be well clinic

Almond Flour Cookies with Cacao Nibs

[et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="3.0.47"][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.48" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.17.2"][/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.17.2"]

GAPS Legal Almond Cookies

Adapted from The Paleo Plan Makes 24 Cookies GAPS Legal on Stage 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Almond Flour

  • ¼ cup Whey

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/3 cup Room Temperature Coconut Oil

  • 1 tsp Baking Soda

  • ½ tsp Vanilla

  • ⅛ tsp Salt

  • ¼ cup Honey (or ⅓ cup date syrup)

  • ⅛-¼ cup Raw Cacao Nibs

Directions

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/IMG_2275_edited.jpg" _builder_version="3.19"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.17.2"]

24 Hours in Advance

Add whey to almond flour. Stir to moisten.Leave covered on counter for 24 hours to ferment. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/IMG_2216_edited.jpg" _builder_version="3.17.2"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.17.2"]

The Next Day

Preheat oven to 350. Add your baking sheet to the oven to preheat. These cookies bake better on a hot dish.To fermented flour, add eggs and stir. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/IMG_2226_edited.jpg" _builder_version="3.17.2"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.17.2"]Add coconut oil to mixture. The coconut oil should be room temperature. If it is melted, you won’t have the right consistency.Add the baking soda, vanilla, salt and honey (or date paste) to the mixture. Mix well. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/IMG_2252_edited.jpg" _builder_version="3.17.2"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.17.2"]Add cacao nibs to dough mixture.Remove baking sheet from oven. Line with parchment paper. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/IMG_2264_edited.jpg" _builder_version="3.17.2"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.17.2"]Spoon approx. 1 tbsp size rounds of dough onto parchment paper.Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until edges are golden brown and cookies seem firm. Watch them closely after 8 minutes. They will go from raw to burnt quickly! [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/IMG_2290_edited.jpg" _builder_version="3.17.2"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_divider _builder_version="3.17.2"][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.17.2"] 

GAPS Legal Almond Cookies

IMG_2298_edited-150x150.jpg
  • 2 Cup Almond Flour

  • ¼ Cup Whey

  • 2 Large Eggs

  • 1/3 Cup Coconut Oil ((Room Temperature))

  • 1 tsp Baking Soda

  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla

  • 1/8 tsp Salt

  • 1/4 Cup Honey ((or 1/2 Cup Date Syrup))

  • 1/8-1/4 Cup Raw Cacao Nibs

24 Hours in Advance

  1. Add whey to almond flour. Stir to moisten.

  2. Leave covered on counter for 24 hours to ferment.

The Next Day

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Add your baking sheet to the oven to preheat. These cookies bake better on a hot dish.

  2. To fermented flour, add eggs and stir.

  3. Add coconut oil to mixture. The coconut oil should be room temperature. If it is melted, you won’t have the right consistency.

  4. Add the baking soda, vanilla, salt and honey (or date paste) to the mixture. Mix well.

  5. Add cacao nibs to dough mixture.

  6. Remove baking sheet from oven. Line with parchment paper.

  7. Spoon approx. 1 tbsp size rounds of dough onto parchment paper.

  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until edges are golden brown and cookies seem firm. Watch them closely after 8 minutes. They will go from raw to burnt quickly!

Adapted from The Paleo Plan

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/almondcookiespinterest.png" _builder_version="3.17.2"][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Honey Roasted Chicken Recipe

I've been posting some of my ol' stand by recipes, and this cinnamon-toasted honey-roasted chicken is one of the first Paleo recipes I truly enjoyed. You can tell this is an old recipe because it uses honey... something I don't usually use anymore in my baking and cooking, but I can't give it up!

Roasting a chicken is a great and simple way to make a meal. This particular roasting recipe requires a little more attention than others, as you need to baste and adjust the temperature often, but it's definitely worth it! Just make sure to set the time or you might end up with a fried-to-a-crisp chicken! Also, I recommend doing this in as small of a dish as fits your chicken. As you can see from the final pictures if the juices get too spread out they will burn! This is a larger dish than I usually use (I thought it would be pretty for the photos), and I will never use it for this recipe again! I hope you enjoy!  

Recipe Adapted from The Paleo Project by Dr. Marc Bubbs

GAPS Legal Honey Roasted Chicken Recipe Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger

  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 9 cloves of garlic

  • 2 tbsp Raw Honey

Directions for gaps legal roasted chicken with honey

IMG_1035.jpg

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Make your rub by mixing cloves, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.

IMG_1059.jpg

Crush 5 cloves with the flat of your knife, keep 4 cloves of garlic whole.

Remove the giblets. Wash and pat dry the chicken. Make sure you dry the chicken really well so the rub will stick.

IMG_1085.jpg

Drizzle approx. 2 tbs of honey of the top of the chicken, rub both sides well.

Massage the rub on the chicken, making sure to rub both sides.

Add all garlic cloves to chicken cavity.

Cover chicken with parchment paper and aluminum foil to keep cinnamon from burning.

Roast at 500 degree for 15 min then decrease your oven to 450 for 15 minutes.

IMG_1279.jpg

Remove chicken from oven. Baste chicken with juice drippings.

Reduce oven to 425. Recover chicken and bake for approx 30 - 45  minutes until chicken reaches internal temp of 165. Uncover chicken for five more minutes then remove from oven.

IMG_1415.jpg

Let the chicken rest for 20 minutes.

Carve chicken and serve! Make sure you enjoy the skin while it’s crispy and hot!

Notes:If your chicken came with giblets, you can add them to your next batch of stock or make liver pate.

I don’t normally recommend baking with honey but for this delicious recipe I make an exception.

Save the gelatin and juices of this chicken! Once cooled, they are like candy because of the sweet honey and cinnamon.

How to Use Trunk Rolls to Improve Reflux and Colic Symptoms in Babies Naturally

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.10.2"] What are trunk rolls and why do we use them? I'll give you a hint. They have to do with reflux and colic. Unfortunately, having a baby with reflux or colic is becoming a common parental experience. But just because it's common does not mean it's normal! Colic (severe, fluctuating abdominal pain that causes crying and screaming in an infant) and reflux (leakage of stomach contents into the esophagus through an open sphincter causing pain and spit-up in infants) are challenges for parents and caregivers, not to mention the babies! But these conditions don't have to be tolerated! They are symptoms, signals from the body that something is wrong! And when that root cause is addressed, the symptoms of reflux and colic will go away! Addressing the root cause of colic or reflux takes at least a few days, and in some cases (like prematurity) it may need to be managed for a little longer. While you are waiting for the root cause to be corrected, trunk rolls can be a helpful tool to keep your baby comfortable and hopefully reduce the frequency of these symptoms. Simply put, trunk rolls are blanket splints placed on either side of the baby before they are swaddled. They keep the abdomen from getting "squished," which reduces the likelihood of reflux (a cause of colic crying). Watch the video demonstration to see how to use these correctly for your baby. Because of all the extra blankets, it's important to keep the blankets away from the baby's face, and monitor their blanket position frequently. This technique is most helpful when holding, picking up and moving the baby around, and may not be as needed during longer sleeping periods (like at night). Also, the trunk roll should never be used inside the buckles in a carseat, as this would prevent the carseat from doing its job in keeping the baby safe and secure. The trunk roll is a helpful tool, but it is not going to fix the root cause. If your baby is struggling with reflux or colic, please contact me so we can eliminate the underlying problem that is causing your baby pain!   [/et_pb_text][et_pb_code _builder_version="3.10.2"]<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Qzmns4FatkY" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>[/et_pb_code][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

GAPS Friendly Waffle Recipe

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Recently the idea struck me to try to make a GAPS waffle. I had made many GAPS pancakes, so I thought maybe it could be done. And it turns out... it can! It was not a simple task, however. The ratios are fairly different than a GAPS pancake... for one thing, putting in too many eggs caused it to overflow and made quite a mess. But after some trial and error I found a recipe that is delicious, and delivered consistent results (which is a big deal when cooking without flour). I was also excited to make this a dairy-free recipe (except for the whey). Unfortunately, I can't make it nut free, the almond butter is essential! I hope you enjoy them! [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

GAPS Friendly Waffles

(makes about 8 waffle squares or 2 full-size waffles)

Batter Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked butternut squash

  • 4 TBS fermented almond butter (see note)

  • 1 TBS melted lard

  • 2 eggs

  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Additional Ingredients

  • About ¼ cup melted lard or butter to grease the waffle iron

Tools

  • Food processor or high-powered blender

  • Waffle iron

  • Chopsticks (this is very helpful to get the waffles off in one piece)

Directions

This recipe is quick to put together if you do a little prep work first!Prep the Fermented Almond Butter: At least 24 hours in advance, ferment the almond butter. Add 2 TBS whey to 1 cup almond butter. Stir. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours. This will keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.Prep the Butternut Squash: Cut the butternut squash in half and place face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 min until soft. Remove the squash flesh and place in a bowl. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] For the GAPS Waffles: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth and mixed. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/IMG_1242.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] I recommend pouring the mixture into a bag and using it like a pastry bag. The more quickly you can get the waffle batter on the iron and close the lid, the better it turns out! [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/IMG_1256.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] When everything is ready, and the waffle iron is hot, use the pastry brush to spread fat on the upper and lower waffle irons. Do this as quickly as possible.Add batter to the waffle iron, then close the lid. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/waffle-batter.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] There is a lot of moisture in this recipe, so expect a lot of steam!Wait for the green light to go on, and then another 30 seconds or soSlowly open the waffle iron. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/cooked-waffles.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Remove the waffles from the iron, using the chopstick in the groves in any areas it is sticking.Top with fried eggs, honey, date syrup, berries, homemade whipped cream, or anything you want to! [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/IMG_1275.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Enjoy! [/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider _builder_version="3.14" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.14"]

GAPS Friendly Waffles

IMG_1272-150x150.jpg

For Waffle Batter

  • 1 cup Cooked Butternut Squash

  • 4 tbsp Fermented Almond Butter ((see note))

  • 1 tbsp Melted Lard

  • 2 Eggs

  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt

Additional Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Melted Lard or Butter (To Grease The Waffle Iron)

  • Food Processor

  • Waffle Iron

  • Chopsticks (Helpful in Getting the Waffles Off in One Piece)

Prep the Fermented Almond Butter

  1. At least 24 hours in advance, ferment the almond butter.

  2. Add 2 TBS whey to 1 cup almond butter. Stir.

  3. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

  4. This will keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.

Prep the Butternut Squash

  1. Cut the butternut squash in half and place face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 min until soft.

  3. Remove the squash flesh and place in a bowl.

For the Waffles

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth and mixed.

  2. I recommend pouring the mixture into a bag and using it like a pastry bag. The more quickly you can get the waffle batter on the iron and close the lid, the better it turns out!

  3. When everything is ready, and the waffle iron is hot, use the pastry brush to spread fat on the upper and lower waffle irons. Do this as quickly as possible.

  4. Add batter to the waffle iron, then close the lid.

  5. Wait for the green light to go on, and then another 30 seconds or so

  6. Slowly open the waffle iron.

  7. Remove the waffles from the iron, using the chopstick in the groves in any areas it is sticking.

  8. Top with fried eggs, honey, date syrup, berries, homemade whipped cream, or anything you want to!

There is a lot of moisture in this recipe, so expect a lot of steam!

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.11.1" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/5.png" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

GAPS Friendly Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Strawberry rhubarb pie has always been one of my favorites! In the past I have modified recipes to make a strawberry rhubarb dessert, but this year I decided I wanted to use my growing knowledge and skill in the kitchen and make a delicious GAPS-legal pie. My added challenges? I wanted to make it with a fermented almond crust, and use a different sweetener than honey. Finally, I wanted to have a modification that made not only GAPS legal, but dairy-free, nut-free and egg-free. Overall, I would call the experiment a success. But to get that success I had to make more multiples of this recipe than I ever have for any previous recipe I've posted. Because of the crust. Not that my "tester" friends and family complained. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/gapslegalstrawberryrhubarbpie_0019.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Turns out almond flour crust doesn't play nice with a wetter pie filling. Actually, the problem is that it plays too nice! It wants to combine with the filling; get up close and personal. Not what a pie crust is supposed to do. I did not fully overcome the pie-crust conundrum, but every recipe I made turned out delicious. So instead of chocking it up as a "failed recipe," I decided to share with you what I made... a good pie that happens to have a crust with boundary issues! And, of course, I will share the modified recipe for egg-free, nut-free, dairy-free strawberry rhubarb dessert. Keep reading! [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Ingredients

For the Pie Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour

  • 1/4 cup whey (enough to moisten)

  • 1/2 cup room-temperature butter (or lard)

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

For the Filling:

  • 3 1/2 cups rhubarb pieces

  • 2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup date syrup (I use this one)

  • 2 TBS gelatin dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water

  • Optional: zest from 1/2 lemon

Directions

Mix almond flour and whey together. Cover and leave on the counter for 24 hours to ferment. After 24 hours, this mixture keeps in the fridge for up to 1 week. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/gapslegalstrawberryrhubarbpie_0011.jpg" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] To the fermented flour mixture, add butter or lard and sea salt. Mix well, getting all clumps out. Then butter a pie pan well. Press the crust mixture into the pan and form a crust using your fingers. Bake at 400° for 5-8 minutes until a little dry and just turning brown.   [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/gapslegalstrawberryrhubarbpie_0012.jpg" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Combine all ingredients for the filling. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until the juices increase. Add the filling to your pre-baked crust. Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes until light brown. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/gapslegalstrawberryrhubarbpie_0013.jpg" custom_padding="||50px|" custom_padding_last_edited="on|tablet" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert

A delicious nut free alternative served hot or at room temperature! Mix the filling the same, except add 2 additional TBS of gelatin and dissolve in 1/2 cup of hot water. Let the filling sit for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors mix. Line muffin tins. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes until the tops are just browning. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/gapslegalstrawberryrhubarbpie_0017.jpg" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Serve warm or room temperature. These gooey treats are a bit messy, so eat with a spoon. They are delicious!  

Enjoy!

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider _builder_version="3.14" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.14"]  

GAPS Friendly Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

gapslegalstrawberryrhubarbpie_0019-150x150.jpg

For the Pie Crust

  • 2 1/2 cup Almond Flour

  • 1/4 cup Whey ((Enough to Moisten))

  • 1/2 cup Butter or Lard, Room Temperature

  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

For the Filling

  • 3 1/2 cup Rhubarb Pieces

  • 2 1/2 cup Strawberries, Sliced

  • 1/4 tsp Salt

  • 1/2 cup Date Syrup

  • 2 tbsp Gelatin dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water

  • Zest from 1/2 Lemon ((Optional))

  1. Mix almond flour and whey together. Cover and leave on the counter for 24 hours to ferment. After 24 hours, this mixture keeps in the fridge for up to 1 week.

  2. To the fermented flour mixture, add butter or lard and sea salt.

  3. Mix well, getting all clumps out. Then butter a pie pan well. Press the crust mixture into the pan and form a crust using your fingers.

  4. Bake at 400° for 5-8 minutes until a little dry and just turning brown.

  5. Combine all ingredients for the filling. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until the juices increase.

  6. Add the filling to your pre-baked crust.

  7. Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes until light brown.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.14"]

Nut Free GAPS Legal Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert

gapslegalstrawberryrhubarbpie_0017-150x150.jpg
  • 3 1/2 cup Rhubarb Pieces

  • 2 1/2 cup Sliced Strawberries

  • 1/4 tsp Salt

  • 1/2 cup Date Syrup

  • 4 tbsp Gelatin dissolved in 1/2 Cup Hot Water

  • Zest from 1/2 Lemon (Optional)

  1. Combine all ingredients for the filling. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until the juices increase.

  2. Line Muffins Tins

  3. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes until the tops are just browning.

  4. Serve warm or room temperature. These gooey treats are a bit messy, so eat with a spoon. They are delicious!

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.11.1" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/7.png" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

The Inflammatory System

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Inflammation is a hot topic right now, but only one aspect of this complex phenomenon—chronic inflammation—is usually discussed. Today I want to share a little more about inflammation, and hopefully give you a better understand of the amazing thing that inflammation is.That’s right, I said amazing! Although chronic inflammation is getting all the press right now, without inflammation in our bodies, we would be sick, injured and maybe even dead!

Inflammation is the body’s way to protect us from invasion, and heal damage that occurs in our bodies. This damage happens constantly… it’s not just something that happens when we twist our ankle or get stung by a bee.

Inflammation is the body’s response to anything that damages our bodies, inside or out. Some of the triggers for inflammation are infection, mechanical damage (injury), oxygen deprivation, nutrient deprivation, genetic or immune defects, inflammatory foods such as sugar and grains, chemical agents, temperature extremes, and ionizing radiation (including free radical damage). These types of damages happen on a very regular basis, some of them even as byproducts of healthy metabolism.After damage happens, inflammation is what cleans up the mess. There are various responses and branches of the inflammatory system, and each of these serve a purpose. You can watch more about this in the video below. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_code _builder_version="3.0.85"]<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zL9eRt6R_WA" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>[/et_pb_code][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] As you can see, inflammation is good—if it’s the right kind! It cleans up messes, heals damage, fights off infection, and keeps our body in repair. The problem comes when inflammation becomes chronic.

There are a few main reasons why inflammation changes from something helpful, to something that causes problems.

First, an unhealthy or overwhelmed immune system can initiate or continue the inflammatory process when it’s not actually needed. To fix this we need to provide support and direction to the immune system by eating the right nutrients, and providing an environment for good gut flora (which communicate with our immune system) to flourish.Second, if the stimulus (damage) is constant, then the need to activate the inflammatory system will be constant. To correct this we need to find the source of the inflammatory stimulus and stop it! This may mean doing things like cutting out sugar, gently detox your body, or increasing the nutrition you eat in your diet. Thirdly, inflammation can become chronic if the process is stopped too early. If we intervene with non-natural ways (such as antihistamines or steroids) that force a certain effect on the body, we may be inhibiting the very thing that turns inflammation back off when it’s not longer needed to repair or protect.  This can be seen if we look at histamine receptors. When histamine is produced, it goes to different cells and binds to histamine receptors. The type of receptor determines the effect. H1 receptors are generally pro-inflammatory, meaning their effect is what turns on the inflammation. H2 receptors are generally anti-inflammatory, and are what tell inflammation to turn back off. If we block histamine from being released, we may be blocking the signal for the inflammation to stop!That being said, I am thankful that we have medications at certain times. If someone is not able to function in his or her life, or if they are in danger from an allergic reaction, it is appropriate and necessary to take medications. But if you want to have a healthy body, medications are never a long-term solution. You have to address the root!What do you think? The inflammatory system is pretty amazing, isn’t it! Take a minute to reflect on the amazing and complex system that is inside you, working full time to keep your body repaired and safe.We only scratched the surface of this amazing process today. Do you have questions about it? Leave a comment below.

Onward!
Citation: McCance, K., Huether, S. (2006). Pathophysiology: The Biological Basis for Disease in Adult and Children (5th ed.) (pp. 177-193). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Is Fat a Better Prescription for Mental Illness?

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Shootings, bombings and gun control are often in the news these days. There are many different opinions and views on this, but one thing that I do not think is getting enough attention is the mental stability of the perpetrator. It makes sense that mental illness is involved, but many people have a diagnosis of mental illness and don't carry out violent crimes. What's the difference? I think we need to look closer to try to find out what causes a person to carry out a violent crime?  

Here is my hypothesis for testing:

What connection do diet and the use of anti-psychotic drugs have to do with these unprovoked acts of violence?

  Could it be that we are prescribing the wrong treatment for mental illness?   [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

What diet has to do with the brain:

  The gray matter of the brain is made up of an estimated 50% fatty acids. Our hormones and neurotransmitters are partially composed of lipids, and lipids are needed for several different cellular functions, including neuron growth and signaling, cell movement, and lymphocyte activation (2). If lipids and cholesterol are involved in so many aspects of brain function, doesn’t it make sense that a low-fat diet would cause brain function problems? If it is fat deficiency that is causing the disease, then we would expect the results of a treatment that addresses down-line symptom (chemical imbalance) rather than the root cause (fat deficiency) would have limited effectiveness.

Isn’t that what we are observing?

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Only a percentage of people who take medications for anxiety or depression see improvement. When Consumer Reports asked 1,386 people who took medications for anxiety, depression, or both (SSRIs, SNRIs, Bupropion), they found that 48-53% people said it helped a lot, and 35-38% said it helped somewhat, and in each grouping 13-15% of people said it helped less than somewhat (or none) (1).

If depression and anxiety were caused by a simple chemical imbalance, shouldn’t we see a much higher response rate to treatment?

Not only are these medications largely ineffective, but they also come with a high risk of side effects. When the same group (above) were surveyed, 12-31% of those people experienced one or more side effect: loss of sexual interest or ability, weight gain, dry mouth, or sleep problems (1). That means up to 1/3 of the people on these medications experience side effects! And they may not even see any benefit from them! Other side effects listed for these medications are nervousness, agitation or restlessness, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, dry mouth, digestive system problems (4, 5). Bupropion is listed to have the additional potential side effects include: trouble concentrating, hyperventilation, irregular heartbeats, irritability, paranoia, hallucinations, seizures, fainting, anger, assaulting others, being aggressive or impulsive, actions that are out of control, inability to sit still, or talking, feeling or acting with excitement (3). That’s a scary list! And don’t some of them sound familiar in light of the shootings? [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Avoiding the side effects:

  Finally, talk alone may be as (if not more) effective than medications. A survey of 1,544 people showed that talk therapy alone was as much, if not more successful than a medication treatment (1). So... maybe medications aren’t the answer? Then what is? What if we correct the underlying imbalance? What if we prescribe a diet high in the building blocks needed for the brain? This includes omega-3 and -6, but also cholesterol and saturated fats from animals, which are necessary for our cell membranes and other parts of our brain and nervous system.

Put simply, we need fat because fat:
  • Balances hormones
  • Helps make “happy” neurotransmitters
  • Is necessary for mentation (thinking)
  • Is a needed part of the myelin sheath (fast nerve impulses)
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Help in brain damage repair
  • Detoxifies the body and brain
  • Feeds and supports the immune system
  • Is used in every cell of the body
  • And more!

  When we look at a tragedy like a shooting, there are many factors at play. But how many of those factors are related to the balance and health of the shooter’s body? If, as an old advertisement stated “They’re happy because they eat butter!” then perhaps a lack of saturated fat in the diet is a large contributor to the unimaginable mental state of people who treat human life so carelessly. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Eat more fat!

This is why the first and most important thing I recommend is to eat more fat! Animal fat, specifically. If you have prescribed to the low-fat diet for a while, or had your gallbladder removed, you need to increase your fat consumption gradually, and perhaps look at supplementing with something like ox bile during your transition. Work up until you are eating at least ½ cup of added animal fat a day. This includes children—they have fast-growing bodies and brains!

Common sources of animal fat are:
  • Butter and ghee
  • Sour cream (crème fraische)
  • Lard (rendered pig fat)
  • Tallow (rendered beef, buffalo, elk, deer fat)
  • Chicken, duck, goose, etc fat
  • Bacon (not turkey bacon!)

  You can eat much more than ½ cup a day! Just listen to what your body is asking for. And to learn more about why we should eat fat alongside every food group, check my The One About Fat post.

What do you think?

  References:

  1. Consumer Reports. (July 2010). Best Antidepressant for Anxiety According to Our Readers: Readers Revealed the Therapists and Drugs that Helped. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2013/01/depression-and-anxiety/index.htm
  2. Ding, Z. and Zajac, J.-M.. (2016). Cholesterol-rich lipid rafts are involved in neuropeptide FF anti-nociceptin/orphanin FQ effect. J. Neurochem., 136:778-790. Doi:10.1111/jnc.13450

  Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your trust is important to me. I only recommend products I trust. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

New Year's Resolutions: Six Habits I Recommend on a Regular Basis

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Happy New Year everyone!

In the last post, I shared about mindsets to have (or not) that will help with successful habit change. This week I want to share about some of the habits I think are most important to consider integrating into your family. This is not an exhaustive list! These habits are simple and sound. They are not flashy or trendy (necessarily), and they have stood the test of time. And remember, I am not suggesting you start ALL of these habits at once, or that these are the highest priority for your family. I am merely suggesting ones I think are important. For your consideration. Here they are:  

Six Habits I Recommend on a Regular Basis:

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label="food changes" _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Eat More Animal Fat

This is my number one recommendation, and it is something you can incorporate into your food right now! Everyone should be eating more animal fat! Here's a post about why you should add more animal fat to your diet. Animal fats are butter, lard, tallow, ghee, chicken, duck and goose fat, bacon, and sour cream. This is where the money is! But what about avocados, coconut oil, and all the "healthy fats"? Those fats are fine and healthy (if they are good quality), but they cannot replace the amazing benefits that animal fats bring to your body. Those fats are fine to eat, but focus on increasing the animal fats. I recommend people work up to eating a minimum of 1/2 cup added animal fat per person per day. This includes children (they need fat for their developing brain!) This can be accomplished by adding fat to everything! Fry everything in butter, lard or bacon grease. Butter your steak! Eat butter cubes and dried fruit for a snack. Eat a tub of sour cream with a spoon! These are just some ideas to get you started. And if you are worried about fat and heart disease or obesity, I recommend you check out the book by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride called Put Your Heart in Your Mouth, which explains the real reason for these epidemic diseases.

Drink Meat Stock Daily

Meat stock (not necessarily bone broth) is a liquid gold that I think every person can benefit from. To learn how to make it, view my post about it. I recommend that every person (children included) consume at least 1 mug of meat stock every day. With every meal is even better. This doesn't have to be in the form of soup—it can be a mug of the strained stock. And this is great place to add in extra fat (see previous point). And yes, there is a difference between store-bought and homemade—you can make something of infinitely higher quality than anything you can buy. And please, even if you use a microwave for other things, warm up your meat stock on the stove!

Eat a Fermented Food

Until the age of refrigeration, we naturally had some time of fermented food at least once a day. Either foods were fermented on purpose to preserve them longer (like sauerkraut), or during the course of a few days stored at room temperature, they grew some amount of mold, yeast, or bacteria on them. Today, food in this state goes instantly into the trash (often container included), but for most of history food was rarely wasted due to a little mold! Now, I am not saying you should eat food that is molded or rotten, but our bodies function in a more healthy state if we regularly eat microbes. After all, a large part of our bodies are microbes! Here is a fun little video about how microbes work in your body. To help your body get or stay healthy, it's good to get these healthy microbes in us! You can do this by taking a probiotic, or eating fermented foods. There are different reasons why one is better than the other, and sometimes both are needed, but eating a ferment (or fermented food) is a great way to start out! You can buy your ferment (like live, refrigerated sauerkraut), or make it yourself. In addition to sauerkraut, beet kvass and vegetable medley are two of my favorites. When you start with any probiotic or fermented food, go slowly! Too much too fast can cause what's known as a die-off or Herx reaction. This is not fun, but can be avoided by increasing the amount you eat slowly! Start with one bite of sauerkraut, or 1 ounce of beet kvass. See how you feel for the next 24 hours, then use that as a guide to let you know how fast you can increase (or if you need to decrease).   [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label="detox changes" _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] The last three habits are related to detoxing and cleansing your body.

Filter Your Water

This is a fairly simple change to make, yet it can reap large benefits. City water, most bottled water, and some well water contains chlorine in one or more forms. It is put there to keep species of bacteria, fungus and other microbes from multiplying to unhealthy levels. However, when we drink this same water the chlorine negatively affects the flora living inside us as well. And when we bathe and shower in it, not only do the chemicals dry out our skin and the fumes irritate our lungs, the protective barrier of our skin (maintained by skin flora) is damaged. You can largely prevent all of these things by filtering the chlorine (and some other things) out of your water. There are many levels of filters, and depending on how sick you are and what's in your water supply, a stronger filter may be necessary. But most people see benefit with simple filters for their drinking, cooking and bathing water. I use this filter or this filter for my drinking and cooking water, this filter for my baths, and this filter for my shower. You could get them all, or start with one and build from there.

Take a Detox Bath

A detox bath is an excellent way to help your body get rid of toxins that have accumulated there. There are three factors in a detox bath: water temperature, time, and amount of detox material. You can adjust all three of these to find your perfect bath! Common detoxing materials are Epsom salt, baking soda, and raw apple cider vinegar with the mother. And as we just discussed, dechlorinated water is preferred. The goal of a detox bath is to make you feel lighter, clearer and better. If you go too high on any of the three detox bath factors, you may get nauseated, a headache, increased heart rate, brain fog, muscle cramps, irritability or other like symptoms. If this happens during your bath, no worries! Just get out of the bath right away, drink plenty of water, and your symptoms will usually disappear in a few minutes. If they don't, lie down for a little while to let your body rest and recover.

  • Water temperature: you want a warm bath, but if it gets really hot, your body can jump to that other level of detoxing that will give you all the undesirable symptoms. This temperature will be determined by you, and may vary slightly day by day.
  • Time in the bath: to detox, most people need to stay in the bath about 20 minutes. You can stay in longer. But sometimes staying in more time can cause you to start having symptoms. If that happens, bath time is over! It's time to get out! Shorten your bath time by a few minutes the next time.
  • Amount of detoxing materials: for each bath, you want to use one of the detox materials listed above. Amounts vary between 1/4-1 cup. Test and see what works for you. It's good to rotate the material, using all three at different times, for a more comprehensive detoxing.

Enjoy your bath!

Walk Outside in the Sun

This is actually a two-for-one! Sunbathing (with nothing on your skin) is a great way to detox AND increase your levels of vitamin D. Of course, different seasons will have a different influence on vitamin D levels, but talking a walk in the sunshine has undeniable benefits (and probably ones we don't even understand yet!) The full light spectrum can help fight daytime fatigue, which in turn helps our hormones to balance. And you are getting gentle movement exercise on top of it! This will stimulate blood flow and increase your body's ability to remove toxins, as well as stimulate lymph movement, which does the same. It's important to expose your skin to the sun without any barrier, including light barriers such as coconut oil. Commercial sunscreens should be avoided altogether as they contain many known carcinogens. If your skin is not ready for the amount of sun exposure it's going to get, it's best to cover up with clothing, and/or gradually work up the time in the sun. As a side benefit, the more animal fat you eat the less likely you are to sunburn! So use this winter wisely! By the time spring and summer come, you should be able to increase your sun time gradually without problems! And yes, this includes you blondes, redheads, and fair-skinned people! So there you have it! The top six changes I recommend on a regular basis. Let me know which one you tried out first, and how it went!

Onward!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Buckeye Cookies {GAPS Legal}

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Another one of my favorite Christmas cookies are Buckeyes. These delicious cookies are traditionally peanut butter and powder sugar balls dipped in chocolate, made to look like the buckeye nut. The buckeye nut is commonly found back East, like Ohio and Michigan, where my family is originally from. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]   The roots for this recipe go deep in our family. Much like the Force.   Ok, maybe not the Force (although I am excited for the new Star Wars movie that comes out this week!)   [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/buckeye-nuts.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] But we do make Buckeye cookies a lot.   Since powdered sugar is hardly GAPS legal, I haven't had these cookies for a while either. But all that is about the change!   Introducing GAPS legal Buckeye cookies!   These no-bake cookies are egg free, and casein and lactose free (contains whey and butter). They are also coconut free!  

Please note that while cassava flour is not technically on the GAPS-illegal list, it is still quite starchy. These cookies should be a special treat, and consumed infrequently and in small amounts. Same with cocoa powder. And, as always, observe if YOUR body is okay with this particular food at this time. Just because something is "GAPS legal" does not give you a free pass to eat it! Pay attention to what your body is telling you. But if it's telling you that these cookies are okay for you, then by all means ENJOY THEM!!!

   

GAPS Legal Buckeye Cookies

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Buckeye-cookies-long.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Makes about 48 cookies

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups cassava flour
  • 8 TBS whey
  • 1/2-1 cup honey
  • 8 oz butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla

 

Coating:

  • 1 1/2 cup cocoa butter chips
  • 1/8 cup raw honey
  • 1 TBS cocoa powder

  [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Directions:

Prep time: Need to start this recipe 24 hours in advance, 5 minutes prep time. Then it takes about 30-45 minutes to finish on the following day.  

Filling:

Twenty-four hours in advance: mix 1/2 cup peanut butter, 4 TBS whey, and 1 cup cassava flour together until everything is moist and crumbly. Try to eliminate as many clumps as possible. Leave on the countertop in a glass container with a lid. This is to give the legumes and cassava flour a chance to lacto-ferment. This makes them more digestible and increase the nutritional value. For more on why we should only eat nuts and seeds that have been properly prepared, watch my video on this. After 24 hours, the mixture should look something like this...just a little more moist than what you started with the day before. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_3"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="2_3"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Fermented-Nut-butter.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Add to this the vanilla extract, honey and 8 oz of softened butter (it's not the end of the world if you melt it, but try not to).

I used 1 cup of honey for this recipe, and to my non-sugar eating palate they are very sweet (which is the point, I suppose)! I plan to reduce the honey by about half the next time I make this. The mixture just needs to be formed into balls.

  [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="2_3"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Add-butter.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_3"][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Mix well, and smooth out as many clumps as possible. You should be able to easily for this mixture into little balls. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_3"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="2_3"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Buckeye-dough.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Form the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="2_3"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Buckeye-balls.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_3"][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Place the balls in the freezer to chill (about 10-15 minutes)   Next, make the coating   The most important part of making the coating is to heat things just hot enough to melt. Nothing should be cooked here! You are gently heating them up to mix. Then gradually cooling them back down again.   Using a double boiler (or as I just discovered, my glass 2 cup measuring container fits perfectly into a medium saucepan) On low heat, melt the cacao butter chips. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_3"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="2_3"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Melting-Cacao-chips.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] When they are fully melted, turn off the heat and add the honey   Next, stir in the cocoa powder (I recommend using a whisk to mix well)   [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="2_3"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Buckeye-Coating.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_3"][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Finally, remove the mixture in the top half of the double boiler to the coating is allowed to start cooling   Continue whisking the coating mixture occasionally. The honey cools faster than the cocoa butter, and you need to keep them mixed.   When the mixture is cool enough, remove the dough balls from the freezer. Stick a toothpick (or broken-off bamboo skewer in our case) into a ball and dip it into the coating. Depending on the temperature of the coating, you may need to dip more than once to achieve a satisfactory coating. After allowing the extra coating to drip off for a few moments, return the ball to the parchment paper. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_3"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="2_3"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Dipping-Buckeyes.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Maintain the coating within a narow temperature margin. Keep the water from the lower part of your double-boiler ready. If your coating begins to cool too much, slip the top of the double-boiler back on top of the hot water for a minute or so to warm it back up (you probably don't need to turn on the heat). Do not let it cool too much or reheat it too quickly or too much—these can cause the chocolate to clump (this happened), and there's not going back from this. You would just need to start over making the coating.  

Traditionally the coating is darker than this recipe. I originally made a darker coating, but more cocoa powder required more honey, which seemed to throw everything off balance. I think this is part of why it clumped. Once you master the basics of temperature and consistency, you can try increasing the cocoa powder to darken the color. I will be doing that myself. In the meantime, even though this isn't as dark as traditional Buckeye cookies, the coating dries hard at room temperature. I'm calling that a win!

  When they are all dipped to your satisfaction, use a toothpick to roll over the holes, filling them in. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="2_3"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Finishing-Buckeyes.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_3"][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] There you have it! Rich, delicious Buckeye cookies.

Enjoy!

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.11.1" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Buckeye-cookies-cooling.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][et_pb_divider _builder_version="3.14" /][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.11.1" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/11.png" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.14"]  

GAPS Legal Buckeye Cookies

Filling

  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • 2 cup Cassava Flour
  • 8 tbsp Whey
  • 1/2 - 1 cup Honey
  • 8 oz Butter
  • 2 tsp Vanilla

Coating

  • 1 1/2 cup Cocoa Butter Chips
  • 1/8 cup Raw Honey
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder

For the Filling

  1. Twenty-four hours in advance: mix 1/2 cup peanut butter, 4 TBS whey, and 1 cup cassava flour together until everything is moist and crumbly. Try to eliminate as many clumps as possible. Leave on the countertop in a glass container with a lid.

    This is to give the legumes and cassava flour a chance to lacto-ferment. This makes them more digestible and increase the nutritional value. 

  2. Add to this the vanilla extract, honey and 8 oz of softened butter (it’s not the end of the world if you melt it, but try not to).

  3. Mix well, and smooth out as many clumps as possible. You should be able to easily for this mixture into little balls.

  4. Form the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.

  5. Place the balls in the freezer to chill (about 10-15 minutes)

For the Coating

  1. The most important part of making the coating is to heat things just hot enough to melt. Nothing should be cooked here! You are gently heating them up to mix. Then gradually cooling them back down again.

  2. Using a double boiler (or as I just discovered, my glass 2 cup measuring container fits perfectly into a medium saucepan) on low heat, melt the cacao butter chips.

  3. When they are fully melted, turn off the heat and add the honey

  4. Next, stir in the cocoa powder (I recommend using a whisk to mix well)

  5. Finally, remove the mixture in the top half of the double boiler to the coating is allowed to start cooling

  6. Continue whisking the coating mixture occasionally. The honey cools faster than the cocoa butter, and you need to keep them mixed

  7. When the mixture is cool enough, remove the dough balls from the freezer.

  8. Stick a toothpick (or broken-off bamboo skewer in our case) into a ball and dip it into the coating. Depending on the temperature of the coating, you may need to dip more than once to achieve a satisfactory coating.

  9. After allowing the extra coating to drip off for a few moments, return the ball to the parchment paper.

  10. Maintain the coating within a narow temperature margin.

    Keep the water from the lower part of your double-boiler ready. If your coating begins to cool too much, slip the top of the double-boiler back on top of the hot water for a minute or so to warm it back up (you probably don’t need to turn on the heat). Do not let it cool too much or reheat it too quickly or too much—these can cause the chocolate to clump (this happened), and there’s not going back from this. You would just need to start over making the coating.

  11. When they are all dipped to your satisfaction, use a toothpick to roll over the holes, filling them in.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

New Year's Resolutions: How to Make Successful Habit Changes

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] As I'm writing this, we are almost half way through December. This time of year is about getting ready for the holidays AND the new year.   As we are looking forward to the new year, most of us are thinking about new habits we want to start (or renew). But this can be tricky. You only have so much time and energy to spend on habit change, and some health trends are not actually helpful to you. I want to help you plan for this upcoming year. Let's talk about how decide what habits are right for you!   [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

#1 Make changes that make sense

  Starting habits you can't keep doing is so common we write comic strips about it! This can happen for several reasons: we try to change too much at once, we don't put forth enough effort, or we are trying to make a change we are not ready for.   No matter what you decide to change, all change requires energy and effort. And sometimes we fail to make a change because we take on too much or are lazy. But most of us do want to change. We have every intention of making changes and sticking with them.

So what's the problem?

Often, we try to make changes based on what we think we should change, instead of what makes sense, in our life, to change.

For example: You read a health trend article on social media about doing interval training five days a week. There are so many benefits! So you decide to start doing thirty minutes a day. But you had an old knee injury that is easily aggravated, and by the third day you are in so much pain you have to take medication. You make it to the fifth day, glad for the break. After two rest days you are still walking with a limp, and decide not to continue the interval training until you can walk without pain again. It takes three weeks to feel fully recovered, but you never start up your interval training again.

  What do you think this shows? Too many changes? No, let say that this was the only thing you decided to change at this time. Laziness? Many people (my old self included) would say that this you were lazy, or a wimp. But you did show dedication. You pushed through the pain to see if it would get better. But it didn't. In fact, it took your body almost a month to recover. You body let you know that you weren't ready for that change in that way.  

There was a time that if I had been living the above scenario, I would have felt like a failure, and called myself all kinds of names.

  But now I look at that scenario and see it as a victory. You stoped because you were listening to your body! It told you this was too much for it right now, and you listened. That's not a failure, that's a win! To seal the victory, you need to try something else. Exercise can be challenging. Just because it is doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. Find something that is a slight challenge for you... maybe it's a five or ten minute walk. Maybe it's a bike ride, or yoga. Maybe it's a martial arts class. Find something, listen to your body, and don't give up without a reason ("it's too hard" is not a reason, although "it hurts too much" is a clue to try something else).   When we make changes that make sense, we are working with our body instead of fighting against it. This creates a two-against-one scenario, and you are more likely to succeed!   [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

#2 Don't make too many changes at once

  The beginning of the new year is a great time to make changes. And I'm not saying you shouldn't take advantage of the timing, the motivation, and even the cultural shift to choose healthy over unhealthy. But making too many changes at one time doesn't set you up for success. Most experts agree that we can only successfully make 1-3 changes at a time. Maybe with the new year energy you can make three. (Especially if they are opposites, like cut out soda and drink more water.)   There are very few people that can successfully create many new habits at one time. Let's assume you are not one of these people!   Did I just cut your resolutions list in half? Or more? You probably have some great habit changes on that list. How can you eliminate some? First, cross off any habit changes that you only put on there because you saw it on social media and feel guilty for not doing it. Maybe that habit change is a good idea, but making a change solely because of guilt is not likely to end well. Second, out of the remaining habits, circle the ones that seem simpler to complete and the ones that make the most sense related to what is going on in your life right now (physically and circumstantially). Third, pick (at most) three habits to begin with. These may be the simplest (avoid chlorinated water: buy a shower and sink filter), or the most pressing (make meat stock every day to calm constant joint pain). When you pick the habits that are most important or simple for you to change right now, you are more likely to succeed in those habits. This will create momentum (not to mention make you feel better, which leads to increased energy), which you can use to make the next set of important habit changes. (Which you can start making when the first set are well established, or about three weeks.)   [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

#3 It's a marathon!

  Habit change is not a sprint—it's a marathon. When you are training for a marathon, you don't run 26.2 miles every day. You run more some days, and less on others. Some days you don't run at all! Don't think of your habit change as a sprint... all or nothing and if you have one little mess up, you are out of the race. Our lives are not like that. We have built-in room for error (our race is approximately 80-90 years long). Everything we do either builds our body up (anabolic) or tears and wears it down (catabolic). We are never stable, we are always moving and changing. Being perfect is not the goal—making forward progress and positive change is. As I wrote last week, get off the bandwagon bandwagon! There is no bandwagon to fall off of! The bandwagon is a myth! If you don't do a habit one day or another, you haven't lost your chances of success. Each choice that you make simply adds to the anabolic or catabolic side of the scale. But one (or even several) negative choices don't have to cause a downward spiral. They don't have that kind of power unless you give it to them.   There you go. Three ways to choose the habits that are best for you right now (which are also the ones in which you are most likely to succeed)! Now you know how to choose habits. Next time I will give you a list of some of my top habit suggestions for you to consider... one's that give you a lot of bang for you buck (or should I say results for you time)!   Until next time,

Onward!

  [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Christmas Wreath Cookies {GAPS Legal}

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] It's the holiday season! More specifically, it's cookie season!   I love making, giving away (and eating) Christmas cookies. But it's been a long time since I have enjoyed many of the cookies I grew up making, so this year I decided I wanted to create real-food versions of some of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes.  

First up, Christmas Wreath cookies!

  This cookie is traditionally a mix of corn flakes, marshmallows, and butter. So let's look at the ingredients...

  • The butter is already a real food!

  • Marshmallows I have made before, modified from Mommypotamus' marshmallow recipe.

  So all I had to do was figure out a substitution for the corn flakes (and see if the marshmallows actually work the same as the commercial variety).   Challenge accepted! [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image-single cookie" _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Single-Wreath-Cookie.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Ingredients and directions" _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Christmas Wreath Cookies

Makes about 36 cookies (recipe can be halved)

Ingredients

Marshmallows

  • 2 cups honey

  • 1 cup of filtered water

  • 2 tsp vanilla

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • 6 TBS grass-fed beef gelatin

  • 1 cup of filtered water

Wreath Cookies

  • Marshmallow paste (above)

  • 8 ounces organic butter

  • 14 cups coconut flakes (approximately 20 ounces)

  • Red hots (my homemade recipe)

  • Natural food coloring, blue and yellow packets (I used this one)

Directions

Place the coconut flakes in the oven at 200° Toast the coconut until they are light brown—this makes the cookies crispier! When done, remove them from the oven Place in a large bowl, set aside [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="3_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image-coconut flakes" _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Toasted-Coconut-Flakes.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat When melted, remove from heat and set aside   Next, make the marshmallow paste  

Marshmallows

Soften the gelatin

  • Add gelatin to 1 cup hot water

  • Stir and allow to to sit, keep warm (not on stove)

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="3_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image-soften gelatin" _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Softening-Gelatin.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text- Heat honey" _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] While gelatin is softening... Heat honey and water in a medium saucepan (medium to high heat), stirring frequently, until it reaches the soft ball candy stage (about 235°F). If you don't have a thermometer, you can check by dripping the heated honey into a glass of cold water. When the candy forms a ball, it is ready! [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="3_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Heat honey" _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Boiling-Water-and-Honey.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Soft ball stage" _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] When the honey has reached the soft ball stage, remove from heat Add the heated mixture to the softened gelatin in a large bowl Add vanilla Do these steps quickly, you don't want honey mixture to cool off too much [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="3_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Add vanilla" _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Marshmallows-Adding-Vanilla.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Use mixer" _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Whisk the mixture using an electric mixer or stand mixer for about 10 minutes [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="3_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Whisk Marshallows" _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Getting-Marshallow.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Getting marshmallow-y [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="3_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Marshmallow-y" _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Marshallows.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Marshmallows Done" _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] When the mixture is thick and looks like marshmallow paste, it's done!   If you want marshmallows, you can stop here. Put the marshmallow paste in a greased glass 9x11 dish and allow to cool and dry for a 24-36 hrs. Then cut up and serve.   But we are not stopping here! To make traditional Christmas wreath cookies you melt the marshmallows and turn them back into paste-which is what you just created!   Next, stir the melted butter into the mixture. It will deflate the mixture somewhat, this is normal.   Mix in the blue and yellow food coloring packets. This will turn it green (not neon green—that's an artificial color). But when it's made into wreathes it does look green—although you're going to have to take my word for it! [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="3_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Add coloring and butter" _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Marshallows-plus-butter-and-coloring.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="add to coconut flakes" _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Pour the marshmallow mixture into the bowl with the toasted coconut flakes. Mix until the flakes are coated. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="3_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image-wreath mixture" _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Wreath-Mixture.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Finally, form the warm mixture into wreath-shaped cookies on parchment paper Add decorative red hots as berries (see my homemade recipe) Allow to cool. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="3_4"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Christmas-Wreath-Cookies.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

See, I told you they look green!

  All that's left is to share and enjoy these delicious treats! [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Finished-Christmas-Wreath-Cookies.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your trust is important. I only recommend products I trust.  [/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider _builder_version="3.14" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.14"]

GAPS Legal Christmas Wreath Cookies

Christmas-Wreath-Cookies-Plated-150x150.jpg

Marshmallows

  • 2 cup Honey

  • 1 cup Filtered Water

  • 2 tsp Vanilla

  • 1 tsp Sea Salt

  • 6 tbsp Grass Fed Beef Gelatin

  • 1 cup Filtered Water

Wreath Cookies

  • Marshmallow Past ((See Above))

  • 8 oz Organic Butter

  • 14 cup Coconut Flakes ((Approx. 20 oz))

  • Red Hots ((See Note for my Homemade Recipe))

  • Natural Blue and Yellow Food Coloring

  1. Place the coconut flakes in the oven at 200°

  2. Toast the coconut until they are light brown—this makes the cookies crispier!

  3. When done, remove them from the oven. Place in a large bowl, set aside.

  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. When melted, remove from heat and set aside

Marshmallow Paste

  1. Soften the gelatin by adding gelatin to 1 cup hot water.Stir and allow to to sit, keep warm (not on stove)

  2. Heat honey and water in a medium saucepan (medium to high heat), stirring frequently, until it reaches the soft ball candy stage (about 235°F).If you don’t have a thermometer, you can check by dripping the heated honey into a glass of cold water. When the candy forms a ball, it is ready!

  3. When the honey has reached the soft ball stage, remove from heat.

  4. Add the heated mixture to the softened gelatin in a large bowl and then add vanilla. Do these steps quickly, you don’t want honey mixture to cool off too much.

  5. Whisk the mixture using an electric mixer or stand mixer for about 10 minutes

  6. When the mixture is thick and looks like marshmallow paste, it’s done!

  7. If you want marshmallows, you can stop here. Put the marshmallow paste in a greased glass 9x11 dish and allow to cool and dry for a 24-36 hrs. Then cut up and serve.

For Christmas Wreath Cookies

  1. Mix in the blue and yellow food coloring packets. This will turn it green (not neon green—that’s an artificial color). But when it’s made into wreathes it does look green—although you’re going to have to take my word for it!

  2. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the bowl with the toasted coconut flakes.

  3. Mix until the flakes are coated.

  4. Form the warm mixture into wreath-shaped cookies on parchment paper.

  5. Add decorative red hots as berries.

  6. Allow to cool.

  7. Share and enjoy these delicious treats!

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.11.1" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/13.png" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Homemade Red Hots {GAPS Legal}

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] I have been getting more bold in the kitchen, and this December I decided to create alternative recipes featuring some of my favorite Christmas cookies. To enjoy. I decided on my first cookie to make, Christmas Wreath cookies. And as I was running through my ingredients and working out substitutions I came to the decorative red hots. And I was faced with a dilemma... could I create a red hot, or should I simply bite the bullet and just use traditional red hots. Maybe I could even find a healthy brand... But my all-or-nothing attitude kicked in. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. And that meant making red hots. From scratch. A quick search revealed that it was possible... in essence red hots are a sugar brittle flavored with spices, like cinnamon. I knew how to make candy out of honey. This could work. It did work. But I'll admit that when I make the Christmas Wreaths in the future I may use boughten red hots... and tell people they are just for decoration and to pick them off.   Because making homemade red hots is a labor of love. There is no other way to put it. But being able to put healthy, three ingredient red hots on your Christmas cookies is amazing! And if you don't care if they are rounded into tiny, holly-berry decorative balls, then this is a really easy candy to make!   [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Homemade Red Hots {GAPS Legal}

(Or cinnamon hard candy)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 cup honey

  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 package natural red coloring (I used this one)

Directions:

Combine the honey and water on the stovetop in a medium saucepan, stirring frequently [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="3_4"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Honey-and-Water-Boiling.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] You want to heat it at a temperature that is not too hot that it burns, but if it's too low it will take forever to get to temperature.

You're going to have to find your heat sweet spot. It should take between 5-10 minutes to get to soft ball stage, if it's taking longer, turn it up!

Soft ball stage occurs around 235°. If you don't have a thermometer available, you can drip some into a clear glass of cold water. It will form into a little ball upon hitting the water. For a little harder candy (I recommend this), let it go a minute or two after you hit the soft-ball stage.   [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] After a minute or so on the soft ball stage, remove the saucepan from heat Add the cinnamon and the entire red color packet. The cinnamon has a tendency to clump so, if possible, whisk while adding it. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="3_4"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Adding-Spice-to-Red-Hot.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] After whisking thoroughly, pour the liquid onto some parchment paper to cool When it has cooled enough to touch (doesn't take very long), then use well buttered fingers to form tiny little balls

Not tolerating butter? Any fat will do—the key is to prevent sticking!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="3_4"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Rolling-Red-Hots.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] Roll those little suckers quickly... after a while the candy will get too hard to work with. You can reheat it to soften in up, but believe me, you will be ready to stop rolling balls. Better yet, recruit a friend (or two) to roll with you! Set the balls in a cold place (outside works for us right now!) When they are hard, gather them up and store them in a container in the fridge. This prevents the balls from clumping.   This candy could be made into any size (I only chose red hot size because of the Christmas wreath cookies)... or simply cooled and broken into pieces. It is a delicious treat! Enjoy! [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Red-Hots-Skinny.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your trust is important. I only recommend products I trust. 

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider _builder_version="3.14" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.14"]

GAPS Legal Homemade Red Hots Candy

Red-Hots-150x150.jpg
  • 1/2 cup Water

  • 1 cup Honey

  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

  • 1 Package Natural Red Coloring

  1. Combine the honey and water on the stovetop in a medium saucepan, stirring frequently.

  2. You want to heat it at a temperature that is not too hot that it burns, but if it’s too low it will take forever to get to temperature.You’re going to have to find your heat sweet spot. It should take between 5-10 minutes to get to soft ball stage, if it’s taking longer, turn it up!Soft ball stage occurs around 235°. If you don’t have a thermometer available, you can drip some into a clear glass of cold water. It will form into a little ball upon hitting the water. For a little harder candy (I recommend this), let it go a minute or two after you hit the soft-ball stage.

  3. After a minute or so on the soft ball stage, remove the saucepan from heat.

  4. Add the cinnamon and the entire red color packet. The cinnamon has a tendency to clump so, if possible, whisk while adding it.

  5. After whisking thoroughly, pour the liquid onto some parchment paper to cool.

  6. When it has cooled enough to touch (doesn’t take very long), then use well buttered fingers to form tiny little ballsNot tolerating butter? Any fat will do—the key is to prevent sticking!

  7. Roll those little suckers quickly… after a while the candy will get too hard to work with. You can reheat it to soften in up, but believe me, you will be ready to stop rolling balls.Better yet, recruit a friend (or two) to roll with you!

  8. Set the balls in a cold place.

  9. When they are hard, gather them up and store them in a container in the fridge. This prevents the balls from clumpin

This candy could be made into any size (I only chose red hot size because of the Christmas wreath cookies)… or simply cooled and broken into pieces. It is a delicious treat!

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.11.1" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/15.png" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Fruit Chutney for your Thanksgiving

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Happy Thanksgiving!

One of the best things about November is the focus on being grateful and thankful. Everywhere you look there are posts and tweets showing gratitude. And we sure have a lot to be thankful for! Some things are so obvious we often forget to be thankful for. These are things like safe drinking water, warm houses, smart phones and electricity are so everyday for us that we forget how much we have. Sometime this week, I encourage you to write a list of all the things you have to be thankful for. Don't feel silly including things like water, or your favorite pair of jeans. See how long you can make the list! Even if you don't feel like being thankful, I encourage you to do this exercise—gratitude changes our perception and experience of life, even if nothing is circumstantially different. This is not to say that you don't have hard things in your life, or that you should pretend they aren't difficult. They are. Hard things are part of life and are very, very real. Remembering that there are good things in your life as well will help YOU through difficult situations.   As you know, most of my posts (so far, at least) aren't recipes. But it's Thanksgiving! The start of holidays and delicious, rich, made-with-love food. Well this recipe is definitely delicious, rich and made-with-love! I took the recipe out of Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Cambell-McBride. If you are following the GAPS diet this is legal on stage 5 or 6, when you are tolerating dried spices and peppercorns. This recipe is very simple—chop and combine ingredients, simmer for a while, then store in jars. It would be a great recipe to make in a crockpot... you really could fix it and forget it! But simple doesn't mean plain. It's delicious and adds flavor to any meat you are eating. And I'm told, quite excellent with turkey!   *This dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free recipe would be great for gifts as well—ladle into pint jars and add a bow! Merry Christmas! [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Fruit Chutney

Makes 3-4 quarts [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Cooked-Chutney.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs dried dates (without stones, cut in half)

  • 2 lbs cooking apples (about 7 cups of pieces)

  • 1 lb plumbs (I used packaged prunes)

  • 3 medium onions (about 3 cups, finely diced)

  • 3 peppers (about 2 cups, finely diced)

  • 2 cups raw apple cider vinegar

  • 1-2 tsp whole peppercorns (freshly crushed)

  • 1-2 tsp aromatic seeds (I used cumin and dill)

  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1-2 tsp natural salt

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Directions:

Cut dates in half (and remove stones (seeds) if needed

Slowly boil the dates in about 1 cup of water in a large pot until soft (about 10 minutes)

If you live in Colorado like me, and don't use a lid (also like me), you may need to add extra water during this process.

When the dates are soft, turn off heat and mash them with a potato masher—they don't have to be perfectly smooth, just mashed.   [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Dates.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Softened-Dates.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] While you were softening the dates, I hope you were furiously chopping! I completely underestimated the time it was going to take to chop everything I needed for this recipe. If you want the process to go smoother, I would recommend chopping everything at the beginning. Then as soon as the dates are soft you can add the rest, stir occasionally, and walk away! The directions from Dr. Natasha are:

Add everything else to the dates and simmer 1-1/2 hours on very low heat, stirring occasionally.

  If you are like me and work better with a little note of panic, then by all means, chop furiously and add things as you chop. For all you step-by-steppers like me, below are pictures to show what I added. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Apples.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Chopped-Peppers.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Crushed-Peppercorns.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Apple-Chunks.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Adding-Peppers.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Prunes.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Chopped-Onions.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Sterilize the jars.

Dr. Natasha recommends doing this in an oven. I had never done this but it seemed to work great! Place cold jars in a cold oven. Heat the oven to 250°F, then leave it at that temperature for 40 minutes to sterilize the jars. Pull the jars out of the oven one-by-one as you are ready to fill them so they stay hot. Use oven mits! [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Jars-Sterilizing.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Jar-Lids.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Ladle the hot chutney into the jars

A jar funnel is a lifesaver here!

I left just a little room for air, much less than my fermenting self wanted, but no jars exploded so it must be okay!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_3"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="2_3"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Fruit-Chutney-ready.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

Wipe off any chutney on the rim of the jar. Then immediately seal the jar, tightening the lid.

Again, use an oven mitt—the jars are hot!  

Place the jar on the counter, some distance between them.

It's better to not move the jars until they are cool, so place them where you will not need to move them for many hours, overnight is better.   [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_4"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="3_4"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.85" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Jared-Chutney.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"]

When cool, place the jars into the refrigerator.

This is not a fermented food, so it does require refrigeration.  

Serve with meats and fish. Good cold or warm.

It's delicious! I made this for our Thanksgiving feast in a few days, but tried it out with some chicken today. I enjoyed it thoroughly! I hope you enjoy it as well! Onward! [/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider _builder_version="3.14" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.14"]

GAPS Legal Fruit Chutney

Fruit-Chutney-150x150.jpg
  • 2 lbs Dried Dates ((without stones, cut in half))

  • 2 lbs Cooking Apples ((about 7 cups of pieces))

  • 1 lb Plums ((I used packaged prunes))

  • 3 Medium Onions ((about 3 cups, finely diced))

  • 3 Peppers ((about 2 cups, finely diced))

  • 2 cups Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1-2 tsp Whole Peppercorns ((freshly crushed))

  • 1-2 tsp Aromatic Seeds ((I used cumin and dill))

  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

  • 1-2 tsp Natural Salt

  1. Cut dates in half and remove stones (seeds) if needed.

  2. Slowly boil the dates in about 1 cup of water in a large pot until soft (about 10 minutes) If you live in Colorado like me, and don’t use a lid (also like me), you may need to add extra water during this process.

  3. When the dates are soft, turn off heat and mash them with a potato masher—they don’t have to be perfectly smooth, just mashed.

  4. Add everything else to the dates and simmer 1-1/2 hours on very low heat, stirring occasionally.

  5. Sterilize the jars. Place cold jars in a cold oven. Heat the oven to 250°F, then leave it at that temperature for 40 minutes to sterilize the jars.

  6. Pull the jars out of the oven one-by-one as you are ready to fill them so they stay hot. Use oven mits!

  7. Ladle the hot chutney into the jarsA jar funnel is a lifesaver here!

  8. Wipe off any chutney on the rim of the jar. Then immediately seal the jar, tightening the lid.Again, use an oven mitt—the jars are hot!

  9. Place the jar on the counter, some distance between them.It’s better to not move the jars until they are cool, so place them where you will not need to move them for many hours, overnight is better.

  10. When cool, place the jars into the refrigerator.

If you want the process to go smoother, I would recommend chopping everything at the beginning. Then as soon as the dates are soft you can add the rest, stir occasionally, and walk away!

This is not a fermented food, so it does require refrigeration.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.11.1" src="https://www.bewellclinic.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/19.png" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

The Silver Lining to the Omnivore's Dilemma

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat" background_size="initial" _builder_version="3.0.85" background_layout="light"] In 2006, a book was published that sought to give the reader a better understanding of where their food comes from. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan followed three major tracks, or sourcing, of food. The public reaction to this book was significant and varied, and it evoked discussion from vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. The main premise of the title is discussed in chapter 17 of the book (among other places) and presents the idea that we have a particular dilemma facing us (humans): we have a choice (perhaps even moral and ethical in front of us) because we can eat anything. So what do we choose to eat? I appreciate Michael Pollan’s exposure of the true nature of the environments in which most of the food that we purchase is raised. I also agree with him (and many others) that there is a weightiness to our position as meat-eaters. It is this weight that I want to talk about today.   I believe it’s important to realize the weight of death. I think it helps us.   I don’t think the act of eating meat is immoral or unethical. But I do think that eating without a thought of responsibility is wrong. Except for the last hundred years, humans have been completely connected to the food (animal or plant) that they ate. They either had to raise, hunt, gather or cultivate their food. They took responsibility for caring for the plants and animals that were to become their food because they understood that these things were connected to their own life and health. Now, with mass production and commercialization, we have become removed from this natural responsibility and awareness. That being said, we can still make conscious choices about the food we purchase: we can make sure we know where it comes from and how it was treated. But I think we have the potential to lose something if we are that removed from food. Something big and underlying. When I say “we” I am talking about the collective “we” of our modern culture. And I know there are many discussions we could have in relation to food about toxins, hormones, antibiotics, nutrient density, and animal treatment. And although these are important, that's not what I would like to discuss today. Today I want to discuss what I think are some of the  moral and ethical implications of being removed from raising and killing our own food. As I said earlier, I think that being exposed to and understanding the weight of death is important. I think it strengthens our idea of responsibility, and gives us an attitude of soberness about death, which causes us to put a value on life.  

Let me explain with some examples:

  When I was growing up I learned the responsibility of caring for animals on our “hobby farm.” My parents taught me the importance of putting the needs of the animals in our care before my own. As these animals were domesticated and confined, they were unable to provide for themselves. They depended on us to give them what they needed to live. I understood (and experienced) that a lack of care or attention on my part could lead to an unintended death.

Lesson: Growing up in this environment taught me that it’s my responsibility to care for things that are weaker. When we believe that it is our responsibility to care for those who, in that moment at least, are not able to do what we can, we will not bully and abuse them. This is true not only for how we treat animals, but also for how we treat people.

    As an adult, I have had some opportunity to keep the chickens, ducks, geese, and pigs. The lives of these animals were then fully in my hands, and even unintentional mistakes or omissions could and did have life or death consequences. Awareness of that responsibility would get me out of bed in the middle the night, or cause me to carry water down a steep hill in freezing temperatures so my animals could drink.

Lesson:Increased responsibility taught me that I could be depended on, and that there are consequences for my actions. Learning how to shoulder responsibility, be dependable, and take responsibility for actions are all admirable and desirable character qualities that will help any person succeed in their life.

    When the time came for these animals to be in the freezer, I did not send them to a processing plant, but did the slaughtering and butchering myself. In this way I allowed my animals to die the same way that they lived, happy and without fear. While it cost me emotionally to do the killing myself, it was something I was glad to do. I had accepted responsibility for these animals, and I wanted to fulfill that responsibility to the end of their life.

Lesson: Processing my own animals for meat helped me to put others before myself. When we think of others first, we learn to treat people with kindness, and we can develop good, lasting relationships.

    The last few years I have attempted (with some success) to obtain my meat through hunting—true wild-caught, grass feed meat! In case you've never been hunting before I'll let you in on a little secret... the animals have a HUGE advantage. Their natural instincts give them the ability to hear or smell us and leave the area often without us even being aware of their presence. When I am successful in my hunt (which doesn't happen every year—including this one), I am excited and sobered. Excited at the prospect of good quality, delicious meat (I love elk!). But sobered because there is a weight to death—all death—even that of a wild animal.

Lesson: Soberness is a correct and helpful emotion to have in regard to death. It's an important experience for everyone to have (in one way or another) because it helps us remember the value of life. It's vital to regard life as precious, and something to be guarded and cared for, not thrown away carelessly.

    To summarize, I believe that having a correct understanding of the soberness of death has significant implications. It will cause us to treat all living things with care and love (preventing bullying and animal cruelty). It is a way we can learn and practice responsibility and accept consequences. It teaches us to put others first. It motivates us to spend quality time with those we love (because we remember that they won't be there forever). And it causes us to reflect on our own mortality (which is a good thing to think about sometimes).   Now I’m not saying that you have to live on a farm for you and your kids to learn responsibility and soberness about death! There are multiple ways to teach responsibility and soberness that don't include raising and killing your own animals. You can teach your child the responsibility of care with a pet, or even through simple chores. You can take responsibility in knowing where your food comes from, and invite your children to be part of your decisions. You can tell them that you expect them to treat every living creature with gentleness and care, and give consequences if they don’t obey. You can explain to them your convictions about animal treatment and talk about food quality on a regular basis. There are many opportunities for you to show your child the precious gift that is life, and teach them about responsibility and kindness. My point is that it’s maybe just a little bit harder, and takes a little more effort to pass on these things in our modern world. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth doing. The good things are always worth fighting for. That’s why I believe that it’s a blessing to be an omnivore. There is a loss of life so we can eat, but that creates opportunities to experience deep life lessons when we face the weightiness of death. So there you have it, the silver lining to being an omnivore!  

Onward!

  This post contains affiliate links. Your trust is important to me, and I only recommend products that I trust. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Living in an Epic

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.77" background_layout="light" border_style="solid"] I love epics! When I read, watch or listen to a story that shows gives me a glimpse or sniff of the epic, there is something inside me that reaches deep, finds courage, or gathers strength to face whatever I am facing in my life. Or reminds me that my life is pretty easy... that happens too.   Is this just me?   Anyone else?   I know that epics help me so much in my everyday life, so I try to put them in my everyday (or at least a few times a week) life.*

*This may be re-reading an number of books (the Lord of the Rings series, Narnia series, The Seeker series, The Space Trilogy, The Inheritance Cycle, various biographies of missionaries or historical figures, or even The Little House on the Prairie series (especially The Long Winter). It may also be from thinking about Epics I have read (at least in part) in the past, like the Odyssey and Illiad. It may also be from watching the movies that go with these books. It is not unusual for me to be reading one or another of the books in this list, along with health or business books I am reading. (Right now I am at chapter seven of LOTR: The Two Towers.)

  Today I want to share some reflections that I have concerning epics. Maybe you've thought about or experienced some of these things before, and maybe you haven't. But I believe that there is something inside each of us that responds to the essence of an epic tale. And I think there is good that can come from that response.  

One of my epics-of-choice is Lord of the Rings. While I do enjoy and watch the movies, the books give a deeper picture, a chance to immerse with the characters and experience what they are experiencing as they journey in the race against evil.

I've lost count of how many times I've re-read this series, but each time I read through it, there is something that soothes my heart, makes me feel understood (or helps me understand something), or gives me a different perspective. (I think this happens because each time I read it I am in a different place—I am experiencing something new or in a different way, or I have learned more.)

  But the personal strengthening I get from reflecting on these epic tales generally falls into one of three categories.     #1 Your story is important!Each of us have a story (or journey). And that story (journey) is important. Frodo may seem to be the star in the Lord of the Rings, but there are multiple stories involving different characters that are interwoven (at times) with each other. And in most cases, if the characters in those other stories did not act courageously, or if they had made a different choice, perhaps the great and evil Sauron would not have been overthrown. Every person is important:

  • Without Sam's support Frodo would have never made it

  • Without Merry and Pippin's appearance Isenguard would still be standing

  • Without Eowyn's care for her people Theoden could not have gone to war

  • Without Bilbo's gift Frodo would have been skewered by a troll in Moria

  And there are so many more examples! While the comparison isn't (of course) exact (as far as I know, there are no trolls), each of us something important that only we can do with our lives. And what we choose to do (and that we don't give up) affects others in ways you may never know. You are important! Your life is significant, no matter how it feels. I mean, most of what Frodo did was walk! But would anyone say his part was insignificant?     [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat" background_size="initial" _builder_version="3.0.77" background_layout="light" border_style="solid"]

#2 There is a bigger picture!

So many times I am just putting one foot in front of the other. One more morning that I got out of bed. Several meals cooked and eaten. Another work day finished. A detox bath done. Lights out. I need epics to remind me of the bigger picture! As you read or watch any epic tale in which great deeds are done, I challenge you to pay attention to the timeline.

  • How many miles did that person walk before they found adventure?

  • How many days at sea before they found the next island?

  • How many years of study before they became a Plato?

  • How many failed experiments before they invented the lightbulb?

  I never used to notice the timeline. And I was always frustrated that my big break hadn't come yet, or that I was still in school, or that I wasn't where I wanted to be in any number of areas in my life. Then I started to read phrases like "they traveled 2 weeks" or "he studied that language for 5 years." And I realized I was missing something. I want to achieve the great thing now. I want to be done with the journey now. But that's not how it usually works (really, almost never!). Even "The Greats" did not become great in one night, or many. Years and years of hard work are often represented by a single sentence in their biographies. Because most of life's achievements are accomplished in the mundane. But those steps, mile after mile, are what prepare you for your great moment. And one day each of those steps will be the accomplishment of a journey. And one day you will probably notate all these hard years with a single sentence as well.    

#3 You are not alone!

It is common to feel isolated. Most people do (about 72% of Americans, according to a study done in 2016). We see loneliness in epic tales as well.

  • Frodo felt he had to make the journey to Mordor alone.

  • Aragon felt alone when Gandalf fell in Moria.

  • Merry and Pippin felt alone when they were captured by orcs.

  • Gimli felt alone when he was grieving Balin's death in Moria.

  • Gandalf felt alone when he was betrayed by Saruman the White.

  You may argue. "You don't know my life. I am alone." I believe you! I believe that you feel alone! But that does not mean you are, or that you have to be. Frodo thought he had to go to Mordor alone (and tried to), but it was right and good that Sam went with him. Here are two reasons why you are not alone.

First:

You have people around you who love you. People who care about you and would miss you if you were gone. They may be bad at expressing it, but I KNOW you have at least one person in your life that cares. Because if you truly can't think of anyone else who cares about you, I care about you!

Also, there is another person who cares about you, and He cares way more than I ever can. His name is Jesus, and He died for you. I know He cares about you because He also cares about me. He has helped me and loved me in amazing, real ways! If you want to know more about Him and how He loves you, please reach out to me. (I also share some more about it in this post on hope.) 

 

Second:

You are not alone because your experience of loneliness is something that we all experience. Everyone you know has experienced or is currently experienced loneliness in their lives. And while we may not get to hear the story of those around you (although I encourage you to ask), we can see this common human experience reflected in the epic tales. The reason why epics resound so strongly with our spirits is because we know that we too are part of an epic tale. We alone can feel the true weight of a burden, feel the exhilaration of our victories, or the crushing weight of fear or feeling alone. We are the only ones who can walk each of the steps of our journey.   But we don't have to do it alone! At each step along the way there are companions. They may not be the ones you would choose (Frodo and Sam did not want Gollum to be with them, but they needed him). Some are only for a season (like the Fellowship), and others stay with you until the end (like Sam with Frodo). Look around you. Who do you have next to you? Who may be your companions right now? I know how it is to feel alone. I have felt alone most of my life. I know that it takes tremendous courage to reach out. To get to know the people around you. To risk getting close to them even though you may get hurt. To initiate relationship again and again. But everyone feels alone and scared. Everyone is hoping for a friend to go through life with. But someone has to take the first step. And not everyone you reach out to will be your Sam, but someone may be. And maybe you will be a Sam to them. But you won't know unless you try.   It takes courage to live in an epic. Dangers are near and frequent. Patience and long-suffering are needed. But only in an epic is the victory so notable, and success so sweet, and the ending make you cry with joy. And only when I view my journey as an epic tale can I bring into perspective the hard things in my life. For I know deep down inside that I was created for something great! Something eternal! Something magnificent! Can you feel it too?   Our lives are epics. That means there will be wonderful things and horrible things that happen in them. But isn't it good to know you are in an epic? Then you aren't surprised at what you find around the next bend.   So take courage! And journey,  

Onward!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]