Saturday, November 28, 2015

New Etsy Products at Hannah's Health!

Check out my new hand-crafted coconut milk soap and moisturizing lotion bars at my Etsy store! Lovingly made with only the best natural and organic ingredients. You can feel the difference in my products because of the superior ingredients that I use. I use organic and food-grade ingredients wherever possible. I don't use any fillers, additives, or preservatives. Most of the ingredients that I use are exactly the same ingredients that I buy to cook with. My products are more expensive to make this way, but I truly believe that the skin is that important! It is a tremendously absorptive surface and detoxifying organ. Whatever you put on your skin bypasses your liver and goes straight to your bloodstream! If we wouldn't eat it, then why in the world would we put it on our skin?

Holiday coupons are currently being offered. Get 15% off every purchase, 20% off every purchase over $25 through December 31, 2015.

Hand-crafted, cold-process coconut milk soaps

Hand-crafted moisturizing lotion bars - great to keep on a dish at your bedside or next to your kitchen and bathroom sinks for chapped hands. They can also be used for face, feet, and body. These have a mild warm spicy holiday scent.

And, for the holidays, candy cane lip balms!

Monday, November 16, 2015

My Etsy Holiday Coupons!

My Etsy shop HannahsHealth is offering holiday coupons for great discounts on my homemade all-natural lip balm. Get 10% off EVERY purchase. AND, get FREE shipping on every purchase over $25. Lip balms make great stocking stuffers, party favors, and white elephant gifts! Offers are good through the end of the year.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Persimmon Spice Cookies

Another fall invention. Like all my other recipes, these cookies are GAPS-legal.

Persimmon Spice Cookies

2 large Hachiya persimmons, very soft
2/3 c. coconut oil
4 eggs
½ c. raw honey
¾ c. raisins
½ t. salt
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 ½ t. ground ginger
¼ t. ground cloves
1 vanilla bean, scored and scraped
¼ c. coconut flour
¼ c. unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ c. chopped walnuts
½ t. baking soda

Cut out the stems from the tops of the persimmons. Using a spoon, scoop out the soft meat of each persimmon into a blender. Add the oil, eggs, honey, spices, salt, vanilla, and raisins (alternately, raisins may be added whole later with the dry ingredients). Blend the mixture on high until the mixture is smooth and becomes of a thickened, whipped consistency. Scrape the mixture out into a medium mixing bowl using a spatula. Add the coconut flour, shredded coconut, chopped walnuts, and baking soda. Stir until well incorporated. Let stand for a few minutes. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Dab the batter onto the baking sheet, making about 1-2 tablespoon size cookies. Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes until golden brown and just cooked through. Check at 20 minutes to make sure they don’t burn. The texture of the cookies when done should be moist but not gooey. Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy while warm! Makes about 2.5 dozen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Review: "Brain Maker" by David Perlmutter, MD

David Perlmutter, neurologist, is the New York Times #1 bestselling author of Grain Brain, which came out a number of years ago. This year he released a new book, Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain - for Life, in which he delves into the human microbiome's impact on neurological health. However, I would say this book was more about the microbiome than about the brain.

In the book, he addresses the relation of the human microbiome to inflammation and the immune system, moods and anxiety, obesity and appetite, autism, autoimmune disease, and more. The focus of each of these topics is on the human gut and "bugs" that live there, regulating and impacting every body system.

The first half of Perlmutter's book is remarkably similar to the first half of NCM's Gut and Psychology Syndrome. However, being more recent, Perlmutter includes some fascinating new information about the human microbiome that has only developed in the past several years. After establishing the point that "you are what you eat,"Perlmutter discusses how our friendly microbes help and protect us throughout our life from birth to death. He emphasizes their many functions, including: aiding in digestion and absorption of nutrients; creating a physical barrier against invaders; detoxifying; influencing immune response; producing enzymes, vitamins, and neurochemicals; helping handle stress; assisting sleep; helping to control inflammatory pathways. Then he goes into more detail about how our microbes specifically impact our brain and neurological health. He addresses several more specific topics over several chapters, focusing on various body systems: the gut, immune system, endocrine system, etc. He discusses a number of case studies he has personally treated - a client with autism, one with MS, etc - who made remarkable recoveries just by changing their gut microbiology. He spends a chapter addressing various assaults to our microbiome: antibiotics, NSAIDS, the pill, environmental chemicals. In the last part of the book, he gives advice for how to rehabilitate a damaged gut. His recommendations are helpful, and in many ways, very similar to the GAPS diet, however, he doesn't take his healing protocols as far as NCM. He finishes the book with some helpful recipes, mostly for fermented foods, some of which look quite good.

The Long and the Short of It

Since Dr. Perlmutter's book is more up-to-date with recent research, I was interested to see if it added anything new to my GAPS knowledge. Here is my summary of the similarities and differences between his and NCM's book:

  • Perlmutter and NCM both start at the same place: with the famous Hippocrates quote, "All disease begins in the gut." Their philosophy of disease and nutrition is pretty much identical. Their focus on the human microbiome for healing disease is the same.
  • Perlmutter and NCM agree on the basics of what makes a healthy diet: healthy fat, low carb, moderate protein. 
  • Perlmutter and NCM have very similar supplement recommendations: a good probiotic, DHA/EPA, coconut oil, ALA, vitamin D. Additionally, Perlmutter strongly recommends turmeric for its anti-inflammatory action.
  • Perlmutter and NCM both recommend probiotic enemas.
  • Perlmutter and NCM have similar opinions on natural birth, breastfeeding, and antibiotic use.
  • Both books are well-documented - there is a long section of notes at the end with citations of research.
  • Perlmutter discusses a number of more recent developments and studies in the field of the human microbiome that are helpful. Since his book was written this year, it is obviously more up-to-date on its research.
  • Brain Maker strongly recommends prebiotic foods, and discusses how research has shown prebiotics to increase levels of friendly flora while diminishing the "bad guys." This is slightly different from NCM, who recommends a specific carbohydrate diet to reduce prebiotic substances that she believes will feed the bad flora as well as the good.
  • Perlmutter's dietary recommendations for healing the gut microbiome are far less intensive than NCM's protocols. For people who aren't yet very sick, this might work; but for those of us who's health is completely broken, it likely won't be enough.
  • Perlmutter strongly recommends consumption of tea, coffee, chocolate, and red wine, while NCM is more cautious about adding these to the diet. NCM's protocols advise adding these only in small or weak amounts after some healing has taken place.
  • One of the recent medical developments that Permutter champions is the FMT (fecal microbiota transplant). He describes several case studies where patients made remarkable recoveries from neurological diseases in response to FMT treatments.
All said and done, here's what I personally took away from the read:
  • Use NCM's introduction diet protocols if you need to do some serious healing (I know I did! I still don't regularly consume all of the full diet foods 2.5 years later!).
  • Be more open to adding prebiotic foods at the right time. Let your body tell you when it is ready. If prebiotic foods create symptoms, you aren't ready. But at some point, once you have detoxed a good number of the bad flora, your body needs them to establish and maintain a healthy microbiome.
  • Be more open to tea, coffee, chocolate, and red wine as tolerated.
  • Definitely incorporate probiotic enemas into your healing regimen.
  • Consider FMT as a viable option when other means fail.
  • Be encouraged that the science of human microbiome manipulation for healing of disease is developing rapidly. NCM is definitely not alone. There is significant research backing this approach to nutritional healing. Don't let your doctor tell you otherwise.

I highly recommend  Dr. Perlmutter's book, and am grateful to him and others who are championing human microbiome science and using natural nutrition to heal their patients. You can buy his book on Amazon, or if you are on a budget (like me) you can probably borrow it from your local library. Dr. Perlmutter also has a website with lots of information and summaries of his other books and cookbooks.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cold Pumpkin Pudding Dessert

Another recent invention and instant family favorite to get you ready for Thanksgiving!

Cold Pumpkin Pudding Dessert

4 c. cooked pumpkin puree*
2 c. coconut milk
2 egg yolks
½ c. honey
¼ t. cloves
¼ t. nutmeg
1 t. ginger
2 t. cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, scored and scraped
1/8 t. salt
2 T. plain gelatin (with about ¼ c. room temperature water, and about ¼ c. hot water)
Coconut cream, walnut pieces, and cinnamon for topping, optional

Heat the pumpkin puree, coconut milk, spices, vanilla, and salt gently on low heat until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat. Add honey and egg yolks, stir well.

In a small bowel, temper gelatin with about ¼ c. room temperature water, mixing quickly into the water until thick. Immediately add about ¼ c. very hot water and stir until dissolved with no lumps. Add to the pumpkin mixture and stir until thoroughly incorporated.

Pour the pumpkin mixture into a 9x13-inch pan or glass bake dish. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Top with coconut cream, walnut pieces, and/or cinnamon as desired.**

Makes about 8-10 servings.

* May substitute other sweet winter squash variety - I use freshly cooked squash that has been baked face-down in a bake dish with a small amount of water to keep it from sticking, baked at 400F until a fork can be easily inserted into the flesh. I then cool the squash, scoop it out of the skin into the blender, and blend until smooth.

** If desired, may make candied walnuts for topping by mixing together: ½ c. walnut pieces, 1 T. lard or butter, 1 T. honey, and ½ t. cinnamon. Bake on top of foil on a cookie sheet at 400F until browned and crunchy.)

GAPS Pumpkin Nut Bread

This recent creation was an instant hit, and just in time for the holiday season!

GAPS Pumpkin Nut Bread

1 ½ c. cooked winter squash puree
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
2 T. honey
¼ t. salt
1/8 t. cloves
¼ t. ginger
½ t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/2 c. coconut flour
1 T. butter or lard
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vinegar

½ c. crushed walnuts
1 T. butter or lard
1-2 T. honey
½ t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F. Heat small glass bake dish or loaf pan and melt the lard/butter into it.

Mix the squash puree, egg yolks, vinegar, spices, and salt together well. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add the coconut flour and baking soda to the squash mixture and stir gently until fully mixed. Let stand for a few minutes until the coconut flour has soaked up the liquid and mixture has thickened. While waiting, mix together the topping ingredients in a separate bowel. Last, gently fold in the egg whites. Pour the batter into the preheated loaf pan on top of the melted lard/butter and spread evenly. Dob the topping evenly over the top of the batter. Bake for about 30 min. or until nicely browned. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. The bread will sink slightly after removing from the oven, and will have a moist consistency. Makes about 4 servings.

GAPS Brownie Cookies

In the spring, I get the gardening fever, and in the fall, the baking fever. Here's another personal favorite, for dessert.

GAPS Brownie Cookies

1 large avocado, very ripe
½ c. Cacao butter, melted
¼ c. Butter
3 Eggs
½ c. Honey
1/8 t. Salt
1 Vanilla bean, scraped
½ c. Cacao powder
3 T. Coconut flour

Blend the liquid ingredients together in the Vitamix on medium-high speed until well-mixed and of whipped consistency. Add dry ingredients. Blend on medium-high until well-incorporated. Drop balls of batter (about 1-2T. size) onto a well-greased cookie sheet or silicone bake sheet. Bake for about 25 min at 350F until well-set, but still slightly gooey inside. Cool and enjoy. Makes: 24 (2 dozen).

GAPS Shepherd's Pie

There's nothing like fall for a homey baked dish like shepherd's pie! Try my GAPS-legal version using a coconut-flour batter. This recipe can also be tweaked into a chicken pot pie.

GAPS Shepherd’s Pie

3 lbs ground beef (or may also use lamb or chicken, chopped small)
1 lb. carrots, chopped fine
1 bunch spring onions, chopped fine
½ yellow onion, chopped fine
1 ½ tsp. thyme
1 T. rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
~1 c. water or broth

Cook lightly in a large pot until almost done, leave meat slightly pink and carrots slightly crunchy. Pour into 9x13-inch bake dish and spread evenly. Pre-heat oven to 375F. While oven is heating, make the topping, below.

1 c. coconut flour
½ tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. rosemary, ground fine with mortar and pestle to bring out the flavor
5 eggs
1 2/3 c. coconut milk (or other nut milk)
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
4 cloves fresh garlic, crushed

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium mixing bowel. Whisk wet ingredients together separately in a four-cup bowel or Pyrex, including the crushed garlic. Add wet to dry and mix thoroughly. Let stand for a few minutes so the coconut flour can soak up the liquid.

Spread the batter evenly over the meat in the bake dish (or, for chicken pot pie, you may want to dollop the batter to make "dumplings"). Bake for about 1 hour or until golden brown on top, and still with some liquid/broth underneath. Makes about 8 servings. Enjoy!