My gluten free vegan pregnancy (and dirty confessions)

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OOOO LALA, steamy steamy, right? No. That is pretty much how I *got* pregnant but there’s nothing steamy about my pregnancy OR my confessions (aka why I’m a terrible person). But…apparently both being vegan and being gluten free is a controversial topic, and after reading a myriad of articles on the two, I thought I’d share my personal experience.

I am currently a little over 4mos pregnant. I’m not literally dying, but I thought perhaps I might have been at one point. I have had hyperemisis gravidarum with all three of my pregnancies. It is a condition that causes you such severe nausea and vomiting that you’re not capable of eating or drinking water adequately, nor keep food or water down. The dutchess has such a condition, and mine was so severe that I ended up taking a prescription drug called Zofran (a class B drug). It’s meant for chemotherapy patients to prevent vomiting. It doesn’t really. But it makes doctors feel competent.

Well, I can honestly say there is no competency there. With my daughter I gained 22lbs with the help of a 3 trimester McDonald’s craving (I was young and dumb, at the tender age of 18), with my son I gained a whopping 13lbs thanks to fried eggs sandwiches, and this time around I’ve gained TWO WHOLE POUNDS (which I’m certain went straight to my boobs, *high five*). It’s all good though. I have about 7wks to gain 3lbs, and I’m pretty sure I can do this.

You’re probably thinking I’m mad. “EAT SOME MEAT!” you’re probably screaming. To the nay sayers, I have to confess, that YES, that probably WOULD be a GREAT way to get very fat very quickly. But so would eating McDonald’s. See, the paradox of all weight gain journeys is in the HEALTH of the foods- meaning macro and micro nutrient diversity and HEALTHY fats. Healthy fats could be written as a gospel to some food camps, so let me clarify that I mean plant based non-saturated fats that don’t come from seed oils.

It wasn’t working. Peanut butter, junk foods (re: fake cream cheese and Daiya), cookies, trail mix, and the like just weren’t staying on. Or in. Soooooo…..

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I started trying to eat eggs. Then some foods that have dairy like your standard gluten free things in boxes and/or baked goods. And then I even ate some tuna fish. On my birthday I had baked haddock.

Wow, so not only was that contrary to my values but it made me sick sick sick. Not like a vegan who had gone too far too fast sick- but like… SICK.

Did you know that pregnant women were prone to erm…slow bowels? Me either. Especially since I’m a Celiac (re: poop water, tmi, I know). Do you know that one egg has all the daily protein requirements a person needs in an entire day? Did you know that cows milk is the leading cause of constipation in children? Did you know that it’s the leading cause of eczema?

Well it was mine. And I got eczema so bad in a place that I cannot photograph for the internet, that I ended up at the dr’s office. She literally winced looking at it.

So after a few baths in benedryl topical, I started using this, and it’s starting to heal. Needless to say, I’m done sinning. I’m a sinner confessed!

IMG_20141114_194454610But now what, right?

Just like a sinner gone astray, I revamped, and watched some McDougall videos online to gain back my healthier viewpoint. Sucanat in moderation. Nuts and avocado for fats. Lots of whole grain carbs like brown rice. Potatoes, corn, and squash. Green leafy veggies.

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Um yes, that is gluten free vegan country anadama bread!

Ok ok, so MAYBE these aren’t the healthiest of foods- but they’re nuts. I’m not very fond of nuts and I have to limit my exposure because of my son’s allergy, so the fact that this is confined to a premade food is great.

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I also started making the smoothies from Happy Herbivore’s book Everyday Happy Herbivore (and my own pumpkin smoothie recipe).

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And I bought myself some hella expensive fruit.

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And I planned easier and more nutritious meals (since first trimester kicked my ass and I ended up surviving on premade soups and such).

The baby likes Asian food.

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Of course I never tried gluten. I’m a Celiac- I cannot have it without destroying my intestine and facing unimaginable pain.

The lesson here is that if you’re going to be vegan, do it with conviction. We do it for health, and we stay doing it for the animals. For me, it’s hard being with a partner who encourages me to do things that are counter to my morals and who eats a standard American diet. I didn’t arm myself with a support network, nor did I prepare myself for weird cravings. But now? I’ve got this!

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Our first Halloween as Ex-Muslims

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If you follow this blog, you may have realized at some point that I was Muslim until this July. We had a family meeting and decided it wasn’t for us, so my children and I set out on an adventure to live life and investigate our spirituality outside of religion. It’s been awesome.

I’m going to put myself out here…I don’t know how to do the majority of American holidays even though I’m an American. Muslims are not allowed to participate in any extent. I had to rely on extremely early childhood memories with my mom and Google. Maybe a little Pinterest.

Long story short, I think I might have made some stuff up. You’re probably really surprised (sarcasm). But let me tell you, not nearly as surprised as I was when my uncarved pumpkin got stolen. See those pumpkins up there? I got THAT right! I may or may not have put that BFA to good use (and if you want to get good at pumpkin carving, why not get your own BFA for a mere 50k? lame.) My advanced technique came from years of gutting pumpkins for their seeds and to cook their flesh down to freeze.

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Now, ok, pumpkin carving was simple enough. But there is no single teal pumpkin project that could have solved the needs of my trick or treating family. My daughter can’t have dairy, and my son can’t have nuts, gluten, or dairy. Wow, right? Nope. Because my kids don’t know that OTHER kids bring home pillow cases full of candy, and were perfectly happy to fork over a handful of things they couldn’t have in exchange for these treat bags. I tried to keep it minimalist and buy a few consumables, but also some quality little presents that wouldn’t be broken in a few days. We ended up going trick or treating at the local mall because I didn’t want my kids bringing home too much candy AND because the thought of groping around in the dark in a town we’ve only lived in for 9mos seemed exceedingly unsafe.

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All I did was make some hemmed sacks and tied some ribbon.

And I took the leftover fabric to make these bean bags full of rice to replace the metal trains they throw at eachother for “fun”.

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carmen treat bag 2014This one was for my daughter who is in 6th grade, and the one below is for my son who is in preschool.

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I also tried a new tradition of making caramel apples, since the kind at the store aren’t dairy free. My son wouldn’t eat them because of his sensory issues, but my daughter had one and really liked it. I think they were better than crack and at the remaining FIVE. That’s right. The recipe came from one of my favorite blogs, Nourishing Minimalism, and I cheated a bit and used my hands to mold the caramel on a little better.

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Last but not least, we made our costumes as much as we could. I went a little wild at our local box store and got the accessories, but each child was allowed to pick what they wanted to be. My oldest wanted to be an ANGEL KITTY and my son? A FAIRY. Yup. A fairy. Good Lord, was I EVER prepared for the rash of gender grooming homophobic idiocy to proceed my sheepish announcement to inquiring minds, but you know what? Not a single damn word. Is it my ever growing gray hair and permanent growl, or is it that maybe the world is becoming more progressive? I don’t know, don’t care, but here it is:

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Carmen made this costume from a leopard tunic she owned, and brown leggins, and I bought a pack of kitty accessories and angel accessories. I used hypoallergenic face pencils and spritzed her all over with spray glitter.

abe halloween 2014Yes, and the caption to that one is “Argh! I’m a FAIRY!” Abe’s costume was a little more straight forward. Black wings, and a glowstick wand. I bought a shirt that was 2 sizes too big to make it like a tunic, and cut the sleeves off, causing them to be belled. I also hit it with spray glitter. The belt is just felt with leaves sewn on and some velcro to keep it closed. He wore knit pants underneath, and let me write a little on his face.

Gotta love these kids. And that’s a wrap- that’s how we navigated Halloween. Next up….Christmas! (phew, this one will be complicated….)

Invasive habits of “typical Americans”- an urgent call for Mindfulness.

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Ok, look- I KNOW I’m a naturalist. Ok ok, maybe a hippy. I KNOW I’m different.

I’m not different to be asinine. I’m different because I’m trying to practice more conscious living, which means that I’m thinking both for myself and wellness, and for that of others and the planet.

But let’s be honest- it’s not really a first-world habit to think about people outside of ourselves. We use more water, energy, and meat than other parts of the world. We didn’t really even start caring about Ebola until it came to the US. American’s, as a whole, tend to live in an elitist bubble.

What happens if you live in America and don’t ascribe to those values? What happens if you try to LIVE with someone, or around someone who is DIFFERENT?

Let’s start with awareness. This is an urgent call for mindfulness- community sustainability and collective responsibility to one another.

Here are some invasive habits that you might have and are not aware of how invasive they are. Granted, I know this might sound like a judgmental post. That’s probably pretty accurate. I think we all judge people who tread on the earth in a way that denies ownership. Aside from the fact that hippies get our own fair share of mockery, however, I think this stuff needs to be said.

1. Your air fresheners are literally air pollution.

They can kill small animals. Not only do they contain carcinogens, but they can trigger asthma and allergies. Fresh air and homemade food are the BEST smells for a home.

2. Other smelly stuff about your person is also air pollution and carcinogenic.

Perfume, laundry “soap” (and I use the term loosely), shampoo, body washes…all that crap is carcinogenic air pollution that offgasses into otherwise clean air. They also trigger asthma, allergies, headaches, and eczema. You’re not the only one smelling it- you smell like a walking perfume shop. That INCLUDES patchouli and nag champa. Let’s be considerate, eh?

3. Your plastic bags are SO 1990’s.

The only thing that says “I’m so lazy I can’t grab a bag from my back seat” MORE than, well, not grabbing a bag from your back seat, is someone who SNORTS at the idea and declares it inconvenient. Do you know what is less convenient than bringing your own bag? Dealing with a polluted planet.

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4. You might be processing out loud, but really, you’re unloading, and my peaceful center doesn’t mean I can be your baggage check.

Americans as a whole totally lack stress management. They don’t get enough sleep, they eat crap, they don’t make time for themselves, and they are workaholics (undoubtedly because of a lack of a living wage). But that doesn’t mean you need to leech onto people who DO have healthier lifestyle habits. They are leading by example. If you are stressed to the max and you have a friend who always seems calm, ask them for some tips- but don’t unload. It’s toxic. See a therapist or join a community support group. Local places of worship have them for free and often have childcare.

5. Frying food makes your house, your stuff, and your clothes SMELL.

And it clogs your arteries. Gross. Fry food on occasion. But everyday is overkill. I don’t want to smell like McDonalds, and that smell DOES waif through apartment buildings. It also discolors your drywall and parts of your kitchen.

6. Your idea of cleanliness is not the same as actual cleanliness.

Febreeze anyone? If something smells, clean it. But chemicals aren’t CLEAN. They’re dirty. They’re just a different kind of dirty. There are all sorts of ways you can deodorize a mildewy or dirty smelling environment, from baking soda to lemons. And if it’s your person, WASH. Washing with soap is usually the answer. Perfumey chemicals are not- and that includes “dish detergent”- which is NOT safe to eat. Period. All those chemicals also pollute our drinking water.

7. You use a LOT of electricity.

It seems like a no-brainer to save money, but few actually realize how things add up. Close the fridge. Turn off electronics at night. Turn off the lights. Stop putting things in the dryer. Its not that hard. Using electricity contributes to pollution.

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8. You make a LOT of garbage.

Pretty much everything you’re eating is in a package and we don’t get it. Perhaps even more baffling is that you’ve probably never read an ingredients label. But one thing at a time. If it comes in a package, it’s probably not real food. There are LOTS of ways around packaging, and if you start replacing packaged foods, you’ll notice your health improves.

Also, on that note, stop sending dye laden cupcakes to my kid’s school. If you want to give your kids red 40 and “juice”, that’s fine- but don’t shove it in MY kids face. Use some common sense. You know that stuff is crap. Maybe a “little bit won’t hurt” YOUR cheeto eating kid- but MY kid isn’t used to neurotoxins because we make daily conscious habits to avoid DRUGS. No one’s kids should be used to neurotoxins.

9. Speaking of which, no one litters anymore.

Do you poop where you sleep? Ok. Don’t pollute where you breathe or drink. It’s really that simple. You’re not an animal. If you WERE an animal, this would already be obvious.

10. Meat consumption is scary and feels like you’re handling a biohazard.

You’re handling a dead body where I put my food. I think that sums it up, but if you need specifics, most Americans eat factory farmed meat which is LADEN with extremely deadly bacteria. Not only are safe handling practices crucial, they require disinfecting with chemicals strong enough to kill the super bugs, so it’s one unhealthy habit on top of the next. From then on, meat is hazardous because it needs to be cooked properly AND it has to be stored and consumed properly. Very complicated, very mess, and very gross. It makes me sad.

11. You might be closed minded towards trying new things.

You think you’re right because you’re in the majority. But you know what? The Nazis had that mentality once. It just goes to show you that knowledge is VERY important before you make a judgement call. YOUR habits aren’t likely the result of thought and consideration, they’re undoubtedly because you learned them somewhere and everyone around you seemingly does the same thing. That doesn’t make it right or ok. If you think some of our habits are weird, there are ways to investigate why we do things by asking questions. “Hey, why do you wash your plastic bags?” is way more effective than “What the hell is THAT contraption and why are all these BAGS on it?”

plastic bag dryer

12. Your judgment of other people’s lifestyles is deflection.

We know you feel bad when we point out how your plastic bags are strangling sea turtles. But the answer is to change. Not to continue to be in denial. We’ll try to be tactful, but don’t try to argue with us that you can’t live without bacon. Pigs can’t live without bacon. So don’t mock my dietary habits because I will be ruthless.

13. You consume a LOT of sex and violence.

Everything you watch on tv is pretty much entertainment, including your “news”- fair enough. However, it’s sexist- which hurts women and molds the minds of young people, perpetuating inequality. Watching violence on tv actually perpetuates adrenaline addiction, and for some can trigger fight or flight- which believe it or not, contributes to your stress load- and also passively condones community violence. There’s also a LOT of consumerism on tv, which is a whole other issue. In short, cutting back on sexist and violent media would help you find your center, and make you more conscious of your actual surroundings. It would also save your children from adult content that they are being exposed to. Sex and violence aren’t for children. Go outside, and get some ACTUAL hobbies that don’t include tivo. Come visit your hippy neighbors. They’re not watching tv either. We usually have some home brew going too ;)

14. Your cancer rate is ridiculously higher than ours and it WILL effect us.

We’re afraid you’re going to die a long suffering death. That’s why we’re pushing. And you’re polluting our planet. Please stop.

15. Fashion is stupid.

Caring for your appearance- win. Caring about MY appearance- fail. In fact, it can be argued that fashion crazes contribute to consumerism habits, which increase personal debt (which can effect your partner), and it also objectifies ALL people, not just women. We know the connection to fashion trends, the media, and eating disorders- haven’t we evolved beyond “fashion”? Wear what makes you feel good- not what is “in”.

16. Speaking of consumerism…you have a LOT of stuff.

Ever get off the phone with someone who is coming to visit and have to scramble around to clean up? It’s because you have too much stuff. Even if you have a really clean house, clutter is hard to organize constantly, and even harder to clean around. But a lot of people shop for fun. It’s time we re-define fun. We don’t need that stuff. It doesn’t make us happy. And when we live with clutter bugs trying to fill their emptiness with stuff, it’s stressful and suffocating. I’ve written at length about the benefits about being minimalist but YOU don’t have to be. Just be mindful.

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17. Your poor self-care probably means you get sick easy and you’re exposing us.

Lack of sleep, and a Coke and cigarette diet mean a strained immune system. And while we do the complete opposite, we’re not superhuman. People who practice natural living understand the direct correlation between self care and wellness and we want you to start being an adult and investigate doing it for yourself instead of expecting us to suck it up. Ask for help NOW when you’re WELL :)

18. Let holidays be about something OTHER than plastic crap from China and food.

2/3rds of Americans are obese. And plastic stuff from China is not cruelty free AND it pollutes the planet and our children. Is that really worthy of celebration? No. We’ve got Labor Day cookouts late summer, candy holiday, gorging our face holiday, and then cookies and cocoa holiday. I strongly recommend experience based holidays. Have some health foods. Use moderation. And get thoughtful and sustainable gifts- IN MODERATION.

19. When we invite you to share our values, actually reciprocate or don’t partake.

I’m a HUGE advocate of sharing, pitching in on helping with someone else’s kids, carpooling, or checking in when someone is sick- those are my values as a sense of community. I want you to try giving back too. One person doesn’t make a community. Return my stuff- in good condition. And consider watching my kids every so often if I’ve watched yours for 4wks.

20. Your personal bubble makes me uncomfortable because it is HUGE.

If you’ve lived next door to someone for over a month and haven’t introduced yourself, you might be American. I’m not saying you have to hug me- I’m way into consent culture, but at least SMILE at me when I waive hi. I’m happy to see you. You’re my neighbor. You are part of the reason I choose to live here. We don’t have to be bff’s because you probably think I’m a fruity hippy. But I’ll be deeply hurt if I find out you had to take a taxi to the hospital one day and didn’t think to ask me to help you.

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And that…is that. Apologies to the child that had a dialogue with my daughter about home birth and the mortified teacher who tried to tell her that “vagina” was not a word she could use at school. Additional apologies to the person who tried to give my son pancakes and had to show him how to eat them. We’re not from planet ‘MERCA :p In fact…we’re real, rebellious, free-thinking AMERICANS! It’s time for change- what part are YOU taking in the revolution?

Recommended Fall Reading for Waldorf Kids

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Ahhh fall. The perfect time to snuggle up with some hot cider, a blanket, and a good story. Literacy and story telling are a huge part of our family life, and we both keep books in the home AND visit the library often. Having greatly minimized my son’s books, we’ve been slowly collecting prize-worthy titles, in the form of rewards and gifts.

I got a few of these title names from The Magic Onions, a blog on family Waldorf homeschooling, and I couldn’t recommend them more as a resource. I also did some independent research, but what I have found is that the library is going to be the best resource because few blogs actually discuss the content of the books in relation to age and comprehension.

Here I am. To do that for you! (just a little…)

Now, I’m aware that most Waldorf kids don’t learn how to read until a little bit later, but my son is 3.5 and reading 3 letter words. He also enjoys being read to. But…he’s 3. He doesn’t like to sit too long for involved stories. That is why I recommend Autumn by Gerad Muller, Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington, and Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky.

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This first book, Autumn, is for the child and parent to narrate and storytell together. It shows a variety of children participating in numerous fall and outdoor activities.

The second and third books, Pumpkin Pumpkin and Every Autumn Comes the Bear have one line per page and the story line is not complex. Pumpkin Pumpkin is about a boy who grows, picks, and carves his pumpkin. Every Autumn Comes the Bear is about a bear’s journey to transition into fall and winter. It discusses in basic terms how the bear is in nature with other animals and the environment.

The next book is one my son really likes, but the story line is a little more complex and the wording is lengthy. I wouldn’t typically recommend it for a child who was younger than 5. I think 6-7 would be a more appropriate age for this reading content. The title is The Apple Cake by Nienke Van Hichtum and it’s about a woman who makes a series of barters to eventually get apples to make a cake. Each trade enhances the person’s life substantially, and upon return to her home, she’s rewarded by the happiness of the good she has done in her community and her apple cake.

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The titles Wild Child by Lynn Plourde and Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert have amazing illustrations. Wild Child is a metaphorical story about mother nature putting her autumn child to sleep. The story is rhythmic and compelling, but because it is abstract, it would be too complex for a child under age 7-8. The same is true of Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, which is about how a child grew his maple tree. The story seems simple enough, but it’s full of facts that are intangible to the intellect of a small child, such as how shoots are gathered by greenhouse workers, and the back is full of tree-harvesting and growing facts. IMG_20141003_155152733

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Lastly, Christopher’s Harvest Time by Elsa Beskow is a beloved and favorite work and author, but the story line is very drawn out, complex, and wordy. The illustrations are also muted and detailed. This is definitely a title for children aged 8 or above, as are most of Beskow’s works. However, this is not to dismiss the story line or heirloom quality graphics.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie

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Have you had enough pumpkin yet? Of course not, it’s only the end of September. I, for one, LOVE pumpkin, and when I was pregnant with my son, I couldn’t possibly put it in enough dishes. I’d often eat it straight from the can, or mixed with yogurt and agave.

Well, I wouldn’t say I’m THAT fanatical about it still, but I still love those big orange globes, so this year, I’m indulging in a sensible way.

Who doesn’t love a smoothie?

This is actually an adapted recipe, but feel free to tinker with it on your own as well!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie:

1 banana cut into medallions and frozen

4-6oz vegan yogurt (depending on how thick you like it, and I use homemade soy yogurt which is unsweetened and unflavored, but other plain yogurt would do)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/8tsp ginger

1/4c pumpkin puree

splash of non-dairy milk (depending on how thick you like your smoothie, you can actually mix it first and THEN determine if you need milk)
Put all of this in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add more milk if it is too thick. Enjoy!

 

Pst- In case you’re wondering where I got that sweet mason jar lid, you can buy it here or on Amazon. Their website also supplies glass and stainless steel smoothie straws!

Harvest Bread (gluten free, vegan, nut free)

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I love fall. It is my FAVORITE season. But this year, it’s my favorite season because I am REALLY exhausted from preserving the harvest. In Maine, usually harvest season begins mid-summer with berries, and ends late fall with apples and pears. But this year, with the exception of the latter, everything came at once- in only 3wks time. We had a very late start to spring, and a very early end to summer. It’s already only 70 degrees here during the day, which are typically late September and early October temps.

In addition to that, we doubled our harvest this year because everything was much cheaper. Last year, green beans were going for around $3.50/lb and this year, they were $.39/lb. That’s an incredible price- so we not only did extra produce this year, but we did double.

This is our harvest this year, with the exception of applesauce. We’ve decided not to do carrots this year because I’ve been ill. We have green beans, tomatoes, pickles, peaches, kale, strawberry jam, blueberry preserve, blackberry jam, beets, piccalilli, squash, zucchini, frozen blueberries, and rhubarb.

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And so, to celebrate, I recreated this old time favorite of mine. It’s traditionally called Harvest Loaf Cake, and contains a myriad of sins, including WALNUTS (*shudder*- my son is TERRIBLY allergic), but I’ve adapted it here to be healthy and allergy/Celiac friendly. Enjoy!

 

Harvest Bread:

1 3/4c all purpose gluten free flour (My pre-mixed blend is made of 1c brown rice flour, 1/2c tapioca flour, 1/2c potato flour, and 1tsp xanthan gum, but 1c brown rice and 3/4c garbanzo flour would work fine if you don’t have an all purpose on hand)

1t baking soda

1t cinnamon

1/2tsp salt

1/2tsp nutmeg

1/4tsp ginger

1/4tsp cloves

1/2c unsweetened applesauce

1c raw sugar or succanat

2 flax eggs (mix 2T flax meal with 6T boiling water and let set 5min.)

3/4c cooked puree pumpkin (canned is ideal)

3/4c dairy free chocolate chips (Rice Dream, Enjoy Life, or Ghiradelli semi-sweet is fine)

3/4c raw pepitas (they are the raw, shelled, green pumpkin seeds, unsalted, but alternatively walnuts can be used)

 

Grease a loaf pan and preheat your oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients, including spices and sugar. Then add your wet ingredients, including your flax eggs, applesauce, and pumpkin. Then mix in the chips and seeds. Pour into a loaf pan and smooth the top with a spoon. Bake approximately one hour. Cool outside of the loaf  pan to allow the edges to breathe.

This toasts up great in a toaster oven for breakfast!

Your dishes have lead in them.

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I REALLY liked these dishes. My grandmother brought them home to me one day, probably from our camp, and I couldn’t resist them. They’re stoneware, made in Japan, and they are vintage.

I also really liked my other things. Enamel is great for kids and camping, and I bought these enamel things recently. The teacups came from my mom- one is from around 1930, and the set of 2 is from the 1950’s. Then there’s those random coffee mugs, professing my college prowess, love of fiddling, and, well, love of GIANT coffees.

I know, I know, I swore off coffee. I fell off the wagon LOL

Here’s the lead (metal) story.

My mother had a set of dishes from a guy. She was cleaning out our family camp and was planning to bring them there among some other things. When she was cleaning them, she discovered that we had a shortage of mugs. So, we started researching them on the web, looking for more mugs, and discovered that they had lead.

From there, she learned more about lead content in dishes, and discovered that MOST of her dishes at home had lead.

Meanwhile, I suggested she get some Corelle. I have Corelle ware because it’s hard to break and I have young kids, because it is lightweight and doesn’t hurt my back when I stand over the sink to wash it, and it’s made in America (re: not coated in toxins).

Turns out, she had some Corelle already, and now we’re connoisseurs. I myself cleaned out my kitchen from these items after it was brought to my attention! Thank goodness I already owned Rosemarie and Secret Garden Corelle! (A girls gotta brag, right?)

The long and the short of it is, if your dishes have lead, buy Corelle/Pyrex/Corning ware. It’s patriotic ;) Not sure if your dishes have lead? Try looking them up online. A lot of companies actually have a lead policy. When in doubt, go without!

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This is short of shocking, I know, but let me save you a LOT of internet research by explaining the basics.

First off, there ARE regulations in the US. Around 1978, the US started passing legislation prohibiting the use of lead in things like housepaint. It’s currently illegal to have lead in things like dishes, children’s toys, or paint, and it’s illegal to sell them.

Needless to say, the US has better things to do, apparently, than enforce this policy. Therefore, study after study and expose after expose is reporting that indeed, places like The Walmart, small shops, and mart shops like Christmas Tree Shop, dollar stores, and Marden’s, are selling lead-laced kitchen items. The worst of it seems to be found in crock pots, actually.

How do you know if your kitchen items contain lead? Well, they probably contain lead if they are made in China (or any other country, for that matter, including Japan, Germany, France, and Mexico), if they are stoneware or pottery, if they have red tint, design, or glaze, if they’re porcelain or ceramic, if they are enamel, if they are older (like vintage or close to the time that lead awareness began), or if they are tempered or lead crystal.

This includes, but is not limited to: Designed kitchen settings, coffee mugs, teacups and sauces, camping gear, pots, storage containers, mixing bowls, tea pots, and even decorative items like ice cream bowls. I found a muffin pan with questionable glaze- pottery is at a particular risk of containing lead because the lead content isn’t limited to the glaze, it’s also found in the clay.

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Enamel items from China

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Vintage teacups

Vintage teacups

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Random coffee cups from China

Random coffee cups from China

Pottery that can't be sourced

Pottery that can’t be sourced

The second thing you should know is that you probably eat entirely off of possible lead contamination, but the government doesn’t see it as the leading cause of lead poisoning- that is reserved for paint. Lead is leached into your food through worn glazes, cracked glazes, as surface decoration, airborne particles that come off, and through leaching from hot and/or high acidic foods (like tomatoes, tea, coffee, or citrus for example)

To me, lead poisoning is a serious issue- it’s a heavy metal associated with neurological disorders in children. (Arsenic is also something I look out for, which is why I buy imported organic rice instead of American- let THAT noodle your caboodle!)

Don’t worry, though. Corelle sets are tested and available in many locations, and even vintage is safe! Happy Ebay and Etsy hunting! GOOOO RETRO!