Sunday, November 27, 2011

Genetically-Modified Foods in America: What to Watch Out For

Dr. Mercola states that the following are the genetically modified(GM)foods that you should watch for when you are out doing your grocery shopping. Creepy to know is that even "organic" soy products can contain GM-contaminated ingredients.

Soy****Sugar from sugar beets****Corn****Hawaiian papaya****Cottonseed (used in vegetable cooking oils)****Some varieties of zucchini****Canola (canola oil)****Crookneck squash

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day #25 Eating Consciously: Slipped & Getting Back Into The Saddle

Yes, you read correctly-- I have made more than a few slip-ups.  I continue to believe that I am making "conscious" choices about what I eat, but the fact is that I am not as "conscientious" as when I started out in my desire to ban wheat, dairy and processed sugar from my life for a mere 30 days.
Last night's happy gathering with a group of folks I am putting on a Depression Recovery Seminar with is a case in point.  I have slipping in minor ways throughout the week, actually eating Clif Bars that we originally bought to send to our son who lives in the far North (where he is a teacher).  Last night I ate a large piece of delicious home-made bread (wheat, and probably sugar) and an ice cream cone with soy 'ice cream' in it (lotsa sugar).  I feel a little congested this morning and ready to get back on track!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day #20 of Conscious Eating: Recipe for a Weight Management Drink

Walnuts are "Brain Food"-- an excellent source of Omega3
Essential Fatty Acids.  ~photo by Christina Miguel.
And so I continue on with this 30 days of conscious eating, incorporating what I learn from Dr. Ritamarie's Bye Bye Belly Fat, Brain Fog and Burnout vids and avoiding gluten (all grains, actually), processed sweeteners, and dairy. I realize I am very privileged to be able to access fresh grown, local (some from our yard), organic vegetables and fruits to enjoy the benefits of this program and I am very grateful to God for providing all the goodness in my life (inspite of all the conscious and unconscious wrong choices I have made in the past).

A couple of things have sparked today's post. One, my husband and I are busy training online to become facilitators in the Nedley Depression Recovery Program being offered in a nearby community, and we are learning some interesting nutritional information to apply ourselves and share with others. Secondly, I ran across a happy announcement from the actress, Kirstie Alley, who it is said has lost 100 pounds partly through implementing dancing into her day as exercise. I DO know, theoretically, how important exercise is in our lives, but in reality I tend to glaze over that in favor of the "nutritional" modifications I make to my life.

My husband and I WERE going to go to the adult playground (or whatever you call it) and do a workout there today, but it it raining like crazy so that is out. I hate the gym. I guess what I will do is just some extra jumping on the rebounder. Today is set aside as Let's Move Day through our Church. I wish I'd remembered to tell you earlier :p-- you might have shared some great suggestions for pretty sedentary Organic Granny here. (Thanks to Kirstie Alley for jogging my memory with her inspiring weight loss story and the fact that exercise, like her ballroom dancing, can include more than just the standard gym workouts).

Dr. Neil Nedley, an internal medicine doctor with other specialty areas, set up the Depression Recovery Program to help depressed persons and their loved ones navigate back to balanced good health through holistic health means (nutrition, exercise, necessary sleep patterns,etc.) In the video training we watched today he talked a lot about the importance of Omega 3 essential fatty acids and Tryptophan in restoring healthy brain function. Depressed people are lacking both. Obese people are more apt to be depressed. (so much for the 'jolly fat person' stereotype). Here is a healthy supplementary drink for people who are morbidly obese as an alternative weight loss plan to the often dangerous surgery that is advertised extensively as the solution (Dr. Nedley also said that as time goes on after the surgery most persons have a very nutritionally-depleted lifestyle and end up perhaps thin, but unhealthy, and open to all kinds of disease).

Dr. Nedley's Weight Loss Drink (before meals)
*1 tsp. Chia Seeds
*1 tsp. Methylcellulose
*1 tsp. Glucomannan
*Little bit of raw honey (as the necessary carb balance)

Drink the above in water. Follow with a healthy vegetarian salad and soup. It is important to eat a high water content to accommodate the Methylcellulose which needs fluid to be digested. I would choose to use Psyllium seeds/fibre vs. the Methylcellulose, personally, since I have had a good experience with it in the past and am rather alarmed by some of the alerts re Methylcellulose (found in oat bran) online. But I'm not a doctor, like Dr. Nedley. Please talk to your own health care provider.

And for anyone who is intersted, midnight tonight is the last opportunity to register for Tera Warner's LAST free 7-Day Raw Food Detox.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Conscious Eating Day #17: And a Recipe for Delicious Curry Lentil-Coconut Soup

I think I might now be over the hump with consciously avoiding wheat, processed sugar and dairy in my attempt to get rid of my belly fat and other bloat issues, and to have more energy.  The supplements (bought at the health food store) that Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo suggests seem to help to make it easier for me to give up my old grazing habits... I simply don't crave the goodies like I did a couple of weeks ago.  

Yesterday was a good test.  I met with a friend mid-afternoon in a Starbucks and talked away while she ate her Chinese food lunch.  It looked tasty but I had no desire to chow down.  I also didn't have that usual energy slump that hits in the late afternoon (the time-for-a-pre-supper-nap time).  

So, I'm pretty happy with how things are going!  Check out Dr. Ritamarie's 5-video series (free) learn about the supplements and lots of other invaluable information to combat belly fat, brain fog and burnout over 30-days.  I am also signed up to do a 7-day Raw Food Detox with Tera Warner, her last online detox.  I love the extra recipes and the support.  It's free.  You need to register before midnight on September 25th HERE to get in on this Detox.

So, here is the most delicious and fragrant soup.  It takes a little extra prep time, but believe me, anyone who comes in has a dreamy look and states how wonderful the house smells... and the best part-- tastes even dreamier!
1 1/2 C. Yellow Split Peas
1/2 C.Lentils
2 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 T. Virgin Coconut Oil
2 Shallots, peeled and sliced thin
1 2-inch knob Ginger, peeled and grated
1 T. Coriander
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Fenugreek
1 tsp. Cardamom
1 T. Curry powder
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
2 quarts (64 oz.) Vegetable Stock
1 C. Raisins
2 C. Coconut Milk
Garnish with Cilantro

*Soak Peas and Lentils in a large bowl with Apple Cider Vinegar and hot water that extends about 2 inches above the surface. Soak about 12 hours minimum.  *Rinse and drain pulses
*Assemble all other ingredients (a good idea to measure out in advance all spices in small containers called ramons)
*Gently heat Coconut Oil in heavy pan and saute Shallots and grated Ginger
*Add in Coriander, Cumin, Fenugreek, Cardamom, Curry Powder, and Cayenne. Mix around for a minute.
*Pour in the Vegetable Stock and stir.  You might want to add a Bay Leaf (optional).  Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer and let the soup simmer for about 45 minutes until the pulses are well-cooked.
*Blend up the soup with an immersion blender
*Mix in Raisins and Coconut
*Garnish with a sprig of Cilantro for each bowl

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Conscious Eating:Day #15--Bye Bye "Several-Frequent-Meals"

So, my first attempt at 'conscious eating' (being aware of what I am putting into my face, and why)started 15 days ago with a No Wheat, No Dairy, No Refined Sugar contract with myself. Pretty soon I watched and loved Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo's Bye Bye to Belly Fat, Brain Fog and Burnout free videos and decided that I could "flesh out" (haha)my eating regimen with some of her tips.

Today I'm watching the clock. I've been a very good girl,remembering to take the supplements she recommends, enjoying more greens, etc., but one of Dr. Ritamarie's "tips" is almost pushing me over the edge. You know how most of the diet gurus out there today are suggesting that "several small but frequent meals throughout the day" is the real way to lose weight and not feel deprived in the process? Well, it turns out that this is NOT a great suggestion for those of us who are battling belly fat because of insulin resistance. Dr. Ritamarie, in her clear way, describes the role of the hormone "leptin" and how it works. I suggest you sign up for the vids and listen to what she has to say. In regards to my "beef" (oy, it's all about food right now!) it seems that the old rule of eating 3 meals per day is the rule. Allow 5-6 hours between meals with no snacks. Snacks will stimulate release of insulin – and during this time the body is not burning fat... which is, of course, my goal.

Well, the time is up and my husband just arrived home with the raw nori sheets I requested, so I'm gone to raise up my flagging spirits with a yummy meal.

As an extra incentive to keep on track I have joined Tera Warner's LAST-TIME-EVER FREE online 7-Day Raw Food Detox... it starts September 25th. Sign up HERE. (that's FREE with lots of resources).
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Conscious Eating: Day #14 (with Morning Berry-Chia Smoothie Recipe)

I had a weird dream last night that had nothing whatsoever to do with my decision to be more conscious in my eating; to go for thirty days without wheat, dairy or processed sugar. In the dream was a friend of mine named Carol who has a Ph.D. in Nutrition. But instead of being all doctor-of-nutrition, she was asking me if I wanted to come with her and play some sort of game where you crouch down in a cardboard box that has wheels on it, run about, score goals... I'm not sure, I never got that many details. It seemed somewhat bizarre, but in dreams I make huge leaps of faith... to me it represents a need for some sort of fun physical movement... some kind of exercise that is currently missing from this "program" I seem to be on. More on this to come in future posts.

This is Day #14 (of 30)

Berry-Chia Smoothie

Combine the following in your highspeed blender (like Vitamix) or do the best you can with small batches of ingredients in a regular blender:
*large handful of Cilantro (or Parsley, romaine, etc.)
*1 C. organic Blueberries, frozen or fresh
*1 C. organic Blackberries, frozen or fresh
*1 frozen (peeled) organic Banana, pieces
*2 T. Chia Seed Gel (made from 1/4 C. of seeds stirred into 1 Quart of water and set for at least 15 minutes)
*12-40 oz. of filtered Water(to the thickness and quantity you desire)
Whirl up until smooth and creamy. Slightly "chew" the first few sips so as to stimulate the start of digestion. (It is important to make a meal of your smoothie, not to mix it with other food items).

Rainy day here. We may be going to a friend's place later today in another town which means we will likely be offered victuals and will have to be satisfied before hand so as not to be tempted to eat any of the foods that will tip me back into full-scale insulin resistance, which I am trying to overcome with these current 30 days of eating NO wheat, no dairy and no processed sugars.

Friday, September 16, 2011

More Conscious Eating (and Adding In Supplements)

A Boy with a Begging Dog by William Henry Hunt
I just did a couple of days of eating bread occasionally-- too much bread.  And it wasn't even very good bread... on sale at the supermarket.  But I got back on track last night and today... NO Wheat, No Sugar, No Dairy.

Today I am starting a 30-Day Healing Regimen to overcome my insulin resistance.

I just bought 3 supplements that Dr. Ritamarie recommends... they are NOT through an MLM, just from my local health food store so the price is reasonable.  As far as I know, Dr. Ritamarie does not push any particular pills herself.  She also gives recommendations about what foods to eat and what foods to avoid (I will be avoiding "all grains" for the next 30 days, and I guess that includes quinoa and corn?  Probably.  Also avoiding honey and maple syrup... any sweetener stimulates a desire for sugar, which of course, leads one back down the road to 'processed' sugar.

By all means, speak to your health provider before broaching this or any other health-related suggestion from the internet.  I am not a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, or even a cleaner in a hospital... just someone who likes to share good stuff that I come across.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Conscious Eating Day #10: Farmer's Marketing Day

Comox Valley Farmers' Market
Still attempting to eat consciously, avoiding wheat, processed sugar, and dairy.

This morning we went to the Comox Valley Farmer's Market to pick up some veggies that we have run low on (well, we had a small veggie garden, so that includes almost everything from tomatoes to plums).

It was the perfect marketing day.  They had a blue grass band playing and we ran across several friends and acquaintances, one of whom (Adriana from Toastmasters) referred me over to the booth where they sell gluten-free stuff.  The vendor there turns out to have been at Simon Fraser University (late 60s/70s) when my husband and I attended, so we had a good old chit-chat of "do you remember__?  did you know__?"

We came home with all kinds of yummy ripe and uber-ripe vegetables.  For lunch we had sol burgers on gluten-free buns with a giant peaches-and-cream corn cob each, and a nice fresh green salad.  I suspect there is a little sugar in the hamburger buns, but nothing to be too worried about (I don't think).

I weighed myself today and weigh about 1# less than I did at the outset of this experiment.  Well, if I lose only 1# a week, I will have lost 52# at the end of a year... which is great, right?  So, I will aim to lose a pound a week.

I'm listening to the NLP Mindfest each day.  They had a glitch yesterday but have re-scheduled Days 1 and 2 for anyone who hasn't yet signed up and would like to.  FREE.  Click HERE.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day #8 and #9 of Conscious Eating

Still purporting to be on a No Wheat, Dairy, or Processed Sugar binge. Bit of Fail these last couple of days... went to a lunch at the Church yesterday and ate some of the corn bread knowing that it had wheat flour in it... ate two pieces.

 Today I ate some of the leftover cheese over my quinoa.... but, wow, in fairness, no cheese has ever survived that long in our fridge. I'm really puffed up. I am not sure if I have extreme allergies or maybe it's the mercury fillings and associated heavy metal poisoning?

 Our son is nearly finished building a shed in the backyard. I am totally enamored with the tiny house movement, particularly the Tumbleweed Houses. Wish we could build one of those in our backyard...Not sure I would fit in one at present to live in, but just to have as a spare house would be cool (kidding)
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Days #6 and #7 of Conscious Eating: Sugar


-public domain image-
I am happy to report that things are going quite well where making conscious choices to avoid refined sugar, wheat (and other gluten), and dairy go.  

I DO have my moments... stress, forgetfulness, habit, temptation, whatever...  but the moment passes with some deep breaths and affirmation.  We attended Church yesterday and stayed for their fellowship dinner.  I brought along a huge green salad with hemp seeds on top just in case had nothing else to eat... and there were THREE other big green salads, all slightly different, you know.  I allowed myself about a tablespoon-full of some sort of gluten (Adventists are famous for gluten/seitan) bits on my brown rice, and a small piece of crusty bread (maybe homemade garlic bread).  I made a conscious choice to avoid the desserts.

Today we are going to a Corn Roast which should be, in general, safe from too much temptation to stray.  There will be pastries there, no doubt (Adventists are famous for their cakes, cookies, etc.) but I will avoid them.  Notching it up a bit, I really need to start thinking (i.e., choosing consciously, being mindful) of the size of my portions of stuff like avocado and porridge, even though they don't contain processed sugars, etc., they are still calorically more dense than I likely need to maintain my nutrient base.

Talking of calories,  I came across an article on the many kinds of "alternate sweeteners" one could use besides highly processed sucrose and glucose.  I was not impressed that "Splenda" was the first alternative listed.   Splenda is sucralose... just another sucrose product trying to disguise as a "healthy" sweetener.  Rumors have it that Splenda has more chlorine in it than table salt.  There are many side effects listed here, and I think the most shocking one for anyone who has bought into the notion of using Splenda to cut calories is that it may actually stimulate a desire to eat more!  My favourite Low Glycemic (don't spike your blood sugar and bring on the Cortisol) sweeteners are: Stevia, Palm Sugar and sweet fruit (in smoothies for example).  You can go to your most trusted sites to look up what they have to say about each of these sweeteners.  I do know that stevia and palm sugar are, like other "alternative" organic foods a little pricey (well, a lot pricey).  And dried fruits like dates should be used judiciously by anyone who has blood sugar issues (people with borderline diabetes, for example).  I currently love palm sugar because just a little bit of it is necessary on my porridge to make it seem like I'm eating "brown sugar"-- and it has fewer calories plus it tastes like butterscotch!  Here are a few versions you can purchase from Amazon:

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 4 and 5 of Conscious Eating

Not Making Conscious Choices Can Lead To Despair
(Public Domain painting)
Eek, my son's young chihuahua is crying in much the same way that a baby cries when Mommy leaves her for the first time with a strange granny... piercing my ears.  Yes, I offered him a teeny-tiny piece of cheese (Zoe's fave treat) and when he didn't snap it up, I ate it... so there goes my perfect record of eating consciously over these past five days.

But apart from succumbing to the cheese (and cheap cheese at that), I have not been hungry or craving, eating as we do of such wonderful fresh organic garden produce at this time of the year.  Who needs wheat, dairy or processed sugar?

Well, I am a bit rattled, I admit-- we had an earthquake this afternoon in the broad daylight of a beautiful summery day-- and it measured 6.4 on the Richter Scale.  That sounds impressive but in reality it was not very frightening at our home... felt a little like being motion sickness, a sort of rolling-on-the-river vertigo.  My neighbour across the street told me that she actually found it rather fun... I wouldn't go quite that far.  This is all to say that perhaps the cheese was just a way to de-stress?  Nah, even I can't accept that.

In 1/2 an hour we are scheduled to see our granddaughters online... yay!  I had better go and consciously eat some of the splendid supper I've put together.  Happy Weekend!

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Conscious Eating Day #3

Yuri Elkaim Author,
Health Coach & Personal Trainer
Day #3 was a piece of cake where the consciously non-eating was concerned, (NO WHEAT, SUGAR, DAIRY) but was not a "physical" day, which means I didn't really get the exercise that I know I need as part of this process.  I went walking in the evening, and did various bits of housework (laundry) and yardwork (watering the front and back), but nothing that would serve to budge the fudge, so to speak.

I thought of a couple of things I learned from Yuri Elkaim who has designed a great treatise on the importance of using his full-meal-deal (I'm full of foodie metaphors) holistic method of having mastery over your own health and way of eating-- he includes a book, coaching, meal plans, webinars, and a very interesting presentation that is audible and readable.  It's fairly long, but it is, as I said, interesting and does provide value in the information that he includes.  What did I learn from Yuri?

(1)Most nuts and seeds are not that healthy, and in fact, might just add to your body's fat accumulation and all the sorrows that obesity brings.  However, there are nuts and seeds like walnuts, hempseeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds have a better balance of Omega 3:Omega 6 essential fatty acids and are called "healthy fats".   Coconut oil, as well, is not a 'bad' fat.  So, I am including these particular nuts and seeds and restricting some of the others (like cashews and the like).

(2)Dehydrated foods should be eaten in moderation-- we want our bodies to be hydrated (otherwise, why does just about every health guru suggest drinking gallons of water daily?) and dehydrated foods use up energy to hydrate them so that we can digest them and utilize their nutrients (if any).  So, although I love love love kale chips, I will restrict them to ultra-treat status (like maybe, Christmas time?) and focus on learning to love more water-dense fruits and veggies, which are more easily digested and much better for me.

You might want to see/hear this presentation to see what other gems you can pick up.  Click HERE. (think: long but worth every minute)

One of my major questions of myself today was: Why do I take such inordinate pleasure in what I eat? (in food in general)?  And the spinoff question is: What else is as enjoyable to me as eating?  I'm very sorry, I could not come up with anything today.  I am. Very. Sorry.  I will be mindful of that second question and see what I can discover is as important to me by the end of the week.  I really hate to think of my belly as my god... (Philippians 3:19)

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day #2 of Conscious Eating And Conscious Non-Eating


Day 2 of Conscious Eating (i.e., avoiding Wheat, Dairy, Processed Sugar)....  I had a couple of twinges when I saw the loaf of Alpine Bread lounging by the toaster this morning, but in general I have been doing well.

I took Zoe for a walk early in the morning and then proceeded to make a very tasty and satisfying juice that involved fresh, ripe tomatoes (from the garden), arugula, garlic cloves, carrots, cilantro, lemon and dandelion greens (from the garden, lol).  I was missing CELERY, but it wasn't too crucial.  My dear juicer, good as it is, doesn't do a really fantastic job with tomatoes, apples or other soft fruits but does a terrific job with greens (sucks them right in) and hard veg like celery and carrots.  I would really like to get hold of  Jay Kordich's new PowerGrindPro because I think it is the kind of juicer where you can throw in the whole apple and a whole lemon and make lemonade (yum) that way.  I know you can actually make almond milk with it (and soy milk, but I'm not into that) so that is pretty nifty.

One thing I notice about using the computer a lot (which I do) is that I tend to be drawn to snacking, in much the same sort of semi-comatose way that happens when one watches TV a lot.  On Facebook people make a lot of references to delicious-sounding food (espcially my foodie FB friends) which serves the same purpose as the junkfood ads on TV, right?  So, not hanging on FB all the time, and getting up and out and doing stuff is really useful.  Another pleasant discovery is that I can just go out my front door and have a little nap in the sunshine for a few minutes and feel absolutely marvelous, darling.... talk about a great de-stressor!

And now it is time to take a little doggie I know for another walk.  We will avoid the scalding sunshine and linger in the shade.  My dear spoiling hubby phoned to say that he cannot find the marvellous seedy organic watermelon that I have been using to juice with : ( but I think we'll live!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Conscious Health Day Number 1


"Sleeping Gypsy" by Henri Rousseau 1896
I slept quite well last night and that is an indicator, I think, that I ate well (for me)yesterday.

So, today is my first conscious NO~> Wheat/Refined Sugar/Dairy day.

I am going to look at it similarly to the time when I was ceasing the smoking habit (1992)... I had to cut out the smoking and add in more fluids and rest and oxygen (breathing).  I also needed to be aware of the places where I practiced my rituals related to smoking... where did I roll my cigarettes, when did I smoke the most, what excuses did I use to indulge in smoking?

First thing this morning I weighed myself -- I am ashamed (I mean this, literally) to report that I weigh more today than I think I have at other other time in my life.  It will be a challenge to follow through on doing what I know I need to do, but I have to.  No more excuses.

I have a desire to be more active than I currently am.  Today at 2:09 pm I have been for one walk with my husband and our dog (soon to take another) and have bounced on the rebounder for approximately 20 minutes (trying to do it hourly).  I will also lie on the slantboard for 20 minutes at some point, an exercise that is so relaxing that I really don't know why I don't do it more often?

Today I have consumed: Apple-Blackberry-Dandelion smoothie; (gluten-free, stone-ground) oatmeal and chia seeds with a topping of fresh blackberries, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, raisins, and a light skiff of Palm sweetener (low glycemic but tastes like butterscotch).  We have also had a bowl of curry kale-chickpea soup.  I'm a foodie.  Much of my focus is on food.  I like to think my focus is on nutritious food, but the truth is that I also occasionally crave sweets with sugar in them, dairy (there is that huge chunk of cheese still residing in our fridge), and, of course, gluten-- I LOVE artisan breads, etc. etc. etc.  I allow for one small piece of raw vegan brownie (no refined sugar-- uses dates; no flour-- uses walnuts; no dairy-- well, just no dairy).  I KNOW I need to move on beyond the brownies, but at this time I am going to allow them as a transitional food.  After our walk we will go to town to get some juicing items that I don't have in the garden... I have lots of greens, blackberries, and tomatoes, but would like some cilantro, parsley, carrots, and celery for example.

Now, I need to go jump once more before we head out for our walk... talk tomorrow!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Eliminating Inflammation by Eliminating Wheat, Sugar, Dairy


Toes inflamed with chilblains (Wikipedia)
Inflammation-- the starting point for most chronic and terminal disease.  That sore spot or achey gut is quite likely inflamed tissue...  I recall from a hydrotherapy demo one time learning that inFLAMmation (read: flame; heat; fire) can be cooled with ice (as in the case of a hot, sore joint, back ache, a burn, or a stinging sensation) or with drinking water (as in the case of a stomach ache or a sore, inflamed throat).  Heart attack and cancer start with inflammation.

I am going to do three things to eliminate inflammation in my body, three things that I currently do right now but that I know don't work well for me.... I am already vegetarian/vegan/sometimes raw vegan, but these are three areas where I transgress and that usually results in weight gain (another indication of inflammation) and edema for me.  The three things that promote inflammation in some people that I will cut out of my life are:

narrowing of the esophagus
 near the junction with the stomach
 due to chronic gastroesophageal reflux
WHEAT: I'm not celiac, but I do believe that I am sensitive to gluten (protein) in wheat, barley, and other grains.  I feel better when I don't eat gluten bread and pasta.  I tend to bloat, and feel brain-fogged with gluten foods.  I have an excellent book on preparing organic, sugar-free, whole-grain (but not wheat and gluten-containing grains) sourdough bread.  I just need to get my act together, as they say, and DO the prep.  Most  storebought gluten-free products contain sugar and/or high glycemic grains (like sweet rice or cornmeal).  Most of the gluten-free products don't indicate that they are organically-grown and could well be another source of GMOs(?).  Gluten-free does not equal healthy, necessarily... just LESS unhealthy than eating gluten-containing stuff if one is gluten-sensitive or celiac.

DAIRY: I definitely feel and look better when I steer clear of dairy.  My skin breaks out, I bloat and feel acidic when I consume dairy.  Like with wheat, I have a terrible compulsion to gobble it up whenever it presents itself.  I love creamy, cheesy sauces, thick yogurt, cheese.... but I know it doesn't love me.  Aches and pains decrease and disappear when I cut dairy out of my diet.  I am not concerned about not getting enough calcium-- I eat lots of greens and other foods from plant sources that have highly absorbable calcium content.  

REFINED SUGAR:  Oh yeah, baby, I kind of slide into sweet stuff at the least glimpse of a stressful moment-- comes from all those 'glazed donuts' the town bakery of my childhood turned out.  haha.  Ellen White, health reformer in the 19th C. and one of the founding members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church I belong to, said that sugar was more dangerous to our health than meat, and she was an avowed vegetarian by that point.   I managed NOT to consume any refined sugar today, but it is difficult to avoid when attending potlucks and the like.... or even going to town and eating in a restaurant.  

So, I will keep a bit of a log around my mission to avoid these three bugabears in my life.  Tomorrow I will weigh myself and measure some of the areas where I tend to bloat and swell (eww, doesn't that sound attractive?) to compare as time goes on without the inflammatory agents in my life.

My husband and I are juicing daily with fall dandelion greens and fruits (as well as ginger, celery, etc.), and enjoying berries and fruits that we can harvest in our yard.  This is a blessed time of the year!  I wish you well, too, as you strive to reduce and eliminate anything that is creating inflammation in your body.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Prevent Fresh Berries From Molding

This is the time of the year for succulent berries and fruits-- and unfortunately, many of us will discover the mold has formed on our berries (particularly raspberries) before we get to finish eating the container we brought home from the store or picked in the backyard.

But help is here!  I am thankful to my friends who send me simple solutions via email.  Today I got one on how you can use a couple of household items to store your berries while preventing mold.  How?

In a glass bottle or mason jar mix together cold filtered water and apple cider vinegar in a ratio of 10:1

Too simple, eh?  Now, merely pour the water over your berries in a large bowl.  Swirl and drain.  You shouldn't need to rinse because the  of the dilution (it's hard to detect the vinegar) but you can if you wish.

Pop the berries into the fridge.  Raspberries and strawberries, for example, will keep without going moldy for about 1- 1 1/2 weeks.  Mmmmm....

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Perfect All-Natural Foot Soak


A friend sends me information about all sorts of natural methods for body care, such as the baking soda-apple cider vinegar no-shampoo and this fantastic foot soak for tired tootsies. Because the no-shampoo works so well for my hair, I tried out the foot soak and was thrilled at how my feet and legs relaxed, and so did the rest of me. Here is what you do:

Dig out a basin, or as in the case of vegetarians like me, re-purpose that big turkey roasting pan that you don't plan to use for that any more.

Add the following to the pan/basin:
  • 1 T. Green (your choice of brand) dishwash liquid
  • 1 T. Honey (yes, you read right-- a disinfectant and a moisturizer)
  • 2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or other accessible oil)
  • 5-10 drops of peppermint oil (I have linked to my favourite pure peppermint oil)
Fill the basin with warm water (as warm as you can take) and soak your feet for about ten+ minutes.  Dry.  Perfect time for a foot rub or reflexology.  Your feet will feel so rested and refreshed-- you will sleep better-- you will detox slightly (through your feet, yes!)-- and it makes the first "gift" to give someone else you care about.
Click here or on the above 14-pack to purchace these therapeutic grade essential oils

Setting Goals To Be Healthy  in Your Old Age.... 

Traveling and walking are often cited as examples of enjoyable fitness activities.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What Can Happen When Your Child Eats GMO Food


Ronny Satzke's beautiful daughter
We hear a lot about GMO (genetically-modified organisms) and how bad they are, but most of us don't really understand the full impacts of buying/growing GMO foods.  And when we do, we don't want to eat the GMO-laden stuff-- and we certainly don't want our precious children and grandchildren to eat GMO foods! Even if you haven't been quite convinced that the 'organic' debate is trustworthy, I think you will hop on board to embrace keeping GMO foods out of your family's pantry is about the healthiest decision you can make in the supermarket (or at the farm gate). Want to know more? Take a look at this video (and if you are impacted by it, share the link with your friends, your local natural foods store, your government representative, your adult kids who are bringing up your precious grandkids).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Instead of Cheese....


Okay, I'll admit straight off that today I was craving a big old cheese sandwich (maybe grilled havarti with a dill pickle on the side).  Cheese is currently off-limits for us.  We might get a snip of it when we eat out, but that's about it.  Ed is particularly allergic to dairy, etc.  Anyhow, never one to pout (or not for long) I came up with this flavourful (as in ZING-BING-ZING-BANG) sandwich that satisfied all my salt and fat hankerings (because apparently that is what is behind a cheese crave) and is, I think, pretty healthy.  Here is what is in the above sandwich (and don't judge it by its colour until you taste it!):
BREAD: Your favourite bread.  In the sandwich above I used a chia bread that is no longer available.
AVOCADO: Ripe, organic.  Open it up and scoop flesh into a small bowl. Mash.
RAW GARLIC: to your taste-- I skin & blend about 20 heads of garlic and then freeze in a jar so just use about a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of garlic.
LEMON:Juice of about 1/2 a small, organic, juicy, ripe lemon.  Squeeze right into the avocado
MISO:This is one of the very few ways we actually, knowingly, ingest soy these days-- the Miso adds a nice salty smoky taste.  Mash it into the avocado mix.  No more salt needed.  Grinding even pepper in might be gilding the lily in my opinion.
SPREAD THE AVO-GARLIC-LEMON-MISO (who gets top billing?) on the toasted bread and top with a slice of tomato and a grating of fresh pepper.

Still missing the cheese?  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Virtual Square-Foot Gardener


Image from The Greenest Dollar website
I am still waiting for a calmer, dryer day to go out and "make" my soil formula (vermiculite, peat, compost) for my square foot gardens (2 of them, 4 X 4).  Today I will line the second box with cardboard (what I am opting for instead of weed prevention fabric.)

I have everything to go to put up one "vertical garden"-- bought 2 10' (1/2" diameter, hollow inside) electrical conduit pipes made from galvanized steel and had it cut into 1-4' piece and 2-5' pieces.  Also bought 2 elbow connectors that fit over the pipe ends to form a 4 X 5 X 4 trellis when the nylon net (which I can't find anywhere) is placed over the frame.  We have a couple of 18" rebar pieces that we will sink into the soil first and then put the frame over that to keep it sturdy against the wind and the heaviness of the squash, or whatever heavy fruit grows up it.  I also bought a package of 4' lathes to make the grids for the 2 gardens (I will need 12 lathes) and some screws and nuts for that.  This visit to Home Depot cost me around $40.  I have to keep rationalizing the expense for these gardens to my husband (the accountant).  I point out that once it is set up as designed in the book, there will be no need for fancy tools, rototilling, soil amendments (as in re-doing your soil make-up-- all one does is put in a scoop of compost when removing plants), and much fewer seeds are needed so that annuals seeds can be stored for a couple of years in most cases and used in years to follow.  There are all sorts of tricks to keeping rabbits out and the use of water to a minimum, as well, that should pay out over the years.  We'll see.

Update on the Vermiculture: I thought perhaps my worms had died because when I peeked in a few times over the winter it looked like no activity had taken place.  I stopped putting apple cores and banana peels, etc., in a long time ago. So, when I saw the plastic hamper sitting there in what I considered a position of 'un-use', I decided to take it out and just throw the stuff into the regular compost so that I could, indeed, re-use it.  Welllllll.... when I began to dump it out I caught a glimpse of several long, languorous worms moving, and actually, quite a bit of quality castings and compost... so, I did some damage control and took the box and most of its contents back in the house.  I put it right in the dining room in a discreet location where it can't be seen.  I believe that the issue was that the back pantry room where I had located it before was just too cold (it is my "cold" room, after all).  I've begun to feed them some more table scraps.  We'll see what results there are in the next few weeks.  There is no noticeable odour, which is a good sign, right?

Update on Bokashi: I made all of these fancy bokashi buckets (okay, not so fancy) and have a large quantity of wood-pellet bokashi, but somewhere during the winter I stopped using the process.  It's really not my cup of tea in the winter... I was supposed to go and dig a trench and place the begun-ferment into the trench and never got to that, opting to put it into the regular compost.  The bokashi also does not have a bad odour (yay).  However, I do not like the looks of the inside of the buckets after they have been emptied... remind me of old toilets. yuk.  I will, however, start up with them again when it gets a little Spring-ier.  I am either very lazy or actually am more sensitive to the damp cold than when I was younger?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Earthquake Clean-up with E.M.

When you think earthquake, do you think about the following possible events, sounds and sights?

  • Impassable roads (fallen hidro lines, collapsed bridges, landslides, tsunamis or boulders blocking any passage like the ones you see fenced off on the roads through the Rockies
  • No hydro; no phones because of pole and tower collapses
  • No cell signals because of jammed, inoperable towers
  • Broken water mains; perhaps obstruction by landslides
  • No operable bank machines
  • Fuel confined to use by emergency vehicles only
  • Only the most seriously injured will be seen by doctors or hospitals
  • No food delivery systems
  • Hoarding of supplies results in rapid emptying of shelves in the stores
Now, what about smells and pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms?)?  How about the smells that will result when sewage lines break and mix with the flood waters everywhere?  Most of us have had our delicate noses assaulted by something like a backed-up toilet or a malfunctioning septic system once or twice in our life.  But the smells of doom are even more horrifying.  Here is a video talking about an enterprising and effective way to safely, greenly, get rid of sewage odours AND pathogens with something called EM (effective microorganisms):

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Being Food Secure in an Insecure World

The world is falling apart.  This is not news.  This is not rocket science.  I happen to be Seventh-day Adventist and believe that this world will come to a startling end and that Jesus will return again, but even if you are not a believer in "end time Biblical prophecies" you probably recognize that there are more wars, rumours of wars, and natural disasters occurring closer together all over the world than ever before.  And that requires being prepared for the "emergency" situations that are going to affect all of us at some point-- the Hurricane Katrinas, the Haiti earthquakes, the landslides, monster blizzards, tornadoes, floods, etc. that will mean, at the very least, inconveniently long power outages, but more likely, no ability to buy any food (let alone good quality organic produce) and water, hunger, devastation to our homes, and clogged emergency response rooms in hospitals and walk-in medi-clinics.

 I live on an island.  It's a  large island, but the story out there is that within three days of no deliveries by ferries and truck from afar, any 'real' food will be gone from all the store shelves.  At present, less than 10% of what we eat here is grown or raised on this island.  You might want to check to see what the food security stats show for where you live.  If you, like us, are depending on surviving on food that is trucked in from hundreds, even thousands, of miles away, you might want to start thinking about what you can do to provide for yourself, your family, and your community when that impending disaster hits.  Educate yourself.  Do what you need to do to "be personally resilient" and not a further drain on limited emergency response resources.  And educate others in your sphere of influence about what they can do.  If you go here you can read what the large city of Vancouver has provided as a glossary for problem-solving around the issues of 'food security' (along with definitions for that concept) that might give you some ideas for your own community, or to check out what is already being strategized or exists as policy.

At a presentation at Seedy Sunday in Nanaimo I was so thrilled to find the book called Food Security for the Faint of Heart: Keeping Your Larder Full in Lean Times" by Robin Wheeler.  There is quite a lot of information on the internet (and in books, etc.) from an American perspective, but I'm excited to have access to information that is Canadian, and more specific and common to both of us, coastal British Columbian (Robin survived in 1996 in a small structure on Mount Elphinstone on BC's Sunshine Coast and our son Conrad lived on Mount Elphinstone, under a tarp shelter, in the winter of 2002).This book is a god-send for anyone who wants know about what to do to prepare to be secure, food-wise, during the grim days that are about to happen.  It is also entertaining to read just in terms of story-telling.  Information is NOT power-- really, the empowerment lies in doing something with the information that we come by... this book provides that impetus!
You can order this book from Amazon HERE

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Step 2: Get the Organic and Heirloom Seeds

So, yes, I do have that bag of Vermiculite towards my eventual Square Foot Garden, but the highlight of this pre-garden season is going to the Seedy Sunday event in Nanaimo.  We drove there with our dog and met our son Conrad just outside the doors to the sports complex in innercity Bowen Park.

Inside the building it's a little like what I remember from my childhood Fair days in the "exhibits" buildings.  Here you will find table after table of people (mostly farmers) selling seeds that they breed and/or collect themselves-- heirloom and organic being the words that you look for on the banner and seed packets.  There are also related items for sale, such as mason bee condos, jams, small plants, lily bulbs, flour varieties, honey, and garden ornaments.

Taking command of the place with unmatchable energy is the day's emcee, Dirk Becker.  Dirk and his partner Nicole are "backyard farmers" from nearby Lantzville.  They've run into some conflicts with their neighbours and their regional district around their operation-- is it or is it not legal for them to grow tons of vegetables to sell at Farmer's Markets on their hectare of land that is apparently within the city of Lantzville?  You can read more about it HERE and there are quite a few Youtube videos on the subject.  We attended Dirk's presentation and were thoroughly entertained, and as usually happens when one is relaxed and feeling high-positive, we learned a great deal about the joys of sustainable farming.
And then there is the matter of the seeds I bought.  Around $100 worth I think.  I also bought some for my friend's Dad.  I have a number of novelty seeds (some kind of silver beets, and a cauliflower that has spiraling leaves) and 3 heirloom asparagus crowns.  I bought a small Bay tree (as in Bay Leaf that you put in your stew), herbs, flowers, a lily bulb (yes, just one), and lots of beans, tomatoes, and the like.

Today I planted some pepper seeds, cucumber seeds and tomato seeds (3 varieties) in jiffy peat pots.  Here is a list of what I've planted (the number on top is the number of seeds I planted):

courtesy Wikipedia commons
cucumis sativus

Days to Harvest: 65

Chinese Cucumber. 12" long with traditional ridges and white spines that brush off easily. Trellis these prolific vines to grow straight cukes.

Crisp, non-bitter, almost seedless, great in salads and for pickling.

(from "Omega Blue Farms" Heritage Conservation

Medium-tall very productive plant from Romania. Many beautiful 4"X2" tapered pointed yellow fruit are produced early then ripen to red.  Romanians fry them in a skillet to bring out the flavour.  Start early indoors.  Transplant when the soil is warm.  IOPA/COABC Certified Organic #401 (from "Full Circle Seeds"

Pale yellow fruits, 1 2/4" in diameter with a good mild taste.  Plants are compact and easy to pick.  Great in a basket with orange and red cherry tomatoes.IOPA/COABC Certified Organic #401
(from "Full Circle Seeds"

Known as peach tomato because of its buffed smooth, furry skin and deep glove shape, these wonderful heirlooms are packed with flavour and just the right size for garden munching or salads.  Absolutely unique in appearance with flavour to match.  Introduced into this area by Marti Martin-Wood of Two Wings Farm.  They held up well into the late fall at ALM Farm.  Self-determinate.
IOPA/COABC Certified Organic #401
(from "Full Circle Seeds"


Large. Beautiful. 5 in. fruit. Unusual milk chocolate colour.  Delicious rich taste. A sport of Cherokee Purple.  Mid-Late. Indet. Rare.
Certified Organic
PACS. #16-527

Go HERE to find a Seedy event near you (in Canada)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My All-New Square Foot Gardening Dream

I am half-way through the book, The All-New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More In Less Space by Mel Bartholomew.  I have been savouring every page and nurturing the dream that I finally have the formula for the perfect organic veggie growing.

And yesterday I made my first purchase towards my dream: a 4 cubic foot bag of vermiculite.  That sounds pretty trite, I know, but I did a search online and it seems that vermiculite, one of the three items that are absolute "musts" for the soil that Bartholomew advises you "make" as the perfect formula, is hard-to-find... or at least the 4 cubic foot bags are hard to come by.  So now, being who I am, I want to buy about ten bags of vermiculite in case there is a gardening-time shortage.  That would cost me around $400.  I don't think my husband would be entirely supportive of such a move.  But here's the thing: once you mix up the perfect formula (vermiculite, peat moss and a blend of 5 different composts) all you ever have to replace, from here on in, is the compost!  And you do that by putting in another scoop when you remove a retired plant!  Wow!  It's like a solar-paneled roof-- once you make the expensive initial outlay, you're done!

The next goal is to get the boards together in the 4 X 4 design.  I think we might actually have some boards that will fit that plan out in the garage, which is a nice little saving.  I need to locate exactly where I want the board-constructed boxes to be and then put a weed-prevention sheets over the ground (I'm using cardboard).  Next comes the mixing and laying of the soil, and then the grids and any other supporting stuff gets added in/on.  I actually already have a box done up and that I grew veggies and cilantro in last season, but I was just flying by the seat of my pants and didn't realize about the 'perfect soil' and other things.. so it was fairly productive (just using soil and compost), but I am going to dig it out and put in the new soil-- start over, so to speak.  I will have to put cardboard on the base of that as well, since there seems to be an outbreak of some unidentified weed all over the yard, and it is in that box.

So I will keep you posted!  Maybe I will even vlog or at least put up a few youtube vids.  We'll see.  In any case, the idea of a square-foot garden really appeals to me, the free-flowing, disorganized person who sometimes just wants nothing better than to be organized by a neat freak!

Here are some other links to Square Foot Gardening:

Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX

Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX
Mostly Vegan & Gluten-Free Recipes