Monday, March 24, 2014

Smart Balance is Not So Smart

Natural News reports today that Smart Balance spreads are to go non-GMO, however..." it is crucial that health-conscious folks recognize that even non-GMO Smart Balance is inferior to healthy fats like coconut oil, which contain higher levels of beneficial saturated fat, and pasture-based butter and lard for those who choose to consume animal products. Aside from its palm and coconut oil content, Smart Balance is loaded with inflammatory vegetable oils, preservatives and synthetic vitamins, none of which are health-promoting."

Learn more by reading the complete article at Mike Adams Natural News.

Purely Living readers are aware that I have read many books on cancer prevention, healinig from cancer, holistic and alternative health books, newsletters, research papers... etc.  The hydrogenated Omega 6 oils are a toxic poison to the human body, contributing to inflammation, depriving cells of oxygen...and considered to be a major proponent of disease and many of the health issues Americans face today.  Even though plant based ...the process of hydrogenation makes the end product an acidic and non-beneficial compound to ingest in the human body.

Marketing hype falsely leads us to beleive it is a "heart healthy" choice, when there could be nothing further from the truth.  Although my family is primarily dairy free..we do use organic butter when it is rarely used. Primarily, however, we simply use organic healthy fats - coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil. I can't recall the last time I used butter on something.  As in my pancake post yesterday - fruit topping is really all one needs for a spread, or for sandwiches, nothing beats my homemade guacamole!

My family ensures our Omega 3 intake by supplementing to promote overall well-being, mental, joint, and heart health with a VEGAN brand by Arbonn which is very pure and free of ocean pollution - and provides more Omega 3s than 4 salmon steaks! My husband has personally benefited and was able to get off his high cholesterol meds over 3 years ago thanks to this supplement.

Be leery of the marketed heart healthy spreads full of Omega 6, for they will most likely "get you" in the later years. Make sure your Omega 3 intake is greater than your O6, and O9. Read the link to "healthy fats" above for one of my most trusted advisors in health and nutrition - Dr. Russell Blaylock.

May you feel great, look great, and live great through healthier choices!
Rita S.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Gluten Free Teff Pancakes - The BEST pancakes ever!

The first time our daughter had these pancakes she said they were the best she had ever had. My children ask for Teff pancakes often, and my husband, who is not a fan of pancakes, even likes these particular cakes as they are not DRY, as most pancakes tend to be.  Teff pancakes are better than buckwheat, buttermilk or any of the pancakes I have grown up with.  Gluten free - these pancakes are complex carb based and with a few channges, low glycemic in regards to sugar content.  

This recipe is also DAIRY and SOY free - and therefore, it is a most satiating breakfast food for those on the elimination food plan, or those who prefer anti-inflammatory food choices.

I have made this recipe previously, but today am reposting with a few ehancements per my personal preference. I have also cut the recipe in half as I felt like I was forever making pancakes on the griddle with the original. Which is great if you have a large family or want leftover cakes on hand.

The original recipe is from Nourshing Meals and can be found in the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. If you are vegan and want to make the pancakes egg free, explore the Nourishng Meals website for Teff Banana Pancakes - on our list to try soon as well. The cookbook is one I reach for time and time again.

Today's recipe includes "raw-cooked" homemade applesauce. Inspired by Pioneer Woman, I changed it up a bit, using low glycemic coconut sugar. It was so quick and easy to make, I encourage you to make homemade applesauce for your recipe, and perhaps even for topping in lieu of high glycemic maple syrup. Another change from my orignal Teff pancake recipe shared over a year ago, this recipe  adds a splash of apple cider vinegar, which makes the pancakes lighter.

Raw Cooked Homemade Applesauce
1/2 large apple, peeled, cut into wedges
1/2 lemon, juice and set aside
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. raw coconut sugar
1 T. water

To make the applesauce, in a small blender, combine ingredients and blend until fairly smooth. Add a little bit more water at a time if needed, to desired consistency. Small bits of apple are fine.  Let this sit as the lemon juice will help "cook" the apple. Recipe makes approx. 1/2 2/3 c. of applesauce to be used in recipe below. Double the recipe if you would like to top your pancake with applesauce.

Apple-Cinnamon Teff Pancakes
Dry Ingredients:
1 cups dark brown Teff flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoons baking powder*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
Wet Ingredients:
1 cup plain unsweetened almond mlk (we use Silk brand)
2 T. raw applesauce (recipe above)
1 large organic eggs
1 T. melted virgin coconut oil
1/2 tsp. Bragg's apple cider vinegar
1 T. coconut sugar 

Begin to heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Melt the coconut oil in skillet while mixing the dry ingredients, and pour into a small glass prep bowl. You will want approximately 2-3 tablespoons of melted oil. Measure coconut oil for the recipe after it as melted. You may also wish to set your oven to the lowest setting, as this is how I keep pancakes, and plates, warm until all are ready to be served.
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. It is important to blend the dry ingredients well before addng wet ingredients.   In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients together with a whisk, and slowly pour into the dry ingredients, blending well.

With heat set to medium, coat your skillet with coconut oil prior to each cake, if needed. Use a 1/2 cup measure, or soup ladle, to pour the batter onto the pan. Cook for 60 to 90 seconds on one side. As the pancake batter starts to bubble, and edges appear dry,  flip and cook for 30 seconds more. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of oil in between pancakes. Adjust the cooking temp as needed. These pancakes cook up fast so you may want to monitor the temperature, and lower as needed.  Don't be distracted by other tasks.

I mix my pancake batter in the 8 cup stainless steel mixing bowl from Pampered Chef. I love the rubber grip on the bottom.  As the batter is near the end, because the bowl has a pour spout, I can use a rubber spatula to pour all remaining batter on to the griddle. The last pancake always tends to be a bit larger than the rest.

Recipe makes six 6-7" pancakes.

Teff flour has become one of my most favorite gluten free flours, and I will be certain to never let my pantry run out. The grain orignates from Ethiopia and is high in calcium, and vitamin C, which is rare in a grain.  High in resistant starch, the fiber of Teff can help manage blood-sugar, weight control and colon health. If you have been a long time reader of my health journey, you will understand why ALL of those benefits would be of great personal interest to me. You can learn more about Teff from the Whole Grain Council.
Here is to feeling great, looking great, and living great...which is how we can feel when we focus on a lifestyle focused on plant based foods and consumer products that are pure, safe and beneficial.
Rita S.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Honey Whole Grain Gluten Free Bread

I am pleased to announce that I have adapted a recipe originally found in my Whole Life Nutrtion cookbook for our bread maker. We have had our bread maker stored away for several years, since we adopted a primarily gluten free lifestyle.

I have no pictures, yet, as my family and our friends made this bread disappear quickly. It is many thumbs up above anything we have bought at a gluten free specialty bakery.

Honey Whole Grain Bread
Blend dry ingredients with whisk or wooden spoon:
1 c. sweet sorghum flour
½ c. tapioca flour
½ c. almond flour
½ c. Teff flour
¼ c. arrowroot powder
1 ½ t. xanthum gum
1 t. sea salt
½ t. baking soda

Lightly whisk wet ingredients:
1 ½ c. warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)
1 t. whole cane sugar
¼ c. honey or organic agave nectar

1 pkg. active dry yeast (or 2 ¼ tsp.)

Follow individual bread maker instructions for order of ingredients.
This recipe follows West Bend instructions.
Place wet ingredients into bread maker pan. Add blended dry ingredients on top of liquid. Make well in center, add yeast.

Place into breadmaker.
Select settings:
·         2 lb.
·         Basic
·         Light Crust

When signal alert is heard, check to ensure additional dry flour is not needed, or liquid. Add sorghum flour if necessary.
Enjoy this bread fresh, or toasted with a bit of organic butter and sprinkle of cinnamon.  I have not tried making this without honey yet, but I plant to do so for a lower glycemic bread recipe.

To your health,
Rita S.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Do You Want to Lose Weight AND Lose Your Mind?

Recent reports on toxins and trace metals in popular, and trusted, protein  powder brands have been mind blowing.  Some not so surprising, but for Beach fans, this report may be shocking. I have long been of the mindset that although expensive, this brand was of very high quality because the company does avoid artificial ingredients and visible ingredients were beneficial.  Purity of a product, however, is not something that can always be seen. Manufacturers are not required to add trace metal PPMs to their labels, yet, these metals do affect our well being, and long term memory.
More surprising is what Dr. Oz lists as "safe" protein powders. Safe by whom? The manufacturers who produce them? Apparently Consumer Labs is  missing the mark, citing proteins with acceptable trace metals but not taking into account other ingredients that contribute to alzheimers, dementia, heart disease and more.
Reviewing the ingredients of the supposed safe powders you will see hormone disrupting ingredients such as soy, inflammatory ingredients such as carrageenan, and GASP!!  artificial sweeteners such as ASPARTAME and SUCRALOSE!!
Really OZ?  I recommend Dr. Oz click his heels together and invite Dr. Russell Blaylock on to his show so that his viewers can be educated not only about immediate benefits of losing weight, but the longstanding benefits of having mental health. As you age certain ingredients build up in our system, which in turn takes a toll on brain heatlh. Avoiding these ingredients is just as important as avoiding trace metals.
Health Ranger Mike Adams is doing a great job of informing consumers about trace metal toxicities in not only protein powders, but processed foods as well, such as Wheaties. Mike recommends a whey protein, but for me personally - I want to ensure I am consuming primarily an alkaline diet to allow my cells to retain oxygen (fuel for life).
After much research I settled on a vegan protein shake for my family that contans NO lead, mercury, tungsten, cadmium or aluminum. Even though it is vegan it provides all BCAAs, scoring 100% on the amino acid profile. Raw organic/non GMO foods are tested for purity before cold processing. The company has been in business for 34 years and the research and development department is cutting edge, using ingredients for years that are just recently making news as being beneficial.
We have been using this protein shake brand for 4 years. It is pure, safe and beneficial for not only myself, but I trust my children's health with this brand, too. Best of all - they love the taste!
We have all become much more healthy - no Rx or OTC in our home any longer. If you would like to learn more about the brand we have come to trust for our dairy and gluten free needs, give me a shout.

To your health,
Rita S.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Daniel Fast - Is It God's Perfect Eating Plan?

The Daniel Fast is gaining in popularity with Christian believers and fans of Rick Warren.

Currently I am reading/praying/meditating through the Transformation series by Warren, and see that the Daniel Fast is mentioned in week 2. It is being highly recommended as the next small group focus. I am always skeptical of diets - South Beach, Paleo, WW, you name it...and now, the Daniel Plan is brought to my attention.

Three years ago I asked God to direct me in regaining my health, which I did, having lost 80 lbs and maintained, and reversed a number of health concerns. My goal was to restore the Temple of the Spirit, and honor God with my body and choices as a steward of His property. I called it the "Temple Restoration Project", and was successful - becasue God was with me on the journey. It was He who helped me resist temptation. It was He who filled my head with knowledge, helping me to discern fads from long term healthy living choices. It is He who I am able to please, with my own heatlh restored, as I serve others who struggle and sincerely desire to restore their earthly temple for the Indwelling.

 During my journey, which has been continual since 2010, I have read a lot on cancer prevention and foods to avoid, which was just as important as weight loss for me. My husband has also joined me on my health journey. We are  a Rx and OTC free household now, and have been for years - using God's medicines - which is whole food nutrition based on plants. Because of our health we save a lot of money on what we previously may have spent on Rx, OTC, doctor visits - it pays off to shop the perimeter of the grocery store and also compare prices. It may require sacrifice - fewer DVDs purchased or movies. Ask yourself, what is your health priority?

I have NO DOUBT that people will lose weight in their 30 day challenges, or diet plans - because one is making a conscience effort to restrict their diet, caloric intake, thereby losing weight. With or without special supplements, you are going to lose weight.  The BIG question is...will you keep it off? Is the plan you are incorporating a plan that can become a lifestyle ...a habit?

Can you eat Paleo for the rest of your life and live healthily? I question those that incorporate a lot of meat into their daily consumption. Even organic, animal foods are acidic based.  Sure, you will lose weight, have muscle mass...but what is going on in your body on a cellular level? Iron toxicity is real, and builds up in the body...and studies are linking iron toxicity to breast cancer. A primarily meat-eating diet may not manifest until you are in your 60s.  At least Paleons promote organic choices, which is wise.

In reviewing the Daniel Fast....on line recipes, the second one I looked at, contained canola oil, which is a red flag for me. It is not only processed, but genetically modified.  We did not have GMO foods back in the days of Daniel. Whole wheat is listed in a flat bread recipe? Organic? It would be better to list Spelt, a wheat that can be traced back to biblical times - prior to the GMO introduction into our food chain in 1983.

Several foods on the Daniel approved list concern me - in particular soy, whole grains containing gluten, which can cause sensitivities and contribute to health issues and often do not manifest as full blown allergies.
Canola oil, an unhealthy oil (it has been hyped as healthy to create a market for the crop), is listed in a recipe. Canola is an Omega 6 (our ratio of heart healthy O3 to O6 is greatly skewed in this country), it is a heavily genetically modified crop, and the process to make canola oil is far from healthy. Using canola oil does not avoid the chemicals in the food, and avoiding chemicals is a part of the Daniel plan.

We utilize only organic coconut oil and EVOO in our kitchen. If we do use sesame or seed/nut oils they should be freshly ground to avoid free radicals from developing.

Organic fermented soy should be limited to twice weekly as it is naturally high in glutamates, and contributes to thyroid issues and hormonal imbalances. It is also being linked to having an affect on memory as one ages, due to glutamates which build up  as an "excitotoxiin" in the brain, per Dr. Russell Blaylock..

Corn - another major GMO food. Our son is an example of the difference non-GMO can make. We eat pretty clean - and he is 16. Sixteen year old boys eat a lot - so corn chips are gluten free and relatively inexpensive. His acne was prevalent however. I read about the effects of GMO on the skin. We switch to ogranic corn chips and the his skin cleared up dramatically. If teh store runs out of organic (which they do) - the acne worsens.

Canned vegetables are also in Daniel Fast recipes - which may contain aluminum - especially acidic vegetables. I highly recommend buying  canned foods in glass jars whenever possible, tomatoes in particular.

I see that the list is being edited, and I would encourage Daniel Fast writers to look into these concerns and consider altering the approved food list.

For those who need a quality vegan protein powder during the Daniel Fast - I use one that is completely balanced and pure, ie free of trace metals. Because it is cold processed - it is also NOT exposed to the harsh chemicals that protein isolates are usually subjected to in the manufacturing process.  It is gluten, dairy, soy free, AND low glycemic. Quality exists, but it is hard to find. If you click on the orange 5 box" at upper right of my blog it will take you to the site from which we order our vegan protein powder. Feel free to ask questions...a comparison to other proteins (both cost and ingredients is available) and most people choose to shop at discounts. I may consider sending a sample if asked.

There is no doubt in my mind, that the Daniel Fast is a fast of discipline and obedience to the Lord. In that regard - it is a faith based, grounded plan.  Having the Lord join me in my own journey made all the difference in the world between success and failure. Pray earnestly, ask Satan to get behind you when tempted... allow the Spirit to work in you and give you discernment for healthy choices so that you can restore His temple.

All the best to everyone participating in the Daniel Fast - even though I would alter the plan for my personal concerns - any step you make towards incorporating an alkaline based diet will go a long ways to reducing body inflammation and helpiing you become more healthy so you can have the energy to carry out God's purpose in your life.

To your health,
Rita S.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Herbal Tea Sore Throat Remedy

Sore throat? Thought I would share a brew inspired by a combination of  holistic heatlh news, books...ideas from here and there...
I made this a week ago when my 11 year old came down with a sore throat.  Truth? Kids don't like the smell of vinegar. I offered to add more honey, but she told me it would not make the vinegar smell go away.  If this happens to you....don't give up.  What I have noticed is that our daughter is usually resistant at least once to one of my healthy "concoctions", but warms to the idea when she mentally grasps the idea that it can help her feel better sooner vs. later.
Because she rejected my brew...I drank it.  I have to agree, smelling apple cider vinegar in your drink is probably an acquired taste.  I will say that EVERYONE in my household came down with the virus that begins with a sore throat, except for myself.

Brew an 8 oz mug of Arbonne detox tea (which has milk thistle for liver support), ECGC  (potent antioxidant), addtional beneficial herbs, free of trace metals (which can be a challenge to find a pure tea, even organic) - allow the tea to cool.

To the cooled tea add
- 1 T. of Bragg's organic apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 lemon - freshly squeeze juice
- pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
- pinch of ground turmeric
- organic honey or agave nectar to taste
-3 drops Ultra Collodial Silver (kills bacteria)
and/or 2 drops of Essential oil of Marjoram

This brew will soothe the throat, packs a power anti oxidant punch, and helps to kill bacteria. May need to drink several times at day at early onslaught of a sore throat.

One other tip to stay ahead of the cold and flu season... we drink AB Anti Oxidant Immunity Boosters - daily, once someone in our home gets sick.  This virus that has gone through our home in the last two weeks is actually the first time in two years that I can recall anyone being sick for more than 24 hours. I admit, we did run out of our kids vitamin chews and Vitamin D/B12 spray....just long enough for our immune systems to be compromised and allow the virus to take hold.

I guess it pays to do autoship this time of year on certain immune support supplements, but we are back in the game...  If you have a child approved sore throat remedy that is all natural, herbal based I would love to hear it.

To your health,
Rita S.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Colon Cancer Prevention: Part 2

The other day I started a post about colon cancer, and included what studies have found to be causes of the “silent killer”. It is the second most deadly cancer, and my goal today is to help give you ideas on how you might prevent colon cancer through some lifestyle changes. We never appreciate our health until it is gone, so take the information below to heart, and put some thought and reflection into your current lifestyle – are you living to live well?

I utilized a number of sources in pulling together these suggestions – some of it may be old news, some may be new. Here’s to regularity:
1. Fiber Intake  It’s no secret that the American diet lacks fiber. How many of us consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, as recommended? One serving equals one cup of fresh fruit, or a tennis ball sized piece of fresh fruit, or ¼ c. of dried fruit. Dr. Russel Blaylock, a neurosurgen who reports on the latest in holistic cancer research and health news, recommends blenderizing your vegetables. I have found that I can toss frozen cauliflower, broccoli or fresh kale and spinach into my non-soy, vegan vanilla protein shake, with strawberries, and not even taste the “greenies”. 

It is recommended to consume 25-35 grams of fiber per day. One source states women can consume on the low end, and men should be on the high end of that figure. I add 12 grams of soluable Fiber Boost to my protein shake each morning, and actually, since I started putting this article together a few weeks ago I am adding in a bit more. Blaylock does state that all fiber supplements are not necessarily beneficial, and one should look for “resistant starches”. He recommends fiber sources from apple, citrus and lentil peas. Apparently, the pectin from these sources and other fruits, when fermented in the colon produce butyrate, which is vital to the health of the cells lining the colon.

2. Probiotics/Prebiotics/Enzymes A number of studies indicate the importance of healthy gut flora in reducing the risk of colon cancer. Unfortunately, when we take anti-biotics we are killing off our good gut flora as well as the bad. Since our body does not replace probiotics we need to supplement to do so, and find a source that includes a robust strain with prebiotics so it can actually pass through the stomach wall and get into the intestines to do its job. In addition to probiotics and prebiotics, digestive enzymes diminish as we age, and it is important to replace them. A lack of enzymes results in esophageal reflux, and an excess of undigested food in the colon, which increases colon cancer risk.
 3. Omega 3s – studies have shown that a high intake of Omega 3 fats substantially lowers colon cancer risk. The type of fats we consume have a great impact on our chances of developing cancer. Blaylock’s report states that studies have shown that omega-6 fats (corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower, peanut, grapeseed?, and canola oils) dramatically increase the risk of colon cancer, and turn existing cancer cells into very aggressive, metastasizing cancers. Blaylock goes on to state that this is evident in all cancers. Americans consume 50% more Omega 6 than are needed for good health. (Considering that almost all processed foods contain Omega 6 this should not come as a surprise, should it?) I have done some research on the vegan (non-animal) Omega 3 oils in the supplement that my family uses: which contains flax seed oil, and DHA from labortory grown sea algae to insure purity and non-ocean pollutants and contamnation/...the more I learned about benefits the more impressed I became. Our omega 3 is more powerful than 4 salmon steaks, as it has a very high ORAC value. What I do know for certain is our Omega 3s helped my husband get off his statin drugs and our joints feel better as well. Omega 3s are necessary for heart, brain, joint health, as well as cancer prevention. It is the single most important supplement you can take in addition to a QUALITY multi-vitamins. (one a day types don't cut it folks!)

4. MODERATE Exercise – walking weight resistance training, raking the leaves and mowing the lawn are all good forms of exercise. And right now, shovelling snow in Wisconsin!  Highly aerobic exercise, per doctors Lee and Blaylock, increase the free radicals and peroxidation in your body, and neither doctor recommends it, especially for cancer patients and survivors. Aerobic activity increases prolonged increases in metabolism – a process which is a major source of these harmful chemicals. Lee had discussed this in further detail in his book about breast cancer, stating that cancer survivors who compete in triathalons and climb mountains are doing themselves more harm than good. 

5. Diet – Avoid processed foods. Learn to read labels – which scream “Good Source of Fiber” only to be laden with refined carbohyrdrates and fats, which are highly inflammatory.  High fructose corn syrup and MSG abounds in processed foods...contributors to cancer and brain and heart related diseases.
Avoid most vegetable oils – known as omega 6 (N-6). These include corn, safflower, soybean, sunflower, peanut and canola. While Omega 6 are needed for health, most people consume 50x more than as needed (common ingredient in processed foods). Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut Oil should be the oils of choice in the “cancer prevention focused kitchen”. If you cook with EVOO sprinkle turmeric and other spices in the oil, and it prevents oxidation. (I like that last tip!)

Avoid these fish – no matter what due to heavy contamination: shark, swordfish, tilefish, and large tuna.

Red meat in moderation – The biggest issue with red meat is the high iron content, which Blaylock labels “a cancer fertilizer”. Iron dramatically increases free radical generation which fuels cancer growth. Note that it is important to avoid supplements with IRON, as we Americans usually don’t have trouble getting enough iron in our diet, but we often have too much. Dr. Graham Colditz of the Washington University School of Medicine, as well as other experts, state to limit red meat to no more than 3, 3 oz. servings per week. So if you go out to dinner on Saturday night and have a 10 oz. sirloin - you have had your week’s consumption of red meat!

6. Metal toxicity – fluoride, aluminum and mercury are three metals that promote cancer, and Dr. Blaylock states they are very toxic to cells, especially brain cells. Black tea, soy milk, processed meats and processed cheese are high sources of aluminum and fluoride in foods. Mercury comes from fish, dental amalgam fillings, and vaccines. I think we’d be surprised to learn of all things we absorb trace metals from, and it is impossible to avoid it 100%. Keep in mind that although the FDA stamps its approval on many things, and manufacturers will state that amounts are too small to be harmful, trace metals in particular are fat soluable. Basically, these toxins build up as they store inside our bodies. 

For this reason, I really do believe it is beneficial to detoxify at least once every 3 mo. My husband and I both use Essentials 7 Day body detox which cleanses and removes trace metals from essential organs, and is gentle as well. Because it contains chlorella, it can also remove mercury toxins, which few body cleanses can do (i.e. your homemade lemon juice and cayenne cannot remove the trace heavy metals).  If I had cancer, I would be detoxing every month, especially because of the effects of traditional cancer treatment.

For a healthful life it would seem all of the recommendations above would be beneficial life practices to incorporate for a lifestyle of wellness. I always recommend taking the road to renewed health, one step at a time.

To your health!
Rita S.