Category

The Kitchen

Things I do in my kitchen and for my friends.

Junk Food Does NOT Cause IBD.

Junk food does NOT cause IBD.
Junk food does NOT cause IBD.

Landslide of diet questions lately.

Please let me clarify something. We -my family and I- eat a Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Casein, Food Dye Free diet for our child. Out of respect for him, when in his presence we eat the same foods that he does. Because I am a stay at home mom, this is most of my day. However, when I go grocery shopping by myself, I occasionally indulge at the local Greek shop and enjoy baklava or gyros…or both!

I do not live this diet because of IBD or my Ostomy at all. If there are any positive results, I attribute them to a whole body care idea of Gastroenterology, meds, and general healthy lifestyle, including diet, exercise and joyful pursuits.

With all that I still have flares, am very careful to eat according to my bodies needs that day, always mindful towards hydration, proper rest and fatigue levels.

I know many people who have changed their diets with amazing results. This is hopeful and inspiring. However, that outcome isn’t universal.

As for junk food? I strongly disagree with the crazy notion that junk food is THE cause of IBD. As a person who sat across from more than one well intentioned aka passive aggressive person who suggests you just ‘buck up’. It’s all in your mind. Exercise more! Have you tried X.Y.Z. supplement, diet, therapy, ‘cure’, method, spiritual cleanse? How about various detox, wearing special rocks with healing powers, massage, acupressure, acupuncture, medications, creams, ointments, oils from such and such country? Just eat more. You need a milkshake, you need a hamburger, how about adding mayonnaise to your food? I’m taking you in so this herbalist can look into your eye and ‘map’ your problems then suggest the right combo of herbs. Chlorophyll. Raw diet. And the list goes on.  Junk food is just one more way to calculate cause and blame for a disease we are still learning about.

It all adds up to the idea that the cure is in the hand of the afflicted if only you believe and try hard enough. As if our own actions, or lack there of, caused this disease that every day tries to kill us. It’s a ‘Results vary by effort put in.’ thought process that exonerates those around us from guilt. They can’t feel bad if being sick is our fault. Our choice mirrored out by our actions. Junk food represents the IBD that we willingly consume, making disease our fault.

As for a cause of IBD? I’m putting my money on good ol DNA.  Could something be a trigger?  Yes.  Environment, diet, stress, general health, exercise/ activity level, pollution, and so much more more.  As a whole, we just don’t know.  And that’s the point.

Suggesting that junk food, or any food, is THE cause of IBD is shifting energy from finding a cure, towards villainizing foods and blaming the patient as the cause of their own suffering.

Blaming, shaming, presumptuous, incorrect words passed off as fact is dangerous, isolating and unintelligent.  It serves to purposefully unload responsibility of discovery and cure onto the shoulders of sufferers and their families to navigate alone.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Casein Free, Soy Free and Food Dye Free Grocery Trip to Costco.

When we first changed our diet the concept seemed pretty simple.  I did not feel like I was asking a lot.  I just wanted real food.  If you think about it, most of what our grandparents and great grandparents ate was real food.  Local fruit and veg, bread from the bakery around the corner and fish and meat from the market run by that family that has owned the place for the last thirty years.  Having moved away from Oregon,  I now realize I was spoiled in all these regards.  Most people don’t live near a farm where you can pick up fresh ingredients or have a great weekly farm stand where you can make a relationship with the people who grow your food.   And so the challenge was to find real food in a more urban setting.  

That is when I realized how very much Costco is your friend.  

Firstly Costco listens to their customers.  At the door to every Costco is a suggestion box.  Every time I go I am there at the box asking for what I need for my family and know I will buy as staples.  I asked for REAL peanut butter.  Just peanuts, not that other stuff with the sugars and what not in there.  I asked for organic jam with no corn syrup.  I asked for veggie straws, tortillas, quinoa chips and more.  Slowly Costcos list of ‘safe’ foods have grown and continue to grow.  Thousands of families are now able to get what they need.  

The way we eat is not a fad.  My son will be Autistic for the rest of his life.  His diet plays a huge role in his improved quality of life.  There is no going back to ‘regular food’ for us.  Because of this, it is important that both my children feel empowered and excited about our food choices.  This is why Costcos tradition of giving samples matters to our family.  We aren’t there to eat ‘free food’.  We are making important nutritional decisions for our family and including our children in on that process of reading labels and breaking down ingredients.  I am that lady in the isle on the phone Googling Olestrin and putting that package back on the shelf.  How the food tastes is the final deciding factor.

So, because I am nice that way, I will share a photo shopping trip with you.   Every item was found at my local Costco.

Click  *Read More*  to view pics with descriptions.

I describe these as ‘home style’ because they are thicker than a regular corn tortilla.
Great flavor and holds up well to cooking, quesadillas, enchalatas, sandwich wraps and baking into chips.  


We are a fish loving family.
Fresh versus farmed is the way to go.
It always goes fast, so get it while you can.


We love Foster Farms thighs.
These tear away packets make it easy to defrost just enough for dinner.

 

 


This rice milk is Organic, unsweetened, and vitamin and calcium enriched.
Subs out in recipes perfectly.


This is the dog food and diaper isle.  It is usually located at the very back of most Costcos and is one of my secret weapons.  Because everybody loves Costco, it gets super busy, crowded and loud.  My little guy is sensitive to the lights, noises, and people around him.  When he looks like he is getting overwhelmed, (hopefully before the melt down) we duck into this usually quiet and vacant isle for calming and regrouping.


The walk in frig is a multitasker of goodness.  We talk about the fruits and veg in season and it is my second favorite quiet place for calming and regrouping.  It echos less, has fewer traffic jams and it’s chilly.  Great ways to naturally sedate anxiety before continuing on.  


Eggs ~ Protein that’s easy to sneak into almost everything.


We eat a lot of beans.  Pinto are my husbands favorite.
I make a huge batch in the crock pot and freeze in packets so I always have some ready to go.
A great way to get away from purchasing ‘refried beans’ in a tin.  Healthier as well.


The small V8 just the right size for lunches.


Dried fruit in our house is soaked and pureed as a sugar substitute, added into baking and used in leu of candy as fun treats in lunches and to fill out a home made trail mix for safe snacking on the go.
This is raisins, mango and coconut.  


Brown rice is a powerhouse in our home.
I make it in my crock pot in large batches to freeze some away so I always have it on hand, warm left overs with cinnamon and honey as a hot breakfast cereal and grind it into my own organic brown rice flour.  


Organic tomato products.
These are the diced but I get their paste as well.


Everybody loves olive oil. 

 

 
We use dried almonds, walnuts and cashews for baking, trail mix, lunches and snacks.
I grind nuts to make nut flour and nut butters as well.



This Organic Strawberry Spread is super delicious, kid approved and has no weird ingredients!
Organic lemon juice.


This peanut butter is amazing!
It’s just nuts and a wee bit of salt.  That’s it!

No sugars, stabilizers, flavorings or other gook! 

 


Sometimes you want chips with that sandwich. These don’t have any odd things in them.
Be careful though, not all Kettle Chips are safe in the dairy or soy department. FYI


Dried cranberries are always a hit in my house added to cookies, breads, brown rice or trail mix.


Coconut Water!
We live in a southern climate and as an Ostomate I get dehydrated pretty quickly.
I drink coconut water regularly.
Because I do, my children do as well.

 


  These little jewels are amazing to eat and are a great natural sub for sweeteners in baking.
Try wrapping some in bacon and baking in the oven for a while.
A great way to make friends.


These Larabars are essentially nuts and fruit pressed together into delicious bars. 
I try to have these in my purse for  snacking on the go for my lil guy.


Vegetables in straw form but crunchy like a chip.
  This is our ‘sometimes food’ and is a fun treat for dipping into hummus.


These are amazing!
Protein, fiber, and good for you in a tasty little crisp.

Puts all other tortilla chips to shame as far as nutritional content.
My whole family loves these.

We use coconut oil in most of our baking as a sub for butter.
It is our go to fat when we are not using olive oil.
Thanks to Costco you can get a huge tub of Organic Extra Virgin.
Delicious and smells heavenly.

As you can see, finding nutritious food that tastes good and fits your lifestyle is possible and easy at Costco.  As I find more gems I will share them with you.

Take care my Sweet Bolognas

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Cooking & Baking with Wee Ones

Part of parenting is giving my children life skills to care for themselves and someday their families.  An essential aspect of that is cooking and baking.  In this series my 7 year old daughter will make various Gluten Free, Dairy Free foods.  Some from packages, and others from scratch.  So easy a kid can do it. 
You can too!

Our first food item is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Hearty Whole Grain Bread Mix.  It is also Dairy free but that is not boldly advertised on the front of the package. 

One thing I like about Bob’s Red Mill is that it is super easy, tasty and pretty much fool proof.  They are also quite affordable.  I stock up when they go on Sale or Clearance.  If you need a yummy, easy Gluten Free, Dairy Free brand as a reliable ‘go to’, I like Bob’s Gluten Free line every time.  Just make sure it is also Dairy Free, as not all are.

Ready?

Lets Go!

You will need:
1  3/4 c. water
1/4 c. oil
2 eggs
1 t. cider vinegar

This recipe can be done by hand, but we made ours in a bread machine.

Here is how we put ours together.

Whisk eggs, oil, apple cider vinegar and water together.

Two Eggs



1/4c. Oil

1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

1 3/4c. Water

Whisk!

Until frothy and lots of air is incorporated.
Open your Bob’s Red Mill Package to get ready.
Pour liquid mixture into bread machine pan.

And the froth.
Use a scraper to get all that goodness in there.

Pour in your Bob’s Red Mill Hearty Whole Grain Bread Mixture.
Open up your yeast package.  

Add to top of dry mixture.
  Works best if you make a little well with your fingers for the yeast to fall into.

Ready to go!
Carefully place bread pan in machine.
Ours needs encouragement to ensure it is  properly seated.

The package recommends ‘White Bread Basic Setting’
Pick crust type. (We like Medium)
START!
It’s working 😀 !!!

Keep an eye on it for the first bit to make sure consistency is not too dry or moist.
You may need to add water or flour..

It should look like this.
Once you know the bread is happy, let the machine do it’s job.

And there you are.
Bread the entire family can eat.

  Rest on a wire rack to cool before turning out onto a cutting board.

A joyful thing to make for yourself or create with your wee ones.

All For One

 

Gluten Free Dairy Free Dinner Rolls.

In a previous post I mentioned that we are largely Gluten Free and Dairy Free.  But we are also Casein Free and Soy Free as well.  For now we are all doing this together. Its an All For One mentality in supporting the positive changes and creating good eating habits for his future. As he gets older, we will equip him to pick safe choices for himself in group or party atmospheres to stay on a path that works best for his own health. Which works out well as we all need to be able to resist certain foods and drinks from time to time.

The diet change has been remarkable for my son.  Under his doctors direction and my careful research we are achieving small wins all the time. With each new little success, I am encouraged to continue trying new recipes and re working old recipes to suit my little guys needs and tastes.

His physical consequences to certain foods are abating. Digestive distress, skin rashes, ability to sleep more restfully and wake happy, and the general irritability that would naturally happen with a person experiencing all of the above are improving. I’m seeing sides to my little guy that I have not before. More comfortable, he is able to explore and express himself in ways he was unable to. It’s not a miracle, it’s work. The replicable, rewarding kind that matters to his future.

To that end, I am going to share my Gluten Free, Dairy Free Successes with you. In addition to my regular posts, I will post what foods I have been making for my son.

To start, I will go over some of the basics.

Apple Cider is your friend.  It is in many baked breads and yeast raised confections.  Get the good stuff as it will impart flavor and function to your creations.

Xanthan Gum helps with consistency and is used in many of your baked items.

A good gluten free flour mix is a must.  You can buy it pre packaged at the store, (I like Bob’s Red Mill) however, I make my own mixture.  Making your own ensures you know what is really in there and you are able to alter for taste.

Here is my base flour mix:
3c. brown or white rice flour
3c. corn starch or arrow root
2c. sorghum
1c. masa flour
From this mix I make most of the goodies I create for my little boy.
I make different variations of this depending on what I’m making using the same ratio.

Almond or rice milk is a must for those avoiding milk.  I get mine at Costco.  It is organic and GMO free.

Rice based, (or nut based) casein free cheese.  I get mine in the vegan isle at my local grocery store.  I generally choose pre shredded but it comes in bricks as well.  If you choose to get a brick, chill in the freezer before shredding for use on pizza or in a pasta salad and such.  I have made nut based cheese with great success in the past. It is tasty, melts and is rich in protein. Be careful to read ingredients. Some cheeses have ingredients you may be avoiding in the small print.

Gluten Free Pasta.  It comes in all the regular shapes and sizes.  It is generally made of white rice, brown rice, buckwheat or quinoa and cooks just like regular pasta.

Gluten Free/ Dairy Free breads and bread substitutes.  Pre packaged GF/DF breads are readily available at most grocery stores and markets. I prefer to purchase mine in bulk at Costco because they freeze well, the price point is reasonable and it’s nice to pull out what I need from the freezer for on hand meals versus running out of necessities for my little guy. I have discovered bread machine recipes which turn out to be a tasty, fun activity with great success.

Alternate ingredients can brighten your day and add to nutrition.  Buckwheat, Sorghum, Brown rice, Quinoa, Millet, Coconut, Chick Pea, Certified GF Oats (like from Bobs Red Mill) and Nut Flours are all alternatives to regular flour and great additions to your GF flour.

Consider making your own condiments.  The most basic items such as ketchup, relish, kimchi, sauerkraut and even mustard and salad dressing have hidden gluten, dairy and other allergen irritators.  Looking at labels is worth the time. However, easy to make recipes are all over the internet and easy to customize to need and taste preference.

Steady as she goes towards food goals and a healthier and happier little boy.

In whatever your goals are, I wish you the very best.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free & IBD Health

 

A while back I mentioned on my Facebook Page that I am new to the gluten free/ dairy free world.  Since then I have been getting messages asking about GF/DF and its success in curing, healing, and improving various forms of IBD.  So I thought I would answer here. 

In truth, I have no idea. 

I am not completely GF/DF.  My Son is. 

Why is my sweet little boy person GF/DF??  Autism.  As a mother I am doing everything in my power to help him.  That includes Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Casein Free and Food Dye Free.  I am not an expert on Autism, just a mom willing to try her best every day.  Right now this is what is working for our family.

I respect my Son, want to be a good example to him, and love sharing my snacks with him, so I stay GF/DF etc. in his presence.  As a stay at home mom that includes the majority of my day.  I still enjoy creamer in my coffee – but we all know only mamas drink that stuff!

I have discovered that Autism, like IBD, is an invisible disease.  He doesn’t LOOK Autistic.  But he struggles everyday just like we do with IBD.  It is also very individual.  Yes, my son has Autism but his symptoms and sensitivities are unique to him.  No two Autistic kids are alike.  Just as no two IBDers are alike.  Autism has stolen parts of him that our family is trying to recover.  Just as IBD has changed our lives and affects our families in their efforts to help, support, and understand us. 

So, I have absolutely NO idea if GF/DF helps with IBD.  But right now it sure is helping this CrohnieBolognas’ Son.

Waste Free Kitchen


I was living my life, happily going along.  Then I realized that I was getting something completely wrong.  I was teaching my kids wasteful habits with my daily routine. 
I am a mom who loves to cook and make homemade food and snacks for my family.  I see it as an activity to do with my children and a way to nurture them.  But I have been doing it the wrong way. 

Once a week I clean out the refrigerator.  This week I noticed all the waste.  I realized we were not eating the food I was preparing and it was going in the trash.  That equals time, energy, and money in the can.  I was making too much food and we were not using leftovers; all a very sad waste.

Right there I decided to change.  That is when I came up with my plan for the waste free kitchen. 
*I try to make exactly what we can eat in one meal.
*Pre cook meat for the week (except for fish). 
*End of the week days are usually soup days or ‘decorate your own potato’ days.
*I implemented the ‘milk only at meal time’ routine.
*Reduce snack crackers.  When given every day they were less special and have little nutritional value.
*Switch to homemade hummus with vegetables or on wheat bread as a snack.
*Stopped making elaborate egg breakfasts that the children barely ate, and moved to oatmeal instead.
*Stopped buying extra items at the grocery store.
*Added more vegetables to our meals resulting in more contented children.
*Stopped making a ‘new dinner’ until any leftovers are used.

I am not so organized as to actually meal plan ahead so I came up with this weekly structure to build meals off of.  So far we are having great success.

Mon-Meat free
Tues-Pasta
Wed- Ethnic
Thur-Potato
Fri- Soup
Sat- Free day
Sun- Free day

Our grocery bill has gone down drastically.  Meal planning is far easier.  Almost no food goes to waste and my family likes the change. 

That makes this Crohnie Mama happy 😀

Gas Producing Foods


I am a sucker for salads.  I love eating fresh vegetables straight from the garden.  And on a cool day there are few things nicer than a bowl of white bean or split pea soup with corn bread.  And while I cherish these foods, they are not always kind to me in return. 

Each person’s digestive system works a little differently; but we all have to deal with gas.  Although a perfectly normal part of digestion; has it’s down side.  That painful, bloating fills your stomach – or ostomy – with air that is uncomfortable and no fun. 

Here is a list of some of the most common gas producers so you can be better prepared for next time: (These are just a few, you likely have your own personal offenders)

Beans/legumes
Beer
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Carbonated beverages
Chewing gum
Corn
Cucumbers
Dairy products
Eggs
Melons
Nuts
Onions
Radishes
Rhubarb
Spicy foods
Yeast

I am still going to eat all my favorites.  But knowing the list of heavy offenders is helpful for those times that you do not want to worry about extra wind.

Help A Friend Out with a Casserole

Hummus for my neighbor, casserole for my mom, casserole for my friend.

This week after feeling much better after my last Crohn’s flare I saw that someone I know was in need.  Her husband just had surgery.  As a wife and mother the kindest thing you can do for me is to give kindness to my husband and children.  And that is what I did.  I made her a casserole.

A casserole.  Not rocket science, easy to do.  A trip to the dollar tree (where would I be without the dollar tree?) and I had the tin serving dish and was ready to go. With ingredients I already had on hand I made beautiful food to share.  But it is more than that.  Helping each other out when you can does many things.

1) It makes me feel good to be well enough to help someone else.  I am not 100% yet but I am getting there and helping others is building my spirit back up.

2) It helps her.  She is a mom and wife just like me.  Her husband just went through surgery.  The last thing she needs to be worrying about is dinner.

3) It is an example to my children about real ways to help out and be a good citizen.  You don’t have to be rich or super influential to make a difference in others lives.

I helped a friend out and hopefully made her day better.  If you know someone who needs help, just do it.  Helping when we are able is part of what makes us special.  It is love in a casserole dish.