Category Archives: Food

Seizures and Sugar: A Simple Lifestyle Change That is Working for Us

Hello friends! I wanted to take a moment to share a simple change we’ve made recently to improve our health, particularly for my daughter, age 10. She has been struggling with occasional petit mal seizures over the past 2 years. They only last 30 seconds to a minute, and she is fine right afterward — thankfully they have not caused any brain damage. I have not wanted to use any medication for her, because according to my research, the cons far outweigh the pros in her case. Instead, I have taken careful notes every time she has had a seizure (typically once every 2-3 weeks, with occasional clusters in the same week), recording when they happened and what she was doing/eating/drinking immediately prior as well as the day/night before. I noticed that every time she had a seizure, she either had very little sleep or had eaten more sugar than usual or a food/drink with artificial dyes or flavors. So naturally, I tried to help her avoid these foods and excessive sugar, which was/is not easy, since she has a serious sweet tooth.

The latest change, which we made two months ago, seems to have been the most successful. She has not had a seizure since we started, and it’s been a relatively easy change: We stopped eating cereal for breakfast. I had been buying various, supposedly healthy, usually organic cereals with “less sugar” thinking they were fine for us — things like peanut butter puffs, cocoa crisps, and granola, often to mix with multi-grain squares or plain O’s. Since I was kind of at my wit’s end, I decided to try replacing all of that with only plain oats or toast (we only buy bread with 3-4 ingredients, no preservatives). The kids can add a little honey or organic raisins or bananas to sweeten the oatmeal, but that’s it. Everyone seems pretty content with this change, and we’re saving money as well.

I realize this is a very specific issue and it may not apply to many of my readers, but I wanted to share in case any of you are having similar struggles, and also to encourage anyone searching for natural, holistic solutions for yourself to continue experimenting. Try one small change at a time and pay attention to the results. Take charge of your health and don’t accept someone else’s prescription (medical or otherwise) if you’re not comfortable with it. I’m not anti-medication in every case, but I do believe we are generally over-medicated as a society, and we need to be extra cautious especially when it comes to our children. I’ll continue to share our progress on this as well as other positive lifestyle changes we make. (While I’m on that topic, if anyone has a fool-proof method for making yourself drink 60+ oz. of water every day, please share in the comments!)

 

 

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Easy Vegan Organic Energy Bars

vegan energy barsYesterday I had a craving for a high-energy, chocolatey snack, so I decided to make my own all-organic, vegan energy bars. I have seen various versions of these online lately so I had a basic idea of what goes in them and in what quantities. I made this recipe up myself as I went along and I was very pleased with the results. There’s no baking involved, but I did stick them in the freezer for 45 min. to set before I cut them. My two-year-old wasn’t crazy about them but the rest of the family gave rave reviews.

Ingredients:
1 c. dried fruit (I used a combination of apricots & raisins)
1 c. almond meal (if you use almond butter you can reduce the amount of water you add)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (plus about 1/4 c. more to sprinkle on top just before freezing)
1/2
cup water
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tbs. maple syrup
1 tbs. walnut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice blend
2 cups raw nuts and or seeds of choice (I used pumpkin and sunflower seeds)

Blend all ingredients except the 2 cups of nuts in a Vitamix or food processor. The mixture should be moist but not soupy, kind of like chunky nut butter. Scrape into a bowl and stir in 2 cups nuts and seeds. Press into an 8″ x 8″ square pan and sprinkle the additional shredded coconut on top. Freeze for 45 min., then cut and enjoy.

 

Paleo Vegan Blueberry Lime “Cheesecake”

2015-03-01 14.19.47My family LOVES dessert. Being the health conscious mom that I am, I usually serve dark chocolate or one of my homemade frozen banana ice creams, but today I decided to go for something a little different. This dessert is a recipe I adapted from Vegan Family Recipes. I didn’t have all the ingredients called for, so I substituted with a little of this and a little of that. If you have a variety of healthy fats and natural, low glycemic sweeteners on hand, it’s very easy to make healthier, or just slightly different, versions of various desserts. It’s fun to experiment, even when it doesn’t come out that great!

The first change I made to this recipe was to use a muffin tin and paper baking cups, since I didn’t have a spring form pan. Neither did I have the nuts listed. No problem! For the crust I used 2/3 cups of almond meal, a tablespoon of sunflower seed butter, 2 dried apricots, and maybe a teaspoon of maple syrup. It was a little bit too sticky after I blended it, so I stirred in some shredded coconut to help me pat down the crust. I’d say I used about a tablespoon.

Next came the filling. The only substitution I made here was to use about 2 teaspoons of sunflower seed butter in place of the cashews. And I added an extra tablespoon of lime juice just because.

Finally, the blueberry topping. I didn’t have fresh blueberries since I live in the currently Arctic Northeast, so I thawed some frozen organic ones. Didn’t have dates either, but again, no biggie. I used some raw, unfiltered wildflower honey… maybe a tablespoon? For extra protein and omega 3, I sprinkled some raw hemp seed hearts on top. The result was absolutely delish!

Immunity Boosting Spicy Lime Hummus

hummusI love to make my own hummus when I have the time. It is so much fresher and more flavorful than what you usually find in grocery stores. I prefer to use dried chick peas and soak them overnight, which also adds to the freshness, but you can use canned chick peas as well. The variety of spices in here, as well as the lime juice and apple cider vinegar, are all great for your immune system. A little disclaimer here: I find it very difficult to follow recipes without making my own modifications to suit my tastes and available ingredients. Therefore, I also have a hard time measuring very accurately and providing exact recipes, but I think this is the closest I’ve come so far. It’s almost exact, so here goes…

2 cups organic chick peas (dry, soaked overnight and cooked 1.5 hrs, or canned)
Juice of 3 limes (squeeze out every last drop!)
2 tbs. avocado oil (could also use olive or walnut)
2 tsp. organic apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. purified water (alkaline, ionized if you have it)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 tbs. tahini
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder or 1-2 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
ground rainbow peppercorns to taste (I turned the grinder about 4 times)
dash cayenne pepper

Toss all ingredients into a Vitamix or food processor and blend away. If it’s too thick, try adding a little more of any of the above liquids (lime juice, oil, or water). If you like it spicier, add more of the cayenne. My kids don’t like things too spicy so I kept it mild. Serve with fresh veggies, chips, or if you’re like me, you may just want to eat it plain like a bowl of pudding. My four kids (2, 5, 8, and 9) and I polished this off in a matter of minutes. Enjoy!

My 4 Essential Ingredients for Delicious, Nutritious Smoothies

I love smoothies and I drink them several times a week. My whole family (15 mos. old, 4, 7, 8 years old, and my husband) enjoys the smoothies, and I believe that’s part of the reason we rarely get sick. I almost never use recipes for my smoothies, but I thought I would share what I consider to be the 4 essential ingredients to make your smoothies both delicious and extremely healthy. In all cases, organic foods are best if you can get them.

1. Good water. I usually use alkaline (pH above 7.0), ionized water, but mineral water or any clean water will do. You can also use rice milk, almond milk, coconut water or milk with, or instead of, the water.

2. Fruit. I almost always include at least one banana, plus one or two other fruits we like. The most common ones we use are frozen mango, pineapple, frozen blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries, but you can throw in any fruits you enjoy.

3. Greens. Dark, leafy greens are best — like kale and spinach — but you can use romaine lettuce, swiss chard, arugula, mixed baby greens, etc. for different flavorings and nutritional value. (No iceberg lettuce if you want nutrition.) Most of the time the fruit masks the taste of the greens almost completely.

4. Healthy fats and protein. Include one or more of the following: avocado, chia seeds, nut or seed butter, coconut oil, coconut cream, yogurt made from organic goat’s milk or coconut milk.

Play with different combos and quantities of these ingredients to find what you like best. You can’t really go wrong. For an extra treat I sometimes throw dark chocolate chips or cocoa powder in, too. Antioxidants! Enjoy…

I am Spartan, hear me roar!

Spartan graphic  I recently signed up for a Spartan race and I am so happy I did. The Spartan team sends me daily workouts, so I never get bored or wonder what I should do on a particular day. I never thought I could find the time to exercise EVERY DAY, but somehow when I see that specific physical assignment in my inbox each morning I feel (happily) compelled to rise to the occasion. I have been an athlete all my life, but now that I’m older and have young children I’ve been struggling to maintain a consistent exercise regimen unless I have a fun event to train for. I don’t like to run for running’s sake. I need a goal to pursue… a challenge to look forward to. The fact that I get to crawl through mud and climb walls and things makes it all the more exciting.

As if the workout motivation weren’t enough, Spartan also sends daily recipes incorporating most of my very favorite foods. So even my meals have gotten more interesting since joining this event, which is really more of a community. Love it. Thank you, Spartan! Looking forward to getting my @$$ kicked later this Spring, and I’m sure I’ll be back for more later in the year. Haha.