Baby Steps

So, I’ve been taking baby steps now for about 7 years. I’m definitely moving in the right direction, but I really have not made much progress toward better health.

I know some of you are stepping along with me: drinking more water, taking multivitamins, and trying some nutritious recipes. Those are great steps, and I celebrate the progress- yours and mine! But I still have a long way to go.

This post isn’t leading to a happy ending or to a product recommendation. I’m just letting you know that I’m still baby-stepping my way to better health and I thought a little transparency on my part might help you on your way as well.

It was almost three years ago that the technician who did my bone scan uttered those dreadful words, “Whatever you’ve been doing, it hasn’t been enough.” I blogged then that I realized I hadn’t added much calcium to my diet and I hadn’t learned much at all about the importance of other vitamins and minerals. Well, I’m sorry to say, three years later, I’m only a few steps out from that place of not-enough.

With the help of a few perfectly-worded questions from a holistic health coach recently, I  saw for the first time that I’ve been relying on my supplements to make up for the deficits of my diet.

Nutrition overwhelms me. Food overwhelms me. Even grocery lists overwhelm me! Can anybody else relate or is this my own strange struggle?!

I’ll be meeting with a health coach regularly for the next six months and I’m really excited about learning more about the unique needs of my body and about how to feed it nutritiously. I’ll share my progress in hopes that it might help someone else. And I would love to hear from you, too. I would like to encourage you if you’re just taking your first baby steps. And I would love to learn from you if you’re ahead of me by leaps and bounds!

Speaking of baby steps, here’s my son in his first walkers.

baby steps MK

He’s holding on for support, but he’s taking steps. He’s happy! He’s out of the stroller. He’s walking on his own feet. He isn’t discouraged at all that he can’t run across the room yet. And I’m drawing analogies… Here’s to baby steps!

 

Melissa’s Peach Pie

I promised my husband last year that I would bake a peach pie any time we had access to fresh peaches. We had two pies last year, baked from a recipe my mother-in-law copied from an old edition of Farm Wife News. Farm Wife News was revamped and renamed Country Woman in 1987, so this recipe has been around a long time. Credit for the “Colorado Peach Cream Pie” recipe goes to a Ruth Andrews. If you happen to know her or her descendants, please pass on our thanks!

This year, we’ve had fresh peaches two weeks in a row, thanks to Helena Market Days. I decided to tweak the tried-and-true recipe to produce a gluten-free, sugar-free peach dessert that was still delicious. Last week’s crust held together beautifully; this week’s didn’t and the result was more like a cobbler than a pie. Both, however, tasted delicious, so I’m calling them equally successful.

Here’s my new recipe. The flour ingredient determines the quality of the crust, so feel free to substitute your favorite to produce the crust you desire.

Melissa’s Peach Pie

Crust
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. gluten-free flour*
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Filling
4 cups fresh sliced peaches
1 cup xylitol, divided
2 Tbsp. gluten-free flour
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Topping
1/3 c. xylitol
1/3 c. gluten-free flour
1/4 c. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon

Crust: Cut butter into flour and salt. Press dough into 9-inch pie pan.

Filling: Slice peaches into a bowl; sprinkle with 1/4 c. xylitol. Let stand while preparing rest of filling. Combine 3/4 c. xylitol, flour, egg, salt and vanilla. Fold in sour cream. Stir into peaches. Pour into crust.

Bake 15 minutes at 400°. Reset oven to 350° and bake another 20 minutes.

To prepare the topping, combine all ingredients until crumbly.

Sprinkle the crumbs of the topping evenly over the top of the pie or around the edge. Bake the pie another 10 minutes at 400°.Melissa's Peach Pie.JPG

Serve warm and top with vanilla ice cream if desired.

*Arrowhead Mills Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Mix produced a firm crust. King Arthur Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Mix produced a less firm, more crumbly crust. You know what they say about financial investments? “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” I’m pretty sure that applies here, too!

The Best Squash Casserole

IMG_9458[1]

I’ll admit it. Squash is not my favorite vegetable. Not even close. But my new squash casserole recipe definitely moves it up in the rankings. I’ve been baking squash casserole for years now, and the gluten-free version I whipped up this week is the best squash casserole I’ve ever eaten- far better than the traditional recipe I’ve been preparing. (I’m sure it didn’t hurt that I started with fresh squash from Boozer Farms that I picked up Saturday at Helena Market Days!)

Gluten-Free Squash Casserole

 4 cups summer squash, sliced
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup 4C Gluten Free Plain Bread Crumbs*
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper

Add sliced squash to small amount of boiling water. Cover. When water returns to boiling, lower heat and cook until tender. Drain thoroughly and mash.

In a medium bowl, mix together all other ingredients. Combine with squash and mix well. Pour into a greased 1-quart casserole. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until casserole is slightly browned.

 *You can use any bread crumbs you have on hand, of course, but this is the ingredient that determines the texture of the casserole. The 4C brand bread crumbs yield a creamy casserole, unlike my usual dressing-like dish baked with regular bread crumbs. Experiment! I hope you enjoy yours as much as we enjoyed ours this week!

Be Focused!

Is anybody out there dealing with attention deficit issues?

If you or someone you love has ADHD, you know that being focused is nothing to take for granted!

We deal with ADHD at our house, and we choose not to use prescription medications.  Instead, we’ve opted to drink more water, eat more nutritiously, get more exercise, and to take healthy supplements.

A multivitamin is in order for most people.  The average American diet just doesn’t provide the body with everything it needs.  And the brain, just as every other part of the body, needs good nutrition to work properly.  We recommend SuperKids for children between the ages of 4 and 12.  For teens, we recommend SuperDad for the boys and SuperMom or SuperLady for the girls.

Cod Liver Oil has been called “Food for the Brain” because of its potential benefits to the brain and nervous system.  Some research suggests that the omega fatty acids in Cod Liver Oil may play a role in healthy brain development in babies and children.

Studies have shown that many people who have ADHD also have a deficiency of Vitamin B.  For that, we recommend B-Better,  a B Vitamin complex that includes thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin, folic acid and the cobalamins (vitamin B12).

Bee FocusedAnd now, Beeyoutiful has introduced a blend of essential oils known for being both kid-friendly and extremely supportive of those struggling with attention problems.  Bee Focused can be applied on the bottoms of the feet, on the chest, and down the spine and neck.  We just started using Bee Focused today in our home, so it’s too soon to talk about results just yet.  But it might be worth noting that, while an unfocused school day sometimes lasts into the evening, today we finished school at 2:00!

 

Thanks for reading!

There’s a lot to read out there.  And we appreciate you taking the time to read this blog.

We want to thank you for reading this blog post by giving you something else to read!  Today, when you place an order of $25 or more with Smith Family Resources, we’ll add a copy of Nourishing Traditions to your order, at no extra cost.

If you shop in our online store, send an email to smithfamresources@att.net after you place your order and tell us you saw this offer on the blog.

If you’re a local customer, mention this blog post when you place your order and we’ll tuck the book in with your products when you pick up.

This offer extends until Friday, February 5, 9:00 a.m., CT, or while supplies last, whichever occurs first.  Sorry, but this offer does not apply to orders placed before February 4.

Thanks for reading!

Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon

Nourishing Traditions is an amazing handbook of information about food, health and nutrition.  It has 688 pages and 773 recipes!

 

Too Much Histamine?

An allergy-sufferer in my life recently complained about her frequent need of an antihistamine.  “My body makes too much histamine,” she said.  “If I could just find a way to get rid of the extra histamine, my problem would be solved.”

I had never given much thought to histamine.  I didn’t know what it was; I just assumed it was not good since an antihistamine relieves congestion and itchiness and all those uncomfortable allergy symptoms.

Well, I just found out that histamine has a very important role in the body.  Its primary job is to regulate the thirst mechanism.  And, when there’s not enough water to go around in the body, histamine works to ration the available water.  So, we don’t want to get rid of histamine.  But why do some people seem to have too much?

I learned from Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life: You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty!, by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, that when the body is dehydrated, histamine production ramps up to produce emergency thirst signals.  So, histamine isn’t the bad guy after all!  It’s actually trying to tell us something very important:  drink more water!

In the lungs, this extra histamine can cause some trouble.  The bronchial tubes, in their effort to conserve water, constrict.  Lung tissue must be kept moist at all times, and normal breathing causes evaporation to occur.  This is not a problem when we’re drinking plenty of water (half the body’s weight in ounces each day).  But when the lung tissue becomes dehydrated, histamine comes to the rescue.  It cuts down the rate of airflow through the lungs and it stimulates the production of thick mucus to plug the bronchioles.  All of this is to PROTECT the body.

But, my dear allergy-sufferer can testify, it doesn’t feel like protection when she can’t breathe.  What if instead of an antihistamine, what she really needs is water?  What if increasing her water intake brings her histamine levels back down to a normal level?  What if she can relieve her uncomfortable symptoms without making another appointment or purchasing another product?  I’m so excited about this possible solution for her problem!

You know, it just occurred to me that antihistamine labels always recommend taking with large amounts of water.  I didn’t understand why that was important before I realized the role of histamine.  Now, I think of increased amounts of histamine as a warning signal.  Just as we wouldn’t rush in to turn off a smoke detector without putting out the fire that triggered it, we don’t want to turn off the histamine signal without answering its call for more water.

This post has been my attempt to condense what I’ve learned from Dr. Batmanghelidj’s Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life: You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty!  If you’re dealing with allergies or asthma, you’ll probably want to read the book for yourself.  Next time, I’ll share another exciting possibility for allergy sufferers.  Until then, go pour yourself a big glass of water!

glass of water

Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese!

Earlier this year, I shared our recipe for  “Grandma’s Macaroni and Cheese.”  I told you it was a family favorite, but it’s not gluten-free.  Besides the elbow macaroni, there’s also white flour in the cheese sauce.  I asked, “Is there a healthy macaroni and cheese recipe anywhere?”

And, now three months later, I’m here to tell you that it is possible to make delicious macaroni and cheese that is also gluten-free!  I served this recently to my family who LOVES Grandma’s Macaroni and Cheese, and they loved it!  Some of them didn’t even notice any difference.  One that noticed said the cheese sauce was even better than it usually is!  Now, that’s success!

Here’s the recipe:

Gluten-Free Macaroni and CheeseIMG_4918[1]

  • 1 ½ cups gluten-free elbow macaroni (I used Mueller’s Gluten-Free Corn and Rice Pasta Blend Elbows, purchased at Publix)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 4 Tbsp. gluten-free flour (I used LiveGfree Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour, purchased at Aldi)
  • cups milk
  • ½ tsp. salt
  •  ⅛ tsp. pepper
  • cups sharp cheddar cheese

Cook macaroni in boiling, salted water until tender; drain.  Melt butter; blend in flour.  Add milk.  Cook and stir until thick.  Add salt, pepper and 2 cups of cheese; stir until cheese is melted.  Mix sauce with macaroni.  Turn into 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.  Sprinkle top with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes, until macaroni and cheese is bubbly and browned.

Where to Start?

Where to startI’ve been asked several times lately where to start with vitamins and supplements and just generally being more healthy.  As I’ve said many times before, I’m not a doctor or a natural health expert.  I’m just passing on the things I’ve learned and recommending some products that have helped my family.

Sometimes I get excited about something I’ve learned and my gush comes across sounding like, “You really ought to try this!”  But what I really mean is, you really ought to read about this and see if you think this will be good for you or your family.

So, where to start?  The first thing to do is to check your daily water intake.  If you’re not already drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every single day–more if you’re exercising or working outside–start now.  If you weigh 120 pounds, drink at least 60 ounces of water every day.  Just rehydrating your body can do wonders for your overall health.  How cool is that?  You don’t have to order anything to get started!  Click here to read more about the benefits of drinking water.

If your diet is providing all the essential vitamins and minerals needed for good health, great!  But, if it’s not, consider taking a multivitaminBeeyoutiful provides a multivitamin for every member of the family:  SuperMom, SuperLady, SuperDad and SuperKids.  You can click on the links to read about each one, or you can click here to see all our vitamins on one page.

If you have specific health interests, search this blog and others you trust.  Read, read, read.  Talk with your health care provider and make informed decisions before you add supplements to your health regimen.

There are ten products, some of which have already been mentioned, featured in the picture at the top of this post.  You can click on the links below to read more about each one and to decide if one or more of these might be a part of your own getting started.

SuperMom

Tummy Tuneup

Miracle Skin Salve

Paraben-Free Moisturizer

Pure Olive Oil Soap

Cod Liver Oil

Odorless Garlic

Odorless Garlic

Vitex with Dong Quai

Red Raspberry Leaves (web)

Red Raspberry Leaves

Beeyoutiful Essential Oils

Let us know how we can help you as you get started taking care of yourself and your family!

Where to start

More About the Water Cure

The Water CureHave you ever wondered why it matters if you drink water?  Why not tea or orange juice or Gatorade?  I mean, everything we drink is made from water, right?

In Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life: You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty!, Dr. Batmanghelidj says,

“As far as the chemistry of the body is concerned, water and fluids are two different things…  The body needs water- nothing substitutes for water.  Coffee, tea, soda, alcohol, and even milk and juices are not the same as water.”

If you read The Water Cure earlier this week, you’ve probably figured out how many ounces of water you should drink each day.  When I first realized that I needed to drink 65 ounces of water every day, my first thought was, “No way!”  I started out sipping water throughout the day.  I couldn’t get 65 ounces in before the end of the day, and I spent most of the day in the restroom.  Then my daughter suggested drinking more at one time and that helped tremendously.  I now drink 24 ounces when I first get up, another 18-24 between breakfast and lunch, and about 18 ounces between lunch and dinner.  I also drink water with meals and before and during exercise.

Here are some tips from Dr. Batmanghelidj:

  • Drink water about 30 minutes before eating to prepare the digestive tract.  This is especially helpful for people who tend to have heartburn or gas-producing indigestion.
  • Drink water any time you’re thirsty, even during meals.
  • Drink water 2 1/2 hours after eating to complete the process of digestion.
  • Drink water when you first wake in the morning.
  • Drink water before exercising.

The doctor also recommends taking a half teaspoon of salt every day, and there is a fascinating discussion of the role of salt, particularly unrefined sea salt, in the body.  If you deal with hypertension, asthma, depression, or loss of bladder control, you will find the “hidden miracles” of salt in chapter 13 particularly interesting.

There are so many amazing claims in this book and I want to blog about all of them!  Since that’s an impractical goal (and probably a violation of copyright law!), let me just encourage you to read this book for yourself–and to drink plenty of water!  🙂

The Water Cure

IMG_4890[1]I’m back with another glass of water and another excerpt from the very inspiring book, Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life: You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty!

Today, I’d like to tell you about the Water Cure which is explained in chapter 12 of the book.  The previous chapters discuss dehydration, thirst perceptions, and the effect of dehydration on every system of the body.  Here are just a few of the facts Dr. Batmanghelidj discusses before his explanation of the Water Cure.

From chapter 1:  “The various signals or symptoms produced during severe and lasting dehydration have been interpreted by doctors as various disease conditions of unknown origin.  The signal, however, is actually for water shortage, and the local damage is because of water shortage.”

From chapter 2:  “When the human body is dehydrated, it redistributes and regulates the amount of available water.  Within the body, alarms signal to show that areas in question are in short supply…  The available water is rationed and used where needed.”

Chapter 3 provides a list of 46 reasons why your body needs water every day.  Here are two of them:  “Water is the main lubricant in the join spaces and helps prevent arthritis and back pain.”  “To lose weight, water is the best way to go…  You will not eat excessively when you feel hungry but are in fact only thirsty for water.”

From chapter 4:  “The early-pregnancy morning sickness of a pregnant woman is a most meaningful thirst signal.  In fact, it is the very first sign of dehydration of the mother and fetus together.”

In chapter 5, Dr. Batmanghelidj suggests conditions that represent indicators of dehydration.  These include asthma, allergies, hypertension, constipation, type II diabetes, and autoimmune diseases.

The following chapters explore these conditions as well as others and explain why dehydration is so devastating to the body.

But don’t stop at devastation!

Take the Water Cure!

Dr. Batmanghelidj:

“every twenty-four hours the body recycles the equivalent of forty thousand glasses of water to maintain its normal physiological functions.  It does this every day of its life.  Within this pattern of water metabolism and its recycling process and depending on environmental conditions, the body becomes short of about six to ten glasses of water each day.  This deficit has to be supplied to the body every day…  It needs on average upwards of half its weight in ounces water per day…  glass of waterWater should be taken in eight- or sixteen-ounce portions spaced throughout the day.  In the same way you don’t let your car run out of gas before you fill the tank, the body must not be allowed to become dehydrated before you drink water.”

So, how much do you weigh?  120 pounds?  200 pounds?  Divide that number by 2 and determine to drink that many ounces of water today and the next day and the day after that…  I’ll share some other suggestions in my next post.