Growing in the Fruit of Faithfulness

~This devotional was used by our women’s group in conjunction with a study from Elizabeth George’s book, A Woman’s Walk With God, Growing in the Fruit of the Spirit.~

Growing in the Fruit of Faithfulness

George calls her chapter on Faithfulness, “Following Through in Faithfulness”.  She has built this picture of how love, joy and peace change hearts. As a result, patience, kindness and goodness desire the best for everyone. Then, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control bring us victory in life’s “more challenging moments,” giving us follow-through by conquering self.

In Galations, the word for faithfulness is the Greek word, “pistis,” which refers to the character of one who can be relied on.

George teaches that a woman of faithfulness:

  • always comes through, no matter what
  • shows up for others, “whether a message or a meal”
  • keeps her word,”her yes means yes, and her no means no” (James 5:12)
  • doesn’t cancel out of commitments or appointments, and “successfully transacts business—carrying out any instructions given to her,”
  • “discharges her official duties in the church”–and is still committed to worship,
  • and is devoted to duty just as Jesus was in His example here on earth.

Elizabeth George also pointed out the struggle involved in being faithful… feeling tired or lazy ever get the best of you?

Or how about feeling discouraged?

Procrastination?  I might be looking forward to the devotional on self-control.

Rationalizing?

What about apathy… sometimes we just don’t care, even when we really do.  Life can get hard.  Some may drift from God.  Sometimes we just plain ole’ rebel, and we can develop a spiritual numbness.

As a Fruit of the Spirit, faithfulness is something God is responsible for cultivating in our lives. Charles Stanley, in his book, The Wonderful Spirit Filled Life, says that when we’re living life led by the Spirit, that these characteristics come about with little effort.   Yet reading over this list left me feeling overwhelmed and a little discouraged.

But wait. . .

This word pistis, which is used in Galations 5:22, can also be interpreted as faith; that’s how the King James Version interprets it.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galations 5:22,23 KJV

Faith is:

1.) the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ.

2.)  a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God

3.)  belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same

Faith, like faithfulness, is provided to us by the Holy Spirit, and isn’t possible for us to experience in our own power.

“. . .  no one can say, “Jesus is [my] Lord,” except by [the power and influence of] the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:3 Amplified Version

By the grace of faith, God grows the character of faithfulness, or reliability, in our character.  He helps us be faithful to Him, and faithful to our calling.

 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2,3 NIV

That list of “works” that Elizabeth George explained personifies a woman of faithfulness… it’s possible, if our work is produced by faith in Christ Jesus.  Obedience becomes a labor of love for our Savior, and we can persevere even when we feel tired, discouraged, unmotivated or apathetic because of the hope we have in Christ.  That hope, Hebrews tells us, is anchored to the Throne of Grace in heaven; it pulls us onward.

Hands And Leaf Purpose

If you are a believing child of God, then you have been given Spiritual Gifts to use in whatever way that He has determined you should serve; God also gives each of us the faith to use those gifts.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.  For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,  so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:3-8 NIV (emphasis, mine)

Do you know how God has wired you to serve?  If you’ve never given thought to this, you can visit www.spiritualgiftstest.com to learn more about the different Spiritual Gifts.  Your results will be based on your current experience, and can help you identify your areas of strength so that you can pray about how God wants you to use the gifts He has given you.  Don’t be surprised if different strengths rise to the top of the list in different stages of your life, depending on how your experience changes and on how God wants to use you at in different seasons.  He will gift you appropriately for your purpose.

God also wired you with personality, learning style, love languages, skills and talents, ministry style, resources and experiences to compliment your service within the Body of Christ.  They make you unique.  I would love to give you resources to explore each of these areas in a future post.  Don’t compare yourself to others!  Each individual is equally important to the function of the Church, and God’s plans.  Comparison is a trap that can discourage you, or it can lead to an inflated ego. . .  but, humility is what God requires.

If you struggle with following through on your commitments, it may be wise to prayerfully re-evaluate the tasks you have undertaken and ask God if what you are trying to do is suited to your gifts.

I’m not talking about the marriage covenant, responsibilities as a parent, or promises made–if you have made them, God will give you the strength to keep them.  What I do mean is, for example: that someone with a gift of helps, who likes working in the background, may not be cut out to be an up front teacher! The areas we choose to serve within need to compliment our Spiritual Gifts.  They also need to compliment the season of life we are currently in.  The Proverbs 31 woman did a LOT of good things, but I often think she probably didn’t do them all at once!

Be intentional about doing good.

“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.  This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. Titus 3:4-8 NIV (emphasis, mine)

When you feel discouraged, remember that your help is always with you.  God poured His Holy Spirit out on you, generously!  And He will never leave you.  Being faithful does not have to be tedious.

Choose your commitments carefully, and don’t try to do more than is truly possible.  When we leave others in the lurch, we damage our testimony.  When we follow through, we are blessed too. (James 1:25)

 

Work produced by faith in a faithful God.

Labor prompted by love for a loving Savior.

Endurance, inspired by hope in Savior who gave what He had for the hope that was set before Him–securing your eternity. 

 

What Happens When Women Pray

What happens when women pray photo

Every year or so, there is a theme that God chooses to teach me.  One year it was Biblical Womanhood, another it was Gratitude, yet another was Being Established.  The past 2 years have been on the topic of Prayer.

Have you ever shopped for books written about prayer??  Oh, my goodness, there are SO MANY!!  I have not actually gone looking, but when God picks a topic, it pops up everywhere.  Before I know it, I’ve accumulated a shelf full of resources without even trying.  I’ve read a little in this one and a little in that, however, my all time favorites are

1) simply reading what God says about prayer and the examples we’re given in God’s Word, and

2) Evelyn Christenson’s book, “What Happens When Women Pray”.  I found this little book at a garage sale, full of notes (so it must be good, right?).  I’ve read it 4 times, and I learn something new every time.

The Christian Missionary Alliance Church also chooses a theme every year, and their women’s ministry piggybacks on that.  This year the Alliance Women’s theme is “MORE”.

In my home church, our own Alliance Women are specifically studying how we can experience “MORE” power in prayer.  I’m so blessed to be able to do this study with my own church family, and I am over the moon to see how God is going to use these women and their prayers in the life of our church.

Prayer Is:

*A privilege*  ~My husband’s grandpa taught me that.  He called me monthly, until the day he died, to catch up and find out how he could be praying for us.  I was so blessed by this man who was not a blood relative, but who loved me so strongly in word and in deed.

*A responsibility*  ~Did you know that it is designed by God as part of our relationship with Him, and the health of our prayer life is an indication of the health of our Spiritual lives?

*A gift*  ~Imagine if we could not go to God.  Or imagine if we still, like the Israelites of old, had to go through a priest as a mediator, offering sacrifices, in order to maintain our relationship with God?  When Jesus died for us, and conquered sin and death by rising again, HE became our mediator and now we can go directly to God in Jesus’ name.

What a precious gift, and yet, it is one of the most neglected privileges and responsibilities within the Church Body today.  The truth is that too often we do not give enough thought to how and when we talk to God.  What’s more, many of us are not aware of the stumbling blocks that prevent God from inclining His ear to answer.

As my Jesus Sisters and I go through this study together, I’ll be sharing what God is teaching me in a series of posts entitled, “More Power in Prayer.”

I hope you’ll join me!

How My Family Got RID of Allergies, and You Can Too

I know what you’re thinking… I mean, conventional wisdom says that to heal an allergy one must avoid the allergen for years, radically change one’s diet, heal the gut, take buku probiotics. . . Right?  All those things are good, but no, that’s not how our story goes.

Hoe My Family Got Rid of Allergies

Our family has battled chronic allergies forever.  I have nursed my babies a looong time because studies showed it reduces the development of allergies, but my babies reacted to my milk.  They have experienced the WORST colic, and horrible, weeping eczema.  I had to figure out what I was eating that bothered them and then eliminate it from MY diet so that my milk would not be poisoning my babies!

For awhile, we had a chiropractor who did Muscle Response Testing (MRT, AKA: Kinesiology).  With my lists of “Foods We Eat,” he would pin-point which foods were the culprit.

MRT employs resistance on a muscle while exposing an individual to a test item. If the muscle stays strong, it is assumed that the test item is not a problem.  If the muscle gives under pressure, then it’s assumed that the test item IS a problem.  It sounds easy, but it is a little more complicated than just applying pressure to muscles.  If an individual is “out of balance,” as is not uncommon if your health is under assault, testing can be compromised, and it requires a trained practitioner to correct balance to garner reliable results.

MRT worked for us, but we eventually moved away from our chiropractor.  This led to challenging years of eliminating  foods, and then adding them back, in an effort to identify the problems!  😦

There were years that I had to make a meal three different ways just so everyone could safely eat. 

It.Was.Exhausting.

After so many foods had to be eliminated from our table, I prayed for healing.

BEGGED for healing.

It was the onset of a tick born illness that just put me over the top.  As I shared in my posts about my Journey to Health and Weight Loss, Part 1 and Part 2, this led my taking classes in natural health.

Along the way, God steered me to study a Natural Health modality called Health Kinesiology (HK), which uses MRT.  I thought I was learning how to test in order to figure out what we shouldn’t eat, but instead, God did something astounding.

Through Health Kinesiology, God provided a system that  not only allows me to identify allergens, but to correct the allergy.

Immeasurably more than all I had asked or imagined.  Not only can I help our family, but I can also help others.  Thank-you, Lord!!

How does it work?

  1. A trained HK practitioner uses MRT to identify allergens.  A sample of the items being tested must be physically present, however they can be sealed in a plastic bag or more ideally, a glass dish with lid.  In this way, individuals with severe allergies, like peanuts that can be air born, can still go through testing and corrections.
  2. Practitioners help the body make corrections using Accupressure~placing their finger tips on the client’s traditional Accupuncture points; instead of needles, they use only light pressure.
  3. When the correction is completed, the practitioner will retest for allergy, and it should be clear.
  4. Now comes the detox.  Lets make an analogy: Imagine your immune system like a computer that undergoes updates and has to reboot.  We may tell your body that the allergen is a harmless substance, but soldiers already have marching orders to “attack” what was previously identified as an enemy.  Detox can be viewed as time for the body to get rid of everything relating to the prior allergen, allowing all the “soldiers” to go home and get new orders.
  5. After detox has been completed, it is recommended that clients return to their practitioner to be re-tested to find whether a tolerance correction should be made before exposing themselves to the previous allergen.  Low tolerance does not engage the immune system, but can cause similar symptoms as an allergy.

Some allergens require a long correction (called a SET), which requires a trained practitioner, but some only require what is called an “Allergy Tap,” which takes just minutes, and is available for you to learn how to do at home by requesting a copy of the PDF entitled, “Cure Your Own Allergies in Minutes.”  Request the manual at THIS ADDRESS.

I have used the allergy tap in emergency situations to reverse hives and stop allergy induced nausea within minutes.  It depends upon the individual and each allergen; some require the longer correction, and some are good with the Tap.  If you have an allergy that requires the SET, you can locate a practitioner near you by contacting the International Headquarters of Health Kinesiology.

If you have an allergy that causes a life threatening response, it is not recommended that you try this correction at home.  See a practitioner who has a lot of experience.

I am so grateful for this tool which has been an answer to many desperate prayers!  It is amazing to eat without fear and be able to hold a cat without trouble breathing! We’ve cleared dozens of allergies.  

If you live with chronic or life threatening allergies, doing this is so worth it Life changingin a good way!

Blessings! ~Linda

 

 

 

Recipe: Gluten-Free Sourdough Biscuits

I was resistant to going gluten-free for a long time.  I had spent so long cultivating good sourdough recipes using spelt (which is glutenous 😦 )that I couldn’t bear the thought of having to learn something new All.Over.Again.

As it turned out, my oldest daughter loves baking and so she scoured Pinterest for recipes and got busy in the kitchen.  I hardly had to do a thing to find new favorites, but the thing we all really missed was a good biscuit!

Oh, we tried several recipes, but nothing really measured up.  They tended to be dry, gummy or gritty.  I just didn’t enjoy them.  And then I got a gluten free starter going and discovered psyllium husk, and voila! We have biscuits!   🙂

The sourdough fermentation makes them soft and easy on the digestion.  The psyllium husk holds moisture, acts as a binder, and keeps the texture real, not gummy.  They are soooo GOOD! THis has become a tried-and-true recipe at our house.  Everyone gets excited when Mom makes biscuits!

Biscuits, mmmmm

Mmmmmmm…..

Are you ready to try them?

To print a PDF of the recipe, click:Gluten-Free Sourdough Biscuits.

Use starter that has been fed in the past 12 hours.

In a medium sized bowl, combine:

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons fine psyllium husk powder (6.25 grams)

GF-Biscuit Flour

When these flours are well combined, cut in:

  • 1/2 cup butter

Then add:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice sourdough starter
  • 3/4 cup un-chlorinated water or milk of your preference (Take note that milk reduces the fermentation. )

GF biscuits before fermenting

When well combined, cover and allow to ferment 7-12 hours.

After fermenting:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 tsp. salt over the dough and then mix thoroughly.  It will take on an airy feeling as the baking soda reacts with the acidity, neutralizing the sour flavor and adding a small rise to the dough.

GF-biscuits after souring

Roll out to the thickness you desire.  It will not noticeably rise in the oven, so decide now how thick you want them.  I have not noticed it affecting the bake time.  My kids like them about a half inch, smaller, so they can have “more” and feel like their servings are generous.  I have also rolled them out to approximately 1 inch.  I get between 8 and 12 biscuits depending on whether I make them smaller or taller.

GF- biscuits, cutting

Use a spatula or other flat utensil to lift off up and place on a baking sheet.  You can use parchment paper if you’d like, but it’s not necessary.

Bake for 8-10 minutes on a traditional baking sheet or 10-12 minutes on a stone pan.

Allow to rest for a few minutes and then slice, butter, and enjoy!

 

 

Recipe: Gluten-Free Sourdough Banana Bread

 

The fragrant smell of banana bread wafting through the house…

Warm bread with freshly spread butter, melting in your mouth.

And you feel good because you know, even though no one else can tell, it’s sourdough, and that means that it contains more readily available nutrition than traditional breads.

What better recipe, than a classic favorite, to add to your repertoire?

GF- Banana Bread 2

This gluten-free, sourdough banana bread is a simple recipe, easy to make, and delicious!

To download the PDF of this recipe, click this link: Gluten Free Sourdough Banana Bread.

I am all about eliminating unnecessary sugar from my family’s diet.  I use stevia in conjunction with traditional sweeteners to reduce our overall sugar load.  This recipe gives you options, if you’re working the sugar out of your diet.

Directions:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (half-melted, but not hot)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown rice sourdough starter
  • 2 Tablespoons of liquid (water or milk of your preference)

Mix butter, eggs, liquid and starter together.  In a separate container, blend:

  • 1 cup sorghum flour (also called Milo flour)
  • and 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • and 1-1/2 teaspoons of finely ground psyllium husk powder (7.5 grams)

Combine your wet and dry ingredients.  Cover and allow to ferment for 7-12 hours.

After fermenting:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place baking dish in oven to heat while you finish your batter.

To your fermented dough, add:

  • 2 cups of mashed bananas (approximately 4 medium sized bananas)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • *Honey (Either 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, or 1/2 cup; see directions below)
  • 1/4 tsp. white Sweetleaf Stevia Powder (concentrated)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix well.  Remove pan from oven.  Rub a stick of butter along sides and bottom of pan and allow to melt.  Pour batter in pan and bake as follows:

 

 

 

Banana Bread Loaf Pan

1 loaf pan, bake for 50-55 minutes.

9×13 inch cake pan, bake 20-25 minutes.

Banana bread should be firm, lightly browned, and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

After baking, like most breads, allow to rest several minutes before slicing.

Enjoy!!  🙂

 

* This recipe uses honey for its sweetness and its moisture.  Sugar will work, but it will result in a more dry loaf.  Traditional banana bread recipes use 1 cup of sugar per loaf. For similar sweetness, use 1/2 cup of honey (8 TBS) with 1/4 tsp. stevia.  If you are in the process of reducing your sugar intake, try 1/3 cup of honey (5 TBS) with 1/4 tsp. stevia.  If you are already accustomed to low sugar, you may enjoy 1/4 cup (4 TBS) of honey with 1/4 tsp. stevia, or adjust to your individual preference.

My Summer Fitness Challenge Results

I owe you an update on my Summer Fitness Challenge.  I am so aware.

I updated you on the first 30 days HERE.

If you remember, I wanted to get back in shape, close the gap in my stomach muscles, and I set a fun goal of getting back into my wedding dress by my wedding anniversary (August 31st).

July:  I had hoped to “knock the socks” off my husband at a wedding mid-July, and I think that mission was a success.  🙂

Willy's wedding together

I lost an additional 2 pounds (a record low for me) and began transitioning down to a pant size 5–something I never dreamed of being able to do.  I was targeting the belly, but the butt was being more cooperative.

August: I tried my wedding dress on mid-August.  It wasn’t quite as loose in the waist as I would have liked, but comparing to wedding pictures, I guess maybe it wasn’t as loose back then either.  The fit was pretty close, but I didn’t take pictures because I still had 2 weeks until our anniversary and my goal date.

HOWEVER, when our anniversary rolled around, I was pretty sure that the dress wasn’t going to fit all that well for another long spell. I had to wait a few more days to make sure…

And then, Semptember:

It’s amazing how 2 little pink lines on a pregnancy test can suddenly and completely change your perspective and rearrange your goals.

It’s totally NOT funny how after having a few babies it really doesn’t matter how much you exercise; that baby pouch remembers the pooch position right away.  I didn’t take a picture in the dress.

I did take a step back, and started praying and researching to determine how to maintain a Keto diet while accommodating my body and a precious baby’s needs during pregnancy.  There is virtually no information available on it, but I did develop a plan.

And yet, life doesn’t always go the way we expect…

One minute I was wondering who this new little life is, and the next I knew that I would never know this baby… not in this life.  Just a couple days before my birthday, I began to miscarry.

I know from the book of James that nothing passes into my life without first passing through God’s hands.  I don’t understand this loss; it hurts my heart.  BUT,  I know that I know that I KNOW that God is GOOD and that He NEVER makes a mistake.  There is always a purpose.  I don’t have to understand.  I need to trust.

October:  I’ve still been pretty tired.  I suspect my iron has been low, and so my energy is recovering as I work with my diet to provide the needed nutrients.  I also need time for my heart to heal, and that will help too.  So right now I am sticking with Keto, I have been exercising how and when I feel able while listening when my body says it’s too tired.  This too shall pass.

Progress:  As far as my goal to close the gap in my stomach muscles, the gap has closed by 50%. This is good!  🙂

And getting in shape? I have muscle tone again!  This makes me happy.

The wedding dress?  Well, I’ll try it on again soon.

I am researching gut healing, and reading Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book on the “GAPS” diet.  There seems to be more than one helpful approach and I’d like to find one that meets the unique needs of our family.  I’ve realized that some of the belly I’ve been trying to shed is not fat, but bloat, and some of our older “kids” are interested in doing a gut healing protocol.  We’re taking baby steps toward that goal; last week we picked up some grass fed beef from a local-ish rancher.

In a Nutshell:  No fun goal on the horizon, but only seeking to honor my commitment to God to care for my body, His temple, in all of this.

Did you set a goal for yourself over the summer?  I’d love to hear about your progress.

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread

If you have a bubbly, thriving brown rice sourdough starter, then you are ready to start baking!

I recently took this bread to a church fellowship meal and an out of town guest who has suffered from Celiac Disease for 20 years said that after trying many gluten free bread recipes, her long search was over!  This gluten-free sourdough bread is it!  She wasn’t the only one who thought so because there wasn’t any left!

It is a beautiful, good tasting bread that slices well.  To print, download the recipe PDF: Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread.

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice starter

3 eggs

4 TBS melted butter, not too hot

1-1/4 cups or your choice of milk

2 TBS honey

1 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

3/4 cup tapioca starch

4 tsp. psyllium husks, finely ground–not all brands are the same; I use THIS BRAND  (alternative: 1 TBS xanthum gum)

2 tsp. salt

1/2 TBS  (1- 1/2 tsp. baking soda)

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, melt butter and stir in water.  Add starter, eggs, and honey.
  • In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients (NOT baking soda!! Reserve soda for just before baking.) Use a whisk or beaters to thoroughly blend in the psyllium husks.
  • Mix wet and dry ingredients, beating with a mixer until very well combined.
  • Cover with a lid, or plate, or plastic wrap and allow to ferment a minimum of 7 hours (12 hours is ideal).  If you need to bake bread in less time, place in the oven (turned off) and turn on the oven light to warm things up and speed the fermentation process.

{The bread batter before fermenting}

After Fermenting:

  • After fermenting, when ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

{The bread batter “sponge” after fermenting}

  • Place bread pan in oven with oil or butter in it and allow it to melt.  While it is melting, add baking soda to bread batter and mix thoroughly.

IMG_20170803_091315499

{This is how it looks after mixing in the soda.}

  • Remove hot bread pan from oven and distribute oil around the pan, greasing all the sides.
  • Scrape bread batter into bread pan and smooth the top.

sandwich bread in pan

  • Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake bread for 50-55 minutes.
  • After removing bread from the oven, allow to sit a few minutes.  Run a knife around the outside to release from the pan if necessary, and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Allow to cool and then slice.

sandwich bread 2

sandwich bread

Makes 1 loaf.  Enjoy!

This bread was inspired by a sandwich bread at Cultures for Health.  The original recipe uses xanthum gum, contains more starch, and a few other differences.

 

Caring For Your Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter

 

 

gluten-free starter care

If you have never baked with sourdough, there are a few good things to know.

What Is Sourdough?

Sourdough is a mixture of flour and water that contains wild yeasts and lactobacilli. These naturally occurring cultures actually “eat” the simple sugars in the grains, beginning the process of breaking it down.  During this process, they produce carbon dioxide, which appears as bubbles, that helps rise your dough.  These cultures also produce lactic acid which prevents the growth of harmful bacteria.

Sourdough is an efficient way to bake for your family.  As long as you save some some “starter” each time you use it, and continue to “feed” it, giving it more flour and water, it will continue to multiply and serve you indefinitely. Because using sourdough incorporates the use of these wild yeasts as leavening in your baked products, this means you do not need to buy instant dry yeast from the store… so you may expect to save time and money.

Since the wild yeasts feed on the sugars in the grains, properly prepared sourdough products are lower on the glycemic index than non-sourdough goods.   Now, let me be clear here… I said it is low-er on the glycemic index… I didn’t say it’s safe to pig out  😉 Grains are still starches that provide quick energy to the body.  Moderation, as always, please.

Also, because the sourdough yeasts begin the process of breaking down the flours you bake with, the finished product is easier on the digestive system.  The wild yeasts and bacteria neutralize anti-nutrients and enzyme inhibitors that are naturally occurring in grains, and actually produce some vitamins themselves, which means more nutrition is readily available.

Other Advantages

Gluten free grains are often more dry and gritty than their glutenous counterparts, and recipes can require more starch.  As the yeasts begin to break down the grains, they are softened, giving baked goods a more pleasant texture, and our family thinks they have a richer flavor.

How to Care for Your Starter

  • Wild yeasts do not like metal.  Whether you are cultivating sourdough, kefir or kombucha, please do not store your cultures in metal–it will kill them.  You can use metal fork/spoon for mixing your baked goods; just don’t store it in metal. Keep your sourdough starter, and unbaked products, in glass.  Except for dipping, as shown in the featured photo, avoid storing in plastics as you do not want your culture to leach chemicals for your family to later consume.
  • Only use un-chlorinated water because the chemicals will kill your starter. If you live in the city and do not have filtered water, measure your water, leave it set for 12 hours before using, and the chlorine should evaporate out.
  • If you are perpetuating more than one type of culture in your kitchen: ie, kombucha…  it is a good idea to keep a few feet between them.
  • Cover, but do not seal air tight.  Fruit flies and other insects just love fermented goodness.  If your sourdough is not covered, it will turn into an insect trap.  (yuck!)
  • Sourdough is more active in warmer temperatures, and slows down in colder temps.  If you keep your starter out on the counter in a moderate temps, it will probably need fed every 12 hours.  If you use it daily, then this is perfect.  If, however, you do not want to use it daily, store your freshly fed starter in the refrigerator and it will not have to be fed for at least a week.
  • After sitting, if there is a layer of liquid on top (may be clearish, pinkish or brownish), this is called hooch.  Just pour it off, down the sink, and freshen your starter: assuming your gluten free starter is brown rice, so feed it some brown rice flour and water.  Stir well, cover, and give a few hours for your starter to get all bubbly and active before using in a recipe.  If you are used to glutenous sourdough which can get frothy on top, it’s helpful to know that the rice starter does not get bubbly on top, but you can see the gas pockets all through the “sponge” through the side of your glass storage container.  (In the past, I did maintain a buckwheat starter, which I began following the same directions as the boosted rice starter.  It was easy to maintain.  I eventually threw it out because buckwheat is stronger smelling and the rice worked equally well.)
  • It is important to know guidelines for how much to feed starter.  Do not exceed 4:1. Four parts new flour and water to one part active starter.  You may feed your starter less, but do not feed it more than this at once because you do not want to weaken it. If your starter will be sitting on the counter all day, do not feed it less than a 1:1 ratio; One part starter to one part fresh brown rice flour and water.  So, for example, if I have had 1/2 cup of starter in the fridge all week and I take it out to use it, I am going to feed it 1/2 cup of fresh brown rice flour and stir in enough water to make it the consistency I want it.  If you make it too thin, the extra water will rise to the top.
  • If your starter sits too long and the top gets dry and pinkish, use a spoon to ladle off the top and discard.  Transfer to a clean glass container and then feed.
  • What about discarding down the sink?  The yeast is amazing for your pipes and septic.  A friend of ours is a septic designer and he highly recommends it!  😉
  • Recipes are mixed up ahead of time, and ferment to allow the wild yeasts to do their magic.  They should not ferment for less than 7 hours before baking.  If you are in a time pinch, remember that sourdough is more active in warmer temperatures.  You can place dough next to a slow cooker or place in an oven that is OFF: if you have a gas oven that is kept warm by a pilot light, or if you have an electric oven you can turn the light on to keep warm.  If you feel the oven is too warm, just prop door open a smidge by placing an oven mitt in the way so it doesn’t close completely.  Remove to complete and bake when ready.  If you have a cool kitchen in the winter, then again, you will want to let your goods sour longer, or find a warm spot for them.  If you have a HOT kitchen, your products will be ready to bake sooner rather than later.

If you have questions or need clarification, please ask about it in the comments.  If you are wondering, someone else is bound to question the same thing!

Well, now you are ready to begin baking with your starter, and I am ready to begin sharing recipes!

Care instructions are available as a PDF for download here: How to care for your gluten free starter

 

Making a Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

It was 7 years ago that I decided to delve into the world of sourdough!  I was pregnant with Precious #6, and I took a sourdough e-course from GNOWFGLINS Traditional Cooking School.  The class was awesome!  The series began with teaching how to make a starter from scratch and then how to use that starter to make everything from breads to cakes.  The course included a pdf for those who learn best from reading, and it featured videos for visual junkies like me–I learn best from watching and doing.  I was able to cultivate a starter from spelt flour (a glutenous ancient grain), tried the recipes in the e-course, and soon converted my own recipes to this more healthful method of preparing breads.

At the time, we ate a lot of gluten free foods as well.  I had been wheat free for many years, but everything I read about gluten free sourdough, which used a brown rice starter, said it could be difficult to maintain and that it may require re-starting a starter now and then.  I am all for easy, so  No, thank you!  And so I was too intimidated to try.

When I HAD to go gluten free, I missed my sourdough!  Gluten free grains can be more gritty, and I knew my baked goods would not be as nutritious or digestible without the benefits of fermentation.  Eventually I decided to just try it, and I’m so glad I did!  No more guilt for whipping up quick breads, lol!  This gluten free sourdough thing is good, and as it turns out, it’s easy too!  My starter has been going strong for about two years and I have never had an issue.

After sharing a picture of some fresh bread on Facebook, I received a lot of requests for a recipe.  I plan to teach a local class in September, and will give starter to participants, but for anyone who is in a hurry or not local, I decided to share the steps to going gluten free sourdough with you.  The first thing you need is a starter!

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You will need:

Filtered water,

Clean glass mason jar  (for starting your starter!),

a paper towel or clean piece of fabric with a rubber band or jar ring to cover the jar,

brown rice flour,

and coconut water kefir.  If you do not have coconut water kefir, you can learn what that is and how to make it HERE.

Since I didn’t invent this Boosted Brown Rice Sourdough Starter, I’m going to send you to the web site that taught me.  You can find instructions over HERE at The Art of Gluten Free Sourdough Baking.

One thing I will add to her directions is:  Follow her directions exactly on the first day. However,  on the second day–on the second feeding and following when you feed your newly fermenting starter, before you add the 1/3 to 1/2 cup of brown rice and water, first remove and discard 1/3 to 1/2 cup of starter.  If you do not remove starter before feeding, you are going to be swimming in starter, and larger quantities of starter require being fed larger amounts.  So simplify and remove some starter before feeding.  You will know if your starter is healthy if it develops lots of airy bubbles throughout the jar.  You will be able to see these developing as it ages… less after being fed and more before the next feeding.

Here is a look at my thriving starter:

GF sourdough starter 1

And here is a top view.  The top looks a little dry.  It has been sitting, covered on my counter all day.  I’m ready to use some in a recipe for breakfast and then I will feed it.

GF sourdough starter 2

If creating your own gluten free sourdough starter is not something you feel like tackling right now, but you want to get started baking, you can buy a starter from Cultures for Health.  It will come with instructions that are easy to follow.

Starters are fermented, so definitely expect a sour smell.  It is unpleasant to some people, but I promise your finished baked goods will smell heavenly and taste yummy… rarely ever a sour flavor when you actually eat it!

If you have questions, please let me know in the comments below… someone else is bound to be wondering the same thing!

Good luck, have fun, and when you have a thriving starter you can come back here to try out some recipes with me!

 

 

 

How to Make Coconut Water Kefir

In my journey to health I spent a long time eating Body Ecology style, which eliminated some foods, included some lesser known foods, and incorporated proper food combining.   I still apply some of its principles to the meals I prepare for my family.  Body Ecology founder, Donna Gates, highly recommends coconut water kefir.  She sells it on her web site, but being who I am, I opted for affordability and the challenge of making it myself.

Not to be confused with coconut milk, coconut water is found in young green coconuts, before it is replaced with coconut meat.

I was told by a “sample lady” at Costco about one of her customers who had served in the military.  He said that in times of war, when no IV fluid was available, they used straight coconut water in the IV’s of the wounded due its purity and high electrolyte content. Bottled coconut water is not as ideal as fresh, but this is what I have to use.

Kefir 4

Coconut water contains some B vitamins, and is high in potassium and sodium which are good for adrenal health.  It is sweet, as it contains easily digested carbohydrates which is what makes it suitable, temporarily, for kefir grains.

The name Kefir means “feel good” in Turkish.  Kefir contains the essential amino acid tryptophan which helps calm the nervous system and is also used by the body to produce serotonin.  Serotonin affects mood, appetite, digestion, sleep, and memory.

There are two types of kefir grains.  One thrives in milk and the other in sugar water (called water kefir).  I have not made water kefir, though I someday hope to try it.  I already had dairy kefir grains and so I use them to make my coconut water kefir.  If you have an allergy or intolerance to milk, you may want to use water kefir.

A mixture of live yeasts and bacteria, kefir grains digest sugars in the beverage they are added to, fermenting it into a sour but probiotic rich drink.  Combining the coconut water and kefir gains you the benefits of both, but with less natural sugars.  It provides good bacteria to populate your gut where most of your immune system resides and it improves digestion along the way.

Kefir 1

Here you can see my kefir grains have been busy turning this milk into a thick kefir. They tend to float up toward the top.

I use a plastic mesh strainer that came with the Kefir Kit I bought from Cultures From Health to rinse my grains.  Never use metal with your kefir grains.  Use a plastic strainer, but store your grains in glass so that your kefir does not leach chemicals from the plastic.

Kefir 3

When I wash the grains under cool water, I use a wooden spoon or clean hands to rinse the milk off as best as possible.

Because milk kefir grains thrive in milk, it is important not to keep them out for too long. They do not convert the coconut water as quickly as they do milk.  The grains will float up and down in the liquid.  Milk kefir is ready to consume 12-24 hours after adding grains, depending on how thick and how sour you want it.  I leave my kefir grains in coconut water between 2-3 full days.  I often do 2 batches in a row so my fridge is stocked and then I promptly put the grains back into milk for one or two cycles to make sure they are fed well and strong before placing them back into the refrigerator to store.  If they spend too much time in the refrigerator they will lose their ability to ferment.  As long as I give mine a couple of days in milk on the counter every two or three weeks they are fine.

Kefir 6

Once your coconut water kefir is done fermenting, strain the grains out and add to a clean glass container to either make more coconut water kefir or refresh with milk. Store your finished products in the refrigerator.

Drink 1/4 cup in your Plexus Slim for a lemonaidy taste or with meals for better digestion.  My little ones beg to drink it anytime as they are accustomed to sour flavors and enjoy them.  I love this since I know I am giving them something that will protect their immune system and benefit them in many ways.

Are you ready to add this to your wellness routine?

If you do not already have kefir grains, or don’t know anyone who can share (they multiply over time) you can order a starter from Cultures For Health.  The grains come dehydrated with detailed directions on rehydrating and using.  The website also has many video tutorials and recipes for using their cultured products.

If you would like to read about more of the health protecting benefits of kefir, Dr. Axe has a good article.

If you plan to make a boosted rice sourdough starter, this coconut water kefir is what I used to create the starter.  Look for instructions in a future post!

Can you use milk kefir grains to make kefir from coconut milk?  Umm, yes.  I did it once with canned coconut milk.  It worked.  It was also one of the few things that ever made me gag!  😉  So, you can try it if you want to.  Maybe you will like it better than I!!