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.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Snickerdoodle Muffins(gluten free, dairy free, soy and nut free, corn free)

Snickerdoodle Muffin:

These are super easy to make. Remind me a lot of an old fashioned coffeecake. The whole house smells like I have been baking snickerdoodle cookies all day long, definitely an added bonus.

2 cups all purpose gf flour
1 teaspoon guar gum(still using NOW brand but considering a change)
1/2 cup granulated sugar(organic C&H)
3 teaspoons baking powder(homemade Frontier cream of tartar and arm n hammer baking soda)
1/2 teaspoon salt(still using pink himalayan,rocks to grind)
4 Tablespoons grapeseed oil(Tj's)
1 egg
1 cup coconut milk(or rice etc homemade ALL boxed milks are corny )
1 teaspoon vanilla extract(homemade)

3/4 cup sugar
allspice,clove,ginger or (Cinnamon if safe for you)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1) mix the dry ingredients.(not the topping dry ingredients)

2) mix in the wet ingredients.

3) fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

4)cover the top of each muffin with your sugar/spice mixture(don't hold back, I use a whole teaspoon on top of each)

5)bake 16-18 minutes or until done.

Easy. Tasty. Fast. Like most Gluten free baked goods, these are best hot and fresh out of the oven.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wouldn't you be Pissed if

You found out there was something you could have been doing to make yourself or your child better? Or at least stable? Or prevent it in the first place? Even if there was only the smallest, smallest chance it could help, wouldn't you want to know? YES you would.


Environmental Toxins

Mito Toxic Medicines

You see these terms thrown around in lots of articles and research about Mitochondrial Disease.

But what are they?

Medications- The FDA doesn't require OTC or Prescription medicines to be tested to see if they could be Mito Toxic. Through trial and error there is now a growing and extensive list of medications ALL mitochondrial disease patients should avoid.

Where is that list? Hardly accessible. MitoAction does have a good size list via their website. I appreciate that they at least have it posted.

Even then that list doesn't cover all because we don't know all because no company is required to test for mitochondrial safety. I have run across a few new technologies that can affordably and accurate test medications for safety, there is simply no excuse.

That fistful of pills you take each morning might just be playing russian roulette.

In our Food: Pesticides, fungicides, and more. Round up is currently being used in heavy doses on most of the American crops we eat daily. There is plenty of evidence that it is NOT safe for our mitochondria, yet the FDA recently allowed for an increase in the amount used on our food. Round up is hardly alone though. There are plenty of other chemicals used on our foods that have been listed as dangerous in other Countries. (Your elemental formula is NOT organic and they all include corn derived ingredients. All corn in the USA with the exception of popcorn should be assumed GMO which means the heaviest dose of round up)

I am not even going to go off on a rant about the damage aluminum and mecury and other metal toxins are doing to us in our vaccines,foods, and medications- oh and your pit stick,and shampoos, etc.

I remember our panic when we found out about Abby's Depletion. I wanted to know What can I do to help her??? No Dr. warned me of medicines, No Dr. warned me of non-organics, No Dr. took the time to explain I might be able to do more to help Abby then they and their prescription pad could do. It took me years of reading article after article, of spending hours chatting with other families forced to learn the hard way that I could make a difference simply by educating my family about "environmental toxins".

How about all those vitamins in your Mito Cocktail? They are the front line treatment, the only thing the Dr. can offer. What exactly are those vitamins? Antioxidants. What do antioxidants do for our body? Help remove toxins..

So, wouldn't it make absolute sense then to avoid toxins in the first place? Right?

We want our insurance companies to cover vitamins to counteract the toxins we eat and take. Heck, most vitamins are CORN DERIVED meaning the very vitamin that is supposed to fight the toxins? Is full of it. If I was an insurance company I wouldn't be in any hurry either.

So yeah, I am pissed.

I have been pissed.

I will stay pissed.

My biggest question now that I know about "environmental toxins " is; why do some of us get so sick from "environmental toxins" and others don't?

Does it really matter though when just a trip to the grocery store and changing what you throw in your cart might just help your Mitochondria as much as those Mito Cocktails?

It cannot hurt. If toxins are causing mito dysfunction and we are prescribed "antioxidants" to help eliminate toxins, commonsense says- DON"T EAT TOXINS!

I have found research connecting Tylenol, various antibiotics, cholesterol medicines, pesticides, MSG and more to damage to Mitochondria.

And I am pissed that I had to go look for it. I am pissed that had I known sooner, I could have avoided these toxins in my home, on my table.

So your Mito Specialist knows which medicines to avoid for their Mito patients, but no other Drs have a clue. A patient is responsible to know which medicines are safe and which are not. When that information is not being taught, how do we protect our mitochondria?

Everyone should be pissed.

I wake up every day and look at Abby and wonder " Did I do this to her? " Granted I did not know about Tylenol, MSG, pesticides but I should have..

Instead of brochures on how to donate or run a fundraiser for a Mito Non-Profit, shouldn't they be focused on teaching the patients that there is a way to reduce their risks?

Instead of brochures on how to behave in a Drs. office so you don't have CPS called on you(talk about victimizing the victim) wouldn't you rather a brochure on why organics are a better choice and how they can make your Mito Cocktail more effective?

Instead of Spa weekends to "pamper" Mito Families- how about a trip to the grocery store to teach us how to avoid toxins?

It is simple. Mitochondria and "Environmental Toxins" Don't mix.

What isn't simple however is how to avoid toxins, because no one seems to be in any hurry to tell us what exactly an "Environmental Toxin" is..

Drs, associations , non-profits, don't spend a lot time talking with patients about "environmental toxins". Actually, I don't think I have ever had one encourage the avoidance of pesticides, fungicides, metals. The best you get is to eat a balanced diet rich in veggies and fruits. You might get fussed about sugar(which is hardly an issue if you are packing away toxins by the fistful already) or you might get fussed about salt(which is actually a treatment for dysautonomia) .. Of course they will be quick to point out to maintain a healthy weight and get exercise, but nothing about the "environmental toxins" that can be avoided, the same toxins we need the Mito Cocktail to help counteract..

Will you be cured avoiding toxins? Probably not, but if you stand a chance of not getting worse, isn't that a viable treatment?

Every parent I know is the same as myself. We will do ANYTHING for even the smallest chance to halt a chronic illness in our children or simply prevent it in the first place.

So where is that brochure? Why aren't we told? Why do we stumble across research paper after research paper that surely Drs. and Organizations have seen yet no effort is made to share that critical health information.

Yep- I am pissed.

Friday, August 22, 2014

It Was the Dang Rice...

After a few months of building symptoms, we finally hunted down the guilty party- it was the brown rice.

It still just floors me to think that something like a brown rice that at first was fine has the potential to turn her body into a war zone.

Fatigue,racing heart, muscle and joint pain, GI issues,BP issues, kidney proteinuria, dizzy, wobbly legs,bladder issues(and more!)- all triggered by 1 particular brand of rice. (Her weird rash is still everywhere and not improving, but hopefully a couple weeks her body will balance back out)

Can 1 very small thing like the wrong rice cause her to be that sick, cause anyone to be that sick? Yep. It sure can.

It took me 2 weeks of weeding out ingredients aggressively to hunt it down.. Really it was more gut instinct for both of us.

After reacting to so many foods in such odd ways(mimics symptoms of all sorts of health issues) you start to develop a 6th sense as to which one might be dangerous.

I remember buying the brown rice, not the normal brand(First Warning). When I went to grind it I thought it smelled different(Second Warning) and even though rice depending on brand and the type has different smells(it really does) there was something that caught my attention. That six sense was trying to warn me and I ignored it.

Last time I ground it a couple weeks ago we had finally decided that something was filling her bucket.. but what? As I ground the last of the brown rice I had that creepy crawly feeling that just maybe it was the rice(Third Warning).. and despite years of watching her react to the most insane minimal amounts of contaminates(what a food was grown in, what part of the country it was grown, what they rinsed it with etc) I still found myself doubting that six sense even though through experience I KNOW the smallest most minimal change can cause havoc..it is still impossible at times to believe that she is simply that sensitive. It is easier to believe some new disease process has griped her body then to grasp the concept that a few grains of rice are trying to kill her.

When will we ever learn to stop and listen to our "guts?" That six sense has a terrific track record of being right.

It takes awhile to recover from this much flare for her.. but just after a couple days that yellow color is mostly gone from her skin.. she was cheerful yesterday, reduced pain,scalp clearing(reactions cause her scalp to redden,scale and itch) and as relieved as I that we figured it out. Hoping a couple weeks and the kidneys and everything else in her body that short circuited will calm again.

Reactions: Any symptom that mimic's zillions of disorders. Anything, I mean anything from the direction the wind blows to where the rice was grown and how it was packaged can set off and dangerous cascade of symptoms.

Relieved, very relieved. But I cannot help but wonder, how long will it take before we start listening more to that six sense then to what so many Drs. have decided is possible or impossible?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sweet Potato Crinkle Cookies(dairy free, gluten free, corn free, soy free, color and chemical free, nut free)

They did not turn out as orange as I had hoped for but the flavor and texture is just wonderful. Moist, soft almost a buttery texture. Using the Purple sweet potato you will get a more brightly colored cookie, but orange sweet potatoes are much easier to find.

1 1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1 teaspoon guar gum(NOW brand)
1 teaspoon baking powder(Homemade- we use Frontier cream of tartar and Arm&Hammer baking soda,some are sensitive to arm&hammer though)
1/4 teaspoon salt(careful with salt for the cornfree! It is so hard to find a safe one depending on sensitivity level)
1/2 cup palm shortening(tropical traditions)
1/4 cup brown sugar(I used domino's)
1/2 cup sugar(organic C&H)
1 egg
1/2 cup sweet potato jam(previous post)(if you opt to add more you may need more flour)
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract(making your own is the only way to ensure cornfree)
1 cup powdered sugar(homemade)

preheat oven to 350

Cream together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg.

Add in sweet potato jam and vanilla then gradually add in the dry ingredients. (the dough may be pretty soft will firm once chilled)

Cover the bowl tightly and chill for 4 hours or overnight.(I leave mine overnight)

Roll the cookie dough into walnut sized balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place a couple inches apart on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350F for 9-11 minutes or until done.

(It can be a little difficult to gauge doneness as these don't brown. Try a few at 7 minutes, allow to cool. If the cookie falls apart when you pick it up it definitely needs a few more minutes. These are more delicate then a chocolate crinkle, but they are still reasonably sturdy.)

Sweet Potato Jam(dairy free, gluten free, soy free, cornfree)

I have made something called Ube Jam before. It is a popular use of the Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes within the Philippines. They are cooked, mashed, then cooked with milk and sugar until cooked down to a nice thick, rich spread.

Not having purple sweet potatoes, I used an orange one, and it worked perfectly. The Ube recipes usually call for evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk, but I have found a full fat coconut milk(heavy on the cream part) works terrific as a safer substitute for Abby.

There is a "crinkle" cookie that is made with the purple Ube that had caught our eye, purple and the white powdered sugar really caught my eye. Using the orange sweet potato was just as tasty!

I am posting this "jam" separately from the cookies I made it for because honestly I can think of a zillion uses for it. A spoonful mixed into some coconut milk ice cream..(if you can have nuts throw some pecans with it too!) Maybe mix some spices like ginger and clove and allspice and it would be delicious on a nut butter sandwich.. spread on a biscuit.. topping a pancake... it is just that tasty.

Sweet Potato Jam:

1 sweet potato peeled, cooked and mashed.(organic with none of that no bud chemical sprayed on it)

3/4 cup sugar(honey or maple syrup would work as a sweetener,adjust to taste,this is supposed to be sweet)

1 cup fullfat coconut milk(preferably mostly the cream that rises to the top in the fridge)

1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract.

1/4 teaspoon salt. (finding safe salt is hard, use what is safe for you. We use pink himalayan for the extra minerals)

Combine all the ingredients on medium heat. Stirring frequently cook until it has reduced to a thick paste. Times will vary depending on size of potato, what type of sweetener(how much sweetener) and the fat/liquid ratio of your coconut milk.

Remove from heat and chill until you are ready to use it.

The picture below showed it "thickened" right before I removed it from the heat.

Desensitized to Drug Side Effects. Things to think about during Mitochondrial Disease Awareness

You have seen them, those cheerful bright eyed vibrant patients in the commercials for medications who look like the picture of health because of the latest and greatest medicine that the company is selling...

In cheerful voices throughout the commercial the company touts the magic in the pill and as the camera pans out on someone gleefully living better then ever before the spokesman talk about the side effects.

If I think about the different medications I have recently seen commercials for,the one I remember most is a new pill for skin disorders and a lady finally feels pretty enough to go get her haircut.. but for the life of me I cannot remember if there were side effects? Something about being tested for TB(but being part of the middle class TB isn't a concern for me and most designer meds are bought by the middleclass to upper class) but really, all I remember is how amazing that new drug is going to be.

Like violence, I think we have become desensitized.

Until Abby's body decided to boycott modern medicine and the Western diet a couple years ago, I would have NEVER given a side effect a thought. The fact that she had a severe reaction to motrin as a kid was a "fluke".. just some weird, super rare oddball thing and every time I put motrin in my mouth I NEVER thought I could have a side effect.. She was sensitive to a lot of medicines or a lot of others simply did not work, we honestly thought it was "just" Abby.

Now I know Abby isn't alone, a lot of patients suffer side effects.

As Mitochondrial Disease Awareness week approaches it gets me thinking of the different people I have talked with who have Mito from a medication. Or the different people in my life who take a lot of medications. It has me thinking again this year that maybe medicine isn't the cure all I used to believe. Just maybe now and then Medicine gets too far ahead of itself. As consumers, maybe we have more control and responsibility then we like to admit. We all look for that easy fix. Sometimes easy doesn't cut it. Sometimes easy can be more dangerous.

We know now that there is a rapidly growing list of medications causing Mitochondrial damage, some severe enough to handicap people for the rest of their lives. Some Cholesterol drugs, Some antibiotics and more.

When you have a severe sinus infection and your Dr. writes you a prescription for an antibiotic do you read the side the effects? Do you consider your family history? Do you research online to see how many reports of bad side effects have been made? Nope, you pop that pill and hope relief comes fast.

Today, we have more avenues and resources then ever before to educate ourselves on the growing number of medications, yet we usually don't bother. If the Dr and the Pharmacists say to take it? It must be safe "enough.".

We are desensitized and that could be dangerous.

We all want that quick fix, myself included. A pill to grow hair, a pill for sexual function, a pill for an ache, a pill for nerves..

So this week, when you go to fill your pill box take some time and look up each medication, vitamin and supplement.

Side effects? Is it doing what it promised? Did you have to take another pill to treat the side effects of the first pill?

Have you changed your diet? Your life style?

Just think about it. It is your body and you ultimately are responsible. As parents we are responsible for the medications we give our children.

Do you need the pill? Is it worth the risks? Did you ask your Dr. for the medicine or did he suggest it?

Go ahead and watch those commercials and advertisements. When you do, write down what they "say" and not what they "show you".

When you go through your own medicines and vitamins, make a list of ALL the side effects from each and every one. Do you have any of those symptoms of the side effects? Do you take another medicine to treat the side effects of the first medicine? Next time you see your Dr. ask about your medicines and make sure they are necessary and that both you and your Dr. feel the medicines are medically necessary for you.

It is too important, do not become desensitized, at the end of the day, only you make the decision to pop that pill in your mouth.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Do you Use Zofran for Nausea? (New Side Effects Reported)

I stumbled across a Safety Warning from The Healthy Canadian's Website.

May 2014

Health Canada has completed a safety review of the serotonin blocking drugs dolasetron (ANZEMET), granisetron (KYTRIL and generics), ondansetron (ZOFRAN and generics) and palonosetron (ALOXI), which are used for treating nausea and vomiting. This review identified a potential risk of serotonin syndrome.

Serotonin syndrome occurs when serotonin, a chemical normally found in the body, accumulates to high levels. This usually happens with combinations of certain serotonin drugs, but may also occur with a single drug.

It is very important to diagnose serotonin syndrome early as it can be fatal if not treated. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome may include agitation, confusion, fast heartbeat, muscle twitching or stiffness, fever, loss of consciousness or coma. As serotonin syndrome can be misdiagnosed, it is important that patients who experience any of these symptoms should talk to a healthcare practitioner immediately.

The Canadian Product Monographs for ALOXI, KYTRIL and ZOFRAN now contain this new safety information. ANZEMET has been withdrawn from the Canadian market by the manufacturer. Manufacturers of generic versions of these drugs will also update their Product Monographs.

Health Canada has received two domestic reports of serotonin syndrome involving this class of drugs. The reported cases did not result in fatalities. Cases of serotonin syndrome or other serious or unexpected adverse reactions in patients receiving these drugs should be reported to the manufacturers, or to Health Canada."

So what is Serotonin Syndrome? From Wikipedia:

"Signs and symptoms[edit]
Symptom onset is usually rapid, often occurring within minutes of elevated serotonin levels. Serotonin syndrome encompasses a wide range of clinical findings. Mild symptoms may consist of increased heart rate, shivering, sweating, dilated pupils, myoclonus (intermittent tremor or twitching), as well as overresponsive reflexes.[1] However, many of these symptomes may be side effects of the drug or drug interaction causing excessive levels of serotonin; not an effect of elevated serotonin itself. Tremor is a common side effect of MDMA's action at dopamine, wheras hyperreflexia is symptomatic of exposure to 5ht agonists. Moderate intoxication includes additional abnormalities such as hyperactive bowel sounds, high blood pressure and hyperthermia; a temperature as high as 40 °C (104 °F) is common in moderate intoxication. The overactive reflexes and clonus in moderate cases may be greater in the lower limbs than in the upper limbs. Mental changes include hypervigilance or insomnia and agitation.[1] Severe symptoms include severe increases in heart rate and blood pressure that may lead to shock. Temperature may rise to above 41.1 °C (106.0 °F) in life-threatening cases. Other abnormalities include metabolic acidosis, rhabdomyolysis, seizures, renal failure, and disseminated intravascular coagulation; these effects usually arising as a consequence of hyperthermia.[1][3]

The symptoms are often described as a clinical triad of abnormalities:[1][5]

Cognitive effects: headache, agitation, hypomania, mental confusion, hallucinations, coma
Autonomic effects: shivering, sweating, hyperthermia, vasoconstriction, tachycardia, nausea, diarrhea.
Somatic effects: myoclonus (muscle twitching), hyperreflexia (manifested by clonus), tremor."

When I read the symptoms I noted many that are also common in dysautonomia. It certainly caught my attention. I have no idea if Serotonin syndrome can be "mild" or "Severe".. but I know a lot of families depend on Zofran so wanted to share.

When are Mitochondria to Blame?

We know that Mitochondria are involved in many diseases processes,
but that is hardly the same as Mitochondria being the "cause" of many diseases.

Anyone that spends time in the Mito Community have seen or read diseases like cancer, heart disease, Parkinsons, Huntington's and more all "associated" with Mitochondria.

Muscles are associated with neurological diseases, injuries, nervous system diseases- however, that doesn't make our Muscles the cause of those diseases.

I am sure there are those with Primary Mito who have Heart involvement, who have kidney involvement, who have eye involvement and a lot more.

Yet, having heart disease doesn't mean you have Mito or that your Mitochondria caused it.

Sometimes it is almost impossible to know which came first, the chicken or the egg. Other times it is glaringly clear.

When it comes to the human body and especially our Mitochondria, much is still very unknown.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Buckwheat Stuffed Peppers

Leftover Buckwheat kasha and all sorts of beautiful peppers in season? Combine them.

We all love buckwheat. I don't think we could grow tired of it. Buckwheat groats or buckwheat flour I grind from the groats, we seem to try to work it in one way or another.

After trying every "green" leafy veggie Abby has found a surprising tolerance for baby bok choy, not regular bok choy but the baby stuff. It is very mild flavored, almost no flavor, if it is grown later in the season it can get a touch bitter but even then very mild as far as green's go. Early summer or spring it is very tender and mild. We have been using it to replace spinach or kale in a lot of recipes very successfully. It does cook very quickly. Not sure how long she will tolerate it, but while she does I am taking full advantage and working it into as many dishes as possible. Added bonus she not only tolerates it, but really enjoys the flavor. Mushrooms have been tolerated. Last time I served a dish with mushrooms she had a rough reaction, but we aren't ready to blame the mushrooms quite yet.

Even if you don't have a pot of leftover buckwheat kasha in the fridge waiting for you, making it all from scratch is painless as well.

Buckwheat Kasha Stuffed Peppers:

1 cup toasted buckwheat groats(just toast in the pan until they start bursting, they will puff a little and show some white)
3 cups chicken broth(I measure and freeze broth out of the pressure cooker to keep the freezer full)
1 diced onion
1/2 cup mushrooms(this time I used dried mushrooms I rehydrated, any type of mushroom works)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup chopped fresh baby bok choy.
1/2 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste.

2 beaten eggs mixed with 2 Tablespoons coconut yogurt.
(For the egg free, these would be tasty without the egg, I added the egg to bind the kasha and to increase the nutrition since it is meatless.)

1)Saute your onion and mushroom until soft.

2) In saucepan combine the buckwheat, chicken broth, mushrooms and onions, and thyme. Put lid on saucepan. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to low for aprox 15 minutes until all the chicken broth is absorbed. Remove from heat. Add peas and salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool while you prepare red peppers.

3) Cut the tops off your peppers and remove ribs and seeds.

4) Now that your buckwheat has cooled down a bit, mix in the beaten egg and yogurt mix(if you add the egg while the kasha is hot you get scrambled egg!) and mix in that nice chopped baby bok choy. Fill up your peppers with the mix. Cover(other wise the top gets dried out.)

5) Bake at 350 for aprox 30-40 minutes.

6) I fried a few quail eggs to slide on top, but a chicken egg would work well or skip it. We cannot have cheese so that is our solution to add that richness.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Easy DIY Coconut Yogurt

My original recipe for coconut yogurt is impossible to follow. So going to provide a more simplified version.

3 cans of Coconut milk(no additives)
3 teaspoons sugar( organic C&H)
3 Tablespoons potato starch
3 heaping tablespoons "starter culture".
yogurt maker and thermometer

3 cans coconut yogurt:

You can use fresh made coconut yogurt from either fresh coconut meat(I buy the flakes frozen) or dried coconut. But, keep in mind, the less "cream" that the coconut has, the texture will be different in the final product. I skim a lot of the cream from a couple batches of homemade coconut milk to make yogurt. The more "cream" the better the final texture. Arroy D canned milk is just coconut and water. So for the sake of making an "easy" recipe that is what I will use.

3 teaspoons sugar:

We use organic cane sugar. From what I read when I started figuring out how to make yogurt, the bacteria needs lactose to "eat". The closest thing I can use to feed the bacteria is sugar. A lot of recipes also call for the little bit of sugar. So, I add it.

3 Tablespoons Potato Starch:

My preference. So, that is what we use. Agar or gelatin will work. I did make a batch with agar a long time ago and it will setup nicely. Tapioca starch will work, but I find tapioca can get a bit stringy with all the stirring. We like the "mouthfeel" of potato starch best.

3 heaping Tablespoons of starter culture:

You can use some So Delicious Plain coconut yogurt as your starter. Using a store bought yogurt is the easiest option. Keep in mind the first batch may still contain trace allergens/toxins(corn for us) so we have to make a second generation batch(by the second batch the worst is diluted out) for Abby to be able to eat it. The store bought yogurt tends to tucker out after about 4-6 batches. For the last 7-8 batches I have been using the greek yogurt dried culture starter from Cultures for Health. I followed the directions to start it. So far so good. We really like how nice and tart it gets compared to the So Delicious.

Yogurt Maker and Thermometer:

IF you search online you will find all sorts of methods for culturing your yogurt. Varying temperatures for varying cultures, some use the light for a heat source in the oven, some use their dehydrator. I use the yogurt maker, it is easiest for me. You really need a thermometer- you need to know that the coconut milk has cooled enough to add the culture so you don't kill it.

Always make sure you use nice clean containers and dishes. You don't want to culture the wrong bacteria.

Ready? Here we go.


1) In a large pot combine 2 cans of coconut milk and sugar. With the third can add about 3/4 of the can reserving 1/4 for later.

2) Slowly bring up to a slow boil. I stir now and then as it tends to burp and splatter.
3) While the coconut milk is warming, take the 1/4 can of coconut milk you reserved and stir in the potato starch. Mix well.

4) When the coconut milk is at a slow boil grab a whisk and whisk in that coconut milk and potato starch mix. It will thicken pretty quick so keep stirring. Just takes a minute or so. Now the coconut milk should look like pudding. Remove from heat.

5)Allow the coconut milk mixture to cool to between 80-100 degrees(this is where you need that thermometer). This takes awhile. I putter in the kitchen and using the whisk stir it now and then. Stirring helps break up the lumpiness and helps hurry along the cooling.

6)The texture may not be perfectly smooth- don't sweat it. Now that the temperature is between 80-100 go ahead and whisk in your 3 heaping Tablespoons of starter culture. Whisk it in well.
7) Place in yogurt maker, follow yogurt maker directions.

8) Now, the waiting begins. We leave ours for 24 hours! Yes, 24 hours! Coconut yogurt needs extra culturing time. Sometimes I have let it go as long as 28 or so(got side tracked!!) and it was fine.

9) I give my coconut yogurt a good whisking before I put it in fridge. It may be slightly discolored on top of the yogurt and the smell of warm freshly cultured coconut yogurt isn't very appealing, don't worry it is fine. It will be much thinner then you expected, don't worry it will thicken. Stick in in the fridge. At least 12 hours to chill and be left alone, if not 24 hours. It needs a long time to chill properly.

10- done. Enjoy. Remember to save the last 3 + tablespoons of this batch to start your next.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Chickpea NoFu/Coconut and Maple Cookie(revised, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, corn free, )

We made these in the beginning of Project elimination. Abby has been craving them so I pulled up the recipe. We had to make a few more changes. Over the past 2 years we have had to remove a few more foods we found to be not safe for Abby. These are now safer in general. And they still have that fab super soft texture and delicious taste. Not to mention, coconut oil, coconut flakes, nofu and eggs? Not all empty calories either.

Chickpea Nofu Coconut Maple Cookies

1 Cup Chickpea Nofu(homemade)
1/2 cup coconut oil(solid, tropical traditions)
2 eggs
1/4 cup homemade coconut yogurt
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extra

Put the nofu, coconut oil,eggs, coconut yogurt, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extra into blender and Blend well. You want it smooth- it will be surprisingly liquid when smooth.

3 1/4 cup gluten free flour
2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes(tropical traditions)
3/4 teaspoon pink himalayan salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

In a large mixing bowl, pour in the chickpea nofu mix from the blender. Add gluten free flour, coconut flakes,salt, baking soda, I cover and stick in fridge for an hour or more. Allowing it to sit in the fridge firms up the dough more.

Preheat oven to 375.

On a greased cookie sheet spoon cookie dough with a bit of space(depending on your flour blend these may spread more or less)

Bake for 10-12 minutes until barely brown and just set to touch. These keep nicely and freeze well.

Glaze: Grade B maple syrup(stronger maple flavor), powdered sugar, homemade vanilla- drizzle on cooled cookies.

This recipe makes a lot. I recommend cutting the recipe in 1/2 or freezing the raw cookie dough. I drop spoonfuls on the cookie sheet and freeze them. Then place frozen raw cookies in freezer container. To bake they just need an extra couple minutes if baked still frozen and not thawed.

Monday, August 4, 2014

ALERT: PEG(active ingredient in Miralax) FDA and reports of Neurological and Psychiatric Events.

Department of Health and Human Services:

The Use of Polyethylene Glycol in the Pediatric Population (R01)

RFA-FD-14-002: The Use of Polyethylene Glycol in the Pediatric Population (R01)
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research ( CDER ) The Use of Polyethylene Glycol in the Pediatric Population (R01) R01 Research Project Grant New RFA-FD-14-002 None See Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility .

"The Food and Drug Administration has received a number of reports of adverse events in children taking PEG products. The Agency has conducted a review that documented a number of reports of neurological and psychiatric events associated with chronic PEG use in children. A number of these pediatric patients received an adult dose of PEG (17 grams) for a duration ranging from a few days to a couple of years. "

"Whether the PEG contributes in some way to these adverse events is not clear at this time. One possible link between PEG use and adverse events in children is the absorption of LMW species leading to these outcomes. In addition, it may be possible that absorption of PEG in children is greater than in adults, especially in constipated patients. Another possible etiology for these safety concerns is that PEG products may be degraded before ingestion if parents pre-mix the product and store in suspension form for a prolonged period. Finally, some children may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of PEG, especially when high doses are given or after prolonged use."

"To better understand the level of polyethylene glycol impurities in PEG, the FDA Chemistry and Manufacturing group evaluated PEG 3350. This analysis of eight lots of PEG 3350 confirmed the presence of small amounts of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol in all lots tested. Based upon the recommended daily adult dose of 17 mg daily dose PEG 3350, the maximum daily exposure of ethylene glycol would be 0.005 mg/kg/day for a 60 kg patient, or 0.015 mg/kg/day for a 20 kg pediatric patient (approx 5 years of age). Other low molecular weight PEGs were not included in this analysis. However, it is not known if any of these LMW species are absorbed and if so to what extent. Understanding the human absorption profile of LMW species is the first step needed in trying to understand the possible contribution of PEG 3350 use to the development of adverse events in children using this product chronically."

Ethylene glycol(via Wikipedia): Not to be confused with Propylene glycol or Diethylene glycol.
Ethylene glycol (IUPAC name: ethane-1,2-diol) is an organic compound primarily used as a raw material in the manufacture of polyester fibers and fabric industry, and polyethylene terephthalate resins (PET) used in bottling. A small percent is also used in industrial applications like antifreeze formulations and other industrial products. It is an odorless, colorless, syrupy, sweet-tasting liquid. Ethylene glycol is only weakly toxic, but cases of poisonings are not uncommon. Very small amounts of ingested antifreeze (an ounce or less) can be fatal.

Diethylene Glycol(via Wikipedia):is an organic compound with the formula (HOCH2CH2)2O. It is a colorless, practically odorless, poisonous, and hygroscopic liquid with a sweetish taste. It is miscible in water, alcohol, ether, acetone, and ethylene glycol.[1] DEG is a widely used solvent.[2] It can be a contaminant in consumer products; this has resulted in numerous epidemics of poisoning since the early 20th century.[1]

Friday, August 1, 2014

Baby Monkey's(gluten free, egg free, soy free, corn free, dairy free, nut free, chemical free)

I have never eaten "Monkey Bread" before, or at least I know I have never made it myself. I know it is has been popular over the years and in fact, my friend Wendy's family eat it for Christmas breakfast every year. Maybe because I always preferred cinnamon rolls? Or just was never a fan of using store bought biscuits in a dessert?

The fact that my family has never eaten it before is a bonus. They have nothing to compare a gluten free version to as far as which they like better. So being this is the ONLY monkey bread they have ever eaten, it also makes it the best :-)

It turned out tender.. and sweet, really really sweet. 1 of the mini monkey's is really enough for two people.
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon guar gum(or psyllium husk powder)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup palm shortening, cold
1/4 cup coconut milk(or milk of choice)
1/4 cup homemade coconut yogurt or yogurt of choice(sour cream would work)
1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves

The Caramel Sauce:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup palm shortening or coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut yogurt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F and grease 2-3 mini bundt pans with non-stick cooking spray.

In a small bowl mix together "coating" ingredients. (sugar,allspice,ginger,cloves-or just cinnamon and sugar)

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut cold shortening into the dry ingredients.

Add coconut yogurt and just mix in. Then add milk and mix well. finally add vinegar and mix it in quickly. It will be soft and sticky.

Pinch dough in marble-sized portions, roll into ball shape, roll in sugar coating mix, then place in the prepared mini pan. Make a full circle in the bottom of the pan, then begin again with another circle, filling the pan evenly with dough balls. The dough is very soft and just firmer then a batter- you will need to wet your hands with water to be able to form into soft small marble size balls.

To make the caramel sauce:
In a small saucepan, melt the palm shortening over low heat. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, salt & vanilla. Stir until the sugar just dissolved. Stir in the coconut yogurt. Pour mixture over the top of the dough equally across the 2 or 3 mini bundt pans.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Allow to rest for 5 minutes then place plate on top of each one and carefully flip pan and plate. Allow to sit for a couple minutes to allow all the good gooey carmel sauce to drip onto the monkeys. Carefully remove mini bundt pans and serve.

“kafkaesque".” ― Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

“I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.”
― Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

"Did he really want the warm room, so cozily appointed with heirlooms, transformed into a lair, where he might, of course, be able to creep, unimpeded, in any direction, though forgetting his human past swiftly and totally?" Kafka, The Metamorphosis

"It seemed remarkable to Gregor that above all the various noises of eating their chewing teeth could still be heard, as if they had wanted to show Gregor that you need teeth in order to eat and it was not possible to perform anything with jaws that are toothless however nice they might be. 'I'd like to eat something,' said Gregor anxiously, 'but not anything like they're eating. They do feed themselves. And here I am, dying!" Kafka, The Metamorphosis

"The sister played so beautifully. Her face was tilted to one side and she followed the notes with soulful and probing eyes. Gregor advanced a little, keeping his eyes low so that they might possibly meet hers. Was he a beast if music could move him so?" Kafka, The Metamorphosis

"That the change in his voice was nothing more than the first sign of a bad cold, an occupational ailment of the traveling salesman, he had no doubt in the least." Kafka The Metamorphosis

"Gregor’s glance then turned to the window. The dreary weather (the rain drops were falling audibly down on the metal window ledge) made him quite melancholy. ‘Why don’t I keep sleeping for a little while longer and forget all this foolishness,’ he thought. But this was entirely impractical, for he was used to sleeping on his right side, and in his present state he couldn’t get himself into this position. No matter how hard he threw himself onto his right side, he always rolled again onto his back. He must have tried it a hundred times, closing his eyes, so that he would not have to see the wriggling legs, and gave up only when he began to feel a light, dull pain in his side which he had never felt before." Kafka, The Metamorphosis
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