GF, GAPS-legal peanut butter treats

Last night I had a hankerin’ for something. Anything. I am a recovering popcorn addict so I had to think of something quick- before obsessive thoughts of freshly popped popcorn dripping with butter and sea salt got the best of me…

I rushed over to the kitchen and thankfully, was struck by freestyle snackin’ genius. I blobbed together a bit of peanut butter, shredded coconut, butter and honey. Voila! Disaster averted. Then I got to thinkin': ‘I should actually make something for my kids too…’

This is what I came up with. It got my hubby’s seal of approval when he taste-tested it at 11 pm (and then commented on the amount of dishes I just messed up).

Grain-free peanut butter treats

  • 2 cups of crispy nuts (almonds, pecans, hazelnuts) *I used a mixture of what I had around.
  • 1/2 c shredded coconut
  • 1/2 butter (or coconut oil or combination)
  • 6-7 dates finely chopped (you can also soak these)
  • 3/4 c crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder (extract would be fine too)

Grind nuts in Vitamix or food processor then add other ingredients, First dry, then add wet. Spread either into a cake pan (to cut into squares later) or into small candy or cupcake type liners. Freeze. Take out as needed. I can imagine these might be a bit messy ‘on-the-go’ so you might want to keep them for an at-home snack. Great for kids or moms with popcorn cravings….


The GAPS Diet- In Dr Natasha’s words

Have you been thinking about starting the GAPS diet? If you’re like most people considering this healing protocol for your family, you have a lot of questions. Now, you can hear what Dr Natasha herself has to say about GAPS in this 4-part video series taped at the 2011 Weston A Price Foundation conference where McBride was a keynote speaker…

*You can visit this page if you’d like to sign up for the waiting list for the ‘Getting Started with GAPS’ e-course. On June 9, we’re offering a full day workshop (including theory and hands on) in Winnipeg, MB.

GAPS- In Dr Natasha’s words…

Listen in as Dr Natasha Campbell McBride – author of Gut And Psychology Syndrome talks about her personal experience as the mother of an autistic child and how the GAPS protocol can help heal psychological and physiological disease.

Hear Dr. Natasha explain when you should see a mainstream doctor and how the body can kickstart its own healing process for many degenerative diseases – even when things seem hopeless.

Listen in as Dr Natasha talks about the healing wisdom of our bodies…

Can you get your child off medication? What are the roots of good health?

*Order your copy of the book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by Dr Natasha here.

Why use wild plants?

Whether we reside in a rural community or urban center, edible, medicinal and otherwise useful plants abound.

Most of the plants we consider noxious or nuisance weeds are not only edible, but tasty and nutritious, offering stiff competition to our domestic garden vegetables.  Many are also capable of treating or curing common ills that plague our society.  Stinging nettle, for example, is super rich in calcium, while burdock is well known as a “blood purifier” and is used in herbal cancer remedies.

Common 'weeds' like dandelion and burdock have powerful healing properties.

I am a big proponent of the health benefits that come from eating or using wild plants.  However, I am equally convinced that there are many additional health benefits that come from simply getting out there and gathering the plants.

There is something liberating about harvesting wild plants and incorporating them into meals, medicines, baskets, cordage or any myriad of things.  Yes, it is free, but above all, it is freeing.  When I buy anything from a store, I feel little or no connection to it or its origins, and the memory of getting it is often one of haste and overwhelm from marketing pressures and the rush of people around me.

When I gather wild plants, I feel connected to nature.  I feel alive, relaxed and thankful for what I’m harvesting. I also have a sense of being at least somewhat self-sufficient.  When I prepare food, weave a basket or make a salve from these plants, I continue to feel a connection to nature. And every time I eat this food, or use this basket or salve, I relive the gathering experience.

Wild bergamot

I remember, clearly, the sweet yet medicinal smell of the balsam poplars that thickened the spring air, the cheerful sound of the song sparrow singing its heart out in the tree next to me, the reflection of sun and clouds in a tiny pool of crystal clear water, the shocking coolness of a frog on my foot, the porcupine waddling noisily by, and the refreshing flavour of wild mint joyfully plucked from an ephemeral wetland.

It takes time to secure food, medicines and all of the other things we need to live – whether it’s time spent at our jobs earning money for trade, or time spent gathering and preparing things, ourselves.  I hope that, through my website, you will be enticed to spend more time in fields and forests experiencing the joys and benefits of harvesting and using wild plants, yourself.

 About the author, Laura Reeves:

Laura Reeves is a Manitoba-based botanist who shares her love of wild edibles through workshops and classes. Laura is an adept survivalist, having taken courses at Tom Brown’s Tracking, Nature and Wilderness Survival School in New Jersey and the Kamana Naturalist Training Program with Wilderness Awareness School, based out of Washington. You can find out more about her courses and workshops at  Prairie Shore Botanicals and see what she is gathering and cooking up on her Facebook page.

Up close and personal with Laura:

My passion for wild edibles and other useful plants is rooted in my desire to feel connected to nature at all times. In the process of increasing my consumption of wild foods and practicing wilderness skills, I have not only gained a greater appreciation of food in general, but of local cultural and natural history.

I have become much more aware of my local surroundings, including the effects of seasonal changes, weather patterns, moon cycles, soils, and the interactions between living and non-living things.

I know where I can find a healthy patch of plants, even when the one I normally harvest are not abundant. I have learned to appreciate my own vulnerability and to quickly distinguish my wants from my needs. I value things differently than I used to.  As I got to know the plants and animals around me on a deeper level, any sympathy I might have had for them was replaced with empathy. As a result, I have experienced several philosophical transformations over the years and I am sure there are more to come…

Cultured at Birth: Why Healing the Gut fosters a Healthy Baby

What does it mean to be “cultured“ at Birth?

As our babies are being birthed, they are literally being “cultured“ by our vaginal flora.

“The medical science shows that the flora in the vagina comes from the gut. What lives in the woman`s bowel will live in her vagina… in women with recurrent thrush, no matter how many powerful anti fungal topical preparations are used, the thrush always comes back. Until she gets rid of it in the bowel, she is not going to be free from vaginal thrush. But why does this woman have an overgrowth of fungi in her bowel? Because she does not have a healthy gut flora to protect her from this fungus and many other microbial invaders. This woman has a condition called gut dysbiosis. She will not only have an overgrowth of Candida albicans in her gut but lots of other pathogenic microbes, causing many other health problems.“
Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride MD, MMedSci(neurology), MMedSci(nutrition)

Babies aquire their particular microflora balance at birth through the skin, eyes and mucous membranes of their mouth and nose, as they descend through the birth canal.

What happens when moms have gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of good vs. bad bacteria in the gut)?

Mother passes on her own gut flora (for better or for worse) to her baby. The state of mom’s flora has the potential to either promote healthy digestion, immunity and mental capacities or it can compromise her baby’s health right from birth causing a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering for both. Click here to read the article ‘How to prevent colic, diaper rash (and more) in baby’

Besides having a history of antiobiotic use (antibiotics kill our good bacteria leaving no competiton to keep the bad or pathogenic types in check) there are many other digestive, immune and mental indications that we need to restore our bacterial balance (or inner ecosystem).

Here are some key symptoms:

□ allergies and food sensitivities
□ vaginal yeast infections
□ difficulty losing weight
□ fatigue
□ depression
□ bi polar
□ OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
□ dyslexia or dyspraxia
□ autism/aspergers
□ poor concentration
□ sugar/carb cravings
□ constipation
□ dairrhea
□ poor digestion and digestive disorders
□ acid reflux
□ sleeping poorly and night sweats
□ joint inflammation and stiffness
□ bad breath
□ gum disease and dental problems
□ frequent colds and flus
□ frequent infections
□ chronic yeast problems
□ acne
□ eczema
□ fungal infections
□ menstrual difficulties

If you suffer from 1 or many of the above symptoms you might be wondering how you can find the resources and the support you need to learn how to heal, restore or improve your current microflora balance, right?

Follow this step-by-step guide to improving your microbial balance in pregnancy:

  1. Eliminate white sugar and flour from your diet. If that sounds incredibly difficult or impossible, click here to read the article: How to get off Bread and Sugar-and by the way it is not your fault!
  2. Avoid natural sources of concentrated sugar ie: dried fruit, tropical fruits like bananas and mangoes etc. Instead include sour fruits like kiwi, berries of all kinds and green apples.
  3. Acidify your colon (good bacteria thrive in a lactic acidic rich environment)- eat plenty of cultured foods- start with the kid friendly ones if you are nervous about getting started.
  4. Eliminate all bleached, refined and deodorized fats like: margarine & vegetable oil food products like corn, soy and canola oil from your diet. Replace them with traditional fats like butter and coconut oil for baking and sauteing while using olive oil (raw only) for salad dressing.
  5. Alkalize your blood- modern people are often overfed, yet undernourished. Mineralize deficient blood by eating plenty of cooked green vegetables, crispy seeds, gelatinous bone broth and seaweeds.
  6. Take a probiotic pill with a wide variety of beneficial bacteria (10-14 or more strains) throughout your entire pregnancy and during breastfeeding.
  7. Upgrade the quality of the animal products that you consume to being antibiotic free, from compassionately raised and free range or grass fed animals.
  8. Drink, bathe and shower in water that has been filtered of chlorine (which is also unfortunately an antibiotic).

These practices must be adopted by couples planning to conceive, and by pregnant and breastfeeding women -and moms seeking to prevent common childhood disorders such as asthma, eczema, colic and tummy aches while promoting optimal immune health in their developing baby and children.

For people who don’t have severe digestive problems or a long history of antibiotic use, the aforementioned recommendations will be adequate to restore the gut flora in most cases.

However, in more severe situations such as autism, IBS and other chronic or persistent cases of digestive distress and mental illness, the family must in addition adhere to a grain free diet for 6 months to 2 ½ years to restore the gut back to its optimal state of health.

For more information about how to get started on that path check out our private consulting services or ‘Getting Started with GAPS’ e-course.

Want to learn more?
1) Watch Dr. Natasha Campbell Mc Bride chat about gut health.

What should you do now, if you didn’t know about this before having your kids? These same steps apply for anyone who suffers from microbial imbalance. It is never too late to improve your own and your family’s health!

Want to learn more and how to make cultured foods at home that please even the kids (and kids at heart)? If you said yes, then check out our Cultured Kids e-course page where we show you a video of how we transform a standard North American lunch into a wholesome probiotic feast!!!


Coconut Cream Jello

This simple recipe will please young and old alike!

Recently we discovered pure creamed coconut in the ethnic foods isle at Superstore. While it isn’t organic, I am just happy that it is pure and has no fillers like guar gum -or nasty preservatives like it’s canned counterpart.

Simply open the package and melt it in 1 cup hot water for an alternative to canned coconut.

I thought I’d try using creamed coconut as the base for jello. I am always on the look out for ideas for nutrient dense snacks and add ons for brown bagging it!

Since this recipe is so rich with coconut fiber, it is best to serve in small portions- especially for sensitive bellies.

Coconut Cream Jello

What you will need:
1 box coconut cream
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp of gelatin
melted honey  to taste (or green leaf stevia powder if you don’t mind your jello being green)!
fresh chopped fruit (optional)
jam- melt and drizzle in before letting it set (optional)

How to do it:
Step 1: Pour 1 cup of boiling hot water on top of creamed coconut. Break apart with a fork as much as possible and let stand for about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Whisk the creamed coconut and water mixture with a fork until coconut is milky (without clumps).
Step 3: Take 1/4 cup water and a 1/4 cup of the coconut/water mixture and add 2 Tbsp gelatin and stir constantly on the stove  at medium high heat until gelatin is dissolved (this will be a little hard to determine because of the colour, but essentially, you shouldn’t see any gelatin sticking to the bottom of the pot when you tip it).
Step 4: Once the gelatin is dissolved, mix it into the rest of the coconut cream.
Step 5: Stir in melted honey to taste.
Step 6: Pour into containers of choice and refrigerate until set.

or alternately,

Step 7: Lay fresh fruit into a container or swirl in jam and pour jello on top for more nutrition, colour and flavour!

We like to set our homemade jello in little canning jars so that we can easily send them with school lunches -literally grab n’ go!