Eating foods that vibrate in harmony with themselves, our bodies and nature will help us to heal and to thrive.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Grain Free Almond Flour Muffins

Wow, these were great!  I saw "were" because they didn't last very long - all three of us gobbled them up!  If my son and husband like them, then everyone will probably like them.  I was looking for a recipe for some kind of muffin that my son would like because he needs soft things to eat as he has so many loose teeth right now.  It's hard to please him with baked goods, and he doesn't really like sweet stuff.  So, these were perfect.  Here's the link to where I found them online:

They are savory, kind of tasting like cornbread.  I was pleased that they even taste good cold after being in the refrigerator.  The addition of a little bit of tapioca flour helps with the density of the almond flour, making it more palatable.  I didn't have any potato starch, by the way, but they were still great!  Hope your family enjoys them as well!  And a special thank you to Jan, who created the recipe!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Eat Right For You - What I Have Learned From Using 10 Special Diets

Today I made this homemade, organic almond milk not because I follow a raw diet, but because it is healthful, delicious, and good for me!  I'm going to do something different on this blog today, as I feel very inspired to share the following information.  Over the last ten years, I have learned so much about health and nutrition, partially through the special diets I have used for myself and my family.  Each one does not create a picture of balance and health within itself, but each one has taught me very valuable information that I needed to know in order to create the balance and thriving that I strive for in my life and for my family.  So, I'm going to go through them here and succinctly share what I have learned that benefits me in my life now.  Perhaps it could help you, too!

1.  Allergy and Sensitivity Elimination and Rotation Diets
This is really important because as long as we are consuming foods, which are resulting in an inflammatory response from our immune systems, we are hurting our bodies.  Be sure to find out if you or your child is allergic or sensitive to certain foods and remove them completely (do not cheat and sneak it sometimes) from your and their diets.  There are ways to heal these allergies and sensitivities, which my son and I have done, which allow for you to bring them back into your regular diets.  Even though they do not cause anaphylaxis, sensitivities are just as important as allergies.  Continuing to consume foods, which cause a sensitive reaction within, damages the body over time and causes discomfort, illness, and other significant problems.  Medicating for these symptoms while continuing to eat the foods causing harm is only damaging your body and your ability to live to your highest potential.

2.  Gluten Free
Another very important one.  Here is what everyone needs to know, especially those who live in the United States.  Wheat has been so hybridized over time here in order to produce that fluffy, sweet flavor and texture we all love in bread, that it literally contains 50% more gluten than it used to.  This extreme increase in gluten leads to a major inflammatory response within the body.  The results have been connected to autism, ADHD/ADD, depression, obesity, diabetes, eczema, anxiety, autoimmune disorders and chronic pain conditions to name a few.  This high gluten also contributes to nutritional deficiencies, also seen in the above conditions.  Whether you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, whether you have celiac disease or autism, if you live in the United States, do not eat gluten containing grains.  It is just the wise thing to do knowing the truth about it and the negative, inflammatory effects it has upon the body.  Although the worst thing to eat is bleached white flour (yes, they do use bleach and numerous other chemicals to make it look and taste like this), even whole grain or sprouted gluten containing grains have been hybridized and still contain all of that high percentage of harmful gluten.

3.  Casein Free and Goat Milk
Some people have a really hard time digesting and processing casein, or the protein found in dairy products.  Many children who experience autism, ADD/ADHD, asthma and allergies are allergic or sensitive to casein.  However, some people can more easily digest goat milk than cow milk, which is the case with my son.  I learned about goat milk while we were doing the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet).  The protein that many people who are allergic to in cow's milk is not present in human or goat milk.  Also, the fat is more easily digestible in goat's milk because of it's composition.  (You can read about it more, just search for "goat milk easier to digest" on google)  There are even more essential fatty acids in goats milk than cow's milk.  Goats are usually not treated with the extreme amount of hormones and medications that cow's are subjected to, as well.  If you do consume dairy sourced from cows, make sure that it is organic (see the section on chemicals below) and grass fed/pastured.

4.  Sugar Free
Sugar is a toxic substance to the body.  It is connected to many adverse health conditions.  Children who experience ADHD/ADD, autism, allergies, obesity, diabetes, or asthma must be kept away from sugar, especially refined, white sugar.  In the United States, a large proportion of the sugar in processed foods and on the shelves in grocery stores is made from sugar beets, which are genetically engineered.  This provides a double whammy of sorts - the toxic reaction in the body from the sugar itself, plus the added toxicity of the GMO component.  Eating sugar (even fructose in fruits) also promotes the overgrowth of candida in the body, which can lead to a whole host of undesirable health conditions.  Of course, high fructose corn syrup is just about the worst thing you could consume considering that it is most likely from GMO sourced corn and it contains such a high level of damaging fructose in a concentrated form.  HFCS is in most processed drinks and foods today.  Choosing artificial sweeteners instead is not a viable option in creating thriving health.

Overall, stay away from processed sugar and even evaporated cane juice.  There are alternatives such as coconut crystals, stevia, xylitol (processed and watch out for GMOs in it from corn), maple syrup, and agave nectar.

5.  Grain Free - SCD, GAPS, Paleo Diets
When we did the SCD/GAPS diet, I learned about eating grain free.  At first, it was so confusing and difficult for me to even grasp the concept of it because I was a vegan who ate a LOT of grains.  But, once I got the hang of it, I could see the benefits.  When you cut out all grains (i.e. corn, rice, wheat, rye, amaranth, barley, millet, etc) you are left with using flours like coconut and almond.  These make delicious and super protein-packed baked goods.  For anyone who is experiencing any conditions linked to leaky gut, getting the grains (and the sugars) out is essential for healing and wellbeing.  In her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Natasha Campbell McBride, M.D. talks a lot about this concept.  As there are little tears in the gut caused by toxins and medications, the larger molecules of the grains can sleep right through the walls of the intestines and into the blood stream.  Here they cause an inflammatory reaction within the body, whose immune system is trying to get rid of these invaders.  The food is supposed to move directly through the digestive system, not go back into the body.  When gluten molecules reach the brain, we see the numerous problems our children are suffering from today.  Also, be aware that new studies have shown high levels of toxic arsenic in rice, especially that grown in the U.S.  Going grain free challenges us to look for alternative possibilities and solutions, something I always find exciting!

6. Chemical Elimination
I learned about this through using the SCD Diet and when I was researching the Feingold Association information to help my son.  Once we made the switch to eating only organic foods - eliminating all pesticides, artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, GMOs, MSG, and artificial colors and flavors we never went back.  This is just good, common practice for all of us.  These chemicals are toxic to the body no matter your age or health condition, and it is important for us to get them out of our diets.  In addition, processed foods and fast foods contain numerous chemicals not listed on labels, so it is best to completely avoid consuming these foods.  Meats and dairy in the United States contain hormones, antibiotics, and numerous other chemical medications and this is not listed on labels, so only eat organic of these foods.  Corn, soy, zucchini, Hawaiian papaya, sugar, cotton, wheat, canola (rapeseed) and potatoes are sources of GMO crops.  If you live in the United States or somewhere else that does not limit the planting of these, or allow for them to be labelled on packages, ONLY eat organic of these foods to avoid these toxins.

7.  Ketogenic Diet
We used this for my son when he was experiencing petit mal seizures.  We saw immediate improvement in him, however, we also immediate weight gain.  It just was not a healthy way to eat.  However, what I took away from it was learning the importance of balancing a meal or snack.  So, if you are going to eat something that is sweet, a fruit, or a grain, make sure to eat something with good fats and protein along with it.  As I have observed, kids in schools would benefit from eating more balanced snacks overall.

8.  Low Oxalate
This is a diet that can be helpful for certain symptoms and conditions, but in my experience it does not really seem to heal.  For some, removing oxalates found in certain plant foods from the diet can eliminate pain and emotional imbalances.  However, doing only this without further healing and balancing the body can lead to nutritional deficiencies (dark leafy green veggies contain very high amounts of oxalates and are not allowed on the diet) and recurrence of symptoms.  In fact, for my own pain of vulvodynia, the low oxalate diet is often recommended, having proven to provide relief to many women.  However, it does not heal the problem, and you are stuck eating a less than balanced diet for the rest of your life.  Also, in my personal experience, it did not seem to heal what was at the bottom of the emotional disturbances I was experiencing as well.

9.  Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw Diet
This is really a point of contention for me.  Up until two weeks ago, I had been a vegetarian for 23 years, beginning in my freshman year of college.  I loved being a vegetarian.  I did it for several reasons:  first, because I love animals, second because it's good for the earth, and third because I believed it was the best thing I could do for my health.  I had to learn the hard way that the third reason is not cut and dry for everyone.  In my early years of being vegan, I ate a lot of processed soy and wheat because that's what I saw everyone doing.  It gives the illusion of eating meat and it has protein, so there you go!  However, I had no idea about GMOs, which account for 91% of the soy planted in the United States today.  I ate soy in every form it was available to me - milk, fake meats, edamame, tofu, tempeh, miso, I just kept eating it.  Once I learned about how dangerous this was to my body, I stopped eating soy, but this was years later.  A lot of damage had been done by then.  I worked for years to detoxify my body, but I remained a vegetarian.  In fact, the only times I was not a vegan during these 23 years was when I was pregnant and shortly after I had my son (I added some dairy and eggs and some fish), and while I was doing the low oxalate diet, which required I eat eggs to get enough protein.  Otherwise, I was vegan.

As I learned more about the raw diet in recent years, I got more and more interested in adapting my cooked veggies to raw.  I loved all that I was learning about the nutritional benefits of eating raw foods, which foods contained the most nutrition, and how to dehydrate foods to preserve nutrients.  I learned the benefits of soaking and dehydrating nuts, making my own pure nut milks, and eating raw veggies.  However, things went from bad to worse for me in following this diet for too long.  As a healer and foodie, I take really good care of myself in my daily life.  I consume only organic foods, use no chemicals in my household and body products, take no medications, consume no alcohol or drugs, and still a few months ago, I started getting really sick.  No only was I sick and in pain, but the horrible vulvodynia had returned in full force.  I knew that there was something terribly wrong and I decided to see if I could help myself through diet.  The only thing I hadn't really tried yet was eating meat.  After I did it, my pain stopped within 24 hours.  It's 2 1/2 weeks later and I am feeling stronger than ever, lifting things and doing things that I just could not do before.  I did not realize how weak I had become.

From all that I have learned about the raw diet, I have surmised that it is a wonderful, detoxifying thing for certain people to use for healing purposes, but not for the long term for most people.  Although apparently some can tolerate it and thrive with it, and I thought that I was one of them, not everyone can.  I will take with me all of that great information I learned about the nutritional value of certain foods and eating them prepared under 115 degrees, but I have had to let this diet go from my life.

10.  Acid/Alkaline Balancing Diet
This is the newest one for me and I'm loving the effects!  Did you know that a certain percentage of people cannot metabolize weak acids like fruits, honey and vinegar?  Apparently, I seem to be one of these people!  Since I have cut out the fruits and vinegar and all sweeteners, I am feeling myself truly healing.  I am working to raise my pH level from overall acid (I was shocked to see that my vegan diet had led me to a dangerously low acid state!!) to a neutral pH.  Now, I juice my veggies without adding fruit.  Doesn't taste as good, but it's what my body needs.  Whenever I eat, I make sure that I have alkalizing veggies as the majority of my meal, but I balance it with good proteins.  I recommend this book:  The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health: Restore Your Health by Creating pH Balance in Your Diet by Christopher Vasey, N.D.  He lives in Switzerland, so he recommends eating bread, by the way.  But, if you are in the United States, do not do this!

It feels good to write about some of the important things that I have learned about special diets and food.  I read about nutrition and the latest scientific research everyday.  I love to learn!  I hope that some of what I have learned along my journey can be helpful to others.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Balancing Foods

I am learning a lot right now about bringing balance to the body through food.  I have used so many different healing diets, but not a single one of them has the nutritional balance that I know is necessary for maintaining health.  So, I'm undergoing a new approach for myself right now.  This is a great book as it addresses the issue of weak acids.  I was eating so many of these - fruits, vinegar.  I think this is what really threw me off kilter.  Now that I know about how this works in the body, I feel much more empowered to heal myself more effectively.
Here is an example of a balanced meal I had today.  All organic:  Sweet potato, cooked in the crock pot, topped with coconut oil and a little sea salt.  Raw spinach salad and hard boiled egg, topped with olive oil, oregano, basil, garlic and a little sea salt.  
Lots of alkalizing foods, good and beneficial fats, and a little animal protein.  I felt really good after I ate this food.