Saturday, January 16, 2016

Superfood Sunday--Mealplanning with a purpose

Greetings, Superfood Sunday Fans,

This week's food plan comes from Paleo Leap, a site created by Sebastian Noel, who healed himself from migraines through Whole Foods, paleo style eating. You can read his story here. 

The dinner meals I've picked for the week are more traditional winter foods. It's cold here in Indiana, and snowy, and I'm hungry for hearty soups and stews and root vegetables. They are nourishing for pregnant and breastfeeding mamas. There's plenty of protein, good fats, cultured foods, and carbohydrates. (More on carbohydrate needs for pregnancy and breastfeeding later)

A printer friendly list for this week's mealplan, along with links to all of the recipes are here.

I'll post pictures through the week as I create his masterpieces in my home and for my size large tribe. The meals look super yummilicious, and I can't wait to try them out for myself.

January 2016




Snack ideas (twice a day)







Eggs and chicken sausage, mango (carb), coconut chai, kombucha (cultured food)

Make up large batch of soup on Sunday night, and eat it all week long at work;otherwise, leftovers from dinner the night before—add in coconut kefir (cultured food) Sides: Mashed sweet potatoes (carb), asparagus, and gingered carrots (cultured food)

Apple and almond butter; dates and crispy cashews; orange and hard boiled eggs, sweet potato chips and mashed avocado; larabar (only those with dates and nut)

 Sides: Butternut squash (carb); green salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and kortido (cultured food).


 spaghetti squash (carb), and gingered carrots (cultured food).


 (carb is in the pie) Sides: green salad with olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing, and kortido (cultured food).


 Sides: Baked acorn squash (carb), baked Brussel sprouts, and gingered carrots (cultured food)


 Sides: baked potato fries (carb), and gingered carrots (cultured food)


 Sides: add diced sweet potatoes to the soup (carb); green salad with olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing and kortido (cultured food---although the fish sauce in the soup is cultured as well).

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Day 10 Whole 30

So, it's been 10 days since I started the whole 30 challenge. Originally, I was slightly intimidated with the idea of moving completely away from grains. I wondered if I could actually do it-complete this challenge for 30 whole days. And not only grains, but all processed foods, all dairy, all sugar, many's daunting.

The first week was probably the most challenging, especially since I was going to be traveling back to Indiana the first few days. But I developed a plan. I planned out my traveling meals, decided where I would stop for meals, and planned out my next week of family meals.

I also spent a moderate amount of time discussing it with my family. My husband and teenagers are less than enthralled. My Einstein eleven year old stated that grains are a super important part of the daily diet because they make up the entire bottom of the food pyramid. My littlest ones bemoaned their beloved PB&J's. Yeah--I had to do some educating. and coaxing. and maybe a little begging too.  Just be supportive. For me?? 

So last week, I browsed through a fun paleo website, nomnom paleo. The creator is a phenomal creator of paleo deliciousness, and our fave recipes for the week came from her site.
Cracklin chicken and Asian meatballs, and mango salmon were among the fave dinners of the week.
The fave dinners turned into lunches for the next day. The kids liked their lunches, and surprisingly enough, mornings were much simpler than usual. While a lot of it revolved around the fact that lunches were left overs from the night before, I think much of the ease came from having the week planned out. I also found it easy to pack a lunch that would keep me well fed through the day, and only browsed the cafeteria once when I went to lunch with a colleague. I ate my from my lunch box, which had an added bonus of not spending money at the cafeteria. SUPER WIN!! And I bought a few food containers for their lunches--plastic for now--will have to save up for the better quality. Buying 7 LunchBots Bento Lunch Boxes is a bit over my budget. Baby steps.

Breakfast was also surprisingly easy. Hard boiled eggs, chicken apple sausage, and fruit rounded out most of our mornings. The most difficult breakfast change for me was tweaking my chai latte smoothie into whole 30 approved foods. My chai latte smoothie was deliciousness magnified time three. Mouthwatering chai tea, with a tablespoon of coconut oil, topped with pure whipping cream infused with whey protein powder. I would sip my lusciousness while taking kids to school. My whey protein powder changed to vital proteins collagen peptides--definitely not the same, but workable. My pure whipping cream changed to coconut milk--a decent substitute, but took some getting used to.
So, all in all, this no grains thing is a winner. I do feel really great. I'm getting more completed than I did with grains. And I went back to working out at day 8. Of course, I thought my vegetarian thing was a winner too, until I was 6 weeks in and got sick--so there's still time for this to bomb.  But in the meantime, it's recipe searching, paleo blogging, and sugar free living. And Paleo Leap, but more to follow on that next week.

And for those who choose to join our journey, we developed a facebook group. It's badass primal--I know, we are super cool like that. We're posting our journeys and encouraging each other along the way. If you're ready for this journey, join us. I think you'll find you really like it!!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Going Paleo....Maybe Forever...Definitely for 30 Days....

Each year, we go to Sanibel Island, Florida for vacation the week after Christmas. It's one of my favorite things to do, as it gives me time to do absolutely nothing except play with my kids, cook and eat, and read and research. Over the years of living a NT life, I would invest huge amounts of time soaking, sprouting, and fermenting everything we ate, in order to give my family the nutrition I knew we needed. Note--I said a Huge. Amount. Of Time.  It takes hours of prep and thought to make certain all of our grains were prepared properly and varied enough to make vacation eating fun and interesting.

The crazy thing about vacations???  They END!!  We return to home life chaos--40 hour work weeks as an ER nurse, managing 8 kids (okay--really 6 as the oldest 2 are managing their own lives in college and the workforce), managing the other 6 kids' school work, and after school activities, and meals, and life...My soaking, sprouting, and fermenting looks more like...."Oh, what's for dinner? Chicken and Rice-Did I remember to soak my rice last night? No--but I still have the black beans I was going to eat fermenting on the counter, and the oats from 2 days ago are still fermenting. Maybe we could have black beans and chicken--oh wait, I made those in the jar and now I can't get them out--now we'll have oatmeal--crap it molded".....And the stories go on and on and on...I'm just too flakey to remember which meal I needed to go with which fermented grain on which day, and most days I just ended up eating the grains without properly preparing them--because--really--It was just too hard with our lifestyle to make this work.

Fast forward to this vacation. I'd still been moderately faithful with soaking grains prior to eating them--loved my dark chocolate soaked oat and wheat muffins, ate mostly high quality foods-with regular slips into sugar and grain bliss, and not feeling quite as good as I used to feel at the beginning of my NT journey when everything was soaked, sugar was an absolute no, and I had a bit more time (and 3 less children) to manage it all. I've been noticing a lot of joint pain when I do my yoga and work outs--weird. And I've gained a bit of pudge in my belly--super weird. And I've noticed that I'm super grumpy, especially during "that time of the month"--not okay. And I get really tired during my workouts, which makes me not want to work out as much as usual--extra crazy weird.

Apparently, there's some science out there that supports the fact that grains (even properly prepared), and sugar (even the good stuff like stevia, raw honey and maple syrup)-can cause a lot of inflammation in every single part of the body creating issues (depression, anxiety/anger issues, joint pain, sluggishness, etc.) And there are a whole slew of stories on the whole 30 website suggesting their program helps eliminate those issues.

Over the last few months I've been having a sort of love affair with paleo. While not committing to it--I've dabbled. Only a bit. I told myself I'm not one of those people who can live without grains. I'd lose too much weight, and I'm a hard gainer. I lose weight easily, and it's difficult to get back. It's just too bad, because it seems like such a great concept, but I can't keep it up long term....

This vacation; however, I didn't feel like fermenting or sprouting anything--and what would my vacation be if I didn't spend the week nourishing my body. So I decided to just eat paleo--and not make or buy any grains during vacation. I also love to read during vacation, and during my research time (I love researching health and nutrition articles) I found this crazy I downloaded the book It starts with Food onto my kindle reader, and sucked it in. I made a decision to do the whole30 starting January 1st. (Totally cliché, I know--but I was ready to start and didn't want to wait until February--don't ask) I developed a pinterest board dedicated to whole 30 approved recipes. I went to nomnom paleo and marks daily apple and the whole 30 website. I read the program rules over and over again--made some shopping lists, and practiced during vacation. I noticed cooking has been so much easier this vacation. Lots of veggies and high quality meats and fruits, without any grains to soak, sprout or ferment. It's been my best vacation ever.

So why this on my pregnancy blog? I did some research on this diet, and found it is totally sustainable during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Whole 30 does a complete Healthy Momma, Happy Baby Program for pregnancy and breastfeeding. It's also a great way to get your body ready pre-pregnancy--Remember Weston Price's (if you click on the link, you will get to the free Project Gutenberg copy of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration--I love free) advice to moms and dads that nourished cultures spent months preparing their bodies for pregnancy??  Well this is a way to do that. 

And so, I start my journey through a whole 30 (and beyond), tomorrow. I invited friends to join-announced it on FB, and we created a FP group (badass primal) to commemorate our Whole 30 journey.

If you'd like to journey with us--either in January or beyond, we'd love to have you. (Feel free to join our group-badass primal) I did the research for you, and will give you the results in the next 30 days.... And who knows--I may have to revamp the diet piece of my website afterwards.....

Happy Whole 30ing!!

Get the book or books below (It won't cost you more, but I will receive a small commission--note it is small)


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Chocolate Oat and Walnut Muffins

Chocolate Oat and Walnut Muffins 

It's been a long time since I've posted anything in this blog. I kept meaning to, but life got in the way, and I've wondered if this blog even made much of a difference in anyone's lives. After over a year of not posting anything, I finally decided that it doesn't matter how many lives this blog touches, the only thing that matters is that I've put into words a passion in my life-and that passion is taking care of people; especially some of my favorite people (pregnant mommas and their peapods).

That being said, I created some wonderful yumminess this early fall: Chocolate oat and walnut muffins. They are fantastic for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers--real ingredients that are nourishing; sweetness from high mineral pure maple syrup; real butter; and farm fresh eggs (if those are available to you).

These muffins will give you the bite of sweetness you need as a pregnant or breastfeeding mother, knowing you are nourishing your body and your little peapod. And if you're neither pregnant nor lactating??  Know that your non-pregnant, non-lactating body is receiving a super abundance of nutrients, and your taste buds are receiving a little bit of heaven--chock full of love and dark chocolate goodness! Namaste!

Chocolate oat and walnut muffins:

White whole wheat flour: 2 cups
Ground oats: 1 cup (I grind my own oats with my handy dandy grain grinder--yes, I am that freak)
Sea salt (I like pink himalayan): 1 tablespoon
Baking powder (aluminum free): 1 tablespoon
Cinnamon: 2 tablespoons
Butter: 1/4 cup softened/melted
Eggs: 3
Pure maple syrup: 3/4 cup
Kefir: 2 cups
Dark Chocolate Chips: 2 cups
Crushed Walnuts: 1 cup


1. Place flour and oats in a bowl. Stir in the 2 cups kefir and let set in fridge at least 8 hours or overnight.

2. After at least 8 hours soaking, turn oven to 375F, and prepare the rest of the muffin mix. Add in the sea salt, baking powder, cinnamon, melted butter, eggs, and maple syrup to the soaked ingredients. Stir well.

3. Add in the dark chocolate chips, and fill a well oiled muffin pan with 3/4 full batter. Sprinkle the walnuts over the top of batter and dust with cinnamon.

4. Bake in oven approximately 25 minutes or until knife comes cleanly out of muffin.

5. Spread some farm fresh (or the best quality you can find) butter over the top, and enjoy.  Yummilicious!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Whole Grains in Pregnancy

There is a chance that you will encounter grains at every meal of your day. The wheat berry taken from the fields will have been processed and milled into flour, and served at your table as a loaf of bread, or baked good in some form or fashion. While grains have gotten a seriously bad rap in the recent past, they are not the food villains some foodies make them out to be. Traditionally prepared sprouted or soaked whole grains have been a staple food for thousands of years for a variety of cultures.  References to grains are even found throughout the Bible. Grains are versatile, easy to cook, and relatively inexpensive, making them a necessary addition to a pregnant and nursing mother's life.

Dr. Weston Price (1870-1948) was a Cleveland dentist who began searching for the causes of dental decay and physical degeneration. While searching the globe, he found answers among isolated groups of people in various societies with perfect teeth, minimal evidence of tooth decay and physical degeneration or disease. Dr. Price moved his laboratory to these isolated societies and studied their diets. His analysis found that isolated peoples living off of their traditional diets were provided four times the amounts of calcium and minerals, along with ten times the fat soluble vitamins than their modern neighbors eating processed foods.

Dr. Price found that isolated populations eating a traditional diet prepared their grains much differently than their modern neighbors. While their modern neighbors ate processed white breads full of sugar and  milled flour, the traditional societies minimally milled their grains, and either sprouted or soaked grains for long periods of time before eating.

The science behind traditional diets shows whole grains require proper preparation in order to remove anti-nutrients; phytic acid being a significant culprit. Phytic acid in whole grains can bind with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc and bind absorption of these minerals. A diet high in improperly prepared grains has the potential for bone loss, mineral deficiencies, along with plenty of disease processes, including chronic abdominal pain,  irritable bowel syndrome, decreased resistance to immunity, mental health disorders, etc. This can create significant problems when growing a baby, and breastfeeding.

Another culprit includes gluten. Everywhere you look, you will find an emphasis on "gluten-free" foods. As stated earlier, products from wheat hit the table at almost every meal. Due to the increasing emphasis on the inability to digest gluten, along with the myriad of health problems associated with ingesting gluten, a large amount of the modern population has chosen to remove gluten from the diet. This has lead to an explosion in the gluten-free market. While this has the potential to improve some of the health problems associated with gluten ingestion, the processed substitutes for gluten are not much better.

As stated by Sally Fallon in her book, Nourishing Traditions, a review of traditional peoples and their recipes from around the globe reveal simple grain preparations with minimal or no amounts of processing. Traditional Europeans baked slow rise breads created from fermented starters; American pioneers were famous for sourdough breads, pancakes, and biscuits (remember Little House on the Prairie....) Oriental and Latin American rice recipes called for brown rice to receive a long fermentation process before consumption. In Africa, the natives soaked corn or millet at least eight hours to create a porridge called ogi. The Welsh similarly prepared oats by soaking overnight to create a hardy oatmeal and oatcakes. Teff, an ancient Ethiopian grain, was fermented for several days before becoming injera bread. In India, rice and lentils were fermented to create idli and dosas; and Mexican corn cakes, called pozol were fermented in banana leaves for up to two weeks.

While we can't go back to traditional times, and there are currently few cultures Dr. Price studied who are still eating their traditional diets; it is possible to consume our grains like our ancestors. If you are not ready to make the leap to traditional preparation of grains, there are plenty of  products on the shelves available to get you started. Look for organic, stone ground, sprouted or sour dough whole grain products and eat them with a fat source such as real butter or cheese to get the most nutrients from your grains.

For those who love to experiment and cook, my favorite cookbook written by a woman dedicated to following Dr. Price's food philosophy, Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats can help you get started on the soaked and sprouted road. While it may take a little more time and exploration than grabbing a muffin off the shelf; I guarantee you that your future children will thank you for it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ham and Bean Soup

Having an enormous family, and trying to eat more regularly from Weston Price Diet is a challenge, especially financially. My family loves soups and stews, and because I can make them so nutrient dense with minimal amounts of money, I tend to make them often.

Ham and Bean soup is an especial favorite for my clan, and is wonderful for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers as well. While I tend to use mostly Great Northern Beans, I like to add in Navy, Cannellini, and Pinto as well, not only to increase flavor, but to make my soup more nutrient dense. It is also not easy to get a large amount of salad into my family, so I add a plethora of vegetables into my soups. My kids inhale the soups and get their veggies in as well. Home made stock not only increases the nutrient content of the soup, but creates a protein sparing effect, and I can decrease the amount of costly animal meat without giving up the nutrients my children need.

Ham and Bean Soup


Great Northern Beans (dried): 1 pound
Navy Beans (dried): 1/2 pound
Cannellini Beans (dried): 1/2 pound
Pinto Beans (dried): 1/2 pound
Bay Leaf: 1 to 2
Home made chicken stock: 2 quarts
Water: 2 quarts
Onion: 1 large diced
Carrots: 3 medium diced
Celery: 3 medium diced
Anaheim pepper: 1 small seeded and diced
Organic Ham: 1 pound
Sea Salt: 1 tablespoon
Pepper: 1/2 tablespoon


1. Rinse the beans and pick through them to pick out any stones. Soak all beans overnight with water. In the morning, in a large crockpot, place the beans and enough water to cover inside. Add 1 or 2 bay leaves to water and beans. Set the beans on low heat for at least 4 to 6 hours. Watch the beans through the day if possible. If the beans have cooked down and need more water, you can add in a cup or two at a time until the beans remain completely covered with water.

2. When the beans are softened and cooked through, add in the stock, onion, carrots, celery, anaheim pepper, salt, pepper, and ham, and let cook another hour on high heat.

3. This is served well with homemade sour dough bread or corn muffins.

4. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kombucha in Pregnancy

Kombucha tea, with its plethora of health-promoting benefits, has mixed reviews when it comes to pregnancy usage. While some sites and some health care professionals advocate its usage during pregnancy, there are just as many denouncing its use during this critical baby building period. While I have drunk small amounts of the tea both during pregnancy and breastfeeding with no ill effects, it does not mean the practice should be the norm for every pregnant and/or breastfeeding woman.

Kombucha tea, a probiotic beverage,  is made by fermenting black tea with sugar and a flat, pancake looking culture of yeasts and bacteria called a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts). It can also be called a "Kombucha mushroom" due to the culture's shape and size as it floats on top of the tea after fermentation. Kombucha tea originated in East Asia and was introduced into Germany in the early 1900's.  Since then, it has been promoted for boosting immunity, increasing energy, improving digestion, reducing high blood pressure, maximizing nutrient absorption, and strengthening the body against certain ailments.

Ailments caused from physiologic side effects of being pregnancy have been noted to be alleviated from drinking Kombucha tea. Kombucha has been touted as a remedy for constipation, indigestion, heartburn, and other digestive issues.

Those who denounce its use during pregnancy and breastfeeding give some of the following reasons, which should be pondered prior to discerning whether or not to partake of the drink.

1. Kombucha contains alcohol, and alcohol has the potential to cause birth defects such as  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Kombucha contains anywhere from 0.3 to 2.5% of alcohol, depending on the amount of alcohol produced during the fermentation process. Beer contains anywhere from 3 to 10%, wine 8 to 20% and spirits anywhere from 20 to 70%. While most literature encourages mothers to completely steer clear of all alcohol during pregnancy, a study published in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health in 2010 reported five year old children of women who drank up to one or two alcoholic drinks per week were not at increased risk of behavioral or cognitive problems. If you are concerned about alcohol consumption during pregnancy, and the possible risks to baby, then do not consume Kombucha while pregnant.

2. Kombucha is a detox agent, and there are concerns that a woman should not start a detoxification program while pregnant. Detox is a natural process that occurs every night. The organs rest and release  built up waste, which is why most people feel the need to eliminate shortly after awakening.  Kombucha aids in this process, and could easily be consumed during pregnancy; however, it is imperative to stay well hydrated. Eight to ten glasses of water daily will keep you hydrated during pregnancy, and the toxins will be removed naturally through the urine and feces. If you are dehydrated, those toxins will move out of the body through other organs, one of which can be the uterus.  If you are concerned about toxins moving out of the body into baby, best to stay away from Kombucha.

3. Kombucha can cause an allergic reaction in first time drinkers. If you have never consumed Kombucha prior to pregnancy, it is imperative to use caution, or stay away completely. While it is very rare to have an allergic reaction to Kombucha, having an allergic reaction during pregnancy could be a dangeous, nightmarish, and deadly experience. If you choose to start drinking Kombucha during pregnancy, begin slowly. Start off with no more than 2 oz per day, and monitor your body's response. Do not drink if you know you have allergies to mold.

4. Kombucha has been reported to cause kidney failure, lactic acidosis, and liver dysfunction. While  these findings were reported, the patients were also diagnosed with serious diseases and on medications which could cause these same problems.

If you are going to drink Kombucha tea while you are pregnant and planning on brewing it at home, it is imperative to brew it only in glass jars as the tea will leach any metals out of other containers. Do NOT use ceramic, lead, steel, or any other material for brewing. Purchase your Kombucha SCOBY from a reputable source as some SCOBYs can harbor potentially dangerous bacteria. Watch the PH of your brew. It should be no more than 2.5 to 3.0. You can use PH strips to test.  If there is obvious mold growing, dump it out and start over.

As with all things natural health related, be certain to check with your health care provider prior to starting Kombucha consumption.

This article is featured on Pennywise Platter on The Nourishing Gourmet Simple Lives Thursday on Gnowfglins