It CAN be done.

Some days are amazing.  Some weeks, months, years, lives are amazing.  Lately, I’ve been surrounded by people doing amazing things with their health, and I’m inspired.  Attractive happy woman joying in beautiful summer day.

As many of you know, I consult with clients on improving nutrition to help or heal a wide variety of health problems.  Many of my clients have autoimmune diseases, though certainly not all.  Here, I’m sharing two lovely stories of success on their journey, one a client of mine and one not.

This week, I was at a pot-luck and was talking to a woman who has suffered from Hashimoto’s disease for about 15 years.  Now in her early-50s, she’d been on a health journey for years.  As a professional in the field of alternative medicine, she’s been aware of plenty of ways to work at and improve body functions.   Yet still, 10 years into her disease she wasn’t improving and so she decided to go on the GAPS diet.  When I first met her last year, she casually mentioned that she had Hashimoto’s and was working through some things.  She expressed some happiness with the results of the GAPS diet, but also was hoping some other things would have improved.  At that point, she’d been on the diet for four years.

When I spoke to her this week, she’d been on the diet five years.  She’d just recently gotten her blood tests back from her doctor, and it turns out that she no longer has Hashimoto’s disease.  Let me say that another way: a healing nutritional protocol has healed this woman of her autoimmune disease!

This is unprecedented in the medical world, folks.  When one is diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, they should expect to have it for life.  Yet here is one example of how diligence and hard work can pay off.  This woman has also worked on detoxifying heavy metals and other issues, but had her digestion not been strengthened by the GAPS diet, her body would have never have been able to handle the metal detox protocols.  I’m certain that other GAPS practitioners see such rewards often; this diet has truly helped thousands around the world.Kombucha

Next, meet a young woman in her mid-20s.  She’s young, active, and works as a Registered Dietician.  She’s busy, social and yet dealing with health issues.  Since her youth, she’s always had digestive issues going on.  From acid reflux to allergies, to problems with her esophagus.  More recently, she’s noticed allergic reactions to foods.  It seemed to her that every month she added another food to her list of allergies.  Her training had not helped her learn how to deal with allergies or leaky gut.

I began working with her in the winter of 2014 when she began the GAPS diet.  It was a hard road — she had to navigate a busy summer with lots of festivities on a relatively strict diet.  I’m happy to say that a few weeks ago she ate the first apple she’d eaten in five years, with no reactions.  Her digestive system is healing, her body is not attacking food or itself, and she’s on her way to a full recovery. She’s done a fantastic, amazing job with this diet thus far and is reaping the rewards.

To see such clear improvements after just six months on the diet is fantastic, though not always the case.  A whole variety of factors go into how fast or slow one heals.  Age matters; young people heal faster.  My son, at six months old, healed his eczema in under a year.  The 52 year-old woman took five years on the diet to reverse Hashimoto’s disease.   Every individual has a unique biology that will effect how long it will take to heal.

I have to say, I haven’t met anyone yet, whether my client or not, who hasn’t seen some improvements result from an improved diet, whether they do just basic improvements or something more drastic such as GAPS.   Whatever your issue, your meals can help you.
Food people, it’s all about the food.  Eat well, BE well, LIVE well.

Click here if you want to get started on improving your diet, step by step. 

 

 

 

Almond Mango Lassi

This year we celebrated new years day by doing something rare: going out to eat.  The combination of kids and low-quality food in many restaurants is enough to thwart our attempts most often, but this time we wanted some authentic ethnic food and to just escape the house for a bit before a giant snow storm came and kept us house-bound for two days.  So, out we went and Indian food was on the menu.

Our 4 year old son is all about interesting foods and trying new things, as long as it’s meat of some sort.  Our little girl, on the other hand, always says “no thank you” first, and will maybe try a few bites by the time the meal is over, rarely straying from her standby foods of eggs and bone-broth soups.  While we did get a few bites of chicken tika and korma into her, what she drank down with gusto was the mango lassi.  A whole glass, and then some of the second one we ordered.  She gulped, loudly and with genuine pleasure.  And of course, she now asks for it at home.  Since whatever she likes to eat or drink I like to provide if at all possible, I went to work.

The catch is that she has a cold this week, so I’m trying to reduce her dairy consumption as it can increase mucus when the immune system is compromised.   I never use or recommend store-bought milk substitutes, as these always have harmful thickeners and added sugar.  So after some playing around in the kitchen, here’s what I came up with:

  • 1.5 cups of almonds, previously soaked & dried is best but is not necessary
  • 3 cups of water, use more or less depending on your desired thickness
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup, or more/less depending on your desired sweetness
  • 1 cup of frozen mango, though I’m sure fresh would work also
  • pinch of salt, if desired

Put the almonds, water and maple syrup into a powerful blender or food processor.  Blend until the nuts are pulverized and the liquid is white and milky, 2-5 minutes depending on your machine.   Then, strain the mixture through a fine strainer into a bowl.  Next, add the milk from the bowl back into the blender with the mango and puree until smooth.

The consistency will be thick, so if you want it thinner add in more water.  Enjoy!!

Soup in the Summer

It’s hot, so why on earth would I dream of making or serving soup?  Two reasons:  First, my children always love soup, particularly things with chunks they can dive their hands into the bowl in pursuit of.  It’s a mess, but they always eat it all and have a blast doing so regardless of the season. I’ll trade a few more dirty shirts for thoroughly nourished children any day.

Second, it’s one of the easiest ways to make and eat real food, regardless of season or weather.  A big pot of soup still goes a long way in the summer, it’s still easy to toss together in the crock pot in the morning and have dinner ready at night.    This weekend,  my hero of a husband whipped up the following chowder, and we just finished it for lunch 3 days later.

One thing first: you’ll notice that I don’t usually put quantities in my recipes (except for baking) which probably frustrates some of you.   From where I stand, quantities in a recipe frustrate me- I generally don’t have the exact right amount of anything and end up modifying it anyway, or I don’t modify and either wonder what-might-have-been or scrap the recipe all together.

My approach, and my advice: use what you have!  Do you have just a few pieces of leftover cod from last night, but some frozen shrimp or scallops?  Toss them in!  Do you have sweet potatoes instead of celery root?  Leeks or scallions instead of onions?   Great, toss them in!   Don’t obsess about the amounts, and don’t be afraid to put in more of what you and your family likes and less of what they don’t.   It’s your kitchen, after all, and there are no rules if you’re eating real food.

Now, for this weeks soup:  Fish chowder

Ingredients
Cod, or any other white fish will work
onions, diced to desired size
celery root, in chunks (potatoes work great also)
homemade stock, fish is best but beef or chicken both work well
raw milk
cream, (non-homogenized, grass-fed)
sea salt and pepper to taste
butter for sauteing

Optional items: Bacon, organic corn, fennel

Process
Saute onions in butter, lightly.  Then toss in fish for just a few minutes- do not over cook.  Take fish out and add the broth and the celery root or potatoes, and simmer until soft.  Add the fish and the remainder of the ingredients and let simmer.  Season to taste.   Serve with sourdough bread and butter.    What could be easier?!

Summer Grilling

It’s summertime and like most people world wide, we like to cook meat over over a fire. Perhaps what’s most attractive is the primal aspect to it, an ancient connection to the elements that lures us outside on the hottest of days to stand over a flame.  Or maybe it’s simple cost efficiency- cooking inside causes the AC to go into overdrive.  Either way,  many nights a week we find ourselves at the grill, explaining the properties of fire to our 3 year old.

In light of this habit, I decided to take an adventure into the heart of southern cooking.  Ribs.  Beef ribs, no less.  They looked amazing, and how hard could it be, right?   And even if it went bad, I was comforted by the idea of bone broth after the meat was gone- that’s how I can justify such expensive cuts, by making several meals out of it.  Truth be told, I was still daunted by these ribs.  Little frightens me these days, as I’ve hacked my way through heart, liver, kidneys, and slurped bone marrow over the last several years.  Yet, beef ribs caused me angst.

After some recipe searching, we settled on a rub and then a low-and-slow bake in the oven, to be finished on the grill.   Creating the rub was fantastic.  I’m not a fan of measurements or exactitude, so the experimentation with a variety of vivid and fragrant spices was thrilling for the senses.  Rubbed on (quite a fun activity), I was ready to roast.

With the oven prepped to 225 degrees, the ribs were to cook for 3 hours.  Leaving the oven on for any length of time in the summer is counter-intuitive to me, but I went with the recipe, something I rarely do.  3 hours later, with the AC on overdrive, we put the ribs on the grill to finish.

The taste?  Well, it was fantastic.  Pure, sweet, juicy delight.  Though I’ve far from perfected ribs as the texture wasn’t the melt-in-your-mouth I was going for, it was a delicious dinner which was confirmed by my 16 month old sucking on the ribs.  But that wasn’t the best part.

It came 2 days later, when all of those immense, thick rib bones were turned into bone broth, together with some onions, carrots & garlic.  Thick, rich colored, gelatinous broth, which my children gulped down with loud slurps.  They fought over the globs of bone marrow, with the little one happy to have won the bone to suck on and nibble any last bits of meat off.    I couldn’t help but beam with pride.