It’s not easy being green.

Well, actually, it isn’t that difficult being green, or more precisely, drinking the green stuff. And I am not talking about green beer for Saint Patrick’s Day, YEUCH! I mean the green juice I had this morning for breakfast and the green smoothie I am now drinking for lunch.

Green JuiceHere are the ingredients for my breakfast green juice:

2 Apples, 3 Celery stalks, 3 leaves of kale, 1 cucumber, and a half a lemon and a teaspoon of ginger.

Cheers!

 

 

 

Green SmoothieHere are the ingredients for my lunchtime smoothie:

2 kale leaves, 1 teaspoon avocado seed milled, one teaspoon of ginger, one teaspoon of spirulina half a banana (with skin as the skin contains lutein, a nutrient which helps that aging eyesight!) some pineapple, melon and coconut water and aloe vera juice.

Cheers!

 

 

Aloe Vera

Smoothie Operator

photo SmoothieI am really loving this Nutri-Bullet, which is available in Ireland from Littlewoods. I have learned a bit more about micro-nutrients and have started to add things like spirulina, a blue-green algae, to my smoothies to give them a protein and iron boost.

Spirulina tastes, as one nutritionist aptly described it, of pond scum. Delicious, right? But much like the way I try to camouflage the woodsy taste of the avocado seed, I add one teaspoon of spirulina into my lunchtime smoothie along with two fruits and two vegetables. The chia seeds or flax seeds help to disguise the taste also.

Spirulina in powdered form. It is also available in tablet form. (image source:  SpirulinaPowderreview.com)

Spirulina in powdered form. It is also available in tablet form. (image source: SpirulinaPowderreview.com)

The health benefits of spirulina are numerous. It has been known to increase energy levels, prevent damage to the body caused by toxins, and research shows that participants in a recent study burned more fat whilst running on a treadmill than those who did not use spirulina. It is also a great source of pure protein, and essential amino acids.

I have also started juicing. The juicer I use is a Breville model. It is a lot more complicated than the Nutri-Bullet, but according to most nutritionists the ability to drink micro-nutrients means they are absorbed at maximum capacity by the body. The Nutri-Bullet makes smoothies, and the Breville Juicer makes….well it makes juice actually. But it is a high-powered juice, filled with micro-nutrients. Have I mentioned micro-nutrients?

BrevilleMICRO-NUTRIENTS What are they? They are the nutrition we get from eating green leafy vegetables, fruits, beans and seeds. Now the amazing thing about this Breville Juicer is that it extracts all the nutrients from the fruits and vegetables and removes the pulp, that is the skin, which is mostly fibrous.

My breakfast this morning would have taken me an hour to eat. But because of the juicer, I drank my breakfast in about 5 minutes. My husband said the juice, a concoction of celery, apples, kale, lemon and ginger, smelled like Irish grass. Hmm….I guess that means he likes the fresh and healthy taste. In fact it freshens your breath and you feel “clean” after drinking it.

Fruit BowlSo there’s my breakfast, there on the left. It tasted great. I even added a little Aloe Vera juice to aid digestion. But the trick here is to add the pulp back into the juicer a second time and you will get a significant amount of juice. I then put the remaining pulp into the Nutri-Bullet and gave it a whirl to break it down.

At lunch time I added two tablespoons to my smoothie concoction of half a banana, broccoli, pineapple and honeydew melon, along with my spoonful of avocado seed powder, chia seeds and spirulina.

 

PulpTonight I’ll make a soup from the remaining pulp, which I store in a Tupperware container, tightly sealed, in my refrigerator. I don’t know how it will taste, but you can be sure I’ll keep you posted on any changes and other recipes for the Nutri-Bullet and Breville Juicer.

The model of juicer I use is not available at Littlewoods in Ireland, but this one looks just like it.

Keep juicing you smooth operators!

 

Avocado Seed Whole

photo smoothie 2Ground Avocado Seed

 

 

Veggie Protein and Smoothie Combinations

I have to share this FB post here. I always worry about my protein intake. Although I eat a lot of fish, and drink a daily protein shake, which has 20g of protein, I do worry if that is enough. Protein, after all, is the muscle builder.

Here is a great chart from Jay Kordich on Facebook and he also has a website Rawforbeauty.com.

Veggie Protein in %'s (Picture via RawforBeauty.com)

Veggie Protein in %’s (Picture via RawforBeauty.com)

In addition to the veggie protein chart there is also a great illustration for smoothie combinations on RawforBeauty.com

5 Steps for smoothie combinations (Image source: Rawforbeauty.com)

5 Steps for smoothie combinations (Image source: Rawforbeauty.com)

Smoothie Combinations via RawforBeauty.com

Smoothie Combinations via RawforBeauty.com

 

Don’t throw away that avocado seed!

The Magic Bullet containing ingredients that I use to make power smoothies. (Picture source: Loretto Leary)

The Magic Bullet containing ingredients that I use to make power smoothies. (Picture source: Loretto Leary)

If you’ve been following along with my blog for the last few weeks you’ll know that I’ve started to eat more raw foods in smoothies that I make at home. I call them “Smoothies with Benefits!”

In an attempt to avoid wheat, and there are a lot of culprits to eliminate, I am using a blender called a Nutri Bullet by Magic Bullet which can blend fruit smoothies and mill seeds into a fine powder. It is small and compact. I brought mine on vacation with me to help keep me on track and avoid wheat as much as possible.

The end result may not look all that appealing, but there are fantastic health benefits to be had from drinking smoothies made from fruits and vegetables.

In addition to adding fruits and veg, I now add seeds, like flax seeds to aid peristalsis, the ability for the intestine to move food along and eliminate it from our bodies. With age peristalsis can become sluggish, but seeds like flax seeds and other high fiber foods like kale help peristalsis function in the body.

Maybe not so lovely to look at, but it tastes great and is good for you. (Image source: Loretto Leary)

Maybe not so lovely to look at, but it tastes great and is good for you. (Image source: Loretto Leary)

Kale has become my new super food, and I add it to my smoothie every day. Along with that I add a large heaped teaspoon of ground up avocado seed. If you’ve been throwing those avocado seeds away, stop it right now!

There are huge health benefits to adding these ground up seeds to smoothies and they also make a fantastic smoothing skin scrub!So listen up! Save those avocado seeds and make as much use of them as possible.

Here’s what I do to prepare the avocado see for milling. When you slice the avocado in two, insert the tip of a knife into the seed, give it a gentle twist, and the seed should now easily lift out.

 

Avocado Seed (Image source: Healthy Eating SFGate.com)

Avocado Seed (Image source: Healthy Eating SFGate.com)

Wash it in cold water to remove any pulp, dry it off, and then store it in an air tight container to let it dry for a week or so. In a powerful blender you will be able to grind the seed up into a powder.

The powder will be an orangey- brown color. You can then store the powder in the fridge, adding a teaspoon at a time to your smoothie for added health benefits.

The avocado seeds are antimicrobial, which means they prevent the growth of fungi, antioxidant, which means that it counteracts the damage against cells and tissue by free radicals and oxidation. The seed may also benefit those who have high cholesterol.

Ground up avocado seed (Image source: Untouchmyhair.com)

Ground up avocado seed (Image source: Untouchmyhair.com)

The ground up seed tastes a little bitter and “woodsy.” That’s the best I can do to help you with how it tastes! So mix it with fruit to camouflage the flavor if you find it too much to handle.

Flax seed can also leave your breath tasting heavy and dank. To counteract this add a good handful of parsley to your smoothies when using flax seeds.

Stay tuned for more smoothie hints to better living!

Say No to these 5 foods now

 

Good Fruit, bad Fruit, good veg and bad veg! (Image Source: Bitesizewellness.com)

Good Fruit, bad Fruit, good veg and bad veg! (Image Source: Bitesizewellness.com) It is acceptable to play favorites with your fruits and vegetables!

Orange Juice– The fiber has been reduced, so essentially you are left with sugar water. Now your body will store everything you eat as fat. Most concentrated fruit juices have as much sugar as sodas.

Processed Foods– Foods that contain Dextrose, High fructose Corn Syrup all put your body into fat storing mode.

Margarine– Trans fat increases the risk for cardiovascular disease and increase your LDL levels (bad cholesterol) and decrease your good cholesterol levels. Use butter instead, because it is saturated fat, it won’t store in your body as fat the same way that trans fats do.

Whole Wheat Bread– (Say no to Gluten and wheat) It all breaks down as sugar in your body, and it never fills you up! In fact you will crave more of it. High Carbs, like pasta, breads, sweats, wine, and beer, should be replaced by low carb foods and combined with protein.

Processed Soy– Such as tofu and  soy milk, are bad for you. The processing of soy, which is genetically modified, removes the good stuff, and increases the risk of food allergies. The GMO soy has all the nutrients taken out.

Corn (GMO Corn)- Same story as soy that has been genetically modified. Read labels carefully. Some gluten free foods have fructose corn syrup added for sweetness and flavor.

Here’s a list of Low Carb Vegetables; lettuce, spinach, chard, alfalfa sprouts, legumes, collards, mustard greens, kale, endives and radicchio, as well as parsley, cilantro, basil and rosemary or thyme.

Fruits can be low, medium to high in sugar. Low sugar fruits are as follows, rhubarb, blackberries, cranberries and raspberries. Medium to low sugar fruits are as follows; strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, peaches, nectarines, apples, apricots, grapefruits, pears, pineapples, plums, and watermelon. High sugar fruits are; tangerines, bananas, grapes, cherries and pomegranates.

Remember, certain fruits and vegetables provide benefits for your body, such as hormone balance, energy, better sleep patterns, increased focus and attention, improvement in skin condition, and will reduce your risks for Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Weight Gain, and you’ll just FEEL BETTER when you eliminate them from your diet!

Try mixing up some of the vegetables and fruits in a blender to make a smoothie, and add flax seeds to aid your digestive system.

Stay tuned here for specific recipes to help with weight loss, increased energy, sleep, focus and hormone balance.

 

 

 

 

You are what you (Wh)eat

Amber waves of grain (Image source: www.pageresource.com)

Amber waves of grain (Image source: www.pageresource.com)

Wheat, the staff of life, the world’s most consumed product, it has been getting a bad rap lately.

Is the downgrading of wheat, if you still want to call it that, deserved?

I can hear you all shouting at your computer screens right now, “Wheat is wheat!” “What does she mean, if we still want to call it that?”

Well, by the time you’ve finished reading this post, a brief snippet of information that I have garnered in the course of only three chapters of Doctor William Davis’ book Wheat Belly, you too will be wondering what this substance called “wheat” really is today.

Seed Head Wheat (Image Source: www.islandgrains.com)

Seed Head Wheat (Image Source: www.islandgrains.com)

Why mess with nature’s bounty? Well, what if you could make wheat more manageable for bakers, say,… less sticky? Would you modify its genetics?

And what if you could genetically modify wheat to make it produce more seeds and hardier against tougher climates? But that modification to make more seeds grow on the head would force the shaft/stem to buckle, making it almost impossible to harvest the seeds.

Then you’d have to modify the shaft or stem length genetically to make it shorter and sturdier, so that the heavier seed head wouldn’t cause bulking, or the bending of the shaft/stem. Right? All sounds good so far? Yeah, I thought so too.

According to Dr. Davis, the wheat that we consume today is a hybridized dwarf wheat that was introduced onto the market in the 1960’s and the scientist behind the genetic modification of this new wheat, Norman Borlaug, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Huh? I suppose it seemed like a good idea at the time.

digestive-system-oThen Doctor Davis tells me that this new hybridized “dwarf” wheat which had a heavier seed head was never tested on humans. It was just consumed, by us, without us ever really knowing what it could do to our digestive systems, and beyond.

The problems start the minute we put that wheat into our mouths. It can cause skin Digestive System 3rashes, acid reflux, stomach cramps, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, colon cancer, bloating (the least of our worries here) cardiac problems, diabetes, coeliac disease, gluten intolerance, insomnia and increases visceral fat, which is apparent in weight gain.

Thanks to Gifsoup.com for those fantastic animations! If you didn’t get the visual of “you are what you (wh)eat” at the beginning of this blog post, you sure as heck have a visual now.

Even the folks over at Grainstorm.com agree, wheat today is not the wheat of 50 plus years ago. Even worse, all the good stuff gets taken out during milling!  And the good people over at Authority Nutrition are backing them up on that! So all wheat is not created equally.

Beware of the bread! (Image source: Authority Nutrition)

Beware of the bread! (Image source: Authority Nutrition)

And don’t be fooled into thinking “I live on an island in the middle of nowhere and this GMO wheat won’t effect me!”

99% of the world’s wheat is this new hybridized dwarf wheat according to Doctor Davis. So, hey, yeah! That means you are most certainly consuming this stuff.

And it isn’t just in bread! It is hidden in a lot of different foods. Here’s a very quick list from a great blog called 3FC

  • Breads.
  • Baked Goods. Cakes, cookies, pastries.
  • Pasta. Pasta, unless it states that it is made from rice or quinoa.
  • Pizza. Pizza is also made from flour and unless it has a special label stating that it is gluten free.
  • Breaded and Battered Foods.
  • Cereals.
  • Canned Soups.
  • Vegetables. Frozen or canned vegetables prepared in a sauce, as well as creamed vegetables.
  • Sauces, commercially prepared sauces, such as soy sauce, Worcestershire, teriyaki, and horseradish sauce.
  • Dip and Gravy Mixes.
  • Ground Spices contain a wheat agent that prevents them from clumping.
  • Instant Drinks.
  • Deserts. Ice cream, ice cream cones, sherbet, icings, meringues and puddings.
  • Condiments. Ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard.
  • Salad Dressings.
  • Meats. Sausages, luncheon, and prepared meat patties.
  • Imitation and Synthetic Cheeses. Pasteurized cheese spreads, cottage cheese containing modified or wheat starches, blue cheese and veined cheeses like Roquefort.
  • Beer.
  • Sweets. Licorice, chocolate, candy with cereal extract, and chewing gum.
Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis (Image Source: Amazon.com)

Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis (Image Source: Amazon.com)

According to Doctor William Davis, wheat is poison, modern wheat is a “perfect chronic poison,” he says in a CBS interview. You can watch the interview below and then decide for yourself,… is my symptom/symptoms the result of consumption of dwarf wheat? The only way you can find out is to eliminate wheat from your diet.

Look for labels that say Wheat Free, or Gluten free. I can tell you this, I did wheat free for 5 days and slept like a baby. The night I had bread and half a bag of M&Ms, I woke up every hour on the hour with vivid dreams, another symptom of wheat sensitivity.

This is week 2 of my 10 week wheat free challenge. So far, two falls, the night I ate bread, and the night I had pasta. I’ll keep trying, reading labels and paying attention to what I (wh)eat.

 

 

 

Wheat belly be gone, and it isn’t about being trim.

I had never heard of wheat belly before until a friend shared an article about it with me through Facebook. This is the end of my second year going gluten free and the first place I noticed weight loss was in my core and abdomen. I had described the feeling when I ate bread, or any wheat/gluten products, as leaving me feeling bloated, my internal digestive system irritated, and it truly felt like my internal organs were inflamed. And they were inflamed, with Visceral Fat, an intra-abdominal fat that develops between the organs in the abdominal cavity.

Take a look at a wheat belly before and after photos of a man and a woman who have banished wheat/gluten from their diet.

Lose the wheat, lose the spare tire.  Pictures taken exactly 1 year apart. (Image source: Wheatbelly.com)

Lose the wheat, lose the spare tire. Pictures taken exactly 1 year apart. (Image source: Wheatbelly.com)

Rob, from Wheatbelly.com ran 20 miles per week and did a diet suggested by Runner’s World for 5 years. No matter how hard he tried, he says he could not lose the spare tire. Then he ditched gluten, and all gluten products, and within 3 months he began to see a big difference.

Remember that going gluten free doesn’t mean just giving up bread, although bread is a major culprit in the creation of wheat belly. Gluten hides in most processed foods. Unless the packaging states “Gluten Free,” it isn’t gluten free. But be careful with Gluten Free foods also, they tend to be high in sugar.

Elaine shows off her trimmer core due to elimination of wheat (Image source: Sparklepeople.com)

Elaine shows off her trimmer core due to elimination of wheat (Image source: Sparklepeople.com)

Here’s another wheat belly before and after photo of Elaine on Sparklepeople.com.

Remember you do not have to be Celiac or have a gluten intolerance to suffer the ill effects of gluten. In fact I tested negative to a blood test for gluten intolerance. But when I eat bread, or anything else containing gluten, the results speak for themselves.

I still slip, yes I do, and eat the bread in restaurants, I might have a cracker or two with cheese. But without a doubt, there is something causing inflammation of my abdominal organs when I over do it.

Picture from New York Times article on Feb. 2 2014 "We need GMO Wheat

Picture from New York Times article on Feb. 2 2014 “We need GMO Wheat” by Lusik and Miller

Although wheat that has allegedly been genetically modified in the US has not been sold since 2013, there are accounts of GMO Wheat fields been discovered and law suits from farmers against seed giant company, Monsanto. The company touts itself as a sustainable agricultural company.

Not everyone is up in arms about the ability to genetically modify wheat,  thereby making it a hardier crop. The New York Times argued that in order to keep the cost of bread and pasta products down, American farmers need to devote more acreage of farm land to growing GMO wheat.

Visceral Fat (Image source: Bethenutrition4all.com)

Visceral Fat (Image source: Bethenutrition4all.com)

So what? So what if wheat is genetically modified to make it more sustainable? According to Naturalnews.com, a Brazillian study found that the absorption of gluten proteins alter the body’s endocrine and exocrine processes which alters our metabolism , and we gain weight.

This isn’t about calories, this is about how gluten, even if we intake less calories of it, increases visceral fat in the abdominal cavity. The sudy, which was performed on mice, showed that the mouse on a gluten free diet lost weight, whereas his counterpart enjoying gluten foods gained it. Remember, the fat is called visceral fat or intra-abdominal fat, and you store it right in your belly, between your organs.

You don’t have to be wheat/gluten intolerant or have celiac disease to have wheat belly. But chances are, if you continue eating wheat or gluten you could develop more serious health problems such as, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, breast and colorectal cancer, gallbladder problems, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, hormonal imbalances as well as irritable bowel syndrome. So this isn’t about being trim in the mid-section, its about staving off diseases later on in life.

What can you eat without going crazy reading labels? Fresh organic fruits and vegetables. I am pretty bad at this, so this is my new 10 week challenge: Gluten Free and lactose free as well as eating my daily allowance of fruits and vegetables.

Here’s how I am going to do it. I purchased the Nurtibullet, like a small powerful blender, and twice a day, breakfast and lunch, I have a blend of fruits and vegetables, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory. Here’s a sample of what I have, for anti-inflammatory, and you can try and mix it in a blender. Recipe is from the Nutriliving.com website.

Ingredients

The Nutribullet Blender (Image Source: Funkysmoothie.com)

The Nutribullet Blender (Image Source: Funkysmoothie.com)

½ tsp. Turmeric
¼ tsp. Cinnamon
1 chunk(s) Ginger
1 tbsp. Chia Seeds
Give it a shot, try your blender, but the difference will be how smooth the ingredients are when done in a Nutribullet. I’ll keep you posted here as to how I progress over the next 10 weeks, that will take us into Friday, June 6th.
To keep up to date with my progress, just type Nutribullet Week 1, or 2 and so on into the search bar on the top right hand corner of this blog. I’ll share recipes, how I feel and my physical transformation, if indeed there is any, over the next ten weeks, once per week.
Good luck, and click on the Nutribullet link to buy one and get one free. This is about eating raw, organic, power foods, and banishing processed and gluten filled foods to see if we can lose the wheat belly. Don’t forget to ingest you daily allowance of protein, and you can calculate that here.

 

You don’t have to pay more for make-up

This is definitely not me.

This is definitely not me.

When I turned forty, that was three years ago, excuse me whilst I fill my coffee cup with tears, a good friend gifted me a make-up application lesson at Lanphier Day Spa in Darien CT.

I loved the eye shadow that they used for me and on two separate occasions tried to purchase it from Lanphier. Someone behind the counter there forgot to order it twice! The spa is wonderful, I have been there three times, but the attitude of the girl working behind the counter, three years ago, really turned me off.

I was happy to pay $29.00 before tax for a trio of eye shadow. I loved the colors and thought I looked natural and not made up when I wore it. I was disappointed when Lanphier kept messing up the order, but the owner did send me a free lipstick when I complained and she apologised profusely for the mistake. The order never got completed.

In despair I turned to the internet. I discovered a website based in New Jersey called ImageBeautyDiscountBeautyCenter.com. The same trio of eye shadow I was willing to pay over $30.00 for cost $9.99. This is the exact same product that I paid $20 more for. And for the holidays they are offering $5 off of $30 or more and $10 off $75 or more plus free shipping for orders over $55.

The site has tons of brand name products that sell for much lower prices.

Hippocratic or Hypocritical?

Photo via Photobucket by neanabennett22

The Hippocratic oath, long presumed to be the promise that doctors make to do no harm to their patients, has been tweaked, ever so slightly, here in the United States. I have sensed for a long time now that some of my health providers are becoming a little over zealous about certain drugs that they would like to prescribe for me.

My feeling is that the medical definition for “abnormal” has been altered in order to allow a larger percentage of the population fall into the new “abnormal,” definition. More patients with more problems mean more money.

Needless exams, follow-ups and prescribed drugs, means a lot of anxiety for the patient and a lot of money for drug companies who then reward doctors for selling their drugs.

It is no wonder that health care is the fastest growing industry and largest employment sector in the US.

Companies like GlaxoSmithKline are prime examples of why the health sector is doing so well. The recent scandal regarding GSK’s payments to doctors in order to push drugs such as Wellbutrin, just one of many drugs, provided the concrete evidence of things that I had suspected for a long time.

These doctors supposedly took an oath; an oath to do no harm to their patients, an oath to not over-treat and use understanding when there is no prescription cure. Instead of thinking of the patient first, doctors who fell under the spell of drug companies like GSK put themselves first.

“I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.”

Modern version of the Hippocratic Oath

Gluten and Lactose Free Days 35 to 45

Don’t strike a match and open all the windows. Mom’s just had a slice of white bread.

When did I start to notice that I had problems digesting certain foods? That is a question that I get asked often. The truth is I have noticed certain things for many years but thought that it was normal.

When your tummy bloats after eating white bread and you’ve eaten white bread for most of your life, then that’s just “the way it is.” You’ve never known anything else so that’s part of your “normal.” When I really began to pay attention was about seven or eight years ago.

My mother passed away in May 2004. My healthy eating and excercise regime fell apart during her 9 month undiagnosed battle with cancer. It wasn’t until the very end that a diagnosis was made. About six months after her death I decided that it was time to get back on track. I started the South Beach Diet plan.

Dr. Agatson’s book explained how certain foods turn into sugar in the body, white bread and potatoes being some of those foods. On the diet I felt good, I lost whatever weight I had gained and resumed my workouts. Mentally and physically I started to feel better.

When you’ve been on the diet for sometime you can sway from it occasionally to enjoy the forbidden foods. This is when I noticed bloat and gas pains when I ate certain foods. There is no polite way to say this, but I’ll try. Sometimes the gas was so bad I could have easily turned our Toyota minivan into a convertible. Not very ladylike, and let me tell you, it’s a sure-fire way to get your family angry at you! Enough said.

It has taken me about five years to get to this point. It was a long, brutally fought battle. My cousin, who has coeliac disease said, “You just feel so good when you stick to gluten-free foods.” She’s right. Discomfort should not be a side order when you eat.

This week I tried Larabars which are gluten-free. I wasn’t crazy about them. A little too sweet for me and the consistency was doughy. Did I just say something was too sweet?

My cousin who is coeliac also told me to check out Coeliac.com which is a great resource for learning what foods are gluten-free.

I have stayed with the Mineral Fusion line of skin care and hair care products. Although Renpure is gluten-free, my hair is curly and needs the hydration that Mineral Fusion provides. The Mineral Fusion products sold in boxes sometimes come with a $3.00 coupon.

Here’s what Days 35 to 45 have looked like for me: