Tag Archives: ALCAT

No Sugar Added Banana Muffins

No sugar banana muffin

Today while shopping at Whole Foods Market, in the bulk section (using my reusable cotton bulk food bags) I happened across Diane Sanfilippo’s book: 21-Day Sugar Detox. I don’t really think of myself as someone who needs a detox because I practice eating very naturally. But as I started flipping through her book I found it incredibly informative and came across concepts that I had not included in my understanding of nutrition. I decided that I would introduce this 21-Day Sugar Detox philosophy to my family. Even though I rarely, if ever eat sugar anymore, my kids still do, mind you in lesser quantities, since I have been learning more on the subject.

Over the last year and a half, my kids and I have been following an elimination diet based on the results from our individual ALCAT blood tests, from which, my son was advised to avoid ALL sugars and gluten for an entire year – a tall order for anyone, but imagine how that would feel for an eleven year old. He surprised us all by accepting the challenge. When his friends were “enjoying” treats, he declined. When teachers handed out candies as rewards, he declined. When school-mates’ parents brought birthday cupcakes and donuts to school, he declined. He stuck to the plan and his health changed dramatically. He also learned a lot about himself in the process. He learned to practice self-discipline, something not many people practice. However, once the 12 months of being strict came to an end, he anxiously started to add in those toxic treats from time to time. What we noticed? His behaviour changed, and he admitted to feeling lousy each and every time he indulged. He learned a lot about himself going through that yearlong experiment and especially what happens to himself when he reintroduces those unhealthy ingredients. He is learning to control what he chooses to eat, backed up with knowledge.

The way I see it, our entire life is an experiment and my job as a parent is to help my children (and myself along the way) to continue to become educated on how to truly nourish ourselves as opposed to just fuelling up and dashing off to the next activity.

My kids often have sugar and grain cravings, and there are times when I do too. There is a reason why most us do experience cravings, it is partly due to to the fact that none of us really understands how to feed ourselves.

Ripe Banana

Because I had some ripe banana’s on the counter, making a batch of muffins was on todays’ agenda. However, what I learned from my quick glance through Diane’s book is that eating the overly ripe banana’s isn’t the best choice! In any case, I had already committed to using them. But because of what I learned from Diane’s book, I made some changes to the recipe I usually use. (Note: I only made muffins a few times this past year – they are not a staple). Next time I will make more changes based on Diane’s advice for eliminating more grains.

The way we feed ourselves is a vicious nonsensical cycle! We think we are making the right food choices but are actually contributing to these biological hunger games.

    “If what you are doing isn’t working, doing more of it won’t work any better.”

– Alan Cohen

Nowadays, I generally add very little or no sweeteners to foods that I prepare, and it has been a long road of trying to reprogram my brain to accept that all refined sugars affect the body in very similar ways. Be it cane sugar to agave syrup, from HFCS to honey. The truth is we really don’t need any of these sweeteners.

“Removing added sugars and very sweet foods retrains your taste buds to perceive sweetness, and you’ll find that foods you once thought weren’t sweet at all become quite sweet as the days pass [when following the 21 Day Sugar Detox].”

– Diane Sanfilippo

This is true for me. I enjoy all vegetables (which are carbohydrates) with such pleasure because I can detect the pure subtle sweetness. We have cut back considerably on the amount of grains we consume in our household, and I can see from picking up Diane’s book today that I will be cutting back on them even more. The key is to understand why we eat the foods we do and to learn how to prepare meals that are nourishing.

We do allow for some organic grains in our diet but as we become more comfortable with these changes, we are more accepting of continuing to learn what else we can eliminate to thrive better.

I designed this muffin recipe specifically for my daughter after receiving the results from our ALCAT test, but now I realize that going forward, it is going to get a whole new makeover, in fact this may be the last time I ever make it.

This is today’s version…

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Fine Organic Spelt Flour (Anita’s from bulk)
  • ½ Cup Organic Oat Flour (gluten-free)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TBSP organic ground cinnamon

Wet Ingredients 

  • 3 Large Eggs, beaten
  • 2 Cups mashed very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 Cup (-less 1 TBSP) melted Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1 TBSP melted Organic unsalted Butter
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla

Additions (optional)

  • 1/4 Cup finely mashed organic walnuts into paste, used mortar & pestle
  • 1 TBSP unsweetened cocao nibs, ground into walnut paste with mortar & pestle
  • 3/4 Cup finely grated organic carrot

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Prepare muffin tins (lightly greased with butter).
  3. Melt coconut oil and butter. Remove from heat.
  4. “Bloom” cinnamon by adding cinnamon to melted oil/butter. Stir well and set aside to cool.
  5. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  6. Mash ripe bananas in a small bowl.
  7. In a separate medium bowl, whisk eggs, then add mashed banana and remaining wet ingredients. Whisk together.
  8. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and incorporate. Not too much – stir approximately 10 times. Don’t over mix.
  9. Fold in additions if using. Careful not to stir the mixture too much.
  10. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full or to your liking.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes depending on your oven. Check for doneness using method of choice.
  12. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.

Yield: 12 mini muffins +1 mini loaf (I have a mini loaf pan & mini bundt pan that I use when I have some leftover batter).

Note: Spelt Flour is NOT gluten-free.

Diane Sanfilippo has great recipes in her 21 Day Sugar Detox book which is an accompaniment to her cookbook. This Fall, my kids and I will be learning and experimenting from this approach.

Let's live without single-use plastic! Better for our health and that of our planet.        Stop the Recycle cycle.        In this order: AVOID - REDUCE - REUSE - RECYCLE

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The Kids’ Menu

Kids Menu

My kids don’t eat from the kids’ menu. Actually, they quit the kids’ menu a few years ago. Not that we frequent restaurants on a regular basis, but when we do, my kids are quick to let the server know that they will order from the adult menu, which in their opinion should be the only menu. My kids then privately launch into their usual contempt for the way kids are treated in restaurants. “Why is everything on the kids menu made with cheese and wheat or breaded?”

“Here, eat this food you’ve eaten a hundred times before…The children’s menu is always available, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.” – Seth Godin

This link will take you to a great short piece written by Seth Godin at Seth’s Blog: The children’s menu. It makes us think about our habits, habits that have become automatic. And automatic meaning: done spontaneously, without conscious thought or intention. However, having said that, a lot of people will argue that that is precisely how they like their habits to be.

Daughter and I overheard: Parent saying to child, “Here’s your lunch.” Child protesting, “I don’t want to eat that.” Parent says more to himself, “I don’t know why we keep ordering Mac & Cheese for you, you never eat it.”

Most often tired and busy parents like to have predictable outcomes. As a result, they feed their kids food that they know they will eat so that they can check that meal off the list and carry on, without running late to the next activity. The problem being is that kids don’t develop a taste for real food or a healthy habit in understanding hunger and satiety. Most foods that are given to kids are loaded with sugars (often disguised with unusual names) and highly processed. The kids’ health begins to decline and body weight begins to rise and so the parent’s automatic reaction is that the kids need to exercise more. As a result the kids are then signed up for more activities, which leave even less time to practice eating healthy meals.

Habits don’t change automatically with age. We don’t just “grow out of it.” Most adults carry their bad habits from childhood.

Follow these 5 easy steps to practice eating healthy right now:

  1. Eliminate refined sugars from your diet (see the 50 alternative names, but not limited to, for sugar listed below). This includes cutting back on fruit. Do not eat copious amounts of fruit assuming it is a healthier choice. Fruit is nature’s candy. Eating copious amounts of anything is a habit.
  2. Eat a variety of foods. Try a 4-day rotation. Try not to eat wheat, dairy, meat or coffee/tea every single day. If you are not a vegetarian or vegan, try eating like one on i.e. Mondays. You will survive, I promise and you might even feel better for it.
  3. Prepare for hunger. Generally, we get hungry every 3-4 hours. Be prepared, otherwise we make unwise choices by grabbing what’s available as opposed to what’s healthful.
  4. Drink Water (the plastic-free variety). Make water your go to drink.
  5. Join the Plastic Free July personal challenge. By avoiding purchasing foods packaged in plastic you will cut back on your exposure to processed foods that have many grams of sugar added. Practice being in control of what you put into your body and what you end up putting in landfill. Plastic is a hormone disruptor and damages our health and pollutes our waterways. The same water we consume. Click this link to learn more about Plastic Free July.

Our habits matter.

 

List of some alternate names for sugar

  • Agave Nectar
  • Barley malt
  • Beet sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane juice crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Caramel
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Carob syrup
  • Castor sugar
  • Date sugar
  • Demerara sugar
  • Dextran
  • Dextrose
  • Diastatic malt
  • Diatase
  • Ethyl maltol
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • Glucose solids
  • Golden sugar
  • Golden syrup
  • Grape sugar
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Icing sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado sugar
  • Panocha
  • Raw sugar
  • Refiner’s syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • Sorbitol
  • Sorghum syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Yellow sugar

Fish Soup

Homemade Fish Soup

This delicious fish soup recipe was adapted from Elise Bauer’s blog Simply Recipes. As I try to mention on each page of this site (and you may be tired of hearing this) but my kids and I have food sensitivities/ intolerances to a variety of foods. Over the last nine months we have had to eliminate foods for a measured period of time before reintroducing them. It is the best thing we have ever done. You can read about it here. As a result we are re-learning how to nourish ourselves and in the process working towards diminishing our sensitivities and intolerances. All thanks to the ALCAT test and my friends who told us about it!

As if it isn’t difficult enough to find appealing recipes, but then I have to consider which ingredients I can safely omit without destroying the heart of the recipe. Remarkably, the few recipes I’ve reworked from Elise Bauer’s site seem to adapt brilliantly.

So in the meantime, I have to rework a lot of the recipes that I come across. Some of the time I fail miserably (not so bad that I can’t eat my flop’s, it’s just that no one else will) and other times I am genuinely surprised when my kids and husband give me five stars and proudly announce that a certain dish is restaurant quality. Blush.

Here is my version of Fish Soup:

  • 2-3 TBSP. Olive Oil
  • ½ to 1 Cup finely chopped leeks  OR 1 Cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced not pressed
  • 1 – 15oz can diced San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 TBSP Tomato Paste
  • 6 – 8 Cups Homemade Fish Stock (pre-heated on the stove in another pot)
  • ½ Cup dry white wine (I keep 1/2 cup amounts in the freezer for cooking)
  • 2½+ lb. fresh fish fillet cut into 2-inch pieces (I used Halibut, Grey Cod, Sockeye Salmon)
  • Pinch of dry oregano, Tabasco, thyme
  • Salt to taste

1) Over medium-high flame, heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add chopped leeks (or onions) and garlic; sautée 4-5 minutes. Add tomato and tomato paste, cooking gently for approximately 10 minutes.

2) Add dry white wine, allowing to simmer a few minutes before adding the cut fish pieces, gently stirring to cover with the tomato sauce, followed by adding the pre-heated fish stock. Simmer uncovered for a minimum of 10 minutes. Add seasonings.

Note: Other fish that I like to use are Turbot, Sole, Red Snapper, Tilapia.

What I’ve been up to…

As a courtesy to those who have subscribed to my blogs, you may have noticed that I don’t just publish a post for the sake of publishing a post. I know that your time is precious and I do my best to write down my thoughts with as much care as possible. I hope you will recognize my integrity and take the time to read my infrequent but often long posts.

I have a post coming that is on the long side. Believe me, I am working at condensing my thoughts into manageable blurbs, but I admit that I just have so many streams of thought that relate to each other that I am having little success. If you are like me, you will scroll down to the end of a post determining whether or not you have the time or the desire to read it in its entirety. So, I have resolved to start with the following introduction. You will see the connection once you read the next instalment.

Homemade Hemp Milk

What I have been juggling:

  • January 2011 – March 2013

Following Eat Right For Your Type eating plan for each member of my family. Each of us is a different blood type. This meant that I often had to make four different meals. Lucky for me, my husband wasn’t really following the plan and he was happy to eat whatever I made for any blood type.

Amazing how quickly I was able to adapt to this theory. Within three months I felt like I had a good handle on it. Quite the good mental exercise; I was able to almost memorize each of our lists. We are more capable than we sometimes give ourselves credit. The trick is to persevere. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

  • March 2013

I started orthodontic treatment. I have been walking around with metal braces on my teeth which has been significant! Eating, talking, teeth shifting, soreness, cleaning, did I mention eating? I have adapted to the adjustment and quite like my braces. I think that I will miss them when they are taken off. I have learned a lot about my habits and self-discipline in the process.

  • April /June 2013

My two kids and I did The ALCAT blood test to identify specifically which foods we have intolerance and sensitivity to. After eleven years of observing my kids I had a vague idea which foods caused them problems. I was tired of guessing and I found the ER4YT program to be too generalized; it was a good starting point though, like a good warm up. But in following the ER4YT program, we ended up over-consuming the beneficial foods, all healthy, but perhaps those beneficial foods weren’t necessarily beneficial for us. In doing the ALCAT personalized blood test, we were given individualized food list and discovered some similarities and discrepancies with ER4YT. The results from this test taught us to add more variety to our diet as well as to space out these healthy foods. In doing so, I have noticed that we don’t over-consume any one product any more. I don’t have an overstock of food ‘staples’ in my pantry. And my kids are learning to have a real healthy and thoughtful relationship with food.

  • April 2013 – present (October 2013)

I have been really challenged with feeding my kids and me; each of us has very different intolerances. I am making most meals from scratch. I am making my own chicken and beef stocks. Making stews and soups and freezing portions. Going to a restaurant was really difficult initially, but since we have been gradually reintroducing the less intolerant foods, going out to a restaurant from time to time has become a real treat, not the frequent indulgence that going out to restaurants has become for many households. But I must admit, the more I cook and bake at home the more I prefer my own cooking.

My son’s most severe intolerances include ALL sugars (cane, maple syrup, agave, honey, hfcs) as well as wheat and other gluten grains, not to mention almonds, asparagus, celery, clam, crab, ginger, pecans, parsley and basil! My daughter has to avoid dairy and wheat, raspberries, bay leaf, artichoke, grapefruit and kidney beans. And my most severe intolerances include apple, fig, flaxseed and white potato. But the upside is that this is not forever. The idea is that if we eliminate these severe intolerances for twelve months and gradually reintroduce them, and by only eating those foods on occasion we should have no negative reactions.

After the initial shock wore off, I pulled myself together and got to work at designing dishes that we could all eat. That became very challenging, so I started making multiple dishes. I’m still standing, six months later! I am here to announce that anything is in fact possible. And I am becoming more accomplished each day with the challenges. Of course I have those days where I completely crash and nothing seems to go and so those are the days my husband rescues me and we go to a restaurant! Imagine just changing your personal lifestyle 180 degrees then go ahead and imagine working on shifting three lifestyles simultaneously. It all comes down to The Want; if you want something badly enough you will and can make it happen.

I have also been working on:

  • Specifically not eating the same foods again until four days have passed! Give that one a try. For example: if you have carrots today, wait until four days have passed before you have carrots again. Can you do that with your morning coffee? Most of us eat the same ten to twenty foods on a regular basis!
  • Learning to use less single–use plastic by reading Beth Terry’s book one chapter at a time.

Homemade Rice Crackers

  • Making my own flour, crackers, soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk, oat milk, rice milk etc.
  • Designing recipes based on acceptable foods from the ALCAT test following the 4 -Day Food Rotation
  • Cleaning my own house, in even a more environmentally conscious way
  • Raising kids and caring for a geriatric dog
  • Taking care of my own body maintenance
  • Volunteering at my kid’s school
  • Finding time to write down my thoughts before I become overwhelmed with content and freeze.
  • Stay on top of my hobbies
  • Etc.

Dog Ruby

This post ended up longer than it was supposed to be…I’ll keep trying until I get it right. Until then, thanks for reading.

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