Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Real, Simple, Gluten Free, 72-hour kit food

I just went to a meeting on emergency preparedness yesterday where they discussed 72-hour kits.  The list was quite overwhelming.  One of the top 5 items was a chainsaw!  No joke!  And you are supposed to leave the kits it right by the door!!!! This is because we expect an earthquake and apparently they come in handy after earthquakes!

Well we had a family emergency last week were we used our 72-hour kit (emergency 3-day road trip with no budget for food) today I was restocking.   I stress about these 3 day kits because I want them healthy, SPD friendly(picky eater), and gluten free.  My kids think 72-hour kit means a meal with  three helpings of junk food/candy.  Sometimes they actually request candy by asking for 72-hour-kit for dinner.  This is because of the granola bars, ramen, crackers, trail mix, fruit leather, beef jerky, juice, tang, gum, and hard candy I typically put in there.  We've had a big problem with my kids feeding 72-hour kits to their friends for after school snacks as well.

When we used our kits last week, my kids ate all the gluten free stuff first and left the rest for me and I can't eat it.  So, today's 72-hour food was the simplest and most economical ever.  My family will eat all of it, it will sustain life, and when I rotate the kits there won't be a junk food fest for a week.  I also noticed that none if it actually requires heating although it would be nice, it isn't strictly  necessary.  When we used our kits last week I noticed that my family would rather eat the food unheated than wait even 30 seconds to heat it up, so that works best for us.

The 3 days of food is divided up between 4 backpacks with a list of all the food.  In an emergency we could use it up however we wish.  I found that although I had meal plans, my husband and kids just ate the yummiest, easiest stuff first for breakfast lunch and dinner and worked to the other stuff last.  I'm sure in an emergency it would be the same despite my best intentions.  That is why I decided that lots of variety was not necessary.  We are a family of 7.

Breakfasty stuff:
21 packets of oatmeal.

Lunch stuff:
21+ trio/lara bars,
1 qt apple sauce, 1 qt peaches, 1 qt pears

Dinner type stuff:
12 cans hormel chili
6 cans tuna
1 can of garbanzo beans for the kid who doesn't like tuna (one kid doesn't like tuna or garbanzo beans, but hopefully there would be some chili for him)
perhaps some stretch island fruit leather will be added later.

28 bottles of water

I packed paper bowls, plastic spoons, a can opener, a mini stove, a can opener and 7 1/2 cup size gladware cups with lids for the fruit.  Its about the same price as just buying the snack size applesauce and peaches, but we get more food this way, longer shelf life, and no one will sneak into a quart sized can of peaches…

I also have a backpack full of toothbrushes, sweaters, soap, diapers, wipes, first aide, etc.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The reason I cook 3 different dinners each night

Lots has changed since I started this blog.  For one, I can't eat gluten.  I just can't.  I got a new life when I got rid of it.  Special meals for me.

My husband has IBS, he can't eat whole grains, legumes, whole corn, or chili powder.  Also, due to the randomness of IBS symptoms, he can't eat anything at all for dinner about 50% of the time, but I get no advance notice.  My kids follow suit, sometimes they eat a lot, sometimes they eat nothing and its random.  They skip dinner even if it is their favorite food sometimes.  I try hard to impress them, special meal #2

My oldest daughter has SPD and so she eats like she has autism.  No two foods can be touching.  No sauces of any kind allowed.  Many foods are only tolerated when using a familiar brand, no substitutions.  No sandwiches or casseroles ever.  Likes really, really salty stuff.  Texture, temperature, and color of food is critical.  No one else can eat the bland food she eats, so she gets special meal #3.

My oldest son is a picky eater--no chicken, potato, salad, green smoothie, or healthy looking stuff.  He just wants chips and salsa all the time.  I strongly, strongly suspect gluten sensitivity in this child based on vomiting, stomach pain, allergies, bowel issues, hives, rashes, high amounts of irritibility and mood swings.

Child number three is normal, she won't eat brown bread or crust, but I can work with that.

Child number four is normal, but won't eat rice (WHAT? my staple food!)

Child number five hasn't started solids, does breastfeeding count as a fourth dinner prep?

Got that?  No gluten, whole grains, legumes, whole corn, chili powder, chicken, potato, rice, smoothie, soup, salad, casserole, or sandwiches for dinner and 50% of the time no one will eat it even if it is their favorite food on the planet.

Cooking dinner is a real challenge for me, but I've gotten into a pretty good routine.  Make a small amount of gluten free main dish or two main dishes most people will eat, if husband decides to eat throw in another side dish.  Make a special SPD meal using similar ingredients to the other meal.  Let my picky-eater-oldest-son find his own substitute meal if he doesn't like what we're having and let my husband have a quesadilla or nachos about 9pm which he really prefers to anything I prepare.  If the little kids didn't eat, I have to find them something else.

It was working, but then my oldest daughter became a tween and started gaining the weight many tweens gain now days at that age.  Her doctor suggested she snack on carrots and she's followed his advice, but no carrot can save you from 3 poor meal choices a day everyday.    She requested healthier meals.  We've already tried 12 steps to whole foods and my husband started not coming home for dinner, so I knew I'd better get back to pizza, tacos, nachos, and bratwurst.  Well I found this great local blogger who has taken all the SAD foods my family loves to eat and healthified them.  Its called Simple Healthy Tasty, so now I'm going to try to swear off the junk for the nth time and only serve simple healthy tasty food.  It might turn into one more meal prep in addition to the others, but its my job around here.

I prepare at least 3 dinners per night.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Eating Salad Together

Some of my kids eat just like Mr. Monk. Here he is exulting in the perfect sandwich. The square tomato covers the bread perfectly with no overlap, there are no crusts, the bread is white and clean looking, etc. Despite the bizarre eating preferences I face with some of my family, I just keep eating healthy all by myself and serving green smoothies. However, my younger kids have started taking over my salads and accidentally eating healthy food. Its bad manners to take someone else's food and eat it, but in this case I admit that I am pleased.

Monday, August 15, 2011

My temporary fear of green smoothies.

When I started 12 steps to whole foods two years ago and started serving green smoothies everyday, people asked if it helped in all the ways I had hoped. Yes and no. I felt that it had really improved my childrens' nutrition, but I could not say that it had made any difference whatsoever in behavior which was so disappointing.  They still were more likely to stand on their heads than to sit on a chair. Also, with whole foods, I was trying to avoid gallbladder surgery. Well, I still have my gallbladder, but whole foods and green smoothie did nothing to heal it, in fact after two years on 12 steps to whole foods my gallbladder disease got, much worse. Also I was having energy crashes after my green smoothies.  I started to become convinced that my family was not thriving on the whole foods diet and that confused me. Why not?

Update November 2012:
My first guess was sugar.  After reading piles and piles of books on health and physiology, behavior, gallbladder, etc, I decided maybe the problem was sugar, there wasn't much bad stuff left in my diet, but there was still sugar and green smoothies are pretty sweet.  I wasn't seeming to get energy from drinking them anymore.  In fact I was more and more exhausted all the time, especially after a big GS.  I quit drinking them.

I read books on how to get off sugar and tried and tried, but it was really hard.  One book said you need to keep a food journal of how foods make you feel.  After doing this for seven months I finally found something.  My worst feelings came after eating pizza and store bought cookies and cakes.  I googled pizza and exhaustion and was overwhelmed by the correlation to GLUTEN.  Pizza crust is made out of special high gluten flour, store bought cookies and cakes are made out of white flour (more gluten than whole wheat flour) and sugar and nothing else to soften the blow.  Since I eat whole grains at home most of the time, when I was cheating and eating these extra gluteny things away from home it was really overwhelming my body.  Also, I very often had a couple slices of toast with my GS, which explained why they seemed to make me sick.

I went off gluten immediately and my gallbladder pain evaporated, I was amazed.  I was also able to get off sugar after about a week of gluten free.  I didn't even try hard, my sugar cravings just shrunk to a manageable amount and I forgot to eat it.  No books or programs needed.  I stopped needing a two hour nap after every meal.

After three months I decided I was crazy being gluten free without an official diagnosis.  I went back to cookies and sugar for a weekend and my gallbladder exploded with pain.  I quit sugar and gluten for another three months and felt great.  Then I started doubting so I went back to gluten and sure enough gallbladder pain returned and sugar cravings spiked.

Now I just avoid gluten and I can have green smoothies again without fear that the sugar is going to cause some kind of sugar shock.  They don't make me crash anymore.  I am absolutely totally convinced that my children are also gluten sensitive and my husband has actually been diagnosed as wheat intolerant.  It explains about twenty things about my family and family history including really specific behavioral issues.  It explains why whole foods didn't seem to improve my family's health.  I kept giving them whole foods with gluten in it.

I have not decided to attempt a totally gluten free diet with my children though.  My husband who actually has an official diagnosis refuses to avoid wheat,  he has pizza two or three meals per week and he loves giant handmade flour tortillas.  Those are things he can't live without.  To him, it is worth the discomfort.  So, being a gluten free family is out of the question, respecting my husband and not alienating him comes first.  If my kids ever have a health crisis that makes them want to change on their own, at least they won't have to search as long as I did to find the culprit.  For now we learn to accept and deal with behavior and other health issues the best we can and stop dreaming that veggies will fix it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

12-steps to whole food, transforming your family's health on a budget!

"12 steps to whole foods" transformed my family. For about 8 months I obsessed with the goal of the month as if I was doing it for college credit. I've worked in the other 4 chapters here and there. We only got sick about 1/4 as often the first year except for my husband who was constantly sick (unknown wheat allergy). Now we are in the second year and sickness is a rarity, once every other month or so, one or two of us get sick, and it is rather mild when it comes.

If you can't afford 12 steps to whole foods, you can still take on a new healthy habit or two a month. The reason the program, which retails around $160, is worth it, is the info in each chapter about WHY!!! I'm much more likely to make a change if I know why and what it will do for me. It is organized and when you make that monetary investment it motivates you. I've spent $160 in a month and half just on doctor copays, steroids, and antibiotics that made us sicker, so 12-steps is a BARGAIN. Also, you can try to talk your library into getting 12-steps or a green smoothie book for you! Most libraries take patron requests and they usually order "recipe" type books if you ask.

Anyway, I'm going to post my super-condensed 12-steps program. It'll do the trick for anyone on a tight budget!

12 healthy habits, try to adopt one a month!

1)ditch soda, chips, processed meat, and refined sugar & drink a green smoothie a day instead

2)serve a green salad that comprises half of your dinner every day

3)learn 2 home salad dressings that use extra virgin olive oil and use those instead of commercial dressings

4)stop using vegetable oil, shortening, and margarine. Use olive oil, coconut oil, and flax oil. get a coffee grinder ($10) learn how to grind your own flaxseeds.

5) plant a garden or join a csa or both

6) learn how to cook qunioa. Try to do 3 different recipes this month. Note: rinse 3x in cold water before cooking! My favorite quinoa is just adding some bouillion to the water. Then I stir in peas and some kind of nut (sauteed almond, cashews, etc) My second favorite is cooking the quinoa in a 50:50 ration with steel cut oats and serving it like oatmeal for breakfast.

7)try soaking 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds (not roasted of course) in a jar for 8 hours. drain. put them in refrigerator. They will slowly sprout lasting you about a week and will taste excellent on salad, pb sandwich, and granola. Voila you are a "sprouter". Sprouts are super healthy!

8)learn how to make homemade yogurt (boil 1/2 gallon milk to 180 cool to 110, add 3 tablespoons yogurt, let sit in warm place like oven with a light on for 8-10 hrs, refrigerate. If you want it thicker drain of whey in a colander lined with cofee filters or add 1/3 cup milk powder with the yogurt starter.)

9) stop using white flour, try substituting soft white wheat flour instead.

10) learn a healthy granola recipe and some healthy pancake waffle recipes that soak the flour over night before baking. Google soaking grains.

11))"Healthify" 3 treats this month. A good resource is Simple Healthy Tasty

12)learn about alkalinity, consider buying a water ionizer that will alkalinize your water for you. These are too expensive for me, but maybe someday...

for school kids
make sure they have sack lunches. Every sack lunch should have a fresh fruit, a fresh veggie and water. My entrees are famously healthy, but they aren't too bad either, just be creative there. (Please no juice, chips, or fruit snacks!)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Serve Green Smoothies For A Preschool Snack?

Absolutely! On Green Eggs and Ham Day. Why would I go to all the trouble to read a book about trying green stuff and not offer the kids the best green food I know of? (I wouldn't offer ham, thats for sure!)

There were six kids in the class. My bravest student downed his and asked for more. The other kids asked what it tasted like and he said "strawberries". I had put mostly peaches in with the greens so that it would be bright green. My daughter polished hers off quickly as well. Three other kids tasted it and one wouldn't take a sip. I wonder what would happen if I served it regularly? I bet I could get five kids drinking green smoothie. I also served green grapes which were a big hit and since crackers are the expected type of snack I served bright green guacamole chips, not something I would personally eat, but the kids loved them and said they tasted just like Doritos.

Books for the long e sound. We were reviewing the letters s,a, and m.

Pin the egg by the ham...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mama Bear Smoothie, Baby Bear Smoothie

Am I the only green smoothie mama who makes different smoothies for her than the kids?
I like my green smoothies to taste and look, well... green.

My husband recently drank his FIRST green smoothie at a Green Smoothie Girl demo. She makes the smoothies at her class with tons of berries so they won't be green and he really liked that. She also adds agave to some of the smoothies for the really timid and he liked that too. My husband and kids consume a lot of sugar outside the home and I think they need sweeter smoothies to enjoy them than I do. So, I make boring spinach-banana-berry smoothies for them and I get all the crazy, adventurous, good stuff with really high greens ratios.

Pina Colada *husband said this was good, but he only had one sip
2 cups water
1/3 blender parsley
2/3 blender spinach
1 1/2 Tbs flax oil
8 drops stevia
1 banana
1 pear
1 cup frozen pineapple
1 Tbs coconut milk powder
makes about 5 cups

2 cups water
1/3 blender parsley
2/3 blender spinach
1 1/2 Tbs flax oil
8 drops stevia
2 bananas
1 pear
makes about 5 cups