Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Caffeine 18-wheeler

So you want to know how to get rid of a caffeine withdrawal headache?
Let me tell you how.  It doesn't start the way you think!

Step 1... Listen to your innate (the intelligence within your own body):
If what you are putting in (eating/drinking) makes you tired, LISTEN! DO NOT EAT IT!  This means you have to pay attention to what you eat and how you feel afterwards... be a mindful eater.

My energy sucking food is wheat. It zaps the energy right out of me. What comes next?

The hunt for caffeine, of course!

We want ENERGY.
We NEED energy.
We LOVE energy.

And since the food didn't give it to you, caffeine it is.

Pick your poison, coffee, sweet tea, energy drinks....
And we feel GREAT!
Then...  CRASH!  The energy high wears off.

It makes me feel like I've been walking for days on end through the desert, and my body can't take... another... step!  I cannot lift my arms, they feel so heavy.


Fight the vicious cycle, and give your body some energy AND nutrients (what it is REALLY looking for).

Eat some food that doesn't make you exhausted, drink plenty of water, and consider this!

Jane, from has a web site full of ideas for getting that energy up in a healthy way.

We are HOOKED on her "Beauty Waters".  It is our preferred way of drinking water now, and I've noticed they keep the caffeine withdrawal headaches away.


Is there something you are putting in your body that makes you exhausted?  Have you tried eliminating it from your diet, and has it made an improvement in your life?  I'd love to hear about it!

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Natural Gel-Type Deodorant

I'd like to thank Jennifer Taggert, from The Smart Mama for inspiring me to make an all-natural deodorant that works for my family.

This simple video show how easy it can be to make an all natural gel-type deodorant with simple ingredients from your kitchen.

Hi, I'm Melanie from the blog Step into Health and today we're going to make a simple, natural deodorant from products you probably already have at home.  Last month I was reading about natural crystal deodorants and the affects of aluminum in our bodies.  There were some recipes mentioned, but with the amount we travel in the summer nothing had quite peaked my interest enough to make it, as some were dusting baking soda on the armpits and others required the refrigerator.

I liked the idea of a solid deodorant, since it is traditional, but I'm a fan of olive oil over any other and that would mean I probably needed it to be liquid.  That led me to thinking about the gel deodorants, and how I could use that type of container to hold and dispense an all natural deodorant I liked.  I first tried just plain olive oil with baking soda, and while it worked, within an hour of putting it on my underarms had rashes.  Not great.  Baking soda needs to be dissolved in water to have that smooth feel and still be effective, so our first ingredient is... you guessed it!  WATER.  Boiling the water, or using distilled water is a good idea.

I want you to understand: our body makes baking soda naturally as a buffer to acid.  We all know how effective it is at absorbing odors, and it is very cleansing.  In fact, we use baking soda dissolved in water as a quite effective shampoo!  That's why our second ingredient is going to be baking soda!  Just mix some in until the water is cloudy and it is all dissolved.  If you have some extra baking soda fall to the bottom, you used too much!  That could make your deodorant scratchy, and we don't want that.

When experimenting with making salad dressings, I learned a little thickener can go a long way.  My children eat gluten free, so I had some xanathan gum on hand.  There are plenty of other thickeners people use in baking.  If you don't have xanathan gum, try guar gum or other starches like cornstarch or potato starch (see update at bottom before substituting, please!).  We are going to put 1 tablespoon (noting that I rarely measure anything and am using a soup spoon) of xanathan gum into our baking soda water mixture.

Put the lid on your magic bullet cup and blend, or stir with a wire whisk if you like until a thicker product is formed... dare I say, like a gel?  If you would like a little bit of a moisturizing feel to your deodorant, adding a little olive oil to the mixture isn't a bad idea.  Just make sure you add it after the baking soda is dissolved in the water.  You could also add a drop or two of an essential oil you like, either for it's antimicrobial properties, or for the smell.  Lavender does both, so today I'll use a drop of that.

The last step is to pour it into your empty and sanitized gel deodorant container.  Don't forget to un-wind it if you used the container already so there is lots of room.  Put the lid on securely, and you now have an all natural deodorant ready to use that is practical for any time of year.

For the 2 minute version - How to make all 
natural, gel-type deodorant in minutes.

What have you tried that has worked for you?  Does this sound like something easy enough to try for yourself?  What variations are your favorite?  I'd love to hear any comments/suggestions.

UPDATE:  Originally, I suggested that any thickener should work.  If you are trying to use cornstarch (which we don't use, but someone tried) and it is successful, please share the recipe so others can easily benefit.  Otherwise, substituting equal parts cornstarch for xanathan gum has been reported NOT to work.  I also used guar gum in a batch later on (for kicks) and while it was much thicker, it had a scent (stench) I did not appreciate.  I switched back to the xanathan gum, and that is that.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gluten Free Oatmeal Bread

I have been playing around with gluten free oatmeal bread for about a week now. It's gone GREAT! The problem I have is that I'm lazy... and cheap! If I run out of flour, I'll grind oatmeal I have on hand into flour before running to the store, and I buy what is on sale so the same flours are never on hand. And I LOVE Gluten Free Bisquick. That stuff kicks butt, and if I make something with it, it always turns out awesome. So tonight I made some gluten freedom cupcakes (not my recipe) and decided to make a double batch of oatmeal bread (cause we don't have enough for tomorrow, and I don't want to go to the store, of course!) Told you I was lazy!

Double Oatmeal Bread

2 cups water
4 tbsp. flax seeds
6 eggs
4 tbsp. molasses
2 tbsp. vinegar

3 cups oat flour
1 cup millet
1 cup gluten free bisquick
1 cup tapioca starch
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 and grease your bread loaf pans with coconut oil. Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl, and let sit for a few minutes. Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl on the lowest setting so it doesn't blow up in your face, of course! Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl and mix well. Pour into bread pans in equal amounts (unless you like one loaf bigger than the other) and bake for 35 minutes or until it comes out clean with a toothpick.

Let the bread COOL before taking it out of the pan or it will FALL APART! Cut gently with a bread knife (I read somewhere electric knifes work great for thin slicing). I tend to get at least 20-24 slices out of each loaf, which makes it perfect for lunches ALL WEEK!!!!

Told you I was lazy. One hour of baking for a week's worth of kids lunches.

What's healthy about this, you ask? First of all, look at the ingredients. Did you see a ton of sugar in it, or fat? No. No chemicals, either, and it's gluten free and dairy free! And if you are smart enough, you could probably make it VEGAN if you used egg replacer (a liquid kind is advised).

Good luck, and let me know if you try it or modify it to rock even more. My family LOVES LOVES LOVES this bread!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Vegan Creamy Pasta Sauce

I made a creamy white pizza sauce for the Super Bowl, and it turned out awesome. So tonight, I'm trying a new recipe (I made up because I didn't have the ingredients) for white... ok pale green, pasta sauce:

2-3 tbsp virgin coconut oil
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup freshly made (and poorly filtered) almond milk
3-4 large cloves of garlic (we LOVE garlic)
small handful of parsley (fresh, great source of iron)
dried basil and oregano to taste
sea salt and pepper to taste

Put it all in the vitamix and blend for a few minutes until it's toasty warm, and pour over freshly cooked pasta!


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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Trick my kids into eating flax

That's right, I am tricking my children. I got a stand mixer on my son's 12th birthday, to soften the blow of him being too old to be seen with me. What a GIFT! Lately, I've been experimenting with making some gluten free, vegan baked goods.

When I ran out of my gluten free bisquick (my ultimate fave for baking), I ended up getting some ground flax and arrowroot flour at the store. So I've been mixing those two with some sorghum flour and making goodies. Cupcakes... DELISH! Chocolate chip cookies... DELISH! And tonight, I made a vegan snicker doodle recipe with 1/3 part each, and they are AWESOME!

My kids LOVE them, and once they cool they are stored in the freezer. Ingenious, because they last longer in there and the kids can grab one in the morning and they are thawed perfectly by lunch.

They also get a cookie for dessert. So awesome!

How do you get your kids to eat things they wouldn't eat otherwise?

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dear Vitamix, please switch to glass

Let me start by saying that I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Vitamix blender. I actually have the Vitaprep, which is the commercial version of the Vitamix 5200. It's AWESOME, does everything I want it to, and even fits under our counters (without the lid on it if I tilt, so it counts).

The one thing that REALLY bothers me about these high tech, high power blenders... the PLASTIC pitchers. With my daughters aversion to petroleum-based products, I think twice before using it around her. It doesn't take much for her to have a reaction, and although the pitcher seems to hold up pretty well... I feel like I'm playing Russian Roulette on this one.

And YES, there are other blenders that have glass pitchers. I have had them, including the Kitchen Aid 5 speed blender. It just didn't compare to Vitamix or Blendtec in smoothness of ice creams and nut butters. That, and the way the blades separated from the pitcher, we've had a few unwanted spills!

So PLEASE Vitamix! I know I'm not the only one who would like this, but please switch to GLASS!!! Or even stainless steel. I don't care if I can see my stuff - I just want a safe, non-leaching, pitcher for long term use. And... I PROMISE not to drop it.

Your Faithful Consumer

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Steps in the right direction

Lately, I've been feeling kinda depressed.  Boo hoo, cry me a river.  Wait!  Maybe I should go on some antidepressants.  Those fix everything... not.

So here's what I've been doing about it, instead of continuing to let it get the better of me:

Drinking my Rick Style Smoothie
  • told someone (not everyone in cyberspace.  I told the person closest to me, and MAN I felt better just getting it off my chest.
  • started moving (his action steps, not my idea actually).  Today I went to the gym we joined yesterday and did the elliptical for 30 minutes.  That was enough to work up a sweat and come home.
  • garbage in... garbage out.  I started putting better foods into my body again.  Last night I had a smoothie, and after my workout today, I made another one.  Recipes below.
  • gratitude - the one thing my body told me is that I needed to write down all the blessings in my life.  I just didn't feel like getting out of bed at the time.  So I'll start here, and tonight I'll bring my journal back to bed (I shared what I was thankful for with the kids the other day so it moved from my bedside) where I can write before I go to sleep.
I am thankful for my family, and getting to see them again this Christmas.  I am thankful for my sister, who always knows what to say and how to kick my butt into gear again.  I am grateful for my loving, wonderful parents, who are supportive and kind and always love me whether they agree with my decisions or not.  I am so blessed to have my lover and partner, who is by my side helping pick me up when I am down and who is there to laugh with me.  I am thankful for our wonderful, intelligent, kind, and loving children.  I am grateful they know and understand what love really is, how it should be, and how to act with kindness.  I am blessed to be on my chiropractic journey, and discover the things I will and will not do in my office one day.  I am blessed to be challenged every day, especially on who I am, so I can stand firm in that without compromising and still shine.  I am thankful God is present in our lives each and every day, and I am thankful our children can see that.  I am thankful to have good food to eat and share with my friends and family.  I am blessed to live in a safe place, with caring friends and neighbors.  I am thankful for hugs and kisses, smiles, and laughter.  They make the world a better place.
I am sharing this today because it is important to realize that everyone takes steps backwards sometimes.  The best thing to do is to ask for help when you need it, and keep on taking one step at a time into the direction you want to go.

I almost forgot!  Smoothie recipes!!

Grapefruit Goodness
1 grapefruit, peeled
2 kale leaves
1 stalk of celery
some parsley, fresh
some fresh mint
water, to desired thickness

Rick Style Smoothie
My boyfriend likes the thicker, less sweet smoothies and this suits him just fine.  I don't think it's too bad - has a bit of a lemon taste which I like.
1 lemon, peeled
5-6 cherry tomatoes
2 stalks celery
2 leaves of kale
1/3 cucumber
fresh ginger to taste
1 ripe avocado
water, to desired thickness

I use the Vitamix for my smoothies, but any blender will do (really!)

What do you do to get out of a funk?

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