Anyway... we were disappointed to learn that Adelle's white-blood-cell count is still low. Those darn neutrophils are proving to be a stubborn lot. I was really hoping the gluten-free diet would help her tummy heal up, thus improving her immune system (70% of the immune system cells hang out around the lining of the gut). I still think her neutropenia is caused from a dietary source, and that gluten may or may not be part of the problem. So for the meantime, we'll continue a gluten-free diet for the family (James and I feel better off of gluten so it stands to reason that our girls feel better, too) and our next adventure will be going dairy-free. Many people with a gluten sensitivity also have an intolerance to dairy, not to mention that the protein in dairy, casein, is one of the hardest substances in the human diet to digest. Cow's milk casein has also been known to be inflammatory to the body, and if inflammation is involved, then the immune system is involved. So dairy-free the girls shall be.
Now I didn't talk to the hematologist about all of this because she would have thought I was absolutely crazy. And I'm not seeing the hematologist to get dietetic advice; I'm seeing her to get "the other side" of the story, the super-scientific, ultra-medical opinion just to cover our bases. Because let's face it, when your child has a medical issue, you leave no stone unturned in the quest to find a cure.
Anyway, the hematologist has continued to diagnose her with "Chronic Benign Neutropenia of Childhood." That's a mouthful for "long-term low neutrophils." The diagnosis gives us no other information, no cause for the neutropenia and no treatment to increase the neutrophils. It's a wait-and-see diagnosis, and considering the fact that Adelle has been otherwise healthy the past 7 months, I'm fine with that. According to the doctor, most children grow out of this around age 4 or 5. Adelle will be 4 in May, so I hope she's right! The best part about the visit was that we do not need to return to Riley unless Adelle begins developing problems again -- frequent fevers, skin infections, that sort of thing. I'm praying for a healthy daughter and NO MORE visits to the hospital. PLEASE.
Now down to the recipe business. Long ago, James and my brother came up with some kind of chili concoction that tasted pretty darn good. The only problem is that while it did contain some healthy ingredients, it was also loaded with processed ingredients like canned enchilada sauce (hello sodium). So James stripped the recipe down greatly to some basic components and what he got is a great pot full of delightfully simple chili. Enjoy.
1 1/2 lb beef chuck roast
2 T. vegetable or canola oil
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, minced
1 quart tomato juice
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
2 15-oz cans dark kidney beans, drained
2 T. chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp onion salt
1 T. garlic powder
1. Heat oil in a large dutch oven until shimmering. Cut beef into 1-inch pieces. In small batches, place meat into dutch oven and brown on all sides. Be sure not to crowd the dutch oven or the meat will steam and not brown properly. Place browned meat in a bowl and set aside.
2. In the dutch oven, saute onion and bell pepper until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato juice, tomatoes with juice, kidney beans, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and garlic powder. Stir to combine.
3. Return beef to the dutch oven and stir to combine. Bring to a light simmer and cover. Continue to cook on low for 4 hours (or all day), stirring occasionally.