Fermented Condiments

Fermented foods are good for you, right? Then why aren’t more people eating them? Well, they need to taste good, for one. The major problem is that we are so far removed from actually needing to do that. We just don’t know how to do it. Tastefully, that is. Many generations before us used fermentation regularly. They had time to perfect it. I feel like we are starting over. Well, we got to start somewhere. I decided that I should try ketchup. What could it hurt, right? I was really at a loss. The kids wanted something on their burgers, and our diet is so bizarre. I was unsure what to do. I wanted it red, but what should I use on a SCD, GAPS, API, low Oxalate, no night shade diet. This challenge is not for the timid. LoL! Cherries where the only red thing I could think of, so I went with it. We were all super amazed! This stuff tastes Great! It even tastes something like ketchup. I had to share the recipe, because who would have thought?

Fermented no night shade, Low Oxalate ketchup

  • 1/2 sweat onion (cooked)
  • 5 garlic cloves (cooked)
  • 1 c cherries (cooked)
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (cooked)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp white distilled vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pickle or sauerkraut starter
  • 1 drop clove essential oil
  • 1 drop nutmeg essential oil

Cook the food that needs cooked. Remove from stove, add the rest of the ingredients and blend smooth with a stick blender. Pour into a quart canning jar, place a cloth over the top secured by a rubber band. Let set on the counter for 2-4 days.

Fermented Hot Pineapple Mustard

  • 2 Tbsp mustard seed powder
  • 1 1/2 c pineapple, cooked
  • 3 Tbsp fresh dill weed, cooked
  • 5 Tbsp pickle or sauerkraut starter
  • 5 Tbsp distilled water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 garlic cloves, cooked

Cook the food that needs cooked. Remove from stove, add the rest of the ingredients and blend smooth with a stick blender. Pour into a small canning jar, place a cloth over the top secured by a rubber band. Let set on the counter for 2-4 days.

Nutrient Dense Life

 

Breakfast Liver Hash

Breakfast Liver Hash

The Best Way to Eat? I have been working on that question for years. I have tried all sorts of things. I have learned the question is slightly more complex than “best eating.” Best way to eat for what? and for who? Any good food plan should involve your health goals (weight loss, healing, ultimate future health…the what in the equation) and a knowledge of your own body and it’s needs and reactions (the who). For awhile, back when I cared little about real health,  I tried to loss weight with those magic diets. The magic being, I didn’t want to give up any of my favorite foods (carbs and sugar). I would tell myself that anything is fine in moderation. But seriously, what is moderation in current day America? Is that the 6 meals a day type of moderation, the once a week, or the “eat it with something healthy so it cancels the bad food out” type of moderation. The reality is that moderation just 100 years ago was that you would eat a treat maybe once a month. If we stuck with that idea, sure that type of “moderation” is acceptable given no food allergies. We must tame the carbohydrate monster inside of us, because we just can’t afford the caloric load. The best way to eat real must involve our optimal present and future health and well being. Over eating, blood sugar roll a coasters and fake food just will not bring us to our full health potential, no matter how good they taste…Junk food builds junkie bodies.

Our problem is not only food selection, but nutrient density. Our current food system is less nutrient dense than days of old. Between “modern farming practices” and genetic modifications in seeds (for mostly taste, appearance, and shelf life), we don’t have the calories to spare anymore. For awhile I would take vitamins in the hopes of correcting any deficiencies. It really is easier than changing your habits. But in the end most experts agree that it just leads to expensive pee, since most of the supplements aren’t as absorbable as the food sources. Understandably there is a difference between maintaining nutrient balance and replenishing deficiencies. Still it is a concern that all people should consider. Are you getting all the nutrients you need for a healthy life? Have you had your blood work run to find out if you have any deficiencies? It’s a good idea, because it is harder than you think to maintain nutritional stability and optimal health. Where am I on this? I am climbing out of the hole of nutritional deficiencies. With celiac and crohns it is a hole with steep sides. But even so, it is possible! I was going to title this post, “Liver Lovers Live Longer,” but I thought that would be tacky.  Though true, it is still a little too clicky of an alliteration. Back to my point, liver is a super food. And it was the only way I came out of my nutrient deficiencies and stayed out of them. You don’t have to eat much to maintain health, though the quality of the liver is important. The good news is that even high quality liver from good sources is quite affordable. It is much more affordable than quality multivitamins that honestly can’t begin to compete with the absorbability and completeness of high quality liver. That being said, you don’t have to taste it for liver to replenish your nutrients. So if you can’t stand liver, hide it in meatballs or freeze it and swallow it in pills.  Chris Kresser has a great article on liver as a super food and dispels many of the liver myths. Link to see Liver: Natures Most Potent Super Food.

Another very important nutrient dense food is seafood or sea vegetables. If you are like me, we can’t afford seafood for 7 people. But many people can afford kelp flakes. I sprinkle them on most every meal I make. I get the benefits of sea minerals without the cost.

One thing I have noticed in my exploration of health is that many people are looking for that magic bullet to add to their diet. We are readily willing to add things to our diet. Hmmm, well that is as long as they taste good and aren’t animal organs. I’m not sure if you have noticed the increase in supplements. I remember my own delusional idea that I could eat as unhealthy as I wanted just as long as my calorie count was good, and I took supplements to make up for the missing nutrients of my bad habits. That strategy has contributed to the poor health I have now.

In the beginning I heard how fermented foods could improve gut health, so I added them to my nutrient poor diet. I quickly got over the taste, and there they where, a daily part of my ritual. Perhaps this will solve other people’s digestive problems, but for me adding was only part of the battle. In fact at the time adding wild fermentation was actually acting against my efforts. For my celiac condition, yeasts cross react with gluten. My body doesn’t recognize the difference between good and bad yeast. I have since experimented with fermenting by inoculation of certain good bacteria. I have had some success; however, by far the most impact for my health is not about what I added to my diet, but what was taken away.

I could go on with many other nutrient hacks, but more than anything else the grains and sugars need to go. Gluten free and grain free diets are not just fads, but they have scientific validity that is currently improving many people’s lives. There are many real life grain free, sugar free experiments going on that the subjects are see huge improvements with all sorts of chronic disease, skin/hair conditions, energy and mental focus. For the most optimal nutrient density and health benefits carbohydrates should predominantly come from non-starchy vegetables and fruits, not grains. Grains are seeds (along with legumes) and they have many anti nutrients to protect themselves from being eaten. The net gain in nourishment is negligible when compared pound for pound with vegetables and fruits. There is no competition. So why do we fight the idea of going grain free? How could we think we couldn’t get all we need? The deal is…there is a multibillion dollar industry that has built its empire on our addiction to carbohydrates and sugars. I was the leader of the pack. I loved carbs and sugar. Even as I started to get allergies to them, I continued to try to create junk food from any and everything I could eat. The food wasn’t my problem (The food sitting on the shelf does nothing to my health. It is only when I eat it that I have problems). My unhealthy relationship with this stuff was really killing me. Junk food is junk food. No matter if it is Gluten free junk food or Paleo junk food or vegan junk food…it is still junk food. The resulting spike in blood sugar does much damage to your entire body. And “junk food” isn’t necessarily the sweets we often think of, it is any non nutrient rich foods. What is the net nutrient gain? It is the number you get when you subtract the compounds that cause your body to use your own nutrient stores to process the food from the nutrients that are given to you by that food. (Nutrients given – Nutrients need to process food = Net nutrient gain) Some foods actually cost more to digest than they give. From breads and pastas to donuts and tweekies most of them cost us more than they give us. They just can’t compare to vegetables. And with the rise of chronic diseases, can any of us afford not to take a serious look at this? You can do all the research you want, and I’m sure you can find an expert that will tell you it is ok to keep doing what you are doing. But honestly, the proof is in the pudding (so to speak). Is it working? So what can it hurt, just try it. Where to start? If you need a little more structure check out Diane Sanfilippo’s book “The 21 Day Sugar Detox.” There are three levels for your comfort. Make the first 21 days of this New Year count! Find your Optimal Health! (Ps Costco sells the book.) Facebook has a new group starting every month. This months group starts January 6th. Check it out: Facebook 21 Day Sugar Detox.

My new goal for 2014 is to eat the most nutrient dense diet I can honestly afford. The cost is higher in the present, but lower in medical bills (not to mention pain as a cost). The total cost of a life well lived can’t be measured.

Bread Jesus Didn't Eat

Bread Jesus Didn’t Eat

PS. One argument is pressing enough for me to mention it in a PS. “Jesus ate bread so how could it be wrong?” If this is a sticking point for you, be comforted that Jesus never ate the grain seeds being produced today. They have at least twice as much gluten. The plant it self doesn’t even look the same. Our modern day grains are cultivated for taste, shelf life and bug resistance. That is a little different than nutrient density. Not only are the seeds different, but the process of baking is considerably different. They all ate a type of sourdough bread. All the grains were sprouted and fermented before being consumed as breads. The process of fermentation breaks down a lot of the anti nutrients. In the end, first century fokes would have a hard time recognizing the product we call bread and have just as much difficulty digesting it.

Grinchy Green Cookies

IMG_2312

HoHoHo, the elves have been busy. And this Elf is plum tired. I want to share some of my sugar free baking highlights of this season. Grinchy Green Cookies without that ginchy feeling afterward. These are sugar and grain free, soy free, dairy free and naturally green. You can make them completely with stevia (but it will have that type of taste).  You start with sprouted pumpkin seed butter.

Sprouted Pumpkin Seed Butter:

  • 4 c sprouted, roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 c coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp stevia, green powder

Blend until smooth in high powdered blender. Refrigerate. It needs to be brought back to room temperature for the cookies.

Sugar Free Pumpkin Butter Balls (SCD, Paleo, AIP, Ketogenic)

Sugar Free Pumpkin Butter Balls (SCD, Paleo, AIP, Ketogenic)

Sugar Free Pumpkin Seed Butter Balls

2 c sprouted, roasted pumpkin seeds, 1 c coconut oil, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp green powder stevia, 1 dropper vanilla stevia. Refrigerate. To make balls. Let the mix warm a bit, until workable. Make balls and freeze. Dip in melted Chocolate Kiss mix. Place back on wax paper.

Pumpkin Blossoms (SCD, Paleo)

Pumpkin Blossoms (SCD, Paleo)

Pumpkin Seed Butter Cookies

  • 2 c sprouted pumpkin seed butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20 drops vanilla stevia
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 4 egg yokes

Mix up.

Seed Butter Cookies: Small scoops then smash it with a fork, like peanut butter cookies. Bake at 350 for 10 min.

Pumpkin Blossom Cookies: Large cookie scoop  Bake on 350 350 12 min. Push a homemade kiss into each cookie.

My favorite cookies use to be Peanut Butter Blossoms. I was trying to make something reminiscent of them. With the green color of the pumpkin seed butter cookies I thought a red kiss would look neat. I forgot that red is only un-naturally made (in oil based stuff). The closest I could get was strawberry pink. The girls loved them! We have chocolate for the boys. Everyone that can’t eat sugar was happy.

Homemade Kisses

Homemade Kisses

Homemade Strawberry Kisses:

  • 1 c cocoa butter
  • 1 c freeze dried strawberries

Blend. Let in in the refrigerator for 30 min. Mix with stick blender. When it is fluffy like frosting put it in a zip lock bag. Squish it down to one corner and cut a small hole in that corner. Squeeze out by making a quick up and down motion. You have to work quickly. The heat from your hands want to melt it and the stuff is only workable a short time.

Strawberry Chocolate Kisses: 1 c semi melted cocoa butter, 1/4 c freeze dry strawberries, 10 drops vanilla stevia, 1/8 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp cocoa powder. Blend with a stick blender.

If you still can’t have duck egg yokes, we made some gingerbread cut out cookies. Again they don’t need the honey for structural integrity. They can be made with stevia only for a completely sugar free version.

Grain Free, Sugar Free Ginger Bread Men (SCD, Paleo, AIP)

Grain Free, Sugar Free Ginger Bread Men (SCD, Paleo, AIP)

Ginger Bread Cutouts:

  • 3 c sunflower seed flour
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp honey

Mix dough with your hands. Refrigerate for 1/2-1 hour. Roll out and cut cookies. You may need to re-refrigerate the dough and only use cool cookie trays. Bake on 350 for 8 min.

Gooble, Gooble What Will We Eat?

Happy Thanksgiving! So do you want to feel slightly normal at Thanksgiving even when you are on a SCD, FODMAP, GAPS, or Paleo AIP diet. Even harder a combination of all of them to heal major autoimmune conditions a long with dysbiosis. I combined them for a more complete Gut Healing protocol. Either way this menu should work for you. It is super yummy too! There is a printout of the recipes at the end of this post.

Roasted Duck

Roasted Duck

Roasted Duck

-Stage 1-

  • 1 Duck
  • 3 c stuffing (stage specific)
  • 1 orange, juice
  • Himalayan salt

Take off wing tips, guts and duck butt fat and place in the bottom of heated pan. Place duck on top of it’s parts in the pan and stuff duck with stuffing. Score top, salt and Squirt with 1/2 orange, juiced back on 450 30 min., 350 for 30 min., flip and squirt 1/2 orange, juiced on back and bake 350 30 min. Flip again and back for 30 min. (additional 50min if frozen?) I needed 2 for my family. Duck have a lot of bones and not as much meat.

Cauliflower Mashed "Potatoes"

Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”

Cauliflower Mashed “potatoes”

-Stage 4a-

  • 2 c full fat chicken broth
  • 1 cauliflowers, chopped
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Boil broth with the cauliflower. Mix and place the lid on the cauliflower and steam it for 15 – 20 min. Drain the broth from the cauliflower and blend the cauliflower with the oil and salt. Blend it mostly smooth. Totally smooth doesn’t have the same feel as mash potatoes. Serve with French Gravy. This Freezes!

French Onion Soup

(stage 3a)

  • 6 beef short ribs (about 2lb), browned
  • 10 sm. sweet onion, sliced, browned
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 Tbsp white distilled vinegar
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp thyme, fresh
  • 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp salt

Brown ribs on all sides. Brown onions. Add to pot with 1/2 gallon water. Mix the rest of the ingredients. Slow cook for 8 hours. 1 hour before time Take out bones and fat, and shred meat. Place meat back into pot. Serve with avocados.  This Freezes!

BEST GRAVY EVER! French Gravy

Blend 2 cups of the French Onion Soup with 1 c. just the chunks in the soup. Blend until warm and get 3 c of the Best Gravy Ever!

Paleo AIP Stuffing

Paleo AIP Stuffing

Stuffing

-Stage 3b-

  • 1 bunch celery, chopped
  • 4 apple
  • 4 c cherries
  • 2 lb bacon
  • 1/2 lb chicken livers
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 med. onions, red
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 2 lb pork or beef
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp sage
  • 1 Tbsp tarragon
  • 1 tsp salt

Fry meat, onions and garlic. Add celery. When tender add spices, fruit and remove from heat. Freeze. Stuff some and reheat the others in a bowl and serve.

GAPS Diet

GAPS Diet

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

-Stage 4a-

  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2 lb brussels sprouts

Cut in half and place on a cookie sheet. (1 layer)  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt.  Roast for 15 min. at 400 degrees.

Pumpkin Cheese Cake

Pumpkin Cheese Cake

Pumpkin Cheese Cake

-Stage5a-

  • 1 can pumpkin, plain or coconut milk
  • 2 cups yogurt cream cheese
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 lime, juice (optional, decrease 1 stevia)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 droppers vanilla stevia
  • 4 tsp grass fed gelatin

Mix together coconut yogurt cream cheese, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and stevia. Heat pumpkin to warm and add gelatin. Mix well. Mix in other yogurt mixture with a hand blender. Can be served without a crust.

Coconut Crust (optional): 20 majool dates, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 3 Tbsp coconut oil, 2 c coconut, shredded. Blend with stick blender. Mix the rest with your hands and press into the bottom of the baking pan ( 9×12). Bake on 350 for 10 min.

 

SCD Tastes Thanksgiving (Click link to download pdf)

Prepare Your Family’s Hearts for Christmas

Jesse Tree Advent Devotional

Jesse Tree Advent Devotional

Tis’ the Season to Prepare for the advent of Christ’s birth.  Advent starts November 27th this year.  It is time to order the Jesse Tree Advent Devotional and Lapbook kit.  This is a super fun way to prepare your families’ hearts for Christmas.

What does it look like in our house:  We add Christmas lights in the dinning room along with the candles and often have special desserts (especially on Sundays).  Our kids love advent!  At dinner we turn off the regular lights, light the candles, read the Bible and devotional (included), put an ornament on the tree (included), and sing our favorite Christmas songs.  The kids love to blow-out the candles.  Your kids will love this tradition, and you will love that they are excited about the real advent of Christmas.  They will know that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and have a lot of fun doing it.

Jesse Tree (Click to buy or get more information about the kit)

Some extra ideas to add to the celebration:

  • Donate something each night
  • Make special meals like red and green dinner (everything is red and green)
  • Shepherd’s Night (I’ll explain on a future post.)
  • Christmas Cards (decide who, sign and stuff, address…sprinkle it though out the week)
  • volunteer at a food bank
  • Creative Sundays on Sunday (SOS: make your own ice cream sunday)
  • Christmas Cookie decorating
  • Make Christmas presents for the animals (i.e. pinecone bird feeder)
  • Make cookies for a widow/someone lonely) you know and go visit
  • Go Stealth Elfing!