Sunday, May 24, 2009

Raw GFCF dessert (chocolate cake and pudding)!

After a weekend in the mountains with our friends and raw foodists (and also former OT - but friends first!) the Savages, Sunny, Lee, Justin, Ivy and baby Lucy, we came back to the valley energized and also motivated to add in some raw foods into our diets. Why are raw foods important? Well for one, eating raw means inevitably you will each no processed foods or junk! All that stuff is "cooked" and therefore not raw! And another things is the very fact that you are eating food in its natural state means all of the great enzymes and nutrition stays intact without degrading as the food is heated. But, you have to be pretty motivated and creative to start an endeavor like this. I watched my friend Sunny do this a few years back. Not only did she lose a bunch of weight (80 lbs I think) but she got a bunch of stuff out of her diet that was not benefiting her or her family. Last weekend she made raw taco salad with all the fixings (tons of veggies with ground walnuts and seasoning for the taco "meat" - it tasted JUST like taco meat, I swear!) and then a very yummy raw chocolate cake with vanilla cream pudding on top. So, I recreated the cake and pudding (with a few variations) and I am going to share it with you here.

Chocolate torte

1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
Dash of salt
Blend those two until it is powdery
add in 10 pitted dates unsoaked if they are medjool or soaked if they are deglet or very hard
1/2 cup raw cacao or carob powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp water (use the date water if you soaked your dates)
1/4 cup raw agave nectar
Blend all in a food processor until is begins to "stick" together and is well mixed
1 cup fresh berries - sliced as garnish

After everything is blended you smooth into a pie plate and you can chill or eat immediately. We topped with strawberries. It will be very thin. You can also double the batch, spread half on the bottom, layer sliced berries and then top with the other half. We added the vanilla cream pudding on top. We need a *good* blender, ours was not as smooth and creamy as Sunny's! Here it is:

Vanilla cream / pudding
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours or more
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean or 1 additional tsp of vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp coconut butter

blend and chill

I want to discuss the agave nectar issue. I know the issue of agave can be iffy. My friend who is very smart about nutrition still uses it but from one source that uses an enzymatic, not heat process and is not the high fructose that many on the market today are turning out to be. Since I don't have that source, I subbed in coconut sugar. It is a new thing that Sunny told me about. It has way less sugar than traditional sugars. It comes from the sap of the coconut tree flower. Let me tell you, it tastes JUST like sugar but with a smoky coconut flavor, yummy!!! I cut the amount in 1/2 for the pudding and used the full amount for the cake. It is rich, a small piece will do! But as summer approaches and we all get sick of heating up our kitchens, here is a healthier, yummy treat that needs nothing more than a blender and food processor. And I will guarantee that your whole family will LOVE it!! And, I plan to use the pudding recipe as regular pudding, not just to top the cake. I have been looking for a healthier pudding recipe. And you could throw in a half of a banana for banana cream, or some cinnamon, or some cocoa powder for chocolate pudding! Dairy and wheat free and lots of protein to boot!! More raw recipes to come as we get some additional tools like a good blender and a dehydrator! Come on kitchen fairy!!!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How to prevent having a child with Autism

Wow, that sounds like such a heavy post. And I again want to put out the disclaimer, this is MY blog and MY opinion. I am not a doctor although I play one in my own home. These are my thoughts on what I would do if I were planning to have another child (or my first one) knowing what I know today. I recently reconnected with my very first best friend. I found her on Facebook and since then we have been communicating electronically. My blog feeds right in to Facebook and of course I post a lot about Autism. She is newly married and thinking of starting a family soon and she asked me how to prevent having a child with Autism. I thought the question was one I should answer for my blog friends as well.

When I moved to AZ I met a couple of women who also had young children. We all seemed to get pregnant with our second children about the same time. We all seemed to get diagnoses for our first borns (all boys) at about the same time. Two of us went on to have girls, 1 had another boy (and has since had a 3rd boy). We all seemed to face the same issues, maybe in different ways, with our first borns. I began to wonder if this could work the same way as Omega depletion does. When you are pregnant, your Omega stores are depleted as your developing baby uses them for brain development. If you do not replenish them, your subsequent children get less and less omega's which can often times mean less IQ/cognitive functioning. That is why it is so important to get your daily Omega dose since it is so critical for brain development and functioning. I began to wonder if the reverse were true as well, could our first borns also have gotten the bulk of our own toxicity? I mentioned my wacky theory to Dr. Woeller and he said there is a saying about the best way for a woman to detox is to get pregnant. Yikes. So here are some recommendations:

1) Get a good detox program started, NOW. See a naturopath or other health professional. I ask my doctors for them, I do not do my own combos, can't help anyone there!
2) Clean up your diet.
a) Get off MSG (all 200 forms - search my blog for MSG to find out all the ingredients that do the same thing to your brain and cells as MSG).
b) No trans-fats (hydrogenated oils) this includes CANOLA, dump it, now.
c) More raw fruits and veggies, get lots of them, start doing green smoothies (veggies and fruit) in the mornings, big salad with healthy dressing and then a sensible dinner.
d) Only organic meats and dairy (if you must consume dairy). Choose raw dairy if you can. Meats have very high levels of pesticides since the animals store them in their tissues (i.e. the meat we are eating). Biggest bang for your organic buck nutritionally is meat and dairy.
e) If you can, go organic on fruits and veggies, or at least the dirty dozen. There is a list (search the Internet and I think I posted on my blog too) that lists which fruits/veggies you should get organic. Think skin, if it has a thick skin/peel or you peel it, don't worry as much about going organic. Things with thin skins or things you don't peel, think about going organic. A must for organic in our house is strawberries, highest toxicity of fruits.
3) Clean up your environment. Get rid of bleach, pesticides and herbicides. Choose more natural remedies to clean and control pests. Don't use commercial shampoos/conditioners/body washes with things like sodium laurel sulphate, sodium laureth sulphate, etc. I have blogged about this before. We absorb through our skin so our washes and lotions should be as pure as possible.
4) No vaccines before 2 years of age if you choose to vaccinate. I have done enough talking about vaccines, you can search my blog if you want to know why or just do some internet research. Talk to a family who watched their perfectly healthy child fade into Autism after their shots, it could change your mind. And do your research on the immune system, that is going to help your child WAY more than any vaccine. Understanding and supporting immune function is key.
5) Increase your own sulfation and detox pathways. Take epsom salt baths or use epsom salt lotion.

Basically get the junk out and only put good stuff in. I had no clue about ANY of this before becoming a mom. Now I choose foods with the least amount of ingredients possible, and more often make everything my family eats. May seem like a lot of effort, you should try raising a child with Autism, it puts things in perspective. I understand toxicity and what we have done to our food supply. Fast food is crap and should be avoided. Make your own cakes and cookies, they are tasty and a lot healthier when made with REAL ingredients like flour, eggs, butter and milk. Avoid margerine and fake stuff like that. OK blog followers, what am I missing??? If I didn't cover something, speak up!! I live this daily so I could miss something!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Question about kids sleepwear

Sorry for the hiatus! My mother in law was in town to enjoy a week with us and with that and our Mother's Day preparations, it got really busy around here. But, we are getting back to normal and back into blogging.

Thanks for all the kind comments about our recent success!! It is very much appreciated.

Andrea writes: "That's awesome progress Terri!! I have a quick question for you. Awhile back I remember you saying something about what children's flame replent nightgowns were made of. I've been searching your blog all morning but can't find it. Do you know off hand where I can locate that info? Thanks again for all your insight! ~Andrea"

Here's my blog post about this topic and some additional resources on the web:

I avoid all "flame retardant" sleepwear in favor of cotton shorts and tops in the summer and long cotton pants and shirts for the winter. Old Navy seems to have a good line of sleepwear that is all cotton and without the chemicals!

Next up ~ an article on preventing Autism! It will be a long one and I am still working on it!