2

I was glancing through my long list of unread posts in my Bloglovin' feed the other day and stumbled upon one where a sentence caught my eye.  The writer had implied that happiness came from food.  Hmmm.  I have to completely disagree.  I could go on and on about where happiness DOES come from.  And maybe I will in another post. But that's not the part of the point I wish to 'argue' today. I don't believe happiness comes from food....but health does.

Photo by Pixabay
Photo by Pixabay

Some of you may be wondering what happened to all my posts on food, recipes, etc. lately.  Don't worry.  I still eat daily. 😉

Photo By Pixabay
Photo By Pixabay

I also still eat healthy food...mostly paleo.

I just haven't posted much about it lately because, well--- one can only write about so many things and with November being picture book month and PiBoIdMo, my posts did weigh heavy with writing and reading.

Now on with food.

steak-353115_1280

Health comes from food.  No Doubt.

What you consume on a daily basis absolutely does have a PROFOUND effect on your health.  All of the vegetables, healthy proteins, and healthy fats that you consume absolutely have a positive effect on your body and health -  maintaining healthy body function and prevention of disease.  Adversely,  all the artificial ingredients, excessive amounts of grains, GMOs, and other toxic ingredients in foods, etc. that are ingested can absolutely have a detrimental effect on our overall health.

While I always knew this, it wasn't until about 9 years ago that I came to realize that what I thought was healthy food, really wasn't.  I started writing about this aspect of our lives in a post titled Our Food Story back in October of 2013, but haven't followed up a lot with it - other than a few posts on MSG, artificial colors and our paleo adventures with the Whole 30.  What it all comes down to is, while food is certainly not my religion, over the years  I have slowly realized that what the FDA tells us, what the food pyramid tells us, what school books tell us and what's provided in school lunches and hospital cafeterias across this great nation IS NOT HEALTHY FOOD.

I'm not going to make this a long post about what you should eat.  I'm not going to make this a post about how we can solve disease, even mental health issues with REAL FOOD.  I'm not going to go into details on MSG, artificial colors, preservatives, nitrates, and all the other things added into our food supply. Though I certainly could...

What I am going to say is this:

Health DOES come from food. REAL FOOD.  Anything else you put into your body - be it artificial ingredients,  things people claim is food but isn't, medications containing toxic ingredients, artificial ingredients contained in vaccines, etc. is HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE.

I'm not a medical doctor (see my disclosure page).  But I am a mother who has done a LOT of research into the health of herself and her family.  What I have discovered is NOT what I learned in school or was brought up to believe to be the way to health. What I have learned is there is more to learn.  And it starts with YOU.  YOU must do the research.  YOU must know what you put into your body, what it contains and what it's doing to YOUR health and the health of YOUR CHILDREN.

And please, DON'T ASSUME that what is reported on the front of a cereal box, the ad in a magazine, or even the evening news is accurate.  Do the research, but keep in mind who is providing the information.  Are they making money by keeping you in the dark and providing you with twisted information (i.e. the drug industry and the sugar industry?)?  Then is this really where you should be getting your information from?

Take the time to investigate.  Take the time to find quality food sources.  Take the time to prepare your own food within your own home on your stove top. Your health depends on what you are consuming on a daily basis and what you are allowing your body to be exposed to.

So what's really the point(s) of my post? Let me sum it all up:

Happiness Does NOT come from food.

Health DOES come from food.

Do the research.

Know what you are putting into your body.

Your health depends on it.

And while true happiness isn't contained in health alone, it certainly does help a lot.

Just sayin'....

 

 

2

Since my recent post on natural remedies for flu, colds, and other winter maladies, I've done a little more digging into related topics.  Today I bring you - The Elderberry!

Latin Name                                              

Sambucus nigra

Common Names

Elderberry, Black Elderberry, European Elder, American Elder

The Elderberry is a tall, woody shrub widespread in the northern hemisphere, native to Europe and parts of Asia and Africa and can also be found in the United States.

The Elder has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and is still primarily used for colds, sinus infections, and influenza (the flu) as well as treatment of the Herpes virus and other maladies. Many  studies have been and are being done to discover all of the medicinal benefits this plant offers. As with most berries, elderberries contain antioxidants (antioxidants help protect cells from damaging effects of free radicals, the byproducts of toxins found in the environment that contribute to serious health problems).  Elderberry is also said to lower cholesterol, improve heart health and vision, and aids in bacterial and viral infections including tonsillitis. While no study indicates the elderberry can prevent the flu, studies have shown this plant extract to be effective in significantly improving flu symptoms within two days of dosing (15 ml syrup four times daily), stimulating the immune system, and in having anti-inflammatory effects.

How Do I Take/Use Elderberry Syrup?

To relieve flu symptoms - begin taking elderberry extract (this can be found in health food stores nationwide as well as big name grocery stores and pharmacies or HERE) at the first sign of symptoms.  The study indicated 15 ml syrup four times daily.  I would suggest following the instructions on the bottle or that of your natural health care provider.  There's also a kid's version.

To boost the immune system - directions on the elderberry syrup bottles suggest doses of 2 tsp. daily.

Drops -  I am aware that elderberry is available in drops and other forms besides the syrup.  I have not used these products therefore I will not provide links.  I'd love to hear though, if there are some that you have used and trust as this is something I do want to look into.  I'm wondering if it would be more cost efficient?

Do you use Elderberry Syrup or another form of Elderberry?  Share with us how you use it!

 

 

4

 

The lemon grows on small evergreen tree native to Asia. The first apparently large cultivation of lemons began in Genoa in the middle of the 15th century.

    Most people are aware that drinking water is highly important to stay hydrated and healthy.  Some people, however (this blogger included), find it extremely difficult to drink enough during the day.  Somehow the instinct to drink just doesn't seem to come as naturally as it does to others and water, well, for me anyway,  just isn't appealing.  Sometimes adding a bit of lemon to the water can make it more so.  Not only that - there's even better reasons to add that lemon besides flavor.

     I've heard all sorts of things about lemons over the years, but never sat down to research it.  I even use lemons in my cold/flu mixture that I keep stored in my fridge during the cold and flu season.  And I do put lemon or lime in my water quite often to give it a bit of flavor.  So when my friend mentioned the other day that she eats a lemon a day when she has a cold, it reminded me that this was something I keep meaning to look up and read more about.  So I did.

     Your immune system is continually fighting against microorganisms and germs on a daily basis. This system is made up of organs, tissues, and cells that attack invading germs and prevent them from creating  havoc on the body.  We must do everything we can to help our immune system stay healthy to be able to continue its daily fight.  That means staying hydrated and eating a variety of fresh vegetables, healthy proteins and fats and fruits - lemons being an important part of this!

     Rich in fiber and low in calories, lemons offer a great deal of health benefits. Apparently, drinking real lemon juice (from a real lemon, not a product from a grocery store shelf) is beneficial to balancing the pH of  our bodies.  The immune system has to work harder when our bodies have an acidic pH (which most people  have and there is quite a strong link associated between  acidic pH and  illness, including cancer). Lemon juice helps  to balance this as it is one of the most alkaline foods available.

     In addition to helping with pH, a lemon has  44.5 milligrams of vitamin C. Since vitamin C plays a major role in the health of your immune system, this is another obvious case to support the consumption of lemons. 

Another way lemons help the immune system is by helping to release toxins at a faster rate.  Lemon juice helps flush out the unwanted materials because lemons actually increase the rate of urination in the body, also keeping the urinary tract healthy and, according to studies conducted by the American Urological Association,   aids in the prevention of the growth of crystals which lead  to kidney stones.

Thus there is evidence to support that consuming lemons (their juices and pulp) will help to boost the immune system.  So drinking lemon in my water for flavor is a good thing and eating that lemon every day when she has a cold is a good idea for my friend, me, and YOU.  In fact,  the Mayo Clinic reports that hot water with honey and lemon juice added to it may help reduce the soreness and irritation of a sore throat and  cuts mucus in the back of the throat that may cause this soreness.

 

Are there any ill effects?

When consuming lemons often, it is advisory not to suck on the lemon itself or let it come into direct contact with your teeth.  Lemons have acids that can harm the enamel on the surface of teeth, causing possible formation of decay and cavities.  While an occasional slice of lemon would not be so harmful (my son likes to eat a slice here and there)   doing so on a daily basis, undiluted, has some potential for such harm.  Daily consumption that IS diluted (lemon juice in your water) would not have the same effect though some sources suggest drinking through a straw to lessen the amount of lemon coming into direct contact with the teeth.

So How Does One 'Consume' a Lemon?

One way is to simply slice the lemon and add slices to your water or tea.  Some may squeeze the lemon in a juicer or squeezer and add all of the juice (some enjoy the pulp as well). One can also make the honey/lemon/ginger mix I mentioned in my flu and cold remedy post (see link above).

Do You Have Other Ways of Consuming Lemons for Your Health? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

The Flu and Cold season is upon us so I thought it was time for me to update last year's post on Natural Flu Remedies and give you my thoughts and recommendations*:

In addition to researching and learning a great deal about horrible ingredients in our food years ago, my family also learned a great deal about conventional medicine vs. natural medicine.  We learned how to build our immune system with the natural ingredients we use in our daily meals.  We learned about wholesome natural supplements.  We learned about homeopathy.  We are no longer supporters of vaccines and other conventional means of preventing or treating illness as I truly believe, after extensive research, those 'treatments' cause more harm than good.  Now that doesn't mean we don't support conventional medicine at all.  It has its place, especially in emergent situations.  But my main point is this: There are natural methods to prevent and treat illness that do not contain the harmful chemicals laden in conventional methods -  chemicals that actually harm our immune systems and cause disease.  Therefor, this post is about more natural remedies for treatment of colds, flu and other seasonal or viral illnesses.* The first thing,of course, is to remember that food plays an integral role in your health.  If you are eating junk, your body will act like you are eating junk.  If you are eating good quality whole foods, your body will thank you and your chances of getting sick are greatly lessened!  If you do get sick, chances are the illness will be much shorter in duration and less severe.  I, myself, can boast that though I was constantly ill with strep throat and ear infections through most of my childhood and early adulthood, I have not dealt with these illnesses for the past 8 years!  Strep was something I would often contract at least 4 times each fall and winter and several times during the rest of the year.  This dramatic change in my immune system is not short of amazing.

The second thing to remember is that while food does play an integral role, being tired, run down,  spending time in areas  with sick people, or working in an environment harmful to your immune system  causes a need to do some extra things to help your body prevent illness.  Sleep is vital.  Washing your hands when coming into contact with the public is important. Boosting your immunity with extra supplements (see the list below) when you know you'll be around others with viral illnesses is a good idea. Some of these supplements such as vitamin C, Vitamin D3 and Elderberry Syrup can be used throughout the season to give your immune system an extra boost.  Avoiding environmental situations (polluted air, use of chemicals on surfaces - even harmful cleaning chemicals, etc.) that are harmful would be a good idea as well - though not always easy - but certainly a good idea.

But what can you do if you do get the flu?? Or a cold or other virus?? (And this is possible whether you get the flu vaccine or not...I strongly advise against the vaccine...but that's for another post)

  • First and foremost:  REST as much as possible.  I know all too well that sometimes life just doesn't give us this option...but it is the most important thing to do if you can.  Taking one day off work may prevent you from missing an entire week later.
  • Wash your hands often.  MOST especially after using the restroom or public places.
  • Continue taking extra rest and doing extra things to boost your immune system for at least three days after symptoms fade.
  • Eliminate sugar from your diet.  Sugar wreaks havoc on the immune system! This includes fruit juice too!  No - you really do not need orange juice for your vitamin c source - see more below!
  • Eliminate Dairy while you are sick.  Dairy promotes the formation of mucous.  Therefore, it is beneficial to avoid during illness, especially, for those children or adults who get a lot of ear infections (or sinus issues) due to blocked eustachian tubes from the congestion.
  • Eliminate caffeine while you are sick.  Stimulants suppress your immune system.
  • Avoid omega 6 vegetable oils which also suppress the immune system. (canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil and soybean oils)
  • Vitamin C!  Make sure the vitamin C you select contains a large supply of bioflavanoids.  This indicates the vitamin is coming from natural sources.  Large doses are a must for treatment.  The vitamin C protocol given to me by a naturopath was to take 1-2 grams (1000-2000 mgs).  Follow this with 1000 more after an hour.  Continue this until your bowels have reached intolerance level(meaning loose stools) because only then will you know that you have enough vitamin C in your body to fight the illness.  The following day you are to take two less than what it took you to reach intolerance level.  Continue for as many days as you have symptoms.  For example, if it takes you 5 grams to reach intolerance, then for the next few days you would take 3 grams.  Each person is different and each occasion of illness will be different for the amount needed.
  • Vitamin D3 -  Vitamin D3 is essential for your immune system.  Our family takes this all through the fall and winter months into early spring.  We take extra when experiencing any symptoms of illness.
  • Keep your sinuses clean!  You can do this with a neti pot or you can put some sea salt and baking soda(no more than an 1/8 tsp each) in your hand mixed with a bit of water and sniff through your nostrils.  The neti pot is easier. A Xylitol nasal wash is anti-bacterial and can fight bacteria in the sinus cavities and prevent secondary infections.
  • Take a hot bath for 20-30 minutes with 1-2 cups of Epsom Salt.  This pulls out inflammation and will decrease muscle soreness and joint pain.
  • Drink PLENTY of water!!
  • Tea - Traditional Medicinals makes great teas for boosting your immune system and easing symptoms when ill as does the Yogi Tea brand.  I make my own tea by filling canning jar with lemon slices, ginger pieces and filling the remaining space with raw local honey.  When feeling a cold coming on, I simply take a spoonful or two and put it in a mug of hot water.  YUM!!!  Very soothing and delicious enough to have as a relaxing hot drink on a cold night regardless of absent symptoms! Tea, however, does not take the place of the water!
  • Make your own yummy 'tea' to have on hand.  Fill a mason jar (any size) with sliced lemons and ginger.  Layer the lemons so that they are at an angle, allowing there to be space in the jar.  Slice up some fresh ginger, placing nice thin pieces among the lemon slices.  Now pour some nice RAW honey over the lemons and ginger until the jar is full.  Place in refrigerator for safe keeping.  When needed for sore throats or to soothe a cough, place 2 heaping spoonfuls  (you may vary the amount) in a cup of hot water, stir to dissolve and drink.
  • Drink HOMEMADE chicken broth, beef broth, turkey broth, onion soup or miso soup.
  • Eat lightly.  Heavy meals slow your digestion and interferes with the body's ability to fight off illness.
  • Add onion and garlic to your foods!  These are wonderful for the immune system!!
  • Put on clean pajamas every day.
  • Brush your teeth....OFTEN!! It is recommended to do so 5-10 times a day.  Your mouth is where the bacteria like to hang out and this is a good way to get them out of there!  Change your toothbrush as soon as you are better!
  • Change the sheets on your bed when you are better.
  • Keep a window open slightly to allow fresh air in or at least run a ceiling fan to circulate the stale air.
  • Use a Humidifier.
  • Gargle with raw apple cider vinegar.  You can just use vinegar or you can add it to warm salt water.
  • Remember there is a purpose for a fever.  As long as your fever is under 103 degrees, there is no need for alarm or to treat it.  A fever is the body's way of fighting the illness. Even for my child, I do not instantly treat a fever unless it seems to be causing distress (and is under 103).  Sometimes I will give something for fever at night only to ease sleep.  Rest is important too.

Homeopathic Remedies:  (I LOVE homeopathy!!)

  • Oscillococcinum -  We keep Oscillo around the house all the time.  My DH even takes it in his bag to work with him because it works best if you take it at the absolute moment you start experiencing symptoms.  Just follow the instructions on the label.  Try not to have anything in your mouth for 5-10 minutes before or after as that could interfere with the remedy's ability to perform well.  If you miss the first symptoms or don't get a chance to take the Oscillo within a few hours of onset, it most likely will not work as well.
  • Ferrum Phos 6x - This is for feverish flu symptoms that make you feel run down and cranky.  Most likely  you have sniffles and a snore throat.  Follow the instructions on the label.

Other Products for Immunity

Have a few of these products on hand so that you have something when needed and can figure out what works for you.  Remember everyone is different and your body may not respond as well to something that works really well for someone else.

Do you have other natural remedies to share?

Hopefully this flu season finds you healthy and smiling!!

* I am not claiming to be a health practitioner.  I am not a medical doctor, conventional, homeopathic  or naturopathic.  I am simply sharing with you what I have learned in my research from various sources.

6

Since I posted about challenging myself regarding stress management back on July 4th (Independence Day from stress!), I decided that I should give some updates here and there about what I have learned and what I'm doing to teach myself some stress management and relaxation techniques and how I'm fairing in actually putting them to use.

So far I've done the following:

  •  I've continued my chiropractor sessions for my back spasms.  Whether it's the chiropractor or me consciously trying to be mindful of my stress and making myself take more time to relax, the spasms have lessened in intensity and frequency. Now if I could just take that hour it takes me to drive to the appointment and back 2-3 times a week and do something for myself even when I don't HAVE an appointment...now that would be progress my friends and I'm sure it would lead to less stress induced symptoms. But.....
  • I've started reading both books that I purchased....I know...I keep adding books onto my reading list and sometimes I wonder if I'm actually causing myself MORE stress by doing that but....that's me.  And reading is supposed to LESSEN stress so that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Thus far I've only read the introductions and breezed through to see what's there. I think I'll benefit from both.  Anyone looking for ways to reduce stress or add relaxation to their lives needs to be willing to try various approaches. There really is not a single technique that's going to produce great results for every single person, so one must be willing to try several to see what's best.
  • Promised myself to start exercising again....yeah, I know...I've said this before.  But this time I'm trying to be realistic.  I simply can not do 20-30 minute workouts.  I'm aiming for ten minutes - and that INCLUDES time on the bike, jumping rope, or walking AND weight-bearing exercises with very small weights (nothing more until I'm sure the muscle spasm thing is gone).  Exercise, they say, can really alleviate the damage of stress on the body.
  • I've made more of an effort to start my days out right.  I set my alarm earlier to make sure I get up and can follow my routine of prayer time and devotion (about a half hour of various things) as well as get in a minimum of 30 minutes on my writing before my littlest man wakes up - er, uh, well, at least before he's allowed to demand breakfast.  It does make my day seem more productive and fruitful to me.  Doing it first thing in the morning helps me feel more at peace and more control in the day.  This means getting up by 5:30 in the morning when my body just begs to crawl back under the sheet but....it's worth it - it really is.  Yes, TIME MANAGEMENT is a good way to handle stress!

What have you done recently to reduce or manage your stress load?

 

 

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I don't think it's a secret that added sugar is bad for you.  But I do wonder if people realize HOW bad it is for them. It's not just about tooth decay.

The sugar you buy in the bag at the grocery store is made up of two simple sugars: Fructose and Glucose.  Sugar is found in plants, including fruit BUT there IS a BIG difference between naturally occurring sucrose and the sucrose found in your bag of granulated sugar.

Fruit offers us nutrition - much NEEDED nutrition and should not be avoided, though it should be eaten in reasonable amounts and always as part of a well balanced diet with other nutrients. Granulated sugar goes through a refining process which refines the 'food substance' for 'food products' but gives us empty calories, offering us no nutritional value whatsoever.  In the meantime, this form of sugar becomes addictive and robs us of our energy and our health.

However, the biggest reason sugar is so dangerous is that it is actually considered 'food' by many and ingested in such ridiculous massive quantities.  Secondly, it is truly addictive and habit forming.

Did you know??

  • Sugar suppresses the immune system.
  • Sugar takes energy away from the body.
  • Sugar raises your blood sugar level.
  • Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.
  • Sugar contributes to obesity.
  • Sugar contributes to diabetes.
  • Sugar can be a contributing cause to cancer.
  • Sugar increases signs of aging and does so prematurely.
  • Sugar can contribute to weakness in eyesight.
  • Sugar can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
  • Sugar alters the balance of 'good' and 'bad' bacteria in our intestinal system.
  • Sugar can affect learning and concentration in children and adults.
  • Sugar upsets mineral relationships in the body and can interfere with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
  • Sugar causes heart disease. (What? Never heard of this one?  Check out the talk by Dr. Robert H. Lustig, a UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology titled "Sugar:  The Bitter Truth)
  • Sugar promotes inflammation.
  • I could go on and on and on and on......

...but my point isn't to list all of the horrible things sugar can do.  (You can certainly check out a much more extensive list created by Nancy Appleton Ph.D. here.) My point is that it does do horrible things, more than what we were told when we  were little and pouring extra sugar on our Rice Krispies (four grams of extra sugar in each teaspoon I heaped on...and I heaped quite a few teaspoons) and that we really should avoid it and no, we should NOT substitute it with neurotoxic substitutes (more on this next month).

Besides not necessarily knowing how bad sugar really is, I think a lot of people really don't realize how much sugar they are consuming.

How much sugar is in that??

  • There are 4 grams in a teaspoon of granulated sugar.
  • There's about 39 grams in a 12 oz. can of cola and 65 grams in a 20 oz. bottle.
  • There's 17 grams in a 16 oz. Café Latte.
  • There are 13 grams in a cup of milk.
  • There's 12 grams in just two Fig Newton cookies.
  • There's 18 grams in just ONE Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie.
  • There's 19 grams in a 1/2 cup of jello.
  • There's about 21 grams in a 1/2 cup serving of Ben and Jerry's icecream....and really, who only eats a half cup?
  • There's 27 grams in a container of strawberry Yoplait yogurt.
  • There are 4 grams in a bowl of Rice Krispies...unless of course, you add more....
  • There's about 6 grams in an average piece of pizza.

Okay...so there is sugar in a lot of things.  From small amounts to very large amounts.

How do you get the sugar out??

Well obviously not by adding more to your Rice Krispies like I did as a child.

If I have been or am addicted to anything, it's sugar.  I understand the desire...the want...the 'oh my I've got to have that'...

but seriously - it's NOT GOOD.

It NEEDS stopped.

The only way to stop it....is to ...well..stop.

You need to eradicate it from your diet.  You need to stop adding sweeteners (and PLEASE do NOT substitute it with evil substitutes).

My recommendation?  The Whole 30.  You can see my many posts on our adventures with a Whole 30 here, and here, and others....  or you can just jump over to the Whole30 website to see what it's all about.  Honestly, I don't think I could have cut sugar to such a low amount in my diet without the whole30.  I have not completely eliminated it - that's a choice I've made.  But I no longer CRAVE it like I once did.  I no longer think I NEED it.  I can enjoy foods and beverages without the added sugar that I once would have turned up my nose in disgust without it.  I actually enjoy some foods even more than I use to because I appreciate their natural sweetness.

*You might also want to check out this book:  Get The Sugar Out - 501 Simple Ways to Cut the Sugar Out of Any Diet

However you decide to do it, you need to do whatever you can to greatly reduce the amount of sugar you and your family are ingesting each and every day.  Best wishes nd let me know how you're doing!

Get the sugar out.  Your body will thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

This post is being written impulsively and I already know I'll be posting more in the future as this will be rather incomplete but, as I sat down to write about one topic, this topic just leaped out of nowhere into my head and I decided to go for it.

From the perspective of being a mom, I know it's very important to teach our kids about natural health and the difference between food products that is the main makeup of the standard American diet and REAL FOOD.

From the perspective of a homeschool mom who sometimes looks through health curriculums, I know there's not a whole lot out there that comes from this perspective.

So what I want to do here is suggest on HOW to go about teaching your kids about REAL FOOD and the differences between conventional thought and non-conventional, the latter being the thought I find to be scientifically proven and the better, healthier way to go.

The first and foremost thing you can do is have discussions with your child.  Involve your child during food preparation time and while washing your fresh greens, cutting tomatoes and onions, and sautéing some grass-fed beef or chicken, discuss WHY you have chosen this meal.  What nutrients is it providing?  Why did you choose organic greens over conventional greens that are less expensive?  Why did you choose the grass-fed beef from the farmer down in the valley instead of the bonus pack of conventional beef on sale at the local grocery store?

Secondly, involve your child in recipe selection, menu prep and grocery shopping.  Give your child hands on experience in selection of nutrient dense foods, delectable treats that are actually healthy and teach them how to pick out the best produce and meats at the store.

Thirdly, find what reading materials/curriculums are available.  This is the part I hope to add onto in the future.  Thus far I have two particular sources that I find beneficial for kids.

  1.  The Omnivore's Dilemma Young Reader's Edition - This is an edition of MichaelPollan's book written specifically for younger readers.  You can easily assign an older child to read this, but I suggest it as a read aloud to do as a family.
  2. Real Food Nutrition & Health  - Kristen Michaelis has an astounding blog Food Renegade and is a mother and passionate advocate for real food.  Use this book and her blog as tremendous sources for endless hours of discussion and education on Real Food.  She actually has a number of books and classes on her site. I was pleasantly surprised when looking for a link to include here that she has an edition of Real Food Nutrition and Health for younger kids now!  It looks really good and something I'll have to check out for my younger son in a couple of years 🙂
  3. Blogs - There are lots of blogs out there on real food.  I already mentioned Food Renegade written by Kristen Michaelis.  Others I recommend are 100 Days of Real Food, and Rubies & Radishes. There are a LOT more, but like I said - this post is written a bit impulsively.  I plan on working on searching out more books and completing a list of good blogs.  Blogs can be read by you and then posts you feel are pertinent or relevant can be read by your child and then followed by a family discussion.

Give me some feedback.  What are some other sources on Real Food that you use in the education of your child?

 

 

 

10

Well summer started just the other day and I realized we are halfway into the year!  This got me thinking back on my posts during January -  one on New Year's Resolutions (I realized I'm doing at least somewhat well with  7-8  of the resolutions I set for myself and not so well with about  7  of them and the one on books I wish to read by the end of this year.  Here's my progress on that list!:

NEWBERRY MEDAL BOOKS:  (I've read a few of these but really need to get cracking!)

  • Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead  (book review)
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman*
  • Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz*
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech  (book review)
  • Missing May by Cynthia Rylant  (book review)
  • Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
  • Carry On Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
  • ?  still deciding....  (Rifles For Waite)  
  • ?  still deciding
* They are not in the picture because I haven't purchased them yet!

HOMESCHOOL SOURCES: (Doing well here)

  • Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Englemann - I've read the parts I need to 'read' but we are still using it for the exercises so I don't count it as totally completed yet! (We are over the halfway point...see my recent post on that here)
  • Exploring America by Ray Notgrass -  Reading Book #2 with my son for school
  • Laying Down The Rails - Sonya Shafer
  • The Early Years - Shafer & Smith
  • All Day Charlotte Mason Seminar  &  The Books and Things Seminar - DVDs and workbooks presented by Simply Charlotte Mason
  • When Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper

THE WRITING CRAFT:  (not great, but not bad either)

  • Writing Picture Books: A Hands on Guide From Story to Creation by Ann Whitford Paul
  • 2014 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market
  • A Family of Readers - The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature  (started)
  • Honey For A Child's Heart - The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life  (this one easily falls into the Homeschooling category as well as A Family of Readers) (started...I think I'm about a third of the way in)

ORTHODOXY:

  • The Orthodox Study Bible - yes, I've already read it 🙂  But the bible is a daily must no matter how many times one has read it  (Trying to use a recent recommendation and keeping it lying open in a spot that I pass by often.... it's open to the psalms - also reading a bible commentary on the book of Luke)
  • The Faith by Clark Carlton
  • Inner River: A Pilgrimage to the Hart of Christian Spirituality by Kyriacos C. Markides
  • The Open Door by Frederica Mathewes-Green (just started again recently)
  • 2014 Daily Lives, Miracles and Wisdom of the Saints (Fasting Calendar by The Orthodox Calendar Company) (ugh.... not doing well with keeping up with this...yikes... not even sure where it is...need to locate and put by the bedside again or maybe with my bible commentary)

FOOD/NATURAL HEALTH:(uh, yeah, well....... not doing so well here...I keep getting distracted by fiction! LOL)

  • The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
  • The Coconut Miracle by Bruce Fife, C.N., N.D.
  • It Starts With Food by Dallas & Mellissa Hartwig - I've read this before but I have a feeling I'll be reading it again...it was that good and packed with great information.
  • ??  More to be Determined!

OTHER FICTION: (GLIMPSE was just released....maybe I'll talk my DH into stopping by the mall today so I can see if I can pick it up!  Hope it's as good as it sounds!)

  • Dr. Sleep by Stephen King  ***  I couldn't let this one go by, no matter how many other books I'm reading!  It's the sequel to The SHINING....my first Stephen King book that I ever read!   (see my post on it here)
  • Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff - a Newberry Honor Book (See my book review)
  • The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson  -  sadly it's not in the picture because it doesn't come out until January 7th.... but I should be getting it delivered that day!!  (Wrote a post on this one.....still feeling the pain of the protagonist... will probably read this one again but maybe not this year)
  • Glimpse - the debut novel by Kendra  Leighton... apparently based on the epic poem, The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes... this book is due out in August.
  • The Red Badge of Courage (my son is reading this one this year and I never have)
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck (Another my son is reading)
  • The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway (And another)
  • The Tempest by William Shakespeare (My son's first Shakespeare - wish us luck!) (started.....oops...forgot to finish although my son did....hmmm...read before we watch the Netflix DVD that's on the TV stand or after???)
  • Others, if time, To Be Determined.....

PICTURE BOOKS:

  • No current list made.... I'm sure there will be tons....  at the very minimum we go to the library every 2-3 weeks and get at least 12-15 books..... that should involve a lot of reading!  (Yep....been reading A LOT of these.... LOVING IT!)

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I'm not giving up on the New Year's Resolutions either.  I decided to print out my list and keep it by my bedside to use as a marker for whatever my current bedside book is so that I have a visual reminder each evening, allowing me to keep them more present in my mind.

How are you doing on your resolutions for the year and reading goals?

2

I realized it's been about 5-6 weeks since my recap on our Whole30 experience so I thought maybe I should touch base on it.  For the most part, we are still paleo.  🙂  Again, it's not something we follow strictly 100% , but we do find that the further we stray from it, the more physical symptoms (weight gain, swelling, digestive, etc.) we experience.  Therefor, other than a taste of something here and there, a bit of chocolate now and again (okay...sometimes more than now and again with the chocolate) we try to stick to the Paleo foods.

Here I am speaking mostly for my husband and I.   Not so much my children though the youngest really does not have much say at all, if any.  I have let him have an occasional whole milk yogurt and a few gluten-free snacks here and there.  He's allowed oatmeal.  I usually make Gluten Free oats but sometimes on Sunday morning I give him a packet of organic instant oats for the ease of getting ready for Liturgy in the  morning (he's 4 so he doesn't fast yet other than I try to keep it simple and no eggs or meat). Of course he eats the prosphora bread after liturgy on Sundays and had a bit of spaghetti the other day.  My other kids have a bit more leeway.  We're not exactly pushing Paleo onto our daughter who is home from college during the summer break, but she is eating Paleo meals when she is home.  I'm also limiting the amount of non-paleo snacks that I'm willing to buy her and her brother.  I buy them two yogurts per week and probably an average of 1-2 processed snacks that are not paleo - it's up to them whether they last all week or not.

I still feel I have kicked the sugar habit.  I'm sure some Whole30 Paleo fanatics would disagree with me since I have sugar and chocolate in the house.  But my sugar habit is sooooooo much less than it ever used to be that I pretty much consider it kicked.  I KNOW I still have to be careful.  I know if it's there and I'm stressed I'm GOING to eat it.  So I try really hard not to buy it at all or keep very low quantities of it around.  Chocolate is definitely my weakness.... especially after my husband and I found these wonderful delights!  They are available on Amazon but are much cheaper at Wegman's Grocery Store!!!

 

I have allowed and experimented a little with white potatoes and rice as well.  As long as we keep these items in moderation (rice only once a month or so), we seem to be able to handle it and keeping it so limited doesn't, in my opinion, allow it to build up and cause any unobservable issues.  My husband read a book which allows more starches such as white rice... obviously not a paleo book - and I haven't read it myself but he was convinced that white rice, on rare occasions would not be a big deal.  Thus far it isn't.  I'm skeptical....but willing to go with it.

So there you have it....  a brief summary of where we are right now with the whole paleo thing.  I'd say we do about 90% paleo.... and I think that's okay.  I think as long as we have in our minds a set limit (I won't do more than this much 'treating' with non-paleo foods) and stick to it, we'll be fine and be able to attain the health we want.  We'll need to keep ourselves in check, honestly, and rediscuss our observations and goals once in awhile...but for now, other than a few chocolate indulgences, I'd say we are doing really well and still loving PALEO!!  🙂

 

4

So we are on the other side now.... of Lent and our Whole30.  I can say that I'm glad.... and maybe not so glad(easier to resist temptation DURING it!!)

It was a wonderful (though sometimes excruciating) experience.  And I think we've learned a lot.  Since this topic today is really the Whole30 I'll try to stick to the food part of it... (though spiritually, it was the best Lent I've had in a while as well--- challenging but uplifting and the makings of much progress!)

We celebrated Pascha in our usual fashion after the Paschal services at 2:00 in the morning.... with white bread (Traditional Russian Sweet Bread - Pascha), ham (even baked with a little pineapple, cloves and a bit of brown sugar), pickled eggs and beets (yep, sugar there too), horseradish (for the ham), hrutka (egg cheese my husband makes - I skip on this tradition), salt, cheese (I at least stuck to only raw cheese this year and only had a small piece), Wilbur buds (super wonderful chocolate chunks), and a small glass of wine.  My older kids had a little extra candy and sparkling apple cider.

In the morning we feasted on Easter Basket contents....though I must say, I did not have as much as usual!  I did have a couple Wilbur buds, jelly beans and the ears of a chocolate bunny (hollow....I was so sad I couldn't find solid bunnies this year that we could eat 🙁  )

I also had some ham, Pascha, and fruit. AND  a delightfully hot cup of black tea with 2 teaspoons of sugar. (I added the sugar a half teaspoon at a time...trying to use as little as possible...yes, I still went to 2 teaspoons for black tea...BUT...I still consider this a HUGE success as I use to literally put 2-3 heaping spoonfuls in every cup...even herbal teas which I now drink without any sugar at all.)  Not necessarily a Paleo breakfast by any means...

For dinner we had a semi-traditional meal....though certainly not the "Easter" meal I grew up with.  We had Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables, and corn.  I meant to serve the pickled eggs and beets but totally forgot them as they were in our refrigerator out in the garage.... 🙁   Oh well.... more for me today!  I also had a half glass of wine.  Later we had cake....it was my daughter's birthday last week and she came home for the weekend.  I actually made two cakes.... a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting for her and a gluten-free cake with a semi- paleo chocolate glaze for us.  Our cake was dry 🙁  but the glaze, though it did not whip up frosting like as I wanted it to was still yummy.

The results of this feast?

Well, I believe I experienced a few sugar spikes/highs through the day....  a bit strange...  it was like every once in a while feeling this sort of woozy fuzzy feeling in my head... almost like having a full glass of wine which I hadn't...  They occurred here and there for a few minutes at a time.  Then they would go away and come back an hour or two later.  Really strange.  And of course, I've visited the bathroom a bit more often....  enough said.  No one else seemed to experience the 'fuzziness' that I did....but there have been some extra bathroom experiences (again, enough said) and my son didn't want the cake that evening as he felt too full and not altogether right....  he said he didn't feel sick but sort of felt like he might be....

The results of the Whole30?

I feel transformed.  Yesterday, though both cakes were still on the counter, I had no desire for more.  I had no desire for chocolate through the day but felt soothed that it was there if I wanted it 😉   I did have one cup of black tea (with 2 teaspoons of sugar) and I have one this morning as I write this.   But as I look around my kitchen with "Easter" baskets sitting about and items that haven't been in the house for the past 48 days, I do not feel the pull to consume them that I once had.  I really feel being away from them that long, ESPECIALLY the sugar, has positively influenced my taste buds and assisted in curing a sugar addiction.    I also lost about 7 pounds and have more energy than I have had in some time.  I am getting better sleep.  My digestive system is working better (whew! I will really have to learn to stay away from the dairy). I've had less severe PMS symptoms.  Furthermore, I appreciate real food even more than I did before and find the delights in the natural sweetness of the foods God has provided to nourish our bodies!

My husband lost over 22 pounds and is feeling really positive and motivated.  You can really see the difference as he goes around in clothes he hasn't worn in a while and they don't even look tight on him.  He smiles more 🙂  And he's noticing the ill effects of the foods he once loved thus giving him all the more motivation to stay away from them.

My son, though he doesn't want to admit it, improved in his mood/temper.  He seemed to have a more even temper through the month, more patient and wasn't as quick to over react to emotional upsets.  He also seemed to be appreciating  the natural foods more than he had.  And he did seem to be better focused on his school work during the day. I'm not that positive that he will resist certain foods on his own accord at this time in his life, but I do think he has learned a lot and it may benefit him in his future when he has to make healthy choices on his own.  He's a teen.  He wants to fit in right now...  I can't blame him for still wanting his processed snacks and sugar.  He will not be consuming as much of those things as his peers, but I will allow him to indulge a bit.

My littlest guy is... well... going with the flow.  He doesn't ask for the processed snacks we used to have around with the exception of occasionally asking for yogurt.  (I just may have to experiment with coconut milk yogurt...)  He enjoys his candy treats from his basket but easily accepts when I say, "No, that's enough candy for today".

And we are all healthy.  🙂   That's the bottom line.  With our health we can focus on the other IMPORTANT things in life.... God, love, family..... without the hassle of medications, doctor appointments, etc.  We'll be sticking to a more PALEO menu overall....still having a few things that are 'non-paleo' here and there - for several reasons - but allowing Paleo to be more our lifestyle than not.

So I think the Whole30 was worth it.  I think it has set us on the right course for better health and better lives. I think it has broken some really nasty unhealthy habits.  I hope that we will stay on this path...  it's what I foresee.  And I hope that it will lead others to a better path for good health as well.

Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Let Medicine be Thy Food         ~Hippocrates