Tag Archives: GF

Allergies? Heal and seal your gut!

So many people with so many allergies. Allergies, sensitivities and intolerances…to foods, to ingredients, to dust, to plants, trees and pollen, to environmental toxins. How about you?

So many times moms have come to work with me in my private practice for help crafting a food plan for their child, having just received their food allergy/sensitivity test results for their child. They have come exasperated, feeling desperate. The previous test may have revealed 5 or 6 “trigger foods”…now the number was 30. What were they going to feed their child? How could we craft a diet or menu that was appealing with all of these restrictions? How could we craft a menu that they would eat? Overwhelming! I have even had some clients with more than 120 foods that had been identified as no good. Funny, every time they went for the next test, the number of trigger foods, or those that were not allowed from that point on, increased.

Why?

It is not that the foods themselves are inherently evil or bad. I have often said that gluten is the current “fall guy”. This week you react to wheat, next week it’s gluten. The next week, gluten and casein…The next week it’s gluten, casein, and eggs. The next week it’s gluten, casein, eggs, chicken, and green beans. Or carrots. Or coconut. Or herring. And so on. And so on. And so on, until you or your child seem to be reacting to just about everything. What is going on?

The body, specifically the small intestine, is injured…porous…leaky…and all of the molecules become reactive foods.

All allergies can be traced to the state of health of the gut lining.

When your small intestine lining has holes in it, not only are food molecules not broken down or digested as they need to be in order for the body to utilize them, but they also pass through the holes and into the bloodstream as foreign molecules. Foreign molecules in the blood mean that the body is going to respond with an allergic reaction or sensitivity or intolerance to the food at the least. If this goes on for years, autoimmune disorders may result…

So…what to do?

Surgery isn’t going to do it, folks. Nor are pharmaceuticals. The problem is in the gut…so the medicine is food. And while no diet can claim to do everything for all people, I have found one that does a lot to heal and seal the gut. It is the GAPS diet… the Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. (For more information about the GAPS Diet, see www.gaps.me.)

Are you, too, gluten-free? casein-free? wheat-free? dairy-free? Have multiple allergies or sensitivities? Are you tired of it? Check out the GAPS diet.

I will be teaching about how to heal and seal the gut this Saturday, June 8 in Fort Collins, CO. The class is Implementing the Intro Diet.  (aka, HEAL IT AND SEAL IT!)

I will be teaching a GAPS Cooking Weekend in Silver Spring, MD August 9-10. All the cooking techniques you need to implement the diet with confidence.  Dr. Joseph Mercola called these cooking classes “ground-breaking.” More information about that weekend here.

The bottom line, folks…heal it and seal it. It all begins with the food.

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Yummy Basic Cake recipe…GF, grain -free, can be CF, GAPS

This is a yummy cake recipe that is easily adaptable…a “foundation” or a “basic” that anyone can learn and use. AND it is good for you. Gluten-free, grain-free, casein-free if you want it to be, and GAPS. So it’s a WIN WIN WIN for all…good for you and yummy too!

Okay, here goes. This recipe will yield one 9″ round, one bread loaf, or one dozen muffins.

2.5 cups almond flour

1/4-1/3 cup pastured butter, ghee, whey, plain organic yogurt or creme fraiche (your own 24 hour culture for GAPS), or coconut oil, duck fat, goose fat, OR lard if you want to be casein-free

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

NOTE:  It is best for your digestion if you soak the almond flour for 24 hours in the whey, yogurt or creme fraiche. It will also give you a fluffier (yes, fluffy almond flour) cake. Simply mix the almond flour and the whey, yogurt or creme fraiche in a medium bowl, cover and leave out on the counter for 24 hours. (Out of the sun, covered with a towel or such.)

Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, then pour into the soaked almond flour and mix thoroughly. (If you choose not to soak the flour, simply combine the almond flour with the ingredient of your choice (butter, lard, goose or duck fat, yogurt, creme fraiche, etc. If you use butter or ghee, melt it first before you mix) and then pour the whisked eggs into the mixture and combine thoroughly.

Pour batter into a prepared 9 inch round pan. (Prepare by greasing well with a fat you love or by lining it with parchment paper cut to fit.) Smooth with a spatula.

Place in a preheated 350 F oven and bake for about one hour. (This will depend on your altitude.) I would start checking for doneness at 45 minutes. You will know it is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Options: add 1/2-1 cup of berries, raisins, currants, fruit-sweetened cranberries or blueberries or minced dried fruit right into the batter;  grate in the zest of 2 organic lemons or oranges…add carob chips

Another option: To make a delightfully sweet treat,  add in 2 cups baked, mashed butternut squash. I prefer to make these into muffins than a cake, because the squash makes it more moist and thus will take much longer to bake as a cake. Muffins are easier to monitor–that is to ensure they bake through and don’t burn. I would bake them as muffins for about 50 minutes at the same temperature, checking early. The addition of the butternut squash makes a delightfully sweet muffin.

As always, I encourage you to experiment, mix it up, use spices you love, and have fun!

Enjoy!

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August and September classes!

Hey folks, visit the 2011 Class Schedule page…I just added classes for August and September. These are the last classes I will teach in the DC metro area for a while, as I am moving in late September. If you would like to take a class with me in this area, *now’s the time*!! I did my best to incorporate the class requests that came in. Thanks to everyone who will be hosting these two months, to those who offered to host, and to those who have hosted me over the years!

Classes include:

Enzyme-Rich Sauces! The Secret Ingredient to Satiety

Beans and Grains for Autumn

Greens-GLORIOUS Greens- and Squash!

and 

A Week of Healthy Breakfasts!

You will also find information about the weekend of classes in Charlottesville, VA in September: Nourishing Healthy Children. If you know anyone in Charlottesville, kindly *spread the word*!! Thanks!

As always, I look forward to cooking with you!

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My new favorite pancake recipe!

I LOVE this recipe. My child loves it. My husband loves it. You can serve these for breakfast. You can serve them as snacks. They are delicious alone (naked, that is)…they are even better topped with pastured butter…or fermented apple butter…or coconut butter…or homemade yogurt cream cheese (add some honey to the cheese and you’ve hit nirvana, again!)

This is an adaptation from the new GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) cookbook released last year called Internal Bliss. It is a good first effort to provide GAPS-friendly recipes for those on the full diet. I am trying out the recipes that look good to me and will let you know how it goes.

As some of you know, the GAPS program by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is a comprehensive program that heals the gut by eliminating certain foods (more than gluten), and serving nourishing, traditional food. (Check out my earlier post about meeting Dr. Campbell-McBride at Wise Traditions 2010.) There are no grains in the diet or starchy vegetables, no sugar, and no processed food. It relies heavily on nuts and eggs…but only after going through an introductory diet that heals the gut and builds up the gut flora. If you or your child have a nut allergy or egg allergy, the GAPS program is for you. (Unless you go into anaphylactic shock, that is. )

So these pancakes are GOOD FOR EVERYONE who can eat nuts…not just folks that are GF or grain free. They are especially good for growing children because they are very high in protein and good fat and easy to digest. Enjoy!

Nut Butter Pancakes

1 very ripe banana (very ripe means with lots of brown spots on it!)

2-3 Tablespoons nut butter (try peanut butter, almond, cashew!)

3 pastured eggs

water to thin if desired

pastured butter, coconut oil, ghee, coconut ghee, or other healthy fat as needed for the pan

Beat the eggs in one bowl. Mash the banana with a fork in another bowl. Add the nut butter and eggs to the banana and blend well. (You may use a fork for this. A hand blender will make a smoother consistency and eliminate lumps. I don’t mind lumps, so I use a fork!)

Grease a cast iron skillet well and bring to medium heat.

Use a tablespoon to pour pancakes onto skillet. Cook until done on one side, 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook about a minute on the other side.

DEEELISH! I suggest you make a double recipe so that you may keep some in the refrigerator for snacks! You may also vary the size if you like–silver dollar size is nice for kids! and you! 😉 I would have taken a picture, but I turned around and they were gone, folks! Next time!

P.S. If anyone would like assistance implementing the GAPS  program, contact me.

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some thoughts on baking gluten-free and overall health…post Wise Traditions 2010

If you or a family member has a gluten intolerance or sensitivity and you have chosen to cut out gluten, there is still a health issue that remains.

Maintaining a diet which is high in processed carbohydrates by switching from processed wheat or gluten products to other processed gluten-free products (such as rice flour mixes) WILL NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM.  It may in fact encourage other problems, such as continued inflammation, gut dysbiosis and candida. I encourage you first to HEAL YOUR GUT, or your child’s gut, or whoever is currently on the “GF” diet.

 

Me and Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

Here I am with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride at the Wise Traditions Conference 2010!

 

I was privileged to spend last Friday with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride as she presented to the Wise Traditions Conference 2010 in King-of-Prussia, PA. She has written two books thus far (the Gut and Psychology Syndrome and Put Your Heart in Your Mouth) about the connection of the health of the gut and gut flora to overall health, and is currently working on a third: the Gut and Physiology Syndrome. Dr. Campbell-McBride is unwavering in her knowledge that all eczema, all food allergies, all seasonal allergies, all AUTO-IMMUNE disorders, all ADD, all ADHD, all rheumatism, and many other illnesses and imbalances in the body can be traced to the state of the gut and the health of the gut flora in the body.

The best protocol that I have seen for HEALING THE GUT is in Dr. Campbell-McBride’s newly revised Gut and Psychology Syndrome book. Cutting down on the amount of grains (cookies, crackers, bread, pies, cakes, pretzels, etc etc) made from grains including gluten in your overall diet will help but not heal the source of the problem. Those with weak digestive systems or children or adults on the Autistic Spectrum SHOULD AVOID ALL GRAINS, those containing gluten and those that are gluten-free, including rice, until the gut is healed. Rice is a grain. Like all grains, it contains anti-nutrients, including phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, which put stress on the pancreas. It also contains irritating tannins and complex sugars which the body cannot break down. But most of all, a weak digestive system cannot properly process complex sugars like those found in rice, tapioca flour, and potato starch and cannot utilize them. These are the carbohydrates found in nearly all GF products. Unused carbohydrates and those that are not properly broken down or digested become food and fuel for intestinal pathogens. These pathogens can take control, poison the intestinal tract and blood stream, damage the gut wall, and impair brain and nervous system function. Also, genetically engineered rice fortified with iron is now being produced. Reports show that too much iron is as much of a danger as other toxic metals for ASD children.

Sooooooo what does all that mean? At its base, it translates first into EAT REAL FOOD. Gluten-free or not, EAT REAL FOOD. Even if you are not ready to start the GAPS protocol, EAT REAL FOOD. You will feel better, your body and mind and soul will be nourished. Your body will find its natural weight. (Processed food WILL kill you, though it may be slowwwwwwwwww at it. ) And this Thanksgiving, gluten-free or not, make some wonderful breads, muffins, and pie crusts with nuts or coconut flour. They are nutritious and delicious, and good for all of us! (unless you have a nut allergy, of course. Which leads me back to my original idea…take some time to HEAL THE GUT. Then you won’t have an allergy next year!)

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GLUTEN-FREE whole grains are good for EVERY body!

First of all, the super GLUTEN-FREE whole grains are DELICIOUS. I encourage all of you to try them and add some variety to your diet, as well as reduce the amount of strain you are putting your digestive system under on a daily basis…perhaps multiple times a day…depending on how many grain (read wheat) products you eat. More about that later.

Let’s talk about GRAINS. Let’s talk about WHOLE GRAINS. Everywhere we look, folks are encouraged to eat grains, and a lot of them. Yes, grains are nutrient-rich and B vitamin packed…yes, they are good for you and part of a REAL food diet. Here are the problems…for you, for me, for the average bear…and CERTAINLY for the children.

1. Most of the grains everyone is eating are PROCESSED grains. When we talk about whole grains and processed grains, or “grain food products” as I call them, we are not comparing apples to apples (or whole grains to whole grains I might add)! Crackers, cereal, bread, bagels, goldfish, pretzels, muffins…These have their own problems because processing in high heat and high pressure damages the nutrients in the grains themselves…not to mention that none of those items actually resemble the whole grains from which they came…slurries, extrusion processes…oy.

2. The whole grain goodness in these grain food products (crackers, bread, bagels, goldfish, cereal, muffins…) is not accessible by the body because the grains have not been prepared by soaking, fermenting, or sprouting.

3. Most people are not eating their grains with healthy fats, (such as butter from grass-fed cows), therefore, they could not absorb the nutrients in grains even IF THEY WERE available  (see numbers 1 and 2, above).

4. Most of the grains and whole grain PRODUCTS folks are eating are made from WHEAT.

You have already heard from me before on items one, two and three. So here I go on number four. “What’s the PROBLEM with WHEAT, you ask? Isn’t it healthy to eat whole wheat?! Heck, everyone’s telling me to eat whole wheat!”

Many problems. Hard to hear in this land of “amber waves of grain”, I know. In addition to the first 3 problems mentioned above, wheat contains GLUTEN. And not only does it contain gluten, (along with spelt, kamut, triticale, barley and rye), but wheat has been hybridized multiple times over the past 30 years or so to INCREASE the amount of gluten in it. Why, you ask? Because gluten is the “magic ingredient” that gives bread and baked products its rise, its air, its “mouth-feel”. Bakers and pastry chefs love high gluten flour. They are even adding “vital wheat gluten” to breads that already have gluten in them because of the grains from which they are produced. (Check your labels, folks! I have yet to find a “true sourdough” in a grocery store-that is, one in which “vital wheat gluten” has NOT been added!) Somehow during those 30 years as the amount of gluten has tripled in our grain food products, celiac disease, gluten allergies and gluten intolerance has skyrocketed. A cooincidence? hmmmmmmmm. You decide.

Why don’t I love gluten?  Because gluten is VERY HARD TO DIGEST by the human body, and ALMOST NO ONE is preparing wheat flour or any other gluten containing flour in a way that would  predigest the protein for us. (The exception is sprouted bread found in the freezer, aka Ezekiel Bread). Traditions all over the world fermented or soaked or sprouted grains before they ate them; they still do. Here in the Melting Pot, in the interest of speed, numbers, ease of manufacture and long shelf life, we lost the wisdom of the traditions. Who loses in the end? The people.  Our health. The children. I almost cannot walk into the grocery store any more, organic or not. All that whole wheat flour, all those processed grain products, and all those distressed digestive systems! And almost everyone is just eating it up! (No pun intended!) Filling their shopping carts with more and more grains, (processed for sure) because they have been told they are “good for you”…thinking they are doing their bodies good.  oy.

So……….what is gluten anyway? Gluten is a long-chain protein that must be pre-digested or broken down BEFORE it is eaten…or it can cause gastric distress and injury to the small intestine…as well as set up conditions for candida overgrowth if one does not have a strong gut or good gut flora (read good bacteria in the gut). When someone has difficulty digesting gluten, it can look like this: allergies, eczema, constant exhaustion, dark circles under the eyes, pale skin tone due to lack of nutrient absorption and perhaps anemia, headaches, earaches, gum ear, diarhhea, constipation, learning disorders, brain fog, memory issues, difficulty focusing…FLATULENCE. (If you or your child pass a lot of gas, it is a signal that the digestive system is distressed…or at least that it is working very hard to break down foods that were not properly prepared before you ate them.)  Many children on the Autistic Spectrum–from Aspberger’s Syndrome to full blown autism or  ADD, AD/HD  or dyslexia do far better when gluten is removed from their diet. What I am suggesting is SO WILL YOU.

Try some gluten-free whole grains in your diet-amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa… and remember, all grains must be prepared correctly–soaked, fermented or sprouted before they are eaten, whether they are gluten-free or gluten-full. Don’t be hoodwinked. Don’t fall for those processed GF grains or that GF flour! Make sure they are prepared correctly also. Your digestive system will thank you. You will get all the nutrients of whole grains, and none of the digestive distress.  And be sure to serve them with some good grass-fed butter, so you may absorb those nutrients.

If the Gluten-Free super-grains are new to you, consider coming to a class. I’ll be teaching one on Thursday evening, October 14 in Silver Spring, Maryland.  You may register HERE. If you are not in the area, then pick up one of my handy dandy, beautifully hand lettered and illustrated,  Bean and Whole Grain Chart!

and, as always, be well!

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A brave new world of well-nourished children…

Let’s do better by the children.

Let’s re-create the food model– what we eat and how we prepare it. Children that have come in with GF/CF issues are calling us not to do more of the same differently, (i.e., tweak the old model with brown rice flour), but to create something new. They are calling us to start over. To create a food model based on “things that work” for them, and that will ultimately transform how we all eat.

The current model for all children, including the GF community is:

  • too much processed food,
  • too many carbs, and not prepared in a way that can be digested,
  • too little healthy fat, and
  • improper food combining (too much protein and carbohydrates eaten together. Example: a turkey sandwich.)

Let’s do it differently.

Don’t all the children in the world deserve to be served the nutrients they need to live happy, healthy lives? I daresay, yes—and think most would agree. So let’s see what a new food model would look like for all children (and heck, all adult’s too!)

1. Cut out processed foods. For the purposes of this article, a frozen GF muffin made of brown rice flour and tapioca flour is just as dead as a “regular”, i.e., non-GF muffin. Only worse. Feeding these grains to a GF child does nothing to help heal the gut and, in the longer term, may lead to candida overgrowth issue. They also do nothing to stem the tide of toxins to the brain made from the inefficient digestion of carbohydrates.

2. Eat more properly prepared whole, gluten-free grains, such as buckwheat, millet, oats, and quinoa made at home. These grains, when prepared correctly through traditional soaking and cooking techniques, and served with healthy fats accomplish the following goals: they do not strain the digestive system because they do not contain the long chain protein known as “gluten” or large carbohydrate molecules found in rice, potatoes, and other starches typically used in processed GF recipes. These grains provide high nutrient density that is easily absorbed by the body. They do not convert into toxins that can then be absorbed by the bloodstream—a problem for those with compromised gut health. (See Natasha Campbell McBride, GAPS, SCD and BED for more on this).

3. Use alternative flours—nut flours or coconut flour. For those who can tolerate them, nuts and coconut flour are nutrient-dense options that pack a wallop. Nuts are very high in protein and healthy fats (so you don’t have to worry about a sugar crash like you do from a high carb muffin), and coconut flour is high in lauric acid which is a natural immune booster (for more on the nutrient benefits of coconut, see Bruce Fife, The Coconut Oil Miracle and Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, Eat Fat, Lose Fat).

All of the above calls us to create a new way of eating. It demands a learning curve along with a dash of creativity and a sense of adventure to learn anew the old techniques and incorporate them into one’s cooking repertoire, to work with whole grains and flours one has never worked with before, and to change our thinking about what is nourishing to children and to the rest of us. (STOP serving turkey sandwiches on any kind of bread and START giving the children the fats they need for healthy brain development…butter from grass-fed cows or casein-free ghee and coconut oil, for example.)

A, a brave new world of well-nourished children who are able to focus, participate, and THRIVE. Come with me to envision it and invent it. For all of us.

copyright 2010 Monica Corrado

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