Today, October 9th is PANDAS/PANS awareness day. This is very interesting to me as autoimmune disorders appear to run through my extended family. One of the strengths of social media (thanks Facebook!)) is that we can now keep in touch much easier to learn about and offer support as these disorders are diagnosed.
Recently, a video I saw on social media caught my attention. I had a few minutes to spare, so listened to Dr. Amy Lee explain why gut health is so important to achieve and how to achieve it. Dr. Lee specializes in internal medicine as well as wellness, nutrition and obesity. Listen to the video and make up your own mind if it makes sense to you.
It made complete sense to me as I have battled with my gut health for years and finally feel that I am in control. I learned the hard way what works for me and what does not. This information may educate you and steer you in the right direction if you too suffer from poor gut health that presents itself in numerous symptoms. Keep an open mind, you may not even realize your gut health is so crucial.
The video did turn out to be an infomercial for a specific product that Dr. Lee is selling, but the information she shared throughout the commercial was interesting. I can attest to the fact that she is bang on about the foods that are bad for your general health. If you have followed any of my previous posts, especially my very earliest ones, you will know that I have suffered for years with the pain resulting from food sensitivities and poor gut health.
Move over apples, the new health axiom is “an avocado a day keeps the doctor away.”
Even though a medium sized avocado adds around 250 calories to your daily intake and 24 grams of fat, the fat is predominantly the “good for your heart” monounsaturated variety. Avocados also lower our “bad cholesterol” or LDL (low density lipoproteins) because they contain high amounts of plant based phytosterols.
Start by incorporating avocadoes into your daily meals. Chopped, pureed, or mashed, use your imagination and avocados for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just be careful what you eat them with (skip the chips). Keeping in mind that a healthy allotment of fat is 65 grams within a daily diet of 2000 calories, simply replace the fats you have been eating for years with avocado. Eliminate the “not so good for you” fats like margarine or butter, peanut butter, oils, and mayonnaise. As well as the heart healthy fat, you will be adding vitamins, minerals and fiber with this substitution.
A recent lung study on the dangers of cleaning supplies came as no surprise to me. You can read it here. Years ago I realized that many common household cleaners bothered my lungs so I quit using them and switched to Melaleuca products.
Melaleuca products are created with plant based (natural) ingredients including tea tree oil (melaleuca) Hence, the name of the product line. Contact me if you want to know more about this wonderful group of products that includes a beauty line, essential oils, bath and body care, nutrition and weight loss. Oh, and cleaning products.
While I was bored this week because it was too hot to garden, I tried a method I found online to remove toxins from my body with a foot bath. Years ago I remember a friend asking me to go with her to some clinic somewhere locally that offered this type of detox. We never did get there, partly because I was skeptical especially because of the price involved. When I saw a home remedy online recently, I thought I would give it a try at home.
The main ingredients (in this version of detox) are salt. Equal parts sea salt and Epsom salts with more baking soda. The “recipe” called for two cups of baking soda, but I did not have that much on hand, so probably used just 1/4 cup. I added a few drops of citrus (you could use any scent you want) essential oil for a nice smell. You add these ingredients to a container large enough to soak your feet in, then add hot water to dissolve the salts. Soak your feet for at least 30 minutes.
That was the difficult part for me, to stay sitting in one spot for that long, especially as the water started to cool off. Always a multitasker, I wrote this post as I was detoxing. The water is supposed to turn dark in color as the toxins are removed from your body through the bottoms of your feet. Here are my before and after pictures…
Although I’m not sure how many toxins this foot bath removed from my body, (the water turned a bit murky but not dark) my feet do feel nice and smooth!
Unfortunately, most people are not aware of what a hospice is until they have the need for one. If you looked it up in a dictionary, a hospice would be described as a home for the terminally ill. While hospitals are known for their goals of restoring health, hospices are geared toward supporting (both psychologically and spiritually) a dying patient and their family.
Years ago I first learned about hospices when my friend was losing her fight with cancer. A few times per week she attended a day hospice where she met with others in similar situations. These outings offered her great comfort. At that time there were no live in hospices in our community. Today we are fortunate to have the newly expanded Ruddy Shenkman Hospice that currently has the capacity for ten live in patients as well as day services.
I volunteer at this hospice on the gardening team. It gives me great satisfaction to help provide a beautiful setting for patients and their families living and visiting there. The gardens that were planted immediately after the construction were pretty boring, not to mention depressing, with rows of shrubs of which many were dead...
I spent a few days removing the dead sticks and replacing them with recycled perennials, then added mulch. Much better…
These beds will look even better in a few weeks when the recycled plants have a chance to get established.
In addition to wheat, asparagus and cream (high fat), eggs bother my stomach, suggesting I am intolerant of them. But only sometimes. I have tried to figure out if it is the way they are cooked (over easy, omelets, scrambled etc), or what they are cooked in (butter, olive oil etc) but have not come up with a definitive answer. Because I am intolerant of wheat, I have even wondered if I am reacting to eggs from grain fed chickens.
I have done some research to see if I could find the answer; here are a few suggestions I came across:
don’t eat eggs on an empty stomach
eat other things with the eggs like toast, home fries etc
cook them well (over easy used to be my favourite)
drink something carbonated with them
don’t cook them in butter
I have not tried the carbonated trick yet, but carbonation is not my friend either so I probably won’t. My last attempt at consuming eggs was in an omelette, with just a bit of olive oil to coat the pan, but a few hours later the omelette went right through me with accompanying stomach cramps and diarrhea.
I ate it by itself though, with no toast on the side, and on an empty stomach, so I may have my answer.
Many specific diets have come and gone in popularity over the years. We have had the Atkins, Nutrisystem, Bernstein, Zone, Weight Watchers, Mediterranean, South Beach, Raw Foods diets and more. Some are long gone, others still around. The Paleo diet, short for Paleolithic, (think cave man era) is based on what our ancestors supposedly foraged for and lived on centuries ago. I say supposedly because which one of us was around to confirm the info?
It is not that difficult to realize that all the additives, preservatives and other highly processed and or hydrogenated ingredients were not around back then. The Paleo diet urges people to eliminate such items from their meal plans. That includes salt sugar and artificial sweeteners, iodized (table) salt, omega sixoils (unrefined, organic coconut, olive, flaxseed, and avocado are allowed because they are omega 3s), dairy (except butter and ghee which are allowed.)
Beans and legumes (with the exception of green beans and snow peas) are not allowed on a Paleo diet either because they are (for most people) hard to digest. The same applies to starchy vegetables like white potatoes (sweet ones are allowed in moderation) corn and squash, as well as all (even gluten-free) grains. Grains are taboo because of the lectins they contain that trigger allergic and autoimmune responses as well as leaky gut syndrome.
Meats allowed on the Paleo diet are grass fed, pasture raised and organic. Fish choices should be wild or farmed under responsible conditions. Eggs should be free range. Most nuts (except peanuts because they are legumes not nuts) and seeds are allowed too.
This diet is supposed to prevent and eliminate immune responses and many disease states, including cancer. I must admit, other than eliminating dairy (cheese is a personal weakness) beans and gluten free grains like brown rice and quinoa (actually not a grain, but included in that category) my current choice of diet follows these Paleo choices very closely. These choices came from figuring out (over many years) what works (and doesn’t work) for my body. Go figure, here I thought I was unique!
I would love to share my recipes for home made soup. If I had any. I used to make soup for my mother in law years ago. Her only complaint was that I could never produce a recipe for the different varieties. I was just reminded of this dilemma when my daughter in law asked for the recipe for my last batch of home made soup.
Since I was diagnosed with a sensitivity to wheat, I put much more emphasis on ensuring the ingredients I use for my soups (and any other cooking and baking) are completely natural and healthy. No preservatives or artificial ingredients are allowed in these recipes. This is also particularly important if you are sharing your soup with friends or family undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
Most of my soups are meat based, but you could make them to your specific dietary needs or preferences. Here are a few tips.
store large bones from chicken and turkey dinners in ziplock bag in your freezer
also store pan drippings and liquid from vegetables in the freezer. I use a plastic bucket for this purpose and just keep adding to the contents. Don’t be afraid to mix the different meats and vegetables , the mixture adds unique flavor to your soups. As soon as your contributions cool off, the fat will rise to the top and create a layer. You should scrape of this layer (it comes off easily) before you add another one.
On soup making day, place the bones in a large pot, fill the pot with water and simmer for several hours.
Add garlic cloves, a chuck of ginger root and or turmeric (the stuff curry powder comes from), bay leaves or any other seasonings large enough to remove easily. You can use powdered forms at a later stage if you don’t have the fresh stuff handy. I have also added broccoli stalks (frozen, stored in freezer like the broths) at this stage.
After a few hours, remove the bones and seasonings, set aside to cool.
Next add frozen chunks of broth you have stored in the freezer. You now have your base.
When your bones have cooled, pick off any meat from them and add them to the pot. Crush any softened garlic, ginger, adding to the pot. Discard bay leaves if used. Puree or chop broccoli stalks if used. If you are using powdered spices like ginger, garlic, curry powder etc, add it now.
This is the time to add rice, quinoa or barley for added nutrients and chunkiness.
Add vegetables and or legumes. Cherry or grape tomatoes, beans, frozen corn are my favourites. When using beans, I do use canned, but the “no salt added” kind. I rinse them really well before adding to the soup.
If you prefer creamy as opposed to chunky soups, you could puree everything at this stage.
Add salt (I use pink Himalayan) and or pepper to taste.
Add milk (I use almond milk) if your soup is too chunky or thick.
Don’t be afraid to mix up your variations. I prefer the hearty, chunky varieties with lots of ingredients, but others prefer simple broths. I also like lots of garlic and ginger, but reduced these ingredients in my last batch so I could share some with my breastfeeding daughter in law.
If you like to record your recipes (and you might if you share your concoctions) write down what you have added. For some reason, I never think to do so.
Is the power of vinegar an old wives’ tale or a well known fact? Vinegar is basically acetic acid and as such makes an effective and inexpensive cleaning agent. I must admit, being very aware of and sensitive to TOXINS, I do use extra strength (10%) plain white vinegar for many things. Here are a few of the uses:
drain unclogger (with baking soda)
laundry cleaner (disinfects) and softener
weed killer, but be aware that it is non-selective meaning it will kill your grass too, so is best used between patio stones etc
Apple cider vinegar (ACV), made from fermented apples, has the benefits of acetic acid as well as enzymes, magnesium, probiotics and potassium. It has become more popular recently as a dietary aid and home remedy to:
That is an impressive list of benefits for both white and apple cider vinegar. White vinegar can be used as a cleaning agent directly from the bottle. Apple cider vinegar should be diluted before use. To drink it, add one or two teaspoons to an eight ounce glass of water. As a weight loss remedy, drink it before meals. Rinse your mouth after drinking to prevent erosion of enamel from your teeth. There are other adverse side effects of apple cider vinegar too, especially if consumed in excess.
So dig out those bottles of vinegar from the back of your pantry and put them to work as non-toxic cleaners and home remedies.
Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca