Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Natural Wood Furniture Polish

I really like wood furniture and have a few antique pieces. From time to time I clean and polish it to keep the wood in good condition. Wood can dry out and age prematurely if not properly cared for and this becomes a greater concern when you are talking about a piece of furniture that is several decades old.

I was thrilled to read about an easy, natural wood furniture polish you can make at home in my Healthy Child Healthy World book. I've read the ingredients on the bottle of stuff I typically use and it's not all safe.

The recipe is easy and it goes like this...
Combine two cups olive oil and one juiced lemon in a glass or ceramic container. Apply to furniture with a soft polishing cloth; rub briskly to shine. Allow furniture to dry. This is best used on furniture with an oily, rather than glossy finish. Test a small section of your piece of furniture before using it on the whole thing.

How easy is that! I usually wash my wood furniture really well with a mild soap like castile before I polish it to get all the dust and fingerprints off. Try out this great polish and admire your beautifully polished furniture without a trace of toxic chemicals.


Monday, September 28, 2009


You would have thought that I set a chocolate cake in front of my kids tonight when I pulled out a pomegranate, cut it in half and let them go at it. They picked out and ate the seeds until I insisted they got to bed.

Easier than picking the seeds out of a pomogranate, drinking it's juice is not only tasty, but extremely nutritious. Pomegranates are full of vitamins(C, K, B), minerals and important antioxidants. The level of antioxidant is even higher than those of other fruits popularly known to have high levels of antioxidant, including blueberries, cranberries and oranges. This is attributed to the very high polyphenol content in the fruit.

Several recent studies have shown significant potential health benefits from drinking pomegranate juice. Here are eleven:

Fights Breast Cancer
Studies in Israel show that pomegranate juice destroys breast cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. It may also prevent breast cancer cells from forming.

Lung Cancer Prevention
Studies in mice show that pomegranate juice may inhibit the development of lung cancer.

Slows Prostate Cancer
It slowed the growth of prostate cancer in mice.

Keeps PSA Levels Stable
In a study of 50 men who had undergone treatment for prostate cancer, 8 ounces of pomegranate juice per day kept PSA levels stable, reducing the need for further treatment such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy.

Protects the Neonatal Brain
Studies show that maternal consumption of pomegranate juice may protect the neonatal brain from damage after injury.

Prevention of Osteoarthritis
Several studies indicate that pomegranate juice may prevent cartilage deterioration.

Protects the Arteries
It prevents plaque from building up in the arteries and may reverse previous plaque buildup.

Alzheimer's Disease Prevention
It may prevent and slow Alzheimer's disease. In one study, mice bred to develop Alzheimer's disease were given pomegranate juice. They accumulated significantly less amyloid plaque than control mice and they performed mental tasks better.

Lowers Cholesterol
It lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) and raises HDL (good cholesterol).

Lowers Blood Pressure
One study showed that drinking 1.7 ounces of pomegranate juice per day lowered systolic blood pressure by as much as 5 percent.

Dental Protection
Research suggests that drinking pomegranate juice may be a natural way to prevent dental plaque.

Since pomegranates are a seasonal fruit for us, I think that makes it even more special. My girls are starting to associate it with Fall along with pumpkins and Halloween. Try making it a special Fall treat for your family too!
- Shannan

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fun Fall Pumpkin Muffins

I enjoyed Shannan's Monday post on Fall Cancer Fighting Foods where she outlined the great benefits to eating more squash vegetables this fall. While I would encourage eating more whole roasted fall vegetables, I thought this pumpkin muffin recipe would be fun to share today. It calls for whole pumpkin and it's such a tasty treat. Did you also know that Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches that root vegetables and squash have great warming properties. We are encouraged to eat more root vegetables and squash this time of year to prepare our bodies for the coming winter. Not only do they have great cancer fighting qualities, but they may just prepare your body to fight off that bothersome cold and flu season!

Pumpkin Muffins

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour*
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup succanat or other natural raw sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin**
1/3 cup buttermilk, yogurt or kefir
1/3 cup butter, olive oil, or coconut oil
1/4 cup molasses***
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs (farm fresh of course)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, ginger, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Make a well in the center of the mixture and combine the sugar, pumpkin, buttermilk, oil or butter, molasses, vanilla extract, and eggs stirring well with a whisk. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture, stir just until moist.

Spoon batter into 18 muffin cups. Sprinkle tops of muffins with granulated sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan immediately; cool on a wire rack.

*I found a place here in Michigan that will grind your flour when you buy it and they have a really nice whole-wheat all purpose flour that goes well in this recipe.

**I'm not a big fan of canned foods so when time allows, I make my own pumpkin by taking a small baking pumpkin or butternut squash and baking it for about an hour in the oven until soft. I then scoop out the inside and use a cup for this recipe and then freeze the rest for later baking.

***Black strap molasses is an excellent source of manganese and copper, and also contains iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin B6. It's basically all of the nutrition taken out of refined sugar in the refining process. Other options to use are maple syrup, raw honey or agave nectar.

My son C. Everyone needs a handsome assistant when baking in the kitchen!
Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Goji Berries - Health Benefits and Side Effects

It is funny to me that when I am suffering with a cold as I am this week, my body starts craving super healthy foods. For instance, today my body was asking for green juice, so I pulled out all of my veggies and got to juicing. And now as we begin to enter the official cold and flu season, I am looking at ways to boost my immunity. I haven't ever gotten much into the so-called 'superfoods', but am willing to give goji berries a try. Here is some info on goji berries from WebMD and a yummy sounding smoothie recipe from the Dr. Oz Show.

What is the goji berry?
The goji berry is also called the wolfberry. It is a bright orange-red berry that comes from a shrub that's native to China. In Asia, goji berries have been eaten for generations in the hopes of living longer.

Over time, people have used goji berries to treat many common health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, fever, and age-related eye problems. Goji berries are eaten raw, cooked, or dried (like raisins) and are used in herbal teas, juices, wines, and medicines.
What are the benefits of goji berries?

Research shows that eating berries -- like blueberries, acai berries, cranberries, strawberries, and cherries -- offers some definite health benefits. Berries like the goji berry are filled with powerful antioxidants and other compounds that may help prevent cancer and other illnesses, including heart disease.

Eating foods high in antioxidants may slow the aging process. It does this by minimizing damage to your cells from free radicals that injure cells and damage DNA. When a cell's DNA changes, the cell grows abnormally. Antioxidants can take away the destructive power of free radicals. By doing so, antioxidants help reduce the risk of some serious diseases.

Goji berries also have compounds rich in vitamin A that may have antiaging benefits. These special compounds help boost immune function, protect vision, and may help prevent heart disease.

Some research suggests that goji berry extracts may boost brain health and may protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's.

While goji berries are a rich source of antioxidants -- and early research shows a potentially powerful health benefit -- it's still unclear how they stack up against other berries. Researchers also don't know whether goji berry supplements have the same health benefits as the actual berries.

Do goji berries have any dangerous side effects?
There may be some possible herb-drug interactions with goji berries. If you take warfarin (a blood thinner), you may want to avoid goji berries. Goji berries may also interact with diabetes and blood pressure medicines.

Also, if you have pollen allergies, you may want to stay away from this fruit. However, when eaten in moderation, goji berries appear to be safe.

Longevity Smoothie
Combine all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!
1 cup almond milk
Fresh blueberries (Use the equivalent of 1 freezer pack of frozen berries – and use frozen blueberries when they are out of season.)
1 handful dried goji berries
Heaping tablespoon of powdered MACA
Half a banana
Makes one serving.

Stay well,

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Delicious Raw Juice Recipes

In the last month or so I've decided to step up my juicing. I want to get as many vitamins and minerals to my developing baby as possible and fresh, raw juice is one of the best avenues. Plus raw juice has beneficial enzymes that help assimilate all those nutrients without adding more stress on my body or the baby's. Increasing the amount of fresh raw juice I drink has been a life-saver in another area as well. It has given me so much energy throughout the day. When I'm tired a glass of raw juice can get me re-energized in no time to complete whatever crazy stuff is going on and my schedule does seem to be a little nuts right now. I would recommend lots of raw juice to anyone, but especially if you are experiencing a time of stress or fatigue. Below are some of my new favorite combinations. For more reading on the topic, check out a couple of Shannan's previous posts here and here. Remember that variety is truly the spice of life especially in nutrition and juicing. Using a wide variety of vegetables and fruits will expose you to the widest range of minerals and vitamins.

Strawberry, apple and pear juice
1 cup strawberries, hulls removed
1 Granny Smith apple
3 small ripe pears, stalks removed
1 head of favorite lettuce, vary each time

Process strawberries, apple and pears through juicer and serve.

Peach, grapefruit and apple juice
2 large peaches, halved and seeds removed
2 grapefruits, peeled
1 small apple
1 head of favorite lettuce, vary each time

Process the peaches, grapefruit and apple through juicer and serve.

Apple, carrot and celery juice
Alter the amounts of either the carrots or apple to make the juice sweeter or savory to suit your taste buds:
4 small Granny Smith apples
3 medium sized carrots
4 sticks celery
1 head of favorite lettuce, vary each time

Process the apples, carrots and celery through juicer, mix well and serve.

Tomato, cucumber, parsley and carrot juice
3 medium tomatoes
1 large cucumber, peeled, if desired
1 large bunch of fresh parsley
3 medium carrots
1 head of favorite lettuce, vary each time

Process tomatoes, cucumber, parsley and carrots and serve.

Enjoy! Please feel free to share some of your favorite juicing recipes in the comments section.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall Cancer-Fighting Foods

Tomorrow is the first offical day of the Fall season. Around Michigan, that means cooler temperatures, the apple orchards are open and an abundance of pumpkins and various types of squash are available. It turns out that pumpkins and squash are not only fun to carve and decorate with, but they are full of cancer-fighting chemicals.

Studies have shown that a diet rich in beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin can lower our risk of cancer. The best sources for these are carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes as they are supercharged with cancer-fighting carotenoids. Pumpkin, winter squash, collards and kale are also top-ranked according to the USDA.

Classic Baked Acorn Squash Recipe

1 Acorn squash
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
Dash of Salt
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Using a strong chef's knife, and perhaps a rubber mallet to help, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don't burn and the squash doesn't get dried out.

Coat the inside of each half with 1/2 a Tbsp of butter. Add a dash of salt if you are using unsalted butter. Add a Tbsp of brown sugar to the cavity of each half. Dribble on a teaspoon of maple syrup to each half.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. Do not undercook. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving. Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas.

Serves 2 to 4, depending on how much squash you like to eat.

Pumpkin seeds are particularly high in disease-fighting plant chemicals called phytosterols, so be sure to roast after you carve.

How to prepare pumpkin seeds:

Rinse the seeds to separate them from the stringy pulp
Pat them dry
Toss them in olive oil and salt
Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until slighly puffed and golden.

Enjoy your Fall foods!
- Shannan

Friday, September 18, 2009

Organizing to Plan Healthy Breakfasts and School Lunches

The second week of my new fall schedule ended yesterday and already I see some weak spots that need improvement. I have a kindergartner who goes to school 2 1/2 days a week, and a preschooler who goes to another school 3 mornings. I work part-time, blog, and feel a little tired from being 18 weeks pregnant. Add to that swimming lessons, gymnastics and dance, and you can see that things are a little busy around here these days. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I am really enjoying all the changes and seeing the kids change and try new things. However, I do feel that meals like breakfast, lunch, and snacks are getting a little rushed and routine. I need some new ideas and a way to get organized. So, I did what anyone seeking information does, I consulted all my favorite blogs to see what other health minded moms are doing and I got some great ideas. Below I've listed some of the great posts I found in my research. I hope they are as helpful to you this fall as they were for me.



Packed School Lunches

So this weekend, armed with copies of these posts, I'm making a master list of breakfasts, snacks and lunches. I'm going to post my list on the refrigerator and use it when I make out my grocery list. I'm going to tackle this year with lots of fresh, delicious ideas and not resort to convenient or processed foods to get through the busy times.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Great Read: Healthy Child Healthy World

I just finished a really great read. It's a book called Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home by Christopher Gavigan. I loved this book. It's the kind of book that no matter where you are on the organic, green learning curve, you will learn something invaluable. Every chapter has great information and quick tips to get you started.

I couldn't begin to tell you everything this book has to offer, but let me highlight a few of the chapters to whet your appetite. Then you will just have to get your own copy!

  • Chapter 1 is cutely named "Doing the Bump" and is all about preparing for the birth of a child. It gives great tips on eating, products to avoid, a great natural body butter recipe, and finding safe nursery and baby stuff.

  • Chapter 2 is all about cleaning supplies including what to avoid and great natural replacements for the dangerous stuff. That is one thing I really appreciated about this book. All through the book Mr. Gavigan informed you about the danger of a product and then recommended a safe, inexpensive, natural alternative.

  • Chapter 6 talks about safe gardening and lawn care. There are so many great tips here. He talks about simple ways to improve the health of your lawn without pesticides and fertilizer; how to fertilize naturally; and some helpful tips on bug and mosquito control.

  • Chapter 8 gives great tips on raising a "green pet". Our only pets are two adorable guinea pigs, but I appreciated the great info on natural flea control; recipes for good dog food; and a nontoxic pet cleanser.

I could seriously go on and on, but really, you should just get this book and take a read. If you are a star-watcher, there are also great tips from celebrity supporters as well as leading medical and public-health experts. A few of these included Jenna Elfman, Laura Dern, Noah Wylie, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson to name a few.

At the end of the book is a GREAT chapter of resources giving you contacts for things like diapers, bedding, bottles, clothing, cleaning products, snacks, garden and lawn products, and etc. I plan to work my way through this list in the coming months and educate myself more on what is out there. I will defininitely pass along great finds to all of you!

The organization Healthy Child Healthy World was started by James and Nancy Chuda in 1991 after their beloved daughter Colette died from Wilms' tumor a rare form of nonhereditary cancer. They are a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to "educates parents, support protective policies, and engage communities to make responsible decisions, simple everyday choices, and well-informed lifestyle improvements to create healthy environments where children and families can flourish." Their site offers more great tips and resources for anyone trying to make their home and life a safer, greener environment.

Thanks Janelle Sorenson from Healthy Child Healthy World for the great opportunity to review this fantastic book! I definitely recommend adding this one to your must read list.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Keeping Produce Fresh

I just finished cleaning out my refridgerator and unfortunately had to throw out quite a bit of unused produce. Here are some guidelines on how long produce should last if stored properly.

Raw fruits are safe at room temperature, but after ripening, will mold and rot quickly. For best quality, store ripe fruit in the refrigerator or prepare and freeze.This chart assumes that you are buying your fruit in a retail store.

Shelf life will increase dramatically if you are able to buy your produce directly from the source. For example, assuming you have the proper storage area and are able to buy your apples during harvest, than they will easily last for 6 month or longer.

Apples/1-2 days/3 weeks/Cooked, 8 months
Apricots/Until ripe/2-3 days/Halves, 8 months
Avocados/Until ripe/3-4 days/No
Bananas/Until ripe/2 days, skin will blacken/Whole peeled, 1 month
Berries, cherries/No/1-2 days/4 months
Citrus fruit/10 days/1-2 weeks/No
Coconuts/1 week/2-3 weeks/Shredded, 6 months
Grapes/1 day/1 week/Whole, 1 month
Kiwi /Until ripe/3-4 days/No
Melons/1-2 days/3-4 days/Balls, 1 month
Papaya, mango/3-5 days/1 week/Sliced, 8 months
Peaches, nectarines/Until ripe/3-4 days/Sliced, 8 months
Pears/3-5 days/3-4 days/No
Plums/3-5 days/3-4 days/Halves, 8 months

Vegetables/Shelf/Raw, refrigerated/Blanched, cooked, frozen
Artichokes, whole/1-2 days/1-2 weeks/No
Asparagus/No/3-4 days/8 months
Beans, green or wax/No/3-4 days/8 months
Beets/1 day/7-10 days/6-8 months
Cabbage/No/1-2 weeks/10-12 months
Carrots, parsnips/No/2 weeks/10-12 months
Celery/No/1-2 weeks/10-12 months
Cucumber/No/4-5 days/No
Eggplant/1 day/3-4 days/6-8 months
Garlic, ginger root/2 days/1-2 weeks/1 month
Greens/No/1-2 days/10-12 months
Herbs, fresh/No/7-10 days/1-2 months
Leeks/No/1-2 weeks/10-12 months
Lettuce, iceberg/No/1-2 weeks/No
Lettuce, leaf/No/3-7days/No
Mushrooms/No/2-3 days/10-12 months
Okra/No /2-3 days/10-12 months
Onions, dry/2-3 weeks/2 months/10-12 months
Spring or green/No/1-2 weeks
Peppers, bell or chili/No/4-5 days/6-8 months
Potatoes/1-2 months/1-2 weeks/Cooked and mashed 10-12 months
Rutabagas/1 week/2 weeks/8-10 months
Spinach/No/1-2 days/10-12 months
Squash, summer/No/4-5 days/10-12 months
Squash, winter/1 week/2 weeks
Turnips/No/2 weeks/8-10 months
Tomatoes/Until ripe/2-3 days/2 months

Hope this helps,

Source: pantrywiz

Friday, September 11, 2009

Steam Distilled Water

There is much debate out there on which kind of drinking water is the safest and best. Some will tell you that any water is fine or something as simple as a Brita pitcher can filter your water and meet your needs. Still others would have you spending a thousand or more for a sophisticated home water filtration system in order to get pure drinking water. I've always been a little confused by the debate and wondered who is really right. It is an important debate after all. Water plays such an important part in our health as it makes up about 2/3rds of our body chemistry; carries nutrients to our cells; and flushes wastes from them.

I read an interesting bit of information in my latest text Biologic Ionization As Applied to Human Nutrition by Dr. Alexander Beddoe. He is an advocate of drinking steam distilled water. I am by no means trying to settle the "what kind of water to drink" debate, but thought I would pass along this information to you as an interesting point of view and something to consider.

Dr. Beddoe advocates for drinking distilled water as the best choice to change and maintain the proper body chemistry. This is true for several reasons.

  1. The process of distillation makes the water higher in energy. As the water vaporizes into steam it leaves behind the inorganic mineral that was held in the water molecules in the liquid state. This means that the energy it took to hold the inorganic mineral is now freed up; and, this results in the water molecule having a lower surface tension and becoming polarized. It is also higher in energy because the heat of vaporization was added to accomplish the boiling and vaporization of raw water. This energy is not all lost when the steam is cooled.

  2. Water like food has to be converted in the into the the frequency of the body in the liver. Because distilled water is already higher energy it can be converted much easier with less load on the liver.

  3. Because of the higher energy and polarization, distilled water can move through the membranes of the human body much easier than other types of water. This means that is is able to help remove and control the toxic waste substances, including the waste salts of body metabolism.

Sorry, I know that was a little technical, but important to understand. If we need water to flush out our bodies it make sense to drink the water that is best suited to accomplish this with the least burden on our body. Remember though, it's important to drink enough water of any kind daily. If steam distilled water is an option for you, give it a try. I know there are home water distillation kits out there, but you can also purchase distilled water from the grocery store when needed.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Get Organized - Lower Stress

Do you have a closet, cupboard, room that drives you crazy and stresses you out everytime you open the door? I do. And now that the kids are back in school I am committed to getting organized. Establishing order around your home not only looks good, it makes you feel good. You can seriously cut down on stress and frustration by simply taking the time to organize an annoying space. I am going to start with my kitchen pantry.

Soothing Surroundings are Nurturing:
Being in a space characterized by order, tranquility, and a physical manifestation of your tastes, on the other hand, can soothe you and help release stress. (This is how marketers sell products from catalogs so efficiently; they are really ‘selling’ the sense of peace that comes from the beauty of the picture as much as they’re selling the products contained in that picture of a beautiful room. This is why lingerie catalogs use exotic surroundings as well as beautiful women to sell real-life women bras and panties!) Coming home to an orderly home can help you feel like you’re entering a sanctuary away from the stresses of the outside world.

Organized Homes Save Time, Money and Other Resources:
A messy, disorganized home can cost you more than just your inner peace. If you don’t have a ‘home’ for all of your belongings, you spend more time trying to put things away when you’re cleaning up, and waste time looking for items when you need them. If you don’t have an organized system for filing your bills and other important papers, you may end up paying things late, which results in fees and additional stress. There are many other ways your mess may be draining your resources that you don’t even realize.

A Well-Ordered Home May Bring More Good Things:
Followers of the Chinese discipline Feng Shui believe that a well-ordered home aligns vital energy in your life to bring good fortune in other areas of your life. Whether or not you believe in Feng Shui, given the above information, it’s hard to argue that an organized home wouldn’t bring additional benefits, chief among them being reduced stress.

So, while Spring presents a great excuse to get your home in order, any time is the right time to create an organized, soothing atmosphere to come home to. You can simplify your life and reduce the daily stress you experience by putting in relatively minimal effort. This article has some valuable information on how you can de-clutter, organize and decorate your home in a low-stress way, and keep it that way with minimal hassle. Let your home be your sanctuary!

- Shannan

Source: About.com

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Natural Air Fresheners

Even before I started to rid my home and life of needless chemicals, I never really used commercial air fresheners. Something about the fake fragrances always kind of gagged me after using them. I did love the smell of candles burning and I miss having certain fragrances wafting through the air.

Recently, as I flipped through a magazine I found this awesome recipe to make your own home air fresheners and deodorizers out of very simple ingredients and some that we have talked about before.

Try these at home and enjoy the aroma of essential oils and relax knowing you are using safe products.

Air Freshener

10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil (I love the relaxing aroma of lavender; but others to try are lemon, pine, or orange).

1/2 cup distilled water

Put into a spray bottle, shake well before each use and spray around your house.

Air Deodorizer

1 teaspoon baking soda (This ingredient absorbs odors)

1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice (These both will deodorize the air and surfaces).

2 cups of hot water

Put in a spray bottle and spray in the air to kill odors.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Veggie of the Month - Bell Peppers

My family loves bell peppers. They love them raw, grilled, roasted whatever. As a kid I never ate them, but my children got their first bites as toddlers and haven't stopped munching since. Now I am hooked as well.

On top of being sweet, juicy and colorful, bell peppers:

Provide colorful protection against free radicals - Brightly colored bell peppers, whether green, red, orange or yellow, are rich sources of some of the best nutrients available. To start, peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin A (through its concentration of carotenoids such as beta-carotene), two very powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants work together to effectively neutralize free radicals, which can travel through the body causing huge amounts of damage to cells.

Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease - For atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, peppers also contain vitamin B6 and folic acid.

Promote Optimal Health - Red peppers are one of the few foods that contain lycopene, a carotenoid whose consumption has been inversely correlated with prostate cancer and cancers of the cervix, bladder and pancreas. Recent studies suggest that individuals whose diets are low in lycopene-rich foods are at greater risk for developing these types of cancers.

Promote Lung Health - If you or someone you love is a smoker, or if you are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke, then making vitamin A-rich foods, such as bell peppers, part of your healthy way of eating may save your life, suggests research conducted at Kansas State University.

May Mean Better Eyesight - Bell peppers appear to have a protective effect against cataracts, possibly due to their vitamin C and beta-carotene content.

Protection against Rheumatoid Arthritis - While one study suggests that high doses of supplemental vitamin C makes osteoarthritis, a type of degenerative arthritis that occurs with aging, worse in laboratory animals, another indicates that vitamin C-rich foods, such as bell and chili peppers, provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.

Nutritional Facts: One cup of raw, chopped red peppers provides over 100% of the DV for vitamin C and vitamin A. Red peppers are also an excellent source of vitamin B6. Green peppers are a very good source of fiber, folate, and vitamin K as well as the minerals molybdenum and manganese. In addition to beta-carotene, red peppers contain the beneficial phytonutrients lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Tips for Preparing Bell Peppers: Before coring and/or cutting the pepper, wash it under running water. If the pepper has been waxed, you should also scrub it well. Bell peppers are on the list of veggies containing the highest amounts of pesticides if conventionally grown. So either wash thoroughly using one of our natural veggie wash recipes or buy organic.

- Shannan

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fall Recipe: Delicious Apple Crisp

The apple orchards around us started opening up these last two weeks. I am so enjoying the first taste of fresh apples and cider. My family has already eaten TWO PECKS! The first week we had a bag of Paula Red's and we are just finishing some Ginger Gold's I picked up last week. I can't wait to see what is available this week.

I found a fantastic apple crisp recipe in my new cookbook, The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook by Cathe Olson. I have always loved apple crisp, but what I like about this particular recipe is all of the wholesome ingredients. It's still a dessert, but I don't feel quite so bad about enjoying it when it contains apples, oatmeal, maple syrup and other great foods. Give it a try this fall and enjoy!

6 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples (6 to 8 apples)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon water, apple juice, or apple cider

2 tablespoons maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, or honey

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup wheat germ or whole grain flour

1 cup chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds (optional)

*1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted or oil

6 tablespoons maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, or honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil an 8 or 9 inch square baking dish. Toss apples with lemon juice, apple juice or water, sweetener, and cinnamon. Spread in bottom of pan.

Mix oats, wheat germ, nuts, spices, and salt in food processor with metal blade or by hand. Heat butter or oil and mix with sweetener until smooth. Add to oat mixture and stir until completely combined. Cover apples with topping. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Serve with your choice of topping.

Makes 9 servings.

*Another option instead of the ground nutmeg and cloves is to use 1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.

Variation: Use pears, peaches, plums, or a mixture of fruits instead of apples.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Seven Tips for Raising Healthy Eaters

I love this article from Meals Matter so I am passing it along.

Start your preschooler on the path to healthy eating with these basic strategies:

1. Be a good role model by eating regular meals based on nutrient-rich foods like low-fat or fat-free dairy products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Your child watches what you eat, so make sure you’re a good example of healthy choices yourself!

2. Establish routines around mealtimes and snacks. This consistency makes young children feel secure. Be sure to allow children enough time at the table – aim for 20 minutes. And try to create a calm and nurturing setting…your child can’t focus on eating with multiple distractions (eg. television).

3. Relax and don’t force, cajole, persuade or trick your preschooler to try to get him or her to eat – that creates a battleground where no one wins. You may have to offer a food 10-15 times before it’s accepted. Try to add just one new food to a meal with 3 or so healthy foods your child already enjoys. Eventually your child will begin to accept new foods—don’t give up.

4. Watch for signals that your child is fulland finished eating (eg. playing with food). Offer him or her nutritious food and do not let them fill up on junk food, they will naturally regulate the amount they eat. Simpler foods are usually preferred. And make sure the temperature and texture of the food you offer is easily handled by your child.

5. Divide the responsibility. Both you and your child have choices to make when it comes to eating. You determine what foods are served and when. He should decide which of those healthy foods offered he will eat and how much. Don’t be concerned if your child doesn’t finish all of the food you offer at any one meal or snack. Over several meals, his intake will likely be enough.

6. Offer healthy snacks Young children have small stomachs. They need to eat less, and more often. Regularly scheduled healthy snacks are like &#quot;mini-meals&#quot;. They can provide up to ¼ of the nutrients your child needs each day as well as enough calories (energy) to sustain them through a busy day of school and/or play. Try to combine foods from at least two food groups that partner protein and carbohydrates sources. Peanut butter and whole grain crackers or fresh fruit chunks mixed into low-fat yogurt make great snacks with staying power.

7. Make physical activity a part of your family’s health routine. Children should be active at play for at least 1-2 hours each day. Consider options like a simple outing to the park to play or more organized classes or age-appropriate sports. And don’t forget to limit TV time for young children…that’s a healthy habit you’ll want to establish early!

Print our Start Your Preschooler on the Path of Healthy Eating. Tips for teaching your child healthy eating habits that will keep them healthy for a lifetime.

- Shannan

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fluorine "The Anti-Resistant Element"

It's been awhile since I've broken down a particular mineral and talked about how it's used and where to find it in nature. I know these aren't the most sexy of posts, but I think it's important to really understand nutrition and how to detect a deficiency. It also makes sense when making food choices to know what you are eating and why.

Today let's break down a mineral that is probably never talked about or even thought about. Your body only contains about 3 to 4 ounces of this mineral, but without it, your bones would crumble. Without fluorine calcium and silica cannot be organized.

What Does Fluorine Do?

  • Fluorine works with calcium to form strong bones, tough tooth enamel, healthy hair and nails, and reinforce blood vessels.

  • Fluorine acts as a disinfectant, germicide, antiseptic, anti parasitic, and antipyretic (effective against fever).

  • Protects the spleen

  • Preserves youthfulness

Signs of Fluorine Deficiency

  • Hair loss

  • Kidney stones

  • Dental cavities and weak bones

  • Tumors in the liver, spleen, bones, or skin

  • Deformed nails and ingrown toenails

  • Congenital defects

  • Partial or total blindness

Foods Rich in Fluorine

Avocados, black eyed peas, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, caraway seed, cauliflower, raw cheese, dates, egg yolk, endive, garlic, greens, juniper berries, lemon grass, licorice, mother's milk, New Zealand spinach, parsley, rye bran or meal, sea cabbage, sea lettuce, spinach, and tomatoes.

Side note: Many have heard of fluoridated water whether through a municipal water supply or purchasing "fluoride waters". This is typically an inorganic form of fluorine and not the safest way to get this mineral. Small doses may be "okay", but there are many warnings out about the danger of consuming too much fluoride. It's always better to get your fluorine through an organic/plant source such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, or even some dairy products.

Recipes that contain fluoride-rich foods.


This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog is intended to replace the advice of a physician. We recommend consulting a physician before embarking on diet changes or a fitness routine. In addition, we recommend that you thoroughly research alternate points of view and make your own decisions as an informed consumer. You are ultimately responsible for your health.