WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Microwave Chickpea Brittle



This is the quickest and easiest candy you can make. It only takes an hour to cool enough to crack into pieces.


You can use chickpeas, or any seed or nut.. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, whatever it is you tolerate.

With the holidays approaching at lightening speeds Abby and I were flipping through her recipes trying to figure out which ones she tolerated still, which one's could be tweaked and we realized her latest round of losing foods has put a dent into our stash of recipes. Now candy on the other hand I think we might have some wiggle room. Microwave brittle is the easiest thing and a no fail kind of candy. We have a few more recipes we might try this year as well.

Ingredients

1 cup white sugar(Domino's organic cane sugar)
1/2 cup Lyles Golden syrup(haven't tried my homemade syrup on this yet)
1 cup salted roasted chickpeas
1 teaspoon palm shortening(Tropical Traditions or Spectrum)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract(homemade with potato vodka)
1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Generously grease a cookie sheet.

Combine sugar and Lyle's golden syrup in a 2 quart glass bowl and microwave on high 4 minutes.

Stir in roasted chickpea's and microwave on high 3 1/2 minutes.

Then stir in palm shortening and vanilla and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.

Stir in baking soda until light and foamy.

Pour onto cookie sheet and spread thin. (or not, I like thick pieces myself.)

Cool completely.

Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Abby's Twice Baked Potatoes




For as long as I can remember twice baked potatoes were always part of a holiday meal. When I met Derek he quickly agreed that they should be part of our holiday table as well.


In order to make them safely for Abby we have "tweaked" things a bit, but they are still just as delicious. We tried them with just the coconut yogurt(mashed potato!) and then lacked that richness of the regular twice baked. Adding the egg helped create a new texture with that richness the original recipe offered.

Abby's Twice Baked Potatoes

5 organic potatoes, baked .
3 Heaping Tablespoons fullfat coconut yogurt(maybe more or less depending on how you make yours)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 beaten egg
Pink Himalayan salt
paprika(simply organic, or penzey's)


1) Make sure your potatoes are baked completely. While still hot(I wear oven mitts!) I cut in half and carefully spoon out the potato putting the insides into a bowl.


2) add beaten egg, teaspoon of coconut oil, salt to taste, and 2 Tablespoons of coconut yogurt and whip until smooth. You want this a touch thicker then regular mashed potatoes. If you make them too thin they will kind of rise and then go flat after baking the second time. They still taste great but the presentation isn't as pretty.


3) I pipe(or spoon) the potato mix back into 8 of the 10 potato skins. I like mine really full and have found that sometimes my potato filling won't fill all 10 the way I would like, so I simply bake an extra potato for the extra filling. I then sprinkle a little paprika across the top.


4)Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until slightly puffy and lightly golden brown.(They will dry out if you overbake)



I usually make these 1 or 2 days before Thanksgiving. After I fill the potato skins and sprinkle with paprika I cover and keep in the fridge. Then about 2 hours before dinner I place them on the counter to get them to room temperature and then bake.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Project Elimination was a SUCCESS

It has been a long 3 year since I started wondering if those french fries Abby was eating on the way home from the zillion Dr. appointments in the medcenter were part of the problem.


I talked to a lot people about diet, nutrition, chemicals.. toxins and will always be grateful to those who took the time and continue to take the time to teach me how to take care of Abby. Without them? We would not be where we are at today.


We took the leap of faith and began the long journey of Project Elimination. No Dr. thought food or medicines or chemicals or vaccines could possibly cause Abby's health issues. Yet, I talked to many patients who had seen remarkable improvements in their health by eliminating the junk.


It hasn't been easy. It is very hard work to grind your own grain. To learn how to make tofu out of chickpeas. To learn why we need magnesium and which foods were best. To learn how much protein Abby needed.. Our weekends have been devoured by traveling the greater Houston area hunting for safe foods and equipment to make it.


Our grocery budget certainly changed. I developed a love/hate relationship with Amazon. I learned about herbs and spices I have never heard of.. I memorized a 3 page list of corn derived ingredients to avoid.. I learned to be cautious about even organics when feeding Abby.


I learned that often medicines create as many symptoms as they treat.


I learned that supplements and vitamins are often synthetic not natural and enriched foods made Abby very sick.


It has been lonely. I stay at home all week- like no errands,no haircuts, to quick trip to the mini mart, no grocery shopping so that Abby has someone with her. We don't go to social events.. we have watched friends come into town and avoided them to avoid any germs. We have skipped fairs, shopping, holidays. Heck, we did not even hand out candy at Halloween, we left a bucket on the porch. I have missed adults. I have missed going to a concert or to even dinner. We surgical scrub(well not quite that extreme,but close!) when we come home from our errands on the weekends. When I read of our friends children off to college or on a date, I admit it, I have been envious.. I have struggled to keep hope on and off on this journey. She has bad days, heck, she has bad months. She has continued to lose foods. Sometimes she is just sick.. too sick to brush her teeth, too sick too brush her hair.. those days are hard to not run to the nearest Dr. and beg for every medical intervention.. my heart has broken again and again watching her suffer trying to even eat. It has been twice as hard for her as for me.

IT was ALL worth it.

I have gotten the chance to truly know my family. After the past 3 years I love them more then ever, and I am friends, good friends, no, great friends with my daughters and husband. I have learned how to really feed my family. I have learned that Drs. don't have all the answers and we should not expect them to- common sense is as important as good medical care. I have hope and I believe in Project Elimination more then ever today.


Abby's kidneys look great. Over the past couple years they have improved.. steadily. That doesn't mean there is no problem but is sure means that the scary stuff is ruled out. Patients with her kidney biopsy findings don't get better. But, Abby's kidney's have.. they look good.

The Nephrologist tells us, "Whatever you are doing, keep doing it."

That is exactly what we will do. It will be a much easier to continue our path knowing - IT WORKS.

It hasn't cured her. She is still struggling, but the fact that her kidneys are happy again? It makes every bit of this journey worth it.


I am so proud of my family, and thank you to each of you that has helped Abby get to this point.

Who knows, maybe in a couple more years she will be washing her own hair again? Or able to get dressed without taking 20 breaks.. or feel well enough to have a friend come over... sky is the limit.


It is but one battle and I know we have a very long road to win the war, but the proof is in the pudding. Her kidneys are better because of the efforts we have made to keep her away from germs, from not giving her meds that cause side effects, from letting her get all the rest she wants whenever she wants it, from the rest of us helping her get through the day, from the elimination of GMO's, Chemicals, and poor quality food.

I don't know what will come next. Her kidneys might show stress again, she could get worse.. but she might just get a little better. I have been following a few Mito Patients(with definitive biopsies and/or genetic findings) who are also doing better. Abby might get to be one of those.. maybe with our continued path on project elimination she will continue to be the odd man out and stay stable. We have hope.

Project Elimination is a success. 1 battle down and now on to win the war.



Friday, November 7, 2014

Yeast and Gluten free Hamburger Buns.




Abby has never been a huge fan of hamburgers though she never disliked them, but since going yeast free she suddenly realizes how much she misses them. I had started some sprouts(her only "raw" veggie)and had made a batch of bean burgers plus had some red pepper ketchup so decided to see if using the classic Irish Soda Bread in my muffin rings would work. It did! The bread wasn't bad at all and held together wonderfully.



2 cups gluten-free flour blend
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder(homemade or Hains for corn free)
1 teaspoon guar gum(still using NOW brand )
1 teaspoon sugar(C&H organic cane sugar)
1/2 teaspoon psyllium husk powder(not neccessary, but I think it gives it a bit more spring to the bread)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup full fat coconut milk (you can use other milks but remember there is little fat in this recipe)



1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a cookie sheet and english muffin rings.

2. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, guar gum,sugar, psyllium husk power salt in a bowl.

3. Add egg and milk and mix to form a soft, sticky dough.(add a tablespoon of water if it seems too thick, gf does best with a wetter dough)

4.Fill each ring about 1/2 full. Wet hands with water and smooth the tops so the dough fits well in the ring and top is smooth. Use a knife and cut an x in each top. If wanted sprinkle a dusting of flour on top(or sesame seeds if you can have them) Allow to sit on counter for about 10 minutes(the baking powder will lift some and then further in the oven)

5. Bake in preheated oven until top is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.

Roasted Chickpea "pie" Cake: gluten free, corn free, soy free, nut free, dairy free.

After I posted yesterday using the cake picture but not the recipe quite a few asked for the cake recipe, so wanted to make sure to get it posted. I wanted to make a chickpea "pie" cake. Basically the filling of pecan pie in between the cake layers. I used a cake recipe I had used before, made the filling and then a caramel glaze. Any cake recipe would work fine for this, nothing special about the cake, just a simple yellow cake, so if you have a go-to recipe already use it. The filling is "new" and out of everything probably the one area you may run into issues. It was almost a custard like texture after I got it done. If it is too thick add a bit more coconut milk before it cools. If it seems thin, odds are when it cools it will be thick enough to use between the layers.



Filling

1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup(or homemade)
1/4 cup potato starch
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups full fat coconut milk(or mix 1/2 cup coconut yogurt with 1 cup water)
1/8 tsp salt
3 TBSP palm shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (homemade)

Whisk together the first 6 ingredients in a saucepan until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat,stir the whole time start to finish, and boil for 1 minute, or until thickened. Remove from heat; whisk in palm shortening and vanilla. Place a sheet of parchment paper directly on surface of mixture to prevent a film from forming, and cool until room temperature before using on cake.



Cake: (you could use any favorite yellow cake recipe)

3/4 cup coconut oil, room temperature(Tropical Traditions)
2½ cups all purpose gluten free Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder(homemade)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder(or guar gum)
1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan salt
3/4 cup water or milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar(C&H organic sugar)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
3/4 cup homemade plain coconut yogurt
1 1/2 cup roasted chickpeas
Preheat oven 350

First, grease and flour your pans. (I used 2 but you could go for 3 layers). Split your roasted chickpeas between the 2 pans. Cover the bottom of the pan with roasted chickpeas.

You know the drill, mix wet ingredients then add the dry in.. This batter is thicker then many and you will likely need to spread it vs pour into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then turn out on to finish cooling before filling between the layers and icing.


Caramel Icing:

Caramel Frosting:
1/2 cup organic sugar
3 tablespoons Lyle golden syrup(or homemade)
2 tablespoons full fat coconut milk(I used just the cream that was on top)
1/4 cup palm shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar(corn free/homemade)
3 tablespoons rice milk

Combine the sugar and Lyle syrup in a saucepan on the stove. Cook over medium high heat until caramel colored(doesn't take long I pulled mine the second I smelled it changing and the color had just changed a tiny bit). Add the coconut cream and 1/4 cup of palm shortening. Add the salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.

With A mixer, mix the caramel and add 1 cup of powdered sugar and milk and beat well. Add more milk or powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. The goal is a thick glaze and not a frosting. Pour the whole thing dead center on top of cake.. you can gently push toward the edges to get it drizzle down the sides.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Eating Everything, without Anything.

I have always loved to cook and bake. When faced with the enormous task of eliminating corn,chemicals,soy, dairy, gluten, colors, high histamine and the literally zillion other foods I was accustomed to cooking with I felt panic.


I have learned a lot the past few years. When Abby was a baby and we had to avoid so much it was much easier. Produce wasn't covered with chemicals and raised in chemicals. Anything prepared or enriched was more novel then the mainstay it has become today.


We literally had to change everything. The food I offered Abby in the beginning was sad, pathetic and boring for a long time. Thank goodness that despite being the picky one in our family she had the good sense to understand she had to eat and she had to eat for her body not her taste buds.


1) Pace yourself. Find 5 safe basics at a time and toss 5 that aren't safe at the same time. When it dawns on you that pretty much everything in your local market is full of foods you must avoid? You will be overwhelmed. Breath. You will hunt down other sources. Human Instinct is pretty strong when it comes to food, put it to good use and go find safe food.


2) Join a food allergy/Mast support group. Their hard earned experiences they so willingly share with you are priceless!


3) Face the fact that it might be(likely) more expensive for awhile. At this point our prices have adjusted as I found crafty ways to not waste anything and my willingness to make as much as I can saves us money now. It will all balance out. And if not? Eating clean,safe and healthy for your body foods is WAY WAY cheaper then Drs, hospitals and medications and still feeling awful.


4) Don't give up.


5) Learn to cook. Many young adults honestly think cooking is opening a box and adding water- it isn't. Watch youtube, take a class at the community college, volunteer to help a friend who knows how to cook, your life literally depends on at least learning the basics.


6) No complaining. The web has endless(I really mean endless) blogs, websites, guru's with tons of relevant information on how to cook minus your allergens. If your food is boring? Start reading. Ask other folks with allergies for their favorite snacks and recipes. Even with removing many, many items and most being past staples for my cooking I have found endless ways to combine Abby's foods to keep it fun. It is more work, but you or your child are WORTH a few more dishes to wash or skipping out yet another boring mall shopping trip this week to put your food and health first. Before long it will seem natural and you will forget the old lazier ways.


7) Don't expect it to taste the same as your old food because it won't. Learn to embrace new food experiences, decide to appreciate the opportunity to have new food experiences because being miserable is not an option.


8) Teach your children(even if they have no allergies) about food. Where it comes from, why fresh is better, why organic is better, why we don't want to eat premade foods.. If they grow up and either develop food issues or have children with them? They will thank you. As a culture America tends to now eat based on fads and trends. That is fine as long as the basic nutritional needs are met and we can stay healthy. One of the most shocking things I have learned is how very little I knew about food and nutrition. Teach them the difference between "fad diets" and good old fashioned nutritional common sense.

9)Learn to take your own, and if possible enough to share. I have noticed some folks feel alienated from their friends over food. You can either sit at home alone or figure it out. Much of our social lives are centered around food, it is important to the social rituals. Make your favorite safe dish and take enough to share. I have heard families complain that their "food" is too expensive to share(sometimes with their own family!!!!) and it makes me want to flip. If you have ever hosted a dinner party even using cheap not safe ingredients, it is EXPENSIVE!!! So have good manners and share. You might be surprised that your "funky" food will be well received.

10) Learn to substitute. This is a little tricky and comes down to experience. For example, if an ice cream recipe calls for heavy cream and whole milk and you try to sub with rice milk, well you are not going to be happy with the end result. Rice milk doesn't have the fat to be a good sub at least when making ice cream. Try a full fat coconut milk.. Cannot have coconut milk? Remember rule number 7. Either embrace the new texture or move on.


11)"Healthy" "Organic" "local" "sustainable" doesn't mean it is either SAFE or Nutritionally beneficial. My biggest wake up call was stopping at various Health markets or the "organic sections" and reading the ingredients! WOW, holy moly some of those ingredients are far worse then eating twinkies!!! Read the labels. If needed, contact the manufacturer. Most companies don't want you to get sick from their products and are willing to try to be honest. If the company refuses to answer your questions? Don't buy their food, EVER.


12) It will and does get easier. One day you will wake up and realize that you enjoyed all the food you had today and none of it made you sick. After that day, it just gets easier.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"Soaked" Buckwheat Hot Cereal(corn-free, soy free, dairy free, gluten free)



I realized I just haven't posted a whole lot lately. Abby is still losing foods instead of gaining so my need to be creative is on hold for the most part.


Since Abby's Project Elimination all of us in our house have become more aware of just how badly our food here in America is tainted with chemicals that are often neurotoxic or that contribute to autoimmune disorders, and just simply that prepared foods aren't as nutritious. So, I have continued to make foods that are free of corn,soy,gluten and chemicals for the rest of us and figured I really ought to stay in the habit of sharing.

For anyone who has had to go corn free you know how hard it is to avoid corn contamination. I have found the safest way to avoid corn contaminates for Abby is grind our flour. We do have flours we buy but when I can we grind our own. Plus, with higher protein flours they can go rancid and lose their flavor and nutrition over time. Storing the grains instead of buying the flour allows them a longer shelf life and better end result. It also means I have grain on hand for meals like this.

Abby is a big hot cereal fan, always has been since she was tiny. Over the last couple years she has discovered buckwheat and nothing makes her happier then about anything made from it.


For Hot Cereal we find a 50/50 blend sits best with her stomach and her taste buds. Right now we like 50 percent buckwheat groats and 50 percent rice.


I do have a grain mill and often use the "coarse" grind option to grind and then cook, but I also do like to soak. Obviously it is easier then hauling out the grain mill but soaking also provides a more easy to digest food. When I grind buckwheat for hot cereal I toast it first then grind. When I opt to soak instead I can skip that step which makes soaking that much more appealing.

Another option I use for the rest of us, though not Abby(fermented foods are a big no-no for those who are histamine sensitive) is "souring". I will let the grains soak for a few days giving them a stir when I walk by a time or two a day. This also breaks down the grain but we do it because we like the flavor from fermenting. So, if you soak your grains and forget about them? Don't worry, just stir and let the good flavor grow. I have let the grains soak up to a week.

We have used teff, millet etc instead of buckwheat in the past, but right now we are all about the buckwheat groats.


1/2 cup buckwheat groats
1/2 cup rice
pink himalayan salt
coconut oil.


I combine the buckwheat and rice and cover generously with water.

Drain, rinse in the morning. Add equal amounts of water and throw the grain with water in the blender. No matter how much you blend there will usually be a bit more coarse bits then commercial blends or with the grain mill but we like that it turns out hearty and offers a nice texture.


Pour into saucepan and add more water or milk of your choice also add a teaspoon or two of coconut oil(not needed but I try to sneak some in when I can) and a few good shakes of salt. I apologize but I don't measure. I usually add at least as much water as grain in the pan and keep the water close by to add more as it thickens. I cook it slow and stir frequently- it will burn on the bottom if you ignore it. Once it has cooked for about 15 minutes I add a bit more water and cover and take off the heat. I let is sit for another 5-10 until the grains are nice and tender. Some like their's thinner in our family so I stir in more coconut milk while other's like it thicker and I serve it as is.

I don't stir in anything while it cooks since we all have very different preferences. In this picture I had added honey, a spoonful of homemade coconut yogurt and raspberries. Another favorite mix is the yogurt,and toasted coconut flakes. Sauteed apples or pears, brown sugar, spice.. even a few spoonfuls of sweet potato(no pumpkin puree for Abby but sweet potato is our go to sub for pumpkin) and pumpkin pie spices... sky is the limit.


Don't throw the leftovers! I spoon into a greased pan,cover and place in the fridge. It set's up thick enough to slice. I will dip it and fry it(think french toast but a heavy stick to your ribs version) and serve it in slices later in the week. Or I will use some in a meatloaf or mix some into bean burgers. It is a great filler.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

If I Could Do it Over...




I was digging through photo's the other day and thinking a lot about the various choices we made raising the girls and I could not help but feel a huge stab of guilt over a few choices I made. When "everyone" else including the Drs. are encouraging or reassuring that your decisions are good ones, you tend to ignore that "gut" feeling telling you to do your own research, telling you to wonder why that other smaller group of families is telling you to think twice before just going along with the masses.



1) Think. I have a brain that is perfectly capable of reading medical research. We all know that depending on the outcome wanted, research can be tweaked to support one side or the other. Looking back I wish I had trusted myself to believe what I read.


2)Trusting Drs.
I should have never. Abby had chronic ear infections even though she was breast fed. The Ped was often hostile to me and even said that if I was really breast feeding her then it was impossible for her to have all these ear infections(which she took multiple antibiotics for)I fought for months to get her to an Allergist because the Ped at the time said it was "impossible" for a baby under the age of 1 to have food allergies. (I have heard other Mom's even today say they have still been told the same mistruth). She wasn't normal, I had been around a ton of other babies and I KNEW something was terribly wrong. Again we questioned the Ped who blamed me for her delays. I was told I held her "too much", that she needed to "cry it out" in order to develop properly. My "gut" said that in Abby's case that particular advice was child abuse.. At that point my "gut" said don't trust the Drs. advice when it conflicts with your gut.(I did continue to hold Abby whenever she wanted and also refused to let my girls cry when crying clearly means they needed Mom or Dad) As she hit puberty I was told to "push her".. she was just being dramatic,needed to toughen up, she was just sensitive.. The worst advice was Public School was the best place for her to get stronger.. Hardly. Abby listened to them as well and when we pushed, she broke. She trusted their advice and felt she had failed when she got sicker, not that the advice was wrong in the first place. My "gut" said, keep her home, let her rest, and instead I trusted the Drs who were WRONG.


3)Vaccines.
Not as safe as they tell you. My gut said - "don't do it", and I did not listen. I will regret that decision until the day I die.


4) Medications. Asthma, allergies, sensitives.. she was prescribed an extreme amount of medications. If one did not work or caused reactions instead of just cutting it, the Dr. would quickly replace it with another. She got sicker. Looking back? I would have trusted what I saw in Abby and not the Dr or water down side effects listed on the insert. I still remember the moment that I "knew" all the medicines were creating as many issues as they were treating.. As we were leaving the Drs. office one afternoon and the Dr. as he walked by said " oh and you might want to have her eye's checked in a couple months because it can cause glaucoma." I will never forget his nonchalant attitude.. That was one of many wake up calls.


5)Food. When you have a baby allergic to what seemed like everything you learn pretty quick about food. I did learn. 20 years ago it was a whole lot easier though to remove allergens. It was still easy enough to find single ingredient food that wasn't grow,sprayed,treated and cross contaminated with everything. The last few months I nursed her I ate a lot of rice and drank a lot of lemonade and though it wasn't easy the ear infections slowed and she was happier, cause and effect and I was glad to do it. That lesson alone should have been a blueprint forever to food in my home,but I ignored the evidence and trusted the Drs. As she got older all her Drs. said she had "outgrown" those allergies and to "let her eat whatever she wanted.". Her leaky bladder, trips to the bathroom, were just her, they had NOTHING to do with what she ate. When she got so sick again at puberty I removed a few of the old allergens without much result. When I asked the Specialists whether food could be contributing to her health crash I was told "absolutely not". I grew up with a food aware Mom and a food aware community. My friends ate carob and their parents bought food through co-op's. My Uncle drank soy milk.. farmers markets were a joy. My hubby on the other hand grew up in a family where a bag of chips and a big gulp were at least a weekly if not daily event. The girls friends ate pizza hut and McDonalds and went out to eat for dinner constantly. Ate white bread and shockingly orange mac and cheese. All the commercials on the TV, and the grocery stores were full of these things, everyone else ate the stuff so it had to be safe right? Not when your child is an orchid and not a cockroach. My "GUT" knew food was contributing to her health issues.


The big question is, if I had followed my gut the whole time, would she be healthy? No, probably not. She had issues in the womb. But, I ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE, if I had listened to my gut she would NOT be as sick as she is today. Maybe she would have been able to finish college. To go on a date. To have a boyfriend.. even to be well enough to go out and shop whenever she wanted.. Heck, maybe she would even be well enough to go for a Dr. checkup without ending up in bed for a week. If I could go back in time, I would have made very different decisions.


I share Abby's struggles on this blog partially for her and I. I have been humbled by so many truly caring folks who reach out constantly who have gone through the exact same thing. Or who have learned some terrific tips and tricks to help keep her body as healthy as possible. This blog is kind of our way of reaching out and trying to find others like Abby. I also share her journey as a WARNING. You have a choice. You can make your own decisions based on what you know is best for your child, or you can ignore your gut. I made horrid mistakes, if I cannot go back in time, I always hope someone who is faced with one of these decisions will read this and know they have a choice. They don't want to be in my position today, knowing that had I just listened to my gut, the outcomes for Abby could have been much better.

Never, 'for the sake of peace and quiet,' deny your own experience or convictions." -- Dag Hammarskjold, Swedish diplomat

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

MitoAction and Flu Shot's too? :-(

Today at 9:06 AM Christine Cox, Director of Outreach & Advocacy (MitoAction)

eNewsletter Stationery Header
If you are unable to view the message below, CLICK HERE to view this message on the website

Research Study Opportunity

National Human Genome Research Institute researcher Peter McGuire, M.D. is conducting a study on immune issues in mitochondrial disease and other inborn errors of metabolism. The Metabolism, Infection and Immunity ("MINI") study is ongoing and currently is seeking additional patients with mitochondrial disease to participate.
The NIH is offering seasonal flu vaccines as well as the pneumococcal vaccine to study participants. If a vaccine is received, the participant's response to the vaccine will be measured and shared with the participant or his/her family. Please note that receipt of vaccines is not required for participation in the MINI study.
MitoAction has received the following information about the MINI Study from the NIH:
Overview of the MINI study
Letter about the MINI study and mitochondrial disorders
Information about flu season for patients with mitochondrial disorders and inborn errors of metabolism
To be eligible, participants must:
Be at least 2 years of age
Have a diagnosis of a Mitochondrial Disorder
Be able to travel to the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland
For additional information about the MINI Study, please visit http://www.genome.gov/mini/



Granted, it is pointed out that you don't have to have the vaccine to participate....

Still, if you are like me, the last thing you want to hear again and again and again and again and again... is "Flu Shot".


Commercials, sitcom's, government announcements, schools, pharmacies, it is insane.


On the other hand, there are plenty out there that feel the potential protection for a few age populations makes injecting this shot worth the risks. So maybe these type of emails from patient support non-profits make them feel better about the choice they make to buy these.


On a positive, America is waking up and more and more folks are taking the time to read and assess whether the "possible' protection gains from these are worth the scary risks.


Vitamin D(way safer then flu shots), hand washing(safest!), good rest( great idea for all diseases)and improved nutrition (excellent choice) are the safest options in flu prevention and not only help protect you from the flu, but also help keep your body far happier and healthier.


Just saying.




Mito Vocab:

Immunotoxicology:

Via Wiki: Immunotoxicology (sometimes abbreviated as ITOX) is the study of immune dysfunction resulting from exposure of an organism to a xenobiotic. The immune dysfunction may take the form of immunosuppression or alternatively, allergy, autoimmunity or any number of inflammatory-based diseases or pathologies. Because the immune system plays a critical role in host resistance to disease as well as in normal homeostasis of an organism, identificantion of immunotoxic risk is significant in the protection of human, animal and wildlife health.

In the non-adult (embryo, fetus, neonate, juvenile, adolescent) this study is referred to as Developmental Immunotoxicology (commonly abbreviated as DIT). For most toxicants examined to date, the developing immune system exhibits a heightened sensitivity compared with that of an adult. For this reason, DIT screening has applications to human, animal and wildlife health protection.


Xenobiotics:

The term xenobiotics, however, is very often used in the context of pollutants such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls and their effect on the biota, because xenobiotics are understood as substances foreign to an entire biological system, i.e. artificial substances, which did not exist in nature before their ...
Xenobiotic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Ototoxicity:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ototoxicity

Ototoxicity is the property of being toxic to the ear (oto-), specifically the cochlea or auditory nerve and sometimes the vestibular system; it is commonly medication-induced. Ototoxic drugs include antibiotics such as gentamicin, loop diuretics such as furosemide and platinum-based chemotherapy agents such as cisplatin. A number of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) have also been shown to be ototoxic. This can result in sensorineural hearing loss, dysequilibrium, or both. Either may be reversible and temporary, or irreversible and permanent.

Nephrotoxicity:

Nephrotoxicity (from Greek: nephros, "kidney") is a poisonous effect of some substances, both toxic chemicals and medication, on the kidneys. There are various forms of toxicity.
Nephrotoxicity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NephrotoxicityWikipedia

Aminoglycoside:


via Wikipedia; Aminoglycoside is a medicinal and bacteriologic category of traditional Gram-negative antibacterial therapeutic agents that inhibit protein synthesis and contain as a portion of the molecule an amino-modified glycoside (sugar);[1][2] the term can also refer more generally to any organic molecule that contains aminosugar substructures. Aminoglycoside antibiotics display bactericidal activity against gram-negative aerobes and some anaerobic bacilli where resistance has not yet arisen, but generally not against Gram-positive and anaerobic Gram-negative bacteria.[3] They include the first-in-class aminoglycoside antibiotic streptomycin (images at right) derived from Streptomyces griseus, the earliest modern agent used against tuberculosis, and an example that lacks the common 2-deoxystreptamine moiety (image right, below) present in many other class members. Other examples include the deoxystreptamine-containing agents kanamycin, tobramycin, gentamicin, and neomycin (see below).

Mitotoxicity:


Mitochondrial Plasticity:

Mitochondrial biogenesis:

Genetic Toxicology:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Single-strand and double-strand DNA damage potentially caused by genotoxins
In genetics, genotoxicity describes the property of chemical agents that damages the genetic information within a cell causing mutations, which may lead to cancer. While genotoxicity is often confused with mutagenicity, all mutagens are genotoxic, however, not all genotoxic substances are mutagenic. The alteration can have direct or indirect effects on the DNA: the induction of mutations, mistimed event activation, and direct DNA damage leading to mutations. The permanent, heritable changes can affect either somatic cells of the organism or germ cells to be passed on to future generations.[1] Cells prevent expression of the genotoxic mutation by either DNA repair or apoptosis; however, the damage may not always be fixed leading to mutagenesis.

To assay for genotoxic molecules, researchers assay for DNA damage in cells exposed to the toxic substrates. This DNA damage can be in the form of single- and double-strand breaks, loss of excision repair, cross-linking, alkali-labile sites, point mutations, and structural and numerical chromosomal aberrations.[2] The compromised integrity of the genetic material has been known to cause cancer. As a consequence, many sophisticated techniques including Ames Assay, in vitro and in vivo Toxicology Tests, and Comet Assay have been developed to assess the chemicals' potential to cause DNA damage that may lead to cancer.

Immunopharmacology:

(Via Merriam Weber)

Definition of IMMUNOPHARMACOLOGY

1
: a branch of pharmacology concerned with the application of immunological techniques and theory to the study of the effects of drugs especially on the immune system
2
: the immunological effects and significance of a particular drug (as morphine)

Toxicokinetic:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Toxicokinetics (often abbreviated as 'TK') is the description of what rate a chemical will enter the body and what happens to it once it is in the body.

Mycotoxin:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A mycotoxin (from Greek μύκης (mykes, mukos) "fungus" and τοξικόν (toxikon) "poison")[1][2] is a toxic secondary metabolite produced by organisms of the fungi kingdom, commonly known as molds.[3] The term 'mycotoxin' is usually reserved for the toxic chemical products produced by fungi that readily colonize crops.[4] One mold species may produce many different mycotoxins, and the same mycotoxin may be produced by several species.[5]

Neurotoxicology:



Microbiome:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Depiction of the human body and bacteria that predominate
A microbiome is "the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic, and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space."[1][2] Joshua Lederberg coined the term, arguing the importance of microorganisms inhabiting the human body in health and disease. Many scientific articles distinguish "microbiome" and "microbiota" to describe either the collective genomes of the microorganisms that reside in an environmental niche or the microorganisms themselves, respectively.[3][4][5] However by the original definitions these terms are largely synonymous.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fermented Yuca(Cassava) pancakes(gluten free, dairy free, corn free, soy free, nut free)

No flour? No problem. No banana's? No problem. Fermented yuca pancakes are a new favorite. Sadly, Abby cannot partake of these because of the fermented part of the picture, but the rest of us LOVE yuca and were very glad we experimented with these. Abby nor I can have banana's and boy have I missed them. You know when a banana is right on the edge of being overripe? That extra sweetness and that touch of almost boozy flavor? That is fermented yuca. Just no banana flavor. This makes mashed fermented yuca excellent for all sorts of baked goods to increase tenderness, sweetness, and moisture.

The rice yeast balls can be found online or most International markets. There are both Chinese and varieties from the Philippines. I usually use the variety from the Philippines it is the "Rotary" brand. (This is what I buy locally Ragi Manis )


1 1/2 cup mashed fermented Yuca***
2 eggs
2 teaspoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon baking powder(homemade, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon tapioca starch,2 teaspoons cream of tartar)
1 dash pink himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract(homemade vanilla beans soaked for months in potato vodka)

(you can add a bit of sugar, but the fermented yuca is sweet by itself it just isn't needed)



Mash the fermented yuca smooth in the bowl(in the center of each root is there is often a "core" they will look like thick threads or strings, remove and toss those), blend in the rest of the ingredients until smooth.


On a medium low well greased skillet make your pancakes. Low and slow. Without flour these are delicate, so these will take an extra gentle hand to flip.


***Fermented Yuca

Peel and cook your yuca. Boil about 15-20 minutes till tender.

Cool to room temperature

Use "rice ball yeast". I smash the yeast ball(1 ball per about 4 medium roots)till it is powdered and rub all over the yuca. I covered it up snug and placed on top of the fridge(where it is warmer) for 3 days. You know it is done when it smells fruity,boozy and is mushy and sweet. Keeps well in the fridge for a couple weeks.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cane Syrup Homemade (to replace corn syrup or Lyles)



Since we are worried about Lyle's right now(not sure what in it she is reacting to but I always blame corn!)I went ahead and made a batch of homemade cane syrup. With the holidays approaching having cane syrup to bake with is a must for us. Cane syrup or Lyles golden makes a great straight across substitution for corn syrup.(However, with candies there may need to be some adjustments made)


5 cups organic Domino's or C&H cane sugar(the organic is why the color is more amber then clear)
2 cups water
1 teaspoon cream of tartar(still using frontier)
1 dash of salt.



Place all ingredients in a deep pot. Do it gently though so that you don't splatter the sides of the pot. It will reduce the chance of crystals in your syrup.

On medium/medium high bring to a boil. Gently stirring, very gently so you don't get sugar everywhere.


Once it hits a boil no more stirring. Pop a candy thermometer in and let it cook until it hits 230-240.

Allow to cool completely. Store in jars in the pantry. Should keep for a couple months. Mine will have have a few crystals after a couple months but in general it holds up well.



NOTE: I recommend letting it hit room temperature because based on humidity, type of sugar or (poor measuring) the syrup can become too thick. If you reheat and add a few more tablespoons of water when it is too thick it can be saved. It will likely get more crystals from reheating, but the organic sugar is NOT cheap and worth saving.
 
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