Changes Coming to GfRealFood

Crickets…crickets… It’s been real quiet here at gfrealfood.  I’ve had a lot to think about lately.  Last December my husband and I went grain free.  We have been gluten free for more than 4 years and I personally have been dairy free for most of that time too.  I had been having some weird symptoms that my PCP and neurologist couldn’t find a cause for.  Within about 2 weeks of eliminating grain, dairy, all forms of sugar other than small amounts of honey or coconut sugar and all processed foods, I felt like the old me.  Every single symptom vanished.  I had energy, I felt happy and calm and had no physical complaints.  Life was good.  We even made it through Christmas following the plan.  Then in February we decided to have a blow it day.  Bad idea.  That day became a week.  And that week became….You get the idea.  It’s a very, very slippery slope.  Within days of going back to our old ways (although we were still gluten free and I remained dairy free) every single last symptom came back – with a vengeance.  I felt sure that my issues were food related.  I started seeing an allergist in March.  Turns out I was right.  I didn’t think I had allergies or intolerances beyond gluten and dairy.  I was stunned to find out I have a lot.  Finding out that I am allergic to corn put me into a serious funk.  I knew corn was in everything.  I read labels.  What I didn’t know was that it is in EVERYTHING.  I have come to believe that if it comes from a food manufacturer (i.e. in a box, bag, can, jar, bottle etc) and has more than 2 ingredients in it – it has corn in it.  Even my beloved bacon has corn in it in the form of sodium erythrobate.  Xanthan gum is corn based and it is used in a lot of gf baking and in many things as a thickener.  When we initially went gluten free I thought that was rough.  In hind site it was a piece of cake compared to eliminating corn.  The list of things that corn can be found in is FOUR pages long.   I am told that corn is, hands down, the most difficult single ingredient to eliminate.  It’s even in toothpaste, toilet paper, plastic cutlery, plastic bags and the list goes on and on.  What makes it even more difficult is that because corn is not on the FDA’s list of top allergens it doesn’t have to be listed on an ingredient label.  Thanks to the fact that our government subsidizes the corn industry it has found its way into nearly every product.  I wasn’t done feeling sorry for myself when I found out on my next visit to the allergist that I am also allergic to soy, coffee (ok, just shoot me now), citric acid (just try finding canned tomatoes without citric acid), dairy and brewers yeast (which is found in all vinegars and all alcohol – extracts included.)  Along with these there is a considerable list of things that I showed a slight reaction to that I am supposed to eat only once every four days.  Things on that list included: eggs, chocolate, almonds, cashews, peanuts, onion, bakers yeast…you get the idea.  So this all would explain my lack of posts here.  I have been completely stumped for ideas on what I can eat.  On the plus side of all this: it’s a great weight loss plan.  😉 

So what’s my plan?  Starve to death?  Resign myself to feeling like garbage for the rest of my miserable life?  No.  It’s GAPS to the rescue.  If you haven’t heard of GAPS please click on the link.  I could not do it justice to explain it here.  Anyway, I have hope and I am going to give it everything I have got to make it work.  I bought the book and as I was reading through it and was feeling totally overwhelmed, my favorite food blogger announces that she will be offering a GAPS cooking class.  Surely it was a sign.  I enrolled.  The first class (all are online) was released yesterday.  I can not believe the amount of work and information that went into this.  I feel like the cost of enrollment was a steal. 

So back to the changes to my blog.  From now on all recipes will be free of grain, corn (technically a grain), soy, dairy, gluten, brewers yeast and sugar.  All will be “full GAPS legal”.  If I am able to reverse some or all of these food allergies then this list will shrink in time.  For now though I am going to have to stick with these limitations.  Will this blog still be something that interests you?  I hope so. 

Anyone else have multiple food allergies?  Does anyone here have success with reversing them?  If you have any experience with this or with GAPS I would really love to hear from you.

Our McDonald’s Experiment

i'm not lovin' it

To some it may be hard to believe that our 3 kids have no McDonald’s memories.  Our oldest was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when she was 2 so she doesn’t ever remember eating there.  We don’t have cable or satellite TV so they don’t see the commercials either.  Since the diagnosis of both my daughter and my husband we never eat there so the kids have no idea what it’s all about.  We have nicknamed the restaurant McGluten’s.  I am aware that they do have a couple of items on their menu that are gluten free but it is things like salad and yogurt.  Ummm, no thanks.   So when I found  myself out doing errands a couple of days after Christmas with my 4 year old (who has never shown any reaction to the limited amount of gluten she has eaten in her life) I decided to do a little experiment.  My daughter was complaining of being hungry.  No problem.  I never leave home without something to eat in my purse.  Well never except for that day.  I had been sick so I guess maybe I wasn’t thinking clearly.  Maybe that was why I took the easiest option and took her to McDonald’s.  Millions of other parents do it so why not?  As we got into line I asked her what she wanted.  She said “What do they have here?”  The guy in front of us looked back at us, laughed and said something about being surprised that she didn’t already know what she wanted.  I told her what the choices were.  I had to explain what a McNugget was.  She finally decided on those with fries and an apple juice.  We took the kid’s meal to the table and sat down.  She was so excited to get her lunch in a colorful box.  She immediately asked if she could take the box home.  You can imagine her reaction when she opened the box to find not only her lunch but a toy.  She shrieked loudly that “Someone put a toy in here!”  The two tables near us giggled over her excitement.  I told them that it was her first time there.  They  looked at me like they couldn’t decide if I was joking or not.   I wondered for a moment if she would now be begging to come back regularly.  Had I just opened a huge Pandora’s box?   Once the excitement of the toy subsided she remembered she was hungry.  She dug in.  She ate a grand total of one and a half nuggets, one taste of the sauce, one solitary french fry and all of her apple juice.  I asked her why she didn’t want to eat anymore and her response was one that made me proud.  She said, “I don’t like it.”   Yay!  Score for REAL FOOD!  Since that day she has asked to go back once.  She wanted another toy but not the food.  

I have said it before and I will say it again.  Celiac disease has been a good thing for our family.  Prior to CD I never once considered what I put in my mouth.  I assumed that all those things that I couldn’t pronounce on the ingredient list were food and were safe and benign.   I loved McDonald’s.  We ate out every day, sometimes more than once a day.  I had absolutely no idea of the close relationship between food and health, both physical and mental health.  While CD does in fact make life far more complicated at times and it certainly would be better not to have it, those are things that I can not change.  I choose to focus on the many positive things that have come of it.

How To Make Your Own Almond Flour

Can anyone tell me what makes a man tick?  Because I am at a loss.  My husband whom I think is (usually) a genius leaves me scratching my  head.  Why?  Let me tell you how my day started.  We have 2 of iPod touches, the ones that have Face to Face which is video calling.  First just let me say that I hate the idea of video calling.  I don’t want to be bothered worrying about how I look just to make a phone call.  It’s great for the kids and Grandma and for the kids and my husband or I while at work.  However it’s not great when the iPod rings at 5:20 am because my husband, who was at work, thought I would be awake and he wanted to demonstrate to a male co-worker how the thing worked.  Seriously?!  I ignored the call and tried to go back to sleep.  Then he called back at 6:30.  I had just woke up and was barely upright or even thinking yet.  I answer the call and while waiting to connect see myself on the screen and ponder what has become of me.  Can you now imagine how mortified I am when the call connects and there is Ron’s co-worker staring back at me.  Seriously, what was my husband thinking?!  Now I know better than to show my face when I answer a call.      

One of my favorite blogs is Elana’s Pantry.  Nearly everything this woman posts looks great.  For me the problem is that she uses a lot of almond flour.  I love almond flour, just not the price.  She recommends one particular brand, Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour.  While I’m sure it is a great product, I just can’t see myself spending that kind of money on flour.  As I have said before on this blog, we grind a lot of our own flours.  We grind amaranth, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, rice and corn.  We save a TON of  money doing it this way.  Since I am leaning toward a grain free diet lately it got me wondering if I could make my own almond flour.   Turns out that yes, I can.  It’s quick and easy.  I have used this almond flour for cookies, muffins and pancakes.  So far everything I have tried with it has worked out great.  I have never purchased almond flour so I guess I have nothing to compare mine too but I expect that mine is moister so I need to use a bit less oil in whatever recipe I am using if the recipe calls for commercial almond flour.  The only things you need to make this is a coffee grinder (preferably not one that you use coffee beans for) and a wire mesh sieve.   

Here’s how I do it.  

Larger Pieces Sifted Out

Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of whole raw almonds to the coffee grinder.  Grind until you have a fine meal.  When you hear the grinder make a different noise and the almond meal inside is not moving well anymore, stop.  If you continue you will be making chunky almond butter.  Pour the almond meal into a sieve which is sitting in a large bowl.  Shake out the almond flour into the bowl.  The larger meal and some bigger pieces will be left over.  Just leave them in the bowl for now and repeat the process until you have the amount you need.  Then add back into the grinder all those small pieces and the courser meal and grind again.   

Closer Look

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I must get at my day now.  The kids found the small head of a salamander in the living room this morning.  I have got to locate the rest of him.  Yup, that’s desert life!

I’m Famous For My Bread, AGAIN!

Okay, that may be overstating the case a tad.  I wrote a while ago about how a friend of mine, Stephanie, entered my bread recipe in a gluten free baking contest.  She has CD as does 2 of her 3 kids.  Her only sibling and her father also have it.  Stephanie’s  sister, Kristen, is a dietician.  She was on TV this morning on a local morning news program in Nebraska.  She spoke about CD, symptoms, diagnosis, testing and it’s impact if it goes undiagnosed.  I thought she did an amazing job.  It’s hard to do those kind of interviews and say everything you would like to get said.  I think she did a great job at explaining it and why it is important to get tested.  Here are the links to the clips.  Right at the very beginning she talks about my bread recipe and how it came to be.  In the second clip she shares the bread she made and brought with her to the set.  It of course got great reviews from the hosts.  (The program also left a link to the recipe.  Unfortunately, they called it gluten free whole wheat bread instead of whole grain bread.  I am sure they will fix that since there is no such thing as gluten free wheat.)  There was also a link to my blog at the end.  Pretty cool, hey?!  As I have said before. I am not trying to make money from my blog or my recipe.  I just think it is a great thing to be able to share something with people who need it.  Mostly though, I am incredibly happy to see that Celiac Disease is getting more and more press.  One in 100-133 people have CD.  97% of those people don’t know they have it.  Only 1 in 6 people with CD have symptoms even though their small intestine is being destroyed.  If you have a blood relative with CD there is a 1 in 22 chance you have it.  (I think that statistic is WAY off.  I would bet the number is closer to 1 in 2)  If you have any auto immune disease, such as CD, you are more likely to have another, especially if you continue to eat gluten.  Many doctors still think that it is a rare childhood disorder.  Getting screened is as easy as one little poke!  CD often goes hand in hand with ASD (autism spectrum disorders), Type I Diabetes, IBS, depression to name a few. 

Thanks again to Stephanie and Kristen (and their mom for starting this whole TV thing) for doing such a great job of bringing awareness to CD and to my bread recipe.   You guys are awesome!

 Once again here is the original recipe.   And here is the simplified version.

New Picture

Life has been too busy to blog much. So for now, for my family, here is a recent pic. The kids love riding on their wiggle cars. Often they will all ride on the same one (always with Justus driving). It is hard to get a good picture of all of them at once. I so wish Justus and Rori had had clothes on. It’s just too hot here to bother though.

Translation Please

A big part of my day is trying to decipher my 2 year old’s speech. I swear she is working with about half of the alphabet, at best. She gets so frustrated in repeating everything she says, that she says it louder and louder until she is screaming it. I think she thinks I am deaf. Sometimes I repeat back to her what I have heard and she will say “YA!” (Ya, you dummy, that’s what I said!) We often have to get Sage to be our interpreter. So let’s play a little game. How many of these can you figure out?

1. Huck Me!

2. ho -e hane handus

3. me hus me heef

4. me poopeen now!

5. haucat heok

6. no hypa, me hig now

7. husus honan eeteen hurdpoop

8. hinasore

9. heepitoo?


10. hiya heepeen hit me.


11. heer mommy, hoogy



Okay, can you figure any of these out? I would love to see your comments with some guesses. I’ll post the translations in a day or two.

It’s Mother’s Day today and as my gift Ron took the girls out of the house so I could have some quiet time (Justus is napping). This is the absolute best gift I could receive. There is NO gift that could be better than some time to myself. Before I had kids I hated being alone and had to fill in those times with phone conversations or TV or something like that but now since having kids I just can’t get enough time alone. (Honestly it is a rare thing.) I used to look at those people who went to movies or restaurants alone and think they were pathetic loners who couldn’t even come up with one friend or family member to go with them. I now know that those people are parents and they are loving that time alone. So Happy Mother’s Day to all you tireless moms. Here’s wishing you some peace and quiet all by yourself!

New Pics

I have been so uninspired in the kitchen lately. I don’t know what is the matter with me. Anyone have any ideas? Please send any suggestions my way. Until then, pictures for my family. It occured to me the other day that we have been really bad about taking pictures of the kids. When Sage was a baby we took so many pictures. There were fewer of Rori at the same age and now with Justus… Yikes. Poor guy. We’ve got nothing, almost nothing. Here’s what we do have for recent kids pics.

More of Justus eating. He really does do more than eat although pictures would seem to prove otherwise. In case you noticed the hideously dirty windows in the background, we can thank the girls for that. They were “helping” me wash windows. And now I have a real job of it…

Here is Justus on the swing at the park, 9 months old.

Rori, dirty face and all, in the dryer. This time I was lucky enough to find her in her diaper. The last time I found her in the drier she had taken her diaper off and then had trouble getting out of the drier when she needed to pee. So, she peed in the drier. Lovely.

This last one I took today. I don’t know if it is my computer but it kinda looks like Justus may have some liver failure going on as he looks jaundiced next to Sage who is so pale. He’s fine. He is just tanned. We have been spending a lot of time outside lately. But now that it is rattlesnake season that is likely to change.