The cornerstone of frugality, according to many thrifty folks, is to eat a diet that maximizes grains and produce, since both are relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately, a diet that majors on grains is not an option for an increasing number of people. How can those of us who chose to be grain-free (for weight loss reasons or health reasons) do so without spending a boat load of money? Read the rest of this entry »
You know how sometimes you google a recipe you want to find and it’s a bust? Well, that happened tonight; I wanted grain-free Indian Naan (a tall order, I know…but surely someone in the great blogosphere had done it?) Alas, no luck. So, in the absence of a recipe, I modified a grain-free “skillet bread” recipe and came up with a delicous, grain-free, savory Indian flatbread to accompany a delicious, frugal, and nourishing curry I’d made. Read the rest of this entry »
This is a very long story, which I will explain in an upcoming post, but suffice to say, we are going back to the GAPS diet. Why? Read the rest of this entry »
This post is modified from an article I wrote for our church’s school, of which I am a board member. I thought I would share these tips for healthy lunches for school, work, or simply being on the go with little ones!
One of the biggest challenges we as parents face is feeding our children. Good, nourishing food is essential for their growth and development, as well as for their brains and learning. Packing a healthy, nutrient-dense lunch that will appeal to young children can be tricky, but it will pay off dividends in your child’s energy levels, immunity, and overall well-being.
Sugar,white-flour, and unhealthy fats form the backbone of a typical school lunch. White bread, jelly, peanut butter filled with sugar and hydrogenated oil coupled with fruit juice and chips may be appealing for children, but the high carbohydrate intake can cause a major “crash” in blood sugar after lunch. This “crash” (for lack of a better word) can lead to brain fogginess and lack of focus, and ultimately hunger, later in the afternoon.
For a healthy lunch, it’s important to focus on healthy fats, proteins, veggies, and whole-grains. These foods provide not only essential nutrients, but also provide fiber that slows down digestion so that you avoid that dreaded “crash” after lunch.
Luckily, there are some simply things you can do to transform the “typical school lunch” into a wholesome, healthy lunch that your kids will eat.
Sprouted Ezekiel Bread or Brown Rice Tortillas for sandwiches If you are grain-free, use sheets of nori for nutrient-dense roll-ups and make “sushi”. Leftover grain-free pancakes made from almond flour can be spread with nut butter and a touch of honey for sandwhiches as well.
Whole grain crackers or veggie sticks, raw cheddar or Swiss cheese slices (not processed!), and nitrate-free ham or turkey, smoked salmon, or left over roast beef.
Purchase a soup thermos and fill your child’s lunch with homemade soups or leftovers. Simply heat up a small portion in the morning before school and put in thermos and it will stay warm until eaten!
Dehydrated veggies (carrots, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes). Trader Joe’s has some yummy “plantain chips” that are high in potassium and additive-free. Seaweed chips are also a delicous, mineral-rick potato chip replacement.
Fruit juice boxes
Iced herbal tea sweetened with honey or stevia. There are so many sweet, fruity herbal teas that when lightly sweetened taste great with next to no sugar! We like Stash’s mango-passionfruit herbal tea as well as Teavana’s herbal teas (but they are a Thrifty Oreganic indulgence and not an everyday staple!)
Shelf-stable, ultrapastuerized fat free chocolate milk
Raw milk blended with real, unsweetened cocoa with stevia or maple syrup to taste.
Jell-O chocolate pudding cups
Chocolate banana- avocado pudding (puree 1-2 avocados with 1 banana in food processor. Add 1-2 tsp cocoa powder and 1 TBS honey or to taste)
As you can see, it takes only some small changes on your shopping list to yield big benefits to your child’s health, your budget, as well as the environment. Packaged “convenience” lunch foods (like juice boxes, lunchables, “uncrustables” and pudding cups) are both expensive and not eco-friendly. While I realize that these can be tempting (primarily because big box stores like Wal-Mart and Costco can sell these at a pretty appealing price), DON’T be fooled. A little more money spent on quality ingredients (like nitrate-free ham, avocados, and Ezekial bread) will save you money on co-pays and prescription drugs or supplements because your child is less likely to fall prey to illnesses when consuming real food! This may sound like bogus claim, but I encourage you to take the Real Food Challenge and see what happens!
Well, the past 2 weeks have been a total paradigm shift for me and my cooking, but since I posted a few weeks ago that I felt “God was leading us to Gaps” I have felt totally confirmed in that! It’s so hard to believe that I was so blind to what I needed to be doing for my family for so long. I’m not going to be hard on myself, but gerr. I think it was the lazy factor that kept me from delving into this sooner. It’s not an easy diet.
A quote from _Breaking the Viscious Cycle_by Elaine Gottschall:
“The strictness of this diet cannot be overemphasized nor should the difficulty
of adhering to it be minimized. Faithful observance requires intelligence and
vigilance on the part of those taking care of the individual or on the part of
the person who cooks for himself or herself. It is surprising how many times a
child will manage, despite the best supervision, to get hold of forbidden food.
It is equally surprising how may parents will decide, despite all warnings, that
“just a taste” of ice cream, cookie, or candy will do no harm. Such
infringements will seriously delay recovery and it is unwise to underake this
regimen unless you are willing to follow it with fanatical adherence.” Consider an infringement the ‘miracle grow’ of pathogenic gut bacteria.
This couldn’t be more true for us! I know people around me must think I’m crazy for what I’m putting my daughter through. I can’t even let her eat and apple right now! But I’ve totally noticed that when we keep to the diet, things are good, and if we slip up (like last week I gave her a banana) and all hell broke loose; literally!
My family have been such troopers. And they haven’t exactly been deprived. We’ve been feasting on delicious soups and roasts and tons of fresh veggies sauteed in butter and coconut oil.
It was so sweet to see how excited my two kids were that they could eat unlimited “zucchini chips”. I made these using my dehydrator and I marinated the zukes with a fresh herb vinaigrette I’d made from thyme, rosemary, and chives growing in my garden. I got this awesome Herb N Serve
for my birthday which I used to make the marinade! Anyway, after baking the chips in the oven until crispy, I transferred them into my dehydrator
overnight and they totally satisfied my children’s need for something “crispy and crunchy”. It was great to have something “snacky” again, since I’ve pulled back on nuts for the time being.
Kirsten’s digestive system just needs time to heal. There are days when she’s really low on energy and just wants to drink lots of water. I think this is because her body needs to flush out the yeast that are dying. Other days she just wants to eat and eat and eat…actually, this is most days. I need to be prepared basically at any time of day (including 5 am!) to feed her something nourishing. Her blood sugar is still so erratic and I just know that I need to feed her when she’s hungry.
My husband and I often remark that she still has the metabolism of a newborn and needs to “eat on demand”. Some of the other things that have been a hit during the “phase one” of Gaps diet are:
One thing is for certain, though. One little “indulgence” of extra sugar (even “good” sugar) has serious consequences. I can feel them myself, and it becomes very obvious for Kirsten as well. Hopefully all who know us will understand that I’m not trying to be a food nazi or control freak; I’m just wanting to do what’s best for my daughter’s health.