Author Archives: minusplus

Et tu, quinoa?

Quinoa is a very interesting little seed that has gained popularity as whole grains have been vilified recently. It is tasty, filling, a decent source of protein, and can be used in baking as well as savory dishes. Hence, I keep trying to include quinoa in my diet.

BIG mistake for me!

It took me a while to make the connection, but each time I eat quinoa, it is fine for a day or two, and then all of a sudden it’s like my gut is rotting. Huge, nasty, sulfur-tasting burps. Along with the other usual symptoms — gas, pain, brain fog.
I have been trying to find a milk substitute without added sugar, natural flavors, gums and thickeners (it is getting more difficult every time I go to the grocery store). I stumbled on Suzie’s Organic Quinoa milk. Very little in the way of additives (still a few). I thought, “I know I can’t eat whole quinoa, but maybe it’s the fiber in it that is a problem for me. Maybe the milk will be fine. I’m sure I won’t have a problem with that!” (Dun, dun, DUNNNNN!!!)
The quinoa milk smelled a bit like, well, quinoa, was not as satisfyingly thick as my son’s almond/coconut blend, but it was delicious, absolutely lovely with a cup of Oregon Herbal Chai. Two days feeling like a normal beverage-consumer.

AND THEN — yep, you guessed it. The burps are back.

However, I highly recommend it for anyone who has no problem with quinoa. Least adulturated commercially produced milk alternative that I have found lately.


Been busy…

Well, what can I say?  Been busy having a baby.  Totally enjoying the baby, and my son’s unending delight with his little sister.  At times his adoration is a little too exuberant for my laid-back, quiet babe, but she seems to adore him equally anyway.  That’s the good news!

The bad news is:  HELP!

Since my last post, I’ve been able to resume eating fruits and some vegetables, but have had to back off the chocolate and caffeine!  (Kind of a “duh” when I put it that way).  I’ve been trying to expand my repertoire of foods I can eat, since breastfeeding a baby requires large amounts and variety of nutrients, as well as calories.  Thankfully, breastmilk is made in such a way that my baby will not be lacking those nutrients due to my dietary limitations.  I on the other hand may be severely lacking if all of it goes to making milk!

This leads me to the problem:  every time I try to introduce a new food to my diet, even if I tolerate it alright, it seems to bother my baby.  She starts spitting up profusely and through her nose (that cannot feel good!)  Now when I say profusely, it is relative — she usually spits up very little, and the “profuse” amount is enough to get both of our shirts a bit wet.

Today, however, brought a whole new level of “profuseness” to her spitting up.  Three times within 10 minutes, she spit so much out of both mouth and nose, it completely drenched her and her car seat.  Luckily I had only just begun grocery shopping, and I hightailed it out of there so I could get her cleaned up.  The amount coming out her nose was staggering. She is not sick, no fever, doesn’t even seem uncomfortable in between her bouts of spitting (which has continued off and on this afternoon).  But I can hear her stomach gurgling as it forces the contents out.  Sorry, a bit graphic, but it really is a new extreme to her “spitting up”.

So it could have been the heat today.  It might have been my chocolate splurge yesterday.  I did have strawberries in a smoothie this morning, I sometimes feel she reacts when I eat strawberries but never like this.  Maybe it’s completely random, I don’t know.  What I do know is that I am completely at a loss right now as to how to get myself back on a healthy, varied diet without affecting my baby.  I’d go to formula except that a) I believe that breastmilk is still better than formula, even with this difficulty, and b) the one time she had formula she didn’t have a poo for more than two weeks.

As a mom, you always hope to give the best of everything to your kids; to nourish them into happy, healthy adults someday.  I seem to have given my kids terrible digestion/allergies/intolerances.  Sorry, kids.  Maybe we’ll all figure out how to get over or deal with that someday.  Stay tuned as we give it a go.

Here’s a resource I will be checking out:

Who knew?

Carrots and celery and beets — and some apple and pineapple just for fun 😉

Yep, it was so good I drank half of it before I thought to snap a pic.

Thanks to my mother-in-law, I now have the use of a real, live juicer!

Yes.  It is a lot better than my “pioneer woman” version:

Somehow, it actually tastes better from the actual juicer.  I don’t know why.

Now I know what you’re thinking — What about all that nutritious fiber?  Isn’t that why everyone has to plunk down their life savings for the Vitamix?  You are SO behind the times!

Well, let’s just say I have to follow my tummy.  I can barely tolerate cooked, soft fruits and veggies right now.  Juice is the way to get the enzymes, nutrients, etc that I am missing because I just can’t digest raw celery and a bunch of other stuff any other way. (See:  GAPS, Juicing)  Once my system heals a bit more, I will definitely be appreciating keeping all that fiber ala fresh fruits and veggies.  I miss those, I really do.

For now, I love my carrot-celery-beet-apple-pineapple concoction!


So nice to have an easy way to have a sandwich, dip, or whatever. So simple, stays together without eggs too!
I actually followed the recipe without modification from Health Starts in the Kitchen. Enjoy!

Post Thanksgiving chores

Whew! That one is done! Since I can’t find a brand of broth or stock that doesn’t include onions, I decided to try making my own. Jury is still out on whether I can do bone broth or if I should have done meat only — when I get brave enough to try it I’ll let you know!

They’re cookies to me!

Here’s how it goes every now and then in our house:

“What are you making?”

“I’m making cookies!”

“Oh great I haven’t had cookies forever!”

12-20 minutes in the oven later….

“Here, try this.”

(Excitedly nibbles, then face drops)

“I thought you were making cookies!”

Well, that’s what happens when maple syrup and honey are not the same thing as crystally sweet cane sugar.  Sorry hun.

Then I tell my wonderful husband he can make his own cookies.  Well, that hasn’t happened since we were dating.  Of course, I’m pretty sure he gets cookies at his mom’s house, at the office, at other random social gatherings…it’s not like he’s cookie deprived.  It’s just that the idea of his wife making him fresh-baked cookies is for him an elusive, barely-sweet crumbly unsatisfying dream.

So, since it’s Christmas time and we’re going to attempt to finish putting up lights and other decorations tonight, I decided to make some sugar cookies (pretty good low-additive recipe here).  But first, I made these, so that I am not too tempted by “their” cookies:

No-bake almond and coconut cookies

One substitution — almond butter instead of coconut butter.  I don’t like the texture of too much of that coconut stuff.

One thing I’ve discovered, for me anyway — there is only one chocolate out there that I can tolerate.  And still, I try not to have too much, because chocolate does apparently contain sulfur in some amount.  The chocolate is this:

Theo Pure 70% Dark Chocolate

Only the plain, dark chocolate variety.  None of the fancy flavored ones, they all give me headaches, but this 4-ingredient beauty I can eat.  And I do.  Way too often.  If my husband knows I’m having a stressful week, he makes extra sure I am stocked up on these babies.

I attribute my tolerance of it to the fact that it is made with ground vanilla bean instead of extract, as I cannot have vanilla extract.  It also, by the way, is GMO free.

There has to be something I can eat like a “normal” person…

We made a cake one weekend that I couldn’t eat and it sat in the fridge, just daring me to try it.

And why don’t I?  When I ate it that weekend, I ended up with headache, inflammation throughout  my body, and a sleepless night.  Not to mention my tongue was all scratchy and swelly and my throat was sore.

That had been happening for about a week, in fact.  After furiously searching the Internet for other people like me, I found them:  the SULFITE SENSITIVE!!!!!!!

That tells me that the no-additives journey that I had been on for 8 months at that time (and wasn’t totally sticking to the beaten path) was right on — there are sulfites in pretty much anything that doesn’t arrive on your table straight from the ground.  (And some of those, such as onions, garlic, and grapes, have it naturally).

After another two years, in which I have completely let this blog lapse during nursing school, I’ve been trying to cut down to vegetables and fruit, plain meats (prepared with individual spices is ok), unadulterated grains, and anything else I can get away with.  Naturally, I immediately need to beat the odds and find myself SOME kind of junk/comfort/sweet food that I can eat from time to time.  This has for the most part led to frustration — for whatever reason, the “new rage” ingredients in “natural” health food products such as agave nectar, palm oil, and weird flours like Timothy grass do NOT agree with me at all.

The kicker is, there is actually a fair amount of food that I can eat, though preparing everything from scratch does take time.  It’s the social aspect of food that makes this kind of eating difficult.  As an anthropologist, I have studied the social aspects of eating with an eye towards health maintenance.  Those who must follow special diets — those with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, –kidney disease to name a few — experience many barriers to following those diets.  Availability of proper foods is usually not the culprit.  It’s family.  It’s culture.  It’s holidays and trips and visiting friends and school functions and all those multitudes of moments in any culture where food is an expected part — and those moments happen to make up the most part of our lives.  If I try to avoid some of those moments to make it easier on myself or others, I start missing life.

So the next step of my journey, now that I’ve limited so many foods in my diet, is to find a way to add some back in.  Not because I’m missing out nutritionally, but because I don’t want to start missing out on life.