QUINOA-do you eat it? Do you like it? Can you pronounce it? Hubby and I just started to pronounce it correctly last year (pronunciation is on the box-go figure.) Quinoa is a super healthy grain and option over pasta, rice, and other grains. Quinoa contains anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that help decrease risk for anti-inflammatory diseases which are now rampant in our world. It is by itself gluten free (although often produced in a facility with wheat) and 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains 8g of protein. It is low calorie, low glycemic index, and full of iron, folate, and magnesium. Serve it alongside some steamed kale and black beans and you have a plant strong powerhouse meal! http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=142
My answer: Yes! Well actually, more like occasionally, and definitely NO if you struggle with regulating your blood sugar. Juicing and smoothies flood our system with an amazing amount of nutrient dense plant vitamins which has too many health benefits to list. A green vegetable based fresh juice in the morning hydrates your sleepy system with plant nutrients while a pulpy smoothie in the afternoon is a good fiber-filled snack. BUT, juicing and smoothies create a form of deconstructed plant material that is absorbed rapidly by your stomach and could damage endothelial cells.
Confused? Check out the details…
Smoothie: Say hello to fiber! Most of the fiber is in the pulp. In a smoothie, you get the fiber of your fruits and veggies in addition to the juice which gives you a more satisfying full feeling. Like juice, smoothies can cleanse our cells, regulate colon function, and give us energy.
Fresh Juice: Juicing raw veggies and fruit create a powerful little shot of nutrition! Juice skips past digestion and assimilates into your body quickly, fast-boosting energy levels. BUT, when you drink a fresh juice, you drink the sugars apart from the fiber which can be overload to our body and leaves you hungry again 30 minutes later. Sugar needs fibers to breakdown in the body.
What happens when sugars are separated from its fiber? Sugar rush! Without the fiber bound to the sugar, the sugar becomes a simple sugar, increasing triglycerides, and making blood sugar levels unstable. Therefore, juices and smoothies are not recommended for those that already have pre-existing blood sugar conditions. Instead, CHEW your fruits and vegetables!
Chew vs. Drink? A smoothie breaks down plant cell walls and creates a more liquid, blenderized form of the plant nutrients allowing more rapid absorption into your body. Caution though, the sugars of the fruit and veggies also are absorbed rapidly and could potentially damage the liver and endothelial cells. For example, when you chew a carrot, the sugar and fiber are bound together and absorbed at the same time allowing your body to digest it slowly and safely, but when the carrot is pureed and drank, it bypasses the bacteria on our tounge that is there to help reduce nitrates during digestion. Dr. Caldwell Essylton who has spent his life researching and treating heart disease talks about the importance of keeping our endothelial cells healthy: “The endothelial cells make nitric oxide, which is critical to preserving the tone and health of the blood vessels. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator: that is, it causes the vessels to dilate or enlarge. When there is abundant nitric oxide in the bloodstream, it keeps blood flowing as if the vessels’ surfaces were coated with the most slippery Teflon, eliminating the stickiness of vessels and blood cells that is caused by high lipid levels and that, in turn, leads to plaque formation.” Plaque in our cells leads to coronary heart disease and other inflammatory diseases.
What then should you do? Indeed enjoy a fresh juice or smoothie occasionally but focus on eating and CHEWING more whole, raw fruits and vegetables through each day. Focus your occasional juice and smoothies to be more vegetable based and green in possible. Fruit has more sugar than greens! Daily, have a bowl of fruit with breakfast, snack on chopped veggies with hummus as a snack, and eat a giant green leafy salad for lunch and with dinner.
Organic RAW honey. My alternative face wash a few times a week. Organic raw honey is anti-bacterial and contains enzymes and probiotics which are great for the skin. It is gentle, nourishing, and does not strip the skin's natural oils. You could also use organic raw honey in a homemade face wash recipe: combine 1/2 cup organic avocado oil with 3 tbsp of the honey and 2 tbsp of Castile soap. Avocado oil is great for cleansing the skin and promotes cell regeneration. For more education and recipe links visit Facebook.com/thehealthyhoneybee http://facebook.com/thehealthyhoneybee.
http://www.aromaticsinternational.com/products/carrier-oils-butters/avocado-oil-organic, http://wellnessmama.com/13344/homemade-honey-face-wash/, http://modernhippiehousewife.com/2014/03/10/homemade-facial-cleanser/
My all purpose bathroom spray is used on the sink, floor, and toilets. Then I combine my Honeybee bathroom spray with dish soap to scrub down the tub and shower walls. Honeybee bathroom spray: combine 2 parts white vinegar with 1 part water in your spray bottle. Add in a long squirt of dish soap and then add essential oils. You can use about 5-10 drops per ounce. I like melaleuca/tee tree, lemon, and wild orange for their antibacterial and antiviral properties. Happy cleaning!
We all know processed sugar is NOT good for us, and we should keep sugar amounts to a minimum throughout the day (considering we get plenty of natural sugars from fruits and veggies), but what kind of substitutes can we use for sugar in recipes? What about the dangers with our OVER-consumption of processed sugar? Our bodies are surely protesting and wreaking all sorts of havoc in us in the form of diabetes, thyroid disease, obesity, and cancers. Some interesting reads…knowledge is empowering. I love to be challenged to think about different sides of a subject. http://happyherbivore.com/2012/02/sugar-substitutes/, http://wellnessmama.com/15/harmful-effects-of-sugars/, http://www.thepaleomom.com/2011/12/why-is-sugar-bad.html
I have told you before how much I love YOGA, but how I usually never get to practice at home because my kids prefer to have a wrestling match when I am on the floor. This is a great website that my friend just introduced to me. I am such a fan of 5 min,1 min, or even 20 second yoga (how long I have before a kiddo finds me) throughout the day. Whatever you can do is beneficial. Take a moment to stretch, breath, and clear your mind! For quick yoga moves: http://www.twofitmoms.com/2015/03/04/yoga-for-busy-moms/
Batch cooking...it makes week night meals quicker and easier! My other trick for healthy week night dishes is memorizing my weekly staples that I need to get at the grocery store. These items are at the top of my list so I get them every time I go to the store: fruit for breakfast, assortment of veggies for raw snacking and meal side dishes, oats, hummus, grains like rice and quinoa, and an assortment of beans. Having a good stock of these items always gives me a variety of options for meals. Every meal: Be thinking VEGGIE-GRAIN-BEAN! Healthy happy eating!
Many natural sources of magnesium in water and soil have become depleted, and our diets, stress, and prescription drugs tend to further deplete this vital mineral. Magnesium is necessary for over 300 reactions in our body, but not easily absorbed through our digestive track. Instead of “supplementing”, I prefer to find natural sources. Leafy green vegetables are one good dietary source of magnesium. Epsom salt baths and homemade magnesium whipped shea butter are a great way to absorb magnesium through the skin. Learn more at: http://wellnessmama.com/3610/magnesium-deficiency/ and http://www.mommypotamus.com/natural-remedies-for-restless-leg-syndrome/ .
For those that know me personally, they know I have an unhealthy awareness of germs. But to me, DIRT does NOT EQUAL germs. I love to have my kids play in the mud. I smile at dirty skin and mud on the face! However I will neither confirm nor deny that I hose them down with homemade hand cleanser after we leave a store, or if they touch elevator buttons. Why is dirt so beneficial? See for yourself this line of thinking: http://wellnessmama.com/12908/kids-need-dirt/.
My hamstrings are always tight. Yoga forward bends open and loosen the hamstrings and promote flexibility. The forward fold also relives tension in the neck (yay!), reduces anxiety, and calms the mind. I like to cross my arms holding onto my elbows and hang—letting gravity pull me deeper into the stretch with every breath. To practice: Place feet hip distance apart, outer edges of feet are parallel. The upper body folds onto the lower body, the belly rests on the thighs and you can feel yourself breathe. Big toes touch, heels slightly separated, engage the quadriceps to lift the knee caps, inner thighs roll towards each other (internal rotation) Place your hands on blocks or a chair to support the upper body, hang the heavy head, shoulders soft, shoulders away from the ears, neck is long.
Did that get your attention and make you think of a joke? Well, I don’t cook with oil at home (I use veggie broth to saute food), but I do wash my face with a dollop of oil every morning. Have you ever tried the “oil-cleansing” face wash method? I couldn’t believe that it would work with my oily/combination skin, but it does! We all have oil on our face and chemistry teaches us that “like dissolves like,” so washing your face in oil essentially wipes away the dirty oil and replenishes it with nourishing oil. It’s great for all skin types. Seriously-give it a try-it will amaze you! Read more at: http://www.crunchybetty.com/nitty-gritty-on-the-oil-cleansing-method.
I often sprinkle chia seeds in my oatmeal or a smoothie to add a boost of healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. I also mix chia seeds with water to form a gel and substitute in baking for an egg. Learn more at: http://www.foodmatters.tv/articles-1/chia-seeds-for-protein-and-omega-3.
I found this fascinating article about adding bone broth to your diet for immunity support: http://wellnessmama.com/23777/bone-broth-benefits/.
Collagen, found in bones, helps reduce inflammation and supports healthy hair, nails, skin, and joints. Bone Broth’s high gelatin content is very healing for the gut.
For our family, we made an alkaline vegetarian version of homemade “bone” broth that also contains collagen-enhancing nutrients as well as calcium, minerals and phytonutrients. See the recipe here: http://www.organicauthority.com/a-vegan-bone-broth-recipe/.
My little 2 year old has a fever! Hot Hot fever! Must be a strong virus working through his system. So, what do I do? Well, I am a fan of not treating the fever unless it gets too high because a fever is the body’s natural defense to kill off infection and illness. However, if it reaches above 101.4, I give medicine. And when we hit 48 hours, I will call the advice nurse. I am NOT a medical expert and don’t want to pretend to be one either. In the meantime, I will diffuse Lemon and Lavender Essential Oils which are safe for “ambient inhalation” for his tender age. Lemon and Lavender essential oils are Antibacterial, Antiviral and support the immune system. He will also take epsom salt baths and elderberry syrup for immune support. Learn more at: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/fever-in-babies, http://wellnessmama.com/5820/dont-reduce-fever/, http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/essential-oil-safety-babies-children/ and http://www.cfpc.ca/ProjectAssets/Templates/Resource.aspx?id=3596.
I'm a huge fan of Nutritional Yeast! It did take my taste buds a bit of time to get used to it, but now I crave the salty cheesy taste. Luckily, I can satisfy that craving and it's healthy!! "Nooch" Nutritional Yeast has tons of B Vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B3, B12) Folic Acid and 3g of Protein in just one tablespoon. It is GF, salt free, no sugar, no fats, etc too! I sprinkle nutritional yeast on pasta, popcorn, and mix it in dressings and sauces. My favorite recipe: Blend 1 cup cashews, 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast, garlic powder and onion powder in a blender to make a vegan "parmesan." Creamy, buttery, and cheesy taste YUM!! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/05/nutritional-yeast-dont-be-afraidn5628501.html
Today we made some impromptu homemade playdough. My kids were starting to wander around like feral cats so I knew a new activity was needed. It was super easy and the kids loved helping me make it. There are lots of good recipes online including this one: http://www.mommypotamus.com/homemade-play-dough-recipe-with-natural-dyes-and-a-gluten-free-option/, but I only had flour and water and knew how to make a thick dough. I used a cup of flour and tablespoon of olive oil, and added water slowly until I got the thickness I wanted. Tons of Fun!
Last night was a winner dinner! You will be able to tell from my posts how often this does NOT happen. I made the “Skinny Taste Enchilada Soup” recipe, but added cubed tofu at the end in place of chicken. I also served it over brown rice with diced avocado and tortilla chips for scooping. Thanks https://www.facebook.com/SVFit for the idea. See the recipe here: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/12/crock-pot-chicken-enchilada-soup.html
Which essential oils to use is always an individual matter. There is no one essential oil that is perfect for every headache or muscle pain, and it sometimes takes trying different blends to figure out what your body responds to best. This is because the cause of the symptoms can be different from person to person. Both Young Living and DoTerra EO companies offer great headache and muscle pain blends that are very effective. If you would rather make your own, here are a couple blend ideas for adult headache relief…
Sinus: 1oz lotion, 4 drops Lavender, 4 drops Frankincense, 2 drops eucalyptus, 1 drop Peppermint
Exhaustion: 1oz lotion, 10 drops Frankincense
Tension: 1oz lotion, 3 drops Lavender, 6 drops Frankincense, 2 drops Rosemary, 1 drop Eucalyptus, 1 drop Helichrysum
Quick Relief: 1oz lotion, 7 drops Peppermint, 5 drops Frankincense, 3 drops Lemon
General Anytime: Lavender, Frankincense, Peppermint
To learn more about essential oils, visit Aromahead Institute for a free course, and a ton of blog posts with EO use ideas. http://www.aromahead.com/blog/2013/01/16/headache-try-essential-oils/
The daily WATER dilemma questions—How much do I need to drink? Can I really be dehydrated since I’ve had coffee, tea, and a smoothie? Why do I need to drink straight up, unflavored water? You can find lots of varying info on the web to answer these questions, but here is my compiled, researched, summarized opinion: IF YOU ARE THIRSTY, DRINK WATER. Our brilliant bodies tell us when we need fresh, clean, un-added, un-flavored, straight up water! Although we may not be “dehydrated” since other foods and beverages have supplied us water and moisture, we need fresh water to clean out and detoxify our organs and cells.
How much do I need to drink? The general rule of thumb suggested by many medical professionals is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. More if you are outside in the heat and if you are exercising. Breastfeeding moms also need lots of water. However, The Dr. McDougall Health & Medical center says there are so many variables determining each person’s hydration levels. We obtain some level of hydration from everything we eat and drink. But are you eating healthy foods and beverages high in water? Dr. McDougall says, “If you are consuming the typical American diet, which is high in refined, processed foods, the average moisture content of these foods can be as low as 3%. In addition, the typical American diet is very high in salt, which will also increase your thirst. However, if you are eating a diet based on unrefined intact starches, they are around 70% moisture, and you are adding in lots of fresh fruits and veggies, which are about 90% moisture, than you are getting lots of water from one of the best sources possible, your food.” https://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=6149
One aspect of a Healthy Home (to me) is a home generally free of chaos, stress, and me yelling at the kids (eeek). It is definitely a work in progress at my house, and we take each day one at a time. So right now, that means I need to spend some healthy time planning and getting organized for the new school year. I still have two little kids at home but they are of age to start learning a little curriculum and some at-home educational structure to prepare them for elementary school. Now that we moved to a new home, I have a room that I can use to organize educational material and teaching supplies. Here is a cool article that grabbed my attention for all of you homeschooling parents that need a little healthy sanity and ideas: http://wellnessmama.com/58170/homeschool-classroom/.