Friday, July 26, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Yes!  Chocolate Chip Cookies!  On our journey to health we have discovered chocolate chip cookies.  This recipe by Healy Real Food Vegetarian is simply DELISH and, dare I say, "healthy"!   :)

Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookies: 12-16 cookies

1 cup almond flour (if you want to make your own she tells you how here, so easy!) 

1/3 cup coconut flour 
3/4 cup coconut sugar (we don't have any coconut sugar and have been using sucanat with good results.  Going to start using less and see how they turn out as well.)
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/4 tsp salt (we use Pink Himalayan salt)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 pastured eggs
3/4 cup chocolate chips  (our choice for chocolate)

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
Combine all ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in mixer and mix well.
Carefully add and fold in the chocolate chips with a spoon.
Using a small scoop(we use this scoop) place dough on cookie sheet (we use stones)
Bake 10-15 minutes.  (Our cookies tended to be too soft at 10 minutes)
Also delicious, adding a few handful of organic walnuts to the dough - yummy crunch! 
We have been baking gluten free for eight years and have tried dozens of recipes and these cookies are seriously delicious, soft, one of the best recipes we have ever tried, and did I mention yummy!?  To see her original post and plenty of other wonderful grain free recipes pop over to Healy Real Food Vegetarian.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

It's a Journey!

Our daily journey towards complete health is just that, a journey-full of ups and downs, twists and turns, detours, road blocks, accidents, changed routes, and delightful side trips.  As I've said before we have always been in a state of flux, up and down, about our health, where we think we should be regarding our health, and even what we feel "being healthy" really means.   Two weeks ago it was suggested to my husband that he begin a strict diet to combat Adrenal Fatigue following a month of fighting with sleeplessness, inability to eat, function, or sleep well.

This "diet" wasn't crazy, it wasn't even weird, it was simply.....real.  So, at our wits end for how to deal with my hubby's declining health we took on this new "diet" and two weeks ago we began to eat more like GOD intended, or created us to eat.  We have a long way to go in getting this "right", but WOW the changes that have occurred in just a couple short weeks!

*Our family as a whole is sleeping better (once we convince the boys that it is indeed time to rest and they do NOT need another drink of water) and waking up refreshed in the morning.

*Our kitchen has NEVER seen so much activity.

*Our energy levels are rising and we are able to take on our days as opposed to our days draining us by mid afternoon.

*Dearest hubby of mine has gone from being a Mt. Dew/ Mellow Yellow junkie to being soda free.

*I have traded my 20 year daily organic black coffee habit for water and Teeccino.  (Here's a few reasons why we have chosen to quit the caffeine habit cold turkey.)

*Our littles are learning to truly appreciate a wide variety of good healthy foods.

*We are truly enjoying the delightful findings we glean from our garden everyday for our meals. (As well as storing up the extras for winter time use.)

*That evil scale in the bathroom, that is always reading a higher number than I want it's steadily getting closer to the numbers I want to see.  Ten pounds closer in just two weeks!

All these wonderful, healthy, delightful changes have come about simply by making wise, good, food decisions.  Our breakfasts consist of either an omelet of some sort or grain free pancakes and a drink of water or homemade lemonade or orange juice.  Lunches and Suppers include a meat (grass fed beef, free range chickens, or wild fish) and an assortment of fresh or frozen veggies along with a drink of water or homemade lemonade.  Snacks throughout our day include fresh fruits, raw nuts (no peanuts), and occasionally a grain free cookie.

I've mentioned what we DO eat first because that's what is truly important and really quite simply.  By making the commitment and decision to only eat real, whole foods, we are cutting out any processed, fake foods that effect our bodies negatively.  My husband is completely gluten intolerant and our whole family has been "mostly gluten free" for a year now and we have only seen minimal changes in our health and well being from our "change in diet".  But there is a reason for that, "gluten free" has become a big business, a popular fad and/or lifestyle and many, MANY companies have jumped in the gluten free pool.  This has made it very easy to eat the same exact processed foods that are available to those who are gluten tolerant.  Granted, quite often the quality of the gluten free foods may be slightly superior to the name brands, as many gluten free companies tend to carry organic and/or gmo free certifications.  But in the end, processed food is still processed food and every processing step creates a food that is further and further away from what your body recognizes and can utilize.    

By cutting out ALL processed foods, all soy products, all vegetable oils (we use coconut oil, olive oil, and raw butter), all grains, all processed sugars, and sparingly using potatoes, corn, and other starchy veggies we are transforming our family's health and are thrilled with the complete results!  This is truly a lifestyle, and a journey that is making serious changes to our family's life and future.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Long ago, as a young fifth grader in a small private school I have recollections of churning butter one afternoon as a school project of some sort.  I vaguely remember it, lots of cranking on a handle connected to a glass jar.  Seems the project was "supposed" to provide butter for a school dinner that night-I'm pretty sure there were sticks of butter on the tables for the dinner. ;)

When we found and started buying whole raw milk I was excited to be able to buy a nice quart of fresh whole, raw cream.  At first my goal was to simply make homemade whipped cream (which I've done for years using "heavy cream" from the grocery).  As I looked at the quart jug of cream I decided we really didn't need THAT much whipped cream and the boys and I decided we should make some homemade butter!  How hard could it be? :)    So, after much research across the internet, I settled on The Healthy Home Economist as my model for making our own butter here at home.  (She also has a ton of wonderful information, tutorials, etc... on her blog for healthy homes and family).

Her video is very well done and it really is as easy as she portrays in her video.  The boys and I enjoyed making the butter-though they did get a little bored as the kitchenaid whirred away, maybe next time I'll have them churn it by hand. ;)
My two little butter churning helpers

Watching the Kitchenaid make short work of the process

Little H really wanted to see what all the excitement was about
(yes, it is perfectly normal for her to have one sock on and one sock off :p ).

Taking a peek to see how the cream is firming up

Turning yellow and really separating the fats out

Ready to scrape it out into the muslim and give it a squeeze

Our finished product, a delicious bowl of fresh churned, home made butter!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Independence: Take yourself out of their equation.

Just this morning I was letting my mind muddle over the crazy stats and scary truths of modern medicine and it finally hit me, We don't have to be a part of their equation.  It struck me as ironic as I thought about our goals to not be a statistic of modern medicine, we are coming up on our great country's celebration of its own Independence this week.

Our journey towards health began about eight years ago.  I had just had a very early miscarriage and was on a quest to be healthier.  My almost 90 year old grandmother was thrilled to have a compatriot along for the health ride and someone to help her find information and resources on the "inTOREnet", as she referred to the internet.  Grandmother was the healthiest person I knew and she was determined to find her way through all the swirling health and nature claims screaming from every corner and aisle at the grocery.  So off we went, buying only steel cut oatmeal, using the wholest of the whole grain breads.  Grandmother loved to forage for her greens and was the best gardener I have ever known, growing every vegetable she ever wanted.  Me?  At that point I hardly had a drop of gardening blood flowing through me, so I did my best to feed my husband and I mostly organic foods from the grocery and to refrain from processed foods as much as possible.

Then my husband began to get sick, often.  Bronchitis, Pneumonia, horrid, horrid coughing spells.  At a friend's suggestion we went to a "natural leaning doctor" and was asked to give a gluten free diet a try and see if he was gluten intolerant.  Bingo, a gluten free diet and things improved.  Looking back we laugh now that in my quest for health I was filling him with all kinds of whole grains that would aggravate his gut.  Unfortunately simply cutting gluten out of his diet did not "fix" everything.  He still struggled with endless coughing at night, ended up in the hospital a few times with desperately low oxygen levels, pneumonia, and multiple asthma scares and was put on a preventative asthma regime.

We kept researching true health, we added two sweet boys to our family, and went up and down in regards to our extent of healthy living.  Then almost two years ago my husband informed me that I was pregnant.  Well, THAT wasn't supposed to happen. ;)  Regardless, we accepted our extra little blessing and along with it, the mothering instinct in me to be healthier again.  Throughout my pregnancy, our awesome midwife encouraged me to research the Paleo lifestyle, which I did and was very intrigued and interested in the science and information Wolfe presented. Then at 37 weeks exactly, at a routine prenatal visit my blood pressure sky rocketed, and my midwife asked to observe me overnight.  Pre-eclampsia? Me?  I had never had high blood pressure in my life.  This resulted in an induction and our wee little 4 lb 14 oz baby girl came quickly 3 weeks early.

As we adjusted to being a family of five, my brain was in rebellion, horrified that my health was amiss and I started researching and looking to find answers.  Along with a goal to get my health back in line and to keep my husband out of the hospital with asthma and lung related issues, we wanted our little girl to have the best, healthiest, cleanest start to life.  Enter a pediatrics office that simply did not agree with our wishes and desires for our baby girl or our growing boys, and our desire for true health began to burn even more and we began our walk away from modern medicine, well baby visits, and non-critical care.

We have been blessed to have found amazing support in facebook groups, local health coaches, friends, and a tremendous chiropractic office that concentrates on healing our family's entire bodies as opposed to the modern, pharmaceutical mayhem that is today's medical profession.  As I look back over the last eight years and the ups and downs and round and rounds of what we have perceived as "healthy" or wise choices and I sway from outright laughing at myself to crying as I remember some crazy ideas I followed as well as medical or health choices that I wish we could undo.

But in the here and now, the reality is, that our health is ours.  Ours to take care of.  Ours to decide to care for wisely.  From the foods we put IN our bodies, to the products we use ON our bodies, and what we allow to be done TO our bodies-the decisions are ours, as are the rewards or consequences--INDEPENDENCE.