Nutrient Dense Hot Cocoa

 

The Northeast is a winter wonderland, many areas are blanketed in snow.

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

What could be a better treat for our children than a mug of hot cocoa to chase the chill away after playing in the snow?  I developed this healthy recipe for hot cocoa that will surely put a smile on the face of children, and adults. This version of cocoa is based on the adult “Bullet Proof Coffee” which has received a great deal of media attention lately.  Think of this as Bullet Proof Cocoa, a treat that provides our children with a boost of healthy fats.

I could write a very lengthy blog on how Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency has reached epidemic proportions in our society.  I could explain the health benefits of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) in our diet, as well as discuss the signs and symptoms of EFA deficiency, but I’ll keep it to a minimum, just consider the information below food for thought, and enjoy the recipe that follows.

Butter from Grass Fed Cows:  A rich source of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.  Butter contains trace minerals including Selenium, which is a potent antioxidant.  Grass fed butter is a great source of butyric acid which is used by the colon as a source of energy, and butter contains high amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

Organic Coconut Oil:  Coconut Oil is a Medium Chain Fatty Acid (MCFA).  Coconut oil contains both short and medium chain fatty acids that do not need to be broken down like the long chain fatty acids we ingest.   Coconut oil is sent directly to the liver for energy production.  Coconut oil is also rich in Lauric Acid, which is converted to monolaurin in the body.  Monolaurin has been shown to boost/increase immunity and aid in fighting viruses due to its antimicrobal and antibacterial properties.

Raw Cacao:  Cacao beans contain polyphenols called flavonoids, a type of antioxidant . Raw Cacao is also a great source of Magnesium, and essential minerals to include calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese.  Cacao also contains B vitamins; Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid and Folic Acid.

Hot Cocoa

Nutrient Dense Hot Cocoa

Ingredients:

2 Cups Milk of Choice (we used Coconut Milk)
2 Tablespoons Pastured Unsalted Butter from grass fed cows (Kerrygold or similar), or Ghee
2 Tablespoons Organic Coconut Oil
3 Tablespoons Organic Raw Cacao or Unsweetened Cocoa
2 Tablespoons Raw Honey (you can use Maple Syrup, Coconut Nectar, or your favorite Stevia)
2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract

Optional:  Dash of Ground Cinnamon and Ground Ginger (great spices for blood sugar regulation and potent anti-inflammatories)

Directions:

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan over low heat melt the butter, coconut oil, and honey/sweetener.

Add the cacao/cocoa and whisk to combine until a paste is formed.

Slowly begin to add the milk to the paste whisking to prevent lumps, then whisk in the vanilla and optional spices.

Warm to an appropriate temperature for your child and serve.

Serve plain or top with homemade marshmallows, or a dollop of whipped cream.

Health, Real Food Musings, Recipes

Grain Free Kolache

Grain Free Kolache

Grain Free Kolache

 

I keep hearing about Kolaches, a puffy desert treat that has roots in Central Europe.  The photos I seen reminded me of Thumbprint Cookies, but with a doughy/chewy consistency.  Typically filled with Jams or Jellies, Kolaches morphed into street fare, made into pockets with meats, eggs and cheese.  My searching led to multiple recipes that contained yeast and all-purpose flour, obviously ingredients that are off limits for us.  I decided to create my Kolache recipe from photographs.  Since I’ve never eaten a Kolache I will need to rely on those of you who have.  Let me know if this recipe needs work, or is spot on.

Ingredients:

1 Cup Blanched Almond Flour
1/4 Cup Tapioca or Arrowroot Flour
1/4 Cup Organic Psyllium Husk
1 Tablespoon Coconut Flour
1 Tablespoon Raw Honey
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
2 teaspoons Lemon Zest
2 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
3 Egg Whites
1/2 Cup Boiling Water
Jam or Jelly of choice
OPTIONAL:  1 beaten egg to use as an egg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium sized bowl combine the almond flour, tapioca/arrowroot flour, psyllium, coconut flour, baking powder and ginger.

Using an electric hand mixer add the egg whites and lemon zest to the dry ingredients and blend to combine.

Add the boiling water slowly to the egg white and dry ingredient mixture until a dough is formed.

Scoop out approximately 3 Tablespoons of dough and place on the cookie sheet.

Press down in the center as if you were making a thumbprint cookie.

OPTIONAL STEP:  Brush the dough gently with the egg wash for a glossy sheen

Fill the indentation with your favorite Jam.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Remove from the oven and cool on the cookie sheet.

Recipes, Sweets and Treats

Is Your Medication Gluten Free?

Medications

 

It happens to the best of us, we push ourselves, overdo it, stress our systems; we get sick.  I’m not talking about a sniffle or cough, but really sick!  I am a great believer in homeopathic medicine, but I also understand that there is a time and place for allopathic medicine.  As a Nutritional Therapist I believe that a properly prepared nutrient dense diet can keep our immune systems strong, but I also know when to say when.  My best friend urged me to write this post, and hopefully the information I am sharing will be helpful.

In September of 2003 I contracted Lyme Disease.  Unfortunately, the Doctor I saw was not well versed and it was many months before I received proper treatment.  I don’t want to go into the gory details, suffice to say I learned how to live with Lyme Disease.  Through trial and error I found a supplementation protocol and nutrient dense diet free of grains and refined sugars prevented relapses.  I have been in remission for many years, but during the Holidays the perfect storm occurred; my immune system became stressed.  The holiday rush, lack of sleep, getting glutened several times….Wham, the “bulls-eye” had returned!

I know that many of you are going to disagree with the course of action that I decided to take, but I had to do what was best for me.  My Functional Practitioner referred me to an Integrative Physician who specializes in Lyme disease.  This Doctor fully understood Lyme as well as Celiac Disease, and the protocol he prescribed (both allopathic and holistic) was gluten free.  What happened next, a true fiasco!

Gluten Free prescriptions in hand I headed to the pharmacy.  I was tired, had a severe case of brain fog, muscle aches, and a pounding headache.  I waited patiently for the prescriptions to be filled; 25 minutes later, with medications in hand, I headed home (without checking the prescriptions).  Once at home I opened the bag to find that the pharmacy had filled the prescriptions with gluten containing generics!  I called the pharmacy immediately and told them of the error.  The pharmacist explained that the insurance company only allowed the generic to be filled, and any changes would require pre-authorization.  They pharmacist also explained that they would have to order the gluten free medications and it could be several days.  Many phone calls and 5 days later I finally have gluten free medications and can begin the protocol prescribed by the Doctor.  When you are sick, and have Celiac Disease the last thing you should have to worry about is getting ill from the medication you are taking to make you better.

I knew that the medications contained gluten because of years of experience, but even I am fallible and I hope you will learn from my missteps.  (1) Always ask your Doctor to confirm that the prescription he or she is writing is gluten free. (2) Make sure the Doctor checks the little box on the prescription pad that says “Brand Medically Necessary”.   (3) Check with the pharmacy to confirm that they have the prescribed medication in stock. (4) Always check your prescription before leaving the pharmacy (5) Let the pharmacy know that you have Celiac Disease or are Gluten Sensitive.  (6)  And finally, one of the most important resources that anyone with Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivities should have bookmarked is www.glutenfreedrugs.com.   This website is authored and maintained by Steve who is a clinical pharmacist.  It contains an extensive list of both prescription and over-the-counter medications and is updated frequently.  He provides this information as a public service, and obtains and compiles data from a number of sources (including the manufacturers).

I am on the mend, and my sincere hope is that if you do need to take a medication the information in this post will save you from the mistakes that I made….Please, confirm that your medications are gluten free so that you may heal quickly.

Health, Personal Care