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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Eggs- Natures Perfect Food.

I have bee marveling at how packed full of nutrition chicken eggs are.( have not looked into duck eggs yet, probably very similar.)

Since Abby was 12 months old she has tested as having an egg allergy repeatedly over the years, yet, off and on over the years despite the consistent positive allergy testing she has done fine eating eggs and in fact, she craves them. My Mom ate 2 hard boiled eggs, a piece of whole grain toast for breakfast everyday for years- she always said it was the perfect blend of nutrition- again, Mom was right! :-)

Biotin,protein,B5, and so much more. The cholesterol fears attached to eggs in the 80's is a bunch of horse hockey for most folks.(worry about those fried foods and other horrors we eat before blaming a perfect egg!) If you are worried add dark chocolate,nuts, olive oil, avocado, red wine to your diet- if you can have them :-) We use olive oil when we can, and garlic,tea,beans(not many for Abby but she is tolerating navy beans now and then) to help balance any worry about cholesterol. It all goes back to eating properly.

We always cook our eggs for Abby. We try to buy farm fresh- no hormones,chemicals no grain feed. We like eggs where the chickens only eat bugs and what they find free range! I know some folks eat raw, but the risk of bacteria is simply too high for us to risk.

I do find we use egg yolk to balance fats in our cooking. Abby tolerates the fats from egg yolk far better then most other fats. They offer richness to foods, and biotin. But, you really need to eat the whites too- the egg is perfectly made for perfect absorption when you cook and eat the whole thing! 1 hard boiled egg to start your day is the perfect way to start combating the nutritional deficit.

Biotin is one of the things you benefit from by eating eggs. Did you know that a healthy GI track can actually make it's own biotin? We know Abby's GI track is pretty handicapped and since we are not healed enough to introduce probiotics yet, we have to make sure food counts.

Egg Nutrient Chart

Nutrient Content of a Large Egg

Nutrient (unit) Whole Egg Egg White Egg Yolk
Calories (kcal) 72 17 55
Protein (g) 6.3 3.6 2.7
Carbohydrate (g) 0.36 0.24 0.61
Total fat (g) 4.8 0.06 4.5
Monounsaturated fat (g) 1.8 0 2
Polyunsaturated fat (g) 1 0 0.72
Saturated fat (g) 1.6 0 1.6
Trans fat (g) 0.02 0 0.02
Cholesterol (mg) 186 0 184
Choline (mg) 126 0.4 116
Riboflavin (mg) 0.2 0.15 0.09
Vitamin B12 (mcg) 0.45 0.03 0.33
Folate (mcg) 24 1 25
Vitamin D (IU) 41 0 37
Vitamin A (IU) 270 0 245
Vitamin B 6 (mg) 0.09 0 0.06
Thiamin (mg) 0.02 0 0.03
Vitamin E (mg) 0.5 0 0.44
Selenium (mcg) 15.4 6.6 9.5
Phosphorous (mg) 99 5 66
Iron (mg) 0.88 0.03 0.46
Zinc (mg) 0.65 0.01 0.39
Calcium (mg) 28 2 22
Sodium (mg) 71 55 8
Potassium (mg) 69 54 19
Magnesium (mg) 6 4 1

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 2010. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page: http://www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata

Discrepencies between nutrient levels in the white+yolk vs. the whole egg are due to sampling error.

Pretty impressive huh? Riboflavin,selenium, biotin, all the good stuff many of us are trying to supplement in our diets.

Some folks that have a hard time with eggs find that if the egg white is removed they can handle them, of course this will change what you are able to get from your egg, as you are losing the B5 and protein and you need the B5 to better absorb the biotin, but a yolk is better then nothing!

Eat your eggs! We have a goofy Egg cooker the girls call Henny Penny- she makes perfect hard boiled eggs and an 8 year old could easily use her!. Our first Henny died and we were lost without her so we are on Henny number 2. They make less comical egg cookers and you can always boil on the stove, but we find Henny endearing and entertaining! She makes the most obnoxious electronic clucking noise when the eggs are cooked.

Know what the chickens were fed- commercial eggs are fed GMO corn and soy and heaven know's what else.. My thought is why mess with perfection?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Abby's Perfect Pudding-Allergen Free!

(NOTE: Allergen free for Abby, this recipe does have eggs. You could use my substitutions of products in an egg free pudding recipe, I saw one on Allrecipes)

For the most part over this past few months I have managed to transform most of Abby's favorite foods into allergen safe options, my one struggle has been vanilla pudding.

I have tried rice milk,coconut milk,arrowroot,tapioca flour,- in every combination - and it turns out with a funky gluey texture, or too translucent..I think I was on try number 4 and none were anything any of us would touch with a ten foot pole!

This weekend I gave it one more try. I used Rice Dream original(not enriched, a tiny bit of gluten but clean of corn). I also used granulated sugar that I I keep in a tub with a few vanilla beans for vanilla flavor. My new ingredient that made the pudding work was a cheap box of kosher potato starch from the clearance rack- 78 cents for the box of that magical starch! LOL

The pudding is smooth, light, no gluey texture- honestly, I might like this better then the traditional dairy,egg and cornstarch version- and it was so easy!

The recipe that I transformed is Creamy Vanilla Pudding on allrecipes.

Here is Abby's Perfect Pudding-


2 1/2 cups rice milk,
Pinch salt(pink himalayan)
3/4 cup sugar(Imperial or C&H)
3 tablespoons potato starch(I dissolved the starch in a few tablespoons of cold rice milk)
3 egg yolks(original is 2 yolks,but I use 3 for the protein/fat ratio)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract(if you can have it or have it homemade)
1 tablespoon coconut oil(I think I just used 2 teaspoons, we try to reduce fat at every turn for Abby's sensitive system)


Place milk and salt and sugar in saucepan; heat over medium-high. beat egg yolks in separate bowl. When milk comes to a gentle boil, remove saucepan from the heat and temper eggs back into milk mixture. Return to the heat and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; stir in potato starch and coconut oil(If it is too thick, don't panic, just whisk in some more rice milk, too thin? Mix a bit more potato starch with rice milk and add in). Pour into individual dishes. Serve warm or cold.

The hot milk is enough to "cook the potato starch". It did not thicken any further with refrigeration.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Project Elimination- Complete.

It is official, Project Elimination is over. We have now begun Project add-in.

Over the last two weeks we have added a few new items. With success. Abby still seems to be eating something now and then that will trigger a couple days of malabsorption or allergic response, but at this point it lasts for just a few days. The worst of the dysautonomia symptoms are gone. The hair loss has stopped, the nails are growing..

Of course we have noticed a new thing here and there.. Where before she could not seem to get enough salt, now the lightest amount seems to be too much. Some serious morning kidney moon face, but no jump in proteinuria.. That is pretty easy to fix and adjust. She only tolerates chicken and egg on a regular basis. I can sneak in a bit of rice protein or white beans now and then, but not too often.

3 times now Abby has eaten green peas. For weeks she was talking about how they just sounded so delicious, that her stomach growled at the thought of them, that thinking of pea's actually was keeping her up at night! I was a little leery of letting her satisfy that craving. She has had a lot of issues with beans,peas, skins. but, I keep hearing my Mom's voice in my head- she always said to listen to your body and you will be much healthier for it!

So pea's are back. I am now officially breaking the rules we set for project elimination! LOL I guess we just cannot resist rebelling against any rule! We have learned about so many different diets, but none are a perfect fit for Abby, so maybe she is just an original. :-)

The new favorite-Baby red potato salad, with peas, green pepper(pickled in Braggs apple cider vinegar and dill), a bit of raw diced texas sweet onion, hard boiled farm grain free eggs, and homemade mayo made with grapeseed oil. When I made it the first time I looked at the bowl like it was a disaster waiting to happen. Potato's with skins, pea's, green peppers(home grown, but still)and oil based mayo? She was engrossed in the process and nearly drooling to eat it. I pretty much sat back and started waiting for the bad reactions. And waiting, and waiting. No problem- none. I still kind of thought of it's success as a fluke and we have done it twice more since- and holding my breath. Perfect. No complaints. No reactions. No malabsorption.

We have been trying a few new things off and on and no single item or combination of items seems to sit as well as Abby's potato salad.

I am really trying not to think about fitting her into any single category any longer- she doesn't fit. We are going to go by her gut for now as it seems to be the most reliable indicator. :-)

Still a lot of simple carbs(aka sugar,honey) in the diet but since we are struggling to maintain her weight still we are leaving those alone, for whatever reason, they seem to help her digest proteins. As they say, it is what it is..

All of us are kind of wondering what this new avenue in the journey will bring for Abby. I cannot help but feel a touch panicked not knowing what else could possible pop up as an obstacle but we must move forward, no living in fear.

Admittedly, I cannot help but wonder still if this has been the right choice to go completely from the gut, to avoid the Dr. office, but you cannot argue with the fact that because of those choices and deciding to follow Abby's gut she is very much improved. Second guessing myself is not going to be helpful at this point.

Every time we discuss a new food we think about; how has her sleep been? her skin? If she smells or touches the new food does she wheeze or get rashes? When was the last bout of malabsorption? When was the last time I corned her? Are her toenails growing okay? How much hair loss has she had in the last couple weeks? Has she had problems focusing her eyes? How many days has she had morning moon face from edema in a row? Has she been congested or itchy? how much proteinuria has she had? On a scale of 1-5 how much muscle and joint pain has she been having? Have her hips,knees,shoulders,elbows been slipping out of joint? Bladder leakage? How long does it take her from the time she wakes up to get out of the bed? 30 minutes to get moving or 3 hours? Has she been able to wash her own hair this week? How much protein did she get? How about constipation? Has she had any sources of vitamin B or C or iron etc this week? How does she feel emotionally? Any anxiety with the last reaction? OCD? The checklist seems to get longer instead of shorter, but depending on the balance of answers it helps us decide whether her body is ready for a new veggie, or protein, or fat..etc.

This process is almost as much instinct driven as anything else, which makes it as unpredictable as Abby's body.

However, I have to admit, I cannot help but absolutely enjoy watching her eat every single bite of of that potato salad- that potato salad means victory to me. It means progress and improvement. Maybe with a few more successes I will quit worrying this is just the calm before the storm, or a fluke .. Just maybe Abby will just continue to stabilize and feel better with the elimination of the over processed, chemical polluted Western diet..

I can hope right?

This potato salad is like a rest stop in this journey, a really nice one! Where you are so tired of driving, you gotta pee, the kids need to run off their fidgets. You stop at a rest stop with terrific bathrooms, a gift shop and great little park. Once everyone has stretched and you are ready to hit the road again, you almost hate to leave that perfect stop along the way. Yet, you know you are only halfway there. Here we go!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Skinny Cherry Smoothie

This is one of the things I like to make with my stash of sugar-free pudding(I know it is full of chemicals...)and just crave it! Also,it is only mine! Kind of nice having my very own treat that I don't have to share :-)

In my freezer you will find bags of frozen berries, frozen cherries, frozen peaches and frozen sugar-free vanilla pudding cubes! Frozen berries and fruit have the advantage of being flash frozen at their peak of ripeness, and are usually packed with incredible flavor. Unfortunately,it is still difficult to find frozen fruit and berries that are clean of preservatives or other add-ins. When I find them I stock up. I also freeze fresh for Abby when I land a good deal or have excess. Home freezers don't "flash" freeze but good enough!

You could freeze fat free buttermilk, or fat free coffee creamer, or skim milk,or greek yogurt but I like the added flavor of the sugar-free vanilla pudding(I admit, I like the added SWEETNESS!). I make the vanilla pudding following the "pie directions" on the box. I use Calorie Countdown Skim milk(35 calories a cup) sometimes mix part water. I have a couple ice cube trays and usually let them freeze overnight. I then simply pop them out and keep them in a ziplock with the frozen fruit.

Frozen pitted bing cherries
frozen sugar-free vanilla pudding cubes
C&H stevia and Sugar blend, or Equal(I like my treats very SWEET!)
a dash of almond extract(from Sara's stash!)
some cold water or cold milk or cold juice of your choice.

I have been using the new Ninja single serve, and have been so impressed. It blends this up in a heartbeat. I like mine as thick as possible, and have been know to pop it in the freezer for 30-60 minutes to get it to the edge of hard frozen.(so not really a smoothie, more frostie or softserve! Not cold enough if I don't get a brain freeze trying to wolf it down! LOL) Though the Ninja really tolerates close to no extra fluids and still chews through it.

This would probably be terrific with whole raw milk and real sugar or honey if you are keeping it cleaner. Maybe topped with some granola? I was even think some Kefir would make it a wicked rich and healthier snack- a nice tang to it! Abby doesn't do cherries or dairy or chemicals-but this would work great with frozen peaches and frozen coconut milk cubes. Today though was about me exceeding my calorie allowance in the least damaging way! LOL

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Do you eliminate allergens from the whole family?

(Image LINK)

I was asked the other day if we eat what Abby eats.

We do eat some of what she eats, like Hain's baking powder or Imperial brand sugar.. we don't buy corn and we don't eat it intentionally.

Abby's diet is so restricted because of her unique needs it is not the ideal diet for anyone but her. So, no we don't eat just what Abby eats.

You will find lots of food items in our house that Abby cannot eat. Probably a few items we really should not eat either, but with Sara and Derek and I not nearly as restricted it has been harder to give up a few things.

Some of the items we have all gladly adopted are; Spectrum palm shortening(I have had issues with tropicals in the past but think it was avocado contamination, I am fine with this.), fresh organic lemons and limes instead of bottled juices,organic and local produce, raw local honey, Lundberg rice, coconut milk(thai kitchen) but you will still find dairy in the fridge for us, pink himalayan salt, coconut oil(Sara has a recipe for chocolate chip cookies made with coconut oil that are to die for!)

We don't buy boxed foods like boxed flavored rices, or meals. You won't find any cold cereals(have you read the ingredients on even shredded wheat?) When we buy canned foods we have made an effort to stick to brands that minimize chemicals. We are slowly replacing our spices with Simply organic spices, they are good and safe for Abby.

I admit I have a few items I cannot give up-yet. Diet Rite- I am addicted. I know it is bad probably really bad but it is one of my many addictions. Sugar free pudding mixes- which are close to toxic when you read the ingredients..but I am admittedly a sugar addict and in order to control my weight I have resorted to evil artificial treats now and then. No one else eats these, they do not tolerate artificial sugars so just my bad! :-) I have adopted C&H stevia and sugar blend for my sugar needs and I do like it and it cooks better- but have not given up those couple really bad pantry items yet...Derek, Sara and I are also skinny bread addicts- I dare not read the ingredients I know they are terrible, but for 35 calories a slice we just cannot resist. Lastly, we seem to always have a container of skim Calorie Countdown milk in the fridge(gotta have something toxic to mix with my toxic pudding!)I cannot bring myself to read the ingredients - anything that keeps in the fridge for a couple months is promised to be horrid for us!

Derek has a thing for bacon, lunch cuts, and those you will find in our house. We have however tried to be more aware. We try to buy brands like Applegate that though aren't necessarily healthy are a much better option then other brands.

We all appreciate free range grain free meats- they just taste so much better and sit better! But you will still find some store bought ground turkey, store bought grain fed beef etc in our fridge for Derek,Sara and I- we have tried to convert slowly but surely to grain-free meats as our budget and access allows. Abby only eats chicken so the rest of the meats aren't important to her, but we are finding that soon we won't be buying grain fed any longer. We all love local free range grain free eggs- sometimes they are harder to find so we will buy the next best options for Derek,Sara and I and save the "safe" eggs for Abby- despite her testing positive for an egg allergy, she does really well with eggs right now and they offer gobs of terrific nutrition for her.

When we stop by Gramen Farm we do buy raw goat and dairy- if you are going to take in that many calories I feel strongly they should be as healthy as possible, and I firmly believe raw milk is the best way to go when you can.

Abby has been a terrific influence on the rest of us. From trying millet to using Ghee and throwing out canola, margarine's and a lot of other really bad foods the rest of us have begun cleaning up our diets too. Things like Ghee and cherries aren't even things Abby can have, but we have adopted them because they are healthier and taste amazing! We all find ourselves munching on fresh berries or cherries, or craving blackstrap molasses, gluten free figgy cookies. We have a very long way to go, but this weekend when I cleaned out my pantry I had a tremendous sense of pride that for the most part I actually had read every label on every item. I knew how to cook the millet, the rice flour and other new foods I have stashed. It really makes me want to make a bigger effort to fuel our bodies as well as we have been fueling Abby's. Each of us have our own allergies and foods we don't like or cannot tolerate so it hasn't been easy.

Will I still eat at say, McD's? For a treat I just might. I know Derek does eat out often and Sara gladly does when the opportunity arises- their bodies their choice. Even they though are trying to make better choices on how often they eat out and where they eat out. The thing is, after learning about how badly the processed foods are destroying us,and literally watching Abby heal once we removed them, I really don't want to eat that stuff, at least not very often. If I want greasy fries I can make them at home. If I want a fatty,sugar packed cake, I can use non-toxic ingredients, that though aren't good to eat all the time are certainly tons healthier then store bought pizza, burgers and Twinkies. I admit, I still want to binge on that rack of hostess when I see it, or those candy bars at the checkout still beckon me even knowing how full of chemicals they are! Not sure I am ready to part with my skinny bread and sugar-free pudding but getting closer everyday.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Granary.

If you live in Houston, or the North side(for the Conroe location)or in Texas near any of the locations below and are disappointed with the safe foods available to you, I recommend you check out the Granary.

Organic "Natural" Whole Foods

Open Monday-Friday 10am to 7pm
The price value leader of the world for quality health food products
10 family owned stores in Texas


1210 S. Frazier St. Conroe Texas 936-242-6873 (This is the one I shop)

4411 South St. Nacogdoches, TX

Texarkana,New Braunfels, Tyler,Longview,Lindale,Dallas,Plano,Mesquite.

I don't know if all the stores are the same but our Conroe location is the BEST! Because of Abby's multiple allergies we have been horribly disappointed with Whole foods and Trader Joe's. The few products that would be safe for Abby are priced outrageously! So I was buying online. Then I found the Granary. The Conroe location has a tremendous selection of foods, a great sale rack, and very knowledgable staff and every supplement or vitamin you could possibly dream of... If they don't have what you need, ask, odds are they will get it for you.

Over the last year we have spent every weekend driving all over Houston and further to pick up foods for Abby and doing a lot of online ordering. One HEB might have the noodles we need but 5 other's won't. One Kroger will carry the oil we need, but it might be cheaper to order online. Feeding Abby has consumed a tremendous amount of our time.

The Granary is making my life easier and Abby's food safer. What drove me to post this boast about the Granary is that they actually asked me about what Abby can eat, so that when they see new products they can let us know they found something! Well HELLO! That is more care and concern and help then we have received from anyone since starting this project elimination( with the exception of my groups on facebook who hands down are number 1 though!) They also asked about what products are safe for folks with corn allergies. Apparently, they have had new customers coming in who have corn allergies and are struggling to find safe food. The Granary wants to be able to help these customers find the foods that are safest for them.

Seriously- When do you ever get customer service like that? Not to mention, terrific pricing? A few of the items I can get for the same price online or other stores and might even get a few a tiny bit cheaper. The amount of time they save me by having so many clean foods created by companies who are trying to fill the need in this part of the food market saves me a tremendous amount of time or money. My savings overall have been terrific! Not to mention they are very informed and know their products inside and out. Have you ever tried to ask the HEB about whether their organic veggie's are wax coated? I can tell you right now, don't bother! LOL

Not sure you want to make the drive without knowing if they have what you want? Give them a call. They are more then glad to check and see if they have what you need to make the trip worth it.

We now hit the farmers markets on Friday evening and/or Sat morning. We zip to the Granary every other week. Then we can find everything else at HEB, Kroger or the dreaded Walmart! We can rotate and stock up and have cut our shopping in half!

It hasn't been easy. Driving, researching, more expensive, learning to cook new foods, but this morning when Abby had already showered by the time I got up- has made the effort more then worth it! We are finding it is getting easier and now that we are familiar it doesn't take us anymore time to cook and buy safe and natural and chemical free foods for Abby then it did when we ate commercially packaged. It has actually turned out to save us money; No meds, no constant trips to the Dr, no constant lab work co-pays, no wasted products because of reactions..

I am still trying to figure out which triggers which, do the allergies trigger the dysautonomia and depletion? Could be, malnutrition can cause all sorts of wicked diseases. We know American's are suffering from what is being called the nutrition deficit, we know that often people feel better when they quit the "western diet" aka Wonder bread diet and start eating foods that actually are good fuel .. but after a lifetime of thinking the natural food movement was something that crazy hippies cooked up it is still hard to believe.. Could the mito cause the allergies and all the other dysautonomia and immune issues? Yep it could and it does in some patients.. Everything is connected and I guess if removing the bad foods is making her better, does it really matter? I may have to make a written apology to all the healthy crunchy folks who I ignored and blew off, but if Abby continues to feel better I might be tempted to take out an ad in the paper- an apology would be a very small price for good health. Jury is still out, Abby has a long road ahead. I still am pretty tickled with helping her feel well enough to be able to shower and wash her own hair again.. to help her find food that doesn't hurt her to eat... if this is as far as it goes I am content, but I am getting hopeful the improvements will continue.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Got Nicotinamide Riboside?

A Campaign for Real Milk! Want real milk? Go to RealMilk.com

I got this great article in my email yesterday. It caught my attention very quickly because my focus is my weight and Abby is all about Mito.

My one question would be, does pasteurization destroy Nicotinamide Riboside? I know that once milk is pasteurized they end up adding all the vitamins. I suspect, this would be more available in raw milk. Perhaps Nicotinamide Riboside is part of the reason that so many folks with chronic illness's feel better when they start drinking raw milk or kefir? Just guessing but it would add one more benefit to the raw movement which I fully support.

Here is the full article LINK or this LINK

Now I will cut and copy what I thought the highlights were!

NR efficiently increases NAD+ levels in mammalian cells and tissues
NR supplementation increases SIRT1 and SIRT3 activities
NR largely prevents the detrimental metabolic effects of high-fat feeding
NR enhances mitochondrial function and endurance performance

"The bottom line is that nicotinamide riboside improves the function of mitochondria, the cell's energy factories."

A novel form of vitamin B3 found in milk in small quantities produces remarkable health benefits in mice when high doses are administered, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Polytechnic School in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The findings, published June 6 by Cell Metabolism, reveal that high doses of the vitamin precursor, nicotinamide riboside (NR) - a cousin of niacin:

• Prevented obesity in mice that are fed a fatty diet (reduced weight gain 60% vs those not supplemented with NR), while controlling cholesterol levels, and also

• Increased muscle performance/strength,

• Improved energy expenditure and endurance,

• Prevented the development of diabetes seen in the unsupplemented mice, and improved insulin sensitivity when the mice were fed a normal diet,

• All without side effects or toxicity.
"This study is very important. It shows that in animals, the use of NR offers the health benefits of a low-calorie diet and exercise - without doing either one," says Dr. Anthony Sauve, associate professor of Pharmacology at Weill Cornell.

The animal studies were led by Drs. Carles Canto and Johan Auwerx, at Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne’s energy metabolism lab, and it was Dr. Sauve who invented a simple method for efficiently synthesizing NR in large scale.

• Dr. Sauve was also first to show that NR increases nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) levels in mammalian cells. NAD is a central player in energy metabolism.

• He is a leader in investigating how NAD can signal adaptation in cells and in physiology.

• And he believes the research suggests the effects of NR can be even broader.
"The bottom line is that NR improves the function of mitochondria, the cell's energy factories,” Dr. Sauve says.

“Mitochondrial decline is the hallmark of many diseases associated with aging, such as cancer and neurodegeneration, and NR supplementation boosts mitochondrial functioning," he adds.

I did a quick google search to see if there was a supplement available, I did not find one but found a few companies claiming they are working on one. Also it does appear in "other foods" in trace amounts but it is not something they have ever measured before to see which foods had the best levels, so I am hoping they will come up with a food list soon!

A terrific new finding for anyone with any type of Mitochondrial dysfunction- from Fibro- to chronic fatigue to huntingtons to depletions. I will be watching this one closely!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Corn-free food list..

Usually after I rant for awhile about EVERYTHING being corn contaminated, folks ask "so what does she eat?"

There are products that are made that are safe for corn allergy folks. This list is one that the Ladies on my corn allergy group helped me put together. Last week when I went into the Granary health food shop in Conroe the owner asked what other brands of food would be safe for corn allergy sufferers. She has had a few folks come in looking for safe food. Can you say love this store? They are passionate about safe foods and meeting the needs of their customers.

Corn-free is always described in levels and the minute amounts hidden in products may or may not aggravate one while corns the next! This list of products have been generally accepted as safe by most. However, I always warn, read the label, test out new foods for sensitivities- what works for some may not be safe for you! There are a few terrific corn free blogs out there, if you search "corn-free" they will come up for you. Warning again, what is safe for some isn't always safe for the next. For example, some folks do fine with Heinz apple cider vinegar- Abby and many others do not. We only use Braggs.

Abby can eat a few of these, but some have soy,dairy,safflower,sunflower, gluten etc.
Her current favorite on this list are the Reed's ginger chew's candy- they are yummy!Reeds has a peanut butter one that is loved, but Abby cannot have that one- so if you aren't a huge ginger fan, try the peanut butter ginger chews. :-) We also are huge fans of King Soba noodles(HEB does a good job of stocking these)

Simply Organic spices
FYI: There are NO safe vanilla extracts- or any extracts-Vanilla bean in Potato vodka- make your own.

Planet Tuna no sodium

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil(flour and flakes are completely corn safe for the most sensitive, but not a very long shelf life)

Allergen fabric face masks- Breath Healthy Brand(corn can cause instant asthma and migraines in some(Abby owns a couple of these)

King Soba brand noodles-Organic Black Rice, Organic buckwheat and sweet potato-

Libby's pure pumpkin
Reeds Ginger candies- both original and the Peanut butter blend.
Spectrum palm shortening
Twin Labs Allergy plus C-
Twin Labs Quercetin plus C
Pomona's Universal Pectin-
Cento Crushed Tomato's-
Bionatura regular pasta-
Nature's Tears Eyemist- \
Kiss my Face Olive oil bar soap-
Charlie Soap

Lundberg Rice(Avoid foods that have been enriched or fortified- all corn contaminated Lundberg is one of the few that is nearly universally safe.)
(Believe it or not, Walmart does a great job of stocking Lundberg brand, but HEB doesn't)
Rice Dream Original-has a bit of gluten though
Blue Mountain Country Coconut Milk
thai kitchens
Vitaspelt Pasta
Maine Root Soda's-

Edwards and Sons Rice snack crackers

There are many other safe items and I am working on a list of what to be cautious about.. like fruit and veggie peels and skins which are sprayed with wax which is corn derived.. or anything that says it is Enriched or Fortified- those are always corn contaminated... endless list!

Trying to find pre made food that is safe for Abby's multiple allergies has been a challenge, but eliminating corn truly has been key because her top 8 allergens are clearly listed generally, where they do not list corn if it might be contaminated through production, packaging etc.

One of the best things about going allergy free? Her dysautonomia symptoms are nearly gone! Lately if she has a flare of that set of symptoms, odds are she has recently been "corned" :-)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

HEMP Butter Allergy

FAILED- and failed big!

We know now that both she and I are at least deathly allergic to the Manitoba brand HEMP Butter-

But, I can give a quick review-

It is green- like a seaweed green. Not a horrid thing, but don't expect a "seed" or "nut" butter as far as the color goes.

The flavor is unique- not bad. Like not quite ripe sunflower seeds, or sunflower seeds before roasting. Slight pistachio undertones. This had no sweetener or salt which made the bitter after tone stand out more then it would with a bit of salt or sugar(yes sugar!). I actually really enjoyed the flavor and if I dressed up the Hemp a bit like you would peanut butter I could totally imagine using this frequently- for a minute I could just imagine how yummy it would be for a "Hemp butter" and Honey sandwich..

The texture was spot on for a nice rich nut butter though- It has the potential to be used like peanut butter in baking and recipes. It would be a terrific add in taste wise and nutritionally to a green smoothie..

A HUGE shame that we reacted so terribly- and I mean almost the ER- a hair away from the EPI pen for me!

I have written the company. Based on what I have read(a lot) this is supposed to something that almost never causes allergies, in fact some of the literature indicates no serious allergies have been reported- Ha! Reported one now! LOL The only thing I react that badly to is avocado- so curious if the company responds that there is the possibility it was contaminated with one of our many allergies. The company has a good reputation though- so thinking it was just the HEMP. I wonder though if this was more raw meaning we would both be far more cross reactive to it, we can often get away with eating something once it has been cooked. Still, the reaction was way stronger then any we have had from a cross reaction..

We tried Hemp Milk last year- did not like the flavor but do not remember reacting at all to it. I have eaten it a few times this past year, without reaction though in small amounts or maybe I was already having a day and just did not notice the extra irritant. IT has been since before project elimination that I had eaten it last, so maybe we are both just hyper sensitive right now.

Abby reacted very badly, not as badly as I though.

Usually with an expensive item I feed it to Derek and Sara, but this was such a bad reaction we tossed it and half tempted to toss everything else with hemp rather then give it another chance. :-)

Gotta stick to it- I will trial the other hemp items. Odds are since I actually reacted worse then Abby, that if the rest of the brands don't bother me, she stand a chance. Not sure I will be up to it this weekend though! Thinking I will have taken allergy meds before I try another sampling!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Allergy free Poodle Cookies!

Our dogs are really like our "other" children. With as much time as we spend at home they offer us entertainment, comfort and love. The larger poodle, Evie has been Abby's companion. If Abby is sick, Evie is sure to be spooned up next to her in bed. We have nicknamed her "Nurse Evie".. IF Evie thinks Abby needs to get up she will run circles around her and howl to get Abby to follow her room to room. Evie is also a very willing food tester- We tease that Evie is checking for food allergens and not being a piggy! LOL Really though, if we are going to eat clean so are the dogs.

A few weeks ago, Abby felt up to feeding the Poodles. I had bought a "cheap" dog food since I was too lazy to run to the pet store to buy their special gluten-free, corn-free kibble. Abby opened the bag and instant asthma and headache. Evie ate the food and spent two days puking over every inch of my house. Go figure, even our dog has allergies!

Now we are being very careful with their food too! The little one Sasha was the product of a puppy mill, she just could not get any sweeter but I am afraid she did not get the nutrition she needed as a pup- she is about the dumbest poodle you will ever meet! LOl Unfortunately she does have many health issues from bad hips,knees, loss of eye sight.. Nutrition cannot reverse these issues but we hope we can give her a better quality of life. Neither of them need commercial chemicals,corn,soy,dairy any more then Abby or the rest of us do!

Again, found this recipe on Pinterest. I tweaked it a little, you know I cannot resist making each recipe my own. I added rice protein because Evie is addicted, I used PB2 instead of regular peanut butter because Evie like Abby has a hard time digesting fats(seriously, she really does!) I added a spoon of honey, a sprinkle of pink himalayan salt cause if they are good for us, they are good for them! While I made those I also made safe allergen free vanilla wafers for Abby- My cookie baking should be done for at least a month!

These because they have less fat turn out more chewy then crisp- but Evie and Sasha don't mind one bit!

Find the original recipe HERE

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour
2 large eggs
2/3 cup pumpkin purée, canned or fresh
3 tbsps PB2
2 Tablespoons rice protein
a couple tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon honey
a couple pinches of pink himalayan

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Throw it all in a bowl and mix(I promise your dogs won't mind if it is overmixed or under mixed) If you pinch a piece and it crumbles, add a little water. If it’s really sticky, it’s too wet and you’ll need to add a little flour. Gather the dough together and form into a ball. Place on a lightly floured work surface and roll it out to about 1/4-inch thickness. You can either use a cookie cutter to cut out cute shapes or use a knife to cut squares or strips. I am pretty sure the dog doesn’t care, but I rather prefer the cute shapes. I gather the scraps together and roll them out again and again until I’ve used up the dough. Place the cookies on a baking sheet. They can be crowded pretty close together since they don’t expand much. Bake 15-20 minutes for softer treats or 30 minutes for hard treats (Kaweah likes crunchy treats, just like her person – me). Let cool completely. Makes 100+ 1-inch heart-shaped dog treats.

Dogs don't mind ugly or broken cookies! :-)

Safe Quiche

During Project Elimination it has been a time of exploration for everyone. Some of us trying new foods, some eating less food, some eating more.

One of the most difficult things is finding a recipe that suits all of our special diets. Or at least close. Or having to substitute for various ingredients, and I have had all sorts of things go very wrong by eliminating gluten,corn,dairy in a recipe and trying to substitute safe ingredients. Some serious mistakes that I have not done since my teens when I really started cooking! :-)

Last night we found a Winner! Derek would have been better with less flour, Abby with less onion, me with fewer calories, but the compromise was just fine for everyone. I did make a few separate for Derek where I added some crumbled turkey sausage.

This was a weight watchers recipe I found on Pinterest.

Mini Zucchini Quiche

Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 20 min


coconut oil to grease muffin tins(originally called for cooking spray could use paper liners if you tolerate them)

2 small uncooked zucchini, finely chopped (I finely chopped in the Ninja)

1 large onion(s), finely chopped and sauteed.(recipe called for uncooked)

1/2 cup finely grated carrot( raw or saute with onions to soften)

3/4 c to 1 cup cooked millet or rice(recipe originally called for 1 cup parmesan)

6 large egg(s) (I used 5 and 1 egg white with success,might try 4 and 2 whites next)

1/2 cup(s) gluten-free flour (originally called for all purpose)

1/4 cup(s) basil, fresh, finely chopped

2-3 Tbsps coconut oil, (in liquid form) (originally called for olive oil)

2 tsp baking powder (homemade to avoid corn)

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp pink himalayan salt

1/2 tsp black pepper


Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat two 12 nonstick muffin pans with coconut oil( or paper if not an allergen issue)(makes 18-24 depending on how many add in's you use)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; spoon egg mixture into each prepared hole about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake until bottoms are golden brown and quiche muffins are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove pan(s) from oven and let quiche cool for a few minutes in pan(s); remove quiche to a wire rack to cool more (and repeat with remaining ingredients if necessary).

This recipe claims that they freeze and reheat well- I threw 6 in the freezer last night for Derek to grab on his way to work in the morning. We will see how well they reheat.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Green Snowflakes..

After yesterday's post an old friend of mine called.

She said, "Mito is like snowflakes..Every patient with Mito is a snowflake,but no two snowflakes are identical."

I thought that summed it up nicely.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No Facts...

The other day I was on the phone with a Mito mom and the conversation lead to fundraising vs awareness. I really dislike fundraising- I avoided the PTA's Moms and Room Mom's like the plague during the few years Sara and Abby attended Public School so my opinion might be a bit tainted! :-) I lean toward "awareness" vs fundraising, but run into problems with the awareness- I am finding the facts change overnight about Mito and when I say "a disease of energy" I get the oh," chronic fatigue right?" For Abby kind of sort of sometimes.. but not the right description.

Blood tests- the list changes, the levels of what normal and what is not changes, nDNA, mtDNA,primary,secondary, related disorders...

It gets confusing. Really confusing.

Even the gold standard Muscle biopsy has no absolutes- might show something, and might not..Or maybe what they found in Abby's is a false positive? That happens and false negatives happen too. See, that is how my mind works- I really am not comfortable with this mito junk- but I fit very comfortably in the world of allergies- I "get" allergies and I can actually help Abby without dealing with any Drs at this point beyond our family Dr and Abby's Mito Specialist. A clear "cause and effect" with allergies, eat dairy you get sick- thus the treatment- don't eat dairy! But Mito? The answers we get are so flexible they really aren't answers.. I cannot do much for her "mito" issues.. therefore, my mind grabs hold of the last biopsy results and starts wondering if it was just bad results..

So with all that crazy making going on in my head, How do I describe Mito? Not just Abby's Mito- or Sam's or Libby's, or Dave's or Dale's, etc.. but how do I possibly just spit facts, about Mito? Really there aren't any hard and set facts except that it messes with the Mitochondria.. that is about it, after that, anything goes! I have actually tried that explanation out on folks before, no one automatically opened their wallet, but I got the raised eyebrow like, is she pulling my leg kind of response..

Just a few years ago, Drs. only thought Mito existed in the most severe presentations(and most Drs beyond Mito specialists often still think the same thing)babies and toddlers would go into a tailspin and that was it. Now that they know better and safer treatments these kids are more frequently living into adulthood. I am now hearing stories of children who were given the worst prognosis becoming almost "normal" and "healthy" with the proper interventions- clearly progress is being made.

Just a few years ago, depletions were only found in the most severe cases and the survival rate for depletions was scary low- but now they are finding lots of "Abby's" who are more mild, and though they have to live differently, it isn't killing them.

But is sharing about Abby when I share awareness doing any other symptom population within the Mito sphere any good? She looks pretty normal. On a good day, you would not look twice at her. We can hide most of her "mito".

Starting to think that the fundraising is the much easier option- get people to give money and let the Professionals figure it out. But, how do I explain Mito to get people to give money? It really is almost unbelievable to say," It is a disease that looks like every disease, can cause all sorts of diseases and could be anything from your hearing to your bones" I cannot imagine that line getting anyone to open their checkbooks either! LOL

No wonder I feel so lost in all of this.. and my brain is often left running in circles.

Abby and I often chat about this whole process. We both agree that we did what we had to do in order to get a diagnosis. She doesn't regret it so I don't either. But what gets both of us are all the "little Abby's" that are out there.. little ones who are off a bit like Abby was and whose parents desperately want to know what is making their babies sick, but constantly get the brush off. So many have even done the biopsy and not gotten results, and in the medical world, symptoms without lab proof will get you no where- a rare Dr. now again will try to help, but they aren't usually the specialists that could be helping the most. Even in the Mito World I have noted the great divide- Families are separating into those with "proof" and excluding those who are only "suspected." It breaks our hearts because we have been there. Trying to get any help at the Public School without a diagnosis? Mission impossible. Trying to get family and friends to accept there is something wrong without a diagnosis? Impossible. My biggest regrets are about not pushing hard years ago for a clearer diagnosis. Without a diagnosis we did what the Drs. felt we needed to do- I still am kicking myself over that last year in High School where we pushed her.. She was so sick.. and I watched her get sicker and sicker and still pushed- because without a diagnosis that is what they recommend. I am certain that year is what caused the kidney crash.. that caused her to not be able to come back out on top and bounce back. The only thing good that came out of pushing her because she had no diagnosis? Was that it broke her so badly that the Specialists begrudgingly finally agreed with us that there was a problem- that in itself ticks me off, where the heck is preventative medicine? First do no harm? Clearly many in the medical world don't listen to parents..

Now, before you think I am just being ugly, I know that thousands of families go through this same ordeal- just talk to any family who has dealt with a rare disorder. Especially if it is an "invisible" one, meaning one that won't pop up on any of the Drs. labs- I swear you could be seizing on the floor in front of some Drs but if the tests don't show a cause you don't need treatment! UGH! It isn't the Dr.s fault, it is the way that our Medical system has established- we have amazing medicine here in the US, but it seems the "whole body" approach you can find in other Countries isn't applied here- I get that the system is set up to serve as many as possible and it is simply impossible to serve everyone, but boy is it frustrating! I truly believe that most Drs. want to help but they also have been taught and taught again by Medical School, by malpractice insurance,by negotiated insurance rates, that they must follow the rule book, even if that means 10 percent who need help, get no help.

Years ago when the girls were in Public School and it was clear that the gifted programming was minimal to say the least I decided to get involved. It was implied that if I wasn't working with the team to find a solution I really had no right to complain-fair enough. I attended the meetings, I was even invited to sit in and be on the board for the District GT planning boards.. I will never forget when the Director of the program fussed me. He said it was a process, it took time to develop a good GT program and to get funding,facts and cooperation. I asked how long- he said it would be 5 years and then my girls would have a great program- I was stunned- Seriously? you want me to leave my girls in a program for 5 years that does NOTHING to support them academically? Plus, you want me to fundraise and follow you blindly while I let my girls rot? Talk about a serious dash of reality. I pulled them from Public School that week. Kind of rash huh? But some sort of survival instinct kicked in, that Mama Bear in me. No one I knew home schooled. My friends and family thought I was nuts. Kids that my girls were friends with cut them off.. The price I paid to make sure that their academic passion was allowed to blossom was earth shattering. Those feelings of being completely lost and pushing forward with zero support have shaped nearly everything about me at this point. Despite the enormous price I paid socially and the girls paid socially, all of us now look back and are truly proud we made the choices we did, nothing good comes without a price.

6 months ago, when Abby started getting so sick, I was faced with a deja vue moment- I knew that there wasn't anything that the professionals could do for Abby- like the badly created GT program that was hurting their academic passion, the Mito protocol was just as bad of a fit for Abby. I yanked her out, and went it alone again. I am still sweating a lot over that decision. Again faced with feeling like I just took such a leap of faith and really a level of arrogance on my part that Abby and I could do it better then what was offered by the Pro's. I really felt like I was pushing my luck, but what choice did I have? We KNEW the Mito protocols would hurt her, and that was all the Medical Pro's could offer- why keep going to them and saying No thanks?

Today we again have felt some of that isolation and alienation- not just from the Mito World but from friends,family- Those friends and family who weathered the Project Home School with us and saw it was the right choice have asked me," What took you so long?" LOL They know when it comes to the girls my gut rules- even if it seems like crazy, chancy, and not socially accepted choice. Thank goodness I am not a gambler- I would be one of those to start the night with 5 bucks and get to a million in winnings and bet it all on a gut feeling that I would win against the odds.

Today I can clearly see the improvement in Abby. So can everyone else. I would like to think it is Project Elimination.. Some would like to think it a fluke.. but everyone is right with their opinion about what we are doing, because Mito for Abby has no facts- Maybe our Project Elimination means that her biopsy results were incorrect, or maybe our Project Elimination means that there are more ways to help a Mito patient then just the Mito protocol.. no facts yet though.

Abby is still sick. She is gobs better, but hasn't left the house in weeks. I don't know if Project Elimination is going to do much more for her..but it did make us feel a lot more hopeful that we can help her. It was the right choice at that moment, that is a fact. I still have my doubts or denial that Mito has caused all of this, but that is because there just aren't many facts on Mito.. Maybe in 5? or 10 years they will establish some hard fast rules? A quick blood test that will either show the biopsy was wrong or right.. but for now we just have to prepare for the curve ball. Maybe they will have discovered 10 more new diseases that could be responsible, or just maybe a cure.. but we have to do our best until then, just not enough facts yet to make a prognosis.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Although Abby has never tested positive for celiac we went gluten free because gluten is notoriously hard to digest. Since her GI was destroyed we wanted to give her every advantage to heal up.

One of the huge benefits of going gluten free for us, is learning that there is a world of grains out there that can be way healthier for all of us.

Our quinoa trials were a huge failure- she simply could not digest quinoa -yet.

Last week after lots of reading I decided the next best grain/seed to try would be millet. Like many I have always associated millet with "bird food" something the birds eat or something only the hardcore vegan's eat- not something that could possibly be tasty or so perfectly loaded with nutrition for Abby. I read that it's glycemic index is higher so it is recommended that you combine with a protein for anyone eating grains to help keep the sugar balance.

Health Benefits (via WHFoods )
"Millet is more than just an interesting alternative to the more common grains. Our food ranking system qualified it as a good source of some very important nutrients, including manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium."

From Wikipedia-
"Millets, like sorghum, are predominantly starchy. The protein content is comparable to that of wheat and maize. Pearl and little millet are higher in fat, while finger millet contains the lowest fat. Barnyard millet has the lowest carbohydrate content and energy value. Millets are also relatively rich in iron and phosphorus. The bran layers of millets are good sources of B-complex vitamins. However, millets also feature high fiber content and poor digestibility of nutrients, which severely limit their value in nutrition and influence their consumer acceptability.[3]

Inspecting a pearl millet spike at a farm in Zimbabwe
Finger millet has the highest calcium content among all the foodgrains, but it is not highly assimilable.
The protein content in millet is very close to that of wheat; both provide about 11% protein by weight, on a dry matter basis.
Millets are rich in B vitamins (especially niacin, B6 and folic acid), calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Millets contain no gluten, so they are not suitable for raised bread. When combined with wheat (or xanthan gum for those who have celiac disease) they can be used for raised bread. Alone, they are suited for flatbread.
As none of the millets are closely related to wheat, they are appropriate foods for those with celiac disease or other forms of allergies/intolerance of wheat. However, millets are also a mild thyroid peroxidase inhibitor and probably should not be consumed in great quantities by those with thyroid disease."

So the downfall to adding millet is it is higher in fiber, and definitely something that could present a problem for Abby to digest. It also appears that despite it being a fairly nutritionally rich grain, our bodies aren't going to get as much of the benefit as we would hope.

I poked around a bit more trying to figure out the preparation method. I have decided that millet shouldn't be a staple or served in full servings to Abby, but that they do have value when it comes to increasing the ingredient list and making her food more interesting.

We decided to "brown" the millet first. I toasted it in a tablespoon of coconut oil. In theory, if you toast the hull first, when you boil it the cooking will be more even as well as more flavorful. Some directions recommend 2 to 1 for the water/broth ratio, but we found that 3 to 1 made it more creamy and tender.

She ate a couple tablespoons over all last week. No problems. I don't think we will be eating millet like we do Lundberg rice(rice pot every few days)but a nice treat now and then. We all loved the flavor-major bonus! It also seems to absorb the flavors of what you cook it in nicely. Millet flour might add another facet to baking gluten free. When I make her oatmeal free granola I can throw some millet into the mix as well now that we know she tolerates at least a bit now and then. The fiber content will likely prohibit us from making it a side for awhile yet, but adding a few tablespoons with other foods for interest is now on the list.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

National Ice Cream Day-Skinny Lemon Sherbet

Yikes- I wasn't going to post much today, but I heard on the news that today was National Ice Cream Day!

Some of you may know that at the same time we started Project Elimination for Abby, I started Project "Drop half of me!" :-) My one battle with food has been sugar. I have weaned off of sugar before but tend to run right for fat and salt and that isn't any better! Plus, in my family sugar is medicinal- really- no joking! Granulated sugar 2 inches thick on real butter slathered on a piece of thick hot fresh white yeast bread can get me moving off the couch in the worst pain flare!! LOL

40 years of sugar( My Gram would give me liquid jello in a bottle- no joke!)and I have decided the best way to combat the addiction is to trick my body. Many of my recipes are dangerous for Abby but life savers for me! So I make a lot of ice cream to individualize for everyone, but I don't mind at all!

The other Day I was reading the latest Hungry Girl newsletter(love her! Thank you Wendy for telling me about her years ago!)and she recommended Arctic Zero ice cream.. 150 calories per pint.. How could I resist? I spent the ungodly 6 bucks on a pint.. counted my calories and reserved 150 to eat that whole pint! I was like a kid waiting for Christmas morning all day knowing I was going to get such a terrific treat!

I grabbed a bowl(diet rule, never eat out of any container!)and put a big mouthful in..... and SPIT IT OUT! First time EVER I have spit out ice cream- I like cheap ice cream, sorbets, frozen yogurt, even if it is cheap and generic I just love the frozen sweet stuff.. I threw it out- I think the fact that I threw out a pint(it was the chocolate peanut butter for anyone thinking about trying it)was more of a shock then if pigs started flying!

A few weeks ago I snagged a brand new countertop compressor ice cream maker for 30 bucks!(usually a couple hundred)At my favorite consignment shop. I have joyously been making coconut milk ice creams for Abby, lemon custard for Derek, rocky road for Sara but never thought to create a skinny cream for me! Here is my favorite so far-

Skinny lemon sherbet-
1 box sugarfree jello lemon pudding
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons lemon extract(I wanted it SUPER tangy!)
Splenda or truvia to taste( I used A LOT!)
1 3/4 cup water(yep plain zero calorie water, want it richer? Carb countdown skim milk 35 calories a serving!)
2 Tablespoons powdered egg white(found it on clearance and love the stuff!)

Mix it,taste it(as long as it isn't too thick anything goes!) and chill for 30. Chilling makes sure it doesn't thicken too much for the ice cream maker(mine will tolerate a pudding texture) if it is too thick thin it out a bit with cold water or milk.

Throw it in the ice cream maker- good soft serve out of the machine, or the next day frozen hard like sherbet. The freezing and egg whites seem to mellow the acrid taste of fake sugar. Keep in mind freezing will mellow flavors so if you want it very lemon adjust to increase lemon juice or extract. I was trying for a very sweet tart type - and I got it!

Under 200 calories for the whole batch! and unlike Arctic Zero- this tastes good!

Try it with sugarfree chocolate pudding, a couple tablespoons extra cocoa powder and sugar substitute to taste(I used carb countdown skim milk with the chocolate.) I also used a bit of vanilla extract to richen it up!

Next I am going to make peanut butter skinny ice cream- sugarfree vanilla pudding, PB2 peanut butter powder.. I can taste it already!

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

Cruising along...

Sitting here thinking of the zillion things I could,should, want to post, but am just too contented and lazy this morning.

Abby has has a pretty good few days, I feel like I am conquering foods at a good pace and Sara and Derek are in a good place.

I had to kind of sit back and grin when I was trying to diagnose this unfamiliar feeling I was having last night- it is called satisfied. I don't think my family often takes the time to just relax and enjoy life's ride very often. We are always forecasting what comes next. I ticked off in my head all the good things that have been accomplished this week and the list is unusually long! :-) From getting the brakes done to figuring out how to program garage door keypads and remotes to even pruning wildly vicious hedge roses(my hands and arms look like I have been wrestling feral cats!)- it all got done-we can all do whatever we want knowing much got done.

This week I did try millet with Abby- just a bit, I worry since she has airborne allergies to many grasses that this could be cross reactive with her, but the bit that she tried sat fine and did not get caught up.(Millet isn't as good as quinoa and should be eaten with protein,will post next week) Next week we try the Hemp. The house is packed with safe foods and the freezer full of safe snacks,meals for her.

For today I am just going to let go all the lists in my head of vitamins,supplements, organics,clean,nutritional values, letting it all go!

If it rains I have a zillion honey do's around here to tackle with Derek. If the sun is out we can play in the yard.

If the stars align and we do something together great, if not great too! :-)

Satisfied feels just right today.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hooked on Hemp!

Hemp milk,Hemp butter,Hemp oil,Hemp seeds,Hemp flour....

We ordered what we think are corn-free Hemp products last night. It is time to trial the Hemp!

The claim is that Hemp is one of the least likely to cause allergic reactions which of course caught my interest. It also is packed full of really surprising nutrition.

Food and Nutrition: (Visit the Hemp Farm to learn more neat things about Hemp!)

-Of the 3 million plus edible plants that grow on Earth, no other plant source can compare with the nutritional value of hempseeds. [lxvi]

-Hemp is edible as whole seeds, hulled seed (the hemp ‘nut’ or 'heart'), protein powder, or as oil extracted from seeds.

-It is used in salad dressings, protein bars, breads, cakes, soups, beer, butters, shakes, milk, breakfast cereals and many more food products and recipes.

-Hemp plants produce seeds that contain between 25-35% oil by weight. This non-trans-fatty-acid oil is high in a perfect balance of essential fatty acids (EFAs: Omega-3, 6, 9) considered to be necessary to maintain health. [lxviii] Hemp's EFA profile provides a healthy alternative to fish, often high in mercury and other toxins.

-Hemp's overall protein content of 35% is comparable to soybeans and is higher than that found in nuts, other seeds, meats, dairy products and fish or poultry. Hemp protein contains all of the essential amino acids in more nutritionally significant amounts and at a ratio closer to "complete" sources of protein (like meat, milk and eggs) than all other seeds except soy. [lxix]

-65% of the proteins in hemp are "edestin," which are easily digestible and act as pre-cursors to such vital body components as hormones, hemoglobin, enzymes and antibodies. Hemp's edestin structure is the highest in the plant kingdom, making it more digestible than soy and many other plant foods. [lxx]

-Hemp also contains a healthy 35% of dietary fibre, the highest of all commercial flour grains, and it is high in the natural antioxidants Vitamin E, Vitamin C and chlorophyll.[lxxi]

-The hardiness and nutritional benefits of hemp could help address many of the world’s starvation problems.[lxxii]

-Hemp should not be cooked at temperatures over 350F because at this emperature the fats are in danger of becoming "trans" and thus unhealthy. Source.

-NOT including Whole Foods Markets sales, hemp food sales in North America grew by 39% over the previous year (from August 2006 to August 2007), or by $2.1 million, to a total of $7.7 million. Based on this, it is estimated that the total retail value of hemp foods sold in this period in North America grew from $14 million (in 2006) to approximately $20 million in 2007. Source.

We tried some Hemp milk last year- we were not sold on the flavor, but we tasted it before Project Elimination, hoping that this time with our new healthier tastebuds we will like it better.

Hemp milk I am betting would be better for baking, ice cream etc. It has a more complex fat profile and more fat per serving then rice which would aid in better baking. We will have to be cautious because of Abby's limited ability to handle much fat in her diet.

Hemp oil- appears a better option then olive or grapeseed but have not compared it's value to coconut oil. I suspect both hemp and coconut have equal but different value and I also think Hemp oil might work better then coconut in some of the cooking- we will see. Though it appears to have a very low temperature threshold which would limit it's use in a lot of cooking..

Hemp flour- it appears to be protein packed and some have extra fiber added. I have been reading some substitution guides and you can sub 1/4 hemp flour. Mixed blessing- Abby still struggles with too much fiber, but we will keep an eye on that..

Hemp butter- very curious about this product! We have tried every nut and seed butter and she has had an allergic reaction to everything from sunflower to sesame.. To have a "butter" would open new cooking horizons.. but only if she takes to the taste! I read a review that it is can be some what pine nutish in flavor- hum.. I have my doubts, but it will come down to Abby's taste buds! Of course, again she will be limited on consumption because of the level of fats.. but still very hopeful!

Of course Hemp protein like Abby's rice protein can be snuck into everything :-)

There are also many lotions and soaps that are Hemp based. Clothing made from Hemp is supposed to wick moisture and breath better then even cotton and might have some anti bacterial qualities..

As you can see I am in deep with this new trial! But, if even half the claims are correct Hemp may be the new go to food in my house!

“Make the most of Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”

-George Washington, 1794

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Pinterest is my current go to site. If I have a bag of lemon's needing to be used, I pop in on pinterest and search pin's on "lemons"... Out of windex? I search for homemade windex... Looking for fundraising ideas? Pinterest.

There are a number of boards with terrific Mito Awareness Pin's. With Mitochondrial Awareness Week creeping up on us in September I have been trying to decide if there is something I can create with all those great Pin's to share and help do our share to spread Awareness..

Most of the ingredients we have been researching and adding to Abby's diet just would not happen without Pinterest. From easy to tweak recipes to pin's that showcase some serious odd ingredients, the sky is the limit! The Pin's have lead me to some amazing blogs so my blog and coffee list has tripled in the last few months.

On my cornfree group, we have talked about hunting recipes on Pinterest.
On my local community recycle group, we talk about using Pinterest to create trash to treasure items.

Even my sewing group has joined the Pinterest bandwagon :-)

The only thing I have refused to pin is politics. I do a ton of that on facebook already, and there is something taboo for me about mixing my window shopping and politics :-)

Abby and Sara use Tumblr almost exclusively, and I have a profile there, but I am so addicted to Pinterest I keep forgetting to zip over there.

Every once in awhile, I will find a pin that even I am hesitant to try, either the cost or process or even end result seems so challenging or too good to be true I tend to watch to see if anyone else repin's it. Often I have wondered if anyone has tried it?

New group on facebook. Pinterest-What's hot,What's NOT. Open group, you can share the marvels and failures from Pinterest- a place where you can find out if that pin you found is worth the effort.

Our latest interest is Poppy seeds and yet again Pinterest has provided much inspiration. If you haven't tried Pinterest or Tumblr yet I highly recommend you check them out.

My next ingredient to research is Hemp- Hemp milk,Hemp protein.. I cannot wait to search the Pin's and see what I can learn! :-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

PURE Wraps Review

We finally opened the PURE wraps(100 percent coconut raw)

Someone on my corn allergy groups had reacted to these so we have hesitated. IF there is contamination we think it comes from the paper they laid them on in the package- so our solution was to throw out the 1 wrap that was touching the paper( in the future someone else in the house will eat that one!)

We nibbled on the edge of one to see what we were getting into. These really aren't going to rock your world for flavor or texture, but they aren't bad at all either. Somewhere between a springroll wrapper and a very smooth even piece of fruit leather. A slight coconut flavor. They are thinner then we thought they would be.. I wonder about whether they could hold up to something sharper in a filling like a piece of celery- I would worry it might rip- but at the same time they seem very flexible so they might hold up fine. Abby is thinking her first wrap will be egg salad with my homemade mayo- no worries about celery as she is allergic to that too! :-)

Neither of us was in the mood for a "wrap" so we decided we would try frying one. We cut it into tortilla chip sized triangles and fried in a bit of coconut oil. First- the smell is AMAZING when you fry! Second- they fry super super fast! Like 5 seconds or less on each side so you have to be fast! Third- do not make these on a diet- they are delicious and delicate! A lovely crunch! Being gluten free and mostly fat free and dairy free etc Abby almost never gets her hands on anything that has a nice crunch! Abby avoids cinnamon so we sprinkled with a touch of sugar. She popped a couple into the top of her bowl of coconut ice cream(plain so needed a little something!) HEAVENLY!!!

I just know these will be amazing sprinkled with some pink himalayan salt and maybe some dried herbs? The sugar did not stick very well as they are sooo smooth in texture- so next round maybe I will brush with water and sprinkle and then bake them to a crisp- my mouth is watering already! To have a chip in the house that would be low calorie, not contaminated, salty and low fat- well that is almost too good to be true!

Another idea we are planning on is to line muffin tins with these and bake them- great little crunchy vessels to hold all sorts of fillings!

These are expensive and we have to order so I don't see us having them too often- hoping if they pick up in popularity they will be stocked locally and the price will come down to something we can actually afford.

Curious? Here is the link- Improv eat PURE Coconut wraps

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Poppy Seeds..

When I think about poppy seeds I think about poppy seed filling in a kolache.. or a lemon poppy seed loaf cake..I have always thought poppy seeds were great for desserts- but surprise surprise they are loaded with some terrific nutrition!

Below is a quick cut and copy from valuefoodinfo.

Poppy Seed [Scientific Name: Papaver Somniferum] (French: Pavot Somnifre, German: Mohan, Spanish: Adormidera, Other name - Khaskhas)

Poppy seed is actually an oilseed obtained from the opium poppy. Cultivation of poppy seeds has been done traditionally since centuries. Whole or grounded seeds are used as ingredient in food. Poppy seeds are mostly found in India, China and Afghanistan. There is a different variety of Poppy seed grown in the West. Use of poppy seeds is popular in Indian and European cuisines.
Reference of medicinal properties can be found in ancient medicinal texts. Ancient Egyptians used poppy seeds as sedative. Poppy seeds have been used in folk medicines as sedative, promote fertility.

Nutritional value and mineral content of Poppy seed: Poppy seed is a good source of Dietary Fiber, Thiamin, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Calcium and Manganese. It consists of mixture of fat, carbohydrates and fiber.

Chemical composition of Poppy seed : Poppy seeds consist of Unsaturated fats, EFA’s, Linolenic acid, Palmitic acid, Oleic acid, Linoleic acid and Stearic acid, which also forms part of poppy seed essential oil.

Health benefits of Poppy Seeds:
Its seeds are demulcent and are used against constipation. The capsules are used as a sedative against irritant coughing and sleeplessness in the form of syrup or extract.
Poppy paste is used as external agent treating burning sensation, itchs, relieving pain. Poppy seeds are good source of opium. Opium has several medicinal uses as pain killer and sedative. It is beneficial relieving muscular and neuralgic pain. Poppy seeds can be used to cure Ear and Tooth aches. Along with honey, poppy seed is used as home remedy to treat dysentery.
Poppy seeds have appetizing qualities. Milkshake / juice containing poppy seed is considered refreshing and a tonic.

Anti Cancer properties of Poppy seed: Some compounds of Oleic acid, which is itself a compound act as anti Breast Cancer agent. According to research done by Dr. Javier M. of NW University in Chicago oleic acid blocks the HER-2/neu, a cancer causing oncogene. High concentration of oleic acid lowers blood pressure levels and cholesterol. Besides, oleic acid lowers the risk of heart problem. Oleic acid is a major ingredient in medications used for obstructing the progression of Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD).

According to some studies conducted on Poppy seeds, Linoleic acid, reduces Bone loss associated with Osteoporosis, porosis. Linolec acid helps improve the eczema. Linolenic acid, present in Poppy seeds is responsible for lowering Serum-Cholesterol levels. Poppy seed paste has been used as skin cream. Poppy seed paste along with lime reduces itchy sensation.
Precuation need to be taken while use of poppy seed, as many people can be intolerant to its consumption. Intake in excess should be avoided.

Some other forms of commercially available forms of poppy seeds are poppy seed paste, poppy seed powder, poppy seed extract.

Never knew that poppy seeds were good for constipation! That is certainly handy! I wonder how poppy seeds would taste with blackstrap molasses??? :-)

I cannot remember the last time Abby ate poppy seeds so if I introduce them I will have to proceed with caution.. Now, should it be in a lemon poppy seed muffin or maybe a filled kolache? Wonder how hard that would be creating it gluten free,corn free,dairy free, soy free? Sounds like a tasty and potentially healthy challenge!

Monday, July 9, 2012


Last week a Mom who attended the Mito Conference mentioned Selenium to me- interestingly enough "selenium" has been rolling like a tidal wave through all of my different health groups-

Since we still have not tried any supplements(quercetin +C by twinlabs is corn clean, and it would probably be the first we will/might give a try down the road)I always head toward what foods have these helpful vitamins and minerals naturally occurring. It is easier,cheaper,safer,more effective to get your vitamins through your foods and the only way we manage with Abby this year.

The number 1 source of Selenium is the Brazil Nut- of course Abby cannot have nuts, but for anyone out there looking to boost their selenium you only need 1 brazil nut on average(variable levels of selenium) a day to get what you need- isn't that about as easy and tasty as it comes for a vitamin?

The next top foods for selenium content-

Grown or raised under ideal soil conditions, crimini mushrooms, cod, shrimp, tuna, halibut, salmon, and mustard seeds are also excellent sources of selenium.

Very good sources of selenium include salmon, scallops, chicken, eggs, shiitake mushrooms, lamb, barley, and turkey. Might I add that our beloved blackstrap molasses does contain some selenium, lowest amounts, but hey it made the list! :-)

Keep in mind, commercially farmed products are going to have aprox 20-30 percent less nutritional value then their organic counterpart. So much of the content is based on the health of the soil.

Diseases associated with selenium deficiency;

Health Conditions
What health conditions require special emphasis on selenium?

Selenium may play a role in the prevention and/or treatment of the following health conditions:

Cervical dysplasia
Colorectal cancer
Esophageal cancer
Infertility (male)
Kashin-Beck's disease
Keshan's disease
Multiple sclerosis
Ovarian cysts
Parkinson's disease
Periodontal disease
Rheumatoid arthritis
Senile cataracts
SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
Stomach cancer

Read more about Selenium

Abby does okay with mustard powder- so might see if we can sneak in some mustard seeds as something new to our diet. Fish is hard to get fresh off the boat(histamine) and not corn contaminated(yep, the rinse they rinse the fish with has corn!) but I was glad to see her eggs made the list! I am still curious how she can pop positive on an egg allergy but thrives eating them- just goes to show tests are not always as important as the clinical picture-

Friday, July 6, 2012

Breath Healthy Mask

I am sitting having my coffee, and thinking about Abby.

Yesterday was terrific! She had the energy to shower, dress, shampoo her own hair and brush it out- and she did not need her shower chair!

This morning she is boiling eggs for herself. I am really still pinching myself that she is doing well. The fact that not only is she able to digest the whole egg now, but have the stamina to boil them for herself is simply bordering on a miracle compared to where we were at in January. Life is really good today. Abby's major symptom has always been her extreme fatigue and muscle tone- to know that they have improved enough that on good days she shocks us makes project elimination a huge success.

This week we finally broke down and bought a good reusable mask for Abby. The brand Breath Healthy was recommended by someone on the corn allergy board. Frankly, we have always been very judgmental about those "weird" people who use masks. We have all seen pictures of Japanese and chinese running around with masks on and it has always come across as over the top to us.

What we are finding is that as Abby feels better she wants to get out of the house, but the movies makes her sick because of the corn in the air, the clothing stores make her sick because of the sizing, bookstores make her sick. Every time we take her out it triggers a flare. The grocery store is off limits(instant attack). Going to the Dr. means an instant virus or allergies to folks perfumes and their pets on their clothes, etc. So we are trying the mask. Abby says she is game- she says leaving the house sends her right back into a flare and if a mask will let her leave the house without flaring, she is more then willing to give it a try.

Fingers crossed it will help. Worth a shot right? If it works it will open the door to Abby being able to get out more as she heals.

Our thoughts are, if it lets her go back to the movies it is so worth it!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mito Social July 14th The Woodlands Memorial Hermann

Socials offer a free and fun opportunity for patients and families to connect in person.

Dear friends in Texas,

It's not too late! There is still time to RSVP for the July 14 Mito Patient & Family Social in The Woodlands! And if you've already RSVP'd, thank you! We can't wait to see you!

Hosted by MitoAction and Kristi Wees, this Social is a wonderful opportunity to meet families who are dealing with mitochondrial disease or who are in the process of getting a diagnosis, share stories and resources, and give and get support.

All ages are welcome.

Date: Saturday, July 14

Time: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Place: Memorial Hermann The Woodlands

Rooms A & B, first-floor Conference Center

9250 Pinecroft

The Woodlands, TX 77380

Please RSVP by July 10 to support@mitoaction.org.

MitoAction’s mission is to improve the quality of life for everyone affected by mitochondrial disease through support, education, outreach, and advocacy initiatives. We believe in supporting and empowering our Mito community today.

For more information, contact MitoAction Membership & Support Coordinator Ginger DeShaney at support@mitoaction.org or Social host Kristi Wees at kristiwees@gmail.com.

Please RSVP and join us. We look forward to seeing you there!

If you can't join us for this Social, hopefully you can join us at the next one:

Sept. 22: Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

Wishing everyone the best 4th ever! Be safe and celebrate.

We are having homemade red potato salad made with homemade mayo
Abby's gluten free bread and grilled chicken(chicken sandwiches with her homemade mayo)
Farm free hamburgers- free range(for red meat fans)
Maybe homemade vanilla ice cream(coconut milk)
and to finish off the day, the Pioneer's Peach Crisp with maple cream(re created gluten free,dairy free,corn free etc)

Buckle up, no drinking and driving!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

BOOK- Dealing with Food Allergies

One of the things I have noticed with many Mito patients or chronically ill patients is the "full bucket" phenomenon.

The main or base disease/disorder cause all sorts of secondary issues. When those secondary issues are not treated then the main process gets worse.

Abby's secondary issues aren't too horrid and most cannot be treated but her allergies can. Whether her allergies are the primary or the secondary, by dealing with her allergies we are able to empty her bucket some which makes everything else far more manageable.

I love having the internet and have access to tons of great information, but I am old fashioned and nothing beats having a book in hand!

For anyone wanting to understand the body and allergies/immune response I recommend "Dealing with Food Allergies: A Practical Guide to Detecting Culprit Foods and Eating a Healthy, Enjoyable Diet [Paperback]
Janice Vickerstaff Joneja PhD RD

Hands down her book is the best I have found that explains down to the cellular level what happens when you have an allergy. She explains mast cells, airborne,food allergies, elimination diets, all the different testing and which are the most accurate. She has food lists and talks about cross reactivity etc. Really if there was just 1 book you could have about allergies this is the one I would pick.

We have scaled back on adding new foods around here and have gone back to what I know are "clean" foods for this week. I think I corned the poor kid at least 3 times last week by being in hurry to add new foods.

We are waiting for our PURE wraps, but a fellow corn allergy sufferer got hers and found wax paper between the wraps- Wax paper almost always is corn contaminated. She tried her wraps and reacted. So, worried that Abby is going to react too- definitely will write the company if she does and see if they will swap out that wax paper.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Project Elimination

We have come a long way since we started this a few months ago.

At this point we are adding as much as we are eliminating.

The NO list- dairy,corn,nuts,shellfish,spinach,tomato,kale,quinoa,turmeric,cinnamon,pumpkin,soy,sorghum,celery, chocolate,gluten,oats,lettuce(gets stuck),no food colorings, nothing "enriched" and nothing "fortified",banana's,goat milk, no preservatives, NO MSG,cherries,apricots, ....and a few others,,

That gives you an idea- we make everything from scratch now. Believe it or not, we still have found quite a bit for her to eat! :-)

1) low fiber.
2) low fat(over 10 grams she flares)
3) reduced sodium(kidneys)
4) add protein when possible.
5) must make it past Abby's taste buds!

Corn still continues to be our biggest obstacle. We spend a great deal of time hunting down products that are corn free(no obvious corn no corn contamination, and no corn derived ingredients).

Hand's down Abby's favorite food is chicken noodle soup. Homemade chicken stock, fresh basil, parsley, tons of carrots, sometimes onion and black rice noodles-with a big slic of homemade gluten free bread(no butter or spread, they all have either corn,sunflower,dairy,soy).

Rice is another staple as are the farm eggs that the chickens have not been given any grain(they eat bugs and whatever they find on the farm)

Sugar is safe too! Which is a very good thing!

Last week after writing the company we decided to go ahead and order some of the PURE wraps- from Improv'eat. When I wrote them they were terrific and sent me the information I needed to decide if they were safe enough for Abby to try.. We are so excited to add these into the meal planning! I suppose I could make some sort of rice tortilla that would be safe, but since I already make her bread,stocks etc- I am thrilled to find a safe packaged food!

The question is, is all this effort helping Abby?

Yes. We noticed if she gets "corned" she slides downhill fast. We have also found some new allergies that were probably hidden by the big ones like the corn or dairy.

Thankfully, her hair has stopped falling out. Her nails are all growing. She is brushing her own hair out again, and had the spunk to wash her own hair last week. She moves around the house so much more.. she is helping with food preparations, and even tidies up a bit after herself.. Of course, some days are better and some are worse- but compared to where we were in January? A world of improvement.

I think from this point forward we aren't going to see huge overnight gains, but much smaller less obvious improvements.

We are all healthier because of project elimination. I know now that commercially prepared food should all be questioned. That fastfood and most restaurant food is loaded with MSG, artificial flavors and enhancers and lots of hidden and surprising ingredients.. just because it is "organic" doesn't mean it is safe...safer maybe, but you still need to know where your food came from and what they have done to it..

I am still not sure about the Mitochondrial Depletion..I mean I accept it is there, but I am still leaning toward it being secondary to "something.". The myopathy part of it has been there since the beginning that I accept. Feeding Abby clean fuel does help her mitochondria perform better- that is enough to continue learning more about our food.

We are still beating around the bush about setting appointments to haul her off to the East Coast for mast cell Drs.- At the end of the day, we are doing the necessary changes. Traveling sets her back, just going to the movies sets her back it takes so much energy and the allergy exposure really gets her. We are working on finding the right compound pharmacy that can manage some basics for Abby that are prepared without fillers she is allergic to-easier said then done.

I have started reading all the chemicals in the house and removing what I can. No easy task. Our environments seem like they have become so polluted. I cannot remove everything! But, we are trying to make better and safer choices.

As we work through Project Elimination I am learning we can protect her mitochondria a lot more then we were. Clear and huge improvements, but living clean isn't a cure. I have to find a balance. We are learning to use her sensitivities to our favor.. many of our foods go far beyond calories and vitamins in what they do for our bodies- it is the best "medicine" we have found for Abby this far.

Still confident I am not going to join a commune, nor start collecting recyclables from my neighbors..but I have a much deeper appreciation for those who have taken the time to understand that we are what we eat. Out of all of the folks who have shared information with us to help Abby, it is my "natural" and "alternative" friends whose suggestions have helped the most. I give them credit for the healing we have seen this last six months.

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