Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Avocado- Cream Cheese Dip

Avocado- Cream Cheese Dip

I was sitting at the optometrists office with a torn cornea suffering from exteme light sensitivity, and in the magazine rack was a Diabetic Living Magazine. I couldn't resist but to pick it up and read it through my sun shades. I came across this recipe and my instincts told me that it would be a hit. So I took my handy-dandy eye phone and snapped a photo of the recipe, went home, and tried it! My instincts served me well.

Makes 1 cup:
Carbs per Serving: 4g
Prep: 20 minutes (really only takes like 5)
Chill 30 minutes to 24 hours (but you can eat it freshly made too...does taste better chilled!)
1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded, and peeled
1/4 cup low fat butter milk (or just use almond milk like I did. Whatever milk type u have will do)
3 tbsp whipped reduced fat cream cheese (I used regular cream cheese. I guess I'm not good at following directions too well am I?)
1 tbsp lime juice (I had lemon, so I used lemon juice-lol)
2 cloves of garlic (I used 3)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (I didn't measure--just sprinkled!)


1. Set aside one fourth of the avocado. In a blender or food processor combine the remaining 3/4 of the avocado, buttermilk, cream cheese, lime juice, garlic, adn cayenne and 1/2 tsp salt.
Cover and blend or process until smooth. Coursely chop the reserved avocado: stir into pureed mixture. Cover and chill in the refridgerator for 30 to 24 hours.

2. Spoon dip into a serving bowl; sprinkle with the dash of cayenne pepper. Serve with fresh veggies.

Per 2.5 tsbp dip:
59 calories. 5g total fat (1g saturated fat). 4mg chol. 224 mg sodium. 4g carbs (2g fiber, 1g sugars), 1 g protein

I choose to eat mine with sliced jicama (aka Mexican potato), which is a yummy healthy alrernative to eating it with chips (I hate tortilla chips!) But chips will do the trick as well if its your thing!

Bon Appetite.

PS. What's also great is that this is one of those recipes that after the first time, you don't have to follow the recipe. The second time I tried it, I added spinach. You can probably experiment with it a hundred different ways. And oh yeah--I always add more garlic than called for in any recipe ;-) Nice kick to it. Also, the salt is probably optional.

I ate the entire thing in about 36 hours! Whats great about it though is it keeps you full, which for me is a good thing cause I tend to be a carbohydrate addict and keep snacking all day long. This is a healithier alternative for sure, particularly because I dont care about counting calories! Its not my thing.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Moment that changed EVERYTHING!

What a week this one has been. I didn't think this blog would ever get this personal but I need to purge and I have so much to get out. You know those types of weeks or even those days...those moments that change your whole life...Well I had one of those. I'm going to back up to explain it all cause I just need to get it out of my system. I am about put on my writer's hat for just a few minutes.

Naima at the doctors office. iphone pic.
So: Lately Naima (my daughter) had been urinating frequently and being excessively thirsty. I mean, she would pee about 3 times in one hour. And she would ask for something to drink, then drink the entire cup, and then minutes later she would be insisting that she was thirsty. I knew something wasn't right but couldn't put my finger on it. The urination pattern started a week prior to the thirst pattern. It started slowly, but suddenly at the same time. She would have to go to the bathroom frequently. One day she had to go and we were in the car so I told her she had to hold it until we reached our destination. When we got there, we rushed her to the bathroom, only for her to get right in front of the toilet and pee on herself. I mean right in front of the toilet. Obviously I was upset (as the pattern hadn't quite set in and I didn't know yet that there was a reason for this). I made her sit in time out for like 10 minutes or so and looking back now I feel so bad because I realize that she couldn’t help herself. Fast forward a day or two and we are at the arboretum for a jazz fest and she had to go to the bathroom about three times. Once was right when we left and then we drove maybe 20 minutes to a restaurant to get something to eat and she had to pee again right when we got there. It was after 8 so I didn't let her have anything to drink (only a sip to wash down her food) because since she was going to the bathroom so many times in the night (once 3 times in 1 hour) and a couple times peeing on herself in her sleep, she couldn’t have anything after 8 thinking that would prevent the pattern. It didn't. All these things were odd, and I made note of it, but I thought that she was just drinking too much during the day and that is why she was urination so much. She had been potty trained since she was 2, so the peeing in the bed thing was highly unusual. She would even pee on the sofa if she fell asleep there. It started to become obvious that she simply couldn’t control her urine in her sleep and not that she was just having accidents. It wasn't until the thirst pattern began when I knew something was really wrong. I begin to suspect that maybe it could be a UTI. This was towards Friday and I had to work the weekend and so I decided to hold off and see if the pattern continued a few days and if so I would make her a doctor’s appointment. The pattern continued and the thirst pattern over the weekend grew intense. Monday morning I had two photo shoots scheduled so I was like I'll make the appointment for Tuesday. The early one got cancelled so I decided to go on and take her in and that I could drop her off home (my mom happened to be off that day and her daycare was closed this week) and then go to the second shoot. It turned out that when we got to the doctors and I explained what was going on, the nurse asked if anyone in my family had diabetes. I said yeah, several (type 2). I couldn't fathom that Naima would be at risk based on that, as theirs was all more lifestyle related--and Naima's lifestyle was at least slightly better than the average kid her age. She wasn't the healthiest child by any stretch. We both skimp on veggies sometimes, but we ate lots of fruit and I did my best to limit her junk food consumption-particularly at home (though that was often a battle with my mom always buying things I asked her not to and Naima wanting and often getting those things. Things like pop-tarts and fruit snacks. I had just stopped fighting it long ago. Also her daycare snacks were horrendous on most days-but that too was a battle I didn’t have the energy to fight-so I just let it be, and when I could I tried to get there early enough to get her before snack time).

Anyway, after checking her urine and a blood glucose reading, they sent us straight to the ER. I cancelled my shoot and scooped up my mom and we took her straight to the hospital. We were there for a while and they concluded that she had type 1 diabetes. I went numb. I couldn't believe it. At the doctors her blood glucose was 500 by the time we got to the ER and checked it was at 600. They admitted her and we were there from Monday until Thursday night.

In ER. Nurse drawing blood from her IV tube. iphone pic

I must say first that Naima was a soldier. She handled everything with so much was really amazing. She lightened up everyone's day in the hospital. They couldn't stop raving about her. She was so still for the needles and didn't cry not once. Well not about the needles anyway. When she did cry, it was because she couldn’t have something she wanted to eat. That was the hardest part for me…and still is. Restricting food to a 3 yo who doesn’t understand why she can’t have XYZ is not an easy task.

She didn't really need this band-aid. But it made her feel better. It was Dora! ;-)

The hospital stay was stressful to say the least. They were not able to get in her a normal range. She kept jumping from high to low blood glucose levels. It was either the first or second night where she was very lethargic. I just assumed she was sleepy and was tired from such a long day. The doctor noticed that her lips were pale and it turned out that her glucose was low they had to give her juice, then next morning she was back high again. I just couldn’t make sense of it all.

Naima eating her breakfast and watching TV.
Smiling for the camera. She didn't let nothing steal her joy!
Over the three days, there was lots of education thrown at us. There was a diabetes specialist named Steph who came and taught us about diabetes, the do’s and don’ts, and how to use the glucagon pen if need be, and the signs of high and low BG (blood glucose) etc. etc. The nurses and staff were all nice, of course except for one lady. And we got her for two different nights. Go figure. She was there the first night and the last night. Her bedside manner was totally missing. The only other person whom I wasn’t feeling was the dietician. That’s because she sat there and lied to me in my face to try and tell me artificial sweeteners are safe for consumption like I was some dumb Joe off the street who didn’t know better. After that-everything she said to me went in one ear and out the other. I mean, I do realize that conventional medicine doesn’t accept these evident truths-but when I tell you why she can’t have anything with “sugar free” or “light” or another buzz words that may indicate artificial sweeteners—don’t try to tell me it’s in my head and that there is no evidence to support that, and that you use Splenda yourself, and that studies show it is safe and so on and so forth. I wasn’t feeling that-but I just clamped my lips once more. I did ask her to show me those studies. She said she would but the next day there was a different dietician who came in her place. I don’t know if that was intentional or not. Either way, I never got them.

Naima in the playroom. She spent most her day here.
There were some people however who were absolutely amazing to talk to and made the stay much more enjoyable (if I can use that word). That was Mrs. Annie, Mrs. Laura (Child Life Specialist), and our case manager Trish. All three of these ladies stood out to me and we each had deep conversations and their words were encouraging to me. Now I don’t know if all of these ladies are married or not, but I’m gonna just call them all “Mrs.” just because, but Mrs. Laura had an understanding of holistic health and the connection between body, mind, and spirit and we talked extensively about it. We also talked about snack ideas and she showed me a children’s book about diabetes and we discussed my concerns about why daycare will be a big hurdle in this new race and she was just a great resource and help. She copied some pages from that book for me that was written to be for the teacher of children with diabetes in school. That helped tremendously in just making me feel prepared to face the world once we stepped outside those four walls. Same with Trish. We sat and talked for probably more than an hour. And she listened so intently and all of my concerns and fears and her words were encouraging. Mrs. Annie just loved Naima. She came in to check on her and she is a type 2 diabetic. We just chatted here and there, but her spirit was nurturing. She was an older lady she talked of her grandkids and she was just so taken with Naima. We clicked almost instantly. I gave all the doctors and nurses whom I liked and interacted with a photo of Naima with a handwritten thank you on the back. They all adored it so. There were a few people who I wanted to get one to but I couldn’t find them and couldn’t remember all their names well, so that didn’t happen.

Naima in the play room with Mrs. Laura. She is practicing giving shots to the doll. Mrs. Laura did a lot of educational activities with Naima to try and help her understand what was going on with her.

Naima blessing her food.
In the hospital they kept asking if anyone in my family had diabetes and I was like for type 1 not that I know of, but yes for type two. After some digging, it came to light that on her father’s side there were some people who did, so it’s likely that is where the gene may have come from. I now worry about his other children and I hope that their other half of genes carry a protective one, however the truth is that they are susceptible to developing it as well. Hopefully God will have other plans for them.

Naima took many rides on her IV cart.
I was not ready to go home Thursday night, but they discharged us. I couldn’t understand why they would release when they still hadn’t figured out a proper carb: insulin ratio for her. I actually got upset with them and kind of lost my cool because for two meals during her stay they had to take all of her carbs away from her meal because she was high. So here is how they did this: they would say its meal time and have me order and meal and within about 45 minutes it would be brought upstairs from the cafeteria. They would then place the food in front of her. Then they would prick her finger to test her glucose and say “oh wait, its high let me go speak with the doctor”. Then they would come back and say “so we have to take all her carbs away but she can order some of XYZ.” The first time I wasn’t happy about it but I let it slide. The second time I was pissed. I mean, usually the carbs they were taking from my baby was her fruit, and once it was the bun from her cheeseburger. My thoughts: why not check her glucose BEFORE she orders her meal and you tell her that she can have something that she is looking forward to having instead of placing it in her face and taking it away. I don’t think anyone would be happy about that…but at least an adult could understand it. A 3yo—not quite. I mean it was hard enough trying to balance a meal with only 45 grams of carbs per meal (which are regulations she is still on at home) and NO carb snacks throughout the day. What that meant is that she had to try and “fill up” on protein (read: meat) so that she wouldn’t be hungry for a snack later. That too is not the best example of healthy eating in the world…but our options were limited. But I did fight for her as much as I could to make sure she got her extra food to make up for what she lacked in not being able to eat carbs. It wasn’t easy though. I was also a prick about making sure that each snack she got wasn’t full of artificial sweeteners. They put it in her file so that all the staff knew she was not to have any. Thursday when they said we’d be going home all the preparedness I thought I had went out the window. So did some of my tact. Her BG was at 403-far from normal or controlled, so I wasn’t happy with them releasing her like that. I snapped at one of the nurses because at dinner time they decided to take her carbs away again. She asked me what I she can have instead I was so irate I just snapped back “I don’t care what you bring, just bring my baby something” and walked away. She avoided me and the room the rest of the night. I felt bad afterwards, but truly they need to make the policy change. I was mad because Naima was crying when they told her she couldn’t have her carbs again and took away her fruit. Why would they put an innocent child through that? Particularly when a solution was so visible:  check BG before ordering the food and telling her she can have something. Still I feel bad for snapping at her-she was just following the doctor’s orders. Her name was Brianne. SORRY BRIANNE!

I don’t want this blog to be a book, so I will end this one here and talk about life at home in another post. I will add though, that Thursday night, two members of the ministerial staff of my church came by the house to pray for Naima. Even though we are dealing with the diagnosis, we are also praying and believing in God that she can and will be healed—in his time, if it's his will. By faith, it is already done.

This is a photo I had took of Naima and I added a little poem. This was pre-diagnosis, but I found comfort in the poem during these days. My mom tacked it on the board that was next to her bed. I left it there--hoping that maybe (if the staff doesn't throw it away) it could be comfort to whomever is the next person to occupy that space. The poem reads: My Wish For You:
Comfort on difficult days. Smiles when sadness intrudes. Rainbows to follow the clouds. Laughter to kiss your lips. Sunsets to warm your heart. Gentle hugs when spirits sag. Friendships to brighten your being. Beauty for your eyes to see. Confidence for when you doubt. Faith so that you can believe. Courage to know yourself. Patience to accept the truth. And love to complete your life.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hot Air Popped Popcorn

Welcome to another edition of the Chronicles of a Budding Health Nut. Nut meaning crazy person. Well, the other day I was in Target and happened to walk by this popcorn popper. It uses hot air rather than oil which makes for a much healthier version of a treat my daughter happens to love.

My mom would always buy the microwaveable bag popcorn and I would try my best to convince her to stop because of the chemicals used in the lining of the bag which are toxic. Not to mention the chemicals in the artificial butter flavor which can cause lung issues over long periods of time (you'd have to pop a lot of popcorn) but I believe most companies have stopped using the particular chemical diacetyl which causes this. But still the chemicals in the bag some of which are to keep the oil from burning through the paper...still aren't ideal to be ingesting.

The best way to pop popcorn is over the stove...or as I have newly found- with a hot air popper!  Naima had a ball watching it pop. Much safer than standing in front of the microwave like I used to do as a kid, and inhaling toxic fumes as well as being exposed to radiation emissions. ;-) So long to bagged popcorn!

Here are a few photos for you to enjoy of out process.

I'm not sure what is special about the Ruby Red. But it was pretty so I brought it. Marketing scam!



wait for popping to start. pose for the camera.

get excited when popping starts.

pose for the camera again. still waiting.

add melted butter and garlic.

season. blk pepper. fresh grated.

season. old bay ;-) it's a b-more luv thang.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Homemade Deodorant

Yes, you read that right. I found a recipe for homemade deodorant and I just had to give it a try. So I just whipped up a batch and will begin the real journey tomorrow...which is testing it out to see how well it actually works! ;-)

So how did I do it you ask? Or better yet why?

Well I will start with the why first.

I did it because I am on a journey of reinventing my life to be as chemical free as I possibly can. I also want to learn how to do/make everything myself so that I can leave the store brought-chemically laden artificial scented/flavored things of life alone. I want to return to nature. To the way things were and should be before corporations took over and told us how we should live our lives. Don't wanna get on my soapbox...this a post about deodorant after-all. So here is the why in terms of why I decided to pursue such a journey:

Deodorants, and most all cosmetics from things such as lotions, shampoos, make-up etc. are full of chemicals which are harmful to the body. They are present in such small amounts-but over time they build up and many have been linked to cancer. Most people don't think of their cosmetics as cancer-causing. You may think of  the fact that you know X many people who have been using these things for X years and don't have cancer...but from an epidemiological standpoint-cancer rates are ever increasing as are the amount of chemicals being introduced to us through various means (the air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat and cosmetics that we use). 

(There is no need for me to sit here and re-type information which is greatly summed up elsewhere. For more information you can view these links:  Harmful chemicals in deodorants, Natural Cosmetic News, BBC News, Deodorant and breast cancer.)

Anyway, so onto the good stuff... how can you make your own deodorants? Well there are plenty recipes out there to try. I came across this one that I decided to try first. I read some reviews that some people have issues with the baking soda in the recipe causing irritation. There are various versions out there without it. I am going to try this one and if I should need to switch to another version I will. 

So here is the info: 

6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil (solid state)
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
(optional-essential oils) I used lavender. Just a few drops.

  1. Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder. 
  2. Slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon or hand blender until it maintains a firm but pliable texture. It should be about the same texture as commercial deodorant, solid but able to be applied easily. If it is too wet, add further arrowroot powder/cornstarch to thicken.
  3. You can either scoop this recipe into your old deodorant dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. Makes about 1 cup. This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.

Give it a try and let me know how you like it:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Water in Japan...send your prayers!

To All People Around the World     
Please send your prayers of love and gratitude to water at the nuclear plants in Fukushima, Japan!
By the massive earthquakes of Magnitude 9 and surreal massive tsunamis, more than 10,000 people are still missing…even now… It has been 16 days already since the disaster happened. What makes it worse is that water at the reactors of Fukushima Nuclear Plants started to leak, and it’s contaminating the ocean, air and water molecule of surrounding areas. 
Human wisdom has not been able to do much to solve the problem, but we are only trying to cool down the anger of radioactive materials in the reactors by discharging water to them.
Is there really nothing else to do?
I think there is.
During over twenty year research of hado measuring and water crystal photographic technology, I have been witnessing that water can turn positive when it receives pure vibration of human prayer no matter how far away it is.
Energy formula of Albert Einstein, E=MC2 really means that Energy = number of people and the square of people’s consciousness.
Now is the time to understand the true meaning. Let us all join the prayer ceremony as fellow citizens of the planet earth.   I would like to ask all people, not just in Japan, but all around the world to please help us to find a way out the crisis of this planet!!
The prayer procedure is as follows.
Name of ceremony:
“Let’s send our thoughts of love and gratitude to all water in the nuclear plants in Fukushima”
Day and Time:
March 31st, 2011 (Thursday)
12:00 noon in each time zone
This will mean that love will be sent to the water for a full 24 hours as the different time zones kick in.
Please say the following phrase:
“The water of Fukushima Nuclear Plant, we are sorry to make you suffer.  Please forgive us.  We thank you, and we love you.”  Please say it aloud or in your mind. Repeat it three times as you put your hands together in a prayer position. Please offer your sincere prayer.  
Thank you very much from my heart.
With love and gratitude,
Masaru Emoto
Messenger of Water

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Herb Show Recap

So the Herbal Medicine Show was a huge success...

I was so nervous in the beginning as I was watching other people set up their tables and I was thinking "oh, maybe I should have done more, I should have done this, I could have done that"...but by the time I finished my table set up I realized that what I had was sufficient. It wasn't as glamourous as some of the tables (my classmates did an awesome job!), but I put a lot of time and love into my creations, and they came out well-and they were all well received by the public. 
What I loved was talking with the individuals. There were a lot of people who did not know exactly what it was we were there for (to introduce them to the student clinic and get clients) as well as introduce them to the world of herbal medicine and the variety of possibilities therein. I had some real heart to heart conversations with people, and got a decent sized list of people interested in coming into the student clinic as well as people  who signed the email list. 

The oatmeal bars and the Hibiscus Hi-C Tea was a big hit. Sooo many people were asking me for the I promised to send it out in my 1st newsletter that will go out shortly (I'm still working on it!). If you would like to be added to the mailing list--to request an add you may email me at Leave your first and last name and email address in your request.

Here is what some of the faculty and staff at Tai had to say:

The Herbal Medicine Show yesterday was truly remarkable. I wandered from table to table in awe of your creativity, brilliance, and beauty. Each of you brought your best to the show and gave the community a view of the true potential and wonder of herbal medicines. I loved seeing your themes and the thought and heart which went into them, and the innovation you showed in what you made and how you presented it. Last night was a proud moment for Tai Sophia, and you were the shining jewels. Thank you each so much for the enormous time, energy, love, and skill you demonstrated.
In Awe and Gratitude,

Bevin Clare MS, RH
Clinical Division Chair
Herbal Medicine Department
Tai Sophia Institute

I was so impressed with the knowledge of each of the students, their ability to explain their products as well as the beautiful displays that you created.  Despite the weather, we had an overwhelming crowd.  This certainly has become a signature community event for Tai Sophia and an opportunity for us to show off and beam about the quality of our students.  Thank you all for the hard work you put into this.  It definitely showed.
Judith K. Broida Ph.D
Provost/ Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Tai Sophia Institute

I would like to further heap praise on you all, and  also to pass on Bob Duggan’s comment he asked me to convey – that this year’s show was a definite ‘step up’ for Tai Sophia.
Well done you!
Andrew Pengelly PhD, AHG, FNHAA
Director Herbal Dispensary

Lecturer in Herbal Pharmacology and Botany

Tai Sophia Institute

This program is gaining in quality and community response, which says that students are learning and faculty must be doing a fantastic job. To see what has been learned translated through creativity was absolutely amazing.
The entire event was nothing less than extraordinary. Congratulations to all.
Kind regards,
Frank Vitale
President and CEO
Tai Sophia Institute

PS. Major shout out to Stanley Jaworski, a fellow photographer for coming out and taking photos of the event for me!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Preparing for the Herbal Medicine Show...

This is so much work. Much more than I anticipated.

A lot of what I was making I wanted to wait until as close as possible to make so that it would be fresh. I have (had) some elderberries around here, and two days before the show can't seem to find them. Now I can't make my elderberry syrup which is kind of disheartening, because its the one I use the most and can probably speak the most freely about. 

Instead, I am forced to find something else to do...which is ok, because I tend to work well under pressure, though not without the cortisol surge however.

I keep having to change my game plans and in this moment it still isnt finalized, but I know that whatever I do its going to be great. 

Anyway...for anyone interested in coming out, here is the info for the show. 

Join Tai Sophia’s Herbal Medicine faculty and master’s degree students for Tai Sophia’s annual Herbal Medicine Show. 

Treat your senses to the tastes, scents, and textures of a wide array of herbal cordials, elixirs, tinctures, salves, and foods. 

The Herbal Medicine Show will feature: 
•Free samples and helpful information on how herbs can support your wellness
•Over a dozen themed, interactive displays, including:
◦Self Care and the Seasons
◦Seasonal Immunity
◦Digestive Health and the Mind
◦Circadian Rhythms and Sleep
◦Elements in Nature
◦Seasonal Nutrition
◦Pain Management
◦Sexual Health and Vitality
◦The Wellness Imaginarium
Come experience the amazing world of herbs and meet student herbalists entering the clinical portion of their training and ready for new clients. 

If you are not able to make it out to this event, and even if you are--here are the details for what I really want to get across:

So we will have clinic on Wednesday mornings and Friday nights. Just as med student needs to work in a hospital to get real world expeience, I need clients who are interested in seeing an herbalist for health or wellness. Some things you may come on for is:

Skin conditions
G.I. Conditions 
Nutritional coaching
Chronic health conditions
Immune conditions
Or even if you don't have a "condition" you can come in to find out how you can maintain wellness and things you can do for optimal energy. 
To graduate I need to conduct 50 different consultations with a handful of those being multiple visits (at least 3 per person preferably). 
In the student clinic, there is a reduced fee that we are required to charge for using the space. The money is paid directly to the school none of it goes to us btw. For the initial consult the fee is $45 and all follow ups are $30.

I hope this information helps. Any questions, message or call me if you have my number. I hope to be able to be of service to someone as I want this to be something we can mutually benefit from. 

PS. If it's not you, we all know someone suffering from something. Please feel free to pass the word on to a friend or family member if you don't feel as though these services would be of any service to you. 

Oh-and this show is just like a coming out party for the public that we will be starting clinic and an opportunity to let the community at large know we are beginning clinic and to give us an opportunity to find clients. Basically it's gonna be lots of free products and food-all herb based. If you can come that's great but that's secondary to my needing of clients. 

Peace & Wellness