Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Try, Try Again

I got the right ingredients for the gelatin gummies this time, and had success.  Lackluster as they appear, these little orange, lemon and ginger gummies, from the Autoimmune Wellness Handbook, are great!  When I was ordering the gelatin, I also treated myself to some cute little silicone molds. I'm a huge fan.  They were so easy to use.  There was also a mold sheet of gummy bears -- tiny ones, along with a little syringe for filling, but my gelatin was quickly firming up as it cooled to room temperature, so I didn't go to that trouble.  I just used my pyrex measuring cup with a spout to quickly fill the larger molds.  In less than an hour they were set.

I'm crazy about ginger, so I was a bit heavy with it.  The whisking of the liquid gelatin produced lots of little bubbles, which firmed up quickly.  I love letting the finished gummies melt in my mouth a little bit.    The resulting effect is akin to Pop Rocks.  I may be dating myself.  When we were kids we loved this candy that came in foil packets:  you poured it on your tongue and there were little explosions in your mouth, along with a spicy taste.  The bubbles in the gummies melting and the powdered ginger  reminded me of the Pop Rocks somehow.  Nostalgia!

These gummies are a great treat, but are also a wonderful source of protein and collagen.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Sometimes spoonies' energy lags at certain points in the day, despite our best efforts.  For me, when the fatigue hits I also stop thinking clearly -- not the best time to pick a snack.  It's a good idea to have an advance plan for times like these, with go-to easy options on hand.

Today, these delicious canned sardines from Vital Choice fit the bill.  Sourced from Portugal, these are the best canned sardines I've tasted and are sustainably harvested.  They come in a few different varieties.  These were packed in water, so I added a shake of dried chipotle and a forkful of capers for flavor.  It was an amazing "tide me over" as my grandma Eula used to call it.  A calm energy returned and I was able to think through the rest of my day.

The Vital Choice sardines are also available packed in extra virgin olive oil, with or without a single red pepper, or tomato sauce.  I love the one with the oil and pepper best -- fantastic right out of the can!  VC also has canned mackerel, which I'm eager to try.  Both are excellent sources of Omega3 fatty acids, essential to brain and central nervous system health.  I'm not a paid advertiser, and am only sharing the information about Vital Choice because my Functional Medicine doctor recommended the company.  It's also where I order my flash-frozen wild caught fish-- also sustainably sourced.  The products are amazing and the company is great to work with.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Broth Quota

I've been trying to get two cups of bone broth a day, and here's how I had it this evening.  The broth made a lovely fresh soup with a spoonful of coconut milk, a splash of tamari, a shake of turmeric, a tiny pinch of sea salt and these fresh veggies.  Beginning to end, the soup took 10 minutes to make.  I still have another bowlful for breakfast tomorrow so am ahead of the game.  Delicious.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Shades of White

Sometimes you get lucky.  When I decided to pour part of a batch of bone broth into a jar to freeze, I chose the right one through happenstance, and I didn't overfill it, so all went as hoped.  Later that week, I got to the part in The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook that explained how important it is to use straight wide-mouthed jars for freezing (without "shoulders") to avoid cracking the glass when the contents expand.  The book also mentioned the "fill line" that is on the jars, which I hadn't even noticed because of my MS vision.  I'd luckily filled the jar right to the line!

Here's my latest frozen jar, pulled out to thaw.  I thaw it overnight in the fridge.  I've gotten into a pretty good routine with the broth now, I think.  I use a large glass pitcher in the fridge, plus one of these pint jars in the freezer for each batch.  As I'm getting to the bottom of the pitcher, I pull the jar out of the freezer.  As I begin using what's in the jar, I start a new batch in the slow cooker.  I'm having about 2 cups a day now, either in soups or in a mug with coconut milk.  

Friday, March 24, 2017


This tasted so much better than it looks.  The photo probably would have been prettier without the dried sour cherries, but I love them so there you have it.  The pudding is loosely based upon a recipe in The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook -- loosely because I only had one avocado and it calls for 3.  So I just guessed at the other amounts.  Ingredients here are blueberries, the dregs of the jar of blueberry mousse juice from my gelatin fail (instead of the orange juice in the recipe), avocado, vanilla, a little salt and a drizzle of honey.  It was lovely, and solved a sweet tooth.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Breakfast for Dinner

You may be thinking, "That doesn't look like breakfast,"

No, maybe not, but it is: "Nutrivore's Breakfast" from The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook, to be exact.

I'd been eating my liver, onions and mushrooms for several meals, and figured it was about time to reinvent the leftovers before they ran out.  Mickey Trescott's and Angie Alt's recipe calls for raw liver to be incorporated into the grass-fed ground beef and fresh herbs for the patties, but I decided to grind up my cooked liver, onions and mushrooms instead -- since that's what I had.

This was SO GOOD!  I can't say enough good things about this recipe.  I froze more raw patties to cook another day.

I'm also already craving again these sweet potatoes.  Before I got this book, I'd typically use kosher salt, if any, since the quantity is easy to control.  I did follow the recipe for the potatoes and found that the sea salt and solid fat really imparted a crispy/salty/sugary edge to these spuds.  I think the parchment I cooked them on was also a huge help -- they slid right off without sticking, and I got to eat the whole thing instead of losing the crunchy part that's usually stuck to the pan!  The potatoes were like lovely, healthy little bits of candy.  It'll be easy to make another batch tomorrow, so I'll also be having this for breakfast, after all. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

An Early Fail (and What I Did About it)

Still getting myself up to speed with Mickey Trescott's and Angie Alt's book, I'm trying to implement a few more of the suggestions, here and there.  I liked the idea of gelatin gummies, and I thought I had some of the ingredients, so I gave 'em a whirl.  I made juice from frozen wild blueberries and followed the recipe.  I had Great Lakes Collagen, which I've used for smoothies in the past, so I figured it would be as good as Great Lakes Gelatin.


It's hard to tell in this still photo, but this panful is still liquid after chilling overnight.  I hated to waste it, so I poured it into the Vitamix with lots of ice.  I had to do it in batches, because it got very big and fluffy!

Here's about a quarter of the collagen/blueberry concoction, which is probably plenty to have at one time since the honey from the recipe makes it pretty sweet.  It was light and fluffy, more like a mousse than a smoothie. I kept the rest of the liquid in a mason jar in the fridge until I was ready for another blueberry mousse drink.
The carton of gelatin should be arriving tomorrow, and then I'll try to do it right.

Experimenting with a failed recipe attempt is a good way to learn about how these unusual ingredients behave.  Now I know.  Waste not, want not!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Leaning Back In

I'm working my way back to health again.  Here's an example of what I've been eating lately, besides the bone broth and piles of greens.  Organic chicken livers, onions, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, rapini, kale and garlic star in this healthy bowl.  This is not a recipe, it just checks the boxes of what I already know to be nutritionally dense, inflammation-free food.

This time I'm inspired by a new cookbook and lifestyle management book, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook, by Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt.  Check out their website at:

While I still utilize The Wahls Protocol a lot, especially for the delicious and easy recipes, I realize in hindsight that there's so much psychology that goes into a lifestyle change of any kind.  I felt worse about myself while I was striving to meet the requirements of the Protocol.  Dr. Wahls is a physician who healed herself from progressive MS with a specific, paleo diet based upon clinical trials that she first performed on herself, and then on others.  When I endeavored to follow the protocol last year, I never felt I got it right.  Eating meat so often made it difficult to consume the 9 cups of vegetables required.  I only successfully checked all the boxes one day out of the 6 months or so that I tried.  I didn't feel better -- stronger, but much more tired.  I felt foggier and more moody.  I felt I wasn't giving the Protocol the proper chance, but without feeling better from what I was able to consume, I wasn't inspired to continue.  Ultimately, I missed the easy, light-hearted, even-tempered vegan lifestyle I'd been following prior to trying Wahls, and I went back to it, for the most part, only continuing to eat salmon.  I still LOVE vegetables most of all! I felt less inept and less moody being mostly vegan again, so I was in denial for a while about the fact that the MS symptoms persisted, along with new symptoms I've since learned are from other autoimmune challenges.

Mickey and Angie's book is perfectly filling a need I currently have as I come to terms with my status today, after over twenty years with MS.   I really like the "template" approach to wellness Mickey and Angie employ in their book.  They note that there is not one "perfect" diet for everyone, and provide a framework that each of us can use for our unique circumstances.  This book is also about much more than diet, with practical advice about disease management and lifestyle.  I'm gleaning so much from this book.  I'm not ready to jump in whole hog (pun intended), since I've not read very far yet, but I'll endeavor to lean into the template as I'm able, while I enjoy reading.

The Wahls Protocol is clinically proven for exactly what I need, but I may not be the ideal subject for it.  Nevertheless, since being vegan is no longer helping me, there's no need to give up on the paleo approach on a different, more individualized scale.  I'm excited to learn more.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Healing . . . Again

Even those of us who know the formula for wellness can lose our grasp on it at times.  Wellness is tenuous for us spoonies.  Sometimes something changes and we need to tweak our formula, or change it altogether.  Sometimes we're knocked off course by unexpected stress or a change of routine.  Sometimes, we let our formula slip ever so slightly, again and again, until we are at critical mass -- the so-called last straw -- and we crash.

Today I realized I'd come to that point.  I've been more fatigued than normal recently, and transient symptoms, which normally go away after a good night's rest, had greeted me again with the sunrise for the last couple of days.  When I took a good look at myself, I realized I'd let a few things slide.  Before my self-examination went any further, I put a pot of water on to boil and grabbed the marrow bones from the freezer.

Spoonies have individualized arsenals born of years of trial and error.  We try everything, and endeavor to keep track of what works and what doesn't.  I've been vegan, paleo and gluten-free, and different combinations of these diets since 2010.  The one thing that hasn't changed about my diet is being dairy-free.  Dairy's effects are dramatic, immediate and specific, so there's no need to wonder about it.  Gluten doesn't seem to be as cut and dried for me.  While I undoubtedly feel best without it, my love affair with pasta has led me to bring it back into my life little by little.  Hence my "last straw" realization this morning.  I'd had one bowl of pasta too many.

Pasta isn't my only problem, clearly.  Unfortunately, as we become lackadaisical about one area of wellness management, others may tend to slide as well.  Without undeniable proof, we can deny that the lapses are having a deleterious effect.  An accumulation of lapses leaves it unclear what the worst offenders were.  So -- time to weed out the culprits.

Back to the drawing board:  Bone broth has been absent of late, so I made a big pot of it.  I'd forgotten how much that essential oils enrich wellness.  Out they came again.  I steered clear of gluten today and instead made this healing soup:  bone broth, coconut milk, ginger, garlic, Brussels sprouts and rapini and nothing else.  Soup for breakfast set the mind at ease, and before long the remaining tingles in my arms and hands, and the hypersensitivity and pain along the left side of my body went away.  Even the canker sores that had popped up in my mouth this morning (a sign of toxicity) went away!  Shockingly, I was better within two hours of the broth.

We know what heals us.  The key for us spoonies is to remember what we already know, in the moment, as the stresses of life, or our own choices, knock us off track.