3.27.2017

For Your Monday




"It's in here somewhere!" she exclaimed as she pawed through her big yellow bag.  "Lipstick... Sunglasses... Pen... Come on, come on!" She kept searching frantically as the line at the coffee shop grew behind her. "This is so Monday of me..." 

That woman eventually found her wallet and we all went on with our lives. Have you ever thought something along those lines? "Ugh, it's Monday" or "Yep, feels like a Monday." There's just something about the start of the work week that can feel a little daunting sometimes.  

Here are some things I stumbled upon recently that I think might perk up your Monday when you get a little break!

1. This Podcast by Risen Motherhood entitled "Feeding our Families & The Gospel."  This is not specifically to do with food allergies, but it is a thought provoking conversation that's worth your time. :)

2. This Article on GF Makeup in Canada. I've been doing some research on Gluten Free makeup, and I'm in the process of switching my makeup and skincare to gluten free to see how that may affect my current health adventures. Do you use GF makeup? If so, what are your fav brands / products?

3. This guy singing in various Disney character voices. You may have already seen this but it's sooooo funny. At least wait until he gets through the Winnie the Pooh Characters.


Happy Monday! <3 

3.10.2017

Pancakes | Gluten Free. Vegan.




Blend the following ingredients in a blender :

2 cups gluten free oats

2 cups unsweetened applesauce

3 tablespoons coconut sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 teaspoons baking powder (I prefer aluminum free)



If the batter is too thick, add a tablespoon of filtered water. Keep adding tablespoons of water if necessary until you achieve the consistency of batter you prefer.  Melt a spoonful of coconut oil in a frying pan on low heat. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter at a time and fry on the pan. When the batter starts to bubble, flip the pancake. Be sure to keep heat on low and check your pancakes often as they cook to avoid burning them! 




Enjoy!






2.24.2017

Lunch Ideas | Vegan, Gluten Free.




"So, what can you eat??" has asked every person ever. Oh so many things! Here are three of my favorite go-to lunches.

1. Stir Fry




This is, by far, what I eat for lunch most frequently. I like to fry chopped mushrooms, onions, zucchini, green beans, and waxed beans with coconut oil until slightly burnt. I usually mix it all with some quinoa. You need quinoa in your life, if it's not already. There are SO many health benefits, especially for my fellow auto-immune disease fighters. To prove it, check out this post on the 12 Health Benefits of Quinoa. In addition to quinoa,  you can also add salt, pepper, and your fav spices to mix it up a bit. I top it off with gojii berries and pumpkin seeds.Viola, a meal is born! 


2. Sandwich Wrap







I basically add everything from the stir fry recipe above and fold it in a brown rice wrap. I have a panini grill but you can also use a frying pan. Soooo tasty!


3. Smoothie


I often enjoy a smoothie to start off my day, but every so often I like to mix it up and have a smoothie for lunch. Check out this recipe and this recipe for some ideas to get started!






What do you think? Would you try any of these for lunch?








1.30.2017

How to Make Bone Broth


Happy cold and flu season, ya'll! #amiright?? Here's something yummy & warm to support your immune system. Bone broth is rich in minerals and multiple sources say it helps reduce inflammation and heal the gut lining.  It's also easy peasy to make. Seriously guys, you really have to try hard to screw this up. If you've been following me on instagram for any amount of time, you know I have a lot of food related fails (the irony, I know), so I was thrilled with how simple this process is!




I like to use left over bones from either chicken wings or a whole chicken that I've cooked from a previous meal. I store them in the fridge until I have time to get the chopped veggies together. Place the bones in your slow cooker. Add chopped carrots, celery, and onions. I think I did about 1/2 cup each. Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder and any other spices you enjoy. There's no rhyme or rule to this, so go ahead and play with the spices to get the flavor you enjoy! Cover everything with water and cook for 10-12 hours. You can cook this up to 24 hours, just make sure your slow cooker doesn't shut itself off in the meantime! 


After it's all cooked, use a strainer or a cheese cloth to strain the broth into a large bowl. I like to store my broth in glass jars in the freezer until I'm ready to use. See what I mean? Easy Peasy! 



You can add this to homemade soups or drink it by itself.  You can add more salt and any seasonings for more flavor if you'd like.



Let me know in the comments below: have you ever made homemade bone broth? 





1.21.2017

My Gluten Story

"Are you pregnant?" said the brazen third grader who'd confronted me in the lunch room. "No" my shy and embarrassed 5th grade self replied. I was one of the shortest people in my class, but I was often extremely bloated. So bloated that a third grader thought I was pregnant at the age of 10.  As I look back, I think this was one of my first signs of celiac disease. 

I had a difficult time through middle school and high school. I mean, who doesn't, right? Around the age of 14, my health took a serious turn. I was sick all the time. I went from being a straight A student to almost not graduating high school because I missed so many days. I even home schooled for a semester my junior year because I simply couldn't function. I couldn't explain it to people.

"Why weren't you at school today?" 
"I was sick." 
"With what?" 
"I don't know." 

Some days I couldn't get out of bed, I had no energy to do anything, I had severe abdominal pain, many bathroom adventures (glamorous I know), muscle pain, brain fog, insomnia. I popped Advil or Tylenol like they were vitamins. On my worst days, I felt like I was dying. Like my organs were literally shutting down. That sounds extreme, but those of you who have dealt with the same thing know that's the only way to explain it!

At the time, I was being treated for severe depression. This was 100% legit. I was involved in self destructive behaviors and there were some life circumstances that I was just plain not handling well. I take full responsibility for my own choices during that time and can't blame them on anything or anyone else. I thought that my sickness was because I was so depressed. And there is legitimacy to that. Depression does certainly have physical effects.

"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." -Proverbs 17:22

I did have a crushed spirit and I was in a desperate place on every level. However, now that I understand celiac disease and food allergies, I realize how much those things fed into the depression I was facing. I wouldn't go as far as to say that they caused it, because like I said, I wasn't handling my circumstances well. But, had I been aware of what was happening to my physical body, it would have changed everything.

Getting Answers


During college, my symptoms were a little better for a time and I was able to function through them. Truthfully, I just thought I caught the stomach bug often! I married the love of my life at age 23. Around that time, my abdominal pains worsened and I had all sorts of tests: ultrasounds, blood work, xrays. Everything kept coming back with normal results (which I'm grateful for, but I was frustrated by the lack of answers!). Longer story short, I found out that I had a dairy allergy, which you can read about in more detail here. 

After my pregnancy with my daughter, my recovery was brutal. Part of that was because we were unknowingly drinking contaminated water, which you can read about here.  Six months later, the dizziness, nausea, and exhaustion was ending from our water recovery but something else was happening. I had constant fatigue. It was a different tired. My muscles and joints were achy. I was always bloated (a symptom that had stuck with me since the 5th grade). I don't know why it occurred to me, but I thought "maybe I have a wheat allergy."  My doctor at the time suggested I take wheat out of my diet for 30 days to see how my body would react once it was re-entered into my diet. (I wish I had known at the time to ask to be tested for celiac disease. Once you remove gluten from your diet, it's more difficult for celiac to be confirmed. At the time, I was thinking it was just wheat my body was reacting to and I didn't know anything about gluten or celiac disease.)


After wheat was out of my system for 30 days, I ate a bagel. It took about one minute for my body to react. My stomach bloated out 2 inches (I looked 7 months preggo), I got incredibly tired, my muscles and joints began to ache, and I felt extremely dizzy. Over the course of the next few months, I became aware that it was more than just wheat that was aggravating my system and so I removed gluten from my diet in 2013. In 2016, a genetic test confirmed celiac disease. 


Healing


Eating Dairy and Gluten free has completely changed my health. I've always been told "eat a healthy diet and exercise." That's all great and true but a healthy diet for my husband may include a piece of whole wheat toast where that would just about kill me and the effects of that would linger for weeks to a month! Becoming aware of what a healthy diet looks like for me has given me my life back. Though it took a long time for me to discover that food could be my medicine, I'm grateful that it didn't take any longer! 

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." -Romans 8:28

Current Adventures


As of August of 2016, I had been gluten free for 3 years but I began experiencing some new symptoms and more frequent flare ups of old symptoms. A genetic test confirmed celiac disease and a biopsy showed a mild case of colitis. Autoimmune disease is often genetic, and so these findings were not surprising to me. 

At this point, I'm still in the midst of testing to find out what is causing some of my current symptoms. I'm working to manage those symptoms and learning which foods trigger flare ups. So far, I've narrowed it down to: Dairy & Gluten (as previously mentioned), yeast, chocolate (unless it's cacao powder), corn & corn syrup, maltodextrin, and refined sugar.  All of the recipes I create & post on this blog are free of these things! I'll be sure to update here as I learn more. All of this has prompted me to learn to use food as medicine. 


For You


Why am I telling you all of this? I want to give you hope. Maybe you can relate to something in my story, or you know someone who has had a similar health adventure, and you want to know how you can be a support to them. There's something powerful about community, isn't there? Knowing that you're not entirely alone in what you're facing can make a big difference. 

I'm convinced that a lot of our chronic health problems that we spend thousands of dollars seeking treatment for, can be treated with food. I'm not saying that everything can be cured (certainly not!), but I am saying that viewing food as medicine can greatly improve the symptoms of any illness. This is certainly true in my own life! Changing my eating habits has changed my life. This is an ongoing adventure for me, but that's why I started this blog. I wanted motivation to create recipes that I could enjoy and to connect with a community of people that face similar things. 


Comment below and tell me a little bit about your story! How have celiac disease, other autoimmune diseases, or food allergies affected you or those close to you?









*Disclaimer: This is not meant to be anything other than my personal story. I'm telling it with the hope that if you can relate in any way, it will be an encouragement to you! Depression, auto immune disease, and food allergies effect each individual very differently. While I do think depression and food allergies can be as intertwined as they have been in my own life,  I realize it may be different for someone else. It is always important to treat the root of the issues physically, emotionally, and spiritually.