Fresh Salsa Recipe

Fresh Salsa Recipe
One of my favorite snacks is fresh salsa! Here is a quick 5 minute recipe!

2-4 Tomatoes 
1 Large Onion
1 Jalapeño Pepper
1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro
6-8 Cloves of Garlic
1 TBSP Salt
1 TBSP Pepper
Juice of 2 Lemons
6 drops of Young Living Lime Vitality Essential Oil

You can combine all ingredients in a food processor for a less chunky version, or chop your tomatoes and onions.  I used a vegetable chopper for this batch.


Gluten & Casein Free - Beginning the Lifestyle

Gluten & Casein Free - Beginning the Lifestyle

By becoming  gluten-free and casein-free you remove all sources of gluten and casein from the diet. The word “diet” is really a misnomer because this is a lifestyle change. It is a way of seeing food as nourishment for the body and brain. Once you see what gluten and casein can do to some people’s bodies, you will begin to understand why this lifestyle change is so important.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and some oats. Most bread, pasta, cereals, cookies, cakes, and pretzels contain gluten. They must be removed.

What is Casein?

Casein is a protein found in dairy. Cow’s and goat’s milk both contain casein as does butter, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, and cream. Ghee is butter that has had the casein removed from it. You can use ghee if you are not allergic or sensitive to dairy.

What improvements may you see?

Below is a list of improvements that are commonly seen after implementing a gluten-free and casein-free lifestyle.

  • Better cognition (described as the “fog lifting”)
  • Improvement in receptive language
  • Improvement in expressive language
  • Better sleep
  • Reduction in disruptive behaviors
  • Less hyperactivity
  • Better bowel movements
  • Reduction in ear infections and other illnesses
  • Pain tolerance normalizing
  • Eczema clearing

So what do you eat?

If you shop the perimeter of the grocery store, you will find tons of delicious foods that are naturally gluten and casein free: fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans, legumes, seeds, meat, and fish. Gluten-free grains include corn, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, sorghum, teff, and amaranth.

There are a number of good dairy-free milk substitutes, such as coconut, almond, hemp, flax, and rice milk. But, water is the most important drink.

Keep it simple and uncomplicated with whole foods as the goal, such as:


tips for being Gluten & Dairy free

  1. Eggs are not dairy and do not contain casein. Eggs are allowed.
  2. Lactose-free milk is not casein-free. Lactose is the sugar component of milk, casein is the protein component. Do not use lactose-free milk.
  3. Organic does not mean gluten and casein free. Organic refers to how the product was grown.
  4. This diet requires that all sources of gluten and casein be removed no matter how high or low the content is. Unfortunately, this means you cannot allow your child to consume even small amounts of casein and gluten. The body will react to the proteins no matter how much is ingested.
  5. The ultimate goal is a healthier, whole foods diet free of these large proteins. 
  6. This is a lifestyle change, so take it one day at a time.
  7. Try to keep sugar to a minimum.
  8. Avoid food coloring and food additives as well. They are not food. In other words, they are chemicals. Additionally, food coloring and additives can cause behavioral and health issues.
  9. Read your labels 
  10. Don't trust restaurants to be completely gluten and casein free, there is almost always cross-contamination.
What needs replaced? 


Finding Hidden Sources Of Gluten & Casein

Don’t allow cross-contact or hidden sources of gluten, dairy, or soy to undermine your efforts. Cross-contact occurs when a food that is GFCFSF comes into contact with foods or surfaces that contain restricted ingredients; making it unsafe for your child to eat. Cross-contact can occur at home, restaurants, the grocery store, and even during the manufacturing, packaging, growing, and harvesting processes.

When shopping for groceries, be sure to read ingredient labels to look for hidden sources of gluten, casein, and soy. Even some items that are advertised as safe are, in fact, not safe.

Reading Food Labels

Thankfully, laws have been passed to help consumers read food labels. Below the food ingredients, the package will list any of the top eight allergens: milk (casein), wheat (gluten), soy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, fish, and shellfish.

The less processed food you buy, the less you will have to read labels. In the beginning, you may need to use some prepackaged foods in order to transition your child, but the goal is to get away from prepackaged foods and buy whole foods. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where the fresh foods are kept.

A lifestyle change is always hard at first! It's a choice and you can choose it! Our family has been gluten and casein free since 2011 and even with a picky eater we were able to transform our lifestyle to adapt to this change that was necessary for us. I have helped numerous others start this lifestyle change and they have all seen different results, but not one family has said they can't tell a difference.

We all have to make hard choices, and change can be hard. Health, and therefore behavior, does not get better by chance. Rather, it gets better by change. Be sure to choose your “hard” carefully.

Unexpected Love

Unexpected Love
You never know when the most simple errand can change your world. In the fall of 2015, Mia and I headed into our local pet shop to pick up our fresh fish food just like we did normally about every 2 weeks. You see, for months we would grab what we needed, check out the animals they had each time, and head back home. It was one of Mia's favorite days of the week. She would always pick out one or two different dogs to bring into the little room for a visit, but her little feet would never touch the floor. She would sit on a bench, and say, "oh, cute puppy" but she never wanted to pet it or get too close. Craig and I had discussed that at some point getting a dog for Mia could be a good companion with her being an only child, and may help her with some of her anxiety as well. We just weren't for sure when that right time would come.

As we were checking out with our frozen blood worms (so our fish could be gluten free too!) there was a man standing at the checkout holding this tiny little dachshund, and it really looked like it was his personal pet that he was in the store buying for. Mia immediately as she saw it let out that priceless, "AWWWW, it's so cute!", and the gentlemen says to her, "oh honey, she isn't mine, here" and he hands her to Mia. Watching for Mia's reaction I was so shocked, she held her, and said, "can we take her back to the visit room?" so we did. 

See at this point, Mia had never really touched a dog, let alone held one.


As we walk into the little room, Mia sits on the floor and puts the dog down and begins to play with her. Within minutes, she looks up at me and says, "I love her already mommy, is she mine?"

The connection was instant, but I was not certain that I could just bring home a dog without Craig being part of the decision. Mia continued to play with her for about three hours, by this time a crowd had formed and was watching the two of them. I finally talked Mia into going home for lunch so her and the dog would both get a chance to eat and then we would come back with dad when he got off work in a few hours. As they were separated, Mia's tears began to stream down her face and the puppy was whining to come back to her. The formed crowd was in disbelief that we weren't taking her home right then.

A few hours later, we were able to take Craig back with us after telling him the adventure of the day, and he too saw the connection these 2 had already and we knew she was meant to be with us.

Mia got to choose her name all on her own. Cyndy Smith's name was inspired by Mia's love for Cinderella at the time. Cyndy's first night with us, Mia slept in front of her crate, and the inseparable bond continued to grow from there.


Over the years as Mia has been on her health recovery journey, Cyndy has been her playmate, emotional support, homework helper and best friend. Cyndy has tolerated Mia packing her around everywhere she goes, kisses galore, panic attacks, and of course playing. They have the best relationship!

Cyndy lives a natural lifestyle right along with us! She is completely gluten free and is a picky eater just like Mia. Cyndy prefers Merrick Lil' Plates dog food and loves her Whimzies daily dental treats. She enjoys drinking NingXia Red and loves fresh veggies. 
Peace and Calming would be Cyndy's favorite essential oil!



Moving on

Moving on
Today was a huge day for Mia and our family!
 
After 10 years and over 20,000 hours, Mia has graduated from ABA Therapy. 

In 2011, when Mia was diagnosed with autism, we immediately began ABA (applied behavior analysis). 
So what has that looked like.... up to 40 hours a week for the past 10 years she has worked to become who she is today. This is a big part of how she has accomplished the goals that most children learn naturally. In the beginning, it could take her anywhere from 800-1500 times of trying something before she could do it own her own. Now she is consistently learning new skills within 3 trials even when mom and dad are the ones presenting the information to her instead of a trained therapist. 

I am sure next week, when the house is just us instead of the normal coming and going of an in home therapist, it will really sink in. 

This is a day we have prayed for. 

This is a day we have worked for. 

Mia Rayne, we are so proud of you. I really don’t think words can be put together to describe our feelings today. 
It was great to celebrate with a special lunch with a few close friends and her therapists. We had Chick-Fil-A by Mia’s request, cupcakes, balloons 🎈, and dairy free ice cream.



Doing it all.....

 I don’t know 🤷🏼‍♀️ how you do it all... 

If I have heard this once, I have heard it 1,000,000 times....

Why is it if we are driven and determined that people think 🤔 we have our 💩 together and don’t have struggles getting things done? 

Yes, I am a homeschooling mom who secretly struggles wondering if she is enough for her daughter. 

Yes, I am a wife who is always balancing her marriage and ways to keep it on the right path, and every couple struggles through their journey, ours is no different. 

Yes, I am an wellness entrepreneur who tries her best to lead a team of over 1,500 members, who feels like she never does enough. Who wants to teach all the things but has fears of overwhelming others. I have made mistakes but am always growing to be better for my tribe. 

Yes, I am an author, and am currently working on my 3rd book 

📖
, what you don’t see is the sleepless nights tossing wondering if it will be done 

✅
 in time and good enough. 

Yes, I am a mother raising a daughter who was diagnosed with Autism, Immune Deficency, etc., and the countless hours of advocating for her care never end, and the fight for what she needs is no easy task and takes persistence. 

Yes, I am a chef 👩‍🍳 and feed my family organic, gluten free, dairy free, healthy meals and I secretly wish sometimes I didn’t know what our foods did to our bodies and miss the quick food choices and ease of eating all the things we shouldn’t, but I push through because I know what happens to our family when we don’t follow our dietary needs. 

Yes, I am a friend who tries her best to invest in the relationships that have been built, but the scars I have from being bullied in the past make it hard for me to ever say no to anyone for anything, because I just want to belong. Currently in the process of ditching the toxic relationships and surrounding myself with those who inspire me and understand me for who I am. #noteasy

Yes, I am an advocate, who fights for medical freedom. Standing up for what I believe in has taken a lot of courage, tears, research, and passion. It has also created a divide in some ways and the whispers behind my back are there. 

Yes, I am a woman, just like you. I have fear, doubt, al the emotions you feel.... but I am also determined, driven, and most of all passionate about the life we are creating for our family.  

I encourage you when you come across determined moms, don’t let them or me intimidate you.... The passion we have is part of who makes us who we are. Love us for who we are, and link arms with us and learn. No one expects anyone to be just like anyone else. 

I don’t have it all together. I’m a work in progress. 

 
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