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!

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Organic-is it really better?

Is Organic really better? If so, why?

First of all, what is organic?  Organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides or fertilizers. The process and expense a farmer has to go through in order to be certified organic is very lengthy (up to 8 years) and very expensive. It is not only the produce itself that must be free of these, but the soil must be free of any pesticides/fertilizers. There cannot be any water runoff or contamination from the farm next door either! Now we know why organic is more expensive. The organic standards and practices are very strict and much higher than conventional. Here is why it is worth it to me and I hope to you.

What is the advantage of purchasing and eating organic? How is organic healthier than conventional or non-organic produce? Organic produce is significantly higher (at least 50%, sometimes 800%) in vitamins, minerals and fiber and retains the nutrients longer than conventional produce. Nutrients are absorbed best when eaten from food rather than taken in a pill form. That said, I am not suggesting we all stop taking vitamins/supplements. I am asking that we look at and consider how we can get the most amounts of nutrients from our food.

Research shows that our immune system is more able to fight off infection and disease when it is strong. Pesticides are a chemical that are toxic to our health, and the body needs to use a lot of energy to rid itself of these toxins. Therefore, we will have more energy reserved if it is not being used to constantly eliminate toxins.

Did you know the average piece of fruit contains more than 20 pesticides? Did you know that if you consumed an average apple you would be eating over 30 pesticides, even after you have washed it? So, no washing it does not solve the problem. In some cases peeling the skin can get rid of the pesticides, but how much of it has been absorbed by the remaining flesh?

Pesticides:

There are two basic types of pesticides:

· Organochlorides kill pests by attacking their central nervous systems. Linked to cancer, birth defects and genetic changes in animals. They are fat-soluble and stored in body fat. They are far more persistent than organophosphates.

· Organophosphates interfere with nerve conduction in pests. They are the most common pesticide used today. They are water-soluble and break down rapidly.

Another problem with pesticides being sprayed is that it is not only directly contaminating our food, but it is indirectly being transferred to our food supply and water supply. Yes, it is getting into the oceans, rivers which in turn are affecting our fish and seafood. It is also in the water supply that livestock (cows, pigs, chickens etc…) are drinking. Do you see the connection? If it is not in the water, most likely it is in the feed that these animals are consuming. Bottom line, it all ends up on our dinner table or in our sack lunch or on that lovely plate in a restaurant unless it is organic.

I understand that not everyone has the means or access to all organic food. Thankfully, the prices of organic food are coming down, and sometimes I find it is the same or lower than conventional! However, we can make better choices. Thank goodness, We, the consumer do influence farming and purchasing practices-Safeway and Wal Mart are now carrying organic because we, the consumer, demanded it. I am a strong advocate of shopping at farmer’s markets because it is fresh (usually picked within 1-2 days); and I feel good about supporting the local people/farmers-which directly effects the local economy.

Here is a list( you can cut out and keep in your wallet) of the most heavily sprayed produce (sometimes called the dirty dozen) that we can choose to buy organic (either at the grocery store or farmer’s markets):

Dirty Dozen

  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Grapes, imported (Chili)
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Blueberries

Cleanest Produce

  • Watermelon
  • Onoions
  • Avocados
  • Sweet Corn(frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mangoes
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas(frozen)
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papayas
  • Cantalope
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet Potatoes

Other organic foods worth considering:

  • Beef
  • Dairy-milk, cheese, cream
  • Poultry

Something else to think about…our skin is actually our largest organ! Yes, it’s true, and anything put on our skin is directly absorbed into the bloodstream! Shocking, I know. So, if we are making such a conscious effort to eat healthy, shouldn’t we want to be as careful about what we put onto our skin? I choose to use organic or at least all natural soaps/creams/lotions and cosmetics. At the very least I avoid anything that is petroleum based-ingredients such as petroleum, mineral oil. And, harsh ingredients such as, sodium laurel sulfate (which can be drying) and parabens (linked to cancer). There is a lot of this kind of information available on the web, and I will continue to write about it in future articles. For those of us who are allergic to wheat and/or dairy, it is good to read labels since many body products contain wheat protein and dairy! I hope you will do your own research and share it with us on www.nowheatnodairynoproblem.com

www.nubianheritage.com

www.AvalonOrganics.com

Finally, cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops. Remember, it is not only the crop, but the reside and run off that contaminates water supplies too. I know organic cotton and clothes are very expensive, but we can buy them when possible. Personally I’d rather have less and have organic. What about you?

Here’s to being more informed so we can make the best choices for ourselves and our planet. I am off to go to the local farmers market to find all the fruit and vegetables that are in season! Delicious!

www.organicfoodinfo.net

Be Well,

Lauren