Thursday, January 27, 2011

Goin' Nuts for Protein Bars!

Today I thought I would share an awesome protein bar recipe. I reviewed a couple of other recipes and came up with this very nutty version, infused with almonds, which are a great source of magnesium. Magnesium is essential for proper calcium absorption and is deficient in most American diets.

I hope to have a photograph to add soon, but at the moment our desktop PC has caught a viral infection and is scheduled for a doctor appointment soon. If only we could pour AB Anti-oxidant and Immunity Booster into our hard drives to help give the anti-virus software a boost in protection against computer cancers! (LOL)

The bars below are perfect as snacks for the entire family. They contain no white sugars or carbs, and are digested much more slowly by your inner workings - which is a very good thing.  As a mom, it gives me peace of mind to know exactly what is in my kid's granola bars. The bars contain both fiber and protein, and are therefore quite satisfying. If you find you have a crazy night of meetings, sports and are a family on the go - make up these bars, wrap them individually and store in the refrigerator. Grab several on the way out to basketball practice, a board meeting, or what have you - to get you through the evening.

Although I personally try to avoid snacking mid-day (I try to avoid sending out insulin, which stores fat - this happens every time you eat) - if you find you are having a snack craving, these protein bars are a much healthier alternative than something else that might be tempting you.  No baking is involved - they whip up quite quickly! I found my oat products in the bulk food section at Copp's, or Willy Street - many grocery stores  now offer bulk food options. It is a great source for nuts (look for unsalted, raw is best), and organic grains.

Vanilla Nutrageous Bars by Rita Shimniok
In a microwave safe dish combine:
2 c. organic almond butter
1 3/4 cup agave nectar or honey (start with 1 1/4 c. and add if needed to pull dry ingredients together)
1 T freshly squeezed orange juice (optional)

Mix following dry ingredients in large bowl:
3 cups organic rolled outs
1 cup steel cut oats
3 scoops Arbonne Fit Vanilla Protein Powder
1 scoop Arbonne Daily Fiber Booster
1 T (heaping is good!) good quality cinnamon
1/2-1 cup finely chopped nuts (I used approx. 1/2 cup each cashews and pecans)
3/4 c. sliced almonds, set aside

In microwave safe dish measure out almond butter and liquid sweetener - warm for about a minute on 3/4 power to create a more liquid consistency. Stir in orange juice if desired. Pour into bowl of dry ingredients using sturdy wooden spoon to stir and blend until well mixed. Set mixture into a stoneware pan or glass dish, and use spoon to flatten out in pan. Pat sliced almonds on-the-go snack or meal.

To your health!
Rita S.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Additional Resources To Come

HAPPY FRIDAY ALL! First, I want to be sure that you are invited to several opportunities taking place over the next few days. Tomorrow, Saturday at 2 pm - I will be teaching a class on cancer prevention, based on studies and information from several pioneering doctors in the field of alternative medicine. I do not claim to be an expert, but I have been studying this topic in a desire to avoid going down the cancer road myself, and I sincerely wish to share the information with all my friends so that you can make decisions for your life, not based on ignorance, but on knowledge. Knowledge is power, and knowledge can prevent AND heal. Contact me if you would like to attend the event in Cross Plains, or we can communicate by other means if you are long distance. Because I believe so strongly in taking charge of your own health - I will meet with anyone at their convenience if you cannot attend.
Weight loss and overall well being - important steps of preventing cancer for certain. On Monday and Tuesday evenings I will be giving two classes in my home to discuss nutrition and wellness for the new year. It is amazing how great I feel with changes I have made in my life these past 6 months, and I would love to see everyone greet each morning feeling absolutely refreshed and great! Again, contact me for more.
Some changes to this may notice I have added more resources. A few more links under Cancer Hopes - to help those of you already on this journey in finding information, resources that can help you BEAT cancer. Never give up. Think outside the box of conventional medicine. From the stories I have read - cancer is never a death sentence if you take charge of your own health. Your doctor needs to be ON your team and support you, no matter which form of treatment or combination thereof you decide upon. Before jumping on the chemo bandwagon - take the time for a test that can tell which chemo treatment drug is going to give you the most positive response. Most conventional doctors are not even aware that chemosensitivity testing is available.
Book recommendations - you can see I added a list to my sidebar. I have read many, but not all. Part of the list are books recommended as further reading in resource listings found in the back of the books I read. At least if I include them on my own blog - it gives me a reference for when I am looking to read my next book.
Recipes - be patient with this one. My plan is to include links to healthful recipes for those who wish to join me on a weight-loss journey. I have started a search for recipes that are also considered "clean food" or contain ingredients/foods approved in the 28 Day Jumpstart program. I hope to have links live by mid-February at latest. My hopes is to form a small community that encourages one another as we pursue our 2011 journey to a fit and more healthful new yeaer!

To your health,
Rita S.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Essentials for Your Health

Lots of excitement today....AB released their new Daily Essentials line - and I am excited to report that the cost of taking your daily vitamins and supplements has come down, as well as the number of supplements per day per pack to only 5. Even a non-pill swallower like me can handle that!
The new cost for the 30 day supply of multi-vitamins is $99 - which means that new preferred clients who spend $150 retail ($120 actual cost) can get the Essentials multi vitamin packs for absolutely free as their "welcome to Arbonne" freebie!!  I am positive people will see a huge difference in their well being if they take their supplements every day for 30 days, what a great way to try them out!
I know of people who take 66 supplements a day, and spend several $100s a month. I cannot imagine taking that many pills. In fact, last night as I was taking my "Get Well Soon" supplements to ward of the evils of a very sick boss coming into work yesterday, I had a gag reflex I haven't had in a long time. No doubt I have inherited by mother's anti pill reflex. She will be glad to learn that a 3 oz. liquid formula of an immune booster has been formulated - packed with superfruit and such. For anyone going into the hospital for surgery, especially elderly, I can think of no better gift to help them ward off the many bacteria and viruses one can succumb to during a hospital stay, than the gift of the immune booster supplement, which should be taken weeks before a hospital stay. I remember my mother's last two surgeries resulted in months of stomach illness afterwards, including the retro-virus, which took a lot out of her.
Another new product is a supplement for women in the stage of menopause. I will be interested to learn what sets it apart from PhytoProlief, and if the two products are synergestic. I checked out the ingredients of the new calcium supplment and right away and noted that those who formulated the supplement were right on top of things, per the doctor's newsletters I have been reading. Best doesn't have to swallow 12 tablets a day as recommended on the bottle of the SP calcium brand I have.
In a perfect world no one one would need to take supplements. We would gather all we need from our gardens and fields, hunt, pick, etc. But the truth of the matter is, our food supply is not any where near the quality it was during biblical times. Big business has messed with the quality, additives harm our bodies and make us crave more junk food, and our food supply can even make us very ill. In many respects we have not "come a long way", but indeed have regressed due to our desire for speed, convenience and money.
The more I read the more I realize that standardized supplements are a must if we want to do all we can to avoid becoming another statistic of big industry and big pharma.  Here is a bit of vitamin trivia for you today...
Chocolate cravings are indicative of magnesium deficiency. Our body cannot absorub calcium without magnesium.
Restless leg syndrome is typically a sign of deficiences in vitamins B and G, the latter of which is another form of vitamin B, also known as riboflavin.

I thought the last bit of trivia was interesting as a friend from work was telling me his wife suffers from it and has to go to bed very early everynight as she cannot sit down, and doesn't want to continuously stand.
To your health!
Rita S.

Monday, January 17, 2011

28 Day Jumpstart - Overview Notes

The other day I listened to Ti Caudron's audio overview of the 28 day jumpstart program, and wrote down some key points I thought rather interesting. if you are interested in cambiati, which translates to lifestyle change, you may wish to listen to the overview yourself. Like reading the bible, people are at different places in their journey, whether spiritual or healthful living, so I may not have a note on something that could be key for your own situation. Make sense?
I will simply list my notes in bulleted fashion and not fill in with my thoughts and extraneous words, which may be too much to digest right now. I am always open to discussing these things in person. I find it all quite fascinating and am excited to talk about it.
Overview points:
  1. Eat clean food - what would be hunted and gathered. (This is based on the work o Dr. Loren Cordain, who wrote The Paleolithic Diet. For those with autoimmune system disorders, such as MS, IBS- symptoms subside during the program as it brings the body back into complete hormonal balance.)
  2. Many people consume food and beverages that trigger reactions in the body. Pull these foods out to start with a clean slate. You can then add things back in, one at a time, being aware of how you feel.
  3. No calorie counting - the goal is to ensure we consume total optimal nutrition.
  4. Mindset is key - simple to overcome poor eating habits if you understand the whys. You need to commit to your own body as you would commit to your child when you tell them you will pick them up after school
  5. Move toward optimal body composition.
  6. Your gut is part of the nervous system. If it is inflamed, and you remove foods that cause the inflammation, you reduce inflammation in your brain as well.
  7. Detox and cleanse. Unplug from habits that don't serve us - not bringing in foods that clog our pipes and take in very nourishing foods. Liver is a garbage disposal of the body - it processes excess hormones, vitamins, eliminates toxins, etc.
  8. Toxins are stored in fat - boy's way of protecting organs from toxins. People following the program decrease fat mass - the fat cells are excreted and releases toxins.
  9. 20% of what you do gives you 80% of the results. If you think you're doing well find little things that bring you down.
  10. It takes 21 days to form a  new habit - it takes that long to break the brain from routine.
  11. For some people, eliminating foods your body is allergic to may cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches - the body will seize the opportunity to detoxify itself and you will feel better in a few days.
  12. Exercise for 12 minutes a day - positive effect on the body and encouraged - find something that makes you feel good, not worn out.
I said I wasn't going to elaborate and make this a long thread, but I want to add to #4.  When I read Dr. Lee's book on breast cancer and really began to understand how food is processed in my body - it was that information which made me determine to cambiati, aka develop a lifestyle change.
The 28 day program is not for life, but through it we will feel better than we maybe have in years. It is highly unlikely you will digress afterwards, to all of your old eating habits. Once you experience feeling good, why would you want to return to a life of fatigue, pain and whatever other symptoms you may currently experience. You purchase clean foods yourself - we could have a shopping party! "Easy buttons" are available for those who need the convenience.
It will be a bit yet before I am ready to commit to the Jumpstart program. Let me know if you are interested. I am thinking that locally, we could form a support group.

To your health!
Rita S.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Debunking a few diet myths

I once heard you should learn something new everyday. I am certain that keeping one's mind active is key for long term mind health - or at least I hope it is! (LOL) I love researching and learning, no matter what my current passion. Anytime I embark on something new I tend to throw myself into it, fully.
I am very interested in the Cambiati Wellness 28 Day Jumpstart to healthy living program. On their web site I found a video clip, which debunks a few diet myths. I actually learned some VERY important things from this news interview clip with nutritionist Ti Caudron, who is also the cheif  inspiration officer of Cambiati Wellness and took some notes to share with you.
Myth – if you burn more calories than what you eat you will lose weight. That only works for a few people some of the time.
Truth - Muscle builds metabolism and metabolism is what helps you lose weight. When you partake in cardio exercise, you are using muscle as energy, and burning muscle mass. In other words, you are burning your fat burning machinery, aka: burn off your muscle and you burn off your metabolic booster. Ti suggests shorter, intense workouts mixed with resistance exercise.
Myth – A number of small meals each day (every 2-3 hrs) with healthy snacks is the best way to lose weight. (If memory serves correctly Dr. Oz just said something to this effect recently.)
Truth – Per Caudron, everytime you eat a hormone called insulin is released in your body. Insulin helps your body which helps cells use what you eat to create energy, but insulin also stores fat. So if you eat frequently throughout the day, even if it is a healthy green apple or a few almonds, your body is storing fat. The more small meals you eat, the more fat poured into fat stores. Instead, eat a complete and satisfying hormonally balanced meal every 4-6 hours to remain full and satisfied until your next meal. Always stop eating 3 hours before going to bed so your insulin can go down and you can burn more fat while you're sleeping.

Even though I did well with my own healthstyle change – this is where I err’d at the end of 2010. We received a delicious case of fruit from the HS band program – and I was taking an orange or grapefruit with me to work each day to eat between 2-3 p.m. Not that I was hungry, but I felt I was eating something healthy that would make me not eat much for dinner in a couple hours. Having learned how insulin works, I will now starting have a fruit directly after having my salad for lunch, sort of like dessert. This way my body is sending out the insulin “soldiers to collect fat” only once instead of twice. Again, adults eating in between meals releases fat.

If you work out within an hour of waking up, drink some water which will wake your body up. You have glycogen (energy stored in your legs) to get you going, and then your body will pull into your fat stores for fuel during the workout. If you eat something BEFORE going to the gym, again, you are just calling on your body to produce insulin, and in essence store fat.
You can find Ti's list of dieting myths and debunkingness :-) here at this link.

Speaking of insulin, when I typed insulin into the search engine of the Virginia Hopkins web-site Dr. Lee has an article on the newest disease of the millennium – Metabolic Syndrome.
An excerpt from the article reads: “Excess glucose (from sugar and carbohydrates) in the bloodstream, raises insulin levels which increases androgen (male hormone) levels in women. In plain English this means that if you eat excess sugar and carbs you’ll make excess male hormones. This was underscored in a Johns Hopkins study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in September 2004 which showed that women with metabolic syndrome have high androgen levels.” The article is quite interesting. Click on the link and chew on that.

If you have been reading my blog you already know how much I have praised green tea for all its benefits. In this same article I found a list of additional reasons to LOVE green tea- or learn to love it. Put a couple drops of agave nectar in your cup if you need to sweeten it. I find the AB Detox tea to be sweeter then most. In Lee's article, at the bottom, I learned yet something else new - I had no idea green tea can reverse cavities. I am liking that, especially since I question the safety of the flouridated mouth rinses. The credit for list below goes entirely to Lee from the Virginia Hopkins Healthwatch site.
One more thing, KNOW WHAT YOU EAT. Eating food that has hormones (chicken, beef) can make you gain weight. The hormones are GROWTH hormones – to lose weight you need to know your food source and quality. Of course I emailed the company, Fosters, that makes the chicken breast strips I use in my salads. It states hormone free, but I need to also clarify that it is MSG free before I recommend it to my clients, or continue eating it myself (since MSG not only kills brain cells, causes Alzheimers, etc. – but also makes people gain weight). I will keep you posted on their response.

Another day, learned something new - I hope you did too.
To your health!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


As I type the continuation of my weight loss journey - my husband has just removed chocolate chip/macadamia nut cookies from the oven. Uggghhh!! I will not resist - it has been a busy day and I haven't eaten much.
Today it's time for some new pictures. I guess these photos are my AFTER for now, but by my birthday at the end of March they better become my befores! My goal is to lose another 27 lbs. by then - and THEN I will celebrate and shop for clothes!!

On November 8 I weighed in on the usual scale at  216 lbs. (down 30 lbs. from my last visit to the in-laws scale).  As a refresher from my previous post, a photo of myself from July is underneath.
Throughout the holidays I was determined to behave, despite holiday treats in abundance. A friend brought home baked goods, and could not completely refrain, enjoying chocolate covered peanut clusters and ate one sugar cookie. Mostly my portions were small at dinners and I stuck with my morning shake and salad for lunch. While celebrating with my husbands family on the eve of Dec. 24 th I weighed in – 208 lbs. I had lost another eight, which surprised me some.
Through all of this I figured my mother-in-law's scale must have something wrong with it. Or maybe I had some horrific disease to explain such a weight loss, without exercise, I might add. I pondered this one afternoon and decided that since I had made a healthstyle change, and was being intentional, that I wasn't dying of anything.
On Dec. 28 I had my first physical in three years. I confirmed the balance beam scale I had been using was indeed working, as I weighed 206 lbs. at the clincic. I was thrilled to have lost two more even with holiday meals!
My doctor was thrilled with my weight loss. She said for a woman my age to lose the amount I had, I may as well double it for the health benefits I will gain. In 2010 I dropped two clothing sizes. My doctor had always told me not to watch the scale, but the clothes. In 2011 my goal is to lose 30-40 more. Time to add in exercise!!
I weighed in this morning, after brunch with the in-laws, I might add, and am currently 202 lbs. Let it be known that the next time I hop on that scale, I will be 199 or less. I may have to go wild with an extra sprinkle of Feta cheese on my salad. But for now, I AM going to have just ONE of those cookies, fresh from the oven, while they are still warm. Then...onto the exercise mat to work it off!


Fast forward...Easter 2010. We don't have a scale in our home, so when we visit my in-laws I invariably hop on my mother-in-laws balance beam type scale. I weighed in, before dinner, of course.
I was appalled ...the large weight was already on 200, and the small weight was moved further and further until the beam centered. Totally disgusted with myself weighing in at 264 lbs.! I realized how close I was to 275, and that soon I would be a hundred pounds heavier than my husband if I did not stop the total disregard for my body. The thought of being a 300 lb. person was sobering.
I felt I hid it very well. Maybe I carried a lot of water weight - I had no idea I had gained that much. I had not weighed myself since the previous holiday. I had had to increase my pant size since having my newer 8 hours at a desk job, and put that off as long as possible.
Still, just a little commitment.
I committed to having a donut at max, once per week. Latte - Fridays only. I decided to eat more fresh produce. Consume smaller portions. Although I always have a large water bottle, I needed to make sure that I emptied my 32 oz. bottle at least once a day. I found large tubs of organic baby spinach at Costco and would split the tub with a friend, since my family are not huge fans of salads/greens.
Procrastination ensued.
Yes, little changes made. Slight deprivations. But that's alright, I told myself, "no sense in getting serious until after summer vacation in July." At left is a vacation photo of me with my Titanic ticket while at the COSI in Columbus, Ohio.
In 2010 two friends were diagnosed with cancer and it seemed I was getting at least one prayer request a month to pray for another newly diagnosed. Cancer was ticking me off. I wanted to take the tidbit I had been given about xenoestrogens and investigate further. I wanted to find out how hormone balance had a part in all of this, not just with cancer, but with depression, fibromyalgia, PMS, and a whole slew of things that can make life not so pleasant. I spent the summer reading much. A book was recommended to me...Dr. John Lee's book, "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Pre-Menopause". I began to see how the world in which we currently live affects our health. The choices we make, whether it is cosmetics or skincare with harmful ingredients, to fumes, chemicals - the xenoestrogens that make our body estrogen dominant, a precursor for cancer.
Things were mentioned in this book that steered me into another of Lee's books, "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer". I read this book while on our summer vacation road trip. I'll be frank, this book scared the he-- out of me. I do not want cancer. Period. Not that I am afraid of dying, indeed I look forward to that glorious day and being reunited with loved ones. But I have seen what cancer can do to the body. I lost one of my dearest friends to prostrate cancer, and I wanted to learn more about bio-identical hormones and how progesterone could be a life saver. I learned much about the importance of hormone balance for a healthy body. However, I may have learned more about nutrition - and how food is processed within us. The nutrition chapter explained so vividly, but in a manner I could understand, told how cells feed on what we take into our bodies whether it be through food, skin lotions, the air we breathe. Health is a balancing act - and it is up to us to be proactive for our own bodies sake.
The book explained what happens to cells when we eat table sugar, and how white flour products are recognized by the body as an equivalent to table sugar. It explained how messages are sent to the DNA and how cells react to what they receive. Guess what feeds cancer cells (which we all have in our bodies?) - SUGAR! All it really takes is the wrong chemical or diet to wake up those cells, among other wake up calls such as radiation, HRT, drugs, etc. Not only that, but fat cells are the "closets" for cancer, and it was clear the  more fat I had the greater the risk... I needed to shed "cancer storage units".
Greater commitment.
I saw evil in the white buns that accompany fast food restaurant sandwiches. It was easy to avoid the local frozen custard joint. I began to look at food with new knowledge. With my new found knowledge, I could envision how eating a certain type of food would send negative and potentially dangerous messages to my cells. I envisioned my inner workings communicating when tempted by frozen custard... visioning is a powerful tool in any weight loss journey.
I began to envision myself getting back into a favorite red dress of pre-childbirth years. Okay, I don't have that dress any longer, but I looked darn good in it. I could buy a new red dress someday if I chose. CJ Banks is one of my favorite clothing stores - quality clothes for larger women, awesome sales. I had journeyed into the sister store one day, Christopher and Banks, next door, and found non-plus size tops I would love to wear...and vowed I would be shopping in that store within a year.
Getting more serious. Time for research.
I knew I could not lose weight through sheer will power and meal changes. Mornings were hectic - I had no time to scramble eggs, cook bacon (not really that bad for you), and eat sprouted toast. What the heck is sprouted toast anyhow?! I needed convenience, but not cold cereal and not a cinnamon roll from the Kwik Trip.
Protein shakes. What is truth? Research. Just because my new business offered protein shakes did not mean I would just consume without looking into it. I heard too many negatives about soy based, as well as whey. I understood the proteins used in the AB shake mix are rice protein, cranberry and pea protein...but what else is in there and is it good for me?
I had subscribed to newsletters by neurologists, nutritionists...I devoured information (but it didn't make me more skinny). (LOL) I read about supplements and ingredients that are beneficial, and began comparing the AB ingredient list, and decided the scientists and nutritionists behind the formulation really knew what they were doing. I was skeptical of the word fructose in the ingredient list, even though natural - articles warned protein shakes are often packed with fructose to make them taste good. I e-mailed the company, and found out fructose quantity was equivalent to the juice from one green apple. I questioned the ingredient "soy lecithin" (oh no, not soy!) and learned it is NOT a soy protein. Soy lecithin, it turns out, is a binder and emulsifier. Lecithin is great for the brain, and is a supplement many people find useful for balance. Satisfied, I ordered the AB Go Easy! Protein Shake powder in vanilla and fiber booster, along with the colon cleanse supplement. Choosing the vanilla powder formula, I knew it would be easy to add fruit and other foods to help change up the flavor so I would not get bored.
It was August. Commitment time. In hindsight, as I type this, I regret not having an updated start weight and before photo picture taken. If you ensure on a weight loss journey - take a BEFORE picture. You don't have to show it to anyone, but you will regret it later on when you are successful. I looked back through every single photo folder from 2010. I enjoy photography - so there are lots of pictures! Any photo with me in it has me strategically positioned behind something. A full length photo of my person could not be found - I have been very careful to avoid being in a photo these past few years. A friend found a picture of me on their pontoon boat from August, at left.
In summary, my morning breakfast was an AB protein shake, usually blended with blueberries, 3 strawberries, and pro biotic plain organic yogurt as suggested by Dr. John Lee in one of his books. With the fiber powder added my breakfast shake is so filling that I often had to remind myself to eat in the afternoon. Lunch is a spinach salad with chicken breast strips, and my own balsamic/EVOO dressing - of which the recipe is found in my archives. Snacks include some nuts (not peanuts, unsalted - I love almonds), and apple or citrus. Did I swear off all sweets and chocolate? No. If I was really good for an entire week I would reward myself on Friday with a bit of dark chocolate, or maybe a bakery with my Friday morning mocha latte. Deprivation can make one resent a diet, in my opinion. However, I hesitate to use the word diet, because in reality I made lifestyle changes... perhaps "healthstyle" is a better word. Breakfast, the most important meal of the day was  always healthy and took about 2 min total to make and take, with the aid of a Ninja blender I bought after researching and reading reviews.
Dinner is whatever my husband made, and although he tries to be mindful of my new food choices, time, food on hand and children come into play. If pasta (wheat only) was made I would eat a small portion, which was not difficult as I would often eat my lunch salad at 1:30 or 2 p.m. Regarding lunch, my salads were generous. I now easily consumed a 1 lb. tub (454 grams) of fresh spinach a week - basically 1/5 lb. of spinach in each salad.
In September I had a meeting in my in-laws town and stopped by to use their scale. On September 15 I weighed in at 246 lbs.  I was thrilled. I don't know my exact weight when I became serious in August, but I do know that I had transposed two numbers from my April weigh in and was down 18 lbs.
The clothes had become more and more loose. Having to move the weight on the balance beam further and further left was a great thrill! I was empowered and more determined than ever to continue, perhaps even become a little more strict and not succumb to my family's desire for Sunday morning donuts after worship. My vision was beginning to become a reality.
Next installment...current photos!

Friday, January 14, 2011


My weight loss journey began years before 2010. It began with words by a child, guilt, feelings of being dishonorable to God, considering that our bodies are His temple and the Holy Spirit indwells. Lastly, it was fueled by a book.
It's a journey taken previously - when I had to lose weight to be considered an acceptable parent by the Korean government in the adoption of our daughter. They did not want parents of newly adopted children keeling over from a heart disease. I had great motivation prior to 2002, and I focused on that baby every time I was on the treadmill, determined to be "acceptable" by the time she arrived. I made it, but not by much. I would love to put my hands on the journal I kept, tracking my success. Even coming in under the Korean government's allowance did not mean I was physically fit. I had made no lifestyle change. Every waking moment filled and the weight returned.
When our son was 8 or 9 he discovered the joys of laser tag. He and his dad went, I stayed home with our young daughter. He was very excited though, and I will never forget his words..."Mom, do you think you can lose some weight so that you could go with us sometime and not hurt your back?"  Kyle knows of my back surgeries. He is aware that certain movements required in laser tag could be an issue for me. I appreciated his concern for my back, but what resonated with me was his voice, almost pleading, that I would lose weight to share his enjoyment. Let the guilt begin...
Still, no commitment.

I recalled a message heard in worship about five years ago, talking about how we are God's temple and how not caring for that temple is sinful...behaviors were pointed out, and of course it is easy to justify that surely my being overweight is not as bad as those who smoke and overly indulge in alcohol, right? Wrong! Those words resonated with me as well.
Still, no commitment.My life became more sedantry. In 2008 I began working full time - where I sit at a desk for practically 8 hours a day. I had not had such an inactive job for 10 years. I then went home and spent the night scrapbooking to meet team deadlines, publication calls, and spent time on the computer. There was no time to exercise. I stayed up way too late meaning I would have a donut and coffee from the local Kwik Trip the next morning for a quick pick me up. Conveniently across the street from my work, I could end up eating bakery 3-4 times a week.
I heard about the "Million Pound Challenge" on my favorite radio station, WNWC. I thought to myself, yeah, I should do that.
Still, no commitment.
End of spring 2010...
Stay tuned...tomorrow I plan to take some after pictures to share, and will continue my story.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Green Tea - More Than A Healthy Habit

I believe I may have already posted two times or so about the benefits of green tea...what can I say - the  more I learn the more benefits I am discovering!
The more it’s subjected to scientific scrutiny, the better green tea looks as a health tonic. The Chinese and Japanese consume it as much or more as Americans drink coffee—it’s a staple of both cultures. Here’s a list of its beneficial effects, just based on recent research published in major journals:
•Prevention and treatment of cancer
•Reduction of blood pressure
•Protects the brain and nervous system from oxidation and excitotoxins
•Reduces cavities
•Improves cholesterol profiles
•Helps clear arteries

Getting your green tea in one of those awful corn-syrupy bottled drinks will probably negate its benefits. You can buy green tea in loose leaf form, or in bags. Keep in mind that, again, you get what you pay for. Often teas manufactured in convenience bags are made with Findings & Dust - which simply means that you are not getting much ECGC in your tea - which is one of the top anti-oxidants. Know how your tea is made. AB's Detox tea does come in the convenience of bags, but is tea leaves, and as well milk thistle is included which is essential for liver support. Try your tea plain, or add a drop or two of agave nectar if you prefer sweetened tea. Drink it hot, or brew your tea, allow it to chill and serve over ice for a refreshing, cool drink. One thing I have noticed about the Detox tea, even if you leave your tea bag in accidentally, you do not get a bitter tasting tea, as I have experienced with some other, not inexpensive green teas. Because it is caffeine free, it is the perfect cup to soothe and relax you after a  hard day.
Drink green tea for your heatlh!
Rita S.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Beware of Soy

Beware of soy protein products, especially if you have a history of cancer, or it runs in your family. Although the food industry touts the benefits of soy, and indeed it became quite a good cash crop while I was growing up in the country - the fact of the matter is, we do not eat like the Japanese.

When you consume tofu or other fermented soy products, are you eating it with fish or seaweed as the Japanese do? Soy has "compounds that block absorption of key nutrients, like zinc, and it will disable enzymes your body needs to access other nutrients", states Dr. John Lee in his book, "What your doctor may not tell you about pre-menopause". He goes on to state that it directly blocks thyroid function and protein absorption. I know my chiropractor stays clear of soy products in his patient nutrition program. Many people have soy allergies, and women who are sensitive to estrogens of any kind may react negatively (i.e. estrogen dominant cancer patients).

If you wish to have soy as a part of your diet, Dr. David Zava recommends eating it with fish (Omega 3s are key) and a rich mineral source, such as seaweeds, as the Asians do. He goes on to say that soy milks and soy protein powders are not even in the same league as fermented soy products, and use them sparingly. He feels these products may have a high concentration of toxins (consider that in the U.S. our soybean crops are often genetically altered, sprayed with pesticides and herbicides), and they may do more harm than good over the long haul.

If you go through my blog archives you will find previous threads about soy based protein shakes, etc. With the new year underway many of you are wanting to lose weight - and all I ask is that you research and investigate before you leap into a diet program that might actually to more harm than good. Of course moderation is key, in any food, including fermented soy products, such as tempeh, edamame, tofu and miso, but per doctors, Lee, Zava and Blaylock - not more than three times a week.

Dr. Lee's book actually has one of the most in depth, well written chapters on nutrition that I have ever read. It was the catalyst that encouraged me to start researching nutrition, investigating ingredients, learning what to be wary of and what ingredients are desirable. I continue my education and the more I read, the more affirmation I am finding of things already learned.

An article is by Dr. Russell Blaylock - the Dark Side of Soy, is excerpted to give you an overview. Because of what I read in that link, I subscribed to Blaylocks Wellness newsletter. Each month I receive a newsletter packed with information - generally with a certain topic covered.  Past issues do cover soy and I have access, and in one issue Blaylock mentions that soy tends to heavily absorb fluoride from the soil, a known toxin.

In contrast, the Women to Women site favors on the side of soy, and recommends:
- Choose whole food products (like tofu or edamame) or supplements made from whole soybeans
- Make sure your soybeans are from a reliable, quality source — choose soy products that contain no GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) and look for organic foods whenever possible.

- If you have thyroid concerns, breast health issues, allergies, or problems with digestibility, speak with your healthcare practitioner before eating large quantities of soy.

I will continue my studies and share what I learn. If you are interested in a protein powder, I would be happy to send you an ingredient list of the soy AND whey-free product I use. The ingredients are above and beyond anything else I have compared it to, and nutritionists, chiropractors and doctors across the country are embracing it. We can become healthy together!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011


If you are an on-line friend that lives long distance I would be happy to send you information, a packet on how to get started, and an MP3 audio file that explains the Figure 8 products that have been key to my success. Just let me know. Let's get fit and healthy in 2011!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

And even more benefits of green tea....

My journey continues to grow in knowledge of health and wellness, and I love it. Many of us are already aware that green tea containing ECGC (which not all do) have great anti-oxidant properties and help ward of cancer.This week I learned even more about the benefits of green tea, it helps reduce anxiety, controls appetite and increases metabolism, lowers blood pressure, and helps with cognitive thinking.
Green tea contains polyphenols, the most beneficial one is called *ECGC. These anti-oxidants help reduce the growth of cancer cells in the body, this has even been proven in studies! Drinking green tea, or applying it to your skin, can even help block the cancer-causing effects of the sun's rays. More and more, sunscreens can be found with green tea listed within its ingredients.
Did you realize that anti-oxidants in green tea help reduce inflammation? Inflammation is the cause of so many health issues. Aching joints are an obvious one, and I recall when I had back issues, inflammed nerves were pressing on my spinal discs. We have glands that swell from inflammation (prostrate is one example). Green tea helps reduce arteries from contracting, thus reducing blood pressure and helps prevent heart disease. People who drink 1/2 cup of green tea a day are 50% less likely to wind up with hypertension than non green tea drinkers.
It's good for the brain. Green tea contains theanine, which is a natural relaxanat amino acid. It can help reduce relax a person and  help manage stress. It increases GABA, a brain chemical which produces a calming effect (as mentioned in a previous blog post, the bio-identical (natural) hormone, progesterone, also has a similar effect). It increases the alpha waves in the brain, thus helping one to focus better. (Perhaps college students should consume green tea before final exams, what do you think?) I was also very excited to learn, no pun intended, that green tea can counter, or block the excitatory effects, of  excess glutamate, which is an essential brain chemical. Monsodium glutmate, which abounds in our store-bought food products, is a silent killer of brain cells. MSG is causing our brain to have major excesses of glutamate. It is thought by Dr. Russel Blaylock, to be one of the reasons we are seeing so many more children with ADD, ADHD and more. We can educate ourselves, read labels, and shop wisely, but truth of the matter is - we cannot protect our children from all sources of MSG. I do wonder how it infiltrates the school lunch system. I will be inquiring about that. Meats are even injected with MSG, and many kids have access to vending machines - chips are loaded with MSG.  If we could only get our children to drink green tea (AB brand is a caffeine free green tea - green teas in general are caffenated), perhaps we can help counter the effects of their diet.
Our elderly parents could benefit as well. Older adults who drink two cups of green tea a day are less likely to develop cognitive thinking disorders, such as Alzheimers and Parkinson's, than those who do not. Apparently the anti-oxidants fight the free-radical damage to the brain nerves, causing these conditions.
Granted, drinking green tea can be an acquired taste. I have friends who say they simply do not care for it. First of all, you can brew your tea too strong. When steeping your tea, remove your tea bag or tea filter after only a few mintues (3-5 is generally recommended, depending upon your personal tastes). If you leave a tea bag in your cup while sipping, your tea will develop a bitter taste. (Trust me, speaking from personal experience here!) If you have made a gentle, calming brew, but still do not find green tea to your liking, you might consider adding a bit of fresh lemon juice and/or a natural sweetener such as honey, agave nectar or stevia. Adding in table sugar pretty much defeats the healthful purpose of drinking green tea.
From the Somers' KNOCKOUT book I learned, from one of the docs curing cancer, that we all have genes programmed to protect us from cancer cells. However, as we age the genes can "go silent", and can in fact, be "turned off" - due to the many environ toxins and such that we expose our bodies to. We need to turn the switch "back on", and reactivate the genes that have gone silent. Studies show there are chemicals in green tea which are molecular switches, which can reactivate some of those switched off oncogenes. Drink up!!
Not to go to waste! Leftover tea can be applied to insect bites, scrapes and burns with a cotton ball - it's a natural anti-septic that reduces itching and swelling. However, I would not use green tea enhanced with sweeteners for this purpose.
I have enjoyed AB green tea many evenings for nearly a year. Having learned even more about its benefits, I have decided to replace morning coffee with green tea in 2011. The Figure 8 detox tea blend also contains 8 additional supporting herbs, including milk thistle, that increase metabolism and promote optimal health by helping to cleanse the liver, kidneys and the blood. Our liver and kidneys are our greatest defense against disease, including cancer, and it is up to us to ensure these vital organs are detoxified and cleansed on a regular basis.
Before I over-steep your sensors with too much information, let me close today's post with information from a USDA study. I hope you have enjoyed this post, and perhaps learned something new.

Making an effort towards purely living,
Rita S.
USDA Study

A 2007 report published by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) analyzes nearly 400 foods for their EGCG content.
The scientists brewed one gram of tea leaves in 100 millimeters of water. Figures below are translated into milligrams per 8-ounce cup (about 225 millimeters), which is the standard cup size used in the Western world.
Top of the list is regular green tea. One cup has a whopping 180 milligrams of EGCG. Decaffeinated brewed green tea has only 60 milligrams, about a third of regular tea. Flavoured brewed green tea has 45 milligrams. Bringing up the rear is instant or bottled green tea with only a pitiful 9 milligrams. Unfortunately, it is the most popular American tea beverage. (Rita's note: In other words, drinking Snapple containing green tea is doing very little for your health, and I would bet it contains fructose or other artificial sweeteners that counteract any ECGC benefits with a substantially greater amount of free radicals found in the sweeteners.)

*Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is one of four major catechins in green tea. Catechins belong to the flavan-3-ol class of flavonoids. Green tea catechins are the flavan-3-ols found in green tea leaves. All catechins including EGCG are polyphenolic substances.  Green tea catechins, especially EGCG, make up approximately thirty percent of the dry weight of green tea leaves. Of the catechins, EGCG is the most abundant one in green tea leaves.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Let's clear up PgR Positive Breast Cancers

This past November I began doing a bit more research on the Komen foundation, after a friend had told me that she did not support the prominant fund-raising organization because of their affiliation with Planned Parenthood.  I was not aware of this, and began researching their site to try to discover exactly whom received the monies from the many "walk/runs for the Cure", etc.  For certain I did not want my donations to go to large pharmaceutical companies, as it seems quite obvious there is a conflict of interest when they stand to make millions in NOT finding a cure.

While on the Susan G Komen site, I found a tab to click on for more information about research and studies taking place.  One of the articles contained anti-progesterone comments, and alluded to progesterone causing cancer. This went against everything I had read in Dr. John Lee’s books, from the Hopkins Health Watch and several other sources. I sincerely doubted its validity and sought to question it.

The more I read on the Komen research portion of the site - the more I disagreed with – the information seemed to be outdated, and continues to confuse synthetic hormones (which do cause cancer) with bioidentical hormones. It is crucial to know that these hormones are completely different from one another in regards to how our body reacts to the supplementation. Synthetic hormones DO cause cancers, especially ovarian and cervical, which unfortunately, many breast cancer patients placed on synthetic hormone replacement therapy as protection, sadly discovered.
Subsequently, I read this article by Dr. David Zava. Dr. Zava has picked up on Dr. John Lee’s bioidentical hormone studies after he died. Originally I found the link to the article on a facebook thread belonging to Virginia Hopkins, who co-authored a number of Dr. Lee's books, including, "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer".

What I had learned is that natural bioidentical progesterone cream can reduce cancer tumors, and even make them disappear. A breast cancer survivor asked me “what about progesterone receptive breast cancers?” – in which this survivor stated that women are also diagnosed with breast cancer caused by progesterone. This question perplexed me greatly... I had to find out more and learn the truth.

Coming across that article on facebook, I typed a comment/question in the thread. Today I happened upon that thread again, and found an answer to my question, which I thought imperative for all to be aware of. My comment/question to Dr. Zava based on his article link:

Rita S:  I wonder if the same confusion about progestin/progesterone is the foundation for what I read on the Susan G Komen site today - from Dr Lee's book on breast cancer I do not pair progesterone with causing breast cancer. What is truth about PgRPositive -progesterone receptors? I wanted to ask (someone from the Komen site) but could not find a link to contact- and it would be better coming from an expert like you Dr. Zava. Thanks for all of your efforts and willingness to put yourself out.

Virginia Hopkins actually responded to my comment/question. Reading her answer was like a bright light bulb, and evidence that once again progesterone gets a bad rap because of the tendency to confuse it with progestin.
Virginia Hopkins Health Watch: Hi Rita - having a breast cancer that is progesterone-receptor positive is the *good* news - it means progesterone can get into the cells and do its good work. Breast cancers that are progesterone receptor negative are the most deadly.

Isn’t that great news? I find it exciting, in that the response is one more affirmation that natural PROGESTERONE may, and has actually been successful in, shrinking cancer cells.

As an aside, I have made a personal decision to no longer contribute to the Komen foundation due to the focus I am seeing of the research they are supporting. I would rather have my donations going towards alternative therapies that are actually curing people of cancer, such as natural hormone replacement therapy, whole body nutrition and supplement therapies, etc. Komen is a big name and lots of money is made for big Pharma to continue their cancer research and new drugs, but I would rather support research that also supports the alternative and integrative forms of treatment that are already curing cancer. Big Pharma would actually like to shut down everyone who is producing natural hormone balancing creams as it impacts their bottom line. Reading through Suzanne Somers book, “KNOCKOUT” – there are a number of doctors whose research I would rather support.
As well, my family does not believe in supporting Planned Parenthood as their mantra goes against our values. We would rather see Komen Foundation place mammogram machines in a center such as CareNet Pregnancy Centers - the service would still reach the poorer women that they claim go to PP for such a service, and I told them this in a letter that accompanied the funds raised from my October events.

There is a big misconception about the hormone progesterone. The media confused it years ago with progestin in a NY Times article revealing the findings of the Women’s Health Initiative, which blew the whistle on synthetic hormones and their ill effects. The journalist did not know the difference and used the word progesterone, thinking it was interchangeable w/ progestin, when it totally painted the wrong picture.

Let me assure you from all that I have read, progesterone is the HAPPY hormone. When you have enough and are in balance your body is very content, and you are being protected. I hope you find Virginia Hopkin’s response as enlightening as I have. A progesterone receptive/positive cancer is good, as it means the cancer cells are open to allowing progesterone inside - which can shrink the tumor.
I continue to be amazed that our God created bodies that can heal itself of illnesses and cancers, if only we treated our bodies as we should.
Be aware,
Rita S.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Convinced of Bio-Identical Benefits

I am convinced more than ever that bioidentical hormone creams can not only help give better quality of life by ridding of PMS symptoms, depression, fatigue, sleeplessness, etc. – but also that bioidentical (meaning natural) are major players in preventing cancer. I just read in an interview in KNOCKOUT, with Dr. Jonathan Wright, that of the natural hormones, progesterone is a major protector against cancer. This is the third resource where I have read this about progesterone. (Previous resources are Dr. John Lee and Dr. David Zava.) It makes me quite pleased to know that I have access to this amazing transdermal cream as an AB consultant.

Of course big pharma would rather the general public not learn about the benefits of natural hormones, because there are big bucks to be had in their patented, synthetic hormones. Legally, one cannot patent that which occurs naturally. Although one drug company did take a natural hormone, gave it a "drug name", and they are trying to market it. Of course, this company is trying to get the FDA to ban all pharmacies that mix and sell bio-identical hormones for a lot less money, as it cuts into their profits. I suspect I better keep my eyes and ears open for bills being introduced by our senate and congresspeople who are lobbyed by big pharma...and be prepared to write my elected officials when the day comes where the FDA tries to ban God's natural goodness that can help each of us heal from and prevent illnesses we fear most. You may also be surprised by the European studies that are done, and politics involved in ensuring the research results do not read the U.S. - as the study results would hurt the revenue of big pharma.
Because I don’t have PMS or symptoms experienced by many pre-menopausal women my age, I figured, correctly so, that my hormones are not really out of balance. That day may come as my body goes through "the change". I did send in a saliva sample last October, to have my estrogen and progesterone levels measured by ZRT labortories, and learned I was just a little estrogen dominant, but not enough to cause concern. I had already been on natural body care products for 6 months and had detoxed once, and had changed my diet for 3 months – all of these things no doubt helped bring estrogen levels down. As I continue to read I am learning also how important it is to detoxify our bodies because of all we are exposed to in our environment.
In November I decided to start on progesterone cream anyhow, simply to repair any cell tissues that may have been damaged by past mammograms in hopes I can reverse the damage. Progesterone also helps the body burn fat more efficiently, and I figure/hope it will be a boost to my weight loss.
I am only taking one dose a day as opposed to two, for the recommended two weeks out of the month. In 6 mo. I will recheck my levels (about $70 ea time) to be sure I don’t become imbalanced in the other direction. As I start to exercise in the new year the activity will help encourage my hormones to produce more of what I need as well, and hopefully help my body age happily.
My thyroid is in great shape, but for those of you who are taking thyroid hormone, I did read today that it is imperative that thyroid supplementation be taken in conjunction with iodine and iodide supplements. Iodine is also a major player in reversing fibrocystic breast disease.  If you take thyroid supplementation without the iodine, you run twice the risk of getting cancer.
Eating your way to health, three or more servings a week of the following can greatly help keep your body in balance (I won't go into the scientific specifics here) - but try to incorporate broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, bok choy and other cruciferous vegetables into your diet.
Drink your way to health, too!! I have had people joke about me and my water bottle - I almost never leave home without it. I drink water lots, mostly because my neurosurgeon said water and body hydration is the only thing that can save me from future back surgeries. Soda, coffee and carbonated beverages can have toxic effects on the body - do not fool yourself into thinking that any liquid is helpful. In fact, one doctor makes an analogy comparing contaminated water in a 6th world country to the beverages we so often put in our bodies without consideration for its ill effects - which the doc claims is just as bad as malaria and other water-borne illnesses. There is no substitute for good, purified water (free of fluouride, chlorine and other chemicals). In the chapters about cancer prevention I am learning how very important drinking water is...and I am grateful for all these years I have been drinking plain water to benefit my back, and subsequently, my body.
There is so much more I would love to share with you today regarding what I have learned in my studies. If I were a lot younger I would return to school for bio-chemistry and go into the field of helping those who are interested in healing themselves alternatively as opposed to conventional treatments. However, that is not a viable option for me, and my family, at this point. Therefore, I will continue to utilize this blog to share what I am learning along my journey of seeking to live purely.
May you take time to reflect on what you can change to help your body ward off ill effects in the coming new year.

Rita S.