Friday, April 20, 2012

Fabulous Fats

The girls: "Mom, We're huuuuuuungry!"

Me: "Augh! Again?"

This is a conversation we frequently had at the beginning of our time on SCD/GAP and it has reared its ugly head again recently.  Maybe it's the spring weather.   Maybe someone is growing (oh please, Lord, let it be this).   Maybe, just maybe, it is because I have been so distracted lately as we get the house ready to sell.  My mind has been on decluttering rather than blogging, paid work, local politics, or cooking. I keep promising the kids I will make cauliflower pizza / jello / herb sausage "tomorrow" and I need to start delivering on that promise!

Anyway, a friend of mine, Elli Sparks, just posted a gorgeous bit of wisdom on the GAPSdiet Yahoo group and I thought it was worth reposting here for anyone googling "Fat, Fat, and more Fat." LOL!

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Elli is a local "wise woman" here in Richmond, Virginia and if you live or are visiting the area you should check out her website for a cooking class at What's Cooking Richmond.  So, if you are having a hard time feeling full or finding enough good nutrients for healing (or flavor for enjoying a good meal), this advice may be for you too!

Dear ______,
Fat, fat, fat, increase the fat. Fat is good for you. Here's how I do it:
  1. Chop up tallow in penny sized chunks and store it in the freezer. I eat this like candy! Pop a few into my mouth just prior to eating a meal. Add a few at the end of a meal. Eat some before bed. Tallow is raw beef fat. Rendered beef fat is suet. Beef can be eaten raw, so can beef fat.
  2. Render lard. Spread it on everything! Scoop out a dollop, add salt, and enjoy. Dip raw veggies into lard, sprinkle some sea salt, and enjoy.
  3. Eat the cracklings left over from rendering lard. mmmmm... these taste good with, you guessed it! Sea Salt!!
  4. Make duck fat using duck skin. Chop up the skin into small chunks, like you would with lard, plop it into a crock pot. Turn on to low. Render until skin is small and crackly. Eat the skin like you eat the lard crackings. Use the duck fat like you would use lard.
  5. Fry two or three or four or five or six egg yolks (this is where the fat is in the egg). Fry 'em up in lard or ghee or duck fat. Serve with a dollop of fat.
  6. Add raw egg yolks to soup or smoothies. Again, the yolk is where the fat is. Eat a lot of yolks!!
  7. Always add fat to stews and roasts. Serve the sauce with the melted fat floating on top.
  8. Always eat the fat attached to stews and roast. Big hint on eating chunks of beef or lamb fat: it taste better slowly cooked as in a pot roast in a crock pot on low all day. Fat on a quickly cooked steak is usually chewy and hard to eat. Slow cooked fat is much softer and really delicious, I think.
  9. Make or get ghee, which doesn't have the milk solids in it as butter does. Smother everything with ghee. Enjoy!

Here's another tidbit of information. There was a time when people all over the world lived close to the land. They ate what nature/God intended people to eat. They knew what they were doing. If you had asked them what they eat and why, they would have told you what they eat and how they prepared it, and they would have said, "We eat this way to make healthy babies."

In those cultures, 30% - 80% of the calories eaten by these wise people were made up of animal fats from healthy pasture raised or wild animals. That's much more fat than us sickly Americans are used to with our Standard American Diet (and terrible modern "nutritional" advice).
So, guess what, you get to have fun with fat!!!

Fat helps us digest fat soluble vitamins - A, E, D, and K. Only way to assimilate those vitamins is to eat them with fat. Absolutely no point in eating a carrot if you don't eat it with butter or lard or duck fat or ghee. The vitamin K will pass right on through to your poop if you don't eat your carrots with fat!!
Fat also satiates us. It makes us feel full. This is a big reason you need to up your fat intake.
And, best of all, fat makes food taste good! Fat carries flavor!!!
So, enjoy and indulge in fabulous fat!! Make sure it comes from pasture raised animals!!!! No point in getting all those nasty chemicals and such from factory farmed feed lot sick animals!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


It is pollen season here in Richmond, Virginia. And seriously. I. Mean. Pollen.

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At an old home we had a screened porch off the back and every year I *dreaded* this season because it meant the weather was gorgeous but you couldn't go out on the porch and enjoy it until you spent nearly a full day scrubbing / hosing down the furniture, walls, screens, and floor. Being the lazy, I mean time management expert, woman that I am I would always wait until pollen season was over and then do the deep clean. I learned this one the hard way the first year we were married when I cleaned for a neighborhood party on our porch before the end of pollen season. After that I swore to only do it once a year from that day forward. Note: We will never again have a screened porch. LOL!

Anyway... all of that is just to say that pollen is a part of life here during our gorgeous Virginia spring.

This time of year is particularly difficult for my older daughter who has "Oral Allergy Syndrome" and reacts to the birch family of foods + birch pollen. If you feel the SCD/GAPS diets are restrictive, go look at the list for the birch family and layer that onto the diet (this child had various degrees of IgE allergies to about 78 of the 92 foods we tested). LOL! Anyway, her allergies in the spring are brutal and many days her eyes are so swollen it looks like she spent time in the ring with a prize fighter. Not to mention her panic of waking up unable to open her eyes in the morning because they have a nice layer of goo gluing them shut.

So imagine my sheer delight this spring in finding a few little extras that would help her out!!! I started working on her spring allergies last fall because we had been on SCD/GAPS for over a year and I felt like something was still missing for her.

My younger daughter seemed to be thriving on the diet but my older daughter was just treading water. It seemed as though she had stopped growing and her allergies were still present and I suspected a few new allergies could possibly be playing a role (asparagus happened to catch my eye). So I did what every good mother who is freaking out does... I started trolling online forums looking for tidbits I missed and I reread my GAPS book looking for any hints about her health issues since previously I had always focused so heavily on the needs of my younger daughter.

I did my usual SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) with the ideas I had written down and decided to try two new things: camel milk and NAET. If you have not read about NAET previously I have two words for you: voodoo works. Just kidding. Kind of.

When I was traipsing around the internet looking up data points this was my favorite camel milk article, written by Julie Matthews of Nourishing Hope. I am a big fan of hers and if I was in California I would at least try and take her out for coffee to thank her for writing this article. We have found that the camel milk has been very helpful from the perspective of helping with bacteria in the girls' bellies - they both *finally* have flat bellies more often than not. Finally. We've been doing SCD/GAPS for just over 20 months and the flat bellies had been hard to keep consistent. The camel milk has also been good for extra calories and nutrition. My mother-in-law even tried it for awhile as she recovered from chemo and felt she had an energy pick-up from drinking it versus the days she didn't. I will write more about camel milk another time. The thing I really want to talk about is NAET and homeopathy...

If you have not already considered NAET, I cannot recommend it enough although I will throw out the caveat that I think the practitioner is very, very important. It is energy work and you can read more about it on the NAET website. On that site there is a great report (quite a few, actually) about data/stats related to NAET treatments for various medical conditions. When considering NAET I first had to clear the hubby hurdle. So we agreed I would experiment on my own body before taking the girls.

The first couple of appointments shocked me. How one earth did she *know* some of that stuff about me? The emotional releases were great and I would have plenty to think about after an appointment. My body was also changing, particularly how grounded my feet felt. I was able to hold a standing yoga pose longer as a result. Weird yardstick, I know. But it was objective data indicating that *something* was happening. I felt the results were worth a bit of time/money to see if it would help the girls and they have been going almost weekly since February.

In the past month we have seen tremendous gains for ZiZi. They seem to be related to a few specific treatments and the improvement is noticeable enough that her teacher commented on it. Also, ZiZi has not lost her balance in a very long time and after a particular treatment (it was for some sort of bacteria if I remember it correctly) she told me that she didn't feel dizzy anymore and she hasn't felt dizzy since. Howzabout that??? Voodoo? I'll take it!

But Ani... my dear, sweet Ani. Possibly my tougher case to manage. Because she didn't have something big like ataxia and neurological symptoms of a communication issue her progress on NAET has been a little tougher to quantify. Until now.

Last week I took her for her usual appointment and the pollen had just come out. Our practitioner already had the pollen jar out when we arrived as I am certain many of her clients have needed it lately! Anyway, Ani was treated for Richmond pollens and the official pollen mix. The next day we went to a picnic on our Capitol steps and by the end of the picnic her eyes were swollen in a way I had not seen since the day she was born. Poor kiddo.

Luckily her sister had an appointment that afternoon so our NAET practitioner gave her a boost on her pollen treatment while we were there. Her allergies calmed down a bit and I dropped her off for art class. When I picked her up 2 hours later I could hardly believe how bad it was. Her eyes were back to being awful!

Fast forward to the next day. Things were better but her eyes were still swollen. So, inspired by this awesome blog post I filled a jar with filtered water, went outside and swiped my finger along my car and stirred it in well. I then diluted it ten times as described in the blog post.

I put some drops on the outside of her eyelids and a few drops under her tongue every 15 minutes for about an hour and a half or so. By the end of it her eyes were back to normal. My parents were shocked and the quote of the day goes to my dad, "I have no idea what your mother is doing but it is working."

Since homeopathy and NAET work off the same premise of frequency / vibrations / energy I guess it is no big surprise that the combo of the two was really effective. The funny thing with NAET is it seems to take a few weeks for a treatment to get up to 100% effectiveness. So until her pollen treatments are totally effective (and we still have to do a treatment specific to birch pollen) the homeopathic remedy is my backup plan and my kiddo is finally more comfortable. Our NAET practitioner tells me next allergy season Ani may need another boost but that her body should be okay after that. Here's hoping!!!