Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cold Care: Stopping it Before it Starts

I don't like being sick.  I know this because I have been sick, and I've decided that based on my experiences, that's just not really for me.

Now, the two most important ways to stay healthy are sleep and to eat/hydrate well.  I do a pretty good job eating and hydrating, although I could stand to drink a LOT more water.  Sleep, on the other hand, is not my strong suit.  So, all things being equal, I wouldn't even get sick, really.

Sadly, without sleep or lots of hand washing...  Yeah, I'm just going to go ahead and say I should wash my hands more.  I come in from the store and grab a snack- my grandmother just rolled over in her grave.  She was meticulous about washing her hands as soon as she walked in the door after a trip to the store.  I'm terrible.  Plus, with two toddlers, I should be washing my hands non-stop!

Okay, so sleep, nutrition/hydration, and hand washing...

Anyway, so when I do find that somehow I still wake up feeling cruddy (or feel cruddy at any point in the day, it just seems morning is more common), I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Now that I have doTERRA oils in my life, I have bypassed the second suggestion and started by disinfecting my environment and body by diffusing essential oils, specifically OnGuard blend if I'm starting to feel sick.  I use the AromaAce diffuser, which is the better quality one.  I love it.  The whole house smells like whatever I diffuse, and that means that the oils have diffused through the house.  The aromatic is an indicator that the therapeutic elements are all over too.  I've found that diffusing really stops it that day.

The second trick is my mom's "cure" that she always gave me when I didn't feel well.  I realize this is a variation on the Master Cleanse, but we don't drink it exclusively, just as a drink like a cup of tea.

The recipe is for the amounts I find useful and that I can stomach.
Juice from 1 lemon
1-3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (my mom would chime in, here, "With the mother!")
1-3 Tbsp maple syrup (honey or agave are fine, but not the same for me)
hot water to fill the cup after these ingredients have been added
a dash- 1/2 tsp of cayenne powder

We have a boarder currently, and she was prone to colds when she first moved in (probably adjusting to living with the germs of two toddlers).  After her first round, she would then come into the kitchen on mornings when her throat hurt, or if she felt run down from a hard day at work and say, "I need oils and cure."  The stuff works.

Now I have a story about what doesn't work.  When I was in college, I got what was known around the dorms as "the crud."  I just wanted my mother's cure, but I was in no state to leave my bed, so I improvised.  In many recipes, I think it's good to improvise.  You discover new and wonderful things and you don't spend money needlessly on EXACTLY what you were supposed to use.  That was not the case in this situation.
What I had was seasoned rice vinegar (not the same as ACV- with the mother), lime juice in a squeeze bottle (I was in college, okay, you know what that was for), some packets of raw sugar (the point of the sweetener in this recipe is to balance the vinegar, but also to coat the throat, so this didn't work), and Tapatio hot sauce (just, no).  After that drink, I caved and went to the health center and took medications for a cold for the first time in my life.  I proceeded to have an allergic reaction to the decongestant that made me hallucinate.
The moral of my story is that this is a good cure when done right, and I need to personally avoid pharmaceutical decongestants or I lose my mind and end up on the phone crying to my friend across the country because I know I CAN put my hand through the wall, but it's not working.  Oh college...

A few extra tips:  If I have any sinus-y stuff, I add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to my cure tea. That stuff tastes AWFUL, so only a few drops.  I also make up gel caps (veggie gelatin) of my oils.  I like a combo of oregano, melaleuca, and frankincense with some more of that disgusting grapefruit seed extract.  If I'm really battling the sinuses (and since I had my wisdom teeth out and got a wicked sinus infection, I seem to be prone to them for life now), I'll take a gel cap like that every half hour for a few hours until I'm breathing clear.

I also have a roll-on bottle of essential oils I blended myself that I roll over my sinuses and lymph nodes when I don't feel like taking some pills.  I use that if it's just some minor pressure.

I hope these tips help you, and that you never need them because you sleep, eat, hydrate, and wash well!

If you'd like to buy Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils, here is a link to my doTERRA store.  All the oils I've mentioned in this post are safe for consumption- although be careful with oregano and either dilute or put in a gel cap because it is "hot" and will burn the tongue or skin if taken directly.
My Online doTERRA Store

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Spaghetti "Meatballs"

Easter Fun: Deviled Potatoes

When I was a kid, we always went on a picnic to the lake for Easter. We ate roast beef sandwiches, pasta salad, and Deviled eggs. I don't have any problem giving up a roast beef sandwich, but I miss the Deviled goodness. So I make Deviled potatoes.

I boil mini golden or red potatoes, just like I would an egg if I ate eggs (but go from hard to soft in the potato's case), then slice them in half and use a melon baller to scoop out the middle and mix with whatever I like. You can draw from your favorite potato salad recipe or your favorite Deviled egg recipe. Either way it's good. Last night my friend who hates mustard came over, do instead of vegenaise, mustard, and relish (my standby), I used vegenaise, paprika, dill, and black salt (this has sulfur and imparts an "eggy" flavor). I've also done it with avocado mashed in instead of vegenaise for a whole foods approach. Experiment and have fun!
These are always a hit and literally disappear before your eyes! For extra creepiness, you can carefully peel the potato and it looks so much like an egg it's scary.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Best Vegan Alfredo Ever!

I just threw some stuff together that I had laying around to make a sauce for elbow rice Mac and peas.
I started with a block of firm tofu, then added a half of eggplant I had roasted earlier, a cup of canned tomatoes leftover from another recipe, a handful of fresh basil, 2 cloves of garlic, garlic salt and nutritional yeast. I blended it until smooth and mixed it with my cooked pasta and peas.

The kids both enthusiastically enjoyed it, and paired with a salad it was perfect.

My goofy eaters...

Hypnotherapy, the Doctor* is Almost In

Finally, I am working on becoming a certified Hypnotherapist. After over two years of Teaching HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method classes, I've known this was something I wanted to explore for a long time. Finding the time and means to become certified were the hard part. There is no ONE hypnosis organization, so it comes down to comparing programs. I honestly have a bias against online education after being a classroom teacher. I thought, how can this train me? So I looked at in-person classes. There was one class that was 5 days long (all day) and then you are certified. Sure, that sounds appealing, but I wanted to learn more and have time to absorb it. Then I found a program that was running for 7 weekends. It was ideal, but it meant 14 full days of childcare. Combine that with the cost of the course and the stress it was going to put on me, and it was no longer a positive venture.
So I came back around to one of the first programs I had checked out, the HMI (Hypnosis Motivation Institute) distance program. It's a well-established brick and mortar school with decades of experience that also offers distance training. Their program takes about 18 months, but can be completed at your own pace if you move through the units quicker. The classes are actually filmed lectures that you watch, so you are literally getting the classes you would in person, although some are a bit dated.
I love the coursework because its comprehensive, and allows me to take extra courses for specialized certifications (I'm already signed up for a PTSD training, and planning on getting certified in smoking cessation as well). The program allows me to become a certified hypnotherapist, rather than hypnotist, as well, which I prefer. **I will not be a doctor, but I will be able to help people, and that's what I want.
Moving forward with this feels so right , and I am so happy with this new chapter unfolding.

Gluten-Free Vegan Dehydrator Cookies

Of course I didn't measure anything... I blended steel cut oats and coconut to make my flour, then mixed in a date syrup (dates plus water blended until smooth), molasses, vanilla, coconut oil, and a dash of salt.

I rolled them into balls and flattened them onto the dehydrator. After 4-5 hours, I topped them with melted chocolate chips and toasted coconut and almond flakes.

My husband said he couldn't believe they were from the dehydrator because they got crispy (but still chewy inside). I think they taste like Samoas but better. We all agree that gluten-free cookies are still awesome!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Zucchini Pasta with Creamy Basil Avocado Sauce

Lately I've been seeing a lot of spiralized veggie noodles on an a vegan parenting group page, so today I pulled out mine for some raw gluten-free vegan lunch. That sounds impressive for something that took less than 5 minutes to prepare.

2 zucchini, spiralized into noodles
1 avocado
2 cloves garlic
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Handful fresh basil
Garlic salt and nutritional yeast to taste

I blended everything except zucchini until smooth and tossed with my "noodles." My 3.5 year old not only loved the meal, but loved helping make it too. I let her turn the handle on the spiralizer and peel the garlic.

Since I get lots of questions about what spiralizer I have, this is the affiliate link to the New and Essential Spiralizer Tri-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer on Amazon that I have.  The blades are sharp, so make sure you supervise, but the turning is easy enough for the little ones to do.

St. Patricks Day is Coming! Gluten-Free and Green?

I just got an email from some business telling me Happy St. Patrick's Day.  Am I the only one whose freckles just buzz with delight over St. Patrick's Day?  I feel like green foods and vegans are just natural friends.  It doesn't hurt that I've got a delightful little red head who is just in the last few months the proud owner of her own freckles.
If you catch her, she has to grant you three wishes.  Good luck catching her though.

In previous years, I've made a seitan or soy curl mixture that I "corned" with typical corned beef flavor. This year, I'm going to have to find a gluten-free delight.  It's really about the carrots, potatoes, and cabbage anyway.  I've been cruising lentil loaf on Pinterest, and I think that's going to be the perfect vehicle for my "corned" spices.

I found some sorghum beer, since I've read that gluten stays in your system for a long time and I'm still nursing, so green beer can still be on the menu.  I don't think any Guiness is vegan, and I know it's not gluten-free... so that's out of the question.

What else?  What are your St. Patty's traditions?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Going Gluten-Free Vegan 2

Today started with a tofu scramble with mushrooms, collard greens, and yams. No complaints there.

Lunch was just a massive salad of romaine, grilled eggplants, artichoke hearts, kidney beans, red bell, carrots... I think that's it. Also we had popcorn, honeydew, and snacked on sugar peas.

Dinner was roasted tomato soup with vegan cheddar jalapeƱo soft baked pretzels. Epic win. Epic.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Gluten-Free Vegan Goodness

Last night I made Hungarian mushroom soup and garlic breadsticks using Bob's Red Mill GF Pizza Crust mix. It was so good and we had extra breadsticks, so this morning we enjoyed those with avocado, then had apples for snacking.

For lunch I made collard green wrapped enchiladas with refried beans and Daiya cheese and La Victoria enchilada sauce. Super simple.

I ran some errands and my husband and the kids ate some rice and peas.

Dinner was hassle back yams, BBQ quinoa polenta, and steamed broccolini with maple mustard dip. My daughter ate all her broccolini plus most of mine. I forgot to take a picture until we had already been eating, but my husband still had some on his plate.

Desert is leftover key lime pie with a millet and Brazil nut base.

Gluten-Free Vegans: Trying to Find Peace and Sleep for our Children

The more and more I read stories of parents who found the answer to their children's ADD, sleeplessness, or emotional outbursts with a gluten-free diet, the more I found myself slowly cutting out gluten without really making an intentional choice.

I have a friend who has found amazing success for her family by going gluten-free, and through her I've seen links to blogs of other moms who are overwhelmed by how a GF diet gives their children a new calm.  My kids could use a little calm.

My son has never been a sleeper, and my daughter didn't start sleeping well until well past the 2 year mark.  Even at 3.5, if she wakes in the night she's sometimes up for hours.  This has NOT been working for us.  Really not.

So as I was weeding out gluten, I made a conscious choice to try a month of GF when we move (we are likely moving in the next month or so).  But once the idea was planted, it seemed silly to wait, and I wanted to start trying out GF foods.  So I ended up going about 5 or 6 days without gluten, and next thing you know, my son sleeps for 5 hours straight (the longest in his life).  The next night, he slept for 6 hours straight (!!!!!!!), but we had had Tofurky pizza that night with a gluten crust, so I chalked it up to not being the gluten.  Too bad.  I went right out and got a loaf of Dave's Killer Bread, we had some ravioli the next day, and finally I made yummy homemade cinnamon rolls (the recipe is Chloe's Kitchen is amazing).  After that first day, back on gluten, my son became not only sleepless at night, but also emotionally distressed.  Lots of pouting and whining.  Lots of heart ache for mommy.

Now I am resolved to give this GF thing a real go.  After two days back off gluten, my son only woke twice last night, and then slept in until seven.  Normally he's known for getting up for the day at 4am!!! Like I said, this sleeplessness really isn't working for our family!!  For the first time ever, he slept in later than his sister today!  He's been much less whiny, and my daughter has only had one fit today (she's been so emotional).

Since I've figured out how to update from my phone, I'll be posting what we're eating, since many GF people feel like going vegan would create a diet too restrictive to function.  I'll share recipes when I have them and at least some pictures and descriptions to give people ideas.

I hope all your children have peace and calm in their lives, it's such a gift!