Thursday, January 17, 2013

Detoxing: Flushing or Just Flushing Your Money?

After I was born, my mom found several lumps in her breast.  She went in, got a mamogram, and they wanted to take action.  She was scared, had no insurance, and decided to see what she could do on her own.

She did the classic "Master Cleanse" with lemon juice, cayenne, and maple syrup.  After the 21-28 days (she doesn't remember exactly), the lumps disolved and went away.  She's never found another lump.  I grew up drinking this concoction (often with apple cider vinegar- always with the mother- added) any time I was sick (which was fairly rare compared to my classmates).  In my family, that's just what you did when you were sick.  You also thought positively, although that's not the way it was described.  My mom would say, "You are not really sick, you just feel sick, and telling yourself that you feel sick is only making it worse.  You just need to stop telling yourself you are sick and feeling sick."  It's no wonder that now I am seeking out a hypnosis certification, or that I spent the last year using various natural rememdies, including hypnosis, to cure myself.  

Anyway, because of my mom's experience with her lumps, I've always figured there must be something to this cleanse, but at the same time I have never tried one.  I've always appreciated the healing properties of lemon, cayenne, maple syrup, and ACV, but haven't felt the need to live exclusively off these things.  In my house, that's what you drink when you are sick, and we call it the cure.  I've added my own touch over time, sometimes including some grapefruit seed extract, or now that I've started using doTERRA essential oils, which can be taken internally, adding a drop or two of On Guard or Oregano as needed.  I appreciate these healing properties, but still question a cleanse.

A wise wise friend who is also an herbalist gave me her take on cleansing.  She said that we are constantly rebuilding our cells and replenishing our body.  Rather than take away all but a few specific things, she recommends adding nurishing foods and supplements to your diet in order to rebuild the best you, and that your body will naturally release toxins as it always does.  This resonates with me.

On the other hand, I've read compelling arguments that certain foods/supplements encourage flushing of toxins.  When I was told that I had nickle poisoning in my heart, I took chlorella tablets because I read that they would help with detoxifying heavy metals.  I also ate a paste that included lots of cilantro, which is also said to be a strong heavy metal detoxifier.  TMI, but I definitely cleaned out my system, and in a healthy way, using these supplements.  Does that mean that my organs and cells released toxins, or just that my colon was cleared of all that had just been hanging around?  That I don't know.  Plus, that was a detoxification regimen, but I didn't cleanse.

I ordered an eBook on juice cleansing that works on the premise that when your body is not expelling energy on digestion, it can work on healing.  This logic has some interest to me, and the author of the program seems very informative and well-researched.  However, as far as research goes, I recently read on The Vegan RD's facebook page that there has never been a professional study that proves that juice fasting actually produces a "detox" or even beneficial result.  

Sometimes I think that when I finish breast feeding (after 3 1/2 years I feel like there must be an end in sight... somewhere out there), I'll maybe do a juice fast, or a green smoothie feast, or the Master Cleanse.  Honestly, the Master Cleanse is the one that appeals most to me.  Other times I worry because ever since going through a struggle with self-starvation in high school, my body doesn't react well to limiting my calories.  The benefit of the Master Cleanse is that you get adequite calories from the maple syrup.  

For now, I'm listening to my own intuition, and eating a plant based diet helps me personally to get in tune with what my body needs.  I believe that we know how to heal ourselves, we just usually don't know how to listen.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Black Bean Brownies I LOVE!

I finally found the black bean brownie recipe that I love, the one I can hang my hat on, the one I endorse wholeheartedly.

Thank you Pinterest!

The only changes I made to this recipe were that I didn't make the peanut butter topping, I added some chocolate chips, and I used maple syrup instead of agave nectar.

I love that it calls for dates and syrup instead of sugar, coconut oil, and flax meal.

Try it out and tell me what you think.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Smoothies, Remixed and Rethought

I'm a bad vegan, or a weird vegan, or something.  I just have never been a huge smoothie fan.  I like to chew my food.  I like the taste of greens, so when I hear people talk about "hiding" delicious leafy greens in a sweet smoothie it turns me off.  I don't want to hide delicious tastes.

Still, I'm a mom of two wild toddlers, so I like the quick and easy aspect of a smoothie and make them from time to time.

I always thought that a smoothie needed something creamy, like yogurt or milk (soy/rice/coconut), a protein source like powder or nuts, and of course greens.  Those things are all good.  I'm not saying you shouldn't make a smoothie that is a complete meal, but I'm learning that a fruit and vegetable puree is just as good, even if it's not a complete meal.

I've been making "smoothies" that are just fruits and vegetables with water or coconut water, and I love them.  They don't have a weird chalky flavor from some powder, they don't taste overly sweet because I'm not adding dates or syrup or even, again, the sweetened powder.  They don't taste odd because I'm keeping it simple with just a few ingredients.

Here are a few of what I'm talking about from this week.  Each serves 2 or more.

Tropical Orange
3 kiwis
2 cups loose spinach
1 orange
1/2 cup frozen mango
1 frozen banana
about 2 cups coconut water

Sweet Berry
2 pears
2 cups spinach
1/2-3/4 cup frozen black cherries
1/4 cup goji berries
1 frozen banana
1 1/2- 2 cups water

Carrot Orange
5 carrots
3 oranges
2-3 leaves of kale
1/4 cup goji berries
1 cup water
1 frozen banana

Sometimes, for something more filling, I add chia seeds, or I eat some leftover quinoa or nuts with my smoothie, or eat something else.  I find that thinking of a smoothie as a way to highlight the flavors of fruits, incorporate a bit of greens, even though I like a salad too, and get healthy fiber/sugar/nutrients, makes it so I don't have to make something that is a complete meal (even if in many cases it is), and then I can just enjoy it.
A great trip I picked up for making smoothies is to blend everything except the frozen ingredients until smooth, then add frozen stuff to cool it down.

Energizing Naturally with Slim and Sassy Oil Blend by doTERRA

When you drink a cup of coffee or a soda, and you get that JOLT of energy, it's easy to identify.  You get wired.  You bounce bounce bounce until you crash crash crash.  I drink coffee every morning.  I know it's not what's best for me, and it's an ongoing battle.

Since just before the beginning of the year, I have been running on my elliptical each night.  Of course, while I run I drink water.  When I began these runs, about a month ago, I was struggling to run for 20 minutes.  I was achy, out of shape, and my endurance was terrible.  I would try to do 2 miles.  Within a week, I was running 3 miles and feeling stronger.  When my doTERRA Family Physician Kit came, it had an added bottle of Slim and Sassy.  That sounded pretty silly to me, but I figured I'd give it a chance and added a few drops to the water I drink while I run.  

I learned three nights ago that the monitor on my elliptical machine maxes out and stops at 60 minutes.  I have had that machine for 4 years and didn't know that, because I've never had the energy to run that long.  That's where I am now.  I'm at the point where my daily runs max out my machine.  I feel awesome and strong and healthy.  The Slim and Sassy definitely helps with that, and more importantly it doesn't wire me up.  I get off my elliptical, and if I sit down and rest, I'm able to relax within minutes and go to bed as soon after my workout as I'd like.  

In the past, I've taken diet pills that jacked me up so much that I became an insomniac.  I would take the pills and have the energy to work out for long periods, but then I couldn't ever rest.  I would feel my heart racing, and I didn't feel healthy or strong. I felt jittery and it scared me.  It was working though, and I continued to use them for months before finally realizing that what I was doing was dangerous.  

That was over ten years ago, and since then I had just accepted that I didn't have that kind of stamina or ability.  It also helps that I've been watching The Biggest Loser while I work out.  That is some motivation!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Changing my Family's Health with doTERRA Essential Oils

A friend of mine started selling doTERRA Essential Oils recently and it was my chance to check it out.  You see, my news feed has been a buzz with mention of doTERRA for months now, and I've been dying to try some.  I couldn't figure out what could make them so great.  Honestly, I had no idea that essential oils were for anything other than aromatics.  I have used tea tree oil my whole life, but I didn't even realize that was an essential oil (and usually it was a fairly diluted version of an EO anyway).

So I went to the party with an open mind, some interest, and the expectation that I would like some of what I smelled.  I also showed up with a stuffy stuffy baby who had been on and off feverish, unable to sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time, and wouldn't leave the cuddly security of my chest.  During the talk about all the oils, vials were passed around and each one went under my nose and under my son's nose.  Particularly the blend called Breathe, I let linger and tried to get him to take some sniffs of.  About ten minutes into this talk, after a few of the oils had been passed around (including Breathe), Desmond began to nurse and instantly passed a large chunk of dried snot from his nose.  Once that was out, he could nurse much more because he could breathe.  He warmed up considerably, and the as peppermint went around to smell, his fever went back down and he fell asleep.

Since I was at my friend's house for the talk, I just laid him on the couch and let him sleep for TWO HOURS.  Even when he's at his most healthy, his naps are usually only one hour.  Two hours is truly unheard of.  I was definitely hooked.  I signed up to be an independent product consultant (IPC) that very day.  I've seen lots of these products that friends sell, and I always think, "How do they pretend that they really think that what they are selling is so great."  Well, in my doTERRA information packet about selling, I loved that their stance was; "Be a product of the product."  That's easy enough.

I use my oils every day.  My daughter, Violet, calls them my medicine because any time she's hurt or not feeling well, I have an oil to help her.  She even smashed her foot badly while playing on my elliptical trainer and I used a combination of lavender and frankincense essential oils to help calm the reaction.  She had instantly swelled, but the swelling quickly went down with the oils, and she said it didn't hurt anymore.

I have so many more testimonials of how much this has changed our lives and health, but I'll close with a link to my store for now.

My doTERRA store