Halloween & Candy!

 

Happy Halloween! Sweet Treats without the sugar blues!

I have fond memories of trick or treating as a child and big hayride Halloween parties at school. Honesty, I really am not a fan of this holiday, but dressing up and eating sweets is a lot of fun!

If you are a parent, or human, you know that sugar blues that come after sugar highs can be really horrific! We know so much more about sugar these days and how it adversely affects our health. To name a few, Diabetes is a huge epidemic, and sugar is very hard on the pancreas, causes skin breakouts, cavities, mood swings, addiction, disease and more. None of the aforementioned are going to make us feel good and thrive in our lives.

So, you know me….I have a solution to this problem! I have lots of recipes and sweeteners you can use in your favorite recipes to transform them into a healthier, and tasty treat. A friend of mine says, you are not “treating” yourself when you eat something that harms your wellbeing, you are “mistreating” yourself! So true.  Go to my Recipes Page and get my kid-approved recipes that are a range of white sugar alternatives to sugar-free!

Psss, I am going to let you in on my secret of the week….I am making a Pumpkin Pie with Stevia Sweetener(www.ThriveMarket.com)  or coconut palm sugar, and I will enjoy it for breakfast! I will top it with coconut milk whipped cream! Husband, if you are reading this….I will save you some! ;P

Store bought candy. No time or interest in making your own treats? 

As a child, I loved Rolo carmel candies! I found some even better chococlate chewy caramels called Amelia, and they also make a dairy-free/Gluten-free, white sugar free version that will melt in your mouth as you are transported to Heaven!  If you like a soft carmel, and not so chewy, try Cocomels, which have coconut milk. My second favorite was Almond Joy, well I found a nut-free, dairy-free and gluten-free candy bar with coconut filling and a dark chocolate coating called OCHO(does contain organic cane sugar). Lily’s vegan stevia sweetened chocolate chips and bars are delicious. I buy all of these candies at local Health Food Stores and Thrive Market.

There are also sugar free lollipops at local health food stores that are good and without artificial dyes! Please avoid candy with artificial dyes as they cause many harmful neurological reactions in kids and adults. I have seen numerous children’s severe symptoms disappear when they are taken off all foods that contain artificial colors, dyes, sweeteners and flavors. I have even seen them taken off of Ritalin! There is always a reason for symptoms and behavior. You just need to care enough to figure it out and find experts to help you.

Note on Sweeteners: please do not use the stuff in pink or blue packets, it’s toxic and harmful to your health. Diet soda is the worst. Some of these artificial sweeteners are made from the same ingredient as ant poison!!!! YES! Try stevia sweetened soda called Zevia or Kevita Coconut Water Kefir which tastes like bubbly soda, and has probiotics. I like the pomegranate and Lime Mojito Kevita, black cherry Zevia the best. I did not like Dr. Pepper as a kid, but love the Dr. Zevia! If these are too sweet, cut them with sparkling water! I like Grolsteiner best b/c it tastes great, high in minerals and is in glass!

Soda:

Kid’s in my summer cooking camps loved Zevia! For the past 6 years I’ve been getting kids off soda by dipping a 1/4 cup measuring cup into a container of white sugar and asking them if they would pour it down their throat all at once! They all freaked out and unanimously replied, “NO WAY”! I enlightened them by telling them that a 12 ounce can of soda has that much sugar and a Big Gulp had double, 1/2 cup! Please share this with your kids, relatives and friends. Soda is one of the main reasons the kids are overweight along with the rise in diabetes and many other diseases.

In our camps we used 8 drops of flavored liquid Stevia by Sweet Leaf(variety of flavors including Root beer, Cola and Raspberry), and added it to sparkling water from glass bottles(avoiding harmful toxins in plastic bottles) and walah, you have homemade sugar-free soda that is bubbly and sweet which is what most of us love in a soda! Try this and let us all know how it goes/went! Caution: too much stevia will become quite bitter so, start slowly and add one drop at a time. Stevia is 250-300 times sweeter than sugar and is made from a leaf of a tree grown in South America.

Another sugar-free sweetener I like is Lakanto Monkfruit w/Erythritol which is ideal for people with SIBO or Candida, however some people do experience cramping, so eat it in moderation. Xylitol is great for teeth, but new research is showing that it can destroy good gut bacteria!

I still love coconut palm sugar as a 1 to 1 substitute for white sugar. White sugar is not only inflammatory, but also is bleached and often sifted through bones, so not vegan! YUCK! Have fun trying these sugar alternatives. Remember natural Real Maple Syrup is a good choice and local raw honey is also good.  If you are experiencing gas, bloating and burping seek a Naturopathic Doctor who will know how to cure it. In California go to www.CalND.org and elsewhere go to www.Naturopathic.org

Naturopathic Medicine saved my life and was able to diagnose me properly and treat me naturally with success! BTW, my husband is a Naturopathic Doctor. I am so grateful for him and Naturopathic Medicine which has been working well for years!

If you want to feel like you are back in college, get your teens or Mom’s together and go to my Video page and get educated about sugar by Dr. Lustig’s talk, “The Bittersweet Truth about Sugar”! It will blow your mind. Please share it. This can save our lives and the one’s we love. Sending you all love and hugs so you can Thrive living the life you dreamed!

Be safe and have fun! Snack Safely has a list of safe snacks that are gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free, but do read ingredients and choose wisely. Just because it is free of what you are avoiding doesn’t mean it is good for you!

Get your FREE Recipes on the Recipe Page on this blog!

Happy Halloween with good Treats! Boo!

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Back to School and Fall

Wow what a busy summer! I am so ready for some quiet, cool Fall days to nest at home and recharge my body, mind and spirit! Health is mostly impacted by 3 catagories: 1. Food/Diet, 2. Lifestyle/Stress levels, 3. Chemicals/Environmental Toxins.

I have been on a nerd fest lately, and attending several medical webinars and seminars, and they all are talking about the 3 factors above being scientifically linked to illness, disease and death!

I have a confession to make, I eat really clean and healthy most of the time. I am 100% gluten-free, dairy-free, white sugar-free expect for the quarterly Mexican Coke which I have vowed to give up since it’s just not satisfying! I also eat all organic and am not eating out as much anymore and look for restaurants that use local, organic produce and meats.

My house has an Austin air filter, well-water with extra whole house filters, no chemicals of any kind in cleaning for house, pet or humans, we remove our shoes(not to drag in chemicals and toxins and gross dirt we’ve walk in) and organic furniture and so on. We have a timer on our wi-fi and tested our home and it has very low Wifi registers on the Geiger meter! We live in the woods with fresh air, nature and peaceful quiet.

This all must seem like I am an extreme whacko, but I want to control what we can and do what we can because we are exposed to so many chemicals we cannot control. So, just do what you can and make progress as you are ready. This all happened for us over time.

So my confession is that my missing or broken piece of the puzzle of health is STRESS! I do everything else pretty well most of the time, but I screw up too b/c I am human too. The one lesson I have not mastered to to surrender and know that all is well and everything always resolves itself. I know it in my head, but my body hasn’t gotten the message yet! I am a certified yoga and meditation teacher, but don’t practice it enough myself! So, this is my focus this Fall to really calm my mind. I give all my worry over to God and Angels and I let go and hope to heal my own health.

I recently was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and probable Fibromyalgia! I have suspected it for a long time, but have been in denial b/c I did not want to have those health issues! Well, I do. ;( And, I am having to slow down and adjust my lifestyle.

I have never thought of myself as an over-acheiver, but a therapist pointed out the definition and I sunk down in my chair and said, ok I am guilty. I have pushed myself very hard for as long as I can remember. I am always chronically overdoing it. I strive to be better, smarter, more loving, healthier, etc…I mistook ambition for stupidity. I thought if I just kept trying harder and harder I would somehow achieve Nirvana in all areas of my life!!! Instead, I am just exhausted with serious health issues.

The good news is that I have a lot of compassion and understanding for others who are ill and suffering. I also know the signs and symptoms to look for and the solutions. It is very challenging for me to just rest and relax when I feel I constantly have a never ending To-Do list. I need to be okay with not getting the list done and see the progress of what I have accomplished, and to be okay with just relaxing or having fun! What is that I ask? So, I will report back to  you periodically on this.

I did start playing violin this year which has become very meditate and joyful! It is never too late to learn something new or do what you’ve always longed for or dreamed of doing. Do it! I am having a ball! Again I over practiced…one hour a day for 6 months and now I have “Tennis Elbow”. So the lesson of slowing down and pacing myself keeps showing up! Now I have to play in short spurts a few times a day and I’ve taken a month off and nurtured my elbow. So, back to food…my favorite subject and thing to do is cook and eat!

I know the holidays are around the corner so I am going sugar-free until the holidays, then I will choose my sweeteners carefully to keep my health and immune system strong! I am boosting my immune system now so I stay strong and healthy this fall and winter. I have been making homemade bone broth for free, from veggie scraps and leftover bones; and soup with lots of veggies-so delicious and satisfying. And, I am really amazed at how much more satisfied I feel after a delicious piece of organic fruit than a sugary dessert.

Sugar is the root of inflammation, illness, lowered immune system and disease! See the video, The Bittersweet Truth about Sugar,  on my video page by Dr. Robert Lustig. You will be astounded! A few excellent documentaries are, What the Health and Whats with Wheat! Check them out and have a movie night at your house with friends and family. They are very insightful and motivating!

I am choosing to enjoy organic berries and organic apples that are low in sugar and high in anti-oxidants and hundreds of nutrients and health benefits. Try an organic apple with 2 Tablespoons of  organic/unsweetened nut or seed butter. I love cashew butter from Trader Joe’s, www.ThriveMarket.com or homemade. Valencia Peanut butter is the only peanut that does not contain mold so go for Valencia…at Trader Joe’s. Beans and Lentils, nuts and seeds are a great source of fiber and protein without the animal protein.

Berries and apples that are not organic/conventional have over 40 pesticides!!!! These pesticides will adversely effect health of the endocrine system, neurological and brain function and are linked cancer. If your child, or you, have ADD/ADHD or just some difficulty focusing…try removing all processed sugars and artificial dyes/colors are very harmful too.

Go pick your own if you live near organic farms…its a great outing for the family and the kids love it. If you cannot get to a farm, a farmers market is the next best thing. Also, Costco has organic berries and apples for a great price if you are on a tight budget! Remember baked apples and homemade applesauce too.

Soda is another place that is loaded with sugar! A can of soda has 1/4 cup of sugar and a Big Gulp has a 1/2 cup of sugar!!!! I have introduced many kids and teens for the 7 summers, to Stevia sweetened soda..either Zevia store bought or they can make their own! Go to http://www.Sweetleaf.com for lots of flavors of stevia and just add 6 drops to 12 ounces of sparkling water from a glass bottle. Kevita Coconut Water Keifer is even better b/c it is a bubbly sweet drink with no added sugar, and has fermented probiotics and lots of electrolytes too. Please toss the Gatorade which is loaded with sugar and artificial colors, and trade it for a natural/delicious version called Recharge. Teach your kid’s now and change your own habits and you will all feel so much better with these small changes.

Remember to buy everything in glass when you can b/c the plastics may be free of BPA, but hey are loaded with other harmful chemicals. Get stainless steel bottles to take on the go…at Bed Bath and Beyond for $10! I also put my smoothies To Go in 12 ounce glass Mason Jars.

September and October can be a time loaded with parties and holidays and sugar! So I have posted cake/cupcake & frosting recipes made with homemade alternative milk or store bought on my FREE RECIPES Page. Please send them with your bundles of love to parties and school. They are so delicious and will not give them the sugar spike, crash and overwork their pancreas and cause diabetes!

Finally, remember sugar is not only the white stuff. It is all forms of sweeteners which the pancreas has to produce insulin to process. When you eat fruit that contains fiber it will slow the absorption of sugar and blood sugar levels will be more even and steady.  High carb grains like rice, potato, tapioca convert into sugar too. Our bodies need a certain amount of sugar for fuel, but most people are eating more than they realize.

Everyone is unique and has different needs, so listen to your body and watch how your children behave and feel after eating certain foods. Keeping a food journal on an APP like Cara or on a calendar along with health symptoms can reveal so much. Kid’s need some carbs and a good amount of protein and tons of veggies for nutrition and to help them grow. Adults need less carbs typically. The exception is if you have Adrenal Fatigue and you may need a few red potatoes or sweet potatoes or root veggies at lunch and especially dinner.

I challenge you to try a new veggie each week! You will find some new favorites!

My specialty is to help people create a super tasty customized diet that meets their personal needs and that of the family to reach your best health. I want you to Thrive not just survive! I have gone from barely surviving(2 hours of energy a day) to much more energy(12 hours of energy) through diet and lifestyle. I have had a temporary set back, but I am making the necessary changes to find my balance and you can too.

I understand how it feels on both ends of this spectrum of health and illness. I am now doing phone consults, so call me to get a fresh start as we go into the Fall and Winter. See Contact for details. I am here to help and support you because I care and want the best for you.

Be Well & Thrive and Many Hugs and Blessings to you. Have a fabulous day and week! Go to the Free Recipes page now. Remember to check out the video for a good parents movie night!