Saturday, January 28, 2012


Things are going well.
I know this is working on the family when I can smell bacon and eggs cooking in the kitchen, and who is cooking? My 11 year old daughter.

Since I stopped buying bread, making cookies and muffins and cakes with wheat flour, and generally getting rid of gluten, Freya has noticed a marked improvement in her skin - she has struggled with eczema her whole life - much like Charlie.

He too has had a marked improvement. I noticed he was a little scratchy in his sleep a couple of nights ago - after he'd been to Day-care. I'm just not sure what to do about that. My carer is wonderful, and provides food for all meals and snacks, which makes things easy for me. I'm guessing that if I insist on Charlie being gluten free, I'll have to pack his food. Of course it is worthwhile if it makes a difference to his health.

I'll talk to his carer next week, and start thinking about how to tackle it. I do worry that if he has different food to everyone else, he'll feel left out, and of course he loves bread, pastry and other gluten foods, so if his playmates are eating it, he'll want it too. But he going there three days a week, so it will make a difference.

I'm supposing that as a carer, she must have to deal with other allergies? Anyway, something to think about.

I start back at work this week - three days a week. A bit of a shake up for this family. Last year I worked one day a week, sometimes two, so a regular three days may affect us. Everyone will have to make adjustments - not just me. At least I'll have a four day weekend. That's when I'll be trying to get the food organised. I think to maintain a healthy diet, we really do have to work at it. And why shouldn't we if it means our health is assured? It's worth the effort.

Speaking of which, I think it might be time for my caveman to get out of bed - so I'll fire up the stove and sizzle up some bacon and eggs, perhaps some tomatoes - plenty growing in the garden, some mushrooms. Yummy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Image not mine - taken from Google
My lovely friend, Janine, gave me a box of onions yesterday, so I have been thinking about what to do with them.

I love caramelised onions - probably because the sweetness is brought out in them, but I wonder if that means they are too high in sugar for the Paleo way of eating? Oh well - too bad if they are, I'm eating them anyway.

I made a lovely caramelised onion quiche/frittata for dinner last night. Though I didn't measure things out precisely, I'll give you the recipe, as it turned out deliciously.

Crustless caramelised Onion Tart:

I used:
5 medium sized onions, a mix of brown and white, sliced thinly
1 heaped Tbs  virgin coconut oil
1 Tbs butter
5 small courgettes (or a medium sized zucchini would work) sliced thinly
3 spring onions, sliced (green and white parts)
8 eggs
about a cup of cream and one of buttermilk (but any dairy or yogurt would work)
A big handful of grated tasty cheese
salt and pepper

Start by melting your coconut oil and butter, add all the onions and let them cook slowly for about 20 minutes, this will bring out the yummy sweetness. Then I added a dash of balsamic vinegar, mixed it in and transferred to a baking dish.

Then I sauteed the courgettes til they were slightly browned, and transferred them to the baking dish. I sprinkled that with the spring onions and cheese.

In a bowl I whisked up the eggs, cream and buttermilk. I gave it a good whisking until it was frothy as I wanted to make it airy and silky (and it was). Pour that over the onions, cheese and courgettes. Pop it in the oven at moderate heat for 30 -45 minutes.

It was really delicious and the whole family enjoyed it with a side of broccoli and cauliflower.

I realise now that it probably doesn't fit with the "whole 30" as it has dairy in it, but I'm actually quite happy with a little bit of dairy in my life. I still think it is Paleo as it has no grain, no sugar, and no legumes in it.

Now I'm on the hunt for other onion recipes - I wouldn't want to waste them. Stay tuned...

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Link between Gluten and Eczema

Lately I've been trying to get the kids to eat a more "Paleo" way. To start with, I haven't eliminated all the grain in their diets, but I have decided to make them gluten free.

I've been gluten free for a while now. I decided to try it a few years ago when I was having trouble with my gut. It started when a natropath suggested I give up wheat. I did, and I felt a whole lot better. But I still had irritable bowel symptoms from time to time. I read somewhere that all gluten could be an irritant to the bowel, so gave it all up. I felt so much better, and lost some weight, so decided to stick to it.

However, though the IBS symptoms were almost all gone, I still had other problems: aching joints, lower back pain, dermatitis on my hands (much improved, but still there), carpel tunnel syndrome, and the nagging extra weight that I shouldn't be carrying, despite hours at the gym (before Charlie's pregnancy, I've not ventured back since).

Since cutting out all grain, I'm feeling even better. No more occasional bowel symptoms, no more bloating or windiness (this was really helped by giving up sugar), much improved dermatitis, hardly noticing the carpel tunnel or joint pain. And the weight is slipping away without too much effort (I'm certainly not starving myself, and love that I can eat fat. Yay!)

What I'm really pleased about, is the improvement in Charlie's eczema. It has really improved since I've put him on a gluten free diet. He isn't scratching nearly as much, and his skin is looking so much better. He is still eating dairy, but it isn't very much (no more cereal and milk in the mornings), and when he has a glass of milk in the morning, I add a teaspoon of beneficial bacteria, which I hope will help improve his gut, which may have been damaged from gluten. You can read about the link between gluten and eczema at Mark's Daily Apple.

I'm really enjoying learning so much about health and nutrition since getting interested in the Primal/Paleo way. It's such an eye opener, and it is so amazing that what we've been taught, our whole lives, just isn't true. Whole grains aren't that great for humans, and animal fats are really good for us. It takes a bit of getting used to - I still have pangs of guilt for eating fats and butter, but I'm still loving it!

I Think it's day 10 of the Whole 30, and I might have slipped!

Well, it was only a tiny slip, but one none-the-less.

I made gluten-free buttermilk pancakes for Charlie for breakfast, and had one myself. They had no sugar in them, and I think the buttermilk (being a fermented milk product) is okay, and the ground almonds, but I did use some gluten-free flour which is made from corn and rice, which are both grains.

So I slipped, but you know, I am almost totally clean other than that, and I think that's something.

I went out for book-club yesterday, at a cute little cafe to have afternoon tea and I managed to only have a mineral water and a cup of tea. And it didn't bother me in the least. I don't actually miss sugar anymore. I don't actually want to sabotage my diet (for want of a better word). I know my body feels so much better on this way of eating, and the bonus is that I am losing weight.

And I'm really please that my children are starting to embrace this way of eating too. I think the key is to have foods they like (which are not grain and sugar based) available. I'm keeping the home-made yogurt stocked, plenty of fruit that they like in the fridge, and cold meat they can have for lunch, in a seaweed wrap, or with a big salad. I've pretty well stopped buying bread and so far - as long as I cook something for breakfast, they haven't missed it. I know it will be more difficult on work-day-school mornings, but I'm pretty committed, so I will keep trying.

I found that if we all sit down together at lunch time, lunch is made easier, so of course that won't be very easy once they are back at school. However, there are many ways to fill up a lunchbox, it just requires a bit of dedication and time and effort. They can take cold meats,hard boiled eggs, mini crustless quiches, zucchini slice, savory muffins (sans the flour) and of course vegetables and fruit.

I've ordered some Paleo cookbooks, so hopefully, I'll get some ideas from them. I can't wait til they arrive!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Whole 30 Continued, and Life Goes On...

It's day 6 now, and although I can't say I've stuck to it religiously, I can safely say I pretty much have. The only thing I've had, that maybe I shouldn't have, is yoghurt.

As my fabulous Traditional Chinese Practitioner says, "Yoghurt isn't really diary because it is fermented and so good for you".

I woke feeling a bit off colour yesterday,my head aching and my tummy uncomfortable ( a virus I think, as Lily has been complaining of the same thing the last few days.) I don't think it's due to the Whole 30, because my diet is pretty much the same as last week, but I really felt the need for my home-made-full-of-good-bacteria-yoghurt. So I'm eating it again.

Other than that I've been really sticking to the guidelines.

I turned down a glass of wine at the beach the other night. It would have been lovely, but instead I went for a long walk with Charlie. Much better for my body and my liver. I've been suffering from dermatitis on my hands - it gets very itchy and it always seems to happen whenever I drink wine and cider. The Chinese perspective is that it causes "heat", just as sugar does, which will give you trouble with your skin.

I still have a headache, and I'm hoping it will buzz off soon.

I think the whole 30, and the Paleo way of eating is great.

Reading Gary Taubes book, "Why We Get Fat". It's really interesting - there's a great deal of science in it, and I'm yet to get to the bit about what we should be eating, but much of what he says about carbohydrates - particularly the refined, grain kind, is in keeping with the Paleo way of eating. I'm continually amazed at all the scientific information that supports the Paleo/Primal way of eating and show the Standard Australian(or American) Diet to be full of flaws, and basically what is killing the Western world with modern day diseases.

Now, if someone could help me wean the children off all the refined carbohydrates that they enjoy, then all would be well...

But, life does goon and it isn't easy to tell your kids they have to stop eating all their favourite foods, especially during school holidays. But I am going to do it gradually. I'm phasing out bread and all the naughty baked goodies, and will endeavour to use gluten free alternatives whenever I can. I know it won't be easy, but I do think their health will benefit.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 3 of the Whole 30

I was looking for an image to use, but i just got myself into computer strife, however I found a really good discussion about The Paleo diet at this website:

It gives a comprehensive explanation.

So, Day 3 of the Whole 30, and I'm still on track! Hurray.

Breakfast was a small bowl of sliced strawberries topped with coconut flakes and chopped macadamia nuts, which I toasted in a teaspoon of coconut oil. Delicious! And the kitchen smelt amazing. I did miss my creamy yogurt, but I'll just give it a go and see how I feel after the whole 30.

I went to acupuncture in the morning, and came home feeling very relaxed and hungry. We ate the leftovers from last night's dinner, which were delicious all over again!

For dinner I made a favourite family dish of lamb, potatoes and tomatoes. I didn't eat the potatoes, but I did put some sweet potatoes in the dish and ate those. It was served with broccoli.
Here's the recipe, which I got from a book called :Feeding The Bump by Lisa Neal. It has some great recipes in it, though it isn't a "Paleo" cookbook. (And, no, I'm not feeding a bump right now). I cooked double the recipe.

Rosemary, Lamb and Tomato Bake:

4 potatoes or 2 large sweet potatoes (I used both)
1 red onion, quartered
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes,halved
2 Tbs fresh rosemary,chopped
400 g lamb chops

2 Tbs olive oil (I use a Paleo friendly oil like lamb tallow or macadamia oil)
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celcius.
Wash and cut potatoes into 3cm thick pieces.
Bring a medium(large if you are doubling the recipe)saucepan of water to the boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes or until just tender.
Prepare onions,tomatoes and rosemary.
Heat the baking dish or tray for 5 minutes in the oven.
Brown the lamb chops in the fry pan.
Place everything in the baking dish and pour over the dressing. Mix and coat all the ingredients in the dressing. 
Bake for about 15 - 30 minutes. The recipe says 15 minutes, but Ia found it took more like 30.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 2 of the Whole 30.

Day two and I seem to be sticking to it. Hurray!

I started the day with a simple breakfast : tomatoes and bacon cooked in ghee, served with half an avocado. Michael had his with an egg.

I was busy in town all morning, and by the time I bought a few groceries, it was lunch time, so I ate a small bunch of green grapes on the way home.

Lunch was a simple garden salad with tuna and a little mayonnaise. I followed that with a cup of tea (with a dash of milk, so I suppose I'm not 100% sticking to the Whole 30) and a nice chunk of the Paleo slice.

I think that may have seen me through to dinner time, because I don't remember eating anything else.

Dinner was a delicious Mexican style meal, I guess it was kind of Tacos, but instead of taco shells or tortillas, we used iceberg lettuce for shells.

I've been concerned about the seasoning we have used in the past - the packet variety- so decided to make my own. I searched the Internet and came across a recipe that I tweaked. Here it is:

2 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika
2 Tb cumin
2 Tb dried oregano
1 Tb garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt

I mixed it altogether in a jar. This was the perfect amount for the 1 kg of kangaroo mince I used.

This is what I did:

I sauteed a large red onion (finely chopped), with half a large chopped red capsicum, and two tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley in about two tablespoons of lamb tallow and a tablespoon of ghee(Kangaroo meat is very lean), then I added the meat and browned it. I also added a large grated carrot and a large grated zucchini. Then I popped in half a large jar of tomato paste. You could add more if it doesn't look right. I let it simmer for about 20 minutes, then tasted it. It needed more salt, so I added about a teaspoon. The vegetables provide enough moisture, so I didn't need to add any water.

I have to say it tasted really good and the whole family enjoyed it, though it was quite spicy and the kids needed a glass of milk to go with it.

We ate the meat mixture, wrapped in lettuce leaves with cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, sour cream and guacamole. I omitted the cheese and sour cream.Still delicious, and really filling. I had two filled lettuce leaves and felt quite satisfied.

I think I might have a nice cup of green tea or herbal tea to end the day.

Let's see if I can do another 28 days. I'm up for it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day one of the Whole 30

I mentioned earlier that I would have a salad for lunch, but decided to cook a stir fry with lamb fat and meat (a tiny amount of meat) and zucchini,onion,broccoli and snow peas. I decided to cook the lamb fat, mainly because Michael had hurt his shoulder last night and I'd recently read about how good the grass fed fat is for aching muscles and sore joints.

After lunch I had a medjool date (Oh My Goodness - what a delight), and later had 4 big cherries and some paleo slice, as well as a herbal tea, and later a beautiful arctic fire tea. I took Lola for a long walk in the bush and picked some tea-tree, which is flowering beautifully at the moment. It looks lovely in a big vase on my side-board.

Now Michael is barbecuing a couple of organic steaks and some skinless sausages for the kids. I par-boiled sweet potatoes, coloured carrots and potatoes (for the kids), and popped them on the oven to bake in some lamb fat with lemon thyme, garlic and leeks fresh from my garden. We'll have some green beans too.

Yum! Can't wait to eat!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The whole 30

I've been spending a bit of time researching the Paleo way of life - particularly the paleo way of eating, and I keep hearing about the "whole 30". I stumbled upon this website and have read all about how to go about it.

I don't think it will be all that hard, because I have been grain free and mostly sugar free for some time.But I am not dairy free - I really do like to eat homemade yogurt. However, the thinking is that dairy, even the fermented kind, isn't good for regulating hormones, and for the inflammatory response, which is what I'm really interested in ( having had the diagnosis of an underlying, unknown auto-immune disease). I hope to keep  it away by adopting the paleo lifestyle, and hopefully, sticking to it.

So, there's no more excuses (because Christmas and New Year are over, and I have 3 weeks of holidays before I am back at work - long enough to establish the whole 30.

In a nut-shell, here's what is involved (but please pop over to the web-site to find out the details):
  • Eat real food: meat, seafood,eggs, tonnes of vegetables, some fruit,plenty of good fats from fruit,nuts,oils and seeds.
  • Eat food with very few ingredients, unprocessed is best.
  • Do Not eat any sugar - real or artificial
  • Do Not consume alcohol
  • No grain - NONE- no quinoa,amaranth,buckwheat,corn etc.
  • No legumes, definitely no soy, but green beans, sugar snap and snow peas are okay
  • No dairy (this will be hard for me) - not even fermented dairy like yogurt. Only clarified butter and Ghee.
  • No white potatoes (another difficult one for me)
  • No malted or sweetened vinegar, but all others are fine
  • Exceptions of processed food are : coconut milk/cream, applesauce,tomato sauce (without added sugar), chicken broth, bottled olives.
So, with that in mind, I will need to organise meals that suit me, and the whole family. I'm leaning more and more towards getting the whole family to eat a more Paleo style diet. I think it will help them get over their niggling ailments, which though not too bad, they could do without. The girls sometimes suffer from  mysterious stomach cramps. They might be related to hormones, I can't be sure, but maybe a better diet will help. Charlie suffers from itchy eczema, and I'd love him to be rid of it. I've also noticed that they are all a bit addicted to sugar and carbohydrates. I know how bad these things are for my body, and I'd like to save them from the gamut of chronic illnesses I've suffered over the years, which are more than likely related to my love of all things sweet and white.

I realise going "cold turkey" for the kids will be really hard, but if I offer them a whole lot of yummy food that is grain and sugar free, perhaps they'll be convinced? It remains to be seen.

So, I'm going to try and keep track of my 30 days - I'll try to write often, and will let you know what is on the menu.

Although I am starting today , I didn't start til after breakfast - as I had stewed apricots for breakfast, which did have sugar in it. They were very delicious though!

Lunch today will be a big salad as I have a fridge full of goodies after the markets yesterday, and I'll probably eat that with a small can of salmon or sardines, some lemon juice and oil. I'll follow up with some fruit if I feel peckish.

Tonight we'll barbecue some steak and have some roasted vegetable and a cabbage salad.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas Fudge Recipe

I found it!

Oh my goodness, it doesn't get much easier than this:

(I make a double batch because it disappears quite quickly)

1 can of Condensed Milk (395gms)
125 grams butter
375 grams milk chocolate
200 grams dark chocolate

Melt the ingredients together. You can do this on the stove top, on a medium heat, or in the microwave ( 1 minute at a time, stirring in between, being careful not to overdo it).

My daughters always make this recipe, and usually do it on the stove top as it is easy for them to monitor the melting.

Once it is all amalgamated together, pour it into a baking paper lined container - I use a rectangular plastic container, so I can put the lid on it and keep it in the fridge, or pour it into a flat baking tray.

It is difficult to cut, but it is so easy to make, and makes a wonderful Christmas gift.

I once made a white chocolate version of this, but found it tasted too sweet. You can also make it with all milk chocolate.I prefer the version with the dark chocolate in it.

Our friends, the Gospers, who passed the recipe on to us also make it with macadamia nuts in it - that is really delicious.