It's A NEW YEAR.......let's get Healthy!

Thursday, December 31, 2015
It’s a New Year! How’s that list of New Years resolutions and goals? What…you don’t do that stuff. Are you kidding me? Everybody should have resolutions and goals. I love these definitions.


Resolution: A firm decision to do or not to do something

Goal: The object of a person’s ambition or effort, an aim or desired result

Every day you decide "to do" or "not to do" something and the majority of us have some sort of ambition. See, you are a resolution and goal setting person! For 2016 you may have resolutions to kick some bad habits to the curb and goals to achieve a degree, to obtain some financial stability, learn to cook, speak a new language, reconnect with a friend or family member or learn to quilt. Whatever your resolutions and goals are, it’s important to set ones that are realistic. Take some time and look back on 2015. Did you achieve all you hoped for? Or are you just sitting there saying…”where the heck did the year go”.  Well, don’t be sitting there a year from now saying the same thing. Time will go by whether you try to move forward and improve or just stay put and stagnate. Hey, the time is yours, so go ahead and make some resolutions and goals for 2016.  Become the "better" you.

“A goal not written is merely a wish”. (someone once said).  

 Here are a few tips to help you:

  • Make goals/resolutions realistic. (Miss/Mrs. America is probably a stretch)
  • Go ahead and write it down.
  • Find a picture that relates to your goal and put it up where you can see it. 
  • With some goals/resolutions it's helpful to set a date to achieve it. 
  • Share your goals/resolution with others.

You want to run your first half-marathon this year? Find one to run 6 months from now and register for it. If you pre-pay that gives you motivation to complete it. Then set up your training schedule and work on small goals to achieve your big one in six months.  To make it even easier to achieve; find a buddy to do it with you. Want to achieve a financial goal? Again, make smaller goals to achieve the big one. Take 10% out of each paycheck and sock it away. Then in 8 or 10 months buy that (whatever) or take that vacation. There are lots of apps out there to help you achieve these goals if you need help. There are apps to help you learn a new language, track your exercise, learn about the stars. Between electronics and that place called the library, there are endless ways and ideas and subjects that you could study and incorporate into your life to further your knowledge and improve yourself. How many books did you read last year? Exactly! 2016 = Read a Book! Never stop learning and trying to improve yourself.

I’ve been dilly dallying, putting off, and making excuses not to achieve a goal I’ve wanted for several years. I am happy to say that I am currently working on it and I will achieve my goal in 2016! I’m excited. Sometimes life gets in the way and we fall off the band wagon of goals and resolutions but I’m here to say… GET BACK UP, you can do it and it will be worth it.

If this were a perfect world I would wish for everyone to eat healthier. It would eliminate a majority of the obesity and disease in our culture. Starting on the path to a healthier lifestyle is just like any goal/resolution you set. Small steps to begin with. If you eat the Standard American Diet there are simple things you can do to quickly feel and look better. It’s not easy to go cold turkey, so I suggest you start limiting the bad things and adding more of the good.
  • Limit processed food. (bagged, boxed, canned, convenient food)
    • These are full of chemicals, sugar, artificial ingredients, addicting ingredients and low in any nutrition
    • Just don't buy it! If it's not in your cupboard staring at you then you're not going to eat it
  • You want some cookies……make homemade without the preservatives and fake stuff
  • Eat more vegetables and fruit
    • Put more on your plate at meal time, eat them for snacks instead of junk food
  • Exercise
    • Park further away from stores
    • Do squats while brushing your teeth, leg lifts while cooking dinner
  • Stop drinking sodas
    • If you drink caffeine sodas you will have to slowly eliminate them to avoid withdrawal
These suggestions will help to set you on a path to eliminating unwanted headaches, joint pain, extra weight, sickness, and other ailments. A healthy lifestyle is really an investment in your future.

My dash of wisdom....Go ahead and welcome 2016 with some great goals and resolutions. I look forward to a year full of blog posts to help you achieve your goals toward a healthier life. Cheers!

Homemade Deodorant - CHEMICAL FREE

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
NEWS FLASH: Aluminum linked to Alzheimers and Breast Cancer

Homemade Deodorant - Aluminum Free
Surely this is not the first you have heard of this. Unless you have had your head in a hole for the past 10+ years. Aluminum is the active ingredient in most antiperspirants.  Did you know that aluminium-based complexes react with the electrolytes in the sweat to form a gel plug in the duct of the sweat gland? Hmmmm, I'm pretty sure that sweating is actually a good thing. It serves to:
  • Maintain proper temperature and keep you from overheating
  • Expel toxins, which supports proper immune function and helps prevent diseases related to toxic overload
  • Kill viruses and bacteria that cannot survive in temperatures above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Clean the pores, which will help eliminate blackheads and acne

So now we have plugged up our toxin exit route, and....we have plugged it up with an ingredient that is known to be absorbed into our body and our blood, that can alter our DNA.

"Aluminium is known to have a genotoxic profile, capable of causing both DNA alterations and epigenetic effects, and this would be consistent with a potential role in breast cancer."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16045991

Another interesting bid of information:

"Findings from a different study examining the frequency of underarm shaving and antiperspirant/deodorant use among 437 breast cancer survivors were released in 2003. This study found that the age of breast cancer diagnosis was significantly earlier in women who used these products and shaved their underarms more frequently. Furthermore, women who began both of these underarm hygiene habits before 16 years of age were diagnosed with breast cancer at an earlier age than those who began these habits later." www.cancer.gov 

Aluminum is not the only ingredient in antiperspirants and deodorants shown to have negative effects on our body. Other ingredients to avoid would be:

Parabens – This is used as a synthetic preservative. Parabens have been shown to mimic the activity of estrogen in the body’s cells. It is found in many personal care products. Paraben exposure has also been linked to birth defects and organ toxicity. The belief that parabens build up in breast tissue was supported by a 2004 study, which found parabens in 18 of 20 samples of tissue from human breast tumors.
Propylene glycol – This is a petroleum based material. In large quantities, studies have shown that it can cause damage to the central nervous system, liver, and heart.
Phthalates – Another class of chemicals that have been linked to a variety of health issues including birth defects.
Triclsoan – This chemical is actually classified as a pesticide by the FDA and a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. Also found in many products we use on our skin.

OK, so we now know that antiperspirants and deodorants with these chemicals in them are bad for us. And we know that sweating is actually a good thing. So real quick let me give you a Body Odor 101 lecture. What makes some people have really bad BO?

The real cause of armpit odor is the intentional excretion of toxins that your body is trying to get rid of. And by using deodorant products, you block the exit door and force those toxins to stay in your body! You've heard the saying....What goes in must come out. Or was that what goes up must come down? Haha, anyway we are using the in and out version today.

Red meat is a major cause of body odor. Red meat causes stagnation in the body; it putrefies in the digestive tract and releases all sorts of toxins into the bloodstream through the large intestine. 

As far as other foods that cause body odor, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods. Foods lacking fiber and made with refined white flour, added sugars, hydrogenated oils and other processed ingredients. When you eliminate these from your diet and shift to a clean diet made of whole grains, vegetables, fresh fruits, supergreens, raw nuts and seeds, healthy oils and other similar healthy ingredients, your body odor will all but disappear in a matter of weeks. It's true! I stopped wearing store bought deodorant a few years ago. When I cleaned my diet up from processed foods and meat the BO really did go away. Now, I'm not talking about sweat here. I still sweat at times but the odor isn't there like it was when eating the standard american diet. 

So here is my Dash of Wisdom today....  STOP using antiperspirants and deodorants full of chemicals. You can find more natural deodorants in health food stores or online or you can make your own.


Here is my recipe for Homemade Deodorant. 

Homemade Deodorant
Ingredients
1/4 cup arrowroot or gmo-free cornstarch
1/4 cup baking soda
4 tbs. virgin unrefined coconut oil
18 drops essential oil (optional) I use these Essential Oils
I switch them up regularly, but this time I used: 
10 drops lavender
5 drops lemon
3 drops rosemary
These essential oils all have anti-bacterial properties

Directions
Simply mix all ingredients together and put in a small 4 oz jar
*if the coconut oil is warm it will liquefy and mix easily
With clean fingers, you would apply the deodorant under your arms







Blackbean Brownies - Healthy Chocolate

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I LOVE chocolate! I think I eat dark chocolate almost every day. The awesome thing about a good quality dark chocolate is that it is actually good for you.

Research has shown that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in chocolate may lower your risk of heart attack and stroke considerably.

                                                                     Dark Chocolate

                         Contains Fiber and Minerals
                            -iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, zinc and selenium
                       
                      Lowers LDL and raises HDL cholesterol
                       
                      Contains Antioxidants
                           -organic compounds: polyphenols, flavanols and catechins
                       
                      One of the highest scoring foods on the ORAC scale  
                           -(oxygen radical absorbance capacity measures antioxidants in food) 


How to choose a good dark chocolate:
     Choose a cocoa powder that has no additives, ie: sugar, butter.
     Choose a dark chocolate bar/chips with a high cocoa content; at least 70% and up.The higher the cocoa percentage the more bitter tasting it will be. It is an acquired taste!

There is no RDA of chocolate. As with all things, moderation is best. If you are eating it often, I'd keep it to an ounce or less a day. Of course this is just straight dark chocolate. I'm not talking about eating a salted caramel dark chocolate bar everyday. Mmmmmm! That's a once-in-a-blue-moon treat. Funny how I see a lot of blue moons at my house!

I love chocolate desserts, but most are full of refined flour and sugar. Here is a delicious brownie recipe. Yes, I know what you are thinking.... Black Beans, no way. Black beans belong in soup and salads. I am telling you, from one chocolate lover to another, these are the bomb! I mean they are really good.  Bonus...they are really good for you and with minimal ingredients these are super easy to make. These brownies are a very dense brownie. Adding the oats makes them a little more cake like.

Simple ingredients


All blended in the Blendtec

Top with chocolate chips

Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients:

1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 eggs
1/4 cup cocoa
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

optional ingredients:
1/3 cup oats - this makes them more cake like
4 drops peppermint essential oil  - I love peppermint so I always add this

Directions:

1.  Put all ingredients EXCEPT the chocolate chips in your high speed blender or food processor.
2.  Process for 1 min.
3.  Add the chocolate chips to batter and stir in. (you can save a few to put on top)
4.  Pour into prepared (I use coconut oil) 8x8 pan.
5.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.


Sink your teeth into these antioxidant rich brownies

Yes, we are all "aware" NOW is the time to PREVENT CANCER

Monday, October 26, 2015

October has long been Cancer Awareness Month. While I appreciate all of the advertising and events that this month brings to the awareness of cancer and the millions or billions of dollars that go to the cancer charities; I am quite perplexed why there isn't more of a mainstream public awareness of Cancer Prevention. Wikipedia tells us that National Cancer Awareness Month was founded in 1985 in October as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries which is now part of AstraZeneca, who is a MAJOR player in chemo drugs. (I won't comment about "Big Pharma" because it makes my blood boil)

But....wouldn't it be nice if some of the millions raised went to cancer prevention education. Yes, I do believe that you can take measures to prevent cancer. To prevent it you need to know what causes it. The American Cancer Society tells you right out that tobacco, poor diet, no exercise, alcohol, radiation, carcinogens, etc. contribute to causing cancer. As much as I want some of those millions to go toward educating the public about preventing cancer......it will not. Big Pharma and the Food Industry don't want us to know what they are doing to us. PEOPLE....NOW is the time to wake up and educate yourself on the harmful effects of processed food, carcinogens in our food, in our personal care products, cleaning products and our environment. Things are not as they were 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago.

It is too easy to go through life looking at everything through rose colored glasses. Too easy to take everything at face value. Call me cynical, a skeptic or whatever; but I'm telling you, I don't believe anything from the media. For decades commercials have told us how gentle and wonderful Johnson & Johnson baby products are. Only to find out they contain a preservative that releases formaldehyde.

Only in the past two years has Johnson & Johnson removed that preservative (only to add a different one) from some of their baby care products. This all happened because of pressure from consumers and environmental groups. Now please note that Johnson & Johnson continues to sell a plethora of beauty products that still contain these dangerous preservatives. Also please note that Johnson & Johnson sells the identical products to other countries without these preservatives, because their version of the FDA does not allow them. The FDA does not restrict the amount of formaldehyde that can be present in cosmetics sold in the U.S  Hmmm, imagine that!  (by the way, you do know that wrinkle free clothes contain formaldehyde)

I worry about our future generations. We need to be educated now on cancer prevention. Look how prevalent infertility is these days. This is an exert from an article by the Environmental Working Group.

"As EWG has reported for more than a decade, many chemicals found in personal care products have the potential to hinder people’s ability to reproduce, to interfere with pregnancies and to cause birth defects. 

And recently, citing scientific evidence accumulated over the last 15 years, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine have urged doctors to warn their patients that exposure to toxic chemicals before conception and during pregnancy can have significant and long-lasting effects on reproductive health.  

The medical groups’ conclusions align with EWG’s research, which has determined that reproductive health problems linked to toxic chemicals in cosmetics and other personal care products include:

-Infertility     -Low birth weight     -Preterm birth     - Cancers

Birth defects for example, in 2005, scientists at the University of Rochester reported that prenatal exposure to phthalates —plasticizers commonly used in personal care products — was linked to abnormal reproductive development in baby boys. Despite these findings phthalates are still used in cosmetic products, including some nail polishes and “fragrance” mixtures."

Full article here: Toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products

Yes, October is now more of a pink month than an orange month. I think we are all "aware" of cancer. NOW is the time to start on cancer prevention! I urge you to use that "Dash of Wisdom" you have in your brain (somewhere) when deciding what to eat, what to brush your teeth with, what to moisturize your face with. Don't believe the ads. Read the ingredients, especially when it comes to your precious children. Let's not let cancer be so prevalent in our next generations.





Health Benefits of Honey, Cinnamon and Lemon...... "Hot Toddy"

Monday, October 19, 2015



The Dublin-born physician, Robert B. Todd (1809–1860), was known for his prescription of a hot drink of brandy, cinnamon, sugar syrup and water. It was called a "Hot toddy". I think Dr. Todd was on to something. All of the ingredients have beneficial health properties. Well, I don’t know about the brandy, except maybe a numbing effect. (I suppose that could be beneficial at times!)

Cinnamon and honey go waayyyy back.

Cinnamon and honey have many references in the Bible. The combination of honey and cinnamon has been used for centuries in both traditional Chinese and Ayurveda medicine (one of the world's oldest holistic whole-body healing systems, developed thousands of years ago in India)  The two ingredients with unique healing abilities have a long history as a home remedy. Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known to mankind and honey's popularity has continued throughout history. Cinnamon's essential oils and honey's enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide qualify the two "anti-microbial" foods with the ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi. In Ayurvedic medicine it is believed that honey enhances the medicinal effectiveness of the cinnamon.

There is no doubt that cinnamon and honey were used for medicinal purposes centuries ago.  So why not now? And why not in a Hot Toddy? Well, mine is actually a virgin Hot Toddy seeing that I don’t consume alcohol.  I add fresh lemon juice for its many health benefits. In my last post I talked to you about cinnamon and its many health benefits so here are a few of the benefits of honey and lemon.


Raw Honey 

  • Raw honey is the only food on the planet that will not spoil or rot (it will crystalize)
  • Beneficial vitamins and minerals
  • Nutrients that are essential to dissolve fats and cholesterols
  • Packed with 22 amino acids that are beneficial to your body’s metabolism
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) lists honey as a demulcent, which is a substance that relieves irritation in your mouth or throat by forming a protective film
  • Antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant
  • Boost your energy (great for distance runners!)
  • Reduce allergy symptoms
  • Cough suppressant
  • Boost memory
  • Treats wounds and burns
  • Resolves scalp issues and dandruff


Raw Lemon Juice

  • pH alkaline state – although acidic to taste, lemons are one of the most alkaline of foods and help keep our bodies to the required pH alkaline state of around 7.4
  • Blood purifier 
  • Blood sugar balance 
  • Detoxification 
  • Weight loss 
  • Osteoporosis – lemon juice is rich in Vitamin C and helps the body to absorb calcium 
  • Insomnia
  • Brain and nerve food – potassium found in raw lemon juice helps the brain and nerve cells, improves concentration, memory and calms the mind
  • Boost immune system 
  • Infection – it is rich in citric acid
  • Cough and cold 
  • Nausea, vomiting and travel sickness 
  • Rheumatism, arthritis and bone-related diseases – lemon is an excellent anti-inflammatory

Oh goodness, I get so excited about all of the health benefits of honey, cinnamon and lemon. I pretty much have two hot toddys a day. One in the morning and one in the evening. I invite you to try it and feel the difference in your health!

Virgin Hot Toddy
Juice of half a lemon
¼ tsp. ceylon cinnamon
½ tbs. raw honey
Hot water


Fake vs Real Cinnamon

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ahhh.....Cinnamon!

I love cinnamon. The taste of cinnamon mmmm....so warm and spicy. The aroma of cinnamon takes me to wonderful places in my mind. Bake shops, my grandmas kitchen, my parents kitchen and of course it is a wonderful aroma of Christmas. I use cinnamon a lot in my cooking and baking. It is a must in my homemade almond milk and my Hot Toddys. (blog post on that coming soon)

When I learned that there is a "fake" and a "real" cinnamon (per se) I was........well, I was obviously confused. The cinnamon we buy from the grocery store (the fake stuff) is Cassia or Cinnamomum Aromaticum, also commonly known as Chinese cinnamon. It is cultivated in China and Indonesia. Ceylon cinnamon (the real stuff) is native to Sri Lanka, Madagascar and the Seychelles and sourced from the plant Cinnamomum Zeylanicum.

Cinnamon, whether cassia or ceylon is well known for its many health benefits.

  • strong antioxidant
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-fungal
  • beneficial effects on lowering your blood sugar levels (diabetics)
  • heart health
  • neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
  • weight loss
  • muscle spasms
  • vomiting, diarrhea, infections, the common cold, loss of appetite, and erectile dysfunction (sorry couldn't tell ya if that's true or not, but thought I'd include it). 

So let's get to the point of this blog post.

Cinnamon contains coumarin, which is a naturally occurring substance 
with strong blood-thinning properties. 

The reason fake cinnamon can be bad for you is that large amounts of coumarin over a prolonged period of time can be toxic and cause serious health issues to the liver and kidneys. Cassia cinnamon, which is 90% of the cinnamon sold in stores, contains much higher levels of this. The amount of coumarin in ceylon cinnamon is only 0.0004%, compared to 5% found in cassia cinnamon. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry tested cinnamon commercially available in the U.S. and found "substantial amounts" of coumarin in cassia cinnamon, but only trace amounts of coumarin in ceylon cinnamon. The U.S. FDA considers cassia and ceylon cinnamon safe for human consumption. (that's all they say about it) Some countries have enforced a limit on the amount of cassia cinnamon used in foods and suggested a minimum daily intake. Organizations like the European Food Safety Authority have recommended no more than 0.1 milligrams of daily coumarin intake from food per 2.2 pounds of body weight. For a person weighing 150 pounds, this recommendation translates to about 7 milligrams of coumarin. These numbers show how it would be possible for a person consuming a lot of cassia cinnamon to increase their risk of potential toxicity problems. 

I personally only use ceylon cinnamon because I ingest cinnamon daily, up to 1 teaspoon or so. Some studies have found one teaspoon of cassia cinnamon to contain between 5-12 milligrams of coumarin. Another interesting tid bit on cinnamon. Some people who have adverse reactions to cassia (fake) cinnamon, do not have those reactions when they use the real cinnamon, ceylon. 
You can visually tell the difference between fake and real cinnamon sticks. The powdered and ground cinnamon, you will have a hard time visually telling the difference. Ceylon cinnamon will have a more mild, sweet taste without so much bitter after taste like cassia. If you look at your current bottle of cinnamon it may or may not say more than just "Cinnamon".  So my Dash of Wisdom to you on cinnamon is; if you are consuming a considerable amount of it, you may want to purchase the "real cinnamon", ceylon cinnamon.

I purchase my ceylon cinnamon on-line. organic ground ceylon cinnamon

Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I quit buying cows milk years ago. When one of my boys was a teenager, he had pretty bad acne. Visits to the dermatologist always produced a new prescription or two. Some made his ache worse, some burned his skin, and some did nothing. But all resulted in lots of money spent for the appointment and the prescription. One prescription we filled had a "first time free" coupon. If we needed a refill it was $700.00. Really ?? Who are you kidding here? So I decided to take my son off of milk. I had read a lot about its effect on hormones. Shazam! Would you believe his acne cleared up and has never returned. During one of our dermatologist visits I had asked the doctor about milk consumption in relation to hormones and skin. You would have thought I asked him if his thick head of hair was hair plugs. His reaction didn't surprise me. How could clearing acne be THAT simple. Well, it was, at least for my son.   
Click this link for an interesting article.
Does milk cause acne?

 We love almond milk in our house. We drank store bought almond milk for a while.Then my eyes were opened to the ingredients in some of the major brands. Synthetic vitamins, carrageenan, stabilizers and other additives. I tried making my own. Oh my goodness! It was soooo good, and so easy. It is such a treat to drink a glass.




Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds 
4 cups filtered water
3-4 medjool dates (pitted)
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring 
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
dash sea salt

Directions:

1.  Soak almonds in filtered water overnight.
2.  Rinse and drain the soaked almonds.
3.  Place almonds and remaining ingredients in your blender. 
4.  Blend for 1 minute.
5.  Pour almond milk into a nut milk bag or a cheese cloth and strain into a pitcher or bowl. Take your time.
6.  Keep almond milk in a glass jar and store in refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. It is normal for the milk to separate so shake before using.   

Wake Up and Smell the Crap

Monday, October 5, 2015


So Hippocrates definitely knew what he was talking about.
I wish someone had told me this, say like....thirty some years ago. Anyone remember drinking your Tab Cola and having a pack of Nabs? Mmmmm good food there. 
I have to say that in my teen years I consumed my share of junk food. Fast food, 7-11 for snacks (Dr. Pepper and a 3 Musketeers bar), sugar cereals, pop-tarts, geez the list goes on. I never thought these were "bad" for me. Fast forward to my 30's; married, three kids and a dog. I tried to feed my family decent food. Vegetables from a can, canned biscuits, and meat. I cringe as I write this! I trusted the food companies and their advertising.
I knew people who were "health nuts". I literally thought they were nuts. Like tree hugging, granola hippies. No way, I would never be like that.
WAKE UP AND SMELL THE CRAP
Yes, that is what I had been eating most of my life. Just watch TV and the commercials tell you how good pop-tarts are. Oh and don't forget Mac-n-Cheese. Your not a good mom if you don't serve that at your dinner table (probably with some hotdogs).(choke and gag)
Thankfully I did wake up. It was late, but you know .....better late than never.
About nine years ago my mother was diagnosed with cancer. What a wake up call that was. I was shocked. She was 76 years old. So healthy and vibrant her whole life. I went into research mode and read everything I could on what caused cancer. FOOD. That was a big one I kept coming across. The "things" that are in our food. Holy Cow has the food industry been taking us for a ride or what? 
Fast forward again, to today. Yes, my family and friends call me a crazy hippie voo doo woman.
And I am so honored to be called that. To all of the hippie, granola people I made fun of back in the day.....my sincerest apologies.
Eating clean, whole foods has changed my life, healed my husband of a debilitating disease and has set my life on a new path.

  
Tuesday, September 22, 2015