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Snowboarding the white sand dunes of Ruidoso, New Mexico was a short-lived love affair. More like a fling, actually. If they ever install ski lifts it’s a romance worth rekindling, but until then I’m more than happy to doodle my name next to a yucca tree instead.
What I DID truly love about New Mexico, though, were the colorful hanging ristras of dried peppers. What exactly one did with these peppers I had no idea – but unraveling the mystery over the last ten years has been a sumptuous journey for sure.
Anaheim chilies from New Mexico, chipotle’s, ancho’s from the legendary fields of Puebla, Mexico – each variety adds depth and excitement in its own way. Take the ancho, for example. It’s mid-range on the heat scale, but it’s peppery sweetness is what makes it perfect for a family of all ages.
No need to fiddle with it too much, either. The complex flavor is best paired with simple ingredients. Roast. Salt. Onion. Aaand a few other things. But yeah, that’s pretty much it. Did I mention that active prep time is only 10 minutes? (15 if you make gravy!)
Just one more thing. The sauce is absolutely fab over scrambled eggs.
Photo credit: Mr. T in DCRead More »
Anything you say on my facebook page can and very possibly will inspire a blog post. Oh sure, I have things to say, but there’s a poop streak on the bedsheet calling my name and let’s face it – the best stuff always comes from you, anyway. So, without further hullabalo, here are five brilliant birthday ideas too good to keep buried in an obscure status update:
“We always wake him up singing (and video taping). We usually have some special breakfast waiting. Of course he gets to pick all of the foods for the day.”
A rousing performance (with re-enactments from older siblings if possible!), slideshows, a journal entry, or even by making a dish you prepared while in labor. There are tons of fun ways to relive the day. Try them all!
I write everything about what they are like at that point in time. Everything I love about them, what I am praying over them & God’s plan for them. Then I seal it and put in a box specific for each of them to have later in life. I also sit with them and tell them the same things..knowing they may not fully understand it all at this age.
I bought a sparkly decorated “birthday girl” party hat for my daughter. She will be three this year, so this will be the third year we use it while we sing Happy Birthday to her. Hope she doesn’t hate me when she’s 16, because she’s still gonna have to get at least one picture taken with it on her head.:)
We all cuddle up in the morning first thing and sing happy birthday, open their couple of family presents and hear their birth story. I also make whatever that child wants for breakfast and dinner. At breakfast we go around and tell the birthday boy how much we love him and all the things that make him special to us. We usually have a little party with family and/or friends as well, but the other things are our traditions.
And of course – as many moms notes – there’s ALWAYS food. Usually we whip up a traditional carrot cake with my mom’s recipe, but now that we’re a GAPS family I’ll be baking these grain-free carrot cake mini’s from The Urban Poser.
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It’s chock full of – hang on, I am not going to quote stats today . . . how about a story instead?
Alrighty then, weird science story it is! Back in the 1950’s Dr. Benjamin K. Ershoff selected three groups of rats for a feeding experiment. The first group was fed a basic diet fortified with 11 vitamins. Group 2 received the same ration along with b-complex vitamins. Group 3 also ate the same diet, but instead of b-vitamins they were supplemented with powdered liver.
After several weeks, the animals were placed one by one into a drum of cold water from which they could not climb out. They literally were forced to sink or swim. Rats in the first group swam for an average 13.3 minutes before giving up. The second group, which had the added fortifications of B vitamins, swam for an average of 13.4 minutes. Of the last group of rats, the ones receiving liver, three swam for 63, 83 and 87 minutes. The other nine rats in this group were still swimming vigorously at the end of two hours when the test was terminated. Something in the liver had prevented them from becoming exhausted. To this day scientists have not been able to pin a label on this anti-fatigue factor.
I don’t know a mama who couldn’t use an anti-fatigue boost. Unfortunately, most people (including me) don’t enjoy the taste of liver. Fortunately for us, there IS a way to get your family to eat liver and like it!
Just last night I whipped up a batch to photograph for today’s post and – even though he knows there ALWAYS is – Daddypotamus asked if there was liver in the chili. Yep, really. And oh, I forgot to mention that it’s actually good, too!
* Beef liver can be substituted but it will need to be finely minced before it is sauteed with the onions/garlic. Also, I recommend using no more than 1/2 pound as beef liver has a very strong taste.
Instructions for the night before:
The next day:
To make the beans:
To make the chili:
Photo credit: Zsuzsanna KilianRead More »
Okay, not today (or maybe it is) – but soon! If you’ve been wanting to start GAPS, the 30Day GAPS Intro Challenge hosted by Cara at Health Home & Happiness is right around the corner! Starting October 1st families in Duluth, Dallas, Delaware and where you live will be starting “Intro” together.
“Intro” is GAPster speak for the intensive healing first phase of the diet. And by intensive I mean soup. Lots and lots and LOTS of it!
But hey! It’s not so bad. Soups and stews make delightful fall meals, and if you get started next month you’ll be ready to feast on goodies from the full GAPS menu this holiday season. You’ll have lots to choose from, believe me.
Yes, there’s egg nog.
Yes, there are cookies.
Yes, you can have pancakes.
And yes, you can even have berry cobbler.
A quick blip through the intensive healing phase and you’ll be there. Pinky swear and everything.
Will it be the red pill or the blue? No wait, that’s not right! You need to decide on a STRATEGY – otherwise you’ll wake up and realize the broth you need for breakfast is still sitting in the freezer way. too. many. times.
If strategy is not your thing (it’s definitely not mine), What Can I Eat Now? is the essential guide to Intro. I don’t know how people survived Intro before Cara created this 57 page wonder. Or actually, I do, because she sent it to me when we were halfway through our first round. It’s like the difference between cracking a coconut with a hammer instead of a plastic spoon!
Cara covers everything – sourcing foods, switching your toiletries to non-toxic versions (including recipes), reminders to start fermented foods, recipes for detox baths, and of course creative casseroles, stews, and other meals I never would have thought up on my own. Want to take a peek??? You can download a preview here.
To help kick off the 30 Day GAPS Intro Challenge, Cara is giving away a copy of What Can I Eat Now? here on Mommypotamus! To enter, just leave a comment telling us why you want to start GAPS to be entered to win! The winner will be chosen via random.org one week from today!
P.S. Have you ever wondered if it’s okay to do GAPS while breastfeeding? Yup! read more . . .Read More »
Yesterday Katie pulled a half empty bottle of ketchup from the fridge and asked what it was. One of her favorite games – and my least – is to ask questions she already knows the answer to, so I gave a quick sideways glance to check her expression. Yup, the girl has completely forgotten about ketchup.***
Now, if your child -who happens to have been a ketchup enthusiast – can no longer name the condiment of tomatoey goodness, it means one of three things:
A) This is not your child. Go back to the last place you were . . . grocery store, park, craft store, wherever. A parent whose child is undoubtedly wearing the exact. same. outfit. as yours will inevitably wave you down. Exchange.
B) An interstellar worm has wriggled it’s way into your child’s brain. It’s only food is the cellular memory of ketchup, which makes for a very short lifespan. In other words, your child was infected with an alien parasite for about three minutes.
C) Your child is on GAPS
Fortunately, in my situation the answer is C . It’s been six months since we became a GAPS family and three months since I told you about my bucket list and confessed that my husband has no pants (and as we discovered on vacation, no swim trunks either). Which means . . . it’s time for an update!
Oy, of all the things Katie’s said, that one max’s out on the heebie jeebie scale. Fortunately, the only “education” she is getting around here is a little – okay, A LOT – of extra flirting between mommy and daddy.The movie she wanted to watch was What About Bob, which we have emphatically explained is a “Grown-Up Movie”.
I’m serious about the flirting, though. Daddypotamus feels better, and for some reason that compels him to buy me wine and flowers. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE that wine is GAPS legal??
. . . and that’s good! As the spontaneous clearing of his weird, crusty, flaky scalp condition (that he had for YEARS) proves, his internal ecosystem is shifting. Unfortunately, focusing at work is still a semi-epic battle, so we’re in the process of adding supplements to support cognitive function -L-tyrosine, Ginkgo biloba, Brahmi (an Ayurvedic herb), or Gotu Kola – I’ll let you know how it goes. But for now, let’s move on to Katie!
Silly me! Katie is on GAPS because we are – it’s purely by default. So why, after four months on a gut healing diet, did my HEALTHY daughter decide to begin displaying symptoms of digestive distress???
This no-good, very bad, horrible rash appeared on her face . . . and stayed, and stayed, and STAYED. I did everything I would tell another mama to do (and then some), but the darn thing unpacked it’s suitcase and started collecting takeout menu’s from neighborhood restaurants. Evicting this thing was not going to be easy . . .
I thought it might be eczema, which as we all know is related to gut dysbiosis. But because it’s hard to be objective in circumstances like this – and because I have a tendency to royally freak out – I consulted Katja. She reminded me that microbes are like tiny, invisible gunslingers with a penchant for gun blazing, symptom flaring last stands. In other words, though Katie had no symptoms, chances are that a pathogenic yeast was taking hold in her gut before we started GAPS (I had no idea about establishing good gut microbes when Katie was born). So when it started losing it’s grip it got kind of , er, ticked and went all Billy the Kid on my daughter’s face.
We treated the yeast with a topical calendula tincture and held our ground with the diet, and by our vacation two months later she looked like this.
When symptoms return (or get WORSE) on a healing diet it can be really discouraging. But sometimes, just when we think we have utterly failed, it turns out we are actually winning! (Note: I’m declaring victory against Billy the Rogue Yeast just yet. He may have a last stand or two left.)
Did this yeasty revolt surprise me? Absolutely. Katie is not a typical GAPS kid, and yet this diet is clearly having a positive impact on her health. I’m more committed than ever! Now for a quick little story about . . .
Did you know that mustard contains iron? Late one night when my body screamed “Steak! Steak! STEAK!” at me for over an hour, I politely informed it that the steak was in the freezer. “Fried eggs and mustard then, please,” it replied – and then I knew.
A quick consult from Google and everything added up: Eggs (protein) + mustard (iron) = steak. Only, they don’t actually, so I rummaged around and found my whole food based iron supplements from way back when and set the steak out to thaw before bed.
And then, puke fest. Puke puke puke puke puke. Did I mention the puking? Seriously, this is turning out to be quite a bucket list. So there I am heaving into the toilet (in the dark, which I don’t recommend) and wondering WHY, when this passage comes rushing back:
Most people with abnormal gut flora have various stages of anemia. It is not surprising. They not only can’t absorb essential-for-blood vitamins and minerals from food, but their own production of these vitamins is damaged. On top of that, people with abnormal gut flora often have a particular group of pathogenic bacteria growing in their gut, which are iron-loving bacteria (Actinomyces spp., Mycobacteriam spp., pathogenic strains of E.coli, Corynebacterium spp., and many others). They consume whatever iron the person gets from the diet, leaving that person deficient in iron. Unfortunately, supplementing iron makes these bacteria grow stronger and does not remedy anemia.”
Gut & Psychology Syndrome, p. 24
So uh, apparently, I have improved my gut flora and therefore my ability to absorb iron (I have always been borderline anemic), and now half of my normal dose of iron supplements raises the DEFCON 5 alert. Good to know.
*** If you’re working up the nerve to start GAPS and can’t live without ketchup, don’t worry. It’s allowed, you just have to make it yourself. I tried a couple recipes and they were just meh, so we stick with rockstar condiments like homemade mayo and pickled jalapenos (a lot of storebought mustard’s are GAPS legal, too). I’m sure you’ll find one that works for you.Read More »
Live saving interventions. Unnecessarians. Orgasmic births. Pitocin. Breathing Your Baby Out. Ring of Fire. VBAC. Water Birth. Vaginal Breech Births. “Due” Dates. Induction Seduction. Doulas. Doctors. Midwives. Mother-Friendly Maternity Care.
Don’t you wish there was a place where we could just talk . . . about EVERYTHING BIRTH? Thanks the the BOLD Network, there is.
OLD Fort Worth is presenting a day of focusing on mother-friendly childbirth choices on September 23-24, 2011. Theatre goers will gather to see the DFW premiere of Birth, a play by Karen Brody, and a Birth Fair will offer new, expectant and future mothers access to professionals and companies who follow the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative.
“I’ve chosen eight women’s stories” she says. “That was the hardest part — choosing only eight. An impossible task. What about women who give birth to stillborn babies at seven months? Birth from a blind woman’s perspective? Women who give birth in prisons? Some birth stories had to be dropped. I chose the most typical ones I heard; the most common themes. Namely: epidurals, cesareans and natural births.”
I wish I could say more from personal experience, but Micah was just a few weeks old when I took him to the premier. This means, of course, that I was incredibly late (first time out with my newborn), and it also explains why we spent the majority of our time in the lobby overcoming technical difficulties related to poop and puke.
The true stories she selected do seem intriguing, though:
In the play we meet Jillian, a stay-at-home mother of four children, who always sees the humor in life, especially in her mixed-bag of birth experiences; and Beth, a 35-year-old successful, high-powered computer systems manager from New Jersey who confidently planned a cesarean.
We are introduced to Vanessa, a buyer for a major department store who never had a doubt that she wanted an epidural. . . and Lisa, an African-American who felt intimidated and used by her midwives and the medical system after her birth.
We get to know Sandy, who thought birth was “just one day,” but found out that having an emergency c-section on that day changed her world. We hear Natalie’s intimate story of physical betrayal; and Amanda, an athletic, confident stay-at-home mother who believed her birthing mantra–”My Body Rocks”–gave her the attitude she needed to give birth naturally in the hospital.
Following each performance there will be a TalkBack Session. Share your story, your frustrations, your concerns. Make a t-shirt with your mantra on it if you want. I don’t know what mine would be, but it would definitely have to include a reference to puke while ending with “most awesome thing I have done . . . EVER!” Not very catchy, but true.
This is the perfect “Girl’s Night Out”, so take your bestie, your mom, your sis. It will be an even to remember. Plus, they’re giving away 500 goody bags. I got a cute stripey pair of Babylegs in my bag last year! Also, check out the Birth and Family Expo and Silent Auction. They have $11,000 in products up for bid to benefit TCBN.
Friday, September 23 @ 7:00 pm
Saturday, September 24 (Crybaby Matinee) @ 2:00 pm
Saturday, September 24 @ 7:00 pm
Tickets are on sale at several locations in and around Tarrant County, including several Birth Centers and Chiropractors’ offices. Tickets can also be purchased online and picked up at Will Call. They are on sale for $10 each and will be $15 at the door.
Leave a comment below for a chance to win two free tickets complements of the Tarrant County Birth Network (TCBN), which is sponsoring the play. For additional entries, share this post on Facebook or Twitter and leave another comment letting me know. The contest will end this Thursday at midnight so get the word out!!!
Hey Mommypotamus, I want you to write about clear skin you have such gorgeous skin and I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. maybe even discuss the connection between acne and sugar / gluten / dairy. or the connection between different allergies or dysfunctions and babies with atopic dermatitis, eczema etc thank you
Aww, shucks, Alexandra! I’ve gotta say, clear skin is NOT something I take for granted. Back in college I had horrible, seriously disfiguring acne. I searched for over an hour for a pic to post as proof, but you know what? There isn’t one. I was so embarrassed I never let anyone near me with a camera. Sorry about that. However, when it comes to the real cause of acne, I do have thoughts to share!
Candida diet? Check. Raw food diet? Double check. Supplements, teas, microdermabrasion? Yes, yes and yes. I tried every over the counter acne treatment and diet I could get my hands on with minimal success. Eventually I came to understand that acne is not caused by bacteria alone . . . otherwise we could infect each other with acne, right? Nope, it’s caused by compromised liver, kidney, digestive and hormone function.
For the sake of making this halfway interesting, I think our subject organs should have names. Let’s start with the liver . . . how about Bob? It’s a good, solid name for a hardworking, jack-of-all-trades kind of organ, don’t you think? Okay, Bob it is.
Imagine Bob is a guy with a net. One of his major functions is to remove and break down used hormones and toxic substances from our blood, like the odd floating cup or plastic bag going down a stream. It’s all good until that stream becomes a raging river of trash and Bob is out there in nothing but his knickers trying to scoop like mad as gunk rushes by.
The stuff he misses is cycled back into our blood, including androgenic hormones that send signals to our sebaceous glands to make more oil. (Keep in mind that this is their second time around, so that’s MUCH more oil than Bob intended.)
It’s not just the oil, though. As more an more toxins build up in our bloodstream the body gets stressed. In an effort to restore homeostasis other organs like our skin are recruited for detoxification purposes. As the toxins near the surface of our skin they meet a surplus of oil thanks to the extra androgenic hormones, which creates warm, friendly petri dish for acne.
According to Food Renegade, “The biggest dietary culprits [for liver problems] include caffeine, alcohol, sugar, food additives, and excessive intake of Omega 6 essential fatty acids. But, there are environmental culprits too: pesticides, herbicides, synthetic chemical fertilizers, and even doctor-prescribed medicines.”
Puberty and menstrual cycles are factors also, because they increase the load of hormones Bob needs to clean from the blood. However, as long as he isn’t overwhelmed with environmental toxins the extra hormones aren’t a problem.
Sometimes, though, it’s not just the river – it’s Bob. The man thrives on B, D and A vitamins (found only in animal products) as well as vitamin C. He needs to be well fed to do his job, which means lots of cod liver oil, grassfed butter, liver or seafood along with certain veggies and herbs. (As a side note, zinc doesn’t seem to be a huge part of Bob’s diet but many acne sufferers are deficient in this vital mineral. For a list of zinc rich foods click here.)
The real cause of acne is upstream. Here’s what I mean: Caffeine, alcohol, processed sugar (fruit and honey are usually okay in moderate amounts), etc. also damage our digestive tracts, which are our first first line of defense when it comes to deactivating toxins and pathogens. Eliminating problem foods may not be enough to heal holes created in the gut lining (called “leaky gut”). If steps are not taken to repair the holes, proteins and other food substances will pass into the bloodstream in their undigested state. The liver will continue to be overwhelmed and the body, who doesn’t recognize these proteins in their whole forms, will launch an attack (create antibodies) against these proteins. This kicks off a domino effect which can lead to eczema, asthma, ADD, and other problems.
The two other systems (which shall remain nameless) are the kidneys and hormone producing organs (thyroid and adrenals). Similar to Bob, the kidneys are rigorous housekeepers that filter blood and expel waste from the body via urine. To nourish them well, consume generous amounts of cabbage (preferably fermented into sauerkraut), garlic, onions, berries, red bell peppers, cauliflower, extra virgin olive oil and wild salmon.
To support the thyroid and adrenal glands -which regulate hormone function and give us soft, supple skin -make sure to consume liver from grassfed animals, green leafy vegetables, and plenty of seafood. (If you can’t quite stomach the idea of liver you can get them in dehydrated (dessicated) capsule form.
If you’re struggling with acne here are some suggestions that may help. Of course, each situation is unique and I am only speaking generally, so use your judgment.
Photo Credit: Foundry Park Inn
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. . . and his page starts suddenly blowing up with confused, frustrated rants about car keys and black holes – don’t worry. It’s just that we are having a **slight** difference of opinion on our departure time. He says this morning, I say it would be lovely for Micah to take his first steps on sand, so we should stay indefinitely.
And now, a little ditty . . .
It’s not exactly a benediction, but I do have a wish for your weekend: May you laugh until happy tears are streaming down your cheek. And then, laugh some more!