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, February 26, 2013

No to Safflower-


Just a few cuts and copies below. We found over the holidays that when Abby ingested the smallest amounts of safflower it caused her proteinuria to shoot through the roof. Of course I had to google to see if anyone else had experienced this, after all, safflower is often used in many of the "cleaner" foods to avoid soy and corn. It is also frequently recommended. After finding what I found below- none of us will be using Safflower in anything. There were some publications that also found a negative impact on liver function as well a few other not so great side effects. Abby is a magnet for any side effect,but this was sure an eye opener and a reminder to read about our food and understand the impacts on each of our very unique bodies.



WebMD-


SAFFLOWER SIDE EFFECTS & SAFETY
Safflower appears to be safe for most people.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Safflower seed oil seems to be safe to take by mouth during pregnancy. But don’t take safflower flower. It can bring on menstrual periods, make the uterus contract, and cause miscarriages.

There isn’t much information about the safety of using safflower seed oil or flower during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bleeding problems (hemorrhagic diseases, stomach or intestinal ulcers, or clotting disorders): Safflower can slow blood clotting. If you have any kind of bleeding problem, don’t use safflower.

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Safflower may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking safflower.

Surgery: Since safflower might slow blood clotting, there is a concern that it could increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using safflower at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


eHow Health
-

Contraindications

Safflower oil or medications containing safflower oil should not be taken if you are allergic to eggs or soybean oil, have had kidney disease or diabetes, if you are or plan to become pregnant or if you are breast-feeding.



Read more: Safflower Oil Dangers | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5481759_safflower-oil-dangers.html#ixzz2M1D84Blw

Lastly and Wellness.com -

Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)

Safety
Allergies
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to safflower. Safflower is a member the daisy family (Asteraceae/Compositae) and may cause allergic reactions in patients sensitive to daisies. Other members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and many other plants. A case of contact dermatitis from safflower has been reported.
Side Effects and Warnings
In several clinical trials, 10-20% safflower oil emulsions were found to be safe and effective as a major component of adult parenteral nutrition. 10 and 20% Liposyn® are equally safe and effective components of a parenteral nutrition program for children. The most common adverse effects of safflower oil are cardiovascular, including increased serum lipids, and gastrointestinal, including diarrhea and loose stools.
Intravenous fat emulsion in newborns may cause hyperlipemia (high cholesterol) if serum triglycerides and free fatty acids are not monitored.
Belching, loose stools, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea have been reported in patients taking safflower oil daily. Ingestion of high doses of safflower oil per day may decrease blood pressure. Use cautiously in patients with hypotension (low blood pressure), as safflower oil may cause a modest fall in blood pressure.
Adverse effects reported in neonates taking Modified Liposyn® include tachycardia (increased heart rate) and tachypnea (rapid breathing). Patients taking Microlipid®, a safflower oil emulsion taken by mouth, have reported a feeling of fullness, nausea, loss of appetite, bad aftertaste, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
Other possible side effects of safflower supplementation that have been noted in clinical trials include cardiac arrhythmia (altered heart rate), diarrhea, angina (chest pain), death, increase in acne, development of diabetes, and development of necrotizing enterocolitis (intestinal illness in babies).
These adverse effects are rare and it is unclear whether they can be solely attributed to safflower or whether another study drug caused these side effects. Use cautiously in patients with diabetes, as safflower oil may adversely affect glycemic control in type 2 diabetes patients.

Eosinophilia (increased number of white blood cells) developed in three newborn infants administered parenteral safflower oil emulsion for two weeks. Hypertriglyceridemia (elevated level of triglycerides, fatty acid compounds) has been reported during the intravenous infusion (injection) of a safflower oil-based fat emulsion. Elevation of serum triglyceride and liver enzyme concentrations occurred in some patients administered Liposyn®. Use safflower oil and parenteral safflower oil emulsions cautiously in patients with inadequate liver function, as they have been associated with elevation of liver enzyme concentrations.
Use parenteral safflower oil emulsions cautiously in newborns, as serum triglycerides and free fatty acids must be monitored to avoid the complications of iatrogenic hyperlipemia (high cholesterol) and intolerance. Use cautiously in patients with hypercoagulability, as safflower oil infusion may increase this condition.
Use cautiously in patients with skin pigmentation conditions, as kinobeon A, a rose-colored pigment found in safflower tissue, has demonstrated potent tyrosinase activity.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Safflower flower is possibly unsafe in pregnant women, as Carthamus tinctorius may have stimulating action on the uterus. However, safflower oil is likely safe when used in food amounts in healthy patients. Soybean/safflower lipid-based emulsions are likely safe when administered to pregnant patients. Safflower oil is likely safe when used in breastfeeding women, although there is rapid transfer of dietary fatty acids into human milk.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

JackFruit Jelly Roll



This was pretty easy! I made the blueberries a bit on the tart side to contrast with the super sweet jackfruit. Definitely a new favorite.

4 eggs
3/4 C. sugar(domino's)
1/4 C. water(filtered)
1 tsp. vanilla(homemade)
1 cup gluten free All Purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder(Hains)
1/4 tsp.salt(pink himalayan)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a 10x15 Jelly Roll pan with parchment paper. Beat eggs until they are yellow and fluffy. Add sugar, then water and vanilla. And the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour onto a parchment lined 10" x 15" pan. Bake until the cake springs back, approximately 10-12 minutes.


While still hot, roll cake up ( short side ) and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes while rolled. Pick your filling(we used jackfruit). Gently unroll cake and spread with filling. Roll back up. Allow to cool or place in fridge. Sift corn-free powdered sugar across the jelly roll before serving.


Jackfruit filling"

1 can drained jackfruit in syrup(not brine and check the ingredients- the one we buy is only jackfruit,water, and cane sugar)
1 cup plain coconut yogurt(we make our own)
sugar if wanted(we did not use sugar, we find the jackfruit to be quite sweet on it's own)
I simply poured it all into the Ninja blender and blended until it was a slightly chunky puree.


To take it to the next level, you can cook some blueberries with sugar and lemon juice until slightly thickened. Allow to chill completely. Spoon over each slice before serving.

Blueberry sauce-
1 cup blueberries(I froze plenty of organic berries last year, so mine are frozen)
juice of 1 fresh lemon(don't skimp! You want this to be more tart)
1/2 cup granulated sugar(domino's)

Simmer on stove for aprox 20 minutes. Cool completely.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gluten-Free Sweet Red Bean Steamed Buns

Dairy free, corn free, egg free, nut free, seed free, gluten free, soy free.


You really could fill these with anything you like, but Abby really loves sweet red bean paste. Any sweet or savory filling. Spiced pears, or diced cooked chicken and veggies we are already planning for the next batch. These make a terrific breakfast food. For the last year she hasn't tolerated dark beans well, but we found that she handles the Azuki beans if they have been cooked down to a paste. She isn't able to eat a whole lot, but the amount in a steamed bun is just right!

I have a rice pot that came with a nifty steamer basket. For the last couple years each time I pull the basket out and set it aside so I can make rice I tell myself I really should try using that basket for steaming dumplings or veggies. Finally got around to using it, and I wish I had tried this sooner! The dough was so much better steamed then baked.


A couple months ago I made this recipe but baked instead of steaming. It seemed dry to us but we topped the buns with a bit of honey and they were okay, but not anything worthy of sharing. This time I steamed them, and what a world of difference! Tender, moist just perfect for us!



Gluten-Free Bun Dough


This gluten-free dough works for both baking and steaming.


1 1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour blend
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
package active rise yeast
1 cup unsweetened rice milk(homemade, or milk of your choice)
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
2-3 tablespoons sugar



1)Add the gf flour, baking powder, salt, and yeast together. Whisk to combine.

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat(or microwave), warm the milk, oil, and sugar, stirring until melted and warm, about 1 minute.

3. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, pour in the warm liquid mixture, then stir to combine well. The dough will be soft and sticky more thick batter then dough.


Cover tightly and set aside for 10 minutes, till it firms up slightly. The dough is now ready to shape your buns.(if too sticky to form into ball and flatten add a bit more flour, if too dry and it cracks too much a bit of warm water)

Make sure you have the filling of your choice ready before shaping dough. Separate dough into aproximately 8-9 balls. Flatten ball into a pretty flat disk, put a spoonful of sweet red bean paste(or other filling) in the center. Work and mould the dough to close over filling and seal(keep round shape). Place seam side down on a piece of parchment. Allow to rise for 20-60 minutes in warm place well covered. I placed 4-5(these will spread a bit will steaming so don't jam them too close together) dumplings in my rice pot steamer and steamed for 20 minutes. Done!


Monday, February 18, 2013

Avoid Fluoride!

From kidney damage to drops in IQ scores, the research is piling up like mad that Fluoride is not helping, but actually contributing to our mounting health issues here in the US.

FLuoride Action Network- 50 reason to OPPOSE Fluoride


Here are a few I cut and copied:
Fluoridation is a bad medical practice

1) Fluoride is the only chemical added to water for the purpose of medical treatment. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies fluoride as a drug when used to prevent or mitigate disease (FDA 2000). As a matter of basic logic, adding fluoride to water for the sole purpose of preventing tooth decay (a non-waterborne disease) is a form of medical treatment. All other water treatment chemicals are added to improve the water’s quality or safety, which fluoride does not do.

2) Fluoridation is unethical. Informed consent is standard practice for all medication, and one of the key reasons why most of Western Europe has ruled against fluoridation. With water fluoridation we are allowing governments to do to whole communities (forcing people to take a medicine irrespective of their consent) what individual doctors cannot do to individual patients.

Put another way: Does a voter have the right to require that their neighbor ingest a certain medication (even if it is against that neighbor’s will)?

3) The dose cannot be controlled. Once fluoride is put in the water it is impossible to control the dose each individual receives because people drink different amounts of water. Being able to control the dose a patient receives is critical. Some people (e.g., manual laborers, athletes, diabetics, and people with kidney disease) drink substantially more water than others.

4) The fluoride goes to everyone regardless of age, health or vulnerability. According to Dr. Arvid Carlsson, the 2000 Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology and one of the scientists who helped keep fluoridation out of Sweden:

“Water fluoridation goes against leading principles of pharmacotherapy, which is progressing from a stereotyped medication — of the type 1 tablet 3 times a day — to a much more individualized therapy as regards both dosage and selection of drugs. The addition of drugs to the drinking water means exactly the opposite of an individualized therapy” (Carlsson 1978).

5) People now receive fluoride from many other sources besides water. Fluoridated water is not the only way people are exposed to fluoride. Other sources of fluoride include food and beverages processed with fluoridated water (Kiritsy 1996; Heilman 1999), fluoridated dental products (Bentley 1999; Levy 1999), mechanically deboned meat (Fein 2001), tea (Levy 1999), and pesticide residues (e.g., from cryolite) on food (Stannard 1991; Burgstahler 1997). It is now widely acknowledged that exposure to non-water sources of fluoride has significantly increased since the water fluoridation program first began (NRC 2006).

6) Fluoride is not an essential nutrient. No disease, not even tooth decay, is caused by a “fluoride deficiency.”(NRC 1993; Institute of Medicine 1997, NRC 2006). Not a single biological process has been shown to require fluoride. On the contrary there is extensive evidence that fluoride can interfere with many important biological processes. Fluoride interferes with numerous enzymes (Waldbott 1978). In combination with aluminum, fluoride interferes with G-proteins (Bigay 1985, 1987). Such interactions give aluminum-fluoride complexes the potential to interfere with signals from growth factors, hormones and neurotransmitters (Strunecka & Patocka 1999; Li 2003). More and more studies indicate that fluoride can interfere with biochemistry in fundamental ways (Barbier 2010).

7) The level in mothers’ milk is very low. Considering reason #6 it is perhaps not surprising that the level of fluoride in mother’s milk is remarkably low (0.004 ppm, NRC, 2006). This means that a bottle-fed baby consuming fluoridated water (0.6 – 1.2 ppm) can get up to 300 times more fluoride than a breast-fed baby. There are no benefits (see reasons #11-19), only risks (see reasons #21-36), for infants ingesting this heightened level of fluoride at such an early age (an age where susceptibility to environmental toxins is particularly high).

8 ) Fluoride accumulates in the body. Healthy adult kidneys excrete 50 to 60% of the fluoride ingested each day (Marier & Rose 1971). The remainder accumulates in the body, largely in calcifying tissues such as the bones and pineal gland (Luke 1997, 2001). Infants and children excrete less fluoride from their kidneys and take up to 80% of ingested fluoride into their bones (Ekstrand 1994). The fluoride concentration in bone steadily increases over a lifetime (NRC 2006).

9) No health agency in fluoridated countries is monitoring fluoride exposure or side effects. No regular measurements are being made of the levels of fluoride in urine, blood, bones, hair, or nails of either the general population or sensitive subparts of the population (e.g., individuals with kidney disease).

10) There has never been a single randomized clinical trial to demonstrate fluoridation’s effectiveness or safety. Despite the fact that fluoride has been added to community water supplies for over 60 years, “there have been no randomized trials of water fluoridation” (Cheng 2007). Randomized studies are the standard method for determining the safety and effectiveness of any purportedly beneficial medical treatment. In 2000, the British Government’s “York Review” could not give a single fluoridation trial a Grade A classification – despite 50 years of research (McDonagh 2000). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to classify fluoride as an “unapproved new drug.”

Swallowing fluoride provides no (or very little) benefit

11) Benefit is topical not systemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 1999, 2001) has now acknowledged that the mechanism of fluoride’s benefits are mainly topical, not systemic. There is no need whatsoever, therefore, to swallow fluoride to protect teeth. Since the purported benefit of fluoride is topical, and the risks are systemic, it makes more sense to deliver the fluoride directly to the tooth in the form of toothpaste. Since swallowing fluoride is unnecessary, and potentially dangerous, there is no justification for forcing people (against their will) to ingest fluoride through their water supply.



I really recommend you finish reading all 50. Or google about fluoride- The US is aware that this stuff is no good and that it may cause harm, yet they have continued to encourage adding fluoride to our water. INSANE. Bottled water for cooking and drinking. When buying bottled water, do a little research first- find out what is in that bottle!

97 percent of Western Europeans DO NOT consume Fluoride in their food and water.


In Europe, only Ireland (73%), Poland (1%), Serbia (3%), Spain (11%), and the U.K. (11%) fluoridate any of their water. Most developed countries, including Japan and 97% of the western European population, do not consume fluoridated water.

In the U.S., about 70% of public water supplies are fluoridated. This equates to approximately 185 million people, which is over half the number of people drinking artificially fluoridated water worldwide. Some countries have areas with high natural fluoride levels in the water. These include India, China and parts of Africa. In these countries measures are being taken to remove the fluoride because of the health problems that fluoride can cause.



IV. ANALYSIS & DOCUMENTATION:


Acute Toxicity:

Threshold
Doses
Minimum Lethal Dose (5 mg/kg)
Minimum Dose that Produces Acute Toxicity (0.1-0.3 mg/kg)
Causes of
Acute Toxicity
Fluoride toothpastes
Fluoride gels
Water fluoridation accidents
Bone

Arthritis
Fluoride & Arthritis
Fluoride & Osteoarthritis
Fluoride & Rheumatoid Arthritis
Fluoride & Repetitive Stress
Bone
Density
Fluoride’s differential effect on bone density (trabecular vs. cortical bone)
Epidemiology: Fluoride in water & bone density
The “Iowa Fluoride Study”
Relationship between fluoride, bone density, and bone strength
Bone Mineralization
Fluoride increases osteoid content of bone
Fluoride & osteomalacia
Fluoride & rickets
Fluoride exposure increases calcium requirement
Bone Fluorosis
The Misdiagnosis Problem
Skeletal fluorosis & individual variability
Factors which increase risk for skeletal fluorosis
Exposure pathways linked to skeletal fluorosis
Estimated threshold doses for skeletal fluorosis
Skeletal fluorosis in India & China
Skeletal fluorosis in the U.S.
“Pre-skeletal” fluorosis
X-ray diagnosis of skeletal fluorosis
Variability in radiographic variability of skeletal fluorosis
Fluorosis & Spondylosis/Spondylitis
Fluorosis & DISH (Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis)
Fluorosis & Spinal Stenosis
Fluorosis & Secondary Hyperparathyroidism
Fluorosis & Osteopetrosis
Bone Fracture
Mechanisms by which fluoride can reduce bone strength
Clinical Trials / Fracture Rates
Animal Studies / Bone Strength
In vitro studies / Bone Strength
Epidemiology: Fluoride in Water & Bone Fracture
Fluoride reduces bone strength prior to onset of skeletal fluorosis
Skeletal fluorosis & Bone fracture
Bone Cells
Fluoride & osteoblasts
Fluoride & osteocytes
Fluoride & osteoclasts
Brain

Human Studies
Fluoride & IQ: 33 Studies
Fluoride’s neurobehavioral effects
Fluoride’s effect on fetal brain
Animal Studies
Fluoride’s effect on learning/memory
Fluoride’s effect on brain cells/tissue
Cancer

Mutagenicity
In vitro studies
In vivo studies
Indiana’s Oral Health Research Institute’s Studies
NTP’s Bioassay (1990)
Overview of NTP Bioassay
Liver cancer (hepatocholangiocarcinoma) findings
Human Epidemiological Studies
Fluoride & Osteosarcoma: A Timeline
A critique of Gelberg’s study on fluoride/osteosarcoma in New York
Fluoride & Bladder/Lung Cancer
Biological plausibility of fluoride/osteosarcoma link
Cardiovascular system

Fluoride & Cardiovascular Disease: An Overview
Fluoride, Blood Pressure & Hypertension
Fluoride & Arterial Calcification
Fluoride & Arteriosclerosis
Fluoride & Electrocardiogram Abnormalities
Fluoride & Myocardial Damage
Endocrine Function

Glucose Metabolism
Fluoride & Impaired Glucose Metabolism
Fluoride & Insulin
Fluoride Sensitivity Among Diabetics
National Research Council’s Summary (2006)
Pineal Gland
Luke (2001): Fluoride accumulation in human pineal gland
Luke (1997): Fluoride’s effect on pineal function in gerbils
Thyroid Gland
Fluoride Aggravates Iodine Deficiency
Fluoride Aggravates Iodine Excess
Fluoride & Goitre
Fluoride & Thyroid Hormones
NRC’s (2006) Review of Fluoride/Thyroid
Parathyroid Gland
Fluorosis & Secondary Hyperparathyroidism
Gastrointestinal

Acute Toxicity
Gastric symptoms: Early sign of acute fluoride toxicity
Clinical Trials
Fluoride-induced damage to gastric mucosa
Gastric symptoms: common side effect
Fluorosis patients
Gastric symptoms: common side effect
Kidney

Fluoride’s Effect on Kidney Patients
Kidney patients at increased risk of fluoride poisoning
Health authorities are ignoring the risk
Similarities between skeletal fluorosis & renal osteodystrophy
Fluoridation, dialysis, & osteomalacia
Fluoride’s Effect on Kidney
Kidneys are exposed to high concentrations of fluoride
Fluoride as a cause of kidney disease in humans
Fluoride as a cause of kidney disease in animals
Fluoride & Kidney Stones
Reproductive System

Male Fertility
Human studies
Animal studies
In vitro studies
The Sprando/Collins Anomaly
Teeth

Caries (Syntheses)
Fluoride’s Topical vs. Systemic effect
Tooth decay trends in F vs. NF countries
Tooth decay rates in F vs. NF communities
Fluoridation & “baby bottle tooth decay”
Water fluoridation, tooth decay, & poverty
Studies on tooth decay rates after fluoridation was stopped
Caries (Specific Studies)
The “Iowa Fluoride Study” (1990s-Present Day)
Armfield & Spencer (2004)
National Institute of Dental Research (1986-87)
Dental Fluorosis
Dental fluorosis rates in the U.S.: 1950-2004
Racial disparities in dental fluorosis rates
Dental fluorosis: The “Cosmetic Factor”
Severe Fluorosis: Perception & Psychological Impact
“Mild” Fluorosis: Perception & Psychological Impact
Moderate/Severe Fluorosis: Impact on Tooth Quality
Dental Fluorosis’s impact on enamel (“Hypo-mineralization”)
Dental fluorosis impacts dentin in addition to enamel
Mechanisms by which fluoride causes dental fluorosis
Diagnostic criteria for dental fluorosis: Dean Index
Diagnostic criteria for dental fluorosis: TF Index
Diagnostic criteria for dental fluorosis: TSIF Index
Community Fluorosis Index (CFI)
Vulnerable Populations

Age groups:
Infants
Racial/Ethnic groups
African Americans
Populations with the Following Conditions:
Diabetes
Kidney Disease
Nutrient Deficiencies
Polydipsia
Individuals with Fluoride Sensitivity
Topical Fluorides
Systemic Fluorides
V. COMMENTARIES

Commentaries

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What Makes a Great Mitochondrial Dr.?

1) Professionalism.

2) A well run office. Accountable for the work ethic and appropriate training of their staff.

3) Knowledge- the more Mito Patients and other unique patients they have seen, the better.

4) Willingness to listen.

5) Takes the patient or parents seriously.

6) Acknowledges multiple treatment methods- what works for one, isn't necessarily the best choice for all.

7) Encourages 2nd and 3rd opinions.(Any Dr. that tells you not to, or they won't work with another specialist- is a red flag to RUN!!!)

8) Acknowledges that even the best, don't know the half of it.

9) Thoroughly reviews patient records and medical history before appointment, but refrains drawing conclusions about a patients health status until they have seen the patient and preformed their own validations. You are paying for their opinion, not for them to backup the last Dr. you saw.

10) Communicates well with the patients other Drs.(or staff that is trained properly to ensure open and speedy communication)

11) Is a Dr., NOT your friend. An even halfway reputable Dr. understands they cannot be friends as well as a Dr. to their patients.

12) Lives by, "First do no harm."

13) Curious and passionate about "new" tests, new symptoms, new research.

14) Willing to work with the specialists the patient picks, instead of insisting on the patient seeing Specialists they have relationships with..

15) Bedside manner.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Corn Triggered Autoimmune Disease?

The longer I follow the corn allergy community the more I think that for at least a part of the community their corn allergy exceeds being only an intolerance or allergy. For a smaller population within the greater corn allergic population, their symptoms are very similar to someone with celiac or other chronic disease process. With gluten, there are populations who are "gluten intolerant" "Celiac" and "wheat and other grain allergic." I suspect a similar classification for those getting so ill from corn.


Some of the symptoms I have noted within our growing population:

Fatigue
muscle and joint pain
nutritional deficits.
All sorts of GI issues from constipation to rapid emptying.
developmental delays
failure to thrive.
multiple allergies
brain fog
anxiety
depression
migraines
OCD
other behavior issues
rashes
hair,skin and nail disorders
immune issues
autoimmune disorders
(and many other common symptoms)

Other chronic health issues. Autism, Mast,MS,RA Mitochondrial disease,other autoimmune diseases, seem to be prolific among our growing population.

We can speculate it might be GMO, or vaccines, or any number of other insults, but I am really starting to think that like celiac disease from gluten, we have some sort of severe and significant disease process triggered by corn.


If you have read my blog or are active in the corn community- you know it is IMPOSSIBLE to avoid all corn- in the stores, schools, all foods, papers,fertilizers,fortified foods are very corny, organics,meats and fish rinsed in corn,medicines,vitamins,supplements,soaps, toothpaste,toilet paper, feminine products,plastics, you name it and it has some sort of corn contamination. The really scary one is, did you know there is NO formula or supplemental formula that is ABSOLUTELY clean of corn? A hospital trip is really signing up to be "corned" hospitals from IV's to meds, to bandages are packed to the brim with corn contamination.

IF, the only way a celiac can heal is to allow absolutely NO gluten in any amount into their bodies, it would be the same with corn- which would literally turn our food chain upside down- no wonder no Dr. is willing to acknowledge this growing health threat. A few brave Drs. have "touched" on it, but I have yet to see a research publication or a book that really explains how toxic corn is to this population.


I know that one of the key things in healing Abby has been avoiding all corn contaminated products like the plague- not easy. At best I can guess we are 80 percent clean of corn in what we bring into our home. IF, the allergy and Immunology community of Medical personnel would acknowledge this progressive and dangerous trend and possibly that it could be a disease similar to Celiac it could give thousands of American's a chance to heal. We could get any product with corn labeled. Any minute amount- GMO's labeled. Companies would be more likely to leave out unnecessary hidden corn contaminated ingredients to comply. Even then, corn in the exhaust, building supplies- it is a frightening world for someone allergic to corn.

Gluten-Free Tamarind Carrot Spice Drop Cookies



Abby's potassium is a bit low so needed to figure out what to feed her this week to help that and I needed to do a fridge clean out. I knew I wanted carrots involved in whatever I made. Carrots are a reasonable source of potassium and I bought a ton at the farmers market.

Then I spotted the Tamarind- figured I have eaten some delicious lemon and carrot dishes, so figured the tart tamarind would work well with carrot too. I also had a jar of candied ginger I needed to use- I have a fresh batch of candied ginger drying and I can only store so much. Figured ginger always goes well with carrot..


Threw it all in the Ninja- ended up with a tasty and tart bowl of brown/orangish paste. Tasted great! However, I knew I needed to add sugar, it was a little too tart!

Haven't made cookies in awhile. My first impulse was a filled cookie sandwich.. but, when the first batch came out they were too puffy to make a good sandwich. Luckily topping with a bit of a glaze worked out fine. They also worked perfectly as a nice cookie layer with the last of the vanilla pudding that also needed to be eaten.

Tart,spicy, sweet. Texture like a pumpkin cookie. These were good and besides my excessive use of sugar, they were packed full of goodness. Tamarind,carrot, ginger, blackstrap molasses are all loaded with terrific nutrition. Right on the edge of a few too many flavors I think, but with the glaze or the pudding the tremendous amount of flavor was refreshing and complex.


1 cup of whole carrot(roughly)
3 Tablespoons of Tamarind(I buy the block of tamarind fruit- pick through carefully for seeds!)
3 Tablespoons blackstrap molasses(I used Plantation brand)
1-2 Tablespoons of candied ginger depending on how spicy you want they are very spicy with 2!(you can substitute a teaspoon or two of powdered ginger instead)

1/2 cup granulated sugar(domino's)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar(domino's)
1 egg
1/4 cup melted coconut oil(I used spectrum)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt(I used pink himalayan)
2 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend

Preheat oven to 350

In high powder blender(my ninja) place carrots,tamarind,molasses, and candied ginger. Puree till smooth scraping down sides as needed. Once smooth you can scrap into large mixing bowl and add sugars, egg, coconut oil, vanilla and baking soda- mix well. Lastly stir in flour till blended.

Drop by spoonful on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes(you want this a touch soft still). Glaze with a simple powdered sugar, vanilla and water or like I did with some coconut yogurt with a bit of powdered sugar to sweeten.



Store in airtight container.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It Could Be so much WORSE. Quality vs HOPE

When we first heard about the depletion with Abby we got sucked in.. The Mito World full of babies dying, severely handicapped, the constant trips to the Dr. the therapies that get you no where... the tubies, the oxygen, the bracing, the food in a can, the supplements, the hunt for a Dr. who will be as anxious about Mito as the parent.. and boy after a child is diagnosed with Mito, suddenly it is a whirlwind of referrals looking for more bad news.. A specialist hears "Mito" and they worry- but should they treat a Mito kid different? Should they be more anxious to intervene? No. We have experienced with Abby what happens when your forehead is tattooed with Mito- they do treat you different. Things they might NEVER have taken seriously without the Mito diagnosis are suddenly life or death. Had I trusted the Drs. Abby would have a tube and god knows what else- and it would have been completely unnecessary just because she has a Mitochondrial Depletion. Frankly, I think too many interventions are occurring. I read a family who wrote the other day, "thank god we got the feeding tube because she suddenly got so much worse, if we had waited it really would have made her sick.." Could it be the feeding tube or the food is making her sick? The physical stress of a major hole in their gut? Or being in the hospital? We all know hospitals are land of the plague.. Or maybe it was the boat load of meds it took to get the tube in that made the child so much sicker so suddenly? Maybe the child really did need it.. but I have heard that a zillion times and wonder if it is only me that thinks there are some children out there that would benefit from fewer and less permanent interventions. If we believe we are disabled, we are disabled.

Nothing upsets me more then when I hear from a newly diagnosed child's family and the first thing they say is "The Dr. says there is no cure and we just have to focus on quality of life.".. Those words set a family up to NOT even try to keep looking.. to NOT even hope for improvements. To NOT even think that maybe it isn't Mito.. Surely everyone knows that out of ALL the kids diagnosed with Mito even the profoundly affected, very few have a gene identified- we don't know squat about Mito yet.

Looking back, we were affected by the "No cure" mentality. If there isn't any cure and you just have to manage then go for quality of life- I WHOLEHEARTEDLY Agree- Except there is HOPE. Not for all of us, but I am guessing that a lot of families would benefit from moving away from the no cure mentality to the there is HOPE and remission waiting mentality.

Before you start screaming, there are some profoundly affected children. The focus can only be quality of life. But they aren't as common and becoming rarer each day.


Again and again since starting this blog I have had family after family write saying they too were sucked in by the "no cure mentality". That at some point they woke up and realized that yes, for a few Mito patients there isn't any hope or any cure. Something or someone would give them hope. A story about a child who took a certain supplement and showed massive improvement, an adult that through diet and exercise got their life back.. or something deep inside themselves that REFUSED to accept the No cure statement.


I am simply inspired by many of the families I speak with- they roll their eyes at the no hope and move forward. They get second,third and fourth opinions. They try a million different diet plans.. they spend hours pouring over research. Heck, I know a few that have even gone back to College to learn more in order to help themselves or their children. From moving across the Country for more optimistic care or environments to walking away from the Mito World, families are finding ways to improve their health.


Each day as we watch Abby get a hair stronger, not only do I have hope I suspect that for a lot more then Abby there is a way at least to obtain remission.



What I keep in mind each day- They are finding new triggers daily that damage our Mitochondria. From malnutrition to a medication to another more curable disease, nothing is set in stone for Mito. Progression can be stopped for some. Improvements can occur for many.

With Cancer you can find a zillion Drs. with a zillion opinions on how to treat it- or what type of medical support would benefit you most. We have all read stories of a patient being told there is no hope but they go into full remission. Or the cancer patient who prays and changes their diet and goes in remission-

Why not for Mito? The way I see it at least for some types of Mitochondrial illnesses there is a lot more room for remission then there is with cancer.

At the end of the day, it has been proven- if you think you are going to die- you are more likely to die of cancer. Those patients that refused to even consider dying, they had a better survival rate.

We are so lucky. Abby is not one of the profoundly affected children. We are lucky because we are determined to heal Abby, not just accept stability- we don't sell ourselves short. We are lucky, we have created a wholesome and joyful life around her limitations. We are lucky that so many families have shared their determination and wisdom and HOPE with us. We are lucky that we have found Drs. who encourage us to keep going with Abby, who applaud our focus on nutrition, who applaud our willingness to take the hard way and screw the whole quality of life mentality! Who wants quality of life if your gut says you can be healed?

Pretzels! Corn free, gluten free, dairy free !



So not an egg free or soy free recipe, but DELICIOUS! Not quite as chewy as we would like, but sometimes a little different is okay too! While these baked I swear we were passing by Aunt Annie's in the mall! They smelled that good! The dough was easy enough to work with, I was happy to make these though my pretzel making ability is "sloppy" at best! We aim for taste, not looks. Next time I may try bite size pretzels or pretzel rods- probably better looking with my lack of rolling talent! They did a lot of cracking too, but did not interfere at all with the yummy flavor.


Ingredients:
1 cups white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon salt(Pink himalayan)
1/2 teaspoon Guar gum
1/2 teaspoon baking powder(Hains)
1/2 cup warm water plus 2 tablespoons
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast(Red Star)
1 large egg
3 tablespoons Lyle's golden syrup(I would think honey would work fine too.)
1 tablespoons grapeseed oil

For the Water Bath
2 quarts water
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoons granulated sugar(Domino's)

salt


1
In bowl, combine white rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, salt, guar gum, and baking powder. Combine. In small bowl, combine 1/2 cup warm water and active dry yeast. Stir. Allow to stand for three minutes. Add water-yeast mixture, egg, Lyles golden syrup, and grapeseed oil to dry ingredients. Mix until dough forms, about 4 minutes. The dough should be firm but not dry. If any dry ingredients remain at the bottom of the bowl or if the dough seems dry, add the additional 2 tablespoons water.

2
Turn dough out onto lightly white rice-floured counter. Knead dough until smooth(not much kneading). Transfer dough to lightly greased bowl. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until almost doubled in size.

3
preheat oven to 375°F. Bring 2 quarts of water to a rolling boiling. Turn dough out onto a very lightly white rice floured countertop. Punch down dough gently to deflate. Cut into 6-8 pieces. Cover dough that isn't being rolled. One at a time, knead each piece of dough until smooth. Then, roll out the dough pieces into 10-12 inch ropes. If there is too much flour on the outside of the dough, the pretzel dough won't stick to itself.

4
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. form each piece of dough rope into "u". Twist each end together and then press the rope well (so it won't unravel in the water)into the bottom of the "u".

5
Add the baking soda and granulated sugar to the boiling water. One at a time, boil the pretzels. About 5 seconds for each. Place on fresh parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt(I used pink himalayan, use whatever type you tolerate.)

6
Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Remove and allow pretzels to cool but always best eaten still warm! Pretzels are best served the day they're made. If desired, freeze once cooled and reheat in a warm oven.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Best Friends Bar(treats for people and poodles!)


Corn- free, Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free,soy-free


For the last month it seems like every dog food commercial boasts "corn-free, gluten-free, grain free for your dog".. Yet, you cannot find any Human commercial that boasts "Corn-free". As a matter of fact, half the time the more expensive dog foods keep the ingredients natural- you can actually pronoun every ingredient on the side of the bag, and guess what? They don't automatically fortify all dog food.

I half teasingly told my corn allergy support group that I was tempted to make a treat that was good for people and their dogs. I chuckled a bit while I googled for them,boy was I shocked when I found they already existed! Apparently someone else out there was annoyed that manufacturers produce cleaner and safer foods for our pets these days then for the people who own the pets.

We have been busy doing a lot of stock up items that we were running low on this past week, and I am itching to try something new- so with good humor Abby and I decided that the poodles would very much enjoy treats that both their humans and they themselves could eat plus tasted yummy enough to make a human want a "pet treat."

There are tons of safe "people" foods for dogs. But there is a list of human food that dogs should not eat. Onions, grapes, raisins,chocolate,cherries and a few others, but they can eat much of what we eat safely,so we figured we would be good to go!

My thought process also excluded anything too tough for the poodle girls to digest(they do sleep with us! No one wants a poodle in their bed who is struggling to digest!). Also, like the rest of us my poodle girls have a mean sweet tooth.

This was what we threw together:

Pureed fig(aprox 1/4 cup)(figs are fine for doggies in moderation,)
Toasted Coconut butter(aprox 1/2 cup)(coconut, and seed and nut butters are fine for dogs)
2 Tablespoons raw honey( better choice then cane sugar.)
3 Tablespoons chia seeds(Yes! They are as good for the dogs as they are for us!)
1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan salt(dogs like salt too!)
3 Tablespoons dried wild blueberries(Dogs love berries)

1 cup puffed millet( had some to use up, and my poodles love millet and digest it fine)


In the ninja blend figs, toasted coconut butter(or whatever seed or nut you prefer), and raw honey. When well blended move the "paste" to a large bowl. Mix in berries,chia,salt, millet.

Once well mixed place on a piece of parchment paper. Either form into bars or use cookie cutters to cut shapes. We opted for smaller hearts for the poodles and bigger hearts for the people. When I think "best friend" I always fondly remember those heart necklaces where each little girl wears 1/2 half of the heart and when the two friends place the halves together it makes a solid heart. Wasn't going to try to cut my hearts in half- so two different sized hearts worked for me!

We are already planning a sweet potato blend.. or maybe some other cookie.. :-) These are both people and poodle approved.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

UK,Canada,Australia get the good food, they Add the BANNED Chemicals to the American Foods

From the 100 Days of Real Food-


A quick teaser, For the full article click the link above-

And that’s the problem – the food industry is the one leading our conversation in this country about food and nutrition, educating the mass public about what to eat and what not to eat. Coca-Cola recently even went as far as creating a special campaign to combat obesity – yes you read that right – a sugar filled soda company trying to stop obesity. (You can read my reaction to that here).

Unfortunately, the doctors in this country are not exactly leading the discussion either, since nutrition is not currently a focus in medical school. And the government has their hands tied by big food industry and chemical company lobbyists that basically control what the FDA approves, deems safe for human consumption, and our overall food policy.

So who is going to finally tell us the truth about our food?

The food industry does not want us to pay attention to the ingredients nor do they care about the negative effects from eating them. They certainly don’t care about the astronomical medical bills that are a direct result of us eating the inferior food they are creating.

The HELP we need starts here. We as a collective nation must stop this trajectory of sickness and rising health care costs, by understanding the ingredients we are putting into our bodies. We must challenge the U.S. food industry to discontinue the use of banned ingredients that are not allowed elsewhere in the world. We deserve to have the same quality food without potential toxins.

Food is medicine, and plain and simple, if our food is sick (filled with GMO’s, chemicals, additives, artificial ingredients, and/or carcinogens), collectively we as a country are going to continue to be sick.

Using banned ingredients that other countries have determined unsafe for human consumption has become a pandemic in this country. To prove this point, I found the best and easiest place to look for evidence was just across “the pond” in the United Kingdom, where they enjoy some of the same types of products we do – but with totally different ingredient lists.

It is appalling to witness the examples I am about to share with you. The U.S. food corporations are unnecessarily feeding us chemicals – while leaving out almost all questionable ingredients in our friends’ products overseas. The point is the food industry has already formulated safer, better products, but they are but they are voluntarily only selling inferior versions of these products here in America. The evidence of this runs the gamut from fast food places to boxed cake mix to cereal to candy and even oatmeal – you can’t escape it.


Oh you can escape it, but through our journey this last year, it is NO EASY Task!

So the companies that make most of our products on the shelf here, make a much cleaner and safer version for Australia, UK, and even Canada- then turn around and mix a special batch of chemicals and banned ingredients for Americans- Seriously- Don't eat it. The US has some of the highest rates of childhood chronic illness, diseases, obesity- Why? The poison we feed ourselves and the vaccine schedule isn't helping either. In my Opinion! Why else would Abby get worse with medical foods and medicines but get markedly better with clean foods? She isn't alone either, I know many families and more each day ditching the poison in the box we used to think was food and finding that their children are getting healthier-

Monday, February 11, 2013

Magazines

I have never been a huge magazine fan, but with this last year of having to learn or re learn how to eat properly and clean up our home environment to make it friendlier for Abby I have found a few magazines we are all enjoying(except Abby, the shiny photo's set off her allergies so if she flips through one she has to wear her mask.)


Living Without
-

For the gluten intolerant, gluten free, and Celiac. This magazine also covers dairy free and a few other allergies on a regular basis. I have found a few terrific recipes and some great information on the latest allergy research in these magazines. Their website has plenty of great information for free, but if you subscribe you can also access back issues and other great information. For newbie's learning to live without gluten, I recommend it.



Mother Earth Living
-

Not an allergy related publication, but after reading my first issue- I LOVE this magazine! From covering tough issues like GMO, to learning to cook with basic clean ingredients this touches on everything. Had a great segment about using vinegar around the home, and terrific listings and reviews of various companies providing safe and clean products. Definitely a thumbs Up!



Allergic Living
-


Some very basic information for those new to allergies. Tons of basic information on allergies and children. I would not say this is a bad publication, but just doesn't apply to our lives as much as the other two- it is pretty commercial and since most "commercial" products have chemicals, preservatives, colors, and or corn- just hasn't been helpful in teaching us any new ways to approach our new life style.



Googling this morning I found a few that I may get a subscription to- Allergy and Asthma Today,Coping with Allergies and Asthma



Of course, I have yet to find any mention of Mastnin these magazines! LOL But maybe one day.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cold Cereal Flakes, Buckwheat,Coconut and Wild Blueberry

Gluten free, corn free, soy free, dairy free, nut and seed free, chemical and color free, egg free, Vegan and can be made RAW!


We are THRILLED with this cereal! I can honestly say it tastes far better then raisin bran, or any of the flake and cluster cereal's out there! So easy! You can add whatever you like but we really loved the richness of the coconut bits with the sweet buckwheat flakes and the wild blueberries gave it that tang which completed the perfect flavor for us! When you are allergic and intolerant as Abby or are just trying to eat a healthier and clean diet you find out quickly you have slim pickings for cold cereal. You either get plain puffed rice, millet and sorghum or you make your own granola. We were determined to make a "flake" and this could not have turned out better!

You can make this in the Oven or Dehydrator. I preferred the dehydrator method- it seemed to be easier and more consistent.


The trick to making cereal "flakes" is getting your batter spread thin- your flakes will be whatever thickness that the batter is while it cooks. I found that the thinnest spots turned out best. If you ladle spoonfuls like cookies onto the silicone lined cookie sheet and then use your spoon to spread it thin and evenly as possible you will get the best results.

NOTE: I tried spreading the batter on parchment to cook it- the parchment "absorbed" the moisture and added to the inconsistent results in the oven. That is why I recommend silicone baking sheets for making the cereal flakes.

I found that even that thin still had some chewy spots when using the oven. The Dehydrator method(no cook!)had much more consistent results.




3/4 cup unflavored rice protein powder(or any other flour or protein flour of your choice)
3/4 cup buckwheat flour(other higher protein flours like Teff, quinoa would work well too)
1/2 teaspoon salt(I use pink himalayan)
1/2 cup Lyles Golden Cane Syrup( or maple or honey or agave)
3/4 cup water

(Flake Toppers: I used fine coconut flakes and chia seeds, you could use nuts, or any other fine topping or none)

Mix all ingredients till smooth.

Preheat oven to 350.

Line a cookie sheet with silicone baking sheet. Pour thin batter equally across lined sheet(use a spatula to spread it evenly)sprinkle wet batter with coconut flakes, or chia seeds or finely chopped nuts.

Bake 15-20 minutes till golden. Some parts will be more crisp then others.

tear/break into "flake" sized pieces.

Reduce heat to 200. Place flakes on parchment lined sheet(or back on silicone baking sheet) and bake for another 30 minutes to an hour(depends on how thick the "flakes" were)till crisp. These may be slightly soft when hot, but as they cool they should be crisp.

Cool and store in airtight container.


DEHYDRATOR DIRECTIONS:

I lined each tray with silicone mats(like you would use for fruit leather.). I spread as I did for the oven and sprinkled wet batter with toppings. I turned my dehydrator as hot as it would go and it took 4-6 hours depending on the thickness. It was bendy when still warm but as it cooled to room temperature got nice and crisp and broke easily into nice flakes. We found the dehydrator had more even crispness.

NOTE: You don't have to add coconut, or chia seeds(Abby does fine with a bit of chia or hairy basil seed, but for some I know these cause allergies) or other topping, but we thought the smoothness of the flakes without the "toppings" reminded us a bit of goldfish flakes! :-) Tasted great but we thought the addition of texture made it terrific.

We also will add some toasted coconut and dried wild blueberries to the cereal. Raisins, chopped figs or dates if you can eat them would be terrific options.

The flakes are easier to chew then granola and do well holding up in the milk(Abby likes coconut milk). This stuff tastes way better then any of the "boxed" stuff that is packed full of chemicals and other junk we just don't need for our bodies. 5 basic ingredients in this cereal, count how many ingredients are in the box of cereal in your pantry- and how many of the ingredients can you even pronounce?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Titers- NOT a reliable tool



This seems to be a tool that many Drs. are using to gauge how many more vaccines a child should or could have to reach that accepted level. I started reading about what "titer" meant and was shocked to find out it really is useless in deciding whether someone has immunity, at least based on what I thought it meant.. I was under the impression it was some sort of absolute that proved whether you were immune or not- I was wrong.

The most interesting part of googling the topic is that most of the hits explaining why using a titer result was pointless were all referencing Veterinarian websites- yet again, our pets have Drs. with potentially a more relevant education.

As usual, I suspect that the "truth" or "facts" lie somewhere between what the government and medical world want us to believe and what the other side want us to believe.




The cut and copy below came from the Vaccination Liberation Information Website


Titers: What do they tell us?


From: http://www.caberfeidh.com/Titers.htm
Titers: What do they tell us? [Selected quotes only...]
By Christie Keith
...

A "titer" is a measurement of how much antibody to a certain virus (or other antigen) is circulating in the blood at that moment. Titers are usually expressed in a ratio, which is how many times they could dilute the blood until they couldn't find antibodies anymore. So let's say they could dilute it two times only and then they didn't find anymore, that would be a titer of 1:2. If they could dilute it a thousand times before they couldn't find any antibody, then that would be a titer of 1:1000.

A titer test does not and cannot measure immunity, because immunity to specific viruses is reliant not on antibodies, but on memory cells, which we have no way to measure. Memory cells are what prompt the immune system to create antibodies and dispatch them to an infection caused by the virus it "remembers." Memory cells don't need "reminders" in the form of re-vaccination to keep producing antibodies. [**]
(Science, 1999; "Immune system's memory does not need reminders.") If the animal recently encountered the virus, their level of antibody might be quite high, but that doesn't mean they are more immune than an animal with a lower titer.

...

So what does a low or zero titer tell you? Nothing much. A high titer is strongly correlated with either recent infection or good immunity, but the opposite isn't true. You can use a titer test about two weeks after vaccination to determine if the vaccination was effective in stimulating an immune response (in other words, if the animal was successfully immunized from the vaccine), but testing that same animal's titer years down the road doesn't really tell you anything new.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Small Appliance Addiction..

Every time we head out to shop I keep my eye's open for a "new" small appliance. I am a huge fan of shopping on Amazon too(can find many hard to find food items for Abby there) and Amazon has every type of small appliance you could dream about! From waffle makers to pressure cookers my addiction has filled the cabinets! I buy them used, new, on sale or full priced- I almost have as many small appliances as shoes!

Hands down the pressure cooker is the most used item in my growing collection. The girls love all 3 waffle irons(full size, mini round, and mini animal,the mini animal I could do without- a royal pain to fill tiny monkey tails with batter!) I have a pasta roller under the counter I am gearing up to give a try.

Then the toaster oven. I had to replace mine this year and we aren't happy with the new one so I am on the look out for a better replacement. Especially during the summer months I use the toaster oven frequently. Also since I am often cooking for just one(Abby) the smaller toaster oven is just easier for single portions.

Right now I am eyeing a tortilla maker. An electric one. One that will help me make fluffy, round gf roti and tortillas! Abby is such a good sport about eating my sad looking tortilla's! Plus, without the electric maker I have to roll the dough by hand and then cook on the stove top it really gets to be a big project and gf tortilla's(at least mine)are not good enough to want to freeze for another day.


Over the Christmas holidays there were mini makers everywhere! Mini donuts, french toast sticks, cake pops and mini pie makers. I brought home the mini pie maker that I spotted on the after Christmas clearance rack. It is a bit of work to roll and cut the right sized pieces of pie crust dough, but there is just something so wonderful about cute hand sized pies that I have held on to it!


My other daily use appliance is the Ninja blender- not sure I could do as much of Abby's cooking without it.

The rice cooker is almost a member of the family, it frequently appears on the counter.

Another necessity appliance for me is the bread maker. Over the years I have never been a great yeast bread maker. So needless to say when we went gluten free my first attempts were not even anything we could eat! The bread machine that has a gluten free option is required for me at least!


Then the dehydrators- definitely a requirement! From fresh herbs to peaches in season to chicken jerky the dehydrators allow us to stock up on the safest ingredients for Abby's food(and ours!).

Of course we have a regular old toaster, electric can opener(both I never use!), a plain old coffee maker(k-cups would cost a fortune with the amount of coffee I drink!). The vacuum sealer I almost forget about! But for dehydrated fruits,jerky and veggies it really helps prevent spoilage.

Oh and almost forgot to add the ice cream maker! We stumbled across a like new counter top ice cream maker at a favorite thrift store- to our amazement it worked perfectly and they were nearly giving it away! No more ice cream bowl being kept in the freezer! The only downfall to having the ice cream maker is that it is huge,heavy and loud! But so worth it. Last time we used it we moved it to the laundry room- we closed the door and it did not bother us at all! Probably a good thing it is a hassle, otherwise we would be making a lot more ice cream and it really is supposed to be a treat not a staple!

Lastly, the yogurt maker. I know I "don't have to have it" but I was so leery about making yogurt at first it seemed important to have a "machine" to maintain the perfect temperature.

Years ago I had a kitchen Aid mixer- but honestly hardly used. I do use an electric hand mixer and now and then I check out the Kitchen Aid mixers and now the Breville mixers wondering if at this point with all the cooking I would use one more... but then I would have to find room for it or haul the heavy beast out of a hidden cabinet space to use it.. not yet.

I really do need to shrink the appliance herd before I bring anymore in, I am running out of space! I think my addiction helps keep me creating new foods for Abby, or at least that is my justification! Not too many years ago I considered an electric can opener a luxury item- I cannot imagine doing the cooking I do now without all my toys. When I think about all the foods our parents and grandparents cooked without even one of these nifty appliances it amazes me and also propels me to learn to make even more safe foods for Abby, after all, if they could do it without any appliances , certainly I have it much easier!

Maybe it was my way of dealing with the rougher part of Abby's journey. There are worse ways to cope then a herd of appliances right?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Toddy Palm Seed and Nofu Snack Cake with Cardamon glaze



I have a pantry full of foods from our various International stores that I have either never seen, or never eaten or never cooked before. Abby and I have been staring suspiciously at the can of Toddy Palm Seeds in syrup. I don't think I have ever eaten them or seen them and there isn't a whole lot on them as far as recipes.


Today was the day! I had Nofu(chickpea tofu) that needed to be used and though we love coconut with the nofu that we have done before, we were hankering for something different. Toddy Palm Seeds fit the bill.

When you open the can, there is almost no smell- which caught us off guard for a second. The "syrup" is really a sweet water. The palm seeds are nearly clear and these were already sliced into pieces. The texture was way better then I had expected! Reminded me of a very very delicate pear. Imagine the pear without the pear flavor or just a hint of pear but more just the sweetness of the pear and smoother - that is what we found in the can! Kicking ourselves for not opening it sooner!

We simply made a nofu/coconut snack cake and mixed in the can of toddy palm seed fruit. That easy. It is egg free, corn free, soy free, gluten free, dairy free. I am not sure how palm seeds are "classfied." I lean toward fruit and Abby did not react to them so may be safe for the nut and seed free crowd too!

Tofu(nofu for us, we make it from chickpea flour) is often used as an egg replacer- since Abby reacts at times to eggs, we are trying to increase our use of safe egg replacers when we can.
The cardamon glaze was an after thought. We tasted it and loved the snack cake texture. The flavor was too subtle though. I have seen in many Indian recipes that cardamon is often used and thought that might add that kick- and it did! Next time, we might try adding a complimentary fruit to go with the toddy palm seed to accentuate the delicate sweetness or we might stick with the glaze. When something works I hate to mess with it.

A little bit of nutrition from Vivekananda
Sugar Palm fruit health benefits and Uses:

1. Palm seeds are considered as a delicacy in India and other asian countries where the Palmyra trees are grown. During early summer, they are sold in markets and for a limited period of time. Summer holidays are enjoyed by preparing different types of drinks, pancakes and dishes prepared from the nutritious pulp.

2. The tender fruit pulp is eaten raw during summer because it gives a cooling effect to the body. The ripened fibrous outer layer of the fruit can be eaten raw, boiled, or roasted.

3. The fruit contains vitamin A, B and also Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid.

4. It is rich in minerals too. Minerals such as Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Phosphorous and Zinc are found in the fruit.

5. The studies conducted recently to know more about this fruit have given satisfactory results. If the Palmyra trees are grown in large scale commercial farms, it could help solve the world’s malnutrition problem.

6. In some Asian stores they are found in cans but usually they are canned in sugar syrup. Due to the sugar syrup it becomes too sweet.

7. The fresh ones are little crunchy and moderate sweet to taste. They are chopped to small pieces and used in desserts with other variety of fruits like Pineapple, Mangoes, Papaya and offered along with some good flavored ice cream.

8. Matured palm fruit juice is used in making pancakes.

9. The seed sockets of Ice-apple have been the inspiration for some sweets prepared in West Bengal. One such sweet is Jalbhara Sandesh.

10. Its medicinal uses are still unknown to people. The pulp from the mature fruit is used over the skin to cure Dermatitis.



(Picture above of cake right out of oven before glaze- you can see the fruit peeking through)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted in microwave)
1 1/4 cup gf flour
1/4 cup potato or tapioca starch
1/4 teaspoon pink himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder(Hain's or homemade)
1 cup chickpea nofu
3/4 cup granulated sugar(domino's for the corn free crowd. I bet coconut sugar would be great as well)
1 cup unsweetened fine shred coconut
1/2 cup greek style coconut yogurt(we make ours, but you can buy coconut yogurt or almond or soy yogurt-our homemade is corn free)
1/4 cup rice milk or water
1 can well drained sliced toddy palm seed in syrup.(save syrup for smoothie)
NOTE:No corn in the ingredients, however the potential for cross contamination exists- use any ingredients at your own risk- Abby did not react on skin or by mouth so felt safe with this one.

Glaze
1 cup corn free powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cardamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
enough water to make a thin glaze


Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8 by 8 inch baking dish with grapeseed oil or coconut oil.

2. Mix dry ingredients: potato starch,coconut, flour,sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a mixing bowl, put nofu, rice milk(or water), melted coconut oil, and coconut yogurt. Whisk until all mixed.

4. Mix dry and wet ingredients together. Right before you pour into greased pan stir in your toddy palm seed.

5. Bake for about 30- 35 minutes.(until knife comes out clean)

6. Glaze with cardamon powdered sugar glaze. Good warm or cold.

NOTE: Abby wanted me to make sure to mention that she thought it was a lot like those old fashioned cake donuts- she it now trying to convince me to make these into baked donuts.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fig and Yogurt Shortcake(gf,dairy free, soy free, corn free,nut and seed free,egg free)




One of the foods I have really struggled with is the "gf biscuit." I have found that a drop biscuit tends to come closer to the flaky tenderness we are looking for , but then we miss the tall structure of a cut biscuit.

A couple weeks ago I went ahead and bought some steel food forms. We have seen them used for plating food and figured if we made a batter like biscuit we might get the result we were after. We did! The forms I bought are very heavy and with no seams. These baked the biscuits perfectly. Already we are wondering what else we can use them for, if anything plating a dish can turn a good dish into an extraordinary dish. Abby appreciates food that looks as good as it tastes, and it is a skill I need to work on. :-)




I used a basic gluten free drop biscuit recipe(coconut oil, gf flour, baking powder,salt, and coconut milk.) I did add a couple tablespoons of granulated cane sugar since I knew I wanted to make a shortcake.

The other day I had made homemade fig newtons for Abby with some great dried figs I had ordered. I had a jar of the newton filling leftover in the fridge but you could use any safe fruit preserve.

We always have coconut yogurt in the fridge. It is a staple for Abby at this point. The fig and coconut yogurt together with the light, tender biscuit made a beautiful and fast breakfast.

Sometimes the simplest foods are the best foods.

Biscuits
Fig preserves
coconut yogurt
fresh mint and homemade powdered sugar to garnish.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Great Day

Yesterday Abby had a Dr. appointment, nothing special just a follow up.


For Abby to go anywhere it is usually a 2 day process. Thursday is me washing her hair. Also, her showering if she is up to it. Friday morning she gets dressed and lays back down for a nap. Then help with hair etc. Then normally we would hit the Drs. office and beeline home and get her back in bed because she would be miserable by then.

Abby asked to stop by the Pet store.


First she asked! Second, no wheelchair. Third even after a Dr. appointment and shopping she stayed up had dinner, and managed to stay awake as long as I did!


I felt beyond overwhelmed watching her shop. I admit, I am a shopping junky and somewhere in my thoughts of what the perfect family should be I always envisioned both the girls all grown up and meeting up with their old Mom to shop. Seeing her look so deliciously normal made my day and rekindled those dreams and expectations of our future. Normally, the chemicals, grains would have had her wobbling in any store, but yesterday she was immune, or at least nothing triggered her at the Pet Store. Even if she is flared from the extra activity and is down for a few days, well worth it. The way I felt was very much like the feelings I had when I saw her take her first steps, or saw her pack up happily for her first sleepover years ago. It just felt like the beginning of something wonderful.


Despite the flares over the last few months and the colds, she is getting stronger.


Life is good.


Hopefully, if she flares it is minimal. Maybe, just maybe sooner then we think, she will ask to go a lot of places again.


Now to make some fresh chicken soup to help her recover more quickly.
 
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