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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Lamplighter publishing

Fantastic news!!
Followers of this blog will know that there was a recent problem with a lamplighter publishing code being released.

Well, lamplighter have put out a fantastic new offer that we are allowed to share - and you don't want to miss it!!

Head on over to GracieSchool for the link.

You only have 24 hours!!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Rosemary & Onion GAPS legal Hummus

I made amazing hummus today. I know, I know, I sound so humble :o)

It's been a whils since I've had any hummus (since we started GAPS actually) so it's been an absolute treat for me and the kids. The best part is I made LOADS because hummus is freezeable and it'll be nice to take a tupperware out once a week rather than having to soak beans every time.

I've tried making hummus before with the classic GAPS favourite 'navy beans' and it tasted awful. Maybe I didn't cook them long enough, who knows? But I will not try that again.
Photo credit
So when I found our butter beans were legal (NCB calls them 'Lima Beans') I knew it was time to give it another go! Turns out the secret is to add some homemade yoghurt (probiotic too? This really is a superfood...) to the mix to give a delicious creamy taste and texture.

The basic recipe is this:

5oog Butter beans (soaked over night)
150g sesame seeds (soaked over night) (or you could use tahini)
4-6 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp yoghurt
juice of one lemon
olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Rinse the beans and then cook until they are tender, but not mushy.
Blend together with sesame seeds and garlic until well combined.
Add yoghurt and lemon, then with the blender on, pour in olive oil until desired consistency is reached.
Salt and pepper to taste.

So that's the normal one.

Today I added handfuls of rosemary from the garden and a few teaspoons of dehydrated onion from my preserves in the pantry. I love it. It tastes like a focaccia bread!

I also added some soaked, dehydrated and toasted pine nuts and olive oil to the top because I saw that once on hummus in Tesco and I thought it looked nice.
Hummus with pine nuts
Another classic that I love is to switch the lemon juice for lime, add about 20% more and throw in a handful or two of corriander (or cilantro for my american friends). It's amazing.

My final offering for you is to add some dehydrated peppers and tomatoes, with a little oregano. Delicious.

You can pretty much add anything you like, just keep tasting and trying until you come up with something brilliant. Then come back here and share it with me!

Six budget friendly ideas that don't compromise nutrition



The overwhelming concern for people who are trying to feed their families better, more nutritious, foods is the rising costs of grocery bills. We had hoped that by this stage, with tenants in our house, we would be able to start making regular over-payments on our mortgage (aka adoption fund).

Unfortunately, that's not really where we are at right now. Buying organic, free range produce with no cheap nutrition-less carbohydrates to bulk it up with means that our budget is tight, even though Matt has gotten some significant pay increase since we moved to Bedford.

The GAPS diet may have my children eating less, but it's still actually increasing our food budget :0(
Here are some ways you can minimize the costs of enjoying healthy foods. They may not be cheaper or more convenient than opening a box of cereal, but they are areas where you can compromise without damaging your families health.

1) Grow as much as you can - If you have a garden, forget rose bushes. Plant stuff you can eat. This has two benefits; firstly my children will eat anything that they have planted themselves, so it's a great way to convince them to eat more veggies! Secondly, you can dramatically cut your veggie bill by seed saving or regrowing from produce that you have bought.  Making the most of your vegetable box part one, part two.
Even if you only have a small space, you can at least grow herbs.

2) Know your clean fifteen from your dirty dozen - Every year the Environmental Working Group test harvests and produce a list of products that were most and least affected by pesticides used. The clean fifteen are probably safe to buy standard versions of if the organic ones are much more expensive. The dirty dozen should only be bought organic, or abstained from if you can't afford to do that. This years 'Clean Fifteen' were:

  • Onions
  • Sweetcorn (not GAPS legal)
  • Pineapple
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Egg plant
  • Kiwi
  • Canteloupe
  • Sweet potatoes (not GAPS legal)
  • Grapefruit
  • Watermelon
  • Mushrooms
The Dirty Dozen were:
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Peppers
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Nectarines
  • Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Blueberries
  • Potatoes (not GAPS legal)
I think the exciting part about that list is that everything on the dirty dozen list, (with the exception of possibly nectarines) could easily be grown in a garden, and doesn't require major gardening skills. 

3) Preserving - Since we have been on GAPS I have not been making any Jams or Jellies this year :o( But there are still ways to preserve some of your summer harvest that don't involve a tonne of added sugar. We are currently producing cider from apples (the fermentation process removes the sugar if you let it go long enough), and dehydrating plenty of veg, as well as drying herbs to store. 


5) Start a co-op - bulk buying is so much cheaper, particularly on rarer items, so buying and shring with friends is a really great idea. It can be as simple as a facebook group.

6) Learn to eat lentils and navy beans - they are way cheaper than meat and add valuable tummy filling protein to your diet. If you buy them in bulk (dry) they are easy to store, cheap and you avoid BPA that's present in the canned version.

Hope this helps.

Monday, 24 September 2012

It's the (second) most wonderful time of the year!!

Only 91 days til Christmas! Which is obviously the most wonderful time of the year.

I think this might be the second most wonderful time though.

Why?

Well since we've been eating seasonally, we let Abel & Cole send us the food that is ready, when it's ready. It must have been about this time lay year when we started using them because my heart is rejoicing at receiving some of the same produce.

This weeks boxes have included butternut squash, figs and dates - all firm favourites in the Gracie household.

Honestly, dates are like God-made candy in a sugar-free household.

I love autumn.



p.s. It's getting chilly and I'm worried we might start getting frost soon. Can I just remind those of you who haven't already to start harvesting all your herbs to dry for the winter?

It's really easy. Just trim, wash and then tie in bundles and hang upside down. Once completely dry you can crush them into jars and you won't have to buy dried versions ever again. Added bonus, whilst they are drying they make your house smell lovely!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Parent Rap

Man, I need a minivan... enjoy!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Soul Bigger

It's that time of year again, when we start preparing for winter, gathering herbs from the garden to try and re-shuffling some bits in our house to give it that cozy autumnal feel.

Today is also the first day of Rosh Hashanah or new year in the Jewish calendar - which is the celebration of the when God created the world. Will and I were watching 'Shalom Sesame' to learn about it (great show for anyone with small kids) and a related video 'Soul Bigger' came up. We decided to watch and thought it was awesome, so we saved it to share with you. You can never underestimate the humour in having your four year old walk around the house singing 'Repent boy, go ahead, repent...'

L'Shanah Tovah - For a good new year!


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Bath bombs

It's only 100 days until Christmas!!!!

If you are going to be making Christmas presents, it's best to start early. It means you can really enjoy the run up to Christmas (which I consider to be anything after thanksgiving) without stress.

Nothing is quite so lovely as receiving a hand made gift, and in this post I'm going to help you make the ultimate Christmas gift.

Why is it so great?

It combines 'I love you enough to make you something' with 'I didn't know what to get you so I got toiletries'.

There are a few ingredients you may not have lying around the house, but they are cheap and easy to get hold of, so you should be fine.

1. Stir together a cup of bicarbonate of soda and half a cup of citric acid.
2. Add food dye (just a few drops - we don't want to stain anyone) and a few of your favourite essential oils (citrus and spice are particularly nice at Christmas)
3. Mix it all together and add a few drops of witch hazel
4. Repeat step three as many times as necessary until it starts to stick together
5. Press into a mould (I use my smallest measuring cup) and leave for two minutes
6. Pop it out and let it dry for four hours (or if you have a dehydrator, use the lowest setting for 30-45 minutes) I like to put mine in an empty egg carton whilst they are drying. It helps to keep the shape.

How you wrap it is totally up to you. I like tissue paper and ribbon, but cellophane can be nice too. Look out for cute printable labels or make your own for a really personal touch.

If you have a dehydrator it could also be nice to add some dried flower petals to the mix to make it even prettier. I would caution against using glitter though, unless the person you are giving to has a really good sense of humour!

Merry Christmas preparations!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Cinnamon Swirl Cake



This is a grain-free, sugar-free, cake that had my son asking if it was his birthday!

It's honestly really good.

I got the idea from pinterest and changed it a little to make the texture more to our liking, so here's the updated recipe:

1 cup coconut flour
10 large eggs
3/4 cup of yoghur
1/2 cup honey
Embedded image permalink1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix it together really well and then pour into a greased pan.

Meanwhile blend together:
125g melted butter
1/3 cup honey
1/2 soaked and dried pecans

Pour it around on top of the batter and then swirl with a knife until you have a pretty pattern.
Bake for 40 minutes at 170c.

All done. Just cut up and serve :0)

A note to my American friends:
The original recipe suggests serving with bacon and maple syrup for breakfast. Knock yourselves out.

A note to my British friends:
Ignore the bacon and syrup - this is great with a cup of hot chocolate and nothing else.

A note to 4 year old boys:
My son assures me that this is best eaten with yellow pepper, cucumber and tomato. I'm not so sure, but hey, if you like that kind of thing... Enjoy!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Lamplighter Theatre


'Engaging plots move with breathtaking mystery, drama, and adventure while insightful themes lay the foundation for the framework of character development and the pursuit of excellence. The dominant theme is hope—hope that does not disappoint, because nothing is impossible with God!  
A riveting plot, a worthy theme, and endearing characters will motivate readers, both young and old, to adopt a similar moral code by emulating the characters that have now been etched into their awakened conscience.'

I first heard about lamplighter publishers from a focus on the family podcast a year or two ago and I just LOVED the idea. What they do is take books rare, out of print, books with minor adjustments if necessary, to create a library of inspiring books that are safe for any member of the family to get their hands on and enjoy.
photo credit
This is a subject that is particularly dear to my heart, having had an early reader (my son was reading by 10 months old) and finding the library to be, for the most part, wholly inappropriate. I understand that most children his age are not reading at the level he is, but when you have a three year old picking up books about having crushes on teachers, or choosing between reading about vampires or murder mysteries - well, there's only so many times you can read the entire railway series before it gets boring; even to a three year old.
photo credit
Lamplighter also have audio books and dramatizations on their website, and I was so excited to find out about a special offer today. I have no idea how long it's on for, so you should get over there fast!

You can currently download all 14 of their dramatic audio files for $10 (about £6.20)  instead of $235  by using the coupon code ******* - That's about £140 saving!

So what are you waiting for?


****update*****
I have recieved an email from lamplighter, as it turns out, the person who shared that code with me should not have done so.
The code was given in good faith to 100 people who attended a seminar, but it got leaked on Facebook and now they are fulfilling thousands of orders.

I'm sorry to have removed the code, but I do think it's the ethical thing to do.

You should still check out lamplighter publishing, as they are a fantastic company doing an excellent job o fulfilling a real need.

Monday, 10 September 2012

100 gifts: Catch up to ten

1000 Gifts Day ten

Three Gifts Given
1. I'm thankful for the Sharpies that my husband gave me. He went to buy me flowers, but saw these and thought I'd prefer them. He knows me so well.



2. I'm thankful for my elder sisters gift of allowing me to go and worship at church yesterday. The kids were exhausted from an exciting weekend and they were not on their best behavior, Christine dealt with five children under five, including a 6 month old baby, by herself and did not complain once. 

3. I'm thankful for the clothes that my baby sister and friend Robyn have given me. Having lost weight on GAPS I was struggling with a minimal wardrobe and not being able to afford to replace everything. These girls have been so incredibly generous that I feel I will not need to shop for clothes again until at least 2013!

Gift Made
I'm thankful for the 'house' my son made for me and him to cuddle in when he was feeling overwhelmed and exhausted this morning. It's a small thing, but it helps him feel calm and safe. 

Gift Masked
I'm thankful for the gift of God's protection for my daughter. It was masked by my fear this morning. I was attempting to fix the washing machine (which was flooding the kitchen) and hadn't noticed that she had climbed on top of the hob, got out a carving knife, and was calmly slicing and eating a peach. It was a miracle that she hadn't a) turned the hob on (this is a favourite habit of hers) or b) sliced her fingers open with the very sharp knife. 
photo credit
Gift Marveled
I marveled at the gift of God's presence last night. Despite being with a new band who had not played together before, and despite my playing being a little bit sketchy (mental note: practice more) God, in His mercy, gifted us with His tangible manifest presence in a way I have not experienced for a while. It was wonderful. 

Three Gifts Framed
1. I'm thankful for the list of biblical truths about my identity that my husband framed and put next to our bed.
2. I'm thankful for the new timetable we have on our fridge, it's bringing so much more structure to William's education.   
3. I'm thankful for this awesome tile that we have in our bathroom. It was a gift from my friend Kate, all the way from Dodge City, Kansas.



Three Gifts Moving
1. I'm thankful for my car. I've been signed off driving for medical reasons several times, and we've had a few cars that have died shortly after purchase, but this one has been very reliable. We don't use it often, but my sisters car broke when she was supposed to be coming to Bedford this weekend, but I was able to hop in the car and drive to her instead. I really appreciate having that flexibility. 
2. I'm thankful for my wriggly children. Despite the fact I regularly feel like they have too much energy(!) having both of them walking now and able to climb stairs by themselves makes my life so much easier.


3. I'm thankful for the buggy we have borrowed from my friend Sarah. My beautiful Leebruss pram has a broken frame, and whilst it's still useable, it doesn't fold anymore. Having a spare buggy that we can keep in the back of the car has been invaluable for holidays and visiting this summer. 
In case you were wondering how the frame  got broken...


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Hermie - A Common Caterpillar

Hermie - A Common Caterpillar is another beautifully illustrated and engaging children's book from Max Lucado. My children both love Hermie and Wormie (the two main characters) and whilst my two year old enjoys the pictures and being read to, my four year old engages in a much deeper way, applying truth from the story to himself and others.

A common caterpillar is about how Hermie doesn't feel very special, but how God loves him just how he is, but He isn't finished with him yet! It's a lovely story about comparison, identity and patience.

I whole-heartedly recommend this book for any child under the age of six or seven.

Child Survival Programme

More than 21,000 children under the age of five die from easily preventable causes every single day. Compassion run a child survival programme which educates mothers (before and after birth) in vulnerable areas in critical child care skills and how to avoid malnutrition; and feeds malnourished children from birth to the age of three. Not only does the programme save thousands of lives, it encourages healthy and safe environments for the children to develop in the most healthy way, enabling them to have better prospects and opportunities for years to come.

Praise God for all the healthy babies that are born each day through the child survival programme. Pray that God would use the programme to reach more mothers in communities that need it, and pray for the ongoing health of all the mothers that they are currently serving.

Friday, 7 September 2012

The Best Frozen Shake I Ever Made

photo credit

  

I got given some money for my birthday a few months back and I decided to treat myself to an Ice cream maker. We had been staying with my Father-in-Law and his girlfriend has one that I was in awe of. She literally throws in a pot of yoghurt and 20 minutes later we have delicious, creamy - yet extremely healthy - frozen yoghurt.

Being a Magimix fan, and knowing nothing about ice-cream makers, I figured the simplest thing to do would be get one of theirs. That way if I have any problems I can always go back to my brother for some help (he used to work for them and knows everything there is to know about them).

Thing is, the ones that freeze themselves are really, really expensive - even with birthday money - so I figured I'd get one of the ones where you have to store the bowl in the freezer and then just bring it out to make the ice cream.

Like I said, I'm a massive Magimix fan. I have the toaster, the kettle, the juicer and two different food processors (1, 2) with all the extra accessories and add-ons and  I cannot express to you how much I love them.

Me and the Ice cream maker though? As much as I love it, we've never successfully made ice cream. I have however made some of the BEST frozen shakes you've ever encountered. I know that sounds prideful.
Pray for me.

So even though we haven't made Ice-cream yet, I love it. Just waiting for my bro to get back from his Grand Prix tour so he can tell me what I'm doing wrong, and then I'm sure it will totally work for me.

My families favourite so far has been tonight's offering which I call 'Sugar-free Chocolate, Cheesecake with Rolo Pieces' or 'The Best Frozen Shake I Ever Made'.

The name is misleading because it actually has no chocolate or Rolos, or even caramel, in it - but it really tastes like it does!

What you need for a family of four:
200g cream cheese (homemade or Tesco do an organic one if you haven't got a few days to make it)
1 cup raw milk
1/2 cup raw cream
3 tbsp honey
6 tbsp carob or cocoa powder
12 dates, stoned and chopped

Mix everything together and throw it in your ice cream machine for 20-30 minutes.

Honestly those dates totally soak up the liquid and become juicy 'caramel' bites. My son actually thought they were chocolates. I had to convince him it was okay to eat them.

Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures because this was drunk far too quickly.

Instead you can enjoy some pictures of my daughter drinking yesterdays frozen smoothie (strawberries, banana, chia seeds and sour cream).


I know she doesn't look like she is enjoying it. That's actually just because it takes a lot of concentration to use a straw. She only mastered that skill quite recently. 
Here's the smoothie in all of it's Lo-fi glory:



Excuse my dirty fingernails.

Hard morning gardening. 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Cinnamon Berry Crunch Cereal

This is my first attempt at making a grain-free 'cereal' for my family, but it's gone remarkably well and I'm totally excited about how easy it was. It does, however, take a frustratingly long time. For those of us who haven't had cereal in a long time though, it's so nice to have something you can pour milk over and enjoy crunching your way through. Also, I accidentally set up a recurring delivery instead of one off when I bulk ordered peanuts a few months ago, and I have about 8kg to get through.
Cereal seemed like a good way.

I read around online and all the grain free cereal recipes seem to follow a basic pattern - bake a grain free cake, crumble it up, then dehydrate. So I followed this method and it's worked out really well. I'm actually thinking next time I bake a cake any left overs may get dehydrated into cereal instead of being randomly eaten as snacks right before a lovingly prepared meal. I digress...

I should point out that this is a seriously protein packed breakfast. My children are having one or two tablespoons crumbled in some yoghurt (think crunch corner) rather than a large bowlful with milk splashed over the top. I'm just snacking on it, dry, mid-morning when I feel like I want a biscuit with my cup of tea :-)

So, here is my grain free, cinnamon berry crunch cereal recipe:

5 cups of peanuts - ground into a powder
1 cup coconut flour
3 cups of yoghurt (homemade optional - you're going to cook it so the probiotics wont survive!)
1 cup of butter
1.5 cups of honey
2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp vanilla (homemade)
4 tbsp ground cinnamon

The first thing you need to do is soak the peanuts and coconut flour in the yoghurt for 24-48 hours.
The next thing you need to do is dump everything into your giant food processor and press 'on'.
Whilst that is happening, you can go ahead and line a roasting tin with some baking parchment.
Spread the mixture from the processor in the tin and bake at about 160c for 30-40 minutes, being careful not to burn it.
At this point it should look and feel like cake.
Crumble your 'cake' onto a dehydrator tray and leave on medium temperature in the dehydrator for approximately 2-3 days.

That's all there is to it. Simple, but requires patience. It's going to be about 5 days from when you decide to make cereal to actually eating it.

1000 Gifts: Growing

1000 Gifts Day three

Three gifts growing

1. My children are the obvious first answer. I keep a little photo journal on a time lapse app on my phone. It's incredible to see how much they've changed over the course of the last 18 months. 
2. Butternut squash - Although it's nowhere close to harvesting yet, my squash plants have suddenly sprung to life and we have huge vines threatening to take over the roses and the lawn. I hope we'll get plenty of great meals from them soon.
Recipe
3.  Our small group - today I received an email from one of the church administrators asking about small group attendance. It included a kind of census we did at Easter and I was amazed at how many more names I needed to add to the list. Now that we are going to start meeting twice a month on a Sunday too, we will be adding ten children to our number as well. Now that is one, huge, 'small' group!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

1000 Gifts: Autumn



1000 Gifts Day Five

Three gifts Autumn:
1. I'm thankful for cinnamon, which is so good for you and always makes a re-appearance in my cooking around september time.
2. I'm thankful for brown leaves falling from the tress and bushes. Not only pretty and fun to play in , but make an excellent mulch so that I don't have to weed around my veggies. 
3. I'm thankful for my dehydrator which is allowing me to make my cinnamon crunch cereal today and making my house smell like heaven! 

I don't know where I'd be without my dehydrator (probably still using my oven on a really low temperature), but it does make a whole lot of GAPS cooking much simpler. It's so simple even a toddler can use it and it never ever burns anything (a bonus for me, although I have been known to leave things in there for several days when they only needed a few hours. Good news is, that doesn't hurt them at all); but the best thing about it is the ability to soak and then dehydrate nuts on a regular basis without using up all my oven space. 

They aren't particularly budget friendly though. Although we have saved the cost of our dehydrator many times over this year in dried fruit, snacks and preserving excess produce, you still need the capital to buy one initially. General consensus seems to be that if you can't afford a good one, it's not really worth buying a cheap one. The good news is that the more budget friendly option seems to be building one. There are tonnes of free plans online, and if you are lucky enough to live somewhere warm you don't even need a heat lamp, it's basically just a fan in a box.


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Martha Stewart

Summer for me is a time of re-organising and getting stuff done. This is partly because Matt is at home and I can get help with child care/heavy lifting and partly because all the kids stuff (like swimming lessons and library groups) stop happening in the holidays. 

During this time it's also traditional to look at stationary. There's loads of 'back to school' type deals and I usually buy Matt some nice new pens to mark all the students work with (and perhaps a sneaky new stash of limited edition sharpies for myself -  because who doesn't love sharpies?) and possibly some post its.

It was during our summer trip to staples that I cam across the new Martha Stewart range and I just had to share with you. The first thing I bought was a tonne of chalkboard stickers. Since we started buying real food we have a pantry full of jars with all kinds of dehydrated goodies and soaked nuts which were just begging for a makeover. 



I also re-labelled my detergent and softener bottles (we bulk buy from Ecover Direct and decant into use-able bottles. It saves a fortune (3 for 2 on 15l boxes!) and the HUGE vats of detergent stay in the basement). And my home made cleaning products.

But my families favorite item we bought was the dry erase weekly planner
Photo Credit
Initially I thought I would put meals on it, but what we are actually doing now is putting a task each day for Will to complete (and as she gets older we'll put one for Lila up there too) such as 'Copy work' or 'Maths workbook'. Knowing what he is doing each day is helping him to get it done and holding me accountable to doing more formal schooling. It might only be a 5-10 minute task, but sometimes it leads on to more and it's a small step towards taking responsibility for his own learning as I send him to look up what he is going to do and get the equipment he needs. He also gets to help me choose some of the activities to write on the board.

She also has some absolutely gorgeous vertical filing systems, which I don't currently have a use for, but I'm sure I'll think of something....
and these shagreen pockets to keep all that paper work off your kitchen counters
and my personal favorite - these little adhesive metal bookplates that allow you to make even cheap wooden drawers look like you salvaged them from a library.

Monday, 3 September 2012

1000 gifts: Cool, warm, sun-soaked

1000 Gifts Day Four

Cool: I'm thankful for homemade, probiotic, yoghurt - cool creamy and delicious for breakfast.
Warm: I'm thankful for the boiler room where we dry all our laundry, and sometimes I just sit there after a shower, drying myself.
Sun-soaked: I'm thankful for this mornings run with my good friend Sarah. Not many friends would get up at 5:30am to run with you, but this morning we were rewarded with the sun rise (the end of summer has it's perks).  
photo credit

1000 gifts: Summer, Cut , Yellow

I'm totally behind on the 'One Thousand Gifts' thing it seems, but if like me you haven't heard of it until now, here's the trailer:


Well, it's already September and I just found out about it because a friend tweeted this:


I love being challenged to remember God's blessings, especially at this time of year. There's something about the autumn, with thanksgiving just around the corner, that makes me want to review all the good things in my life.

Figuring better late than never, I'm joining the challenge and here is my list for the first three days:

Gifts of Summer:
1. I'm thankful for the gorgeous summer weather we have today, even though it's technically September.
2. I'm thankful for the incredible harvest of food we've been able to grow in our garden.
3. I'm thankful for the summer holidays and the fact that my children and I get to enjoy so much time with their daddy.

Gifts of Cut:
1. I'm thankful for a little boy who thinks to cut flowers as a gift for his mama.
2. I'm thankful for the hair cut I just got. The girl who did it is not only lovely, but mobile, which means from now on she will come to my house and being able to get a haircut with two children will be soooooooo much easier!
3. I'm thankful for the seed pods I've been able to cut ready to dry today so that we can plant up our garden again next spring.

Gifts of Yellow:
1. I'm thankful for the beautiful yellow flowers on our courgette plants.
2. I'm thankful for the yellow writing that William did in his 'book of centuries' today and that he recalled so much information without prompting.
3. I'm thankful for my lovely new wellies, which are bright yellow!
photo credit

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Raw vs Organic

Cow 1
Photo Credit
We switched to raw milk a while back and had noticed lots of health benefits for both me and the children, but it wasn't long before we started GAPS so it was hard to know which symptoms were affected by pasteurised dairy and which could be attributed to wheat/grains/sugar/all the other non-gaps-legal stuff we were eating.
We found a local farm selling raw milk for 55p a pint and started a little milk buying co-op that meant we only had to drive over there once a month to receive fresh milk every week.
It was all going well until we found out that the farm wasn't organic.

Photo credit
Now I had a decision to make - what was more important to me; raw or organic? Obviously, you can buy raw organic milk in the UK and it is even delivered to your door, but sadly it's way out of our price range at the rate my children get through it.

I asked around online and most of my GAPS adhering friends tell me that raw is more important than organic. By this time the co-op had fallen apart though, so now I will have to go back to driving to the farm every week, and I found out that Abel & Cole (who deliver all our meat, fruit and veggies) could deliver me organic, unhomogenised milk for a reasonable price.

Homogenization is the process that breaks down the fat particles in the milk and allows them to be distributed evenly so that you don't get all the cream floating on the top. Basically the milk is forced through really tiny holes that the fat globules have no way of getting through whole, so they break down. At one point this was thought to be the leading cause of arterio- and athero-sclerosis (heart disease) although this is now uncertain. What is known though, is that when the globules reform they contain tri-glycerides and the proteins casein and whey.

The problem is that once these proteins are encapsulated in the fact globules they become difficult to break down in the gut and can pass into the blood stream only partially digested (this is the same principle behind why liposomal vitamin C is so much better for cancer patients than ordinary vitamin C). Autistic children have problems processing these partially broken down proteins and create casomorphin (that's right, how it sounds, it's an opiate) which causes them to behave 'autistically'. It's like small doses of heroin. You can read more about it all here.

So, realising that we could buy organic, unhomogenised, milk and get it delivered to my front door, I went against all advice and decided to do that instead of raw.

For about a week or so things were going okay. The kids seemed a little tired, but it's the summer holidays and we've been doing lots of visiting and activities. I feel exhausted, but that's the summer for you. William started to get a little more whiney, but that could just be a phase.

Then he started complaining about noise levels again, and losing his temper quickly. Not only quickly, but finding it hard to calm down even if you rectify whatever the problem was. Don't get me wrong, it's still not where we were in february, but a definite decline in the last few weeks.

Not only that but within two weeks I started getting hay fever and noticing peoples pets more quickly. Interestingly I hadn't noticed that I had managed without any hay fever this year until mid-august when it came on with avengence. My asthma has been worse too, and Elisha's chest got very wheezy at one point on holiday too. I feel phlegmy and and my throat is cloggy. It affects my singing.

I didn't notice any of these things getting better when we switched, but looking back I guess there has been some significant health benefits to raw milk, even if it isn't organic.

So we're going to make the switch again, even if it means driving to the farm every week.

And one day, when my kids drink less milk, maybe we'll be able to afford to go organic and raw.   

Photo credit


It's Not About Me



I love Max Lucado's series for kids 'Hermie & Friends' and think he is a fantastic author in the sense that he puts across spiritual truths in a simple, uncomplicated manner, but doesn't shy away from big truths. When I was a fairly young christian he was one of my favourite authors.

I don't know what's changed, but when I read 'It's Not About Me' I just couldn't really get into it. It's not that what he said wasn't true or important, it just didn't really stir my spirit the way his books used to, or the way 'Why God Won't Go Away' did.
The idea that it's about God and not you is something I think we all need reminding of, but the second to last chapter about the blessings God will give you, specifically the financial gain, was disappointing. Lucado writes from what seems to be a prosperity gospel point of view, which is not something I had previously attributed to him.

That said 95% of the book was all content I agreed with, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to a younger believer as a light and easy read with some important points about re-evaluating your world view to put Christ at the centre. Not for me, but still a good book. I give it 3 out of 5.

*Disclaimer* Although I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review, the opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

 
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