Back to GAPS?

Welcome to 2014!! I know, I know… it’s the middle of March. I’ve been busy, you know?

Overall my health has been good, but not great. I miss the ‘great’, I do… I promised myself I would do better in 2014, but life keeps getting in the way. It’s not an excuse, it’s just…. life. When it comes down to it, I really am doing better. My 4 YO is eating well (his current favorite is bacon-roasted broccoli – BROCCOLI – did you get that? the recipe is here). My 9 YO is not doing that great (and is starting to get white spots on teeth and indigestion). The quality of food I’ve been cooking at home has improved. Up until a few weeks ago we were eating pastured eggs exclusively! I’ve been trying to clean up the snacks mostly and move away from gluten but it’s been hard.

So I just finalized my plans for the summer. The kids will be spending it in Europe (again), DH will stay there with them for 3 weeks and I will spend 2.5 weeks with them before bringing them back in time for school to start in the fall. Since I’ll be by my lonesome for 3 weeks, I’m going to redo the GAPS intro and be full GAPS by the time DH gets back. I’m really hoping the reset will put me back on track to feeling better and having more energy. I can’t really sustain GAPS 100% of the time but I’d like to at least be Paleo and not cheat so much. Tortilla chips are the bane of my existence and my family’s love of Mexican is NOT helping!!

All in all, the food I’ve been eating hasn’t been bad. My breakfasts are usually eggs with meat (bacon, ham, sausage) or pancakes (almond flour) or waffles (almond flour or plaintain) or Applegate hot dogs. I’ve been doing jerky and a Larabar for a quick lunch, sometimes leftovers, sometimes soup. I have been allowing myself some potatoes or rice or rice pasta, but not always and only in small portions. I’m going to save it for very special occasions or as a rare treat. I have been doing kefired milk or cream Mon – Fri with my lunches but have not been taking my Custom Probiotics. I think I’m going to order some Bio-Kult this summer…

I’m going to wrap this up for now. In the next few weeks (time permitting), I’m going to come up with a more detailed plan on what I’ll be cooking while on intro. See you soon!

Back on track

I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything in 2013…. time flies when you’re dealing with … well, stuff. Lots and lots of ‘stuff’.

First, my 8.5 (‘A’) YO switched dentists and we uncovered almost $500 worth of work to be done. Several filling had to be replaced and a tooth had to be pulled (with a spacer inserted). I did avoid a root canal and I declined 4 sealants. All work has been completed and A is back to normal. We’ve been doing daily CLO and BO, raw milk and trying to cut back his carb intake. He’s being surprisingly cooperative but it’s still not easy..

Everyone else is fine. No major things to deal with other than every day grind. DH is remodeling the basement which means more dust than normal and less time on weekends.

I’ve had a bit of a setback this week. I caught a UTI and could not get rid of it without antibiotics. I should be done by Sunday. I’ve been doing this routine: probiotic in the am (Custom Probiotics), antibiotic, kefired milk/cream, antibiotic, CP in the evening. I do not take them within 2 hours of each other. I hope I can mitigate some of the damage…

I’m also redoing intro and going back on full GAPS, starting on Memorial Day weekend. DH and both boys will be out of the country for just over 2 weeks which is perfect timing. My inlaws will keep the boys over the entire summer, giving DH and I a much needed break. I’m going to do a strict 2-3 week intro, then a stricter-than-before full GAPS, before I transition off GAPS, by the book this time.

I plan to accomplish several things:

1. Get back to basics – I’ve been neglecting soups and stews and they are such a great way to eat more broth and vegetables.
2. Eat more vegetables – ’nuff said.
3. Get rid of all the symptoms that disappeared on GAPS but slowly crept back in – I hope this time they move away permanently. None were too severe but I won’t be sad to see them go.

I hope to post more soon on my prep and ideas for early stage recipes. Have a great week!

Review: Cuisinart Green Gourmet skillet

I’ve been using this skillet for almost a year now. Mine doesn’t come with a cover but I’m pretty sure it’s the same one.

The good: it is almost like a nonstick. Some things like eggs will stick if you don’t add enough fat or cook over a high heat. Hasn’t been a problem with me! I drown my eggs in ghee and like them soft so I usually cook them over a low to medium heat. Most foods do not stick and I don’t have to use a ton of fat (not an issue for me, anyway!). It cooks evenly and browns nicely. Handle stays cool most of the time, but if you use high heat on a large burner, it will get pretty warm.

The bad: there are some nicks on the surface already. The surface is supposed to be ceramic and you can theoretically use metal (I usually use a wooden spoon) so I’m not sure about it now…

The bottom line: I’ll use it until more nicks appear and I may try another product then. I’m going to order the 8″ pan and see how it goes. If I see nicks on that one, I’m returning it (I’m pretty sure it’s too late for this pan). I’ve been pretty happy so far with the performance and I use the pan every day. I have substituted cast iron with this pan so I may go back to cast iron and use it half the time and this pan half the time. Even if I have to toss the pan after another year, it’s not a bad value for $40.

Fall (or winter.. or anytime!) hash

This might be my first recipe to post on my blog!! Or not… my memory is very bad these days. I’ve been wanting to share this idea for months but things have been hectic and I haven’t been able to blog much. So after much ado, here we go!!

I’ve been using this recipe (more of an idea, really) for months and I love it!! I always cook enough for 2 days of eating and my family doesn’t mind. Most of the time I just reheat the stuff from previous day (on the stove or in the toaster oven) but sometimes I like to do it just a bit differently. With always having leftovers on had, I usually have some form of cooked meat and veggies in the fridge. So I came up with this very simply idea for a hash.

Leftover cooked meat (boiled, roasted, poached, etc.)
Leftover cooked veggies, but into bite size pieces
Leftover sauce or cooking juices (optional)

That’s it!! So easy but soooo good. My favorite so far has been roasted butternut squash (I roast it in cubes with coconut oil and cinnamon), sausage (bratwurst or Italian) and brussel sprouts (roasted or grilled). I put about an equal amount of each of these in a pan with some ghee and heat up with hot. I also love my Italian beef: roasted or boiled beef, green beans and tomato sauce. Chinese also works: chicken (you could saute raw chicken first), then add some fresh garlic and ginger and cut up bok choy. Delicious! More than the ingredients, I love cutting up the food in bite size pieces and sauteeing them till golden brown in pan.

Speaking of pans, I’m going to review this one in my next post.

How time flies…

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in almost 5 months! Things have been hectic, to say the least. I won’t try to catch up on everything or I’d be writing for pages.. and pages. Let’s just start with today.

This is my first day of work this week. Reason? I had 4 patients at home: my boys A (8 years old) and G (almost 3), my hubby and my nephew L (25 years old) who is visiting from Europe for 3 months (he’s going back on 12/22). A is back at school today and L is back to normal, but DH is in bed and G started running a fever again last night so I kept him home today. This is some nasty stuff: fevers of 101 to over 102, tiredness, dizziness (in adults only, it seems), no appetite. G also had some very stinky poops (though fortunately only one a day). I’ve been able to avoid the doctor and use mostly homeopathic remedies though I resorted to PediaSure cold medicine for A (he only got 1/2 a dose – that stuff is VILE!!!) and G got some ibuprofen for kids today (just 2 doses). I feel this is better than antibiotics for 7-10 days!!

I’m still (mosty) on GAPS. My breakfasts and lunches have remained almost 100% GAPS legal but I am eating some starches and grains (mostly some potatoes, sweet potatoes and rice). I have also been eating some sugar (in very, very small amounts) like dark chocolate, bites of desserts here and there, etc. I have added some arrowroot to cooked items for thickening. I have been drinking one cup of coffee a day (split and watered down into 2 coffees, with regular cream – awesome local grassfed non-homogenized low-temp pasteurized stuff!) with no ill effects, it seems.

I’m going to leave the updates at that, for now. I’m hoping to get back to blogging soon, but cannot say when. I have a recipe I’ve been dying to post and a review on an item I’ve been using with great success. Be back soon..

Back on track…

… or as close as I can get for right now. I finished my gluten-free bread from the freezer. I must say I enjoyed it – especially slathered with butter and liverwurst – but I have no plans to go back to it. If the feeling strikes me, I may make a loaf of a good GAPS-legal bread (there is an almond flour/coconut flour recipe I’ve been wanting to try…). My local Whole Foods has been having cream on sale: local grassfed non-homogenized cream for 8.99 a half gallon. It is awesome in coffee (I’ve been adding a bit to see if I react – I’ve been having some pain-behind-the-eyes, around my sinuses, but that was there before I started the cream.. we’ll see if it continues) and makes amazing kefired cream. So thick you can turn the jar upside down!! Broth continues to be my nemesis – I really just need to get into a habit of having a cup every night when I get home from work. Period. No excuses. I’ll work on it… I have also gotten away from my probiotics and SK. I’m planning to get back on that wagon in the next week or two.

I bought some great produce at the local market last weekend: pak choy, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes (so yummy), peaches (local Georgia peaches – ’nuff said), etc… plus a gallon of local honey. I’ve been out for a while and buying small jars at the store is way expensive. I’ve gone back to enjoying simple meals of meat, veggie and sauce. Potatoes continue to be an indulgence but I have no ill effects and I keep the portions small. I’ve also used a bit of tapioca for frying up chicken cutlets and in sauces: again, no ill effects.

Eating out is continuing to pose an issue though in most places I stick very, very close to GAPS. I’ve had some sugar here and there: bits of dessert, some sweet tea (my 8 year old has been ordering half sweet/half unsweet tea and I have some of his) and a few tortilla chips in Mexican places. I’m going to get even more strict while eating out – the tortilla chips are nice but I’d rather buy some organic non-GMO non-fried-in-soy-oil kind, if you know what I mean… I can indulge at home.

My older son is turning 8 in a couple of weeks and I’m going to give this cake a try – looks amazing, right?

All of Sarah’s recipes look great and the few I’ve tried turned out great (try the clafoutis!). Can’t wait!!

I’ve noticed lately that I can’t seem to be getting enough sleep. Even though I sleep 8-9 hours a night I wake up tired and keep yawning throughout the day… effect of the grains I’ve been eating? Possibly… the next few weeks will tell.  I may have to go back to GAPS 100%. We’ll see… I’ll try to keep everyone posted!

So many changes!

And yet so many things remain the same… There is so much to write about!! I guess I’ll tackle one topic at a time!

We were all in sad shape about 3 weeks ago, just before we went on vacation. G (my 2.5 year old) was having diarrhea a week after finishing up antibiotics (which might or might have not helped heal his ear infection and did not do anything for his cough) which led to diaper rash (only second time in his life – he hasn’t had diaper rash since he was like 6 months old!!). A (my almost 8 year old) was having anxiety which leads to sore tummy and throwing up (or attempting to). DH and I both woke up early in the morning (think 3am) on the day of our trip with the big D. DH was also having chest and shoulder pains, numbness in arm and leg and trouble breathing. After a brief visit to the doctor (heart, lungs and BP all good) he wound up with a prescription that he took for only 2 days. He was down and out, barely able to move.

We got to the airport just fine. DH was feeling better. A threw up on the curb just outside the airport but since he didn’t eat anything it was only bile. I kept checking on G to make sure to catch his D and change him ASAP. We got to the gate early and I left the guys there in search of food. I wound up getting some sandwiches at Atlanta Bread Company and ate the eggs/ham/bacon off one. Everyone seemed to be doing well and was in good spirits. The flight went well and we got to Aruba early Saturday afternoon.

Ahhhhh… Aruba. The pictures say it all:

We spent a week there. We had a small apartment-like hotel room so full size fridge, cook top and convection oven. We cooked breakfasts at home and took snacks to the beach (I loaded up on Lara bars in the States before going). Then we went out for dinner in the afternoons. Seafood is great here and there are plenty of groceries for us GAPS folks. I even splurged on French and New Zealand butter – yum!! I must say I did cheat, having small amounts of sugar here and there and eating lightly breaded fish in a Thai restaurant. No ill effects. We soaked in the ocean – G’s diaper rash cleaned up in a matter of one day… Everyone felt great.
We’re back from vacation now – 2 weeks or so – and things are not looking so great. We’re all coughing and have runny noses. I’m sure AC has something to do with – we’ve been enduring 100+ degree temperatures for almost a week. Hopefully it will clear up soon. G is having a bit of the big D again. A is becoming pickier and pickier. I’ve been experimenting with nonGAPS foods again and having mixed results. A and I got food poisoning a few days ago and were miserable for 2 days. We’ve eaten out quite a few times since we’ve been back and I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things with cooking. Some of my digestive issues came back after I let go with having some sugar so I’m back to honey only. Basically some rice pasta or potatoes are fine once in a while and I’ve even had some GF bread but I won’t be buying any more. I really need to stick to meat and veggies for a while and definitely need more broth. It’s so tough to have it during the summer….
I hope to get back to regular posts soon… It’s been a bit hectic at work and with the kids being in summer camp. Work should be back to normal in a few weeks..