Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Placenta Encapsulation (Warning: Not for the Faint of Heart)

Yes, that is right!  I am warning you, this post is about placenta encapsulation.  This is definitely not for everyone, but I know there are a few of you out there who are also interested.  This was a new venture for me as well.

It wasn't till this third pregnancy that I had heard of placenta encapsulation and it was actually from my husband.  For all of you who think it is only me who is into alternative eating, healthy living and diet, guess again!

So what is placenta encapsulation?
It basically involves taking the baby's placenta, drying/cooking it, grinding it and then placing it into vegetarian capsules for consumption.

Why did we do this?
Although there is little scientific research behind consuming the placenta, we do know that there are also a few cultures who do consume it. (Of course we also know that many animals will eat it after giving birth.) It has been noted that women have been able to keep away the "baby blues" and have received more energy with placenta "medicine."

How?
Although, there is a local service which would come, collect the placenta and then return the prepared capsules to you the next day, I realized we actually had all the tools around here to do this at home.

Yikes!  The thought of actually doing this at home did make me feel a little strange.  I really didn't think I could do this myself even though the idea was intriguing.  It felt a little strange to cut up the placenta.  Perhaps, it was the fact that our child was carried in this amazing organ or that this was the home that connected the two of us. My husband, however was totally up for it.  Daniel said, he would have no problem doing this for me.

Step 1:
After the placenta was delivered,  the midwives took a careful study of it to ensure it's health.  Once deemed safe, we quickly placed it in an air tight container in the fridge till the next day.

Step 2:
Daniel took the placenta and carefully washed it.  This is where I stayed out of the kitchen and just cuddled our newborn.
Step 3:
Next he cut it onto strips and placed on the dehydrator trays.  The placenta can also be cooked in the oven at a low heat if you prefer.  Since my husband did all the research he chose this method.  
Step 4:
Set it in the dehydrator at 115 F for 6-8 hours or overnight.
Step 5:
Once completely dried, grind it up in a strong blender until it is in powder form.
 Step 6:
This is where the labour of love was truly demonstrated.  Daniel spent over an hour stuffing vegetarian capsules.  He made 100 capsules and stored the remaining in a container in the freezer.
Step 7:
Store completed capsules in refrigerator or freezer and take 1-2 daily.

Did it make a difference?
I can't say I have ever felt the baby blues more than just some tears on the third day.  You know that day where the hormones alter and the sleep deprivation sets in.  For this birth, I would say that day was the same as with the other two babies.  
One thing I did notice whether or not it was related to the capsules, is that I did seem to have more energy than I expected.  I now had three children, was homeschooling and didn't have a parent come stay for a few days to help. With all this added up, I was definitely surprised with how I didn't feel completely exhausted.  So although I can't say if it benefited me, I definitely felt strong and not deflated during the postpartum period.

Update photo: Our handsome little guy at 5 months






Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Gluten Free Pasta Salad (Dairy and Gluten Free)

Here is a simple pasta salad that uses gluten free noodles.  There is definitely a difference between gluten free noodle brands.  I find the that the GoGo Quinoa Noodles work very well.  They stay soft even for next days leftovers.  This salad is dairy free however the addition of feta cheese would work very well ;) 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups small uncooked gluten free pasta (I find this one works the best)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper
  • 1/3 cup black olives
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • chopped chives to taste (I used about a tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


Directions

  1. Cook pasta until al dente, drain and run under cold water to cool. 
  2. Put the pasta into a bowl. Add the tomatoes, olives, chives, basil, peppers, parsley, and cucumber into the bowl. 
  3. Add the vinegar, oil and seasoning. 
  4. Stir to fully coat pasta and vegetables with dressing.
  5. Let sit in fridge for 1 hour to absorb flavour.





Monday, June 20, 2016

Black Bean Burgers (Gluten Free with Vegan Option)

At least twice a week we stick to a vegetarian meal.  This is definitely a popular one in our home.  I always have a stock of cooked beans in our freezer so it is also a quick easy one to make.

  • 2 cups cooked black beans (separated)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg or 1 flax egg
  • 3-4 chopped mushrooms of choice (optional)
  • oil for frying 

Directions (makes 5-6 medium size patties)
  1. In a blender add 1 1/2 cups black beans, garlic, and onion.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Place in a bowl.
  2. Add the 1/2 cup reserved black beans and all remaining ingredients except the oil.
  3. Form into desired size patties.
  4. Heat oil in frying pan.
  5. Fry 3-5 minutes on each size or until browned and starting to crisp.  Do not over cook or they tend to get too soft and fall apart ;)
  6. I like to serve mine with a side of my nacho cheese dip.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (Dairy, Gluten and Egg Free with Limited Refined Sugar)

My daughter has been baking a lot in our home and these are definitely becoming a favourite for her. They have great flavour and don't dry out as quickly.  These are made without eggs as our little man has developed eczema.  



Baby eczema is generally caused by a food intolerance.  Since he is breastfed, that food is coming through my diet.  Often a baby will react to something of which the mother is intolerant.  Egg whites and dairy are high on my intolerance list.  So I have been very strict with keeping them out of my food and thankfully the eczema just about gone :)

Ingredients  
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons cups Bulk Pancake Recipe
  • 1 tablespoon egg replacer
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use a dark chocolate chip)
  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup


Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare muffin tray.
  2. In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients.
  3. A medium size bowl add all the wet ingredients including the bananas.
  4. Stir or puree until fully mixed and then add the wet ingredients into the dry.
  5. Stir just until combined.
  6. Scoop into muffin tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.


Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Gluten Free Bulk Pancake Mix

I have been trying to simply some things at home as well as teach more independence for the girls.  I now have my oldest making pancakes using this bulk mix.  This mix can be prepared in advance and makes about 4 batches.  Each batch makes about 8-10 pancakes.
Ingredients 
  • 2 cups tapioca/arrowroot starch
  • 2 1/4 cups sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

To Make Pancakes
  • 2 cups mix
  • 1 1/2-2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • chopped apple (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)