Friday, March 30, 2012

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil {Giveaway}

I have been ordering Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions for 6 years.  When I first learned about coconut oil and all of it's uses, I did a lot of research to find the best quality, which lead me to this wonderful product. This is the only brand I use now and buy it in 5 gallon buckets, which lasts me about 6-9 months.  The Gold Label has a wonderful coconut flavor that is awesome in pancakes, dressing, smoothies and Thai/Indian/Caribbean dishes.  I also buy the Expeller Pressed oil for frying and other dishes that I don't want to add any flavor to.  This is the only tasteless oil in my kitchen, I have completely done away with all canola/vegetable/safflower/grapeseed oils.

I have found plenty of other wonderful products on their site as well. My favorites are their coconut oil lotions, foam soaps and lip moisturizers.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

I am happy to sponsor a giveaway from this lovely company. To enter for your chance to win One Quart Jar of Gold Label Coconut Oil ($40 value) from Tropical Traditions, simply follow the link to subscribe to the Coconut Oil Newsletter, come back here to Taste is Trump and leave a comment telling me that you did. Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. mountain time on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 and winner will be announced on Thursday, April 5, 2012. The winner will have three days to claim their prize.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Big, Bad Reaction {Allergies}

A couple weeks ago we were driving home from a regular Sunday dinner at the in-laws when my six year old started complaining that his eyes were hurting.  I thought he was probably tired, until I looked back and they were puffed up as pictured.  This has happened before, last summer in Iowa from a cat and three summers ago from a dog, both times in contact with his face.  He knows to stay away from cats and dogs, even though he doesn’t seem to be affected by all of them. We started questioning where he was and what he touched at Grandma’s house, we were baffled as to how this happened.  We asked him to recount everything he touched and the only thing that came up suspicious was flowers, boganvia flowers. My husband said all the cousins had been picking then and they were all over the yard.

I washed his hands and face really well, then had him soak in a baking soda bath. In previous cases, his eyes returned to normal in a few hours.  I put him to bed and he slept fine, but the next morning, when I was expecting full recovery, I found him with one eye completely swollen shut, the other a slit with crusties all around it. I started Benadryl and dried nettles every four hours and my husband gave him a blessing. It took three days for the swelling to go down, but even after that, his eyes were scaly and itchy, with terrible dark circles around them. That Saturday, as we left on our trip, nearly a week later, he cried for three hours because his eyes hurt so badly in both the car ride to the airport and most of the flight.  When we got to Florida he was looking better and improved quickly the next day.  By Monday he looked completely normal and didn’t complain about his eyes for the whole trip.

The day after we got back his eyes were red and itchy again.  He seems to have developed allergies to some pollen in our area right now.  He has never suffered from seasonal allergies before. I was teasing him that maybe he needed to go back to Florida and asked him if he wanted me to find him some new parents that lived there and he broke out in tears! He is such a tender spirit with so much love; it is extremely difficult to see him suffering. This is what drives me to be so vigilant about improving our health.

It has been a disheartening experience and I am determined to figure this out.  Besides knowing exactly what is causing it, I want to prevent it, I want healing.  The last thing I want to do is the first thing many people choose to “fix” a problem, which is popping a pill.  I have my heart set on finding another way. I feel there is too much risk with a pill; effectiveness, side effects and irreversible damage. I have so many questions and unknowns that my biggest vice becomes patience.  We can’t just instantly know these things.  They have to be pondered, carefully researched, taken to the Lord and given time to be made clear, little by little. My!  Mothering is a spiritual experience.  At times like these, I gain great strength and hope through studying words such as these.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cruising on GAPS

We just got back from an amazing trip to the Caribbean, hence the lack of posting. This was my third cruise since starting the family on GAPS.  There is always worry over food when we leave our home.  Quality always diminishes; conventional instead of organic, feed lot instead of pastured and farm raised instead of wild caught.  Ferments and bone broths are not available. The diet was undoubtedly compromised, but for the first time, our bodies never gave us grief for it.

 In October, we went on a four day cruise as a family.  We had just started the diet a few months earlier and wanted to stay really strict.  We ordered an amazing fruit plate each evening for dessert. On the last night, I really wanted to try the chocolate cake, which meant everybody else wanted to try it too. We ordered two to share between the five of us, knowing that my husband would want a whole one.  I took a few bites and found that it wasn’t too impressive, so I stopped eating it. My two younger sons were really full from dinner and didn’t have much of an appetite or attention for the cake, which left the rest of the large slice for my eldest, who scarfed it down.  About two hours later we got a call from the kid’s camp leader that he was not feeling well.  He had a bad stomachache and diarrhea all night and part of the next day.

In November, my husband and I went on a five day cruise as a couple. I liked how I felt on the diet, so made mostly good food choices.  I took bites here and there of things like breads and desserts.  My stomach was slightly uneasy, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. A couple days in. we were in the middle of an excursion and I was hungry.  There were a few snacks laid out and I chose to have tortilla chips and guacamole with fruit.  I was intentionally dipping for bites of more guac and less chip, but I ended up feeling worse.  After we got back to the ship I thought eating a good meal would help me feel better.  Another moment of weakness with an amazing chocolate ganache brownie and I was in bed for the better part of two days with horrible stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Last week we spent seven days out to sea with the whole extended family without even a stomachache! The kids ate tons of fruit, which they thought was awesome.  I ate tons of seafood, which I thought was awesome.  We ate no bread/baked goods or grains.  Half way through the trip, our waiter offered to make some gluten free pancakes for the kids.  He didn’t know what they were made of and I was positive they would not be GAPS friendly, but eggs were getting old, so we each tried one.  All morning I kept asking them how they were feeling and they always were good, so the pancakes became our biggest compromise.  My eldest had gluten free spaghetti one night and I had a soufflĂ© (without added sweet sauces) for dessert on two of the nights.

Here is the legal stuff we ate regularly;
Seafood (shrimp, fish , mussels, lobster, scallops, calamari)
Vegetables (peas, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, celery, asparagus, green beans, lettuce- no dressing just olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper)
Fruit (melon, grapes, pineapple, bananas)
Chicken on the bone, duck, steak, lamb, some sandwich meats, bacon and sausage
Butter (yes, it was its own food group)
For a topping on the pancakes I would slice up some bananas and mix them with sliced almonds and drizzle with honey.

The kids were excellent with asking and most of the time knowing what was allowed.  Even my three year old would question me if he saw something on his plate he wasn’t familiar with.  Something about a three year old saying “Is this on our diet?” is extremely comical.  There were plenty of options each meal. They are getting so good at strict adherence, it is when I allow a little taste of something illegal here and there that provoke fits and other issues. One day they were having an ice cream party in the kids area, my kids had fruit.  Afterwards I asked the kids if they were sad that everyone was eating ice cream while they ate fruit and nobody was sad.

I am sure we slowed our healing down, but I can’t miss out on family reunions because our diet.  I am doing a juice fast this week to do some deep cleaning and get back on track.  Anybody have good GAPS travel advice?  Please share in the comments.
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