BEE HEALTHY

STRIVING TO BEE HEALTHY AND POSITIVE IN A WORLD FULL OF MIRACLES


2 Comments

Something I Just Dont Get…

Image

Recently a friend of mine had someone take him to a car dealership and say to him “I’m buying this car for you. You’re so wonderful and I think you deserve it so its YOURS! You can do whatever you want with it because I know you will love and appreciate it and take great care of it.”

It was the car of his dreams! A convertible…red….and FAST! He was SO EXCITED that he drove it off the lot and immediately went to a fast food place to celebrate! He bought a big sloppy burger and fries and a 64 ounce diet soda. As he was driving along enjoying the car and his celebration meal, gooey condiments and lettuce fell from the burger all over the center console and onto his seat and the floor. Then he reached for his soda and it tipped over and spilled onto the passenger seat and floor. He was pretty upset. By the time he was done eating there were fries between the seats and the steering wheel was sticky with ketchup and soda. He made a small effort to clean it up when he got home but not too much because he was exhausted from his day and didnt have time and he wasnt really that worried about it.

The next day he woke up and decided to take the car for a drive. He stopped at a gas station and put the cheapest gas he could find into the car. He then drove up into the mountains and found a place to do some off roading. He knew this car wasnt built for it…it might even damage it, but he WANTED to do this in THIS car so he did! Bouncing over the rocks and tree limbs that were all over the place he could hear pebbles hitting the car and at one point a small log popped up and hit the windshield putting a small crack in it.

He finally drove home…exhausted again…and noticed the car was muddy and had dings in the paint and the bumper was even hanging a little funny. He wasnt too worried about it though because what he REALLY wanted…what he’d always DREAMED of was a car that looked like this:

Image

Image

He wanted to drive around all day in a car that had problems…wanted to put lots of money into repairs and wanted to feel uncomfortable riding in something that was dirty and sticky inside. I think he might have a problem. Don’t you?

I wish I could see your face right now. I wish I could hear what you’re saying…maybe even yelling at the screen! I imagine things like “What is wrong with him??” ” How could he be so ungrateful??” “That car is going to fall apart so fast and then he’ll just have to buy a new one?” and you know…youre so right. I completely agree!

Only…I lied. This wasnt a story about my friend. I dont have a friend who was given a free car. Fortunately I dont have a friend who is that ungrateful. But wait…I do. And I was even this person many years ago. Now this is one of my biggest pet peeves. Its something I dont understand at all. How can a person be so ungrateful for something so valuable that they would fuel it with cheap fuel and ruin it inside and out…especially...WHEN THEY CANT REPLACE IT?? Yep…Im talking about our bodies. The one “vehicle” we are given that will be the only irreplaceable one we get. The one we ride in every day. The one that determines how we feel…how we get around…how we think…how we look and how we move through every minute of our life.

I have several major illnesses. Both my kids do too. At one point in our lives I realized that I had to take our health into my hands because no one else was doing it for me. Especially not a medical system that gets rich off of illness. Does it make sense that they would do all they can to find us cures for the illnesses they are making billions of dollars off of? Or does it make more sense that things like nutrition and natural cures would be swept under the rug because they are not able to patent fruits and veggies and herbal medicines and will LOSE billions of dollars a year if they suggest them (My own MD told me this!)?

I worked hard to get our health in order as much as I could myself. Lots of research…learning to read labels (and teaching them to also! Kids think its fun and soon it becomes a habit. One of the best habits you could give your child!)…learning about alternative therapies and medicines. And now we’re at the point where thats mostly what we use and we are all functioning without prescription drugs. I have been told by MDs that Id most likely be dead by now if it wasn’t for my lifestyle and a few years ago my daughters specialist at Childrens Hospital told us she was the only one in the world with her illness who has never been hospitalized. This and many other things have been complete validation to me that what we are doing is working…that the effort put into it is worth it AND…it isnt hard anymore! We arent paying enormous amounts of co-pays for drugs! Arent paying for hospitalizations! Ans we have manageable enough symptoms to live a satisfying life. I wont pretend life is perfect health wise. It isnt. A regular job at this point is too hard for me to manage but I am not living a miserable existence. Most of the illnesses I have stem from a congenital malformation so there is no “cure” for that natural or not…BUT I am not dead…or wheelchair bound…and I am grateful everyday that I am mobile and happy and I look years younger than I am.

The foods we eat are satisfying and delicious. I have figured out all our favorite comfort foods and look forward to discovering many more. We live in a time where so many people ARE jumping on this bandwagon…becoming vegetarians…gluten free…even the healthiest lifestyle, vegan, that markets and restaurants, food trucks and bars are all starting to offer what we can eat. We even came across a vegan stripclub in Portland online! LOL!!!

Here’s my point though and its a serious one. I am saddened and frustrated everyday by people around me…some whom I love very much…who are sick and in pain who refuse to even try a change in lifestyle (not just food…its important that whatever goes ON our body is natural or preferably organic and that the cleansers etc that we use in our house are natural too)! I am saddened further by the people around me who have healthy bodies they feel are working perfectly who shovel vast amounts of bad things through their face hole and are unconcerned about the future damage they are doing to their vehicle!! Oh how I would love to have that perfectly working body you have and treat it right and see how much mileage I could get out of it!

Please PLEASE think about this. Please go to bed tonight thinking about how long you want to be here…to watch children and grandchildren and great grandchildren…heck if we do this right, great great great grandchildren, grow up! To be able to hang around and watch all the exciting new technologies that are discovered and see how society grows and opens up to saving this earth as they realize the damage thats been done. I want to be around for all of this dont you?? So please think about what fuel youre putting in your “vehicle”. How youre taking care of the outside of it…and whether youre really showing gratitude for what youve been given. Then stick with me and we’ll see if we can figure out how to reverse the damage we’ve done to our own vehicles so far and how we can do that in the most fun and delicious way possible!!! I love you very much and want you around for a LONG time!

XOXO

PS: Id love to hear your thoughts and questions! “Comment” me please! Comment me hard! ūüôā

20140217-085308.jpg

Advertisements


2 Comments

Crunchy Creamy Spicy Satisfying Comfort Foods!

So how was your Superbowl? Or should I say…how was your Superbowl food? ¬†Because thats what its all about right? Whether youre a fan of the game or not, the day isnt complete without the right food! And really…doesnt that go for just about any event? Food…especially comfort foods are what makes the party!

So when the thought crosses your mind “You know…maybe I should go vegan because of compassion and/or my health” or perhaps your Dr told you you need to go gluten free and you know hes right but then you think “theres that _______________ party coming up! And I need to make/eat lots of bad for me foods because a ____________ party wouldnt be a ______________ party without all those (terrible for me) foods!” so you dont even try because isnt that a great excuse??

Nope. It isnt. It IS possible to have a delectable feast of junky comfort foods even if youre BOTH vegan and gluten free! “How can that be” you ask? ¬†I’ll show you!

Image

This is the Superbowl Feast I laid out for my husband…who by the way is only vegan at home…Im still working on him and he’s slowly coming around and he is thoughtful enough to not bring, cook or eat meat in our home. So I try to keep his cravings satisfied! He IS almost 100% gluten free, which I’ll discuss more in another post, so he appreciates being able to have his comfort foods…especially when its game time! He has had a lifetime of tradition of having a huge crap feast of wings and chips and dairy filled dips and then feeling horrendous and being tied to the porcelain throne for days after big games! So…not wanting to be a widow at far too young an age…and being highly animal compassionate AND of course wanting to make my man happy and have some fun myself I strive to make him a feast that is a little more heart healthy…FAR more compassionate…and ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!

Let me tell you about it. Now first I have to say, that I am whats been defined for me as an “intuitive” cook. Yes, Im one of those annoying girls who when you ask me for a recipe I say, I threw in “a little bit of this and a handful of that”. Im sorry if that makes it difficult for you but if it does message me and we can try to work it out together.

First the dips. We had salsa from Whole Foods and I made warm nacho cheeze dip and warm artichoke/kale/garlic dip. ¬† My nacho cheeze dip is my own recipe and its delicious! I just drain a can of Ro-Tel Tomatoes (original style and size) and dump it in a medium saucepan with a whole tub of Tofutti Sour cream¬†and a whole bag of Daiya Cheddar Cheese¬†shreds. I add a little nutritional yeast…probably about 1/4 cup and salt to taste and cook over low heat until the shreds are completely melted and incorporated, stirring often. This nacho cheeze is so delicious no one will miss that nasty velveeta!

Image

If you want a GREAT store bought vegan nacho cheese we ran into a sampling display in Whole Foods where I met the distributor from Portland where this jarred cheeze is made. It is SO delicious and a quick easy way to get your nacho cheese fix if you dont feel like cooking it yourself. Its called HeidiHo Chia Cheeze Sauce and I can attest that it is DELICIOUS…even my real cheese eating husband loved it!

Next the Artichoke dip. This was my favorite and had remained my fave even after going vegetarian. When I went vegan I was sad to lose my favorite dip! So….I made one myself! When serving quite a few people or if we want leftovers (the nacho cheeze serves a lot too!) I use a whole jar of marinated artichokes from Trader Joes (12 oz jar), about a cup of the same Tofutti sour cream above, about a cup of Veganaise¬†(My FAVORITE vegan mayo…”EVERYTHING is better with Veganaise!” ~ a quote from my son), a little nutritional yeast, about 4 large cloves of garlic and 1/3 of a bag of frozen chopped kale (or spinach) from Trader Joes. I defrost the kale on the stove in a saucepan with water…drain and set aside. I drain (save the liquid if youre going to make my chik’n strips and/or poppers!) the artichokes and throw half the jar in my food processor along with the peeled garlic cloves and mince it fine. Then mix this concoction with the sour cream, Veganaise, nutritional yeast, kale and the other half of the jar of artichokes. I seasoned with a little sea salt and smoked paprika, then poured it into a small baking dish (i have a perfect little rectangular casserole for this) and sprinkled with some more smoked paprika. Bake at 350 till its bubbly and browning around the edges a little. THIS dip is SO GOOD you wont even have to tell people its vegan if you dont want to and theyll never know.

Image

So…next was my biggest challenge! My husband is a wing man! This is the most hard thing to give up for him, so even though

Image

he pines for them and gets depressed if he thinks he has to watch a big game without them. I got out of him that what he misses is the flavor and the crunch so heres what I did. I got a tray of Beyond Meat¬†grilled strips to make some chicken fingers. I knew they needed to be CRUNCHY outside and tender inside to make up for his lost wings (but at least some chickens didnt lose theirs!). I soaked half a bag of raw cashew bits and pieces from Trader Joes in the reserved marinade from the artichokes for about an hour. I threw that in my VitaMix and blended till smooth and creamy…then I added a bit of water to get it ALMOST to a batter consistency (like when you’re going to batter chicken or fish) then added about a half a cup of Franks Red Hot. In a shallow pan I mixed about a cup of white rice flour and some creole seasoning salt and about a cup of crushed plain organic corn flakes. I heated some oil in a pan, dipped a strip in the batter then rolled it in the flour/cornflake mixture and fried it up. This is what I got.

Image

These things were so YUMMY!!! Crunchy outside…tender inside…a perfect Chik’n strip! ¬†I warmed up some Franks Red hot and Earth Balance butter and added a little sea salt for a Buffalo dipping sauce and husband said for the first time he DIDNT MISS WINGS AT ALL! HOORAY!!! They were TASTY!

For the poppers I hollowed out some big jalapenos by cutting them in half ALMOST to the stem end and pulled out the majority of the seeds. I popped them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes to blanch them and then filled them with Follow Your Heart vegan cream cheese that I had mixed a little smoked salt into. I battered and coated them in the same stuff as the strips and fried them up too. Another hit!!!

Image

Last but definitely not least was the treat I made for myself. I really used to dig deviled eggs and felt there was just no way I’d ever have them again. THEN I ran into Isa Moskowitz’s recipe for Devilish Potatoes!!! I was so excited because I had the “Black Salt” the recipe calls for which is an Indian salt you can get at just about any Indian market. It has a strong sulfur smell and taste and its perfect for making fake egg dishes. This recipe is FABULOUS!!! Ive never been crazy about the rubbery white part of the egg (have you??) and didnt miss that at all but have definitely missed the yolk! This recipe replicates the yolk almost exactly and the potato shell is even close to the white! It was completely amazing and went FAST since we all liked it so much! The only liberty I took with the recipe was to sprinkle some smoked paprika over the “eggs” when they were done…because I am a smoked paprika addict! ¬†I highly recommend this recipe.

Image

I was really proud of myself for creating a feast of comfort foods that even a meat eater could enjoy…in fact when I asked Jim if he missed anything he said “Nope! I can honestly say I didnt at all. EVERYTHING was delicious and I dont feel gross and bloated!” ¬† SCORE!!! And hey…I even kept my kitchen relatively clean as I cooked and got to relax for the whole game! Go me!

Image

If I can do this YOU can too! Seriously…none of these recipes were very hard or terribly time consuming and its FUN to recreate old favorites in a compassionate and healthy way! If you have any questions or concerns or even just a YAY please feel free to comment and I’ll try to answer everyone!

Peace…love and mermaids!


Leave a comment

“WHY SHOULD I EAT FERMENTED FOODS?”

“Dont they taste funny?”

“Why do my guts need them?”

Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.

Natural fermentation of foods has also been shown to preserve nutrients in food and break the food down to a more digestible form. Imagine a fermented food as a partially digested food. When I make mine part of this process is massaging the greens by hand for about 20 minutes breaking down the cell walls and starting the process of digestion.  This, along with the multitude of probiotics created during the fermentation process, could explain the link between eating fermented foods and improved digestion.  Organic lactic-acid fermented foods (such as Kimchi and sauerkraut) are rich in enzyme activity that helps us breakdown our food and helps us absorb the important nutrients we need to stay healthy.

With all the assaults we have on our gut flora, from antibiotics to the birth control pill to chlorinated water and pasteurized EVERYTHING we are in desperate need of more probiotics. And fermented foods are full of them!  Fermented foods will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system and help the balance of bacteria there. Probiotics have been shown to help slow or reverse some diseases, improve bowel health, aid digestion, and improve immunity. Studies show the link between probiotic rich foods and overall health (PDF).

Think of the nutrient rich foods full of enzymes and probiotics that our great grandparents probably ate! The average diet today consists mainly of sugar laden, lab created hard to digest dead foods.
The amount of probiotics and enzymes available in the average diet has declined sharply over the last few decades as everything has become pasteurized and vinegar based pickles and sauerkraut have replaced traditional lacto-fermented versions.  We should be adding fermented foods on a daily basis to keep our guts happy and healthy! If our digestion is functioning properly and we are absorbing and assimilating all the nutrients we need, our immune system tends to be stronger.

Fermented food are delicious! Naturally fermented vegetables such as pickled cucumbers, beets, onions, sauerkraut, salsa and kimchi can be a perfect way to spice up your meals. You dont need a lot (unless you want a lot!)…a spoonful of Kimchi on you soup or mashed potatoes…a splash of sauerkraut on your (vegan) hot dog…some pickled beets on your salad…there are so many ways to incorporate these delicious condiments and get yourself and your family on the path to a healthy gut!

Make them yourself with the help of books like The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz   or check with your local co-op to see if someone is making them homemade in your area (Im making them if youre in the Seattle or PDX area and want to message me).  Either way think seriously about adding fermented foods to your daily diet for your health and a delectable ZING of flavor!

ferments

 


Leave a comment

Bacon had a mom

20140124-195859.jpg
Bacon is everywhere! I’m not sure if meat eaters notice that as much as vegans do.
Bacon wrapped everything.
Bacon flavored everything.
Bacon Band-Aids.
As a vegan it can make you pretty crazy after awhile!
Because we see pigs as they are…adorable highly intelligent animals. I mean they have the intelligence of a three-year-old child! They’re just under dolphins on the intelligence scale! And we all know the mass hysteria that’s going on over the Taiji dolphin drives. Well-founded hysteria but still… It astounds me on the posts about that the disconnect some people crying for the dolphins have with whats on their very own plates!
What about the millions of pigs that are killed here every week? The torture that they go through as piglets being castrated and having their tails cut off and their ears notched and their teeth cut down…all without anesthesia?
It’s just hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that people love bacon so much when it’s so incredibly bad for their health AND a piglet has to die for it.
I was raised eating meat so i do recognize that bacon tastes good. I dont deny that. Crispy and smoky are two of my favorite things!!! So I was pretty excited when I discovered the recipe for vegan bacon that gave me the crisp and the smoke and the compassion and the health factors that I love all wrapped up in one delicious recipe!
It’s quick and it’s easy and it gives you a lot of bacun bits!
Sprinkle it on everything! Sandwiches, mashed potatoes, salad!
Go crazy and make ice cream sundaes made with cashew cream ice cream drizzled with caramel and sprinkled with vegan bacun bits!!
Do whatever you can imagine with it but do it!
Give up the bacon, let the piglets live and enjoy your crispy smoky bacun bits knowing that you’re doing all you can for the animals,for your health and for the environment! And enjoy every delicious moment!
And Pleeeeease let me know what you think in the comments and share with all your friends! XOXO
Heres the recipe i use. Thanks Fettle Vegan for the deliciousness and beautiful pictures!

20140124-203408.jpg

20140124-222112.jpg


Leave a comment

Striving To Survive.

So as it turns out my day gave me the perfect first post for this blog.
I had my second visit with my new ND today. An ND is a naturopathic doctor. I’ve been without insurance for a while and started having some pretty concerning chest pains and exhaustion and some other symptoms that seem to have nothing to do with the MS and other illnesses I already have. As soon as my insurance kicked in I made an appointment with this ND who was recommended to me because I knew I didn’t want to go the allopathic route. I had a fabulous MD in California who was very pro alternative medicine and nutrition and we worked together fabulously for many years. I didn’t want to go through the drama of trying to find an M.D. here in Seattle who would agree with my stance on nutrition and pharmaceuticals. So I went straight for an N.D.
He seemed pretty concerned when I went in last week and he definitely knows his stuff being one of the founders of Bastyr University. Before doing anything he sent me to the lab for a crap load of bloodwork! NINE tall tubes! On a completely empty stomach! The phlebotomist kept asking me if I was going to faint. It takes a lot more than that to make me faint! Haha!
Today was results day.
He sat me down and looked at me for a few minutes as if I were some kind of mummy in a museum. I knew then this was going to be interesting!
He started out by telling me my blood sugar is a little high and that its like being borderline diabetic. But then when he explained all the other hormones he said that this is probably why my blood sugar isn’t metabolizing correctly. Although I’m already on an extremely high dose of thyroid medication my thyroid was rock-bottom low again. My testosterone is “in the basement”. My estrogen is oddly normal. And best of all *sarcasm* my progesterone is 140 times lower than normal!!!
He explained that with my progesterone and my testosterone levels being extraordinarily low it would mean that my estrogen is overly high even though it shows as a normal number.
One of the most important tests he wanted to do on me was for my cortisol levels to see how my adrenals are working…but because you have to pay for it upfront and then get reimbursed by insurance I haven’t been able to do that one yet.
The doc told me basically that he can’t believe that I’m not just a quivering curled up mess because of those progesterone levels. He said he can’t even imagine how bright every light must seem to me…how every noise must seem so loud…how every smell must be incredibly strong… And that my anxiety levels must be through the roof! He said he couldn’t believe that I was sitting there looking the way I look. And then he wrote me a prescription for the highest dose of Armour thyroid that I can get and a prescription for progesterone cream from a compounding pharmacy.
So here’s the thing. I know a lot of people reading this are thinking “well what good does eating so healthy do? What good is it doing you to be so careful with your lifestyle? What about all that positive thinking?? How has that helped??”
And I asked him that. Not in the way you’re thinking. Not in a frustrated…defeated…why am I doing this way. Not at all! Because I knew I was being validated! “So if I were eating the standard American diet…doing things like hamburgers and Diet Coke’s and alcohol and Ding Dongs Id probably be dead by now right?”
“Probably. But if not dead yet youd have an extremely compromised life at this point.”
See no diet or drug or doctor in the world can change the fact that I was born with a malformation in the back of my skull and that all the illnesses I have stem from that. It causes the cerebrospinal fluid in my brain to be under such high-pressure it squashes my pituitary gland. That means that along with a lot of neurological problems I’m also going to have endocrine problems. That means I’m never going to be cured. And I could do what a lot of people do and feel sorry for myself and say I might as well “enjoy life” By eating all the crap I want to eat and drinking all that alcohol I want to drink and essentially doing all the things that people do that put their health and life in jeopardy. But why?? Why would I want to do that when leading a vegan organic lifestyle is so delicious?? When despite my whole endocrine system being at rock-bottom I’m still functioning and enjoying life and I’m not dead or hospitalized?? When I know that nothing suffers for my pleasure and I’m still finding this much pleasure in life because of that? And speaking of that he was also incredulous that with my testosterone being “in the basement” I still have a great sex drive!
So yeah I think I’ll keep my lifestyle. I think today was a big day of validation! And tomorrow morning a brand new life starts as I rub my progesterone cream on my thigh and look forward to feeling even better! I’m so excited and will definitely keep you posted as to how it’s going. And like my favorite positive thinking saying goes IT’S ALL GOING TO BE ALRIGHT! For all of us. XOXO