Monday, April 30, 2012

Fresh Food From Small Spaces: A Review

I found Fresh Food From Small Spaces by R.J. Ruppenthal an inspiring overview of small space homesteading topics.  Container gardening, vertical gardening, chickens, bees, sprouts, fermenting foods, mushrooms, and more can be found within these pages.  I found myself considering topics I hadn't considered before. 

Ruppenthal discusses in simple terms the above subjects with either enough information to draw an interest to a basic understanding in technique.  This book applies more to those in apartments or very tiny lots.  I live on a 1/4 acre and found encouragement to learn more about quite a few of the subjects. 

Here are some of the things I took from this book: different fertilizers for different crops and containers, test soil ph, add in whole cornmeal to soil to enrich it, types of crops to consider for crop rotation/containers/hanging, compact orcharding, sprouting a larger portion of my families foods, making a raw vegan yogurt from nut milks, kefir, sauerkraut/kimchee, worm bins, etc...  I actually took a page and half of notes which is uncommon for me.  And it is the first paper book I've read in a long while (hardcore Kindle user here, though this book is available on Kindle :) ). 

I checked this book out from the library.  While I gained a lot of information and inspiration from this book, I don't feel the need to purchase it.  I found that it is an excellent spring board with books recommended for learning more about individual topics.  Check it out from the library yourself to see if you can be equally inspired or pick it up for yourself.  Unless you are a learned homesteader, I am sure it will introduce you to a new topic.  :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Am So Bad!

Spank me!  I'm a naughty blogger!  It has been a weird time at our house and that's all I can say in my defense for not blogging.  So let me catch you up:

Today I get to eat real food again.  I need to go slow... TMI Warning: skip to the end of this section if you want to avoid the discussion on defecation.  :)  Let's talk poop for a minute.  It was really interesting watching the consistancy change while I was on the cleanse.  And disturbing.  Why are there any solids in my poop after 10 days of not eating?  And some say that carrying excess waste in our system is a wives tale! 

Ok, so continuing in the poop talk while I have ya here: I am not a regular person.  I am lucky if I go once a week and twice a week is a celebration.  (My girls even got me a large pin that says "I pooped today" lol!)  I read somewhere that if you set a time and make sure to sit on the toilet at that time every day it can encourage your bowels to become regular.  If you can elevate your legs a bit, it will help.  It works!  Between that and the kombucha I am now having daily bowel movements for the FIRST time ever!!!

Back to cleansing and defecation: when returning to regular foods it is common to become very constipated as your digestive system takes a bit to kick back in.  I need to pick up some more smooth move tea to help it along for a bit.  And that's the end of the TMI section.  Our regular talks can resume :)

Looking back I am very thankful for having done the cleanse and very thankful for the progress I have made in my health to be able to have done it.  I seriously doubted that I could pull it off, but remained optimistic. 

My ADD has been on the fritz lately.  I am supposed to be writing a new 8 week curriculum, but NoooOOOoooo, I have to read everything else from diet to chicken rearing to gardening to....  I don't know if I should break from the curriculum writing for a couple weeks and ride the homesteading efforts or to push through.  There is a time and a place for everything.  And I've been bashing my head against the yoga wall when I really want to get out and garden which would get me exercise and assist with loosening up my muscles.  (Gotta say it like mussCulls.)

Condundrum.  Chicken News: we decided to return to chicken rearing.  I am not sure where I sit on animal products.  Because of that and because my husband and children still consume them (although in much smaller amounts, yay!) we decided to raise layers again.  We got 3 golden sexlinks (cross between Rhode Island Reds and Whites), 2 black sexlinks (cross between Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks), and a buff orpington.  We named the last one Buffy and of course the kids like her best as she can be easily picked out from the rest. 

Money is tight.  Duh!  But I've earned some money lately in my business and since my business owes us so much I am using that money towards the homesteading/gardening/moon garden efforts.  No, it isn't enough to cover everything I want to do so I need to be selective.  I also am going to ask/check around to see what I can pick up for free. 

Moon Garden: here's what I need/want: build the stick fence I just need time.  I believe we have all the supplies we need.  Ground work: weed and level out the ground.  Then I need a ton of sand.  I want the large particle sand/small particle rock for the ground.  I also want a pedestal for the Moon Goddess to sit on.  I want a levelish 2-3' stone for an altar.  And a bunch of small quartz to scatter in the sand.  Not too much there. 

For the compact orchard: 3-4 varieties and season apple trees and 3-4 varieties and season cherry trees.  I would love to put them in raised beds, but Tim doesn't.

For the garden: 3 raised beds so that I don't need to lean over too far.  They will be approximately 4' by 6' but I haven't measured yet.  1 of them will be a potato bed and the other 2 will be for a variety veggies.  I would like to put a walkway to the temple and some sort of arches that can function as trellises for the 2 garden beds as well. 

Along the west side of our house I want to put in a strawberry bed and maybe some blueberry bushes if they can be in the same bed. 

I will write up a review of Fresh Food From Small Spaces later, but it really has inspired me to try out some new things!!!   

And I'm spent.  See ya'll tomorrow when we return to the mad mutterings of a crazy mama!  :p

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Amidst a Cleanse

I have been a slacker.  I left my phone in Seattle on Saturday by accident and since it was on vacation I guess I took a slight one as well.  Not fully true as I have been active, just not as much as lately. 
 
Today is Day Six of my cleanse.  I am doing The Master Cleanse.  I decided on it as 1) it's a common one for raw foodists 2) readily available materials and 3) the information on the cleanse is simple and again readily available. 

Here is my favorite site for information on it: http://themastercleanserecipe.org/ .  There are several books on this cleanse as well.  I read the samples of two of them on Kindle and decided that I had enough information at this point to move forward without reading the books and more important books to read at that time. 

I have not been as active as I should and I don't know how to feel about that.  I haven't detoxed as much as I thought and I think its because of the reduced activity.  Maybe that's a good thing and maybe I'm not getting the most benefit from the cleanse as I could. 

Today isn't the best day for me.  Fatigue and a sense of disconnect is prevalent today.  It's been the only day so far that I have felt like this.  Writing this and focusing on this is difficult.  I might try a walk after I'm done to see if it helps.  I tried my light therapy for an extended period of time and it didn't help (unusual!).  There are a number of signs of detoxing and fatigue is one of them.  So that's good.

Here are some things I've noticed so far that are side notes of this cleanse:

(hold on, I forgot....)  Oh yeah, I have a big sweet tooth and probably a raging candida problem, but I haven't craved sweets at all.  Doritos, fritos, shredded beef, sour cream, etc...  I am quite surprised.  I might buy myself a bag of doritos once or twice a year.  And fantom taste is sooo real.  I've heard of it, but until Day Four when I was sitting in the tub and I could taste a frito clearly.  I haven't had one in probably a year. 

Freedom and pride.  I feel lighter in my body and I don't mean weight loss.  I don't feel as clogged, I feel like the energy is flowing better through my meridians.  And pride, not everyone can have the discipline to follow through and I definitely haven't most of the time, but I am developing that within myself and I'm doing it NOW, not someday! 

Emotions and negative patterns: I have read and heard several people say recently that they are in a healthy place where they don't have to take shit from other people, that they have the power to stand up for themselves.  Stay with me here as I'm going to get to my point in a round about way...

In studying the Havamal (from the Elder Edda) we learn that Odin teaches that a man's true character comes out with drink.  So true.  Well, I have had a thought running through my head that takes it a step further: that a man's true character comes out in times of conflict. 

When a cashier is being snotty why does that require an equal response on my part?  Why is that standing up for myself?  I don't need to take on or spread that snottiness like its a virus.  I can be confident in myself (who I am at the center of my being) and at peace with myself and be removed from the situation.  I do not need to become attached to the actions of others. 

There has been a lot going on in my life recently and some of my true character is coming out and some of it I don't like.  It's amazing the excuses that we make: that person was an ass so therefore I had to...  You know what I mean? 

I am very blessed to be around so many people that are willing to draw out my true character so that I can refine who I am.  What a beautiful thought, eh? 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day Three

Today is day three of my cleanse.  I have made it further than I thought I would, but I am hoping to go the full 10 days. 

Most people go off their medications for this cleanse.  Meds can carry a lot of metals and other stuff that can develop into their own set of problems.  Not that I'm telling you anything new. 

Yesterday afternoon I realized I hadn't taken my meds for that day which really surprised me as I am usually very aware of it within a few hours.  I hadn't planned on going off my meds but now I am curious.  In the evening time I ended up taking a half dose.  This morning things were hurting bad enough that I took a full dose, partially because I'm going to be in various offices throughout the day and those chairs are hard enough as it is. 

So yes, definitely feeling the pain, BUT not nearly as much as usual. 

Day Three, Four, and Seven are supposed to be the worst.  Day Three and Four because of healing crisis.  Fingers crossed it isn't too bad.  So far its just sneezing and running nose....

Isabella is getting braces today.  Madalyn is getting spacers and then braces in a week.  So fun!  :p  And Lily is home sick and my immune system is taxed to the point with this cleanse that I am more than usually susceptible.  Joy.  :)

See yas laters!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Check-in

First off: I mentioned The Food Revolution the other day during my review of Diet for a New America.  Today it is Amazon's Daily Deal for Kindle for $1.99.  Obviously I was meant to read this one as well :). 

My family is sick again.  Public school and work places are the bane of a mother's free time.  Tim is home for the third day in a row.  Check this out though: I am not sick.  <knocks on wood quickly>  This is the second illness that is passing me by.  I blame it all on raw foods.  It really has helped out my immune system. 

I think I am ready for a cleanse.  I am going to start it out on Saturday and see if I can make it a full 10 days.  I am going to try out the Master Cleanse.  I've thought about it for years, but now feels right. 

In a week and a half I go back in for a therapeutic sleep study.  I have mild to moderate sleep apnea.  This actually makes me happy as it means my sleep can get even better.  Yeee! 

The house is stalled at the moment with Tim being sick and my schedule being so booked.  Hopefully we will be able to finish the last few remaining things in the laundry room and begin the garage.  I think I might need to block out some time like I did in February.  We got a lot more done in a shorter amount of time that way. 

My E.L.F. cosmetics are supposed to arrive today.  Hopefully soon I can do a write up on those and let you know what I think. 

Short blog today, lots to do, so little time.  Wish I could say today that it was People to Do, Things to See, lol.  xoxo

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Time Management: Simplified

Time management is a hobby of mine.  I love reading up on it, trying out different techniques, trying out different products.  The most significant thing I have learned is that there are a gazillion different methods out there for a reason.  No one system seems to work perfectly for everyone and often times, a blending of systems seems to work best. 

Personally I love Leo Baubata's system.  It is my favorite at this time.  However, it may be the very worst thing for you.  You really do need to research several methods and try them out before you begin to learn what will and won't work for you.  Assuming can lead to more frustration.

So I thought I would list out what works best for me on determining where to begin.  First is becoming aware that you are out of whack or feeling like you could improve.  If it aint broke, or you believe it aint broke, you are more resistant to change.  I believe most people can improve.

Just don't make a lifestyle of trying to get more done with your time.  Learn how to use your time more efficiently so you have time to enjoy it, not work more.  Preach it sistah! 
click on this picture for two downloadable time logs

Second, we've all probably heard of food logs.  When you go on a diet, it is recommended that every drop or morsel that goes into your mouth is logged and the time is noted.  We often consume more than we think with a little nibble here and a little nibble there.  Same thing with our time. 

Time logs can help us to see where we are spending our time.  How many times are you checking your email?  How many hours are you surfing the net?  Soltaire anyone?  Record your time.  If you follow the same pattern every day then a few days may be all you need.  I usually log for a week as my schedule varies depending on the week and the days.  I have one week a month when I am in the classroom more often than usual. 

Record everything you do and the time spent.  The above photo leads to a site with two printable time logs.  I use a notebook.  You could use your phone, moleskin, steno, etc... For those with delicate sensibilities, a moleskin is a very nice option.  I used them for years, but now my fav is Levenger's Circa system or Rollabind's lesser quality version.

Once you have a basic understanding of your schedule you can move on to step Three: prune back the unnecessary.  If you don't know how to do this or if you feel you could use some help here, check out some books, classes, or online websites.  This is the area that most people need help.  Here are some tips that quickly come to mind for me:

Email: don't check it first thing in the morning or at the end of your day.  This habit has totally ruined my day and my sleep.  Get your most important things done, then check email.  You can check it twice a day if you need to, but do you really need to check it more often? 

Internet: many of us need this for work, however how many times does a simple task that takes 5 minutes turn into an hour or more because something else caught your attention. 
Facebook: along the same lines as above, many of us business owners need to keep up an online presence to help promote our business, but an hour of facebook a day?  Or more?  I am struggling with boundaries with this one.  I either don't check it or I spend too much time on it.  So in this case I will need to structure it more, like I do with email.  Check it once a day and consider how much time do I want to spend on it knowing that it takes away from more enjoyable things such as playing with my children, going for a bike ride, reading fiction and nonfiction, etc...  Facebook isn't comparable to that and neither is the internet or email and yet how often do we allow things of this ilk to use up our time. 

One of the things I have found when assisting others with managing their time is the practice of overscheduling.  The desire to maximize your time can lead you to trying to schedule as much into it and underestimating the time required which leads to burn out, frustration, and failure that leads to falling back into previous habits.  This also leads people to believe that time management isn't for them.  So what to do?

Fourth:  once you have a trimmed down schedule sort them into order of priority.  Because I don't like to schedule my time I like to list out my to dos and work on one task until complete or until the portion I wanted to get done for the day is done and then move onto the next task.  Block out your time for meals and appointments and then work around that.  If you haven't overbooked yourself, you should be done at a reasonable time and can move onto the fun parts of life or if you are lucky work counts as one of those then move onto family and friends. 

Fifth: chances are your schedule still needs some tweaking as either you overscheduled, underestimated time needed, or you still have some trimming needed.  I like to continue my time log until all the tweaking is done.  How do you know you are done (for now)?  If after a week of time logs and you don't notice an area that needs adjusting, then you can let go of the time logs. 

Sixth: from time to time grab your time logs and check how you are doing.  Have you slipped?  Have you added in more things?  Are you ready to cut back some more on emails, internet, and social media? 

This is a pretty simple form of time management.  If you need something more structured, let me know and I can either write something up or recommend a resource.  SWAK!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Um, so April is Yoga

At some point I will begin yoga.  It is the 9th and I haven't started.  This is so weird for me!!!  I think I need to rethink my whole schedule.  I would like to do yoga in the morning and I should definitely have time, but right now I am running late on everything and the morning runs through my fingers and next thing I know I am eating lunch later than I should and carries on from there.

I think I am doing too much of unneeded things.  Such as: facebook.  Facebook can take up to an hour to read through my friends updates and comment.  Blogs: I love reading them and some of them motivate me, others inspire me, but this can take over an hour.  Email: something is going wrong with it as it can take a couple of hours.  Blogging: I consider this part of my job as I expand, learn and grow as a writer, however should this take a couple to a few hours?  A day? 

See what I mean.  So I think I will put yoga to the side for the next few days as I consider my schedule and how to fix it.  If I tried to force yoga in, something else would fall out and that would be ok if it was unnecessary, but life doesn't usually work that way.  The junk has a tendency to hold on.

So here is my plan: grab a notebook and write down how and where I am spending my time for the next few days so that I can see where I am mismanaging my time.  Then hack at the fluff and plan out my day a bit better.  I don't do well with a rigid structure.  I do better with do 1 till done, then move onto 2, then so on and so on.

I know that shower/bathing at night hugely helps my time in the morning, so does laying out my clothes, and knowing my morning agenda is.  Hopefully by the week's end I will have this schedule whipped into shape and yoga back on schedule!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Diet for a New America: Book Review

Diet for a New America by John Robbins is recommended reading by many health professionals and raw foodist authors.  John Robbins definitely gives a biased view of the meat, dairy, and agricultural practices of today.  I think the first section of the book is enough for people to set it down and not even consider the rest of it.

At first I didn't understand what Robbins goal was in writing Diet for a New America and I would not have recommended it until I was over half way through.  Robbins begins with a deliberately emotional account of animal cruelty in the modern animal factories.

From some of the negative reviews I've read of this book, it seems this is where the reader stopped and didn't get the full picture.  I was tempted of leaving off as it is difficult for me to process that amount of suffering and lack of compassion.  Robbins also describes the forgiving and loving nature of animals whether they are chickens, pigs, dolphins, etc...

After completing this book I understand how everything ties into each other.  Our current food processes is unhealthy for the animals, humans, and the planet.  The standard practice of animal cruelty is appalling.  Next, eating sick animals is not good for humans at all.  And the majority of meat in the markets today comes from animals that were mildly to grossly ill at the time of slaughter.  Our forests are being turned into animal factories.  Our ground is being poisoned with pesticides.  Robbins does do an excellent job of tying in each point into a thorough argument against meat, dairy, eggs, and pesticides.

The meat, egg, and dairy industries have taken a page out of the tobacco companies books and have learned how to mislead, lie, conceal, and manipulate the government and Americans into believing their propaganda.  We take in the chemicals that are used in the animal industry and in farming via pesticides and we are a very sick population.  Robbins points out the cost on our environments continuing in this manner.  If we consumed far less meat or no meat at all, we could produce healthier foods for us and also have enough to assist in world hunger.

Robbins gives a lot of information and his footnotes are extensive.  At the moment I am not consuming any animal products other than honey due to dietary choices.  This gives me a bit of comfort, but I have to consider my family and the health cost for them now and in the future.  I am toxic and am now digging myself out from under the years of harming my body and my environment with my choices.  Am I creating the same legacy for my children?

I have to take Robbins with a grain of suspicion as he is clearly biased and even if half of his information is stretching, I don't know as I haven't done any studying his sources, I am stunned at how deceived I have been on nutrition. 

Having looked into this book a bit further, most people are recommending reading John Robbins The Food Revolution.  I haven't read it.  It appears to be an updated version of Diet for a New America

If I had known about The Food Revolution, I would have picked this up instead of Diet for a New America.  I would recommend this book to anyone questioning the current nutritional "facts".  I am unsure of my stand on meat vs. no meat for everyone, but I am sure that animal cruelty, sick animals, and deathly pesticides has no place in a conscientious diet. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Way of the Peaceful Parent

This article was so well expressed that not only am I going to put it somewhere to remind me often, but I also wanted to share with you all if you aren't a Baubata junkie like me :)

Posted: 20 Mar 2012 10:31 AM PDT
‘… and she loved a boy very, very much– even more than she loved herself.’ ~Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree
Post written by Leo Babauta.
There is no such thing as stress-free parenting.
A reader requested that I share my thoughts on stress-free parenting, as the father of six kids. And while I have learned a lot about being a dad, and finding joy in parenthood, I also know that stress-free parenting is a myth.
Parents will always have stress: we not only have to deal with tantrums and scraped knees and refusing to eat anything you cook, but we worry about potential accidents, whether we are ruining our kids, whether our children will find happiness as adults and be able to provide for themselves and find love.
That said, I’ve learned that we can find peace.
Peace isn’t a place with no stress, but a place where you take the stress as it comes, in stride, and don’t let it rule you. You let it flow through you, and then smile, and breathe, and give your child a hug.
There is a Way of the Peaceful Parent, but it isn’t one that I’ve learned completely. I’ll share what I’ve learned so far, with the caveat that I don’t always follow the Way, that I still make mistakes daily, that I still have a lot to learn, that I don’t claim to have all the answers as a parent.

The Way

The Way is only learned by walking it. Here are the steps I recommend:
  • Greet your child each morning with a smile, a hug, a loving Good Morning! This is how we would all like to be greeted each day.
  • Teach your child to make her own breakfast. This starts for most children at around the age of 3 or 4. Teach them progressively to brush their teeth, bathe themselves, clean up their rooms, put away clothes, wash their dishes, make lunch, wash their own clothes, sweep and clean, etc.
  • Teaching these skills takes patience. Kids suck at them at first, so you have to show them about a hundred times, but let them try it, correct them, and let them make mistakes. They will gradually learn independence as you will gradually have less work to do caring for them.
  • Older children can help younger children — it’s good for them to learn responsibility, it helps the younger children learn from the older ones, and it takes some of the stress off you.
  • Read to them often. It’s a wonderful way to bond, to educate, to explore imaginary worlds.
  • Build forts with them. Play hide and seek. Shoot each other with Nerf dart guns. Have tea together. Squeeze lemons and make lemonade. Play, often, as play is the essence of childhood. Don’t try to force them to stop playing.
  • When your child asks for your attention, grant it.
  • Parents need alone time, though. Set certain traditions so that you’ll have time to work on your own, or have mommy and daddy time in the evening, when your child can do things on her own.
  • When your child is upset, put yourself in his shoes. Don’t just judge the behavior (yes, crying and screaming isn’t ideal), but the needs behind the behavior. Does he need a hug, or attention, or maybe he’s just tired?
  • Model the behavior you want your child to learn. Don’t yell at the child because he was screaming. Don’t get angry at a child for losing his temper. Don’t get mad at a kid who wants to play video games all the time if you’re always on your laptop. Be calm, smile, be kind, go outdoors and be active.
  • When a stressful time arises (and it will), learn to deal with it with a smile. Make a joke, turn it into a game, laugh … you’ll teach your child not to take things so seriously, and that life is to be enjoyed. Breathe, walk away if you’ve lost your temper, and come back when you can smile.
  • Remember that your child is a gift. She won’t be a child for long, and so your time with her is fleeting. Every moment you can spend with her is a miracle, and you should savor it. Enjoy it to the fullest, and be grateful for that moment.
  • Let your child share your interests. Bake cookies together. Sew together. Exercise together. Read together. Work on a website together. Write a blog together.
  • Know that when you screw up as a parent, everything will be fine. Forgive yourself. Apologize. Learn from that screw up. In other words, model the behavior you’d like your child to learn whenever he screws up.
  • Patiently teach your child the boundaries of behavior. There should be boundaries — what’s acceptable and what’s not. It’s not OK to do things that might harm yourself or others. We should treat each other with kindness and respect. Those aren’t things the child learns immediately, so have patience, but set the boundaries. Within those boundaries, allow lots of freedom.
  • Give your child some space. Parents too often overschedule their child’s life, with classes and sports and play dates and music and clubs and the like, but it’s a constant source of stress for both child and parent to keep this schedule going. Let the child go outside and play. Free time is necessary. You don’t always have to be by her side either — she needs alone time just as much as you do.
  • Exercise to cope with stress. A run in solitude is a lovely thing. Get a massage now and then.
  • It helps tremendously to be a parenting team — one parent can take over when the other gets stressed. When one parent starts to lose his temper, the other should be a calming force.
  • Mom and dad need a date night every week or so. Get a babysitter, or better yet, teach the older kids to babysit.
  • Sing and dance together.
  • Take every opportunity to teach kindness and love. It’s the best lesson.
  • Kiss your child goodnight. And give thanks for another amazing day with your beautiful, unique, crazy child.
‘You know the only people who are always sure about the proper way to raise children? Those who’ve never had any.’ ~Bill Cosby

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Raw Food, Real World Review

After I finished this book I looked up the authors online and what I found wasn't pretty.  I don't know why, but for some reason for me, this reflects on this book for me. 

In 2005, The New York Post reported on Matthew and Sarma's break-up. 

"While Melngailis claimed Kenney is in her debt to the tune of $500,000, Kenney countered that she had physically attacked him and bedded down with one of their restaurant's managers.

Kenney, 40, has since started sleeping with his hot 20-year-old assistant, Natasha - leading one observer to quip, "Maybe there's something to this raw food after all."

On Tuesday morning, after Kenney found out Melngailis would be moving furniture and her two cats out of the beautiful East Village apartment they used to share, Kenney, who still lives there, had NYPD detectives on hand to bust her for assault.

Kenney had previously filed police reports charging she'd punched him more than once and thrown "stools, grapefruits and phones" at him. She'd also left threatening notes showing knives stuck into vegetables. "

I know that some will not care about the above quote and will only care about the content of the book.  I returned this book to Amazon because of the domestic violence aspect and unless something changes I'm not sure I could support Sarma Melngailis in any way.  Same reason why I don't care for Samuel Jackson. 

On to the book...  This book contains more information and science behind why eating raw foods is good for you than the average recipe book.  The writing style is easy and enjoyable.  This makes it somewhat recommendable. 

If you LOVE to cook, this book is for you.  It is written by trained chefs and is more for the hobbyist, trained chef in my opinion as they use techniques and ingredient to create a more professional presentation. 

I really enjoy cooking, however, I do not have much time that I can set aside for it.  So for that reason alone, I wouldn't be able to use the recipes very often, nor do I have skills for some of the recipes. 

I think for the average beginner raw foodist there are two necessities to look for in a book 1) good information to back up the why of the diet and 2) easy recipes and ideas for super quick fixes for the average busy person.  This book kind of has number 1 down and not so much on number 2. 

I was really disappointed as my personal go to book for fun recipes is Going Raw by Judita Wignall.  She says that Raw Foods, Real World is her raw foods bible.  Wignall is a trained chef and she does have several recipes that are similar (inspired?) by Raw Foods, Real World.  However, the big difference between the two is that Wignall has created simplier recipes with step by step instructions with photographs. 

If you can only afford one book, I would recommend Going Raw.  If you don't care about the authors' history and you are a trained chef/hobbyist, you might prefer Raw Foods, Real World.  :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Weleda is a No Go

I spent two days window shopping online and in Marlene's and Whole Foods to find an all natural skin care line that is inexpensive.  After all the work, I had settled on Weleda.  I had plans to pick it up when I had some extra money.

Thank goodness I was researching cosmetics cuz I found Skin Deep .  Unfortunately, not all companies and not all products are listed here.  Even without that though you can look up each component and get a quick understanding of the products. 

I have a trial tube of Weleda's Pomegranate Hand Cream and it is DIVINE.  My skin feels so good.  I love the smell.  And because I'm getting older I was planning on using Weleda's Pomegranate line of skin care. 

Skin Deep does not list many of the pomegranate line, but they do have the hand cream for us to take a look at:

Look at how wonderful the ingredients appear: Ingredients (INCI): Water (Aqua), Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Panicum Miliaceum (Millet) Seed Extract, Ruscus Aculeatus (Butcher's Broom) Root Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Petal Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil Unsaponifiables, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Limonene *, Linalool *, Citronellol *, Geraniol *, Citral *, Eugenol *, Coumarin *.* from natural essential oils

Nice huh?  Well, several of those natural essential oils are banned by the European Union.  Banned!  Not only that, but they are toxic to the immune system.  The LAST thing I need. 

Here's the link: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/product/303020/Weleda_Pomegranate_Regenerating_Hand_Cream/

and if you scroll past the comments you will see a brief summary of each ingredient that you can click on for more information.

To be fair Weleda's almond line scores very low and I could go with that line, however I would like something that is more anti-aging.

I think for now I will stick with some of Burt's Bees 100% natural products that score low on Skin Deep (low score is good). 

If you know of some good skin care, hair care, and cosmetics or information on those, please let me know.  I love make-up and have so much fun with color and exploration and the older I get the more experimental I get with different looks.  I don't want to give that up for my health and I don't want to compromise my health for the fun of fashion.  KWIM?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Kelp Noodles

I mentioned kelp noodles earlier today.  I have texture issues and thought these would not pass the muster, but they are crunchy and not slimy. 

Here is a great article on the benefits of kelp noodles:
http://www.rawguru.com/what-health-benefits-can-raw-kelp-noodles-provide.html

Phenoxyethanol, Chaco Canyon, And Healthy Living

Phenoxyethanol, Chaco Canyon, and Healthy Living... Oh my!  Bet you can't say that 10 times fast.  Hell, I can't get past the first word.

Parabens: I have no clue what they are or how bad they are for you, but I can guess they are pretty nasty.  Phenoxyethanol is its "healthy" replacement and are in a ton of natural beauty products.  I found it in body, hair, and face products of all sorts of types and brands. 

I'm getting smarter so instead of trusting that the health foods stores in my area would double check products for customers I sat down in the store and checked it out on my phone. 

The FDA says: "Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that is primarily used in cosmetics and medications. It also can depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting and diarrhea."

*sobs* why does healthy living have to be so difficult.  I decided to slowly switch over my health and beauty products to all natural sources and at the moment I have so much to do I don't have time to research making my own.  I do have a cool book on Kindle on green products you can make yourself, but I will have to wait. 

After I am done switching over my beauty products, I'd like to choose healthier choices for the household products as well (i.e. cleaning, candles). 

Seriously though, why do Marlene's and Whole Foods carry so many products filled with crap? 

Here are some of the choices I have made so far:
Tate's Miracle Conditioner was $20 for 18 oz at Marlene's and while it is pricey, I chose it because of the ingredients and its uses.  It has over 100 uses for the hair, face, body, and bath.  I use it for a shaving cream (duh!  I have been using conditioner as a shaving cream for years), moisturizer in the bath (doesn't leave that dangerous residue in the tub that others have), hair conditioner, and leave in conditioner so far. 

It doesn't work for me as a styling product.  Hair is too frizzy and fly away.  Too bad though.  Here is the ingredient list: mountain spring water, apples, strawberries, rose, lemons, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, boysenberries, oranges, cloves, ginger, pineapple, blackberries, celery, cherry bark, oak bark, orchid, marigold, hazel nut, pine needles, coconut, chamomile, jasmine, calendula, parsley, thyme, papaya, eucalyptus, passion flower, cinnamon, geranium, nutmeg.  It's organic as well.  Nice, huh?

Beautiful Curls Curl Activating Cream.  I didn't like the ingredient list of several of Beautiful Curls products but this one seems ok.  If you notice a no no ingredient please tell me.  The ingredients are: comfrey extract, arnica extract, shea butter, aloe vera leaf gel, agave nectar, emulsifying wax, guar hydroxyproplytrimonium chloride, panthenol, coconut oil, raspberry and ylang ylang extracts, potassium sorbate, guar gum, xanthum gum, citric acid. 
 
auromere Ayurvedic Herbal Toothpaste.  Here is the ingredient list:
Fine Chalk (a gentle cleanser), Glycerine (from vegetable oil), Water, Herbal extract blend: [Peelu (Salvadora persica), Neem (Azadirachta indica), Indian Licorice root, Pomegranate rind, Commom Jujube, Rose Apple, Clove, Persian Walnut, Barleria prinoitis bark (Vajradanti), Indian Almond, Bedda nut, Asian Holly Oak, Prickly Ash, Zanthoxylum alatum, Sappan wood, Catechu, Bengal Madder, Acacia arabica bark (Babul), Sarsaparilla, Cinnamon, Medlar bark, Mayweed, Bishop's weed (flower extract)], Silica, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (from Indian coconut oil), Carageenan (from seaweed), Cellulose (plant) gum, Clove oil, Anethol, Geranium extract.

And since I have a client arriving in an hour and I'm still in my bathrobe I best wind this up quickly. 

Chaco Canyon.  The food was good (not great), the juice was wonderful.  The raw fudge bar was decadent!  It was like ganache with an almond crust.  So yummy. 

The food: I had the ginger sesame bowl.  I didn't feel it was very gingery nor very sesamey.  I got to try kelp noodles for the first time and even picked up a package at Whole Foods I liked them so much.  However, the food arrived in the same amount of time it would have taken for me to make this dish.  It tasted exactly like a hundred other dishes I have made for myself.  Their menu online was not updated so the raw pizza was no longer on the menu.

When I think of eating in a restaraunt, I think of treating myself.  Eating something that takes more prep time than what I would eat on a daily basis.  And that wasn't the case. 

Kind of a bummer, maybe it would be better with a different menu selection than what we had.  BUT, if you are going, snag a raw fudge brownie for me please.  The best I've ever had!  Fo sho!  Ciao Bellas!