I am often asked about many things relating to this blog, my diet, foods, nutrition, kids, family, etc. I decided to go ahead and give you some up front answers to frequent questions I get. As always, leave a comment or email me to ask anything not listed!
1.) What does LPHJ Kitchen mean? LPHJ are the initials of my two kids. LP for my son, HJ for my daughter. They are meaningful to me, but not for you. I wanted to use their initials in my name because they inspire me and mean so much to me. However, I also wanted to be able to relate it to my cooking. That’s where my tagline comes in: Cooking with Love, Patience, Hope and Joy (LPHJ).
2.) What’s wrong with you? At first, I wanted to be really private about my health issues. However, people can be mean and rude and prying. After a while, I decided that I would be open about it – less questions, less assumptions and less rumors. I was diagnosed with non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, multiple food intolerances, autoimmune issues, leaky gut, malabsorption, and some inflammation in parts of my digestive system. Overall, my main problem is my food sensitivities have wrecked my intestinal lining causing severe malabsorption. Basically, I don’t absorb any vitamins, nutrients, fats, minerals, etc from foods or supplements very easily. Which leads to the next common question:
3.) What meds to you take? None. I very rarely take any prescription medications. That was my first round of treatment that went very poorly. Again, I have a problem with absorption so I have to be careful what I ingest – food and medication. I take a wide variety of vitamin supplements, digestive enzymes, probiotics, etc. As my healing progresses, I imagine I won’t need as many supplements as I currently do but only time will tell.
4.) What are you sensitive to? A shorter list is what I am NOT sensitive to. I can’t have gluten (wheat, barley or rye), dairy/casein, soy, eggs, beef, pork, grains, beans/legumes, corn, etc.
5.) If you are sensitive to so many foods, what do you eat? Real food… in a cooked, soft, preferably liquid form. Not ideal – but I make it work. I don’t eat certain meats (beef, pork or lamb) but I eat pretty much any other animal meat. I don’t eat any processed foods – I don’t eat anything that comes out of a box. I do eat all-natural fruits, veggies, nuts, coconut, etc.
6.) What type of diet do you follow? This question is tricky as I follow sort of my own diet. I would have to say I am closest to the Paleo diet with the exception that I do not eat eggs or certain meats.
7.) What type of diet do you recommend? I really like the Paleo diet. What is that? The Paleo diet is more of a lifestyle. It features the consumption of natural, grass-fed or pastured meats and poultry, wild caught fish, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, healthy fats. It eliminates grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods, sugars and alcohol. Some people think it is some crazy diet that requires you to hunt with sticks and stuff – not the case. It is more of an approach to eating foods as they were meant to be raised or grown in their natural state. Overall, I suggest eating a whole foods based diet. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, properly raised meats/poultry and natural foods. Avoid processed foods, artificial sugars and chemicals.
8.) Do you eat all organic and all grass-fed meats? No. If I could, I would. However, it can be expensive and in my area, hard to find. I do the best I can with the resources available. That’s what I recommend. Only you know your budget and availability of foods. There are certain foods that are typically high in pesticides/chemicals – the dirty dozen – try to stick to organic for those (apples, berries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, bell peppers, nectarines, cucumbers, tomatoes, snap peas, potatoes, hot peppers and greens). As for grass-fed, there are many options for buying these types of meats/foods online if you can’t find a good local resource.
9.) Where do you shop? Wherever I can. In our area, we have a couple small stores with healthier sections and we have a lot of Wal-Marts. No Whole Foods, Sprouts, etc. I get what I can there. I shop frequently at area farmer’s markets and buy online. My favorite online stores are Amazon, Tropical Traditions, Thrive Market, Wild Mountain Paleo Market and any others I run across.
10.) Do you force your kids to eat what you do? No. At home, we are strictly gluten free – no gluten in our house at all. I am in the process of switching them over to a healthier lifestyle. They eat great considering how we used to eat. Away from home, I don’t force specific foods on them. My husband eats out for work sometimes – he has gluten. My son eats school lunch sometimes – he has gluten. If the kids are at grandparents – they eat what they are fed. It is a constant internal battle for me but they do not have the health problems I do. They are fed healthy, whole foods 95% of the time. This wasn’t a lifestyle we asked for, so it’s still a work in progress.
11.) How do you feel about gluten free packaged foods? I don’t care for them much… but I do buy them on occasion. Hey, we all have time constraints and frankly, a mix makes things faster. I try to stick to quality brands that I love: Bob’s Red Mill, Simple Mills, etc. As with anything, look at the ingredients. If there’s some things listed that you’ve never heard of or can’t pronounce, I’d stay away.
12.) How do you afford healthy food? When you don’t eat out (like ever) and you don’t buy packaged foods, you tend to have a little more money to spend on fresh items. Consider it: a family of four, eating out at a regular restaurant will cost you about $40.00. That will buy you quite a bit of fresh food for the week. I try to spend less than $500 per month on food for us. It’s totally do-able. You just have to buy what is important. I pass on those GF pretzels, snack bars, etc. I shop at farmer’s markets to get good deals on local produce. I shop online or direct from the company – it can be cheaper that way. Bulk purchases can also help sometimes.
13.) How do you do it? It’s simple. I eat bad foods and I get sick so I don’t do that anymore. Honestly, it felt like I had a slight brush with death – call me dramatic but I was in a bad place in my life. It took a lot to get away from all that pain, sadness and searching for answers. I have learned that health is a very important thing that we all take for granted. I have a family to take care of, I can’t quit or give up. I simply have to live like this and I love it. Our family is healthier than we’ve ever been. I am an advocate for healthy lifestyles, quality foods and happy families. My family is my priority and I’ll do whatever I need to for them.