An Apple a Day MIGHT keep the doctor away, among other vegetables and healthy meats and proteins, but too many will keep the doctor coming...  and we discussed this in our very quick lesson using google finds.

My son is not thrilled that he had to give up his habit of a small dish of organic ice-cream or a small  gluten-free ice-cream cone as his bedtime snack for Lent.  We give up dairy and all processed foods during our Whole30 which we do during Lent for fasting and health reasons.

However, he does like his apples.  Add a little peanut butter/almond butter (he claims he doesn't like almond butter but I mixed it half and half for two weeks without his knowledge...we are moving on to about 1/3 pb and 2/3 almond butter this week) and he's a happy kid.

So the other night he asked what  was good about apples. " Let's make that a project for tomorrow", I said.  "Write a note to remind us and we'll spend some time looking that up."  So with apple in hand we did just that yesterday.

We found some pretty cool videos and sites.

Fun Nutrition For Kids!  Fresh Apple vs. Fast Food Apple Pie

Apples: History & Nutrition

Fresh For Kids: Apple

Apples 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits   -  This one we breezed through-  and I made note of the link because I figured this will be a good base of vocabulary to start with as I begin teaching him REAL nutrition- not necessarily what you find in the public school health books (see below).  He knows about vitamins & minerals, sort of , so that's what we are starting with (apples are a good source of vitamin c and potassium).

 

Here's his summary of the most important things we learned.

-Apples have vitamin c - even more than an orange!

-There's a lot of good stuff in the skin so we should eat that.

-It's better to eat the apple than the pie.

-There's sugar in apples so don't eat too many.

I don't think that's too bad for a quick fun lesson 😉

 

 

And today, he forgot all about apples and went on to paint and ladybugs 🙂     Funny kid.

 

*****Just a side note:  I'm a little cautious about the sources I use.  So doing a cold google search was a little frustrating.  There's lots of stuff out there about the food pyramid and I do NOT encourage the use of the food pyramid at all.  I want him to know about the nutrients of foods, but also want him to learn that yes, fats are good, sugar - even in apples- isn't.  So we have to talk through what we learn.  We need to learn about the nutrients , but also about the things that counter the nutrients and how to balance it all out.  This was a good start.  Apples are good-  too many aren't. And we encourage the almond butter with it to add some protein and healthy fat to the treat 🙂

wpid-img_20140705_115250_165.jpg

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

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

 

 

 

In addition to learning a great deal about horrible ingredients in our food years ago, my family learned a great deal about conventional medicine vs. natural medicine.  We are no longer supporters of vaccines and other conventional means of preventing or treating illness.  Now that doesn't mean we don't support conventional medicine at all.  It has its place, especially in emergent situations.  But my  point in this post is that 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 flu that will not harm.*

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 7 years!  Strep was something I would often contract at least 3-4 times per winter and several times during the rest of the year.  This dramatic change in my immune system is not short of amazing.

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

  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Eliminate Dairy while you are sick.  Dairy promotes mucous formation.  This is beneficial to avoid, especially, for those children who get a lot of ear infections due to blocked eustachian tubes from 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!
  • 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

  • Echinacea
  • Wellness Formula by Source Natural
  • Holy Basil Capsules
  • Elderberry Syrup
  • Planetary Herbals Three Spice Complex - great for sinus treatment!!
  • Ginsing

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.

Hopefully this flu season finds you healthy and smiling!!  God Bless!

* I am not claiming to be a health practitioner.  I am not a medical doctor, conventional or naturopathic.  I am simply sharing with you what I have learned from homeopaths, naturopaths and other sources.

13

Yesterday, I touched upon this subject when I wrote about maintaining our health as part of why we homeschool.  About 8 years ago, I read the book Is This Your Child? by Doris Rapp M.D..   Reading that book began a journey I am thrilled to be on and can only hope that in sharing our story, it may lead someone else to begin that same incredible journey in leaving some sort of illness behind in the dust.

Dr. Rapp only briefly spoke of the dangers of MSG and other neurotoxins in her book, but following her protocol for an elimination diet led us to much research into MSG and other neurotoxins as well as other artificial ingredients in our Standard American Diet (SAD).

When my son began demonstrating the typical signs of ADHD, I felt I had the qualifications to parent and educate my child without medical intervention.  Not only was I a former special education teacher (retired early  - very early), but I also was aware because of previous research, that the wrong medication could ignite a gene for Bipolar Disorder should he happen to be carrying that gene, inherited through me, as my daughter had and I had from my biological mother.  My daughter's gene was already ignited and traveling full speed ahead (part of that personal part of our decision to homeschool - see previous post).  I did not want this for my son.  Of course, I didn't want it for my daughter or myself either but I thought perhaps I could do something to 'save' my son while I could not, or so I thought, do anything for my daughter and I.  Little did I know -  I could do something for us all!

Reading on natural methods of treating ADHD and my knowledge of how food dyes and sugar can affect this disorder led me to Dr. Rapp's book.  I insisted the entire family, husband included, do the elimination diet together out of empathy for my son.  I simply could not expect him to do it alone.

What we discovered upon adding things, one day at a time, back into our diet was alarming!  Honestly, all I had expected to find was that sugar and red food dye would most likely increase his hyperactivity and inattentiveness to mundane (school) activities.  We never even got around to trying red food dye!

In reality, Dr. Rapp's elimination diet is short.  I know now that most elimination diets actually suggest a longer period of elimination to adequately determine an 'allergens' effect. With Dr. Rapp's elimination diet, foods listed were only avoided in totality for one week and then slowly, one day at a time,  added back:  milk, wheat, sugar, egg, cocoa, food coloring, corn, preservatives, citrus and peanut butter.

Without boring you with all the details, our biggest reactions were with sugar (especially my son), food coloring and preservatives.   Note I said "our" reactions!  While we never anticipated it, we all (I, my husband, son and daughter) all exhibited major reactions including rashes, red skin, hives, nausea, vomiting, headaches and major mood disturbances - just to name the most obvious ones!

This discovery led to intense research on my part - on the internet, in books and by talking to LOTS of people!  One person in particular that I feel helped us the most at that time was a homeschool mom I met at my children's homeschool soccer practice.  Becky actually came to my house and helped me clean out my cupboards and refrigerator!  She told me all kinds of things about artificial ingredients and helped me figure out healthier substitutes and suggested some further sources of reference.  I am so incredibly grateful to Becky!

Through the years, we have learned more and more and continue to learn more.  My son and husband still tend to be a bit distractable (though NOT as much as before) as we did not eliminate sugar from our diet as well as we have eliminated the artificial ingredients.  However, my daughter and I have not had any (That's right.  ANY) symptoms of our previous Bipolar/Anxiety Disorders in over 7 years.  We do not take ANY medications and have no reason to do so.  Simply avoiding the additives that our FDA says is completely safe and allows to be added to processed food products has eliminated these diseases and other health problems from our family members!

Currently, our family (other than my daughter as she is away attending college)is further dabbling with the Paleo diet and researching the effects of grains, legumes and sugar on our bodies.

I hope that in writing on this blog about our food choices (among other topics) to further share things I have learned about health and food related issues will help others to learn the same.  I hope you will benefit.

In the meantime, if you wish to learn more about MSG and it's many hidden names (Yes, it's even in products that say "No MSG" on the label!), Truthinlabeling.com is a wonderful source for these hidden names and other information.

I end by saying THANK YOU to Dr. Rapp, thank you to Becky, thank you to all the sources that have brought me to the understanding, knowledge, and HEALTH that I have today.  I will continue writing about all of our adventure and what we have learned and provide these sources to others. And thank you to my husband for supporting my research and being open-minded enough to know that conventional medicine does NOT have all the answers and for wanting the best health for our family right along with me.  I am very grateful to you all.

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ADDENDUM:  Today, January 31, 2014 - this post is linked onto FIGHT BACK FRIDAYS on Food Renegade.com  🙂