Monday, December 5, 2011

Hello Gluten...My Fingers are Crossed!

We tried a gluten free & casein free diet and noticed no noticeable difference.  I know it makes a huge difference for a lot of people and I admit we weren't 100% perfect but pretty close.  So my son going back on gluten & some dairy.  My wallet is grateful since it is not cheap to eat gluten and dairy free.  Seriously eating healthy is expensive, especially when you are feeding a family of 7.  We are going to remain sugar & refined foods free.  We'll reevaluate after a few days and see if going back on gluten has any negative effects.  My fingers are crossed hoping gluten isn't the culprit.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Aebleskivers - A modified family favorite

Aebleskivers are a family favorite. They are Danish Pancakes that are round like a ball. We love them! But here's a hint... Don't buy the pan that is $8.99 on It doesn't work well, spend the at least $25 and get a good pan!  I had to throw my $9 pan away - it just didn't do the job.

Here is the recipe we always used growing up.

1 1/4 C. Flour
2 1/4 t. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Salt
2 T. Sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 Egg
1 C. Milk
6 T. Melted Butter
Combined flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon. Add egg, milk and 2 T. of the butter and stir until smooth. Bake in an aebleskiver pan using the rest of the butter to grease the pan. Serve with homemade raspberry jam. Sprinkle with powder sugar if desired.

These are even good if you make a "healthy" version like I do now with whole wheat flour mixed with ground flax seed, no butter added, milk instead of water and honey instead of sugar.  Yeah I know we eat awfully strange now.

Go buy a pan and try this recipe. They are so good!

Strawberry Ice Cream

We found an ice cream recipe we like even better than the Maple Pecan one. This one is much creamier. I think we've made this a dozen times in the last few weeks.

Strawberry Ice Cream
1 cup raw Cashews
1 cup pitted dates (Costco now carries these by their dried fruit & granola bars)
2 cups water + more water if needed
1/2 cup white or pinto beans
1 tsp vanilla
12+ Large Frozen Strawberries

Soak nuts and dates in 2 cups of water for 4 hours or more to ease blending. Blend nuts, dates, beans, water & vanilla in high powered blender until smooth. Add more water if needed to thin and dilute to desired richness. Add frozen strawberries and more water if needed, blend until smooth. Freeze in an ice cream freezer.

WORD OF CAUTION: Do not eat if you are allergic to any of these ingredients! My nephew was here this weekend and after eating this ice cream we discovered he likely has a cashew allergy.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Finally a Real Winner - Maple Pecan Ice Cream

I've tried a lot of recipes in the past few months.  I like most of them as does my husband.  Usually one or two of the kids will like something as well.  But it is really rare that I make something "healthy" that everyone loves.  Even rarer to have them begging for more.

Perhaps I'm just trying the wrong kind of recipes....

Today I made Maple Pecan Ice Cream which was demonstrated at last month's Health for Life Cooking Class.  Usually I try a recipe at the class and love it but when I actually make it at home it doesn't turn out quite as well.  Thankfully I think this recipe is error proof.

Maple Pecan Ice Cream
1 cup raw Pecans
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup white or pinto beans
4 cups ice water
2 Tbsp real maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
a pinch of salt (optional)

Seriously looking at those ingredients would you thing this would be any good?  I wouldn't.  I didn't even tell my kids what was in it until they had tried and loved it.

Blend all ingredients in 3 cups of ice water until smooth.  Add remaining water plus more if needed to thin and dilute to desired richness.  Freeze in an ice cream freezer.  Top with chopped pecans if desired.
*Soak nuts and dates in water for 4 hours or more to ease blending.

This is a 5 star recipe!! It only makes about 4 cups of ice cream which is all the Cuisinart Ice Cream Freezer will hold so everyone got 1/2 a cup of ice cream and was begging for more. I just started soaking more dates and pecans so we can make this again tonight!

Earlier this summer I bought a regular ice cream freezer at Wal-Mart but I never opened it. When I saw how easy and fast the Cuisinart Ice Cream Freezer worked I returned my unopened ice cream freezer to Wal-Mart and ordered a Cuisinart Freezer off

It's been sitting on a shelf for the past month until I finally decided that yes it was something I really wanted and was going to use and keep.

I must admit I also wondered if purchasing my Vitamix was wise decision. I've had it for 2 months and I use it at least once a day. I make green smoothies, tortilla soup, pancake batter, grind up nuts, grains and dates... For the amount of cooking I do it is well worth it!  Costco has the best deal I've found but had a close second.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cooking, cooking and more cooking

How did over a month go by so quickly.  The kids are back in school and I had hoped life would slow down but it didn't.  I've found no time to blog.

I now spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  Today I made chicken and rice soup, salad, stir fry and homemade salsa.  Trying to have enough healthy food on hand for the kids to eat is tough but we're doing great most of the time.  There are days when I just want to order pizza for dinner but that's not an option on a gluten free, dairy free diet...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Spaghetti Squash

One of my good friends raided her dad's garden for me.  She brought me several bags of fresh produce including 2 spaghetti squash.  We'd never eaten spaghetti squash before and honestly my expectations were very low because I'm not a huge squash fan.  Last night I cooked up one of them and served it with Spaghetti Sauce.

Surprisingly everyone in my family ate this without complaint.  It's not as good as really spaghetti but makes a great healthy alternative.  Once is is doused in spaghetti sauce it doesn't even taste "squashy".

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Book Review - Wellness on a Shoestring

Whatever your financial resources the power to improve your health is within you. It's in every choice you make, in every moment. Michelle Robin shows you how to harness your inner voice as you practice seven essential habits for complete well-being. Read stories from real people, at all income levels, who've adopted these practices—using little money—and seen their health dramatically improve. Better yet, follow the tips at the end of each chapter to create a lifestyle that leads to a phenomenal experience of body, mind and spirit.

Dr. Michelle Robin is chief wellness officer and founder of Your Wellness Connection, one of the nation's most successful healing centers, focusing on integrative healing disciplines such as chiropractic, Chinese medicine, massage therapy, functional medicine, counseling, nutrition and wellness coaching, and movement arts.

This was a well done book. I didn't come across anything "new" in this book but surprisingly I did agree with everything the author suggested. There is nothing really controversial in this book unless you think all alternative health providers and chiropractors are quacks because there are a few alternative medical suggestions given. There is a Christian feel to this book but it's not preachy or aimed at any specific religion.

The ideas were simple and things most everyone could easily do to improve their health: get more sleep, drink more water, exercise, eat more greens, get enough Omega 3 & Vitamin D, declutter your life, etc. If you a looking for a book that won't overwhelm you but will get you on the right track to living a more healthy life this is a good place to start.  We've already tried to implement all the suggestions in this book but it was a good reminder of a few things I should be doing better.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dehydrated Mangoes

Dehydrated Mangoes - A lot of work but they were so yummy!  Kim is always begging me to buy mangoes at Costco but they have added sugar so I refuse to buy them.  Instead I made my own.  They were really yummy but were gone way too fast!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vidalia Chop Wizard Shout Out

Finally an As Seen on TV product that actually lives up the hype!

I absolutely love this new tool. April at the Health for Life cooking class swore by her Vidalia Chop Wizard.

Since we've been eating a lot of vegetables in stir fry and soups lately it seems like I've been endless chopping vegetables. I tried the slap chop and while it is a fun tool and great for small jobs it is too much work to make a huge pot of soup or stir fry. My hand was sore after the last batch of salsa I made with it.

I made a huge amount of stir fry vegetables yesterday and was seriously surprised at how well the Vidalia Chop Wizard worked. I easily chopped twice as many vegetables as I usually do in half he amount of time. So worth the $20 I paid for it!

My only warning is the blades are super sharp. I tried to flick a small piece of vegetable off the blade and sliced my finger. Next time I'll use the tool they included for cleaning off the blades, it worked much better than my finger did.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kale & Quinoa Salad

My husband and I loved dinner last night. The kids on the other hand were not so impressed.

I decided to try a recipe from the Health for Life Cooking class I went to last week. It was my favorite thing that April made: Mediterranean Kale & Millet Salad.

I had to modify it a little because I didn't have any millet and could not find any at Wal-mart. And I forgot to grab a red pepper so I left it out. I substituted quinoa for the millet. It still turned out so yummy.

The only problem is I forgot how much this makes. There were 7 adults at the class and we only ate half the salad. So with just my husband and I and 5 kids who each ate a couple bites it meant we had alot of leftovers. I took some to 2 of my neighbors who I thought might actually eat it and put the rest in my fridge. It was still delicious even day old when I had it for lunch today.

So here is the original recipe by April Ashcroft

Mediterranean Kale and Millet Salad
1 cup uncooked millet (I substituted quinoa and couldn't tell the difference)
6 oz. or more of kale
1 14 oz can black olives
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup tightly packed basil leaves, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper diced (I forgot to buy this so it got left out)
1 red onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cups white beans (great northern or navy)
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
more lemon juice if needed (I had only bought 1 lemon and would have added more lemon juice if I had another lemon)
1/2 tsp salt

Boil 2 cups water in a medium sauce pan. Add millet, reduce heat to low and simmer until millet is tender. Let cool.
Finely chop kale and transfer to a large bowl. Chop olives and add to kale along with the lemon juice. With both hands massage kale, lemons and olives very well until bright green and tender (like kneading bread). Mix in basil, remaining vegetables, beans and corn.* Add salt and more lemon juice if desired.
*Mix in the frozen corn with the cooked millet to thaw corn and cool the millet before adding to the salad.

RX Reformer - Gwen Olsen

The more I read the more turned off I am by drug companies...

Another great video with Gwen can be found HERE.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Composting + Recycling + Whole Foods = No Trash?

It's garbage day tomorrow. I just went to take our garbage out to the street and it was empty.  There was one bag of garbage in the kitchen trash can that I put in the bin and took out.  Our recycle bin on the other hand is overflowing and it is not even pick up week for recycling. Recycling is only picked up every other week.  We used to fill 2 full garbage cans every week.  I think we would do better now with recycle pick up weekly and trash pick up every other week.

Utah is not the "greenest" state, at least not down south. You have to pay for curbside recycling. Thankfully it's not that expensive so I finally broke down and signed up for pickup. It makes it so I actually recycle. It is just too much work to haul it all to the recycle bins by the grocery store so I never did it.

All the kitchen scraps are going in to the compost bin and all the cardboard, plastic, cans, paper, etc. are going into the recycle so that leaves very little to go in the actual garbage can.  Since we're not eating much processed food we have very little that is actual trash.

Sugar Blues

Another post on sugar...

I was checking out a few blogs today and came across this quote that was posted on The Nourishing Gourmet

Refined sugar is lethal when ingested by humans because it provides only that which nutritionists describe as empty or naked calories. In addition, sugar is worse than nothing because it drains and leeches the body of precious vitamin and minerals through the demands its digestion, detoxification, and elimination make upon one’s entire system. So essential is balance to our bodies that we have many ways to provide against the sudden shock of a heavy intake of sugar. Minerals, such as sodium (from salt), potassium and magnesium (from vegetables) and calcium (from the bones) are mobilized and used in chemical transmutation; neutralizing acids are produced which attempt to return the acid-alkaline balance factor of the blood to a more normal state. Sugar taken every day produces a continuously overacid condition and more and more minerals are required from deep in the body in the attempt to rectify the imbalance. Finally, in order to protect the blood, so much calcium is taken from the bones and teeth that decay and general weakening begin.
~ From The Sugar Blues by William Dufty

It was really good timing because I was starting to feel weak. My daughter and I just got back from the grocery store and while there I was ready to buy some candy at the checkout stand. I resisted but it reinforced what I already knew... shopping while hungry is not a good idea and refined sugar is bad for us.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Nicole Sender!

She won my Freedom Giveaway.

The Ultramind Solution by Dr. Hyman

Another great book:

The Ultramind Solution by Mark Hyman.

I'm really impressed with Dr. Hyman and the information he has on health & diet.  There are lots of videos on youtube & on his website.

Glutathione - I'd never heard of it until Dr. Schneider put my son on it.

More info that goes right along with the book Gut & Psychology Syndrome.

Since changing the way we eat neither my husband nor I have heartburn anymore.

Got Milk? versus Don't Drink Your Milk!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Slap Chop & Homemade Salsa

I succumbed to one of those As Seen on TV ads... I bought a Slap Chop.  At the current price of $8.90 on with free super saver shipping it is not a bad deal. I don't think it is worth the $20 plus shipping that it is advertised for, but I needed another item to hit $25 for free shipping so I added a Slap Chop to my order.

I used it to make homemade salsa today.  I chopped up the onion and then my 11 year old daughter came in and thought it was cool and wanted to try it.  She chopped up 3 tomatoes for me.  The advertisement said it was easy enough for a child to use but I think a young child would have trouble chopping up some items.  You really have to whack it to get it to cut all the way through the tomato skin.

So here is the results:

Black Bean & Corn Salsa
1 large red onion
3 tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of organic frozen corn
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
sea salt

I'm looking for a healthy alternative to chips.  We used Costco's organic corn chips but they are a fried food and thus not a healthy choice.  I've come across a couple recipes but it seems like a lot of work to make them from scratch.  The easier option being baking or drying corn tortillas.  I hope the healthiness of the salsa partly counteracts the unhealthiness of the chips.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Another Day Gone By... Meals & Azure Standard

Today's meals:
Breakfast was oatmeal with honey &/or green smoothies
Lunch was left over stew & salad with sprouts
Dinner was beef stir fry served over quinoa & rice
Snacks were fresh fruit, bread and non-dairy chocolate frosties

It was almost all "whole food" and everyone got lots of "raw" food so overall I'd say it was a good day.   Once again it felt like I spent forever in the kitchen and I'm once again behind on my dishes.

I decide to place an order with  I heard from 2 people recently that it is a good source for  bulk natural foods.  I ended up spending a couple hours looking through their website and comparing prices before deciding that their products seem like a good deal.  I placed a large order for everything from nuts and grains to fruit and beans.  At least I'll feel like some of my food storage has been restocked since I gave away almost everything that was refined & processed.

Non-Dairy Chocolate Frosty

One of the recipes from the VSU demo last week was for a Non-Dairy Chocolate Frosty.  It is a hot day today and the kids were out in the backyard playing in the hot tub and on the trampoline so it seemed like a good day to try this recipe on them.

It was a hit with 4 out of 7 of the members of my family.  My husband didn't really like the taste but he drank it.  My oldest son tasted it and screwed up his nose at it.  My youngest didn't want to drink it. 

Amazingly enough my picky eater actually drank it. I even have proof in a picture!

I liked this treat although I think it would be better if I had a high powered blender because it would have been a little smoothier. 

Non-Dairy Chocolate Frosty
Recipe by Lisa Mickelson

1 cup raw almonds soaked 8 hours
2 cups water
2-3 Tbls cocoa powder
3 frozen bananas
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 - 1/3 cups agave nectar (I used raw honey instead)
2 cups ice

Put all ingredients in blender and blend about 15-20 seconds (I used my regular blender which is not a high powered one so I blended for at least a minute).

Makes 6 servings - 161 calories 43% fat, 47% carbs, 9% protein

The Body Ecology Diet

I got a copy of The Body Ecology Diet in the mail this week and am very interested in what I'm reading in it! Hopefully it will give me some new ideas and continued motivation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cooking Class

Wow was tonight's cooking class awesome! Seriously I watched what went into each of these recipes and wondered if it would be edible. So many vegetables and other ingredients I've never used before.

I was pleasantly surprised that everything was delicious! I'll definitely be going back to another one of April's classes.

Photos are from April's blog Health for Life Cooking

Cucumber Tomato Salad - I'm not a cucumber fan but still enjoyed this salad with yummy dressing.

Eggless Salad Wrap - I was sure I wouldn't like this one but was proven wrong.  It was really good.

Millet & Kale Salad - This was my favorite - I'll be making this for sure!

Red White & Blueberry Parfait - Delicious dessert, I think my kids will eat it.

Vegetable Beef Stew

Dinner is neither vegetarian or raw but it tastes good.  It is gluten & dairy free so at least it has some merit.

Olive Oil
Stew Meat
Salt, Pepper & Spices

I won't be eating it since I'm off to a Health for Life cooking class hoping to find at least 1 new recipe that everyone will eat.

Stir Fry & Homemade Pomegranate Lemonade

Today's Lunch:
Homemade Pomegranate Lemonade
Juice from 3 lemons
1 cup 100% Pomegranate Juice
5 droppers of Stevia extract
Enough water to make a 1/2 gallon

This is my healthy alternative when the kids want juice to drink. We normally just drink filtered water but sometimes it's nice to have an alternative. This is really good!  We have made it without the Pomegranate juice by using 1 cup of lemon juice, stevia & water.  It doesn't last long.

Chicken Stir Fry
Olive Oil
Red Onion
Sugar Snap Peas

Served over Rice & Quinoa

I simply start with Olive Oil and then add the ingredients in the order listed. While the onions are starting to cook I cut up the chicken, then while the chicken is starting to cook I chop the celery, etc.

When it's served we add salt &/or soy sauce for flavor.

This is a huge hit with my teenage boys.  Everyone in my family will eat it and likes it except for my picky 11 year old daughter.  She eats the required one small serving and then fixes herself something else.

It turns out a little different each time because I use what vegetables I have on hand.  This version was very heavy on the vegetables on light on the chicken.  I'm not a huge vegetable fan but I love them fixed this way.

Fermented Foods - Sauerkraut

I've read tons about the importance of eating fermented foods. I've made homemade yogurt and kefir but my son's doctor wants him off of all dairy. He's on a high quality probiotic to introduce the good bacteria into his system but I want to add them through his diet too. Yesterday I learned how to make sauerkraut.

I've never even eaten sauerkraut! But we are going to try it.

I started out with just one jar.  I had 2 heads of cabbage from bountiful baskets so I used 1 1/2 heads to make a jar of sauerkraut.  It was fairly simple to do.
There are tons of recipes online so I read several of them and then cut the recipe down so I could make just one jar.

All you do is shred the cabbage, add salt and mash it down.  Really simple.


I've read a lot about the benefits of sprouting so I decided to give it a try.  I bought 2 sprouters - one was just a glass jar that was cheap and the other was a Sprout Master.  If you are going to sprout I highly recommend the Sprout Master - it is so much easier than a jar.

This is the Sprout Master with my sprouts.  This is a little over 24 hours after I got them started.  Tomorrow we'll be eating them.  I'm not sure what we'll do with them.  My 5 year old just sampled them and through they were great plain.
This is the jar I bought.  I doubt I'll be using it again because the Sprout Master works much better.  I can't figure out how to rinse the sprouts properly.

There are lots of sites that go into great detail on how to sprout.  Just do a google search and you'll find a wealth of information.

Apple Cider Vinegar

I've been reading about the health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar. I don't doubt the benefits but boy is it nasty tasting to drink.

The basic recipe:
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. honey
8 oz. water

It was suggested to get our son drinking this so I tried it this morning before giving it to him. There is no way he will drink it! I managed to get half the glass down before I gave up and gave the rest to my husband to drink.  Perhaps it is an acquired taste and I'll get used to it.

Here are some of the touted benefits from

Kill Or Be Killed
One of the biggest things apple cider vinegar is known for is its ability to kill free radicals in the body. Free radicals are the cause of many deadly illnesses such as cancer, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.

Balance Is Bliss
Alkalinity is a very important aspect of good health. When the body becomes alkaline, a lot of ailments tend to disappear. Some of these would include headaches, chronic fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, and joint pain. Drinking apple cider vinegar will turn up the body alkaline and help reduce and even eliminate these symptoms altogether.

Toughen the Bones
When apple cider vinegar is mixed with fruits, vegetables and meats, it ends up extracting calcium from them. This helps increase bone mineral density. This is beneficial for older people, especially women with osteoporosis.

Fruit and Fiber
Apple cider vinegar has a substance in it called pectin, a fruit fiber. This helps to reduce elevated cholesterol levels. To make matters better, it even helps to regulate blood pressure.

Twice As Nice
Apple cider vinegar has potassium. This has a two fold benefit. First of all, it helps to strengthen nails and teeth. It stimulates hair growth. It helps alleviate sinusitis and a runny nose. The other thing it does is help eliminate toxins from the body. People who are trying to cleanse or detox their systems can really benefit from this fact.

Natural Weight Loss
Apple cider vinegar also aids in weight loss. This is very important to the obese population. It actually emulsifies and helps break down fat cells, causing natural weight reduction as opposed to resorting to more riskier extremes.

I've checked several Vinegar books out of the library so perhaps I'll find a way to incorporate it into our diet that is more appetizing.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Freedom Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my Freedom Hop Giveaway.
 This hop is hosted by my book review site I Am A Reader Not A Writer & by Simply Stacie.

I've received several books for review that have to deal with health & exercise.  I'm so far behind in my reviews I haen't had the chance to read these yet.  I'm offering the winner of this giveaway their choice of one of these books.

ARC of Get Energy by Denise Austin

29 Days to Your Perfect Weight by Michele Bertolin & Richard Fast

30-Day Method by Tracy Anderson

Portable Pediatrician by William Sears

To enter just leave a comment on this post. Make sure there is a way I can contact you if you win. Open to US only.

There are over 200 blogs each hosting a book giveaway. The hop officially runs from July 1st to 7th.

Website: Power Of Food

I was adventurous today and tried out a recipe from Adam Hart's Power of Food. He has a lot of great videos on how to make raw & healthy foods.

I had all but one ingredient on hand already to make his energy bars so while out I stopped by the health food store to pick up some hemp seeds.

The ingredients are dates, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and ground flax. They turned out ok. I'll eat them and I'm sure my husband will. The kids aren't too sure yet but I'll keep encouraging them to try them! I added too much water and it made them a little too sticky.

He also had a video for how to dry mangoes. Since I had bought mangoes from Bountiful Baskets last week and had not gotten through all of them I decided to dehydrate some of them. Cutting mangoes is a lot harder than it appears! Hopefully they'll turn out as good as our dehydrated apples did.

Giveaway Winner: The Big Book of Green Smoothies

I used to randomly choose the 
Midsummer's Eve Giveaway winner.

Congratulations to

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Food Demo @ VSU

Tonight I attended a food demo put on by the Vegetarian Society of Utah.  As I've said before I'm not planning on becoming a complete vegan or vegetarian but I'm trying to feed my family more raw, whole foods so it seemed like a good place to get some ideas.

They demonstrated 7 different recipes - 5 of which were edible - 1 which I could have eaten if I was really hungry and 1 that would have taken a lot of effort to gag down.  3 of the recipes are ones that I will probably make here at home because I think I can get the kids to eat them.

Currently our diet is consisting of a lot of soup and stir fry.  I'm amazed at how many vegetables I can get everyone to eat by making vegetable soup or stir fry.  The only problem is I feel like all I do is cook and the dishes rarely get completely done...

Probably best of all was the lady I sat next to who was full of information and resources.  I also signed up for a health for life cooking class.  It is not food I would usually eat - but I'm hoping to learn a few new recipes and try some new foods that hopefully my family will eat.

Website: Dr. Janet Starr Hull

I'm spending way too much time reading health & nutrition blogs & websites lately.  One I've come across in the past and came back to today is Dr. Janet Starr Hull.

Her ideas and suggestions just make sense to me.  Here is a list of suggestions from a recent post she made.

Here are some suggestions on how to support your immune system:
  • Avoid ALL GM, GE and GMO foods;
  • Reduce your intake of refined sugar and fat;
  • Avoid margarine and hydrogenated oils;
  • Increase your intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids found in flax oil, salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and trout;
  • Take a perle of evening primrose oil daily for omega-6 oil, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA);
  • Avoid white bread and refined flour;
  • Avoid all diet sweeteners;
  • Add fiber to your diet through fruits, raw veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains;
  • Avoid pastries, doughnuts, French fries, chicken nuggets, candy, and sugar-free gum/condiments;
  • Eat several small meals a day as opposed to three large meals;
  • Reduce your intake of all colas and carbonated drinks;
  • Supplement daily with a quality multi-vitamin and trace mineral from the health market;
  • Supplement with extra vitamin C from ascorbic acid daily;
  • Add other antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin E and selenium at least three to four times a week;
  • Get plenty of rest and regular, mild exercise.

Nothing too wacky or too far out there... just things we should all be doing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my Midsummer's Eve Giveaway. Many of you know me from my book review site I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. If you follow me there you may know that my son has been quite sick. He has never received an official diagnosis. Many illnesses and diseases have been thrown around but there were never any concrete answers. The first doctor we saw basically told us to put him on medication and leave him on it for at least 6 months despite the terrible side effects.

I've always been a little on the alternative side: not a huge fan of doctors or medication so this treatment was not ok with me. Although I know doctors have their place I've come to believe much of our illnesses and problems come from our lifestyle most especially the way we eat.  This led me to start researching for alternatives to the medication the doctor wanted my son on.  I was surprised at the wealth of information I found and am grateful to have found some wonderful  new doctors who have helped us get him off medication and figure out what is really going on with him.

We've made some drastic changes in our home the past 3 months. We're moving towards a whole foods diet and using vitamins and minerals instead of medication. No sugar, no processed foods, lots of fruits & vegetables. Amazingly enough my son is doing fine. In fact he's better than fine and  is better than he has been in a long time. Not to mention I've lost 20 lbs without exercising, my kids are sleeping through the night and my husband noted that he no longer has heartburn or indigestion. So even though the illness has been a huge trial, it has also been a blessing because it led us to make these changes that have so positively impacted our life.

One of the things we have done is to start drinking green smoothies. Now let me tell you I am not a fan of vegetables. But I knew I needed to start eating more of them and getting my kids to eat more of them so I started making green smoothies to disguise them.  What I found out was I loved green smoothies and now crave them. It's rare that a day goes by without a smoothie.

I had the chance to attend a class given by Robyn Openshaw recently and purchased several of her books. I ended up with a digital copy of The Big Book of Green Smoothies as well as a paperbook copy

I'd love to get someone else enjoying green smoothies so I'm giving way my paperback copy. I have flipped through and tried a couple of the recipes. So this book would be considered used but is still in great shape.

I encourage you to take a look at Robyn's site or check out one of the many other smoothie sites that are on the internet.

Giveaway open to US only.
To enter just leave a comment on this post.

Thanks for stopping by!

Inspired Kathy

The Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop runs until Midnight on June 24th. Be sure to stop by and enter all the other giveaways.

Website: Doctor Myhill

I have found a new site I love.  Doctor Myhill

The aim of this website is to give individuals access to all the information and some tests they need to take control of their own health. Everyone should follow The general approach to maintaining and restoring good health, which involves eating a stoneage diet, taking a basic package of nutritional supplements, ensuring a good night's sleep on a regular basis and getting the right balance between work, exercise and rest. Because we live in an increasingly polluted world, we should probably all be doing some sort of detox regime. Start with Your very good health!

Yes she's alternative and yes her practice is being investigated for prescribing vitamin injections and while under suspension for "practicing" medicine by acting as an impromptu midwife (she delivered piglets)? I'm really not a conspiracy theorist and I do believe government has it's place but it seems more often than not they are going a little too far.

This quote from her site really hit home for me:

There is nothing like having an illness to give one a good incentive to find the answer! Indeed much of my medicine has been learned from patients doing their own research and trying different things.

That is where I've found myself - doing my own research and finding those who know the answers.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

In Search of Fresh Fruit & Veggies

Since I was out of town on Monday I didn't order my Bountiful Baskets for today. So I decided to check out the Farmer's Market & Fruit Stand in town.

Unfortunately both were a disappointment :(

I guess I just had too high of expectations. The last Farmer's Market I went to was years ago when we lived in Olympia, WA. There were tons of vendors and tons of selection. There were not many vendors at our farmer's market and not much selection. I did get a few things - cherries, onions & eggs so it wasn't a complete waste of time.

I remember stopping at Frei's Fruit Stand as a child when we were on vacation. I had high expectations and was expecting a lot more locally grown and organic produce. It was mainly the exact stuff you'd find in the grocery store shipped in from other states. There were a few locally grown items but not many. The prices were ok and the produce looked good. Perhaps I'll make a trip back when the fresh locally grown peaches are in stock.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dr. Cindy Schneider

We took a road trip this week to Arizona for an appointment with Dr. Cindy Schneider.

Although our son has not been diagnosed with Autism there was no doubt from some blood work that we had done there were some definite nutritional deficiencies & metabolic abnormalities. We live in a small town and I've been frustrated by the lack of answers that have been available.  I've been doing my best based on the research I've done to help our son but as he is always telling me I'm not a doctor and I don't know everything.  Although I knew we were headed in the right direction I was still shooting in the dark.

A friend recommended we make an appointment with Dr. Schneider. I figured we didn't have anything to loose other than the cost of the trip and appointment and had much to gain. Although her practice focuses mainly on children with Autism she practices Nutritional Intervention which is what I was looking for.

I absolutely loved Dr. Schneider. She was fabulous and so knowledgeable. While I love our current pediatrician, he was clueless as to what some of the abnormalities in lab work meant. Dr. Schneider on the other hand knew exactly what it meant and how to help, it's after all her specialty.

The 2 hour appointment went by way too quickly but we left armed with new information and knowledge.  There are 2 more labs we're waiting on results and then we have a follow up in a couple weeks.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

If Man Made It, Don't Eat It

If Man Made It, Don't Eat It! 
~Jack LaLanne

That is my new motto.  I think I'll print it out and put it on my fridge.

Today I read the book Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman.  There was a PBS special 3 Steps to Incredible Health that I wanted to watch today.  I attempted to get our TV to work but didn't have any luck so I read his book instead.  I must say of all the books I've read I think his is one I can agree with almost completely.  I'm adding his food pyramid to my fridge too...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"You're Going To Prove Me Wrong"

"You're Going to Prove Me Wrong" - Seriously I couldn't help but smile at hearing those words out of the doctor's mouth today.  He was thrilled with how well our oldest is doing. 

That came on the heals of yesterday's doctor giving him a clean bill of health and saying that unless something changes he doesn't need to see him for a month.

I know we still have such a long way to go.  There are still issues and medical concerns to deal with and there may be relapses with but it has now been over 2 weeks with no medication and he's doing fabulous.

So for today I'm again focusing on how far we have come instead of how long we still have to go.  It's going to be a long journey but progress is being made and that makes me smile.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Moderation & Focusing on Progress not Perfection

Moderation in all things.

Progress not perfection.

Those are the things I keep telling myself.

I've spent so much time lately researching health and nutrition and have found myself so overwhelmed and honestly quite confused. Everything I read is often so convincing but in direct contradiction with the convincing thing I had just read.

What perplexes me more than anything currently is grain and meat.

Good or Bad?

I have a friend with celiac's disease so for her obviously most grains are bad. But what about for the average person. Much of what I've read says that grain is not good at all if it has been refined which I totally believe but much of what I read also say it's not good for most people. Yet the Word of Wisdom calls it the Staff of Life so how to reconcile that?

And meat - how to define sparingly? I've read books on vegetarianism and books on the Paleo diet which are totally opposites and yet they both make perfect sense to me.  But they both seem to contradict the word of wisdom in my opinion. There is nothing sparingly about eating meat at every meal and the Word of Wisdom clearly states that there are times to eat meat.

So for now I've just had to go back to the saying Moderation In All Things since I can't come to a decision that makes sense to me other than that.

I'm trying hard to focus on our progress instead of being such a perfectionist.  We are eating much healthier than we were 2 months ago.  We are making progress and I'm trying to look at the good instead of all that is still lacking.  But honestly it is all so overwhelming to me it is quite frustrating to me right now.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

2 Steps Forward - 1 Step Back

How I wish I always knew what to do...

One thing I'm fairly certain of is that yeast is a huge problem for most people.  With the overuse of antibiotics and the refined, sugar filled foods we eat I think most of have some sort of yeast overgrowth issues.  At least this is true for my family.

This week I started our oldest son the yeast beaters cleanse.  The first attempt to get him to take it was not pretty.  The stuff tastes nasty!   I tried it before giving it to him and seriously it is horrible.  He took one mouthful of the juice I made him and he gaged and spewed it everywhere.  There was no way I could make him take it again.  So I opted to put the powder into capsules and have him swallow it.  I'm sure it is not as effective this way or they wouldn't make people endure drinking the nasty stuff but I paid good money for the stuff and wasn't going to have it go to waste.

The next day my son had a horrible day.  Seriously the worst he's had in a while.  His tic was back and he was irritable and ornery and anxious and he didn't sleep well.  I was sick thinking I would have to put him back on medication.  I was so discouraged and really feeling quite distraught. It took me a while to put 2 and 2 together to come up with 4.  I had a good cry and then it finally hit me - yeast die-off.  I had been warned by Shari of The Enlightened Homemaker - at least I think it was her who warned me that things get pretty bad when yeast die off occurs and many people quit.  So I cut back a little on what I was giving him and he started to improve.  I'll give him a day or two to rest and then we'll up the dose again and see what happens.

Another week of trial and error but I'm thankful we are in such a better place than where we were 2 months ago.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Review: Sweet Deception by Joseph Mercola

Sweet Deception: Why Splenda, NutraSweet, and the FDA May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Most people believe that sucralose (Splenda) is a perfectly safe artificial sweetener. Big business and the FDA have fostered that dangerous misconception. The truth is Splenda is by no means safe; and the same is true for many of the other artificial sweeteners being marketed today. Dr. Joseph Mercola---supported by extensive studies and research---exposes the fact that Splenda actually contributes to a host of serious diseases. Sweet Deception will lay out how the FDA really works for big food companies and should not be trusted when it comes to your health.

As you know we've been off sugar for nearly a month.  I admit I had a couple small pieces of candy while babysitting the other day. It was a total stressed out overtired emotional eating breakdown.  But I kept it in control and only had a little. I allowed the kids to put a little real maple syrup on their pancakes and we put some honey on some dry, tasteless gluten free cornbread that I made. 

There are times when it is necessary to sweeten something so I gleaned a lot from this book.   For quite a while I've told my kids I would rather they ate sugar instead of an artificial sweetener.  This book reaffirmed that belief.   Although natural sweeteners are better than artificial ones they too cause a whole host of health problems.  Although we've never consumed much in the way of artificial sweeteners I'll be going out of my way to avoid them in the future and doing my best to limit all sweeteners in general.

On that note my kids just came home with "all natural" snow cones that had no sugar in them.   That didn't sound right to me so I went over to the neighbors to look at the bottle of sweetener.  Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium were both on the ingredient label along with a host of other ingredients I didn't recognize and couldn't say.   The snow cone my thoughtful daughter brought home for my oldest son got dumped down the sink and my kids were told no more snow cones at the neighbors.  If they've got to have a snow cone then I'll get them some juice for next time.

My son came home from school listing off 3 different things he didn't eat today.  There is less than a week of school left and the celebrating has started.  Celebration in the form of sugary treats.  Thank goodness for the reward of Disneyland that is just a week away and I'm so proud of my kids for resisting the sugar!

If you are interested in learning more about artificial sweeteners then give this book a try.  If you can't or won't live without your diet Coke then perhaps skip this book because you won't like what it has to say.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

My husband & I watched this video yesterday. It was so convincing I'm afraid my kids are going to be quite disappointed at the end of our no sugar month. Sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup will not be making a reappearance in our home.

Here is what my take aways were:

Drink only water - he did say water or milk but we no longer drink milk - milk is for baby cows not humans - until recently I was unaware that most of the world does not drink milk.  We've given it up except for turning it into Kefir, the kids still drink it elsewhere but not in our house.

Eat your carbohydrates with fiber. The more fiber the better.

Wait 20 minutes before having a second portion.

Exercise - Make them earn their screen time minute for minute.

My favorite quote from the movie: "When God made the poison, he packed it with the antidote" - in reference to fructose being the poison and fiber being the antidote.

Our oldest had a pear this morning but the other kids all ate school breakfast this morning which I'm sure was full of sugar and unhealthy foods and I'm sure they drank some of their milk. 9 more days of school and then I'll have a little more control over their diets. I've compromised and let them have school lunch until the school year ends but they are not eating the dessert.  This morning we were running late and my kitchen was a mess - last night our kitchen sink stopped draining so I couldn't get the dishes done.  With as much cooking from scratch as I've been doing I can't believe how many dishes I have to do.  3 loads and their are still dishes in the sink!

For breakfast today my husband and I had green smoothies made from:

1 carrot
1 mango
1 pineapple
1 banana

It tasted great. I then added some blackberries to turn it purple so the kids would drink the left overs after school. There is something that is just unappetizing to them about drink a cup of green sludge.  It no longers bothers me but the first few times I had to psych myself up to drink it.  Thank goodness for blackberries because the kids will drink purple smoothies without much complaint.

I've never been much of a raw vegetable fan. Not my favorite thing but I'm learning to like them. Lunch today was a left over smoothie and a green salad with romaine, spinach, tomatoes, celery, broccoli, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. It actually tasted really good to me. I put a little ranch on a plate and just dipped the ends of my fork in it. I used barely any of the dressing. I still need to come up with replacement salad dressings but just haven't had the time or energy to do so yet. Considering the fact that I didn't even eat salad as a child and until recently Caesar Salad or salad from the Olive Garden was about the only kind of salad I really enjoyed I think I'm doing great.

Dinner tonight is supposed to be a modified Mexican Chef Salad but I just looked at the bottle of Thousand Island which is made from Soybean Oil and High Fructose Corn Syrup :( We'll probably have it anyway and hope that all the fiber from the salad portion cancels out the poison from the HFCS.  I should probably be more dedicated and just throw the bottle away and come up with something else for dinner but the salad is already cut up so I'll likely be a slacker on this one.

On another note I put our microwave out in the garage. I'll eventually replace it with a toaster/convection oven. My son went to heat up a bowl of oatmeal last night and wasn't sure how to do it without the microwave. He learned how to make it on the stove instead. I've read all the controversy over microwaves being good or bad and decided since we are trying to eat as much raw food as we can it would be better to just get rid of it.