Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Where I'm at (a rambling post on dairy and gluten)

Hi all, I hope you are enjoying a good start to the new year. This was planned to be a shortish post but my brain obviously needed to ramble. Grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy the read..

Huge changes are happening in my eating habits lately. I don't know whether it was the constant joint pain I was experiencing which I had put down to a recently diagnosed autoimmune issue, talking to people around me who are also shifting their approach to eating or even the influence of Jean Auel and her absorbing books that are the cause..but I've gotta tell you..I am feeling great! I seem to have loads more energy and am not suffering from that mid afternoon slump and the most exciting part of all..that debilitating joint pain that had been around for months is at last making an exit! Good riddance, I say.

Seriously though, thinking that this was the new kind of normal for me didn't cut it. Restricting activities because I felt pain after walking the dog around the block (ridiulcous, right!) made me realise that this was not a quality of life I was happy to accept. After confuddling doctors and their fancy x-ray machines and still not having any answers, my glimpse of hope finally came after examining my diet and what I was putting into my body. I am not advocating this change for anyone, I am merely keeping notes for myself to refer back to, so please, if you have health issues do get a thorough examination. 

Looking back I can see that I have always been sensitive to dairy..extremely dry skin and stomach issues should've been the obvious indicator. Why is it so easy to dismiss these kinds of things to other contributing factors.."It's winter..everyone's skin is dry" "I need to drink more water" or my favourite "This is just how I am" 
No! It doesn't have to be that way. By eliminating dairy from my diet I have found that my stomach is sooo much happier, as is my skin and my joints. This was hugely challenging for me though..from the girl who spent a chunk of her childhood living on a dairy farm. Cream! What would I do without it!! Butter for cooking and milk products aplenty..how would I ever survive? 

After noticing the unbelievable improvements to my body after removing dairy from my diet for a trial period, the decision was made for me. It was obvious, dairy had to go. It hasn't been so hard at all. Nothing like I anticipated. Eliminating gluten and sugar also had me wondering. There is an enormous amount of information out there on the cons of consuming foods containing these and we can only make up our own decisions on how we feel after we eat them and their effects on our own bodies. I was completely in the zone and noticing positive results with eliminating dairy so decided to probe further and increase the challenge to see what would result for me.

Gluten is in everything, right? How would I make a sandwich? Coat a schnitzel? Bake a cake? 
This from the girl who completely loves to bake. (To answer my own questions: wrap it in a lettuce leaf, use almond meal and maybe I shouldn't be eating that anyway). Did I really just say that? Me? Lover of fine baked goods and cakes unlimited - how can this possibly be? I'll tell you.. my body did not lie. 

After experiencing more positive results to my system after cutting back on gluten and processed sugar, I was inspired stick with it. There have to be people out there eating this way, right? Just like there has to be alternatives to certain ingredients I have become used to eating which are probably not the best for my situation?
Yes! Absolutely. I actually feel a little overwhelmed by the amount of information that I am finding online..not to mention the books that are calling (shouting even) at me to read them. If my body feels good after eating then I know that what I am eating is right for ME. I can only explore this further and see where it takes me. 

Are you finding different foods affect you in different ways? Are you in a similar situation? What are your thoughts on food in general? 

Wow..If you have managed to read through my ramble this far, I'd love to show you what's been happening in my kitchen lately..

Raw fruit and nut balls - my new occasional sweet treat

A foray into almond milk..with a bonus - almond meal to use in other dishes

Roadside foraged cherry plums from a stroll with my mum :)

 Said cherry plums after being stewed and strained. They made their way into the crockpot to flavour tonight's dinner - slow cooked shoulder of organic lamb (purchased from these lovely people)
I felt very 'Ayla' when I decided to slow cook this enormous hunk of meat and use my foraged plums stewed and mashed for the flavouring ;) Don't have a clue what I'm talking about? Read the Jean Auel books!

 In preparation - san choy bau. The 13yo's dinner for the family this week. It was YUM!

 The 2013 garlic harvest..dried, braided and hanging in the kitchen. Love!

Enjoy your week out there, people. And happy eating, whatever foods you most love to enjoy. :)


46 comments:

  1. Yes , we are on this track too. With a wheat intolerant child, cooking with gluten free flour has been so easy . We just buy the white wings gf flour and most things taste the same as they have always done. Bread is always an issue because no bread tastes like real bread ,but little things like doing savoury pancakes with gluten free flour make it bearable ...plus we cook with spelt flour for bread which doesn't affect our son.
    One really good book to read for anyone with food intolerances is 'Nourishing Traditions' - it helped me answer the curious question of why our society seems to intolerant now of certain foods.
    Good luck with your food journey . I am glad you are feeling better!

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    1. Kim although gluten free flour is good in some dishes you need to look at what is in it. Some people with wheat intolerance might also be sensitive to other grains eg; rice. Arrowroot is the best (as it doesn't spike blood sugar like tapioca) and is not highly bleached as some processed flours are. Tania Hubbard, grain free gluten free is a book worth looking at, she has the most amazing bread recipies and I am from a bakers family and have really been enjoying this bread, based on almond meal.

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    2. Good to hear your experiences, Kim..I didn't know you baked gf. I have been experimenting with different flours and notice small changes between them, including what goes in them. It certainly does make life easier being able to switch without any fuss!

      Thanks for the info about tapioca, Narelle..and also for the tip on the Tania Hubbard book. Will add it to the ever growing list of books to read. ;)

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  2. Big Big fan of Jean's books. Ive just given the whole series to my mother-in-law to read. I bet your roast tasted amazing.

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    1. It was good, Lynda..the cherry plums added a zingy tartness which was quite nice! Good to find another fan.

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  3. Chris I'm experimenting with some alternative flours although I haven't found problems with gluten as long as it's my bread and not shop bought. I'm experimenting with alternative sweeteners in baking and finding good results.

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    1. Hi Rose, I'd be interested to hear what kind of sweeteners you are using. At the moment, I am really limiting myself but am using maple syrup or honey when it's really called for...

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  4. Good on you for making changes for your health! It's not always an easy thing to do. I dropped wheat out of my diet about 3 months ago, and while I was not having huge health issues I have dropped a good 5kg of excess weight and fluid. Along with the wheat, I basically dropped out refined sugar as well. I'm also vegetarian so no meat either. Hmmm...doesn't sound like much left except for a heap of nutrient dense fruit and veg, nuts and seeds. I eat eggs and dairy - not milk, but cheese and yoghurt. It certainly makes it easier when so many people are doing it and there are so many amazing recipes out there! Love all of your pictures!!

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    1. Hi Kristie, so great to hear from you and thanks for sharing your experiences. Aren't our bodies unique! It sure does pay to listen to them. :)

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  5. I've been a weight watcher for many years (as in Weight Watchers programme) you know healthy food which we should be eating with the treats thrown in occasionally not every meal something my brain sometimes (a lot of the time) gets confused with (I get greedy and sugar does make all my problems of the world go away doesn't it!!!). Anyway so eating healthy food, real food not "low fat" food made with chemicals to make it low fat......less of real food is better. I have been for the past year or two suffering from those creaky joints getting out of bed in the morning, getting off the chair if at the computer for a little while and generally someone of my age (just turned 50 in Sept) should not have. I'm usually the 6-8 kgs overweight but this year managed to add another 7 kgs to that standard making it to 15 kgs overweight. Apart from the tyre around my belly, I was unhappy with the way I looked and something needed to change. Something different to what my body was used to when I wanted to shift 6-10kgs so I opted for Cyndy O'Meara's HCG Protocol Programme. In saying that HCG Protocol was not invented by Cyndy however she adopted this programme and sourced things for the programme. This is serious stuff if you read about it basically 500 cals from food (yep...not much) but the drops tell your body to take the other 2500 from the stored fat cells so in reality your body is using 3000 calories not 500. If you ate 500 cals with no drops your body would do the opposite and store your fat. Anyway my point is within 3 weeks my issues with stiffness in the morning was completely gone. I was amazed and felt great and I lost 8 kgs and felt great healthwise, body wise and happiness wise. I unfortunately did not complete the 3 weeks maintenance programme which I was hoping to (son's birthday, holidays and christmas) so I went a little crazy and put back on some weight however the main thing apart from some regained weight is the sore joints are BACK. This has only confirmed it for me that what I am putting in my body is totally responsible for the way my body is behaving.

    I can totally understand more so than ever. I am a diet coke lover (don't drink grog more than a couple of times a year....but I love diet coke every day. When I was on the HCG that was gone and just about every other junk food, sugar and carbs and so much more and of course I'm back on the diet coke and sugar and carbs. I will be starting again this week because I don't like feeling those joint problems. Food definitely plays a big role. I did read a little bit about glutten free because I thought my daughter was having problems a few months back so bought a lot of things glutten free but there are a lot of chemicals in these glutten free products that sometimes I'm not sure they were such a good thing either. I also read that xytham gum (not sure of the spelling) goes in a lot and someone else who had cut glutten from their diet then had to go a step further to reduce the xytham gum which actually made the difference. So just keep an eye out for packaged products that are sold glutten free. Each person is an individual but just something to consider. I'm very impressed hearing about your journey and would love to see some of your recipes particularly feeding the whole family. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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    1. Hi Kathy, that's wonderful that you had success with the HCG program. I know how hard it can be to cut out certain things from our diet..but in the long run our bodies will thank us. Before I had kids my diet was appalling but slowly things changed. My biggest weakness now is sugar in baked goods/chocolate. It seems to be everywhere! Onwards and upwards, though.. :)

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  6. Well that was a great read.

    Back in the beginning of December, and blaming menopause for many of my problems, I took my health into my own hands. I went to the doctor for a checkup and then I cut out dairy and meat from my diet and added juicing after watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.

    Since being on a plant based diet, I have no more stomach trouble (IBS and bloating), no joint pain, no teeth pain, less headaches, clearer eyes (no gunk), no mucus, less hair falling out and not so dry, my nails are stronger, my skin has improved. I have more energy now than I had before, and I am sleeping a lot better.

    I have been raised on dairy my whole life (farm). The hardest thing for me to cut out was cheese and yoghurt, but I am doing it. I drink oat milk now. I had already cut down on sugar, but I haven't tried going gluten free. Maybe that is my next step. I am eating more whole foods these days :)

    People look at me as if I am weird when I tell them I am vegan (dont like that word lol). Hey we are not cows so why should we drink their milk. We are the only species on earth that consumes another species milk...Glad to hear I am not the only strange being on the planet lol! Oh and I have convinced my two adult daughters to go dairy free and they no longer get cramps in the stomach, say no more...

    I guess you know about this site http://www.godairyfree.org/

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    1. Isn't it strange how we automatically assume that there are other factors at play, Tania, such as menopause, autoimmune issues etc.?
      Thanks for your comments, coming from a dairy farm I can understand how hard this must be for you to give up dairy. Yoghurt is particularly hard! I am investigating alternative yoghurts and kefir at the moment and am tempted to give coconut kefir a try. I completely agree with you regarding the cow statement and humans being the only species that drinks another species milk! so glad to hear your issues have improved and those of your daughters. :)

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  7. So glad to hear that you have had such positive results to your health after changing your diet.
    I changed my diet almost a year ago, and I have never been healthier.
    I discovered almond milk too! Its delicious. I make my own with almonds, blender and a cheesecloth.

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    1. Yes, the blender, almonds, water and cheesecloth - it couldn't be easier, littlegreenvillage!

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  8. In November I did the Whole30 (I think I may have mentioned it here before) and looked and felt much better for it. During December and the christmas hols, I did indulge in some baked sugary goods, wine, cheese etc and realized that I'm so much better without them!! I too love to bake and am having difficulty in finding alternative flour (rice works Ok and I can't seem to get coconut) and dairy is easily replaced by coconut milk and cream. Have you tried making yogurt with almond or oat milk? I just can't get it to work - they come out all watery!
    Are you still eating pulses?
    I hope you will be sharing lots of your gluten/dairy recipes here on your blog - I do believe that it is the best diet for me also.

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    1. I remember you talking about the whole30 challenge, Emma and I jumped over and had a good look at it. Your tip for the coconut cream was gold and I am converted. The other night I had a sliced banana with a dollop of coconut cream and the slightest drizzle of maple syrup..divine. (can't bring myself to cut out ALL sweeteners..yet).

      I am going well with not eating gluten..including oats and rice..although I will struggle with nori rolls over summer. Eliminating pulses is also challenging and I am not focusing too much on this at the moment but may continually have it at the back of my mind. I made a big pot of pea and ham soup from our leftover Christmas ham and I just love bean salad I don't think I could give them up quite yet. I'm also interested to try making coconut kefir as a yoghurt substitute.

      Thanks so much for your comments, on this post and previously, they have really helped me. I hope to share gluten/dairy free recipes here as I use them. :)

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  9. Hello there,
    Just a comment on your gluten-freeness:) Check out the video "Wheatbelly." We have cut out 'modern wheat' but still eat corn, spelt, millet, etc. which have gluten & no problems. Just this weekend I figured out a recipe for pita pockets using spelt and millet instead of regular wheat flour. They worked! I was so excited - we actually like to use them as pizza crusts. We went one month with no grains, processed sugars, or chemicals-including veg. oil. I posted about it in Aug. & Sept. (will put my blog link below if you're interested.) We both lost weight & counted no callories, fat grams, etc. It really is eating naturally. Our main challenge was the chemicals. They're everywhere. Good luck.
    Smiles,
    JoeyLea
    http://www.thelocustblossom.blogspot.com/2013/08/huntergatherer-diet-very-healthy-recipe.html

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    1. Yes, someone else also mentioned 'wheatbelly' to me, JoeyLea. Thankyou!

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  10. I am so very happy to read this post.
    Good on you...

    Narelle x x

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    1. Narelle, it's great to hear from you! Still have your water kefir on the bench! x

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  11. I'd love a recipe for your raw fruit and nut balls :)

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  12. Woah!! Scary post! Scary because I really don't want to think about what may and may not be good for me. That might lead to more change in the way we eat which seems a huge chore. A very interesting post and I shall file the information somewhere in the the back of my head to look at when I'm feeling brave!

    Btw I read those books years ago and loved them. They were very addictive. Good on you for addressing your health issues.

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    1. I know, Linda. It seems the more we examine what we're eating, the more confusing it gets and the bigger the can of worms! Thanks for your encouragement. :)

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  13. I am so happy for you, Christine! Sounds like you've really got a handle on your own well-being, and that is priceless.
    I'm in the process of researching diet:joint issues right now, but I'm approaching the fasting and elimination dieting with trepidation because of a prior experience. I went GF for 8 months a few years ago, and also eliminated a long list of foods from my diet. Unfortunately, it didn't make a bit of difference to my physical issues and the health practitioner who was advising me was such a difficult person (for me to communicate with, I mean) that the whole experience left me disappointed, cranky, and many hundreds of dollars poorer (in addition to weekly appointments, she also prescribed a very long list of high-end supplements). Remembering how dismal it felt to have no improvement after all that...well, it just somehow makes it harder to dive in and start enforcing limitations again. But reading your post is very encouraging - thanks!

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    1. It isn't happening instantly Quinn, but there are definite improvements! I'm so sorry to hear you had such an awful experience with your health practitioner. Is there someone else you could see, possibly through good word of mouth? I really hope your joint pain issues are resolved, I know how debilitating it can be. xx

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  14. I went gluten and dairy free last spring and it's made a big difference! After some trials you'll see there are some decent gluten free breads, but I've preferred to just get more creative in my cooking - it has made me focus more on whole foods, and I sure use my slow cooker more than I ever anticipated! My favorite cookbook: http://www.dairyfreeglutenfreekitchen.com/ and a favorite recipe site: http://www.theppk.com. Have fun! It *will* get easier, I promise!!

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    1. Yes Aimee, I think the key is to try not to "glutenfree' all baking but focus on whole foods, too! It really makes one stop and examine their diet and how things may be better if a different approach is taken. Thanks so much for sharing the link and for your support. :)

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  15. So glad it's making a difference for you, but please please please go and get a check up from your GP to identify whether you have Coeliac disease which could be the cause of the gluten issues- (I'm coeliac myself). One of the common symptoms other than gut issues is skin problems. It's much better to get checked before you fully eliminate it from your diet, otherwise you can have a false negative result. If you test positive you can join the coeliac society and are eligible for discounts on some gluten free products as well as lots of support.
    If you don't check first it's a complete pain to do at a later stage (6 weeks of a gluten consuming diet, ehich once your body is used to being free of it can be AWFUL!)

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    1. Thanks Dinner of Herbs for your advice. I think it might be too late for me though..as I really started to eliminate gluten back in November. (I'm not certain that I have an intolerance either..more a sensitivity). Good to hear that you have been diagnosed and have the Coeliac society for support. :)

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    2. Just thought I'd pop back to mention I caught a snippet on the news last week where patients can now request a coeliac blood test from their doctor that has a three day gluten consumption period. Great news not to have to wait the six weeks as was the case previously for those suspecting gluten intolerance.

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  16. Such an interesting read Christine, both from your perspective and from all your lovely comments from people. I know what foods my body functions best on, I just have to listen to it, (and that's the hard bit!) Gluten and sugar (sob) are friends that I also could really do with out.

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    1. Why are the most tasty, comforting foods the most controversial, Brydie? It doesn't seem fair. x

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  17. I have celiac and collagenous colitis. One, affects the small intestine, (celiac) the other the colon. So in an effort to control my chronic diarrhea from these conditions I have eliminated gluten, dairy, soy and eggs. The results are nothing short of a miracle. The big drawback is I truly love eggs, raise chickens to sell eggs even and I love yogurt which I make by the gallon. The person who tested me for these food sensitivities says I should never eat these 4 food groups again. They set off a gut reaction. I have had to mourn the loss of these foods. I have never found suitable substitutes but I do like the fact that I no longer have to live in the bathroom. I too recommend food testing or tests done before one starts to eliminate whole food groups. Good luck with your search for health.

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    1. Thankyou so much for your feedback. I'm so pleased that your issues have been resolved. :)

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  18. Really splendid! These ingredients are all time classics, yet their innovation is tremendous, especially in terms of detoxing from too much artificial diet into something more organic. A real life saver.

    Chad @ Fresh and Healthy Brands

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  19. Hi Christine

    I just checked the books by Jean M Auel. Do you mean the Earth's Children Series? It sounds interesting. I am 48 and starting to feel tired and look wrecked. I think I need to change things a bit as well. Thanks for the post.

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  20. Hi GC, yes, yes, the Earth's Children series are the books I was talking about! All the best for your situation, remember everyone's body is different and we need to take note of the unique signals our own bodies are sending us. Be well. :-)

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  21. Thanks Christine. I've put it on hold at the library.

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  22. I read my first Clan of the Cave Bears book when I was 15, and from then on , spent years sometimes waiting patiently for each new book to be published...a firm favorite in my book shelf...it was agony waiting for the last one, which came out only a few years ago, and Im now in my forties!

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  23. Look at all that wonderful garlic you grew! What a great crop. We had a good crop this year as well. Awesome stuff!

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  24. I am also GF and DF, and have been for 2.5yrs. I also discovered sensitivities to amines and salicylates, so have to limit all sorts of fruits and veg, nuts, corn and some meats etc. Which I find harder than the gluten and dairy. At least there are substitutes for gluten and dairy, even if they don't always taste as good as the "real thing"! I generally use Orgran brand flour but have a host of other flours ready for experimenting ( it's just easier to pull out the Orgran when I'm feeling lazy). I recently bought a thermomix and that has helped in making DF custards and cashew milk and other goodies. It's all hard work making everything from scratch and researching recipes etc, but I know that I'm feeling much healthier than I was three years ago. My 13yo daughter is also GF now and lost a lot of excess fluid/weight in the first few weeks. Well done to you for persisting, your treats in the photos look amazing.

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  25. There must be something in the air ;)

    I was gluten and dairy free for years, but slipped during stressful times a few years ago, returned to being gf and more recently was asked to eat gluten for a short while in the run up to a gastro-endoscopy. I'm also now back being gluten free and looking at transitioning towards GAPS (although have to wait a while on the intro diet as still breastfeeding) - as I'm not convinced a lot of the subs for gluten are much good for people either.

    I was vegan for some time years ago as well, but didn't do very well on it (I believe that we are all rather individual with regards to diet and some people do well and others not so well on some diets)

    I remember reading Clan of the Cave Bear, etc, when I was a teenager - I loved those books!

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  26. This website has some really good recipes for baked goods: http://noglutennoproblem.blogspot.com and this one as well: http://littlenaturalcottage.com/

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  27. Thank you Christine for sharing your journey. It's so very helpful for those of us walking a similar one! I have endometriosis and after it got worse decided I would follow the advice of one who saw dramatic improvement by eliminating certain trigger foods. They were dairy, wheat, soy, sugar, caffeine and most meats!! I started with caffeine and sugar off my diet and after a week of headaches saw an amazing improvement, I was sleeping and my regular headaches were gone! I have had to follow through with the wheat because my endo spread onto my bowels causing IBs like symptoms. Anyway...I am an avid baker, I milk our beautiful jersey cow each morning, we butcher our own chickens and we are growing out a steer to butcher!! Not wn easy switch for someone in my situation! Thanks so much for sharing your recipes. Also, Trim Healthy Mama is a good book to help put most foods in their proper place and keep weight off. Cheers, Lian :-)

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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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