Saturday, August 23, 2014

I am on Paleo Diet Magazine!

My paleo camping food blog post was featured in the new Paleo Diet magazine!

You can check out the mag with me in it for free with coupon code PaleoMagVIP. The magazine is awesome!

Here is the link for iTunes.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/paleodiet-magazine-where-passion/id583344658?ls=1&mt=8

Here is a video on how to use the code:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUg5v6sn0TM

Or see the pic below for the three step process. If you need help with it, let me know!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sweet potato, greens and chicken curry (AIP / Paleo / Grain free / Dairy free / Vegan version)


I love buying vegetables from the farmers' market and going home to cook them right away. Today we bought sweet potatoes and water spinach and came up with this creation. It was great and kids liked it too (well, at least one of them). I put only a little bit spices not to make it too strong for them as they are not used to very spicy food.


You can make this vegan by leaving out the chicken.

Coconut oil
Big bunch of greens (I used water spinach here)
Several sweet potatoes
Mushrooms of your choice
Garlic
Fresh ginger
Salt to taste
Turmeric to taste
1-2 cups of broth (can be vegetable or meat broth)
Chicken, optional

Optional (seed based spices are not included in the beginning of AIP diet so these can be left out as well):
Ground black pepper, cumin, coriander and mustard seed to taste

(These are spices included in the curry spice, just like the other spices above like turmeric which gives it the yellow color - I have made nightshade free curry spice myself in the past by mixing these spices but leaving out chili.)

1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut them in cubes. Chop mushrooms and greens.
2. Grate a piece of fresh ginger and chop garlic.
3. Heat up the coconut oil in a big pan on medium heat.
4. Add garlic, ginger and other spices (not salt yet) and stir them in the oil. Be careful not to burn them.
5. Add sweet potatoes and broth and let cook (covered) for a few minutes.
6. Cut chicken in strips and add them in the pan.
7. When the chicken and sweet potatoes are nearly done, add mushrooms and greens.
8. Last add salt and taste it. Add spices as needed.

This recipe can be found as well from Phoenix Helix' AIP Roundtable

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Depression is not “just a bad day”. And hold your babies when they cry.

Photo: Hello Pinecone Photography

The death of Robin Williams touched deeply the world who knew him. Me, like many others have been thinking about him, his movies I have seen, depression and suicide. I have been thinking about the reasons that lead to someone to end their own life. And I have been holding by children a little more tightly.



Today I read a touching Facebook post from my friend, mentor, teacher (and at times even my student), Eloise. She talked about times she was “seized by a deep, wordless, horrible existential angst” that came in no pattern. She didn’t know why she felt like that but learnt how to get through it somehow.


“If I had been a little less stubborn, or a little less Aries, or - I might have gotten worse than better - I might have killed myself too”, she says. But she didn't. 

A few years ago the feeling got hold of her again. “Three years ago, I was in that place and a thought bubbled up from inside me that 'this is what it felt like when I was left alone to cry when I was a baby'. That was why it was wordless, it was a feeling before I had words. I was so alone and the universe was an uncaring place and the pain was all-encompassing."

She says after the realization, the blackness haven't come again. 

"I think it is gone because I understood it. I write this for anyone who it might speak to, and I write for parents. The 'let them cry it out' strategy is a mistake with infants.”

She says she is convinced now that being left to cry alone installed “some truely horrific times” in her psyche. She urges people to remember that this goes beyond just having a bad day. “Please don't trivialize it. And hold your babies when they cry.”

If you want to read the whole post, you'll find it unedited below, published with the writer’s permission. Thank you, Eloise. And I am so sorry you were left alone to cry as a baby.

"I am generally a pretty happy person. However, there were times when I have been seized by a deep, wordless, horrible existential angst. Why even try to move -because the hole was deep and formless and lightless - what could fight that? It would come on in no pattern I ever figured out, and blessedly, would leave in less than a day - or at least after a sleep. It started in high school - I remember the in-the-middle-of-it decision to kill myself, and then the next day realizing it might get better after high school, so I bargained myself into hanging on til I was 25. And I thought about it at 25 - I had made a contract with myself - but although the blackness would still sometimes come, I had practiced going through it, I knew it, I had made my way through - and life was interesting enough. 3 years ago, I was in that place - and a thought bubbled up from inside me that 'This is what it felt like when I was left alone to cry when I was a baby'. That was why it was wordless, it was a feeling before I had words. I was so alone and the universe was an uncaring place and the pain was all-encompassing. I haven't had the blackness come again since that realization, and I think it is gone because I understood it. I write this for anyone who it might speak to, and I write for parents. The 'let them cry it out' strategy is a mistake with infants - maybe not with 3 year olds, but with people who don't have words or understanding yet - I am as convinced as I am that there will be another dawn that being left to cry was what installed some truely horrific times in my psyche. If I had been a little less stubborn, or a little less Aries, or - I might have gotten worse than better, I might have killed myself too. If you haven't felt the transporting/transformation of your personality to something bleak and 'not you' - Yay for you. Give great gratitude to the powers that be. But please, understand that this goes beyond 'normal' life, and it is not 'just a bad day', and it is not someone else's fault for not doing the right thing on that day. Please don't trivialize it. And hold your babies when they cry."

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Super easy creamy chicken in the oven (AIP, paleo, dairy free, grainfree, gluten free)

This dish has almost a blue cheesy taste although it is dairy free! This food was so good that we were nearly fighting for the last bits. You have to try it, I am telling you! I created the dish kind of accidentally while we were staying in a cabin in the national forest in Finland. We were jetlaggy, tired, needed a dinner quickly and these were the only ingredients I had at hand. I had packed the creamed coconut in my suit case to use in place of milk in cooking. It keeps well, doesn't need refrigeration and I often bring some camping too. Now that I think of it, this would be perfect camp food. It could be prepared ahead of time in bags of foil and just be put on the campfire at dinner time. We are going camping for my birthday this week on the beach, guess what my birthday dinner will be?!

Easypeasy creamy chicken in the oven

2 lbs chicken thighs or breast, cut in strips
small bunch of spinach, chopped roughly (other greens would work too)
1 package of mushrooms, cut in half or quarters
1 package of creamed coconut (I use this one) (half a package might be enough but I used the whole thing)
1/2 lb of bacon (AIP friendly bacon available at US Wellness meats), cut in small pieces
a clove of garlic
salt to taste
coconut oil to grease the pan
A splash or two of water, white wine or broth in addition if the dish feels very dry as you are mixing it, I added some just in case

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Grease an oven pan with coconut oil.
3. Mix all ingredients in the pan. If the creamed coconut is solid, you can crumble it. The crumbles give the dish actually a cheesy feel. Use a garlic press to mince the garlic.
4. Bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked. Keep an eye so it doesn't burn from the top and add water or broth or wine and mix if needed.
5. Serve with salad. (Would be very nice with some gluten free noodles or boiled potatoes too if the dish doesn't have to be AIP friendly!)

TIP: If you don't want to use oven in the heat of the summer, you can just as well sautee the dish in a pan or a pot.

More AIP friendly recipes

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How to get kids to eat healthy food?


Healthy food can be good. This little boy is
eating grain free and sugar free plantain pancakes.
People often ask me how they could get their kids to eat. Or even better, how could they get them to eat healthy foods instead of only the bread, cheese, crackers and treats they crave. I have been asked to write a blog post about this multiple times but it feels hard. I am no expert in this. How could I tell you what the right answer is? See, I have a selective (or so called "picky", don't like the word) eater in the household too. Sometimes two. But it is getting better. The pickiest eater's favorites now are liver sausage, sushi, mushrooms and fish. He eats vegetables. The other day he said, surprised, as he tasted some fried zucchini: "Mom, this is good!" How did we get here?


I have come to learn that one of my selective eater's reasons for being so selective was due to food sensitivities (yes, food sensitivities can cause kids to be so called picky eaters but that is another post). The other aspect was his parents (my husband and I). We gave him what he wanted to eat. When my selective eater was very young he used to eat only cheese, bread, Annie's bunny crackers and pasta with tomato sauce (and mommy's milk). We gave him those foods as we thought he would otherwise starve and we were scared to say no to him.

Nowadays the selective eater, who is seven years old, eats a rather healthy variety of foods including all kinds of sea food (shrimp, fish, octopus), mushrooms, meats, fruits and berries, liver sausage (we buy the US Wellness Meats one), liver casserole, some selected vegetables like broccoli, carrots, cucumbers and zucchini, cabbage casserole, spinach pancakes, green smoothies, sushi etc. How did we get here?

You drive the bus - but be a gentle bus driver, never force anyone to eat

My advice is - and it sounds simple but don't be fooled - that YOU drive the bus. You (by "you" I mean the parents together, not just one parent, it is easier if there is consensus) decide what kind of foods you want your family to eat (think about it, write it even down and talk about it with the kids - why eating healthy is good and so on, you get the idea). Then serve those foods. Serve them at meal times, sit down together as a family.

Our brunchy breakfast today. I served everyone the same food.
Don't force

Don't force anyone to eat anything but serve only healthy foods, only the foods you have decided are the ones your family should eat. Don't offer a side of crackers or bread in case they won't like the main dish. You could have bowls of carrot sticks, fermented foods, salads and other healthy foods available at the table they can snack on too if you are very concerned that they don't have a choice. Or even better, serve those as appetizers. Then they can fill their stomachs with healthy foods if they don't like the main dish. Or you don't have to serve a casserole where all things are mixed together. You can have different kinds of veggies, meats etc. separately to choose from. But if you know that from a plate like this they will only eat the rice/pasta/other grain or starch filler side and leave all the rest, try leaving that out.

So what if they don't like the main dish? That is ok. Don't get mad, don't make them feel guilty, don't associate bad feelings to the meal time or food. You can in a friendly manner say it is ok, this is our dinner for today and if you are not hungry now, we can save this for later. Put the plate aside and if they ask later for food, you can bring it out again.

If they really really don't like that food, say, they gag when they try to eat it, I never force it. In this case I might offer another healthy choice (other vegetables or meats if I have something available). But if they won't even try the food, I won't offer anything else. I don't think they are necessarily then hungry enough. And this is a shady area because it can happen that you always then have to offer the other alternative food... So I save this strategy only for those occasions I can see clearly that the child clearly just does not like the flavor of the food (spicy or very strong) at all. I don't force myself to eat foods that make me gag or don't like them at all. It can be a sign that you shouldn't eat that food. Maybe you are allergic to it. Although it can happen that you crave the foods you are most allergic to.

Serve the whole family same foods and have the whole family participate in the cooking

Don't make the kids separate meals (or the husband, for heaven's sake, I have heard of this happening too!). This was our biggest mistake in the beginning of our parenting journey. We cooked him separate meals if we ate something we thought wouldn't be "kid's food", too spicy or just unusual ingredients. They need to be exposed to all those foods and see you eat the same food they are being served. You can make less spicy food for a while if you don't want to feed your little one chili. They can eat all veggies, meats, fruits etc. if they are not allergic to them.

With our second child, we offered him same food we ate from the start. I maybe modified our foods so that I felt they were foods I could offer a one year old (we didn't start solids until he was one, he nibbled on some carrots ticks etc. before but he was mostly just breastfed until then - and still is on top of the other foods he eats). He also was gluten and dairy free (and without a few other allergens) from the start as I feel he reacted to those through breast milk - assuming food sensitivities play a role. He eats almost anything. He eats sauerkraut for breakfast. He eats olives, smoked salmon, vegetable soups. He does not like pureed food as we have never given him any but why would he have to eat his foods pureed anyway? I don't even personally like pureed foods except my creamy cauliflower soup, that I have named Happiness.

We started the second child's food journey (in addition to breast milk) with finger foods - he just ate same things we ate but with his fingers - so he has always been able to feed himself too. He doesn't object using a fork and spoon like my firstborn who we fed with a spoon who knows how long. Live and learn.

Have only healthy foods available - have a certain day or two as treat days

Create healthy hunger by avoiding snacks and processed foods. If you need to have snacks, snack only on healthy real foods. And have a special dedicated day or two for treats. You can always refer to those days when they ask for a treat.

I am originally from Finland and I have never been big on as many processed foods as I see kids eat here in the US. By processed foods I mean foods like crackers and cereal that are low in nutrition but have a lot of additives or sugar or empty carbs. I am just not used to them as I didn't have as many available growing up so I had to settle to rutabaga sticks for snacks. No factory made crackers anywhere in sight.  We ate cookies and crackers in parties and on Saturdays my mom made sweet buns we ate after sauna with a glass of milk.

We did eat sometimes crispy bread or bread for snack that was made of whole rye sour dough. With butter. And cheese if you were lucky. I remember that my favorite foods were fried fish or chantarelle mushrooms fried in butter (I picked them from the forest myself and threw them in my mom's hot frying pan with the dirt and pine needles and everything). Or sardines straight from a can (they have the bones in them still so they are full of calcium which I couldn't have cared less of course then!).

The system was that I had mostly healthy foods available. I ate when I was hungry. And on Fridays I had "candy day" when I could buy some candy to eat. I offered a lot of it to others. Like my dad who never refused my Friday candy offerings. On Saturdays I sometimes got a soda after sauna. It was huge deal, we have photos of those occasions when I am drinking my 12 oz soda with a straw from a glass bottle. I didn't have cavities by the way (until teenage when I started eating more sweets and processed foods).

In our family we have a treat day on Wednesdays when we go to farmers market. The treat for my kids is a musubi (seaweed, rice, broiled salmon and sesame seeds) and organic strawberries. They look forward to this all week. On Friday we have a treat day. The treat can be homemade ice cream, paleo ice cream sandwiches or the kids might even get an organic lollipop or small fruit snack bag from Wholefoods (I think they are not fruit snacks but candy!), a piece of chocolate or something like that. Occasionally we have treats on other days too out on a whim. Healthy desserts and treats if we have guests for dinner and so on. It is good not to be too strict, life is supposed to be fun. But I like to have dedicated treat days for one reason: When they beg for treats, I can say: It is not our treat day, just wait until Wednesday or Friday. Or we will make ice cream on Saturday since we will have guests.

Our job is to offer healthy meals. They will eat if they are hungry. 

They are not going to starve themselves and they will be ok if the skip a meal (or even two!) so just relax!

Kids are more likely to eat and try new foods when they are hungry. Don't offer too many snacks. They kill the appetite for the real food at dinner. If you offer snacks, offer healthy foods, vegetables, fruit and healthy proteins, not empty unhealthy calories like sugars and gold fish crackers. If they spoil their appetite with steamed broccoli, carrots, cucumbers or rutabaga... oh well. The other day my kids snacked on fried mushrooms (intended side for dinner) straight from the frying pan and some berries.

If my kids are so hungry they can't wait me to finish the dinner (like really can't wait), I might offer them foods I am cooking with  like cucumbers or carrots I am chopping to the salad, olives, or pieces of meat. Better yet, have them chop the vegetables for you and they can sneak pieces in their mouths! Make it fun. Tell them mock sternly they can chop the vegetables but not eat any of them and they will for sure try to sneak some to eat if you keep playing the game and pretend to get really mad if they "steal" from the salad. (Read the book Playful Parenting for great parenting ideas!)

My first born has had hard time trying new foods, with consistencies of foods, with strong tastes and he would have liked to eat just cheese and bread. It turned out, he was allergic, or became allergic, to all those foods he craved (we did some iGg testing in online labs by collecting stool samples or a finger prick blood test at home, check out the links on my website). He has started trying more foods the more I have been able to track down foods that trigger his body and have removed them from his diet. The biggest shift I saw after putting him on 80-90% paleo diet by removing the last processed foods (I count as processed foods all foods with long ingredient lists): the gluten free pink Trader Joe's bread, store bought coconut milk ice creams and most grains. After that he has tried many new foods. The change is amazing. (This is again another blog post but check out my website for good books and links where to test food sensitivities to get started if you are interested in this route (scroll down to the part "food sensitivities"). Sarah Ballantyne's Paleo Approach (affiliate link) is a good read too about how to do an elimination diet to figure out food sensitivities whether you have an autoimmune disease or not.

Other great posts about this on other blogs:
How do I get my kids to eat (Health Home Happy)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review: Reintroducing Foods On The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol

When I heard about Eileen Laird's eBook Reintroducing Foods On The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, A Step-By-Step Guide With Recipes my first thought was that I would have really needed this book a couple of months ago. Then I read it and I know now for sure I would have needed it.

See, I started the autoimmune paleo diet without finishing my research, like I do with most things. I studied very carefully everything I could eat and what I couldn't eat but I didn't give much thought to the life after the original elimination period. It seemed very far in the future and I thought I will just wing it. It took me a long time to combine all the info from different sources (Eileen Laird's website Phoenix Helix was one of them!) to get started with the diet and I guess I was too overwhelmed by all of it. Also, all this information wasn't then to be found in one place. This eBook is great because it will also summarize the foods you eliminate and then go to the most important part - reintroduction.

The elimination period is important because it will kind of reset your body and by then introducing things one by one back you can see what triggers your body. So rushing things will work against the whole purpose you went on the diet.

This guide makes you understand that reintroducing is good to be done slowly, one by one, and in a certain order. I had no idea about this order thing so I introduced back wine first (not good according to this manual) and white rice so I could eat sushi. Oh well. But my body was actually fine with those and I haven't really introduced back much else as I haven't felt I am ready. Or even the need to, I like this diet and I am scared to start introducing too many things back. Oh, I did try a sip of coffee the first thing after the 30 day elimination period when my husband came back from his coffee roasting class. It didn't go well at all so I gave up coffee. Oh, and I have snatched a few pieces of chocolate from the kids too... Oops. But the point is that it is good to introduce foods that are least likely to trigger a reaction first and tricky foods last and give enough time in between. I introduced chocolate, coffee, rice and wine all in the same time I think... I did the mistake #1 Eileen Laird lists on page 13. I rushed. I was impatient. Don't do as I did and get this guide to do things properly. Read it before you start the diet so you are prepared. On the 30 day elimination diet you are busy learning to cook AIP foods.

This reintroduction guide will tell you exactly how to do the reintroductions. I know now. Thanks Eileen! I think I will after the summer vacation take a step back and go again on the strictest version of the diet for a few weeks, no occassional white rice or wine, and start over with all my new knowledge.

The book has also delicious looking recipes for when you are ready to introduce foods back so it makes it pretty easy. They made me miss night shades so much! I haven't eaten peppers or tomatoes in years.

The best part of the book maybe was after all that it is so supportive. Reading Eileen's story and her encouraging comments throughout the book made me feel like I am on the right path. The support of the AIP community has been huge help. I do feel good with my modified diet too but I would like the information my body would tell me if I actually took time to do this properly, now I have the tools. Thanks for providing us all this information, in the book and also on your website, Phoenix Helix, Eileen!

If you want to buy this book, you can do so from here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New real food blog with paleo foods with a Finnish twist!


May I present my new blog, Rootlicious!

I am slowly, slowly, getting my new website ready! It is still a work in progress but I thought I would publish it now. Feel free to give me feedback and you can in this way affect how it turns out.

I have been thinking about food a lot after our food sensitivity journey and going back to old recipes from childhood. I have been cooking foods from a hundred year old Finnish cook book and many of them work very well for our current diet with just slight modifications!

I will publish on Rootlicious traditional real food recipes - with inspiration from my own roots from Finland - that are all gluten free and dairy free. I will label also the ones that are autoimmune paleo compatible (most of them probably), paleo (most of them) etc.

I will still update Kaiku Lifestyle as well, but the Finland inspired recipes will be only on Rootlicious and other recipes and lifestyle posts on Kaiku.

My two first blog posts are a creamy salmon soup and fish stock (copied from Kaiku Lifestyle!) and Easter Pasha Dessert that works well for a general Spring dessert! Happy spring!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Paleo/Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches

It was 95 degrees in Los Angeles today. The three year old learned to swim and we made ice cream sandwiches. A good day all in all.


Chocolate Cookies 
paleo, gluten free, vegan, nut free, refined sugar free
Makes 8 big cookies

1/2 cup coconut flour (I most often buy this one)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa powder 
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/3 cup maple syrup powder
pinch of salt (I like pink Himalayan salt)
pinch of ground vanilla bean
2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp coconut milk 
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted  (I might consider adding a little bit more next time, the cookies were slightly dry on their own but just fine with the ice cream)

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix all the ingredients together - first the dry ones and then add the liquids.
3. Form balls from the dough and flatten them on a cookie sheet using the palm of your hand. The size won't change a lot so make them the size you want the cookies to be.

Vanilla Ice Cream
paleo, vegan, refined sugar free

2 cups full fat additive free coconut milk (I use this one for best results)
1/3 cup maple syrup
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp ground vanilla bean (I use this one)

Mix all ingredients together and follow ice cream maker's instructions.

To make the ice cream sandwiches:

Let the cookies cool down completely first before you even make the ice cream because it takes longer, I know now from experience. It takes also longer than the kids can wait so use freezer to cool the cookies quicker if you need to. Take a cookie and press a scoop of ice cream on it and press another cookie on top. Enjoy!


This post contains affiliate links. I recommend only products I like myself. Using the links to purchase them supports my blogging activities. Thanks you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New Fermenting Support Group on Facebook

Hi everyone!
I just wanted to let you know that I started a fermenting support group on Facebook. Anyone interested in fermenting any food or drinks is welcome to join!
Follow the link to Kaiku Culture!
Cheers!
Sirpa

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Barbeque Sauce


I wanted to make country style pork ribs in the oven and googled for recipes. Many recipes required barbeque sauce. I googled next for barbeque sauce recipes and based on my findings I developed this paleo and autoimmune paleo friendly recipe.



Tomato Free Barbeque Sauce
paleo, AIP, night shade free, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, corn free, soy free, egg free

1 cup pureed pumpkin (apple sauce could work too)
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp molasses
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1. In a saucepan, sautee slightly the garlic and ginger in coconut oil. Be careful not to burn them.
2. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil.
3. Simmer on low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Use on your favorite barbeque meats and veggies. Pour the rest into a glass jar and refrigerate.