Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Detoxify Your Life - Healthy Fats

Day 3 of the Detoxify Your Life Challenge from is here!  Today is all about FAT!  Sometime in the last 20 years, everyone began to associate being overweight with consuming fats.  The food market began pumping out all kinds of foods labeled "Fat Free" or "Low Fat".... yet the obesity epidemic has continued to skyrocket!  All these chemicals added to food in order to make them "low fat", or "fat free" have since been proven to be more harmful for our health, and actually a cause of unhealthy weight gain.  Check out the labels of foods that claim to be "fat free" or "low fat", the natural fats have been stripped away, but often replaced with starch or sugar and sugar substitutes to replace the flavor of the natural fat content.  It's probably better if you avoid any product labeled "fat free" or "low fat" and instead, focus on getting natural foods that are already low in fat.  Also, there is such a thing as "Good" fat, and certain fats are necessary to help us have a balanced diet and a properly functioning body!  Just cutting out fats alone will not make you lose weight, as our society is quickly learning!  Especially when these fats are simply being replaced by unnecessary sugars, chemically altered sugar substitutes, and addictive nutrient free starch!

Healthy fats can actually lower your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol.  They also improve brain function, improve your mood, provide energy, and help the health of your skin, hair, and fingernails.  Monounsaturated fatty acids are one example of healthy fats and can be found in Avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and poultry.  Polyunsaturated fats are also beneficial to your health and are most commonly found in fish such as salmon and mackerel.  There are a few sources of saturated fats which are also considered to be good for you (although most sources of Saturated fat are not good for you, if you get them through the right sources they are proven not to increase cholesterol levels) and these are the fats from coconut oil, organic grass-fed beef, and butter that is organic and made from grass-fed cows.  The fats to avoid are called "Trans fats" and these are typically found in fried foods, and any food with oils added.  Another name for Trans fat is "partially hydrogenated oil" and this should be avoided.

Today's challenge is to find a recipe using a "healthy fat" from this list of foods which naturally contain the best kinds of healthy fat.

Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Beef (Clean / Organic / Grass Fed)
Salmon (wild caught)
Poultry (Clean /Organic / Free Range / Vegetarian Fed)
Raw, Organic Butter (from grass fed cows)

Find ways to incorporate these healthy fats into your cooking, snacking, and general diet.  Avoid the things with Trans Fats and Partially hydrogenated oil, as well as staying away from things labeled "Fat Free" or "Low Fat".

My Favorite easy Salmon recipe!

Honey-Mustard Broiled Salmon

Wild-Caught Salmon Fillet
2 tablespoons Honey
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tablespoon whole Mustard Seed
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

In a bowl, mix together everything except the salmon.
Place thawed salmon on baking tray, skin side down.  You may want to line the tray with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Use a spoon to place the honey mustard mixture on top of the salmon in a thick layer.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes to let some of the flavor soak in to the salmon.
Turn broiler on high to pre-heat.
Place the salmon under the broiler, 6 to 8 inches below heat source.  Broil for 7 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of the salmon.  Cook until it begins to flake easily with a fork, but be careful not to overcook or it will be too dry!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Detoxify Your Life - Protein Challenge

For Day 2 of the 28 Day Challenge from, we are learning about Protein.  Protein is an essential part of your diet.  All Proteins that you eat are converted into amino acids that our cells need in order to function properly.

There are a few things everyone should know about protein.  First of all, most of us were raised with the "Protein Myth", to believe that the only source of real protein is through meat products.  While meat products DO provide protein, they are not the ONLY source of protein available!  Getting our protein from a variety of sources is very important, because we need to make sure we are getting as many different amino acids as we can.  There are 20 different kinds of amino acids, several of which our body cannot create on it's own and we need to get them through our foods.  These are called "essential amino acids".  The best way to make sure we are getting a variety of the 20 different kinds of amino acids is to get a variety of proteins in our diet.  When people let go of the myth that "meat is where I get my protein", they become open to other great sources of proteins and essential amino acids which will help their body function at it's very best!

Some non-meat high protein foods are;
Cheese (especially Mozzarella and cottage cheese)
Tofu, Soy, Soy Beans
Beans; Kidney beans, White beans, Lima Beans, fava beans, black beans etc
Eggs (especially egg whites)
Milk, Cheese, Yogurt
Nuts and Seeds (pumpkin seeds, almonds, etc)
Flax Seeds
Chia Seeds

I'm not saying you should or have to go vegetarian, just that it is beneficial for you to make sure you are getting your protein from a wide variety of sources!

The other thing everyone should be aware of with protein; is it safe?  Do you know where it came from?  In the case of meat... how was it raised, what was it fed, how was it processed?  When it comes to other protein sources that are plant based; were they grown naturally?  Organic?  Are they from genetically modified crops?  I know how it is, you're thinking "I would go crazy if I knew the truth about my food and where it came from.  I'd rather not know."  You're partly right, once you know the truth about this stuff, you can't forget it.  You can't un-know it.  But in this case, is Ignorance Bliss, or is Ignorance a death sentence?  Studies have linked the consumption of conventionally raised meats with cancer and heart disease, hormonal disorders, etc.  The long term effects of Genetically modified foods (GMOs) is still uncertain, but early testing of animals has shown a direct relationship between GMOs and cancer.  The sad truth is, the food industry isn't interested in the quality of what they produce, as much as they are in the quantity, and in the end... the profit.  So, even with your meats, there are healthy protiens in them... yes.  But what else are you getting along with those proteins?  I'm pretty sure a side effect of cancer or early heart disease is not what you wanted when you bought that steak.

What to do about it?  Here is what you need to look for;

Clean Protein Options

  • Organic, grass fed beef
  • Organic, free range chicken and turkey
  • Wild-caught fish
  • free-range, organic eggs
  • non GMO Soy

There are several documentaries available now which explore these ideas and the truth about the food industry.  I would highly recommend you watch these;

Hungry For Change -
Food Inc. -
Food Matters -
Frankensteer -
Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead -
Vegucated -

People tell me "I don't want to know."  Just stop.  You NEED to know.  The only way we can make a change is to first wake up and be aware, and then we can know what changes to make!  The more people start changing their eating habits (and their shopping habits), the industry will follow suit and change to provide the people with what they want!!

Today's Challenge was to substitute the protein in one of your favorite recipes with a "clean" protein from the list above.

This morning I had my daily protein shake.  I love using Shaklee Energizing Soy Protein Powder* to make shakes, because it is high in protein, has essential amino acids, plenty of vitamins, and it is made using non-GMO Soy!

Today's recipe;
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 1/2 cup Almond Milk
3 Tablespoons Shaklee Energizing Soy Protein
1 tablespoon Flax Seeds
1 tablespoon Chia Seeds

Put everything in the blender except for the Chia seeds.  Blend until smooth.  Add the Chia seeds when you pour the smoothie in a glass.  Stir & enjoy!

*If you are interested in purchasing the Shaklee Energizing Soy Protein, or curious about other Shaklee brand products, contact me!

I also went to the store and found some Organic, Grass Fed beef to use in our spaghetti!  

and a couple other things I found at the store, while I was in the process of locating clean and healthy proteins;

Monday, September 9, 2013

Detoxify Your Life, Day 1 - Grains

I have signed up at 360YourLife for a 28 Day Challenge to Detoxify your life!  I will share here what I learn, and my journey along the process!!  You can sign up for the next 28 Day Challenge HERE  (it starts in October) and try it yourself, or just follow along with what I share here!  I do suggest you sign up at 360YourLife because you will have access to some very informative blogs, newsletters, and videos!

For Week 1, we are learning about Nutrition, and how to get the most out of what we eat!  In today's blog and newsletter, Brooke told us about the differences between refined grains and Whole Wheat.  Most things on the shelves and in your cupboards are probably Refined grains.... the pasta, bread, cereal, pizza dough, etc. that is all made from refined grains rather than Whole Wheat.  In a refined grain, such as white bread and pasta, White Flour is the main ingredient.  White flour is simply the endosperm of the grain....leaving out the bran and the germ portions  and leaving behind just the center of the grain which is primarily starch.  This makes it low in nutrients and vitamins, lacking in fiber, and the starch transforms to sugar in our blood stream leading to sugar spikes.  White Flour has been linked to diabetes and Heart Disease, among other illnesses.  It is also addictive!  Because of the "sugar spike", we feel a temporary high (although our body has received very little nutrition) and then a "crash" later on where we feel tired and hungry again.  So, one of the simplest ways to eat healthier is to switch to grain products that are 100% Whole Grain.  This way you get the entirety of the grain, not just part of it!  You get the nutrition, vitamins, and fiber that help you balance and digest the starch of the endosperm.  Just as nature intended, it's better for you in it's complete form!! You want things that have the FIRST ingredient listed as Whole Wheat Flour.  To help you find these items, The Whole Grains Council has created This Stamp which you will see on foods that are made with Whole Wheat Flour instead of White Flour or refined, over-processed flour.  Also check out this website for more great information on the Health Benefits of Whole Grains!

I don't buy White Bread, but after this challenge I will be making sure to check the labels on all bread!  Some so called "Wheat" bread simply adds Wheat Germ to the refined White Flour in order to call it Wheat Bread, but this is not the same!  Look for Whole Wheat as the FIRST ingredient and check for the Whole Wheat stamp! As a bonus, the bread I found also has NO High Fructose Corn Syrup added!  Score!! Here are a couple things I found at my local grocery store (not a health food store, just the grocery store I normally shop at)

Uncle Ben's Whole Grains Medley - Brown & Wild Rice - $1.29
Orowheat 100% Whole Wheat Bread - $2.99
Ronzoni Healthy Harvest 100% Whole Grain Spaghetti - $1.99

After discussing Whole Grains, Brooke at 360YourLife talked about Gluten Free options.  Just switching to Whole Grains alone is helpful, but you are still possibly harming your body.... because let's face it... even too much of a good thing can be bad for you.  If you eat the recommended daily servings of Grain (6 to 9 servings a day) but you are only getting grain that comes from Whole Wheat, you will be denying your body the variety of nutrition it needs.  There are a number of health problems that have been linked to Gluten, which is found in Wheat products.  Some people may choose to go 100% Gluten Free and avoid gluten altogether, but if you simply substitute some of your Wheat grains with Gluten Free options, you are giving yourself a more balanced intake of grains.  Grains that are Gluten free are considered to be "sprouted grains", which are significantly higher in protein, vitamins, and enzymes.  They are much lower on the Glycemic Index (G.I.), which means they are digested more slowly, keeping you feeling fuller longer.  Also, since these grains are digested more slowly, there is a more gradual release of sugars into your bloodstream as the complex starches are converted into natural sugars; reducing the "sugar spike" you see from processed grains and wheat products.

Today's Challenge was this; Choose ONE of your favorite grain foods and swap it out for a Gluten-Free option.  I couldn't pick just one!  Here is what I was able to find at my local grocery store.  Again, I was surprised I didn't have to go to a specialty health-food store to find these things!  If you look close enough, they are available to you!  Also, the price difference wasn't that much, I felt satisfied with the amount of money that I spent on these products! 

This one isn't new to our household, it's a family favorite. 

I found these Delallo brand Gluten-Free pastas.  We eat a lot of pasta in our house, so it's worth it to try something new!  These were on sale for $2.89 each.

Private Selection Wild Rice - $1.59  Wild Rice is a perfect example of a Sprouted Grain that is not processed or refined.  You get all the good benefits of a gluten-free grain.

Village Harvest Quinoa - $5.19.  Quinoa is another good example of a gluten-free Whole Sprouted Grain.

Blue Diamond Nut-Thins Crackers - $2.57 each.  Wheat & Gluten free, these crackers are made from nuts and rice! 

Food Should Taste Good brand Multigrain Tortilla Chips - $2.59
My kids LOVE to snack on chips!  These ones are Gluten Free, made from Brown Rice, Flax, Sesame and Sunflower Seeds, and Quinoa.

So, in completing today's challenge, I think I have a good variety of snacks and side-dishes for the week that are either Whole Grain or Gluten Free!  Off to a good start!!  Remember if you're doing this challenge, the goal is to just pick ONE thing in your pantry and switch it out with a gluten free option.  You don't have to go all out like I did, just pick one thing and make a change! Good Luck!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wordless Wednesday; Tombstone, AZ


Aromatherapy Bath Time for Headache or Migraine

Aromatherapy Bath Time!

One of the best things I have found to help with headaches and migraines is a nice soothing bath with aromatherapy!  I just wanted to share a couple of the products I use for a bath with aromatherapy to help soothe my headaches and migraines!

First of all, I light candles in the bathroom.  This way I can take a bath with the lights off, but am still able to see well enough that I don't slip and fall.  This is great if you have sensitivity to light during your headache or migraine.  But, you should be careful when using scented candles, as the perfumes used can sometimes make a migraine or headache worse.  Use non-scented candles, or a scented candle that you have used before without any side-effects.  You may want to try this aromatherapy candle, specifically designed with scents to help soothe a headache;

I found this blended "bath tea" at a local shop and I just love it!  They have a few different aromatherapy scents available, and of course my favorite for headache or migraine is the one called "Headache" at the bottom of the list.

I also like to add in a few handfuls of Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt Soaking Solution in the Chamomile scent.  There is also a Lavender scent available but I find the chamomile scent to be the most helpful for headache pain.

You may wish to roll up a small towel to place under your neck for some neck support while you soak in your hot bath.  Breathe deeply and evenly to get the full benefits of the aromatherapy, and allow the hot water and Epsom salts to soothe away muscle pain and tension.

For migraines, this is not a cure, but it can help shorten the duration of your migraine or reduce the severity of the symptoms.  It can help you relax enough to get some sleep.

I hope this helps anyone who suffers from Migraines, tension headaches, or headaches in general!  You may also be interested in my previous blog post; Migraine Relief Kit

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tackle It Tuesday - Migraine Relief Kit

For this week's Tackle It Tuesday post, I wanted to share with you how I made my Migraine Relief Kit and what goes in it!  I have suffered from migraines since I was a teenager and I have learned a lot about what helps relieve them when I have them.  The trouble is, once I have a migraine, I can't think or function well enough to remember all my remedies!  So I was looking at a post about a first aid kit, and I thought, why not make a Migraine Relief Kit?  Something where I can have all my migraine relief remedies all in one place? Here's my kit;

What's in it?  Below are pictures and descriptions of everything in my box.
As you can see, I have a large bottle of electrolyte water.  Often times, migraines and headaches are a sign that you are dehydrated.  I have this in my kit just in case I am out of drinking water, and to serve as a reminder to drink plenty of water once my migraine begins!
This is my favorite lotion from Bath & Body Works.  Stress Relief Hand cream.  Aromatherapy can work wonders for migraines, and rubbing some of this on my hands, neck, and shoulders can really help.  Plus, it helps remind me that some simple self-massage and reflexology can help too.  There are pressure points on your hands, feet, and neck that can help with headaches and migraines.  If you suffer from headaches or migraines I strongly suggest you learn some of these reflexology pressure points.  And this lotion is wonderfully relaxing whether you have a headache or not!

I suffer from the migraines that not only make my eyes very sensitive to light, but there is usually pounding, excruciating pain behind one of or both of my eyes.  I went looking for a sleep mask, and I found this sleep mask at Walgreens.  It has removable gel inserts that you can put in the freezer and then back into the sleep mask.  Oh that nice cool feeling on top of my eyelids, while also shielding my eyes from any light in the room.... it's really a GREAT find for migraine and headache sufferers!  I can pop the inserts into the freezer for about 5 minutes and then be ready to go!

As I mentioned before, aromatherapy can really help.  I have this bottle of eucalyptus oil in my kit to remind me to use it in my oil warmer.  For headaches I would recommend either Eucalyptus or Lavender scented oils in a diffuser.  Experiment and see what works for you, but be careful because some scents can actually trigger migraines.  Also, make sure you use pure essential oil, not perfume oil.  The "perfume" oils contain chemicals that can make your migraines worse.

My heating pad.  I made this one myself, with a fuzzy sock!  I filled the sock with a mixture of dry uncooked white rice, some eucalyptus scented Epsom salts, and some dry crushed spearmint.  I sewed the end shut with needle and thread.  When I need it I heat it up in the microwave for about two minutes and then put it behind my neck.  The heat combines with the soothing scent is so relaxing!  Migraines and headaches often come with neck and shoulder tension, so this is a must-have for a migraine relief kit!

Of course, some obvious essentials... over the counter migraine relief medication!

I found this in a little shop of natural teas and remedies.  It's a loose tea blend of chamomile, white willow bark, and a couple other herbs that are known for pain relieving.  I haven't tried it out yet, but once I try it I will let you know how it works!

I also included a couple other tea bags of my favorite soothing teas.  I have a Stash Chai Green Tea, a Stash Chai White Tea, and Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra (with valerian).  A nice soothing cup of hot tea helps me relax and fall asleep.  Plus, I often get a sour stomach and nausea with my migraines, so hot tea helps with that symptom as well.

This is another aromatherapy remedy!  This is a "Bath Tea" of a blend of herbs and essential oils.  You put it in a bath tub full of hot water and it releases the scent into the bath water.  VERY relaxing and effective!

This is some allergy medicine.  Antihistamines can help relieve a migraine.  I put these in my kit because I know it works, but I almost always tend to forget about taking them once a migraine hits!

AND, last but not least, Emergency Chocolate!  Because sometimes a migraine or headache can be caused by, or aggravated by low blood sugar.  And besides that, chocolate just makes me feel better.  If you put some chocolate in your kit, make sure it is Milk Chocolate, NOT Dark Chocolate!  Dark Chocolate is a migraine trigger, and might actually make your headache worse!

If you suffer from migraines, educate yourself on as many remedies as you can, and try to figure out what your triggers are so you can avoid them.  Common triggers are stress, dehydration, hormones, perfumes, chemicals, and some foods.  The most common foods that can trigger a migraine are; Sharp Cheeses, Dark Chocolate, Citrus fruits, and Red Wine.  You may be triggered by one or more of these things, and there may be things that trigger your migraine that are not listed here.  The best defense is to prevent the migraine by avoiding your triggers, but they can't all be avoided all the time, so maybe you will want to put together your own Migraine or Headache Relief kit to have everything in one place when they do strike!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Join the Meme at Book Journey with me!  Come check out It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?

Last time I posted, I had just started reading The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.  Well, guess what?  I'm hopelessly addicted.  Each time I finish a book in the series.  I say to myself, "Maybe I should look for something different to read for awhile."  And then I say to myself, "Ha!  Who are you kidding?" and start the next book in the series.

So now I'm on book 6.  I think I need to pace myself.  Slow down, take it easy.  After all, what will I do when I have read through all of them, and have nothing left to live for?  I haven't felt this way about a book series since Harry Potter.  Come to think of it, The Dresden Files IS a "Harry Potter" for grown ups.  Even the main character's first name is Harry.  (Although the ubiquitous Harry Dresden was named after the Magician, Harry Houdini.)  Harry the grown up Wizard isn't in Magic School, he's living in Chicago where most people don't know about or don't believe in magic.  Yet he manages to make a living as a Supernatural Investigator, doing all kinds of odd jobs that mostly end up with him battling the ultimate evil and almost losing his life.  He has to skirt around the rules laid down by the White Council, very much akin to how Harry Potter had to question the sanity and integrity of the Ministry of Magic.  With each book there is a new case, a new mystery to solve.  Yet there is an ongoing plot line that continues through each book and takes you deeper into Harry's past (which haunts him), and effects how and why he makes choices through each book.

Did I mention I just LOVE this series?

Anyways, I am in the middle of Book Six, Blood Rites;

"For Harry Dresden, there have been worse assignments than going undercover on the set of an adult film. Still, there’s something more troubling than usual about his newest case. The film’s producer believes he’s the target of a sinister curse-but it’s the women around him who are dying.

Harry’s even more frustrated because he only got involved with this bizarre mystery as a favor to Thomas-his flirtatious, self-absorbed vampire acquaintance of dubious integrity. Thomas has a personal stake in the case Harry can’t quite figure out. But Harry is about to discover that Thomas’ family tree has been hiding a shocking revelation that will change his life forever…"

Sample of Chapter 1;


Monday Ramblings.
Onward, another week to conquer.  This week the kids go back to school.  (They were out on Spring Break last week)  I have my usual work schedule, and faithful hubby is working 7 days a week.  So far, it's been 14 days since he last had a day off.  This week in Mom-Land I will try to stay on top of housework, focusing on Laundry and organizing my Master Bedroom.  I have something exciting to share with you tomorrow for Tackle It Tuesday, so come back tomorrow to see it!

Have a Great Week!  Please leave a comment and tell me what YOU are reading right now!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Living Room Organization

This week I am sharing what I did last week in my home!  I focused on cleaning & organizing The Living Room!  To get ideas for your own "Tackle It Tuesday" project or to see what other bloggers are sharing, check out Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes For Mom!
Last week (Jan. 28 thru 31st) was a time to focus on Zone 5 (  Each week FlyLady has a different "zone" or area of the home that you focus on for decluttering or deep-cleaning.  So this I a big part of why I focused on my Living Room last week!

This week's organization was also inspired by the Home Organization 101 Challenge at A Bowl Full of Lemons!  Check out this awesome livingroom and see where I got my inspiration and see what other bloggers did in their Living rooms as well!
First of all, my Living Room was DUSTY!  One of the joys of living in the desert!  Dust gets everywhere and builds up very quickly!  I had neglected dusting in here for awhile as you can see with the following before and after pictures!
I loved using Shaklee's Basic H2 for dusting!  Just a little spray on a towel and I was able to get all my surfaces super shiny, without any chemical smell, and with the peace of mind of knowing I used a safe & healthy product!
 Moving on... the shelves under the tv were a bit cluttered! 
 I sorted through the books and got rid of quite a few that the kids had outgrown.  Some of the books were moved to the girls' bedroom.  What was left all fit on the bottom shelf, leaving the middle shelf open for video games and a few DVD's.  The canvas caddy box with blue spots on it now serves as a storage bin for remote controls and game controllers.
This corner was very cluttered!  A lot of papers and miscellaneous stuff, but most of it was my hubby's guitar stuff.  (Guitar strings, picks, supplies, and books)  He has been teaching himself to play guitar over the past couple of years.

I straightened up the table, and put all hubby's guitar related stuff in a basket! 

Now it looks like this!  Hubby's two guitars, Miss Z's Guitar.  The window unit A/C is tucked under the small table for storage until summer when we need it again.  I even framed and hung up a picture above the table to add some more decoration to the room!
It's a picture of Jerry Garcia!  Drawn by my very talented brother.  He did this in an art class in college.  I'm glad it finally has a home, displayed above our little "Music Corner" in the Living Room!

Onward - a couple more areas needed dusting and straightening....

Yeah. The ceiling fan was gross!  I used a duster with an extension handle on it to reach it.  Funny how those things get so dusty when they are constantly moving!
Anyways... that was my living room project!  It's nice to know that there are specific "homes" for things in my living room now, and easier to maintain with specific places to put things.  If it doesn't have a home in the living room, out it goes!