

I know that it is hard to see family and friends eating what used to be common and is advertised as “normal” food. Every birthday party, play-date, school function or field-trip is hard for us, but I know it is difficult for you to see the other “convenient” options. Sometimes I wish that it was easy again, but I remind myself that our food is just that. FOOD. Not a party. Not convenient. Not to comfort someone else. It is a challenge for us all and I know that you wish to eat pizza and hamburgers. I also wish it was that easy again!

We have learned so much about health and disease that we want you to learn and have a healthy life. I don’t want you to eat, just to eat and have no idea what health is about, when you get older. I want you to understand that health is everything! If you are sick then life pretty much sucks, so why not do what you can to be healthy??

As you grown into beautiful adults and learn to care for yourselves, you may hear “how expensive” organic food(healthiest option)can be. I wish for you to understand that it is like putting good gasoline into a precious sports car. All systems work together to make that ‘car’ go. If you put junky, cheap ‘gasoline’ in, you will have a poor running ‘car’. If you consider it and investment(because health is your largest and most valuable asset)then you can expect exceptional performance!

I hope these lessons; which we learned the hard way, can make their way to you with a lot less challenge and discord, than how they came to us. I am blessed to have you in my life and know that together we will change the world, in a very positive way! God bless you.

Dad

 

Fudgy Chocolate Tarts(Organic, Paleo, Gluten free)

I made these a few weeks ago because a friend had suggested the recipe awhile ago. I was a little cautious at first(she is a great cook, just not Celiac), but I was so blown away by the richness. It was so decadent!

I made my first batch in January and my Celiac daughter was so happy and excited(it was still in her mouth while she blurted) “can you make these for my birthday?”(August)

I am so thrilled to have another recipe that makes her feel ok and not like such an outsider!

When I first made these I made the mini tarts using my mini muffin pans(I got about 20). This latest version I made for Valenitine’s Day and used larger silicone molds(I got 8 this way).

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They turned out so good. Even if you still eat grains, dairy or sugar, you wouldn’t miss any of it! Honestly:)

Serving Size: Makes 4-3″ tarts or 18 small tartelettes

These tarts are so rich that they can easily be split between two people. I also tested these tarts using a mini-muffin tin and used 1 tablespoon of crust for each tartelette and ended up with 18 tartelettes. I also suggest using a coconut oil (such as expeller pressed) that doesn’t contain a strong coconut flavor. I found that these tarts taste better the longer they sit. I think it’s best to make them the day before serving. They keep in the refrigerator for one week.

Ingredients

Crust:
Filling:

Instructions

Pour all of crust ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Process until all ingredients are blended. Divide crust into four servings and press crust in the bottom and up sides of oiled tartelette pans. Clean food processor bowl and blade.

Place all filling ingredients into the bowl of the now clean food processor. Process until ingredients are smooth. Divide filling among tartelettes and spoon over crust. (There will be 2-3 tablespoons of filling left over) Place tartelettes in the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours before serving. Serve cold.

 

Thank you Carrie Vitt from Deliciously Organic.

http://deliciouslyorganic.net/fudgy-chocolate-tarts/

Organic Carrot and Chicken Soup

This has become a family favorite and I want to share it with you.
I started making this when we learned that our daughter had leaky gut syndrome. This was keeping her sick even after being gluten free for 2 years. The recipe I started with was the basis for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
I have made it so many times and customized it along the way. I’m sure you will appreciate the the final product.

Grocery list for wonderful soup:
6-8 skin on chicken thighs(depending on size)
1 lb chicken sausage(I use organic from Sunworks)
8-10 good size carrots(for the soup in the picture, I found thumbelina carrots for a change)
2-3 cups of chicken stock(I prefer to make my own)
1 1/2 yellow onion
1 handful of fresh cilantro
1 handful fresh parsley
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

This soup is purposely sparse on spices, to aid in healing, but adjust it to your tastes.

Peel carrots and cut 3/4 into large pieces and the remaining carrots into bite sized pieces. (You will need to easily pull out larger ones so that you can blend them up.)

Cut onion into larger pieces.

In a large pot, place chicken, carrots, onion, cilantro, parsley and chicken stock. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with water and slow boil for 3 hours. While soup is boiling, brown chicken sausage and break into small pieces.

After 3 hours, the carrots are very soft(great for easy digestion). Separate the chicken and vegetables from the stock. If you have an immersion blender, then blend the large pieces of carrot and some of the onion to create a more cloudy soup. If you are blending in a blender or Vitamix, put vegetables and some stock into the blender and slowly blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into the stock and stir into a nice soup. Carefully remove all bones and skin from the chicken thighs.(I then use the skin and bones again to make chicken stock)

Cut chicken into small pieces and prepare to put back into the soup.  Add the browned chicken sausage at this time. You have a portion of carrots and onions to put back into the soup. Continue to simmer on low and season to taste.

This makes enough soup for a few days and it makes a great school lunch item. You can freeze the soup and if stored correctly, it will be good for quite some time. It usually doesn’t last that long though.

 

 

 

Screw McD’s breakfast sandwich

I saw a version of this on nomnompaleo.com. I thought it would be a great paleo solution to the breakfast sandwich. I thought it turned out awesome. Other than my girls thinking the sausage was “too spicy”(insert whine). It was great!
I had trouble finding the circular egg cooker things, so I used cookie cutters.

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I think I just need some practice. Next time will be easier:)

I used scrambled eggs and I had some organic chicken, Italian sausage ready use. I cooked the eggs first and kept them warm while cooking the sausage.
I would suggest using a good oil to cook the eggs and keep from sticking to the ring(cookie cutter).
Makes for a yummy sandwich for adults or kids. Enjoy!

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Grain and Bean Free Chili. Big Hit

When I started to make chili without beans, I went through a phase of discovery and over the course of a number of months and numerous batches, I came up with a winner. If your children are like mine, I have not made this spicy, at all. Adjust it to fit your family.20140330-194923.jpg

I use the best ingredients these days. Grass fed beef, organic vegetables, etc.

chili ingredients

I start by dicing a large onion, 3-4 garlic cloves, 3 celery stalks and 3-4 carrots. Soften these in olive oil on medium heat until vegetables are soft. It smells so good at this point!

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Add about 1 lb of beef or sometimes, I use a combination of pork and beef. Cook meat until it is all browned, drain off any excess fat.

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Add in 1-2 jars or cans of tomato sauce. Cook on low heat for 2-3 hours. This makes enough for 1 meal for 4 and plenty for leftovers for lunches. Sometimes I will make spaghetti squash as well and put the chili on top. Kids love it!

Finished chili

IBS Reversable on a Gluten Free Diet

This is a very interesting article. Imagine if all the people with IBS found a solution other than drugs? I hope that by sharing this, some people may be relieved of some pain. Enjoy health!

From the Gluten Free Society:

IBS Resolves Following a Gluten Free Diet What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? This term has been thrown around by GI doctors for many years as a catch all diagnosis for those with bowel dysfunction of unknown origin. Typically, IBS patients don’t respond to increased fiber and respond poorly to medication. In my experience most patients I see have been stamped with psychological problems and are told to see a psychiatrist and to manage their stress. If you fall into this category of doctor negligence, keep reading. There is hope yet… A new study published in the journal Gastroenterology confirms a direct benefit of patients suffering with IBS after following a gluten free diet. In layman’s terms the study can be summarized as follows: A gluten free diet reduced diarrhea in patients with IBS There was a noticeable and measurable increase in leaky gut (intestinal permeability) in those eating gluten. Gluten caused an increased production of inflammatory markers Everything was worse in patients who had positive gene markers for gluten sensitivity. Here is the technical summary of the study conclusion: IBS and gluten studyBACKGROUND & AIMS:: Patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) could benefit from a gluten-free diet (GFD). METHODS:: We performed a randomized controlled 4-week trial of a gluten-containing diet (GCD) or GFD in 45 patients with IBS-D; genotype analysis was performed for HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. CONCLUSION:: Gluten alters bowel barrier functions in patients with IBS-D, particularly in HLA-DQ2/8-positive patients. These findings reveal a reversible mechanism for the disorder. Source: Gastroenterology. 2013 Jan 25. pii: S0016-5085(13)00135-2. A Controlled Trial of Gluten-Free Diet in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Diarrhea: Effects on Bowel Frequency and Intestinal Function. Vazquez-Roque MI, Camilleri M, Smyrk T, Murray JA, Marietta E, O’Neill J, Carlson P, Lamsam J, Janzow D, Eckert D, Burton D, Zinsmeister AR. What To Do When IBS Is Diagnosed Many get a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. As a matter of fact, this condition will affect 1 in 6 Americans. Most doctors will tell you that there is no known cause or blame stress, but there are some known causes and here is a breakdown for you: Gluten – one of the most common causes of IBS today is overexposure to glutens. This family of proteins has been shown to cause nerve damage to the synapses in the gut leading to motility issues that can cause both diarrhea and constipation. Lack of dietary fiber – lack of vegetable fibers slows down gastric transit time, but also inhibits the growth of certain types of healthy bacteria. This can translate into a variety of different gastrointestinal symptoms. **Note – psyllium fiber and other cellulose based fibers are not recommended here as they can exacerbate IBS. Stress – yes stress can play a role, but it is typically not the main issue for most being diagnosed with this condition. Infection – bowel infection of viruses, bacteria, and parasites can cause IBS Food Intolerance – different than allergy, an intolerance = inability to digest foods. When foods don’t digest in your gut, they ferment. This can produce gas, bloating, and bowel motility issues. The most common example would be lactose intolerance, however; many other foods can also contribute to this issue including processed sugars, and grains. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies – Nutritional deficiency impacts the function of many tissues, the gut included. A common example of a nutrient deficiency that can cause IBS symptoms in magnesium. This simple mineral plays a role in how the muscles of the intestine properly contract to push foods and fluids through the bowels. Much like magnesium deficiency can cause muscle cramping in the legs, it can cause the same symptoms in the muscles that line the intestines. Lack of Exposure to Healthy Bacteria – good germs help to regulate the water balance, inflammation, and digestive processes of the gut. Most of us are overly hygienic and do not get enough exposure to dirt. Remember that aside from eating fermented foods, playing outside in the dirt is one of the best ways to maintain great exposure to good bacteria. Poor Hydration – Lack of fluid intake is extremely common. Whether by not drinking enough water or avoidance of foods that have naturally high levels of water (fruit and vegetables), most Americans stay in a state of chronic dehydration. Add to this the fact that many maintain energy levels by consuming caffeinated beverages. Remember that caffeine is a diuretic and causes excessive water loss on a consistent basis. Lack of Exercise – Movement of the body stimulates bowel flow. Those who lead a sedentary lifestyle often suffer with abnormal bowel function. If you have a problem with constipation, try light calisthenic exercise every morning after waking. You can also check out a great functional exercise program for home use here. Medications That Disrupt Any of the Above – Antibiotics, antacids, pain medications, and anti-depressants, can also disrupt the above through a variety of mechanisms. Additionally, these four groups of drugs represent the top prescribed drugs in the US. Even if you don’t take them directly, you can get exposure to low doses in the water supply. That means that drinking unfiltered tap water or showering and breathing steam (indirect exposure) can leave you exposed. See the diagram below: constipation Now Take Action After reading the above information, only you can appropriately take action and improve your gut function. Unfortunately, most doctors are not going to do it for you. You just have to rule out any of the above as potential problems your are facing (a functional medicine doctor can guide you) and TAKE ACTION. Taking action in the appropriate manner can help you restore bowel function and subsequently your health. Remember that medicating the symptoms away without finding the origin of the problem is a big mistake. Here are my top supplements for helping restore bowel function once you have addressed the above issues: Ultra Nutrients – a potent gluten free multivitamin to help protect against nutritional deficiencies. UltraImmune IgG – a potent antibody formula to help prevent infection and leaky gut. GI Restore – for intense cases of constipation, this supplement helps to get the bowels moving again Biotic Defense – a potent probiotic to help maintain healthy levels of good bacteria. Ultra Omega – a potent formula designed to aid in the normal inflammation response. This is a common problem for those with post infection IBS. Max Digest – an enzyme blend that helps break down difficult to digest grains, sugars, proteins, fats, and lectins. http://www.glutenfreesociety.org/gluten-free-society-blog/ibs-reversable-on-a-gluten-free-diet/

Ginger honey chicken wings!

Eager to try my Sunworks Farm chicken wings, that I picked up a couple of days ago and in between the other recipes I had on the go today, I fired up this awesome recipe! You might already know that I only make GF food, but I have also cut out dairy and grains from our diet.

Try this if you want your family to love you and expect to have to make more.

This recipe is for about 15-30 wings. I like free range, steroid, hormone free chickens, but that part is up to you.

Chicken Wings

15-30 Chicken wings

salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Ginger, honey, soy, lemon glaze

1 tsp of lemon juice

3 tablespoons of GF non-GMO, soy sauce

2 tablespoons of honey

Start by taking the wings and cooking them in a medium-large pot with half water and a good chicken stock(homemade or organic). Cook on medium for about 10-15 minutes. Drain and let dry off for a few minutes. Cooking in stock gives them great flavour and cooks off some of the fat.

Once they are cooked and drained, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Parchment paper covered cookie sheet, bake for 25 minutes on 375 degrees, turn and bake for another 35 minutes.

While the wings are cooking, get glaze items into small pot. Put on low heat and let it slowly cook down. Once it has thickened a bit, take it off the stove and wait for wings to finish.

Put the wings in a bowl and pour the glaze for the wings and serve.

Once they cool a bit these are sticky, sweet and amazing. Enjoy!

 

Buy local, support my neighbours.

I made a trip to our recently(1-2 years ago)opened farmers market. In Calgary, Alberta, it is the Symons Valley Farmers Market. We have been so happy with the retailers and the people are so helpful and friendly.

I went specifically to buy some grass fed beef and organic chicken. We get alot of those things from Sunworks Farm. They are an Alberta company and they had celiac issues with their children many years ago and started the farm so that they could eat! Wow. That is dedicated.

I went downstairs to see some of the newer vendors there. As soon as I came down, I was greeted by Dawn at her new booth. She was so excited to show me her greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, I couldn’t help but buy some to support someone that passionate. The kids and I all got to sample the Non-GMO yumminess that she was selling.

If I hadn’t mentioned it before, I love to support passionate people and the projects that they work on. Shirley’s Greenhouses(that is Dawn and her husbands, business name) are out of Didsbury and they sell to locals through farmers markets and small grocery stores.
Vive le small grower!

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5 Reasons to Avoid the Gluten Free Aisle

Here is another article from Amy Myers MD. Just another reminder to eat less processed foods and a great starting point for anyone wanting better health!

As the gluten-free movement is becoming more and more popular, you may be wondering if you should go gluten free. I strongly believe that everyone can benefit from a gluten-free diet, but there are a few different approaches that people take when removing gluten from their diets. Some switch from gluten-containing products to gluten-free counterparts, while neglecting fresh foods. Some consume a combination of both natural and packaged gluten-free foods, and others consume solely natural gluten-free sources. While gluten-free foods have certainly brought relief to a number of people, many notice little to no improvement in their symptoms after going gluten free. In this case, the underlying issue is not the gluten-free diet itself, but with gluten-free packaged foods.

What’s wrong with gluten-free foods?

The problem with gluten-free products is that they’re even more refined than their gluten-containing counterparts. I encourage all of my patients to avoid processed foods, because the original food loses a great deal of nutrients during the refining process. In order to produce gluten-free flours, manufacturers use other grains and starches such as flours made from rice, potatoes, corn, and tapioca. While these flours are naturally free of gluten, they’re still highly refined grains that can cause a spike in blood sugar higher than that of their whole grain counterparts. In fact, gluten-free products are often very low in a number of vitamins and minerals:

Iron
Folate
Niacin
Thiamine
Calcium
Vitamin B12
Phosphorus
Zinc
If you notice your symptoms are not improving or actually getting worse after eliminating gluten, there could be a number of factors at play.

5 Reasons to Avoid the Gluten-Free Aisle

1. Gluten-free products can contain trace amounts of gluten.

Gluten-free products can still contain some gluten. Even certified gluten-free foods can contain up to 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten per serving. This is a minimal amount of gluten if you only consume packaged foods occasionally. However, if you eat these processed gluten-free foods every day, you can potentially expose yourself to unwanted amounts of gluten. If you consume non-certified gluten-free foods, then you’re really just taking the company’s word for it and assuming that their products are free of gluten. It’s best to check the label to see if a gluten-free product is produced in the same facility as wheat, or other gluten-containing grains.

2. Gluten-free products are nutrient poor.

I strongly believe that gluten is the most inflammatory food that you can consume, but that doesn’t mean that everything in the gluten-free aisle is necessarily healthy. When grains are refined in the manufacturing process, many vitamins and minerals are lost along with it. Gluten-free products are considerably less nutritious than real, wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and a lean, organic source of animal protein.

3. Gluten-free products are high in sugar.

Whenever an ingredient is removed from a food, it’s often replaced with another ingredient for stability, shelf life, or texture purposes. For example, sugar-free foods contain sugar alcohols, and fat-free foods are often produced with man-made fats and extra sugar. Gluten-free foods are no exception to this rule, as they’re often laden with extra sugar. Excessive amounts of sugar can contribute to insulin resistance and weight gain, and ultimately suppress your immune system. In addition, too much sugar can feed gut infections like Candida and SIBO, and lead to many more health concerns.

4. Gluten-free products contain preservatives.

Preservatives increase the shelf life of a product and ensure that it’s resistant to mold and bacteria. While it’s very convenient to have food that lasts a month, it adds unnecessary chemicals and compounds to our diets. The food we eat was at one point a living organism, be it a plant or animal, and it is very natural for our meat, vegetables, grains, and fruit to decay after being harvested. Anything that can survive on your shelf for more than a week without a life source is unnatural, and is not something you want to include in your diet.

5. Gluten-free products are made with refined oils.

Inexpensive oils are often added to many gluten-free products to moisten the product and improve the texture. Refined oils such as vegetable, canola, rapeseed, safflower, and sunflower oils are all high in omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory. A diet higher in omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids can lead to increased inflammation.

What can I do instead?

One of the most important things you can do is to get your energy from wholesome, organic, fresh foods like organic fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, healthy oils, grass-fed beef, atlantic wild-caught salmon, and pasture-raised eggs — all of which are free of gluten by nature. If you’ve already removed gluten from your diet, your body may be sensitive to other inflammatory foods such as dairy, eggs, and soy. Consider removing one or all of these from your diet to see if your symptoms improve.

http://celiachandbook.com/5-reasons-to-avoid-the-gluten-free-aisle/

Organic chocolate pudding

I’m always on the lookout for another option, or tool for the proverbial tool belt, to make life outside of the “takeout” world a much more fun place to reside. I think I came across this recipe on facebook the other day(I was really considering getting rid of the account all together).

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I was tres excited to try this with my kids and it turned out awesome! They liked it and it is an easy thing to send in their lunches and feel good about at the same time!
Happy health/life to you! Enjoy the journey!