Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Winter Cold Got You Down?

Who's over winter? ---> this girl <---

I feel like someone in my family has been sick almost every other week this winter. And just when the promise of spring was dangling all around me, I woke up to this yesterday morning:






Cruel. Cruel joke.

The good thing about being sick this winter though (cause you know, I always have to find the "bright side" of things) is that I've had plenty of opportunities to find natural remedies to cure the common cold. And remedies I did find. I've only gotten two colds this winter (that I can remember) and both times, it was over within 2 days using these remedies. Now, anytime I feel like a sore throat is coming on, or a tickle in my nose begins, I jump on these remedies. I don't even know how many colds I've completely avoided, just by doing these simple things! Oh, and most of them are kid-safe, too!

TIU's Get Well Smoothie
This smoothie is delicious! The only thing I recommend is that if you're diabetic, then cut this recipe in half. There are too many carbs in one-sitting in the full recipe. Also, add in the optional protein powder to help stabilize your blood sugars.


Umcka Children's Cold Care
This homeopathic cold syrup is supposed to "shorten the duration of common colds, brochial infections & sinus infections". It's supposed to reduce the severity of the cough, congestions & sore throats. It won't make your kids drowsy, either! It's safe for ages 2 and up. The only thing I don't like about it, is that it's got some maltodextrin in it, but given the other cold care products on the market for our children, this is one of the best.


Honey/Cinnamon Cough Suppresant
Make sure your honey is truly raw when making this recipe. Only raw honey has the benefits that honey can offer. Also, a note when giving this to kids: it can be a bit spicy from the cinnamon, so if they have a hard time with it, add a bit more honey to dilute it. But, my extremely picky kids had no trouble with this.

1 tsp raw honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix together. Eat.

Peppermint & Eucalyptus Essential Oils
Essential Oils can be used for so many great things! Make sure you are getting a good quality essential oil. Here's a great article on what to look for when searching for essential oils.


  • Both can be added to a vaporizer while you sleep
  • 1 drop of Peppermint can be added to each foot. Cover with a sock. Sleep.
  • 1 drop of Peppermint can be added to your temples or the front of your forehead to help relieve a sinus headache.
  • 1 drop of Eucalyptus can be rubbed on your chest to help you breathe better while you sleep.


Melatonin
"Melatonin is produced naturally in your body and helps maintain healthy sleep patterns as well as antioxidant and immune activities." We love this product in your house, cold or not. We all occasionally have issues with sleep and this product is safe and effective and keeps you from feeling drowsy the next day.

Fruit-Infused Water
Strawberries and Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C. Instead of giving your kids sugar-laden juice (which will actually make their illness worse and last longer), stick some fruit in their water and get them to drink, drink, drink!


Water!
Never underestimate the power of water! Water flushes toxins and bacteria out of the body, so the theory is: the more you drink, the faster you'll feel better. So, drink up!


Oil of Oregano
Oil of Oregano is said to "protect against pathogenic microbes, including bacteria, yeast, fungi and parasites". It also, "provides antioxidant protection" and "reduces inflammation" as well as "relieves seasonal allergies". I'm not going to lie, even though this product is "blended in a 1:4 ratio w/organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil", this stuff is POTENT! I've tried it in smoothies. It ruins the smoothie. I've tried it on skin. You smell like oregano. The best way to get this sucker down? Put 4 drops under your tongue and wait for the warming sensation. Then, chase with water! Though it's unpleasant to take, I swear it does the trick to take care of my cold!

Emergen-C Immune Support
Embergen-C "provides key nutrients your body needs like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc and a proprietary immune complex." I love this product, but there are a few "other ingredients" that I am not so enthused about. For now, this product does the trick to give me those added immune support and vitamins that my body needs to fight a cold fast!


Readers: What are some of your favorite natural ways to overcome a cold?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Crazy Sexy Kitchen

I recently watched the documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer and instantly felt a connection with Kris' story. While my condition probably won't kill me, there is still no cure. And I've felt led to seek natural methods to try to get relief (and medical methods only when necessary). I became further intrigued and decided to check out her cookbook, Crazy Sexy Kitchen, from the library.

The first thing that I'll say about this cookbook is that, overall, I've loved almost every recipe that I've tried. And they are incredibly healthy! Below, I'm going to share a couple of my favorites with you.

Shredded Kale & Carrots 
with Almond Butter Dressing
This recipe is listed in the cookbook as a "Side Dish", but I eat a bigger helping and eat it as my main dish. The dressing has a sweet flavor and the salad has a tangy flavor. Together they are sooo delicious!

Almond Butter Dressing:
1/4 c almond butter
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 c dates, pitted
1/2 c purified water
1 clove fresh garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp black pepper

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix, and process on high until the dates have fully broken down into a thick, smooth, and creamy dressing.


Kale & Carrot Salad:
1 bunch lacinato kale (a.k.a. dinosaur kale)
1.5 carrots
1/2 c sliced celery
3/4 c hemp seeds
1/4 c thinly sliced scallions
1/2 c tightly packed fresh parsley, minced
1/4 c tightly packed fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 c tightly packed fresh mint, minced
1/4 c raisins

In a food processor fitted with the slicing disc, run whole leaves of washed and dry-spun kale through the machine, stem and all.

Switch out slicing disc for shredder disc and process carrots.

To serve: Place all ingredients in a bowl along with 3/4 c dressing, and massage and toss gently until the dressing is evenly distributed. (I added a tablespoon or two of more dressing to my bowl, right before eating it).

----

Walnut Falafel 
with Garlic Tahini Dressing
"Crazy Sexy Kitchen's falafel will fill you up, although it's much lighter and healthier than the traditional fried version. These are great wrapped in a collard leaf, stuffed in a pita, or on top of a salad." ~Crazy Sexy Kitchen

Note: I don't own a dehydrator (yet) so I tried the oven recipe. Mine didn't cook at the 250-degrees, so after cooking them at that temperature for the full 35 minutes, I upped the heat to about 300-degrees and kept checking them every 5-10 minutes.

Walnut Falafels:
1 cup raw almonds, soaked for a few hours or overnight in water, to soften
1 cup raw walnuts, soaked for a few hours or overnight in water, to soften
2 dates, pitted
3/4 cup sesame seeds, finely ground
1/2 cup minced parsley
1/4 cup minced cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
3T minced fresh oregano
2T olive oil
2T lemon juice
1/2 T cumin powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
5-6 leaves of butter lettuce

If using oven, preheat to 250-degrees-F. In a Champion Juicer or other juicer with a solid plate, homogenize the almonds, walnuts, and dates to a thick puree. Alternatively you could use food processor to puree until fine as possible. In mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients (except butter lettuce) to the nut puree and mix by hand. When thoroughly mixed, form a ball and pressing with your thumb in center. Dehydrate for 3-4 hours in dehydrator at 115-degrees-F or in the oven at 250-degrees-F for 30-35 minutes. Once the walnut falafel is crisp and/or golden if using oven, serve 4-5 on a bed of butter lettuce or your favorite delicate greens with Garlic Tahini Dressing.

I served mine by filling a coconut wrap with 2 falafels, mixed greens and drizzled with Garlic Tahini Dressing.


Garlic Tahini Dressing:
3/4 c tahini, raw or roasted
1.25 c water
3 cloves garlic
3T lemon juice
1T toasted sesame oil
2.5T tamari*
1.5T nutritional yeast (optional)

*I used coconut aminos, for a soy-free option.

In a high-speed blender, blend all ingredients until smooth.

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Now, go check out this cookbook!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Product Review: Balance, a PMS & Menopause Relief

AnuMed-Intl contacted me awhile back asking if I was interested in trying out a few of their products. I will be doing posts here and there to let you know about how their products tested out. Today, I'd like to share a review of their product called Balance, a PMS & Menopause Relief.

I wasn't comfortable trying out this product myself, because I'm pretty reluctant to try anything my Nautropath hasn't personally recommended for me. However, a friend of mine had just gone through a hysterectomy and was having some trouble with some of the symptoms that accompany that procedure. So, I asked her if she'd be willing to try the product and write the review and she agreed. So, consider this a guest post, by my friend, Nikki.

----

Due to my fight with stage 4 endometriosis I had a radical hysterectomy within the same month of my 40th birthday. I got a bottle of Balance before my surgery to try since I wouldn't be on hormone replacement pills. I know hysterectomies are quite common nowadays, however "common" isn't a word us Endo sisters are graced with. It was a long surgery, with a long hospital stay, followed with a long recovery time; over 10 weeks, to be exact.

I started getting hot flashes about 6 days after surgery with weeks 3-9 being the worst. They came on strong; about 10-15 flashes a day, ranging between 10 seconds to 25 minutes long.  At night it brought its evil friends, night sweats and insomnia.

Honestly, I was afraid and intimidated of this bottle at first.  I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we all know that sometimes these brown bottles contain nasty smelling/ tasting things (can I tell you a trick? Put a stick or two of mint gum in the bottle and B vitamins don't smell like B vitamins. Thanks to that idea from pinterest)! Or, maybe like my fish oils will make me burp nasty tasting burps? All I knew was that I didn't want to deal with yet another unpleasant thing! I was maxed out and over stimulated in this area of not being in control of my body! On top of being in pain, stuck to the only comfortable spot I could find at the moment which was the living room chair, sweating as my body was regulating my hormones, or lack there of, my hair in a pony, still in my comfortable yoga pants....again.

I gave myself a good pep talk and read the directions...

I had no idea I ate or drank so much, or should I say, so often. It's a bit challenging to take it when you should because my hot flashes (my biggest complaint) happened so sporadically.  However, when I could try it, I was pleasantly surprised it didn't taste bad at all! And it worked okay, too!

Did it completely take away my hot flashes and reduce my ravenous appetite? No, not completely.  However, it was a weapon that came with hope and provided comfort and relief. And it sure was nice knowing there are these little goodies out there when we need them. I know my body was thrown into this "stage of life", so it was bound to be a pretty bumpy ride.
It really was nice to have this bottle by my side.

Would I recommend it?  Yes!!
Is it worth the money?  Yes!!
Am I glad I tried it!  You bet!!

Thank you for the opportunity to try your item and please let me know if you have any questions.  I'll do my best to answer them.

-Nikki

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Battle of the Bulge

According to the American Heart Association, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese today, nearly triple the rate in 1963. A new report by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation advises that if adult obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, by 2030, 13 states could have rates above 60 percent; 39 states above 50 percent; and all 50 states above 44 percent.

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity, based on research at 10 universities, points to the use of hormones in factory meat production as a major reason for this trend. Pesticides are another culprit; the average American is exposed to 10 to 13 different types each day via food, beverages and drinking water, and nine of the 10 most commonly used are endocrine disrupters linked to weight gain. Genetically modified U.S. food crops are also sprayed heavily with biocides. Findings presented at the 2007 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science linked bisphenol A (BPA) - an industrial chemical contained in plastic soda, drinking and baby bottles - with abnormal estrogen function.

To win the battle of the bulge, Americans need to eat balanced diets and exercise regularly, but additional steps can further help: choose organic, grass-fed meat instead of corn-fed; use glass instead of plastic containers for beverages and food storage; avoid canned food unless the label states BPA-free; and consume yogurt daily or take a high-quality probiotic to help restore healthy intestinal flora.

The above article was written in the Natural Awakenings magazine, Twin Cities Edition, March 2013. NAtwincities.com

Friday, February 22, 2013

Guest Post: How to Ease Back Into Exercise After Surgery

Hello fellow readers of Foodie4Healing!

My name is Amber Ellison Walker. I'm a personal trainer working in the Minneapolis area. My husband, Jesse, and I run I Think I Can Fitness; a business that specializes in at home personal training. We believe that making peace with our bodies is the necessary starting point for fitness and health. This overarching theme guides our approach to working with clients.

Everyone on this earth is beautiful. This is not to say that we shouldn't work hard to improve our level of health and fitness. We should! But I think you'll find this a much easier task if you are not berating yourself the whole time.

I'm a big fan of Amy's blog. So when Amy reached out to me with questions about how to start exercising again after surgery and calf injury, I was more than happy to respond. This post is based on my response to Amy's questions about her injury. Amy and I thought this information would be useful to others in similar situations. So, away we go!

Amy: How should I ease back into exercise after my surgery?

Do just that! Ease into it! Be good to yourself. Push yourself a little bit more each day, but be very careful. Listen to your body.

In particular, I would start with walking, then walking with short runs interspersed, then slow runs, then shorter runs at your normal speed, then full length runs at your normal speed. Again, listen attentively to your body as you do this.

Amy: How do I know if it's a pain to push through or if it's a pain to pay attention to?

In general I don't recommend pushing through pain. There are a few specific situations (generally during and after a comprehensive rehabilitative physical therapy series) when pushing into pain is a good choice.

For the most part, however, pain means our body is trying to tell us something. When you know the cause and reason for the pain sometimes the only option is to "push" through it. I tell people that a fleeting pain can be ignored as long as it doesn't reoccur consistently. A pain that does not lessen as you continue to workout must be listened to (as in, go seek an expert's opinion). A pain that gets worse as you workout means you need to stop immediately.

Also I think it is important to learn to distinguish between the general discomfort of working out and pain that could mean injury. Working out, running, and all forms of physical exercise carry with them a dull and low-level discomfort. This is fine! It is when pain becomes specific to one area of the body, is recurring, and/or not getting better as you exercise that you should be particularly careful.

Amy: Would working with a heart rate monitor be good idea to keep from overdoing it?

I don't think a heart rate monitor sounds like the right solution for you. It would give information, but that information is about your heart not your calf. You need to listen to the parts of your body that are actually hurting. If you weren't dealing with a calf injury but simply rebuilding your exercise base after a long break, I would consider working with a heart rate monitor.

On a side note, our bodies are designed to be exquisitely informative about muscle injuries. Sometimes we need the help of medical equipment to rule out more serious problems. But I believe that the sensory information we get from our bodies is often much more useful than technological measurements. You can glean all the information a heart rate monitor offers and more by simply paying attention to the sensations of your body.

Amy: How often should I have rest days?

Rest days are important. Rest 1 day in 7 at least. Now a rest day simply means that you are not pushing yourself. Going for walks or playing physical games with the kids is fine. Again, make peace with you body. Give it some time to relax, have fun, and not be goal-oriented. Teach your body that physical activity can feel great and doesn't always need to be regimented.

After a surgery you may want more than one day of rest per week. This is completely ok! At first you may feel like you are taking rest days very often, don't worry it will be temporary.

A final note about exercise after Surgery:

Part of learning not to wage war on our bodies is learning to have patience. Don't be greedy. Don't be vain. Have considered expectations.

Most of us aren't going to look like the twenty-something models that inhabit fitness industry advertising. But this doesn't diminish the beauty of your body one bit. You may not be able to look like the latest fitness poster child who has been tanned and photoshopped to sell fitness products.  But, with good habits, you can be fit, healthy, energetic, and attractive.

This attitude toward exercise and your body is doubly important when you are in that delicate time after a surgery or recovering from an injury.

--

I love to help people adopt great fitness habits. If you have any fitness questions I'd be happy to talk with you about them. You can reach me on twitter, facebook, my blog, or via e-mail at headtrainer@ithinkicanfitness.com.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Peanut Butter & Jelly Oatmeal

I love oatmeal.

I could eat it for every single meal. Seriously.


Especially, when I have such a cute little sous chef helping me make it. ;-)


According to The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, "Oats help regulate blood sugar, regulate the thyroid, and sooth the digestive system. Oats also support the nervous system and improve resistance to stress."

Oats also contain fiber, which help to regulate your blood sugar by slowing down food digestion. Fiber also helps you feel fuller longer, so you're more satisfied after you eat it. ~Source

Check out this nutritional value, too! [source]
Note: Values are for 1 cup of cooked oatmeal, or approximately 1/2 cup dried oats. If you're a diabetic, that's 2 starch exchanges.

  • 4 grams of fiber (14% of the DRI)
  • 6 grams of protein (that 1 whole serving!)
  • small amounts of 18 different amino acids
  • NO cholesterol
  • Over 10% of the DRI for the vitamin Thiamin
  • 25% of the DRI for the mineral Phospherous
  • Over 15% of the DRI for the mineral Magnesium
  • 12% DRI Iron for women and 25% for men
With all of that goodness inside a bowl of oatmeal, what's not to love?!

I also love that's it a completely blank canvas. It's so easy to add additional protein, fruit and healthy fat!

Tip: Adding whole fruit to your oatmeal, like blueberries, eliminates the need for adding sugar!

So, that brings me today's recipe. 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Oatmeal
As you know, I'm still recovering from surgery. Today was my first day with my kids by myself for lunch, so I wanted something nutritious, but simple. I've been craving a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich, but since I don't eat bread that wasn't an option. So, I satisfied my craving with this recipe and managed to stay away from all the junk that's found in bread.

1/2 cup dry gluten-free oats
3/4 cup filtered water
1T (heaping) organic, low-sugar fruit spread*
1T (heaping) natural, no-sugar-added peanut butter

Make oatmeal with water. Mix in the peanut butter & jelly and enjoy!

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*As you know, normally I try to avoid eating foods with sugar added to it. But, my in-laws would be taking care of my kids for 5 days while we traveled for my surgery, so we bought this as something easy to make for the kids. 


If I were going to eat jelly, which I typically don't, I would recommend making your own and either using no sweetener (since fruit is naturally sweet) or adding stevia or raw honey as your sweetener. 


However, for store bought, this isn't too terrible. There are only 4 ingredients and they are all organic. The sweetener of choice is organic sugar, which is one of the better ones in terms of effects on blood sugar. Fruit Pectin has some awesome health benefits. And the last ingredient, citric acid (as an additive) is controversial about the effects on your health. Many say it's not harmful and others say it's derived from yeast and can affect candida or cause asthmatic allergic reactions. All in all, the Kirkland Organic Strawberry Spread is not a bad choice, if you're looking for jam. With that said, eating 1 cup of strawberries chopped up in your oatmeal or sliced on a sandwich, would be a better choice and more fulfilling.

And my absolute favorite peanut butter is Parker Farms, located right here in MN, and less than 1-hour from where I live. I love supporting local farmers!


Especially ones with awesome products! Check out this ingredient list...


Can't beat just peanuts and salt!

Now, I dare you to go in your fridge, pull out your jelly and your peanut butter, look at the ingredients list and google whatever ingredient you don't know. My guess is, you'll likely want to throw it in the garbage! 

Comment below and let me know what you find!!!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Why I'm Grateful for Endometriosis


Yes, you read that title right. I sit here today, recovering from my 4th surgery for endometriosis, grateful. 

I was in this very place, just 2 years ago, but with a very different mindset. I was angry with God. I didn’t understand why He allowed me to endure this disease. I didn’t understand why He wouldn’t take it away. But, now it doesn’t matter.

This disease is straight from the pit of hell. I don’t want you to miss that. This disease is NOT from the God that I serve. I just want to make sure that we’re clear on that. But, my Lord is so amazing, that He can take the worst of circumstances, and turn them into good.

See, having endometriosis has given me so much. Without this disease, I wouldn’t be who I am today. And, I like me. 

I am strong. Because of endometriosis.
I am courageous. Because of endometriosis.
I am a fighter. Because of endometriosis.
I will never take my children for granted. Because of endometriosis.
I will never take my friends, family and husband for granted. Because of endometriosis.
I will always have a heart for those suffering with infertility. Because of endometriosis.
I will never take my physical health for granted again. Because of endometriosis.
I lead a healthy lifestyle. Because of endometriosis.

But, probably the most important thing that endometriosis has given me, is my relationship with God. See, 2 years ago, I was ready to walk away from Him because of this disease. But, He showed up for me, in a very big way. And He has continued to.

His Word says that He is the I AM. That means that He is the great Healer. That He is the great Physician. And I believe Him, with everything inside of me. If He wanted to heal me, He could. And if He chooses not to, He is STILL the great Physician and the great Healer. 

Sharing my story and my endometriosis journey, has led to this blog and to meeting so many amazing women.  And occasionally, I get to hear from one of my readers and how my story, my journey and/or my relationship with God through it all, has touched their life. I will never know the full ripple effect that my willingness to be authentic and raw has had on others. But, every single time I hear from a reader that it impacted them, it makes it all worth it. And I will continue to endure the physical pain with gratitude, as long as it brings glory to Jesus and others closer to knowing the God that I serve. 

Why?

Because that’s what Jesus did for me.

And I am forever grateful.