Saturday, April 16, 2011

Daily Baby Steps #3

Daily Baby Steps
This is the beginning of a series of baby steps that everyone can do to move toward better health for yourself and your family. Some of these will be easy, no brainers!  Most are simply exchanging one thing for another or eliminating something from your now healthy diet. I will include information that I think pertains to the “Why” we should do something and I will include the swap details. Usually when you remove an item, it can be replaced with a healthy alternative.
I am not perfect. I hope these things help you and encourage you, but you may have a different opinion or just not feel good eating something. Please, trust your own body. I welcome your comments and suggestions!

Step #3 Start Reading Food labels
This is a great habit to get into. It is AMAZING how many things end up in your food without you knowing or even thinking about. Reading labels takes time. So, give yourself more time at the store to read them. You can also go to your cupboards and read the labels on the stuff you already have.
So, what do you see listed on your labels? Do you recognize them? Are there some things that you can't even pronounce let alone know what they are or why they are in your food?
These are great questions to ask yourself and to find out the answer too. I am not going to cover EVERY food additive or ingredient that MAY be in your food. But, guess what? You can find everything you want to know, and more, on the internet. I will probably cover most of the major offenders, but you should take charge of your health!

Why should I read food labels?
There are many reasons to read labels. It's good to pay attention to the sodium levels or sugar levels in your food. It's also good to pay attention to fiber and protein levels. But, for our purposes of eating healthy foods that feed our bodies and help us be healthy, we should read labels to know and understand what we are eating.
Knowledge is power!
You can get tuna without added salt and you can get canned fruit without added sugar. But, you have to pay attention. Over time, you will gravitate to only buying certain brands that have ingredients that you allow for your family and your reading time will get less and less.

The greatness of Brussels Sprouts!

Some of my family loves Brussels Sprouts, but not many of us! I typically roast some for either breakfast or lunch and they are all gone by the end of the day. I do have members of my family who are ardently opposed to Brussels sprouts and their smell. So, it helps for them to be cooked so the smell is gone by evening time.

In looking around the internet for info, I am finding some info about only cooking the sprouts for 6-7 minutes. This cooks them sufficiently but does not release that sulfurous smell. I will have to try that.

Here is some info about them, if you are interested.

You'll want to include Brussels sprouts as one of the cruciferous vegetables you eat on a regular basis if you want to receive the fantastic health benefits provided by the cruciferous vegetable family.

Brussels sprouts are members of the Brassica family and therefore kin to broccoli and cabbage. They resemble miniature cabbages, with diameters of about 1 inch. They grow in bunches of 20 to 40 on the stem of a plant that grows as high as three feet tall. Brussels sprouts are typically sage green in color, although some varieties feature a red hue.

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 179 kJ (43 kcal)
Carbohydrates 8.95 g
Sugars 2.2 g
Dietary fiber 3.8 g
Fat 0.30 g
Protein 3.38 g
Vitamin A equiv. 38 μg (4%)
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.139 mg (11%)*WOW!
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.090 mg (6%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.745 mg (5%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.309 mg (6%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 61 μg (15%)*WOW!
Vitamin C 85 mg (142%)*WOW!
Vitamin E 0.88 mg (6%)
Calcium 42 mg (4%)
Iron 1.4 mg (11%)
Magnesium 23 mg (6%)
Phosphorus 69 mg (10%)
Potassium 389 mg (8%)
Sodium 25 mg (1%)
Zinc 0.42 mg (4%)

Vegan White Cake Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup xylitol

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1 cup almond milk or rice milk

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar


  • 1 Heat oven to 350°F

  • 2 Prepare cake pan: Grease and flour the bottom of an 8" square pan.. OR double recipe and put in a 9"x13".

  • 3 Whisk together flour, xylitol, baking soda, and salt.

  • 4 Add oil, milk, and vanilla extract; whisk until no lumps appear and batter is smooth.

  • 5 Add vinegar, stir about seven times, and quickly pour into pan.

  • 6 Bake around 30 minutes, until cake begins to pull away from sides and/or toothpick inserted in the center pulls out clean.

  • Simple and delicious either plain or topped with all fruit jelly!

  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe

    I love Brussels sprouts roasted. They taste so rich! Here is my very simple recipe.

    To roast sprouts, put the oven on 400 or 375 degrees. Coat your baking pan lightly with olive oil and put your frozen brussels sprouts right in there. I just cut open the bag and pour them in. I roll the sprouts around in the oil a bit and put them in the oven for about 20 minutes.

    When you start smelling them, its time to sprinkle on some salt and garlic powder. I don't measure here, I just sprinkle it on and roll them around a little.
    Put them back in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until they are very brown and smell delicious.

    Rainbow Chicken Recipe

    This Rainbow Chicken Recipe looks great! I think we will be having this tomorrow night for dinner!
    Have you tried it? Let me know what you think!

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Dr. Mom

    I am a big believer in allowing the body to fight off illness whenever possible. I don't like giving my family medicines that either cause a problem to be masked or to go inward instead of outward. And, I certainly dislike giving something that actually causes damage to our health.
    I am Dr. Mom. I have no official training, but I have great research skills, resources, and connections! I have educated myself on a wide variety of subjects relating to my family's health and continue to do so. I have had great results!
    With all of that being said, this is a story about how I handled some medical issues with my family.
    This is a story about Justin, my 11 year son.
    We have discovered that he is having a problem with sugar and yeast. He has rashes on his hands that get hot and itchy when he eats harmful things like sugar or food coloring. So, as a team, we have been working on getting all of his rashes cleared up. Thanks to one of my resources, we started taking Candida Take Care(a cranberry extract) and noticed immediate improvement of his hands! Everyday they were a little bit better!
    Until Friday.
    On Friday, on a whim, Justin stopped at the corner convenience store and bought a prepackaged, sugar-laden, shelf stabilized baked good. Within half an hour, he had to go to the nurse because of itching and burning skin on his arms and hands. They called me and I took some medicine up to the school with me to treat it. I took: 1 cranberry extract(to kill the yeast), 1 fish oil(for vitamins to cut inflammation), 1 xymozyme(digestive aid), 1 probiotic capsule(to replenish good bacteria), and a bottle of vitamin E oil(to heal the skin). He took it all, we put the E oil on his hands and arms and in a short time, he felt better and went back to class. He stayed all day! Yay for Dr. Mom!
    However, when he got home from school, we noticed a small patch of red on his right cheek. It wasn't bothering him so we assumed it was just residual affects of eating the honey bun.
    But, Saturday morning, he woke up and was noticeably redder on his arms and his face. So, we repeated what we had done the day before. Unfortunately, as the day went on, he kept getting more and more red. Sunday morning, we decide that the situation needs some additional support. I contact our naturopath and do a little research and go get a homeopathic remedy. We have discovered that his skin doesnt want heat or cold. We tried an epsom salt bath, and it didnt help. He starts taking the homeopathic pills with a couple of Super Lysine tablets. Super Lysine is an immune booster with lots of Vitamin C and Lysine, an antiviral, as well as calcium and some other things. Between the two things, we are controlling the burning sensation and he is able to sleep.
    Monday morning, situation is continuing to get worse, believe it or not. At this point, I start feeling overwhelmed!!! (I also have a daughter home with a fever!) We try a different homeopathic remedy and get some Aloe Vera Juice to try to calm and heal his intestines. If all of this is on his skin, his intestines are also a mess!! We try Caladryl lotion and he runs screaming to the sink to wash it off. OK, we won't use that! I start realizing that he is worse after eating. We are putting Vitamin E oil on his arms and Borage Oil on his face for some relief.
    After researching, I realize that he is worse after eating probably because of fats. There are some hives that worsen from eating fat. So, we decide that we had better go to liquids until the hives are under control. The new homeopathic remedy(Urtica) doesnt help at all, so we go back to the first one, Apis.
    Our Naturopath talks to a Clinical Nutritionist who recommends Alkaseltzer Gold to stop the hives from forming. OK. I start looking for some! Took me awhile but I found it at Target. Got home and he took the first dose and started feeling a little better almost immediately. It takes away some of the burning sensation. He takes another one before bed and another one in the middle of the night so he can sleep.
    The sores on his face have started oozing and his face feels tight. I think that the redness is softening now and his burning and itching levels have gone way down.
    In order to get this far with Justin, I have had to ask alot of questions. Like, where does it itch or burn? Do you feel any swelling in your tongue or throat? On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate the itching or burning? Did that treatment seem to help? Does this treatment sting or burn? Lots, and lots of questions.

    So, would you like to know what would happen if we went to a traditional Dr. office? I know some of you are probably wondering why I didnt take him, so lets explore this option.
    I am confident that they would have given him steriods, either in a cream or a shot or a pill. We have a family allergy to Benedryll, so that is not an option. What do steroids actually do? Do they heal the body? No. Do they stop the hives from burning and itching? Yes. But, at what cost? That burning and itching is coming from somewhere and has to go somewhere. If we stop it from coming out his skin, it will come out somewhere else. Maybe not today, maybe we won't notice it for a long time. But, someday, there will be consequences of redirecting this reaction. In my research, I found that quite often, when this type of reaction is suppressed, it goes to the lungs.
    Guess what? There is no treatment or cure for hives. It is a natural bodily response to an allergen. The only thing you can do is let it run its course and try to alleviate some symptoms if you can(with the patients health in mind). Of course, figuring out the allergen can be tricky and trying to put out the fire can help(thats why we are giving alkaseltzer gold). But, in the end, I just have to trust his body to know what to do to heal itself. That is the goal here! Our bodies can and do heal themselves. It's hard, as a mom, to not panic and watch helplessly as your child suffers. I KNOW!
    There are some warning signs that come along with hives or rash that DO require medical intervention. I feel I should mention them so that everyone knows that I know and so I know that you know.
    *If a person with hives has trouble breathing, they should go to the emergency room. Without oxygen, your body cannot function, let alone heal itself.
    *If there is a fever involved, it is possible that you are then dealing with infection and not an allergic reaction. If there is a fever, go to the Dr. I know that measles have rash and fever and I know that I am not equipped to deal with measles.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    A dud recipe!

    Have you ever made something that you thought was going to be amazing and make your whole family praise your efforts, only to find out that most of your family dislikes what you have made?
    Yes, I'm sure you know what I am talking about. It happened at my house at lunchtime today.

    I made Sweet Potato and Black Bean burritos from the cookbook, Clean Food. Sounds amazing right? Roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, tomato, red onion, lime juice, corn tortillas, salsa, and homemade cashew cheese. Super yum!

    Well, it only got a 3 out of 8 rating. I LOVED it and so did Justin. But, guess what? It won't ever be made again in my house. Unfortunately, that is the reality of living with so many people! If a recipe doesn't at least get a majority vote, its cast off the island. Sorry Charle!

    Maybe, someday, I will find another Sweet Potato and Black bean burrito lover out there...

    Daily Baby Steps #2

    Daily Baby Steps
    This is the beginning of a series of baby steps that everyone can do to move toward better health for yourself and your family. Some of these will be easy, no brainers!  Most are simply exchanging one thing for another or eliminating something from your now healthy diet. I will include information that I think pertains to the “Why” we should do something and I will include the swap details. Usually when you remove an item, it can be replaced with a healthy alternative.
    I am not perfect. I hope these things help you and encourage you, but you may have a different opinion or just not feel good eating something. Please, trust your own body. I welcome your comments and suggestions!

    Baby Step #2 is removing Aspartame from your food.

    Aspartame, aka NutraSweet, is an artificial sweetener that is WIDELY used. You will probably find it challenging to buy food for your family that doesn't contain it. Remember, you can do anything that you decide you need to do! Don't give up! Try looking at various brands to see if they list aspartame as an ingredient. You will be surprised at the differences in the food labels for the same item from different manufacturers! You may end up needing to look in the natural/organic areas of your grocery store.

    Why? There are many reasons why a person trying to live a healthy life would avoid aspartame. The first one is that it is a chemical created in a lab to provide us with a sugar-substitute that is actually cheaper than sugar. Anything created by combining chemicals should not be considered food, in my opinion.
    If you research aspartame, you will find a lot of different sites railing against it's use and against the company that produces it, Monsanto. If you want to research, please do. Be prepared to see many conflicting stories and an out and out food war.. If you didn't know about food wars before, you will see it for yourself.

    And that brings me to my second reason why a healthy family shouldn't be eating aspartame: the mere fact that it's so highly debated and yet, our government still says it perfectly healthy!! Amazingly enough, aspartame is in everything. If you read labels, you will see what I am talking about. This is big business at it's best.

    So what will be in our food instead of aspartame? Honestly, for your second baby step, just eliminate the aspartame. I realize that this may mean you get actual sugar or high fructose corn syrup. But, for some people, one thing at a time is enough! You can just focus on the aspartame.
    If you are already at the point that you don't eat sugar or high fructose corn syrup, or sucralose, there are other sweeteners that don't raise your blood sugar, are low or no calorie, and are perfectly healthy. Stevia and Xylitol are the two that we use. Other healthy sweeteners include: organic maple syrup, raw coconut syrup, raw honey, brown rice syrup, and fruit juices. I may be missing some, but this is a general list.

    Believe it or not, almost all gum has aspartame! But, there are some that don't. We have resorted to a xylitol gum that we get at the health store.

    Don't get overwhelmed! One thing at a time! Just start removing the aspartame!

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    An old friend...celery!

    What do you think about celery?

    Well, I am reminded what a good friend celery is to me today. Celery is an old friend, from way back, who gets forgotten about in the bottom of the fridge. It's important that I not forget about my Celery or it gets limp and lifeless, just laying there. It still has its uses, but it loses its pizzazz and I end up turning to another veggie friend.

    I adore Celery for breakfast. I always have veggies for breakfast, but celery has got to be my star. See, its easy, portable, and crunchy. It also fills me up and tides me over. Not to mention all of the actual vitamins and minerals that are packed into that little green stick. I can dip it, crunch it, and use it in so many ways...all in less time than it took me to write this blog post!!

    Do you want the low down on celery? Here is what I found:

    Nutrition Facts
    • Serving Size: 1 cup diced celery (120.0g)*Probably about one large stick
    • Amount Per Serving
    • Calories 19
    • Calories from Fat 2
    % Daily Value*
    • Total Fat 0.2g 0%
    • Saturated Fat 0.1g 0%
    • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
    • Monounsaturated Fat 0.0g
    • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
    • Sodium 96mg4%
    • Total Carbohydrates 3.6g 1%
    • Dietary Fiber 1.9g 8%*WOW!!
    • Sugars 2.2g
    • Protein 0.8g
    • Vitamin A 11%*WOW!!
    • Vitamin C 6%
    • Calcium 5%*WOW!!
    • Iron 1%
    * Based on a 2000 calorie diet

    "The practitioner of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his or her patients in the care of the human frame(motion), in a proper diet(nutrition), and in the cause and prevention of disease(education)." Thomas Edison

    Daily Baby Steps #1

    This is the beginning of a series of baby steps that everyone can do to move toward better health for yourself and your family. Some of these will be easy, no brainers!  Most are simply exchanging one thing for another or eliminating something from your now healthy diet. I will include information that I think pertains to the “Why” we should do something and I will include the swap details. Usually when you remove an item, it can be replaced with a healthy alternative.
    I am not perfect. I hope these things help you and encourage you, but you may have a different opinion or just not feel good eating something. Please, trust your own body. I welcome your comments and suggestions!

    #1 Remove table salt from your diet! Don't cook with it, bake with it, eat it or use it on or in your body in any way. Replace with sea salt with minerals. This will look like dirty salt. It's not white. You are looking for gray or pink with speckles of other colors in it. This tastes and acts exactly the same as table salt in all your recipes and uses. We use Real Salt Natures Sea Salt and its available in all grocery stores that carry health foods. It comes in a pouch that has clear patches where you can see the salt particles. Any brand of Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Sea Salt is perfect. Don't reach for the Hain's or Morton's sea salt or anything that packages the sea salt so you cannot see it.

    There are some good uses for table salt that do not put it in or on your body. The main one that I can think of off the top of my head is to rid your home of fleas. Put trays of table salt on the floor around your home and leave them there. The fleas jump in and never come out! Trust me, this works, I have done it!

    Why switch? Table salt is highly processed. They have taken the minerals out and sometimes replaced it with iodine, but not always. Table salt ends up absorbing vitamins and minerals from your body as it travels along. This is how your body rids itself of this foreign body. Table salt definitely does not feed your body or give it nutrients. That is our goal, right? To eat only those things that feed our bodies by giving us vitamins and minerals.

    Now, go take your baby step!!

    Quick note of awesomeness

    I haven't posted on Facebook about my weight in a long time. I also quit using the online exercise tools. Why? Because I can't lose weight. I would lose 2 lbs overnight and gain it back in a day. How is that possible? I would exercise and exercise, but still the same result.

    Well, I am now officially losing weight! I have lost just over 10lbs. Its slow and gradual and I am not weighing myself everyday. Why? Because I am finally getting healthy.

    I eat high protein, low carb, high vegetable. This works for me and my family. It keeps our blood sugar steady all day. It took a long time to realize this. But, I think even more important than that is getting treatment for my thyroid AND treating a massive candida infection that I didnt know I had*. I will post more about all of this as the days go by. But, I have to say that it is amazing how great I feel now that I am almost candida free...or should I say, now that the candida is back where it belongs. *I say this because there is an important role that health practitioners have in our health. Without blood testing and other forms of determining health irregularities, we are blind when it comes to our own health. I could eat as healthy as humanly possible and still gain weight if my thyroid or other parts of my system, are malfunctioning. I personally would encourage everyone to find a Naturopath that they trust.

    I am happy to be losing weight and I am happy that it isn't a fad diet that is causing it. It is just my life and my body gravitating to whatever a healthy weight for me is. Imagine that!

    Have a blessed day! And know that you have the power to change your own health!

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Motivating Conversations, part 2

    In my haste last night, to actually start blogging, I left out a few other pieces of the conversation puzzle.

    It is amazing how you feel yourself going in a direction, in life, and then things happen to confirm your suspicions!

    I have been lightly talking with my family about becoming a nutritionist, although not in the traditional sense of the word. But, a holistic nutritionist. I didnt have a better term for it until yesterday. When, low and behold, I was sitting in the dentists office and Andi handed me a magazine and we looked up an article about 7 ways to better hair. LOL. But, seriously, the article AFTER the hair one, was about a woman who was CEO of Chanel and quit because her priorities changed and she decided that she was tired of being sick. She went to college online and once a month in an actual classroom to become certified in Integrated Nutrition. Oh! That's what its called!
    Well, This woman is now completely healthy and has helped her whole family become healthy and is now rolling in the dough! She is charging almost $200 per hour of consultation on health topics. Her day of learning along side of her is almost $2000!

    Well, it was a reminder to me that I am supposed to be moving toward this elusive health and nutrition deal. AND, that health is not just for the rich, its for everyone.

    I plan on checking out that college sometime soon. But, I kinda like just being a woman that cares about people and is offering to help them learn what she has already learned. And, I will be the first to admit, that I don't know it all.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Motivating Conversations

    Don't you love it when a plan comes together? Even if it wasn't necessarily your plan, it becomes your plan when you see it all fall into place in front of you! That's what happened to me today.

    I had a great talk with my sister. During our conversation, things that have been floating around inside my head, suddenly started making sense in the bigger picture of my life and future. But, for anyone to understand all of this, I need to give a little background info.

    As many of you already know, I have been into the healthy foods lifestyle for at least 8 years. During this time, I have been through a wide variety of "healthy" ideas. I have been there and back again! We could eat this way and then we couldn't. We needed to avoid these things, and then they were fine. UGH!

    It started as a search for answers to cure my daughters eczema and has grown with knowledge and experience to include our entire family and our overall health. Yes, our Andrea no longer has eczema. But, even more than that, our family now knows how important real food is to overall health!

    But, it came with a price. A VERY high price. All of these things that we have been through have cost us a pretty penny. But, it shouldn't be that way. The information we have gained through all of this is information that everyone should have access too regardless of how much money they have to spend on health. And maybe in some respects they do. But, it can't hurt to put another voice out there with useful info that can bridge the gap! This is part of what has been swirling in my head.

    The other parts include some things that are not clearly defined for me yet. But, includes providing healthy food and resources for those who rely on the government or food pantries for their sustenance. Why can the rich be healthy and afford real food while the poorest of the poor are receiving scraps of mutated fillers that can barely even be called food?? Somehow, we must get beyond meeting people's basic human need of food and get to giving them real nourishment. Many needy people shun the cans of black beans or canned pumpkin at the food pantry. Why?? They don't understand how to use it or why they should bother. Most people wouldn't just eat black beans or pumpkin straight out of the can. We would use it to make delicious dishes that would nourish us and help us achieve real health. But, often, these people don't have that knowledge. That's not even addressing the fact that those canned black beans are LOADED with sodium. But, I can go to the grocery store and buy organic canned black beans that have less than half that amount of sodium AND its sodium from sea salt(a health food). Oh, don't get me started!!!! I can get all in a tizzy over here.

    Many of you have been after me to start writing for quite sometime now and I have put it off. I am not sure what I have to offer. But, I promise that what I write will be from personal experience and not just something someone, somewhere said. And, I hope to encourage you and myself to continue living life to the fullest and keep journeying into Healthy Food Freedom!!