Friday, July 19, 2013

The Effects of Food Additives on our Children’s Behavior

I wrote this paper for school yesterday and thought the information was so beneficial to every Mom and Dad, that I wanted to share it with you!  (I have removed the citations to shorten it a bit, but if you're interested in my sources, let me know!)

Our Kids and the Dangers of Food Additives

   There remains a constant controversy over the effects of food additives on our children.  It has long been assumed that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is (at least) affected by food additives.  Because these food additives are usually used in combinations, it is difficult to prove a single source of danger.  However, in the past few years, studies have shown that although ADHD is probably not caused by food additives, it is definitely a cause of aggravated symptoms.  The preservative, sodium benzoate as well as food colorings, Yellow #6, Yellow #5, Red #40, Red #3, Orange B, Green #3, Blue #2, and Blue #1, are thought to be among those culprits.
A study carried out by the University of Southampton (Southampton, U.K.) and published in the journal The Lancet, tested three groups of approximately 300 children  ages 3, 8, and 9 years old.  The children were given drinks with different amounts of artificial food coloring and sodium benzoate (as compared to drinks of pure fruit juice), and their behavior was tracked over a six week period.  During that time, the children did not consume any other foods containing these additives.  The study showed significant behavioral changes that included over-activity, inattention, and impulsivity in those children that ingested in the drinks with the additives.  Because the additives were added in combination, individual additives weren’t blamed for the behavioral changes, but it was evident that the children had been affected. 
After this study was published the American Academy of Pediatricians finally came to the agreement that removing these additives from the diets of children that had been diagnosed with ADHD could be an effective treatment.  Not all children react to these additives in the same manner or with the same intensity.  Each case (as with any medical intervention) should be treated individually.  “For the child without a medical, emotional, or environmental etiology of ADHD behaviors, a trial of a preservative-free, food coloring-free diet is a reasonable intervention".
On a personal note, as a mother, I discovered this type of reaction when I offered a single “red vine” (a licorice stick) to my then 2-1/2 year old daughter while we were at the drive-in theatre one evening.  Within a short period of time, my normally calm child was literally bouncing off the walls of the car.  She was jumping up and down and going crazy.  She was screaming and running around.  It scared me to death!  She settled down after about 30 minutes (as I remember).  I called my pediatrician first thing the following morning.  When questioned as to what I had fed her, he told me that my little girl had reacted to the red food dye in the licorice stick.  That was about 28 years ago.  I know that red food dye, in particular, has been changed since then.  That being said, I still see two red food colorings on the list of potential culprits!  I was privy to a firsthand accounting of this type of reaction several times over the years as I raised my daughters.  My husband and I adopted a little girl about 15 years ago.  She had several challenges of her own, but the first thing we noticed about her was her severe hyperactivity.  As a young child, she only required about 4-5 hours of sleep at night.  She woke with the sun, and never walked anywhere!  She was perpetual motion, with one speed – fast!  Regarding food and drink, it didn’t take us long to realize we had to monitor this extremely closely.  She could not handle any level of processed sugar.  I learned to read labels and purchase products with all natural ingredients.  Sometimes, even though my efforts were great, preservatives and such would sneak into her diet.  Our FDA does not require everything be labeled with 100% of its ingredients in it!  I cannot imagine why this is so, but it is. 
Other foods can be detrimental to kid’s behavior.  “A study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics in 1997 found that children with ADHD had changes in brain waves after being fed certain foods - about half reacted to sugar, with a smaller percentage of reactions being shown to artificial colors, wheat and milk” .  Although government agencies still conclude that a diet where refined sugar, food coloring, and other preservatives are limited doesn’t really help most children with ADHD, most Moms would definitely disagree.  Kids without ADHD become hyper after eating the sweet treats from the pantry.  Children whose diets are often subsidized with sugary drinks, baked goods, and processed foods have a slew of health issues ranging from hyperactivity to obesity.  They suffer from mental and emotional disorders.  They suffer from chronic illness.  “Dr. David Dugger, a pediatrician in Gautier, Mississippi, who specializes in treating ADD/ADHD, admits that studies haven't proven a link between sugar and hyperactivity, but he says poor nutrition can definitely lead to behavioral problems”.  Dr. William Sears (known as "America's Pediatrician") and Lydia Thompson, authors of The ADD Book, say that while most studies have shown diet has little effect on ADD, "Try explaining this to a mother whose child goes wild after eating a Twinkie. As parents and professionals, we certainly believe in the food-mood connection in some children. Even though in the majority of cases children's diet is not the cause of the behavioral problem, it can certainly contribute to it.".
The bottom line is this:  As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure the good health of our children.  We cannot sit around and wait for the Government to dictate to us what is healthy and what is not.  Each of our children is a special individual with unique needs.   All children require healthy nutrition to grow up strong and healthy.  We should take the responsibility to reduce, if not eliminate, the toxins in our children’s diets.  If our child reacts badly to sugar – don’t feed them sugar!  If it is artificial – it’s probably not good for them!  If it’s loaded with artificial food colorings and preservatives, it doesn’t count as nutrition and is not needed by our children.  The once in awhile sweet treat is great, but if that Twinkie makes your child bounce off the walls – don’t put it in their school lunch! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Just Launched! My Etsy Shop - Love In Every Thread!

I'm so excited to have just launched my store on -  I have designed and made two sizes of waterproof bags.  My new venture started when Aimee purchased a wetbag from a chain baby store.  She told me that if she leaves her wet bathing suits in it for more than a little while, they leak!  What kind of waterproof bag is that?  Also, Aiden has swimming lessons every week and the little bag only held his swim trunks and nothing more.  Nana went to the drawing board.

I designed a small bag (10 x 14) with a 14" zipper along the top.  I used terry cloth for the inside layer for extra absorbency and PUL (polyurethane laminate) for the outside layer to make it waterproof.  The bag is machine washable and dry-able.   These bags are awesome to put inside your diaper bag for those unfortunate messy diaper accidents.  They are perfect if you use cloth diapers.  They will hold 2-3 diapers.  They are also large enough to hold both swimsuits needed for mommy & me classes!

Then I got a request for a larger bag that would hold the beach towels as well.  I designed an extra large bag made out of the same terry cloth and PUL.  This bag is 20 x 16 and closes with a drawstring.  It has a 27" handle, eyelets so the drawstring will pull smoothly, and a cord stopper so the drawstring will not pull through into the casing.  The bag is also machine washable and dry-able so it won't get a musty smell like the tradition canvas beach bags do.  This bag is large enough to hold 2 beach towels, swimsuits, and any needed accessories.  Both bags come in various patterns, so please feel free to take a look!

I'm very excited about my new venture.  I have also made a custom diaper bag that will soon be in my store.  (For those of you who came to Joleen's baby shower, you saw my first bag.)  I am busy sewing and hope to have those in my store very soon. 
Some more exciting news!  Keep an eye out on Joleen's blog ( for my upcoming giveaway!   I'll be giving away one of the large bags - the Owl bag.  
I invite you to keep the link to my store and check back often.  I will be adding new items soon!  I appreciate your business!  Thanks for looking!

Friday, June 21, 2013

My Alternative Medicine Journey

As most of your know, I am a student at Everglades University.  The degree I am working towards (and almost ready to complete) is a Bachelor of Science in Alternative Medicine.  Although I have been in school for 3 years now,  my alternative medicine journey has been a very personal, twenty five year journey.  It began with unexplained pain that was agonizing at times, and culminated into a multi faceted diagnosis of overlapping autoimmune diseases and more.  It has been a journey of trial and error – mostly error that completely engrossed my life in traditional, allopathic medicine.  It has only been when I implemented alternative medicine practices did I ever find relief and in recent months what feels like, healing.  This journey led me to fulfill my biggest dream as a child – a college education in the medical field.  It has not only allowed me to be a mentor to my family, but to others as well.  It led me to find a passion about natural childbirth that found me certified as a HypnoBirthing Practitioner with dreams to pursue other certifications in the field as well.  It has given me hope in a future that often felt hopeless.  It has given me passion.  It has given me joy.  I find myself thankful, encouraged, and excited about my future.  I may be almost 50 years old, but my new life has just begun.  I thank Everglades University for the education that fueled my fire, but most of all I thank my family.  I am nothing without them and attribute all my successes to their unfailing love and support.

I was given the opportunity to write about my journey for the class I am in, and thought it would be a great way to share my journey with you.  I've deleted the citations (they are for my official paper), so you can read through it without the technical interruptions.  Its a little long but I hope you enjoy this sneak peak into my journey.  I am excited about where it has taken me and feel privileged to be able to share it with you!

My Alternative Medicine Journey

   My journey through alternative medicine started as a personal one.  It was my own challenging health issues that pushed me back to school and I couldn’t be happier.  Growing up, I always dreamed about going to college.  I dreamed of entering the medical field.  Then, I married straight out of high school and had my first daughter nine months later.  The next one came exactly two years later - then a divorce - then another marriage - then another baby.  You get the picture.  I was so busy living my life – and happily, too – that getting to college was extremely challenging.  It took about ten years for me to complete the equivalent of 2-1/2 years of college, then I gave up on ever being able to finish. 
I started having pain in my body in my mid twenties.  I’d go from doctor to doctor and no one could find anything wrong with me.  They passed me around to therapists and psychiatrists.  I was diagnosed with everything from depression to bipolar disorder.  As new symptoms would arise, new medications would be prescribed.  It turns out there is a pill for everything - then another pill for each side effect and yet another pill to compensate where the first pill fell short of the goal.  The goal, of course, was the absence of symptoms.  It seems like for 20 years, there was no absence of symptoms.
About eleven years ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  At least there was some kind of acknowledgement that my pain wasn’t all in my head!  Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic widespread pain, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, fatigue and often psychological distress. For those with severe symptoms, fibromyalgia can be extremely debilitating and interfere with basic daily activities.  Although the doctor’s continued to treat my symptoms with traditional pharmaceuticals, this time began my journey with alternative medicine.  I was taking about thirty pills each day and was in physical therapy.  I began reading everything I could get my hands on.  I was astonished to learn the power of food!  Food can cause inflammation.  Food can fight inflammation.  Food can fight off pain.  It turns out that our “Western” diet is missing valuable nutrients and is filled with processed foods, a lot of animal protein, and refined carbohydrates.  These foods promote inflammation and pain.  Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, and certain spices like garlic, turmeric, and ginger all have inflammation fighting effects. 
I also discovered that the more I moved, the better I felt.  After physical therapy, I began walking my kids to school.   It was about a half mile walk.  I gradually increased the walk until I was power walking about 3 miles, 4-5 days per week.  Soon I was able to start going to the gym for some strength training.  Combined with the changes in my diet and the extra helping of sleep I was getting in the middle of the day, I began to feel better.  It took me about four years to feel like a new person.  As a wonderful side effect to the changes I had made to my life, I lost weight and was in the best shape of my life!  This was a huge eye opener for me.  This was how I began to believe in the power of alternative medical practices.  The pills didn’t get me to this point – I did – with just a few simple life changes.  Although I did not change my new eating habits, life’s stressors and such helped to create another decline in my health.  I began to slowly gain weight.  My pain levels increased.  I didn’t feel like working out.  It took one year to get me back to the level of health it took me four years to get out of.  I had a decision to make.  The decline in my health began to snowball.  We lost our business to the failing economy, and then had to leave our children and move out of state.  The stress was unbearable.  I found a new job, but was working about sixty hours per week, under even more stress, as my husband remained unemployed.  Needless to say, I had a complete meltdown of my health.
I sought out medical attention.  I was diagnosed with Hypertension, Lupus SLE, and Sjogren’s Syndrome.  I was given high doses of pain medications, anti inflammatories, diuretics, and more.  Again, I was taking more medication than would fit into a gallon sized Ziploc bag.  I could not work.  I could not even get out of bed.  I was a mess.  After about a year of getting nowhere with my health, it dawned on me that I was going about this in the wrong way.  Once again I decided to take my health into my own hands. 
About that same time I began to implement the whole foods diet, exercise, sleep regiments that worked before.  I realized I needed more education.  It dawned on me that there were so many people just like me, who were in a vicious cycle of health issues combined with Western medicine’s idea of the constant search to alleviate any symptoms.  Mind you, no one was looking for the reason I was so sick.  They were just trying to get rid of the symptoms – and failing miserably.  This search led me to Everglades University.  I had come to believe that if I could learn how to make myself better in a more natural way, I could get rid of the pharmaceuticals, and maybe even influence change in someone else’s life.  I enrolled in school.
About a year into my educational journey we moved back to California.  The Rheumatologist I saw eliminated the Lupus diagnosis but added antiphospholipid syndrome.  She made no changes to my medical protocol – which did not make me happy because the current protocol wasn’t working!  I sought out an Integrative Rheumatologist.  I needed a doctor that believed in alternative medicine.  I knew I was in the right place when on my first visit, he explained to me that all of my symptoms we related and he was going to figure out what caused them.  This was music to my ears - someone who wanted to fix the problem and not just mask it!  He soon discovered that I had Lyme Disease.  We assume this diagnosis should have probably been my first diagnosis.  I also have an MTHFR gene mutation.  This gene mutation might also be the reason for so many of the ailments I’ve had over the past years (including the three miscarriages I had).  Needless to say, over the past 2 years I have been on the journey of my life. 
I am so happy today at the progress I am making. Between the supplementation my doctor has me on and the implementation of major changes in my diet (I am now gluten free, rarely eat red meat, and eat a diet super rich in antioxidants).  I get plenty of rest and try to get some good exercise most days of the week.  I am on a minimal amount of medications, have lost about twenty pounds and am feeling better, stronger, and in less pain. 
I started blogging my journey several months ago.  I hope that my blog might touch someone and empower them to take charge of their own health journey.  I don’t have a lot of followers yet, but I hope that will change someday.  I talk to whoever will listen.  I have challenged my family members to make positive changes in their own lives.  I believe I have really impacted the lives of my daughters.  Through seeing my own successes, they have made successful changes in their own lives.  On the down side, three of my daughters have begun to show signs of some of the same ailments I suffer from.  The up side it that we know a lot more now and they are making better decisions than I ever did.  It is my sincere prayer that they will never suffer the way I did.
I recently became a grandmother again.  My daughter asked me to be her labor companion (as her husband was 3000 miles away).  She wanted to birth her baby using a childbirth method called HypnoBirthing.  I had never heard of this before, but was very intrigued.  Coming now from an alternative medicine background, I was excited to learn that she was willing to try a natural approach to childbirth and was all too happy to help her through it.  During the first of the five classes I was completely hooked.  Over the following four weeks I learned things about childbirth that I never knew (and I birthed three babies!). 
“HypnoBirthing is based on the premise that childbirth is a normal, natural function for women and that "when a woman is given the proper preparation for childbirth, she and her birthing companion can experience a safe, serene, and satisfying birthing, free of the fear that causes tension and pain" .  HypnoBirthing teaches Mom to rid herself of the fear of childbirth, and how to relax in such a way as to let her body do exactly what it knows how to do – to birth her baby in a natural, calm, and comfortable manner.  I believed in this program so much, that after my daughter had her successful HypnoBirthing birth, I decided to become a Certified HypnoBirthing Practitioner myself.  I am proud to say that my certification just came through:

I now look forward to teaching other couples how to have the birth of their dreams!  Through this journey I realized a few things.  First, there was a major shortage of labor and delivery nurses at the hospital who not only had never heard of HypnoBirthing before, but weren’t really on board with “natural childbirth” altogether.  This was very discerning to me.  I had to advocate for my daughter.  Then the so called specialist that came to see my daughter the next day to give her breastfeeding hints and other “new mom” hints, didn’t have anything remotely helpful to tell my daughter.  She even tried to convince my daughter that “jiggling” her baby to ease colic cries was something she invented!  I couldn’t believe it!  I realized at that point that I had to do something more. 
I have decided that I am called to use my new education to help couples through one of the biggest, most important, times in their lives – the birth of their children.  It is something I am completely passionate about.  I hope to become a doula – both prenatal and postpartum.  “Doula” means “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.  With the training required to receive these certifications, I can combine all my education to teach childbirth classes, be present during their birth, help with postpartum care, new mom education, and even breastfeeding coaching.  This is a job I can do while taking care of myself first.  This is a job I can be proud of.  This is a lifelong dream come true.  I am very excited!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Not one of those days....

Sometimes the biggest battle that I fight is the one within.  Sometimes I struggle with the "awe poor me's", or the "when is it going to be my turn?"   These are short lived situations, but they sneak up from time to time.

I can't count the many wonderful people who have prayed for me and my health over the past 15 years.  I've been anointed with oil.  I have hands laid upon me.  I've watched as others have been healed, but not me.  I've questioned my own faith walk from time to time.  I've questioned God's existance.  I wondered what I could have done wrong to be punished so.  In my head, I know none of this is true.  And most of the time, I truely believe.  I believe in God.  I believe that I will be with Him someday.  But sometimes, I am weak.

Today, I am weak.  I have worked so hard for the past 15 years to gain control of a body that has been out of control for over 20 years.  I have done everything that I've been told by more doctor's than I can count.  I've studied so hard for a college degree with the high hopes of finding the magic answer to what ails me.  I was held prisoner to a PICC line for a year, never seeing the results that were expected.  Today, as I sat in the doctor's chair for 2 hours, getting a much needed infusion of iron, I was blessed to speak to yet another beautiful lady plagued by several illnesses, including Lyme disease.  Her Lyme disease did what mine was supposed to do.  It has gone dormant.  I spoke to another lady being treated in the chair for her ailments, but he Lyme disease responded to treatment and completely disappeared.  I spoke to a woman who was so sick with Lyme disease, that a year ago she couldn't even speak, much less move.  She has a working dog that helps her with her life skills.  That's how bad she was.  WAS. I am feeling a little bit sorry for myself.

Why didn't it work for me?  Why hasn't God seen fit to heal me?  What lesson am I missing? 

On most days, these questions do not enter my mind.  On most days, I can remain positive.  On most days I fight.  

Today is not one of those days......

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Behind the Scenes

I'm not one who reads my horoscope, but it crossed my path today and was a perfect way to start my next post.

ARIES: You're making plenty of behind-the-scenes plans to make imporovements to your future.

How PERFECT!   For the past several weeks, I have been busy working behind-the-scenes, making great improvements to my future.

First, I finally took my HypnoBirthing Practictioner class.  It was intense but so much fun.  It was a great group of women with very different personalities, all coming with different lifestyles and backgrounds.  Our teacher was passionate about birthing, and it fueled my own passion.  I am in the process of completing the required tests to earn my certification.  While I wait those results, I've been told that I can teach 3 families HypnoBirthing!  So all I need to do now is build my website, print business cards and brochures, get the word out, and get going!  Whew!  I's alot!

Learning hypnosis was a lot of fun!  We spent 4 days being hypnotized and hypnotizing each other.  There are alot of misconceptions about hypnosis.  First of all if you don't want to be hypnotized, no one can hypnotize you.  Did you know that?  All hypnosis is self hypnosis.  Hypnosis is a wonderful tool to help with issues like smoking cessation, weight loss, anxiety, and birthing!  Using hypnosis for birthing allows Mom to relax in a deepened state, which allows her body to be free of the stress that causes pain.  This allows for a natural, calm, and comfortable birth.  It really works, and I can't wait to teach couples how to use it to have the birth of their dreams. 

School has been pretty challenging lately.  I only have 5 classes left until have earned my degree!  I'm so excited and super proud of the 4.0 GPA I've earned so far.  I hope to be able to incorporate some of this new knowlege in my new career.  What I am most excited about is how I have incorporated my new knowlege into my own life.  It is my belief that the mind is the most powerful tool that we have.  I have made up my mind to get healthy!

As you know, about 3 months ago I requested my doctor take me off most of my medication.  It was pretty rough going there for about 6 weeks.  My stomach did not know how to process all of what was going though it, but we survived!  In the past 3 weeks I have begun to feel stronger!  I'm not as tired.  I couldn't get through a day without at least one nap.  I couldn't be on my feet for more than a little while, then I had to rest just to be able to go a few minutes more.  They gave me a handicap sticker for my car just a few months ago because my hips were in such bad shape.   I couldn't dry my own hair because I couldn't hold my arms above my head.  I haven't played tennis is 10 years.  I haven't bowled in almost 6 years.  I haven't worked in almost 3.  I have trouble doing anything with my hands like crocheting or playing the piano.  I've had my challenges. BUT...

In the past 3 weeks, I played tennis.  I curled my hair.  I worked for several hours on a blanket I've been cross stitching for my  Benjamin.   I went to the gym this week and worked with a personal trainer!  I stood on my feet all day yesterday while entertaining my wonderful family, which included cooking for 22, and  today I played 18 holes of regulation golf!   I'm a bit tired, but on top of the world!  I feel like a whole new person.  I attribute this to good diet habits (if you don't count the pizza I'm paying a huge price for eating right now).  I'm drinking enough water.  I'm getting good sleep and taking my supplements.  I'm keeping a positive attitude and simply willing myself well.

I'm working behind-the-scenes,  making improvements to my future.....

Won't you come along for the ride???                      

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Big Things Are Coming Soon!

I AM SO EXCITED!     First of all, did you notice my beautiful new banner!  Thank you so very much, Heather!  I love it so much and appreciate you very much.  I may have to use that banner on my new business cards!  I love it!  Thank you for giving that piece of you, to me. xoxo

Tomorrow morning I leave for Danville, California for my Hypnobirthing Practitioner Course.  I have been studying my Birth Basics pre-requisite and am ready to go!  I'm excited to be hanging out with my sister, Laura this week.  With so many miles between us, we don't get to do that very often.

I also started my new class this week: Principles of Acupuncture.  Whoa is this a lot of information to digest in a short period of time!  I hope to share some good information with you soon.  Only 5 more classes until graduation, but who's counting???

Thank you for your kind words about my Carribean Pork Roast.  For those of you who requested it, here is the recipe straight from Betty Crocker's Healthy New Choices cookbook:

2 to 21/2 pound bonless center loin roast
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lime juice
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp red peper sauce
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1 medium green bell peper, cut into eighths
1 medium onion, cut into fourths
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Remove fat from pork.  Pierce pork deeply all over with meat fork or skewer.  Place pork in heavy resealable plastic food-storage bag.  Place remaining ingredients except salt and pepper, sugar and 1/2 tsp salt in blender or food processor.  Cover and blend on medium speed until smooth.  Pour blended mixture over pork.  Seal bag; place in dish.  Rerigerate, turning bag occasionally, at least 4 hours but no longer than 24r hrs.

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Remove pork from marinade; refrigerate marinade. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper to taste.  Place pork on rack in shallow roasting pan.  Insert meat thermometer so tip is in center of thickest part of pork and does not rest in fat.  Roast uncovered 1 to 1 1/2 hours for medium doneness (160 degrees).  Remove pork from pan. Cover and let stand about 15 minutes before slicing.

Pour marinade into 1 1/2 quart saucepan.  Stir in sugar and 1/2 tsp salt.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer uncovered about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens slightly.  Serve sauce with pork.   Enjoy!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Easter Eggs Dyed Naturally (For Kimmy)

(As taken from "Delight Gluten-Free Magazine)"

Say goodbye to fizzy tablets, chemical and artificial colors this year.  Go all-natural with your Easter Eggs. Why not use bright vivid colors from fruits, vegetables and spices?  It might take a few pots, but the extra fuss is well worth the outcome. Be sure to use everyday pantry items to save money.  Let your kids experiement and have fun with this project.  The outcome will leave you with earthly subdued colors.  Happy Dyeing!
1 to 2 dozen hard boiled eggs
Natural ingredients to make your dyes
Deep bowls or mason jars for dyes
White Vinegar
Egg cartons or wire rack for grying the dyed eggs.
Blue: 1.2 head red cabbage leaves, chopped, canned blueberries,
Pink: 3 beets, chopped and peeled, or raspberries
Yellow: 1 tablespoon saffron or ground turmeric
Green: 1 bag spinach leaves
Purple: 1can frozen grape juice
Lavendar or Red: red onion skins
Orange: yellow onion skins, carrots, or Paprika
Brown: strong coffee
1.  In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of water with your ingredient for your dye.  Bring mixture to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes
2.  After 15 minutes, use a strainer over a bowl or mason jar and pour homemade dye into bowl and discard strained solids.
3.  Add 2 tablespoon vinegar, and cool to room temperature.  Repeat with remaining dye colors.
4.  When the liquid has cooled to room temperature, add the cooled hard-boiled eggs and let eggs soak in dyes.  The longer you soak the eggs in dye liquids, the more intense the colors will be.
5.  Remove eggs with a spoon, pat dry with paper towels and let dry on a wire rack or an upside down egg carton.
Dull Eggs?  Rub with coconut or olive oil and polish with a paper towel for a shiny glow.  Or for a textured look, dob the still wet egg with a sponge.
Pretty Patterns:  Wrap eggs in rubber bands before dying.  This will leave blank spots on the egg and will leave a pretty pattern.  To avoid smudging, be sure the eggs are fully dry before removing bands.  You can also apply stickers, or leaves, or flowers to egg prior to dyeing for a more natural pattern.

Have Patience!  Natural dying takes longer than the fizzy tablets.  Some colors are best if eggs sit in natural dyes overnight.
Natural egg dye chart.
HAVE FUN!  And check out this great magazine!  They have a digital subscription too.  Great for families with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, food allergies, and sensitivities. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

An Alternative Way

Well, I suppose it's not good form to start a blog then disappear!  What a month it has been!  As you know, about 6 weeks ago I asked my doctor to take me off all of my medications.  This was quite the gamble, as most of you know I take a lot of medication!  After going through the list, he agreed to give me an antibiotic holiday.  He removed the PICC line and I immediately discontinued the use of 11 medications!  The past few weeks have had my stomach in a bit of turmoil, but overall, I am so happy.  This is not to say I'm all better.  The journey has been one with mixed emotions.  While I am glad to be off so many drugs, all the bacteria that was flowing through my body had to go somewhere, making the toilet my best friend (sorry for the visual).  Things are starting to get better 6 weeks into the journey, and after seeing my doctor yesterday, he says it'll be a few more weeks before things settle down.  In the meantime, I have added a few nutritional supplements to support my body through this transition.  With disorders like Lupus, Sjogren's Syndrome, and Lyme Disease, my immune system has been severely compromised.  Because I have been supporting my body with all these medications doing for me what my body could not, I have to strengthen my body so it can pick up and do the job itself.  This is my greatest hope.  Monday, I saw my doctor and he agreed that I'm looking much better.  He let me know that we might have to do another round of antibiotics, but is not in any hurry to jump on that bandwagon.  For now, we are using nutrition, supplementation, and (soon to start) exercise, to strengthen me up. He took a bunch of labs and I will go back in 6 weeks.  So what am I doing to support my body now?

As you can see, I have made a change to the title of my blog.  In an effort to create a healthier lifestyle for myself, I have decided to dedicate my blog to share what I learn along the way.  I hope you enjoy the postings!

Another major step towards healthier living is the quest to pay off debt.  We have been in such a financial bind for so long, thinking about finally being able to tackle this situation is a little scarey, but I already feel lighter just knowing we can start!  Stress kills.  For most of us, the biggest stress in our lives is debt.  Yesterday, we took the first step by buying a refrigerator.  We didn't get a new one - hey're very expensive - , but a good used one off Craigslist.  Last September our old fridge died.  The only option we had was a rent-to-own option.  We found a fabulous family owned business in Temecula called Colortyme.  Cindy, the owner, treated us like we were family.  They really helped us out when we needed it.  I will go back to them in the future and highly recommend them to anyone.  Anyway, renting a refrigerator is pretty expensive, so we were excited to see that payment go!  Paid off the first 3 credit cards today!  I can't tell you how good I feel.

Since losing our business 6 years ago, we have systematically purged everything in our lives.  We went from owning a large home in Apple Valley, with a 40' RV garage filled to the brim with stuff (junk), a 3 room office AND a storage unit, to a 2000 square foot home with a few things being stored in the garage.  This has also contributed to major stress relief.  Carting around all this junk has weighed us down for years.  We sold what we could and donated the rest.  Now I find myself being particular with what goodies I bring home.  I literally feel so much lighter without all that clutter!

Slowing the pace down was a bit difficult, but was forced because of my health issues.  This has been another Godsend for me.  I work very hard to pace myself - to not schedule too much at once - and to enjoy the little things.  Looking back, I see how uptight I was.  My need to keep everything in control really took over my life.  I feel bad that my children are much the same way an hope they figure it out sooner than I did!  I, physically feel lighter not worrying over the insignificant things, which helps me to have more strength to worry about the things that really matter! 

So this is my "Alternative Way" for this week.  Work on the things that bring you the most stress.  Just pick one thing at a time and conquer it.  With each one, you will bring longevity and happiness to your life!  This is the day the Lord has made, and what a beautiful day it is!  Let's take full advantage of it and enjoy it!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Seven Steps to Positive Thinking

Did anyone get the license plate number of the truck that hit me?????  Oh my goodness.  What a week I've had.

Saw my doctor.  My PICC line had sprung a leak last week, so this week it was removed.  I requested that I take an antibiotic holiday as well as any other medication my doctor thought I could get away with not taking for a few months (or as long as my body would allow).  My doctor agreed and took me off 11 medications!  One of the meds I stopped was keeping my blood pressure down so he replaced my medicine withan indian herb known to not only drop high blood pressure, but possibly correct the problem.  Why didn't he do that in the first place?  Arjin is an Ayurvedic treatment used for mild to moderate hypertension.  I'm happy to say that although we expected some rebound of my blood pressure, so far it has behaved itself.

After waiting 2-1/2 years, I finally got my hearing at the Social Security office.  Although it takes 30-60 days to get official notice, I am confident that it went in my direction.  The judge was compassionate and seemed to not only understand the symptomology of my overlapping disorders, but had truely studied my personal medical records.  If I am awarded disability, it will free me up to focus on my health, reducing the stress of constant worry, and best of all, allow me to obtain Medi-care insurance.  I currently am waiting for my COBRA package - something I don't think the King of Persia could afford!

Overall, it's been a pretty rough week.  The chronic fatigue that I suffer from, really got the best of me this week.  As a by-product of the fatigue, the brain fog and memory issues kick into full gear.  I had an extremely difficult time getting the energy to do much of anything - so nothing got done.  I couldn't think very well, or even find my words to hold a decent conversation.  It was pretty frustrating.  I was supposed to hold a stamp club meeting tomorrow.  I had to cancel because of how difficult things are right now.  My doctor said to expect some changes while my body tried to compensate for the things that all the medication usually took care of.  He was right.

Got some good advice tonight (thanks Joleen).  Trying not to focus on the fatigue and forgetfulness.  Trying not to put so much pressure on myself.  Need to focus on the positive.  A positive frame of mind is imperative to a healthy lifestyle and the first step to my healing.  There is much proof of the mind-body connection when it comes to our health.  My current textbook teaches that there are seven steps to a positive mental attitude:
1. Become an Optimist
focus on the positives, even in challenging situations
2. Become Aware of Self-Talk
guard yourself against negative self talk
3. Ask Better Questions
turn the negative questions we ask ourselves around by using positive language
4. Employ Positive Affirmations
phrase affirmations with positive words and attach happy feelings to them
5. Set Positive Goals
use positive language, be specific, and set attainable goals in the present
6. Practice Positive Visualization
see yourself doing positive things and feeling good
7. Laugh Long and Often
laugh, laugh, and laugh some more.  surround yourself with people who make you feel good.  read funny things.  watch funny things.  learn to laugh at yourself, then laugh some more.
See what you can do to bring more laughter into your own life!  Have an awesome weekend!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What are you going to do with your one and only life???

What are you going to do with your one and only life?  I heard this quote on a movie I was watching with my family the other night and it really grabbed me.  I'm not sure, to be honest, if I could have fit one more thing into the life I have lived so far.  It's been a very full, and fulfilling, (almost) 48 years.

Growing up the oldest of 5 kids, I am blessed to have such beautiful relationships with my siblings.  I am often amazed how incredibly close we are as a family.  Cousins are people that many families visit once in awhile and sometimes don't even really know.  Not in our case.  Our extended family is more like "immediate" family - a gift that was passed down to our children.  Watching our children grow up as best friends to one another has been an incredible experience.  I recently made a memory quilt for my parents.  What joy it was for me to go through our family's legacy!

My personal, greatest legacy has been the privilage of raising 4 fabulous daughters, a feat I could not have done without the help of my best friend and husband of 16 years - (thank you, honey!).  We celebrate all 6 of our daughters, 9 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren.  Not many people can say that at 48 years old!

We've had our ups and downs that's for sure!  We've had marriages, divorces, bought homes and lost them, had money in the bank and had no money in the bank.  We've had our health, and had our health problems.  We've made some beautiful relationships along our journey, been forever changed by the people who have come into and out of our lives, and have had the opportunity to influence a few people ourselves.  I can honestly say I live each day to its fullest (as I am capable) and always try to honor God with my thoughts and actions.  I've made plenty of mistakes along the way, but hopefully with my own actions, I have been able to teach my children that even Mom can make mistakes and it is always okay to say, "I'm sorry", even (and especially) if it's to our own children.  I've tried to teach by example and hope that God always shined through those actions.  I've tried to be humble, respectful, and grateful.  I've tried to stay positive - even when things felt hopeless.

As I sit here watching the IV drip into my arm, I am reminded that things are not so perfect right now.  I hope, though, that this is the evening before the beginning of a new journey.  Tomorrow I see my doctor and discuss the ceasing of my current medical treatment.  My poor body needs a break.

I don't think myself as extremely eloquent, but hope to use this venue to share my journey along with you.  Why the title, "One Peaceful Birth"?  I am working towards my bachelors degree in alternative medicine.  I only have 7 months left.  In March, I plan to be certified as a hypnobirthing practitioner.  After that, I am looking at becoming a labor companion (much like a doula) and a certified lactation specialist.  I feel led to use my new education to be a positive influence on couples starting out on their own personal "family" journey.  I'm so excited!  I hope to share helpful tips and "healthful" tips.  I hope to offer products that might help those whom I care so much about.  When I ventured back to college at such an advanced time of my life, it was with great passion to teach others what I learn - to hopefully help others to know that there are alternatives to medical treatment and that you can be empowered and educated to make medical decisions for yourself.  There is more than one way....

Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me - for sharing your life with me - I am truely blessed!