Thursday, March 26, 2015

Book Review: He Won't Know It's Paleo

A taste of recipes included in the book!
I put my kids on AIP (an autoimmune protocol of paleo diet, basically a paleo diet but more restricted) and this new book He Won't Know It's Paleo by Bre'anna Emmitt, has been a great tool when getting the kids used to the new diet. 

The book has great recipes for AIP friendly versions of foods that my kids may have been missing like crackers, muffins, ketchup just to mention few. The main dish recipes are amazing too, not just the condiments and baked goods. I have tried only a handful of recipes but so far I am very impressed.

The story behind the cook book is funny I thought: The author had wanted to switch to AIP diet but knew the switch to paleo wouldn't be easy on her husband so she didn't tell him! He ate paleo for six months without knowing it, commented how he felt better and lost weight. Wow. I don't know if I could have pulled that through! You have to be a very good cook to do that so that is probably the best testimonial for this book!

The book is available as a hard copy and Kindle version

Monday, March 9, 2015

How to help kids to sleep with story massage


Photo: Hello Pinecone Photography

Happy Monday!

This daylight savings is often rough for us! Getting the kids to sleep earlier isn't easy. My four year old went to school late today as he just slept and slept. Story massage can help with sleep. Research shows that kids who were massaged before bedtime slept better - they fell asleep faster and their sleep patterns improved compared to the control group who was read a bedtime story but didn't receive massage. Read more why and how to try it tonight with your kids below!

Why story massage helps sleep?

1. Nurturing touch reduces stress hormones in the body (for both the one receiving touch and the one giving it!)

2. Story massage, nurturing touch, nurturing story and your mindful presence will create a safe space for the child to fall asleep. Feeling your hand on their back helps the child feel so safe that they can close their eyes and drift to sleep. It also helps the adult to stop after a busy day.

3. The safe space can inspire the child to share anything worrying them and help them fall asleep faster after getting the load off their backs.

Ideas for bedtime story massage:

  • A story massage: This Day. Make up a story massage of the events of the day. 
  • Use any story or nursery rhyme your child is already familiar with, or one you remember from your own childhood 
  • Have children come up with their own stories and draw those on their back. 
  • Print this bedtime story massage out and use it tonight: 
Night in the forestA tactile story for children by Sirpa Kaajakari

Follow the instructions below to draw the story on your child’s back to help them sleep, feel safe and to connect with them. Always ask permission before starting. Use gentle strokes avoiding pressure on the spine and kidneys in the low back.
A big old spruce tree stood in the forest. Its roots were planted deep in the ground, its trunk was thick and sturdy and its branches were wide and green. The sap from the tree smelled so fresh. (Using the palms of your hands start from the low back and draw a tree with lots of branches on the back.)

The tree was a home for birds and squirrels. They felt safe in the old tree and ate the seeds from the cones and the bugs that crawled on the trunk. (Draw small circles with the tips of your fingers on the back.)

Foxes hid under the tree when it was raining. (Rest your hands on the low back.)

Hikers who needed to rest their tired legs sat under the tree and leaned against the strong trunk of the tree and enjoyed the peace of the forest. (Stroke with your hands on both sides of the spine starting from the low back.)

At night stars were bright and the moon lighted the forest. (Sprinkle stars all over the back with your finger tips.)

An owl sat on the branch of the old spruce tree, alert and awake when everyone else was sleeping. Keeping an eye on everything so the others could sleep peacefully. (Gently squeeze the shoulders.)

The wind gently brushed the tree branches and whispered: You are safe. (Draw whirly wind all over the back.)

One star fell from the sky but the tree caught it and the star got stuck on the top of the tree. From there it shone brightly, bringing peace and happiness to everyone in the forest. (Stroke the head and run your hands down to the upper back and rest them there.)

Information about story massage classes in Los Angeles:

www.kaikulifestyle.com

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Yellow Tail + Mango Ginger Salsa

The kids loved it. They especially love always the fresh fish as it has no "fishy taste" which develops as the fish ages.
(The problem with cooking at night is always the same, the pictures don't look so great as there is no day light! Every time I swear I will save some of the food for next day and take photos and almost every time it fails as there are no leftovers... Oh well.) 

Every week my kids and I go to the farmers market around the corner and buy organic vegetables, honey, fruit and pick up our weekly Community Seafood share. Community Seafood is a local community supported fishery in Santa Barbara, California. Their goal is to support the fishing community and sustainable ways of harvesting seafood.


I signed up a few months ago and our family has enjoyed the variety of seafood. I have tasted foods I have never tasted before, and may not have otherwise tasted, and learnt to prepare them too. Some of the new acquaintances have been mussels, oysters, ridge back shrimp and lobster. Some of the fish are new to me too. I grew up eating fish but mostly salmon, herring and some sweet water fish like perch.

This week's share was yellow tail. We have had it many times before and we usually enjoy it either grilled or fried in a cast iron pan. We like our fish simple. Usually we use just salt as a seasoning and squeeze some lemon from our tree on the cooked fish. For yellow tail I have made a few times a fruity salsa from fresh fruit I have had at hand like pineapple, peach, plums or mango. This week's salsa had mangoes.

I will post my most delicious paleo/AIP fish recipe experiments in future too. Stay tuned!
It is important to start with skin side up.
Otherwise the skin may stick to the pan.

Fried Yellow Tail 

yellow tail filets
salt to taste
1-2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil

1. Cut the fish in smaller filets if needed. Leave the skin on.
2. Wash the fish and pat them dry with a paper towel or kitchen towel.
3. Heat a couple of spoonfuls of oil in your cast iron pan.
4. When the pan is warm, lay the fish pieces on the pan skin side up.
5. Leave them for a few minutes and turn them over.
6. Sprinkle salt on the fish and cover if you like.
7. Lower the heat a bit and cook until fish meat is white and flakes.

Mango Salsa 

1 ripe mango
1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
juice from 1 lime
pinch of salt
a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped or cut small with scissors

1. Peel the mango and chop the meat in small pieces. I like to cut small slices against the pit first horizontally and then vertically to make squares and then cut along the pit to remove the pieces from the mango. Then repeat on the other side of the pit.
2. Put the mango pieces in a bowl and crush some of them with a fork to extract some of the juice.
3. Add lime juice, salt, crushed garlic and grated ginger. Let it sit for a while in the fridge before serving. If it is not spicy enough for your taste buds, add more ginger.

Use fresh ingredients for best results!

Veggie sides

I try to make sure we get plenty of vegetables every day. To help with this goal I have started to make often two veggie sides instead of one as I used to do.

With the fish and salsa I also served steamed asparagus that is in season now and sauteed purple mustard greens I got from the market as well. The asparagus I steamed just enough that it felt soft when I pierced a spear with a knife and tossed them in olive oil and sea salt.

The mustard greens I sauteed very lightly in a little bit of coconut oil and added a touch of salt. For sauteeing them I got instructions from the vendor at the market to heat the oil in the pan, add the greens, toss them in the oil, cover the pan and turn off the heat and let sit for just a little while. The greens stayed a little bit spicy in this way and were absolutely delicious!


What is your favorite way to prepare yellow tail?

Family photo time!

Hello,

meet my family! My friend Erin from Hello Pinecone Photography takes our family photos once a year. It is so lovely to have so beautiful good quality photos of our family. For once we are all in one photo! It is incredible to see how my boys grow - they look different every year in these yearly photos! Here are a few of the photos from 2015. They were taken at Descanso Gardens where members are allowed one shoot per year for holiday cards or something like that.
















Monday, February 23, 2015

What brings you joy?

Hello there! 

My favorite time of the year, spring, is almost here and it is time for spring cleaning! I was introduced to a genius decluttering method by a dear friend. You can read more about it here or buy the book here but basically you get rid of everything that does not bring you joy. You look at the item and ask yourself, does this bring me joy? If the answer is no, get rid of it. Simple as that! I am in the process of doing that at my home and I realized it can reach other areas of life too.

I have come to realize that to better be able to focus on my family, I am going to have to narrow down what I do, choose what brings me most joy. From now on, in my massage practice, I will specialize in prenatal massage and pediatric massage classes only. I will also define my work hours better and work mostly when my kids are at school to have more time to spend with them.

I have chosen prenatal massage as my speciality as I love to support mothers-to-be and it supports naturally my other work, the child massage classes. In this way my focus is on mothers, children and families. More information can be found from my website www.kaikulifestyle.com .

I hope you are well! Have a joyful day!

Sirpa

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New BREAKFAST cook book and a sample pancake recipe!



Happy New Year from Sequoia national forest! (I did schedule this post ahead of time as there is not much of internet access where we are!)

I am so proud to announce our new cook book coming out TODAY! It is a pretty incredible e-book with 85 breakfast recipes. Just breakfasts! Because breakfast seems always to be puzzling people most when they go on a grain free diet and all their old safe breakfast foods fly out the window.


One year ago I was preparing to start AIP diet to battle blood sugar swings and food intolerances. The diet I started on January 2nd has been life changing for me. I still have healing to do, but I have come a long way and have learnt what foods tweak me and which don't. I feel better. And I have learnt how to eat really healthy.

I nowadays recommend AIP almost to anyone as a diet reset, to check in how your body is doing, feel better, and especially if you have any autoimmune issues or unexplained illnesses, it is a great way to start healing and feeling better. If you do the reintroductions properly after eliminating lots of foods for 30 days (or more) you get valuable information of which foods you are sensitive to, or which foods make you feel yucky, cause insomnia, headaches or other symptoms or have your autoimmune illness flare up.

I am so excited to be part of this new cook book. It was my biggest fear when starting the diet - what to eat for breakfast? This book has 85 answers to that question. It has a variety of breakfast recipes from several different bloggers (including me!) and authors who are following the AIP diet themselves. The editor is the lovely Eileen Laird of Phoenix Helix, a popular AIP blog. You can imagine my excitement when she asked me to be part of this community cook book project.

In the AIP breakfast cook book there are recipes for skillets, pancakes, waffles, soups, patties, bowls etc. All paleo and AIP compatible recipes. The recipes are grain free, sugar free, dairy free, egg free, seed and nut free, night shade free. One great thing about the book is that it even has dietary modifications for those avoiding coconut, the ones following a low-FODMAP diet, GAPS/SCD or low-histamine diet. The low-FODMAP modification was something I was dealing with. You can read about that here.

Here is a taste of what the book is about. It is just one of many pancake recipes!

Oven baked pumpkin spice pancakes
by Jaime of Gutsy by Nature


2 tablespoons gelatin
1/2 cup hot water
4 medjool dates, pits removed
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup sweet potato flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping: maple syrup, honey, and/or whipped coconut cream, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
2. Dissolve the gelatin in the hot water and mix well.
3. In a food processor or high speed blender, puree dates, pumpkin, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and the gelatin and water mixture until smooth.
4. Add sweet potato flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Puree again until all ingredients are well combined (the batter will be thick – more like a cake than a traditional pancake).
5. Make six roughly equal size pancakes on the cookie sheet – spreading them out so that each one is about 1/4 inch thick.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until they hold together when you gently slide a spatula under them and try to move them.
7. Serve with desired topping or eat plain.



Saturday, December 27, 2014

Good Morning Breakfast Salad

Before paleo life, when I was on a standard Finnish diet I had every morning pretty much the same breakfast (like probably a lot of other Finns if they didn’t eat oat meal): A slice of dark sour rye bread with butter, a slice of cheese and sliced cucumbers or tomatoes with some herb salt (Herbamare). If someone had told me that I would one day give up that habit and eat soup or even a salad for breakfast, I would have probably laughed politely and thought: Never.


Leaving grains and dairy has changed my thoughts about breakfasts completely. Any food can be a breakfast food now. I mean I tend to lean towards bacon and breakfast patties with veggies and fruit but occasionally I eat also soups and salads. Soup is actually a common breakfast food in Japan so it just feels strange here in the West.

I have been meaning to post this recipe for a while now. We have an AIP breakfast cook book coming out on January 1st (stay tuned!) so I thought I should finally post this breakfast recipe too. It is not in the book but it is delicious and should be shared!

One day few weeks ago when I came back from my early morning Crossfit workout I craved something fresh but also warm. I used leftover romaine lettuce from the fridge and picked some lettuce and cress from the garden and made this salad. I had some leftover dairy free ranch dressing left and it paired well with the salad, see the recipe below.

Making the salad was a nice meditative activity and morning sun in the garden felt good and I watched for a while the bees pollinate my spaghetti squash flowers.

Good Morning Salad

A few strips of bacon (I buy sugar free bacon from US Wellness Meats)
Half a package of mushrooms
Lettuce
Cress
One mango
One avocado
Olives
a Persian cucumber

For ranch dressing, add the following ingredients together in a jar with a lid. Shake the jar to mix the dressing.

1 cup of coconut kefir
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

  1.  Fry the bacon with the mushrooms in a cast iron pan.
  2.  Tear lettuces in pieces.
  3.  Chop cucumbers, mango and avocado. Remove pits from olives and slice them.
  4.  Pile the ingredients on a plate, the warm mushrooms and bacon on top. Serve with the dressing.
Don't forget to check back in on January 1st (subscribe to posts to get the email!) when the new breakfast cook book comes out! This book rocks!


Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Story Massage

I would like to wish you and your family lots of peace, joy and happiness this holiday season. I hope you can find time to relax and connect with your children. Remember that you and your mindful presence is their best gift!


I wrote today a story massage. It is not the first one I have written but it is the first one I am sharing publicly so I am a little bit nervous. Please send me feed back! It is a Christmas story BUT if you don't celebrate Christmas, you can just leave out the word Christmas and it will magically turn into a non-Christmas story! It can be used like this during the rest of the year too. I wrote this story to help my little boy feel safe when he is going to sleep. He has been afraid of ghosts lately. I hope you'll enjoy it.


(Christmas) night in the forest
A tactile story for children
Written by Sirpa Kaajakari, 2014

Follow the instructions below to draw the story on your child’s back to help them sleep, feel safe and to connect with them. Always ask permission before starting. Use gentle strokes avoiding pressure on the spine and kidneys in the low back. For more information go to www.kaikulifestyle.com

A big old spruce tree stood in the forest. Its roots were planted deep in the ground, its trunk was thick and sturdy and its branches were wide and green. The sap from the tree smelled so fresh. (Using the palms of your hands start from the low back and draw a tree with lots of branches on the back.)

The tree was a home for birds and squirrels. They felt safe in the old tree and ate the seeds from the cones and the bugs that crawled on the trunk. (Draw small circles with the tips of your fingers on the back.)

Foxes hid under the tree when it was raining. (Rest your hands on the low back.)

Hikers who needed to rest their tired legs sat under the tree and leaned against the strong trunk of the tree and enjoyed the peace of the forest. (Stroke with your hands on both sides of the spine starting from the low back.)

On Christmas night (or replace with “At night”) stars were bright and the moon lighted the forest. (Sprinkle stars all over the back with your finger tips.)

An owl sat on the branch of the old spruce tree, alert and awake when everyone else was sleeping. Keeping an eye on everything so the others could sleep peacefully. (Gently squeeze the shoulders.)

The wind gently brushed the tree branches and whispered: You are safe. (Draw whirly wind all over the back.)

One star fell from the sky but the tree caught it and the star got stuck on the top of the tree. From there it shone brightly, bringing peace and happiness to everyone in the forest. (Stroke the head and run your hands down to the upper back and rest them there.)

Read more about the benefits of story massage for children here

For information about story massage and relaxation classes for children go to www.kaikulifestyle.com

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Interview with Angie Alt, author of Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook.

Happy Finnish Independence Day! The republic of Finland is today 97 years old. I will be thinking of my home country and friends and relatives today. It also is my husband's birthday and we will be cooking paleo supcakes today (shh!)!

Today I ALSO have the honor of interviewing the lovely Angie Alt, the author of the brand new Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook (both in print and ebook!) who is on her virtual book tour this week. Today she is stopping by at Kaiku Lifestyle! Angie is a blogger and a health coach. Check out her website Alt-ernative autoimmune.


SIRPA: Hi Angie! Thanks for virtually stopping by! :) I enjoyed reading your beautiful cook book and I think it is so well needed and welcome in the AIP community! I miss having cook books that I can actually cook from without coming up with substitutions for every other ingredient. The recipes look delicious, can't wait to try them!

ANGIE: I'm so glad you like it!! It was a major labor of love.

SIRPA: It sure looks like labor of love! Your cook book and website say Alternative Autoimmune. What is behind the name?

ANGIE: My last name is Alt, so Alternative is a play on my name. The whole AIP movement is really about finding other ways, different ways . . . alternatives to heal autoimmune issues, so I've always liked to think of it that way.

SIRPA: Makes sense! You say AIP can give dramatic results. Could you describe shortly the dramatic change you experienced yourself? What made it worth it?

ANGIE: The very first change I noticed when I started AIP in May 2012 was a very big shift in the severity of anxiety I was experiencing. I went from constant anxiety, panic attacks and needing medication to being completely fine in terms of the anxiety struggle within three days. That dramatic change made me feel continuing the protocol to achieve other healing was worthwhile.

SIRPA: That is amazing! In your book you give instructions for the elimination phase and instruct in eliminating foods little by little week by week. Why not eliminate all at once? If you plan to be on the diet only for the 30 days, won't the last ones be away from your diet for only a very short time in that case?

ANGIE: I am a certified health coach and I noticed very early in my practice that many of my clients were really overwhelmed and stressed by starting all the eliminations at once. The cold-turkey approach doesn't work for lots of folks. I started developing a way to ease in and found my clients experiencing tons more success. In most cases, 30 days is not a long enough elimination period. That said, once you reach the final elimination is when your "full elimination period" begins, whether you need 30 days or more.

SIRPA: Ok. I did cold turkey and it was intense! I might try your method too as I have slipped some from the AIP and feel it. I did just 30 days when I started and I was in rush to introduce foods back (maybe because I went cold turkey!). If you (not me of course but HYPOTHETICALLY) reintroduce... say... coffee, chocolate and red wine the first week despite all your good intentions, how to get back on track?

ANGIE: I would take them all back out, give your system at least a week to reset (unless you've had a particularly bad reaction, then you might need more time) and then attempt reintroductions again, this time going more slowly. It is basically a big science experiment, where you are the guinea pig and your variables (the food) to be be carefully controlled for the best data.

SIRPA: Makes sense. I will keep that in mind next... I mean IF that would ever happen. Oh, I wanted to ask. I noticed you use tapioca in the recipes. I eliminated tapioca on AIP because it is cross reactive with gluten. What is your take on tapioca?

ANGIE: Tapioca is listed on the Cyrex labs Array 4 test for gluten cross-reactivity, however, tapioca is not eliminated on AIP. This is because not all the foods on the cross-reactivity list cause problems for every individual. It depends on the kinds of antibodies that your body forms. Tapioca, being on the gluten cross-reactive list, but not being out on AIP, makes it a good candidate to suspect though, if you find that you still don't feel well on AIP, especially if you consume tapioca regularly. Again, this is about fine-tuning and using the protocol to find your individual template over time.

SIRPA: Ok, thanks. I have done the Cyrex labs Array 4 test and my tapioca result was in the normal range. I think I might eliminated way many foods back then! I thought I was supposed to eliminate all gluten cross reactives. Good to know!

Have you ever tried any other healing protocols apart from AIP? If you have, how do they compare to AIP in your personal experience?

ANGIE: I have never tried anything else. Prior to trying AIP, I had no experience at all in altering my diet. It was desperation that made me try in the beginning, but soon I was sold on the healing it offered me.

SIRPA: If you would have to choose to be one AIP friendly food, which one would you be?

ANGIE: LOL! Hmmm? I've never thought of being a food. Maybe I'd be pork belly... It is insanely delicious.

SIRPA: LOL! Thanks so much, Angie! Good luck with everything!

ANGIE: Thanks for having me Sirpa!!

SIRPA: My pleasure. Have a great day! :)

Buy the book here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook by Angie Alt

I am very excited to share the news of this brand new cook book by Angie Alt of Alt-Ternative Autoimmune. I had the honor to read it already yesterday before the ebook was published this morning (a print version is coming out soon too!).

It was a great read about how to carry through the healing AIP diet where you first eliminate a lot of foods and then reintroduce them back one by one. I imagine this book is a great support when going on this diet. The recipes look delicious. I will post an interview with the author on Saturday! Check back to find out then what is behind the name in Alternative autoimmune, what to do if instead of reintroducing foods slowly one by one you introduce chocolate, coffee and red wine at once and which AIP friendly vegetable the author would choose to be if I made her choose.

The ebook version came out today and the print version will come out soon and you can order both through this link. If you buy it through my link it supports my work. :)

  • The ebook has 186 Pages (a lot!)
  • Price $17.00 (worth every penny)
  • 24 Meaty Main Recipes
  • 22 Soups & Sides Recipes 
  • 12 Drink & Desserts Recipes 
  • 3 Helpful Charts & a Food Journal 
  • Lots on "the journey" from illness to wellness with everything in-between (very interesting and helpful on my journey)