Bits and pieces from Autism One 2015

The first videos are up!  You can watch videos of the presentations here.

How Not to Die  by the completely badass Thinking Moms’ Revolution.


I was on a panel of Moms of Recovered Kids.  I’ll put the link up as soon as it’s available.

Good gravy that light was hot and bright and it was hard focused on me.  I’m pasty white, but not that blinding.

My quick take-aways:

  • Gut health, gut health, gut health.
  • Avoid GMOs, eat as much organic as possible.
  • Endocannabinoids are your friend.
  • EMFs are not your friend. They disrupt cell signaling.
  • Glyphosate is flat out your mortal enemy.
  • Contact these members of Congress and ask the to subpoena Dr. William Thompson, the CDC Whistleblower, to get all the thousands of documents he’s turned over to Rep. Posey into the public record.

 

I photo stalked a few people…I swear I was nice about it.

Andy Wakefield, the original hero/doctor crush. And if you think he’s a crackpot, you haven’t listened to him.  (My friend couldn’t focus my camera!) He was very gracious about all the photo bomb stalkers.  I made sure he got his coffee before I approached me.  Wasn’t that considerate of me?

Me and Zen Honeycutt, founder and director of Moms Across America, anti-GMO activist, and all-around badass warrior mom. So beautiful, so eloquent, so smart. She happened to sit next to me at lunch one day, and instead of freaking out and shutting down, I thanked her for her activism and all her work on behalf of our kids’ health. We had a nice chat and exchanged contact information. She’s my kind of Thinker!


Dr Zach Bush, my new doctor crush. He took some time to meet with a few TMR moms to talk about gut health, healing the root cause of a variety of health problems, communication and connection. We all ended up crying and hugging. Group hug!  And I’m really not the biggest hugger. He also answered a couple of questions that my mom emailed to me later. Will he hate it if I say he’s a sweetheart? Yeah, well, too late.

Here’s the video of his talk.

The best part of AutismOne, bar none, was connecting with my TMR sisters. I love you ladies. You give me hope!!

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Food and travel, food allergies, and hospital food

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to eat in a way that won’t render me incapacitated when I travel outside my little bubble of Whole Foods and safe gluten-free and Paleo-friendly restaurants. A two-night excursion to Sacramento included a stop at Gluten- Free Specialty market and a bag packed with almond butter and GF bread. For two days I can live off salads and almond butter sandwiches.

For my upcoming trip to Chicago (Autism One, woot woot!), I’m planning on packing some protein shakes, almonds, and GF crackers. I’ve stayed at the hotel before and know I can manage with omelettes, bunkess burgers and salads.

My trip to the south of France in June is looming, but I’ve communicated all my food allergies to the tour director and I’m packing Bulletproof bars. The tour leader said they’ve got a couple of gluten-free bakeries for bread 😍😍 and she’s very familiar with dealing with food allergies. If I have to live off omelettes and salads, so be it!

Apparently it’s Food Allergy Awareness week. Here’s a blog I wrote over at Thinking Moms’ Revolution: Why My Kid’s Food Allergies Are Ruining Your Party. 

Food allergies are increasing  and we’re not looking at why. There’s a study that explains how researchers create animal models of food allergies for study by injecting aluminum hydroxide and deactivated pertussis and follow up with food proteins. THIS IS HOW THEY MAKE FOOD ALLERGIES IN MICE. The also use the toxin + pertussis model for creating encephalopathy in lab rats. Apparently, it’s a real thing.

I know my children aren’t mice, but if this is how scientists create problems in rodents so they can extrapolate their finding to humans, how is it that their model of creating the problem in the first places suddenly doesn’t work in people?  Because you can be damn sure kids are getting exposed to aluminum adjuvents in close proximity to a DTaP and then maybe they get a flu shot cultured with egg proteins…

And finally, hospital food.  I’m in the hospital with my middle son for a 48-hour in-unit EEG.  This is the snack the nurse brought him:


Breakfast was fried French toast sticks with margarine and high-fructose corn syrup “Pancake syrup” and a scrambled egg, Cheerios, 4 packets of sugar and a low-fat milk.  The American Dietetics Association needs to go back to school. (rant over)

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Could your morning cup of coffee fight Alzheimer’s?

How do you like your coffee? This is my routine:

Do you drink your coffee Bulletproof® stylz? I do. Yes, I put butter in my mold-free coffee and it’s so good. SO. GOOD. Pour yourself a cup o’joe, have a read, and think about how that one little morning habit can help improve your brain health long term.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in the far off land of Chicago…

Last year at the AutismOne Conference I stumbled into an interesting lecture on using a supplement called trehalose to break up beta-amyloid plaques in people with Downs Syndrome and Alzheimers Disease. It was in the lecture hall closest to the the Thinking Moms’ Revolution table and I had just finished up my shift. I just popped into the first door I saw.

Huh? DS? Alzheimer’s? Am I in the right place?

Watch the video here.

Here’s a copy of the slides.

I was riveted, but not sure how it was going to apply to me or my family, but being a neuroscience geek, I sat through the whole thing, even asking questions at the mic, which I never do. I thought it might help with the post-seizure scarring that could be affecting my middle son (but that has proven to be flat-out neuronal loss, not plaque, grrrrrrr).

As the lecture went on, I realized it might be helpful to some older relatives–including my dad–who were starting to have a memory issues, poor word recall, etc. My own genetic panel seems to point me in the direction of higher risk of Alzheimer’s, not entirely surprising. More alarming for me, it looks like my past use of prescribed benzodiazepine puts me at a significantly higher risk than average. Yeah, mainstream medicine, thanks for that.

When my darling dad came out for a visit in February to celebrate our big birthdays, we were able to improve his word recall and Sudoko time in less than 2 weeks by getting him off Benadryl and onto Bulletproof® coffee with a healthy dose of MCT oil and coconut oil. If you didn’t know Benadryl increases your risk of Alzheimer’s, read more here. Recently, I was trying to think of some other things we could do for him…I remembered trehalose.

  
Trehalose:

  • a polysaccharide that’s about half as sweet as sugar
  • reportedly up-regulates phagocytosis–think Pac Man gobbling up those beta-amyloid plaques, wocka, wocka
  • promotes healthy mitochondria
  • plus, it acts as an antioxidant.

It’s currently being investigated for use to treat Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s Disease.  It’s available as a supplement (this is the one I use) and is considered GRAS (general regarded as safe) by the FDA.

So what does Bulletproof® coffee have to do with this? It’s a delicious way to get a dose of antioxidants, brain-building good fats, and, let’s face it, caffeine into your system without a big crash, and insulin rush, or a hit on your adrenals. And you can slip in 1/2 a teaspoon of trehalose powder and it won’t effect the taste AT ALL.

Enjoy!

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Cook a Whole Chicken in an Hour, or Why You Need an Instant Pot

 
Happy Mother’s Day!  

To celebrate, get dinner on the table in an hour. Yes, I had a roasted chicken dinner done in an hour.  An hour and two minutes, actually. The trick is the Instant Pot automatic pressure cooker.  Woot woot!  I got it on special a couple of months ago and so far, so good.  It hasn’t exploded and it’s worked better  expected.

I used the Whole Bird Recipe from “Great Food Fast” by Bob Warden.

I assembled my ingredients and set my timer.  5:40 pm.

  
A quick browning breast side down on the sauté setting, flipped the bird… 😂 totally didn’t see that pun coming…then tightened up the lid, set it to manual, 30 mins, then go time. 

   
 
Bird done and on platter at 6:42. Boom. 

  
As I sliced off the whole leg I noticed the juices were a tad pinkish, but the outer part of the breast was done.  I put the chicken in the regular oven for 10-15 mins at 350F.  I dug out the wrapper from the chicken and realized my chicken was 5.3 lbs and the directions were for a 3.5-4 lb bird.  Oopsie.  But easily fixed.  Next time I’ll adjust the cooking time up 5-8 mins. It doesn’t have to blow the 1 hour timer either if I used the fast pressure release on the Instant Pot instead of letting it cool 10-15 mins.

The chicken was delicious and moist! Bonus: the drippings were easily and quickly transformed into gravy right in the pan that cooked the chicken.  I added enough of the Gluten-Free Girl Flour to absorb the drippings, added twice the volume of water, salt pepper, and used the sauté function on the Instant Pot to cook it up.

Two thumbs up!

I’ve seen the Instant Pot on sale a couple of times. I paid less than 50% full price. It’s an automatic pressure cooker with a stainless steel liner. No Teflon!  It can be used as a slow cooker and a rice cooker, plus it has a pretty sophisticated timer and many automatic cooking settings. It’s a great Mother’s Day present–unless you have a no appliance policy in play. 

This is the same one I have. ON SALE!!!  

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Introduction to Gluten-Free Batch Cooking

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Just a few days ago one of my Facebook friends was lamenting how complicated it was feeding her family rife with food allergies.  Plus she’s expecting another baby, running a business, and generally being a kick-ass warrior mama.  I suggested she give batch cooking a try.  This is my intro to batch cooking for food allergies for the lovely Tyler and her growing family.

I’ve tried batch cooking a few times and really like it. See my review of Once A Month Meals here.  I <3 Once a Month Meals and highly recommend it for a 30-day cook-up.I’ve recently been working on a “Eat from the Freezer and Stop Wasting Money, A-hem” project and will gear up for a big batch cook once I’ve made some room.

Tyler posted a list of what her family is allergic to and this is my attempt to introduce her to batch cooking.  So, a few meal ideas to accommodate allergies to eggs, gluten, dairy, soy, spelt, amaranth, cranberries, citrus, broccoli, almonds, peanuts, cane sugar, and whey. (To which I say Piece of cake!)

Menu:

Entrees:

  • Roast chicken
  • Chicken enchiladas
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Tacos
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Fried rice
  • Teryiaki chicken legs and wings
  • Pork shoulder or chuck roast
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Potatoes: boiled, roasted, mashed

Breakfasts:

  • Breakfast sausage
  • Bacon
  • Home fries
  • Gluten-free muffins
  • Smoothie packs

Assumptions:

  1. I’m assuming you have a slower cooker, oven, and several large pots and pans. I use large Ziploc bags for freezer storage.  It stacks, it’s cheap, and I wrap food in parchment paper as much as possible to minimize contact with the plastic.  I just don’t have adequate Pyrex for freezing.  Only freeze glass that’s tempered, like Pyrex or Anchor.  Regular glass, e.g., Mason jars, gets micro-cracks and shatters easily.
  2. Always choose organic or non-GMO corn, put your organic dollars toward meat, healthy fats and the organic versions of the Dirty Dozen.
  3. Clean out the fridge and freezer ahead of time!

Shopping:

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  • 3 whole chickens
  • 3-4 lbs chicken wings and drumsticks
  • 6 lbs ground beef
  • 2 lbs ground turkey or pork
  • 2-4 packages no-sugar bacon
  • 4 lb pork shoulder or chuck roast
  • 2 lbs organic rice (I use long-grain or basmati)
  • 3 lbs organic dried beans, black or pinto, your choice
  • 1 lb Gluten-free flour blend (I like King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Flour Mix, Gluten-Free Girl Flour, and Bob’s Red Mill.  If you tolerate dairy, Cup4Cup is great.)
  • 2 jars organic marinara (I use Trader Joe’s)
  • Coconut aminos or wheat-free tamari
  • Organic corn tortillas for soft tacos or crispy taco shells
  • 5 lbs organic gold or red potatoes
  • 1 jar tomatilla salsa
  • 2 large jars enchilada sauce (I like Hatch)
  • Shredded cheese or Daiya cheese substitute
  • 1 jar mild salsa
  • 1 jar Organicville or San-J teriyaki sauce or homemade (Recipe here)
  • 1 bag each frozen mixed vegetables, frozen peas and carrots, frozen spinach, frozen fruit mix or strawberries, frozen blueberries,
  • 2-3 limes
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1-2 onions
  • 1 bunch bananas
  • Spices:  fennel, garlic, paprika, black pepper, sage, cayenne pepper, white pepper, ground cumin, chili powder, dried oregano, Italian spice mix, dried basil
  • Salt (I suggest sea salt, kosher, Real Salt or pink himalaya salt)
  • Cooking oils: I suggest coconut oil, ghee, Spectrum shortening, avocado oil

Prep:

  1. Roast 2 chickens in oven. My recipe is here. Quarter one cooked chicken for serving, 20131129-163752shred meat off second chicken.  Save all bones, skin, etc., for broth.
  2. Stew 1 whole chicken in large pot with a fair bit of water, 1/2 an onion, salt, pepper, parsley. Shred chicken, reserve broth, save all the bones, skin, etc., for broth.
  3. Brown 4 lbs ground beef. You can add minced onion, if you prefer.
  4. Prep and parboil 5 lbs of organic yukon gold potatoes (Easy hack parboiling and peeling here. Here are directions for freezing and then roasting and mashing potatoes)
  5. Bake 2 packages of bacon, on parchment- or foil-lined baking sheets, 15-20 minutes at 400, just like Ina Gartner.

Big Cook-Up and Assembly:

1. Make extra large batch of rice: 4 cups dried rice in 8 cups salted, boiling water, reduce heat and cover for 20 mins, or in rice cooker according to directions.

2. Throw 1-2 pounds of dried beans into the slow cooker or in a large pot on the stove top. Lots of water, more than you think you’ll need.  Add salt!!

3. Make meatballs:  Mix 2 lbs ground beef 4 tbsp Italian seasoning, 4 tsp salt, form into 20130629-140511balls, bake on parchment- or foil-lined and greased baking sheet for 20 mins at 375. Let cool. Toss meatballs into labelled, gallon-size Ziplock bag, freeze.

4. Mix 1 and 1/2 c. ground beef with taco seasoning:

  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot or potato starch
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • Put in labelled, gallon-sized Ziplock, freeze.

5. Make gluten-free muffins.  If you have left over oatmeal, these are delicious. Use img_4709-0coconut sugar or date sugar if you’re avoiding cane sugar.  This recipe from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef is delicious, flexible and it can be made egg free and sugar free. I’ve made it several times with a variety of flour blends and it always works.  Read the directions.  So worthwhile!

6. Make Shepherd’s Pie:

  • In large saute pan, heat 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • Add 1 c. sliced mushrooms, cook until soft
  • Add 1 c. frozen peas and carrots, cook until soft
  • Add 1 and 1/2 c. ground beef, stir to combine
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 c chicken or beef broth, 1 Tbsp gluten-free flour, 2 Tbsp GF worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add to meat mixture. Heat until sauce thickens.
  • Put meat mixture into a greased baking dish or foil pan for freezing
  • Pull out 4-6 par-boiled potatoes and make mashed potatoes
  • Top meat mixture with mashed potatoes. Cover. Freeze.

7. Make breakfast sausage using either ground turkey or pork, your choice. This recipe looks delicious.  You can cook it up in patties, or freeze the patties uncooked.  Wrap them in parchment or freezer paper.

8. Smoothie packs. In 4 one-gallon-sized Ziplock bags, in each bag add 1-2 sliced bananas, then divvy up frozen fruit, frozen blueberries, at least 1 cup frozen spinach. Seal and freeze.

9. Make fried rice. In a large sauté pan, add 1 Tbsp oil, cook 1 c. frozen mixed vegetables, add 4 cups rice, 4 pieces chopped bacon, 2-3 Tbsp coconut aminos or wheat-free tamari. Finish with 1 tsp toasted sesame oil if tolerated. Let cool, freeze in large Ziplock, being careful to remove all extra air.

photo-1110. Bake chicken wings and legs.  Toss with teriyaki sauce. Bundle and freeze.

11. Prep layered chicken enchiladas. Spread a 1/4-1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a baking dish or foil pan for freezing.  Line with soft corn tortillas. Add a layer of shredded chicken, then a layer of beans,  1 cup of enchilada sauce, shredded cheese or Daiya substitute if tolerated.  Repeat layers, ending with a layer of tortillas and another cup of enchilada sauce.  Top with cheese if tolerated.  Freeze immediately.  To serve, thaw, and bake for 30-45 mins at 350.

12. Pork shoulder: follow directions for Kalua Pork from NomNomPaleo.com.  For chuck roast, simply throw it in the crockpot after the beans are done, throw a jar of tomatillo salsa on top and cook on low for 8-12 hours.

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13. Home fries with bacon: In a large sauté pan, heat oil or bacon fat, add 1/2 an onion thinly slices, cook on medium low heat until soft.  Add 4-6 cups cubed par-boiled potatoes.  Cook thoroughly, allowing the edges to brown and get crispy. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add 4-6 pieces crumbled bacon.

14. Whenever your crockpot’s available, pull all those chicken carcasses out, throw them in the crock pot, cover with water, add 1/2 an onion, 1-2 Tbsp vinegar, cook on low and make a big batch of broth.  You always need broth!

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OK, this should stock your freezer with lots of good dinner and breakfast options. Pull your meal choice out of the freezer the night before and thaw it in the fridge. Serve with fresh veggies of your choice.

Bon appétit!

Posted in Managing allergies, Meal plans, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

An encouraging word about autism recovery

This came across my Facebook feed and I wanted to share it.  Autism recovery is real, and good nutrition is the cornerstone!

Predominantly Paleo and a happy story about a military family.

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Yoga and Healing

So, first, this blog on selfishness re-runs on Thinking Moms’ Revolution.  Hmmm, I think to myself. Perhaps I need to refresh my point of view…

Then the next day I saw a post on Facebook in Garner Style’s feed and it featured a plus-sized woman who goes by @biggalyoga on Instagram UPSIDE DOWN.  My mind…blown.  She’s allowed to do that?

Day 16 of the #SelfLovingYogis March 16-Day Yoga Challenge! Last day of the challenge! It's been so awesome to see you all participating! You guys are all so wonderful! Even after the challenge I hope guys can keep using the hashtag #selflovingyogis to keep promoting self love through yoga! When things get tough we sometimes have to stop and take some self love and care for ourselves. I felt like my body was burning out during the challenge, and had to make sure I took care of body. Always listen to your body and take care of it! We all get discouraged in our practice, but remember to not take it so seriously and have fun! Much love to you all! 💜Leggings by @fractal.9 💜 Swim top by @Forever21 ✳ How to join in: 1. Take photo of yourself in the daily pose. 2. Tag #SelfLovingYogis 3. Tag/follow myself @biggalyoga and the Sponsors @stardancerdesigns and @fractal.9 💛OPTION 1 You can choose to do the daily pose I am doing for the 16 days or OPTION 2 You can choose to do your own set of daily poses for the 16 days. 💛 either way as long as you are promoting self love through your yoga practice! #yogalove #yogatherapy #yogaforeverybody #yogaforeveryone #yogaateverysize #yogaatanysize #yogaforall #bodypositive #bodypositivity #selflove #bodylove #effyourbeautystandards #effyourbodystandards #yoga #yogi #yogini #curvyyoga #curvyyogi #plussizeyoga #fatyoga #biggalyoga #yogachallenge #namaste #motivated #motivation #lovethebodyyouarein #yogachallenge #yogaeverydamnday #yogaaday

A photo posted by @biggalyoga on

That was the word I got stuck on…allowed.  Since when has there been a gate keeper of what’s allowed? The body police? And that’s when it hit me that I’m the gate keeper. I’m the body police. Gah.  That was a hard nugget to swallow.

So for 16 days (plus a few more since the challenge wrapped up) I choked that nugget down, put myself on a mat or on the floor and pushed my own limits.  It may not look like it, but limits were pushed.  I swear.

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I participated in @biggalyoga’s Instagram challenge called #SelfLovingYogis.  It was completely unexpected.  And I loved it.  I think one day I’ll look back and identify this little challenge as a turning point in my health and healing.

Yeah, really.

It hasn’t been a day or night, 180 degree turn around kind of a situation.  It’s been more of a subtle shift.  It was a “light dawns on Marblehead” kind of thing and realization spread slowly.

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I’m hopeful in a way I haven’t been previous to this challenge. I’ve been in need of shift of perspective and I think healing mama is only going to help healing my babies. And now I’m doing #yogaeverydamnday.

Namaste.

Posted in Chronic Fatigue/Fibro, Therapies | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments