Sunday, February 26, 2012

Real Food Weekly Recipe: Pancakes

Another year that I missed Pancake Tuesday!!!! I was preparing this post on pancakes to celebrate Pancake or Shrove Tuesday, a dinner that I always looked forward to as a little girl.  But the darn day came earlier then I expected and upon glancing at the calendar my pancake dreams were shattered - I am almost a week late!!  Never too late for Sunday morning breakfast I guess.  Pancakes are different in my world now however.  No fake ingredients of enriched flour, sugar or Aunt Jemima puddleduck dripped over my flap jacks.  We tend to rotate a few different recipes for pancakes - some grain-free using almond or coconut flour, others gluten-free using buckwheat flour.  They are all equally loved and delicious, but I would have to say that the almond flour recipe gets the 'tastes most like the good 'ole days' award.  Dare you to try a REAL pancake! 

Grain-Free (also dairy-free if desired)
Almond Flour Pancakes adapted from the Grain Free Gourmet by Jodie Badger and Jenni Lass
These pancakes are quick to make and taste like those that I used to eat.  Make them small as they can be hard to flip.  The batter cooks and burns faster because of the honey, so I have learned to use LOW heat.  They freeze well and can be reheated in a toaster.  Serve with sauteed apples.  So delicious!

1 cup almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 large eggs
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
Coconut oil or butter for frying pan.
Heat the frying pan.
Mix the almond flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl.
Add the eggs, honey and vanilla to the flour mixture.  Combine thoroughly with a whisk.  For a thicker batter, refrigerate for about 15 minutes or add more almond flour.
Spoon the batter onto the hot pan and cook until bubbly.  Flip to cook the other side.

Coconut Flour Pancakes
I like this recipe a little better than the one I previously posted from Nourishing Days.  This one uses less coconut milk and you end up with a nicer tasting pancake.  If you don't like the taste of coconut (which I am finding is a common thing among people) you can use butter and milk instead of the coconut oil and coconut milk.

Buckwheat Pancakes from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
I probably use this recipe the most in order to preserve our eggs.  We go through a lot in a week and the other recipes use up our egg supply very quickly.  These will cook more slowly than unsoaked pancakes.  

2 cups buckwheat flour
2 cups buttermilk, kefir or yogurt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp melted butter or  coconut oil (dairy-free version)
Soak flour in buttermilk, kefir or yogurt for 12-24 hours (for a dairy free option use 2 cups of water plus 2 tbsp of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar)
Stir in other ingredients and thin to desired consistency with water.  
Cook on a hot frying pan until bubbly.  Serve with maple syrup, or apple butter is a nice change.

So there you have it.  A few different pancakes recipes that use real ingredients.  These pancakes provide nutrient dense carbohydrates and good fats (coconut oil, butter).  I often will add 1 tbsp of ground flax seed or chia seed to increase the good fat component.  Make a batch and put them in the freezer.  They are great to pair with a smoothie on rushed mornings or with some scrambled eggs to increase the protein.  

-Dr. Kate

Friday, February 24, 2012

Real Food Weekly Recipe: Cucumber Tuna Boats

I think it can be fun to re-think the 'sandwich'.  I was never a big fan of sandwiches or wraps.  Bread in these cases only serves as a vehicle for the yummier middle parts so why not find another vehicle and skip the carb coma.  Cucumber, celery and Bibb lettuce are excellent 'sandwich' makers.  One day last week, a can of tuna and a cucumber inspired Cucumber Tuna Boats.  My version uses lacto-fermented mayo and a bit of quinoa.  These make a great lunch option for kids too - a sandwich that won't get squished on the bus!  Another version of this is to use the tuna filling wrapped in nori sheets to eat like sushi rolls.  Quick, fresh, yummy.  

Cucumber Tuna Boats 
Serves 2
1 English cucumber
1 can tuna (I used Raincoast Tuna)
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp lacto-fermented mayonnaise (try this recipe)
1/2 tsp dried dill weed
1-2 dill pickles, finely chopped  (for store-bought lacto-fermented pickles try Bubbies brand)
1/2 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/4 cup cooked quinoa (optional)

Optional add-ins:
1 hard boiled egg, mashed
1/4 of an avocado, mashed

Cut the cucumber in half down the middle.  Scrape out the seeds.
Mix together the tuna, onion, mayonnaise, dill, pickes, celery and quinoa.  Spoon into the cucumber.  
Garnish with celery leaves or a dash of paprika.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Treating Acute Illness Effectively

My 'almost' 3 year old son came down with a double ear infection a couple of weeks ago.  It started out as a little tiny tickle in his throat, progressed to some really high fevers (over 104), and then the ear pain.  For 7 solid days I barely left the house so I could look after my little monkey.  For the record, my son is in very good health and this was his most prolonged illness so far.  I reminded myself that it is OK to get sick - in fact we need a good dose of something 1-2 times a year so our immune system can actually do its job.  For the little people, getting sick is how the immune system develops and matures.  It has to learn somehow!  So since this was a learning experience for me too, I feel the urge to share with others what we did to look after Archer because we got through this WITHOUT antibiotics.  

Managing Acute Illness
I believe the best approach in dealing with an acute illness is to help the body do what it is trying to do naturally.  For Archer, this was the fever.  He ran a fever consistently for almost 7 days.  It would go up and down over the course of the day, ranging anywhere from 99.8F to 104F.  The high fevers usually spiked at night or mid-day and on two occasions I did use some children's Advil because the homeopathic remedies were not working quickly enough to get it down, and the fever was well over 104.  For the long haul however, I did not want to suppress the body's natural defense mechanism of the fever.  To help support his immune system for a rapid recovery (and to avoid a deeper problem that may be harder to treat later) I used: 

  • Unda 2, Unda 15  5 drops every 1-2 hours
  • several homeopathic remedies:  Belladonna 30K, Gelsemium 30K, Mercurius solubilis 30K and Arsenicum album 30K, 1 pellet every 1-2 hours
When he started complaining of ear pain I added:

  •  Unda 710  5 drops every 1-2 hours
  • Gemmotherapy Rosa Canina 1/2 tsp every hour
  • Echinasyr by Genestra 1/2 tsp every 1-2 hours
  • Homeopathic remedies  Apis mellifica 30K, Capsicum annum 30K  and Ferrum phosphoricum 30K.  
We also did the good 'ole wet sock treatment every night and used cool clothes on his forehead, armpits and inner thigh to keep the fever down during the day. 

Fever:  To Treat or Not to Treat
We have learned to fear the fever.  It is unfortunate because a fever is your child's greatest defense mechanism.  A fever is how a child matures and develops their immune system.  Please do not suppress this response unnecessarily!  Studies have shown that using fever reducers (Tylenol, Advil) will prolong the symptoms of an illness.(1,2)  A fever in the range of 102F-103F makes it difficult for bacteria and viruses to survive,  so allowing a fever to stay within this range will help the immune system to fight the infection efficiently.  If the body's temperature is too high (above 104) these benefits are not seen.  Bottom line:  Fever is beneficial.  Allow the body to do what is best and heal itself.  

Often children will not want to eat when they have a fever and food is not necessary - don't force feed.  Encourage fluids (water, broth, tea and homemade popsicles) and offer them frequently.  Most children will feel achy and tired when they have a fever - encourage rest and relaxation.  Once their temperature has been normal for 24 hours, your child can return to their normal activities and school.  

Parents need the knowledge and confidence to be primary care givers.  Acute illnesses are good for your child and if managed properly (not suppressing the symptoms) can give your child more vitality and prevent chronic disease.  

Here are some important tips to remember while being Dr. Mom:
1.  Have what you need at home waiting and ready - a homeopathic first aid kit, Unda numbers, and a couple of anti-infectives like Genestra's Echinasyr, Immuno-gen, or Vrl-gen, St. Francis Gar and Mullein ear oil, or Traumeel ampoules for ear infections/pain, teas (rosehips, peppermint, elderflower dry herb combination), and Unda Muco ccocinum.
2.  Start the remedies at the onset of the acute and give them often.  A good rule of thumb is to match the dosing frequency with the intensity of the symptoms.  For example, if your child's fever is 103.8/104 use fever remedies every 1-2 minutes until the fever comes down.  It might only come down to 102/103F but this is where it can do its best work.  Generally during acute illness, remedies should be given every 1-2 hours and as the symptoms decrease and the child gets better you can decrease dosing to 3 times a day.
3.  Continue to give some of the remedies 3-5 days AFTER the child is SYMPTOM FREE.
4.  Last but not least, get to know and trust a Chiropractor and a Naturopathic Doctor.  Adjustments by Dr. Tricia Denunzio were a key component in healing my son's ear infection and to get the ear draining properly.  

For a really great holistic view to ear pain please read this article by Dr. Larry Palevsky MD
New to homeopathic medicine?  The book "Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicine" by Stephen Cummings and Dana Ullman is a perfect start to learning about this wonderfully safe and non-toxic medicine.  


1. Acetaminophen: more harm than good for chickenpox? Doran TF; De Angelis C; Baumgardner RA; Mellits ED; J Pediatr 1989 Jun;114(6):1045-8.
2. Increased virus shedding with aspirin treatment of rhinovirus infection. Stanley ED; Jackson GG; Panusarn C; Rubenis 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Update to the Mango Lassi

As I read and learn I will make adjustments to my recipes.  Recently, I read that egg whites should not be eaten raw.  Not because of a safety issue, but because the cooking process neutralizes enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion.  Egg whites are a great protein, but the yolks are even more valuable as a food  supplying vitamins A, D and E along with nutrients that are critical for brain health namely EPA, DHA and choline.  So if you have gotten into the practice of throwing the whole egg into your smoothie like I was, get yourself a good egg separator so you can eat the yolk raw in smoothies and salad dressings and use the egg whites in other recipes (like "Looks like Whole Wheat" Biscuits in my most recent recipe post).

Real Food Weekly Recipe: Yummy Links I Love

It has been quite the month so far in our little household.  Nothing like a sick child to turn your routine upside down and inside out.  I will be writing about my experiences managing this acute illness - I learned A LOT!  And hopefully other moms can benefit.  So since things have been a little chaotic I haven't had a chance to try out the next in line on my list of recipes.  Instead I am going to share some of my favourite real food recipes posted throughout cyber space that have kept us nourished through illness.

Nourishing Days Fluffy Coconut Flour Pancakes - grain and dairy free.  They make a great alternative to dry toast when you are sick.  On good days, they are a favourite on weekends, and the recipes makes a big batch so they are perfect to freeze between parchment paper for a mid week change to the breakfast menu.

Health, Home and Happiness "Looks like Whole Wheat" Biscuits - I reserve the egg whites when making my smoothie with the raw yolk in the morning to make these biscuits.  They are great with soup, eggs, or just on their own for a little snack.  Coconut flour is very high in fiber and makes a great grain free baking alternative.

The Nourishing Gourmet Simple Chicken Noodle Soup because we have all been under the weather and need some chicken soup TLC.  I always add extra garlic and ginger to mine and use homemade chicken broth in place of some of the water.

For a grain-free version of this soup, try this recipe:

A delicious Apple Pear Sauce from Nourished Kitchen is easy on upset tummies:  You can simplify this by just cooking the apples and pears until they are soft and mushy, add some cinnamon and puree until smooth.  

Hope your family is staying healthy this February!  

- Dr. Kate