Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Antibiotics Perspective

If you can manage, try not to take antibiotics.  It's better for your immune system to fight off infection by itself.  I have heard it explained like this: when we take antibiotics for every sickness, we are trading the long term benefit of a healthy immune system for the short term benefit of feeling better "today".  You should be able to manage avoiding antibiotics generally if you eat well, sleep well, and make your health a priority.  

For example, I have daily: fermented cod liver oil, raw B vitamin complex, 5-HTP, maca root, local and pastured eggs, raw and whole milk, Kerrygold butter, fresh produce, lacto-fermented veggies (pickles, carrots, sauerkraut), raw cheese, kefir water, kvass, and some kind of pastured or grass-fed meat.

But sometimes you can't keep your immune system up, no matter your attention to diet, exercise, stress and sleep.  And sometimes it doesn't matter how many probiotics you take or eat, it's not enough to fight off infection.  I eat very well, and I make sleep and health a priority.  But I still got VERY sick over the weekend.

I try to always remind myself that there are many variables at play when it comes to optimum health.  Environmental toxins around me that can take their toll, from plastics to pollution.  Generations of family before me ate margarine, Crisco, lots of vegetable oils (canola, safflower, soybean), battery chickens, white flour, white sugar, CAFO beef and pork, and believed that saturated fat was "bad".  The last two or three generations have been fed these kinds of lies for years now.

I had been taking care of a sick M for 5 days when I got sick.  Couple that with my recent hormone, adrenal, and thyroid issues, and being a little more stressed than usual by making pies and such for Thanksgiving, and I came down with a sore throat.

That sore throat was brutal, but I fought it off after three days.  I felt better for several hours, but that night I came down with a very painful ear infection, with a bit of hearing loss, and tender mastoid bones (behind the ear).  I fought that off after a day or so, but then I relapsed again with renewed throat pain, and now two sore ears with hearing loss and a LOT of pressure and pain in the mastoid area.  Here I was on day five, backsliding and in as much pain as when I was in labor with E.

Full disclosure, I was mad that I couldn't fight this off.  I had done everything I could think of to combat my sickness.  I went to bed early, I took care of my stress levels, I used my neti pot three times a day, I drank mullein tea, I drank fenugreek tea, I put coconut oil in my ears, I gargled with salt water three times a day, I took Emergen-C, I took extra cod liver oil, vitamin C, B complex, maca root, zinc, I drank extra kefir and water, I washed my hands and took warm showers.  But it wasn't enough.  I almost fought it off twice, but it wasn't quite enough.

I admit that I cried quite a few times as I waited for my pain relievers to kick in on Sunday, and hoped I would make it to Monday and feel a miraculous change.  Instead, I was up all night in pain waiting to go to the doctor at the crack of dawn to break down and beg for antibiotics and narcotics.  Yes, it was that bad.

So I did.  By the time I got my hands on antibiotics, pseudoephedrine (yes, it was that bad), and acetaminophen with codeine (again, yes, it was THAT bad), I was still unable to move for about 8 hours after taking my first dose.  Every time I moved my head would throb and I would weep from how painful it was.  My saint of a MIL came over to clean my kitchen, make us dinner, and take M to the doctor (he was diagnosed with strep throat and had also started to backslide like I was.)  We were a sorry lot yesterday.

Antibiotics are truly amazing.  I am a different person today than I would have been without them.  I could have been hospitalized if I didn't get this infection under control.  Keep that in mind when you try to avoid antibiotics, and don't take it too far.  Sometimes your body loses the battle, and you need a little help.  Just make sure to have lots of probiotic food during and after your round of antibiotics.  I am eating a lot of naturally fermented pickles, and drinking the juice to boot!  I am also trying to drink lots of of kvass and kefir, more than I usually do.

I feel so much better, and I'm happy to have the wisdom of both modern medicine and the traditional, whole foods of my ancestors.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Real Jumbleberry Pie

I made my sprouted flour pie crusts last week, the recipe is here.  I pulled some out of the freezer this morning, rolled them out and made my favorite pie: jumbleberry.  Enjoy!

Jumbleberry Pie Filling

Mix together:
5 cups of berries--I eyeballed equal amounts of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries
3/4 cup rapadura (or Sucanat, maple sugar, palm sugar)
1/3 cup sprouted wheat flour
2 tsp. lemon zest (optional) (I forgot this)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. When ready to roll out, pull ONE flattened ball out of fridge and roll on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin. Have your pie dish ready so you can properly estimate how large to roll your dough. When dough round is the right size, use your rolling pin to move it by rolling your dough around the rolling pin like a scroll and gently transferring it to unroll over the dish. Ease it into the dish and press down flush.
2. Pour filling into pie. Set aside.
3. Take out remaining ball of pie dough from fridge. Roll out on a floured surface, not as big as the last round since it only needs to be on top of the pie. Transfer over to filled pie. Press edges together with fingers. Cut excess off of edges of pie with a sharp knife. Press edges again with a fork, dipped in a little flour if sticking to pie dough edge. Poke decorative holes into top of pie with sharp knife. Brush entire top of pie with whole milk. Sprinkle with coarse sugar (I used a little turbinado sugar I am trying to get rid of; you could use rapadura, but it would look darker). Cover edges with foil to prevent over-browning.
4. Bake for 25-50 minutes, longer for frozen berries. Then remove foil and let bake completely uncovered for another 20-30 minutes or so until the pie looks perfectly brown. Cool on a wire rack.
(Serve with real whipped cream sweetened with rapadura, or homemade vanilla ice cream made with raw milk and raw cream. Yum!!!)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pie Crust

It's that time of year to make pie!  Complete with rapadura instead of sugar and sprouted wheat flour instead of white flour, this pie crust is a hit among the my family, even those not avoiding sugar or white flour. 

I say this is a nourishing pie because if you buy grass-fed butter (like Kerrygold) it is full of vitamin K2. You can google vitamin K2 and get a lot of information about it, but I like these two links here (basic K2 info) and here (list of vitamin K2-rich foods).

The rapadura is full of nutrients because it is the only form of sugar processed without ever being separated from the molasses. It is considered a whole food.

Sprouted flour is neutralized of it's phytic acid, so you can absorb all the good trace elements in the grain like calcium, magnesium, etc. You can buy sprouted flour or make your own.

Double Pie Crust

3 cups sprouted wheat flour
3 and 1/4 sticks (26 Tablespoons) of grass-fed butter, cut into small pieces, very cold, preferably straight from the fridge
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons rapadura (or Sucanat, maple sugar, palm sugar)
3/4 cup ice water

1. Make pie dough: Mix flour, salt and sugar with a whisk in a bowl to sift.
2. Take butter out of the fridge and sprinkle small pieces over flour mixture. Using a combination of a pastry cutter and your hands (or just your hands), cut in the butter until the crumbs are between the size of peas and olives. You can also use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or a food processor.  Add ice water a little at a time, blending with your hands, until the dough comes together.
3. Lay out two pieces of plastic wrap and put half of your pie dough on each. Using your hands and the plastic wrap, form each pile into a ball, then flatten into a disk and wrap up tightly. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Or, store in the freezer up to a month.  To use, transfer to the refrigerator a few hours before you want to roll it out and use it.

Vote NO on S. 510

The FDA already wields too much power.  In theory, they could use that power to protect our rights to good, whole, raw, local, organic, traditional foods.  Instead, they let the money talk. They support the interests of Monsanto and other huge companies who tend to screw up basic foods like meat and eggs.  Remember all those meat recalls?  Remember when that dirty-egg company got away with dangerous safety standards?  We, as consumers, pay the price.

The FDA should be protecting our interests, but they do not.  Don't be fooled by their doublespeak as they talk about "food safety".  We know the truth.  When we can talk to the farmers we buy food from, we have control over what we put into our bodies.  If that option is taken away, we have no choice but to wonder if the eggs at the supermarket are dangerous.  We don't know where they came from, and the FDA has shown no interest in making sure large food corporations pay the price for their bad food.

Urge your senators to vote NO on S. 510.  Urge your state representatives to vote NO on S. 510.

If this bill passes, your local foods sources will be hit.  Have you noticed that the real food movement has been gaining momentum?  We consumers have been demanding better food.  We have been demanding to know where it comes from, and if good practices are in place.  Don't let the FDA take that from us.  It's our right. It will only take a few minutes to write a small paragraph or two to your state senators and representatives.  We will rise up!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lunch: Green Salad w/ Leftover Chicken, Tomato, Onion, Kefir

I didn't get hungry for lunch until nearly noon, and then I was busy so I didn't take my coconut oil until closer to one.  Then I made this salad, poured my kefir, and by then I wasn't starving anymore.  I ate my salad calmly and now I sit here satiated but with fewer calories in my belly than usual.  I hope this works and I start losing some pounds again.

Coconut Oil: 2 tablespoons taken in hot water with squeeze of orange.

  • 2 cups greens, 1/2 cup leftover shredded chicken, one diced tomato, 1/4 - 1/2 diced onion, 2 tablespoons Basic Salad Dressing
  • 1 cup strawberry water kefir

Water Kefir

Water Kefir
1 package hydrated kefir grains
1/2 cup organic sugar
1-2 tablespoons molasses
1 pastured egg shell, rinsed clean
1 cup diced fruit

Note: do not use tap water, it will kill your kefir grains; do not use Brita water, it doesn't remove flouride and other toxins that can kill your kefir grains

1. Fill a half gallon glass jar with filtered water.  Now pour a little of the water out into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and add sugar to boiling water, stirring until sugar dissolves, and then pour sugar-water back into the jar to fill it up again.  
2. Add molasses to the jar of water and stir with a wooden spoon to mix in.  Gently add water kefir grains and egg shell.
3. Cover with a dish towel or cheesecloth to keep out dust and bugs and so the kefir can breathe.
4.  Let sit on the counter for 1-2 days.  Then, pour contents through a strainer into a new jar.  Discard egg shell.  Reuse kefir grains for your next batch.
5.  With the strained kefir in the new jar, you can now choose a fruit to flavor the kefir.  I like using strawberries.  Add diced fruit to kefir jar, cover again, and let sit at room temperature for 1 more day.
6.  Remove cover and replace with a screw top lid.  Leave at room temperature for a couple of hours to build up fizziness.  Place in refrigerator to stop the fermentation process.

Breakfast: Fried Egg, Bacon, Orange, Milk

In my previous post I mentioned that I haven't been losing weight the last few weeks. The recipes I have posted from Eat Fat, Lose Fat so far on k-land have been Phase 1 recipes, so today I am starting to post Phase 2 recipes.  Breakfast isn't so much a recipe as a list of foods.

Coconut Oil and FCLO (taken 20 minutes before breakfast): 2 tablespoons coconut oil taken in hot water and a squeeze of orange, and 2 capsules fermented cod liver oil.

  • 1 fried egg
  • 2 slices nitrate-free, pastured bacon (Trader Joe's carries uncured (nitrate-free) Niman Ranch (pastured) bacon for $4.69/12 oz.--it's the best deal I have found)
  • 1/2 grapefruit w/ Coconut Sprinkles (I had a plain orange instead)
  • one cup raw, whole milk
I was worried that I would be hungry and grouchy after eating less in the morning, but this has been a pretty good breakfast.  I wasn't feeling hungry until about noon, so that was a nice surprise.

(I did end up being grumpy, but that is more to do with my crazy morning.  I drove all over the place to get R somewhere and then to work, pick up my Azure Standard order that was a day late due to truck trouble, and pick up raw milk, all while getting M to and from school on time.  Argh!)

Moving to Phase 2

Phase 2 recipes in Eat Fat, Lost Fat are slightly lower in calories, but still offer nutrients and healthy fats.  Since I have plateaued and even gained a pound or two the last couple of weeks, I have decided that it is time.  Phase 1 didn't cut it, so Phase 2 here I come!  I will NOT be keeping this baby weight on any more, I'm done.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lunch: Green Salad w/ Chicken, Strawberries, Milk

I haven't posted any recipes lately, because I have been recycling through many of them I have already posted here.  But today I can put up my lunch because it was so easy.  I'll get around to posting last night's roast chicken over onions and potatoes later :)

Coconut Oil and FCLO: two tablespoons taken melted in hot water and lemon, two capsules fermented cod liver oil (because I forgot at breakfast!)

  • Leftover Vegetable Soup (will post recipe tomorrow)
  • Green Salad with Leftover Roast Chicken, shredded raw cheddar, celery, carrots, and Homemade Basic Dressing
  • Handful of strawberries
  • Beet Kvass
  • Raw Milk
Green Salad w/ Leftover Chicken
serves one
handful salad greens
one carrot, peeled and sliced
one rib celery, sliced
leftover chicken, shredded
handful shredded cheese
Basic Salad Dressing

1. Layer in a bowl: greens, carrots and celery, chicken, cheese, dressing.  Salad for one, real food style!

Beet Kvass

Beet Kvass
2-4 beets, peeled, and cut in a large dice
1/4 cup whey
1 tablespoon sea salt

1. Place beets into a half gallon glass jar.  They should fill the jar about 1/3 of the way up.  Add whey and salt.  Add water to fill the jar.  
2.  Cover with a cloth to keep bugs and dust out, leave at room temperature for 2 days.  
3.  Using a strainer, remove diced beets from kvass.  Then using a screw top lid, transfer to the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process.

Basic Salad Dressing

Basic Salad Dressing

1 cup olive oil (I use Chaffin Family Farms from CA, it's very mild and buttery)
1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg's)
1 teaspoon onion powder
2-3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sea salt (I use Celtic Grey Sea Salt)

1.  Add ingredients in order to a jar or salad dressing shaker.  Shake together to emulsify and pour over salads.  Store in the refrigerator.

Rogue Cinema: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I am crazy about this new website called Doves & Serpents.  The pictures and posts are beautiful and thoughtful.  The writers are amazing, and the comments are always fun to read.  I love it over there!

I especially love their Rogue Cinema column on Fridays.  A movie schedule is up so that you can watch a film every Friday and then read and comment on the film's review.  I suggested we watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in comments, one of my favorite films of all time.  Lo and behold, I was asked to write the review myself.  How exciting!

Yesterday I finished my contribution, and this morning it went up officially.  I love cultivating my writing this way.  It's fun, and I push myself at the same time.

You can read my review here: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  Please go comment so I don't go crazy wondering why no one is commenting :D

Monday, November 08, 2010

Real Food Media Keeps Getting Hacked

I usually have a Real Food Media widget over on the right sidebar of my blog.  But this morning I was told to take it down because hackers have attacked Real Food Media for the fourth time in the last few weeks.  Ann Marie over at CHEESESLAVE is the major force behind the Real Food Media machine.  I really feel for her as she has been dealing with this the last several weeks.  The real food movement won't be derailed, we will keep going.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Pumpkin Cake with Sweetened Cream and Chopped Hazelnuts

I made this pumpkin cake last Tuesday, because I just HAD to have something pumpkiny.  It fit the bill!

Pumpkin Cake

2 sticks unsalted grass-fed butter, softened, plus more for baking dish
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon (non-aluminum) baking powder
1 teaspoon (non-aluminum) baking soda
2 cups whole cane sugar (or other whole sweetener like palm sugar, coconut sugar, maple sugar, etc.)
4 large pastured eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree 
1 cup warmed milk

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a large 9 X 13 pan, then flour the pan with more sprouted flour and tap out excess.  (You could also use two round cake pans, or two square cake pans.)  Set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda using a whisk.  Set aside.
3.  Place softened 1 cup of butter in a bowl of a stand mixer.  Add sugar and mix on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add pumpkin puree and milk.  Mix in reserved dry ingredients on low.  Mix until just combined.
4.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean, about 55-60 minutes.  Place cake on cooking rack and let rest 20 minutes.  
5.  Serve with whipped cream sweetened with a little rapadura or stevia powder (make sure your stevia powder is green; if it's white it is too processed), and a sprinkling of soaked, dehydrated, roasted and chopped hazelnuts.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (Homemade Nutella-type Spread!)

Okay, so I have wanted to make chocolate hazelnut spread for a long time.  I don't like that Nutella has sugar in it, nor milk powder and soy lecithin.  Plus, I like soaking my nuts before I eat them, that way the enzyme inhibitors are neutralized and they are much easier to digest.

Soaked, Dehydrated, and Roasted Hazelnuts

4 cups raw, organic hazelnuts
sea salt
filtered water

1.  Get out a large glass jar and fill halfway with filtered water.  Add 2 tablespoons sea salt and stir with a wooden spoon.  Add hazelnuts and cover with a cloth or coffee filter.  Let sit at room temperature overnight.
2.  The next day, pour out water and put hazelnuts onto a baking sheet or dehydrator sheet.  If using a dehydrator, dry at low heat, less than 150 degrees.  You can do this in the oven if you oven will set a temperature that low.  Or you can set it as low as possible and open the oven every now and then to let the temperature drop.  Dehydrate either way for 12 hours or more, until the nuts are nice and dry and crisp.  How do you know they're done?  Taste one!

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

2 cups (soaked, dehydrated, and roasted) hazelnuts, cooled
1/2 cup raw honey
1/3 cup organic cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon Homemade vanilla
1 teaspoon coffee liqueur (I used Kahlua)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, gently melted (I used expeller-pressed so there is no coconut flavor)

1.  Place hazelnuts, honey, cocoa powder, vanilla, coffee liqueur, and sea salt to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Then turn on the processor and add melted coconut oil in a slow, steady stream.  Add more or less coconut oil depending on the consistency you want.  Serve.