Thursday, June 30, 2011

Maintaining Weight Loss

Last week I was having lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, COSI, visiting with a friend who suffers from thyroid issues as do several of her children. We began talking hormone balance, and a women next to us overheard and asked if I was a nutritionist. I told her I was not, but had read a book by Dr. John Lee that had changed my life, and was a catalyst to my losing over 80 lbs.
It turns out she had done Weight Watchers and was successful in losing 45 lbs., but had gained it back. Several diets in past years all ended in the same result, loss and regain. This did not surprise me, and is a typical scenario for many women and men. I don’t believe in counting points and eating low-fat foods. I explained to her that low-fat foods are often filled with chemicals that trigger your brain to want to eat more, not to mention loaded with sugar, which messes up hormone balance, necessary for weight loss to be successful.
On my family’s trip to the Black Hills this past week, I began reading a book by Dr. Michael Platt called “The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones”. My weight loss has been successful, without exercise, and I have maintained my loss for over 5 months now. Dr. Platt’s book explains so well why I am my own success story – to put it simply, I have changed my body’s production of INSULIN output.
“We have a nationwide epidemic of obesity and type II diabetes. Both of these conditions are strictly hormonal problems.” – Dr. Michael Platt

How many people realize that insulin is indeed a hormone? I did not know this until I started reading Dr. Lee’s books. As Dr. Platt explained how he treats his patients, who come to him for obesity, depression, cancer and more… I realize that the plan I put myself on is very much in line with how he has transformed lives for many, and weaned them off a myriad of Rx drugs that actually increase insulin production.
If a person loses weight, but does not change the underlying problem, weight gain is inevitable.
Not only did I change my way of life to incorporate whole foods, but I also balanced my hormones. Originally I started using progesterone cream to combat my underlying fear of possible growing cancer cells, but I also knew that progesterone could help convert fat cells to energy – and therefore, be an aid in my goal to lose weight. I also had read that it helps prevent hair loss on top of my head – well, what woman does not want that? Those were my three big reasons for incorporating Prolief bio-identical progesterone cream into my routine. At the time I did not realize how important progesterone was in helping me not only lose weight, but maintain my new, smaller self.
Per Dr. Platt 90% of all people produce too much insulin. Sugar produces insulin, and as Dr. Lee had explained to me, white processed flour products are treated just like table sugar in your body – which is why I cut the white carbs, aka pasta, white bread, bagels, muffins, cakes, cookies – not 100%, but the more I cut back the less I craved, and now I even find the taste of some of these products distasteful. (However, I do indulge now and then - but my newly programmed body can deal with it.)
If you are on track for type 2 diabetes, fear cancer, or want to feel better - which is where I was a year ago,  you have to be willing to change your life. A statement by Dr. Platt sums it up well:
“For most people, insulin is the enemy. Insulin creates fat by taking any sugar the muscles have no need for and placing it into fat cells, where sugar is immediately converted to fat. Then insulin sits there preventing release of fat from the fat cells – it is a fat-storing hormone.”
As I gather from Platt’s book, and as I surmised by studying Dr. Lee’s works – hormones are critical as well. If your body is already programmed to generate insulin (remember, this is a hormone) from poor diet, simply changing the diet will not rebalance the hormones. Natural progesterone cream helps restore balance – and is key to maintaining a successful weight loss program. When your body has excess of various hormones (estrogen, insulin, cortisol, etc.) it is often accompanied by deficiency in progesterone.
Dr. Platt has over 30 years of clinical practice in California, helping people enjoy quality of life again. He has had patients who had weighed over 400 lbs. become fit – and exercise is not brought into his program until after the weight loss.
It is good to move, for sure, but I want you to know that you CAN lose weight by eating hormonally balanced foods and incorporating natural hormone supplementation in to your life – it may be progesterone, it could by thyroid (low thyroid function and weight gain go hand in hand)…every person is an individual. In seeking counsel of a professional, it is important to find one that truly understands hormone balance, and in all likelihood, it will not be found at your traditional family clinic. I would elaborate, but instead, encourage you to read The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones by Michael E. Platt, MD.
If you can relate to any of these words: obesity, thyroid, cancer (breast, prostrate, colon and more), fatigue, depression, diabetes, stress, ADD, ADHD, migraines, Alzheimers, auto-immune disorders, and a whole lot more – please do your own diligence for your well-being and get this book. Dr. Platt explains the traditional medical profession and how his formal training failed his patients. It is not the fault of medical doctors by any means, but the education system that trains our trusted doctors. Platt’s book would, indeed, be a great gift for any doctor who truly wants to heal patients, starting with the underlying cause, versus giving a drug that masks symptoms for temporary relief. As my husband says, and I thought this was a brilliant statement, Time to get off the band-aid and on to the cure.”
I have so many notes on this book… I look forward to sharing more with friends and family at my “Essentials Health abd Well-Being” classes – and more here as time allows.

To Your Health,
Rita S.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Are Wrinkles and Osteoporosis Related?

An e-blast from Dr. Andrew Weil today cites a study in which researches are analyzing data on a possible correlation between wrinkles and bone loss. The group of 114 women were involved in a study analyzing the effectiveness of HRT, and from that study derived an associate study in which bone mineral density was recorded as well as the number and direction of wrinkles on their face. Investigators found that the more wrinkles a woman had, the lower the bone density was likely to be.
The report stated that the greater the number of horizontal and vertical lines between the eyes (from squinting) , the lower the bone density was to likely be in the hip. (Well, of course you know what I did when I read that…I ran right into the bathroom to look in the mirror – whew! No wrinkles!!) On the plus side, the fewer wrinkles a woman has on her face and forehead, the stronger their bones at the hip and spine, the study showed. These findings may turn out to be particularly meaningful if future studies determine the same outcome, and it could help doctors be alerted to potential osteoporosis by examining a women’s skin.
When I read about this study it reminded me of other studies that have been done, showing an increase in bone mineral density for women using bio-identical progesterone cream. Progesterone BUILDS bone mass, whereas estrogen prevents further loss. Again – progesterone BUILDS BMD – this is very important to know because most often doctors will prescribe a form of estrogen or synthetic estrogen when a woman is diagnosed with osteoporosis. Estrogen only stops bone loss, of which there already may have been a significant amount. Use of progesterone, on the other hand, can actually rebuild bone mass, according to the studies, reported in Dr. John Lee’s book, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause”. Click here for some links to articles by Lee on osteoporosis:
Another positive benefit of natural progesterone cream for the older generation (and nowadays, even the young as I read obits of people in their 20s dying from stroke!) are studies showing the aid it provides for stroke victims.
Applying a topical progesterone cream to the forehead apparently helps brain cells repair more quickly. This makes me wonder if studies are being done to examine the benefits of progesterone for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients, and I do believe I have read some about this as well. It makes sense to me, afterall, our brains contain more progesterone than any other part of our body, other than the uterus when a woman is pregnant. It makes sense that a drop in progesterone levels would affect brain function.
Today I read in the news that long time country singer, Glen Campbell, (I grew up with his music in our home!) has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the early stages. My first thought when I read this was to wonder if he had been on statin drugs for high cholesterol…if I were a betting gal, I would put money on it. Vitamin deficiency is another cause, in particular the B vitamins, which are critical for repairing brain DNA. (I am so glad my husband no longer needs statin drugs and we were able to lower his cholesterol numbers through diet and vitamin supplementation.)
Sorry, I digress…diseases that affect the brain are an entirely different topic; but wait, that’s not true! Osteoporosis and brain function share a commonality in the need for balanced hormones and diet in order to avoid both of these disabling diseases. A separate report also shows that estrogen can negatively affect the brain as it is an excitotoxin in excess. So I question…if estrogen supplements are prescribed to a woman to stop bone loss, and they are not given progesterone to maintain balance (which would also increase bone density) – then aren’t these women more susceptible to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s? It seems so – check this report
I have a relative in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, and having learned this, I have a need to know if she was ever on Rx for bone loss and if so, what it may have been (PremPro, for instance).
Mr. Campbell will always be my Rhinestone Cowboy! I wish him the best and pray that as well as top medical doctors, his family is also seeking counsel from a doctor who is practicing alternative or holistic medicine. I am confident, with all the studies being done in holistic medicine, that early stages could be kept to just that, and even reversed? I just read about success with this shortly after I typed this thread initially. Who knows for sure? I must say, when I apply my Prolief progesterone cream, alternating the places on my body in which I apply it as directed, I do feel some confidence in knowing that when I apply it to my forehead (as in Dr. Bean's instructions) that I am perhaps helping my brain repair cells and hopefully preventing possible health issues down the road.
Interesting information to think about today, don't you agree?

To your health!
Rita S.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Potluck Slaw - Asian Style

Raman Noodle Cabbage salad has been a favorite recipe at potlucks for years, however, if you read the ingredients label on a package of Raman noodles – you easily can see how this is not a healthful food choice. Today’s recipe is a much healthier alternative. It is one sent to me by one of the docs whose newsletters I subscribe to, however, I swapped out and added a few ingredients to make it, in my opinion, a bit better.
Cabbage is most beneficial when eaten raw, providing vitamin C and indoles, which are important cancer fighting compounds. Rice vinegar is both more mild and sweet compared to white, or healthful balsamic (which is the vinegar I almost always prefer to use).

Asian Coleslaw
1 medium head green cabbage
1 medium head red cabbage
3 large carrots, grated
¼ c. minced scallions or chopped chives
1/4 c. roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
*3 T sea salt

*Note: if you prefer soft slaw to crunchy, layer shredded cabbage in a bowl with the sea salt and allow to sit for an hour. Rinse well (may need several rinses to taste).

2/3 c. unseasoned rice vinegar
1 t. tamari (do not use soy sauce)
1/8 c. agave nectar (offers lower glycemic index vs. sugars and honey)
1.5 T sesame seed oil
Blend dressing ingredients with a wire whisk in a separate bowl or 2 c. measuring cup, toss with slaw just prior to serving for crunch coleslaw.

I am a big fan of Omega 3 rich organic extra virgin olive oil, and we use it almost exclusively in our home. However, sesame seed oil, an Omega 6, really provides Asian flavor to this slaw. It is important to know that from a health standpoint, our western diet typically has a ratio of 6 omega 6 oils to 3, when a properly balanced diet would have a ratio of one Omega 6 to four of Omega 3! As you can see, our diets are quite excessive in Omega 6 fats, primarily because everything that comes out of a can, box or bag is processed with Omega 6 oils, such as canola, sunflower, peanut, etc. A few symptoms related to excess Omega 6 include high blood pressure and water retention.
As long as you eat from around the OUTSIDE of the grocery store (fresh or frozen – not including frozen, processed dinners, desserts, pizzas, etc. – read labels on your frozen vegetables – seriously!!) you can greatly control the amount of Omega 6 consumed. It’s also important to know that you should buy Omega 6 oils, such as sesame oil, grapeseed oil and other popular specialty oils, in small bottles, as they oxidize quickly and free radicals form. Keep this in mind if you need to purchase sesame seed oil for this recipe – buy in a small bottle and keep refrigerated after opening.
Enjoy Asian Cabbage Slaw and make it a new summer potluck favorite! I know from experience that those who wish to eat healthy appreciate several healthy choices on the potluck table!

To your health!
Rita S

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chai Inspired Protein Shakes

Are you ready to take your protein shakes to a new and exciting level? Well, this is it - Chai inspired shakes that are sure to tantalize your tastebuds!
The idea for a chai tea protein shake was inspired by the Energie Fitness web site, in which cinnamon was added to a vanilla protein shake. If cinnamon, why not chai flavors? In searching for a chai recipe online, a recipe was found by Cross Plains residents,  Marty and Bob Gustafson. Their Campfire Chai Tea recipe, which appeared in the Summer 2011 Penzey’s Spice Catalog, helped provide a base for these recipes. All of the spices were already in my pantry, and are likely in yours as well!
If you love Chai, you will LOVE these recipes!

Chai Tea Vanilla Protein Shake (Chilled)
This vegan, yellow pea-based shake is packed with Chai flavor and is not only delicious, but offers extra benefits with the spices incorporated into the drink. Powdered spices are used for convenience.
• 1 Arbonne Essentials Detox Tea Bag steeped in 6 oz hot water for several minutes• 2 scoops Arbonne Essentials Vanilla Protein Shake
• 1 scoop Arbonne Essentials Fiber Boost
• 1 tsp. Penzey’s Korintje Indonesian cinnamon
• ½ tsp. Penzey’s Cardamom Ground Seeds
• ¼ tsp. Penzey’s Chinese Ground Ginger
• ¼ tsp. Penzey’s Ground Madagascar and Ceylon Cloves
• 4-6 oz. Pure Silk Almond Milk (Pure Silk brand does not contain soy.)
Directions: Add tea with bag removed, and all dry ingredients to blender. Pour almond milk on top, with two ice cubes if desired. Blend well. Perve over ice cubes. Sprinkle extra cinnamon on top if desired.
Note: Peppercorns are not used in this recipe as done with most traditional Chai, but one may grind ¼ t. peppercorns and add if desired. Also, the vanilla protein powder contains Stevia - additional sweetner is not needed.
Chai Tea Vanilla Protein Shake (Hot Version)
In this warm version of a protein shake, it is important that the protein powders are not heated on stove top or in microwave as this will alter the molecular structure of isolated proteins. (There is a good reason Arbonne cold processes their nutritional products!) A hot drink is rather strange if thick, and therefore, this beverage cuts back on protein powder. Add additional almond milk for desired sipping consistency.
• 4 oz. Pure Silk Almond Milk simmered on stove top to be heated thoroughly (may thicken)
• 1 Arbonne Essentials Detox Tea Bag steeped in 6 oz hot water for several minutes
• 1 scoop Arbonne Essentials Vanilla Protein Shake
• 1 scoop Arbonne Essentials Fiber Boost
• 1 tsp. Penzey’s Korintje Indonesian cinnamon
• ½ tsp. Penzey’s Cardamom Ground Seeds
• ¼ tsp. Penzey’s Chinese Ground Ginger
• ¼ tsp. Penzey’s Ground Madagascar and Ceylon Cloves
Directions: With tea bag removed pour hot tea into blender, and all dry ingredients. Pour hot almond milk on top. Blend well. Serve in mug. Sprinkle extra cinnamon on top if desired.
Chocolate Chai Inspired Protein Shake (Shaken, Not Stirred)
Chocolate and cinnamon have long been paired together. Inspired by this thought, an experiment in using traditional Chai tea spices in a chocolate protein shake produced sensational results! Note amounts of spices are increased as the chocolate is pretty rich in this protein powder. Tea is not used, but cold tea could be incorporated if desired (reducing almond milk). Powdered spices simplify blending in a shaker cup.
• 2 scoops Arbonne Essentials Vanilla Protein Shake
• 1 scoop Arbonne Essentials Fiber Boost
• 1 tsp. Penzey’s Korintje Indonesian cinnamon
• 1 tsp. Penzey’s Cardamom Ground Seeds
• 1/2 tsp. Penzey’s Chinese Ground Ginger
• ¼ tsp. Penzey’s Ground Madagascar and Ceylon Cloves
• 10-12 oz. Pure Silk Almond Milk (Pure Silk brand does not contain soy.)
Directions: Pour 4 oz. of almond milk into shaker cup. Add fiber powder, spices, a little more almond milk. Add scoop of protein powder, more milk, and remaining scoop of protein powder and the rest of the milk. Ensure lid is on tightly and shake vigorously in all directions. Note: By layering liquid and dry ingredients in a shaker cup the mixture will blend more smoothly.  Tip: If you have more than one shaker cup, adding a second wire ball to the cup after the first scoop of protein powder is added works like a charm for easy “shaker blending”.  If desired, mixture can be blended with ice cubes in a blender for a thicker shake.
Using Essentials protein powders, the shakes are completely vegan.  They are also gluten free, cholesterol free, free of artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners, and contain no soy, which is particularly important for cancer survivors or those with thyroid issues. (Vist my sidebar of "healthful sites" for additional reading on these topics, or search previous blog posts with key words at top right.)
 Health Benefits of Spices Used:
Cardamom is considered to have many health benefits, many relating to the digestive system, like stimulating the digestive system, reducing gas, and counteracting stomach acidity. It is said to even help with halitosis. It is considered beneficial to the urinary-tract system and is considered a kidney cleanser. Cardamom is used to improve the circulation of the lungs and to treat asthma in Ayurvedic medicine. *ORAC Value: 2,764
Cinnamon in renown for its health benefits. Studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol. Several studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes. In additional studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections. In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month. One study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory. What’s not to love about cinnamon! *ORAC Value: 131,420
Cloves are an excellent source of manganese, vitamin C, K, and dietary fiber, as well as a good source of calcium and magnesium. The use of cloves to soothe toothaches has long been a part of history. Additionally, the compound eugenol from cloves has been found to be a potent platelet inhibitor (prevents blood clots). Cloves have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic properties; and are also known as a great spice to heal ailments of the digestive system. They are well known for relieving flatulence and can actually help promote good digestion as well as metabolism. Cloves may also help relieve vomiting and diarrhea as well as a host of other digestive disorders. *ORAC Value: 290,283
Ground Ginger: The active ingredient in ginger is gingerol, a compound that's thought to relax blood vessels, stimulate blood flow and relieve pain. It's commonly used as a digestive aid and contains compounds that ease motion sickness and nausea and inhibit vomiting. This makes it a helpful spice for morning sickness or for people suffering from the side effects of chemotherapy. Ginger is also an anti-inflammatory, which means it may be useful in fighting heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and arthritis. Plus, it's high in antioxidants that fight all kinds of diseases. *ORAC Value: 39,041
*ORAC values derived from
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as my family!!
To your heatlh!
Rita S.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Alternatives to Chemical Mosquito & Insect Repellents

I am sure almost everyone is aware of the dangers of DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), especially when it comes to children, who are particularly sensitive to the chemicals in this “deep woods mosquito repellent”. The Hazardous Substance Data Bank reports, “toxicity to be primarily neurologic (i.e. seizures, movement disorders, coma)…children suffer from confusion, ataxia, hypertonicity and clonic jerking progressing to coma and seizures may occur after acute oral or chronic dermal exposure.”
Yikes! The EPA states that 60% of what you put on your skin enters your bloodstream and every organ in 26 seconds – think about that! Doesn’t it make you want to think twice, or even 3X or more about what you put on your skin, and especially that of your children? I came across an article today that certainly made me put my thinking cap on. I thought of my friend who is greatly bothered by deer flies when she runs, and she resorted to DEET. I don’t know if natural remedies will deter deer flies, but I would want to try!
Since my family shares our home with a parrot, we are always careful about what fumes we generate from cleaning products, and went “green” years ago when we raised parrots. For instance, a couple weeks ago I needed an ant killer, but I did not want to subject myself to the xenoestrogens rampant in pesticides. (See the sidebar for several articles on xenoestrogens and how they affect our bodies.) I searched the internet and found that I could add some typical household borax to sugar water, and set it out for the ants to drink. They then carry this back to the nest – borax will dry an insect from the inside out. Some sugar ants had found some candy for clients on my desk at work…this concoction seemed to work, although a number of the tiny ants drowned in the solution as well.
If we know we are going to spend an evening outside, I recommend we have a lunch with garlic generously added to our meal. I know that garlic can seep through your skin and mosquitos don’t care for it.
Citrus has always been recommended for repelling bugs and mosquitoes. Lemon thyme, lemon geranium and such make good plants to put near an outside door or around the yard. I used to plant tansy and basil and rub the leaves on my arms, but have not planted those particulars in years.
A couple weeks ago I received a newsletter report from “one of the docs” which stated that 100 mcg Vitamin B1 (thiamin) repels mosquitoes – I am not sure about this idea, but noted that the vitamin supplement we take in our home has 5 times the B1, and with an absorption rate of 10,000 ORAC – the vitamin is actually absorbed and can transmit an odor mosquitoes apparently do not like through the skin vs. going in the toilet.
You can plant citrus smelling perennials and run the leaves on your skin. I used to do that. I found that a citrus smelling mist called Awaken can help thwart mosquitoes – I mist our hair and face (having my daughter cover her eyes) as well. Everyone’s body chemistry is different, however, and citrus mists and oils may not work for everyone.
I certainly don’t have the natural repelling answer, if I did, I would be rich! Basically, if we know we are going to be in ‘skeeter infested outdoors, it is smart to wear jeans, closed toe shoes, loose fitting long sleeve cotton shirt (no matter how hot), and give the bugs as little skin to get a hold of you as possible.
Dr. Lee recommends a product health food stores may carry called Herbal Armor Spray and Lotion. (I also found it on Reviews on Herbal Armor are even positive regarding deer flies and those annoying gnats!
Don’t use flowery smelling shampoos or the bees might be attracted to you as they will try to find the source of the smell in your hair. A favorite web site of mine, and Dr. Lee’s, is Their catalog is very informational, and the site even more so. Good luck outrunning the insects this summer, and finding a less toxic way than DEET to repel them.

To your health!
Rita S.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Is It Allergy Season Yet?

All the buds and flowers are gone from our flowering trees, because it is, of course, June! A friend of ours stopped by to request some help of my husband, and I asked why he did not bring his wife along - who I adore and love to be with. Unfortunately, she was home with terrible allergies and medicating.
It was then I realized...allergy season? Wow, my family had totally missed it!! A year ago our son's eyes would be red and watery, itchy, and he'd be going through boxes of tissue like no tomorrow! My husband, as well, would be checking the pollen count on the web each day and dealing with a less severe form of spring allergies. But not this spring, thus the only way we knew it was allergy season was by others complaining about it!
Since the new year our family has been taking Essentials supplements - 5 various tablets for Jesse and myself, and a cherry chew free of artificial flavors and color for the kids. I had blogged earlier about one huge benefit - NO MORE SNORING, which makes everyone in the household sleep well. If Jesse or I forget to take our vitamins, that very night reveals a day of missed supplements. My husband takes his vitamins at night - which is testimony to how quickly the benefits of Essentials are absorbed into the system. Last week a few days were missed, and I pretty much handed the pack of vitamins to him as I  needed sound sleep. He took them about 8 p.m. and a solid night's sleep was had by all - since I did not need to poke and say "could you roll to your side please?" I don't know of any other vitamin that has an ORAC value of 10,000. Do you know the ORAC value of your supplement? You could just be wasting your money if the product is not actually being absorbed and utilized.
What makes Essentials work so well?  I have studied, and continue to study, vitamin and mineral supplements pretty extensively. Essetntials offers a number of anti-inflammatory minerals - such as Selenium, which is also a major anti-cancer benefit per doctors Blaylock, Lee and Mercola in their newsletters. If you consider what is taking place in the sinus passages during allergy season - INFLAMMATION - it totally makes sense that Daily Essentials are helping people to breathe easier, during allergy season as well as bringing relief to those, such as myself, who had sinsus issues 365 days a year prior to taking Essentials.

To your health!
Rita S.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lake Trout With Citrus Glaze and Mango Salsa

Fresh lake trout....that's what my eyes landed on as I perused the grocery store after a meeting this afternoon - needing something for dinner that was quick, yet healthy. I've never had trout before, and have always wanted to, so I picked it up. It was fresh, never frozen, per the package - which makes me wonder which lake it came from.

I googled for a recipe and decided, as usual, to blend a couple and alter per what I had on hand in the refrigerator. I was also inspired by a sample passed out at Costco a few weeks ago, salmon with mango salsa - which was delicious!

Which brings me to our dinner tonight.This meal was quite easy and ready in 30 minutes! The fish doesn't take long so start out by getting your side dish going on the stove top.

Fresh Lake Trout with Citrus Glaze and Mango Salsa
2 fresh lake trout filets
Extra virgin olive oil
1 orange at room temperature
1 lemon at room temperature
2 T. Tamari (we avoid soy sauce because of the estrogenic effects)
1-2 T. agave nectar (sweeten to taste)
Sea salt
White pepper

Preheat oven to 375. To prepare - line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and brush with olive oil. Place filets skin side down and season with sea salt and pepper.

In small bowl squeeze juice from lemon and orange (remove any seeds), add 2 tablespoons Tamari sauce and one or two tablespoons agave nectar. Whisk together lightly. Pour half of glaze over fish and bake for 12 minutes.

Citrus Cranberry Quinoa
1/2 Vidalia Onion
2 large garlic cloves
2 cups organic chicken stock/broth
1 cup quinoa
1/2 c. dried cranberries
Olive oil

Place tablespoon of EVOO in bottom of skillet and use brush to coat bottom. Saute finely chopped onion and minced garlic until translucent. Add 1 cup quinoa with setting at medium heat. Toast quinoa lightly for about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups stock and bring to boil. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes until quinoa is light and fluffy. Reduce heat to low - add cranberries and remaining citrus glaze.

To serve, plate portion of filet on each plate and top with Mango Salsa if desired. Add side dish of quinoa and steamed carrots to the plate. This meal was light and delicious! Our eight year old daughter absolutely loves quinoa served this way.

A bonus - this glaze is wonderful on a bed of greens with grilled chicken, sesame seeds and mandarin oranges as well. Set a bit aside, or make extra, and add a touch of EVOO for a wonderful salad dressing.
It's pretty brisk outside eleven days in to June. The perfect night to start the fire pit and gather round for smores. I wanted to blog the recipes before I forgot what I put together. Dinner was light and healthy, and now I am going to go enjoy a toasted crusty wad of sugar on the end of stick and sandwich it between refined and processed graham cracker and dark chocolate... I guess the only good thing about dessert is the dark chocolate, but most importantly - it is spending time around the fire with family and counting our blessings.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Life ends and another begins...

It's been a year since my journey began to regain health and wellness. Now, that doesn't mean that I physically began my journey...but mentally, I was in the game. A year ago our dearest friend, and my mentor, spirtual father on earth - Marv, went to his heavenly home. I rejoice in knowing that he is whole again in heaven - cancer holds no chains to those set free by the power of Christ!
Ironically, I have Marv to thank for my healthful journey. Ironic in one regard, because he is no longer in this world and I am, and another irony, because he was a man and I am a woman - yet, the phrase "hormone imbalance contributes to prostrate cancer" is what triggered my brain to look further into hormones in relation to cancer.
It was through reading Dr. John Lee's "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About..." (see books referenced in side bar for titles and links) that my entire view on nutrition was changed. I learned that cancer LOVES LOVES fat cells! Well, holy cow - I had way to many fat cells at 264 lbs!!! I don't want to make cancer cells (which we all have inside us) happy and comfortable enough to grow and proliferate. I have seen what cancer does to familes, and I, with every power of my being and the help of the Holy Spirit, do not intend for my family to ever go through the experience. It is not that I fear death, because I look forward to the day when I see my Creator face to face...but I do have fear of how I might die, and cancer is at the top of my list. Furthermore, I knew it was just a matter of time before I would have type 2 my mother, and older brother.
I have learned SO MUCH this past year about eating hormonally balanced foods, being knowledgeable of ingredients in products we apply and consume. I am very aware of the food industry and how much they financially benefit from the chemicals, dyes and ingredients that serve the American people no good. I am rather distrusting of the big business of cancer...and am very glad to have educated myself should I ever hear that "C" word for myself or one of my beloved. Chemo (I just realized that "chem" is also the start of the word "chemical") is not going to be my route of action. Marv made the decision to forgo chemo for his last years. He was fully aware of how sick it makes you and quality of life is simply not there. He had been in remission for seven good years...and when it comes back in the bones, he was realistic and chose quality of life vs. quantity of life. I also now know that nutrition heals...Marv had changed his eating habits, but already in his 60's when he first had cancer, it is difficult to turn around years of poor food choices, drink and consumerism.
Dear readers... I implore you to read and educate yourself on your foods, your hygiene products, hormone balance, as well as the food and medical industries. I strive to offer many resources on this blog and it grows continually - I hope you find it helpful.
At 80+ lbs. less than I was a year ago - I don't even recall feeling this good in highschool (even though I have returned to the same size I was back then). It has everything to do with choice.
YOU have to make the decision for yourself. Yes, it is good to want to improve your health for your family. That was one of my reasons. But most of all - I did it for me. I am made in God's image...and I knew that what I had allowed my body to become was not worthy of the gift of life I had been given. I had a desire to please my Creator.
YOU CAN DO IT. But it has to be mind over matter. It has to be decisive choices in all areas of your life. It has to be calling upon the Spirit within to resist temptation.
It is easy to postpone and make excuses, I have been there. But sudddenly I realized...I was a time bomb. I had no idea when my ticker was going to go off, and what my disease might be...but I knew it was there inside, waiting to explode if I did not personally take control of what goes on and in me.
Waking each day is the gift of life, and it should not be taken for granted. Living life is not about being perfect, afterall, only one being who ever walked this earth could be that - but it is about progression. Make progress...make choices to generate progress. For example, I chose not to participate in the school end of year hotdog picnic, and instead made healthful lunches for Abby and myself. The big bonus was not waiting in line for 20-30 min. with other parents and kids. (LOL)
I am so blessed to have had Marv be a part of my life. Blessed in life, and also blessed in death. His experiences spurred me to study, research, and take control of my being. Each of us have been given the power to do so. If you seek a life change, call upon that inner Spirit - He is present to give you will and power. Go for it, and get in the game!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Benefits of Pea Based Protein

Before my “cambiati”, or lifestyle change, I did a lot of research. As an avid reader of the writings of neurosurgeon, Dr. Russell Blaylock, and pioneer of women’s alternative health, Dr. John Lee – much research went into choosing a breakfast meal replacement that I felt safe in consuming. I had read Dr. Blaylock's article, "The Dark Side of Soy", and used much of the information he provided on protein shakes to steer me in, what I feel, is the right direction.
Through Blaylock's article and other sources, I found plenty on the adverse effects of soy, and chose not to go there for personal reasons:
a) I am woman and personally feel I do not need to add estrogen to my body, even in a mild, plant-based form (cancer statistics alone shy’d me from soy based products).
b) I do have a well funcitoning thyroid and plan to keep it so. I have heard of adverse effects of soy on the gland – when Dr. David Brownstein’s information arrives in my mailbox shortly on thyroid diseases I will learn more about this for sure, and have more to share with you. Dr. Blaylock recommends this read, “The Whole Soy Story”.
c) Soybeans absorb a LOT of fluoride from the ground, more so than most crops, and fluoride is a known toxin when consumed.

Regarding whey based…I am of an age where my body does not need dairy, and in fact, dairy can cause some issues, one that many experience, such as myself, is acid reflux. I also have no knowledge of how the cows are being raised from which whey protein is derived – are they grass fed? Or are they fed grains and anti-biotics? A very interesting article I found explains the difference in the proteins and amino acids produced between whey and casein based protein sources. I have added this article to my sidebar as a permanent resource, but you may read it by clicking on the link as well. Another blogger/article I found had a reader ask about the danger of heat processed whey protein concentrates and oxidized cholesterol as a result, and the author felt there was not enough to worry about – no different than cooking egg whites on the stove, he figured. I had never even heard of oxidized cholesterol before – so yes, I learned something new today, even if I don’t understand it. My sister-in-law reminded me of the issue her son had while involved with school sports, and that was the feeling of being bloated using whey-based. Again, listen to your body and if it is doing something that is not pleasant – eliminate a food and see if you can pinpoint the problematic food.

Types of protein powders got me to thinking…besides the fact that the pea/rice/cranberry protein powder I use is easily digested…what of it? I had a friend tell me of a pea based protein powder she used offered by a company I never heard of, developed by a doctor. Although it lacks the selenium (an important anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory mineral derived from brown rice), it made me realize that pea based protein powders are a very good thing if doctors are developing their own protein powders using peas.
I thought I would peruse the internet to learn more, and had to chuckle to myself when I see that another doctor, whose postings I follow (Dr. Joseph Mercola) has also developed a pea-based protein powder, for those busy mornings when you simply don’t have time to cook yourself a healthy breakfast (a healthy breakfast does not include processed cereals, by the way).
Benefits of yellow pea protein per Dr. Mercola include:
• Yellow peas are an environmentally friends protein source (fertilizers are not needed got grow)
• Allergen-free source of protein, the protein powder I use is gluten-FREE, and allergies to animal protein/dairy is fairly common
• History backs up sound nutritional benefits of yellow peas
• Helps rebuild muscles after work outs and provides higher protein needs
• Easily digestible
    o studies demonstrate that human digestive retention of pea protein is very high
    o Isolated pea proteins can be very easy to digest and comparable to the best animal protein source.
    o As recommended by world health organizations -- Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) -- the pea protein essential amino acid profile is very close to ideal for human nutrition.
• Pea Protein delivers, per Dr. Mercola, a good source of beneficial amino acids. I actually checked into the brand that I use, and found that it scores 100 percent in the list of provided amino acids - which far outshines the list of 6 that Mercola listed in his product promo.
My daily vegan protein shake provides me with:
  • Alanine 880 mg
  • Arginine 1,820 mg
  • Aspartic Acid 2,500 mg
  • Cysteine 220 mg
  • Glutamic Acid 4,006 mg
  • Glycine 820 mg
  • Histidine 540 mg
  • Isoleucine 940 mg
  • Leucine 1,740 mg
  • Lysine 1,540 mg
  • Methionine 240 mg
  • Phenylalanine 1,120 mg
  • Proline 880 mg
  • Serine 1,120 mg
  • Threonine 780 mg
  • Tryptophan 200 mg
  • Tyrosine 780 mg
  • Valine 1,004 mg 

The Satiel Factor Pea protein has an aspect of digestibility that provides another potential benefit…satiety. Satiety is the satisfied feeling of being full after eating, which explains why I do not feel hungry, even at lunch time, if I have a pea/rice/cranberry based protein shake for breakfast. Today I forced myself to eat a piece of chicken left from the Memorial Day BBQ well past lunch time. We have a busy evening ahead, including an ice cream social for the worship arts team at church. I don’t want to be overly tempted two have more than a scoop and want to continue this “too full to eat” feeling into the evening. (LOL)
Dr. Mercola reports: Recent scientist research demonstrated satiety is associated with the release of certain gastro-intestinal peptides. These peptides stimulate your nervous system to start or stop you eating. Higher PYY (peptide YY) levels promoted by pea protein delay gastric emptying and thus could provide an increase in satiety. Another peptide, ghrelin, which is primarily secreted by the stomach, helps stimulate your appetite. Studies show lower ghrelin levels indicate a delay in the return of your appetite after a meal. And as pea protein promotes lower levels of ghrelin, the potential for you to feel full could increase.
Now I truly understand the slogan of the brand I use, “feel fuller longer”. For me it has been a journey of replacing my weakness…which was breakfast. Now, there is no need to skip it, nor do I feel compelled to run across the street from work to snag a cinnamon roll at 10 a.m. Although the natural vanilla flavor is loved by my husband, I am a berry-holic and love to add berries to my smoothie. When fresh pineapple is in the house – I am in smoothie heaven! Since discovering the deliciousness of almond milk (I use Silk brand which does not contain soy) I am absolutely loving a chocolate protein shake for lunch or dinner – seriously, who doesn’t love having dessert for a meal?!
To your health!
Rita S.