Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Good Day and Wear Blue Friday

When school is out it takes me about a week to adjust to the kids being home. I only have 2 days to go and then the week is almost over and they go back.

Today I got much accomplished. It is easy to get a bunch done when my guilty pleasures are being monopolized by the children. Dinner is on and the dishes are done. The house has been cleaned up and vacuumed. Spencer even helped.

As I was doing the dishes Taylor came into the kitchen and says to me "Mom, say high to Ricky." He had the raccoon puppet on his hand. This is a huge break through! He used a complete sentence, he called something by name and he was engaging me in a conversation.

For all the hard work that I have been putting into this diet, it is really starting to pay off.
Taylor has been interacting with the others this week and he has been engaging them in conversation. It has been a very long time since we have had this kind of improvement.

I do not believe that we would have had this improvement had we not done all that we did over the past years. I think that this journey has its stages and that each stage builds on the others. In order to survive this journey you need to take one stage at a time. We could not have done this diet last year. We were not ready and neither were the kids. There is so very much thrown at you when you first start treatment. You feel as if you need to do it all for fear that you will miss the one thing that will bring your child to recovery. This leads to burn out and failure. You are trying so hard to do everything that in the end you are tempted to do nothing. I think that some things need to change when introducing parents to bio med. I think that there should be some set simple things to start, but then add the other things very gradually. To worry about what your child is eating and getting a gazillion supplements down them takes its toll very quickly. This journey is a long one and you need to pace yourself, and I think that this needs to be emphasized to the parents starting out. You are so desperate to find what will help your child that you are out of the gate as if it is the 100 yard dash. We need to come along side these parents just starting out and help them get a good pace and reassure them that if they don't find the "cure" for their child tomorrow all is not lost. It has taken me 2.5 years to learn this.

I used to panic if I thought we weren't doing things right. Maybe if we did things not the way everyone said they needed to be done it wouldn't work. Well, we are not doing this diet exactly the way the book says to. I have added in things that they say are illegal and I have eliminated foods they say are fine. I know my children and we are doing what is best for them. This might not be what is best for someone else. This is what makes Autism unique. Unlike other disease there is no set protocol that help across the board. It is not a cancer that can be treated with chemo. It is a syndrome where each set of parents become their own research scientist to find a "cure" for their children.

April is Autism Awareness Month. This Friday is wear blue for Autism Awareness. Please join me in wearing blue. The report, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in early October, 2009 indicates that 1 in 91 children has autism, with 1 in 58 boys receiving the diagnosis. This number is markedly higher than previous estimates of 1 in 150 children, and 1 in 94 boys.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Great Book

I have found a wonderful cookbook filled with recipes using almond flour and Agave nectar. We have been using Agave nectar because no one reacts to it. We have problems with honey so we are tailoring this diet to our family.
The book is The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. It has changed the way I view this diet. I can have yummy things and not miss out on the forbidden fruit.
You can check out her blog here: www.elanaspantry.com
So far I have made the Carrot Cake, Lemon Bars and Pistachio chicken. Cindy made the jelly bars. Everything has been wonderful!
I have ordered her book from Amazon and it should be here soon.
I also got a book on roasting nuts. I am excited to make them spicy and sweet. These will take the place of our chips and croutons.
I did look at a cookbook for coconut flour, but was not impressed with my results.

Yesterday we had brisket in the crock pot with sweet onions, a wonderful salad that Mary made, deviled eggs and green beans. Everything was so good.

Salt both sides of the brisket.
Place meat fat side down in the crock pot.
Cut up 2 large sweet onions and place over the top of the meat
cook on low for 10 hours.

Deviled eggs:
12 hard boiled eggs cut in half with the yolks put into a separate bowl
1/2 cup homemade mayo.
a few squeezes of whole grain mustard from Trader Joe's
a scant squeeze of Agave nectar
Kirkland season salt to taste

Mix egg yolks and other ingredients
fill egg whites with the egg yolk mixture
Top with paprika for color.

On a side note: A few weeks ago we were wondering how we were going to fit this new diet into our food budget. We have had to raise our budget a bit, but because of Angelo's Railroad and Truck Recovery down on south College we are making it work. The week after we started this diet, Angelo's made a new contact for organic food. I can now get cage free eggs there for $1 a dozen (if I buy 15 dozen) $1.50 each if not and antibiotic, hormone free smoked turkey breast lunch meat for $1 a package. We also find other things there each week. It is amazing to me how the Lord has put everything in order for us.
We are having great success as long as I keep kids off all sugars except Agave and they can not have milk products yet.
This week is spring break and so far the day has been rather pleasant.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sweet Edy and progress

Edy has been gone for the last week and a half. It is her spring break and she wanted to spend it with Granma. I have missed her, and yet I am glad that she will have the memories that she is making. She was home yesterday for a short time. I am amazed at how grown up she is. The whiny Edy that I had just a few weeks ago is gone. In return my happy chatty Edy is back.
We were able to discuss things that in the past would have sent her into tears.
She told me that she loved this diet. She was feeling so good.

I was going to allow her to have a "cheating" cake on her birthday and now all she is asking for is that after we try a "legal" cake if she doesn't like it could I make her something chocolate.
She has come such a long way in such a short time. How fortunate I am that we took care of these issues before she hit her teenage years.
Yesterday I had a muffin!! It was so very delicious! I really ate 3. My mom made them. I hope she will post the recipe in the comments so that it can be shared. I can not wait to be able to make them for the kids in about 6 weeks.

We have given up honey and fruit for the next 5 weeks. We were done with bed wetting and after I gave them honey it started up again. We will give their guts time to heal a little more and then try again.

I also have the kids off of dairy. I was supposed to have them off of it for 6 weeks before we started this diet, but I did not know this. We are doing it now. If there is no reaction to the dairy then I will slowly be able to introduce cheese. I miss cheese.

They boys and Addi are continuing to improve and Connor is starting to add new words to his vocabulary. Today he said boo.

We are not doing the diet perfectly. Who can? I am tailoring it to our family. We were not nearly as sick as some who have started this diet, and for that I am thankful.
I am back to making broth. I have found that the family prefers the chicken broth. That is great because it is the cheapest and easiest to make.

Alaina, yes you can use Agave nectar instead of honey. It is not legal on our diet, but it works the same way. Agave does tend to have a slight aftertaste, so you might want to pair it with lemon, lime or chocolate flavoring.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One Week Later

We are starting to get back on the regiment of the GAPS diet, after the stomach flu, and we are finding a new normal. I now know why women stayed home way back when. I am in the kitchen about 8 hours a day just preparing for future food consumption. This will drop off here this week as I get our frig stocked with homemade condiments.

We are seeing language growth and comprehension. We are totally supplement free except for pro-biotic, fish oil and vitamins E and K. We will also be continuing with the B12 shots. We are a bit obsessive right now, but I can handle that. I don't want them on too many supplements right now because I want to be able to track how they are doing on this diet. If it gets to be too much we might add a few back in just to give us a break, but so far we are doing a little better then we were a few week ago on all of the supplements. Connor also seems to be starting to develop his language. I here new sounds this week and Edy's moodiness is almost non-existent. It was back a bit while on the honey, but she is so easy to be around now.

It took me over 2 hours to prepare dinner on Sunday.
I made buns and ketchup. My ketchup needs a bit of help and once I perfect it I will post the recipe here.
The buns were a pancake, but the kids and Darrin liked them. They did not have great flavor by themselves, but were good with the burgers.
I also made mayonnaise. Once you have homemade mayonnaise you will never go back. It is so much better than store bought, and you loose all the added junk.
For those who are concerned about the raw eggs in it, Ruth Enas told me that the acid that you use in the mayonnaise kills anything bad in the raw eggs.
You can find mayonnaise recipes online.

On Saturday we had Greek Chicken with Taziki sauce and salad.
I marinated the chicken:
Juice of one lemon
1/2 c olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, with the garlic press
1 T salt
fresh Greek oregano

Let this marinate for about 2 hours, best if it goes over night.

Taziki sauce:
2 Cups Greek yogurt
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 clove crushed garlic
2 pickle cucumbers peeled, de-seeded and diced
Salt to taste
Mix ingredients and let sit for about 2 hours in the frig.

We tried some honey this weekend and had some regression. We will drop it for a few weeks after my Dad's birthday.
I did make the most wonderful custard.
Coconut Milk Custard:
5 eggs
1 C coconut milk (we use Trader Joe's because it does not contain guar gum.)
1t vanilla
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
3T honey
mix ingredients together and pour into an 8x8 pan
make sure you have another pan that this pan will sit in.
Place the 8x8 pan in another pan and fill this pan half way with hot water.
Bake at 325 for 30 - 40 minutes.

This is good hot or cold. My kids LOVED it and so did I.
We are going to have this for my dad's birthday with caramelized apples on top and I am planning to make something like whipped cream with the "cream cheese" that I get from draining off the yogurt. I will have Amy take a picture so that I can post it.

We also had peanut butter pancakes this weekend.
6 eggs
3T peanut butter
1t vanilla
1T honey
1/2 t salt

Mix together and cook like a pancake using coconut oil.
The kids ate them up. We used a bit of honey for syrup.

I will keep them off of the honey for the rest of this week and see how they do on Saturday after eating it on Friday night. It might be that they can have a little on special occasions and we just over did it a bit this weekend.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Getting better

I had it this morning. I was tired and hungry and I was done.
It did not help that we were struck with the stomach flu the weekend that we started this diet. The diet is hard enough without the added burden.

I caved and made some bacon. Don't panic it is no hormone, no antibiotic and no nitrates bacon. Connor has been scarfing it down. We are doing the egg sensitivity test tonight and if all goes well we will introduce eggs tomorrow to the kids. I ate some today. Me being light headed was not helping the situation. We are going to continue today with blended soups.

Since we did Cilantro soup yesterday today it will be the Butternut squash soup with some chicken on the side.
Tomorrow we will do cream of mushroom.

Our goal for today is to get the homemade yogurt and broth down the kids. We have conceded that it is better to get some of the good thing down them then to follow the diet so strictly.
The flu was actually made a bit worse because I could not feed them the normal things and therefore they were not eating and getting weaker.

The kids are feeling better today so I might be able to send them to school tomorrow which will be a wonderful break for me.

Monday, March 1, 2010

No Meds

We have taken the kids off of their meds for the beginning of this diet. So far we have had mostly peace. This would be fabulous if we did not have to do meds from now on. We will need to continue on the probiotic, but this diet should heal our guts so that our bodies can take from the food the things that it needs to function at its best level.

My doctor's appointment went well today. She is checking my blood sugar levels, cholesterol and thyroid function. I also got an EKG. She found that my left ventricle has an extra beat. I told Darrin it was an extra beat for him. :)
I am scheduled for an ultrasound on my heart for March 11th. She just wants to be cautious and make sure nothing is wrong. She thinks everything is fine because I successfully carried 4 pregnancies without a hitch, one being twins. We shall see.

It does seem funny to me that in all these past 20 years, I have had heart palpitations and through all of the doctor visits that I have had during pregnancy and the doctors visits that I had to figure out why my heart palpitated, It is now that she finds an extra beat when we weren't looking for it. I love Dr. Hulseman!

Today I do feel good. I am going through a bit of carb withdraw, but my mind is much clearer than it has been in a long time. I am a bit hungry, but this will pass as I figure out different snack that we as a family can have.

We did keep the kids home from school today and Darrin took a sick day. It is much easier to all be home together during this time. We will all be home tomorrow again and then see how it goes for Wednesday.
Well, I was just interrupted by Taylor tossing his cookies. So much for my die off theory. We will see how this progresses.

More soup

I did not know that I could ever get tired of soup, yet here I am. I am going to try to do more blended soups in order to avoid the broth taste.
Tonight I will do Butternut squash soup.

Cut up one butternut squash, peeled and seeded, into 1/2 in squares.
Cut up 5 carrots, peeled, into a rough chop.
Cover with coconut oil and salt.
Roast in the oven at 450 degrees until the veggies are soft.

In a stock pan, add about 3T coconut oil.
Add to it 1 large sweet onion.
Cook the onion on medium heat until caramelized.

Add the squash and carrots to the onion
Add 2 quarts of chicken stock.
Blend soup in the blender til smooth.
Return to your stock pot and salt to taste.

I will let you know how we like this one.
Darrin and I are adding a dollop of homemade yogurt as a garnish. This has added a new texture to the soups and makes it a bit easier to get all of this soup down.

Spencer has also requested cilantro soup for dinner.
We usually eat this with noodles and cheese, but both of those will be left out tonight.

Cilantro Soup:
2lb Chicken, you can use boneless breasts or thighs
1 Quart of tomatoes
1 large onion
2T crushed red pepper (we will be leaving this out tonight also)
3 cloves garlic
1 medium bunch of cilantro
Salt to taste
2 qts Chicken stock

Saute your onions in coconut oil until soft
add the crushed red pepper
add crushed or diced garlic
add your chicken and cook through
add tomatoes and broth.
Add as much cilantro as you would like. (we prefer to use the whole bunch) I wash the cilantro and then chop up the top.
Let simmer for about 20 Minutes.

Non gaps:
Boil one lb of rotini noodles
chunk up a block of Monterrey Jack cheese.

Put the noodles in the bottom of a bowl
top with cheese chunks
Pour hot soup over noodles and cheese
Let sit for a minute so that the cheese has time to melt.

This soup is a family favorite and I am sure that there will not be much left tonight.