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    • Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Store. For Additional Information: Subscribe to: Journal of Gluten Sensitivity
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About this blog

Since I can't make posts from my external blog show up, I'll repost some of them here!

Entries in this blog

I started copying all our blog posts here so that when one was particularly relevant to a thread, I'd be able to link to it rather than basically rewrite the whole thing out in the thread. This was a hassle, since I had to make sure to strip out product links and links back to my blog for each post, plus change it all to bbcode from HTML, but it seemed worth it for the convenience of being able to link.

However, the board rules interpretation has changed and we can no longer link to our blogs, even if they are on this site. So, if you want to see more of our blogs, you can google The Liberated Kitchen or find it linked from my profile page.

[i]My partner, Kelsy, wrote this, not me![/i]

As Joy and I settled into bed last night at midnight(!), I suddenly jolted awake. We forgot to do the chores! Our poor bunnies were hungry and thirsty and, after losing a chicken to a raccoon last week, we were definitely not leaving the coop open all night. Up we got, me in my bathrobe and Joy in some clothes she picked up off the floor, and trudged our weary bums outside to take care of our animals. Thank goodness the weather has turned mild.

After our nighttime escapades, 6:45 am came waaaay too early. With only 15 minutes left to do housework, I quickly cooked myself a couple of eggs for breakfast and picked some stuff up off the floor before my time was up. After my shower, I automatically opened up the dishwasher to put the dishes away. I quickly shut it and walked away. Joy couldn't find the broccoli to make the kids' breakfast. I found it for her. She said that was cheating and refused to use it. A blanket was on the floor. I really couldn't help it; I had to pick it up. Not doing housework is harder than I thought.

Somehow, Joy managed to make breakfast for the kids, pack their lunches, and unload the dishwasher without me. I had stuck a frozen pot roast in the crockpot last night to start in the morning and had Joy turn it on low on our way out the door at 8:13 am.

I had a little bit of work to do in the outside world, but was home in plenty of time for lunch. We heated up some leftover chicken soup (reheating is allowed) and headed out to buy some lumber for raised beds in Tualatin. Of course, we were starving by the time we got home three hours later and I only had 20 minutes before I had to go pick up the kids from their camp. I threw some cold chicken (leftover from Saturday night!) and ranch dressing on some lettuce and scarfed it before hopping in the car.

The pot roast was done when we got home. All I had to do was roast the cauliflower and get the lettuce out for salad. I made a little honey mustard dressing by mixing equal parts mayonnaise and mustard with a little bit of honey. I started at 4:30 pm and had dinner on the table by 5:15. I was impressed with myself!

Kodiak very sweetly requested [url=""]Oven Fried Chicken[/url] for dinner tomorrow. It's a little more labor intensive than I want to go this week, what with the defrosting and the cutting up the chicken and the grinding almonds, but how can I refuse? Dinner's not going to be happening at 5:15 tomorrow, that's for sure! Oh well, we've got snacks.

Joy and I vowed we'd make it to bed earlier than last night and we're right on track for that. I've got crispy nuts going in the dehydrator and the dishwasher is all loaded for its nighttime run. I'm going super simple for the kids' lunches tomorrow: boiled eggs, carrots, ranch, kale chips, and zucchini bread. No prep needed there. And I'll wait until tomorrow morning to pull the chicken to thaw.

Before we went on GAPS, I used one of the produce drawers in the bottom of our fridge for defrosting meat and the other for produce. Since we don't eat grains, though, we eat a lot more vegetables! So I've rededicated the thawing drawer to produce and am now thawing meat on the counter. In addition to gaining much needed fridge space, it also saves me from the thawing time guessing game. I really hate planning on pork chops for dinner and finding them still frozen in the middle!

Now please don't call the Food Safety Police on me! I know that thawing meat in the fridge is the safest choice, but I don't think the meat I buy is dangerous. The animals I purchase were never fed [url=""]prophylactic antibiotics[/url] and never lived in confinement, the two conditions which breed the extra virulent strains of common bacteria like salmonella, e. coli, and staph. I think I'll take my chances thawing meat on the counter in order to have a little more fridge space.
Whew! It's only Day 1 and I'm exhausted. First thing this morning, I ran out to [url=""]Friendly Haven Rise Farm[/url] to pick up the soy free/corn free chicken food I ordered. Arriving home around noon and seeing Joy and the kids hard at work cleaning up the kids' rooms, I knew it was up to me to make lunch! I had thrown a chicken in the crockpot (recipe forthcoming) last night after dinner to have some cooked chicken on hand and pulled some chicken stock out of the freezer, so I threw together some soup for my hungry workers!

I recently started making mustard from scratch, which the kids are nutso for (recipe forthcoming). We went through the first jar like it was nothing. So I knew we'd want some of that around this week. I also wanted to make [url=""]mayonnaise[/url] for my homemade ranch dressing (recipe forthcoming) to put in the kids' lunches with carrot sticks and for our salad at dinner. So I did.

I finished up with those three right around 2:00 pm, which was the perfect time to start the duck for dinner. Hungry Mouse has by far the best recipe for [url=""]crispy duck[/url] I've used. Labor intensive, but worth it for a Sunday night dinner!
We've an abundance of kale growing in our garden right now (the cool weather is good for something!). I made [url=""]kale chips[/url] (I subbed duck fat for olive oil to be GAPS legal) to pack in the kids' lunches tomorrow. Luckily, the duck roasts at 300 degrees and kale chips can also be made at 300 degrees! Two birds, one stone.

I heated up some honey glazed carrots (recipe forthcoming) leftover from last week and made a big salad to go with our crispy duck. Served with [url=""]pink kraut[/url], it was a feast to be sure.

After dinner, I mixed up a batch of [url=""]zucchini bread[/url] took the dog for a walk while it sat. Upon our return, I popped it in the oven and made the last of the kale into kale chips.

[i]Meanwhile[/i] I had the chicken carcass from last night simmering away since I got up in my big crockpot and yogurt incubating since last night in my small crockpot. My final tasks of the night included straining and jarring up the stock, dripping the yogurt, starting stock with the duck carcass, and plopping a frozen hunk of meat into the big crockpot to thaw before I cook it tomorrow. I just have to remember to turn the crockpot on is all.

Waking up to a messy kitchen is an absolute nightmare, so one thing I absolutely always (try to) make sure to do every night is put the kitchen to bed. You don't let your kids go to bed in their day clothes and with unbrushed teeth, why would you let your kitchen go to bed with dirty dishes all over the place and unwiped counters? Putting the kitchen to bed includes:
[*]Loading up the dishwasher and setting the delay timer (so we don't have to hear it running while we're trying to go to sleep)
[*]Rinsing and stacking the dishes that didn't fit in the dishwasher
[*]Putting the dishes on the drying rack away
[*]Wiping down all counters
[*]Putting all leftovers away
[*]Making sure the oven is off! (this one is important!)

What do you do the night before to make your mornings easier?

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. A lot of time. I think fully half of my personal Facebook posts are food related. One of my friends recently commented, "Do you ever get out of the kitchen?" To which I replied, "Sometimes I go to the bathroom!" I was joking. Kind of.

Being a homemaker is my full time job. An apron is my uniform. My job responsibilities include cooking food from scratch, keeping up the house, doing laundry, and taking care of my kids and my animals. In addition to my full time job, I am also currently working on a Masters of Arts in Teaching at [url=""]Concordia University[/url] here in Portland. This means that some day, my full time job is going to be outside my home! How will we survive!? Eat packaged crap? Wallow in our filth? Get rid of my chickens?!

No, no, and no! We can't survive like that. But we're going to have to figure out how. To this end, I'm taking on the 40 Hour Work Week Challenge beginning Sunday, June 19, and going through Saturday, June 25. The rules of the challenge are simple:
[*]I will prepare three meals and one snack for my family per day.
[*]Monday through Friday, I can only cook food for our family from 4:30 pm to 7:00 am. This means no chopping, no starting soaks, no starting ferments, and certainly no using the oven.
[*]Saturday and Sunday are free days - the kitchen is open to me all day and night.
[*]I may not clean up the house, aside from my own mess, during the time I would be working (M - F, 7 am - 4:30 pm). No doing laundry, no sweeping, no wiping. (This is the hard part!)
[*]Other members of the household are allowed to cook food for themselves at any time, but I may not partake of this food.
[*]I will post every day, sharing how the day went, what state the house is in, and whether or not we've starved to death yet.

I think with a very clear plan and some delegation, we'll be able to make it work. I'm looking forward to this challenge. Wish me luck!

What are your biggest challenges and best tips for balancing your work and home cooking?

[i]Note - this post is written by my partner, Kelsy. She also writes lots of the food posts on our blog. If you look at the original blog (linked from my profile) you can always see who wrote the post. There are often extra links included in the posts as well![/i]
With all those chickens, we have lots and lots of eggs this time of year. One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is in a quick egg salad. This version celebrates Spring with an added kick from garden-fresh radishes.

The deal with fresh eggs, is that if you want them boiled, you have to think ahead. If you boil a very fresh egg, you won't be able to peel it without losing half the white along with the shell. Our trick is to let them sit on the counter a few days before boiling them. In order to have boiled eggs available, we keep a bowl of eggs on the counter, boil up a whole bunch of them, write "B" on the boiled ones in pencil, and put them back in the fridge.

[b]Zesty Spring Egg Salad[/b] [i]serves 2[/i]

3 Hardboiled eggs
1 Tbsp mustard
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
Capers, to taste (or substitute any home-fermented vegetable, in small pieces)
4 Radishes

Chop up your eggs in 1/2 inch pieces and place them in a bowl. Add the mustard and mayonnaise and stir it thoroughly. You may want to play with the amounts, depending on your preferred texture and how spicy your mustard is. Wash and dry your radishes, then chop them into small wedges. Add radishes and capers. Stir gently and serve.

Egg salads are fun for kids and easy to make with a variety of flavors. Jupiter got creative the other day and made one with pesto and fermented asparagus... in the shape of a smiley face!

Kodiak made hers with swiss cheese, capers, and carrots.
Going gluten-free is harder than it looks. The pesky stuff is everywhere! Many people who are intolerant or have a wheat allergy can get away with not really worrying about trace amounts of contamination. But if you are going gluten-free because of an autoimmune problem like [url=""]celiac disease[/url], it's imperative that you get away from even the slightest cross-contamination. Some households do have mixed kitchens, but they maintain strict protocols to keep gluten-free space safe. This post is about how to have a totally gluten-free household.

This is a step-by-step guide for doing it yourself. It can be an overwhelming process, so give yourself a few days, make sure you have safe snacks on hand before you start, and get a friend or two to help. If you're in the Portland, Oregon area and want someone to help or just take care of the whole process for you, we'd love to liberate your kitchen! [i]LINKS TO OUR SERVICES STRIPPED OUT[/i]

[b]Identifying Gluten[/b]
The first step in eliminating gluten is knowing how to spot it.

Gluten is a catch-all term for the protein in wheat, rye and barley. Oats also have a very similar protein as well, which some people react to in the same way, and most oats are cross-contaminated due to their growing conditions. So it follows that any product that has wheat, rye, barley, or oats in it is NOT safe!

It's not as simple as that, though... because these grains can be processed into other products that end up in the products you might want to eat. Sound convoluted? It is! A good rule of thumb is to avoid any ingredient that you don't know the exact source of.

In the USA, labeling laws require companies to disclose whether products are processed with the [url=""]top 8 allergens[/url] - wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish & shellfish. So if your product was processed in a factory with wheat, you can know it's [b]not[/b] safe! Unfortunately a product with no warning [b]isn't necessarily safe[/b]. It could have been processed with rye, barley, or oats, or could have been cross-contaminated during manufacturing or shipping! I've seen products that are labeled "naturally gluten-free" but which also disclose they have been processed in a factory with wheat. These products are [b]not safe[/b]!

Even products that are [b]certified gluten-free[/b] are [b]not necessarily safe enough[/b] for people with autoimmune reactions to gluten. The reason is that these products can contain up to 20 parts per million of gluten. While some super-sensitive people do feel the difference when they get glutened from these products, most people do not react outwardly to this level of contamination. [b]Unfortunately, the damage is still being done internally[/b]!

Always read the labels on the products you decide to try, and if you have any question whatsoever about how it was processed, call the manufacturer and ask. Don't just ask "is this gluten-free?" Ask about whether wheat, barley, rye, or oats are processed or packaged in the same building, and ask about their policies to ensure no cross-contamination.

Gluten isn't just in food. It's also in playdough, some art supplies, some glues, the powder dusted on latex gloves, make-up, lotions, shampoos... if you are truly eliminating gluten from your life, you need to watch out for these unexpected sources of contamination as well!

[b]A Fresh Start For Your Home[/b]
You can imagine that if even 20 parts per million is enough to cause a problem, that cross-contamination is a real problem in a kitchen that hasn't always been gluten-free. If you plan to go gluten-free, you'll need to get a fresh start! Here's how:

[b]Remove All Products Containing or Contaminated With Gluten[/b]
The first step is to remove everything that contains gluten or might have come into contact with it. The rule of thumb is "when in doubt, throw it out... or donate it."

It can be really hard to do this. Most of us have issues around wasting food, and most of us have attachments to foods that we like or have cultural attachments too. It's likely you'll run across a few things you just don't want to give up. If that happens, put the item in the correct box and make a note of what the item is on a piece of paper taped to the box. You can revisit that later. For now, you are just sorting, and that needs to be the focus of the process. Here are the steps, which can be used for eliminating allergens as well:

[*]Set up four boxes, and label them:
[*]Dry goods - unopened
[*]Perishable - unopened
[*]Food - opened
[*]Household Items

[*]Now, start at one end of the kitchen and systematically go through each cupboard and drawer that contains food. [b]Read every label carefully, even if you are sure there is no gluten in there![/b] Here are examples of the things you'll put in each box:

[b]Dry goods - unopened[/b]
Put everything that has gluten in it and won't go bad unrefrigerated in this box. You can tell by reading the labels. If they have ingredients you do not know the origins of, google them to find out what they are and whether they could contain gluten. Some examples are packages of flour, packages of cereal, packaged snacks, and canned soups.

[b]Perishable - unopened[/b]
Everything that has gluten but will go bad if unrefrigerated goes in this box. Some might surprise you - gluten is often added to things like cottage cheese! Again, read all the labels and call the manufacturer if necessary!

[b]Food - opened[/b] - Anything that either contains gluten, or might have been dipped into with something that contained gluten is fair game. Even items that would otherwise be gluten-free may have been contaminated. Spices are usually gluten-free since they have one single ingredient. However, if they have been open when you are baking, they could have been dusted with flour. You may have alternative flours or bulk goods, but if you shared a scoop with flour, they could be contaminated. If you have open jam, butter, dips, spreads, they could have been contaminated by dipping the knife back in after spreading on toast, or by a chip. If you aren't 100% sure it's never come into contact with gluten, it's got to go!

[*]Take your list of foods you don't want to get rid of off the boxes and look at it again. If any of these items are things you just can not let go of right now, put a big red "G" on them then go ahead and put them in a keep-for-now box (in the fridge if necessary). Keep your list to look at later.

All the unopened food can be donated to your local food bank or similar charity. You may find that you need to throw out the opened items. It is a small price to pay for your health!

[*]Now it's time for the household items. Go through the kitchen systematically, putting everything that is contaminated with gluten into the [b]Household Items[/b] box.

Here are some things to look out for:
[*]Old potholders and used sponges (It's ok to hold onto dishtowels for now unless they've been used to wipe up flour. Just throw them all in the wash for now. You can use them for the first pass cleaning you'll do later.)
[*]Scratched plastic containers
[*]Teflon items, especially if they are at all scratched
[*]Wood, plastic, or silicone utensils and cutting boards
[*]Containers or measuring cups that have been regularly used with gluten-containing items
[*]Items with tiny crevices or lots of holes, like wire mesh screens or colanders
[*]Serrated knives
[*]Kitchen appliances that have scratches in the parts that contact food, which have vents, or which have been used frequently with gluten-containing items. (Like mixers, breadmakers, toaster ovens)
[*]Baking sheets
[*]Drawer organizers if they have crevices or are made of something porous (we're still sad about our bamboo silverware sorter, but it had to go!)

The good news is, you get to keep your stainless steel, cast iron, and glass! We'll get to cleaning those in a minute.

If you find that you just can't give up some of these items yet, put them in a second box, labeled "Household Items - GLUTEN" and store them out of sight. The rest can be donated to your local charity or sold.


[b]Cleaning The Kitchen[/b]
Now it's time to clean! Everything in your kitchen is going to get a thorough scrubbing... and more than once! The important thing to remember is that once a sponge has touched gluten, it now has gluten on it, which it can spread around. You will go through a lot of sponges and rags - throw them out or donate them to someone who is not gluten-free once they're dirty and get a new one. I don't usually advocate waste, but you don't want to take chances with your health. You are going to take two thorough passes through your entire kitchen, starting at the top, and working your way to the bottom. You can wear a mask and gloves so that you don't accidentally breathe in or touch and ingest gluten.

[*]Clean your sink, handles, and fixtures thoroughly.
[*]If your cabinets do not reach the ceiling, take everything off the top of them and put in the dishwasher or stack up somewhere out of the way for washing later.
[*]Wipe down the tops of the cabinets with soap and water, so that they look clean.
[*]Throw out the sponge(s) you used for that, and repeat, with a fresh sponge and soap and water.
[*]Wash everything that had been on top of the cabinets, then put it back away.
[*]Repeat steps 2-5 for each of your upper cabinets.
[*]Repeat steps 2-5 for your counters.
[*]Repeat steps 2-5 for your lower cabinets.
[*]Repeat steps 2-5 for your refrigerator - don't forget to clean each rack!
[*]Clean your oven and stove thoroughly.
[*]Repeat steps 2-5 for the cabinet, refrigerator, dishwasher, and oven doors, handles, and faces, and the sink.
[*]Scrub down your table, chairs, doors, and anything else in the kitchen that I haven't mentioned - always switching out sponges and taking a thorough second pass.
[*]Sweep & mop the floor.
[*][url=""]Reseason your cast iron[/url] using the self-clean cycle on your oven (we had to use my mom's oven) and wash the pans you are keeping.

[b]The Rest of the House[/b]
Unfortunately, the kitchen isn't the only place gluten lurks. Especially if you have kids or allow eating in other rooms of the house, they need to be dealt with, too. In each room of the house, use the same cleaning techniques to spot gluten and clean it up. Each house is different, but here are some pointers to get you started:
[*]Carpets and upholstered furniture need to be vacuumed and wiped down. (Dry cleaning does not remove gluten.)
[*]Doors and handles need to be cleaned with two passes, like in the kitchen.
[*]Read the labels on all personal care products, and get rid of anything that contains gluten. Call the manufacturers if necessary.
[*]Toys that have been played with by children after they ate or handled gluten need to be washed. LEGOs can even go through the dishwasher in mesh bags!

[b]Supplements and Medications[/b]
Supplements and medications are not regulated in the same way as foods. In order to find out what the fillers in your supplements and medications are, you must call the manufacturer or ask your pharmacist. [b]If you find that you are on a medication which contains gluten, do [i]not[/i] throw it out right away or discontinue its use without the approval of your physician.[/b] It is very dangerous to abruptly stop some medications.

However, don't let anyone tell you that since it's "just a little bit" that it doesn't matter. Even small quantities of gluten over long periods of time can trigger autoimmune problems and prevent recovery. Some medications will need to be weened off of slowly, or replaced with another medication. Others will no longer be necessary once you have healed.

[b]Keep it Safe![/b]
Now that you have a gluten-free kitchen, keep it that way! Don't bring gluten into your house, and you won't have to worry. If someone does bring gluten to your house, have them use a paper towel under it, then fold it up carefully and throw it away after eating. They should also thoroughly wash their hands and the area they ate in afterwards with soap and water. [b]Hand sanitizer does [i]not[/i] clean up gluten![/b]

[b]Do the Emotional Work[/b]
It's normal to grieve when you are making any kind of a change. Adjusting to a new diet is especially difficult, because we are so connected to our food. If you found that feelings came up or there were foods or kitchen items you really didn't want to give up, dealing with those feelings is going to be an important part of making your new diet sustainable. We'll have a post about that soon.
The [url=""]GAPS[/url] diet is a major change for most people. We get asked how to get started all the time, so we've finally worked out the basics of what you need to do to be ready for success. We were already gluten-free, into cooking from scratch, and all about whole, organic, locally sourced foods when we started. Even so, it was a huge challenge for us!

You can do it on your own, but if you'd like help, we're here! [i]LINKS TO OUR SERVICES STRIPPED OUT[/i].

[b]Figure Out Your Real Food Sources[/b]
You'll need sources for:
[*][b]organic, pastured meat, bones, and fats[/b] - if there are farmers in your area, buying direct from them is a good way to go. If you need to buy from a butcher, make sure that the meat is not cut, stored, or handled with equipment that is shared with processed meats. Also make sure that the meat has not been sprayed with corn or injected with saline!
[*][b]organic vegetables[/b] - growing your own is the best, but for larger quantities or if you are not the gardening type, just make sure to buy certified organic. If you are going to buy from a farmer who is not certified but follows organic practices, make sure to ask questions to help you verify the claims.
[*][b]free-range, fresh, organic eggs[/b] - again, growing your own is the best! If that is not practical in your space, see if there are local farmers or neighbors who can provide you with your eggs. If all else fails, you can buy a major brand at the store.
[*][b]organic, pastured raw milk[/b] - you'll be using this to make dairy kefir and yogurt, so make sure you have the highest quality milk. The FDA is [url=""]currently cracking down on raw milk[/url], so it can be difficult to source. In our area, we source our raw milk through a cow-share. We own a percentage of a specific cow who provides our milk and pay for her upkeep. The milk she produces is delivered by the farmer to a local drop-site every week. You may be able to find a herd-share or cow-share, or even raise your own milk-goat or cow.
[*][b]water kefir grains[/b] - you may be able to get these from a friend. If not, you can order them from [url=""]Cultures for Health[/url]
[*][b]dairy kefir grains[/b] - you may be able to get these from a friend. If not, you can order them from [url=""]Cultures for Health[/url]
[*][b]nuts[/b] - nuts in the bulk bins or from most manufacturers are not gluten-free due to cross-contamination. You'll want to buy plain nuts and go through the process of rinsing, then [url=""]soaking and dehydrating[/url] them. For guaranteed gluten-free nuts (which you should also soak and dehydrate), you may buy them from [url=""]NutsOnLine[/url].
[*][b]coconut oil[/b] - coconut oil is a saturated fat and and can be used as a moisturizer, salve for small cuts, and as a delicious ingredient in all sorts of recipes.
[*][b]raw, local honey[/b] - You need pure honey that has not been heated. It's best if it comes from your own area, too, because it will have been made from the same flowers that are spreading their pollen all around!
[*][b]fermented cod liver oil[/b] - I like this post from [url=""]Kitchen Stewardship on the subject of fermented cod liver oil[/url]. You can buy it from [url=""]Green Pasture's web site[/url]. Taking it from a spoon is the easiest way we've found. We take the Cinnamon Tingle flavor, but the new Emulsified Mint flavor is decent as well. Check out this video from [url=""]Kelly the Kitchen Kop[/url], where she gives her 5 year old a taste test. Super cute!

[b]Get Your Kitchen Ready[/b]
If you weren't already cooking from scratch all the time, you're about to learn! Our [i]LINKS TO OUR AMAZON STORE AND SPECIFIC PRODUCT LINKS BELOW STRIPPED OUT[/i] has the kitchen equipment we use most and recommend. In order to make the healing foods you need to eat on the GAPS diet, you'll need to learn and prepare for:
[*][b]making stock[/b] - get a big stainless steel stock pot and read up on how to make bone broth and stock from carcasses. We'll have a post on that soon!
[*][b]freezing foods[/b] - while it would be possible to do GAPS without a large chest freezer, I wouldn't want to. Freezing is the easiest way to preserve extra stock, bulk purchases of meat, and leftovers. You'll want freezer space and wide mouth, freezer safe jars.
[*][b]dehydrating foods[/b] - while you can make your own out of a fan and a screen, it's much more practical to buy a food dehydrater. We use the Nesco FD-75PR 700-Watt Food Dehydrator, but many folks swear by their Excalibur Food Dehydrators.
[*][b]slow cooker ("crockpot") cooking[/b] - Hamilton Beach is the only brand of slow cooker that currently claims to use lead-free glaze. Their 6 quart programmable slow cooker has a temperature probe and is big enough to fit a chicken. While not quite big enough to fit a chicken, the 3-in-1 Slow Cooker with 2-, 4-, and 6-Quart Crocks is like three cookers in one.
[*][b]fermenting food[/b] - Sandor Katz's book Wild Fermentation is a good place to start if you're new to fermentation. Mason jars and a dark place are all you really need, but a fermenting crock is useful for making larger batches of sauerkraut.
[*][b]pure water[/b] - you'll need a good water filter. Reverse osmosis is the best, but we're making do with an under the sink carbon filter. The best carbon filters I've seen so far are Berkey Stainless Steel filters. The Berkey doesn't have to be hooked up to your plumbing to work. Bottled water is not ideal! See the documentary [url=""]Tapped[/url] for more information on that!

[b]Detoxify Your Kitchen[/b]

First, you must [url=""]eliminate all gluten and known allergens[/url] from your kitchen and home. Go through every product in the house, read the label, and get rid of anything you can't have. Next, get rid of contaminated utensils and appliances. Then it's time for the first of two deep cleans. Use new sponges and clean rags for each deep clean.

I've got a big post coming with step by step instructions. Or, if you live in Portland, OR, you can skip all that work and hire us to liberate your kitchen [i]LINKS TO OUR SERVICES STRIPPED OUT[/i] for you!

Next, take all of the foods not allowed on your [url=""]current GAPS Intro stage[/url] out of sight. We designated a kitchen cabinets for foods we would get on later stages. This cabinet was totally off limits! We also moved some foods out to shelves in our garage. The main idea is to eliminate temptation in your home, and to focus yourself on what you can eat. The foods you see should be things you can eat!

[b]Get the Food Started[/b]
[*][b]stock up on stock[/b] - Make a big pot of stock. Actually, make many big pots of stock. Jar it up in wide mouth pint jars, put a bunch in the fridge, and freeze the rest. You will be eating soup for every meal at first, so you will definitely need more than you think! [i](Note: While pressure canning is not ideal or strictly GAPS legal, if you don't have the freezer space and don't have the time or space to continually have stock going, it beats not having any or buying some from the store.)[/i]
[*][b]get good veggies[/b] - Get lots of vegetables to add to your soup. Make sure they are on the [url=""]approved foods list![/url]
[*][b]start some kraut[/b] - Sauerkraut takes a few days, so you'll want to get it started right away. We have a [url=""]day by day series[/url] on the simple process.

When you want a little sweet, a little chewy, these macaroons are just the ticket. We got this recipe from our friends at [url=""]Grain-Free Foodies[/url]. We like things a little less sweet than others, so we cut the honey down to 1/4 c.

[b]Coconut Macaroons[/b]
6 egg whites
1/4 c honey
1.5 T vanilla extract OR 1 T vanilla extract plus 1 t almond extract
3 c shredded desiccated coconut

[*]Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees.
[*]Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
[*]Add the honey and extract(s) slowly as you continue to beat until stiff.
[*]Add coconut while the mixer is running.
[*]Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
[*]Bake for 30-40 minutes, until lightly browned but not scorched.
[*]Let cool slightly before removing from baking sheet.
Here is an easy crumb crust, both for baked and unbaked pies. If using it for a sweet dessert, I add a half tablespoon of honey. If for savory, like a quiche, I leave the honey out. Enjoy!

[b]Almond Crust[/b] makes a single 9" pie crust
3 c crispy almonds
1/4 t fine sea salt
1/2 T honey (optional)
4 T unsalted butter, cut into 8 or 10 chunks
1 large egg, lightly beaten

[*]Grind almonds in food processor until about the consistency of corn meal.
[*]Add salt, honey (if using), and butter. Pulse until the consistency of bread crumbs.
[*]With processor running, add egg all at once. Run until the mixture forms a loose ball (about 30 seconds).
[*]Gather mixture into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 15 minutes.
[*]Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
[*]Press into 9" pie plate. Chill an additional 10 minutes.
[*]Cover edge of crust with foil to prevent scorching. Bake 15-20 minutes until slightly puffy and lightly browned.
[*]Fill according to recipe.
Being on a restricted diet presents an interesting challenge when invited to a pot luck. Do we bring all of our own food and don't share? Seems rude. Do we eat the stuff that looks safe? Seems risky. Do we bring a dish that combines both protein and vegetable and then eat only that? Bingo.

What better way to combine protein and vegetable for a spring potluck than a quiche! Flush with eggs and nettles, I decided to make a caramelized onion and nettle quiche. Delish! I used the 9-1/2" pie plate from the Pyrex Accents 4-Piece Bakeware Set which I absolutely adore. So easy to get out of the oven with those handles!

[b]Nettle Quiche with Almond Crust[/b] serves 8
1 recipe almond meal pie crust cooled completely
1 large onion, sliced thinly
2 T cooking fat, such as tallow, ghee, lard, or duck fat
3 eggs
1 c yogurt, with whey (i.e., not dripped)
3 cups nettle leaves, destemmed and roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 c Swiss cheese, shredded

[list=1][*]Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
[*]Heat cooking fat over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and stir occasionally until completely limp and lightly browned.
[*]Meanwhile, beat together eggs and yogurt until well combined.
[*]When onions are caramelized and fragrant, add nettle leaves and cook until wilted. Season to taste.
[*]Gently spread onion and nettle mixture onto pie crust.
[*]Pour in egg mixture.
[*]Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top.
[*]Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Check at 15 minutes to make sure crust edge is not burning - cover with foil if needed.[/list]
This post is a part of [url=""]Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday[/url].
The other night we had a truly delightful sit-down dinner of roasted rabbit with nettle-walnut pesto, spring fennel & strawberry salad, and broccolini. So the next day when I got home after dark, exhausted from hours of driving people here and there, who could blame me for wanting to use up what was left of it?

Lucky for me, when Kelsy made the [url=""]pesto[/url], she froze a few jars for later and, contrary to popular opinion, one rabbit really does outlast one meal!

I took out some of the roasted rabbit and chopped it into 1/2 inch pieces. Then I chopped up the 2 stalks of broccolini that I'd cooked in ghee and threw that in the pan with the rabbit. I found one last roasted tomato. I lightly saut
Nothing could have made me happier than finding the first fresh strawberries of the season at a local farmers' market, and that's just what happened last Saturday at Market Q! We had a couple of them right away but didn't want to eat too many at once. We're still adjusting to being on the full GAPS diet, and we take new foods slowly and carefully. Strawberries seemed a little risky, because they have a high histamine content and the pollen has been out. We didn't really want to be terribly congested! Lucky for us, they didn't give us any trouble.

Kelsy already had a rabbit in the crock-pot, but she called to tell me to take care of the vegetables. They were going to be home in 15 minutes and all I could find in the fridge were beets, turnips, a small bunch of broccolini, fennel, and lettuce from the garden (which my sweetie had already washed and dried!). The broccolini wasn't going to be enough for 4 people and roots take too long. I cooked up the broccolini in some ghee, and started on a salad. Here it is!

[b]Spring Fennel & Strawberry Salad[/b]

A salad bowl-full fresh lettuce
One bulb of fennel
1/4 pint strawberries
1/4 cup crispy almonds

Wash and dry your lettuce, fennel, and strawberries. Shred the lettuce. Chop the fennel into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces. Combine the lettuce and fennel in the bowl. Quarter your strawberries and strew them on top. Slice up your almonds and do the same.

Dress with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. If you are not sensitive to sulfites and prefer balsamic vinegar, that works too - just make sure you choose a brand that does not have any added sugar!
Sometimes people send me questions, and I'd like to share the answers. I'm going to start posting these Q&A's as blogs, with personal details obscured. If you send me a question and *don't* want me to share it, or want specific things changed, please let me know. Here's the first:
I can not link to books on this site. If you want the links with pictures, view the original post.

I wanted to say I liked your posts about the GAPS diet but I know nothing about it. I'm interested in learning more. Is there are book? Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet goes with SCD and I have looked at that some and am considering it. I would appreciate any guidance you can give me in that regard. Sounds like a better variation of what I am doing which is meat, nuts, water and minimal veggies...and then chocolate when I break down! Ha! It's true. I've been gluten free for 7 months and just wanted to fine tune things. I already eliminated all grains. Thanks in advance. I don't tolerate dairy so not so sure about the kefir? or yogurt, but maybe there is a key I don't have.

Yes, there is a book! Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD. Definitely get the newest edition. If you want a quicker read with very easy instructions, you can also try the GAPS Guide (Simple Steps to Heal Bowels, Body and Brain).

Even though you've been on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, if you decide to do GAPS I'd definitely start with the Introduction Diet and take reintroducing foods very slowly.

As for the dairy, it depends on the reason you don't tolerate it. This diet is aimed at restoring gut health, so you may heal enough to be able to have it. Also, changing the forms in which you try dairy could make a difference. Reading the book will give more details about it, but I'll try a quick synopsis.

Lactose: Lactose is the sugar found in milk. It is a disaccharide sugar, which needs processing to be digested. Celiac guts have damaged villi, and villi are where the lactase necessary to digest lactose is made. If you have damaged villi, lactose will be a problem until they heal!

Casein: Casein is the protein found in milk. Like grains, it is one of the bigger proteins and is prone to turning into an opiate form (casomorphins) and getting through the gut and into the body and wrecking havoc like gluteomorphins do. People who have an anaphylactic response or histamine response (like a runny nose) to milk are having an IgE reaction to casein.

Cultured and fermented dairy (Kefir & Yogurt): In cultured and fermented foods, bacteria and/or yeasts do the work of digesting the sugars for you. Yogurt that is adequately cultured does not have lactose in it. Same deal with milk kefir. This makes them safe to eat for many people with an intolerance to lactose. Much of the casein gets processed by the fermenting microbes as well. This process is generally not complete in the yogurt or kefir you would get in the store. Also, the pasturized milk used only has the introduced cultures, not the good natural stuff you get when you do it at home with raw milk. We use raw, organic milk for our yogurt and kefir, and are careful not to heat it too high before culturing it. (We'll be putting blogs up with step-by-step instructions soon.)

Ghee: Ghee is clarified butter. Butter is already naturally low in lactose, because the lactose stays in the liquid that comes off in the churning process. When you make ghee, you remove the casein protein from the butter. This changes the butter so that it can be used to cook with at high temperatures, and makes it safer for some people who are sensitive to casein. Ghee is fine to buy in the store, but we prefer to make our own from organic unsalted butter. All you do is put a bunch of butter in a heavy saucepan, heat it for about a half hour so that it bubbles and foams (but doesn't scorch), then skim off all the foam. Then you set up a funnel with a filter or cheesecloth and pour it into a jar. It can be stored on the counter. (We'll put up instructions soon.)

All this said, I'm not suggesting you go nuts on the dairy if it's been giving you problems! Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, (the person who came up with GAPS) suggests doing a sensitivity test before introducing new foods - you take a bit of the food and place it inside your wrist at night and look at it for any reaction in the morning. Reaction=not ready for that food. Please consult your health care provider before introducing any food you've ever had a severe reaction to in the past!

I hope some of this helps!
Joy [b]
Early spring in Portland, Oregon means fresh basil is still months away - but pesto doesn't have to be! Yesterday we [url=""]harvested Stinging Nettles[/url]. We dried some for tea, scrambled some up with eggs, and used the rest for this Nettle-Walnut Pesto. The flavor is fresher and milder than basil pesto, and you don't have to worry about [url=""]pine mouth[/url]. Here's the recipe:

[b]Nettle Walnut Pesto[/b] makes 1 1/2 cups

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 c crispy walnuts
1/2 c parmigiano reggiano cheese (or other hard Italian cheese), grated
2 c nettles, tightly packed
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
[*]Place all ingredients in food processor</li>
[*]Process to your liking - chunky or smooth</li>

[img][/img]We made extra for the freezer. Today we enjoyed some as a snack with roasted tomatoes, tomorrow it'll be part of the main course, served with rabbit!
Back in "[url=""]Lawn, Really?[/url]" we discussed the reasons lawn has had such a negative impact on the environment. In "[url=""]Choosing Lawn[/url]" and "[url=""]Installing the Lawn[/url]" we decided on a MicroClover blend and installed the lawn. But now it needs taking care of!

Right now the lawn is still coming up. Here are the tricks we'll use to maintain a more sustainable lawn, once it has grown in:

[b]Water deeply, only as needed.[/b] Lawns should only be watered until the water stops infiltrating. If it's running off or puddling you're wasting water! That said, it's important to water deeply. You want the roots to get a good drink and reach for that water. But don't do it too often, either - wait until the soil has dried out to the bottom of the root zone. If you water all the time the turf won't get the chance to build a strong, deep root system that can withstand drought stress. Especially in areas like ours where we don't get summer rain, it's important to make those blades as resilient and drought tolerant as possible!

[b]Mow regularly, with a hand-push reel mower at 2.5 or 3 inches.[/b] This eliminates our use of fossil fuels for mowing. Frequent mowing is important, so that we never remove more than 1/3 of the blade of grass at a time. With a reel mower, frequent mowing is especially important, since if the grass gets higher than the axis the blade is rotating on, it will just push the grass over rather than cutting it. The higher mowing setting and frequency reduce the amount of water and nutrients the grass needs to stay green and makes the turf less susceptible to stress. Additionally, the reel mower makes a cleaner cut.

[b]Grow the lawn in great soil.[/b] The area we are using for the lawn is positively alive. Two years ago it was a very unhealthy lawn. Then we sheet mulched it with rabbit manure, horse manure and shredded wood and grew potatoes in it. Every spade-full is now teeming with life, and the tilth is amazing. Soil that is full of nutrients, full of biology, and which has good structure will provide exactly what the lawn needs to grow. If your soil is full of life, you won't have as much of a problem with compaction or as much of a need for fertilizer.

[b]Manage broadleaf weeds.[/b] Most people spray weeds. If you are going to spray, don't spray the whole lawn, just spray the individual weeds! We prefer not to use poison where we play, and we want to keep the soil biology strong. Instead, we dig them out and then fill the holes with a mix of seed and compost. A healthy lawn, especially one including clover, can outcompete broadleaf weeds.

[b]Leave clippings on the lawn, and include clover in the mix.[/b] Lawn clippings fertilize the turf, so long as they are not allowed to form mats on the grass. Nitrogen fixing plants included in the lawn also reduce the need to add nitrogen.

[b]Aerate.[/b] Taking plugs out of the lawn every year or so will help battle compaction, and make it easier for air, water, and nutrients to make it into the root zone of the turf.

I'm looking forward to sharing back yard picnic pictures featuring our new, healthy lawn!
Yesterday we were pleasantly surprised to find that the property hosting our friend's birthday camp-out was full of nettles! Yes, the stinging kind. The owners were happy to let us collect them to our heart's content, though they were a bit curious about our plans for them. Nettles have a [url=""]wide range of medicinal uses[/url], but we like them best as a delicious treat! Ours are destined for tea and [url=""]Nettle-Walnut Pesto[/url].

If you're going to be spending any time out in the woods, along a stream bank, or picking blackberries, you'd best know how to identify them. Stinging Nettles ([i]Urtica dioica[/i]) have little sharp hollow hairs on the stalks and undersides of the leaves which will inject histamine and formic acid if you brush against them. On most people, this causes a stinging welt or cluster of hives, then starts to feel numb. At any rate, it's not a pleasant sensation! If you do get stung, a paste of baking soda and water, or crushed [url=""]plantain leaves[/url] applied to the hives will help.[img][/img]

Stinging Nettles are easy to identify but also easy to be surprised by, as their medium green coloring blends easily with other plants. They grow straight up on individual stalks in the spring up to a maximum of about 7 feet tall, stay out through the summer, and die back in winter. Heart-shaped with sawtoothed margins come out opposite each other on the stalks. Some varieties have red on the stalks and veins. The small flowers come out from underneath the leaves.[img][/img]

When harvesting Stinging Nettles it's best to pick ones that haven't flowered or gone to seed. Once they flower, they can become irritating to the urinary tract. You can harvest nettles without gloves, if you carefully pinch the leaves off from their base. We prefer to wear gloves and pull the whole plant up, then strip the leaves. To eat the nettle leaves without getting stung, just process them in some way first. Drying them, heating them, or blending them in a food processor all will neutralize the sting. Then you can use them in any way that you would normally use basil or cooked spinach.[img][/img]

[b]Recipes Coming Soon![/b]
Back in "[url=""]Lawn, Really?[/url]" and "[url=""]Choosing Lawn[/url]" we decided to make a lawn in an area that I'd sheet mulched, grown potatoes in, and then let go to weed.

When working on the design for our whole lot, we realized that the arbor next to the carport in this area hadn't been successful because the area was so high traffic, so I took it out and saved the lumber for another project.

Rather than spraying out the weeds, I hand dug them. Since the soil had great tilth, the weeds were actually pretty easy to dig out with a shovel. Spraying would have taken less than an hour, while hand digging took a bit more than a full day's work. I did have helpers, though - the kids fed the weeds to the chickens and rabbits. I love putting a "waste" product to good use!

Next, I rototilled the area. Rototilling can destroy soil structure, so it is important to do it when the soil is not too wet or too dry. It's also important to rototill infrequently to prevent causing a pan to form under the top level of the soil. In this case, I rototilled in order to get more consistency in the way the organic material was mixed in the soil, and to break up the areas that had been compacted through their use as paths. This also brought the bits of weed roots that we had missed to the surface. We picked them out, then rototilled one more time.

Next, we graded the area with a steel rake. We didn't strive for perfection, but we did aim to remove several high areas, and slope the entire area so that it would drained away from the garage and carport. Next, we graded with a landscape rake and rolled it with a roller filled with water, which allowed us to get the grade very smooth. (We've had some major downpours since then, and the carport has stayed dry. I'm happy about that!)

With a broadcast spreader calibrated to 4 lbs/1000 sqft, I took two passes in opposite directions with my Chewing's Fescue seed, and did the same with 5 lbs of the Perennial Rye and MicroClover mix, then rolled it again for good ground contact.

For a couple weeks, we kept it moist (fortunately the weather cooperated) and the seeds germinated! (So did a few weeds.) Now we've just got a bit of waiting and weeding to do. Before we know it, we'll have a comfortable, healthy new lawn to enjoy!

[b]In the next installment, I'll outline our plan for long term [url=""]sustainable maintenance of our eco-lawn[/url]![/b]
In "[url=""]Lawn, Really?[/url]", we decided that we needed a place to share meals, relax, and enjoy the sun, and where it should be. Now we had to decide what to use for a ground cover!

[img][/img]I set out to researching our options for creating an area with the functionality of a lawn. We were especially interested in [url=""]eco-lawn products[/url], and some flowering lawns can be truly beautiful, giving a meadow feel and blooming in a succession of colors. But the thing about flowers is that they attract bees. Creating habitat for bees is one of our site's goals, but it isn't quite right for this high traffic area. No one wants to step on a bee! On top of that, most of the blends we found contained yarrow and other plants which we wouldn't want our chickens or rabbits to forage. While we weren't planning on using the area as a regular run, we wanted to preserve the option.

We still didn't want a lawn that was just grass, though. In our area we use cool-season grasses for turf, and in order to keep grass soft and green in the summer it needs quite a bit of regular water. Broadleaf weeds inevitably settle in, and you end up with green weedy patches on a lovely backdrop of scratchy brown. We thought about mosses, which make a beautiful ground cover in shady areas, but they can't stand high traffic and wouldn't work in the sunnier areas we planned to use.

All signs pointed to [url=""]MicroClover[/url]. This is a (non-GMO) hybrid clover which has a much finer texture than most clovers, is evergreen, and barely flowers. It also takes mowing and handles shade, which is important in this area since about half of it is regularly shaded. You can not purchase MicroClover unless it is in a blend any more, so an all MicroClover lawn was out of the question.

The area had been cover cropped with Perennial Rye in the past, so I selected a blend of Perennial Rye and MicroClover from [url=""]Hobbs & Hopkins, Ltd.[/url], and also spread Chewings Fescue, which I got for free!

[b]Up next, [url=""]we install the lawn[url]![/b]
I used to be an anti-lawn crusader. Everywhere I went, the lawn went, too. So when we moved in to our current place, the first thing I did was dig out lawn, sheet mulch large areas, and put in veggies and fruit trees wherever I could. While we didn't end up meeting all our needs with this approach, the soil is much improved and our fruit trees and shrubs are now starting to produce!

There are all sorts of reasons not to have a lawn. If we're talking about a standard suburban lawn maintained the standard way, lawn is a major resource hog.
[*]Most people use gas mowers. New gas mowers use the same amount of energy as 11 new cars running for the same amount of time. Older two-cycle mower engines release 25-30% of their oil and gas unburned into the air. Gas powered mowing [url=""]accounts for 5%[/url] of the USA's air pollution.
[*]Most people overwater their lawns. Some people water too often, which destroys the turfs ability to cope with drought. Others give the lawn more than can be infiltrated by the soil at one time. Excess water can run off the lawn, deplete the natural resource, and carry excess fertilizers and chemicals into the local watershed.
[*]Most people use industrially manufactured synthetic fertilizers to keep their lawn green, in the wrong amounts. Not only does the production of these fertilizers pollute the environment, using excess product pollutes the local watershed.
[*]Most people control weeds, insects, and fungal problems with herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. These products destroy the balance of soil life and pollute the watershed. They can also pose health hazards to anyone who uses the lawn, including children and pets.

So, with all this stacked against lawns and my permaculture sensibilities, why would I consider putting one in?

While going through the process of developing a complete design for our lot (post coming soon!), we realized that we really wanted to be able to relax in the sun with our family and friends on a soft, green, living carpet. We wanted to have room to make and eat meals outdoors, and we wanted to be able to get from place to place in the yard without going through an obstacle course. We determined that the mixed sun & shade area between the carport, grape arbors, vegetable garden, and maple trees is perfect for that kind of activity. We'd tried to grow summer annuals there, but found the only crop that did well was potatoes, due to the shade and the high traffic. With 6 months of neglect after harvest, it turned into a thriving patch of weeds. On top of this, we don't eat potatoes any more!

We thought about putting in a perennial food forest, but the permanence of shrubs and trees didn't work for us, since we walk though the area several times a day in order to care for our animals and hang the laundry. Plus, the kids are always running through to the back to play. No matter how well behaved they are, packs of 10 to 12 year old kids just don't control where their feet land with much accuracy. This high traffic area is also close to the house and the grill in the carport. Additionally, we have seating under the arbors - along with blankets on the lawn we could entertain larger groups of people.

Lawn is the obvious choice for a high traffic, comfortable ground cover. With the right maintenance practices and species selection, it doesn't need to be an environmental disaster.

[b][url=""]In the next installment[/url] we look at the ground cover options we considered before making our decision.[/b]
This post is part of Kelly the Kitchen Kop's [url=""]Real Food Wednesday[/url]!

No matter what your special diet, it's likely you'll get tired of it. When that happens, it's not pretty. Here are some of the keys to living with limited food choices - we'd love to see you share your tips as well!

[b]Learn to Love Leftovers... Later[/b]
Leftovers are the convenience foods of a special diet. When you have to make everything yourself, in your own safe kitchen, it's a lot of work. It can be tempting to make extra and have that for your next meal. But do that too many times and you'll never want to see that dish again. Instead, make several extra servings of your favorites when you cook them. Then freeze or can them in single portions for a week or more from now when you put them away. Don't forget to put the date on the packages you make! If you want to get fancy, you can even make an entry on your calendar to remind you to eat them up on a particularly busy day.

[b]Flavor Changer[/b]
If you do have left overs from last night, mix it up by adding different ingredients and cooking it in a totally different way. Everyone knows a roast chicken can become a chicken salad and a chicken soup... but you can be more creative than that! Here are some ideas:
[*]Make your first meal with very mild flavors, then, the next day, add bold seasonings (herbs or citrus can really change a dish).
[*]Add lots of vegetables and fry it up.
[*]Add broth or water and make it a soup.
[*]Change the texture by pureeing a soup or stew or by adding chunks of vegetables or meat to a pureed soup.
[*]Turn it into a pancake or pudding.

[b]Take Turns Playing Chef[/b]
It can be easy to get stuck in a rut if you are the one cooking all the time. If you have a friend, partner, parent, or kid, see if they would enjoy helping you (or taking over if you trust them to get your diet right). Encourage them to play with flavors and bring their own ideas to the meal. If you don't normally cook, ask for a turn in the kitchen and try something new. Even something as simple as carrots sliced the other way can bring variety.

[b]Create Comfort Foods[/b]
Most people have comfort foods. The secret to successfully creating a new comfort food [i]not to try and replace it with an impostor[/i]. You don't want to be comparing your new food to the old one. Even if it tastes better, it will not taste the same, and will disappoint! Make sure your new food evokes the same sorts of feelings as the old one by creating positive memories around it, and choosing something that fills you up in the same kind of way.

My kids' old comfort foods were was oatmeal and nachos (but not together!). These were quick, easy, delicious things they could make themselves. When we got rid of all grains, beans, and cheese these foods didn't work any more. It didn't take long for them to find a new favorite - [url=""]winter squash soufflees[/url]! They are hot, filling, high protein treats that can be made sweet or savory, and the kids can make them all by themselves. Having a go-to food that's easy, satisfying, and associated with feeling good goes a long way.

My old comfort food was lasagna. With no grains, nightshades (about to get those back!), or fresh dairy I'm definitely not getting that one any more. Now when I want that feeling lasagna used to give me, beef stew with lots of root vegetables is the answer.

[b]Don't Wait 'Till It's Too Late[/b]
Just last night I found myself in tears because I hadn't had smooth and creamy sweets for so long. I really wanted some curd! Letting it get to that point had me thinking of everything and anything that could possibly fill that craving. I found myself focusing on foods we no longer eat, feeling sorry for myself, and got slightly crazed. It doesn't have to be that way.

When we pay attention to our cravings before they become so intense, it's much easier to head them off with appropriate choices. Sometimes cravings can be indications of deficiencies or other unmet needs. If I let myself get thirsty or too hungry, I start craving sugar. When I want ice cream I'm usually craving affection... or fat. There are better ways to get both those things than a late-night run to the Alberton's for Tin Roof Sunday, which is definitely out of the question these days. Start paying attention to your cravings and what they mean for you, and they'll be both easier to head off and easier to deal with.

[b]Make it More Than a Meal[/b]
Finally, mealtime doesn't have to be just about food. A cup of tea (or just hot water) can be a quiet morning with the crossword or an afternoon chat with a friend. Lunch can be a reason to stop thinking about work and get some air - or an important business meeting. Alone, dinner can be a great time to experiment with your meals. If you are with family or friends, dinner can be a time to connect, banter, or even play games. You don't have to break bread together to enjoy a meal!

[b]The Meal Where My Mouth Is Challenge[/b]
Send us a list of ingredients for a typical meal on your diet, and we'll give you three or more ways to enjoy them! See if you can stump us.

[i]ps - sorry about all the alliteration! I just couldn't help myself for some reason.[/i]
Twice a year I take our Camp Fire club to [url=""]Camp Namanu[/url]. Camp Fire Columbia has a [url=""]great club program[/url]! We stay in a cabin for two nights, play games, sing songs, have camp fires... and we eat in the dining hall with all the other clubs.

The kitchen is run by volunteers, the costs are kept low, and the food is aimed at keeping the masses happy. Pretty much everything comes from a can or a box, and every meal is loaded with gluten. This never really worked for our family, but we made do for a couple days. Now it is completely out of the question.

In the past, Jupiter has not enjoyed going on these adventures. While he's enjoyed the activities, he always felt bad during these weekends. I never felt great myself, but in the past I attributed that to sleeping in a cabin with a dozen kids!


This year we got permission to bring our own food. Jupiter decided to give camp one last try, in case the food was the reason he hated it. We wrote up a contract - if he didn't like it this time, he never has to go again!

Here's what we did for our meals (we were on the GAPS Diet, Stage 4):

[b]Dinner Friday[/b]
Chicken and veggie soup in thermoses

[*]Hard boiled eggs
The other kids in the dining hall were having french toast, sausage, fruit in the bottom yogurt, oatmeal, and boiled eggs - if our kids didn't like the stuff we brought we would have been in trouble!

[b]Cookout Lunch[/b]
Roasted vegetables over the fire

[url=""]Applegate Farms Beef Hot Dogs[/url] (this is a bit of a cheat for us - we usually don't use processed meat)
[url=""]Bubbies Sauerkraut[/url] - normally we make our own, but when we decide to buy for the sake of convinience, Bubbies is the way to go. It's alive!
Meringue Macaroons

The cookout was fun for everyone. We brought potatoes for the kids who could eat them, but aside from that everyone enjoyed the same, custom-made foil pack lunches. The non-GAPS kids were a bit nervous about the tallow, but once they got a taste they understood why we like it so much!

Oh... and S'Mores have got nothing on our Meringue Macaroons - the recipe coming soon!

[b]Dinner Saturday[/b]
[*]Roast beef & vegetable stew
[*]Meringue Macaroons with orange curd
[*]Water Kefir

Our hearty stew was the perfect thing after a long day of playing outside! The kids in the dining hall were having tacos. We actually had people from other clubs coming up to our table, drawn by the aroma of our stew, wishing they could have some, too :) When the other kids got peach cobbler, we pulled out our orange curd. That stuff is delicious! Water kefir is a refreshing treat and full of probiotics. It definitely beat the Kool-aid the kitchen was serving!

[b]Breakfast Sunday[/b]
[*]Apple slices
[*]Hard boiled eggs
[*]Stew left-overs (just kept it warm in the crockpot on low heat overnight)

I'm happy to report that we all had a great time - even the kid who thought he hated camp. When I had to leave early, Jupiter decided to stay the extra few hours because he was having so much fun. He said "I think the reason I didn't like camp before really was because of the gluten."

It's not surprising he had fun - with no joint pains, nausea, or difficulty concentrating organized outdoor activities are actually exciting. He's looking forward to next time. I'm so glad we're all getting to enjoy life again!
One of the best things about the GAPS diet is what it has done for our picky kids. We once had one sugar-crazed kid who wouldn't eat meat and one meat-crazed kid who wouldn't eat vegetables. While things are still far from perfect, at least our vegetarian is eating meat and our carnivore is eating more vegetables. They will now eat nearly any vegetable.

Except for turnips and onions. Which I totally understand! Onions are slimy and turnips are squishy. What's the best way to get around these textures? Puree! But we don't want puree all the time. Sometimes we want chunks, too. My genius idea? Puree the stuff the kids don't like, then add the veggies and meat they do like! I felt so smart.

Additionally, the turnips and onions thicken up the broth, making this more like a stew. It's pretty awesome. Make sure you peel the whole outer layer - it's bitter - off of the turnips. You can see it's a bit more opaque than the rest of the turnip.

[b]Borscht[/b] serves 8
4 pints beef or lamb stock
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
3 lbs turnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 lbs beets, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 lbs carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 lbs ground beef or lamb, beef or lamb stew meat, or leftover beef or lamb roast

[*]Bring stock to a boil and add garlic, onions, and turnips.
[*]Reduce to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes until turnips are tender.
[*]Using your stick blender, puree in the pot. Careful not to splash yourself! If you don't have a stick blender, you can use a regular blender and work in batches.
[*]Bring puree to boil and add beets and carrots.
[*]If using ground beef, form 1" meatballs and drop into soup. If using stew meat or leftover roast, cut into bite size chunks and drop into soup.
[*]Reduce to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes until beets are tender.
[*]Serve with sour cream or yogurt, [url=""]homemade sauerkraut[/url], and fresh dill.
We had an entire pig liver from the last time I bought half a pig. Pig liver isn't known as the choicest of livers, but I'm determined to use it as more than just dog and cat food.

And what have people been using for centuries to hide the stuff they don't want to eat? Sausage! So I took my [url=""]Pork & Fennel Sausage Patties[/url] recipe and added chopped liver. I knew it was there, but the kids didn't. Success!

[b]Pork & Fennel Sausage Patties (with Liver!)[/b] serves 6 (4 if two are voracious children)
1.5 lb ground pork
0.5 lb pork liver, chopped finely (I used my food processor)
1 bulb fennel, minced
3 T fresh sage, minced
2 T fresh Italian parsley, minced
salt and pepper to taste

[*]Combine all ingredients in bowl.</li>
[*]Using either a stand mixer or your hands, mix thoroughly.</li>
[*]Form into 4 inch patties.</li>
[*]Fry over medium heat until juices run clear.</li>
Most of have an image of the local farmers' market as the place where rich people go to buy their expensive heirloom tomatoes, eggs, and artisan cheeses. Turns out, though, markets are not just a place for rich folks to shop.

In a [url=""]recent study done in Vermont and published in The Atlantic[/url], researchers found that, with the exception of eggs and potatoes, farmers' market produce was actually [i]cheaper[/i] than its grocery store equivalent.

Plus, you don't have to deal with fluorescent lighting, terrible chemical smells, and rude staff!

Find your local farmers' market at [url=""][/url]!

What are some of your favorite farmers' market buys?
This post is part of Kelly the Kitchen Kop's [url=""]Real Food Wednesday[/url]!

I really wanted to make these sausages for breakfast, but it just never worked out. So I made them for dinner!

If you are sensitive to eggs or don't have any, you can leave them out. I just put them in to stretch the pork. I might even add 4 eggs next time. The herbs are also flexible - add more if your family likes a more herby sausage and less if they like plain better.

My pork came from [url=""]Taylor-Made Farm[/url] in Lebanon, OR, and it is delish! We're so fortunate here in Portland to have awesome local farmers.

[b]Pork & Fennel Sausage Patties[/b] serves 4
1.5 lb ground pork
3 eggs
1 bulb fennel, minced
3 T fresh sage, minced
2 T fresh Italian parsley, minced
salt and pepper to taste

[*]Combine all ingredients in bowl.
[*]Using either a stand mixer or your hands, mix thoroughly.
[*]Form into 4 inch patties.
[*]Fry over medium heat until juices run clear.

UPDATE 5/11/11 - [url=""]Now with 25% liver[/url]!