Monday, October 31, 2011

Will wean for raw brownies

Ellie's been weaned for 9 days now and I have to admit that many of the foods I've added back into my diet since then have not been that thrilling. Eggs are very nutritious, thrifty and convenient, but not exciting. Potatoes are dense and filling and comforting, but not swoon-worthy. It wasn't until yesterday that I ate something that made me say "Yessss, this was worth weaning for." 

And that thing, not surprisingly, was chocolate. Raw brownies, to be specific. Our nutritionist posted a link to this raw brownie recipe on her Facebook page. If you "like" Replenish PDX on Facebook you will find the best recipes ever - I don't know how Andrea finds all this fantastic stuff on the Web.

So in honor of Halloween, which I spent last year wistfully drooling over bags of candy I couldn't eat, I will share with you what I'll be munching on for this sweet holiday! They take about 2 minutes to make from start to finish, they're GAPS-legal (ironically) and they are divine!

No Bake Brownies from

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cutting the cord

Oh man. Weaning is hard.

Even though I was totally ready to wean Ellie, had thought everything through and really knew deep it my heart it was time - the actual day when you stop nursing your baby is a heart breaker.

The plan was for Saturday morning to be our last nursing session. Ellie woke that morning and we nursed in my bed and then we had to jump out of bed, pull our pre-made green smoothies out of the fridge, throw our bags in the car and head to the airport for Denver and grandma and grandpa's house. I think - for my family - having this trip planned was exactly the right thing to do. Ian and I tend to over think things and I think if we had been home this week we probably would have doubted the decision to wean and maybe even changed our minds. But being in a house buzzing with family has been great - it's distracted Ellie from wanting to nurse and it's helped me get over the hurt of losing that tie with my baby.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quinoa! A big departure off GAPS

Last night was a big moment. Our family dined on quinoa for the first time in ten and a half months! For  those of you who don't know, quinoa is often treated like a grain (it's prepared and served like other grains) but is actually a seed (along with amaranth, buckwheat and millet). While these grain-like seeds aren't allowed on GAPS, they are allowed on another healing diet called the Body Ecology Diet, which also treats gut disbyosis and candida. This is just another step away from GAPS and toward something that is working better for my family.

Ellie did fantastic. She actually really enjoyed eating the quinoa, which I was dubious about because we've recently introduced lentils and adzuki beans and she isn't a huge fan of the texture of either of these foods. ("I don't like duki beans.") But she declared she likes quinoa and ate up a bowlful of the quinoa-veggie salad I prepared. Yay! She slept through the night, woke up happy and has had healthy poops.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Our last week nursing

Well, the time has come. We are almost done nursing. I can hardly believe it. Even though Ellie is ready and I am ready, there is a part of each of us that would love to continue nursing a lot longer. I think that if we weren’t in the situation we are, with our diet the way it is, we probably would continue for longer. But we are where we are and part of that reality is that nursing just doesn’t fit into the picture anymore.

Ellie and I have had our fair share of nursing challenges and this transition has caused me to reflect back on them. A few stories:

  • When she was born Ellie could not figure out how to latch. I remember the white board in the hospital room where we were supposed to mark down times we tried to nurse and note an “N” for nursed and “A” for attempted. By day 3, when we went home, the board was full of “A”s. She had lost so much weight by day 4 that we were told to use a supplemental nursing system and formula or else she’d be checked back into the hospital. We were terribly frightened and I felt like I had failed her. Finally my milk came in and we were able to nurse, though it was very painful.
  • Ellie’s latch didn’t significantly improve until she was about 3 or 4 months old. During her early months I developed Reynaud’s Syndrome, which caused terrible pain during nursing. I was able to recover from this through acupuncture and lifestyle changes.
  • Ellie experienced failure to thrive again from about 10 to 15 months. Despite the fact that she was a healthy weight during those first 10 months of nursing, much of that time when she was exclusively nursing, I had many doctors tell me the failure to thrive was because of nursing and that I should wean her. I refused, and as we got dairy, soy, eggs, gluten and more troublesome foods out of her diet her weight returned to healthy levels.
  • The biggest challenge by far was going on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and GAPS diets with Ellie. Right now we’ve been following those diets for 10 months. I hope I never have to eat this way again, but I’m glad I was able to continue nursing Ellie through such a difficult time.

I had been ferociously committed to nursing Ellie no matter how restricted our diet because I believed (still do) that nursing was essential to her good health in the past two very difficult years. And Ellie is one of those super persistent kiddos who gets attached to something and will. not. let. go.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A season for slowing down

The rain has set in for the season here in Portland and each evening it gets dark a little earlier than the last. In the summer months Ellie and I spend as much time as possible outside and now that the weather has turned dark and dreary we are staying inside and I am turning my attention to the slowness of the season.

We have transitioned from eating the quick salads of summer to the slow foods of fall: chicken soup, bone broth, roasted vegetables. It seems like everything I make in the kitchen these days takes time. I make crackers, which dehydrate for a day. I ferment nut cheese, which takes about a day and a half. I soak and sprout lentils, which takes two or three days. I ferment vegetables, which takes about a week. This approach to food takes planning and patience and – I think – encourages great appreciation for the foods we put in our mouths.

Our social life is also slowing down. I’m always reticent about this transition at the end of summer and then grateful for it as fall really takes hold. During summer it seemed we were out and about at least once and often twice a day. Now we are staying inside for entire days and I am satisfied if we make it to library storytime and a playdate for the week’s outings. This process of slowing down with the season is always challenging for me and this year I’m trying to be more purposeful about the change.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Yummy Pear Spice Crackers

I don't usually share recipes on here because I'm not the most inventive cook in the world. Especially since going on SCD/GAPS my cooking has been extremely simple, which has actually been quite wonderful. I'm a baker at heart and because we're grain-free and egg free and Ellie can't digest almond flour very well we just don't bake right now. But!

I was making a batch of the Raw Sundried Tomato Crackers from Living Cuisine the other day when I had an inspired idea to make a sweet version of the cracker. We are very slowly exploring adding sweeter fruits to our diet and in the past week I've even had a teensy-tinsy bit of honey a couple of times and things have gone well. So to celebrate our newfound love of raw crackers and sweet, juicy fall pears I invented these crackers:

Pear Spice Crackers

2 cups flax seeds
4 ripe pears, peeled and cut up
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. honey

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Broken Open

There’s a book called Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow. I haven’t read the book, but did see the author interviewed on TV years ago. The interview stuck with me, I suppose because I thought I had been through some difficult periods and come out of the experiences with positive changes. If only I knew then that my troubles would pale in comparison to what would come later. I now look back and honestly wonder what it was that was so hard about my life in my 20s.

I remember one thing the author said vividly. She said, “relax into the mystery of life as it is happening.” I look at that quote every day and try to let it inform my thoughts and actions.

Ellie is now 2 years and 3 months old and the first two years of her life have been by far the most challenging period of my life. Those two years brought an onslaught of challenges that just seemed to pile one on top of the other: difficult birth, extreme challenges establishing nursing, painful nursing because of Reynaud’s syndrome, failure to thrive, unsupportive doctors, colic, severe sleep depravation, lack of support, feeling alone, food allergies, a second, scarier round of failure to thrive, elimination diets, feeding therapy, learning to go dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, citrus-free, coconut-free, then learning the SCD and GAPS diets, learning about gut disbyosis and all its health ramifications, learning how to be an advocate for a sick child, caring for a child experiencing a “healing crisis,” which at times felt worse than caring for a sick child and finally – and equally challenging – is learning how to transition to parenting a healthy child and letting go of the anxiety and militancy that accompanied the sick years.