Tuesday, May 18, 2010

it's only 3 days!

You know, you can do anything for 3 days. Well, almost. But when it comes to getting your dietary act together, if all it takes is 3 days to rid your body of the sugary, chemically laden toxins that you consume on a regular basis - then I'm in!

So...yesterday was day 1. From 8am to 4pm it was a protein drink every 2 hours. Followed in between each protein drink with at least 12 oz of water. At 6pm I enjoyed a HUGE salad and nice piece of mahi mahi cooked with olive oil and lemon (and a little bit of butter). It was delicious! Then nothing else to eat until this morning. In the meantime, I've had a constant headache and was feeling a little weak yesterday, but not bad. I managed my routine in pretty good shape.

Today - I woke up to about 3 cups of cantaloupe - now that's a lot of fruit! At my 10am feeding (ha ha ha) I had 2 cups of strawberries...they were great! But I still have the headache and even the shakes. But I feel like I can still do fine today. The rest of the day is fruit only every 2 hours until 6pm when I get my big salad again and another piece of that yummy fish...I'm looking forward to it.

Tomorrow will be day 3 and the menu is the same as today. I can mix up the fruit some, but the regimen is basically the same as today.

The goal? To flush my body of the toxins and to get myself out of the habit of being so dependent on sugar. Several years ago I had cut sugar out of my diet (refined sugars - you know, the fast and easy sugars) and was working out a bunch. I lost 18 pounds and felt great. I've slowly let the junk back in and I'm paying for it. This 3 day plan is a great way (so I hear) to jump start my good eating habits and to break the sugar cycle.

I made Jeremy his favorite macaroni and cheese last night using Quinona Pasta - it's corn based, no wheat flour. I used Buckwheat flour and his favorite cheese. It went over well, but next time I will use corn starch instead of the flour. It makes it creamier and the Buckwheat flour tends to cause the color to be a little on the brown side. Still, I believe it was a success. He can have that and I don't have to worry about him having a flare up. The eczema seems to be quiet right now, but not gone. I know slowly but surely we will get there.

I wonder if I'll ever get my family on the kind of diet that excludes the junk and fillers that I know cause the headaches, inflammation, irritability and whatnot. I wonder if I'll ever see it. I just have to keep plugging away....


Friday, May 14, 2010

time to get serious.....

So, it's settled. I'm going to venture down the road of the 3 day flush. This journey is taking me places that I have only watched other's go down and would think to myself "...I should do that..." and now, I am.

My girlfriend and I (and I'm dragging my daughter with us!) are tracking down the "flush diet" that looks like it will work for us. The goal (you ALWAYS have to have goals): to rid the body of the harsh toxins absorbed through unfavorable eating (red meat, junk food, caffeine, sugars...). We decided that before we start back to our commitment of healthy eating that we needed to rid ourselves of the artificially flavored, refined sugars and unhealthy carbs that we have slipped back into consuming. While I feel that I am more of an overall healthy eater, still the "junk" has slipped back in and I'm not happy with my weight....not to mention the "unknown" damage those foods are doing to my organs and skin and even my brain.

I'm also hoping to embark now on a daily regimen of fresh juicing (again) for my husband. The entire family will benefit from it, but I am hoping that this will be the natural way to keep his blood pressure at a normal rate.

I am eager to get started, but before I do, I will plan out my goals and mediate on my motivation - I will be praying about it this weekend. During the 3 day cleanse, I will be meditating and praying...repenting of my unhealthy eating habits and asking God to bless my actions.

We are making progress with Jeremy's wheat allergy - confirmed by a local chiropractor who uses a scanning process and computer software to determine what "issues" the body is dealing with. We have been implementing 3 new supplements to his daily diet - and trying to keep him off of wheat products. No easy task for an adolescent. It's a slow process - we are seeing improvement in his eczema, however he experienced a serious flare up when I allowed him to eat his favorite macaroni and cheese. It was almost immediate. So he knows now that he has to stay away from it. The doctor was encouraging though and said that once his body is rid of the allergens that he could in fact enjoy mac n cheese on occasion and might not even notice a reaction. We'll see. Like most things in life, and I'm finding with most natural remedies, it just takes time. It makes me think of all of those old movies when the hero got hurt and the old doctor who lived in the woods or something like that, would take in the injured one and put all kinds of herbs and pastes and oils on the wound or have him ingest some weird natural concoction - then the guy would have to sleep for a week. They would wake up and say "where am I?" and be cured. I think there is something to that. The body was designed to be able to heal, naturally. God provided so many healing elements on this earth - there are many, many things that can be treated with rest and simple, natural treatments.

I hope that with the "flush" or "cleanse" if you prefer, that I might lose a couple of pounds but more over, that my body and mind will be rid of the desire to eat things that I know are not good for me...Paul said it best when he said "...all things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial" You know, just because I can eat it, doesn't mean I should.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

back to basics?

I'm somewhat old fashioned, I guess. I had quite a bit of influence as a kid from my grandparents and great grandmother. So many of my memories include the time that we lived upstairs from my great grandmother (Granny) and my great aunt. It was nothing for me to slip downstairs to go visit Granny and sneak a piece of candy from the old candy dish and sit at the big dining room table and just soak up the time with her. A very sweet time in my life.

From the time that my great grandmother was a young mom to present, the way we handle health and nutrition has changed dramatically. The simpler foods and remedies are just as good today as they were back when my great grandmother used them. Technological advances in farming, cooking and medicine, in my opinion, at times, complicate those simpler, yet still very effective methods. I often wonder if we just aren't competing to have the same product, re-packaged in an effort to fill our pockets with money. Hmmmmm......Solomon said it best "....for there is nothing new under the sun...". I think there are times when newer technologies are definitely a blessing - I love my computer....but there is something to be said for the written prose. I enjoy a night off from cooking now and then, but there is no food like home cooked. Even my young boys prefer what Mom makes over eating out. That makes me very happy because I know what's going into their tummies! If I can treat a headache with some herbs or dietary changes as opposed to constantly reaching for the synthetic analgesic...I know what I'm going to do. I don't really know what's in ibuprofen. But I know what's in the herbs I get at the health food store and I know that God created them.

I really appreciate the efforts being made to get back to the simpler ways of life whether it's bringing our own reusable bags to the market, taking my own coffee cup to the coffee shop, or growing veggies in my own garden. I've recently learned that one of the town's in the next county over, offers citizens a plot of ground in a rural area of town for a very small fee. The ground is to be worked for gardening - the city provides seeds and compost for each plot. All you have to do is work it. What a great idea! Talk about back to basics.

There are many basic health remedies that I have implemented into my personal and my family's daily routine. In addition to the many vitamins and supplements we use - I've recently discovered Oil of Oregano - a wonderfully, and powerfully potent oil that is used as an antibacterial, antifungal, pain reliever, colon cleanser, and so much more. I've started using it daily on my toothbrush, a drop under the tongue followed by a glass of water. I've also discovered Tea Tree Oil. This is a great smelling oil that can be used to treat pimples and acne. I put a little under my nose before bed and it helps me relax. It's also great to put a couple drops on the dogs - keeps away fleas and ticks. In addition to the collection of natural remedies and vitamins and supplements I've started using...I've also started getting back to basics around the house. I put baking soda in my laundry, and do my deep cleaning with white vinegar, great cleaner and doesn't leave a residue or long lasting smell. Olive oil and lemon juice makes a great furniture polish.

There are many ways we can get back to the simpler, less complicated, stressful things in life. A little effort, time and desire will go a long way. I really enjoy researching home remedies and always get excited when I realize "hey...I think I knew that" or "great! I have those items already". I believe that by getting back to the simpler things in life, taking the time to prepare our own healthy foods, taking those after dinner walks and using natural, safe remedies when needed, we can be happier and healthier.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

a change of pace

Back on my feet - literally! I am so thankful to be feeling 100% better! I never thought that I would be a total believer in chiropractic care, but I am...I truly am. I love the whole natural approach and the "hands on" concept. So different from a general practicioner. When was the last time a GP actually "touched" a patient? Hasn't happened to me for years. And I don't want to be prescribed medicine if there is another way. I want to fix what is wrong, not just treat the symptoms. I believe that the body is capable (in most cases) of healing itself. Spinal manipulation is just one process that allows your body to do just that. I'm learning so much from my chiropractor - and what he's teaching me and showing me falls nicely in line with the natural, homeopathic or holisitic approach to health and well-being I am working to merge into my family's everyday routine.

So this week, Jeremy's rash was out of control again. Just awful. While at the chiropractor, he suggested that I have Jeremy tested...actually scanned. I don't know what it's called, but I've heard very intriguing things about this scan. They are going to scan his hand to determine what is going on inside of Jeremy's body. We should be able to find out what allergies or disorders he may be dealing with. In the meantime, I began treating him with A&D ointment. Yup! Diaper rash ointment. And it's really helping. I've also been giving him 2 drops of Oil of Oregano each day in his juice. Nope...he doesn't like it. But he is cooperating. I know over time this will reap wonderful benefits. I was so excited to learn of all of the healing and preventative health benefits this "miracle oil" has to offer. Some suggested and personally tried uses:

  • put 1 drop on your toothpaste - it kills plaque building bacteria - gives you REALLY fresh breath too!
  • one or two drops under the tongue. Helps ease pain and inflammation (which also helps Jeremy's eczema) and helps purge your body of nasty bacteria
  • 1 drop daily on warts - we are trying this one now on a Planter's Wart
  • a couple of drops mixed with some extra virgin olive oil or massage oil - great for body rubs and helps ease the pain and inflammation in the muscles

I've really been enjoying researching and trying these new natural remedies for my family and myself. I feel good knowing that we are being more proactive, not just in our diet, but in our general health and well being. I ordered some African Black Soap. This soap was highly recommended to treat acne and eczema. The all natural, herbal composition has wonderfully cleansing and moisturizing properties. Stay tuned....


Monday, April 19, 2010

fight the good fight

This ongoing battle against Jeremy's eczema is giving me an even greater awareness of and desire to discover natural, effective remedies for our everyday ailments. I am more convinced than ever that what you put into your body is directly related to the status of your health and overall well being. You are what you eat...

Someone told me once that it didn't really matter what you ate, if you skip a meal and eat a candy bar instead, that the body turns it all into vitamins anway. FALSE! This could not be more wrong. Especially in this day and age where EVERYTHING is mass produced and laden with sugars, acids, dyes and things I cannot pronounce, nevermind spell. Our bodies were not designed to take garbage and turn it into the vitamins and minerals our bodies need for our health and well being. It's just not true.

While I agree that our bodies can be resillient to occasional poor food choices, of which I am guilty of like most everyone else, believing that you can substitute fruits, vegetables, complex carbs and proteins with laffy taffy and lollipops is absurd. Refined sugars, trans fats and vegetable oils are just some of the culprits found in foods that create inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation = bad.

My son, Jeremy struggles greatly with eczema. Part of the chronic allergy issue he has I believe is directly related to his diet. I am working daily to make sure he consumes foods that will have a positive affect on his health - however, he is a tough patient. And because I am not always with him to control his food choices...I feel like I am constantly spinning my wheels. Leaving both of us aggravated and feeling hopeless. The inflammatory foods that I know are contributing to his allergies and eczema are the foods he chooses the most. He would rather eat macaroni and cheese and bread than fruits and vegetables. I have to supplement his diet daily while I am fighting the fight of taking away the foods he loves to eat and pushing the foods he would rather starve to death than eat. Sometimes, Jeremy does go hungry for a few hours because of it. This is a constant battle.

Why am I so concerned about inflammation? A few reasons...

chronic pain
chronic fatigue syndrome
Alzheimer's disease
Parkinson's disease
multiple sclerosis
heart disease
hypertension (high blood pressure)
insulin resistance syndrome (pre-diabetes)

Our genetic code is not that different from our predecessors but our food definitely is. After grains were adopted as a staple food that replace animal proteins a number of negative health outcomes occurred including the following:

Increased infant mortality
Increased number of dental cavities and enamel defects
Reduced lifespan
Increased infection diseases
Increased osteoporosisi, osteomalacia and other bone mineral disorders
Incease in iron deficiency anemia

It's easy to consume foods that are pro-inflammatory - they are convenience foods and also just the regular everyday grain based foods we have become accustomed to. But it is just as easy to eat anti-inflammatory foods. They are just as readily available and good tasting. It's a decision to create a change of habit when it comes to the foods we eat. I know it's not always the easy choice - but in my opinion, it's the best choice for our health. It's a fight worth taking on.

For more information - visit http://www.anaboliclabs.com/ and www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi to check out your Body Mass Index.

(reference data is from booklet produced by Anabolic Laboratories).


Friday, April 16, 2010


"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.." - John Steinbeck

It happens to the best of us. We all make plans, we all intend to move forward and we all, at times, get short sighted and think we'll go along uninterrupted and make our goals. And maybe much of the time, this is absolutely true - however, I live in the real world...where things often do not go as planned.

Experience is a gift. I have experienced enough plan-thwarting dilemmas to know that you can't count on everything going your way. I also know that God's word says that "...you don't even know what will happen tomorrow..." James 4:13-15. So really, you can plan all you want, just be prepared for the plan to fall apart. And that's just what happened to mine....

I was doing great! I was alternating my walking and exercise "as planned". I was getting so excited about how great my clothes were going to fit and how happy I was going to be once I got to the size and shape I wanted. And then...I gave the dog a bath. Ouch!

Really it shouldn't have been that big of a deal. He's not a big dog - smallish in fact. However, the bending and stretching over the bathtub to clean up my muddy pooch did me in and down I went for 4 days. And like any other mom, all I could say was "I don't really have time for this." But our bodies tell us when we need to take time, don't they?

Evidently, my back is not as strong as it was a couple of years ago. I was banking on the fact that a little exercise goes a long way. Foolish I was! I have a ways to go - not to mention, a history of lower back disc problems. I didn't see it coming...I was completely blind-sided. My legs literally taken out from under me.

Thanks to a wonderful chiropractor, my sweet girlfriends and my loving husband, I hobbled through these past few days in superior style! I am feeling much better and am looking forward to a nice walk tomorrow around the lake. Oh...and I have been assigned some new core stabilizing exercises. It's going to take time. My new plan; Take time to do it right and until my back is strong, think twice before using my bathtub as a home spa for my Schnauzer!

Needless to say, foodwise this week has been quite out of kilter. Subs one night, mexican another. I couldn't wait until I could at least creep around the store to get a few healthy items. And then my sweet friend brought homemade soup and then spaghetti. What a relief not to have to cook as it still hurts to stand for long periods of time.

I found out that Oil of Oregano is a great pain reliever for joints and muscles. It can be taken orally and used topically. I was especially pleased to find this out after I had already purchased it to treat my son's sore throat and swollen glands - and I can even use it on his eczema!

Here's to best laid plans!


Monday, April 12, 2010

set your mind

I've heard it said that it takes 28 days to create a new habit. Sticking with something is pretty hard in this fast-paced, not-enough-hours-in-the-day world we live in. In order to even get started on that new habit - you have to set your mind on it. Habits just don't happen. It's a process of determining to do something routinely, consistently and with determination.

As I was taking my walk today - I couldn't help but wonder how I had gotten "out" of the habit of regular exercise. A few years ago I was determined to get into shape and I did. I created those good eating habits and exercise routines that afforded me the jeans size I wanted. I guess it's easier to break a habit than it is to create one!

Partnering with someone is a good idea. Although I've managed before without having anyone hold me accountable. My accountability came in the closet; the clothes I had didn't fit well and therefore I was motivated to create habits that would help me do so. Chatting with someone about your goals, daily success and failures helps many people. I'm glad this time I have someone to go through the process with.

Using the small pieces of in-home equipment is fun because I can mix it up and I can do it while I watch my favorite t.v. show; Law & Order. Every other day I walk the lake (not just a stroll...a brisk cardio walk) and I've started using hand weights...5lbs in each hand as I walk.

This weekend wasn't a great weekend for healthy food for my family - birthday parties and other commitments kept us from our normal routine. However, I did make BBQ turkey sandwhiches and some homemade turkey noodle soup for company. I feel good knowing that at least 5 days out of 7 I am in control of our nutrition and overall it's going well. The good habits are being created that I've been hoping for.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

one, two, three...go!

And so it goes....I've partnered with one of my girlfriends for accountability sake in this quest for a more regular exercise routine. Something I always ask myself and my friends when considering taking something on of any sort (diet, exercise, new career, whatever) is what is your motive? What is driving you and will drive you to continue with ______? How do you see yourself moving forward with this when_______?

I've talked before about my motivation to migrate my families' eating habits into a more natural, fresh is best, and less is just as good as more, mentality. The motivation there? Good health, less chemically enhanced foods and the determination to rid my son of a life of allergies and skin rashes.

Last night I exercised with a different motive than usual. And that's why I hope it works. I've been fighting 5 or 7 lbs that I don't want. Mostly because they all sit right in the same place!! I don't like it when my clothes reveal certain "bulges" that need not be there. To me, it's just proof of bad eating and not enough exercise. I want to maintain my health and appearance as long as possible - to make my husband happy, to please my God and to live a long time to see my children and my children's children grow up! Several motivations perhaps, tied up into one phrase I guess: "I can do better than this..." and so it goes.

I'm like everyone else and my time is limited - but I've done it before and I can do it again. You spend your time on what's important to you. Good health has to be a priority!

The pilates ball is a lot of fun, but more of a challenge than I anticipated. I liked working out with the bands, but don't feel like I'm getting as much of a work out as when I used the bowflex for sure. I walked the lake today - great day for a walk. This is probably going to be the toughest part of my routine as I will get busy with my daily to-do list and totally blow it off. Cardio is a must, especially at my age. I'm cutting calories, which is the easiest part of this process for me. I've done well for 2 days walking past the kids' candy dish and not stopping to sneak a few. Yay me!

Breakfast today was iced coffee (homemade of course!) and a handful of dry roasted almonds. My next snack was fresh squeezed orange juice and half of a raw sweet potato with cottage cheese. The day is full of possibilities and options. Praying that I make the right choices!


Monday, April 5, 2010

mom didn't know

As I consider all of the changes that I am trying to implement into my own personal food plan as well as that of my families - I often ponder on this thought "....if we'd never been introduced to this kind of food in the first place, we wouldn't be struggling to do away with it." I guess that's sort of a true statement.

For my generation, our parents were probably just on the upward climb on the journey of convenience foods. Some fast food places and pre-packaged foods started popping up as early as 1930 (Bird's Eye Frosted Foods for one), but weren't readily available until the the 1940's. The upward swing of the woman's movement, taking mom's out of the home full time and creating a new dilemma for the American Family - lack of time! Rushed schedules, demanding careers and men and now women fighting to make a name for themselves brought on a need for expediting the family meal. Along with a whole host of other issues - we've convenienced ourselves right into obesity, diabetes, neurological disorders, cancers, depression and so much more. The number of elementary school aged children with serious health problems due to poor nutrition is sad and scary. I'm not talking about "lack of nutrition". We don't lack anything really in the US do we? By and large, no. We have more than we need and we throw out more than some people eat in a week. Our over indulgence and lack of dietary concerns are killing us and our children.

But Mom didn't know! Fast foods and pre processed meals weren't as heavily scrutinized then as they are now. Probably because the results of that style of eating on a regular basis hadn't show itself to be a problem. But we know now that it is. I'm not condeming anyone or myself for taking advantage of the convenience on occasion, but when it becomes a way of life, you are taking some serious risks. Especially if you don't exercise, take vitamins or get enough sleep.

The sad thing is - my mom, like many others, didn't know, so we became so accustomed the foods quickly available, making home life and family meals quicker and more inconsequential to our daily routines. I believe a total paradigm shift is necessary - at least for my family...and it's been what we've been working toward for many years.

I heard a tip on a nutritional show some time back - "if your grandmother doesn't know what it is, or if your kindergartener can't pronounce it....then don't eat it". A clever way to remember that simple, fresh foods are best and yes - it's going to take time. But time well spent!

I've been enjoying my mediations and research and trials and errors with our new food plan. This week I am adding a new exercise program to my day....more regular and with a goal. I've exercised regularly for the past 3 years, however this last year has not been the most productive. Time to get serious. I plan to blog my progress to see the results!!


Monday, March 22, 2010

tis so sweet...

Diabetes is a concern for me. Not just because it runs in the family - but because everyone is susceptible to it! The sugar packed treats and carbohydrates we've become so accustomed to enjoying everyday are just not doing us any favors when it comes to our blood sugars. Not to metion the fact that high intake of sugary foods and simple carbs decreases our good cholesterol which in turn, increases our bad cholesterol and triglycerides - creating a propsensity for coronary disease, diabetes mellitus and obesity.

Dr. Neal Barnard had a great show on how to reduce your glycemic index. Making simple changes to foods in our everyday diets can make a huge difference and keep us healthy and off of insulin! These are not tough changes to have to make:

White or Wheat Breads - instead, try Rye or Pumpernickel

White Potatoes - Instead try Yams or Sweet Potatoes (one of my favorites!)

Cold Cereals - Instead eat oatmeal or bran cereals

Restrict Refined Sugar like sodas, candy - you know, the good stuff!

Pasta is ok!

Beans GREAT!

All fruits and vegetables - YES!

I once had someone tell me that regardless if the sugar you eat is a piece of candy or if it's an apple, it all contains sugar and sugar is sugar. Not true! Fruits and vegetables have a lower glycemic index and do not affect your blood sugar the same way the simple sugars do in a candy bar. The processing in manufactured carbohydrates (sugars) creates air pockets in the food which in turn has a negative affect on our blood sugar as it more rapidly works it way in. The lower gi foods do not have this affect. They are lower and slower to be digested and the valuable fiber in the fruits and vegetables aid in the digestion of the nutrients in the food.

I was pleased to see that many of the foods on the chart that Dr. Barnard shared on his show...are foods that we eat regularly since the onset of our new food plan. Keeping those high non friendly sugars in check is a challenge and it takes self-control. But when it comes down to overall health, the common sense thing to do...is do the right thing.


Friday, March 19, 2010

even when you do everything wrong...

Sometimes I feel like the day whips by me at lightning speed - so fast that I actually see myself spinning in circles trying to keep up with what's going on on my left side and then the right. I fully intend everyday to follow a schedule, develop a plan for completing tasks and be done by the time the family is all home so that we can have the family time we look forward to all day. But it doesn't always work that way, does it?

I realized a long time ago that trying to be perfect at everything certainly isn't important. The stress and anxiety that come with doing everything "picture perfect" is not worth it. I'm no good to my husband, kids, friends, family if I am overwhelmed simply because I want my meals, my home and my hair to look like it came out of a magazine.

So what's the key? Simply put - balance. There are days when I don't do anything right. I don't have the pantry/fridge stocked well enough to provide nutritious breakfasts and lunches for the day - and we wind up with grab-n-go meals for the day. The laundry is undone and the car is out of gas. I over-commit my day and wind up being out too long, creating a stressful evening trying to play catch up. Thankfully, even when I do everything wrong, my family has grace and they know this is not the norm. It almost makes me try even harder to seek and find healthy alternatives to the last minute or fast food lunches we ate as well as inspires me to take the time to develop daily routine that I can handle without last minute changes causing a dramatic interruption.

Balancing family, school, my work at home job, homework, church obligations and the strong desire to help my family stay well and illness free is no easy task....but my goal remains the same and I see little successes all the time. I am thankful for my understanding family who loves me and encourages me!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

onward and upward...

I knew from the beginning that our food plan transition was not always going to be easy. I'm ok with that. I like new challenges and I love learning. I feel the growth occuring as I research and test ideas and concepts that I've not entertained before. But like so many things in my life....this new method of cooking and eating and living really, is not widely accepted among friends and family. That's ok too. I've never been one to really be concerned what others think about me in that regard. I believe what I am doing is good for my family and will honor my God.

This journey to live healthier is not just about eating. Although my journalling seems to be mostly that, it's so much more. It's about becoming purer and healthier in every regard of being. I'm not going all zen - and I'm certainly not a radicalist (word?) but I believe change can be good - as long as it is good for you. I've really been enjoying the recipes I've tried and the ideas that I'm developing as I go. It seems my eyes are open now to so many new possibilities in the realm of cooking for my family...open so much wider. I see things that I've never seen before. Be it items at the store, concepts in cooking or foods that can help your body heal itself. I've been so excited about transforming our occasional medicinal needs from over the counter or even prescription remedies to trying and using natural or homeopathic remedies. I truly believe that God created everything that we need within our earth. There are people far smarter and far more versed in this area than myself that have researched and tested and tried natural remedies. I belive that it is a perfect compliment to healthier cooking, to use healthier medicine when in need.

We are still battling with Jeremy's eczema. I can't believe the amount of remedies I have collected from the doctors! While they may work for a time, the eczema continues to return and be a real problem for everyone. This week we are trying Grapeseed Extract. It's working! It doesn't burn him when he applies it and the rashes are breaking up and clearing. He is more open to using this form of treatment than any other we have tried. Cleansing his system from the inside out is another treatment we will have to approach, however, I've not found one yet that I think he will accept. Oral vitamin E and eating almonds and other emolient rich foods are slowly being introduced to his diet. Overall, he is being a good sport.

These changes are all going to take time - but I am optimistic. I believe we can increase our level of health, encounter better sleep, enjoy more energy and maintain a suitable weight by taking the time to use foods and supplements that were designed to help us do so. I'm hoping that in time we won't need OTC pain killers for headaches or body aches and that we will see tangible results in the near future.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

is it soup yet?

One of the most exciting things that has come out of this quest for better eating (for me anyway) is the fact that I have learned to enjoy creating homemade soup! What a blessing this has become. Such a versatile, healthy meal that uses your creativity in such a delicious way.

I can remember wanting so badly to be a good soup maker when I was first married. After all, every good wife can make homemade soup, right? Not! I stunk at it and therefore, gave up. It looked so easy and after all, didn't you just have to throw everything in a pot, heat it up and that's it? Oh, how foolish I was. Perhaps my imagination got away with me..."Stone Soup" was one of my favorite books as a child. I have never forgotten that book and often recall it. And as many times as I do, I hear myself saying "...is it soup yet?" Probably more of a phrase relating to life in general as I seem to have a knack for "play on words" type communication. As I've written before, I tend to be a big picture thinker and am constantly relating various concepts together.

Like life...soup takes time. If you rush soup, you won't get the results you are looking for. If you forget a step and try to cut corners, well, it might be soup, but it won't be the true creation it was meant to be. Life is the same way. We get up in the morning and fly through our days, cramming fast food breakfasts down our throats, eating in our cars and skipping lunches because we just don't have time. We miss out on friendships and important memory making moments because we need to hurry up and get somewhere. Sadly, the end result is us falling exhausted into our beds at night, with digestive issues, depression and anxiety. Feelings of isolation and insomnia can wreak havoc on our minds as we blow through time at microwave popcorn speed forgetting to slow down and allow ourselves to be the creation we were intended to be.

My favorite new soup is a variation of a beef barley recipe a good friend gave me. I like to brown a chuck or sirloin steak and then simmer it in organic beef broth, garlic, onions and a myriad of other items and spices for about 2 days. Yes, two days! I let it cook for hours until it falls apart...then I refrigerate it overnight and then start again in the morning. After a few hours of more simmmering, I add some water, more broth and a cup of red wine to the pot, along with a cup of barley (so good for you!) and some vegetables of choice. The longer this soup simmers, the more delicious it is.!

Psalm 46:10a - "Be still and know that I am God..."


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

when you have the right tools

When I was much younger and first married, I truly did not understand the necessity or the blessing of having the right tools in the kitchen. Being somewhat simplistic by nature, I never thought to attain more than the common, everday kitchen tools (ie: pots, fry pan, crock pot) and some basic utensils; can opener, a couple of big spoons for mixing (mixing what?) and maybe some measuring supplies, just in case I baked a cake (from a box). Though I wasn't completely ignorant of cooking from scratch, it certainly wasn't a lifestyle. And forget about spices. Salt and pepper were the only ones I thought I would ever need...I was so naive!

Today, I'm still somewhat simplistic I suppose, compared to many, but my realm of cooking tools has definitely grown. I have things like a blender, a juicer, food processers (big and small) baking stones and more. Items I never thought I would own, nevermind use on a regular basis. My hand utensils have also grown in number and I find myself wondering how in the world I ever survived without a garlic press or a mini whisk!

These tools, now everday helpers in my kitchen, make it possible for me to grow and explore new ideas and recipes to continue to develop our food plan. I have also found out that with just a little careful planning, remnants of ingredients from one recipe need not be discarded but can easily be used in another recipe a day or two later. Savings on time and grocery money - I'm all about that.

I made crockpot lasagne last night, with ground chicken browned in olive oil. Made my own tomato sauce and made a creamy filling with cottage cheese and a little ricotta. Spices like basil (always have some fresh on hand), fennel seed, oregano, nutmeg, sea salt and pepper make a world of difference! I always add a little red wine to my sauce to enhance the flavor. Layered in the crock pot and topped with mozzarella and parmesean cheese, it's a quick, low mess and high protein meal! I'm using the left over sauce in my homemade beef/veggie stew tonight!

I thank God everyday for the tools I have - leaving me more time to care for my family in other ways.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

keep it fresh!

It's not easy to come up with fresh ideas day after day, meal after meal. There are great websites available to get ideas from. Not all of them use the ingredients that I am trying to impletement into our new food plan, but with a little creativity and a lot of patience, it's possible to mock a recipe and make it your own. The times when I've done this are usually the dishes that my family goes crazy over. Sometimes all I need is a fresh idea, or a seed planted and I can run with it. One of my favorite sites is: http://www.allrecipes.com/.

When it comes to food, fresh is definitely best! We enjoy fresh fruits and veggies regularly. I had heard many years ago from someone who worked at a vegetable packing plant, "don't buy canned foods...you don't even want to know...". I never forgot that, but honestly, haven't always bought into it. My feelings on this were renewed recently by an article in Eat This Not That...canned foods have been linked to cancer and heart disease. While it may still be controversial as to whether or not the foods inside the can are still good for you (preservatives, high tempurature cooking, etc) it has been reported that man made products in the can linings contain chemicals that can eventually adversely affect our health. Eating fresh food seems to be an easy alternative to me. Besides...it always tastes better!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

fruit is always good

One of the staples of our diet is fruit. We love all kinds of fruit. Jeremy is coming around, though it's been a little tougher with him still. The rest of us enjoy strawberries, melons, grapes, apples, pears, mangoes, bananas, you name it. If it's a berry, I want it. If I don't have enough variety to make a fruit salad, then I'll throw what I have in the juicer with some carrots and wala...instant fruit medley. Fruit is naturally high in fiber, loaded with antioxidants and energy boosters, and are low in calories. You can eat fruit anytime, with any meal or as a meal itself. It's always good to have fruit on hand.

As I consider the wonder of all the fruits that God created (and there are so many I don't even know about) my mind continues to stray to Galatians 5 where we are taught about the Fruits of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faitfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Wow! God lays out right here what right living is. Although self-control is last on the list, it the one that comes to mind first when it comes to our eating habits. Self-control is essential when it comes to the food choices offered to us in the world. There are so many enticing, mouth-watering options, it's easy to give in to our carnal cravings. I, like Paul, have not mastered this yet, but I will tell you that it is something that I work very hard on. I greatly admire the person who can avoid the tantalizing treats for the sake of their health, or the sake of a fast or what have you. Self-control in any area of your life helps you "beat your body into submission" and train yourself to run the race in a smoother, more focused way.

Paul also lays out very plainly that the opposite of the Fruits of the Spirit are the works of the flesh, two in particular I easily relate to this topic; impurity and selfish ambition. In other words; serving self. When we overeat, or eat foods that are not glorifying to God simply for the sake of self satisfaction...it's like being impure, gorging or indulging the flesh and it's desires. Sometimes I want what I want when I want it. But it's at those times that I struggle the most. Just because my body craves it, does not mean it is a good idea to have it. Oh...this principal is seen throughout Scripture and can be applied to every area of our lives, but for the sake of this blog...I'm referring to food.

The good news is this: When you opt for God's food, one of them being fresh fruit, your sweet-tooth cravings and appetites are satisfied. The overall digestive system is improved and you don't have to feel guilty later!

Over the last week I've impletemented some new or newly improved recipes. Oh the joy I find in providing healthy, delicious meals for my family!

Chicken Noodle Soup - free range chicken, organic broth, fresh veggies and no yolk pasta - big hit!

Spaghetti and Sausage - made my own spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, etc., omega 3 rich whole grain pasta, turkey sweet italian sausage - another hit!

Egg sandwhiches - on multigrain, high fiber english muffins, free range brown eggs, all natural cheese - Yes!

Chicken and Veggies stir fry - with squash, zucchini, onions, free range chicken, served over brown rice - not bad, needs tweaking.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

the choices we make

I have a tendency to connect one action to another. I tend to see the big picture of how one action will affect another action. I tend to draw a relational diagram in my mind and connect actions to results, results to change, change to improvement, improvement to a better, overall way. Perhaps it's the line of work I'm in...perhaps it's intuition, not sure it matters. What this helps me see though are possibilities. Possibilities for growth, possiblities for something better, whatever the case may be.

I've never been content with status quo. While I have great contentment in life when it comes to materialism and worldly things as my quest for those things has waned as my walk with Christ grows, still I am not content or maybe the better word is complacent. I do not like the image of stagnating. I do not like the idea of not growing as a person. I have a personal, spiritual responsibility to grow to be more like Christ, less like myself. Not a process that happens overnight.

Perhaps that is why I am on this quest to provide healthier food alternatives for my family. I believe with all of my heart that God has provided everything we need for sustenance and good health in His garden. I feel a strong innate yearning to be pure. To live a life of purity before God, to be presented and blameless on that day. With all of the toxins around us, that is no easy task. And I understand that when God tells us to be "...holy as I am holy" does not mean that I can be physically pure. I understand the message here about being one with Christ - moving ever toward his likeness. However, I also believe that caring for my health and the health of my family is a responsibility all Christians have. We are the temple of God. We house the Holy Spirit in our earthly tents. As with all material, physical blessings, we are to take care of them, keep them in the best working condition that we can - that we might use them to glorify God and fulfill His puposes! God gave me a physical body to honor and worship Him first and foremost! I am blessed to have a husband and children and God expects me to care for them in His name. God prepared "good works in advance" for me to do. If this vessel is run down or broken due to lack of proper maintenance, then it is no one's fault but my own for not fulfilling my purposes in Christ.

I enjoy sweets, sodas and fried foods just as much as the next person. But the question that has been plaguing me for quite some time is this: How do these foods help me glorify God? Have you ever sat at a fast food restaurant with a high fat, high sugar meal and then said "Lord, bless this food to our bodies?" Kind of seems odd to me anymore. Is it right to make a choice to put food into my body that I know will slow it down or impair it's functioning, and then ask God to use bless my choice? Can he use bad choices for good? Of course, but Scripture also reveals that when people continue in their bad choices, ignoring the instructions of God, he "turns them over" to their own desires....he allows the negative results of our poor choices to take over.

God gives us everything we need in pure form. Is it going to take work in this day and age to find those, to adjust our existing habits to new ones? You bet! There are days when I say "I want to injest only God's foods, I want to be pure physically and spiritually inside and out!" and I mean it - and there are times when my schedule gets in the way and I want to cave and take the easy way out. Let's face it! It's easy and quick and usually cheaper to eat fast food, frozen food, or already prepared food. Is it really the best choice? It's not always the easy thing or the popular thing to choose healthy living. Organic foods and fresh foods are expensive. It takes time to find the right ingredients that aren't loaded with preservatives. Yet my choice, my family's choice is to take the time and seek the better way. It's a work in progress, but it's something I can truly ask God to bless! I know that in doing so, the growth and the purity that God wants for me will come.

"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

it's all good...or is it?

Scripture teaches us that God declared all foods clean through Peter's revelation...in fact God told Peter to get up and eat foods that in the past Peter would have been condemned for eating. I often think of this section of scripture when I'm considering eating foods that are full of nitrates and refined sugar and highly processed "foods". I'm really not sure that these were the things that God declared clean. He was specifically referring to certain types of animals that in the past were considered unclean.

To say that all foods are good and can be consumed in moderation is a stretch. Truth be told, there are products that we eat that simply are not natural. They are man made, chemically based products, formed to resemble food items. They may even in fact contain some natural food ingredients, but by and large, are not "created by God". Common sense tells me that Ring Dings and Twinkies didn't grow out of the ground, nor were they raised on a farm for sale later at the food market. They are comprised of chemicals created in labs (kitchens??) by man to entertain our fast and easy, sweet tooth based lifestyles.

I'm not condeming any and all consumption of these products. What I am focusing on here is the fact that moderation may even be too much. Moderation would imply regular, yet slow in pace consumption. Occasional might be a better train of thought.

Look around at the chronic dilemma facing us today in the US. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, neurological disorders...why are these problems (and many more) so rampant? Why do we now have to have a National Health Plan where folks have to be told what you should and should not eat? Because of the foods we eat. Because we package chemicals and fats and sugars and call them "snacks" or even "meals" and it becomes a way of life.

Eat God's food first. Simply put: If it didn't grow out of the ground, or have to be fed...it's not God's food. God has provided the best foods in his own pantry. He knows what we need to live out our purposes. Remember how he provided manna for the Israelites? It was all they needed...it was His food.


Friday, February 5, 2010

the way i see it

As I figured from the start - this is going to be easier said than done. But surprisingly, it's not the resistance that is going to be the hardest part. I know it's only been a week, but the family is quite cooperative and supportive at this point. The problem is going to be finding the food that works on this plan and will fit into the types of meals we enjoy and I want to prepare. It will be an adjustment in many ways.

It's also going to be difficult to determine which foods are actually WHAT they say they are. Remembering that at the center of this whole endeavor is to eat fresher, less chemically altered foods, it's going to take effort to determine which ingredients are acceptable and which are not. I don't see this as a fanatical type effort, completely wiping out anything except fresh and homegrown (unless I start a farm, lol), but there are certain things that I would really like to eliminate. Trying to cut down on wheat and bleached white flour products is another effort that will take time. The key here as I see it, is commitment. It's not going to happen over night as I research and shop to find the suitable alternatives to these products we use.

Last night I made French Onion Soup. Being that a crusty bread is one of the key ingredients to the meal, I looked for a whole grain alternative. Rushing to get the shopping done, I caved and bought French Bread. A revelation today; Ezekial Bread! There are many varieties of this whole grain bread - I'm going to pick some up this weekend. We've used it before, it's great toasted with pesto!

Today was a flop. Started out good with fruit and oatmeal bread toast for breakfast. Packed everyone's lunches with the good stuff. Well, those didn't work out for a couple of reasons. We have 3 extra kids tonight, so pizza was the dinner of choice. In the future, I hope to be able to have the ingredients on hand for a Friday night pizza party that is wholesome and fresh.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

it's all about balance

I keep thinking about the vicious circle that sometimes ensnares us into the need for convenience foods. We work too much, play too much, we are away from our homes and our families at times way too much. I realized years ago that I could only be in one place at a time. I am reminded of it still every single day when my schedule gets out of balance and I don't have "time" to cook a good meal. God revealed to me in Scripture that after my relationship with him, my husband and children are my first responsibility. I have the obligation, the blessing and the privilege to care for their needs to the best of my ability. We all get out of balance at times, but the important thing to remember here is to work to getting back in balance. If you stay out of balance too long, the results may be unsavory. I evaluate my priorities on a regular basis. If I don't have time to care for the home and the family I am blessed with, then I need to cut out whatever it is that is taking me away from it.

It's ok to have a really busy day and need to do a quickie meal now and again. I hope that I use my time wisely enough when I have extra to prepare for those times instead of swinging through a drive thru. Good food can be prepared in advance and frozen and heated up without much effort on a busy day. Honestly, my kids don't care, they just want to eat when they are hungry. In the past for fun, we've even made homemade Happy Meals. That was a big hit - and I got to decide what went in the bag!

Last night was fun. I made french toast using oatmeal bread, organic eggs and fat free milk (sweetened with vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg). I served it with scrambled organic eggs and turkey sausage. I was surprised when Jeremy asked for seconds. I had seconds myself! This morning we enjoyed egg (or egg whites) muffin sandwhiches using whole grain english muffins with organic cheese and the leftover turkey sausage.

Will there be a time and a place to "grab and go" at mealtime? Sure...but it's not going to be a lifestyle anymore.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010


It's been said over and over again that eating smaller, more frequent meals during the day is better for your metabolism and over all health. The more I research the more I am convinced that this is the better way to eat, as opposed to 3 standard meals. I've tried over the last few years to adopt this method for myself, but it's not so easy with the rest of the family. Taking control of the "all day" eating plan takes effort. The boys are at school all day and Greg is working. Packing fruits and veggies hasn't always been popular, it's easier and more fun to have chips and cookies - and let's face it...cheaper. But I'm determined to find things everyone likes that we can graze on all day that are nutritious and filling. So far so good! I'm trying to make it fun for the kids calling the tidbits in their lunchboxes "snacks", rather than lunch. Funny how the idea of eating "snacks" for lunch makes it more exciting.

Good snacks we've found to replace our traditional favorites; organic butter flavored popcorn; found it at the healthfood store, has been a big hit! All natural tortilla chips and organic salsa was really good too, didn't last two days. We also replaced our regular cheese sticks with the all natural or organic mozzarella, you can't tell the difference. Almonds, carrots and organic dip (yum!), strawberries, apple slices and bananas are regulars. My personal favorite is raw sweet potato with a creamy organic dip. I'll eat a whole one at one sitting!!

Last night I made chili for Greg and me and ground meat over mashed red potatoes for the boys, all topped with a little all natural shredded cheese. The best part was, I used venison (thanks LC). It was really good. The boys didn't know (yeah...I play like that) until after they had eaten it all. Success!

The boys are really getting into the idea of eating better. They help me shop and pick out the more healthy foods. This makes mommy very happy!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

not bad for a monday...

Despite my usual Monday blunders (regardless how much I think I've prepared for the day) we had a pretty good day - foodwise. The kids had fruit for breakfast, they didn't want anything else, which is enlightening to me. The increased fiber is supposed to help suppress your appetite...in a good way! You feel fuller and your body is digesting the good foods not the bad. How great is that?

Anyway...the boys both brought packed lunches to school. Jacob loves to pack his lunch, but Jeremy has been eating from the school cafeteria - hmmmm? Another possible link? They ate peanut butter and low sugar jelly on whole grain bread (Pepperidge Farms - yummy!), almonds and fresh strawberries (no...not Jeremy, not yet). Jeremy LOVED the almonds though - huge success!

Dinner was fun. I made BLTS on the whole grain bread with red lettuce. Jeremy wasn't happy, but he ate it. Jacob ate his and half of another...no surprise there! Greg and I also enjoyed a red lettuce/spinach salad with all of the veggies I could pack in.

I kept thinking "yay...a good food day" smiling inside and out. All was not grand though. Jeremy was still itching like crazy come bed time and the cream for his eczema caused him a lot of pain. Enough. The food journey is going to take a while and this rash is making his life miserable. Took him to the ER Tuesday morning. More on that later....


Monday, February 1, 2010

so what's this all about anyway?

I'll have to admit - the concept of cleaning up our eating habits is happening a lot faster in my mind than in reality. After all, i've got 4 people in the house (and one off in college) to consider when planning meals. But maybe if i divulge a little more into the background and motivation for doing so - I can begin to pace myself day by day to achieve the greater goal!

First and foremost! It's a no brainer that junk food is bad for you. even in moderation, when you stop and really think about it, what good does a cupcake or a bag of skittles do for you? When was the last time you heard of the "Doritos Diet" or read "drink more soda...your body will thank you...". 'Nuff said. And while my family is not exclusively on a junk food diet, we can certainly do better! As my husband and I approach middle age, of course health concerns are on the rise. The body doesn't bounce back like it used to and aging occurs at a much faster rate when you don't take care of yourself. As for the kiddos, well, it's never too late to get those good eating habits in place. It may take some time and with Jeremy, yes...it might be tough, but so far he's been cooperating. Which leads me to my next motivation...

It seems that Jeremy has had a rash since he was six weeks old. At eleven and a half now, it's gone beyond chronic. We've tried it all and seen several different doctors over the years. Always the same thing, and nothing ever really takes care of it. Jeremy also has horrible allergies. Circles under the eyes, runny nose, chronic inflammation, the list goes on. So I had a revelation last week, maybe it's FOOD! I've been much better at cooking healthy meals for a quite a while, but Jeremy is not one to try new stuff. He loves mac n cheese, french fries and bagels. You get the picture...starch, starch, starch! It hit me that he could have some food allergies going on, and hey we need to get serious about getting into shape! Hence this rush into changing our family food plan.

The goal is simply this: increase our fiber intake to 35grams per day, increase our water intake, eliminate as much as possible processed foods and fast foods. Don't miss it...AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. I realize that there is no way to transform this family into a completely organic, fresh foods only lifestyle, as much as I would love to, it's not going to happen. So my goal is to re-direct my menus and cooking by using as much fresh food and non processed ingredients as possible. Most of what I will be using is available at our local grocer and really does not require a regular health food store visit (except for our vitamins and supplements, which we already take). I tried a couple of recipes this weekend, one success and one failure. Buckwheat dumplings...YUCK! Ruined a perfectly delicious pot of homemade chicken soup!

My purpose for blogging is really two fold; 1, to journal our daily progress and 2, to share with those who may be interested in pursuing the same goals. It's not for everyone, especially those faint in willpower when it comes to food! But I believe that it's a godly purpose to provide the healthiest food I can for my family, to help them be all they can be!

I'll try not to be too serious and maybe even share a recipe or two. Maybe one day (can you tell I'm a big picture thinker??) I can compile this for my kids - a great book for your library Michele!


Sunday, January 31, 2010

just getting started

So here I am! I've been saying that I'm going to start this blog for a couple of years, and here I am. I've been thinking that the random thoughts that pass so quickly through my mind might be of interest to others, and then I thought...well, probably not. But I believe, probably as most people do, that everyone has something to say. So here I am....just getting started.

What prompted this blog (or the idea of many blogs) have been mostly life experiences. Well of course - isn't that the premise of every blog? I suppose. But I have to admit, that I've had a harder time trying to narrow down exactly which topic I felt worthy enough to blog about. So in keeping with the context of this title, I thought I would journal my way through my quest to guide my family toward healthier eating. Perhaps a subject to boring for your taste (pun intended) but for purposes of my own, I'm beginning here; because we are just getting started!

I hope you'll visit occasionally and I hope that in some way my simple musings may be of benefit to you.