REAL food

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Since the origin of this blog, I have gotten questions from several readers asking me what I value most (about natural living) and what I’d suggest as a jumping off place to someone who wants to make some changes but feels overwhelmed with where to start.

First, let me emphasize that my motivation for natural living came from our struggle with infertility.  It was the driving force for MANY changes, but most importantly diet.

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The definition of food to me five years ago was VERY different than my definition of food today.  Five years ago, I loved anything processed (pasta, pizza, cereal, etc) and lots of dairy.  Today, I only eat whole foods (and sadly, no dairy).  I choose not to buy anything processed.  REAL food is medicine.  Man made food/factory produced food is the opposite.

Let me back up by saying that I am a Christian.  I believe God called us to care for the land and the people around us.  What you buy is voting for the farmer or factory who produced the food.  Do you want to support the farmer who cares lovingly for his animals, allowing them to roam free on pasture and see the sun, or the farmer who is looking at the bottom dollar. Do you want to eat the chicken who roams free and sees sun or the chicken who is being squashed into a building too many other chickens, never seeing the light of day?  I choose to support local farmers who treat the land and animals with love.  The result of such passion and old fashion agricultural practices is food that is way more nourishing than the other.  The taste is better too. Same goes for produce.  Do you want to eat an apple covered in pesticide over one that’s used natural farming practices to deter pests? I prefer the clean apple and supporting that orchard that has produced the organic apple.  Our air and bodies can thank these farmers for not polluting our air, our soil, or our bodies with these known poisons.

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There are a lot of ways to look at the food you are buying.

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As for produce, I try to buy organic whenever possible.  If it’s an item not on the dirty dozen list or a high pesticide crop; its ok to skip the organic BUT make sure it’s not GMO (the produce code starts with an 8 for GMO produce).

I buy grassfed beef and pastured poultry from local farmers.  You can buy 1/4 of a cow for a great price in this area (Lancaster County, PA).

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I buy eggs from local farms that have not been pasteurized.  I look for soy free and organic.  During the summer I pay $2.75/dozen.  Lately I pay $5/dozen for eggs that have bright orange yolks.  To me, it’s worth it.  Some people buy starbucks coffee; I buy eggs.  It comes back to what you value.  The nutrients in the egg yolks far outweigh the coffee in my opinion.   (I like coffee)

If you eat grains or nuts, look into how to properly prepare them on the Weston A Price website or the Nourishing Traditions book.

As for fish: my verdict is still out due to all the recent ocean disasters.

As for water, I feel it’s important to invest in a good water filter.  Choose one that filters out fluoride, lead, chlorine, etc.  (Options: Berkey, Crystal Quest )

My journey into whole foods has been gradual.  It can be overwhelming to think about all the changes that need to be made.  Each of us is on a journey.  REAL food is a good place to start pursuing all things natural.  It’s still a journey I’m pursuing and growing in.  Being on the GAPS diet, I make everything.  It’s exhausting, but it’s worth it.

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Remedies for Coughs

My daughter has had a cough for several weeks.  Thankfully, it’s almost gone now.  When it first started, I worried it could turn to pneumonia.  Right before Christmas she had a fever, was wheezing, and coughing up mucus; so I decided to take her to the doctor to make sure it hadn’t turned to pneumonia (they listen for crackle sounds).  Thankfully, it hadn’t.  I am pretty proactive with giving her natural remedies as soon as symptoms arise.

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The most effective remedies I’ve used and have seen results:

Garlic Oil : crush garlic (use a garlic press if you have one) and put it in olive oil, let sit a few minutes and then rub oil on the soles of feet and or chest.  I do this three times a day when things are really bad.  Garlic is a great antiviral and antibiotic!  It helps reduce fevers and clears up ear infections!

Do Terra’s Breathe Blend/Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Put 4 drops in a bath or in an oil (jojoba, olive, coconut, etc-whatever your preference) and rub on chest or soles of feet.  I add a few drops to the humidifier too.

Slippery Elm Tea: I mix the powder with warm water or juice.

Elderberry Syrup

To prevent coughs from turning into pneumonia, create an environment with lots of humidity to loosen mucus (run shower while taking a bath) and do percussion tapping (basically tap back and chest).

*Again, I’m not a doctor; but these are things that have helped our family.  Only you can decide how to treat your family*

GAPS intro is harder then I anticipated.

From someone who was already grain free, starch free, and unrefined sugar free, GAPS intro is still hard!  Grant it I likely had a lot of bad bacteria and yeast issues from years of antibiotics, etc; so my body is responding to the diet. (The lack of sugars, starches, and carbs are allowing the bad bacteria and yeast to die off.)

I took a whole capsule of bio kult probiotic this morning two or so hours before waking up for the day.  This was too much or too far away from taking food because the next time I got up, I could barely stand.  I literally crawled to the kitchen and made myself some carrot juice for instant fuel, took some fermented cod liver oil, and heated up some broth with some eggs.  Slightly improved but still weak, I stayed in bed all morning while my husband and little girl went to church.  At some point I tried getting up again and still had issues, so I went to the kitchen to grab ghee and honey.  I mixed them up and my body really enjoyed it, to the point I may have eaten too much.  I think my blood sugar was low and when I went to get up it felt like my blood pressure was low.  So, after another hour or so in bed, I tried getting up again. This time I felt so much better.  I made myself some lunch ( had a chicken boiling in the crock pot) and introduced some sauerkraut .  I skipped some parts of previous stages due to how I was feeling and my body was craving something new.  Mmmm. The combo of chicken and kraut was delicious.  While I had the energy, I decided to make some nut butter for another day.  I had a smidgen just to taste it.

I underestimated how low energy and sick feeling I would feel at times.  These are all cues to back off a little bit or eat something your body needs at the time. The gut and brain are so connected that I’m even having issues coping with things and being emotionally on edge.

I may end up going through intro a little faster now, or I may be content in the remaining stages due to the added variety of eggs, nut butter, fermented foods, etc.  for the most part I am on stage three, minus the carrot juice from this morning.

Im thankful to have a husband who is helping out today by taking care of Eby.

Day Two/Day Three of Gaps Intro: Stage Two

I underestimated how difficult GAPS intro is.  I have so many cravings for something sweet or starchy.  The reason the intro stage is so hard is that the bad bacteria is dying off from lack of sugars, starches, and carbs feeding them.  This stage is so important, so the good bacteria have a chance to repopulate with the introduction of fermented foods juice and probiotics.  Skip over the stage too quickly and you won’t have the healing you desire.

I’m physically exhausted, thirsty, irritable, and tired of chicken broth already.  I don’t have much patience.

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Yesterday, most of the food I ate were the leftovers from day one.  I did boil another chicken and make pulled chicken with carrot zucchini noodles for dinner.  I forgot to peel the zucchini, so that was GAPS intro illegal.

i have found that herbal gelatin really helps curb the cravings and hunger.  Here is the recipe I used:

http://kehoeskitchen.com/2013/05/01/peppermint-intro-jellies/#.UmF7nMu9KSM

You can use peppermint tea, chamomile, or ginger tea.  You can even add honey if you are finding you need something to help your blood sugar.

Basically the recipe is 1 1/3 c tea to 6 Tbsp gelatin.

I use Great Lakes grass fed pastured gelatin. http://amzn.to/19Ryshj

For the most part, I have been resting.  Last night I was abnormally tired, I wanted to crawl into bed at 7:30.

This morning I had meatballs for breakfast ( beef and chicken liver combined) that I made in the crockpot last night.  I made two pounds so I could freeze some for another day.  I also had a raw egg yolk in broth.

For lunch, Eby and I ate the leftover pulled chicken with some broth (with one raw egg yolk) and two spoonfuls of sauerkraut juice.

Right now I have beef broth going in one crockpot, and a roast boiling in the other.  We will probably have the roast with some carrots or carrot soup tonight.

I look forward to future stages, but I don’t want to rush through the stage just because Im tired of the food.  I want to do it right the first time so I don’t have to go on intro again.

Acne: My Journey with Cystic Acne

I didn’t struggle with acne till my second year of college.  My second year of college was full of stressful life events.  Between a misunderstood relationship to my grandfathers battle with cancer (and death) and two car accidents with both cars being totaled, my face was a telltale sign of my emotions and declining nutrition.

Below is a photo of my cystic acne at its worst on the left.   On the right is my face healed!

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In college and high school my diet consisted of a lot of processed foods, sugar, and dairy.   All of these foods are inflammatory, so they weren’t helping .

The mainstream approach is to go to a dermatologist when you have acne.  I dId this.  I did a course of antibiotics for 6 or more months, differin gel, clindamyacin, and birth control.  All of these things worked toward covering up the acne, but failed to get to the root of the cause.  Anytime I stopped a treatment, my acne would come back.  Not to mention it never fully cleared up.  So, when I stopped birth control to prepare for baby making, my cystic acne returned.  It was a price I was willing to pay for having a baby, but that doesn’t mean it was not an emotional roller coaster.  I continued the creams until we started trying to conceive.  I didn’t feel comfortable using them as they were not safe to use during pregnancy.

Numerous times I had heard of people having success clearing up their acne eliminating dairy from their diet.  This sounded like an impossible feat, as I was a dairy addict!  I loved cheese, and milk, and yogurt, and ice cream!  Eliminating dairy seemed crazy to me.  Wasn’t dairy the only good source of calcium out there?

Fast forward to our two year stretch of infertility, I discovered dairy was also linked to PCOS.  So, acne and PCOS were both found to be helped by a dairy free life? I was officially motivated !

I also read about certain vitamin deficiencies being linked to acne and infertility.  A specific supplement came up in my online searches that had glowing reviews for acne sufferers, and the supplements were similar to the suggested fertility supplements.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001TJIYO/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0001TJIYO&linkCode=as2&tag=thepne-20

Between this supplement, going dairy free (and possibly gluten free), eliminating sugar for awhile, getting vitamin d (sunshine or d3), and lots of fresh pressed carrot juice, I am cystic acne free.  I still have scars, but I am working on those too.

Ive been using carrot seed oil to help my body heal the scars.  It’s also a really great natural sunscreen!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009I3C8P0/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B009I3C8P0&linkCode=as2&tag=thepne-20

Going dairy free is hard initially because dairy has an addictive quality to it (I forget the scientific reason).  However, clearly my body responds to dairy.  Anytime I try to reintroduce it (even grassfed raw milk) I get a cyst or two.  If my body is responding to it externally through my skin, what effect is it having me internally that I don’t see?  For me, it may be PCOS too.

I encourage you to try going dairy free for 6 weeks at a minimum to see if your acne improves.  What do you have to lose besides your acne!

There are plenty of other sources for calcium.  Don’t let that stop you.  And there are tons of dairy alternatives out there today!  I could do another post on dairy substitutes In the future if that interests any of you?