Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 : One step at a time

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" -Lao-tzu

photo credit

Our heater broke the other night and I had to make an emergency trip to Wal-mart to pick up some space heaters. As I walked in, I saw carts full of leftover Christmas candy on sale. Just past the junk food, I saw aisles full of Slim-Fast, diet pills, and workout gear all on sale for new years. Sigh. It just makes me sad. People stuff themselves with "forbidden" food over the holidays and think that they have to start some drastic, unsustainable diet on January 1st.

Dear women of the world, do not subject yourself to such self-torture.

You are beautiful, just the way you are. (Yes, you)

You are allowed to eat anything you want, anytime.

You have all the power you need to change your world.

Stop chasing after the "perfect life/diet/etc" and enjoy where you are right now on the journey.

Stop worrying about your face, your behind, your tummy, your double chin. Spend your time loving your children, loving your husband, enjoying the fresh air, loving the beautiful earth, and loving your double chin.

We are all at different places, on different paths.....and that is ok.

Is my diet perfect? No.
Are my kids well behaved angels? No.
Is my house clean and organized just the way I want it? No.

Am I going to eat chocolate in 2011? Yes.
Am I going to raise my voice and not be a perfect mom in 2011? Yes.
Is my house still going to not be straight from a Pottery Barn catalog in 2011? Yes.

I try not to get too wrapped up in making resolutions. Over the years, I've found that the more rules I make for myself, the more disappointed I am with my life. I'm ok with where I am right now, today. Our food choices aren't always what I wish they were, but we are leap years ahead of where we were 4 years ago. Sometimes I get down on myself for not being the perfect Weston A. Price/natural parenting/hippie chick wife and mom. But, then I look back and realize how far I've come. Our health has improved, our son has healed, our family is happier, and we've made huge life changes towards our end goals.

Real change happens when you decide it is what is best for you, not because someone told you so. I don't eat at McDonald's because it makes me feel like a bucket of poo, not because everyone says I shouldn't. Each change should come naturally and gradually to have true staying power. Please don't join a gym, buy up your Wal-Mart's supply of Slim Fast, starve yourself, and then binge into old habits all within the first few days of 2011. How about you just make a green smoothie next week? Eat an apple? Drink an extra glass of water? Buy some real butter? Sit down and enjoy your meal, instead of eating in front of the TV? Start Small.

I sat down this week and made a list of health/parenting/money/household goals for the next 6 months. I wrote out small steps that I can take each month to achieve those goals. That way, by June (not January 2nd) our family may have made more huge strides.

So, women of the world, pat yourself on the back instead of beating yourself up. You are where you are, and it's a great place to be. Please do not subject yourself to short-lived, unsustainable resolutions. Enjoy the journey, and take it one step at a time.

photo credit

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Breakfast

I remember as a little kid, my dad making a huge breakfast on Christmas morning. Christmas and Mother's Day were the only two days I think my dad cooked all year long. It was always worth the anticipation. The smell of bacon cooking while my brother and I admired all our new treasures is a fond memory of mine. Bacon and eggs. What more can a girl want on Christmas morning (other than a juicer and some new books? Hint...hint...) It is imperative that you have something cooking and smelling wonderful while opening presents!

I'm kicking it up a notch this year and turning the bacon and eggs tradition into a casserole.

Christmas Morning Casserole
A hearty casserole with festive red and green peppers. This could easily be doubled for extra company or leftovers.

1 bag frozen organic hash browns, thawed overnight (or you could use shredded cauliflower for a more GAPS friendly recipe)
2 tbsp butter, coconut oil or ghee (melted)

Mix first 3 ingredients together and press into the bottom of a 9x13. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2-1 cup frozen corn (omit for grain free)
1/2-1 cup ham, cut into small cubes (you could sub with bacon, sausage, etc)

Saute in a large pan while the crust is cooking.

10 pastured eggs


When the potato crust is done, spread the vegetable/meat mixture on top. Pour the eggs evenly over the vegetables. Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. I started checking it at 20 minutes and it was done around 25 minutes. I made it thin so that it wouldn't take too long to cook. Who wants to wait an hour for breakfast?

I will be serving this with seasonal fruit and almond flour muffins.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

May your holidays be filled with yummy food,

excited kids,

the love of a family,

and the true meaning of Christmas.

Happy Holidays from The Healing Fork!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I double dog dare you not be baby hungry after you see this video. Oh my goodness. This is what it's all about.

The Homebirth of Lucia Mae from Sara Janssen on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dear wheat and dairy, we had a good run...

I took Ella to our naturopath, suspecting a food allergy. She has the typical symptoms of a dairy allergy - runny nose, fussy, and constantly want to eat more and more dairy products.

Well, she is allergic to dairy and wheat. I never would have suspected wheat. She rarely eats any and usually turns it down when it's offered.

After a day and a half wheat/dairy-free she has gotten over her just-wont-quit cough, is much less whiney, and has lost her normal babyish bowel movements. Just like that. No more raw cheese, yogurt or butter. So, it's a total diet overhaul (again). It's ok, it's not like I'm busy or anything. Bring it on.

Seth has been gluten/dairy free for a few years now. He is typically uninterested in the food I make, so I never really changed our meals that much. Now it is time for all of us to officially go gluten/dairy free. I've been scouring cookbooks and blogs looking for some new recipes to try. It seems that everything gluten free is full of white rice flour, potato starch and sugar. Most dairy free items are full of sweetened rice milk and "vegan buttery sticks". Yuck all around. I'm not about to switch my family over to nutrient poor, super sweetened food...just in the name of gluten/dairy free living.

I will be playing around with different ingredients, and I'm sure it will all keep changing. For now, I will start with these substitutions:

Butter: coconut oil or ghee

Milk: coconut milk or homemade sprouted almond milk (in my spare time, right?)

Wheat: almond flour, coconut flour

Snack Time

Ella usually asks for chunks of raw cheese or yogurt for snack time. Yesterday I gave her a plate of celery sticks, yellow pepper strips and a Polyface hotdog. She ate the entire thing and then asked for orange. No problem, little lady. Instead of turning to dairy products or muffins for snack time, I will be making an effort to turn to fruit and vegetables. I started a short list of snacks yesterday. I plan on (in my spare time, right?) taking a photo of each snack and labeling it. Each day I will put out a few pictures of what we have in the house, and the kids can pick what they would like.

Here is my list, so far...

Gluten/dairy free snacks

- mini muffin quiche (eggs, spinach, red pepper, and onion mixed together and cooked in a mini muffin tin)
- mini muffin crab cakes (crab meat, eggs, mayo, veggies and spices mixed together and cooked in a mini muffin tin)
- almond flour muffins from the freezer
- fruit and veggies cut into fun shapes
- hard boiled eggs cooked in these funky little numbers
- applesauce
- larabars
- coconut milk yogurt cups
- chocolate avocado pudding (this is seriously amazing)
- banana ice cream (this too)
- mini quesadillas (brown rice tortilla, refried beans, guacamole, cooked in a skillet with ghee)

Any other ideas?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Embracing Hibernation

Right before our eyes the beautiful fall reds and oranges quickly got swept away in the wind...and in entered the quiet chill of winter. It seems that we were just enjoying long nights filled with music, fresh fruit, and summer breeze. Now, we have retreated indoors. We are enjoying the cozy Christmas tree, our precious books, and thick socks. Rather than go crazy, I'm making myself busy inside. My mornings are full of nesting. Laundry, dishes, fluffing pillows, putting 8,794 children's books back on the shelves - all the little things that make this house our home. My afternoons are filled with homeschool lessons and baking. Seth loves to get in the kitchen with me. I've noticed, since the weather changed, he wants to bake something every afternoon. I'm ok with that. We warm up the kitchen and enjoy the fruits of our labor by the Christmas tree.

Food is such a big part of our lives. Here are a few recipes that we have warmed ourselves with this season.

Super Immunity Warm Smoothie
a warming drink to be enjoyed anytime during the day

Saute 2 bananas in a large spoonful of coconut oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Continue cooking until the bananas are brown and gooey. Meanwhile, gently heat up 2-4 cups (depends on how much smoothie you want) of milk (we've used raw cow and almond). Put cooked bananas, milk, and 1-2 tbsp coco powder in the blender. Blend and enjoy in a mug.

Supper Immunity Warm Oats
reap the benefits of coconut oil in your morning oats

1 cup oats, soaked overnight
2 cups milk (or water)
1 banana, chopped
1 spoonful coconut oil
spinkle cinnamon
1 tbsp coco powder

Combine and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until oats and banana is soft.

Broccoli and Leek Quinoa
a simple, satisfying lunch

1 head broccoli, chopped small
2 leeks, green tops removed, sliced, and cleaned thoroughly
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
butter, salt, pepper

Rinse and soak quinoa overnight. When you're ready to cook, drain and rinse quinoa again. Cook in chicken broth. While quinoa is cooking, saute broccoli and leeks in butter with salt and pepper. You can add any spices you like here, but I keep mine basic. Cook veggies until soft. Combine quinoa and veggies. Serve.

Potato and Spinach Frittata
a crowd-pleasing dinner or brunch

5 or 6 smallish potatoes, whatever variety you prefer (red is always a favorite for us)
1 medium onion, diced
5 -6 eggs (I always start with 5 and usually end up scrambling up one more to cover the potatoes)
handful frozen spinach
salt, pepper, herbamere (or your favorite season all salt)

Slice potatoes thin, about 1/8th of an inch. Thin potatoes are the key. If they are too thick it will take too long for them to cook, and everything will get too mushy. Saute the potatoes and onion in butter. You need to be generous with the butter, because you want it to coat the pan later too. Add the salt, pepper and herbamere. If you want, some dried parsley would be a nice touch. Keep a close eye on the potatoes so that they don't burn or stick to the pan. Keep the heat low, and keep stirring. Once the potatoes are soft (10-15 minutes), add the spinach. Put a cover over you skillet and let the spinach soften. In the meantime, whip your eggs with some salt/pepper. Arrange potatoes evenly in your skillet. Add your eggs to the skillet and move it around, so that they eggs fill all the gaps. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Transfer your skillet to the oven to finish cooking. Cook another 10 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through in the middle. Cut into slices and serve alongside a leafy salad.

Enjoy the warmth of your food, your homes and your families. At this busy time of year, may we stop and truly contemplate what it means to give. I hope we can all share and feel of that perfect Christ-like love this month.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The everybody's-been-sick-and-I-haven't-been-to-the-store meal

It feels like we've been out of commission for a while now. Which means I haven't been to the grocery store in almost a week and a half. There is almost no fresh produce left. We all started to get our appetites back last night, and I wanted to cook something that was warm, filling, and healthy.

Normally I would make this with fresh chopped tomatoes, avocados, etc. But, sometimes you gotta eat what you got, right?

Get Better Burrito Bowls

1 can refried beans
brown rice (I cook mine in chicken broth, for added nutrition)
2 chicken breasts
1 cup salsa
tortilla chips
cheese, optional
salad dressing, optional (french is good)

Throw the chicken and salsa in the crockpot on high for about 3 hours. After it's done cooking, shred. About an hour before you're chicken is done, start cooking your brown rice. Heat up your refried beans. Start layering. Make sure you drip the extra salsa into the bowls for extra flavor.

Everybody loved this, and it was so simple. This will be going on my list (alongside salmon cakes) for a easy, cheap, everything on hand kinda meal.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Still Alive

Just checking in to let you all know that I'm still here! We've had a crazy couple of days. Seth had a seizure on Friday morning. It was the absolute scariest 30 seconds of my entire life, hands down. The paramedics arrived and said his temperature was 105.1. That number still shocks me every time I think about it. They said that the seizure was from his fever spiking so high, so quickly. Never in my life have I been more thankful for conventional medicine. I am in no way reverting back to mainstream medicine, but you better believe that I will *always* have children's tylenol in the house from now on. The herbs just didn't cut it this time.

Seth was in the ER for about 6 hours. They ran a bunch of tests and did some blood work. Everything came back negative. Just a fever. My poor Seth was so traumatized by all the tests. His sensory issues are extremely high around his mouth. Just giving him the tylenol when we first got there took a full half hour and two doctors holding him down. The throat swab, nose swab and IV were almost as bad. It is so hard to be his mother, stand there and watch, and know I can't do anything to help him. It was heartbreaking.

My mom came right up and stayed with us through the weekend. I was pretty paranoid all night Friday night, and it was such a blessing to have her here. He is still feeling pretty worn down, but getting better. Rhett and I both got hit with the flu on Saturday night. Thankfully, our oscillococcinum knocked it right out. We've been having self-proclaimed snow days. I'm doing tons and tons and tons of laundry and the kids are watching movies. We will be staying in the cave for another day or so until we all get our strength back.

I appreciate all of the prayers we have had from our family and friends. Heavenly Father was truly watching over us on Friday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

autism: the final step towards recovery

As a 3.5 year old, Seth did not speak. He did not point. He had never called me "mama". He did not communicate in any form, other than screaming. Tantrums. Screaming. All day, every day. He didn't know how to play with toys. All he did was spin the wheels on cars/bikes/strollers all day long. We would go for walks in the stroller, and he wouldn't enjoy the outdoors, he would look down at the wheels the entire time. We couldn't go out in public and we couldn't have play dates. We were at the end of our rope.

Then, we found our naturopath. By nothing short of heavenly intervention, we found an amazing woman who is recovering autistic children every day. She started Seth on supplements, homeopathic remedies, and told me to cut out all wheat and dairy from his diet. She explained to us that these children are toxic. This world full of pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, toxins, unhealthy food, artificial colors, etc., and is producing children that exhibit the same symptoms of truly autistic children. What do I mean by truly autistic? Someone who has a true neurological disorder. 1 in 94 children in the United States does not have a true neurological disorder. 1 in 94 children has heavy metal poisoning. Growing up, by the time I reached school aged, I had 10 vaccines. Kids now are getting 36 by the time they enter school. You do the math. If you look at the symptoms of mercury toxicity and the symptoms of autism they are almost word for word. For Seth, his 15 month (MMR) vaccines are the straw that broke his back. My diet pre conception and during pregnancy, environmental toxins, emotional trauma, pitocin during labor and formula feeding are all the things, I believe, led to his collapse after the MMR vaccine.

We followed our naturopaths orders and little by little, Seth came back. He started to wake up to the world around him. He started playing. He started talking.

We radically changed our lives. We went from eating whatever looked good at our local mainstream grocery store to eating vegetables from a farmer's market and meat from local, grass fed animals. I threw out all of our Tide laundry detergent, our window cleaners, our children's tylenol, all of it. If it was conventional, it was in the garbage can. Conventional is what made Seth sick. If you had told me 6 years ago that I would have a baby in my bedroom, have chicken feet in my freezer for broth, and be contemplating homeschooling, I would have laughed in your face. But, when your child is sick, you will do anything to make them better.

Seth is so much better. He makes eye contact, he laughs, he plays, he communicates. He attends a preschool in the mornings where none of the teachers have any idea he use to be "autistic". But, I don't think I can say he's 100% recovered. He still screams. He still tantrums. He still has a lot of sensory issues. I've been doing what I do best (researching) and I think it is time for us to take another step forward in Seth's healing journey. Making this publicly known, will help me to stay focused and committed to what we are doing.

We tested a few different diets with our naturopath (Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Body Ecology Diet, and Gluten/Casein Free diet) and The Body Ecology Diet won with flying colors for Seth. Seth doesn't eat "bad" food right now - but I think he's become addicted to starches/sugars. Over the past couple years, he has slowly weaned his approved food list down just beans, rice, buckwheat pancakes, homemade muffins, and bananas. Right now, he gags whenever he put any other type of food in his mouth. We don't know where to start with that. I know what to feed him, I just don't know how to get it in his stomach. I am crossing my fingers that as we introduce young coconut kefir (body ecology diet protocols) that his cravings for the starches will diminish and he might want to eat other foods. (Any tips are humbly appreciated when it comes to feeding sensory-stricken autistic kids)

I believe that this diet could be the last piece of the puzzle for Seth. Energy healing, homeopathy, supplements, and taking out allergenic foods are the things that have helped the most. Another radical diet change, I know, can be the final step to Seth's recovery.

I am making my menu plans, and figuring this all out. The craziness of the holidays are upon us, and I might not be in the right state of mind to fully start until January. But, in the mean time, I will be preparing.

It's game time.

Looking for some more answers?


Autism Treatment and The Body Ecology Diet

"AUTISM YESTERDAY" Autism is Reversible from JB Handley on Vimeo.

Food lately