Friday, February 26, 2010

Sugar Free. Yep.

I have talked myself into it. I am twelve hours through. I am sugar free.

The goal: One month, no sugar.

If I blog it or tell someone about it, I am committed so here it is: I am a sugar free mama. I have done this once before in the ancient years of junior high and I felt great. I need to do it again. I don't eat candy. I am not a junkie, but I want to clean house. I want my body to be at it's best. I think that sugar in moderation will not kill us but as a society, sugar rules the roost. I think you need to stand up and show the body who is boss now and then and just not give into the cravings. It makes us feel stronger and healthier in the long run. It helps us to lessen our desires for sweets and strengthens our immune systems. Sugar ages us, makes us sleepy and wreaks havoc on our health. But, like me, we want to deny it and go with the norm. I don't intend to stay off sugar entirely but I plan on eating it much more sparingly after this little hiatus.

So my friends, since misery loves company, I want to recruit you. I want 20 names by the end of the weekend. At least. I am throwing the challenge out there. SIL's? Cousins? Cousin in laws? Blogging friends in Idaho? California? Nevada? Blog Stalkers? Church Buddies? Whose in? Are you tough enough?

Here are the rules: You start on March 1st, or today if you want. You go to the end of March, just in time for Easter. You can have honey, coconut sugar or stevia. No other pretend sugars. Use in moderation as we are trying to lessen our sweet cravings. If you go out to eat and order a salad that may have hidden sugar in the dressing, don't sweat it. Just stay away from the obvious. The deserts, the after dinner mints, etc. You will be surprised at how good fruit will taste and how many options you have out there. You will also be surprised at how much sugar there is in everything. No evaporated cane juice, no corn syrup. You get the point.

So, who's joining me? Who can do hard things?

I double dog dare you.

***Terri, I will need a batch of those cute stevia chocolates, almonds please.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Need something to do?

OK, it is time to get that obscene picture off my top page and move on. I know, I offended some of you with that hot fudge Sunday. Sorry, but you know you all wanted a little taste!

Let's move on to being healthy. I really want to make a goal of no sugar for a month but I lack the courage. I know it is a noble thing. I know my body would stand up and cheer but..... no sugar?? That means no chocolate.....well at least the kind I want. I 'll let you know when I am that brave but I do need to back it off just a little. I usually try to keep it to a couple treats a weekend only but it seems like it is spilling over into the week now and then. It just tastes so good. Anyone else out there brave enough to join me? Maybe I need a little company.

Now on to the healthy talk. It is warming up here in AZ so it is time to get your gardens ready. You should be getting ready to plant in the next couple of weeks. I love the summer garden! My mouth waters even thinking about what a real tomato tastes like freshly picked and ohhh, that tomatillo salsa! Can't wait. If you don't have a garden space , you can do a grow box or even containers. I have done it on an apartments ledge and on a narrow strip in a small backyard. There is always room for just a little something. The nutrients from a fresh picked vegetable versus one picked and left on a shelf for a period of time are dramatic. I don't even know if they understand what nutrients are contained in something just picked. It is the way it should be but we can't grow it all. Just growing a few things yourself will help your body greatly. Think about it. If you need help, I have a good friend who will build you a grow box, deliver it, fill it with good dirt and all for a low cost. His name is Arlon Smith and you can contact him at 480 456-1253. He has a 4X4 for $90 and other sizes on demand.

If you are ready to take the next step in being healthy in your life, I have a friend here in the valley that can teach you how. Her name is Kara and if you have checked out her link off my site, you will know that she knows a few things. She is a step , or two , above me in the nutrition area with sprouting, fermenting and creating healthy recipes. I haven't gone all the way yet like her but someday I will get there. She has some great classes coming up so go to her site here and check out the spring schedule. Her classes are on Saturday mornings. They feature topics like fermenting, soaking, tortilla making, pressure cooking and dressing up your greens. She has done this as a profession and serves up some mighty fine samples. Check her out.

So there you go. If anyone is out there bored, you now have something to do. I hope you all don't thing less of me from the hot fudge post but just in case you do, here is something else.... I went to a movie today by myself at lunch time and my bathroom isn't clean. There. (That was a first...the movie part anyways. It was nice but probably won't get to happen again.) I was just soaking in the day today. Now, time to clean the bathroom.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hot Fudge and Caramel Sauce.

Let me first warn you, there is nothing at all healthy about this post. My SIL just called and wanted me to give her my hot fudge and caramel sauce recipes. I thought it would be nice if I just shared it with everyone. I mean.....we can't be healthy all the time and it is homemade, not the bottled up plastic versions. For me, these sauces are drinkable. The ice cream is just the means to get to the sauce. The more the merry. Unfortunately, my older, more mature stomach can't handle the cream well so it is a rare occasion I make this. Serve this at a party and you are a hit. The smell is just too much to handle. OOOOH, hot fudge. I miss you so.

Hot Fudge Sauce

3/4 C. semisweet chocolate pieces
1/4 C. butter
2/3 C. Sugar
2/3 C evaporated milk

In a saucepan, melt chocolate and butter. Add the sugar, gradually then stir in milk. Bring to a boil stirring constantly then reduce heat. Boil gently over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Serve warm over ice cream. Makes about 1 1/2 Cups sauce.

Caramel Sauce

1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1/3 C. light cream
2 T. light corn syrup (I know, horrible. moderation girls)
1 T. butter
1/2 t. vanilla

In a saucepan mix sugar and cornstarch. Stir in 1/4 c water. Stir in cream and corn syrup. Cook and stir till bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Serve warm over ice cream or with fruit.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Got Acne? Think Zinc.

Our skin is our largest organ. It tells the story of what lies beneath it's surface. The idea then,(that many Dr.'s even subscribe to) that what we eat doesn't affect how our skin looks, is ridiculous. The skin is the storyteller. It lets us know when something is wrong inside. But, many of us just want to cover it up with a quick fix. We want the magic solution in a cute little jar to cover it up. Listen to the skin. It just might be telling you something.

Today's skin topic will be on acne. Nobody likes it. Nobody wants it but nonetheless, it plagues many. It seems to surge at the time the hormones first drop by to visit and can reappear anytime later; stress, pregnancy, menopause. Those little acne visits just maybe a deficiency in your body screaming at you to make amends. We all know that diet can attribute to how our skin looks. If you think about the person you know with the best skin, chances are they don't pound down a box of donuts. Some are just blessed but that usually only lasts so long. However, even if you are a good eater, you may still have problems with acne.

In America's diet today, we lack many nutrients that were once abundant. Our soils are now depleted of some of the rich minerals it once contained. Especially zinc. Zinc has a huge effect on the skin. It has been studied greatly but how many of you have even heard about zinc for the skin? Any Dr.'s tell you? Probably not. It is cheap. No money is really to be made on it. Drugs sell, not supplements.

There was a Swedish study in 1977 on the effects of zinc on acne. It was overwhelming. 64 patients took part in the study all with acne problems. They were divided in 4 groups given different supplements and a placebo. The zinc groups came out on top every time. After only four weeks on zinc therapy, 65 percent of their pimples cleared and after 12 weeks, 87 percent disappeared. The evidence was overwhelming. To quote the Swedish study, "Zinc's effect on acne, even in its severe inflammatory state, is "remarkable". Those in the study took 45 mg of zinc, three times per day. They noted that they did just fine on lower doses than taken in the study.

There are other supplements that are important for skin health. Vitamin A, Biotin and Cod Liver oil. A good liver cleanse is also very helpful. It is very important to get a good quality supplement. If you don't , you may just be wasting your money or even causing harm to your body. You also need to remember that fixing the skin is not an overnight fix. It takes time and patience. Allow a good month to really see a difference. It may work quicker but allow the time. My daughter just started with acne and immediately got on zinc and Biotin. Here face is clearing up beautifully. Too bad teenage son doesn't like to take the supplements. He is missing out!

If you would like to try out supplements for your skin, a recommended amount of zinc would be 50 mg daily; One tsp. of Cod Liver oil daily and 5 mg of Biotin daily. Zinc should be in the chelated form, as a liquid or as Zinc Picolinate. Cod Live oil I recommend is by Carlson's. It tastes like lemon lime and is of great quality - very important so you don't get mercury.

New Beginnings prices are as follows:

Zinc in liquid form (preferred method) $20
Zinc in tablet form $14
Carlson's Cod Liver Oil $32
Biotin $10

The quality is top notch and the prices are better than Sprouts. Email me if interested. Shipping is $5 in the US.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

New from Green Bee.

Have I told you lately how great Green Bee is ? Well, they keep getting better. In addition to the fresh fruit and veggie packs, they now have a great salsa pack with tortillas and brand newly added....

BREAD! Fresh baked daily, delivered to you with your Bee Box order at an extremely great price! They offer 3-5 varieties weekly and are ordered in two's. They are all natural, pure, Enlightened Homemaker approved ingredients. Don't miss out. Go log onto their site at Order by tomorrow night for my location or find a location near you. My Utah girls, there is now locations for you! Woo HOo!

If you ever have questions or ideas for Green Bee, email me or the company directly. They listen. Really. They want to provide what we want and really get customer service. I know first hand. Try them out. Great stuff.... really.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Warning lights

My friend, let's call her Anne, had a new teenage driver in the house. This teenage driver took out the family van to cruise the town. This teenage driver didn't really know all that much about vehicles being that he was new to the situation. He didn't know that when a warning light came on in the vehicle, it should be paid attention to. This teenage driver came home, and drove it again later. Same light on. When the light was finally paid attention to, it was too late. The engine was unrepairable. The damage was done. A simple repair was now a very costly replacement. Teenager learned a lesson. (perhaps).

What is our lesson here? We all have our warning lights. I can think of very few diseases in life that do not come with some precursory warning lights. The problem is, most of us don't pay attention until we are totally broken down. Until it requires an urgent trip to the Dr. or until medication is almost necessary. The teenager in each of us would rather just cruise the town in a borrowed car without looking at the warning lights. Unfortunately, by not paying attention to the little warnings, we may end up broken and diseased.

Our bodies have an amazing way of letting us know what is working for it and what is not. Too bad most of us don't listen. Usually it begins as a whisper.
"Hey, I don't really feel good when you eat ice cream, can we stop with the dairy...please?"
or, "Those headaches you have regularly are not normal, a Tylenol is not the solution."

Those are the whispers. They become shouts like:

"Hey, I think you have Colitis from a continuous intake of that dairy you were warned about! Keep it up and we are going to loose an intestine!"

or, "That over consumption of Tylenol has now destroyed your liver! still have headaches, thanks for listening."

If we all just stop and listen to our bodies, we can prevent so much disease, so much heartache for our families. Think about how you feel when you eat something. Maybe even something that is even relatively on the healthy side. Different things trigger responses in different people. Disease begins after repetitive infractions. If it is stopped, chances are, the disease can be stopped.

What things should we be listening for?

Stomach upset. What foods make you react?
Stool. Are you regularly constipated? Have diarrhea?
Headaches. Do you suffer from regular headaches or only occasional?
Skin. Do you have eczema, acne, dermatitis?
Immune system. Do you easily catch a cold, flu, sinusitis?
Allergies. Do you have multiple allergies? Reactions?
Fingernails. Do they look smooth and of normal color or discolored and malformed?
Weight. Do you have too much weight around the middle?
Fatigue. Are you general out of energy? Crash at midday?

If we were cars, we would get regular maintenance check ups. We don't want our cars to break down leading us to costly repairs so we go in for preventative maintenance. We all need to go through the checklist. Ask yourself the questions above. See how you really feel instead of just covering them up. Start to journal your responses to try to figure out triggers. If you have regular headaches, write it down. Try to figure out why. Did you eat something that triggered it? Did you chew gum before getting a headache? Go without water for too long of a period? If you have skin problems like eczema, chart down when you get a flare up and what may have contributed. Listen to your stomach. By repeatedly offending your stomach, you will pay. Guaranteed. An offense now and then will not really cause a long term effect. The day to day will.

It is not normal to have a continual runny nose. That is a warning sign. It is not normal to have headaches. It is not normal to get a stomach ache. It is not normal to have eczema. All things that people just live with or just medicate for.



Monday, February 8, 2010

Preparing Wisely sale

These babies are on sale at Preparing Wisely from February 15th thru March 1st for only $12.50 per #10 can. No limit! You can even order online. They are a great addition to your year supply! Don't miss out. Check out their link to the right for more great sales.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I have to admit that I haven't been a huge fan of cauliflower in my life but things are changing. I guess I never really gave the veggie a chance or knew really what to do with it until recently. Like with many veggies, they are usually served one way - steamed, lifeless and tasteless. What a waste of a perfectly good veggie. It really deserves better than that, after all, look what it is offering:

It is rich in folate to help with cell growth.
It helps promote a healthy heart and lowers the chance of a stroke.
Strengthens the immune system with high Vitamin C and Selenium.
High fiber contents to help with bowel health.
Contains indole-3-carbino which helps prevent female type cancers.
It is a natural blood and liver detoxifier.
Contains Sulforaphane which removes cancer causing chemicals to stop cancer.
Contains glucosinolotes to neutralize potentially toxic substances.

Those are just to name a few. Do you see why you need to add this to your veggie line-up? Who doesn't want to have a healthy heart and remove toxins?

Another great benefit is that you can use it like a potato without the starch/carb issue. You can steam it and mash it like mashed potatoes with some garlic and butter. You can chop it up and use it in a soup in place of potatoes. I did just that this week in a curried creamy veggie soup which was simply wonderful. I used cauliflower and brocoflower (the broccoli and cauliflower mix) as my base. Recipe is below. Another great way to use cauliflower is to roast it in the oven with some olive oil and seasoning of choice. Just roast it at 400 degrees until al dente. I like to use all kinds of seasonings and roast it with a good, sweet onion.

Cauliflower is in season right now so it is a great time to get adventurous with it. Don't get stuck in a veggie rut. Try out new things. Try out new seasonings. Don't get caught in the steamed veggie trap. There is really so much more than a steamed, buttered veggie. No wonder most people don't like veggies. We need taste and texture. Go crazy! My veggies were Greek last night.....tomorrow we may go Italian! Oh, what a little spice can do!

Curried Veggie Soup

1/2 c. butter or olive oil
1 C. chopped onion
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 C. chopped cauliflower , about 1/2 inch chunks
1 1/2 C. brocoflower or potatoes (no broccoli)
1 C. green beans cut into 1 inch pieces (opt.)
1 T. curry powder
1/8 tsp. smoked paprika (opt.)
1/4 C. dried parsley or 1/8 C. fresh chopped
1/2 C. dry rice
1 C. heavy cream
6 C. chicken broth

Melt butter or oil in large pan. Add onions and veggies and saute until veggies are fork tender. Add in Curry powder and saute 1 minute longer. Be careful not to burn the curry. Add broth, rice and parsley. Add more broth if needed. Simmer 25-30 min. or until veggies are tender and rice is done.

Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper. Thicken with ultra gel or cornstarch in water. Use any other spices you desire to flavor it to your liking.

**smoked paprika, dash of cayenne, mesquite seasoning are some of my favorite soup seasonings.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Merrill + Mary

He: is really smart, loves basketball, a great listener, nickname - ears

She: loves to dance in her car, read books, is a talker, favorite color is green

Together: they will love and adore their little one and will be forever grateful for their birth mother for doing for them what they couldn't do for themselves.

Everyone deserves to be called "mama" and I have a special friend that would love nothing more than to hear those words. So, just in case you know of a special little angel that would need a home or hear anything through the grapevine, please send that little angel their way. Trust me, they are just perfect for the job.

Visit their adoption website here.