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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Thick Chocolate Milkshakes

Chocolate milk wasn't the first thing I missed when I went on GAPS, but my son does love them. I tweaked a recipe I found online and it was great. Way better than any Frijj (my families favourite brand).


So here's how to whip one up yourself:

You will need:

- 1 cup of raw milk/coconut milk (you could switch half for cream to make this really indulgent)
- A generous tablespoon of Chia Seeds (ground up unless you have a seriously good blender)
- 1 banana
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp cocao powder
- 1 vanilla pod scraped out

Blend it all together (with a little ice if you like), and let it sit for two mins. The chia seeds will soak up the milk and turn into a lovely thick shake during those two minutes, so it's important to give it that time.

Chia seed is really good for you and this is a great way to get it into your diet. Not only is it packed with omega 3 (more so than even salmon!), but it's an excellent source of calcium and protein. Their water retaining properties make them really gentle on your colon too. For more details about Chia seeds click here

Happy, healthy, milkshake making!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Kids say the darnedest things...

Just a little encouragement for those of you on GAPS...

Two days ago we were chatting to a lady who owns a juice bar in town. She was impressed with Will's ability to choose a probiotic ombar when there was a cake right next to it. He asked me if it was good for his body, I said yes, and he said 'great! I'll take this one please' and handed it to the cashier.

We got chatting about the diet (she'd heard of it as her brother is autistic, but hadn't tried it).

The exciting thing was, when asked by another customer who'd over heard 'do you like your special diet?' my four year olds response was...

'Yes. It helps me play better and helps me love my mummy and sister*'

I was so happy, as they are observations he's made himself (I told him this was food that would help him grow up healthy and strong), so he genuinely is feeling the difference.

I'm part of a Facebook group with some other people on GAPS too, and their kids are also saying some pretty exciting things.

A five year old said 'the food is changing me. I am myself now.'

An eight year old refers to before GAPS as 'the time when I couldn't control my thoughts and actions'.

Another friends three year old recently said 'when I eat good food I can hear peoples feelings'.

It really is worth it. Stick with it.

Does anybody else have any encouraging stories from their kids mouths?
*i'm pretty sure that sentence would have included daddy too, if he had been present...

Friday, 27 April 2012

Rain Rain Rain

It's raining heavily this week, and a lot of people are complaining about it. Apparently it always rains in England. Tell that to William.

In fact, William spent several weeks over the last year or so telling me that he will not go outside again until it rains.

I'm not scared of getting wet, my skin is mostly waterproof and when we lived in the lake district if you didn't go out in the rain you would never go out. I guess being born there Will just go used to it. He LOVES the rain. Especially heavy rain. And the rain we had today was heavy.
In fact, I haven't seen rain like it since we lived in Sedbergh, apart from when we went up there to visit in the summer. 

The problem is, Elisha was not born in Cumbria, and she does not like the rain one little bit.


Still, Will and I had a great time today. And until the weather is ready to be nice and sunny (and I mean sunny enough for me to get a nice tan) I will take rainy over grey any day. I'm thankful for dramatic, torrential, anything but boring, rain. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Veggie fudgey brownies

One of the things I love about GAPS is how it has released a creativity in me with regards to my cooking.

When you work with simpler ingredients, there really is a lot less to go wrong. My confidence has increased and I'm starting to not only tweak recipes, but have a go at creating new ones... With success!!


These brownies are one such success.



You will need:
1 cup butter
1 cup cocoa
9 eggs
1 1/2 cup honey
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup coconut flour
2 large courgettes
2 large carrots

First of all melt the butter and stir in the cocoa.
Leave to cool.
Grate the vegetables and stir into the chocolate butter.
Whisk together all the other ingredients really well, adding the coconut flour slowly to avoid lumps.
Stir in the chocolate/veggie batter.
Pour into a lined baking tray (I used my biggest roasting pan) and cook on 160c for 45-50 minutes (or until a skewer in the middle comes out clean.

We ate ours warm with sour cream on top and it was divine. I'm pretty sure they'd taste great cold too, but we couldn't wait that long.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Surprising things I've learned on GAPS

So we've been doing the GAPS diet for a while now and I've been surprised by so many things on the diet that I thought I'd share.

Firstly, and most surprisingly, I've found that we can afford to buy free range, organic food on a regular basis, and not only that - our grocery budget has gone DOWN. Crazy right? For so long I have put off buying free range meats and organic vegetables because it was too expensive. The reality is, that since we started eating these foods, the children (and myself) have been snacking a lot less between meals, and those snacks really added up. So whilst I spend a lot more on fruit, veg, meat and eggs than I ever did, we now spend nothing on crisps, bread, cordial/juice, biscuits, chocolate bars, and sweets. The net effect being that on the first month of GAPS our groceries cost only slightly more than normal. By month two, our grocery bill had dropped by nearly 15%.
Which brings me neatly to my next surprising discovery; I can lose weight on a high fat diet. I guess I hadn't been very honest with how much snacking I was doing, because not only has our grocery bill gone down, so has my weight. In fact I've lost nearly three stone now, in two weeks I lost so much that someone from church thought I was new, despite having spent weeks doing small group leader training with me! I am now steadily losing 1-1.5lbs a week - even though I eat full fat everything and don't hold back on the butter when cooking our vegetables (having cut out complex carbohydrates the children need the fats for energy).

My third surprising revelation was how fast we saw results. I know it's different for different people, but I was to see measurable results in myself and the children within just a few days. The detox period wasn't fun, but it only lasted two weeks (for me) and the children didn't seem to notice it (we haven't done intro, we just slowly weaned them onto the full diet). I had expected a lot of drama when we took away foods that weren't GAPS 'legal', but so long as I provided plenty of fresh fruit my children were happy to eat that and not complain about the lack of biscuits. We did have one incident at a toddler group when Lila lost it after someone gave her a biscuit and I took it away, but we had a picnic yesterday with friends from church who all ate crisps, biscuits and sandwiches in front of us and the children didn't bat an eye lid. They were happy to choose the healthier snacks.


Fourthly I've discovered how easy it is for me to cut out carbohydrates. No more getting up at 5:30am to bake bread (I can now spend that time studying or praying with my husband), no waiting for things to prove and I even got rid of the toaster, which has freed up enough space on my kitchen work surface to keep my tea chest out with all my lovely herbal teas in it. My children love the 'soup' I make (broth with some veg and chicken thrown in) and I generally don't have to think about meals any more. It's pretty much always meat and some vegetables. In fact breakfast is the most complicated meal of the day, because I use the juicer, which is a pain to clean. But often the kids are happy with water to go with their eggs or yoghurt, so I don't even have to do juice if I don't feel like it.

Finally I have been totally floored by how easy it was to explain to my four year old what we were doing and why. He has a keen interest in biology - especially anatomy and physiology. Having looked through some book and talked about bacteria that lives in our bodies and helps us break down food, he quickly accepted that some of his bacteria weren't the same as other peoples, and that meant that he couldn't eat some foods that other people managed quite happily. Previously he had been introduced to the idea of bacteria by the 'How My Body Works' series, which led to a phase of not letting people touch him (in case he got germs from them) but this time round he was much more balanced about it and could easily accept that not all bacteria are bad for him. He is particularly fond of homemade yoghurt now as it has 'yummy bacteria' in it.

And there's so much more to tell you all, but I'll save it for another post, another day.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Baked Banana Custard

Move over berries and yoghurt; forget about scrambled eggs - there's a new GAPS breakfast in town.

Meet banana baked custard.

This recipe is great because:
I) the kids love it
II) it's good for them

If you've read about GAPS at all, you'll know that eggs are one of Dr Campbell-McBrides favourite foods for patients. Full of great nutrients, and pair that with raw milk and you've got most of this recipe sorted.

If you can, steep the 5 cups of milk with two vanilla beans overnight. It's easy to do and adds so much more nourishment to your breakfast. Vanilla contains loads of lovely B-vitamins, which are great for GAPS patients but also calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron and zinc.

In the morning whisk together five pastured eggs (trust me it will make a HUGE difference to the colour, flavour and nutritional content - so get the best eggs you can) with a 1/4 cup of honey and the vanilla/milk mixture.

Pour into ramekins (reserving 10% of the mixture) and stand in a tray of water. Sprinkle with cinnamon and place in the oven for 30 mins at 170c.

After that time, slice bananas over the top, sprinkle with cinnamon, and pour the remaining mixture on top. Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon, turn the heat up to 180c and bake for a further 10 mins or until golden brown.

Trust me, it's delicious. I don't even like custard, but this was so yummy. And cinnamon adds a ton of health benefits too.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Marriage time

A few weeks ago my husband broke our bed.

I should probably clarify that he was jumping on the bed to try and grab a spider off the ceiling whilst I cowered on my dressing table shouting 'Kill it! Kill it!!'

Anyhow, this means that we got to buy a new bed and I chose this bad boy from Argos.
I promise they haven't paid me; this bed is awesome. So much easily accessible storage - I finally have clear surface spaces in my bedroom, as all my dress patterns and sewing paraphernalia is being neatly stored. And guess what? I still have two drawers and three shelves empty that I'm wandering what to fill with.

Building stuff together is one of my favourite marriage time projects. Marriage time for us I anything we do 'just us' - usually when the kids are in bed.

Building stuff (even from flat pack) is immensely satisfying and even more so when the manufacturer glued the instructions to the box so that they are unuseable and you have to work blind together. Together, as a couple, we are overcomers.

It does tend to highlight our different skill sets though. I always open everything with a claw hammer, whilst Matt likes to find the 'right' tool for each bit of the project.

I call this 'unitasking' (a la the unclutterer) and prefer to make my hammer multi-functional.

Either way, we made it through, we have a great new bed, and here it is in all it's glory.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Passover Recipes (GAPS)

So we've talked about why we celebrate Passover, but this year is going to be slightly different because we are going to be doing it GAPS style.

But as with most things, I'm not the first person to come across this hurdle, and bloggers of the world can provide an ample resource for advice. Here are some of the recipes we are going to be using at our families Seder tomorrow.

GAPS friendly Charoset - which I will tweak with some other fruit because Lila is allergic to apples and grapes
I will be making my own version of Chicken soup, but with blanched almond Matzoh balls
With Paelo Macaroons for dessert
And obviously all the other grain-free bits and pieces that are normally associated with a seder

We're keeping it low key this year because:
a) it's my first time cooking this meal GAPS and 
b) it's just our little nuclear family

Ordinarily we tend to have lots of guests for passover, but with potty training and new diet etc... we are just keeping it us. 

Have a great time this week and enjoy your celebrations, whether is Easter or Passover, of the greatest victory ever won. 
grain-free matzoh, gluten-free matzoh, coconut flour, coconut oil
Real Food Foragers beautiful GAPS friendly Matzoh

This post is linked up at no ordinary blog hop

Monday, 2 April 2012

A Sort of Retraction

A while back I posted 'who's fighting your battles' about how idiotic the Israelites were for asking God to give them a king.

Well, I guess I need to review my stance on that.

I'm studying I Samuel (or I Kings depending on your bible) and I've been reviewing the part where the Israelites ask God for a king, and maybe it's not so stupid after all.

The judges weren't all that great. Samson caused all kinds of petty squabbles with the philistines, but didn't really accomplish all that much both Eli and Samuels sons where complete incapable of leading and Samuel was dying.
So the Israelites ask for a king. I'd assumed they got this idea by comparing themselves to other nations, which isn't entirely unreasonable if you read 1 Samuel 8:20.

The problem is that you can't just read one verse. Any good bible study will take you into at least two or three other books of the bible, if not all of them (as a study of revelation would).

Everything in scripture, interpreted correctly, will have other scriptures to back it up. It's part of the integrity of its design, which lets us know that our 44 authors were all divinely inspired.

So, getting back on track, there is a confusing little section in Deuteronomy 17 which talks about the laws regarding kings, but hang on, Israel don't have a king!

In Genesis 49 we have a prophecy regarding Judah being the royal line, and the announcement that the sceptre shall not depart from him until the messiah comes.

How strange. Especially when you consider that Saul, Israel's first king, is not of the tribe of Judah at all, but from Benjamin.
Then there is a strange little prophecy in Ruth about nine generations before Israel put in their request for a king. Ruth has married into the tribe of Judah, and at their wedding celebration, someone toasts her with 'may your house be like Perez'. ( Ruth 4:12 ) Are you kidding me?

Perez is the illegitimate son that Tamar conceives with her father in law (see Genesis 38). What kind of a blessing is that?

Well, according to the law, in the case of an illegitimate son, no inheritance could be claimed for ten generations. See where I'm going yet?

David wasn't an after though when Saul didn't work out. David was God's choice for a king, from the tribe of Judah, ten generations on. The comment was a prophecy that David would claim Judah's inheritance and be king over Israel.

So the Israelites knew they would be getting a king eventually (Genesis and Deuteronomy), and maybe their only crime was not being patient and demanding God fulfil His promise to them immediately.

Haven't we all been a teensy bit guilty of that? I know I have.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Why we celebrate Passover

We're Christians, we're not Jewish, not even a little bit (least, not as far as I'm aware) but we do celebrate some of the Hebrew festivals, so I wanted to explain a little more about why, and ask you to prayerfully consider whether your family might want to do the same.

You see Passover was a celebration, ordained by God (numbers 9) not only to commemorate what He did (rescuing the Jews from Egypt) but as a shadow of things to come (Jesus, our Passover lamb) which was always to be kept, and on the 14th of Nisan.
But anti-semitism has always been in the church, even from its early days. You'll notice in your king James bible that it refers to Easter (acts 12) but the original script says Pesach, or Passover. The translators didn't like that though, and felt that Easter would be acceptable, despite the fact that it's a pagan festival, appropriated by the church!

But anti-semitism goes back even earlier, to the council of Nicaea (AD 325) When they were trying to decide when to celebrate Christ's resurrection in a way that would exclude the Jews.

The church was split into '14s' and 'non-14s'. The 14s were generally Jewish believers who wanted to celebrate the resurrection of Christ on the 14th of Nisan as a fulfilment of Passover, which was not only as God had ordained it, but would have been a great witness to many of the Pharisees who were still awaiting their messiah. The opposing (mostly gentile) believers did not want to have anything to do with the Jews, so they decreed that the resurrection should be celebrated in the first Sunday after the full moon, unless that accidentally fell on the 14th of Nisan, in which case they would celebrate a week later.
Not only were they deliberately calculating it wrong, in case they were accidentally correct, they would move it.

Church history is both fascinating, and deeply sorrowful to read. Some of the atrocities carried out in the name of Christ against the Jews during this period are just horrific. Needless to say, the non-14s won and here we are in our churches celebrating Easter on any day that isn't the one God proclaimed we should celebrate His son's death and resurrection.

For this reason, we choose, as a family to celebrate on Passover, whilst not abstaining from Easter with our church. I believe you can never celebrate the glorious resurrection too much, and whilst it saddens me that the church celebrates this way, I don't want to be excluding and guilty of the same divisiveness the early church were.

This post is linked up at No ordinary blog hop

 
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