Munchkin Monday

We do love our summer heat!

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Spicy Nuts!

We eat a lot of nuts around here. A. Lot. Especially with the recent loss of meat from my diet, I am having to turn elsewhere to find sufficient sources of protein. It’s quite a feat. While grabbing a handful of almonds or walnuts (our two go-to’s) is always a satisfying move (especially when paired with a few raisins), it’s nice to spice things up once in awhile…don’t you agree?

Here’s the fantastic, easy-to-make recipe. The kids can help, too.

Spicy Nuts

Ingredients:

2/3 cup almonds

2/3 cup pecans (or walnuts)

2/3 cup hazelnuts (or cashews)*

1 tsp chili powder**

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp melted coconut oil

Directions:

Toast nuts in a pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, mix spices in a bowl. Melt coconut oil in a pan and coat nuts completely. Pour in spice mix and coat evenly.

Voila! Enjoy and fill up on a delicious protein snack. This would be a fantastic salad topper too, don’t you think?!

*Remember, peanuts aren’t really good for you. They aren’t actually even nuts. They are found in the legume family!

**I would suggest paprika in the place of chill powder for those wee and therefore more sensitive palates.

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Photo Comparative Blood Analysis (2)

Remember the Copper tasting like nails? Well, not so much anymore! Seems that the mineral is building in my system and as it does, the recipient (moi) doesn’t taste it as much when ingesting. Fascinating, isn’t it?

I completed a gall bladder cleanse last week. I’m not big on cleanses. I’ve never done one as they are so controversial and I feel that aside from direct instructions, they do more harm than good. However, this one was under direct instruction. The intention: rid my system of some of the many (as in, likely, hundreds) of gall stones which currently impede by gall bladder from secreting bile which impedes my liver from functioning at full capacity (actually barely any capacity back a few weeks ago!) and therefore results in an inflamed, sick liver. This of course results in one unhappy Mama. The cleanse was only semi-successful for me this time around. Not surprising. It will take several more as the stones have been building for years and, well, Rome wasn’t built in a day. When I say I’ll spare the gruesome details, I truly mean I am sparing you.

I continue to gain energy daily. I don’t wake up crampy and bloating – ever. I used to – always. Every. Single. Day.

Currently I am taking New Millennium products:

  • Copper (dietary supplement)
  • Water For Life (dietary supplement)
  • HFB (herbal formula beverage)
  • Accidophilus
  • Oxy (hi-potency anti-oxidant)
  • Infla (hi-potency enzyme formula)

Not cheap. Worth every last penny.

I continue to follow a lifestyle which excludes the following (temporarily):

  • Gluten (all – however, small amounts of oats are okay from time to time)
  • Corn
  • Dairy
  • Meat (this is tough – you recall my love for ribs!)
  • Artificial Sugar (duh)
  • Caffeine/Coffee (this includes decaf, due to the acidity. Please may I have a moment of silence as we mourn the loss of the morning coffee.)

I currently eat an abundance of:

  • Veggies
  • Fruit
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Beans
  • Almond Milk (unsweetened)
  • Hummus (!)

I currently eat/drink some:

  • Brown Rice
  • Oats
  • Rooibos Tea
  • Honey

It’s a pretty strict regime and I feel better than I have in years. Turning ribs down last weekend may have been the most difficult thing yet. However, I indulged the next day just a little and paid a horrific (health) price…for the following two days. Sticking to the plan is most definitely in my best interest. And I feel so noticeably better when doing so that I will no longer deviate.

I would encourage anyone not feeling 100% to check this out. It’s very straight and narrow. There are no grey areas when a person can look at her own blood and see there is something very obviously very wrong.

I’m no where near an expert but am happy to try and answer any questions.

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Munchkin (or is it Mama?) Monday

Some days we all want to feel more like a kid.                   Don’t you agree?

 

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Dirty Organic Produce

I’m all for saving a buck. And, when fruit is in season we definitely try to stock up and if possible freeze the flavour-bursting berries, especially! When possible we buy organic but the cost truly is more significant and I will not purchase it unless it is certified organic – as opposed to simply organic.

Here’s the deal in case you were’t yet aware: Companies don’t have to meet all organic criteria in order to put the label on their product. Unless it states certified organic, it has not passed all the tests…it doesn’t meet tip top organic standards. You will pay more for that seal but it’s worth it, isn’t it?

An article on the “Dirty Dozen” Fruits and Veggies List was recently published for the 2012 year. I don’t need to reiterate, you can simply head over and take a look.

I personally know of the toxicity of some of these seasonal pieces as my Mum (who, otherwise has no allergies, runs daily, attends several yoga classes weekly and is one of the most fit and trim and young 62 year old you may ever meet) has undergone some impressive (or not) reactions. When purchasing cherries recently (at a large, renown Vancouver market), she asked the vendor if they were organic. He flat our replied no. Kudos to him for not trying to pull a fast one! He followed up by informing her that while the cherries themselves had never been sprayed with pesticides, the blossoms had – in order to rid them of bugs. My Mum purchased them and went on her way. She got home, washed them, ate them, and had an awful reaction!

The reason? The pesticides were essentially embedded in the cherry, since the bush had been sprayed during it’s ‘infancy’ or blossom stage. Is that not frightening?!

The final paragraph in the “Dirty Dozen” article really hits home and I am so thankful we were too frugal to purchase our baby food and instead made it from scratch. I urge mothers of babies to do the same.

The moral: know what’s going into – or onto! – your produce; ask questions; look for the word certified when purchasing organics; perhaps increase the food budget slightly and decrease your date, gift, or ‘miscellaneous’ lines to accommodate this necessity; be wise!

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No Egg. No Sugar. 5 Banana Bread. Yum.

I was out of eggs the other day but the freezer was starting to stink of banana. Plus, who doesn’t love a quick and easy bread for the kids. It’s summer and this seemed like the perfect snack. Over-ripe bananas can always be purchased half price which makes this a super budget friendly snack.  Enter google and I found myself a quick and easy recipe.

I must say, I was shocked and dismayed that nearly every recipe called for either 3/4 – 1 cup of white sugar or/and shortening. Really? Shortening and white sugar. Common people!

I find eliminating sugar to be the easiest of any ingredient to scratch from the list. Often it needs replacing of some sort but it’s not a staple such as milk or butter. My solution: add an extra banana. This recipe already called for four of them and mine were average in size but way average in the stinky department. And, if you’re banana bread savvy you will know that more stinky equals more flavour (and sweetness!).

So I threw in five!

The recipients little people sang my praises and I was in the good books until at least lunch time.

The recipe originates here, but this is my no sugar version:

No Egg, No Sugar, Banana Bread

5 way over-ripe bananas, mashed

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup flax meal

1/2 cup butter (real!)

1/2 cup buttermilk*

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

pinch salt

Directions:

Preheat over to 350. Mix bananas with melted butter. Add buttermilk and vanilla – mix. Add flour, flax, baking soda, salt and stir until just combined. The dough will be a bit thick but don’t worry! The loaf comes out fluffy. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes (until browned…this will depend upon the size of your loaf pan, they all vary a bit).

*I never have buttermilk so I make it as I go by removing 1 tbsp of the milk called for in the recipe and adding 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Allow it to sit for a minute or so and watch it curdle. That’s how it should be!

I love adding chopped walnuts, or berries to our loaves. They add great flavour, natural sweetness, moisture, fibre and all sorts of vitamins!

If in a time crunch, these make great muffins as they only need to bake for half the time mentioned above. The recipe above yielded eight large and a dozen mini muffins.

Enjoy.

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Munchkin Monday

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Health Nut…Not So Healthy

(This will be at least a two part post. The information abounds and there is so much to digest…pun intended.)

At first glance, this site would tell you much. We are healthy. We like it outdoors – active. We seek to do well.

After a few quick reads, it doesn’t take much to realize that this Mama strays from sugar, winces at wheat, and wants what’s best for the wee ones. Personally, I’ve endured many struggles over the years. Aches and pains, digestion (or lack thereof), eliminating foods from the diet (hence the appreciation and affirmation of lifestyles similar to Paleo and Wheat Belly). However, the energy has always been lower than perhaps it should be. Assuming this to be the result of raising three small and very (!!!) active children, as well as maintaining an active lifestyle and simply being the recipient of one poor digestive system, the near constant pain has been something simply “dealt with” on a daily basis. I have a very high pain threshold.

Are you tired? Does your stomach always ache? Do you wake up each morning wondering how much it will subside? Do you cut out foods you know make it worse? (And feeling somewhat better when you do…but never 100%.) Do you sleep a lot? (Perhaps, do you sleep too much?) Do you take acidophilus every morning? Do you eat well? Do you exercise and drink lots of water?

Me too.

And my insides are not happy.

I can say this now that I have seen them.

Well, sort of.

Last week, a friend and I took an afternoon and headed just over an hour north for appointments made two months ago. We were anxious and excited and simply curious. Our appointments were each for a Photo Comparative Blood Analysis.

Four big words.

And, one little finger prick.

And, five little drops of blood.

And a whole lot of nastiness.

Oh. My. Poor. Body. My poor red blood cells. My poor poor liver. My poor poor gallbladder. My system has been fighting a losing battle on the ph (acidity) front.

This X-ray technician turned Photo Comparative Blood Analyst is incredible. He first certified in 2001 and has been practicing ever since. His passion found roots through the near death journey (due to childhood leukaemia) of his very very sick five year old who should have died but is now a thriving seventeen year old. Not because of western medicine but because of this very intricate study, test, and prescriptions not usual to most of us.

May I take a brief hiatus here and stake my claim in the use of regular, western doctors. I’m not one to book an appointment at the drop of a hat but I appreciate the necessity of a good GP. Also, my faith is first and foremost so no voodoo or witch doctors were involved in any part of this process.

Back to the appointment. My blood was taken, placed under a microscope and examined. It was then projected onto a TV for my very own eyes to admire and question.

Scary.

Details aren’t all required – my business is, after all, my business – but suffice to say there are many organs who have been screaming at me for years. Years, people. (For some nitty gritty, I would be happy to share on a one-to-one basis.) Inflammation, minimal function, toxicity, one organ doing it’s darndest to make up for a lack of productivity on the part of another organ or two, parasites (yes, you read that right), and a host of other concerns.

Are you often tired, he asked. Do you ache, he asked. Are you, not depressed, but do you struggle to be positive at times, he requested. Do you drink Pepsi, he inquired. (It used to be my pop of choice if I were to have one, but I rarely drink it nowadays…and it has a particular chemical which has an effect on the blood that no other soda beverage does. This effect has remained from years ago. No one knows why. Honestly, I don’t want to – it scares me.) A myriad of other questions ensued. Each inquiry pinpointed a physical problem I have fought for years. And these questions, each very specific, were due to what was seen in my blood (or not seen, in the case of majorly lacking minerals).

I will share some of the supplements I am currently taking and will continue to take, until my follow up in a couple of months, through a post next week. For the time being, there have been more foods than I could have ever imagined cutting out, eliminated from my diet. For the time being. 

May I say that after three full days of following his regime, I started to notice a difference. It is now day seven and between temporary dietary restriction and many herbal supplements (did you know you can drink Copper in a liquid form – it tastes like nails), I am a new girl.

No kidding.

I will leave you with this one thought. Several weeks ago I mentioned that a can of pop contains the equivalent of 8 tsp of sugar. We all balked and then kept on our daily routine.

Now read the following (it’s truth) and try walking away unchanged:

One tsp of refined sugar (white or brown) has the same damaging, toxic effect on your liver as does two packs of cigarettes to your lungs. 

Doing the math this means that one can of pop (eight tsp of sugar) is as detrimental to your liver as smoking SIXTEEN packs of cigarettes is to your lungs. 

And to make matters worse, one tsp of white flour is worse than one tsp of refined sugar. 

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Teff On A Budget

It’s no secret. Bob’s Red Mill is wonderful. The products are quality controlled, they are consistent, they are delicious, and they have earned for themselves a fantastic reputation.

Oh – and they are not cheap.

I realize many of Bob’s Red Mill (let’s abbreviate that, shall we: BRM) are harder to find items, several are products which are milled in very small batches and whose original form is costly from the get go. (I’m thinking of products such as almond meal or coconut flour.) Back about a month ago, when on the quest to create great Injera I found myself with no other option but BRM. Our local health food store carried it and I scored it at 20% off and also had a $5 off coupon. I bought the bag for a measly $3 or so. Fast forward a couple of week and several injera starter feedings and I found myself teff-less. (That’s a word, right?!)

I gave it a few days as the clerk’s unpacked the dozens of boxes from the store’s weekly shipment. No teff. They told me to call back the next day as there were still more boxes. They repeated the same song and dance the following day. Truthfully, the thought of $9 (and taxes) per pound bag was a bit of a put off…add to that the labour and the time and then all the accompanying Wat dishes and I was contemplating Ethiopian take-out. Can you blame me?

I gave up. (But still had my starter growing in the fridge!)

Then a friend asked if we had a Bulk Barn in our area. And, what do you know we do. Truthfully, the basic and rustic name is a bit of a put-off to me. Just seems a bit too basic and…I can’t put my finger on it. Entering, however is a whole other story. It’s a bulk and health food haven. No kidding. After a quick online scour I learned that they too carry Teff. And it’s not $9/lb. And the day I went it was even a weekly sale product.

We’ll be eating Ethiopian again very very soon!

It pays to search…if even in those unexpected places.

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Munchkin Monday

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