Monday, February 21, 2011

Celebrating One Week of Jumpstart!

It's been seven days since I weighed in before starting the "Jumpstart program - 28 days to healthy living." I fully admit, the first couple days were the hardest, not because I could not drink coffee or soda, nor could I eat anything sweet made from white flour...the challenge herein lay with a box of fair trade chocolates. I had received a box of Equal Exchange chocolate the week prior to our start...and fully intended to treat myself on Valentine's Day before going cold turkey on all snacking and eating clean foods only.
Trouble is - I took an organic dark chocolate bar to work with me, became busy on Valentine's Day and did not touch it. Day two of Jumpstart I opened my desk drawer, saw that bar...and KNOWING I could not snack or eat it made me crave it all the more. So I caved... yes I did. I opened up that wrap and ate 4 little squares and tucked it back in the drawer - mid morning. It called out to me again in the afternoon and yes, I my willpower failed again...and I ate about as much mid-afternoon and tucked it away.
On Wednesday my mind toyed with me - reminding me it was there. I decided to get it over with and ate the rest of that delcious, savor every bite chocolate - appeasing myself with the knowledge that at least it is both organic and dark. Sad, eh? (LOL)  But at least I was over it and could move ahead with the Jumpstart plan.
Throughout the week I would say evenings were the most difficult. Knowing that we could not snack, where at least prior to, I would split a bag of microwave corn with our son about 7 pm.  I recently started reading the ingredients in a microwave bag of corn as well...not good. We're going to look into replacing our hot air popper or get that bowl, if it is still made, that allows you to pop regular popcorn in the microwave. Feel free to share a link with me if you know what my husband is talking about...but we need to control what goes onto our popcorn as we eat a lot of it in this household.
So again, not snacking was difficult. Having caffeine free detox tea did help, but a number of nights I decided to go to bed so I would simply stop thinking about food. Sigh....
It was worth it though!  Today I hopped on the doctor's scale again wearing the same clothes as last Monday, and at the same time - just before noon, after breakfast but before my lunch salad. Considering my rough start I was pretty ecstatic to see the scale read 7.5 lbs. less than last week - woo hoo!!
Having good results despite falling off the Jumpstart protocol is encouraging. Also, considering I had already lost 66 lbs. - it emphasizes that Jumpstart does indeed get results, as I am no longer losing water weight or the other forms that typically are shed in the first 15 lbs. of a weight loss program. Admittedly - I am not exercising. I simply have not found time, and I think it is amazing that I am losing weight without a regular exercise program. I do know my estrogen and progesterone hormone levels are pretty much even - which makes an amazing difference if you are in balance in the first place. I have been diligent in using my Prolief progesterone cream at night... no doubt in my mind that is a key factor. There are times when I wonder if I have some wasting disease, but I feel great and I am simply watching what I eat. I am armed with knowledge from a bit of reading, and took charge of my health, and you can do it too!!

To your health!
Rita S.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Healthy Eating - Sunday Salmon Menu

Delicious!!! This evening I made the best salmon ever. This dinner came together in about 45 minutes total. That would be after julienne'ing several bunches of organic carrots from Willy Street so the kids have healthy snacks this week as well. I had mentioned a while ago my plan is to come up with healthy eating menus and that I would share the recipes. Here is our first complete meal. Thumbs up from the family!
The original recipes were found at, but I tweaked them with some healthier choice substitutions. I used agave nectar rather than maple syrup.
To prepare dinner I began with the carrots, prepping them and placing in pan with water to tenderize. I then worked on the quinoa, and the salmon was last since it cooks quickly.

Maple Glazed Salmon (4 servings)1/4 cup pure organic maple syrup or Agave Nectar (agave has lower glycemic index, preferred for diabetics)

  • 1/4 cup PURE organic maple syrup or Agave Nectar (agave has lower glycemic index, preferred for diabetics)
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari sauce (like soy, without the MSG, found in Asian food aisle)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 salmon
Marinate salmon for 20-30 minutes at most in covered dish, or tin foil, turning once if skin is removed. Set a two tablespoons aside. Broil until salmon flakes. Drizzle with set aside glaze before serving.
Suggested Sides: Quinoa, Maple Glazed Carrots

Quinoa Side Dish (4 servings)
  • 1 tablespoon organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (often found in bulk food sections of grocery stores)
  • 2 cups organic chicken or broth
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley*
  •  1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme*
In a saucepan add olive oil and heat, add quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) and toast, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth and bring to a boil - do not cover. Add minced garlic and salt. Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Add chopped green onion and dried cranberries, simmer for 8 minutes more or until quinoa is tender. Toss in fresh, chopped herbs before serving.
*Substitute dried herbs out of season if preferred, and add when salt is added. (When reheating leftovers, use a covered dish and add a tablespoon of organic chicken broth/stock to keep quinoa rice from becoming dry.)

Maple Glazed Carrots (4 servings)
  • 8-10 medium carrots, peeled and julienne
  • 1 fresh orange, juiced
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 5 tablespoons organic pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel (grate peel from juiced orange)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
In a large saucepan, cover bottom with ½” water and bring carrots to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until just tender.
Juice orange - for best results use orange at room temperature. Roll back and forth on countertop before cutting in half. Filter out seeds. Set aside.
Shortly before serving, dissolve corn starch in cool orange juice in small bowl with whisk. Pour into small saucepan, on medium heat. Continue to whisk until thickened. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Drain carrots; transfer to a serving bowl. Pour glaze over carrots; gently stir to coat. Serve.
Note: if you add cornstarch to boiling orange juice glaze may be lumpy. Best to dissolve corn starch in cool/cold liquid. Learned that from America's Test Kitchen!

Finishing Tip: Eight minutes or so before serving, place salmon on broiler pan, skin side down. Place in broiler. Turn carrots and quinoa dish to low heat. Make glaze for carrots. Adjust time as needed depending upon thickness of salmon.

Everyone in our family agreed it was the best salmon ever. I bought Sockeye Salmon, which is a leaner fish with more potent flavor. I happen to love strong salmon flavor. Another choice at Willy St. was salmon fished off the coast of Scotland, which was $16.99/lb. as opposed to $13.99 for the sockeye. I asked for four servings. Apparently the gentleman has a big appetite, because we are all having leftover salmon for dinner tomorrow - no complaints here!
Abby preferred plain cooked carrots vs. glazed (which I suspected and had set some aside for her). Kyle has never been fond of green things in his food. Had I used plain yellow/white onion in the quinoa he would have been fine with it, but basically he refused the rice because of "green stuff".
This is a heart healthy meal. Salmon provides essential Omega-3s, and quinoa has more protein in it than any other grain, or so I read at AllRecipes.

The meal was quite filling and no one asked for bread or dessert.
To your health!
Rita S. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Let's Move" Ignores Root of Obesity Problem

Today's post is a complete lift from a Newsmax alert, publishers of Dr. Russel Blaylock's health and wellness newsletter which I subscribe to. I feel the information on our national obesity issue is too important not to share in it's whole. Below, if you will, is Blaylock's response to Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative, which ignores the root of the obesity issue.

Newsmax Alert: First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, which attempts to reduce childhood obesity by encouraging kids, parents, schools, communities, and pediatricians to focus on healthier eating and exercise, diverts attention from the real cause of the U.S. obesity epidemic, says Dr. Russell Blaylock, Newsmax Health contributor.

While a high-sugar, high-fat diet, and a lack of physical exercise contribute to the problem, the three main causes of widespread obesity are: consumption of massive amounts of excitotoxic food additives, such as MSG; low vitamin D3 levels; and the over-vaccination of children, says Blaylock, editor of The Blaylock Wellness Report.
“This is the major problem, but it’s being completely ignored despite extensive research in the area,” he says. "While [Michelle Obama's] goals are laudable, one must be careful that this is not just another massive spending program that will eventually be taken over by major food-based corporations and pharmaceutical companies, as we have seen in other areas of such 'governmental-private partnerships.'
"As soon as we accept [it], we will see mandatory vaccinations of every description, drugs being added to our water supply, and children forced to take dangerous psychotropic drugs and statins. I believe we should reject creating another massive federal agency and risk losing control of our own children."
Studies show that when fed to newborn animals, excitotoxic food additives like monosodium glutamate and soy extract, cause obesity by damaging the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that regulates weight, and the pancreas, which regulates blood-sugar levels, he says.
Studies show that low levels of vitamin D3 are correlated to weight regain, he says. And extensive research has shown that too many vaccinations results in immune over-stimulation in the pancreas, causing diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome, a series of risk factors such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and high cholesterol.
“Contributing to this is the massive consumption also of high-fructose corn syrup, high-sugar diet, [and] lack of exercise,” he says.
Obesity is such a dangerous condition because it produces chronic inflammation throughout the body, which leads to cancer, heart disease, degenerative brain disorders, disease of the liver and gall bladder, anxiety, and depression, Blaylock explains.
But there are ways to combat obesity and avoid these ailments and risk of early death that accompany them. Blaylock advises:
• Avoiding excitotoxins by preparing your own food
• Increasing vitamin D3 intake
• Eating lots of fruits and vegetables
• Avoiding over-vaccination and spacing apart the vaccinations you and your children do receive
• Increasing your physical activity
• Avoiding soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup
“If you do all of those things, almost everybody will lose weight, and they’ll prevent the diseases associated with obesity,” he says.

Basically, we need to return to unprocessed foods - find a  local grower/farmer and support their efforts. Know where your food is from. Get out in the sun for 15 min. a day without sunblock. Eat well, can the soda, and read up on vaccination safety. Of course we do need to get moving, but it is not that simple. Our food sources are often our biggest health concern. Read labels my friends!

To your health!
Rita S.

Read more: Dr. Blaylock: First Lady’s Plan Ignores Real Obesity Issues

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Essentials - Fit and Nutrititious

I listened to a training audio regarding AB Fit Essentials today with MVP Molly Geil, and thought there are some good notes and tips to share. Our protein base for our delicious shakes are yellow peas, brown rice and cranberry. Why is this important? It is important because the best thing about our shakes is what is NOT in them. Soy, for example, is estrogenic. I learned that in the UK soy based baby formulas are banned. I think of a baby boy and what feeding him estrogen-based formulas might do...not a good outcome as far as I can see.
Regarding whey.... the biggest issue with whey is probably the fact that it is lactose, and many people are lactose intolerant. Dairy products are a common allergen, which is one reason Jesse and I are doing a month long cleanse without dairy, gluten, wheat, caffeine, alcohol. Whey is simply a difficult protein for one's body to digest and if a person consumes whey protein for long periods, it can tax the kidneys, and subsequently the liver. On the other hand, pea protein is the easiest form of protein for our bodies to digest.
AB protein shakes are consumed by professional athletes - they make a great recovery shake after a sporting event. The AB trainer commented that her children are big into sports, and love to consume the Ready-to-Go shakes after an event, such as a soccer game.
The Fiber Booster...why is it important? Fiber pulls sugar through the digestive track. Molly says that after a glass of wine, she will have detox tea before bedtime and adds a 1/2 t. of fiber booster to her tea to help pull the sugars through and out of her system.
Our Fizzy Tabs are loaded with Vitamin Bs, and guarana is a slow-release, fat-soluable caffeine (unlike that from coffee) that provides long-lasting energy.
Another amazing new product is the Digestion Plus - which is a must for anyone with occurences of heartburn, acid reflux, bloating, etc. Those types of conditions, left untreated, can be cause for esophagus cancer down the road. Yet there are many negative side effects to the over the counter remedies and prescription drugs, per Dr. Russell Blaylock in his health and wellness reports. For anyone wanting  a copy of Dr. Bs newsletter on these topics - please email me. Our gut contains good bacteria and bad bacteria, it's a constant battle going on inside. Because of food choices typical in the American diet - there is an overgrowth of yeast and bad bacteria wins. Digestion Plus contains both pre and pro-biotics and enzymes to promote optimal digestive health - without damage to your GI tract. It is pure, safe and beneficial - which is why I am passionate about AB.

To your health!,
Rita S.

Jesse lost 2 lbs. in his first day of Jumpstart -good for him! He has access to a digi scale and work and can weigh in everyday if he wants.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 change...

 Day One: Jumpstart to Healthy living.  Yep, today is the day my husband and I begin a 28 day of eating clean foods. No wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, caffeine or alcohol for about a month. Jesse is pretty excited about it and looking forward to feeling better. Last night I made our safe and beneficial Arbonne protein shakes up, made with a base of pea, cranberry and rice proteins. Easy on the kidneys, no need to worry about phytoestrogens and damage to thyroid. I added spinach and strawberrys to the mix...but no longer putting in my dollops of plain organic yogurt with the probiotic cultures. That's for a month - I hope not to find that I have issues with dairy products, but that is one of the reasons we are doing this clean eating determine how we feel and improve without these common allergen foods...and then reintroduce after a month, one at a time, to see how our body reacts.
Yesterday I had my body mass index calculated at the clinic. Seriously...they take my height and weight and go off and punch it into a calculator. I suspect I can find an on line program for this and did. Check it out here. They don't squeeze my body fat or anything. Today my BMI is 33.88 kglm2 (???) - the nurse said my goal is 25. That's what I am shooting for by mid- March or so!

We are both going to be feeling great in a month's time - although I drove by Crossroads today and was a bit sad that I can't have a Friday morning latte for the next month.
How are you feeling? As great as you want to be? If not, we have a great group of people getting set to take charge of their health. We are the Temple Restoration Project...we are committing to restoring the temple in which the Spirit dwells..that would be our bodies. God gave them to us to care for, and I admit that I was not a steward of my own body for years...but all that has changed. Cambiati!!

To your health!
Rita S.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Protein Shakes Perfect for Overnighting Hike Thrus

What in the world is Molybdenum?
It's an ingredient in the AB protein shakes. Our vegan, pea/cranberry/rice based protein shakes provide 15% of molybdenum  - which I never heard of!! Of course my interest is piqued - anyone else find micronutrient study fascinating?
I found a link that explains it pretty well, a site dedicated to the study of micronutrients. I will be bookmarking this and learning more, as I am always fascinated by AB advanced presence on nutrients and ingredients. Their scientists and research staff are amazing!
Molybdenum is essential for enzymes to work properly. It is found in the soil, and places that have deficient amounts in the soil have a higher percentage of esophagus cancer, possibly Crone's disease. For something I never heard of, it seems pretty important.
Our shakes not only taste good and dissolve into a smooth, not grainy, beverage - they provide a complete and hormonally balanced meal. If I were to hike the Appalachian Trail...or some such big endeavor - I would be packing the convenient single serving packs of AB protein shake with my filtered water. Nutrition is so much  healthier than dried beef jerky and the Klondike and other trail bars, loaded with fructose and other additives that are not so healthy - despite their marketing.
In a previous post I have already discussed one doctor's discovery of guarana, and it's energy boosting properties, as he hiked in South America. After hearing a member of the Dane County Ice Age trail talk about his November hike thru of a section of the Appalachian trail, Jesse and I are talking about doing that on spring break with the kids in the future. I already know our backpacks will contain the AB Fizzy Tabs with guarana for energy, and the protein shakes for complete and portable nutrition.
If you hike and are interested in samples - send me a PM and I will mail some out to you!

To Your Health,
Rita S.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fizzies Are Better than Coffee

I had an email from one of the natural health doctors, promoting a formulation they have come up with for a caffeine kick that is better than coffee – and lo and behold…the key ingredient is found in the AB Fizzy Tabs- guarana from the Paullinia cupana plant. Fizzy Tabs also replenish Vitamin B, which is depleted by stress.

More and more, research is indicating the detriment of diet soda. If you become aware of it, why would you NOT want to wean yourself off of toxic diet soda and find a healthier substitute? Of course it will be difficult…soda is an addiction just like cigarettes, and I am not saying it will be easy. Read this article found at Virginia Hopkins Health Watch and learn why you should give it up. In short, common soda ingredients do this:
1. artificial sweeteners in soda are excitotoxins, which kill brain cells
2. prohibits calcium absorption, which leads to osteoporosis
3. increases insulin production, which weakens blood vessels and increases risk of stroke
4. excess caffeine taps out adrenal glands, leading to fatigue and hormone imbalance
5. destroys tooth enamel, leading to decay

The doctor, in his news report, wrote:
Guaranine, is a member of the caffeine family, but unlike regular caffeine, it's full of healthy fatty acids. The good fat gives guarana a slow release. Its effect will gradually increase over a period of hours. It doesn’t pick you up and throw you down like quick release caffeine. There’s no crash with this stuff… and you don’t get any of the nervous, jittery energy you do with caffeine. Caffeine gets a bad rap sometimes, but it’s the most widely used drug in the world. And it’s a proven mental performance booster. The studies number in the hundreds. One published in Neurology found that three cups of coffee a day cuts your risk of mental decline by over 50%.
But there’s a catch… Coffee gives you a short burst of energy, but overheats and excites your body. Guarana has a cooling action that revitalizes and relaxes. The end result is more beneficial to your body. You get all the energy and alertness but remain calm, cool and collected. Guarana works its magic by releasing acetylcholine in your brain. Acetyl-choline is a neurotransmitter. It's the brain chemical that lets your nerve cells fire through the synapse or gap that exists between the trillions of neurons in your brain.
If you have lots of acetylcholine, your mind is sharp and your memory is clear. When you drink coffee in the morning, the release of acetylcholine gives you the buzz that gets you going. Coffee, on the other hand, will burn you out because it depletes your reserve of acetylcholine. Guarana is slow acting with none of the caffeine side effects, but it works in the same way. Eventually you lose your reserve of acetylcholine.

What’s your drink of choice? Is it pure, clear water? For all of us, it should be. But for most of us…it is not. If you simply cannot drink water, make a healthy choice. Watch out for the energy drinks that have heavily processed ingredients, high levels of fructose/sugars and carbs. In addition to replenishing B vitamins, Fizzy tabs (which are not heat processed) also contains 176% daily recommended value of Riboflavin. Why is that important?

Per, Riboflavin increases the metabolism of carbohydrates,fats and proteins.It is essential for normal tissue maintenance, aids digestion and helps in the functioning of the nervous system.It prevents constipation,promotes a healthy skin,nails and hair,and strengthens the mucous lining of the mouth,lips and tongue.Riboflavin also plays an important role in the health of the eyes and alleviates eye strain.This vitamin is particularly helpful in counteracting the tendency towards glaucoma. My chiropractor also said that Riboflavin deficiency is a major cause of Restless Leg Syndrome.

Diet soda drinkers beware…you are not doing yourself, or your family, and flavors by drinking it – and allowing your children to drink it. Fizzy Tabs are safe and beneficial, and come in both citrus and pomegranate flavors. God gave us the ability to make decisions, and the responsibility to provide our bodies with nutrition. Of course what you drink is your choice, just as your overall health and well being is your choice as well.

A toast to your heatlh!
Rita S.

Not All Supplements are Created Equal

Want to feel better this year? A HIGH, not just good, quality multi-vitamin is essential for excellent, not just good, health.  Essentials vitamins provide an ORAC value (absorption rate) of 8000!!!! That is incredible when compared to other brands. Tests show that the AB supplements are absorbed into your system in 30 minutes.

Dr. Peter is an amazing man and we are fortunate to have him behind the scenes, leading the  research team to provide the best supplements available. Men and women are noticing a difference!
My husband and I are confident that the research into the supplements we use are just what we need to ensure vitality and longevity. I certainly feel great! Check out the video clip to learn more.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cholesterol Busters!!

One of my goals this year is to get my husband off of statin drugs that he takes for his cholesterol. Fortunately, he is not very dedicated in taking them every day. Statin drugs are bad news...long term effects can be Parkinson's and Alzheimers. I want to grow old with my hubby and have a conversation. I know we cannot control everything in our future, but I believe we can take steps to direct it. This year, we're taking the path to renewed health. Jesse and I will be doing the 28 Day Jumpstart to health living program, put together in part by nutritionist Ti Caudron, in a few more days...counting down to the 15th!
Diet plays such a key role in how we feel. Our hormones are affected big time, and so is our cholesterol level. I recently read an article that offered some key foods that help lower cholesterol levels. Consider incorporating these foods into your nutrition program if you have high cholesterol.
SPINACH - Happily, right at the top of the list is SPINACH. I probably eat 5-6 cups of baby organic spinach leaves daily. Spinach contains lutein, which is found in dark green leafy vegetables in general. In addition to lowering cholesterol, lutein has a reputation for guarding against age related macular degeneration - a leading cause of blindness. One half cup of lutein rich vegetables a day can guard against heart attacks by helping artery walls "shrug off" cholesterol invaders that cause clogging. I should be pretty good to do considering how much spinach I eat weekly!
EVOO - extra virgin olive oil is the VERY BEST omega 3 oil you can add/use to all your recipes that are not seared at high heat. (High heat can cause EVOO to produce free radicals - avoid those!) Extra virgin olive oil will also help raise your HDL, or good cholesterol.
GARLIC - we happen to love garlic in our family. If you are sauteeing carrots or broccoli, mince some fresh garlic and toss as you toss your vegetables in the skillet with EVOO.
NUTS - 1.5 oz. of nuts (approximately 1.5 shot glasses) offer nutrients that help lower cholesterol. Don't over do - note how little is recommended. Nuts are fattening eaten in large quanties. Walnuts are recommended, as well as almonds. Almonds are also a rich source of magnesium, and most of us lack magnesium - which causes a whole slew of other problems.
OATS - rich in beta-glucan, this fiber rich food helps transport the LDL (bad cholesterol) right out of your system.
BEANS - high in fiber, again, help excrete LDL.
SALMON - also rich in Omega 3s. Other fish rich in Omega 3s are good as well, such as sardines. I do believe I am having salmon for Valentine's dinner! A great choice for my heart.
I am saving the best on the list for last....
CHOCOLATE!! But of course this would be dark or bittersweet chocolate. Not that sweet milky stuff. Rich in antioxidants, it increases HDL, and helps prevent blood platelets from sticking together, and may help keep arteries unclogged.

If you have high cholesterol do try to avoid statin drugs. If you would like a copy of the health newsletter that warns of these drugs I will be happy to email it to you. Controlling with diet is best. Since I began my journey back to health last fall my cholesterol levels have plummted 45%.  It's pretty amazing...since all I did was cut white carbs 80%, eat spinach pretty much 5 out of 7 days a week, balsamic vinegar/EVOO dressing and cut way back on coffee...oh, and again ...white carbs and simple sugars, ie. bakery and sweets, breads.
My goal is to have a fully functioning brain when I am old. I have seen what Alzheimer's is doing to dear family members, and it is difficult. Healthy food = healthy body = healthy brain!

To your health!
Rita S.