Thursday, December 27, 2012

Vitamin B12

Vitamin deficiencies are an epidemic in this country. This is due to the fact that a lot  of us eat a substandard daily diet. Did you know that being deficient in certain vitamins, even slightly, can lead to great health problems. So many diseases and illnesses are misdiagnosed when a simple vitamin boost on a regular basis is all that is needed. Specifically a vitamin B12 deficiency can be masked as chronic fatigue, shingles, chronic depression.Some symptoms of being low are numbness, dizziness, headaches, muscle cramps, and slowness of reflexes.

Vitamin B12 is definitely one you do not want to lack.The usual reason for a deficiency is absorption. Anyone suffering from any kind of digestive disorder like crohns, IBS, colitis, or leaky gut is probably not taking in adequate amounts of B12. The same goes for anyone that is living with autoimmune disorders like Lupus, HIV/AIDS, or Graves Disease.

Vegetarians and especially vegans are most definitely deficient if they are not supplementing with high quality B12. There is some B12 and other B vitamins in nutritional yeast, an inactive yeast that vegans use a lot of the time for cheese flavor substitutes. It would take a dramatic amount of nutritional yeast to get what you need. Vitamin B12 is abundant in animal products like grass fed organic beef, pastured cage free chickens as well as eggs, and pastured cage free turkeys. Even omnivores can be deficient in B12 if they are not consuming high quality meats and eggs on a regular basis. Nutritional quality is severely low in grain fed cows and poultry not allowed to roam free. So don't think you are in the clear just because you consume animal foods. Therefore, it's a really good idea to supplement this vitamin no matter what your dietary preferences.

There are actually two types of B12 on the market: methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin.  The more common form you will see is the cyanocobalamin. Unfortunately, this is not the form that we need. Cyanocobalamin is actually a molecule formed in a a lab from cyanide, the poison. This is the synthetic form of the vitamin. We actually need the methylcobalamin form. The daily recommended amount is between 2.4mcg-2.8mcgs.

It is important to understand how B12 is able to be absorbed as well. For the exception of our food B12 does not get into the body through the digestive tract. When you take a multivitamin or B vitamin complex be aware that that B12 is NOT getting absorbed. B12 is best absorbed through the bloodstream. There are only three ways for B12 supplements to get into the body properly: sublingualy, shots, or my favorite, through patches. To take anything sublingualy that means you place the tablet or liquid under your tongue. Generally with tablet you let it dissolve, and with liquids you hold it there for thirty-sixty seconds giving time for absorption.

Above is my new favorite way to take in B12, patches. I really like these because they are noninvasive unlike a shot, although shots are said to be very effective, and unlike the sublingual versions these do not have unnecessary sweeteners or preservatives. The way you use them is you take off a patch from the sheet, much like a sticker, and adhere it to the back of your ear. the skin behind the ear is very thin, so its a perfect place for the B12 to be absorbed well into the blood stream. There is a total of 1000mcgs of ACTIVE B12 otherwise known as methylcobalamin that releases into the body a little bit at a time. You only need 1-2  patches a week depending on your condition and body. There are two missing above because I have been testing them out. I'll be getting a blood test after the 8 weeks of using them and I will let you know :) you can buy them online through the links to the stores on the right side of the blog.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Immune Health

It is the beginning of December and many people are walking around with sniffles, gunk in the throat, and nagging coughs. I thought I would share somethings I have found effective for keeping cold bugs away, and fighting them if the need should arise. I assist in managing a small health and natural supplement store. Daily customers come in asking what they can take to get rid of whatever they or a family member has lurking in their body.

My first line of defense is cut out homogenized and pasteurized dairy, white sugars, artificial sweeteners, juices in a bottle or carton, white flour, white rice, and high fructose corn syrup. Processed dairy will create excess mucous, harms the digestive tract by unbalancing our flora/good bacteria, then weakens our immune defenses. Processed sugars weaken us as well.

 Include lots of fresh raw vegetables, especially dark leafy greens. Hot teas, especially ginger, pau d'arco, turmeric, tulsi, and astragalus are very healing. Sweeten them with raw honey. Eat soups made from real bone broths like free range organic chicken and turkey. Throw all sorts of veggies in the soups, organic meats from animals that ate properly are fine.

Keep fresh garlic and fresh ginger on hand. I'll discuss why more so in the video below. Ginger breaks up the yucky mucous. Chew small pieces of it throughout the day. Garlic has natural antibiotic properties when it is RAW. Cooked garlic doesn't contain it. Chop up a clove into small pieces and swallow it like a pill with water.

As far as supplements I recommend Barleans or Herb Pharm olive leaf extract since it is an anti-viral plus antibacterial and Herb Pharm black elderberry extract. These extracts are also called tinctures. The way you take these is to just put a little bit of water into a glass, put a dropper full of the tincture into the glass, and drink it down. Health Force Nutritionals Truly Vitamin C is also a necessity. This is the ONLY vitamin C I can honestly recommend right now. No, not all are the same. Ascorbic acid runs through the urine, and can deplete our bodies of other needed vitamins. Most supplements contain the ascorbic acid.

 I also suggest making sure you have enough real vitamin D in your body. Get in the sun as much as possible without sunscreen. Note though that this time of year on the East coast we DO NOT get enough D from the sun as we need. You have to supplement. The best supplement I've found is Green Pastures Fermented Cod liver oil. When you ferment cod liver oil it keeps all of the natural properties in tact, especially the vitamin D. Be sure any D supplement you choose that it is D3 and the cholcalciferol version. Bluebonnet has decent D3 drops.

Check out the video below for a hot drink that I make to fight infections going on in the body, especially colds.

Friday, November 30, 2012

How to Make Raw Almond Milk

Almost four years ago when I started this health journey that The Lord put me on one of the first food groups to go for me was processed cow dairy.  It had my lymphatic system completely inflamed and clogged. I was constantly full of mucous, and whenever I got a cold I remember it would sometimes last a month. My immune system was so weakened it was difficult to heal and recover. I always woke up in the morning with gunk in my throat even when I didn't have a cold.

Initially for a few months to heal and detox I ate a raw vegan diet. Raw means not eating food prepared over 118 degrees F and vegan refers to not eating any animal products. This is the best way to eat to heal from most diseases and cancers. I say most, but always listen to the body. Everyone is different, and depending on what you are dealing with you may heal better from soups and cultured foods.

I remember how excited I was to learn new recipes, and how much I enjoyed them. It wasn't a huge struggle for me to change. I recognized how much better I felt each day, and the food was delicious! A recipe I learned early on was how to make raw almond milk. The benefits to consuming raw foods are maximum nutrient content, nothing destroyed by heat or extreme cold, especially enzymes. Enzymes are extremely important catalysts for digestion of the foods we eat. If there aren't any enzymes in our food we aren't able to digest properly. Lack of enzymes creates great agitation in the body.

The benefits to making your own almond milk are the enzymes are in tact, it's much fresher, there are not any extra ingredients, stabilizers, or preservatives, and the healthy fats are left intact as well as the natural vitamin E. also almond milk in the store I suggest storing it in a glass carafe or mason jar. It's much safer to store liquids in glass rather than plastic. Liquids absorb and soak up toxins like
biphesnols A (makes plastics hard) and phthalates (make plastics soft) very easily.

Here is what you will need to make your own almond milk at home:
1 cup raw almonds
Blender, preferably high speed
3 cups filtered water
Glass bowl
32oz glass jar
Nut milk bag

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar Part 2

Sugar addiction, the need to consume overly sweetened foods, usually with artificial sweeteners as well as sucrose that has been bleached, and stripped of its minerals due to processing, is wide spread among our nation. It really is a tremendous issue plaguing our country specifically our youth. 

I am so sorry and wholeheartedly apologize for missing my blog post the last two weeks. Life got away with me. I'm am sure you can relate. So I wanted to update you on my situation with sugar. I am happy to report that the yeast imbalance is gone, and I am back to normal. I was seriously uncomfortable during the die off time. I could feel the little infected buggies screaming for sugar. It was awful. I was diligent though, and refused to feed them what they wanted. If you missed the prior posts, do go back and read them. I discussed what I did to starve and recover from a yeast infection/flora imbalance.

After a month and a half, I slowly started to introduce high carbohydrate foods and sugars back into my daily consumption. I haven't eaten fruit yet. I may save that for next week. I love it so much, and really want to be diligent to make smart choices about when I eat it, with what, and how much. First I started with beans again...slowly. I noticed I was doing well with them, so that was an encouragement.I really missed the beans. I had one gluten free chocolate cupcake that I had made Thursday a week ago.  Yesterday for Thanksgiving I had made my sweet potato and quinoa patties, so I ate some of those and didn't experience a problem. For dessert yesterday I made vegan pumpkin mousse and these fabulous gluten free chocolate chip almond cookies. I have to say I really enjoyed these immensely. 

All this to say that if you are dealing with yeast imbalance or infection that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The infected yeast can die, the uncomfortable feeling, lethargy, acne, stress, and more can all go away if you are willing to make the commitment to your body to take care of it properly.

I applaud anyone interested in making and learning about better sweetener choices. When we remove the unhealthy options we improve our immune health and digestive health, which both go hand in hand to keep the rest of our body strong. As for suggested sweeteners I am just going to list what to leave in the house and which ones should be avoided.

  • Maple Syrup (great to cook and bake with)
  • Organic Whole Cane Sugar (also called Rapadura) (great to cook and bake with)
  • Coconut Crystals (Coconut Sugar) (great to cook and bake with) (low glycemic choice, better for diabetics)
  • Coconut Nectar (great syrup substitute) (low glycemic choice, better for diabetics)
  • Date Sugar (great for raw desserts)
  • Raw Honey (do not heat or bake with this; great for raw desserts, fine in tea, great on plain yogurt)
  • Fruit
  • Brown Rice Syrup (I don't suggest using this one a lot, but its ok here and there)


  • White Sugar
  • Evaporated Cane Juice (even if its organic, this is still white sugar, it isn't bleached though, gmo, or sprayed with chemicals, it is still processed, and no nutrition to be had, and it spikes the blood sugar very high; usually found in lots of store bought organic treats, especially lollipops)
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
  •  Corn Syrup
  • Agave Nectar (has more fructose than HFCS; is processed, not really raw)
  • Glycerin
  • Malted Grain Sweeteners
  • Sugar Isolates: maltodextrin, sucrose, dextrose
  • Fake Sugars: aspartame, sodium saccharine, sucralose

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar (1)

This is certainly the time of year for sweet treats to be on the horizon. It's unfortunately no wonder this is also cold and flu season, coincidence I think not. Certain items we consume are huge sources of inflammation. Inflammation is the start of disease.  White processed bleached sugar is extremely inflammatory and a danger to our immune system.

 All minerals are stripped from the original sugar and it leaves up with a very sweet addictive substance. Companies count on consumers this the next three months of every year to make a killing. Sadly, while what we are choosing to purchase as consumers may be lining the companies pockets, we are killing ourselves, and not so slowly.

Type 2 diabetes is increasing rapidly, that disease is completely diet dependent. Morbidly obese people are now becoming the norm in the United States. Sugar consumption is not the only contributing factor, but is an enormous piece of the pie, no pun intended. Childhood obesity is on the rise as well, which leads into usually obese adults. We are teaching our children that this hedonistic lifestyle of pleasure pleasing through our mouths as well as every other area is an "okay" and acceptable way to live.

It has only been in the last 60 years or so that problems really started to occur. Tracking back before that time convenience foods loaded with processed sugars, salts, and other preservatives really weren't available or at least not that popular. Before that time people would cook and eat traditional foods. Sugary treats were a rarity.

Another issue that is plaguing our nation is arthritis. Arthritis means inflammation of the joints. There are different types of arthritis. Currently research is discovering that eating a diet in anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric and ginger is of great help as well as eliminating processed lab experiments like donuts, cakes, and cookies makes a huge difference.

Due to the fact that the chemicals in these sweet foods are so addicting it is not always easy to just say no.  In order to deal with cravings it does take patience, but take heart that after a while they will decrease or when you have them they will change to healthy cravings. The body knows what it needs and we have to listen. Next time I'll dig deep with what sugar does and what sweetener options are available that are better for our bodies.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Supplements-Do you Use Them?

Do you use vitamins in a bottle, supplements, minerals, fish oils, herbs encapsulated, pro-biotics, tinctures, green powders, bee products, enzymes and the like? I help manage a natural supplement store and I was just wondering where you stand. Right off the cuff I will tell you that I do support supplement usage.  I wouldn't work at a store that sells them if I didn't. I am, however, very specific about the types that should be taken.

 What many people don't realize is that vitamin and supplement companies get their vitamins, minerals, and other supplements from various sources. Not all sources are equal. Unfortunately, you really get what you pay for with supplements.  What you purchase at your local wholesaler, superstore, or pharmacy on the corner is not usually of very high quality. Working at a natural supplement store where this is all we do, and our heart and desire is to give our customers the highest quality, and hopefully most affordable price we can afford to give them. We are always researching and learning.

 Larger stores that sell other products are not taking that time. The goals and outcomes are completely different. No, we and stores like us, cannot compete with prices. I understand within the economically pressed times that we are living in that paying your mortgage versus paying for high quality supplements is no contest. Quite frankly though, if that's the case, then I wouldn't spend any money on supplements. I'd focus on diet. Poor supplement quality can be a hindrance to your health.There are also many supplements that really are not needed. There are certain vitamins and minerals that we simply don't take in unless it is through food. There are also certain ones that can only be absorbed in certain ways.

Calcium is always a big concern. I see customers come into the natural supplement store I work at almost everyday asking for a good calcium supplement.  Its interesting the range of customers that you get. Some are the I just want to get something down me because I should, or my doctor said or, or it makes me feel like I'm doing something good customer. Then I get the customers that have done their research, or at least a little bit, and are more concerned with absorption, and how our body will process it.

What I'd like to accomplish in this particular post is to just give a few tips to think about when supplement shopping. 

  • If it has soy, other than fermented, avoid it all, its a hormonal disruptor and horrible on your digestive tract, only fermented is safe
  • If it has corn, avoid it, it's most likely GMO
  • If it has sugar, fructose, aspartame, agave, or sucralose, avoid it
  • If you are buying fish oil, make sure it comes in superior or natural triglyceride form, not ethyl ester
  • If you are buying vitamin C make sure it is not ascorbic acid, look for acerola, camu camu, alma fruit sources-only whole food fruit sources, it will go right through your urine otherwise, not be absorbed, and can cause depletions in other areas
  • If you are buying vitamin D3, and that by the way is the only D you should be buying not D2, it should come in natural cholcalciferol form-read the label, if its ergocalciferol don't buy it
  • If it's B12, only buy a sublingual-fancy work word for to be taken under the tongue, if you get a liquid try to get one one without preservatives, no sweeteners are needed in liquid or tablets
  •  If you can, buy organic, especially with herbs, or at least wild crafted and sustainably grown
  • If you are buying calcium be sure it is from algaes and not rocks or shells
  • If you can buy in this order for better absorbtion and less added mess: powder, then liquid without sweeteners/preservatives, then capsules, then only tablets or caplets if you must
  • If you are taking medications, be wise, and research everything before you pop something else in your mouth
  • If you buy a multivitamin, I don't like these by the way, make sure its whole foods sourced only
  • If you are buying supplements for kids, don't buy gummies, THEY ARE CANDY, and they are bad for their teeth

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 13 of Being Sugar Free

I have to be honest with you that when I made the goal of being sugar free for two weeks I didn't think I could do it. Yes, the holistic health counselor does practice what she preaches though. I knew if the infected yeast was going to die that the sugar had to go, no ifs, ands, or buts. My bacteria became imbalanced through stress. It is so important to decrease the stress in our lives. Unfortunately, we do live in a fallen world, and we must have complete dependence on Christ in order to get through this life. Nonetheless some of our plates are way too full, and may be in situations that prevent us from removing items from our day to day activities be it work, church, volunteering, parenting, home management, and more.

Despite the fact that I didn't think I could do it, glory be to God, I have kept the sugar out by following the candida diet. What I would like to share are some foods that aren't traditionally considered to be high sugar foods, yet they hinder the healing process from a candida infection. Some foods that I didn't realize could bring me back to square one were beans and legumes. This has to do with the fact that we need the gut to be healing, and legumes and beans are on the more difficult side to digest. The other is with them is that beans are a carbohydrate, and carbohydrates get processed into sugar. So we need to eat foods low in carbohydrates, with lots of fiber that are easily digestible, so the fiber will help flush out the bad bacteria.

Keep in mind starving the yeast isn't enough. You'll have to put in practice some other courses of action like I mentioned last week with certain herbals teas such as Pau D'Arco, oregano oil drops, real vitamin C and olive leaf to boost the immune system, drinking lots of water, and if the infection is presenting itself externally then topical applications like plain yogurt, extra virgin coconut oil, and tea tree oil baths. Being diligent about taking a good probiotic supplement or if you are already taking one, increasing it, as well as eating fermented/cultured foods all aid this condition.

Here is one recipe I've been making, flat flax bread. The base recipe and instructions I received from my friend and fellow health counselor, Amy Huebner. I mentioned her blog in my post from last week. Here is one way I like to make them. Let me know if you make them, and you like them.

1 1/2 cups of ground flax seed
1 cup filtered water
1 tsp Celtic sea salt
2 tsp non irradiated garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup raw sesame seeds or 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Mix ingredients in a small stainless steel mixing bowl. Use coconut oil on a flat baking stone, like a pizza stone, and use a spatula to spread out flax mixture onto the stone. Bake for 20 minutes. You can use this like sandwich bread, just for a snack, for pizza, and its great with spreads on top like goat cheese or nut cheeses.

 Here is what the mixture looks like so if you try to make it you'll know what to expect. Below is the finished product. Feel free to change what you flavor the bread with here and there. you can make it more savory or sweet. The options are limitless, enjoy yourself, and have fun. It's an inexpensive, healthy, fast way to make gluten free flat bread.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 6 of Going Sugar Free

Last week I self diagnosed myself with a yeast imbalance. While this is a personal issue for me, its also an issue for almost everyone at some point. I figured I'd share what I am doing to combat the infection and restore healthy flora. In fact you may be dealing with a yeast imbalance right now and not even realize it. When yeast or flora or bacteria, whatever you prefer to call it, gets infected it displays its unhappiness in many ways. Reoccurring acne, constant itchiness (ladies especially in the vaginal area) in various places on the body, bodily discharges, rashes, foggy thoughts, inability to concentrate, depression, and lethargy can all be symptoms of yeast imbalances and infections.

There are various routes you can take to remedy the situation. First things first, you have to know that yeast are living bacteria, and living things have to eat to live. Seems like a  pretty simplistic concept, right. Here's the part that isn't so easy for a lot of us, yeast eat sugar. I've discussed this several times on my blog before because of how important I believe that gut health really is to our over all health and well being. Inside our intestines are billions of little buggies roaming around, its just how we were made.

When some of strains of yeast get infected, there's only one real way to stop them, and that is to starve them. The most common strain to give trouble is candida albicans, which is why most people with yeast infections say they have candida. Well, the yeast eat the sugar we feed them, hence they eat the sugar from our food. That means no sugar for me. I've decided to go sugar free for the next two weeks, and as you can see I am on day 6 today. The clarification has to be made what no sugar means. No sugar doesn't just mean table sugar or sweet things like chocolate, candy, cupcakes, and gum. It also means healthy forms of sugar like raw honey, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, and agave.

Honestly, I shutter to put agave in the healthy category, because it's not, but that's a whole other story. Nonetheless, it has fructose, so don't eat it. Speaking of fructose that knocks fruit out the daily diet, as well as most grains like rice, even if its brown (although brown is  "allowed" on the candida diet I'm not chancing it), wheat (I don't eat this anyway). Anything with gluten you want to stay away from while dealing with candida. Don't even entertain the idea of bread right now. Some people are sensitive to quinoa, which is a seed, not a grain. Forget even looking at yogurt unless it is unsweetened, the vanilla and other flavored ones are loaded with sugar.

The most difficult part for me has been not putting that banana in my green smoothie or reaching for an apple in the afternoon to munch on for snack. I really love fruit. The only sweetener that can be used as far as I can tell is stevia. For my smoothie in the morning I've been using Vega protein powder, which is sweetened with stevia, 3 handfuls of spinach, a scoop of Raw Reserve Superfood Green Powder, raw almond milk I made, and some ice. Its working quite nicely for me. It just occurred to me that there's brown rice protein in the Vega Protein Powder, but I think I'm okay. I'll switch to hemp seeds for protein and get stevia drops if need be in that case. I'll let ya know if I have issues.

As for other food I've been eating organic free range eggs from my favorite local farmer, lots of greens, tomatoes, plain goat milk yogurt sprinkled with ceylon cinnamon, quinoa, veggie stir fry using coconut oil because it has great antibacterial qualities, plain homemade buckwheat pancakes, wild mahi mahi and salmon, lots of avocados; the healthy fat from nuts, coconut oil, and avocados is imperative in the repairing process of the body. I'm drinking plenty of water, some with raw apple cider vinegar in it, and herbal teas. I've been following the candida diet pretty closely here. I have also been following my friend and fellow health counselor, Amy's blog. She features great recipes! Really its not that different than my regular diet, just no fruit. I did sneak some carrots and sweet potatoes in yesterday, which was very naughty. If you aren't dealing with a candida outbreak, small amounts here and there are fine. Unfortunately, I am :(

As for the medicinal route I am taking two drops of wild crafted oregano oil under my tongue, its super powerful for fighting bacterial infections, I'm applying yogurt to the area like a cream, I've also been applying extra virgin coconut oil to the area, I'm also tripling my probiotic supplement, and taking Health Force Nutritionals Truly Vitamin C powder. I'm going to add taking a bath with tee tree oil in the water.

As the infection leaves the body there will be detox symptoms to be expected, in some are headaches, itchiness, and nausea. A liver cleanse is also suggested which I haven't begun, but will on Friday once I go back to work at The Vine Health Shoppe in Fuquay-Varina, NC to pick up a milk thistle tincture. That's also where I get my green powder, protein powder, tea tree oil, and oregano oil.

Herbal Tea Recipe

It occurred to me that I promised my Facebook fans an herbal tea recipe, and since I've been drinking quite a bit of cinnamon tea, here ya go. Cinnamon is  a wonderful way to control blood sugar! Really people it couldn't be any more simple than this:

Grab a half gallon glass container or pitcher, that's 64oz folks. Fill it with spring or filtered water. Pour it into  a stainless steel pot along with 8-10 organic ceylon cinnamon sticks, I buy mine at The Vine Health Shoppe as well, and set on the stove top to boil. After it comes to a good boil, turn off the heat, and let it steep and cool. Then you may have to strain it into the pitcher because of the little cinnamon bark floaties. Put it into the fridge, let cool some more, and drink it like iced tea. It doesn't require any sweetener at all, its lovely. Option-I leave 1-2 cinnamon bark rolls still in the pitcher to intensify flavor.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tempting Tempeh

In the past I've written about the damaging effects of processed soy. Today though instead of completely insulting the plant, I'd like to bring about some redeeming qualities it possesses when prepared properly. When soy beans are fermented something wonderful happens-they become healthy!  The anti-nutritive properties are taken out, and nutritive properties are put in during what is called the lacto-fermentation process.These are whole soybeans, not processed ones, and fermenting makes them very easy to digest.

Lacto-fermentation has been done for centuries. Before refrigeration this was how food was preserved. Well consider this truly an oldie, but a goodie. Side note recently my niece referred to her father, my older brother, as an oldie, but a goodie on his birthday-haha, I chuckled. Sorry about that, had to share. Back to fermented foods, the lacto part comes from lactobacillus, a healthy bacteria. So when we ferment foods we load them with healthy bacteria, which is super great for our guts. In case you didn't catch my September post on gut health, check it out.

You ferment just about any fruit or veggie that you want to and it should turn out ok. Some more well know fermented foods are kefir, yogurt, kimchee, and sauerkraut. You don't have to limit yourself there though. You can ferment carrots, beets, cucumbers, celery, mushrooms or juice and that is actually called kombucha, The sky is the limit.

In the photos is what tempeh looks like in the package, this is my favorite brand, and uncooked. I do love tempeh, please know though that you must cook it or prepare it with something somehow. Otherwise tempeh is very bland.

Here is my favorite way to prepare tempeh :)

Tempeh Stir-fry

Take the tempeh block and slice it into strips
In a large cast iron skillet put the strips with some coconut oil brown on both sides
In the same skillet put some chopped carrots, red onions, green cabbage, & zucchini
Saute in a little coconut oil and coconut aminos
Mix everything up in the skillet
Sprinkle raw sesame seeds on top
Serve with a spinach, arugula, bok choy, and shitaki mushroom salad with ginger dressing

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sweet Potatoes are Really Sweeties!

On my Facebook post this week I promised a sweet potato recipe. Before I get into though I want to talk just a little bit about the health benefits of sweet potatoes. They are a favorite food of mine and I gather a favorite for you too. They are a beautiful orange in color root vegetable. They are naturally sweet, extremely nutritious, and ver versatile. You can use them for savory or sweet dishes, the sky is the limit.

Sweet potatoes are root vegetables, so they are a very grounding food, warming food. I am a huge fan of seasonal eating. Our Creator is incredible because he made certain crops to grow when we need them, like these bronze colored gems in cooler weather. He is so good to us!

Sweet potatoes are rich in B6 otherwise known as niacin. They have been studies done that people suffering from depression are usually very deficient in niacin. High does of niacin have been proven to be very effective in allowing the chemicals in the brain to balance. Niacin is also great for helping with lowering homocysteine levels in our body, which work the arteries in our hearts.

They are full of antioxidants, specifically C and E to fight free radicals for cancer. They are an abundant source potassium, which is important for lowering and regulating blood pressure.

Okay so here is the recipe I promised:

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

Sauce (You will have some left over)

2 Cups of organic plain strained tomatoes
1 Cup of vegetable stock
1 Tsp of paprika
4 Tsp of chili powder
1 Tsp of garlic powder
1 Tsp of dry minced onion
2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast

Put everything in a small pot on low heat


1-2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 cup of diced red onion
3 cups of diced and peeled sweet potatoes
4 cups of diced tomatoes
2 cups of diced green bell peppers
2 minced cloves of garlic
2 cups of cooked black beans (soak them the night before, cook them in the morning)
6 oz of goat cheese

Sauté all of first six these ingredients on the stove top under everything is soft.
Mash sweet potatoes with a masher in the pan. Pour some sauce into the mixture. Then mix in the black beans and the cheese. Put filling into your favorite lettuce leaf, swiss chard leaf, or organic corn tortilla, roll it up, and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Almost Raw Chia Seed Brownies

I am often exploring for new recipes, and I like to pop them up here to give you some healthy options. I was browsing some blogs and recipe sites. After looking at some ingredients, and just knowing what goes well together with my own personal explorations in the kitchen here is what I came up, and I hope you like them.

I really like having bars around for snacks for the kids. The great thing about bars for snacks is that you can put a whole bunch of healthy ingredients into them and the kids don't even know!  Unless of course they were in the kitchen right along side you making them. That's okay too because did you know that children are more likely to eat something that they've made with their own hands? Children enjoy spending time with their parents in the kitchen, its great bonding time, and its an opportunity to teach math, science, history, nutrition, and even the bible without them realizing that they are getting a lesson. I homeschool my children, so I take every opportunity to teach them something new if possible :)

I love raw foods for so many reasons. I opted to make raw bars today because well quite frankly I am low on eggs, and most bar recipes for the oven call for them. Its also important to me to have enzymatic rich foods. You may at this point be saying really, what, could I just have the recipe please, enzy...what? Raw foods are fantastic because they have a rich supply of enzymes. Enzymes are super important. Think of an enzyme as a catalyst for digestion. Our bodies have limited supplies of them. Some are in our saliva. We need enzymes to properly digest our food.

The only place to get enzymes are in living foods. Another word for living foods is raw foods. Enzymes live in living cells. Cells are alive in our foods until we cook them past 118 degrees. In most modern cooking we cook foods at 350 degrees or higher. The nutrition is still in our foods, but the enzymes die. That puts our digestion system in a world of hurt. As I mentioned before our bodies have limited stores of enzymes. Those enzymes are for  other systems in our body to use though. We were designed to get enzymes from our foods for digestion. When we eat cooked foods, our bodies steal from our enzyme stores. Over times when we steal from our bank, our bodies go bankrupted. Then illness starts to set in. So to avoid that illness the key is to integrate as many raw foods as possible.

Here is the recipe:

1/3 Cup Chia Seed (white or black)
1/3 Cup Carob Powder (raw or roasted)
1 1/2-2 Cups Chopped Medjool Dates
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup or Raw Honey
2 Tbsp Organic Unsweetened Dry Shredded Coconut
1/3 Cup Organic Coconut Oil
1 Cup of Raw Almonds (any raw nut would work)

Put everything into the food processor and process well. Take mixture and press with fingers well into a glass 8x8 dish. Place in fridge for about 4 hours. Cut into bars when serving. If you make this in the morning it makes a great after school snack! 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Heavy Metal Toxicity: Rage Against the Machine of the Human Body

Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made as said in Psalm 139. We also live in a fallen world, and our bodies are also fallen. There is so much sickness and disease covering the Earth. The sad part is most of it could have been avoided if wiser precautions and practices were made. Today I'd like to touch on something that isn't talked about often, but is getting more coverage, heavy metal toxicity. It is the root or large contributor to many illnesses we deal with in the world today.

Illnesses like: periodontal disease, immune system problems, allergies, asthma, multiple chemical sensitivities, epilepsy, blood conditions, stomach pain, multiple sclerosis, ALS (also know as Lou Gehrig’s disease), Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, Parkinson’s disease, depression, mental confusion, infertility, tourettes, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, tachycardia, schizophrenia, chlamydia trachoma, and a host of viral herpes infections can all stem from too many heavy metals.

Toxic levels can be just above normal level. Each metal is different and how it effects the body. There are some metals that prove very beneficial, these are called trace minerals. Trace minerals allow our bodies to absorb certain minerals and vitamins. Our bodies work synergystically with many factors for proper function. Some trace minerals are boron, iron, manganese, silver, zinc, silica, selenium, and several others. Trace minerals are found in our soil, in fact the soil used to be full of over 70 of them. Due to modern farming methods the mineral counts have been severely depleted.  We only need small amounts of these 


Unfortunately our bodies are exposed to toxic metals much too often. Mercury being one of the most toxic heavy metals is widely available through vaccines, certain fish, and dental fillings. Mercury is a neurotoxin that affects the brain. It is especially dangerous to infants and children. It impairs mental, visual, and spatial skills. 

Another highly poisonous metal is aluminum. Aluminum exposure has been directly linked to 

mental diseases such as Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. City water has extremely high levels of aluminum. Other places high counts of aluminum can be found are in certain foods, especially packaged processed foods, deodorant, and baking powder. There is no functional use in the body for aluminum. Accumulations of it in the body get deposited in tissues, brain, heart, bones, liver, spleen, and muscles. Cooking with aluminum pots, pans, and utensils also causes exposure. 

So one might ask what can I do for my family? Simple things you can do are replacing cookware, using an aluminum free deodorant, using aluminum free baking powder, aluminum free cosmetics, and getting a good water filter at home. A little bit more drastic, but something definitely to consider and worthwhile is getting any amalgam filings removed from a well trained dentist. Two promising foods based  on cures for mentally related illness and detoxing has been coconut oil and chlorella. Another consideration is chelation therapy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Children & Obesity

Picture it, average American family, 3pm Mom is in the school carpool line, picks up the last child and rushes Sally to ballet. While Sally is at ballet she takes the other two through the drive thru bank teller makes a deposit, and rushes into the grocery store to pick up cereal, bread, and milk. Kids beg for M&Ms, she protests at first, but ultimately gives in because she's tired from taking care of the house, picking up after everyone, doing mountains of laundry, paying bills, and dealing with the shifty auto mechanic at the service station, when all the minivan needed was an oil change.

They go back to pick up Sally and on the way go thru the drive thru at their favorite fast food restaurant to grab a bite for dinner, pick up Sally, and drive home in time to rush through mountains of homework before Dad gets home. Dad reheats his burger and fries in the micro when he gets there, gulps his watered down diet coke, and takes Jr. to soccer practice while Mom stays with Sally and her sister. Does that sound familiar?

We are so busy it can be difficult to keep up with everything. I am a single, working, homeschooling parent...I understand busy, believe me. Parents have so much on their plates, and there is enormous pressure from society to "do it all." Truth be told I realized a long time ago that I am not a superwoman or super mom. I cannot do it all, and I'm not entirely sure I want to anyway. What I do want is to ensure my family is taken care of the best of the ability that the Lord has provided me.

The two of the places I focus are spiritual health and physical health. As my sons' mother I am required to feed them well.  Spiritually depending on where you are with God will determine how you as a parent do that in your home. In my home that consists of constantly speaking about Gods Word, reading the bible daily to my children as well as making time for us to read individually, conducting a bible study together once a week, and attending church services.

Physically my goal is to impart wisdom on my sons where food is concerned. Primarily I want them to understand what food is, and what food is not. The MerriamWebster dictionary defines food as: material consisting of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair and final processes to furnish energy; also such food together with supplementary substances (minerals, vitamins, and condiments).

I have a rule that I try to follow, it's pretty simple. If God didn't make it, then I try hard not to consume it. I figure since God made me that I should use the things that He, not a chemist in a lab concocted with 83 million ingredients or synthetic vitamins with fluorescent artificial colors and preservatives. If it grew up from the ground, or came from an animal the Lord said was okay to eat, then it passes the initial test :) I'm really tempted to get into clean and unclean, but we won't do that today.

Did you know that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported child obesity rates to have tripled in the last 30 years?!!! I find that alarming. Childhood obesity raises the probability considerably for diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, social and emotional disorders, and poor bone & joint health all are side effects of childhood obesity.

Moms and Dads we have to take better care of ourselves. If we don't our children will not be inclined to do so either. Children aren't born fat, let's be honest. Genetics are one thing. No, not everyone is built the same, heights, bone density, and over all build make a difference. Nonetheless when I see 4 and 5 year olds that weigh considerably more than my 9 year old, that concerns me.

Parents we are to be good stewards with our precious gifts on loan, known as our children. Would you intentionally give your children poison? The answer is no, of course you wouldn't. I know you wouldn't. Regardless when we continue to eat and feed our child food-like items from boxes, bags, cans, and drive thrus on a regular basis that is exactly what is happening. We have to take responsibility for our family's health. It is not the FDA's or USDA's  job, our family physican's job, the president's job, the public school system's job, or anyone else.

We need to slow down, take inventory of what is in our pantry, our fridge, where we get our food from, and where we frequent as a place to a grab bite here and there. We should enjoy what we are eating. Real food is delicious. Frequent farmers markets, choose whole grains, and no, Cheerios do not count. Put bowls of fruit on the counter, keep Doritos out of the house, and offer water to drink. Get a good filter and some refillable stainless steel bottles for times on the go. Consider where your meat comes from...that's really important. Someone you know has their eggs. 

Keep simple veggies in the fridge like carrots, celery, cucumber, broccoli, and bell peppers. Make quick healthy dips like hummus, use organic peanut butter, raw almond butter, unsweetened full fat yogurt with herbs, spices, and Celtic sea salt. Keep these sliced up and offer them as snacks or with dinner. Make a pot of long grain brown rice and serve it with different dishes all week. Let's make wiser choices. Get the kids involved in prep work.

Yes, I know they may fight you if you didn't raise them to start out that way, but isn't it worth the fuss? Parents you have the control. I heard a mom say once that her child won't eat anything but chicken nuggets and fries. Really?!!! Who is the parent? Who is the one giving her child the options? We get one chance, one shot, one body on this Earth. More importantly our children get one shot, one body on this Earth. Shouldn't we set them up well? In all honesty, really, if you offer yummy, healthy meal, and they refuse it, it's okay. Don't get upset, they can choose to be hungry. 

Lets eat to live, not live to eat. I believe we should enjoy what we eat. We also need to understand that we need a good base for health and wellness. It doesn't come from a pill. It comes from what we regularly put in our mouths. The majority of our nutrition needs to be from our food. If we make our bodies trash cans how can we expect to thrive? 

We also need to be active. We need to move. Walking as a family is wonderful. If you have a garden get the kids involved. Get on the bicycles, go to the pool, get exercise DVDS for rainy days, join a family gym, take family martial arts, and more. I knows it's challenging with work, school, and other things. Our hearts and quite frankly behinds need it. 

I don't mean to be harsh. I'm not perfect, and don't always eat what I should or give my children the best. On a regular basis though my attempt and follow through are there. If you need help or guidance I'd love to help through my six month program. I can share my experience and what I've learned through education. You can get more details on:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pro-Bi What??!

I'm certain you have heard the lingering tales of probiotics. My effort for this post will be to shed some light on what they are, why they are important, and how we can get them. I often say that just like Christ to the believer is the center of our lives our digestive system is the center of  health. Serving a God of infinite order the placement of our gut being in the center of our bodies is also an indication of how important the strength of our digestive tract is for our over all wellness.

Inside our intestines are billions of bacteria. I remember how grossed out I was when I learned that little piece of information. So bacteria in and of itself is not bad, we need bacteria to survive. So probiotics refers to "good bacteria". Sometimes we'll hear this be called our flora. The problem is when the bacteria or flora becomes infected. Infection can take place several ways: poor diet (keep in mind most think they eat healthy and don't), stress, antibiotics, illness (illness although usually stems from poor gut health and could be avoided with better gut health), prescription medication, and improper lymphatic system drainage into our gut. So much disease is linked to unhealthy flora. Correction of it can change lives.

My first line of defense is a healthy diet. If you eat meat then clean, organic grass fed beef, organic pastured free range chickens and turkeys, and lamb are the best choices, no pork. Organic free range eggs are a wonderful addition to the diet if you don't want too much meat. Wild caught fish with fins and scales, no bottom feeders or seafood is best. Consume lots of organic leafy greens, and organic brightly colored veggies. Organic granny smith apples and berries are great! Other fruits are okay too, but watch intake of tropical and dried fruits for large amounts of sugar. Gluten free organic whole grains are a healthy choice. If you want to do dairy, raw is best because all of the healthy bacteria is in tact. If its illegal or hard to find in your state, only pasteurized is okay, avoid ultra-pasteurized and homogenized. Goats milk is much easier on our digestive tracts, and not inflammatory like pasteurized cows milk. Raw nuts, seeds, nut butters, extra virgin olive oil, organic virgin coconut oil, and Celtic sea salt are good choices as well.

An incredibly helpful type food to eat that aid in digestion and keep strong flora are fermented foods. The fermentation process for preserving food has been around for centuries. Before refrigerators people would lactoferment their foods. When we ferment the foods wonderful healthy bacteria are added to the food, and when we eat them, it aids our flora in staying healthy. Some examples of fermented foods are kimchee, sauerkraut (not the kind in the can, get organic), tempeh, kefir, and yogurt. Keep in mind not all yogurt is the same. Pasteurization kills a lot of beneficial bacteria.Consumers can look for the National Yogurt Association’s Live & Active Cultures seal on packaged yogurt. This means the product did contain live cultures when it was made, although it is no guarantee that the beneficial bacteria will still be alive after shipping and storage. Full fat, unsweetened goats milk yogurt and Greek yogurt are the best bets if you cannot find the seal. You can make your own yogurt or kefir at home. You can also lactoferment just about any veggie you want, and I'll talk more about it in a post coming soon.

Something to note is when our gut flora "the healthy bacteria or yeast" becomes infected that it feeds on sugar. It is not discriminatory either, any sugar will do, white sugar in a Snickers, high fructose corn syrup in cereal, fructose from fruit, raw local honey, maple syrup, and the list goes on...the infected yeast eats it all. One particular strand that gets infected frequently is called Candida Albicans. So the only real way to kill the yeast is to starve it. The goal is to keep the sugar out for a period of time, depending on how severe your case of Candida. Some people it may be 2 weeks some 1-2 months, and some perhaps a lifestyle change with diet is in order. It can be more pleasant than you think.

A crucial add in daily as well should be a good probiotic supplement. You might be saying, do I really need to buy one of those? Well, what's it worth to you for you and the kids to not get a cold during cold and flu season? Can you afford to take time off from work for a weeks worth of the flu?I equivocate taking a probiotic supplement to insurance. We can already see how crucial our gut health is in the grand scheme of things. We can't afford poor health or illness to prevent us or our families from thriving. Unless you live on an island and grow all your own food, eat a ton of fermented foods, don't consume sugar ever, eat mostly a raw food diet,  and never go out to eat then perhaps you don't need one. A probiotic supplement helps fill in your gaps. This will ensure some good bacteria is getting put back into the body. 

Many times when we go to see our mainstream doctor they are very quick to prescribe an antibiotic if we are fighting some type of infection. Doctors are notorious for prescribing them to young children with ear infections.  Unfortunately what doctors don't know or don't tell there patients is that these antibiotics wipe out all of the bacteria, good, bad, and indifferent, this leaves our systems wide open for greater infections, repeat illnesses due to a very unbalanced gut flora. If you make the choice to fill the script be wise an replenish your or your child's body with a good probiotic supplement.

Now before you run out and get one please know that it can be an overwhelming task in choosing one since there are a gazillion of them, and they are not all equal. Also within probiotics each bacterial strand is different and necessary to help different parts of the body. One of the more well known strands is called acidophilus.  This particular strand is important in women for vaginal health. Any itching, yeast infections, or urinary problems are most likely due to need for healthy acidophilus. That is not the only strand we need though, and you are short changing your health to only include that one. 

Here is a list of the strains we will usually see:
  • B. bacterium breve- helps with diarrhea, allergies, gas, and irritable bowel syndrome
  • B. bacterium longum- helps prevent disease
  • B. bacterium bifidum- helps maintains balance in intestines
  • B. animalis-  helps aid in proper digestion
  • L. acidophilus- helps with digestion, vaginal health, absorption of certain minerals
  • L. bulgaricus- helps with digestion
  • L. casei- helps fight off harmful bacteria
  • L. lactobacillus- helps fight of  pathogens like E coli and salmonellae
  • L. plantarum- helps with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and colitis (found in fermented foods)
  • L. rhamnosus- helps boost immune system
  • S. bouldarii: helps fight diarrhea
  • S. thermophilus- helps prevent transformation of nitrates into cancer-causing nitrites
  • Bifidus- helps fight pathogens
 Here are my recommendations for probiotic brands on the market. I can tell you that for three years my sons and I have been taking Garden of Life brand probiotics called Primal Defense. My children take the one for kids. Our immune systems have become very strong, and we rarely get sick. If we do it doesn't last long at all, half a day to one day tops. I believe that is in part to taking these probiotics. I do not work for Garden of Life, I simply believe in this particular product. Albeit you can buy them in the stores on my blog if you choose. Something special about Primal Defense are the SBOs or soil based organisms.The SBOs are healthy bacterial that live in the soil that allow plant life to grow and flourish. They help to benefit our guts in the same way. I don't know of any other probiotic line to have them.

Another brand which I think has merit is New Chapter. They have a probiotic line using fermented foods like organic soy, Jerusalem artichokes, and apples. What I think is neat is the concept they use.  Most companies remove the strain from the foods the bacteria is produced on once the desired amount of strains are reached. Instead what New Chapter does is they keep the strains and food together. They say that by doing this the probiotics continue to replicate and provide more benefit to the digestive tract. You can buy these at the independent health food store I work at in Fuquay-Varina, NC called The Vine Health Shoppe.

I hope that I have shed a little light on what probiotics are, why we need them, and that you will consider a healthier diet as well as find a supplement right for you. For more information go to to learn about the different strains and what they do.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fertilty-Does Nutrition Make a Difference?

I have so many friends that have had fertility issues, whether it was themselves, their husbands, or both. Many have tried fertility drugs, and other mainstream methods. There are actually a few main details that can make great strides in the process of desiring to grow your family. This topic has been on my heart for a while, so I am going to discuss them here, and I hope it can be helpful to someone.

First and foremost what needs to be done is prayer, unceasing prayer. Just like any other obstacle we face, we need to make sure we are following the directives our of creator, the Lord Jesus. There are many reasons why couples cannot conceive, and considering He is in the business of allowing that to happen in the first place, we need to seek Him first. Making sure Christ is the center whatever you are attempting to do is paramount. I think sometimes the most difficult thing to do is waiting on the Lord since His time is not our time.

The desire for children is probably unlike any of other desire a person could have, and it goes very deep. Women especially feel an urgency to carry life, and care for them. Due to the woman's role in the hierarchy of life I'd say that is quite natural and God given within. That being said the inability to conceive can be heart breaking, and since I have had several friends deal with this in their own lives I am very sensitive to the subject.

After all things have been given over to the Lord in prayer there are concrete things husbands and wives can do to greater their chances of conception. One prayer I pray now that I would suggest anyone should pray is ask the Lord how He wants you to care for your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" We only get one body, and we need to take care of it because it is a gift. How well you take care of your body can be a huge determining factor in your body even being ready and allowing you to conceive.

Present health conditions, current medications, lifestyle choices, how you handle stress, how you sleep, and what you consume can all be factors in preventing conception. I am not a doctor, I can not a miracle worker (there's only one), and I am not a fortune teller. I, however, am a Certified Holistic Health Counselor, and a mom who had a life changing experience through making healthier choices in my life. I would advise you to first find a holistic, Integrative, or naturopathic doctor or practitioner if possible. If you cannot afford it, or your insurance doesn't include such providers, try to find a doctor who will support you in these more natural efforts. This will make the process much easier.

First take an inventory of what you and your husband are eating, yes hubby too. The shape and health of the prospective daddy makes a huge difference. If you have a lot of boxed and bagged foods in the house and items you microwave those need to go. There are more chemicals in some of those food like items than in a hair supply store...ok, maybe I'm exaggerating. Also consider taking the microwave out of your kitchen altogether. Microwaves destroy the health and quality of the food, and the waves themselves are dangerous to our bodies. We are electrical creatures made up of protons and electrons. The electromagnetic waves frequency from the microwave basically messes with our frequency in our bodies and causes imbalances that stress our systems out severely. In fact wireless connections severely disrupt our bodies. Use hard wired connections whenever possible.

 As far as food goes you want to consume healthy, whole foods. Fresh and local are always better. Look for food that is organic and non-genetically modified. Eat lots of raw leafy greens like spinach, kale, and chard in smoothies, salads, and make wraps with them. Eats lots of veggies with bright colors to like beets, bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, purple onions, and squash. Snack on unsalted, raw nuts and seeds and dried fruit. Cut out white sugar, brown sugar, artificial sweeteners, white rice, white flour, and white potatoes. Elimate or reduce wheat. Switch to spelt or gluten free grains.

Eating lots of berries, apples, tomatoes, and avocados will boost your immune system, so will fresh garlic and ginger. Ladies eat an avocado a day. Use Celtic sea salt instead of regular processed table salt that has been processed and bleached. Celtic sea salt has all of the minerals in tact. Only eat organic, clean meats like grass-fed beef, and free range wheat/barley fed chickens and turkeys. Avoid processed dairy, and consume raw or only pasteurized instead of pastuerized and homoginzed. Processed dairy creates an over abundance of mucus because once the milk gets heated to those high temperatures it turns to puss. It breaks down our immune system and harms our gut health. Switch to goats milk or almond milk, and try goat or sheep cheeses. They are less processed, eat raw cheese when available. It has the nutrients in tact.

Only eat wild fish with fins and scales. Avoid farmed fish. They are pumped with antibiotics and fed corn that makes them sick.Stear clear of seafood, and bottom feeders. Drink plenty of filtered water. Avoid processed soy hidden in foods like soy lecithin, and soybean oil. Don't drink soy milk or eat tofu. Only fermented soy is healthy. Processed soy is a huge hormone disrupters. Do read labels, the stuff is in everything. Eat pasteured, cage free eggs. Get them from a neighbor or local farm. Use coconut oil as your cooking oil. Most other oils have too little fat and the chemical composition of the oil gets changed by the heat. It then causes the oil to be poisonous.

Ease up on caffeine usage, eliminate it if possible. Trade in the coffee drinking habit for Yerba Mate. It is an organically grown plant in South America brewed as a tea with tremendous health benefits. There is caffeine though, so limit this to one cup. Drinking herbal teas can be extremely beneficial. Tulsi tea is a great way to boost immune health, fight stress, combat environmental pollutants, and do it without caffeine or harmful side effects. Don't drink soda, switch to mineral water with lemon and lime. Get out those energy drinks like Gatorade, Monster, and Red Bull. They do horrible things to our body systems. Use herbs like maca and ginseng instead for boosted energy. Ladies once you become pregnant, research safe herbs.

 If you don't already, make exercise a part of your daily or atleasy weekly routine. Walking 30 minutes a day in addition to doing strengthing and stretching exercises 3-4 times a week like Pilates will provide immune support, regulate metabolism, aid in weightless if necessary, and keep the mother's body flexible for the birth. Try to avoid toxins in toiletries like deoderant and make-up. Purchase all natural versions, make your own, or do a trial run and see if you can go without it. Read labels religiously. Look for things like BPA, phthalates, aluminum, phosphates and other words you can't pronounce that scream chemical toxin and purchase alternatives. Avoid drinking things in plastic, or storing cooked or wet foods in plastic, poisons can leach into the foods and beverages. Choose glass or stainless steel. Don't cook with Teflon or nonstick pans. Those chemicals on the pans emit toxic fumes. These toxins can block our bodies' systems from working properly.

 If you are even thinking about the possibility of conceiving take a good, clean prenatal vitamin that is food based. I really like the New Chapter brand. The dad to be can take the men's one a day by New Chapter. Also be sure to be taking a good probiotic. Gut health is very important, and poor gut health can be passed to baby. I would suggest Garden of Life Primal Defense. Moms if you are having problems eating in the morning, try green smoothies or do a good plant based protein shake like one by Vega or Plant Fusion. Take additional vitamin D3. Bluebonnet makes a liquid version of natural D3 from lanolin, very economical and clean. For moms, dads, and babys brain, heart, and joint health Nordic Natural's cod liver oil is a great brand. The Vine Health Shoppe in Fuquay-Varina carries most of these brands.

Remove prescription drugs from your daily regimen if possible. Work with a doctor to ween you off of these medications if your situation allows even before the pregnancy. If needed switch to all natural herbal supplements. Do beware that even some herbal supplements, while wonderful, should be avoided by pregnant women. Go to a good local health food store where the experts are and let them make recommendations. Don't mess around in the isles at Walmart where there are not any experienced individuals, and supplements are not often great quality.

Switch things like acetametaphin and aspirin for all natural pain relievers. These drugs toxify the liver and kidneys. Herbs like Ashwagandha and Tulsi/Holy Basil help with stress. Arnica can help with pain. Turmeric helps with inflammation. Get a good water filter like one from Aquasana. You can buy these on Get a shower filter as well, yes you read that right, a shower filter. We ingest more chemicals and solvents in our 10 min shower than drinking water all day to our pores being open.

 I am sorry if this seems like a lot. It is a lifestyle change. At the same time these are feasible changes, are guaranteed to make you a healthier you, and could quite possibly allow conception to take place. We live in a world where there is a ton of junk on our plates, in the air, in the soil, and in the water. Our bodies can only take so much. Remember our bodies cry out in different ways, inflammation, indigestion, frequent heart burn, acne, asthma, chronic headaches and migraines, arthritis, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, excess weight, and depression. These are not normal even though our culture has adopted them as such. I only speak as someone who used to have almost all of those symptoms, and now they are gone. Take one step at a time, but do make changes. You and your family are worth it! If you want help with this journey contact me, we can set up a free health history, and go from there.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Vitamin D-What's the deal?

So the buzz word is vitamin D. Let's talk about this amazing vitamin, what it does for our bodies, why it's so important, and the best way to get it. Vitamin D is really more of a hormone that a vitamin in the fact that it tells certain parts and systems of our bodies what to do, like 3000 of our genes.

Vitamin D is attained best by proper sun exposure on the skin. There are 5 types of vitamin D. Animals need vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol)the one we as humans need is Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). That is the one created by the sun. Many mainstream doctors out there are still recommending D2. Vitamin D2 can sometimes block D3, and D2 isn't absorbed properly because it's not the D our bodies al need. Next time you are at your doctor's office ask for D3 only if you are so low that you need a temporary prescription.

Lack of vitamin D3 inhibits minerals by being absorbed like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. If you are short on D3 it lead to fatigue, depression, and mental fog. Research is still being conducted on D3 deficiencies and conditions like ADD and ADHD. Vitamin D3 does control certain enzymes that provide extended attention spans. The best way to attain vitamin D3 through sun exposure is to be out in the sun 15-20 minutes about 3-4 days per week without any sunscreen. Sunscreen prevents vitamin D3 absorption as well as puts toxic chemicals into the bloodstream through the pores on your skin.

According to Joseph Mercola D.O., it takes a little bit more planning than just getting some sun. He talks about the complexity of absorption levels, and the time it takes for adequate amounts of vitamin D to be used properly by our miraculous systems. Check out his link below to see what he has to say.

When we aren't receiving proper sun exposure the best way to take it in daily is by an all natural supplement from lanolin, which is from the oil on the skin of sheep. Remember it will be called cholecalciferol. Dosage is taken in IUs, that stands for international unit.Dosage amount from studies varies. Some say 2000IUs a day is enough and some say up to 10,000IUs. I personally take a minimum of two plus sun exposure in the summer and I take 4000IUs in the cooler months. If you can get blood tests regularly, at least twice a year.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What do you bag your lunch with?

It occurred to me that I should share with you some things I use for food storage on the go. I became frustrated with the use of plastic bags due to possible toxins, what happens to the bags after I toss them, and expense. When you have children you go through a lot plastic bags for sandwiches and snacks. The cost adds up considerably in more ways than one.

For sandwiches I invested $14.95 for these great little stainless steel boxes. They have a latch on each side. They are easy to open, close, and clean. I found mine at Earthfare Market. I've also seen them at Whole Foods Markets, and on Check out my web banner.

For snacks my most recent purchase were these awesome little cloth bags. See them in the picture :) They are from a company called Wastenot Saks. I purchased them on a website called You can purchase these bags through the banner on the side of the blog. They come in two sizes. If you buy the larger size, about the same size as a plastic sandwich baggie, are $7.45 or $6.95 if you buy more than one. The smaller size, about the size of a plastic snack baggie, are $6.45 or $5.95 for more than one. There are different patterns.

For water I prefer stainless steel over BPA free plastic. For my sons I purchased these really great bottles at Costco for about $15.00 for both. For myself I had purchased a bottle from Thermos.

We use stainless steel Thermos canisters for soup, chili, oatmeal, and even yogurt on the go. Mine actually came with its own spoon.

If you have found a bag, container, or bottle that works for you, let us know here please.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

DO you eat seasonally?

I can't express to you enough to make the farmers market your friend if you don't have a garden. Due to the fact that we are fearfully and wonderfully made our wonderful Lord Jesus has made us in connection with the natural things around us. This is exhibited by our bodies coming dust and returning to dust when we physically die. We are a part of creation, a very intricate part, yet part of it nonetheless, so in my estimated opinion I believe that we are in a sense connected to the earth.

It only makes sense since we are the ones who rule and have dominion over the earth. One cannot rule what they are not a part of or are not connected. You would quickly be rejected or rebelled by those you rule. It was one of the reasons Christ became man was so that we could see how He was able to relate to us, feel our pain and struggles, and understand it all even at the same time being God. Sadly we rejected and rebelled against the only one who came to save us.

So when we reside in a certain area for a while our bodies acclimate themselves to the surroundings, and our blood, skin, hair, amount of fat our bodies need, and even digestive system all adapt to where we live. I'm not not saying it's a perfect formula. Just because you move to Hawaii, it doesn't mean you will lose 100 pounds while you go through the drive thru 4 times a week, but you will adjust to the humidity, and you're body will want to lose the weight, even if your own habits don't allow it full success.

 What I have learned to do is to listen to my body, feed it what it needs, and not be too dogmatic. Everyone's body is different. I don't process meat very well, I took it out 3 years ago, and I don't miss it. Knowing what is done to animals these days, I really don't miss it. Watch Food Inc, King Korn, and, Forks Over Knives, if you don't know what I am referring to about the treatment of animals we eat. You can watch those documentaries on Netflix.

My body needs a little bit of animal protein though. After trial and error this is what I have found. I thrive on high amounts of raw veggies and fruits, along with raw nuts and seeds, some beans and healthy gluten free grains like quinoa, millet, and brown basmati rice, raw goat cheese, and eggs. In the warmer months I am almost 100% raw with the foods I eat. I do green smoothies almost every morning for breakfast, lots of salads, and fresh fruit. In the cooler months I add in more cooked grains, vegetarian soups, and baked sweet potatoes.

When we eat seasonally we do our bodies and the environment a world of good. I'll probably do a post on this topic each year because I think it is so important. When we shop at our local farmers markets and shop at grocery stores that work with local farmers it helps our bodies by getting more bio-available nutrients from foods picked not too long ago. Many times you can work out good deals at farmers markets if you get to know your farmer and shop with the same one there for a while. It helps the local farmers stay in business which is good for the community and the farmer himself. It also is less gas used to transport the food, which is good for keeping pollution down from the gas fumes.

Please consider eating this way. Its a great way to try new fruits and veggies. It forces you to say, okay, I've never had daikon radish before, let me take some. When we eat what is in season we are getting the full nutrient value instead of fruit or veggies forced to grown in improper conditions, like under lights. Another avenue is to sign up for a produce co-op, or produce shipments that come straight to your house. These are very popular right now, you can sign up with a particular group, pay a flat fee per week or per month, and receive a box of fresh, local produce at your doorstep.

Tell me what you do to eat seasonally. Do you have a local farmers market that you like in your area?

Monday, April 23, 2012

What Do You Use in Your Kitchen?

So last week I talked a little bit about pantry organization and food storage. I want to expand on what I use in my kitchen, what healthy choices there are available, and how you can make it feasible in your kitchen. I remember how daunting of a process this was for me when I first started. I would like to spare you some pain by putting the information here, then you can think about it, do some research and make a decision on what works best for your family.

First I'll expand on food storage and take it from the pantry to the refrigerator. So my rule is if it's a liquid, a wet food, or has been cooked it goes in glass or stainless steel, preferably glass. Glass is safe storage for food of all kinds. When foods are wet or when you have liquids whatever you store your food in has potential to leach into the food. That is fact when using plastic. So if you use plastic to store your wet foods and liquids be sure it's at least Bisphenol-A free, otherwise know as BPA.

Bisphenol-A is an organic compound that is put into many plastic and aluminum items. BPAs are used to harden plastics. Our bodies recognize it as an artificial estrogen. When this compound goes into our bodies it cause hormone disruption. Some scientists and studies show that it directly linked to troubles in pregnancy, neurological disorders, obesity, and cancer. To be honest the verdict is still split as to whether or not enough research has been presented. I, however, have seen enough, and choose not to chance it. Also when I think about the amount of plastic used today involving food verses say 50-60 years ago, and then look at the rise of cancer, I believe plastic use is a contributor.

Another material to be concerned with is aluminum. I realize it's is a very common item in the everyday person's kitchen, it's light and cheap. Unfortunately a higher price is attached with aluminum toxicity. Aluminum is found in cans of food and drinks, foil to cover food, pots and pans, in baking powder, and deodorant. I avoid it as much as possible. Neurological deficiencies like Alhiemerzer Disease,and dementia. It is also an inhibitor of absorbing certain necessary minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium. It can and does leach into liquids. Also when heated in ovens or on stove tops it does leach into food.

An additional concern with aluminum cooking and baking ware is the non-stick coating. First of all in most pans the stuff doesn't work that well. I've only had one set of pans where the non-stick coating worked well. Teflon or other non-stick coating takes only a few minutes on a pan to reach extremely high temperatures and then emits poisonous gases. Why would chemists come up with such a thing then? Well, one reason I can think of is because we'll buy it. Citizens of the USA want it bigger, badder, and faster now. It's been proven we will take serious consequences for convenience.

The leaching is very minimal with glass, and it's all natural composed of sodium oxide, calcium oxide, and silica. I realize the downside is it is breakable, on the other hand if you reuse and recycle glass containers and jars from foods you purchase you'll save some money. Most glass storage from either mason jars or a brand like Pyrex and Anchor is very durable, thick glass.If you are interested in purchasing glass storage it's as easy as a trip to Walmart. You can of course order online from Walmart, Target, or even These are fairly affordable, and becoming much more popular as more and more of us health nuts arise.

I use a combination of stainless steel cookware and cast iron cookware. It took me a minute to get used to using the cast iron, I love it now though. I bake with stoneware from The Pampered Chef. I am also a big fan of bamboo. I use bamboo spatulas, spoons, tongs, and cutting boards. Another type of cookware that is new on the health scene is ceramic. I like Dr. Mercola's line. At this point in time it is not economical at all. I am happy with what is in my kitchen.

My ultimate point of view with all of these toxins and things that we hear about is to be wise, get out what you can, and are willing to be rid of in your home. We can't avoid everything. We'd cease to exist. We live in a fallen world.