Baby Steps to Whole Health

…steady is as steady goes.

On Empathizing Loss

Friends, today my grandmother passed away. And while I am sorrowful for my own loss, my deepest, saddest sorrow comes from knowing that today, my mom lost her mom.
A few days ago, I called my mom. I called her because I was entering new parenting territory, and I needed to know how she did things when I was younger, so I could determine how I would do things for my kids now.
“I’m texting because Easter is almost here and now we have a teenager who knows the Easter Bunny isn’t real. What should I do? When did you stop hiding our baskets? What did you put in them when we were too old for bubbles and chalk? Just candy? ” I asked.
Her response? “I stopped hiding baskets when you moved out. You can get him a sketch pad or some sunglasses, anything really. Just something.”
Now, while I do have a great immune system, I do not have an amazing memory. Can you believe I had to ask my mom what to put in my teenager’s Easter basket?! Can you believe she hid baskets until I moved out?!
Anyway, all that aside, even knowing my mom doesn’t need her mom for teenaged parenting advice anymore, I’m still just SO SAD that my mom doesn’t have a mom living on earth anymore. No mom to call and say, “Hey, I’m frustrated and having a bad day,” and receiving unconditional support and encouragement through the phone lines.  No mom to call and share accomplishments with – my own or my children’s. No mom to just call up to make feel special, to say, “Hey, I was just thinking of you…” The mom who listens to your sorrows and your joys, who gives you good advice and loves you even when you fail to take it; who sees your need and does her best to fill it; the mom who sacrificed in her own way to provide for you, who continues to sacrifice in the hopes of leaving you a legacy…
I cannot even imagine, nor do I want to, the day that the thought
of a phone call crosses my mind, yet it’s no longer an option. I am so very, very sad for the loss of my grandma, but mostly, I’m heartbroken for my mom and her sisters.
May you hold on to the good memories and the good advice of your mothers – biological, adoptive, surrogate or otherwise, friends; and if you haven’t yet suffered the loss of your own mom, may you grow in empathy for those who have.


Healing Lemonade!

Folks, I haven’t been sick in a long time. Seriously – it has been over two years since I have succumbed to any form of seasonal virus or bacteria. I reside in the body of the most amazing immune system on the planet, I’m sure of it. Last February, my entire family got a horrible flu – fevers reaching 105 degrees, coughs, headaches, noses, ears, the whole shebang. Me? I intimately took care of every single one of them without developing so much as a sniffle. You know why? Because my immune system rocks. And because I have a couple little tricks that I like to employ throughout the year to keep myself healthy.

Firstly, I eat very little sugar at all. My husband and kids like to indulge more often than I do (I don’t purchase soda or energy drinks, but they are permitted to use their money for whatever they like), and knowing that sugar lowers the immune system response for up to 5 hours after consuming it, I do believe my lower intake of sugar is part of the reason I don’t get sick. Secondly, I eat more fruits and vegetables than they do. I serve them to everyone, but I enjoy them more and understand the good they do for my health, so I choose to eat more of them and more often. Even if I don’t particularly enjoy something, knowing it’s going to benefit my health is a good enough reason for me to eat it – not so with children! Just knowing there’s something green in a delightfully flavored smoothie is a good enough reason for them to NOT drink it!! Which brings me to my third secret (well, I suppose the others aren’t really secrets), my Healing Lemonade!! My kids absolutely loathe this drink, so getting them to drink it is nearly impossible, even when you give them just a single ounce and tell them to chug it. Every time I feel a bit of anything, sinus-y or otherwise, attempting to come on (the tickle in your throat, a small ache in the ears, that funky mouth feeling you get, etc.), I whip up a batch of this lemonade and drink a glass. And then some more in the morning. Did I mention I haven’t been sick in over two years?? When people complain on Facebook about being sick, I share this recipe with them. The people who use it feel better! So I bring you my feel good recipe for keeping myself healthy…

Healing Lemonade

2 cups water (hot or cold, depending on your mood)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 inch of ginger, peeled

1 Tbsp RAW honey (you can use regular, but raw honey has benefits that cooked honey doesn’t)

Process all ingredients in blender and drink. If you don’t like the little bits of ginger, you can chop it finely and place it in a piece of cheesecloth (or even cut it into pieces large enough to remove with a spoon), then steep in the warm water for a few minutes. Personally, I think the benefit of having it all outweighs any unpleasant feeling in my mouth. And if you’re doing the steeping, you don’t even need a blender – just mix all the stuff up in a mug and drink up!

A votre sante!

*** In making this recently, I discovered that actually grating the ginger into a pan of water and boiling it for a few minutes actually renders a better flavored result! I then pour the liquid through a cheesecloth sieve into a mason jar before adding the lemon and honey! ***

Do you have any healthy tricks you use to keep yourself going strong throughout the year?

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The Sugar-pocalypse

Hello again friends. Almost TWO WEEKS since I last posted, and I truly have it in my heart to do so more often – I thought once a week would be easy and fair. Not so! We had Halloween, so we spent the week leading up to it planning and making costumes – my kiddos looked awesome, of course! Not that I’m not biased just a little, but we did go to a Halloween party and we ALL won prizes in regards to our costumes – even the hubs and myself!

As Halloween leads up to more holidays, this year I find myself absolutely dreading the sugary whirlwind ahead – Halloween was bad enough, but soon there will be Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years and Valentines! I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that flu season runs from October through February, do you?

I’m not scientific, but I can read an article, or 700 articles, and understand that sugar is horrible for your body. It is poison and is killing the population off quite well. Diabetes, heart disease, and  obesity are all on the rise, and despite various ‘research’ analysis that claimed back in the 80s that it was high consumption of fat, saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, or whatever else, that was causing these diseases, somehow consuming foods that had less didn’t make a difference in the health of the population, and actually, continue even now to get worse!! It’s no wonder that in 1900 only 5% of the world’s population had high blood pressure, and now, 33% of the population has high blood pressure. In the early 1900s, the average person consumed about 47 pounds of sugar annually, and now, we each consume 77 pounds every year – and that number isn’t shrinking! I got the numbers for this post from this National Geographic article on sugar. (Fantastic read, by the way – interesting history of sugar and slaves and health.)

Sugar consumption has been shown (for a LONG time!) to weaken the immune system for up to 5 hours after ingestion – so you go to all those holiday parties, indulge in the sugary decadence of marshmallow sweet potato souffle and Christmas cookies, and weaken your immune system as you share breath and shake hands.

I’m not capable of relaying in any sort of orderly manner the symbiotic relationship of food and our bodies. What I can say is that your kidneys excrete magnesium to process sugar in your body, and if you don’t have enough, it will pull this nutrient from your teeth and bones to do the job.  Chronic low magnesium state has been associated with a number of chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and osteoporosis. Any wonder that sugar consumption has been indicted in tooth decay, as well?? Not just because it turns your mouth into a breeding ground for bad bacteria, but also because if you aren’t eating enough magnesium containing foods (trust me – most people aren’t), and you’re filling up on sugar (in ANY form – raw, refined, honey, high fructose corn syrup), your body still has to process it.

I told you in one of my first posts about our no cereal challenge and how I had decided afterward that I wouldn’t be purchasing cereal anymore. And now I spend too much time considering how to help my children understand and choose to consume less sugar without me having to constantly say no. I don’t want to say no, I just want them to stop asking. Seriously. It’s a very difficult balance in that we’re behind the times and just learning how horrible sugar is, and all of the negative effects if has on your body AND your mind (brain fog, anyone? Sugar.) The kids have grown up for the most part eating the standard American diet, and they’re aren’t up for changing everything over-night. I’ve met resistance in all things food related, but I desperately want my husband, my children, and myself to be physically healthy. I have the facts, now I have to act. And it’s work. But anything worth doing is worth doing right, right?

Diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, hypertension, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, weakened immune system, tooth decay. All diseases that can be traced back to a high rate of sugar consumption. Yet we keep feeding the addictive beast. It’s not like it’s easy to avoid – even if you avoid simply adding it to your every day food items, it is IN. EVERYTHING. Even unsuspecting things like bread. And peanut butter. And jelly (which used to be just boiled fruit with gelatin…) Your average peanut butter and jelly sandwich (classic kid fare, right?) has more than 22 grams of sugar – that’s 5 1/2 teaspoons of sugar – in just the sandwich! Is it any wonder that we’re over sugared, addicted, and sick?

Do you do anything to lower sugar consumption in your household? What are some of your favorite non-sugar sweet treats?



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