Thursday, June 23, 2011

Questions and Answers ~ part 2

Question: What is the difference between a food allergy and an intolerance/sensitivity?
 Our bodies have different Ig reactions.  The three that I will give information on are IgA, IgE, and IgG.

IgE ~ Actual IgE food allergies are somewhat uncommon, with estimates that 4% of the population have food-based allergic disorders. The most common food allergy triggers are the proteins in cow's milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish and tree nuts. IgE allergic reactions to foods can occur within minutes or a few hours after the food is eaten and may lead to many different symptoms including hives, swelling around the mouth, asthma, diarrhea, vomiting, eczema and even life threatening anaphylaxis (which is a severe adverse reaction involving the major body systems).  Corn and oats are growing in number too.

IgG ~ The antibodies that provide long term resistance to infections, called Immunoglobulin G (IgG), have a much longer half life than the traditional IgE allergy. Symptoms, ranging from headache and nausea to seizure and hyperactivity, may occur hours or even days after the offending food has been ingested. The degree and severity of symptoms vary because of the genetic makeup of the individual. The complete elimination of IgG positive foods may bring about important improvements in symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, autism, AD(H)D, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and epilepsy as demonstrated in numerous clinical studies. The 93 foods tested in the IgG Food Allergy Test increase the identification of numerous offending foods. This test can be performed using either serum from a blood draw or dried blood from a finger prick.  This is often called food sensitivty and not recognized by most traditional medical doctors. 
IgA ~ An IgA test measures the blood level of immunoglobulin A, one of the most common antibodies in the body. Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system to fight bacteria, viruses, and toxins.  IgA is found in high concentrations in the body's mucous membranes, particularly the respiratory passages and gastrointestinal tract, as well as in saliva and tears.  IgA also plays a role in allergic reactions. Its levels rise in response to the presence of allergens, such as pet dander,things outdoors etc. in sensitive people. IgA levels also may be high in autoimmune conditions, disorders in which the body mistakenly makes antibodies against healthy tissues. 
What is an oxalate sensitivity and why do you follow it for your child? 
Have you heard of kidney stones?  Kidney stones are deposits of minerals and such in kidneys.  A common treatment is a low oxalate diet.  A new frontier for some people is the discovery that they are getting ill from oxalates accumulating in their body and their body then "dumping" them.   A low oxalate diet is in concept simple.  Get to know foods that are high, medium, low levels of oxalates and gradually drop high oxalate foods, then medium oxalates and then maintain a low oxalate diet.  There are several great resources out there.  There is a yahoo chat group that discuss low oxalate diet daily.  My favorite website on this topic is Low Oxalate Diet.  They explain this all in much great detail and with more knowledge then I have on the topic.

Once I again, this is a subject I stumbled upon doing some research.  My oldest had many of the symptoms that go with this sensitivity such as, muscle pain, gum recession, poor sleeping habits, slow growth, chronic stomach issues.  If you have never had a child who tells you he hurts all the time, you are blessed.  Also, most of his food allergies/sensitivies are high oxalate foods.  Go figure.  One of the things we couldn't figure out was why he cycles with his temperment and how he feels.  With oxalates, they build in your body until your body hits a tipping point and you begin to "dump."  This is a horrible feeling and explains why he felt and behaved the way he did.  He has begun to grow again, his teeth are better, his "dumps" are better, sleep is better, and he seldom hurts anymore.  I feel like I have my child back again.  One of the best things we have done to keep the levels of oxalates down is to give him Calcium Citrate before he eats.  It then binds with the oxalates to keep them from accumulating in his body.  The Low Oxalate Diet website had great suggestions on supplements.

 What type of doctor did you see?
Our first doctor we saw that helped us was a DAN doctor.  DAN stands for Defeat Autism NOW!  Their website is now know as the Autism Research Institute.  The doctors who belong to this are trained in biomedical healing and focus on fixing the body rather then treating symptoms.  They deal with the leaky gut issues, food sensitivities etc.  Anyone with an autoimmune disorder would greatly benefit from see one of these doctors.  I am NOT endorsing any specific doctor.  Research and find someone whom you can work with and trust.  That is key!  For a list of DAN doctors click here.

What do you feed them????
We basically eat a very healthy diet.  For meat products eat beef, lamb, chicken, buffalo, few types of fish (no pork except bacon on a special occasion).  We eat lots of fresh produce, except what is on the boys lists.  I use rice, sorghum, tapioca, garfava, arrowroot, potato flours to cook with for baked goods.   I use egg replacer for eggs.  We drink Darifree or coconut milk for milk.  For butter we use a dairy free, soy free butter.  Actually, I have found we are healthier as we are eating absolutely no processed foods.  It is a learning process, but there are really few things I can't reproduce for find for my boys.  It is important to find a good store to shop at, a support network, and to give yourself grace as you learn.  I found having a meal plan works great.  I have a list of 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 30 dinners that I can make.  I rotate them and vary them, but it helped to have a basic idea of what to serve.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Have Bread ... Will Travel recipes part 2

Earlier, I posted on my trial to can bread.  I wanted to find a way to keep allergen free bread fresh while traveling.  If you eat allergen free, you KNOW that keeping fresh baked items fresh is tough.  They must be frozen until thawed and eaten or eaten with in a day  (or two, but that is pushing it!)  Anyways, it was a success.  I shared how I canned bread, but didn't post the recipes.  I have also posted on my pumpkin bread recipe.   I thought maybe now would be a good time to tell you how I make our bread.

My recipe is based on a recipe from Special Diets for Special Kids Volume 1 by Lisa Lewis called Marci's Soft White Bread and Rolls.  I love her cookbooks.  They have great information on how to go about this allergen free life and all her recipes are great for kids.  Volume two is my favorite between the two volumes.

I have adjusted it to fit our tastes.  I also make a several batches at a time.  I put them into ziplocs so the bread is easier to pull together and make. The following is a double batch that will fit into a large gallons ziploc.


4 cups brown rice flour (bob's red mill)

2 cups tapicoa flour (bob's red mill)
2 cups arrowroot flour (bob's red mill)

1/2 cup sugar (I use cane sugar from Trader Joe's)

8 tsp. Gar gum (don't skip this!)

1 1/3 cup Darifree milk subsitute~ use in powdered form...(it is a powdered dairy free milk that is potato based)

3 tsp salt (I use sea salt)

Zip up baggie and shake until mixed.  Or mix in a mixer and then put in a bag.  I usually make 4-6 bags of this to have on my shelf.  Will keep one month.

To make bread:

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees
*Heat one cup of water to 110 degrees, add 2 tsp sugar, 4 tsp yeast

Let it sit 5 minutes, meanwhile
*Measure out 5 cups of mix from your baggie into mixing bowl


1/4 - 1/2 cup Rice Bran (Ener G brand) (good for fiber, very healthy)

4 TBSP. oil (I use grapeseed, canola or safflower) or use your allergen free butter substitute of choice

1 tsp apple cider vinegar (trader Joe's)

1 cup water room temp

3 eggs (you can use egg replacer ~ 4tsp of the dry powder, I then add an extra 1/4 cup water)

Mix all ingredients together for 2-4 minutes.  Add water if too stiff.  If too thin add rice flour or more rice bran.  Should be thicker then cake batter but not as firm as regular bread dough.

Grease hands really well, it is very sticky.  Keep some palm shortening on hand as your hands so that as your hands get sticky you can grab some more.  You can shape freestyle into loafs or put in bread pans.  I make cinnamon bread, monkey bread, hamburger buns etc. with this.  Mix in Italian seasonings, garlic powder for pizza dough...

To rise the bread...Place bread on top of stove, cover with towel, let rise 30 minutes.  I drape the towel so that the heat vent from my stove blows under the towel and over my bread.  Or let it rise inside your microwave with hot water in a pan.

Cook in oven for 50-60 minutes for a loaf of bread.  For 4 mini loaves I cook mine for about 35 minutes.

As a side note: as of today I have successfully canned banana bread, chocolate cake, sunflower butter bread, pumpkin bread and a plain bread.  Can't wait to keep trying this method for traveling! 

If you like this post, be sure to view:
Have Bread... Will Travel Recipes
Have Bread, Will Travel

Friday, June 17, 2011

Have Bread... Will Travel recipes~ Part 1

As I shared earlier, I have kiddos with food allergies, and that can make packing food for a trip challenging at best.  I shared with you how I did a trial canning bread.  Well, I thought that perhaps a RECIPE for the bread might come in handy.

Here is my recipe for Pumpkin Bread.  Funny how is came about.  My good friend (Miss k.) whom I have mentioned is one the the best cooks I know, gave me a banana bread recipe (I can hear what you are thinking 'I thought this was about pumpkin bread?!?!?') and I adapted to make it gluten free/allergen free and then into a pumpkin bread recipe.  Now every time I make it, it is slightly different.  That is just how I cook, but this is the recipe I tend to loosely follow.

Pumpkin Bread

Preheat oven to 400 (NOT 350) temperature is important.  Too low and the bread collapses.

I do not grease my pans, I use stoneware.  I do however dust with cinnamon.  You may want to use Coconut oil or Palm Shortening to grease other types of pans.  I almost always do mini loaves.

As the oven preheats (again, important it is at 400 when putting bread in oven) mix up the following ingredients.

1 cup turbinado sugar
1 1/2 tsp gargum **
1 stick butter (we use Earth Balance Soy Free)
2 eggs or use egg replacer (I like Ener G Egg Replacer~ follow directions on box)
1 1/3 cup flour***
pinch of sea salt (I don't use table salt at all~ most have additives and/or wheat)
1 tsp. baking soda (I use Bob's Red Mill Aluminum Free Baking Soda)
1 tsp. baking powder (I use Hain Pure Food Baking Powder~gluten and and corn free)
1 can of organic pumpkin puree

spices: ****
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp clove
and a little allspice

 Now most people have a neat and tidy, organized way to add ingredients.  I tend to just add and mix.  For this recipe, I mix everything together and add the baking powder and soda last.  That way it doesn't start to react and rise before I can get it in the pan.  Gluten free cooking is a little trickier with the rise.

Cook for 55 minutes for a loaf and about 40 minutes for 4 minature loaves.

**We don't use Xanthum Gum because it is grown in corn and we are really allergic to corn
*** I prefer Bette Hagman's Four Flour Bean Mix for this, but I have also used her basic Gluten-Free mix and Featherlight Rice Mix, it does change the taste a bit.  We can't use Jules flour mixes because of some of the ingredients they use, but I assume those would work as well.  Bette Hagman has awesome cookbooks and hers were some of the first I ever used on this journey.  I highly recommend the books and her flour mix recipes.
**** As I noted before, I use only Trader Joe's spices or McCormick because they are "clean."  Always double check, as ingredients do change.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Questions and Answers ~ Part 1

I have three marvelous boys.  Two of them have food sensitives/intolerances, food allergies and oxalate sensitives.  Because of these issues, we follow a pretty strict diet.  I tend to get a lot of questions about this and I thought that maybe it was time to share it via blog.  So read on...

Question:  How did you know your children had all these food allergies and things?

My youngest was the perfect baby.  Slept well, ate well, easy going, was way ahead on milestones, and then when he was about 16 - 18 months old our world began to crash down.  He stopped sleeping well.  He was fussy.  He was totally out of control and a tornado of activity.  He had red cheeks and ears.  He was suffering chronic ear infections.  He stopped gaining words and his speech worsened.  He began to have horrible diapers.  At the same time my oldest had a massive personality change.  Once easy going and pleasant, he was miserable and crabby.  He also stopped sleeping well.  He had digestive upset as well.  For awhile we were chalking it up to moving, but soon we realized more was going on.  We had early childhood come out to help figure out was going on with my youngest.  One of the teachers leaned over to me (when my son did not qualify) and said "Start finding out all you can about Sensory Processing Disorder."  I totally credit this person with saving my boys and my sanity.  He ranks top in my list of my favorite people.  He later became the youngest's occupational therapist, but I digress.  As I did my research (I read for hours every night, spent countless hours researching on the web), I came up with a book called Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder by Karyn Seroussi.  As I read, I realized my son was just like her son.  She treated/healed him by removing foods he couldn't tolerate.  So I copied her approach and took milk (casein) and wheat (gluten) out of his diet.  Since my oldest was having some issues we took it out of his diet as well.  Actually, we did it for all three boys.  My middle child did not do well on it and but the other two began to have massive changes for the better!  After about 6 months of doing well, they began to go downhill again.  To shorten this answer, lets just say I found a doctor who did some biomedical treatments.  She ran blood tests and found their multiple allergies/intolerances.  They each had a list of roughly 20 foods that they were allergic/intolerant to.

Question: How did your children develop all these allergies?
Answer:   The answer is somewhat complicated and probably controversial.  Now please don't comment on my education or that I am wrong and misinformed.  I am simply going to share what I believe happened in my own opinion and in our select case.  If you disagree and are so upset you feel you need to rant at me, read another blog.  I believe the illness my boys have (which really had no name, but I liken it to a massive autoimmune system-gone-wrong response) was caused by multiple things.  I use the analogy of a chair.  What happens if you remove one leg of a chair?  It can still balance and function somewhat.  What happens if you remove all the legs?  It falls to the ground.  My boys had too many "legs of the chair" removed and their immune system crashed and reacted to food.  It all started when we all got REALLY ill.  We were put on antibiotics (and were on them for about 5 months off and on).  The boys were vaccinated while ill and on antibiotics.  They have a family history of autoimmune disorders.  Are you counting the "legs?"  All these "legs" removed affected their immune system and two things happened.  Their immune system went haywire and started recognizing food as a "germ" and began fighting it as a "germ" just like most kids with typical allergies.  Also, they developed "leaky gut" in which when the gut becomes permeable.  Now I know the gut is permeable somewhat.  But theirs became too much so.  It has holes that allow too big of food particles to bypass the stomach and intestine wall.  The food particles then turn into opiate-like substances affecting the brain.  Google leaky gut for more detailed info.  Or read the books I list later.  To summarize, I feel vaccines, illness, genetics, environmental toxins all put a strain on their immune system.  It is a whole lot more complicated then my simple response, but you at least get the idea.  To write the whole story would require a whole book, so this is my very condensed version.  If you need more information I would be willing to chat with you in length.

Question: What are their food allergies/food intolerances?

They both have a long list.  And of course, both of them did not have the same list.

In the beginning my oldest avoided:
Cow's milk (all casein)
Brewer's Yeast
Pinto Beans
Egg white and yolk
Gluten (wheat in all forms)
Sword Fish
Green Beans
Lima Beans
Green olives
Green Pepper
Sweet Potato

The Youngest (my little sweet turkey) avoided:
Pinto Bean
Cow's milk (casein)
Egg white and yolk
Gluten (all forms of wheat)
Brewer's Yeast
Lima Bean
Egg Plant
Green peppers

Long list, huh?  The first time I went shopping, I wandered the food isles for three hours.  Picking up boxes, reading them, holding back tears, wondering what on earth I was going to feed my babies.  I went home with a bag of chips.  Over the 4 years I have done this, we have added back a few things on a regular basis.  Some have been added back on a select basis.  If you are getting started, find someone for moral support.  Doing this alone sucks.  It does.  But I promise, it does get easier.  I promise, you CAN do it. 

I will be posting more questions and answers.  Do you have a question?  Let me know.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Have Bread, Will Travel...

As a family we love to travel.  We almost exclusively camp (real camping~ with a tent!).  We have been camping since before we had kids, we have camped during pregnancy, we have camped with babies/children, and we have continued to camp with food allergies.  Now some of you might think that pregnancy and babies would have been the most difficult time to camp; but actually, for us, it has been the whole food allergy thing.

I think what makes camping with food allergies so tough, is the trying to keep food from getting contaminated and the fact we have to pack it all.  We pack ALL the food because most places we go, we don't know if we can find the foods they can eat.  Plus, I make all the food basically from scratch.

There are a few things I do to make it easier on myself.  The first is planning the food, right down to the last bite.  Every breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack has been planned for.  Then, I over pack a bit.  I make lists, then check and double check that I have everything.  One time I forgot the boys' chocolate chips.  That was quite tragic!  Lots of tears.  There was no where near to buy them.

Another thing I do, is to buy all the none allergy food as we go (especially if it is a long trip).  This gives us more room to bring the hard to find food.

We bring about 4-5 high quality coolers with us.  We use one as a "freezer" and one as a "fridge."    The" fridge" can get opened as often as needed.  The "freezer" only gets opened to move something to the fridge to thaw out.  The rest of the coolers are dry goods.  I bake like a mad woman in the days before we leave to stock up on baked goods like bread, Indian Fry bread, muffins etc.  The baked goods usually are only good for about 7 days, even with the "freezer" method.

One last thing I do, is to google and search for all the stores along the way that might carry what we need.  I make a master list of them.  Sometimes I will even call to see if they carry some of our "basics."

Something new I am going to try this year is canned bread.  You did read that right.  Canned Bread.  It is a pretty simple canning method.  I simply mixed up my pumpkin bread recipe and my bread recipe.  I greased the inside of a couple wide mouth jars and filled them half full with my breads.  I baked the breads in the glass jars.  When they were done, I pulled them out, wiped the lip of the jar down, put on a fresh canning lid and ring and let them cool.  As they cooled, they self sealed.  I then put them on my shelf for two weeks as a trial.

The result was awesome.  Bread was fresh.  The canning seal was so tight I had to have DH pull it off.  It was just like fresh baked!  I will definitely bring some of theses when we go camping!  Next to try is chocolate cake!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Healthy Travels

When you travel, there is always the potential for sickness, injuries or bug bites.  I have developed a small bag of "tricks" that I pack to help with these things.

I would not travel without my bag of oils.  We use them almost daily.  Click here to read my post on essential oils on how and what I use the oils for.

Umcka is an all natural cold and flu medication that shortens the duration of the colds. It is based on a plant from South Africa.  Xlear is a great nasal spray, again, it is all natural, contains xylitol, purified water, salt, and grapefruit seed extract as a preservative. I blogged about my bug stuff and sun stuff and you can read about it here.

Below are three things I think are important to use/keep with you when traveling.

Magnesium Sulfate Cream is a topical Epsom salt type lotion.  It is great for pulled or sore muscles.  It is also good if you need to detox from all the junk you may be exposed to while traveling.  When you are at home and are sore from exercising it is great to ease those aching muscles.

The Kids' Ear Clear Oil is great for swimmer's ear, ear infections, wax build up, basically any ear ailment.  It has garlic bulb oil, mullein flower oil, coptis root oil, and arnica flower oil.

Zinc is good for immune building, but I learned a secret.  Shhh. Don't tell anyone, just kidding, but really it is a great secret!  If you have a sore throat, simply suck on one of the tablets and let it dissolve.  As the zinc goes down your throat it will help with the soreness and appears to kill the germs.  If it doesn't clear up, wait 24 hours and try again.  Now, this does work.  We use it all the time AND only once did it take a second dose.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lilies of the Valley

It may seem excessive to post so many pictures of these delicate, tiny, fragrant flowers, but I just love them!

At our first home, I tried (unsuccessfully) to grow them for 7 years.  At our new home I have been trying for a couple years to at first find them to grow; and then I spent a few years trying to grow them.  This is my first year the they have really grown!  I was so overjoyed to see them growing and spreading.  The added bonus was the blooms this year!  I promptly picked the blossoms to bring inside to savor them. (Spring around here was rainy and cold)

One of my fondest memories is walking by my grandmother and grandfather's garage and smelling these flowers in full bloom.  I remember playing on their patio and looking at these beautiful flowers in all their glory. But the best part of these flowers, was knowing that I was at my grandparents' home, and knowing how much and how deeply they loved me.  I think they set a wonderful example of Jesus like love for me and these flowers remind me of them and of their deep and bountiful love for me.  

As I was sitting and thinking upon these things, my mind wandered to what the Bible says about these fragrant beauties.  Here are some verses I found:

Matthew 6:28-30 (New American Standard Bible)

28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!

 Song of Solomon 2:2As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters

Song of Solomon 6:2My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.

Song of Solomon 2:1 I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.


It is wonderful to know that God can gift us something as simple and complex as a flower to bless us, recharge our soul, and help us feel His loving presence. 

What is it that God is using to speak to you, renew you, and/or bless you?


Friday, June 3, 2011

I NEED more SCOBY babies! Oh, wait... Never Mind!

My boys and I just love drinking the home brewed Kombucha.  The problem is that there isn't enough!  At first my SCOBY was not reproducing. (Shame on it!) So I did some research and found a way that you can "grow" your own.

My first SCOBY was given to me.  I found it simply by posting on Facebook that I was looking for one.  A friend of mine from high school saw the post and connected me with her mom, who is an avid Kombucha drinker.  YEAH!  Scored a SCOBY for free! (almost sounds naughty, doesn't it!)

I also had looked on Craigslist.  Yup, they were on there, but cost anywhere from $15-20 dollars.  Boo.

I went the free route.  As an added bonus, she sat down with me and gave me written directions to follow!  Thanks!!!!!

I digressed.  Anyways, we were drinking that yummy nectar of goodness faster then I could brew it.  My SCOBY was not having babies.  What to do... I googled and researched.  I came up with a solution.  If you buy plain Kombucha (needs to have the floaties in it) and put half a bottle in a glass bowl, cover, and leave it, it should make a mushroom.  It need anywhere from 3-4 weeks to grow.

I took up that challenge and started, not one, but two bowls.  And you know what happened?  As I waited for my experiment to work, my SCOBY I was using to brew started having babies.  Ha, joke is on me.  BUT, I learned a cool thing.  So, in the long run, it was worth it.