Saturday, May 13, 2017

Restaurant Review: Greenhouse Market & Cafe in Sayre, PA

This morning my husband, DD, and DS decided to take me to breakfast a day early to celebrate Mother's Day. Since MD falls on a Sunday, and hubby has to be at church really early, we have a hard time doing breakfast-y things on that day like we used to when the kids were younger. One of my favorite restaurants is Greenhouse Market & Cafe in Sayre, PA, and that is where we decided to go this morning. Luckily, we made that decision early enough to get there in time for breakfast. Their hours are a bit different than many establishments since they really are a smaller cafe. Their kitchen closes at 11:30 on Saturdays, and store/ cafe closes at noon. DD had never been there before, so we were pretty happy she was able to go with us this morning. She has several food allergies (dairy and wheat), and this is one restaurant that is able to accommodate her needs.

I love that pretty much everything on their menu can be made gluten free, and most things (at least for breakfast) can also be made dairy free. They use local ingredients from local farms. The animal products come from humanely treated animals.

They have their own greenhouse and use non-GMO, organic seed!

Besides all of that, the food is really good!

Hubby got his eggs just like he likes them, over medium, with sausage, whole-grain gf toast with homemade apple butter, a side of home fries, and gf chocolate chip pancakes with real maple syrup. The whole-grain bread gets made there as this place is also a gluten free bakery!

Just look at the beautiful color of the egg yolks! :-)

I got an omelet with kale, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and feta cheese. I also got the gf whole-grain toast with homemade strawberry jelly and coffee. DD and I also split a gf/ df blueberry pancake with maple syrup. (Their pancakes are pretty big.) The kids also got variations of the things Chuck and I ordered. All of the food was really delicious and very REAL! I love that they have homemade jams and apple butter.

Did I mention that this place is also a gluten-free bakery? A lot of the baked goods are also dairy-free, which is really nice. Most restaurants that offer a gluten free dessert don't offer anything that is both gluten and dairy free. I realize that dessert is not really "healthy," but it's nice to have something on special occasions. All the things in this case are gluten free, and mostly dairy free. Since this is a Saturday, there was a little bit smaller selection than usual, and some of the items were almost gone.

There is also another case that usually has gf/ df cookies. That was empty today. I will mention that if you are exceptionally sensitive to gluten, you may not want to get the cookies. The other half of the cookie case usually has regular gluten-filled breads that the bakery also makes. I did ask the waitress what kinds of precautions are made to ensure safety. The gluten-filled bread is baked on a separate day than the gluten free things. The kitchen staff takes special care in cleaning everything in between. Also, there doesn't appear to be any gluten-filled desserts baked there. It looks like most of the items are gluten free, with just some bread baked on a separate day. Obviously you must evaluate your sensitivity level and decide for yourself whether or not to go to this restaurant. I have only ever gotten sick when I've eaten the cookies from the "mixed case." My daughter who gets hives from wheat has never gotten sick when we've brought home baked goods for her. If you have any questions or concerns on this, I would encourage anybody to call. Just click on the link above to find their website, contact info, hours, and menu.

Or, you can find them on Facebook! :-)

I hope all you moms out there have a wonderful weekend and a special day filled with peace, rest, and time spent with family! God bless! <3

Friday, May 12, 2017

Curried Pumpkin Red Lentil Soup

I am clearly not very good at writing regularly! I think Facebook is my biggest downfall to accomplishing what I need and want to. Finding balance in life is an ongoing battle for me.

I wrote last time about my daughter and I starting on the Blood Type Diet for Type A's and promised to update you on how we are doing. Well, I have to admit we have not been 100% following the diet. In fact, there are days that I fail miserably as I have not been good at meal planning. I have continued to notice that digestion, pain, and inflammation levels improve when I stick to the diet, and when I slip and eat things I shouldn't digestive complaints, pain, and inflammation increase again. I never thought potatoes would be as difficult to eliminate as they have been! They have been the hardest thing to get rid of. DD has had a return of dark circles, digestive issues, and generally not feeling well when she cheats. I am still determined to shift all the way to the BTD, but it's a process, I suppose. I have to adjust recipes and find some new ones. Oh! My husband and oldest son both tested themselves, and they are both Type A. That sure keeps things easier for me. Good thing, too! I'm having a hard enough time transitioning to just Type A diet and making some allowances for our one Type O son (mostly he is responsible for feeding himself, as he is an adult), without having to add in Type B like my husband thought. We have one child left to test. Since 5/6 have tested to be Type A, the chances are high our 7th family member is Type A, also.

Today I tried a new recipe. It has been a long time since I have come up with a recipe to share, but this one was really good. Our 4yo son even loved it. He has some sensory issues that cause him to be a picky eater, so I was very surprised when he agreed to try this soup. He insisted on closing his eyes before taking a bite, and he kept his eyes shut while he slowly chewed. Suddenly he popped his eyes open in shock and exclaimed, "This soup is GOOD!" He then insisted on grabbing the bowl and spoon from me and then fed himself 3 bowls of it! I guess this is one recipe I will want to make again. :-)

Please note that I am the kind of person who just throws stuff together and rarely measures anything. I am trying to the best of my ability to change that when I share recipes. I am including some measurements, but some things I did not measure and just added to our individual taste. When I make this recipe again, I will try to pay more attention and measure everything, however this recipe is such that things can be changed whenever you want. Instead of corn, you could add carrots. Instead of curry powder, you could add paprika and cumin. There are many combinations that would be good. Just play around with stuff and learn what flavors you like! Also, all ingredients I used were organic and GMO Free. I used my Instant Pot on the slow cooker setting. Next time I will experiment with making it on the pressure cooker "Manual" setting and will update this when I figure it out. I didn't know I was going to share this recipe until after it was eaten, so I have no pictures tonight. I will take some next time. Also, this gave us enough for about 6-8 adult servings.

Curried Pumpkin Red Lentil Soup

8 cups vegetable broth (Type A compliant)
15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup red lentils
1 cup frozen sweet corn
1/2 cup parboiled brown basmati rice
dehydrated chopped onion (can use fresh)
crushed garlic
curry powder
pink Himalayan salt
dried parsley
ginger powder
2 bay leaves

I threw everything into my Instant Pot and put it on the "Slow Cooker" setting. It was done after about 3-3 1/2 hours. It could easily be cooked for 4 hours. This would be comparable to cooking in any crock pot on "High" for 4 hours. I would imagine if you set a crock pot on "Low," it would be done around 8 hours.

If you decide to make this with regular brown rice instead of par-boiled, you will need to add a little more broth.

This recipe is good for Type A and is not good for Type O. I mention this because if you've seen my one son is Type O and think that I made this for him, too, you would be mistaken. I didn't really consider him when I made this as he usually doesn't eat the vegetarian dishes I make. He wants beef! Good thing he knows how to cook!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

What is Your Type?

Over the years I figured out that I've had a constant issue with inflammation in my body. As I learned through my research, inflammation causes a heap of trouble if it remains unchecked. I have tried various supplements with limited success. I can say that my gluten, dairy, and soy free diet has helped but hasn't eliminated the problem.

I recently began researching the Blood Type Diet. I know there is a bit of controversy about this diet, as there seems to be about each and every diet known to man! I know the author believes in evolution and feels the blood types are related to evolution. I am a creationist, but I do believe that adaptation has taken place over the years. For example, Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo, the author of Eat Right for Your Type, believes that Type A blood was the first blood type, then suddenly Type O came on the scene, and Type A basically disappeared for awhile, reappearing many years later when mankind began growing their own foods. He explains this through evolution. However, I believe that even from a creationist viewpoint this could be possible. Type A's thrive on a vegetarian diet and are in need of foods that are as pure as possible. They are sensitive to food additives and chemicals. I could see the first humans being Type A as the Bible clearly demonstrates that Adam and Eve were vegan. I could also see that after the flood the Bible states that God told Noah and his family to eat meat. I can believe that as a result of the flood wiping out vegetation, it would be necessary for humans to eat meat. It is conceivable that at that point perhaps Noah's future generations had some changes, adaptations, to be able to handle their new diet. Perhaps even before the flood, some humans were eating meat as the Word states that mankind was evil and living against God's plan. Perhaps there had already been some adapting taking place, with Type O showing up in the population. Perhaps even Noah and his family were already Type O but were eating vegetarian because Noah was a righteous man and followed God's orders. After the flood, I could see more adaptations and variations coming on the scene by regions, depending on the diets of those regions. I'm sure as some regions developed agriculture and started growing their own foods that Type A blood could have shown up in the population once more. I do believe this kind of adaptation may be supported by science, and the process can be understood this way by creationists, rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater simply because D'Adamo believes in evolution.

Anyway, this diet was intriguing to me because a lot of foods I have noticed over the years that bother me were on the "Avoid" list for my blood type, Type A. I am extremely sensitive to the effects of foods, additives, and chemicals around me, and I'm fairly good at figuring out which ones bother me. According to D'Adamo, people who have Type A blood are extra sensitive to the very things I have noticed I am sensitive to. I have had friends (skeptics) ask me how I can tell that an additive bothers me or causes inflammation, and all I could really say was that I just could. Maybe it was that I was extra stiff the next day or had stronger pain. Maybe my stomach felt tense, or maybe that particular food just seemed to sit like a rock and not move. I found it relieving to read a book that seemed to know just how my body worked. Needless to say, I decided to try the diet.

My 14-year old daughter decided to try it with me as she also was having issues with digestion, bloating, allergies, fatigue, etc. She was pleasantly surprised to find she also is a Type A, as is my oldest daughter who struggles with digestion and has other issues similar to mine. She also decided to attempt the same journey with this diet.

It has been a month since starting, and I have to say I've noticed a big decrease in my pain levels, to the point that I am no longer taking the natural anti-inflammatory on a daily basis that I was taking multiple times a day. In fact, I think I have only taken that supplement maybe 4 times over the last month. I have also lost a few pounds. When I cheat, and you know I do, I notice a marked increase of pain and inflammation the next day, particularly when I have eaten tomatoes and peppers, and if I cheat too much I start to gain a pound or two back. I had learned in the past that nightshades may cause pain and inflammation for some people, but I never wanted to believe it was the case with me. I like tomato products, peppers, and I love potatoes!

I will say I'm struggling with coming up with varied meals. I haven't been a big meat eater for many years anyway. I noticed years ago that pork and beef were a struggle for me to digest. Giving those up hasn't been an issue. However, this diet isn't that cut and dried. D'Adamo notes that lectins in foods cause a certain reaction in different blood types, and over the years he has figured out which lectins cause problems for which people. Unfortunately, this means that I can't just go vegetarian. I don't even have to go vegetarian, as fish, chicken, and turkey are fine for me to have. However, there are more specifics. For example, I can have tuna, cod, salmon, and sardines (among a long list of fish I can have), but I can't have halibut, flounder, haddock (among another list of seafood) because the specific lectins in those fish cause a negative reaction in my body. It is the same for all types of food, vegetables, fruit, grains, etc. Since I have never been a big fish eater, I haven't really learned how to cook fish. I haven't developed an appreciation for the taste of most fish. Fish is supposed to be absolutely wonderful for my type. I'm trying to like it. Really. I. Am.

Speaking of cooking, all of my recipes contain some ingredients that are on the Avoid (Poison) list for my type. I want to make meatloaf? Great! I can sub ground turkey for the beef, but, wait! I use ketchup and worcestershire sauce in my meatloaf. What do I substitute for those? I want noodles? Ok. How do I make a sauce that doesn't contain tomatoes or peppers? Tacos? Yum! I can sub ground turkey or just beans, but there's all kinds of pepper in the seasoning and tomatoes and peppers in the salsa. UGGH!!

Ok. Before you think this diet is absolutely unworkable and not worth it, I want to say that having pain relief is a huge plus, as is losing the indigestion I have dealt with for my entire life. The possibility of losing weight is a plus, though it may take time as Type A's tend to lose weight more slowly than other types. These improvements I have noticed even as I admit I have not done the greatest job of sticking to this diet. I am positive that if I stuck to it strictly I would lose all kinds of weight, even if I ate a lot of food. My plan (or theory): slowly come up with acceptable recipes that we love, and over time we will inch closer and closer to making this diet a lifestyle.

I haven't even mentioned the improvements my youngest daughter has seen. Her bloated belly has gone to nice and flat. The dark shiners under her eyes have greatly diminished. Her fatigue is gone. She hasn't complained of nausea or stomach pains in the last month! She actually came to me and thanked me for teaching her about this diet, and she has been better than I have about following it. She takes a salad to school every day and has been careful with breakfast and dinner at home.

Now let's talk a bit about another complication. My middle son decided to try things out a little, not 100%. He happens to be a Type O. This blood type thrives on meat! Beef is like medicine to him. Thank God he can also eat chicken, turkey, and fish. Other than the meat aspect, his diet looks similar in that many of the veggies and fruits overlap. However, there are also differences. My oldest daughter and her husband are facing the same issue. She is Type A, and he is Type O. What is the answer to this dilemma? I know! I took several evenings and typed up detailed shopping lists for both blood types. I printed them out and highlighted all the similarities with green. Now to sit down and figure out recipes that I can make that will work for both. It really shouldn't be too difficult to make a separate meat dish, and then make the same sides for everyone. I don't know. What do you think?

My husband thinks he's a type B. He's going to test himself in the next day or so. If he is a Type B, that is going to complicate things. I'm not ready for that. Type B thrives on dairy and has many opposites to the Type A and some to the Type O diet. Type B can't have chicken! Sigh.

Well, I think I'm going to work on mastering the Type A and Type O before I go all out and incorporate Type B. I will be posting some meal ideas and possibly recipes as I go on this adventure, and I'll update you all on how we are doing with this. Honestly, I don't see our youngest daughter and I ever going back to how we ate before. Whether or not we fully adopt this diet plan into our family, will be determined over the coming months, I suppose. This whole subject has given new meaning or added dimension to "Life is in the Blood."  I have been thinking about this quite a bit over the last month.

What about you? Have you ever heard of the Blood Type Diet? Have you actually tried following it for any length of time? What is your type?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Hope in God

Psalm 42:5--"Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance."

About seven years ago I started a blog as a way to help me adjust and mourn over the loss of gluten, dairy, soy, and food additives in my life. It was for our health that I had to get rid of these foods, but it was such a difficult decision, even as I found the health of my family improved by leaps and bounds. People don't always comprehend how hard these types of changes are. Many times they think it's just some fad people do to gain attention, and perhaps it is for some. However, most people arrive at this decision in an attempt to find health because they are dealing with chronic illness. In our case it was extremely difficult to put all our kids and myself on this "special diet," and it was by the encouragement of several doctors that we made this decision. I hated the attention it brought, the times I had to ask people what food they would be serving, so I could send food with my children to birthday parties, the church pizza parties, holiday dinners, etc. I hated going to family gatherings or other gatherings where everyone was eating whatever they wanted to and sometimes even ridiculed our "choices," as if we really had much of a choice. We were so sick when we ate the foods the rest of them ate. There really wasn't much of an option. People who have never HAD to do this have no idea the kind of mourning someone has to go through when this is something that is basically forced onto them. Forced, because their health and the health of their children is going down hill fast.

Losing a whole way of life and having to reinvent everything we were used to, left me feeling like I was treading water in stormy seas. Then as years went by, storm after storm and many waves kept tossing me to and fro as my oldest daughter went through scary health issues (months of vomiting, tests, liver tumor/growth, biopsy, weight loss, hair loss, etc), I had to stop leading Girl Scouts after 6 years of leading, my grandparents' health both declined physically and mentally, I had to stop attending college as we moved in with them to take care of them, issues threatened to destroy my marriage, my grandfather passed away, my youngest daughter got really sick and developed severe food allergies, my grandmother had Alzheimers (caused tons of issues in our family as we tried to care for her), we had issues with some extended family as we were caring for my grandparents, we got pregnant and had a son who has special needs, my husband got two bachelor's degrees, we moved back to our house, we had to do a makeshift remodel to make our house somewhat livable due to unfinished work that had been started while we were gone, my husband had health issues that almost killed him, my mother-in-law passed away, several (more than just a couple) friends passed away, a cyber bully decided to terrorize my family, my oldest daughter got engaged then got dumped, then she found a young man who swept her off her feet and got married, we dealt with typical teen drama and rebellion, my oldest son moved out, my daughter and her husband moved half the country away, my middle son quit school, he got a full-time job and moved into the apartment downstairs, and my youngest daughter stopped homeschooling and went to a private school (empty nest syndrome, anyone?). Saying that the last seven years have been tumultuous would be a great understatement. I thank God for His amazing grace and help through it all.

Intermingled in these storms, there were some good times that made life more bearable. Hello! We had a baby! Did I mention that in the storms section? Yes, he came with some issues that made things difficult for a bit. However, due to all the research skills I acquired over the years, and natural health knowledge, I learned how to better help him. He is such a sweetie, so loving and happy now! We always loved him, but life with a non-verbal, hurting, screaming, violent, unhappy, distressed, hyper, non-sleeping child does come with a level of stress and mourning that no one who has not lived it can possibly understand. I also coordinated a local food co-op, two of our children graduated high school (homeschool), we gained a wonderful new son in love, my husband got a job as a pastor and also started a community center, our youngest daughter who had been shy and extremely reserved and timid found confidence and a voice with the help of an awesome Taekwondo instructor (Bill Doheny), my oldest daughter got accepted into Aveda cosmetology school down where she lives, her husband got accepted into SCAD, and God led me to start school to learn more about natural healing.

During all the hard times, I truly had to lean on God to get through. So many people scoff at those of us who are believers, saying we are using God or the Bible as a crutch. Honestly, we all have crutches of one thing or another, whether food, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, pornography, co-dependent or unhealthy relationships, etc. Personally, I have no problem saying that I lean on God to get through difficult times in my life. Those who would say it's weakness, show me where your addiction to food or other things demonstrates your strength. Working with my husband in the ministry, I meet people from all walks of life, and I know for a fact, that every human being is weak and has a crutch, most of which are detrimental and damaging in one way, shape, or form. Not so with a relationship with God. I would say when I am weak, He is strong. His strength carries me through, and He makes me a better person. He heals and restores. Psalm 42 was a resounding theme for quite a long time for me. Circumstances come and go in this life, but relationship with God lasts forever and carries me through even the toughest times.

Whew! That's a lot to go through in seven years! There are quite a few more things, but I'm done listing them. The point is, that my life is not at all in the same place as it was when I started my first blog. I attempted to go back to it a couple of times, but honestly I couldn't see myself continuing it since the focus of that blog was simply on gluten free food. I'm not that same person. I'm no longer mourning the loss of various foods. In comparison to all the other things I've been through, losing certain food items just isn't a big deal to me anymore.

So, this blog is a new beginning for me! There will be a completely different purpose and a wide variety of topics shared here. Just bear with me as I have been away from blogging for a long time. I don't remember how to do all the stuff I did way back when I first blogged, and I'm not necessarily the most tech-savvy! This will definitely be a learning process for me. :-)

I will leave you with this song...