Friday, December 3, 2010

It's ready to buy!!!

We all know how important nutrition is but most of us have no idea where to start. THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU....It's a step by step informational book that walks you through 3 levels of nutrition.

As many of you know I have been working with Sheryl Ellenwood on our new Cookbook. This isn't any ordinary cookbook. It's set out in levels so ANYONE can enjoy it no matter your convictions (standard, vegetarian, vegan). For more information visit The promotional price is $26 through January. After that it will be $30.

Three Plates at the Table is a great gift. You will be the first to have it if you buy now as it will be sent out to you HOT OFF THE PRESS in the middle of January!!!! If you order now I will send a gift certificate for you to present on Christmas day (just make a note when purchasing)!!!!

Thank you for your support and HAPPY COOKING!!!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

YummyOatmeal cookies and wheat intro

I would like to talk about 2 things...1)enjoying sweets and 2)baking with whole wheat flour.

We have conditioned ourselves to think that because we eat something we enjoy it must be bad for us in some way. We need to feel guilt over it or shame. This shouldn't be that case for several reasons:
1)it's unproductive
2) it makes us upset and then we crave sweets more
3) life is meant to be enjoyed.

I can name many more reasons but we'll stick with those.

My kids love cookies. Why are cookies bad for us? First, they are made with white flour. Second, they are made with lots of bad fats. Third, the sugar in them is astounding. Would you eat a cookie if it was made with whole wheat if it didn't taste like cardboard?...good fats, and agave, molasses and stevia as sweeteners? I hope you will because I have a HEALTHY cookie for you (there is DARK chocolate but most of us recognize chocolate as an important part of life)

Now, about flour. For years I tried to make whole wheat...anything really, breads, cookies, pancakes, etc. I found that I was rather unsuccessful. There are 2 reasons I have found for this dilemma.
1) I bough flour at the grocery store without checking to see if it was fresh. Flour is alive when it's ground and becomes rancid quickly if it isn't refrigerated. You can tell if its rancid by taking a little taste of the flour. If its tart or leaves a bad aftertaste it's bad and you can return it to the store. I suggest fresh ground. I grind my own and know that's not something all of us can do but you can find a friend or a bakery that grinds flour and buy it from them. Either way the fresher the better.

2. I don't care for cooking with Red Hard winter wheat which is most common. Sheryl (the co-author of the book we are writing) disagrees and loves it. I prefer Hard white winter wheat. There is a difference (though some sites will tell you differently) in baking and you might have to find which works best for you and tastes best. As to the nutritional content BOTH are equal. Hard White winter wheat, I have found, cooks lighter loaves and cookies...more like white flour.

When cooking with wheat flour you'll find that you have to use a lot more patience. For example, when I make wheat bread I have to put the amount of flour the recipe calls for and then let it knead for 5 minutes before I add more because it takes a while to absorb. Before I realized this I would keep adding flour because it looked really wet. Then my dough would be thick and heavy. I'd let it rise what I thought wan an appropriate amount of time and baked it. It came out a dense brick!!! Now when I am patient and allow the flour to develop I have bread that is so light and fluffy and tastes HEAVENLY! If there's an interest I'll post my bread recipe but for now...

Well, here is my most recent cookie recipe:

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Makes 2 ½ dozen
Dry ingredients:
1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups regular oats
½ TSP baking soda
1 TSP baking powder
½ TSP salt
2 TBSP cinnamon
½ TSP nutmeg
¾ TSP kelp (opt)

Wet ingredients:
1/3 Cup agave*
1 ½ TSP stevia*
¼ Cup olive oil plus ¼ cup applesauce (or ½ cup grapeseed or coconut oil)
1 TBSP molasses
2 eggs
1 TBSP water
1 TSP vanilla
½ cup dark chocolate chips (or raisons or craisons)
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together. Slowly stir in wet ingredients in the order listed saving the chocolate chips for last. Bake 10 min on un-greased cookie sheet or parchment paper.

* If you don't have agave and stevia substitute with 1/2 cup honey and cook at 335 degrees until golden brown.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Some of the most common forms of fermentation are:

soy (miso, tamari/soy sauce)

Why do we ferment food?
3 major reasons I ferment food. One reason is that it preserves food. Second reason is that it makes the food more digestible, healthy and tasty. The third reason is that it is inexpensive. This just takes time, oxygen and a food source.

Why on earth should we eat fermented foods?
There are pro biotics and pre biotics. Fermented foods aid the BENEFICIAL bacteria in the gut. It is said that 80% of our immune system is in our gut. Therefore we want to really make sure that we are getting enough of these little guys to keep us healthy especially during the winter.

Where can we buy fermented food that has these beneficial bacteria?
I think its best that we do it ourselves. It may seem scary in the beginning but after you get the hang of it it is quite fun. The foods that I enjoy fermenting are yogurt (sour cream and yogurt cheese), sauerkraut, and sourdough bread. Once making fermentation a regular part of your routine it comes easy.

I thought I didn't like sauerkraut at all until I made my own. YUM! Yogurt cheese has a deep rich flavor and is great seasoned with herbs. We love fresh baked homemade sourdough bread.

My next venture is Apple Cider vinegar. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. As for a recipe for the winter here goes. Fire Cider. It's a s easy as this....

Fire cider
2 QTS. Bragg's apple cider vinegar
1 head of garlic
7 in. of ginger

In a food processor chop garlic and ginger until fine. Combine, in a glass jar, vinegar, garlic and ginger. Cover with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Place in a cool dark corner 4-6 weeks. Every couple of days agitate the vinegar. After this time strain, place back in Bragg's bottle and place in the fridge.

To use:
Dressing: It can be used on salads or in anything that would require apple cider vinegar.

When sick: When you feel a cold or sickness coming on take 1 TBSP in a warm cup of water 3-4 times a day until you are well again.

Chill in winter: Take 1TBSP in warm water whenever you feel chilled.

In my new cookbook there is a more detailed recipe that I use. The above recipe is more of a simple version but just as effective.

Also, in my cookbook there are detailed instructions on yogurt, sauerkraut and sourdoughs.

Again, I'll post information on the release of the book as soon as it's printed and a price attached. Keep posted.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vinegar for health

There have been several e-mails and conversations about the new (or old-time) remedies that use apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has been used for many ailments. Here are just a few...

sore throat
weight loss
and much more...

I know some people that swear by it as a treatment for the list of ailments above. I have used it myself. My only intention here is to introduce (and guide) readers to alternative forms of treating oneself. When I first heard about this I said to myself, "That is pure poppycock" and I meant it. Then I stumbled upon a used book touting all the amazing benefits of vinegar (RAW, organic, unfiltered with the "mother") and honey. Wow. The list was long and the case studies compelling.

Now you can find Raw, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar (I tried the regular stuff and it just gives tummy aches. Bragg's is the brand I use) in condiments and on health food store shelves.

This is considered a folk remedy. Some people swear by it and others are firmly against it. If you are interested about learning more there are several books available. Here are a couple

Cider Vinegar by Cyril Scott
Apple cider Vinegar by P. Bragg and P. Bragg

Do I think these remedies may have potential? I am a huge fan of fermentation and it's effect on one's health. Raw ACV is fermented apples. When we have an abundance of good bacteria in the gut it shows in our health. Some things I like to ferment regularly are :

Sourdoughs (Bread, pancakes, cookies, and more)
Milk (yogurt, cheese and sour cream)
Fire Cider
sauerkraut (WAY better than the nasty store bought tastes like pickles!!!)

These, when eaten, are pre and pro biotics. So, do I believe the power of ACV fold remedy. Yes, as much as I do in healthy eating and lifestyle choices. There is so much good health in the lost art of fermentation.

I will post more on the importance of fermented foods. You may find my recipes for these ferments in our new cookbook that should be available by December. Keep a look out!!

"He who has health has hope. He who has hope has everything." Proverb quote

Monday, August 9, 2010

Heavenly dessert!!!

So...after several conversations with friends and family I decided I HAD to post this amazing recipe that I have been using for the past year. It is sooooo delicious, sooooo easy and it's healthy to boot. I get the large bag of walnuts from Sams or Costco and I like to use dark cocoa powder. Medjool dates sound exotic and hard to find but they can be found at the local grocers or at health food stores. This DESSERT is filling and fulfilling with good fats, healthy sugars and minimal effort. It's worth it to try it just me.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
~Chef Cornbleet
adaptations and options by Jami McQuivey

Equipment: Food processor

3 c. walnuts
¼ t. sea salt
20 pitted medjool dates (to pit these it takes 2 minutes for all of!)
2/3 c. unsweetened Cocoa powder or carob
1 ½ t. vanilla
1-1½ t. water

Place walnuts and salt in food processor fitted with “S” blade and process until finely ground. Add dates, cocoa, and vanilla. Process until smooth and begins to stick together. Add water and process briefly.

Option 1: Transfer to a 9 in round cake pan and press. Can top with raspberries.
Option 2: Roll into balls for on the go dessert/snack.
Option 3: Use almond, raspberry, amaretto or any other flavor in place of vanilla

Will keep 3-4 days in fridge or several weeks in freezer. Bring to room temp before serving.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Open for questions...

I have posted on a few different subjects that people had questions on. I thought it would be a great idea to open the blog up for any questions or concerns you might have regarding nutrition, health, cooking, herbs, fitness, lifestyle, etc.

I have been in this field for many years and if I can't help I will find someone or something to lead you in the right direction. You can post your questions or topics here or e-mail me, (state if you'd like to remain anonymous), and I will research and answer as best I can. Thanks for the e-mails and encouragement thus far.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ahhh, the joy of sleep!!!

I remember when I was a little girl I hated naps. I was sure that the moment I fell asleep the party began. Face painting, pony rides, popcorn, the works. I still struggle with that at times. What am I going to miss?...I should get this or that finished?...I'll get to sleep right after this show...It's Friday, I can sleep in..It's always the same thing. I get tired and then give myself excuses as to why I CAN"T go to bed early. When this happens (and it often does) I have to remember to tell myself why I need to sleep...

1)I get short tempered-no body wants to get too close...I'm Jekyll and Hyde.

2)Sleep reduces stress.

3) Sleep reduces cravings AND lose weight!

4)Sleep helps memory...hey, has anyone seen my keys?

5) Sleep can help extend life

6)improves where was I?

Those are just a few of the reasons BESIDES the fact that it feels wonderful! Why do we fight, avoid or neglect the wonders of sleep. We all have our different reasons but our basic need is the same.

Now many of you are asking yourself...How can I improve my sleep? I have some suggestions but one thing remains...PRIORITIZE.

Suggestion 1
GO to bed the same time every night!!! Make your room quiet (no TV's or work) Make your room dark, cool and quiet.

Suggestion 2
Eat a light dinner. Many of us eat late and heavy. This disturbs sleep AND digestive patterns. Avoid stimulants like caffeine (soda, chocolate, coffee,). Instead of eating before bed make a habit of enjoying a relaxing, soothing cup of chamomile tea.

Suggestion 3
Activities that are appropriate before bed to help prepare the body for a good nights sleep include reading (something mellow), relaxing music and, my personal favorite, writing in my journal. Journalling helps refocus the mind and reflect. I, also, keep a pad of paper by my bed for last minute thoughts, reminders and to-do's.

Interesting fact...Before the light bulb was invented we slept an average of 10 hours per night. Today, almost 2/3 of us get less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep!!! (National Sleep Foundation)

Quote of the day:
Watch your thoughts, they become your words
Watch your words for they become action.
Watch your actions, for they become habit.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

Assignment: Turn everything off...TV, Phone, lights, brain, and enjoy a wonderful nights rest!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I don't like vegetables?!?!?!?

I met a man a while ago who exclaimed, "I just don't like vegetables." This made me pause for several reasons. I'll only write about 2.

1)Vegetables should be a staple in the diet because of all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidant and phyto-nutrients to name a VERY few.

2) There are soooooo many vegetables to choose from that to negate an entire group of food is plain silly.

Let's go through the common types of vegetables

Bulbs- Garlic, onions, chives, etc.

Fruit-Cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, peppers, squash, etc.

inflorescent- artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower and more

Leaf- cabbage, kale, collards, spinach, etc.

Root- Beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, etc

Stalk- Celery, fennel, kohlrabi

Edible pods- Green beans, peas, sugar snaps, etc.

Tubers- potato, sweet potato, jicama, yam and more

Fungus- mushrooms

Now, can you imagine not liking vegetables?...any vegetables? These amazing foods should comprise 60% of our diet. Preparing them raw, lightly steamed, sauteed, stir fried, marinated, baked and boiled are just places to begin.

As a special treat to my boys I tell them that they can choose any vegetable they want and we'll learn about preparing it, it's health benefits, etc. It's fun and educational for all of us

Assignment: Pick a vegetable that you don't know much about or have never had and give it a try. The internet is a great resource for recipes and ideas. We've found some of our new favorite vegetables this way. We love raw jicama peeled, sliced and eaten.

Quote: "Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." Anre Gide

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nature walk extreme...

I was looking for a way to learn more about herbs when I stumbled upon an Herbalist, Trilby. I was invited to attend one of her "Herb Walks" South of Des Moines. I knew this was something my son, Elijah, and I have really been in to lately so we decided to go. It was amazing. I am constantly amazed that we are surrounded by so many things that go unnoticed.

I am the lady that will take 2 shirts on their way to Goodwill and make a dress out of them instead. I love frugality and conservation. When I started really wondering about plants my curiosity took me in a whole new direction.

Common things that we over look that are great sources of nourishment, medicine, and free are:

1) Dandelions! Yes, that pesky weed that pops up in the yard that no matter the amount of chemicals you spray on it comes back. STOP! This plan has been used world wide for all of its parts.
The leaves: when young are tender and nutritious. They are in the store blends in the salad section. When harvesting make sure that you are eating one's that have NOT been sprayed!
The flower: When it is not quite open you can saute like a mushroom and add to salads. When the flower opens pinch the top off really close so there's no "milk" on it and throw it into salad for a nutritional, colorful addition to salad.
The root: Can be roasted or not and used in teas. This is very nourishing and is a great (when roasted) coffee substitute.
The milk: That's the yucky tasting part of the plant but I recently heard that it's great on wounds...I'll check that out.

2)Plantain: This is the little weed that is used as a a tea, poultice and salad green. Again, the younger they are the tastier. These are also great lightly steamed and sauteed.

3) Red raspberry: Aside from producing wonderful berries the leaves are a great women's tonic when used as a tea. First, they are dried and they steeped. It's so yummy and is widely purchased and used.

4) Red Clover: This plant makes a wonderful tea and is known for it's high anti-oxidants (anti-cancer) properties. Red clover grows freely along the highway. I suggest not harvesting plants that are close than 10-15 feet from the road.

These are just some of the plants that we have FREELY at our disposal. It's was fun when I started looking at my world through Elijah's eyes. The enthusiasm is contagious. We explored, Nettles, milk weed, Queen Anne's lace, creeping charlie , cup plant, and many more on this herb walk. What a fun thing to know!!!!!

A little side note: You may want to be selective with who you tell about your new weed eating lifestyle. This is a suggestion from "the lady who eats weeds".

Assignment: Walk around your home and learn what plants, weeds, and flowers you have, what their properties are and how to use them. For example: Marigolds are wonderful in salads, easy to grow, beautiful, and have lots of medicinal uses. It's also good to know if you have something poisonous or toxic. Being present and aware in our lives and spaces can enrich our lives and our spirits.

Quote: "We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." Abraham Lincoln

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Classes!!!

For those of you near me I am starting up a few classes in the fall that you might be interested in. Classes are going to be held at Releve Studios in Oskaloosa. Here's the present schedule I am teaching. (I am sorry if this post doesn't apply to you)...These classes are on Wednesday mornings.

8:30- 9:15 Golden Oldies~ This is for the older adult or the pregnant lady (it's what I did when I was pregnant...loved it and bounced back)

9:30-10:15 Zumba-Fun dance and cardio!

10:30-11:15 Vinyasa Yoga-Combines postures with the the flow of the breath.

If you're in town registration will be soon!!! This is a great way to get out and dedicate 45 min. to yourself without the kids, work or stress. Just time to have fun!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cloves and Pain...

This past week I called my sister Aubrey to check to see how she was doing. She had STREP!

Here's a little background about my relationship with strep. It was a long and intimate relationship. It lasted weeks, then months. I knew He wasn't good for me but I was vulnerable and tired. Each time we connected I was left emotionally and physically drained. We just weren't good for each other. I tried and tried to get Strep to understand. After breaking up and getting back together 3-4 times Strep started stalking me. No matter what I'd do or where I'd go there he was. I vowed that this ridiculous obsession had to end. I made a painful decision that I don't regret but don't wish on anyone else. I had to rid myself of my feature that continually attracted Strep. I HAD TO GET A TONSILLECTOMY!!!! AT 25. During our time together I explored so many options to dull the pain and here is one that I shared with my sister and will now share with you....

We all know that there are pain relievers but this is a safe, effective one that I used PLENTY of times. (It's also effective for toothaches and canker sores and sore gums)

Clove gargle
2 T. whole cloves
1 c. water
Simmer cloves for 5-10 min. Rest until cool. Gargle AND swallow. This can be done as often as is necessary.

Why?? Clove is a mild topical anesthetic (dulls pain), antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-microbial against fungi and bacteria, relieves nausea, and stimulates the digestive system. it's also used to rid the body of intestinal worms and helps to de-congest.

I have used this and now my sister has. She sent me a text (because she couldn't talk) that read, "Wow, thank you! That's better for the pain than the vicodin!"

Aubs, I hope you're feeling better and am glad I could help.

I am sharing these remedies so that when you are in pain or sick you can reach into a file in your brain and remember what the remedies are, how to use them and in the meantime be safe and frugal.

Quote of the day: Little minds talk about people, Average minds talk about events, and GREAT minds talk about ideas.

Assignment: Say what needs to be said, do what needs to be done!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Let's talk tofu...

Tofu inspires many reactions from lip smackin' to the furrowed brow and frown. "What is it?" "Why eat it?" and "What do I do with it?" are all common questions I get all of the time. I have to admit that I am a real tofu fan. Tastes like chicken!!

Firstly, what is tofu. Traditionally, tofu is fermented soy beans. Ew, fermentation! Yes! The wonderful benefits and power of fermentation (soy sauce, tamari, pickles, sauerkraut, sourdough, yogurt, etc) will be discussed later. Back to tofu. There are 2 common types of tofu I am going to talk to you about. Firm and Silken. Tofu is a wonderful meat substitute and takes on the flavors it is cooked with.

Before I begin I want to say that I AM BEING VERY BASIC HERE! This is like telling a person 1 way to cook chicken. You can do sooooooo much but we've got to start somewhere.

Firm tofu is, generally, sold in a block surrounded by water. The best way that I have found to prepare it is...1) Always FREEZE it. 2)Thaw it. 3) squeeze the block to get rid of the water. 4)wrap in a towel, place on a plate and place a weight on it for a minimum of 1/2 hour (can be done ahead of time and placed in the fridge). 5) marinate and COOK!

Here is a yummy recipe from Deborah Madison.

Sesame-Ginger Marinade
2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
4 t. finely chopped Ginger
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 T dark sesame oil
2 T. sesame oil
4 t. brown sugar (can replace with another sweetener)
3 T. soy sauce

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then pour over drained, sliced tofu. GENTLY stir until all tofu is covered. Refrigerate until ready to use. Grill (shish-kabab) or broil, using extra marinade as a sauce. Serve over rice.

Okay now for silken tofu. I love to use it in DESSERTS!!! I LOVE a good tofu mousse.

Here's a recipe inspired by Tosca Reno with my adjustments...

Tofu Chocolate Mousse
3/4 c. dark chocolate chips
12 oz. silken tofu at room temp. drained
1/2 c. warmed almond, rice or soy milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. almond extract (optional)

In the microwave SLOWLY in the microwave (or double broiler). Stir until uniformly smooth.

In food processor combine tofu, chocolate, warmed milk and extracts. Serve chilled. YUM.

A little tip about tofu is....TRY TO BUY IT ORGANIC. There is a lot of controversy over the genetically modified crap and what it does to your hormones. Let me know what you think of the recipes and if you have questions.

Quote of the day: "Worryin' is like rockin' in a a rocking gives you something to do...but doesn't get you anywhere." (Ziggy and Tom Wilson)

Assignment: Don't be afraid to try something new. Embrace life. Expect to fail and celebrate success. Life's about learning and trying new stuff.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Appreciate your Body...

I have read this before and LOVE it.

Your body is divine...
With 206 sturdy bones
more than 650 dynamic muscles
12 perfectly synchronized organ systems
and over 10,000,000,000,000 life-giving human cells.

Your body is Miraculous...
by Melanie Douglass
Every day your heart beats over 103, 000 times
your respiratory system powers 25,920 breaths,
your body produces a consistent 98.6 degrees of heat,
and your body produces almost 200 billion new blood cells each day.

And that's just the beginning...
Every day your mind, body and spirit work together to give you the fortitude to fulfil family, church work, and community obligations. You take good care of everyone else;it's time to take care of you...

Today's goal: Take a walk for 10 minutes and give yourself a healthy snack...your body is the most important instrument.

Today's quote: "Every human being is the author of his own health or disease" Buddha

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I just saw on DR. OZ that he recommends and uses garlic oil for ear aches/infections... Also, on the news there has been ANOTHER scare on over the counter cold and cough medications. Using safe and natural remedies are less-expensive, just as effective and SAFE. I'll be sending more out in the future...It's time to be your own health advocate and to empower yourself with knowledge.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spare Tire

Okay, okay. I am going to share the secret of losing belly fat. Are you ready??? REDUCE YOUR STRESS!!!

I was talking to a girlfriend the other day and she, somewhat enthusiastically, proclaimed that she thrived on stress. Her life is stressful and she likes it that way. How many of us fill, to the rim, our life's cup that one misplaced drop (sick kid, cancelled appointment, lost car keys) can send our day into a turbulent rage of chaos. The things we fill our days with aren't necessarily bad things. There can be too much of a good thing too. Some are necessary and some are optional fun things that become less fun when we're stressed about them.

Unfortunately, stress is addictive. Stress releases hormones and adrenaline. We feel like if we aren't stressed we aren't striving for success or excellence. How many of us feel that if our day is not jam packed and full that the little voice of guilt flares up or we are left alone with our thoughts and feelings or boredome. We begin to feel restless, nervous, lazy. Ironically, we tell ourselves how much we'd like for things to slow down and that we hate being so busy. What's the truth??? The truth is we are addicts.

Remember the after school specials or interviews with addicts?? They didn't want to be tied to their substances or behaviors but their actions and beliefs spoke differently. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we're fine and functioning well. That's like giving kudos to the "functioning" or "nice" alcoholic. Stress does more harm than we think...I am talking more of chronic stress than acute. (Acute stress being that you lost your wallet only to find it 10 min later and the stress is relieved.)

Belly fat. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol that allows the body to store fat in the mid section. The only way to get rid of it is to chill!! Our amazing bodies sense stress and start to store reserves "in case of emergency" to live off of if the time comes. stress also increases appetite and decreases digestion and assymilation. Bad Combo. But that's not the worst of it.

Charlotte Eliopoulos PhD., RN, MPH, ND says, "Chronic stress is believed to be a major culprit in the development of stress related diseases." Here's just a SMALL list of the effects of stress:
Belly fat
Reduced interest in sex
High Blood Pressure
Poor Concentration
heart disease
hair loss
Weak immune system
Note to the skinny minnies: Just because someone is skinny does not mean immune. Stress can just be silently causing issue...

Man, what a downer!!! Enough of that stuff. Let's learn to reduce it. My favorite is to start having FUN. Learn to play a kid (I'm not talking a warrior round of chess). Color, jump on the tramp, build a fort, ride a bike for pleasure, have a game night, watch a comedy. When was the last time you had a good "my side hurts and I'm about to pee my pants" laugh.

Today's assignment is to do something just for the joy of doing it. No strings attached, no stress. Just a wonderfully inspiring happy thing. Sunbathe your face for 10 min. or plant a flower or watch the sun set or dance to your favorite CD or, or, or...

Quote of the day "Don't tell other people your problems. Eighty percent don't care and the other twenty are kind of glad it happened to you. Some days your the bug, and some days the windshield." We all have troubles but not all of us have good perspective. Have a great day.

PS...My husband, in support of Cinco De Mayo (and my Mexican heritage), is picking our sons up from school in a poncho and sun hat...He never ceases to make me laugh!!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cures from your Cupboard

I am going to be teaching a class on this in the near future. You'd be surprised to find that there are MANY items found in our kitchen cupboards that pull double duty when it comes to our health. Our society has taken to going to the doctors office at the first sight of a runny nose or slight cough. I want to make it clear that having a good doctor is a valuable tool to have but not always necessary.

This past week my youngest son started to get an ear infection and a dry cough. I had several people ask me what the doctor said. I thought to myself, "How should I know...I didn't ask him!" I have 2 great home remedies that haven't failed me yet. I don't have to pay a co-pay or deal with the medication and it's side effects.

The first recipe is for Ear infections. I gave this to a mother at school (I was being nosy and overheard her predicament) and she looked at me like I was a loon, smiled, thanked me and walked away. I felt like a nerd!!! The next day she came up to me with her daughter and said," this is the lady who helped fix your ear, say thank you." I was so happy I could help. So here goes.

Garlic oil
6 cloves FRESH garlic (meaning not canned, powdered, etc)
olive oil (or other veg oil)

Crush cloves and place in jar. Heat oil. Pour over garlic and let steep and cool. That's it! Place a few drops in each ear, place a cotton ball in and tape it up. The pain generally decreases within a 1/2 hour and the infection within 1-2 days. (Keep ears covered and dry for 3 just to be safe). Use often...the more the merrier...

Remember: When treating an ear infection ALWAYS treat both ears. To help the healing take a nice massage oil and massage the lymph glands along the side of the neck. That will help drain the infection.

BEST cough medicine I have found (that doesn't have a freaky list of side effects or expensive) is Thyme. Yes, you read that right. Thyme, the stuff you add to spaghetti sauce is GREAT for coughs. Before I go further I want to address something that I get asked all the time.

1)Do herbs really help and why don't I see results with them?
Answer: Most people use herbs in a very light, watered down way like herbal teas and a capsule here and there. That's like licking an aspirin when you have a headache. Not gonna do a lot of good to an acute symptom. The following recipe will be a "decoction". This means its going to be strong and effective...Buckle up...

Thyme Cough syrup
6 T crushed dried thyme
2 c. water.
Simmer low about 15 min. Let it cool slightly. At this point you may want to add a sweetener (stevia, agave, honey) or not. Take an ounce or two at a time. I usually double the batch. Remember that this is going to be watery and not syrupy...If you want syrupy you can experiment with adding a small amount of pectin.
Depending on who I am making it for or specific symptoms I'll add a few other things. This is a short list...feel free to explore:
Valerian for sleep, pain, restlessness and headaches.

licorice root for children's tonic and a natural sweetener. Aids in congestion, sore throat & cough.

Catnip mild sedative, fever reducer, pain reliever.

Echinacea to boost immune system. Best used in a cycle...5 days on, 2 days off to keeps it's effectiveness.

For mother's out there these are all considered very safe and effective. As ALWAYS trust your instincts and don't let fear guide your decision making. Avoiding anti-biotics (as much as we can) will help our bodies maintain their natural flora balance(essential for long term health) and avoid unnecessary side effects (constipation, headaches, yeast infections, diarrhea, etc.) I am happy to report that my son is back at school, healthy and mischievous as ever.

***note: These are suggestions. Every person is encouraged to educate themselves and listen to their intuition. Most of the time our bodies will heal on their own with just a little nudge. Other times it's great to have a good doctor in the wings.

He who takes medicine and neglects the diet wastes the skills of his doctor~Chinese Proverb

Friday, April 30, 2010

My story...

My story begins my junior year in high school. I was a fairly active teen. I participated in track and volleyball. I slowly started losing energy and stamina. I put it off as a side effect of a busy teenagers life. Soon it got worse...I started falling asleep at work. My mom took me to the doctor and he said that in I was, basically, a lazy teen who didn't want to work or go to school. I started working harder and exercising. Middle of my senior year I finally convinced my doctor to give me a blood test (which he should have done to start with) because I was having a hard time walking. Turns out I received a diagnosis of mono and instructions to stay in bed for the next 6 weeks because it was now effecting my kidneys. I finally allowed myself to sleep and that first night I slept 18 hours...My mom woke me up to feed me and make sure I was okay!! It took me years to fully heal from that experience. This was the first real experience in health (or lack of it) that I had, doctors not listening or discounting me, and feeling helpless . Unfortunatly, it wouldn't be the last!

So with that you can understand why I am big on listening to our bodies and being our own advocate. It took gaining lots of weight and feeling slow to get me to really start my journey, happiness, passion, energy, etc. When I first began I was just like everyone else in that I wanted to be thin. It was such a singular process that seems so empty now. I had minor health concerns (you know the "this doesn't feel right" or "is this normal?") Some of the things I "suffered" from included difficulty sleeping, constipation, painful menstration, cravings, stomach aches, energy slumps, headaches and irritability. This happend until I decided to take my health into my own hands, listen to my body and learn how to feel great! With my BS in Holistic Nutrition Consulting I am learning the tools. Now I want to share those tools.

Happiness and, for the most part, health is a choice. I thought I would be happy once I lost the weight, or could run a 10k no problem, or be naked in front of the mirror...or, or, or. Didn't happen! It wasn't until I started living my life that I started to see true change in my body, attitude, and life. I began living some passions that I never knew I had. I love being with people. I love teaching. I love moving. I love cooking. I love reading. I love gardening. I love sewing. I love travelling. I love being a mother and wife. I love, I love, I love!!!

This blog is going to be about optimism, learning, events, books and anything I can think of to inspire and motivate a change for the better. Food shouldn't make us feel guilty and exercise shouldn't make us feel tired. The idea isn't to lose weight, it's to live a life in which weight and health are not an issue. By taking care of our body, it will take care of us. Imagine no " I can'ts" or "I shouldn'ts", enjoying passions, tastes, healing, joy and asking yourself "why not?!?!?". Those are just some of the things we can enjoy when we live life to its fullest and nurture our mind body AND spirit. Begin with honoring ourselves for where we are and where we're going. After all our body is one of the only things we can't live without!

Usually, I'm not this wordy but we're starting off. This is the place for anecdotes, quotes for the day, health tips, cupboard cures, food and many other tidbits. Sign up to receive 'em and feel free to pass the word along...Thanks

Quote: Don't spoil what you have by desiring what you have not, but remember that what you have now was once among the things you hoped for.