Thursday, July 31, 2008

Coconut Milk Kefir

We're dairy, soy and nut-free at the moment, so finding a good cultured food for Rain was a challenge. Then we found coconut milk, which makes a great yogurt or kefir. If we had a gas stove with a pilot light, I'd be all over yogurt, and do use a yogurt maker from time to time, but the kefir is both easier and tastier, we've found.

Although I'd love to make this "raw," I do boil the milk for 3 minutes. According to our nutritionist, there are potential bugs in coconut milk that are best not included in home made cultures.

This stuff is incredibly tasty blended with fruit and avocado to thicken. Since it's not as protein-rich as dairy or nut milk, I sometimes cook up a batch of beans (well-soaked in bicarbonate and water overnight), then blend a tablespoon or so of those per cup. If it's not sweet enough, blend in one or two dried dates. Yum!

Another idea for serving is to make a pancake or sweet rice-based bread, then cover with strawberries and use the kefir like creme fraiche on top.

It can be added to pancake batter to make something that tastes a lot like buttermilk pancakes.

Lastly, I do use a sealed jar to culture it, mainly because when I first started doing it, I didn't know that it wasn't the best idea. Nothing bad has ever happened with the kefir, and no jar has ever exploded, but it is probably better to cover the jar with a clean cloth bound tightly to the neck.

3 cans full-fat organic coconut milk
1 packet freeze-dried kefir starter (I use Yogourmet)
1 clean half-gallon glass jar

Pour all three cans of milk into a pot, whisk the water into the cream and boil for three minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool until roughly body temperature. Pour through a strainer into a mixing bowl.

Empty the contents of one packet of starter into a small bowl. Add just enough milk to blend with the starter and blend well until fully dissolved. Then mix this combination of milk and starter in with the rest of the milk. Pour into the mason jar, cover and leave on a shelf or some place that won't be disturbed for 12-24 hours. I always let it go for 24, myself.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rain's Allergic to Pork

How lovely. Another vomit marathon. Luckily, she's okay. I think the stuff doesn't even get into her system since she pukes it out before it can do damage.

Apples still give her a tummy ache.

Now I don't know about dairy, and we're too tired to try a new food.

The good news is that sesame is fine.

More later...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Homemade Gatorade

We have lots of food allergies here. Mine come out on my skin. John's in migraines, although we're not sure of the culprits with him. For our daughter, her allergies make her vomit...for hours. She can't keep anything down and it's terribly worrisome, but each time, she's in bad shape overnight and the following day seems to be okay. By the following evening, she's fine. One reason why is this nifty tea that both hydrates and replaces electrolytes. I call it homemade gatorade since it does what gatorade or Pedialyte professes to do without the chemicals or the colorings.

1 part filtered water to 1 part chamomile infusion
Unprocessed, uniodized sea salt to taste

The chamomile reduces inflammation and irritation in the stomach and gut. The salt is the critical part. If your salt is clear or white and the crystals slide easily over each other, it's processed. Avoid that stuff. The salt you want is grey and cakey and would be called "Celtic" or "unprocessed" sea salt. My favorite is called Esprit de Sel and is in large rocky chunks, but there are many kinds. The good stuff has a mineral composition not unlike human blood, which is why it's so good to ingest when you've been losing fluids. It even tastes better than processed salt, probably because it's not just sodium, but magnesium, manganese, zinc, etc.

If a baby or child has been throwing up and can't keep anything down wait until they can take a gulp or two of liquid and feed this to them by the single spoonful every five minutes. When it looks like they can keep it down, let them sip it slowly until they're feeling better. Serve it to them for the rest of the day alternating with plain water.

It's also great after heavy exercise.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Medicinal Strength Chamomile Infusion

This is basically chamomile tea deluxe. Chamomile is nature's antibacterial herb. It's soothing and reduces irritation and inflammation. We keep a jar in the fridge all the time thanks to the advice of Dr. Song.

Brew up 1 tablespoon of organic chamomile flowers in a cloth bag or tea ball in a 1/2 gallon mason jar full of hot (not boiling) filtered water. The tea should steep for at least 20 minutes to an hour or so. When the mixture looks pretty darn strong, remove the bag and put in the fridge. It should last about 5 days or so. Once it's cold, don't rewarm too much, and DON'T heat it in the microwave!


For eye infections or irritations:
Mix with a few drops of calendula oil, wet the end of a clean cloth with the solution, drip or gently swab into eyes.

For sore, rashy skin:
Bathe in a tub with warm water and 2 cups of the infusion

To use as an antibacterial compress:
Soak a clean cloth in the infusion and press onto broken skin. If the skin is dry and itchy, include evening primrose oil or calendula

For internal inflammation, colds, irritable bowel or other digestive issues, drink a cup. It can also be diluted with filtered water for something like an iced chamomile tea.

For hot days:
Dilute with filtered water to taste, add a bit of lemon and ice to taste.

A Treatment for Excema

This is from a combination of experience with nutrition and our pediatrician, Dr. Elisa Song, who in very simple terms...ROCKS.

My daughter, like me and her daddy, has excema. I have had it for my entire life and have treated it with a combination of cortisone cream and coping.

A while back, I discovered cod liver oil. My skin is clear, for the most part, for the first time in my life. I take two tablespoons full a day.

For our daughter, we started to add 1/8th teaspoon of lemon-flavored Nordic Natural CLA to her morning rice with sea salt and she gobbles it up. That, in and of itself helped. Then we used Dr. Song's recipe for salve and gave her long evening soaks in warm baths with 2 cups herbal-strength chamomile tea (steep a full tablespoon at least in a mason jar of hot but not boiling filtered water for 20 minutes minimum). The rash went away in two days. That's after over a month of awful rash and no improvement no matter what we tried.

Excema Salve ala Dr. Song

1 quarter-sized dollop of pure, organic, unadulterated shea butter
1 capsule of Evening Primrose Oil

Blend in your hand until the shea butter is smooth and the oil is completely mixed in.
It's possible to make a little jar of it to keep around, too.

Green Burgers: how to get a toddler to eat her vegetables

When my daughter decided that greenness meant "not food" I decided to get serious about getting greens into her somehow. The answer? She's a diehard carnivore. We follow Weston A. Price's general guidelines (although we're gluten and dairy free), so we eat as much grass-fed meat and pastured eggs as we can afford. The fattier and more flavorful meat is, the more she likes it. So...

Green Burgers:

1 lb pastured ground lamb
1 lb pastured ground beef
1 bunch of the greens of your choice (we enjoyed kale, chard and mustard greens)


1 package of organic frozen spinach
Sea salt to taste

Gently steam the greens and puree well.

Mix the ground beef together with the lamb and mix the vegetable puree through it well. Form into slightly flattened balls and line a pan with them.

Broil until the interior is 140 degrees F. I like to use a low temp for broiling since we have an awful wacky electric oven that burns everything and I like to cook at lower temps anyway to keep in the nutrients. I keep the temperature setting at 350, cook for about 15 minutes or so and turn once.

Serve with rice or rice pasta and home made sauerkraut or fermented veggies. Save the fat from the burgers, which has a nice green color and the water from the steamed greens. The steaming water makes a nice addition to bone broth. The tallow is delicious for frying eggs the next day or to add to soups.

Which is another thing...DD will also eat nearly any vegetable that has been fermented. To date, that includes: beets, cucumbers, cabbage, daikon, red radish and yellow summer squash. She refused the bok choy. I thought that was perfectly fine considering at this point she now eats greens at least once a day and was downing a fine combination of pickled beets and sauerkraut that night.