Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Busy, but...

I'm sorry I have been so busy with moving and a new school and new everything, are a few favorite websites to get ideas for dinner. We have gone grain free since moving to Italy and these sites have been a life saver.

Connor loves the waffles and bean cake from the Spunky Coconut. I made a coconut flour bread yesterday using a recipe from Grain Free Foodie. It was a simple recipe and it turned out great. Connor is excited to have bread for the first time in months. All four blogs have wonderful breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas and well as dessert and breads. You will thank me for hooking you up with these four are welcome!! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010


Moving to a new school means doing a new IEP, new programs, new everything. Connor's new school psychologist asked me to do a new GARS (Gilliam Autism Rating Scale) for him. For some reason, things like that get put aside and put off. I don't like looking at his skills and deficits on paper and numbered. It is a mental thing.

So I picked up the GARS and knew I needed to get it done for his upcoming IEP meeting. When I starting circling 0-3 for ratings of his behavior, I struggled. I didn't struggle because I don't know him well. I know Connor as well as he will let me. I know his behaviors better than anyone. I struggled because while circling 0 for so many things, I couldn't help but think how not long ago I would have circled 3. He use to make no eye contact. He use to only eat specific foods and refuse to eat what most people will usually eat. He use to rapidly flick hands at the side of his eyes for periods of time. It was hard to read those things and not be able to write next to each one, "use to do". I want the world to know how much better he is. I don't want them to forget how much they hurt him.

When Connor first regressed into autism, my husband and I use to say he wasn't that bad. We didn't know what "normal" was. We didn't know how far he needed to go. We held on to the fact that he still allowed us to hug him. Connor was non verbal. Connor was severly autistic. It is only looking back now that I can see that.

Connor is doing well now. He is high functioning. He still has obsessive compulsive, but he can function in the world. He still doesn't like singing, but he won't scream for hours if I sing.

I have to go fill out the GARS now, and hug Connor.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Still unpacking...

While I am still unpacking and getting settled in our new home in Italy, I thought I would post a few important links and clips.

Feds settle vaccine lawsuit and then seal the results:
Fantastic journalism! One of the biggest lawsuits questioning the safety of vaccines and they SEAL the results. What are they hiding?

Robert F Kennedy explains vaccines and the autism cover-up:
He is such a great advocate for the exposure of the hazards of vaccines and the autism/vaccine connection.

The Future of Food Video:
This is a great video talking about the genetically modified foods. Great video.

Aran's article in Finnair magazine. Love this article. I have sat at her parent's kitchen table and listened to her dad talk about mushrooms for hours. I didn't understand anything but I got a great appreciation for the complexity of mushroom hunting. The Basque Country really is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

"Temple Grandin" the movie, did amazingly well at the Emmy's. Here is Temple on the Red Carpet. She handles it amazingly well. LOVE HER!!

One of my favorite blogs, The Spunky Coconut, has some great recipes. We are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, grain free, vegetarian. Her recipes are perfect for us. I would love to do more raw also. I have a food dehydrator on my "wish list". Check out these veggie cakes...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sorry, been gone a while

Sorry I have been gone so long. So many things have happened and there hasn't been time to get online for sometime. We started Connor on a grain free diet, he is on Dr. Amy's new compounded supplements, and oh yeah, we moved to ITALY!!
I know, ITALY!! So it has been a busy summer moving to a new country and getting settled. We still don't have our stuff, but we are at least living in our new home. I will talk more about it in a bit. Here are a few pics to show you our busy summer.

Recipes to come...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Food Archaeology: Dairy (From The Spunky Coconut)

One of my favorite food blogs is a mom in Colorado who has put the fun and taste back into allergen free eating. I have been interested in the history of food consumption and this article on her blog was so fantastic. I asked The Spunky Coconut if I could repost her article. Please enjoy!

Food Archaeology: Dairy
Article by Andrew Brozyna

The casein and lactose intolerant among us are unable to comfortably consume cows' milk. This restriction makes some feel that their cow dairy-free diet is strange. Yet, until very recent historic times it was the milk drinkers who were odd.

Humans are the only mammals that continue to drink milk into adult life. After weaning, all other mammals cease to produce lactase, the enzyme in the intestines which digests milk's lactose. Although lactase-deficiency was originally the natural condition for humans, many people today do maintain sufficient levels of lactase. This is believed to have been an adaptation that occurred sometime in prehistory. "...when there was a shortage of food during winter months those individuals who were able to metabolize milk would be at an advantage."(Mercer, p. 218) So, those people survived and passed on their lactose-tolerant gene(s). People from north-west Europe, north and east Africa, and Asia (excluding China, and the south-east) have traditional raised cows and now have low incidences of lactose intolerance. People originating from outside of these regions can not easily digest lactose.(Mercer) As for intolerance to casein (the protein in cow's milk) I have not read a history of this problem unfortunately.

The Roman Period
The population in ancient Britain presumable had low incidences of lactose intolerance, yet: "It can be doubted whether liquid milk formed a regular part of the diet of many in Roman Britain. ...The modern levels of liquid milk consumption owe more to deliberate state-sponsored advertising campaigns to cope with over-production than to long-established drinking habits."(p. 129) In her book Eating and Drinking in Roman Britain, Hilary Cool shows that the modern levels of milk consumption were completely out of place in ancient life. Cow's milk seems to have been consumed in small quantities, and mostly as a fermented product.

Milk quickly spoiled (especially in warm climates) and could spread tuberculosis and undulant fever. "Raw milk is not necessarily either a pleasant or safe drink in societies without refrigeration. It is better to convert it to butter or cheese to ensure long-term storage. In both cases there is an initial ripening to allow bacteria to sour the milk." (Cool, p. 94) Cheese and butter have been fermented, which eases digestion. The bacteria in well-aged cheese completely digest the milk's lactose. In addition to their love of cheese, the Romans ate another fermented milk product. The Roman culinary writer, Apicius, wrote of melca, a curdled milk perhaps similar to yogurt. The refrigeration typical in our modern society easily preserves milk. However, I question the wisdom of breaking from the natural historic practice of limited milk consumption. Certainly, no Roman citizen drank the US Government's suggested 3 cups of cows' milk every day. And according to the writings of Roman authors, he did not want to.

Hilary Cook has an interesting indirect way of judging the level of milk consumption in Roman Britain. The author compared incidences of tuberculosis among skeletal remains of the Roman period and the 1600s. "Tuberculosis is a disease that is spread from cattle to humans largely by the drinking of infected milk. It is noticeable that in Britain it was a common disease by the 17th century, corresponding with the post-medieval rise of dairy herds... The disease causes changes in the bones, but these are only rarely seen in Roman skeletons." (Cook, p94)

Roman Discussion of Sheep and Goat's Milk
While the Romans did enjoy cow's milk cheese, they held sheep and goat's milk in much higher regard. Goats give more milk (a yield 5 times in proportion to body weight than a cow), and they do not need to be continuously with-calf to maintain production. In contrast to cows' milk, sheep and goats' milk are easily digested by humans. It contains much lower levels of casein when compared to cow's milk. In her book, Food in Roman Britain, Joan Alcock comments on the opinon of the 1st century AD Roman writer, Pliny: "He also praised goat's milk for being the sweetest form of milk and more suited to the stomach, which may imply the Romans had some knowledge of bovine lactic intolerance." (p. 57) She later adds, "Both sheep's and goat's milk have a greater concentration of short-chain fatty acids in their fat content, and cheese made from their milk is easier to digest because of it's smaller milk particles." (Alcock, p. 59)

In the 1st century BC the Roman author Varo published an agricultural book. Varo's De Re Rustica (On Agriculture) states, "Of all the liquids which we take for sustenance, milk is the most nourishing—first sheep's milk, and next goat's milk." While he does not encourage the drinking of cows' milk, he does say it makes a nutritious cheese. Yet, even here he comments on the digestive problems that could follow: "Of the cheeses which are made from this milk, those made of cow's milk have the most nutriment, but when eaten are discharged with most difficulty..." He goes on to say sheep and goat cheese are easily digested. (De Re Rustica 11, xi)

The author Virgil complements the goat's "abundant and nutritious yield of milk." (Alcock, p 57) Columella, wrote an influential agricultural manual in the 1st century AD. It shared the same title as Varo's book. In his De Re Rustica Columella "had much to say on plough oxen, the breeding of cattle, and the production of sheep's milk cheese, but he made no mention of fresh cows' milk."(Mercer, p. 219) Columella's omission makes sense if cow's milk did not feature highly in the Roman diet.

Celts, Germans, and Dairy
The Iron Age European people living outside the borders of the Roman empire did not keep written records. The Romans made some mention of "barbarian" agriculture, and archaeology can tell us something of their milk consumption. Pliny wrote that the butter most prized by the barbarians was made from sheep's milk, rather than cow's. Columella said many barbarian tribes in Europe kept no cow herds, but drank sheep's milk instead. In his Natural History, Pliny wrote that the Gauls (Celtic people of modern-day France) produced cheese (probably cow), which the Romans liked to import. He was especially keen on Gaulish goat cheese.

Britain was abundant with cattle, but it seems they were not raised primarily as dairy animals. Iron Age and Romano-British cows' main value was in their meat, hides, and traction (pulling carts, plows, etc.). The intensive effort required to keep these ancient breeds as dairy cattle would have been prohibitive. Compared to today's "improved" dairy cows, Iron Age cattle were smaller and gave milk for only a short time after giving birth. Milk cows need to drink a tremendous amount of water, limiting where they could be raised. While it seems some settlements in Iron Age Britain were indeed raising cows for milk, the evidence for this practice is not widespread. Cattle raising in Gaul seems to have been similar. Roman writer Tacitus and Caesar say the ancient Germans were great cattle herders, keeping them for milk, cheese, and meat. (Green)

The Roman writer Strabo says the Gauls kept enormous flocks of sheep. Sheep were also very widespread in Iron Age Britain. Most sheep skeletal remains are that of older adults, indicating that they were not raised primarily raised for their meat, but were instead valued for their wool production. In the spring they offered the side benefit of milk. Sheep aren't the best milk producers. Again, the skeletal remains show that newborn sheep were not being slaughtered, meaning most of the ewe's milk went to their own young. If newborn lambs did not survive, then the ewe's milk could be used for people. (Green)

Goats were not as common as sheep in the Iron Age Britain. Goats aren't comfortable in cold damp climates, while thriving in the warmer drier Mediterranean. Each Celtic farm probably kept a few goats to eat weeds and provide milk. There numbers increased with the coming of the Romans. In Anglo-Saxon period Britain it was acknowledged that goats gave more milk, and that it was thought to cure illnesses. Through Saxon times cows became more and more popular as dairy animals, making goat's milk less popular by the Medieval period. The Saxons did have dairy cow farms. The cow's milk appear to have been preferred more for cheese and butter making, rather than drinking. (Hagen, p102)

I would love to comment on the dairy practices in ancient North Africa and MiddleEast, but at this point I have only studied Europe. (I have read that the "milk" in the Bible's description of "the land of milk and honey" most likely refers to the milk of sheep and goats, not cows). Ancient Europeans did milk cows, but it seems liquid milk was consumed in very limited amounts and only by people on the farm. Cheese and butter—both fermented food products— were the main use for milk. While cow milk was certainly used, it was the more easily digested goat milk that was favored by the Romans and Celts. By the end of the Dark Ages dairy from cows was well on its way to becoming the most popular milk.

1. Alcock, Joan P. Food in Roman Britain
2. Cool, H.E.M. Eating and Drinking in Roman Britain.
3. Green, Miranda. Animals in Celtic Life and Myth.
4. Hagen, Ann. Anglo-Saxon Food & Drink.
5. Mercer, Roger. Farming Practice in British Prehistory. Edinburgh University Press.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Some of my favorite things...

Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens...

Sorry folks, but I do like me a good Julie Andrews song.

People ask me all the time how I live on a gluten free, dairy free, soy free diet, and how I get my children to eat that way. They always follow it up with, "I could NEVER give up gluten or dairy 100%". I say in response, "Tell me what you can't live without and I will give you the gluten free, dairy free version". Nine years ago, when we started on this journey, the choices were no where near this fantastic or readily available. I can get a box of "Betty Crocker" brownie mix at my local grocery store that is gluten free, and dairy free and very yummy. I don't usually buy those type of things, but it is an example of the market and how it has changed. Bread is generally the first complaint from people wanting to switch over to a gluten free diet. Gluten free bread is dense and heavy and needs to be toasted to eat. But I have to tell you, there are several new items that will make you forget about your old food. Here is one of my favorite new brands.

Bread...normal bread...
I never thought I would have soft, light, non toasted bread again in my life time. I was wrong. Along came Udi's...

Filtered Water, Tapioca Starch, Brown Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Canola Oil or Sunflower Oil, Egg Whites, Tapioca Maltodextrin, Evaporated Cane Juice, Tapioca Syrup, Yeast, Xanthan Gum, Salt, Baking Powder (Sodium Bicarbonate, Cornstarch, Calcium Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Cultured Brown Rice Flour, Cultured Dextrose, Enzymes, Ascorbic Acid (Contains Cellulose and Cornstarch). Contains: Eggs

Udi's also has a pizza crust that I am anxious to try and muffins and bagels. Please let me know if you try any of these, I would love to know what you think.

I buy my Udi's bread by the case and save quite a bit of money. I freeze most of them when we get them home. We eat a lot of bread and a case lasts about a month.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Holy Cheese, Batman!

Sorry for the "cheesy" title but I am too excited about this new find. What rock have I been living under to not have seen this until now? A cheese that those of us living with serious food issues can eat!! The company that has invented this cheesy concoction of taste is Daiya. Even "Amy's", my favorite frozen food company, has joined forces with this new magic cheese to create a gluten free, casien free, soy free mac and "cheese". FUN!! I can't wait to try the cheese. I have heard good things so far. The best thing is that the company says that the cheese really does melt. Pizza anyone?

I will let you know what I think of the taste. If anyone out there has tasted it yet, let me know. I am so excited to know!!

What is Daiya?
Where can I buy Daiya?
What varieties are available?
What is Daiya made from?
Nutritional info
Cooking suggestions

What is Daiya?
Daiya is a revolutionary new dairy-free vegan cheese that tastes, shreds, melts and stretches like dairy based cheese. Daiya is not made with casein, the protein found in dairy products or soy, common to many other non-dairy cheese alternatives. In fact, Daiya does not contain any common allergens, animal products or cholesterol. Daiya is made with nutritious planted-based ingredients and is:

33% less fat than dairy-based cheese with equivalent attributes
Cholesterol free
Trans Fat free
Dairy free
Free of all animal products (Vegan)
Free of common allergens including:
Soy, Casein, Lactose, Gluten, Egg, Wheat, Barley, Corn, Whey, Rice, and Nuts
Free of Artificial Ingredients
Free of Preservatives
Free of Hormones & Antibiotics
An excellent source of a naturally occurring vegan vitamin B-12 as well as an excellent source of B vitamins in general
Where can I buy Daiya?
Daiya is currently available for foodservice purchases but we are working on a retail launch strategy. If you'd like to be informed when a retail product is available in your area, please fill out our contact form if you haven't already. Daiya is available at some restaurants, deli and prepared foods markets and online. For more information, please see our Where to Enjoy Daiya page.

What varieties of Daiya are available?
For foodservice, Daiya is currently available in Italian Blend, a cheese perfect for pizza, nachos, lasagna and the like, and Cheddar Style, a cheddar like cheese perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches, mexican food and the like. We sometimes like to blend the two and for any of you that had a chance to sample the pizzas we made at the Natural Products Expo West show in March of 2009, we used 75% Italian Blend and 25% Cheddar style which was a huge hit. Our products are available in shred and block formats.

What is Daiya made from?
Daiya is made entirely from plant-based ingredients. The full list of ingredients are as follows:

Purified water, tapioca and/or arrowroot flours, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and/or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein, salt, inactive yeast, vegetable glycerin, natural flavors (derived from plants), xanthan gum, sunflower lecithin, vegan enzymes (no animal rennet or animal enzymes), vegan bacterial cultures, citric acid (for flavor), annatto.

Nutritional Facts, Daiya Italian Blend
Vegan Cheese Alternative
Nutritional Facts, Daiya Cheddar Style
Vegan Cheese Alternative
Cooking with Daiya
You can use Daiya in the same way you would use regular cheese.

Pizza Volumes:
It is important to use the optimum amounts of Daiya on pizza for best performance. Below are optimum recommendations resulting from performance tests in mass market pizza franchises throughout North America.
10 inch=110 grams (4oz); 12 inch=160 grams (5.5 oz); 14 inch=220 grams (8 oz); 16 inch=280 grams (10 oz); 18 inch=358 grams (12.5 oz)

Baking with Daiya:
Use Daiya as you would regular cheese. For best results (as a topping such as the top layer of a lasagna) add Daiya in the last 5 - 10 minutes (depending on temperature) when baking. This will yield smooth melting properties without excessive browning.
Tip: Try adding Daiya at the very end after baking is finished, by sprinkling a shredded layer on top of oven-hot food and covering for a few minutes. This preserves the most nutrients and maintains optimum resilience.

Daiya works great in the microwave in tortillas, burritos and whatever you normally would cook with cheese in the microwave. Be careful not to overcook Daiya as like dairy based cheese, it will become tough.

Always keep refrigerated.

Freezing Daiya:
You can freeze Daiya and use it as you normally would after thawing. Like most food products, do not freeze, thaw and re-freeze.


Copyright © 2010 Daiya Foods Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dr. Amy Yasko Conference in Boston

Yasko Protocol Conference
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 4:17:33 PM EST

PATHWAYS TO RECOVERY: The Yasko Protocol Conference

When: July 30th, July 31st & Aug 1st, 2010

Where: Boston Hilton Logan Airport


Pre-Registration (until Feb 28th): $195 plus receive 50 Conference Points to be used on
Registration (after Feb 28th): $225 plus receive 25 Conference Points
Day of Event: $225
To Register: Visit

To Make Reservations: Contact the Hilton at 1-800-445-8667, mention the "Holistic Health Group Rate" to receive a discount off of the room.

If you have any questions, please call the office at 1-207-824-8501.

Thank you, we look forward to seeing everyone there!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Temple Grandin

I have been raving about the HBO movie Temple Grandin to anyone who gets close to me on the street. I am practically accosting people. I just can't rave enough about this movie and the incredible job Claire Danes did in her depiction of Temple Grandin. I have been fortunate to have met Temple and listen to her speak. She was very memorable and inspirational. This movie was so motivating and inspiring and yet agonizing for me to watch. Claire Daines did such an incredible job that you truly forget she is just an actress and not Temple herself. If you are interested, Temple Grandin is also featured in a BBC documentary and has written numerous books on her life with autism and her passion for the humane treatment of cattle. She is a pioneer in so many things, and yet the doctors told her mother to institutionalize her as a child. Not only did her mother refuse to send her away, but she refused to believe that she somehow caused Temple's autism from lack of love. "The Refrigerator Mother" was an absurd and brutal theory in the 1940s-1960s that blamed mothers for causing their child's autism by being distant and unloving. Thankfully, It was the work of scientist and father of an autistic child (the inspiration for the character in the movie "Rain Man") Dr Bernard Rimland that changed the thinking of the world at large and opened the door to the hope and belief that autism is biomedical and treatable.

The Crockpot

I am not the first one to use the crock-pot. All of my friends and family have been berating me for years to use the crock-pot, but it seemed like a bigger inconvenience than just cooking. I thought that it was bad enough to have to make the meal, but thinking about it in the morning and doing prep and making sure I had groceries hours ahead of time seemed like a huge deal. Then I made my first crock-pot meal. My mom asked me to put the ingredients in her crock-pot while we were visiting one day, and then a few hours later, we had a tasty meal. Easy peasy. The real thing that hooked me was that the kids loved it. I hate cooking, but I hate cooking and having no one like the meal even more. I love how I put some raw meat and some veggies and some whatnots in the crock-pot and voila, a meal is ready at dinnertime. I love the smell the house gets during the day. So now I am preaching the ways of the crock-pot. Hallelujah!

It is easy to make meals that are gluten free, dairy free in the crock-pot also. Eating food like stews and soups are easier on your digestive system too. There are so many great crock-pot cookbooks and websites. Once you get the hang of it though, you just need to use your imagination and anything is possible. I am going to list some of our favorites for those who might be interested. I don't like when people tell me to try a website or cookbook and don't give me their favorites for me to get started.

Another tip we like in our house is to include a separate starch on occasion. I like biscuits or tortillas (see recipe in earlier post) or mashed potatoes or rice.

I am still a beginner and my imagination is not fantastic, so my meals are very basic. Once you get the hang of it, you will get ideas from everywhere. It is a fun thing to exchange ideas with your neighbors or friends. I also like playing with a dessert in the crock-pot. Bread pudding is on the list for this week.

Easiest crock-pot meals: spaghetti sauce and meat of choice on low for the day. It seems silly to do this, but you put the raw meat in and the sauce and at dinnertime it is ready. The taste was better too.
Another beyond easy and basic idea came from my mom. She put raw chicken breast in the bottom of the crockpot and just added green chili enchilada sauce. I had a hard time finding gluten free enchilada sauce, but green chili salsa worked great.

We love stew and beef roast too. I either make a cornbread or a gluten free biscuit. My new obsession is making a good, light, tasty gluten free biscuit. The family loves even the ones that didn't turn out. It is a treat, not an every day thing.

Good luck in your crock pot endeavors. Let me know of any good recipes!! Kid tested...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Trip to Mexico

We are back from our trip to Casa Lagarto, Platanitos Mexico for Christmas and it was fantastic. We had a wonderful, relaxing visit. The kids love seeing their Honey and Papa and Auntie and Tio. Sophie has Tio right were she wants him, around her little finger. The boys are Auntie's favorites for sure. They are the three amigos. I got to relax and read an entire novel while listening to the ocean and enjoying the perfect weather. We didn't need to turn on the AC once. The best part for me was having food made for us daily and not having to worry if it was safe for us to eat. My parent's have an amazing house keeper that cooks all the meals using fresh, local ingredients. Gluten is not a big worry for us aside for the flour tortillas she puts on the table, and cheese is rare there. Most of the ingredients are local meat, local farm fresh eggs, local fresh vegetables and my favorite fresh squeezed orange juice. I brought some Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Flour and xantham gum as well and taught the house keeper how to make the gluten free "flour" tortillas from my previous post. I can't decide what my favorite thing about going to Mexico is, the beauty or not having to cook.

Here are a few pictures of our trip. If anyone is ever interested in an amazing trip, even on a gluten free, dairy free diet, Casa Lagarto is a great choice.

The boys were able to enjoy going jet-skiing on Papa's new jet-skis. Connor was a little timid about the speed but he had a good time with his aunt on them anyway. We also were able to participate in the release of baby turtles into the ocean. It was very educational for the kids as well as very memorable. We spent a lot of time in the sand and sun on the beach of Platanitos. Since we spent Christmas in Mexico, we decided to participate in a tradition of Mexico, piƱatas. The kids took turns hitting the eggs filled with candy.

It was a great trip I would recommend to anyone.