Saturday, February 25, 2012

GFCFSF Thin Mint style cookies

We made these little gems recently and all I can say is dang they were good. As I write this I think that I may even whip up another batch. I love the Nourishing Our Children site and that is where this recipe came from. You can find the original recipe on their site HERE.

But as usual I made some modifications to suit our family's needs so here goes:

½ Cup Coconut Oil Softened
1 Organic Egg
¼ Cup Coconut Nectar (SEE HERE)
3/4 Cup Coconut Flour (sifted)
1 teaspoon Non-Aluminum Baking Soda
¼ Cup Organic Cocoa or Cacao Powder
Several drops of organic Peppermint Essential Oil.

Blend together the softened butter and the coconut sugar with a hand held mixer. Add the egg and beat to make a soft batter. Mix in the flour in small increments. You want it to be soft and pliable. Mix in the cocoa powder until combined and add the peppermint essential oil. Roll the dough into a log and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice dough from the chilled log approximately ¼ thick and place the rounds on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 7 – 9 minutes. Let cool completely then freeze.

Take some Enjoy Life allergen free chocolate chips and melt them down. Take each frozen cookie and place on a fork. Spoon the melted chocolate over the cookie. Hold cookie over melted chocolate chips so the excess drips back into your pan/bowl. Place back on the parchment and allow to set. Using frozen cookies will help the chocolate set much faster. Store in the freezer, trust me they are even better frozen! You can see that we do deviate from the original recipe quite a bit in terms of sugar. We do not eat refined sugars on a regular basis, but these are more of a true cookie so the coating does have evaporated cane juice. We do lots of healthier cookies so I don't feel bad about doing this version once in a blue moon. Plus, if you are like us, the kids won't end up getting too many! ;)

Getting your hopes up, the Hirning Family story

We are thrilled to post that Julie Matthews has featured our story on the Nourishing Hope website. She is doing a whole series called "Getting your hopes us" so that families can hear the positives that come from dietary changes. I post our trials and tribulations here and all of my blog readers know my feelings on diet and its impact on health. But it is critical that parents of children with Autism/ADHD/etc understand that dietary changes do help many, many children and they are easy to begin on your own with just some guidance. And these changes impact the whole family. There is much hope to be had and parents need to be empowered and encouraged to try these things. So here is our story, courtesy of Nourishing Hope. Click HERE to read.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What diet are YOU?

One of my friends posted this article HERE on Facebook and it hit a nerve. Whether you are talking about diets for weight loss or any sort of diet for medical reasons, I feel like there is such pressure put on the question "What diet are you???". Within the Autism world there is the GFCF diet, SCD, GAPS, LOD, I could go on and on. And there are just as many weight loss diets around. The point is, nothing will work for everyone meaning we are all different and different bodies respond to different diets. And, just because you are following XYZ diet doesn't mean you can't deviate should your body need it. We should not be defined by the way we eat or what we do/don't eat. We should eat to nourish our body, no guilt trips, no competition, just what works for you.

The main point is HEALTH, or it should be. I had this discussion with the same person who posted this article. She happens to be a Beach Body coach. We were talking about healthy as opposed to thin. There are lots of shortcuts to thin. Most of them are filled with soy proteins, chemicals, artificial sweeteners, etc. Yes, there are shortcuts to losing weight, there are no shortcuts to health. That is indicative of all of the latest "hot" diet trends, many filled with convenient "bars" or shakes or prepackaged foods because we have gotten so busy that we can't even cook ourselves healthy meals anymore. The problem lies in their ingredients and the fact that high soy diets often lead to thyroid damage, read the recent Cheeseslave blog HERE that speaks to this. And when you hurt your thyroid you make it harder for your body to lose weight in the long run. And of course all of those prepackaged meals do not address the issue of eating in the real world.

And the same goes with the various diet options in the Autism realm. No single diet is going to fit every child. We've had lots of variations, we've made changes and adjustments as necessary. Our goal is the health of our children and sometimes you have to switch things up to accomplish that. It is a long road ahead, assuming you plan to continue to eat all of your life that is. So being flexible is the key. For us, we continue to be GFCFSF, no refined sugar, no preservative, and lately even more vegetarian options. The last one is new, since our move, and not even a conscious decision really. It has just been a migration of sorts that seems to be working and leaves us feeling really good after. Soaking nuts and grains is still a big part of our diet and we do still eat many raw recipes as well. And to be honest, much of our diet is (no pun intended) based on my gut feeling. We take bits and pieces and fit them together with what works for us. There is an intuitiveness to eating and cooking and I try and listen to that gut feeling. But whatever your path, your diet should reflect the level of health your are attempting to achieve.

And speaking of, coming soon, my modified recipe for a healthier "thin mint" cookie and a cornbread recipe that is out of this world!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

GFCFSF Chickpea "Chicken nuggets"

I posted a picture of these chickpea "nuggets" that I whipped up today and got a few requests for the recipe so here it is. I adapted it from THIS blog. I decided to leave out some things, add in others so here is MY rendition;

Wet ingredients
3 C cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained (I used canned chickpeas because I decided pretty last minute that I wanted to try this. I used 2 cans, rinsed them then cooked them in water on the stove until tender, about 30 mins)
4 T toasted sesame oil
Juice of 1 small lemon, or ½ of a medium or large lemon
1/2 of an onion, diced

Dry ingredients
1 C brown rice flour
2 tsp xanthan gum (you can use either chia or flax seed and water but I have heard they fall apart unless eaten really quickly. I made plenty for leftovers so I used Xantham gum)
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp rubbed sage
½-1 tsp smoked paprika, to taste
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mash the chickpeas in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and lemon juice. Mash again a couple of times to mix in the liquids. Chickpeas should be pretty mashed, some smooth, some still partly whole.

In a small bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together.

Add the dry ingredients into wet and stir until fully mixed. It may be crumbly at this point. Add some water until you get to a thick, almost bread dough consistency. It should be wet enough to mix well without crumbling but not soupy. I added the onions in at this stage (they were not in the original recipe but I think many things are better with onion!).

Form into little balls or patties and brown on each side in a cast iron skillet with a little coconut oil. Salt a little more once cooked.

I let the kids eat them with their fingers with a healthy (No MSG, HFCS, etc) ketchup to dip into. They loved them! Now if only they would eat their chard :/

I also see us making these with some mashed potatoes and gravy, YUM! So for a meat alternative, I think this one is a hit!

Dow and Monsanto

If you are watching what Monsanto is doing these days and care to get involved, here is a little issue you should check out. There is still time to weigh in with your opinion if you are so inclined. And if you haven't already figured out that Monsanto is bad for us and our food supply, you should check out the copious amounts of info on the subject. But for now, check out THIS blog.

Update Feb 2012

We just ran an IgG food allergy test and Organic Acid Test to look at what is going on after just a few months of Camel's milk. The IgG test was pretty amazing, he's gone from 5 "High" IgG foods to just 1. His Organic Acid Test showed some elevated yeast, bacteria and oxalates but I have a strong idea as to what is causing that and a game plan. But the most exciting part is that he is less reactive to the byproducts of these nasty little organisms! We used to have a completely goofy/silly/giggly child who would not sleep but would rather laugh in the middle of the night and whose name you had to call at least 50 times to get even some eye contact with yeast overgrowth. Bacteria brought a very short fuse, no patience and even aggression which was very uncharacteristic. That speaks of neurological and immune healing! And we did test both wheat and dairy (one isolated exposure to both) with no behavioral or gut reactions.

In my consult with Dr. Woeller to go over everything we both feel that at this point we are looking at child specific issues (i.e. personality emerging, his own traits) and less "Autism". I am hard pressed to find things to "work on" (unless someone has a supplement somewhere for back talk or sibling fighting???). That is a pretty cool place to be considering where we came from. I had grand hopes of integrated kindergarten, and yet even when I made that resolve to heal him by that point, there was that small spark of doubt within me that we could achieve that. And yet we made it. We struggled a little but had an amazing, wonderful, loving, caring teacher to help guide him through (and a loving class full of very accepting and helpful children!). We continued with the healing and things have just gotten better ever since! Now, does that mean we have zero issues? Of course not! We pull out the stops when we need to. I know when he needs his homeopathic remedy, I know when I need to add in some herbs for yeast, I know when he's growing and it throws his sensory system into utter chaos. And I know the future will bring its share of curve balls for us. And I don't even want to THINK about the hormones kicking in. But, it is nice to appreciate where we are, today, in this moment.

He will always face challenges from Autism, despite this thing called "recovery" and I totally get that. But, the fact that we have removed many, many roadblocks for him is incredible. This is a child with almost zero language who never slept and who would be content to spin Tupperware lids all day and who screamed bloody murder at even a quick trip to a grocery store due to sensory overload. I am so thankful for our team from doctors to therapists, teachers and just friends and family who support us through this. And more than anything I hope to share our story with others and impart some hope for recovery from this "incurable" disorder we call Autism. You have to try new things, you have to see what will work for your child. There is no magic bullet no matter what anyone says. Each child is unique and should be treated as such. And above all, never give up hope for improvement!