Cornflake cookies

GLUTEN FREE | NUT FREE | LUNCHBOX FRIENDLY| VEGETARIAN

ME. WANT. COOKIE. Although I think the Cookie Monster’s flavour of choice might have been choc-chip, I’ve done a few rounds of taste testing of these cornflake cookies & think they might pass the test….

SIX SIMPLE INGREDIENTS
150g butter (if you’ve got a good butter substitute, give it a try & let me know how it goes)
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1 cup rice flour (or buckwheat flour)
1 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup coconut milk (if it’s a bit dry, add some more coconut milk)
1 1/2 cups cornflakes

METHOD

  1. Take the butter out of the fridge to get to room temperature
  2. Pop the oven on at 180 degrees celsius
  3. Cream the butter & coconut sugar together
  4. Stir in both flours & coconut milk
  5. stir in the cornflakes
  6. using 2 dessert spoons, pop them on lined oven trays
  7. Bake for 25 minutes (although take a peek at them after 20 minutes in case you have a supersonic oven)
  8. allow them to cool on a rack – or just eat them still warm!

GUT FEELINGS

One year ago my son was diagnosed with a stomach parasite called Dientamoeba Fragilis. I didn’t realise at the time but this parasite is way more common than I could have imagined & thanks to littlies & their still-developing learning to wash hands when going to the loo, this parasite is transmitted frequently in daycares, pre-schools & primary schools (faecal-oral contamination).

Fast forward a year & March-June 2018 was a nightmare at home – my middle child was aggressive, angry, easily upset, extremely tired, having night terrors almost every night, & off a lot of foods. As a working Mum of 3 children, this was exhausting. Of course there’s also a clingy 1 year old & all the other mundane parenting chores that seem unavoidable including washing, supermarket shopping, school drop offs & pick ups, constant negotiation of the 2 older ones stretching the rules.

I went back to a different GP after the previous one told me it wasn’t his gut & that perhaps I should “do a positive parenting course”. The 2nd GP (let’s call her Dr JG) was extremely thorough, listened to me ramble about all the sudden changes in behaviour & wisely referred me to a Paediatric Specialist in the hopes that this Dr may be able to deduce whether in fact it is behavioural, something going on at school he’s not talking about or a sleep disorder. In the meantime I still had a gut feeling (yep, there’s actually pretty cool research on ‘gut feelings’), that it was in fact his gut playing up. Since that appointment, he has mentioned “feeling sick” quite frequently. By pure luck I stumbled across a brilliant Dr based up in Pymble who is a GP but practises Functional Medicine & specialises in the gut. Jackpot! She was warm, caring, considerate, also a Mum of 3 herself & just got it. I felt slightly nervous about the 22 day parasite protocol – which includes a very strict diet of no sugar (essentially low-fructose), no gluten & low carbohydrate. So no fruit except berries, no pasta, rice, crackers, bread, cereal. Patients can have dairy, high quality meat, all veggies (except potatoes), eggs, seafood, nuts, seeds & legumes if well soaked. Pre-antibiotics, his tummy needed to be empted which meant a bit of cleanse ie 2 days of LAXATIVES! Then to maintain/build back up gut flora, he has 2 months of probiotics. 10 days of one antibiotic 3 times a day, followed by another antibiotic once a day for 10 days.

I wouldn’t say we sailed through it – getting the laxatives in him was horrendous (it literally took hours each time). The antibiotics went down a little easier but were also time consuming & every morning he had to take them, then we needed to race to school, give them to the office to put straight in the fridge, then communicate with after School Care to remind him to pick them up from the office & put them in the fridge there, before picking him up from school, & racing to get them back in the fridge at home before consuming again straight after dinner. He had a few feral days around day 7 – anyone who was at his rugby match can vouch for that. I now understand this can be the “die off” – the GP recommended he took some charcoal to flush it all out. Some anxiety also crept out – including a  repeated “feeling” (usually soon before bedtime) about being deserted in a grey land with no one around.

In terms of the diet, he did incredibly well – he ate some foods he hadn’t in a while including carrot & broccoli which he now asks for. He tried a gluten-free almond meal bread which I made. He even enjoyed a legume-based ‘pasta’. It wasn’t easy & he felt hungry a lot of the time. I felt his diet became too skewed towards proteins (meat) & dairy as they filled him up slightly more.

Nearly 2 weeks on from finishing the protocol (we haven’t had the follow up tests yet), I can honestly say he still has feral moments but he is much more consistent, less agro, within 2 days of starting the antibiotics & diet he stopped having night terrors (which was a huge thing for us). He is loving me a bit more but still tells me not to ever give him a kiss in public! We are slowly transitioning into his diet – but aiming to do less gluten & less sugar.

I am not a Doctor, nor do I claim to be any form of wisdom in the medical profession. The reason I write this is to help anyone who might be on a similar type of rollercoaster – when he was first diagnosed I started researching & honestly couldn’t find that much in the way of personal experiences. I can genuinely say it was worth every moment.

 

Cauliflower mash | vegan

It’s probably already out of fashion now but cauliflower mash, I took a while to get to meet you but now I have, it’s true love.

My gorgeous friend Maria-Elena (check her out on Insta @thewellnessfountain) made me the most delicious cauliflower mash a few weeks ago & I swore I would try it at home.

With a dairy-free 1 year old, I opted to make this version vegan but of course you could swap olive oil for butter if you prefer.

INGREDIENTS
700g cauliflower (approx 1 small cauliflower)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt, to taste
It’s not essential but I recommend popping fresh herbs of your choice on top – thyme, oregano, finely chopped rosemary or parsley

Note: I infused my olive oil with rosemary, thyme & oregano from my garden which is really a fancy way of saying I threw some herbs into a jar with the olive oil & let it sit for 24 hours.

METHOD
1. Chop the cauliflower roughly into quarters
2. Throw the cauliflower in the thermomix – whizz it up on speed 5 for about 15 seconds. If you need to after this, remove the lid & scrape down the sides
3. Add in about 200g water (you could also use stock if preferred)
4. Set the timer for 15 minutes & 100 degrees celsius, on speed 3
5. When the time is up, be super careful as it will be piping hot – I hold a little sieve (a tea leaf strainer does the job) to tip in the squeezed lemon & olive oil
6. Give it one last whizz – just about 10 seconds on speed 4 (no heat required)
7. Once this is done, give it a taste & check you’re happy with texture & balance of flavours. I of course add more olive oil on top & some fresh herbs

3 ingredient dairy-free ice-cream

3 INGREDIENTS | VEGAN | GLUTEN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE | NUT-FREE | CHILD FRIENDLY | NO ADDED CANE SUGAR | LOW FRUCTOSE

I made this “nice-cream” or vegan ice-cream or whatever you choose to call it because I have been getting mighty bored of the whinging of “Whats for afternoon teeeeeeea?” the whole walk home from school! You could add any supplements you enjoy to pimp the nutrient content.

250g frozen mixed berries
150g coconut yoghurt
100g coconut water

Blend until you reach desired consistency – I use the Thermomix on speed 5 for about 20 seconds

Enjoy immediately or pour into a reusable glass container & pop in the freezer

Pineapple & blood orange frappe

You guys, I know it’s not my normal thing blending lots of fruits BUT I’m trying to get my body ready for the 30 or so hours of travel we are embarking on this Friday. I am keeping ginger farmers afloat at the moment with the volumes I am consuming. I’m also trying to finish up all the food in the house, hence the sometimes odd combinations.

INGREDIENTS
350g pineapple, frozen overnight
60g blood orange (half)
100g coconut water (I love Natural Raw C)
A tablespoon of mint
A ton of ginger

METHOD

Blend all ingredients in the Thermomix on speed 6 for 15 seconds.

Serves 2

Dientamoeba Fragilis

When I received a call from our family GP in June 2017 telling me that my six-year-old son had Dientamoeba Fragilis, I was totally unsure how treatment would progress.

She told me it was great that tests had uncovered what was going on in his tummy BUT there has been conflict between doctors on whether it actually causes pain & how to best treat this parasite. Initially recommendation was to introduce a daily probiotic and yoghurt to potentially crowd out the “bad bugs” in his tummy.

First of all, how did he get this? Unfortunately it is one of those lovely bugs that is transmitted via “faecal-oral“. I found out soon after he was diagnosed that 2 girls he plays with at school have had the same parasite this year.

He complained of a sore tummy daily for the last 6 to 8 weeks. I know that most boys fart a lot (TMI?) but he never did until the parasite arrived, much to his amusement & my bemusement! His behaviour also became very erratic with outbursts of anger interspersed with being over emotional and crying more easily than normal. His sleep at night had also regressed, with him waking at 5am daily & always waking during the night. He also had night terrors – “waking” crying & inconsolable. A few weeks ago he was shouting at me “shut up”, throwing pillows & books at me. He then eventually lay down & simply closed his eyes. He has no recollection the next morning.

Treatment
I am not averse to taking antibiotics however if I am able to cure the bug by diet & natural supplements (including kefir & probiotics), then I’d be crazy not to.
So what have we tried?
Kombucha – he tried one sip & said it was too fizzy (he’s never had a soft drink).
Coconut kefir – hated it.
Probiotics – Inner Health for Kids is flavourless & he has been having it daily.
Wild oregano oil – I put 2 drops on the soles of his feet for a few weeks.

Bone broth – I bought the frozen cubes & snuck them into low-fructose smoothies packed with berries & natural yoghurt. I would deem this a success.

Low-starch, grain-free, sugar-free, low fructose (& nut-free for school) diet. Well this was the most challenging….
Fruit – he is currently eating berries only. Previously he would eat a couple of bananas every day.
Dairy – we only have organic milk, yoghurt & butter in the house.
Yoghurt – is it just me or is a yoghurt with claims of probiotics just cancelled out by 15% sugar? We have organic natural or Greek only with no added sugar.
Meat – even though I haven’t eaten meat for 20 years, my children do consume high-quality, organic, grass-fed meat. Organic beef mince, organic lamb, organic chicken are on the Menu.
Seafood – they love crumbed fish so I crumb fish fillets in an organic egg & almond meal to keep it grain-free
Grains – this is by far the toughest area for my son. So far I have removed all gluten. This has meant more rice & corn based products which is also not ideal. . We are using a rice & corn based pasta (Aldi). For breakfast he either has rice puffs (100% brown rice), corn flakes (I’ve found a brand less than 6% sugar), gluten-free Weetbix (made with sorghum, about 2% sugar)

Bread – the biggest failure by far! He has not liked any of the gluten-free breads I’ve tried including Deeks, Naturis, & even the Coles & Aldi home brands. I’ve had success with 2 types of gluten-free wraps only.

We followed this gluten-free & low-fructose lifestyle (diet is the wrong word) for about 6 weeks. He slept a bit better, was less emotional & angry, & never complained about a sore tummy.

Then this thing called life got in the way. There were parties, play dates, rugby matches and evenings out. The anger and tears are back. Last night he woke in such a bad abdominal pain around 1:30 AM (crying, couldn’t even get dressed he was in such pain) that we took him to hospital. Of course nothing showed up. He has complained of a sore tummy again today.

This is just our personal experience. I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist. Go with your gut in every sense of the word – I was chatting to a family today whose son has had some additional behavioural needs & they too have experienced the profound positive outcomes of a bio-individual diet, whether it is Paleo, gluten-free, dairy free, vegan or more tailored to crowd out certain foods that your body reacts to.

Vanilla miso tahini fudge

VEGAN | GLUTEN-FREE | NUT-FREE | DAIRY-FREE | EGG-FREE | LOW FRUCTOSE | IQS APPROVED | 6 INGREDIENTS ONLY | ONE PAN ONLY

I become innovative when I am craving something sweet – which is a dangerous attribute to have! After scanning the pantry, I came up with this combination which is incredibly fudge-like but without any sugar, dairy, preservatives, colouring & minimal plastic packaging (my other passion currently is the environment). The only ingredient that comes in plastic is the Miso paste.

INGREDIENTS
100g tahini
80g coconut oil
35g coconut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons rice malt syrup
1 teaspoon miso (I love Spiral Foods)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder (I use Heilala)

METHOD

  1. Melt coconut butter, coconut oil & miso on a low heat. I never bring any part of this recipe above a low heat. I find the Miso doesn’t completely mix in which gives the fudge some lovely salty pops
  2. Once almost all melted, tip in the tahini & sprinkle in the vanilla
  3. once all mixed together, turn off the heat & stir through the rice malt syrup
  4. You can let it cool slightly, then pour into silicone moulds. I recommend placing the silicone mould tray on a chopping board so it doesn’t bend/spill when you’re lifting it into the freezer. Seeing as it is halfway to Christmas, I thought I’d give my Christmas tree moulds a go 😉
  5. Depending on the size of your mould, these can be ready in as soon as 30 minutes.

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