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 and 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 " 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!!