{Our Grain Free Month} Why We Quit

The biggest question I’ve had to answer myself and others after trying a grain free diet for a month is – “Why did we quit?”

The fact was, we felt great, liked the food, and knew this was good for our bodies. Why did we go back to eating grain (and raw milk, some sweeteners, and other stuff we’d cut out)?  Here’s the three reasons:

1. Financial
Cutting out grains means increasing your intake of more expensive foods like meat, veggies, and nuts.  I did my best to be frugal by…

  • choosing chicken over fish
  • making my own yogurt, kefir, and even some butter
  • buying things like nuts and coconut oil in bulk

…but the simple fact was, we could not afford the increased food costs beyond the 3-week mark, and had to go back to a diet that included the cheaper component of grains.

Estimated two week’s worth of produce on GAPS

I have heard (but can’t for the life of google find the link) that GAPS can increase your grocery budget 30%. Can you afford the GAPS diet? I believe Cara puts this question into perspective…

“The cost of food on the GAPS diet is often a shock- adding up the cost of meat alone is enough to make frugal grocery store shoppers twitch. There’s no doubt about it, grains are cheap fillers to round out meals and fill up bellies. I look at GAPS as being a medically necessary diet for my family. If a prescription medication could do all of what GAPS does, with no side effects, I know I would find a way to pay $200/month for this ‘medication’. In the same way, I see the money spent on food as an investment into my children’s health- money spent on the GAPS diet is money that isn’t spent on doctor’s visits, missed work due to health issues, tutors, adaptive equipment, and prescription medications.” – Cara at Health, Home, and Happiness (the full post is excellent GAPS info!)

We see our food budget as an investment in our family’s present and future health. As we can afford it, I will continue to implement as much nutrient dense foods as possible. Currently, I’m resting in the fact that our children do not have allergies or illnesses that require us to eat a diet we can’t afford. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Health
GAPS is specifically a diet to heal disease. As our family does not currently suffer from any allergies or on-going illnesses, I did not feel it was necessary to continue on the diet once we had accomplished our goals. The fact that we had very little die-off and no food sensitivities came to the surface indicated to me that our normal diet (based on the principles of the Weston A Price foundation) was working well for us.

3. Biblical
In the New Testament, Jesus calls himself the Bread of Life. I have a hard time believing that Christ would compare himself to something He created that we weren’t supposed to partake of. I believe grains, when prepared properly, can be a regular part of our diet, just as it was in Biblical times. The key is making sure our gut is healthy enough to digest grains, and then to make sure they are soaked, fermented, sprouted, or otherwise prepared for ease of digestion.

To hear how we actually felt on a grain free diet, check out this post.

For a collection of our family’s all time favorite meals, from grain-free brownies to homemade BBQ marinades to thick and creamy yogurt, check out my book!

6 Things I’ve Having A Blast With This Week

1. I was privileged to be one of the recipe testers for Kate’s soon-to-be-released e-cookbook, “Against the Grain” Delicious recipes for the Whole Food and Grain-Free Diet. It was a blast helping her test and refine a few of the recipes – first, because it was like someone else took over menu planning for me for a few nights (the hardest part of putting food on the table for me), and second, because the recipes were so good and required no reverse-engineering or substituting ingredients to bring them up to my nutrition standards. Oh, and they were delicious. Wow. I totally recommend the book when it comes out. See more details here.

2. Traveling South. Jeremy took me with him on quick business trip to Philadelphia at the beginning of the week. I took the opportunity to visit some stores they don’t have in our area.

A friend of mine spoke truth when she said, “Everyone should have the chance to visit IKEA at such a young age!” I was 28 years behind, but it was awesome!

I know what you are thinking. “What! Trina eats fast food!???” Yup. There is a time and season for everything, folks. I like to say I eat well at home so I can afford the occasional splurge or treat when out and about. Chick-fil-A is my fast food of choice -when the time and place call for a quick bite of fast food, I love me a good chickfillet sandwich. Think about it – It’s a business that honors the Lord’s day (closed on Sundays), plays Christian music in the restaurant, always has FRESH FLOWERS on the tables, and supports marriage counseling and 7 other outreaches with some of their proceeds…If I’m gonna do fast food, this is where I’m gonna eat.
I just blocked my mind to the fact that every single item on the menu has sugar, and all but the fruit cup have soy in it. And that my kidney’s positively ached after that vanilla milkshake….

3. Letter Writing. My soldier wrote me back! Wow, I was so blessed that my brother used  a few of his precious free moments to send me a letter from boot camp.

He was so thankful I had written, so, of course, I sat down immediately to write him again. I am reveling in reviving the lost art of letter wrting around here. I think receiving a personal letter in the mail is so often the highlight of that day or week because it is a gift of TIME – pure, undiluted, quality, intentional time…

  • Letter writing is something you can’t multitask while doing.
  • It takes longer than any other form of communication.
  • It produces something tangible for the recipient. 

It is a gift worth the time.

4. I’ve been sewing. It’s too soon to tell you exactly what, but I’m thinking a another tutorial (like this one) might be on it’s way. I’ve had such a breakthrough in the sewing room, I just have to share it with you. Get ready – gather some old t-shirts or raid the plus-sized section of the thrift store!

5. I’ve been playing in the kitchen. My absolute favorite thing in the kitchen is transformations. I love baking ’cause you turn a sloppy, gloppy liquid (dough) into a light, airy, dry texture (bread!). You take solids and make them liquid, liquids to solids, colors and textures change – it’s all so exciting.

So this week I was practicing my mozzerella cheese making again. And it failed. Again. BUT, I think I’m on the right track. I tried not to let the failure get to me, and turned around to make the leftover whey into ricotta (something I’ve always had success with after failed mozz.) Well, that failed, too.

Then I was mad.

Wow, I can’t believe I’m putting this photo up here for all the blog-world to see. This is me, with my failed clump of mozzerella cheese right before I threw it in the garbage.

 6. So, I turned to pasta making. That was a huge success. And so much fun.  I have the extruder attachment for my kitchen aide

It’s like the ultimate play-dough experience – except you get to eat it when you’re done. (and it doesn’t have that awful saltiness, either! :))

First successful elbow noodle experiment.

Now I need to get off the computer and work on the next thing – lasagna noodles!

What have you been doing this week? Is it spring where you are?

A Little Chat About Vaccinations

 I’m going in depth with one of the topics from the list of “12 Things That Work For Me” in my posts about living intentionally.

We don’t vaccinate our children. This is a highly personal topic, and the only reason I’m posting about it is because I want to make sure you know YOU have a choice, and to encourage you to make an informed decision. So, I’ll share some of my reasons and research, then you go do your own, ok?

Here’s some reasons we don’t vaccinate - 

  • We believe that, while vaccinations may have been a life-saving invention, better hygiene and nutrition have been the biggest factors in controlling epidemics.
  • We believe that in modern times, mass vaccinations for an increasing number of diseases is driven by drug companies profits more than people’s health.
  • We do believe that there is a link between vaccinations and auto-immune diseases (like allergies, autism, and other developmental disabilities)

Personal Stories…
I have personally known two precious young ladies who, after vaccinations at the age of 2, began to regress in their development until they were non-verbal, wheelchair bound, and almost completely unresponsive…one died by the time she was 16. Seeing that makes you think twice and want to do a little research into whether vaccinations are the best choice for your family.

Jeremy said one evening when we were discussing our decision not to vaccinate, “We like our children to talk to us!” I can’t imagine Seth, or any of my children, suddenly losing the desire or ability to smile at us, and maybe never learn to talk. If there’s the slightest chance that vaccinations can cause these kinds of diseases, I’m determined to be cautious and informed.

Another personal story has to do with the pertussis vaccination – for Whooping Cough. My mother stopped taking us kids in for our vaccinations when I was about 10, so I and three of my siblings had received some of our vaccinations. (I’ll never forget the the day Mom said we were not going in for the appointment for our shots – I was almost physically sick with relief. So not a fan.) Later, when our family had grown to 7 children, 3 of whom had never received vaccinations, we got the whooping cough. The interesting thing was that those of us who had been vaccinated (including Mom and Dad) got it worse than the kids who had not. Hmmm.

In some ways it was easy for me and Jeremy to choose not to vaccinate our children – our parents had already gone counter-culture and broken the trail for us. But a conversation with the doctor who circumcised Seth, questions from curious friends, and the topic coming up frequently on the news motivated us to look again at the research so we could articulate why we had chosen the route we were on. It’s amazing what you find if you turn your ear from the propaganda promoted by the drug companies and do a little digging. We have been thoroughly convinced that this is the right choice for our family.

Care to do some digging? Here are some sites where you can get started.

1. Modern Alternative Mamma thoroughly addresses questions like, “Do Vaccinations Cause Autism?” and uncovers the myths behind the need for vaccines. I appreciate her posts – they are balanced, discussing both sides of the issue, and she always posts links to the actual studies and all her sources.

“Contrary to popular belief, vaccines did not reduce the rates of diseases nearly as much as other measures did. In fact, in the early 1960s, rates of measles cases and deaths fell over 99% — before the introduction of the vaccination in 1968“. - Modern Alternative Mamma, Argument Against Vaccinations

2. Keeper of the Home has a good collection of articles for those exploring the whole Vaccination Issue. Start with “The Thoughtful Parent’s Guide to Thinking Through Vaccinations”. Here’s some of the 10 Questions they encourage you to ask when considering a vaccine for your child -

  1. What disease(s) is this vaccine aiming to protect against?
  2. What is the a) probable outcome of this disease, and b) worst-case scenario outcome?
  3. Today, is this disease treatable and/or preventable by other/natural means?
  4. What are possible dangers in this type of vaccine (look up whole list of ingredients)

3. Kelly the Kitchen Kop has a whole slew of posts on vaccinations, including the saga of how she has legally avoided vaccines for her public-school-enrolled children.  If you are really questioning whether you could ‘get away’ with not vaccinating your kids, the fact is, you as a parent still have the right to choose what is best for your child. Kelly has literally put dozens of hours into each of her posts on the topic.

So, if I don’t vaccinate, what do I do to protect my kids from disease? Build up their immune system naturally. Breastfeed. Feed them whole, nutrient dense foods. Let them play in the dirt. Pray for them, and thank God for the privilege of raising them and the freedom to make wise choices for their health.

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday!

Happy to be Here

I was very blessed yesterday, and I just have to share it with any body out there who is listening. For two years now, on and off, but mostly on, I have been following a rather strict dietary plan to help my body to better health. The summer before I was married, I made an appointment with our naturopathic doctor just for a basic checkup. There was nothing glaringly wrong, but a few things not quite right. I won’t share a lot of details, but basically, my body was trying to tell me that it was bogged down with toxins. I was depleted, and my body was not receiving nor assimilating the nutrients it needed to heal itself. Robin put me on a simple -but difficult- diet. NO white flour, NO white sugar. A few other details, but that was basically it, and it made a huge difference. I lost 10 Lbs. in 2 months (resulting in my wedding dress fitting rather loosely in the end!:)), and I felt great!

I slacked off a little after the wedding, but had to start watching what I ate again when I was pregnant, because of blood sugar issues. After Jesse was born I took a ‘break’ again, enjoying not having to worry about how many grams of protein I was taking in every time I opened my mouth. But then, early this year, I started to have chest pains – severe enough to eventually send us to the emergency room. The doctors did an EKG and chest X-rays, and told me I was fine. They said I could take Advil for the pain and sent me home. That was not what I wanted to hear. I was relieved that they could tell me that there was nothing wrong with my heart, but I didn’t want a band-aid. I wanted to get to the root of the problem.

The next week I had an appointment with Robin. Jeremy went along with me; we were both hoping to get some answers. After she did some tests, and we prayed together, we talked for a while, and eventually the Lord did reveal to us what my problem was – Stress. Now, I have a wonderful life. I would not say I was stressed, and nobody else would, either. But the Lord gave us insight and helped me to realize and admit that I have put myself under stress because of my drive to please. I worried all the time what people were thinking about me – even complete strangers! Robin repeated to me the wise advice my husband had been giving me, and suddenly it all made sense. I needed to only strive to please God and my husband, and give the rest to the Lord. If I could get a handle on this, and continue to relieve the physical stress my body was under due to the toxins, Robin predicted that I would notice a world of difference. I went home with the determination to seek the Lord, knowing I needed a complete change in my thought patterns.

The regime I was on diet-wise included 12 oz. fresh carrot and apple juice daily, a big, fresh salad every day, plenty of water, no caffeine, sugar, or any processed foods. That meant nothing ground, baked, or otherwise processed too far from its original form. I couldn’t even have my own whole wheat bread. Boy, did I miss my carbs! I could only use honey for a sweetener. I got real creative with substitutes – thus the potato pancakes and yummy granola recipes. I also was taking a few supplements to assist detoxing and digestion.

Fast-forward 4 months. By God’s grace, I have undergone major heart surgery, but not with doctors and anesthesia. With Scripture, prayer, and God’s grace, my mind has been renewed, and I have learned to recognize the thought patterns that bring on stress. I have rejoiced in the peace that has come as a result on focusing on God and Jeremy for my fulfillment and approval. And that’s not all. I haven’t had a panic attack or chest pains in months! I feel great, and my appointment with Robin yesterday afternoon confirmed what my body was telling me: I’m doing great! She said I have made excellent progress and am ‘the picture of health’. :D Best of all, she said I could start having bread again – ever other day, and only if I make it myself, pre-soaking the grain. I am so excited – I am planning my first baking in months – my favorite Peach Almond Muffins.

I praise God for giving us the wisdom to take care of our bodies. I thank Him for my wise, supporting husband, and for Robin’s wonderful ministry, Christian Natural Health. I thank Him for giving me the strength each day to make healthy choices, and for the hope He has given me for the future. Thank You, Lord!