Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Incredible Edible Egg!

I can't believe it, I made a grain free Birthday Cake!  And it was a complete hit.  Now the cake was for my third child Andrew's 4th Birthday and it was my attempt to make something that was GAPS friendly as well as something I could allow my son Henry to try.  Now, I know what some of your are thinking right now, how in the world could you give this to your son who is on the intro diet for GAPS.  I am going to stop you right there and make a confession.  I am NOT going to be the person to show you how to do the GAPS intro diet perfectly.  I am going to admit that I really struggle when my little son who has been struggling to gain weight, is crying and asking for food that is good for him, like an apple and having to tell him no.  I have allowed Henry to have some apple in the past weeks.  I try to limit him as I know that the apple would be a sweeter food and potentially allow bad bacteria to over populate his gut during this intro stage.  However, for some reason I'm not seeing any noticeable side effects with the apple right now.   I did however, repent of my not so wise choice to allow him to try strawberries, which he did not tolerate and that was obvious.   That disclaimer given, lets get on to the recipe. 

Now, if you want the exact recipe you'll need to pick up the GAPS book by Dr. Natasha Campbell- McBrided which I highly recommend regarardless of what aliment you have, it offers a wealth of knowledge and will change your thinking about health completely.  I tweaked the original recipe it to make a cake the size that I wanted and the way I wanted.

Eggs have gotten a bad wrap as far as cholesterol goes but let me tell you they are my new favorite food.  Of course we know that the cholesterol in eggs is actually not bad for you and that cholesterol is needed for a healthy brain and body.  I started with whipping up raw egg yokes as Henry's substitute "yogurt."  or "ice cream"  I would have been scared to try this in the past, but I got some awesome eggs that are from a local farmer and he said that they mostly graze the land but in the winter do eat an organic feed which he guaranteed did not contain soy or corn.  Awesome!  So I literally, separate two to three yokes and whip them up until they are fluffy and they go from that yellow color up at the top of the post, to a lighter color like this.

Can you believe that's the yoke?   Neither did I!  So you're going to keep whipping and whipping with your mixer, for about six minutes until you get the lighter color and fluffier texture, just when you think you need to stop, keep whipping and you'll see the change.  Then I add a little natural vanilla, no alcohol in it, and some honey to taste.  You think this sounds gross, try it yourself, it tastes like custard and it's awesome.  Freaking out cause its raw, I was a little nervous too, but then I thought about how usually I eat the yokes runny in my eggs anyway, so what's the difference?   This is a great snack and Henry loves it.  I also sometimes don't do the honey or vanilla but just whip up and add to the broth, a great way to get in some great nutrient's and extra protein and calories. 

To make the grain free cake you are going to separate the egg yokes and egg whites and put them in separate bowls.  For my cake I had two 9 inch cake pans and I used six whites and six yokes to make it.  For the whites they are going to be runny and clear at first like so,

I whipped up mine for about 8 minutes until they increased in size and become firmer in texture.  Seriously, this cake is just fun to make as a science project for the shear entertainment I got from just seeing the eggs change texture and color! 

I then added my alcohol free vanilla.  I thought an interesting twist might be to add some cinnamon or pumpkin spice.  Or if you wanted to take it a different direction may try lemon zest or orange, you can really be as creative as you want. 

I folded all the ingredients together and added in two cups of almond meal that was gluten free certified from Bob's Red Mill. 

I lined my 9 inch round pans with parchment paper which made the whole cleaning up process much easier in the end. 

I baked at 350 for 35 minutes and  this was the beautiful result

Okay, now these little egg puffs, have little flavor other than egg, so the taste is all in the filling.  The great part is, you can make a filling for the cake with whatever suits your child's needs.  I chose to make my own apple sauce from six organic apples.  I added in extra honey to make it sweet, man it was yummy.  I dug out some of the inside of both cakes and mixed some of the cake with my apple sauce.  I thought it would have been so yummy to add in some of the fresh cream I have from the raw milk share we have, but  don't worry, I'm not that far of  my rocker.  Of course Henry isn't ready for milk yet.  Then I put the two filled cakes on top of each other.

I then spread the rest of the apple sauce, that was not mixed with cake chunks all over the cake like a frosting.  Here's were I messed up with the GAPS intro.  I just though the cake lacked color and while I wanted to accommodate Henry, I didn't want Andrew to feel like his cake was blah.  So mushed up some organic strawberries and pored them all over the top.   I sprinkled poppy seeds to make a boarder and a "road" for a car and this was the end product.

The key with this cake was letting it sit overnight.  All the juices from the fruit soaked into it so that the whole thing was moist.  Not only did it look great, it tasted awesome and all the kids loved it. I can tell you, I was so proud to serve my kids and dye free, grain free Birthday Cake that tasted totally awesome.  I actually served with home-made ice cream that I only used honey to sweeten.  Again, I didn't give any dairy to Henry, but I did serve him up some of that egg yoke custard that I mentioned in the beginning.

Henry really doesn't care much for cake and after all this effort he only had a bite.  It happened to be of a strawberry.  Within twenty minutes his tummy was rumbling loudly and he said, it was hurting.  With in two hours he had the blow out diarrhea and horrible red but rash that bleeds when you wipe it.  And he had a rash on his face.  Of course I felt horrible that I caused him so much pain, when all I really wanted was to include him in the festivities and not have him feel left out.  I really struggle with this part, but I saw right away that I can't just detour from the GAPS intro, he really needs it, and while he's healing, he's not ready for sugary foods even if they are only just fruits.  I was feeling so sad and so guilty about making Henry sick.  I figured we'd be up all night, but that one episode was it, I was afraid he would vomit but he never did.  The rashes faded by the next day, which encouraged me that something is getting better as his reaction seemed so mild compared to how he used to react to trigger foods.

On a different note, I am thrilled to have an alternative to grain based cake that is actually packed with protein and good for you!  The kids loved it and I'm excited to try some other variations of this recipe

Purchase the GAPS book for more recipes like this one

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Disappointment, Doubt, Discouragement--how do we cope

(If you don't have time to view the entire post skip down to the end for the summary points)

Many of you  dreamed of your baby taking that first bite of food and smearing it all over his face, not a child who vomited every time he tried a new food or got a rash from head to toe.   Many of you imagined a happy go lucky little one, not a screaming colicky baby who is still so fussy and fragile, who seems to be in pain more often than not.  You face daily disappointments and the overwhelming feeling that it is up to you to figure this out.  You spend your sleepless nights holding that crying baby and trying not to cry yourself.  You can't help but wonder why this happened to you and why God allowed this, couldn't you just have been like everyone else who has a baby that eats and sleeps normally?

You feel so overwhelmed every day, trying to keep it all together on little sleep.   You see the piles of laundry and dishes, you see the carpet needs vacuumed and the bathrooms scrubbed.  You need to go to the grocery store for the fifth time this week, that's the one thing you absolutely have to do, because you can't go to a fast food joint to pick up something "easy," you can't just take a break or have a night off from food allergies or intolerance's.  

At the beginning you told yourself, this would be over soon, the baby would grow out of his colicky state, he would eventually be able to eat, this wouldn't last forever.  Two and half years into it, it's hard to keep saying the same things over and over, how are you going to keep your spirits up in the midst of a "chronic illness?"

I say these things with humility, as nurse, I encounter Mom's all the time, who have children who have been battling cancer, have diabetes, are disabled, or will never grow to be self sufficient without the help of their parents.  I have spoken to countless parents who keep marching on in the face of adversity, who put themselves aside every day, to take care of the child they love.   What keeps them from falling into a deep depression?  How do they wake up every morning and deal with doctors appointments, chemotherapy, and caring for children with chronic illness? 


The love of a parent is all encompassing.  It is powerful.  It is blind, it is selfless, it is strong.  This love will fight against all odds, to do whatever it takes to protect his or her child, to help him, to give him or her the best life possible.  I have seen this, I have lived this.

We keep on because we have to, for our children.

However, it is possible to allow the chronic to steal our joy, even our very life away from us.  To consume us, to overwhelm us.  We have to fight this discouragement with the same gusto in which we are fighting for child.   Doesn't our child deserve to have a mother who is full of joy and life, in spite of all that threatens to take that from us?  I have seen the chronic destroy the spirit of the caregiver, I have seen the caregiver become so overspent, that she falls into a place of discouragement, or bitterness or depression.  How do we, the caregiver cope with the demands that fall upon us and at the present, have no for-see-able end in sight?

Let's turn to my favorite source of wisdom and help, The Bible, God's Living Word to us. 
What are the two things that often steal from our joy and threaten to weaken us and bring us down as we care for the chronically ill?  I would say for me it is fear and anxiety. 

"Cast all your anxiety upon Him (Jesus) because he cares for you."  1 Peter 5:7

The apostle Paul,was no stranger to suffering, he himself had been imprisoned, beaten, mocked, and even suffered from his own physical aliment which he refers to has a "thorn in his flesh."  He speaks from his own experience with chronic pain and suffering,  and he tells us:

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."  Phil 4:6-7

He goes on to explain how we can allow God's peace into our lives, we have to watch what our minds are dwelling on and make an effort to actually think about the following things:  "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.:  Phil 4:8-9

Paul is one of my favorite hero's of the faith, he knows what it's like to endure hardship, yet he keeps his joy, he keeps his faith in spite of it all.  He has this belief which keeps him going

"And my God shall supply all your needs according to His reaches in glory in Christ Jesus."  Phil 4:19

You may be saying to yourself right now, well apparently God does not know my needs because he sure isn't supplying them right now.  I agree that there are times, when it feels like God is neither listening or near to us.  I do not wish to minimize your pain and suffering.  There were times in my journey when I felt that God was distant, when I cried out to him and felt He was silent, it was in times like these that I needed the help of others to keep me going.

As women, we are not good at asking for help.  We are used to doing it on our own.  In our culture we applaud those who put on a happy face and act like they have it all together.  The supermom who does it all!  In so doing, we do ourselves and others a great disservice.  In general, I feel that sometimes Christian women and mom's are even worse at being genuine.  Rather than admitting we are struggling with something, we try to act like we are the "good Christian" who would certainly never have questions or doubts.  What are we afraid of?  Afraid of being seen for who we really are, human?  We are still imperfect, that is why we need God's help, that is why we need each other.  We sometimes need another woman or older woman to come along side us and pray for us, to build us up, to share her wisdom and her journey.  We need to hear the stories of the older generation, we need to seek these women out and ask them to coffee and ask them how they did it.  We need to be real with each other so we can know that we are not alone in our struggles on this earth. 

Paul himself reminds us of the real secret to his incredible attitude, the real reason he kept going and never gave up in the face of constant adversity.  "But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ, more than than, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus as my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith . . . I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."  Phil 3:7-14

Paul knew, believed more than anything else, that there was more to this life than just the present day struggles.  His primary focus was on God and he says that he counts everything else as garbage that can't even be compared to the future that he has in heaven with Jesus.    He knew that the thorn in his flesh was temporary, though afflicting him in this life, it would have no power over him in the next.   He had his focus on Jesus first, He made an effort to put Jesus and the things of God first in His life, above everything else.

Well, that's all well and good you might say, but I'm not Paul, I'm just a regular person, and I don't have some super faith like that.  Well believe it or not Paul wasn't as different than you as you might imagine.   In fact he is quick to remind us that he was the "least of all saints," Eph 3:8, and that he was not even fit to be called an apostle 1 Cor 15:10 because he persecuted the church prior to his conversion.  If anything, God uses Paul to show us that He can use anyone, that He can change anyone, that if we put our hope in Him anything is possible, that His grace can reach the darkest soul and transform it.

I imagine that some of you may not know Jesus, I invite you to read the Bible, without thinking about what you've heard or imagined Him to be.  But start with the Gospel of John and just read about Jesus and see who He is and His message to you personally. 

As I think of the love that motivates me to keep fighting for my son.  The love and makes me want to be a better mother and a better person; I can't help but think of the sacrifice that God made for you and me.   Think of that love that you have for your child and imagine allowing your child to face suffering and pain, to not intervene on his behalf, to give him up to save someone who didn't even know you or even care for you.  This is the love that God has for you, I hope that you might embrace it and let it tranform you. 

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that who so ever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. " John 3:16

Summary on how to overcome disappointment, doubt and discouragement

1.  Give your anxiety to God and believe that He cares for you 1Peter 5:7
2.  Pray and make your requests known to God  Phil 4:6-7
3.  Make and effort to dwell on the right things Phil 4:8-9
4.  Admit your struggles and your humanness
5.  Seek out other women who can help keep you on the right path and encourage your faith
6.  Know that this life and all the hardships that come with it are temporary Phil 3:7-14
7.  Accept Gods love for you, forgiveness and provision for you to have eternal life in Jesus John 3:16