Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Menu

December 24: Menu Plan:

Roasted Organic Turkey au Jus (following
Cranberry Sauce (process in food processor with dates to taste - a raw food)
Fennel Purée (cut, steam, mash)
Butternut Squash with Honey Pecan and Ghee Topping (cut, bake, top, bake)
Creamed spinach with bacon bits (with whipping cream 24-hour yogurt)
Medley of pickled vegetables
Green salad with radishes and garlic vinaigrette
Fruit Spice Cake-- or it is Spice Fruit Cake?
Apple "pie" crustless, but with nut topping

Boxing Day:  Update/Post-mortem on Christmas Menu

Turkey was great.  Roasted it with loads of cloves and allspice, and the apple stuck with cloves where the stuffing normally goes.  Loads of salt, at least to my mind since I grew up in a low-salt household.  But it was just right. For once, did not overcook the turkey.  The carrots, celery, onion and garlic head halves that made a bed for the bird were addictive and more than made up for the lack of stuffing. Total success.

Forgot to make the cranberry and date sauce although it only takes 2 or 3 minutes.  We had pomegranate seeds instead, which was really good.  Today I'll make the c.s. to have with leftover turkey, of which there is A LOT, since it was enormous - less cooking for me in the next few days, he he.

Fennel purée: I made it in the food processor and added about 1/3 navy beans to thicken.  Total success.

Butternut Squash with sweet nut topping: everyone called it the Sweet Fauxtatoes.  Even more delish than the real thing.  I had baked the butternut slices the day before, so all I had to do was pull of the peels, mash with a potato masher right in the pyrex casserole, sprinkle with pecan pieces, drizzle with the melted butter and honey mixture, and pop in the oven for 20 minutes.  Total success.

Creamed spinach was wonderful.  I had cooked the spinach the day before, sprinkled with a little lemon juice and stored in the fridge.  Cooked the bacon in the morning, with the breakfast bacon, just 2 extra slices.  Just before serving, warmed the spinach to warm enough, not hot, so the probiotics in the whipping cream yogurt wouldn't be harmed.  Mixed in the yogurt.  Total success.

Pickled veggies: didn't serve them, no room on table.

Salad - just romaine and peelered carrots (peel carrot, throw away peels, then keep peeling for very thin slivers).  Good. Nothing new there but we have a green salad with almost every meal.

Apple Non-Pie was great.  It's just the recipe for Baked Apple Slices in Breaking the Vicious Cycle, except that I use 1 apple per person, almost no honey, and add 3 prunes per person.  Let soak overnight in the lemon juice after mixing well.  Just before dinner, sprinkle with cinnamon and put in oven for 20 minutes.  Total success.

Fruit and Spice cake: didn't get a chance to make, and anyway DD had made 2 kinds of cookies.  Her own recipe and she improves it every time.  They were sweet and chewy and very tasty.  She promises to write the recipe as a guest poster soon.  The great thing about non-grain, non-starch cookies and bread is that they don't dry out. 

Oh, and I did make a great loaf of Lois Lang's Luscious Loaf, but forgot to serve it, so today we'll have TURKEY SANDWICHES FOR LUNCH!  Yum.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Perpetual broth, part 2, and Kombucha, part 0

So as I wrote in my last post, I tried Perpetual Broth with a whole chicken.  This was a "mature chicken" with relatively less fat on it than regular chickens.  On day 5, I had to throw it all away. It looked and tasted burned and had a thick layer of fat on it.  Not that I mind fat.  But this fat didn't smell good.  Just to make sure I had to throw it away, I drank a cup of it for breakfast, after adding salt and a little garlic, and unfortunately I can still taste it as I write at 10 p.m.

My crockpot keeps a temperature of 180F on "Warm", which is where it has been since day 1 of Perpetual broth-making.  This morning we woke up to an unpleasant burnt smell, the broth was very dark, and tasted burnt.  What went wrong?  Was it because we haven't developed a habit of drinking several cups of broth a day and just left it slowly simmering for all those hours?  I did get 3 nice soups out of that mature chicken, 2 more than I usually do, so I'm still ahead. 

So I did some research (Google research) and must inform you, there is a difference between bone broth and meat stock.  Dr. NCM recommends just a few hours of simmering for the meat stock.  So did my bone broth turn bad because I used a whole chicken and not bones? 

Last question: I received an ad for a supplement that uses eggshell membrane as a source of glucosamine, chondroitin and collagen.  Anyone know how to use eggshells to extract those goodies from the membrane?  Could (free-range) eggshells be dropped in a broth or stock for example?  My mother says during WWII in her country people would crush eggshells to a fine flour to add to children's food, for the calcium.

So... Perpetual Broth: Not.  Well, not even the week it was supposed to last.  But, not a loss either.  I'm ready to try again.  Might add a dimmer to my crockpot to tone the temp down to 160F. 

KOMBUCHA: it is my intent to make some of this awesome drink at home.  So I obtained the starter,or "mother", called SCOBY, from a fellow Kombucha maker.  Looked up instructions on various websites and from the email of the nice SCOBY sharer.  Hmm.  Need a gallon glass wide-mouth jar.  Biggest one I have holds 7 cups.  And after the tea & starter sit for a while I'll need swing-top bottles to pour the kombucha into so it will get fizzy.  So, this is why this is part zero: stuck on GO for lack of bottles.  Yes, I could order them from Amazon, but that's a capital investment I wasn't counting on and which would pay for a quite a few store-bought bottles of Kombucha.  Which taste really nice, have great flavors like Ginger and Lemon, and when you think about it, are one of the VERY FEW THINGS you can buy ready-made when following GAPS nutrition protocol.  Am I just

Friday, December 9, 2011

Perpetual broth, pickled veggies

I've been toying with the idea of the perpetual broth for a long time so this post
really made sense.  So yesterday morning, I dropped a whole "mature chicken" in my six-quart crockpot, covered it with water, and set in on Low.  The mature chicken is skinny and makes great broth.  No salt, no herbs, no veggies, just the chicken and the water (filtered).  That evening, I ladled out a beautiful golden broth into my Vitamix, added a couple of cloves of garlic, 4 nice sprigs of cilantro, root and all, a half-inch piece of ginger root, and salt, as well as a few tablespoonfuls of leftover pureed carrots.  Whizzed it all to velvety smoothness, added about 1/2 cup of coconut milk.  Voilà!  Cilantro always gives a lovely color and heavenly taste to soups.  Everyone loved it. 

As I cleaned up after dinner, I poured water back into the crockpot to cover, and left in on Low all night.  Tried the cup-o'broth thing in the morning but I haven't acquired the taste for it yet.  It may come. 

This morning, I pickled small cucumbers with chopped garlic, dill (dried, didn't have fresh on hand), fresh thyme and oregano, and a bit of hot pepper.  Poured the salted water on top, with the kefir starter as directed by Dr. NCM in the GAPS book.  I also made a half-gallon jar full of broccoli, carrots and onion pickles, and a third jar was just plain beets.  I put them in a cupboard, away from sunlight, to ferment.  That cupboard shelf used to hold cereal boxes.  GAPS frees up kitchen space!  But enterprising GAPSTERS will quickly fill it up. 

Yesterday's "The Nature of Things" hosted by David Suzuki was about the new outlook for autism: the gut connection.  Didn't quite get to the GAPS nutrition protocol, unfortunately.  So the word really hasn't gone around enough.  There's lots of money going to research, looking at what exactly is going on in the brain, how the gut dysbiosis affects neurons, and many other different angles.  A sad story about a boy who experienced a few weeks of remission after being treated with a targeted antibiotic, but returned into autism because the antibiotic cannot be taken for extended periods.  Tragic for the poor mother who got to see the real boy inside for a little while.  Wish she had known about GAPS.  Now the boy is in his mid teens, probiotics have helped him, but he's still very impaired.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

CCFD conference-induced ramblings

DH and I went to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC) annual "education" meeting a few weeks ago.  I asked the first speaker, a gastroenterologist MD who had given us an overview of what is known about these chronic inflammations of the digestive tract, his take on SCD/GAPS.  He had heard of the diet but said IBD varies too much from person to person to make one diet work for all.  Similarly, all the speakers said there is NO CURE for IBD and NO KNOWN CAUSE.

But the book "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" does offer a very good theory of the cause, and a cure, even if the author calls it a "remission" and not a cure.  So apparently the word has not gone out enough; it has not reached these speakers. Mainstream medicine recognizes that there is a genetic factor and an environmental factor, but apparently food is not high on the list of environmental factors.  They mentioned stress, for example. 

One speaker, the nutritionist, did mention very rapidly that intestinal flora equilibrium is the latest direction some researchers are taking.  So there's a chance that SCD/GAPS will become mainstream in some not-too-distant future.

I came home comforted for another reason, too: because ALL the facts I heard at this conference fit in perfectly with the GAPS theory.  None of the facts contradicted it.  Discussing the session with DH on the way home, I realized just how important the GAPS theory really is. IMHO, it's like Darwin's Natural Selection, which made sense of the theory of evolution, made all the puzzle pieces fit.  Similarly, the GAPS theory makes all the pieces fit, the digestive symptoms, the mental symptoms, the vaccinations, the antibiotics, the breastfeeding, etc.    It really is an eye-opener and I had many epiphanies reading the book.

For those who don't have the GAPS book, and it is expensive, there's a lot of information on the website.  These articles:

are especially good at giving you the gist of the theory. 

Another clue that the GAPS nutrition protocol is right on target: many other researchers and clinicians have come to the same or almost the same conclusions about what to eat and not to eat.  There's the paleo/primal diet, the Weston A. Price "Nourishing Traditions" diet, the Atkins diet, and many more.  They get very close to the GAPS/SCD.  Several different pathways leading to the same conclusion.  Weston A. Price went all over the world looking at what people eat, and found the fermented foods crucial to human survival.  The paleo diet looks at what our ancestors could eat before agriculture introduced grains as the primary calorie source.  GAPS puts the best of all the diets together. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A comment I posted on

(The question was, How often and what to feed a 10 month old.  My reply also addressed some of the other replies on that website.)

1)  I don't understand the taboo on mushy foods.  Our foremothers certainly chewed up foods for their babies. Maybe that's the origin of kissing.  Maybe that's why babies have an instinct to dig into our mouths with their little fingers.  Chewed up food probably also helped the babies' digestion, since the mother's saliva is full of enzymes.  Traveling in Africa, I shared a calabash of beer whose making involved the village women chewing starchy roots and spitting out the mush, adding water and allowing to ferment!  And this is drunk by the whole village.  So chewing for your own baby? natch.

2)  Given what we know about sugar, I wouldn't give babies cereals.  When digested, starches turn into sugar!  Would you be feeding spoonful after spoonful of sugar to your baby?   Rice, wheat, oats, bread, pasta, etc. all turn into sugars in the digestive system.  When digested.  Some can't be digested, and they feed the bad bacteria and yeasts (Candida, C. difficile, etc) that have been identified by some researchers as co-factors for autism, Crohn's disease, IBS, asthma, and a host of other diseases. 

As the mother of a special needs DD now grown up and severely schizophrenic, who now has a 16-month-old (my DGD) and another on the way, I wish I had known when she was small what is now known about sugar, cereals, gut dysbiosis, and their horrific effects on the immune system, the brain, and development.  I remember DD had a "sensitive stomach" as a child. I remember how she always craved sweets.  It didn't seem that important then.  We were pretty health-conscious for our time but the knowledge about the sugar/starch/dysbiosis just wasn't there and she had sugar every day.  Plus rice, bread, potatoes, etc.  I can't turn back the clock, but our household is now following the SCD/GAPS diet (easy to search online).  It's a huge effort, but we're hoping this will bring some improvement to her condition and PREVENT her children from following the same path. Conventional medicine gives the offspring of schizophrenics a tenfold chance of being sz compared to the rest of the population.  They think it's a genetic predisposition - maybe it's (also?) a learned food preference, compounded by the passing on of the wrong gut bacteria from mother to baby at birth. 

BOTTOM LINE?  Emphasize fruits, veggies, nut butters and milks (esp. coconut milk), homemade yogurt (one survey discovered that 2 out of 10 brands chosen randomly on supermarket shelves contained NO live bacteria, and another significant number only had 10% of what was stated on the labels), broths, fish, etc. both for your consumption (some of the toxins created by the "bad" bacteria pass into breast milk, which explains why autism can start very early, even in a breastfed baby) and the baby's, and you won't need to worry about the other co-factors like antibiotics and immunizations.  For more details, look at the SCD and GAPS diet.  You don't have to follow it 100% like we now do - which is not easy - but being aware will help you make the right food choices for the whole family, to prevent autism, allergies, and many other chronic inflammatory diseases. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quick and Easy Coconut Milk Yogurt

I've revised my coconut milk yogurt recipe. It's much faster, much easier. No heating, no cooling down, no watching temperatures.  Because it's made with coconut milk it has no lactose and no casein, so no 24-hour incubation needed.  You do need a blender and a yogurt maker or other way to keep the microorganisms thriving at their favorite temperature for 8 hours. I use a crockpot plugged into a dimmer switch.

If you are doing strict SCD or GAPS you must make your own coconut milk.  There are lots of good recipes on line for this.  I actually use Aroy-D Coconut milk in 1 litre TetraPaks, which has won awards (I know...).  It lists only coconuts and water as ingredients, and as far as I know, the TetraPak packaging contains no BPA, which canned coconut milk (like all other canned foods) does contain.

Dates are added to provide food (fructose) for the microorganisms that turn milk into yogurt (Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, etc).  Dates are said to be very digestible, but if you prefer, you can replace the dates with 1 Tablespoon of raw honey.

The unflavored gelatin sets the yogurt to a soft gel as it cools.  One pack of gelatin usually sets 2 cups of liquid to the bouncy "Jell-O" consistency we all know.  Here we're doing over 4 cups of liquid, so it won't be as firm as Jell-O, but of a gentle consistency that blends in a heavenly way with the coconut milk's creaminess. Gelatin is also very soothing for the digestive system.

Keep refrigerated, like any yogurt.  Should keep well for at least a week but in my house it's gone within about a day, so it's a good thing it's quick and easy to make again!



4 cups coconut milk , at room temperature or up to 42 C
1 package yogurt starter or the dose for 1 quart milk
1 package unflavored gelatin (
1 scant Tablespoon) or 1 1/2 Tablespoons unflavored Vegan Jel
5 raw dates, pitted


1. Plug in your yogurt maker to warm it up.  Place all the ingredients near your blender.

2. Pour the coconut milk into the blender jar (use the jar measures to get the right amount if using canned milk).  Start the blender on a low speed, take off the whole lid, and sprinkle the unflavored gelatin and the yogurt starter into the middle of the swirling milk.  Turn off blender, add dates, put the lid on, and process on high for 1 minute, until dates are liquefied.   Pour into yogurt maker and follow your usual yogurt-making steps.  Incubate 6 to 8 hours.

3.  After about 6 hours, the yogurt will still be liquid and the cream will have risen to the top. No worries! Mix well and taste the yogurt to see if you prefer to let it ferment longer.  If it's got that great yogurt taste, put the lid on the container and refrigerate.  After cooling 1 to 2 hours (depends on your container), the gelatin will be starting to set, and it will be starting to separate again. Mix again (add 1 tsp vanilla if desired). Cool 2 to 3 more hours before serving.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Almond Milk Recipe



1 cup raw natural almonds
filtered water or tap water if you normally drink it
vanilla extract optional
almond extract optional
1/4 cup coconut milk optional

Soak almonds for at least 2 hours. I find that's the minimum to get the nuts to jump out of their skins. Some recipes call for soaking 12 to 24 hours, but I find that the taste gets more bitter with a prolonged soaking. I like soaking about 6 hours.  Rinse several times thoroughly with good water.

"Blanch" the almonds, that is, remove the toxin-laden skins by squeezing the nut between your thumb and index finger,  The nut inside will pop right out! I admit it takes a few minutes, you can do it while listening to an audiobook for example, anyway it gives you an excuse to sit down for a few minutes.  You have to keep the almonds wet because the skin dries fast and sticks firmly to the nut when dry.  Frankly, some pop right out, some you have to peel. 

Put the almonds in a blender with 2 1/2 cups water (room temperature). Blend on high for one minute. In a Vitamix, about 30 seconds is plenty.

Pour the milk into a strainer lined with a juicing cloth. Put another 1/2 cup water in the blender jar, swish around to rinse out ALL the almond foam and add to the almond mixture in the strainer. That's a total of 3 cups water for 1 cup almond milk. Let the milk drip out for 15 to 30 minutes, then press out by hand (see my first post on how to do this) or in a press.

Add vanilla and almond extracts to taste, if desired. I use 1/2 teaspoon of each, if at all.  I prefer to add 1/4 cup of coconut milk, which removes the dry edge that raw almond milk tends to have, and adds creaminess and sweetness.  See my last post on Mixed Nuts Milk for how I arrived at this formula.

This makes a pretty thick milk, no guars, gums or xanthan anything needed. It keeps about 3 days in the refrigerator, but in my house it's gone within 24 hours.  So I set my cup of almonds to soak every morning and some evenings too.

Looking for a Mixed Nuts Milk - 1st try

Plain facts are hard to find. I've been looking for hard facts on the composition of almond milk, coconut milk, and breast milk. My motivation is to get the best mix of non-dairy milks to approximate the macronutrient balance (i.e. fats, carbs, proteins) of breast milk, which is arguably a good guide. I’m not trying to make baby formula, just a nice all-around milk for us to drink.

Finally found part of the info on this website. If you scroll down a bit there's a table comparing "whole" (i.e. cow's), soy, almond, rice, and coconut milks. Breast milk is missing, but I found that information on Wikipedia. I also had a box of hemp milk in the kitchen, so just for fun I added in that info:
Grams/100 ml
So I played around with this on a spreadsheet. Of course there is no mix that works perfectly - too many variables. First, I decided to ignore the huge amount of fats in coconut, because coconut oil is so good for you. The other milks have less fat than breast milk, so any significant amount of coconut milk will bring the combined milk’s fat content up above breast milk standard. Next, I wondered, should I make proteins or carbohydrates the decisive factor? For both of these, almond milk is very close to breast milk, just a little lower. For carbs, both coconut and hemp milk are even lower in content than almond milk, so they can’t improve on plain almond milk. For proteins, coconut milk is higher, so it can bring the protein content of the mix up. So I chose to follow the proteins. Amazingly, when I tweak the coconut, almond and hemp proportions to get the proteins "right", the other two macronutrients end up not too far off, even the fats, which I'd given up on...

The "Mixed Nuts Milk" proportions are: 1/10 coconut milk, 8/10 almond milk, 1/10 hemp milk.
Grams/100 ml
Mixed Nuts Milk
(version 1.0)
Can’t wait to try it out! Though, after doing the research and the math (and it was fun), the taste test will probably be what matters…!
p.s.: What makes this really fuzzy is, with how much water were the various milks made when these compositions were measured?

PPS: Made the almond milk, and couldn't wait to test the MNM!  I added 1/4 cup coconut milk and 1/4 cup hemp milk to 2 cups almond milk.  That makes 10 times 1/4 cup, just the right proportions.  RESULT:  It tasted realllllly nice!  None of the milks dominate, it's just creamy enough, not dry like plain almond milk and not overly creamy like the coconut milk.  

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Coconut Milk Yogurt

A big item on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is the 24-hour yogurt, with its much-needed probiotics.  But there is a troubling fact: making yogurt gets rid of the lactose in the milk, but what about the other milk components that are possible Crohn's irritants?  Casein for example.

So I wanted to give coconut milk yogurt a try.  Doing my homework before messing up perfectly good coconut milk, I looked at what other websites offer on the subject. Some websites, including at least one yogurt starter website (don't actually remember which), say it can't be done.  Hey, I like a challenge, and the benefits were just calling to me.  For example, another benefit is, it wouldn't have to incubate 24 hours, because the extra time is needed to make sure the bad lactose is all eaten up by the good bacteria. Coconut milk yogurt would also bring in all the amazing benefits of coconut oil, the relatively complete proteins of coconut milk, and the aromatic flavor of coconuts.  So I just had to find a way.

The problems that made coconut milk yogurt impossible were, 1) it stays liquid, 2) it separates, and 3) it doesn't have enough sugar to feed the bacteria.  To solve 1 & 2, I retained the services of unflavored gelatin.  Of course, if you're only going to use it for smoothies (and it is a terrific smoothie ingredient), or you like liquid yogurt, or you're a vegan, you can just leave out the gelatin.  Just shake before using.  For the third reason I called good old dates, my new favorite sweetener, to the rescue.  So this yogurt recipe needs a blender, to liquefy the dates, but I soon realized that it also helps mix in the gelatin and the starter, making coconut yogurt not only possible, but the easiest yogurt to make!

One more comment: I only use TetraPak (UHT) coconut milk, not canned milk (when I can't make it from the nut). No BPA.  Also, UHT stands for Ultra High Temperature, which means the milk does not need to be brought to near boiling: it is already quite sterile. So there's another time and energy saver.

In fact, this method shortcuts so many of the usual steps of yogurt-making, AND the result is SO DELICIOUS!


4 cups coconut milk (home-made or in TetraPak - no BPA) at room temperature or up to 42 C.
1 package unflavored gelatin
3 to 6 dates (with 6, the yogurt will be slightly sweet; adjust to taste)
1 package Thermophilus/Bulgaricus/Acidophilus yogurt starter

Equipment: a good blender, a plug-in yogurt maker. If your yogurt maker is the type that just insulates heated milk, you'll have to heat the coconut milk to the correct temperature before starting

Assemble all the ingredients near your blender.

1. Pour coconut milk into the blender jar.  Start the blender on a low speed, take off the lid, and sprinkle the unflavored gelatin and the yogurt starter into the middle of the swirling milk.  Turn off  blender, add dates, put the lid on the jar, and process on high for 1 minute, until dates are liquefied.   Pour into yogurt maker and follow your usual yogurt-making steps.  Incubate 6 to 8 hours.

2.  At the end of the incubation period, the yogurt will still be liquid and the cream will have risen to the top.  Mix well, refrigerate one hour, then mix again.  The gelatin will be starting to set, which will keep the yogurt from separating again.  After a few more hours of cooling, the gelatin will have set to a soft gel.  One pack of gelatin usually sets 2 cups liquid to the firm "Jell-O" consistency we all know.  Here we're doing 4 cups liquid, so it won't be as firm.

My yogurt maker is an old crockpot with a cracked bowl, plugged into a dimmer plug.  The yogurt goes into a glass jar (mason-type) that fits nicely in the crockpot.  I put a potholder under the jar to keep the temperature even, and the lid on the crockpot.  It didn't take long to figure out the right dimmer setting to get an even and continuous 42 C for incubating the Thermophilus/Bulgaricus/Acidophilus yogurt.

Faux Pho

Sometimes the urge to eat out inspires creative uses of whatever I have on hand.  Here, shredded King Oyster mushrooms stand in for rice noodles.

1 quart SCD chicken broth, strained*
1 package King Oyster mushrooms
2 stalks green onions, chopped fine
1" piece of fresh ginger root, chopped
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup mung bean sprouts
basil leaves to taste
hot cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste
lemon or lime to taste

1.  Slice cap off mushrooms.  Shred mushroom stems with the large-holed side of the grater.  This is the "faux" rice noodles.

2.  Bring broth to a simmer.  Add mushrooms, green onions, ginger root, and sesame oil.  Simmer gently for about 5 minutes or until the mushroom strands have the desired tenderness.

3.  Serve with sprouts and basil leaves on the side.  Each person can add sprouts, basil, lemon or lime juice and hot pepper sauce as desired.

*  What to do with the strained chicken and veggies that went into making your broth?  I mix in a couple of eggs, salt, chopped green onions, and fry like little pancakes in some coconut or grapeseed oil.  Makes a nice side to go with the faux Pho.

HEALTH FOOD Chocolate cake

I make this when the brownie or chocolate cake cravings hits someone in the family.  It's fast and hard to mess up because of the low baking temperature.  And this is ALL HEALTH FOOD!

1 tsp butter or coconut oil for pan
18 dates (pitted, non-sweetened)
1 1/2 cups almonds (raw, natural, unsalted)
1/4 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup coconut oil (virgin, unrefined, organic if possible)
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt

1.  Preheat oven to 300 F.  Line the bottom of a cake pan with parchment paper*.  Smear the paper with butter or coconut oil.

2.  Put all ingredients in blender.  Process until well mixed, thick and smooth or somewhat grainy, to taste (and depending on how well your gut tolerates little chunks of almond).  Stir with chopstick as needed and to get those last bits of cocoa off the sides.

3.  Pour into pan.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Makes 1 layer but this is enough for most uses.

* I use a round 8-inch cake pan and have made myself a template wedge to make the parchment paper circle really fast.  Just fold a squarish piece of paper 3 times around the center (like for making doilies or paper snowflakes), line up with the wedge, and cut the eighth of a circle on the outside of the wedge.  Unfold.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Avocapaya Salad

All eager to embark on adding enzymes to our diet, I made this salad today.  I credit my relative Claire for introducing the Avocado-Papaya combination years ago, and I never forgot how good it was.  This is the first time I've been able to make something approximately as good as what she made that day at the beach.

1 large Papaya (or two small ones)
3 sprigs Cilantro
3 Hass Avocados (or 1 or 2 Fuertes)
1 lime

Rinse the papaya, because you'll be eating some of the peel, which has most of the enzymes.  Cut the papaya in half along the "equator" (not the usual way).  Save one half for another use (smoothie!).  Place the other half cut side down on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to slice off the top and cut down along the sides to remove the peel.  This method is fast and minimizes handlling.  Save some of the peel for smoothies, except one or two long pieces, which you now cut into little bits for this salad - don't worry, they will go totally unnoticed among the cilantro leaves.

Turn over the peeled papaya half, and remove the seeds.  The seeds are also enzyme-rich, so you may want to leave a few in the salad. They should be swallowed without chewing, because they have a bitter taste.  You can also drop them into smoothies just before serving, where they'll be like bubbles in bubble tea.

Cut the now peeled and seedless papaya flesh into chunks about the size of a walnut, and place in salad bowl.

Cut the bottom of the cilantro sprigs where the stems meet, and rinse off any dirt. Shake the water off. Chop into 1/2 inch pieces and sprinkle onto the papaya in the salad bowl.

Cut each avocado in half and pry out the pit by chopping your knife halfway into the pit and twisting.  With a soup spoon, scoop out large chunks of the avocado into the salad bowl. Use the empty skin to pull the pit off your knife.

Juice the lime and sprinkle onto the goodies in the bowl.

Toss and serve. I promise it will disappear.

This is a SALT-FREE recipe but the lime juice does have sodium.  All the other ingredients are so rich in potassium that this is an excellent dish for sodium watchers.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What I learned today

There's a website,, written by Steve and Jordan, "two average guys who rejected conventional medicine by facing our fears and healing our guts using the Specific Carbohydrate Diet". Through their email newsletter and their caring response to my emails, I've just discovered how important enzymes are for proper digestion. Enzymes DIGEST the molecules of the foods you eat. That is, they break them down into absorbable, smaller molecules, the ones needed for your body's cells.

I did a little research on LIPASE, the enzyme that breaks down LIPIDS, that is, fats. The SCD is a high-fat diet, and fats can heal your gut, but without lipase, it ain't gonna happen.  A healthy digestive system makes its own enzymes.  But disease is a vicious cycle that slows down enzyme production, which worsens digestion, etc.  And lipase is scarce in the SAD (Standard American Diet). Like all enzymes, it is destroyed by heat, so you can only find it in raw foods. Like most enzymes, it is present in the foods that contain the molecules it works on. So lipase is present in the raw foods that contain fats. BUT, like all enzymes, lipase is water-soluble, so it is NOT present in oils, even raw, extra-virgin, unrefined oils. So the only food sources I can figure are:

Avocado - my hero!

Coconut - raw, in the shell (I don't know how desiccated coconut is processed, maybe it's ok)

Olives (again, I don't know how they're processed, but if they're canned or jarred, they've been heated and lost the enzymes)

Papaya - an exception to the "rule" about the food having to contain fat. Papaya is famous for papain, the enzyme that helps with proteins, but is also is a good source of lipase, especially the green papaya.

Almonds - but they also contain toxins that inhibit the action of lipase. Fortunately, soaking removes this. Also, soaking allows you to peel the almonds (do it while listening to an audiobook) which removes toxins.

I got all this information from trustworthy web pages, but don't have time to list them.

So, I'm going back to making coconut milk from SCRATCH (this blog's first post) and almond milk from RASAP (Raw Almonds, Soaked And Peeled). There's no way TetraPak coconut milk has any enzymes left. So I'm comforted that I spent $399 on the Welles Press after all.

BTW, freezing does not affect lipase. states: "... retained its activity for more than 6 months at -20 degrees C, beyond which it lost activity progressively." So, freeze stuff, but don't keep it toooo long.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Welles People's Press

  When we started the SCD diet, I was making coconut milk from the nutshell. See my very first post, How to bust and milk a coconut. Well, after a few weeks I got tired of wringing the cloths by hand, and looked into getting some kind of press. The most affordable press I could find online is the Welles (People's) press (a very similar one costs over $2K and is apparently heavily marketed to cancer patients).  It works like a car jack, you pump a lever that raises a platform fitted with a juice catcher until it presses against a fixed plate. One reviewer gave it a 1 star (worst) review, and the first time I tried the press, I wholeheartedly agreed! BUT... I found a solution. If you buy one, read this BEFORE YOU EVER USE YOUR PRESS! 

  The big problem is that there is no easy way to get the platform back down after you've jacked it up and pressed out the juice. Instructions say, go ahead, don't hesitate to use force to push it down. Great. Thanks. There is absolutely nothing to grab hold of! Only fingernails fit in the narrow space between the juice catcher and the top plate, the juice catcher is plastic, so you do hesitate to apply force, and the pressed cloth with the residue are in the way of anything you might want to try to use as a wedge or lever.  You get two cloths with the press, so you don't want to damage one of them the very first time you use it. My fingernails took a beating that night. One hundredth of a millimeter at a time, I nudged the platform down. It felt like it wasn't going down at all. IT TOOK ME OVER AN HOUR to get the contraption far down enough to be able to remove the bag and residue.  Then I wedged a screwdriver wrapped in a kitchen glove into the space.  After that it came down pretty fast. Oh, boy was I sorry I'd bought that thing!  Only buyer pride (and anger) kept me going. I went to bed two hours after everyone - had to finish cleaning up. During the night, I came up with a solution.

SOLUTION: Cut a piece of cotton cloth (an old pillowcase is just right) into a 20 inch square.  Fold it in three.  Before you place the juice catcher on the platform, drape the folded cloth across the platform so that the long ends hang down to the right and left of the platform.  This will give you something to hold on to. Then place the juice catcher on the platform.  It holds the fabric in place. BEFORE YOUR FIRST PRESSING, practice jacking up the platform (NOT ALL THE WAY UP), turning the release knob a 3/4 turn, and pulling the platform back down. Turn the knob back, jack up.  Repeat. At least you won't have a sticky mess to deal with like I did.

The instructions say this stiff release gets better over time, well, mine is still pretty stiff and I will always use the cloth. Can't see any reason not to.

The instructions are pretty badly written, but do read them, so you'll know not to turn the release knob too much. I find that 3/4 of a turn is enough.  You can hear a "sigh" when the hydraulic pressure is released. 

See a photo of my press at  And recipes.

CONCLUSION: Not sorry I bought it now. The press is otherwise easy to use and does a great job.

RECOMMENDATION TO THE MANUFACTURERS: ADD HANDLES BELOW THE PLATFORM!  Or, at least, add this solution to your instructions.  

2. The juicing cloths: two cloths are included in with the press. The fabric is strong, thick and non-absorbent, which is good, because you don't want half your precious juice to be retained in the cloth. But the edges are not stitched, so they fray, and really, for some uses, you want a bag. Like coconut milk the way I make it, in the Vitamix. Too much liquid for folding. So I stitched one of the cloths into a bag. If you do this, make the bag slightly smaller than the platform part of the juice catcher, with a widening opening for easier filling. Use it with the stitching outside (for easier cleaning). The other cloth, I zigzig stiched along the edges.

3. Keeping the cloths clean: Rinse the cloth out thoroughly and store it in the freezer in a ziplock bag, like the instructions say. You don't have to dry it. If you've sewn it into a bag, turn it inside out while washing to be sure to remove all the residue. Just before using it, microwave it for one minute to kill any bacteria the freezer may have missed.


1. To make almond and other nut milks and coconut milk - that was my main reason for buying the press. Vitamix one to two cups nuts with twice as much water on High for one minute, with a date or two if you want it slightly sweetened (nutmeg, vanilla...).  Pour onto the juicing cloth or bag placed in a strainer over a bowl deeper than the strainer.  After letting most of the milk drip out, fold the top of the bag 2 or 3 times, or fold the cloth over the pulp, place on the juice catcher, load into the press, and jack it up!

2. To make Ginger Juice. Cut a whole hand of fresh ginger root into chunks. Put in Vitamix with water to cover. Process on High for 30 seconds. Proceed as for nut milks above. Use the GJ in soups, sauces, in hot water for tea, or cold water for a Ginger Ale type drink. The residue is so dry it looks like cardboard. Let it dry out in the sun or on a radiator (or dehydrator) and hang it up like a car deodorizer (you might want to cut it into a pine tree shape).

3. To press fresh juice out of vegetables. Grate zucchini, carrots, and press out the juice. Or chop vegetables in a food processor until mushy, then juice in the press.  Use the not completely pressed residue of vegetables to make "latkes", i.e., add egg, chopped onions, seasoning, and fry like pancakes.  

That's all I've done with my press so far. Let me know if you have a press and how you use it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ginger juice

Ginger is such a gut healer, this is a way to have it on hand, ready to use. My Crohnie just adds water to taste and drinks it like ginger ale without the gassy bubbles. Or sugar.

Chop one or two whole "hands" of fresh ginger root into chunks small enough not to jam your blender. No need to peel the ginger. Put the ginger in the blender. Add water to cover plus about an inch. Liquefy. Strain. Bottle. Store in fridge. Keeps well, but I can't say how long, it gets used up fast. Good thing it only takes a few minutes to make a new batch.

Use in soups, sauces, vinaigrette or salad dressing, fruit smoothies (also throw a lot of coconut milk in your smoothies! and Kefir!), to make tea (just add hot water), cough syrup/decongestant (just add honey and lemon). Let me know other uses you may find!

Chicken broth a la Thai

This has everything to heal and to please.

Put 1 whole chicken in a crockpot and sprinkle lightly with salt, paprika, cumin and turmeric. Cook until the breasts are done, about 2 1/2 hours for my crockpot. Remove the breasts to serve separately. Add 5 cups of filtered water, salt to taste, a bay leaf, herbs and/or a branch of celery. Simmer for another 5 to 6 hours or overnight. The chicken will fall apart, but the broth will be very tasty and healthy. Take a potato masher and mash the chicken to let out more nutrients into the broth. Even the bones should mash somewhat. Then, strain the broth into a saucepan or process it in a blender for a thicker velouté. Add 1 cup of coconut milk (see my first post) and 1/2 cup ginger juice (recipe in next post) or to taste. Add salt to taste. For best results don't boil it again, just reheat gently. Freezes well.

This is the basic recipe. You can also cook carrots and onions in the broth (before adding the coconut milk and ginger) and liquefy them in the blender. Then add the coconut milk and ginger.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sinless Silk Chocolate Melt-in-your-Mouth Mousse

The diet's going better and better as I learn to make larger batches that can serve 4 adults and 2 babies twice. Here's my latest recipe - when you're in the mood for a really rich chocolaty dessert.
I call it Sinless Silk Chocolate Mousse, and I'll outline below why it really is "sinless" (as in, not harmful to one's health - it still can make you succomb to the sin of gluttony!)
Put in blender:
2 cups Coconut milk (freshly "milked" if you can, and if not, the kind in TetraPak is better than canned brands - no BPA)
1/4 cup cocoa (unsweetened cocoa powder) 
1/3 cup coconut oil (extra-virgin, unrefined)
12 to 15 dates to taste (buy pitted dates with no honey or other sweetener added)
1 1/4 cup avocado (2 Hass, or 1 Fuerte - just scoop out with a spoon; measurements don't have to be exact)
1 tsp vanilla 
1 tsp almond extract OR mint extract (try each - you'll like them!)
1 tsp nutmeg (best if grated on the spot)

Everything MUST be at warmish room temperature (76F or above).  
Blend on high until the mixture is silky smooth. Stop and mix with a chopstick if a bubble develops around the blades. 
Spoon into custard cups or parfait glasses. This is quite rich, so a little goes a long way - you can fill the cups a little more than half.
Refrigerate several hours. Serve cold. Top with strawberries or raspberries if desired. Or bananas. I wouldn't. But then I don't really like bananas.

1. Coconut oil melts/solidifies at 76F, so your blender will have a harder time if any of the ingredients are cold. By the same token, the mousse will get nice and firm at refrigerator temperatures without the addition of gelatin. And, it will literally melt in your mouth!
2. HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCONUTS: There is widespread misconception that coconut oil is bad for you: it was said to raise blood cholesterol and cause heart disease. In fact, studies "proving" these assertions were flawed. In one study, there were no Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) provided in the diet; the absence of these EFAs alone would be expected to cause the results. Other studies (over 40 years ago) used hydrogenated coconut oil. It is now known that the process of hydrogenation creates “trans fatty acids” (TFAs), which are toxic entities that enter cell membranes, block utilization of essential fatty acids (EFAs) and impede cell functionality. TFAs also cause a rise in blood cholesterol. These substances are not present in natural (unrefined) coconut oil. In other words, a study based on hydrogenated coconut oil has no relevance to the non-hydrogenated coconut milk or unrefined coconut oil that you eat.

Nearly 50% of the fatty acid in natural coconut oil is lauric acid, which converts to the fatty acid monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin inhibits the growth of a variety of harmful microorganisms including bacteria, yeast, fungi, and enveloped viruses. It [monolaurin] destroys the lipid membrane of such enveloped viruses as HIV, measles, Herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), influenza and cytomegalovirus (CMV). The usefulness lauric acid/monolaurin in treating AIDS is currently under investigation. Lauric acid is the main lipid (fat) component of human breast milk.
Capric acid, which comprises another 7% of coconut oil fat content, also stimulates anti-microbial activity.
In other words: not only does coconut oil NOT cause heart problems, it is good for you. To quote Dr. Mary Enig: "The research over four decades concerning coconut oil in the diet and heart disease is quite clear: coconut oil has been shown to be beneficial."

Coconut oil is a "functional food," defined as a food that "provides a health benefit over and beyond the basic nutrients." It is an immune-system enhancer.
Adapted from

Weight-watchers often stay away from avocados specifically because of the fat content of the fruit. But that's a mistake. Monounsaturated fats enhance the basal metabolic rate, and help reduce overeating. After the olive, the avocado has the highest content of monounsaturated fatty acids among fruits (20%).
The potassium content of an avocado is three times that of a banana. Other essential minerals are iron and copper, phosphorus and magnesium.
The low sodium content in avocados and its low sugar content and absence of starch make it an ideal fruit for diabetics and hypoglycemics.
It is also one of the richest source of fiber among all fruits and vegetables.
Avocado is packed with vitamins A, several B-complex, especially B3 (folic acid), powerful anti-oxidants like vitamins C and E, and calcium.Bad breath: The avocado is one of the best natural mouthwashs and a remedy for bad breath. It is effective in removing intestinal putrefactions or decomposition which are the real cause of a coated tongue and halitosis (bad breath).
Blood pressure: The high potassium and folate content in avocado helps to regulate blood pressure, protecting your body against circulatory diseases, heart problems and stroke.
Cholesterol: An avocado contains oleic and linoleic acids that are effective in lowering the LDL cholesterol and increasing the healthy HDL cholesterol.
Duodenal ulcer: The blandness of this fruit is comforting and soothing to the hypersensitive surfaces of the stomach and duodenum. Its abundant nutrients and enzymes are an effective remedy to treat these ulcerations.
Eyesight: The potent antioxidant content in avocado helps neutralize free radicals, which is important for improving eyesight and prevent eye problems like astigmatism, cataracts and glaucoma.
Immune system: Avocodos contain Vitamin A, which is essential for stimulating the immune system, improving vision and proper growth of bones and teeth.Increases absorption of phytonutrients: Studies have proven that when even a small amount of avocado is consumed together with other fruits and vegetables, the absorption of phytonutrients is several times higher than when consumed on their own.
Morning sickness: The vitamin B6 helps relieve nausea and queasiness associated with pregnancy.
Muscle and nerve: The high potassium content helps balance our body's electrolytes, aids muscle activity, nerve function and energy metabolism.
Prostate cancer: Studies have shown that certain unique phytonutrient substances in avocados have been known to help prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells and may even help repair the damaged cells.
Psoriasis: The avocado oil is beneficial in the treatment of psoriasis. Apply regularly on affected parts to remove the scales. (OK, so the mousse doesn't really help here.)


Nutmeg has strong antibacterial properties. It is effective in killing a number of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. Again, an ingredient for better breath.

Like cloves, nutmeg contains Eugenol, a compound thought to benefit the heart.

Nutmeg is used to improve memory. It contains Myristicin, which has been shown to inhibit an enzyme in the brain that contributes to Alzheimer's disease.

It is carminative, meaning it reduces flatulence. It aids digestion and improves appetite.

Like ginger, it reduces nausea, the symptoms of gastroenteritis, chronic diarrhea and indigestion.

It is used in Chinese medicine to treat anxiety and depression.

Nutmeg is powerful stuff, not to be abused. It is not recommended for pregnant women, and high doses can produce hallucinations.

Fresh dates have soft, easily digestible flesh with simple sugars like fructose, glucose and sucrose. Because of the sucrose, they should not be indulged in large quantity by those following the SCDiet.
(Check out for an interesting chart showing the Glucose/Fructose/Sucrose content of some fruits)
They are a good source of Vitamin A, and rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotine, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Also an excellent source of iron and Vitamin K, selenium and calcium.
Dates are one of the best natural sources of potassium, which helps to keep blood pressure down, helps muscles contract (for example, your heart), is needed to maintain a healthy nervous system and to balance the body's metabolism. Potassium is also beneficial for controlling diarrhea. Dates' digestibility helps to cope with diarrhea.
Daily intake of dates helps maintain a check on the growth of pathological organisms and helps in the rise of friendly bacteria in the intestines.
Dates also contain a variety of B-complex vitamins – thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 and pantothenic acid. These vitamins have a variety of functions that help maintain a healthy body – to metabolize carbohydrates and maintain blood glucose levels, fatty acids for energy, and to help make hemoglobin, the red and white blood cells.
Dates also contain Magnesium which is essential for healthy bone development and for energy metabolism and Iron which is essential to red blood cell production. Red blood cells carry all the nutrients to cells throughout the body.
Adapted from several sources including