But sauerkraut cupcakes? Not so much. While creativity in the kitchen is nice, I still prefer healthy twists on tried-and-true favorites: a warm, bubbly peach crisp made without refined sugar, slow-churned coconut lime ice cream, decadent brownies and healthy homemade creamsicles in the spring.
If you feel the same way but are on a grain-free/dairy-free diet, Jenny of Nourished Kitchen has put together a collection of 90+ grain-free recipes that even sourdough families like mine are sure to adore.
Recipes like this these chocolate coconut donuts, which I-kid-you-not taste exactly like slightly less sweet Little Debbie snack cakes without the cream filling. I LOVE cream anything so I melted a little coconut butter in a double boiler with some water and poured it over the top as a glaze . . . yummo! Real whipped cream would have sent these over the top. I would dunk them like some people dunk coffee.
(Hey, no one’s looking, so now is the perfect time to wipe the corner of your mouth. It’s okay, I drooled the first time, too)
Let me tell you a little about this book. The Nourished Kitchen Guide To Grain-Free Baking, Sweets & Treats is everything I wish I’d known when my family went grain-free a few years ago. If you want to learn . . .
And how to make great-tasting grain and dairy-free treats for birthdays, parties or snacks on the go, definitely check out these recipes. Okay? Okay. Now about that recipe . . .
Makes about 6 donuts.
Here are a few of my favorites:
And though it could technically be considered edible, this mint chocolate whipped body butter works better as a light bronzer. Did I say a few recipes? I meant ten.Read More »
Well schooch on up, I’ve got them right here! Sometimes, what gets left out of a product is just as exciting as what goes in. For those of you avoiding dairy, corn, soy, maltodextrin and other ingredients, this custom blend probiotic has an “Other Ingredient” list I think you’ll be very interested in. Are you ready to see what’s on it?
Zip. Zilch. Nada.
We are talking zero corn, dairy, soy, gluten, maltodextrin, cellulose, inulin, magnesium stearate, or other flow agents/fillers. What it does have, however, is a custom probiotic formulated after gathering extensive research from communities with a vested interest in improving gut health, such as those working with:
For those of you who might be wondering about the D-lactate/neurotoxicity issue I wrote about earlier this week, here’s something worth mentioning: My research on the subject was sparked by a conversation with Organic 3, Inc. President Dan Corrigan, who helped to formulate GUTPro. We met at the Wise Traditions Conference last year and have chatted a few times since then. Based on our converations and my own research, I believe GUTPro strikes a good balance between L-lactate and D-lactate.
Organic 3 has generously agreed to donate a bottle of their probiotc powder – which is so concentrated it’s the equivalent of 10 bottles of their probiotic capsules – along with a special measuring spoon to help you get the dosage just right.
They’re also adding in a bottle of GUTZyme, which is made without wheat, rice or corn-derived maltodextrin, yay!
There are 3 easy steps to enter:
2. Click the link in the Rafflecopter widget below for the mandatory entry.
3. Sign up for extra entries using Rafflecopter.
Tipping at a restaurant in Iceland is considered an insult, camels have three eyelids, and what we thought we knew about L-acidophilus just might be all wrong.
Okay, not ALL wrong, but what if certain probiotic strains sometimes make autism worse, exacerbate chronic fatigue syndrome and other autoimmune disorders, and create brain fog, confusion and depression? I’m not talking about “die-off” or a healing crisis, where an individual gets worse before they get better. In this post, I’m going to share research that has caused me to conclude that sometimes the probiotics themselves may the problem. Let’s jump in with a little Probiotic 101, shall we?
The two most common types of probiotics come from lactic-acid producing bacteria (LAB’s) and bifidobacteria. Of the LAB’s there are two categories:
L-Lactate, which is usually predominant in the body, is easily metabolized. For most people D-Lactate is not a problem, either, but in large amounts it may be difficult for those with impaired digestion to break down. This is especially true for those who have difficulty digesting carbohydrates.
Certain probiotics – especially L. acidophilus – are sometimes taken in huge quantities because they’re considered “safe in any amount.” However, L. acidophilus mainly produces D-lactic acid, and for those who cannot easily break this could create unintended consequences.
D-lactic acidosis (or a sub-clinical form of the same) occurs when the body is unable to rid itself of D-lactic acid. Diet – especially a diet rich in carbs if an individual cannot digest them well – is considered by some to be the main factor behind acidosis. As we’ll discuss later on, though, there are studies which indicate probiotic use can also induce this condition.
Here’s what happens at a cellular level: D-lactate buildup causes cellular metabolism of glucose to switch from an aerobic (oxygen-rich) process to an anaerobic (oxygen-deprived) process. In this oxygen-starved environment cells are unable to produce adequate amounts of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is needed for the “synthesis, degradation and ‘firing’ of neurotransmitter molecules.” (source)
Low ATP can affect cognitive function, create feelings of fatigue and impair coordination among other things. More generally, symptoms of D-Lactic acidosis include fatigue, confusion, impaired central nervous system function, impaired coordination, depression, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, anemia, headaches and in extreme cases encephalopathy. (source 1, source 2)
Hmmm . . . fatigue and brain fog? Does this sound familiar to you?
If you’ve come across the GAPS or SCD protocol before, you already know that re-balancing damaged gut flora can involve some pretty unpleasant experiences. Tops on that list is the Herxheimer reaction (aka “die off”), which is a term that “was coined to describe what Karl Herxheimer saw when he administrated drugs to patients. The reaction is thought to happen when toxins from dying pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites, candida, etc.) overwhelm the body’s abilities to clear them out.” (source)
Basically, the idea is that it’s normal for some people to temporarily feel bad when introducing probiotics – the body working hard to clear a lot of junk out all at once! But what if that’s not what’s happening? Acidosis and die-off can have very similar symptoms so they could be easily confused. “Die-off” typically lasts 3-7 days according to some experts, so if it’s lasting longer than that it might be worth considering acidosis or another factor.
Unless they’re taking megadoses, it appears that most people with good digestion will be able to clear excess D-lactate. Unfortunately, the individuals most likely to experience side effects from D-lactate are those who are taking probiotics therapeutically for conditions such as:
Since the side effects can be the same as the original symptoms it’s hard to figure out what’s going on without a lab test, but we do know in general that abnormally high levels of D-lactic acid have been observed in some individuals with chronic fatigue and autism. (source) According to this study:
Coleman and Blass in  were the first to link to bioenergy metabolism disturbances with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]. They reported lactic acidosis in four children with autism. Later, Laszlo et al.  reported increased serotonin, lactic acid and pyruvate levels in children with autism. Lombard  then proposed that mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation defects could cause abnormal brain metabolism in children with autism, leading to lactic acidosis and decreased serum carnitine levels.
Ironically, both probiotics AND antibiotics are implicated in D-lactate acidosis. This study found that invasive infection from probiotic strains is rare but possible, though some actual infection rates may be under-reported due to misdiagnosis as “die-off.” In this study set, a little girl who had been given acidophilus from 4 months to 18 months began exhibiting “nervous shuddering, ticks, and OCD tendencies with greatly increased amounts of flatulence.” Lab tests indicated an overgrowth of L. acidophilus as the possible culprit.
On the flipside, some D-lactic acid producing bacteria appear to be antibiotic resistant, which means they could survive a course of antibiotics which killed everything else. With the competition eliminated, D-lactate producing bacteria could gain a stronger hold.
This is simple math, really:
Studies indicating probiotic induced acidosis + studies confirming neurotoxicity from D-Lactic acidosis = popular probiotic strains may induce neurotoxicity.
Now just to tie up a few loose ends!
I imagine some of you are wondering whether it’s worth it to continue taking probiotics. I’m not an expert, but I personally think they’re beneficial in many circumstances. The benefits of lactic acid producing bacteria (LAB’s) have been thoroughly documented, and research indicates that trying to eliminate them completely can negatively affect our inner-ecology in different ways. Should we rethink megadoses of L. acidophilus and monitor individuals with compromised digestion for signs of acidosis? I think so, especially in cases where people are working hard to heal and not seeing the results they expect.
For me, the important thing to understand is that certain species of lactobacillus may be more compatible with our biology than others. Just about everyone easily clears L-lactate, so I buy probiotics that focus on strains which primarily produce this acid instead of D-lactate.
If you don’t mind, I’ll respond to this question with a question: Have you ever heard of the Belly Button Biodiversity Project? Oh yes, it’s a real endeavor pioneered by scientists at North Carolina State University. Apparently, they’ve found 1,400 different distinct bacterial strains that live in the belly buttons of random volunteers – half of which have never been identified before!
In a similar way, the diversity of beneficial bacteria that can be found in fermented foods is stunning. Some D-lactate may be present, but I wouldn’t miss out on all the other amazing strains they have to offer by worrying about it.
That was A LOT of info! Please imagine me standing in my bathrobe, loudly applauding you for making it to the end of this post! Any questions?
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and cannot diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Please see my full disclaimer here.Read More »
In your backyard. I totally get it. After this interview with mushroom expert Tradd Cotter, who wouldn’t want to grow gourmet mushrooms for $2/lb and minimal time investment? The fact that you decided to inoculate a **few** backup logs just in case makes perfect sense to me.
Now it’s time to discuss what to do with all these amazing mushrooms you’ve grown… you know… now that you’re officially a
I’ve often dreamed of opening a booth at our farmer’s market just so the little potami could get the experience of working in a “family business,” but had no idea what we might sell. Our six-year-old neighbor sells honey from bees they keep on their property, so I think we’ll specialize in mushrooms! Booths are hard to come by at our bustling market, so I think we’ll either sell directly to the farmers who are already set up or ask if Katie can join them behind the counter one day a month while I supervise. Considering how many people there love her I think we can find someone to take us on!
If selling is not your thing, you could trade them for stuff you need. I’ve noticed that quite a few of our local farmers trade with each other at the market before closing time. They often take their excess and work out ongoing deals with each other to swap specialty items. Imagine what you might exchange for your extra mushrooms! Sun-ripened tomatoes, raw cheese, or even blueberries! Yippee!
Now that gourmet mushrooms are on your radar, I’m betting you’ll start to find more and more recipes that will work wonderfully with them: soups, stews, stir-fry’s, omeletes, pasta, and fondue for starters.
In the meantime, you can dehydrate your excess mushrooms for soups later, or ferment them for salads!
Or after-school projects, or whatever! Every step of this process can be turned into a learning opportunity for your kids, and folks are often very generous when they know they’re giving supplies to an educational venture. (Tree-trimmers are a great place to get freshly cut log stumps and coffee shops will donate coffee grounds.)
Katie loved helping me start our indoor and outdoor mushroom projects, and I can’t wait to guide her through the process of cooking, storing, and trading our very own mushrooms. By the time she’s a tween I hope she’ll be a competent cultivator of one or two plants/fungi, with valuable skills she developed in low pressure situations as a small child. You’re never too young to learn to grow food!
Several mushrooms can be made into medicinal teas to support immune and liver function. According to Tradd, the mushroom expert I interviewed earlier this week,
The easiest medicinal mushroom to cultivate is the Reishi, or Ling Chi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum), also known as ‘the Mushroom of Immortality’,which is easily cultivated on logs. The same method for drilling and plugging logs with spawn is used, just as in shiitake cultivation, except the logs are placed on the ground, laying down partially submerged in the soil. These mushrooms prefer to fruit from buried wood, so once you infect some fresh hardwood logs with spawn you can bury the pieces and check back about a year later in the spring and summer.
Reishi mushrooms have been used for thousands of years for stimulating immune function, regulating sugars and liver function, as well as a acting as a non-narcotic sedative or sleeping aid when taken as a tea at night. It has been used for thousands of years in Japanese and Chinese herbal medicine, conveniently this mushroom loves to grow in the Southeastern United States and can be a great addition to your herbal garden outdoors.”
For info on making medicinal teas and extracts, check out this post.
Mushrooms create a “living filter” which break down all kinds of toxins in the environment. Oyster mushrooms are known to break down 80% of DDT in 28 days and they are also effective against herbicides like atrazine – they can also fully break down disposable diapers in four months! (In case you’re wondering, the typical break down time without help is 250-500 years)
To reclaim land that has been heavily sprayed or otherwise polluted, you might try blending some oyster mushroom mycelium into wood chips and spreading it over the affected area. Check out Mushroom Mountain / Mycoremediation for more info.
Read More »
Daddypotamus snapped this pic when we were at Whole Foods the other day, and all I can say is wooooow. Though I’m sure those are some mighty tasty mushrooms – probably gathered at the foot of a waterfall where unicorns graze or something – the fact is I flat cannot justify paying $30/pound for them. Okay, maybe i could buy one.
Here’s the thing, though: Mushrooms are incredibly rich in a an amino acid called ergothioneine, which is a potent antioxidant often used in “anti-aging” skin creams. They’re also rich in selenium, an essential mineral needed in order to detoxify harmful substances such as arsenic and fluoride. Add in the B vitamins, natural vitamin D2, potassium and pantothenic acid for optimal hormone function, and you’ve got plenty of reasons to indulge.
Fortunately, according to Tradd Cotter of Mushroom Mountain you can grow your own at home for as little as $2/pound! I recently “met” Tradd after reading through the list of speakers for the Organic Grower’s School Permaculture Conference in North Carolina next month. I’m seriously hoping a few of you will be able to make it for a real-life meet up, but for those that can’t I thought it would be fun to bring a little piece of the conference to you.
Below are a few techniques Tradd has been kind enough to share with me. You are going to LOVE how easy and fun they are!
If you have trouble locating freshly cut logs for this method, I recommend calling a tree trimmer and asking if he will set some aside for you!
You will need:
Basically, this is planting your mushroom “seed.” According to Tradd, the log should be inoculated within 6 weeks of being felled. It needs to be dry on the outside, free of dirt. Lichens and moss are OK. If your log was cut 0-3 weeks prior to inoculation no action is needed, but if it was cut 3-6 weeks before it should be soaked in non-chlorinated water for 12 hours prior to inoculation. To get started:
Download written instructions with diagrams from Mushroom Mountain here.
Click here for a handout on care instructions, plus how to “trick” your mushroom log into fruiting more often by simulating the beginning of winter.
Apologies for the video quality!
There are two basic ways to do this:
Store your mushroom jar in a cabinet until it the jar is filled with white mycelium or it starts to fruit, then move it to a place with indirect sunlight/fluorescent light and mist 2-3 times a day to encourage growth. When the edges of the caps start to turn upwards, cut at the base of the stems and sautee!
I have a few suggestions! Leave a comment below just to say hello, check out the FAQ’s on mushroom growing that Tradd covered earlier this week, or plan your quest to capture a unicorn by the waterfall where the $29.99/pound mushrooms grow.
Read More »
When someone writes “Mommy Pot” next to a transaction linked to my website, they are just making abbreviated notes for their own use. Though I do encourage the medicinal use of plants, I do not, in fact, sell pot.
It seemed like a good idea to get this straight before I admit I am growing medicinal mushrooms in my backyard. Not the kind that make you see aliens dressed up like Hello Kitty. Actual medicinal mushrooms. Are we good?
The adventurers. The ones who “prescribe” breast milk and know your farmers by name, I have a special treat. Tradd Cotter, an expert in mushroom cultivation, foraging, and mycoremediation is here to teach us how to grow both medicinal and gourmet mushrooms in our own backyards.
He’ll also be covering how to grow yummy oyster mushrooms on your kitchen counter using recycled coffee grounds.
Today we’re going to get started with mushroom basics, then we’ll get to the how-to and medicinal formulas later this week.
Thank you for joining us, Tradd!
Tradd: Greetings everyone! Thank you Mommpotamus for hosting me to field some questions about mushroom production…
Tradd: It would cost the average homeowner about $16/pound for specialty mushrooms if purchased versus producing them at home or commercially for less than $2 per pound. Since the cultures, or spawn go a long way, you can take advantage of inexpensive growing media that is available locally to minimize costs and increase production based on your skill level.
Homeowners should be able to cultivate fresh oyster and shiitake mushrooms in the range of $2-3 per pound, with very little work involved, since labor is the most expensive component, and it is very uncomplicated to set up a system for as little as a few hours a week to produce 10 pounds or more of mushrooms no matter where you live. Most mushroom gardens only take a few minutes per day to mist and harvest, with a few hours one day devoted to making another batch for continuing a weekly harvest indefinitely. Not a bad reward versus expense!
[Mommypotamus follow up: Not bad at all! For those of us who want to grow a lot less than 10 pounds I'm assuming the time commitment is very minimal then. Yay!]
In other words, are mushrooms like high-maintenance gremlins that have to be fed only during certain hours? Are people going to save money or end up spending the equivalent of $100 a mushroom?
Tradd: Mushrooms are super easy to grow, and extremely profitable from a commercial standpoint. It also depends if the grower intends to do homegrown or commercial techniques, but I encourage beginners to start with what I call “training wheel” mushrooms that are almost impossible not to fruit, like the Oyster mushrooms of the genus Pleurotus, such as Blue, Golden, and Pink. They will fruit commercially on agricultural waste such as shredded wheat straw, peanut hulls and whatever your local farmers are shelling out, including urban waste such as paper, cardboard, old cotton clothing and much more…
On a scale of one to ten the oysters are a one, shiitake are second, and king stropharia on wood chips outdoors an easy third for anyone wishing to ramp up their knowledge of mushroom cultivation. Don’t be intimidated to grow mushrooms, but don’t jump up to a difficult species right out of the gate, build your understanding and you will be amazed how many incredible mushrooms you can grow indoors and out anywhere in the world.
Mushrooms can grow year-round, depending on the variety of spawn you purchase. Also some species come in different temperature strains, such as shiitake and oyster, that have cold and warm strains that you can plant just ahead of that season to get fruiting.
Liken it to planting collards and broccoli in the fall, then tomatoes and squash in the spring. Yes, they can be seasonal in that sense!
I’m assuming oyster mushrooms don’t thrive in, say, Texas or Arizona?
Tradd: Oyster mushrooms can grow anywhere, there are many varieties and cultivars, both warm and cold strains of species that have been adapted to a wide range of climates and growing substrates, making them extremely versatile and easy for growers everywhere. The key component is occasional misting or watering during fruiting…
If expanding your spawn on spent coffee, cardboard and paper, or shredded straw, the time from planting to fruiting is only a few weeks. The more spawn you use, the faster the spawn run and fruiting time, but it will not generally produce more mushrooms, that is why using spawn sparingly and trying to expand it to its full potential can be very productive and economical.
Olga makes “Mushroom Fries.” Split the oyster mushrooms, pull them apart since they are stringy, soak them in milk and eggs, then coat them with flour and meal. Fry them and serve with a spicy mayonaise sauce. They resemble calamari but not as chewy, very delicious!
If you’re interested in learning about homesteading, stocking your medicine cabinet with tinctures from seven common plants, or starting your first garden, join me at the Organic Growers School Permaculture Conference at the University of North Carolina on March 9-10.
Tradd will be speaking on medicinal mushrooms (yay!) and there will be restaurants on site selling local and organic food. Please let me know if you can make it – I’d love to grab lunch together!Read More »
These popcorn balls are great for unofficial holidays like Tuesday, run-to-the-bank day, and, um, no pants day. Of course they’re perfect for birthday parties, movie nights and rainy days, too, but I’ll bet you already thought of that.
We love the sweet orange burst of flavor of our homemade gummies, but feel free to add your own twist to the recipe – candied orange peels, chocolate chips, and dried pineapple would all be delicious!
Note: As I mention in the recipe, these popcorn balls are chewy rather than crunchy. However, if you like a little crunch factor just leave them to dry for 24 hours or so.
For the marshmallow creme:
1. Pop popcorn and put 8 cups into a large baking pan. Set two cups aside in a bowl.
2. Add gummy stars and chopped almonds to the baking pan
3. With the remaining ingredients whip up a batch of marshmallow creme using this recipe. Please note that you will be making a half batch, so use the proportions listed above instead of the ones in the recipe! Also, when they instruction say to pour the marshmallow creme into a pan you’ll want to pour it over the popcorn.
4. Rub your hands with butter and mix marshmallow with other ingredients thoroughly, adding extra popcorn until there is a thin coat of creme all over. What you’ll have at this point is a giant mess that falls apart easily. Don’t worry, just divide your mixture into small globs and place them on sheet of wax paper. After they’ve had about 20-30 minutes to set they’ll easily form into balls.
5. These popcorn balls are a bit chewy if eaten right away, but they become more crunchy if you let them dry out on the counter for about 24 hours.
Read More »
Every time you see a squishy newborn? Would you love to give a gift that’s hundreds of times more valuable than a package of diapers at the next baby shower? Are you a mom of grown children who wants the best for your future grandbabies?
If so, don’t miss this unbelievable offer from my good friend, Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade. To celebrate the release of her new book, Beautiful Babies, everyone who pre-orders will receive a FREE enrollment in her $199 e-course on nutrition for fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby’s first foods. You can check out the class here.
Just last week I recommended the Beautiful Babies book – which includes a foreword from Joel Salatin no less – as a great budget-friendly alternative for those who can’t afford the class. Now you can get them BOTH for the same price!!
There’s just one: You have to buy the book while it’s on pre-order status. Yep, that’s it.
Step One: Pre-Order The Book
Step Two: Email Kristen Your Order Receipt
Email your order receipt to email@example.com.
BOOM, You’re In!
After Kristen verifies your pre-order, she will email you a coupon that you can redeem for your free enrollment.
That’s totally fine. In fact if you buy a book for, say, both of your daughter’s you can get a free enrollment for each of them. When you enroll in the online course, you’ll have a chance to put in the students name and email address. Just put down your loved one’s contact information instead of your own and they’re enrolled!Read More »