Tag Archives: feed the gut

How we’re doing & how we’re doing it…

Disclaimer: I am not (in any way) a medical professional. Please seek out your own medical advice – this is simply sharing our own experience.  

Whew.  It’s been a weird sort of year. A roller coaster and pretty wild at times. Moments of fright, too. Yup, a roller coaster.

God made it abundantly clear we were to NOT do any expansion or real active homestead projects. We were pretty certain by April.  I pulled back from going to Haiti, too.

How We're Doing

I was diagnosed with Hypermobility Syndrome in December, which is a connective tissue disorder. Many people with this have it congenitally due to a gene mutation and I have gobs of reasons to believe this is the case for me. This disorder is not arthritis OR inflammation-based; it’s a mechanical issue with my muscular-skeletal system. Now, the mechanical issues might cause inflammation and makes me predisposed to arthritic pain, but inflammation and arthritis didn’t come first.  It’s important that I explain this FIRST, before I go into what we’re doing on our own because when people hear chronic pain their first response is to assume it must be inflammation or autoimmune in the real-food/natural community.  Treating those issues is just bandaiding it… not actually helping me get better. Long-term, I will manage it by avoiding injury, not holding hypermobile positions/movements, and attempting to strengthen ligaments and tendons (which is trickier than we thought when my muscles are so used to the job of compensating for them!).

My dear, rock-solid, healthy husband in the midst of my chronic pain was diagnosed with acute Lyme disease.  We are so thankful to have had a quick-thinking doctor — even though it didn’t present itself as typical Lyme disease after a tick-bite, he made a lot of good calls very early that I am certain saved my mate from unnecessary pain.  BUT. Long-term antibiotic use is no small thing.  The medical community is becoming aware that this destroys your gut flora, therefore making the rest of your immune system susceptible to other infections.  Basically, treating him for acute Lyme disease is going to crash his immune system.  He had to make the decision to not go to Haiti, either.

Now.  Aren’t we glad we didn’t throw chickens into this and intensive gardening/farming? Haha.

And of course, in the midst of that, there’s financial dilemmas, relational angst, ministry obligations … and then our oldest daughter fell and got a pretty serious concussion.  I’m looking back on these six months, thinking… it hasn’t been a whole year of 2017, yet?!

SO. Aside from getting medical advice, and being under the care of various doctors and physical therapists… here’s where we landed on this:


We are pleased to have a primary care doctor prescribe my husband a probiotic. (We would’ve done it anyway, but it was a treat to have a doctor come out on the side of gut flora!) In looking at our diet, we’ve been slacking. I suppose by many standards it’s still relatively healthy- not much prepackaged items, low GMOs, low processed sugar. But it’s still very high in carbs and low on vegetables. There’s virtually no fermented foods in our diet any longer (I used to make yogurt like it was going out of style!). Aside from probiotics, our research said you’ve got to fix these things, too, in order to recover from long-term antibiotic use.   This is the probiotic we’ve been taking here.

I found that I really love kefir more than yogurt- it’s sooo lazy. Aside from the temperature control at the beginning, you just let it sit on your counter and grow. Once it’s fermented, you refrigerate. When we want to drink it, I dump some homemade jam in it, shake it, and call it a win. No straining whey or trying to make it the “right” consistency of yogurt.

If you on to do your probiotic hunt, please read this post by fellow blogger Mommypotamus. Probiotics are not created equally, and not all strains can withstand the heat of your stomach. So if you’re not careful, you could buy into a system that never actually makes it to your intestines. Please do your research and make sure your strain stood up to testing!

We have decided to take a multifaceted approach by taking probiotics (via capsule) but also increasing naturally fermented items (yogurt and kefir… we’re not big sauerkraut fans!)… the way we see it is you’re giving yourself a wide variety of bacteria versus just one source. I read once that not every person needs every bacterium. I have no idea if this is true, and the information out there can be overwhelming… so our way of handling this issue is variety.


This, too, is trickier than we thought.  The information out there is overwhelming.  However, since I am apt to cause inflammation/arthritis in my joints (and surrounding areas), and Lyme disease may cause long-term issues with my husband’s joints, we knew we needed to really amp this up.

First up… I am SUCH  a huge believer in gelatin/collagen.  My hair and nails grow CRAZY better when I ingest it (powder form, in my coffee) daily.  But guess what this girlfriend stopped doing over the last 6-9 months? YUP. I just stopped buying it. I’m not really sure it was an active decision, probably more laziness than anything. (Just bein’ real.) I can’t seem to find any medical trials or tests on this, but hypermobility (in its congenital form) is a genetic mutation/malformation of collagen… so doesn’t it make sense that consuming it regularly would help? My body would say YES. This is the collagen I’ve been consuming.

We have started taking glucosamine like clockwork.  One of the issues with Lyme disease is the potential (later) of knee arthritis, and glucosamine is known for treating this specific arthritis.  We’re trying to get ahead of the curve, y’all!  For me, glucosamine should assist with cartilage building. Because my joints are not held together in the right way, I can tell you FIRST HAND that I’m messing the cartilage up big time. This should help.
This is the glucosamine we’ve been taking here.

The last big thing we’re doing for our joints and pain level is actually in the next point…


Anyone that’s done a little bit of reading knows that magnesium will help you sleep better and also assist with digestion consistency ;-)  However, did you know that it’s estimated much of America is magnesium deficient, it helps in a BIG way with chronic pain, and it even helps your body properly process carbohydrates? I read it several times over, but it was probably Danelle and Weed ‘Em and Reap (blog) who pointed first to magnesium when diagnosing chronic back pain (check out the great post here).

Last little tidbit that I have to point out is that it’s even related to proper insulin balance. (Huge news for me as PCOS sufferer!) I don’t want to necessarily oversell magnesium, but when you research what all this mineral does for you, it’s incredible all the organ systems it touches; consequently, it’s not hard to see a deficiency in this area would make you feel like you were dying. No joke.

So, we’re doing leafy greens to up our natural consumption, and I am in the midst of recipe testing breakfast cookies that include loads of inflammation-busting foods as well as magnesium. But I am also taking a supplement (in conjunction with vitamin D – but not at the same time as calcium – read why here by Food Renegade).  I have also begun regular magnesium baths (epsom salts!) with essential oils known for helping with nerve pain and inflammation (I pinch nerves like it’s going out of style). This (link here) is the capsule I’ve been taking for magnesium.


Where I am I buying this stuff? I am an amazon affiliate, so the links above for specific items will link you back according to the specific items I’m using via amazon.  I don’t recommend anything I haven’t personally used.  I make a tiny commission off of any purchases made above.

ALTHOUGH – I have GOT to point out Thrive Market.  I am an affiliate there, too – but often, their prices beat out amazon (no kidding, do a little cross-comparing!) – but I do not get any payouts unless you are satisfied with your free trial and become a member.  And I don’t make any money on your purchases, so it’s really not a huge deal here.  If you sign up, you get 15% off your first order, and it’s free for 30 days.  My membership costs paid itself back in less than two orders.  I live in a very rural area, so I do not have regular access to many health food stores so online ordering is IT for me… although I’ve heard that even if you did live in a metropolitan area with access to a variety of sources, Thrive Market would still beat them out.  You can sign up with this link! —> http://thrv.me/foodiesgonereal

BY ALL MEANS I am a thrifty person FIRST so go where it best suits you!

SOURCES: (but not limited to!)

6 Probiotic Myths Everyone Should Know (Mommypotamus): https://www.mommypotamus.com/probiotic-myths/

Glucosamine Supplement (WebMD): http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/supplement-guide-glucosamine

Magnesium Deficiency (Wikipedia): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnesium_deficiency_(medicine)

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms (Food Renegade): http://www.foodrenegade.com/magnesium-deficieny-symptoms/

Magnesium in Diet (Medline): https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002423.htm

Natural Relief for Back Discomfort (Weed ‘Em and Reap): https://www.weedemandreap.com/natural-relief-back-discomfort/










DISCLOSURE: There may be affiliate links within this post. I never recommend anything arbitrarily and receive small financial benefit. If I choose to recommend something, it’s of my own free will and volition and MORE because I think you’ll benefit from hearing about it more than me gaining the $$. 



Lettuce tastes better….

Lettuce tastes better …

if you have the right salad dressing.

I confess, I don’t crave salads much in the winter. I think this is how God wired us; lettuce isn’t harvested in the winter. It’s funny — as soon as the cold weather hits, I crave root vegetables, and that’s exactly what’s in season! (I do not find this to be just conditioning or coincidence.) However, last summer, I started using up all my “bad” salad dressings, which included the stuff I’m now cutting (sugar, soy, corn, etc.). I sacrificed and bought what I would consider “middle-of-the-road” dressings; I bought organic ones, with less sugar or less questionable ingredients. However, many of them STILL included at least one bad thing!

So now, it’s the dead of winter, and I had a craving for salads. I tried to just do oil, vinegar, salt and pepper… and the lettuce is blech.  I NEEDED dressing to stomach all these raw veggies!

Here’s the top things I found in traditional – and from the organic/”healthy” brands (and NOTE! all but the refined white sugar are most likely GMO’s! read more about that issue here, thanks to Thank Your Body!):

  1. Soybean Oil (read about it here)
  2. Corn Syrup (read about it here, and other grains)
  3. Refined Sugar (read about it here)
  4. Canola Oil (read about it here)

Consequently, I introduce to you: Greek Dressing and Blue Cheese Dressing!

Give it a good shake to remix!

Give it a good shake to remix!

blue dressing all over the blech lettuce!

blue dressing all over the blech lettuce!



1c olive oil
1/2c vinegar
8 finely chopped kalamata olives
1/2c crumbled feta
dash of pepper
1 pressed/crush clove of garlic
1tbl of dried oregano


  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Pour all into a dressing dispenser (this is important because of step 3).
  3. Shake well each time before dispensing — these ingredients are real! Olive oil loves to separate from everything else. Keep refrigerated!



6tbl of sour cream*
1/2c cultured buttermilk*
2tbl olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
dash of pepper
1/4 tsp of salt (may want to add more according to your tastes)
1c crumbled blue cheese

(*I recommend buying cultured with active bacteria.  This is the good bacteria that helps build your gut!)


Mix wet ingredients in one bowl (with exception to the blue cheese).  In a separate bowl, mix the dry.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet.
Once all the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed, stir in the blue cheese.
Serve! (Store in the refrigerator!)
I would recommend re-stirring after it’s sat in the refrigerator for any length of time.


A special shout-out and thanks to the fellow bloggers/contributors at “Weed ‘Em And Reap”, “Kitchen Stewardship” and “Truth About Abs” for doing so much research so I could link to you!

A roasted vegetable obsession

I wanted to share with you an easy way to eat root vegetables that’s crazy easy, good for your gut, and tasty.

Here’s the basic ingredients:
4 Medium carrots, peeled and cut into thin bite-size pieces (think mandoline!)
1/2 red onion, diced to your preference
3 tbl olive oil, divided
1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked off
2 garlic cloves, smashed or pressed
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Pour one of the tablespoons of oil on a rimmed cookie sheet.  I usually line my cookie sheet with aluminum foil for these reasons:  1) easy clean-up  2) better non-stick  and 3) my cookie sheet is so scorched/stained/gross I don’t like to look at it ;-)  Spread the oil around (just use your hands! It’ll be good moisturizing!).  Spread your carrots and onion in around in the oil; I usually put the thicker vegetables (carrots in this instance) on the bottom and onions on top. Drizzle the next two tablespoons of oil over the vegetables.  Top them off with your rosemary.


Bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes, then add your garlic.  (*HINT: Putting your garlic in later prevents them from burning.  Garlic burns crazy easy!)  Put back in the over for about 7 minutes, or until some of your onions start to crisp up and/or turn opaque.


The best way to tell what works best for your oven is to just do a taste test and make sure the veggies are the right crispness/mushiness (is that a word?) to your preference.  Salt and pepper it after pulling out the oven to your liking.

Confession:  I eat this whole thing myself.  As in, this is my lunch.  Now look at this beauty:


It is crazy easy to add other things to this.  I often will add potatoes to the mix.  I have tried parsnips, but you should know they do not cook as fast as carrots and may require longer cook-time before the garlic step.  Also, an easy change up is to use thyme instead of rosemary.  I’m sure you could use oregano in a similar fashion, although I’ve never tried it.

Now… you may have noticed a small blip up above about feeding the gut.  Onions and garlic are good for the healthy bacteria in your gut! They love this stuff and it helps them grow/stay healthy.  I try to eat one thing a day that supports healthy gut bacteria, and the one thing that puts more bacteria into (this is usually yogurt, but if you have unpasteurized milk or unpasteurized milk products you can get it this way, too). Want to know more about feeding the gut?  Read this article from Weed ‘Em and Reap on food allergies and other problems with the gut.  There is an awesome list DaNelle has compiled on prebiotic and probiotic.

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