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?  

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)

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