Friday, November 25, 2011

Feasting with Non-Believers

I'm not talking about the religious issues that sometimes happen in large, extended families like mine, but the food issues. We are a family of five kids with six grandkids. Four of us were in town for the holiday. Mom and Dad were not up to traveling and opted not to join us this year.

Let me give you a rundown of the various challenges we face as a small clan eating together.:

I'm allergic to soy. I'm also very overweight unlike the rest of my family, most of whom are rather thin. I also battle depression from time to time. One son is allergic to lemons. Another son of mine is allergic to nuts (all nuts both peanut and tree nut). For a while I blamed myself for their problems, but I've come to realize that when they were little, all I knew was the craziness spouted by the government. We ate low fat everything and super processed everything. I got fat, and we all developed allergies and gut problems. The boys have moved away from home and as young men who work at Pizza Hut for a living, their diets, quite frankly, are a little frightening. I send them real food from time to time. I'm giving them both a two pound block of butter for Christmas along with pastured pork, beef, and eggs and maybe a couple of pastured chickens. My husband developed several blockages in his heart veins years before we met. Just after we were married, a stent was installed and he was put on statins. I will talk about his medical adventures following his start on WAP in future entries.

My baby sister's daughter is on the GAPS diet to help address her autism (she was adopted at 6 months old from the former Soviet Union and arrived with digestive problems) and to help her daughter along, she has put her whole family on a modified Gaps diet. This is sister is very thin, as is her son. Her husband and daughter were struggling with weight until they went on GAPS and they each lost a lot of weight and her daughter grew several inches.Her husband has also struggled with depression.

My sister-in-law, the Food Nazi, has a lifelong allergy to corn and is a longtime follower of Weight Watchers so most of her food is soy based. She also works in the food industry and will not eat anything that is preserved in cans at home or fermented unless it was done in commercial building. She is thin. Her daughters are all thin. My brother battles his weight constantly but she claims it is because he "cheats" and eats junk when he is working. He was very thin when he was younger. We call her the Food Nazi, because she cleans everything, including her hands and some foods with bleach water. She's freaky about it.

My other brother is married to a native of China. He suffered from terrible gut problems his whole life and was painfully thin. He married late in life but I believe she saved his life. She began feeding him fermented foods, took him off of all dairy products and they eat made-from-scratch soup every single day (sometimes a couple of times a day). She feeds him no bread at all. I'm thinking she has got him on something as close to GAPS as possible without a handbook. He reports he has no more problems with his guts except when he eats an occasional pizza, so they are avoiding that as much as possible (I'm thinking he has Celiac's Disease). She is an excellent cook and it's fun to look into her cupboards as everything is labeled in Chinese and she has lots of mysterious and wonderful mushrooms, dried vegetables and other goodies in there. Her refrigerator is filled with fresh vegetables and her table is decorated with a variety of fresh fruits like clementines, pineapples and bartlett pears. I was deeply impressed to find that she has a couple of little Buddha statues each of whom had a perfect, fresh apple and a pretty stone bead bracelet nearby.

Middle sister lives in Colorado and did not make it out this year.

This year, despite everyone knowing everyone's allergies, there was a lot of food that was not consumed. The Food Nazi put margarine in everything she cooked and even put lemon in the sweet potatoes. She prepared the gravy, sweet potatoes and the stuffing. She will not let us stuff the turkey itself because she is an FDA food freak and believes we will all die of salmonella poisoning if we eat a turkey with stuffing in it. He daughter prepared the pies and while they got rave reviews, I could not eat them due to the crust being prepared iwth margarine.

I fixed the green bean casserole using scratch mushroom gravy which started with a beef bone broth, organic green beans and onion rings fried in pastured pig leaf lard. It was completely gluten free as well because I used tapioca flour for the thickeners and the onion breading. I also made deviled eggs using mayonaise I made using a good quality olive oil and pastured eggs. I did use store bought capers as part of the stuffing. I also made a pickle tray with gluten free crackers, homemade yogurt cheese from raw milk, a variety of ferments and homemade pickles both sour and bread and butter pickles. I also made a liver pate.

My sister with the Gaps family, brought a lovely salad, a fruit salad with coconut and put the chopped pecan crispy nuts on the side (thank you!). She also brought gluten free rolls she made. They were good but contained nuts, so one son could not eat them.

The turkey was prepared by my brother and his wife. She is from China and so this whole Thanksgiving thing is quite amazing to her. They did a great job with this large bird and everyone enjoyed it. Food Nazi managed to make the carcass disappear into the trash before Gaps mom or I could get to it and so all that wonderful boney goodness was lost.

I suggested to Gaps mom that next year I will host and she and I will prepared everything. Food Nazi can bring her own food if she wants, but the rest of us need something to eat that is safe.

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