Saturday, June 2, 2012

Introduction to Our Ingredients

We at The Happy Belly use several high quality ingredients in our gluten free grain free mixes.  Among them are organic coconut flour, arrowroot flour, Real Salt (sea salt), organic coconut palm sugar, and gluten/grain free baking soda. 
Our products offer a nutritious and delicious alternative to gluten free products that are often filled with cheap grains, starches, and  refined sugars which are damaging to the digestive tract and raise blood sugar levels to an unhealthy high level. 
We use a low amount of natural unrefined coconut palm sugar (about half the amount in a traditional recipe), which is much lower on the glycemic index than other sugars and contains many trace minerals.  
Coconut flour is a low carb high fiber flour which is derived from coconut and has a mild coconut flavor.   It has been shown in studies that it does not interfere with the absorption of nutrients and also contributes to maintaining stable blood sugar levels.
Arrowroot flour is the only starch product with calcium ash, making it easy to digest and useful for maintaining proper acid and alkali balance. It also helps add a great texture to gluten free baked goods.
Our mixes are suitable for a gluten free diets as well as grain free diets such as Paleo and Primal.  Replacing traditional baked goods with our products may also help contribute to weight loss as part of a healthy lifestyle change. 
 Please contact us with any questions or suggestions.  We are a work in progress and will never stop trying to improve the quality of our product!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Grain Free, Gluten Free Waffles! (GAPS, Paleo, Primal)

Today is my son's 10th birthday, and one of his all-time favorite breakfast foods is waffles.  This morning I whipped up a double batch of this Grain Free Waffle and Pancake Recipe from a blog called Deliciously Organic, we ended up with 22 waffles!  They are perfect toaster size so I'll put the extra ones in the freezer so the kids can pull them out and pop them into the toaster themselves.  Convenience food! 

We ate these out of hand with butter and a touch of maple butter, a glorious seasonal treat.  They would be excellent with a berry syrup and whipped cream as well.  I used almond butter instead of peanut butter and  they turned out lovely...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gluten Free, Grain Free Apple Cinnamon Bars (GAPS, Paleo, Primal)

Since we're working on gut health lately this is a honey sweetened grain-free recipe.  It turned out great and all the kids liked it, which doesn't always happen!  I love that because it means I can use it in school lunches.  Our school doesn't have any  nut restrictions yet, if yours does you could substitute a seed butter such as sunflower.  Please let me know how it turns out if you try a substitution.  Thanks!

Apple Cinnamon Bars

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease 9 x 13 pan generously, I used butter. 


2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup honey
4 tbs freshly squeezed orange juice
4 eggs
3 tsp cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
2 tsp GF vanilla (optional)

Place all ingredients into food processor  and blend well.  Pour into greased pan and bake 30-35 min. 

My kids said this would be good with ice cream but I thought it was great all by itself!  They turned out moist and tender like cake and made the house smell wonderful.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The GAPS Diet: A Recipe for Happy Bellies!

One of the things I am excited about being able to do on this blog is to share helpful resources for those who are struggling with health issues whether their own or a loved one's.  We've had our share of issues, though thankfully nothing too serious, with 4 kids in the house.  About a year and a half ago we used an eating plan called GAPS, which stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome ( a book by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride M.D.)   It's based on the SCD Diet from the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall B.A., M.Sc. , which was created to heal or improve Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and chronic diarrhea.  Both are excellent books.

Dr.Campbell-Mcbride (a neurologist who also holds a Master's degree in nutrition)  recognized the connection between gut health and neurological symptoms as she began researching to help her autistic son and has successfully used her diet to cure hundreds of children suffering from various symptoms of what she has coined "gut and psychology syndrome" including her own son.  You can read about how she helped her son through diet on her website.  Gut and psychology syndrome includes such things as: autism, dyspraxia, dyslexia, A.D.H.D., A.D.D., depression, and schizophrenia.  If you are interested in natural treatments for any of these kinds of issues, I HIGHLY recommend Dr. Campbell-McBride's book!  She has also written a book on heart health which I haven't read yet but look forward to getting soon. 

 Most of the health issues in our family revolve around chronic stomach discomfort, gas (sometimes severe), constipation, moodiness, hyperactivity,  a few headaches (I had more than a few migraines before going gluten free), and joint/muscle pain.  After much reading and research I decided to try the GAPS diet with the whole family.  We stayed on this eating plan for a few months and were very pleased with the results. 

While we still eat very well at home, we've had an on and off again relationship with gluten.  Also, what the kids eat outside of the home is very suspect. I find it very difficult being vigilant as I try to balance my desire for good nutrition with the social aspects of rejecting 'normal food'.  Most recently the kids had a 6 week spree with bread in the house because my daughter was getting tested for Celiac and needed to be eating gluten.  Her tests came back inconclusive, but all 3 of my older kids are now having stomach pain and other issues again.  Needless to say, the gluten is gone and will remain that way, but some damage has been done and the kids are actually requesting to do GAPS again. 

The basic premise of the diet is to restore gut health through nourishing easily digestible foods and probiotic foods and supplements.  The goal is to heal the gut so digestion is optimal and the brain and body can function properly again.  There is an early phase which is stricter and eliminates all dairy (which may be temporary) but the main diet is based on homemade bone broths, healthy fats,soups, probiotic foods (like homemade sauerkraut and pickles).  The foods to avoid are grains, starches, lactose,and sugars (except honey).  Here is a list  of foods on the Full GAPS Diet.

We are probably not going to do the strictest version of GAPS but we are starting today eliminating all gluten free grains such as corn, rice, and oats (the gluten ones have been out for a while), potatoes and chips,  maple syrup,and  arrowroot flour (for now, I still think arrowroot is amazingly digestible and unique from other starches).  I'll be baking with coconut flour and honey and we'll be eating lots of eggs, soups, and probiotic drinks, and I'm hopeful that this time I can convince my kids to eat real pickles! My two youngest are the only ones who eat any fermented veggies usually. 

When you tell anyone about this way of eating, which is similar to Paleo/Primal, often they ask "what do you eat???", as if taking out grains is unthinkable.  I remember feeling that way myself, and I also remember expecting my kids to refuse to eat this way.  Very surprisingly, the battles I expected never came.  When grains were taken out of the picture my kids started eating things I never thought they would.  And amazingly, they did it without thinking or arguing.  Having more carbs back in the house like chips or bread or rice seems to make the food fight come alive again. I'm looking forward to the peaceful food atmosphere that GAPS seemed to create in our home the last time we did it.  Even the kids have fond memories of it! 

I will be sharing our journey on the GAPS diet here from time to time, and I'll also be posting some meal ideas and recipes suitable for anyone interested in having a happier belly whether you are doing GAPS or not.  Another great resource is my friend Lydia's Divine Health blog.  She is also starting on the GAPS diet soon with her kids and her site is an amazing wealth of information and gluten free recipes.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Grain and Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Well, I'm trying to start to get my act together!  I would like this blog to become a useful resource for customers of The Happy Belly and gluten/grain free people in general.  One of the things I hope to be able to do is post lots of delicious and nourishing recipes to help you on your way to good health and happiness.   So here is the first recipe!  How can you go wrong with chocolate?

Chocolate Truffle Cookies (Grain and Gluten Free)

Preheat oven to 350.

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips or chunks (I use Enjoy Life brand)

Place cocoa powder, butter, and chocolate chips in small saucepan and melt over medium low heat, stirring often until smooth.  Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.

In a large mixing bowl place:

3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar

Beat well.


1/2 cup arrowroot flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
cooled chocolate mixture

Beat well.  Stir in:

1 cup chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup chopped crispy nuts  (optional)

Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment lined cookies sheets and bake for about 10 min. Makes about 36 cookies and one very lickable bowl!

So there you have it!  I usually make mine with hazlenuts, but I imagine that pecans or macadamias would be delicous as well.  To find out how and why you should soak nuts just click on the link above for 'crispy nuts'.  I soak and dehydrate large batches of nuts and store them in my freezer so they are conveniently available for snacking or baking.  Hope you enjoy the cookies!  If you try out this recipe please comment and let me know what you think.  Also let me know if you experiment with any of the ingredients, I'd love to know how your cookies turn out.