Raw Milk Trafficking

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I found this interesting article about issues related to buying and selling raw milk. At the end of the article there are some good resources for those of you that may be interested in learning more.

Planting Taters

Monday, March 30, 2009

Back "in the day" when I "only" had 2 or 3 children, we did big gardens. And then I had babies 4, 5, and 6 in under three years, and not only was I no longer gardening, but sometimes weeping or muttering unhappily when feeling obligated to pick grapes from our vines in order to not waste them. (Hey--YOU try picking grapes with babies and toddlers and preschoolers and other kids and post partum depression and sleep deprivation and see how you feel!)

Yeah, well, those days are gone, and over the past couple years I've tried to stick my toe back into the world of gardening. Last year my gardening accomplishment was a small patch of ground that featured about 4 tomato plants and 4 pepper plants. And, you know.....it was ok! I loooove the smell of tomato plants, don't you know. :)

This year I'm hoping and planning to have a bigger garden. I don't know how big it'll really end up being, but I have high hopes, that's for sure.

If nothing else, I do have a nice start on growing potatoes this year, which is something I've never done before. Probably because I do not like to dig in the dirt, nor dig my food from the dirt. Which is realize is a little ridiculous. Except that I guarantee that many people reading this are understanding and agreeing with me. :) I found out about a no-dig, no-dirt way to grow potatoes, and decided to give it a try. I thought you might enjoy a little photo tutorial on how we're going about it.

First, I picked a spot of our yard to have the potatoes. Last year it was used for compost (in a very non-official, lazy-gal's way of composting. ie: "Throw the compost in this spot. Maybe something good will happen.")

Next I went to the local hardware store and asked if they had seed potatoes.

"Yep." they kindly replied.

"What varieties do you have?" I asked.

"______ and ______" (two varieties that I was not familiar with, possibly because I am not familiar with hardly any varieties of potatoes, and realized that it was a little silly of me to ask once I had already done it)

"OK. Um....are either of those thin skinned varieties?"

To which both of the hardware store men looked at me seriously, then looked at each other. And then one said, "I think you just asked one question too many, because I have absolutely no idea."

Small town Kentucky. They're very helpful, but don't go all Martha Stewart on them.

"OK! No problem. I'll take four pounds of each!"

And they knew how to go from there.

I didn't really know how many potatoes to buy, but figured this would be good enough for a first time try. In lieu of keeping some sort of very organized gardening journal that I would no doubt misplace and lose before next year, I'll just mention the 4 pounds here, knowing that I can make my way back here for the information anytime I need it. (as it turned out, 4 pounds of seed potatoes covered a space of probably 6 x 12-18 feet. My husband thinks I am going to have a hard time even giving away this many potatoes. If so, it will make a great blog post!)

Now, I have heard of "seed potatoes" but didn't really know what the difference was between these and regular potatoes. And now I know. Seed potatoes are much, much dirtier than the potatoes I buy to eat. Other than that, they look pretty much like any neglected potato from my pantry. Some eyes, and some white shoots growing. No big deal.

Next year I'll just start saving my sad ole potatoes in the fridge and see how they work. (though the seed taters were only fifty cents at the hardware store, so I can hardly complain!)

Got my dirty seed potatoes home and proceeded to cut them up. The instructions I had said that bigger pieces were better, so I just halved the medium sized ones, and quartered the large ones, taking care to cut them in such a way that each piece had some eyes on it.

I took my pieces out to the yard and dropped them down in rows (roughly). I spaced them about 18 inches apart, and the rows maybe 3 feet wide. My husband guaranteed me that precision was not necessary. :)

After I got the taters down my handsome gardener/husband spread straw upon the entire area, about 6 inches thick. (This was straw we used to insulate an outdoor shelter for our doggie through the winter, so we get bonus points for recycling it, right?!)

See how nice it looks?

According to the instructions I had, if rain was expected soon, watering wasn't needed. We had rain the next day, so I didn't bother with the watering. Today it has been about a week and I peeked under the straw and it looks a little dry, so I may go water it sometime soon.

The idea with this system is that when the green potato plant shoots come up through the straw, you just put more straw on top of it. You keep doing that through the growing season, and at the end of the season you just pull the straw away and BEHOLD! there are the potatoes, ready to be picked up and taken to your table. Hot diggety dog, that's just the kind of thing I like!

I really hope it works. Some home grown, organic potatoes would sure be delightful. Don't you agree? :)

The I-need-a-treat blues

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's been close to three weeks since I stopped eating sugar. I've had a couple of days when I felt bummed about not being able to eat somethign sugary, but mostly have done alright. Today, though, reading some blogs, I came across some very tempting photos of pies and cakes and treats and.....oh my! My tummy did flips of joy, wishing for a bite (or twenty) of those sugary items. Good thing I have a stash of Larabars and Jocalat on hand. These all raw fruit-and-nut bars have helped me get over the I-need-a-treat blues more than a few times. I limit myself to just one a day, but it helps. :)

I used to have them for sale here, but they didn't sell very fast, so I let them sell out and didn't restock. (I have a limited amount of space to keep things in stock, and I don't like stuff that just sits. Pretty much anything I sell has to be a popular item that sells consistently.) Still, I think they're wonderful. You may be able to find them in your local grocery store, and certainly in your health food store. Or you can order them straight from the company. :)

From a class member

Hi Erica!! I have been really enjoying this class. My family loves the muffins from the beginning. I made them with homemade applesauce and homemade canned pumpkin!! My one-year-old just adores them!! Even my picky 8-year-old will eat them and loves them. He adores the peanut butter balls!! His attitude has majorly improved with the use of homemade snacks, too. Yay!!
Thanks again for the class!! It's been life-changing!!


Class Testimonial from England

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hi Erica

I just wanted to thank you so much for this course. It is benefiting not only me but my family of a dh and three adult sons so much. Actually I have to confess and say that my family is not aware that mum is doing on the road to cutting out all cane sugar and to getting us all to eat more healthily yet, which has to be a first as in the past they have picked up on it very quickly indeed, and I have received no end of complaints from them.

May the Lord continue to bless you.

Ruth in West London, England

Beth's Books

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I know that many of you that listened to my interview with Beth Dotson Brown will also be interested in purchasing her books. Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors is available through Supermom's Health and Wellness just for a week or so for any of you that would like to add it to anything else that you want to order. After April 1 please order it here instead.

If stories are medicine, then this collection will help keep hopes up and spirits alive on the road to recovery. Readers will applaud the bravery of 50 exceptional survivors as they tell their unique experiences with breast cancer. Every breast cancer survivor has a different story, but they all have one thing in common: courage. From dealing with diagnosis to undergoing chemotherapy, facing hair loss and possibly the loss of a breast, these fearless women undergo more than anyone ever should. These stories pay tribute to these women and their battles, and celebrate their victories. In this stunning new collection, readers will find compelling, inspiring, and uplifting personal essays about the experiences and emotions of living with—and after—breast cancer. $.50 of every copy will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®

About Beth's book Yes! I am Catholic :

It is important for all of us to know that we are not alone in valuing our faith. When teens hear someone they respect talking about being a Catholic, whether it is another teen, a celebrity, or an adult they admire, they feel strengthened in their own convictions and beliefs. Here teens will read stories by people who could be next-door neighbors, teachers, favorite athletes, or beloved authors, including the following:

You can purchase Yes! I am Catholic here.
  • Steve Chabot, United States congressman
  • Timothy Goebel, Olympic medalist, figure skating
  • Bill Gullickson, retired Major League baseball player
  • Catherine Hicks, actress, 7th Heaven
  • Tara Lipinski, Olympic gold medalist, actress
  • Tony Melendez, musician
  • Anne Rice, novelist
  • Tim Roemer, former congressman
  • Matt Smith, MTV Real World
  • Adrianna Trigianni, fiction author

    These stories are from Catholics who have struggles in their faith life, yet they can still proudly say, "Yes! I am Catholic!"
  • Reading resources for people dealing with cancer

    Compiled by cancer survivors Beth Dotson Brown and Kristin Johannsen (Listen to my interview with Beth here)

    There’s No Place Like Hope: A Guide to Beating Cancer in Mind-Sized Bites, by Vickie Girard (Compendium, 2004)
    A REALLY wonderful little book of very short essays about hope, with helpful ways to look at things when you’re feeling down, scared, or discouraged. This would be my #1 choice for anybody with any kind of diagnosis. The author survived metastatic breast cancer for 16 years before she died last year. KJ

    How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Natural Medicine, by Dr. Michael Murray (Riverhead Trade, 2003)
    This comprehensive book considers the many sides of cancer and offers advice for specific types of cancer. The authors discuss use of supplements and nutrition, dealing with side effects of chemotherapy and promoting relaxation. It’s the kind of handbook readers will refer back to repeatedly. BDB

    One Bite at a Time, by Rebecca Katz (Celestial Arts, 2004)
    This chef designed recipes with the compromised taste buds and nutrition needs of cancer patients in mind. One of the most interesting facets of the book is her suggestions of nutritious ingredients that can substitute for what we typically use. BDB

    Surviving Cancer, by Margie Levine (Broadway, 2001)
    The author talks about 31 different things that she did, from eating tons of vegetables to “seeking more joy.” She survived mesothelioma at a time when hardly anybody did. It’s a very uplifting but practical book. KJ

    Live Longer, Live Larger: A Holistic Approach for Cancer Patients and Families, by Bill and Susie Buchholz (O’Reilly, 2001)
    A GREAT book that helps all kinds of people with cancer make decisions that are right for THEM. It’s the only book I’ve seen that acknowledges not everyone can be cured. Their whole point is that our lives have three dimensions—length, breadth, and depth of experience, and that even if some patients can’t live longer, they can ALWAYS live a richer life. This book has been tremendously helpful to me since my cancer became incurable, though women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer might not find it helpful to read about people’s end-of-life decisions. KJ

    Beating Cancer With Nutrition, by Patrick Quillen (Nutrition Times Press, 2005)
    I think this is the best book about nutrition for people with cancer. He’s not a fanatic, there’s tons of good information, and it includes a whole-foods cookbook. There’s even a summary section called “If you are too sick to read much, read this.” KJ

    Remarkable Recovery: What extraordinay healings tell us about getting well and staying well, by Caryle Hirshberg and Marc Ian Barasch (Riverhead, 1995) An investigation of scientifically validated cases of spontaneous remission in people with cancer. A fascinating read, and it proves that there’s SO much we don’t know about cancer. KJ

    Beth Dotson Brown www.bethdotsonbrown.net writerbeth@windstream.net

    Easy Vegetable Soup

    This recipe is being shared with us by my friend Beth Dotson Brown. You can listen to my interview with Beth where she talked about beating breast cancer here.

    I created this soup at the end of winter when I realized we still had a lot of frozen vegetables from our garden. It’s easy, fast, cheap and healthy!

    If we have a good gardening season (or I buy food from farmer’s markets to preserve), I need to buy few vegetables during the winter. The only vegetables I bought for this soup were the celery, carrots and onion. We also used our home-canned tomatoes and tomato juice. Since we freeze a lot of our vegetables (much faster than canning) soup is a great way to use them because they need to be soft, rather than crispy. This combination of vegetables gives you the colors of the rainbow, attesting to its multi-faceted nutritional benefits.

    A few nutrition specifics:

    Garlic contains allicin, which is a powerful anti-bacterial agent, that are released only when you crush or slice it, so always be sure to take that extra step. Studies have also shown that garlic consumption has reduced the risk of various cancers.

    Kombu is seaweed that is dried, sold in sheets and used in many Asian dishes. It includes a lot of trace minerals and is high in potassium, iodine, calcium and vitamins A and C.

    Quinoa is a high-energy protein that can ease digestion. It has more calcium than milk and is rich in minerals.

    ½ cup quinoa

    2 cups water

    dash of salt

    Combine and cook until quinoa is soft, about 15 minutes. You can also substitute another grain of your choice.

    3 celeries

    2 carrots

    1 onion

    2 TBSP olive oil

    Chop into bite size pieces. Warm about olive oil in the soup pot. Add chopped veggies and sauté 5 – 7 minutes, until onions are nearly translucent.

    ½ cup chicken broth

    1 pint tomato juice

    2 cups water

    1 small piece of dried kombu

    Two cloves of garlic

    Add liquids and kombu to pot. Smash and peel the garlic and throw them into the pot. Bring to boil then simmer lightly, covered, 10 minutes or so.

    1 ½ cups frozen green beans

    1 ½ cups frozen corn

    2 cups frozen broccoli

    1 ½ cups frozen greens

    1 quart jar of tomatoes

    If any of the vegetables are frozen together in a glob, put them in the microwave for a minute or two to separate. If any of them are not chopped, chop into bite-size pieces. Add vegetables to the pot. You can substitute whatever vegetables you have in the freezer or that you prefer. Depending on how much broth you like (I prefer a more stew-like consistency with less broth), you might find that you need to add more liquid.

    1 tsp black pepper

    2 tbsp Italian seasonings – such as basil, parley, oregano

    Season the pot and simmer, covered, until all vegetables are done. You can substitute your favorite seasonings. You might also need to add salt, depending on how much was in the liquids and tomatoes you used. The kombu does add some salt, so wait until that has been in the pot 30 minutes or so until tasting.

    When vegetables are finished, remove the garlic cloves and kombu then add your grain. Enjoy!

    Health Habits Can Diminish the Cancer Bugaboo

    When someone who takes obvious health risks is diagnosed with a serious illness, people who know that person aren’t usually surprised. But even people who think they are doing all the right things to be healthy can turn up with a frightening diagnosis.

    That was the case for Beth Dotson Brown, an organic gardener, healthy eater and racquetball player. In June 2005, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After the diagnosis, people repeatedly said to her, “I never thought this could happen to you.”

    Beth is now sharing what she learned while consulting with a holistic nurse and other complementary care providers during her cancer treatment and recovery. She deepened her knowledge of how to truly take care of herself from a holistic perspective and believes that approach, which is always evolving, diminishes her chances of dealing with Cancer again.

    Join Beth and Erica as they talk about the roles of paying attention to your body’s signals, food, body care products, spirituality and more. 7:30pm Eastern time tonite!

    Online resources for Health Habits Can Diminish the Cancer Bugaboo

    Compiled by Beth Dotson Brown

    www.whfoods.com The World’s Healthiest Foods website offers a detailed nutrient chart on individual foods as well as health benefits. Great site.

    http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm Food Safety Food Additive is a site from the Center for Science in the Public Interest that rates the safety of food additives.

    http://www.safecosmetics.org/ The Safe Cosmetics Action Network examines the safety of products used by every one in the family and points to ingredients to avoid.

    http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ The Environmental Working Group has put together this database of cosmetic ingredients. You can type in any ingredients you have questions about for information about its uses and possible side effects.

    Salad with Apple and Orange

    I recently found a salad recipe that I wanted to share with you all. I found it, along with beautiful photo instructions, on a blog that I sometimes visit. The recipe is for a salad made with spinach, apple, orange, and goat cheese. Although I generally do not recommend mixing fruits and veggies (because of food combining guidelines that I find helpful) I thought that some of you might find this unique and beautiful salad inspirational. :)

    Upcoming Podcast: A Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer

    Wednesday, March 25, 2009

    Join me this Thursday, March 26 at 7:30pm ET for my talk with my friend Beth Dotson Brown. Beth has battled and beaten breast cancer with a combination of traditional and holistic methods, and has a lot of great information to share about kicking cancer and staying cancer-free. Click here to join the call!

    Bio: Beth Dotson Brown is a freelance writer and editor. She has written for a number of magazines and newspapers, including Total Health and Fitness magazine, Junior Scholastic, the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper, Kentucky Living and Catholic Digest. Her work has won awards from the International Network of Young Journalists and the Catholic Press Association.

    Beth also puts her skills to use to help nonprofit organizations (such as World Vision, Save the Children and the Christian Appalachian Project) with their communications endeavors, to teach writing, and to lead writing retreats. She was awarded a fellowship by the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, an artist’s residency by the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and grants by the Kentucky Arts Council. She also writes fiction.

    Beth wrote a book for Catholic teens, Yes! I Am Catholic, while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She also wrote an essay about wearing wigs that appears in A Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors. She lives with her husband, Jim, in Lancaster, Kentucky where her yard gives her space to raise organic vegetables and fruits right in town. You can reach Beth at www.bethdotsonbrown.net.

    A Cup of Comfort for the Breast Cancer Survivor

    If stories are medicine, then this collection will help keep hopes up and spirits alive on the road to recovery. Readers will applaud the bravery of 50 exceptional survivors as they tell their unique experiences with breast cancer. Every breast cancer survivor has a different story, but they all have one thing in common: courage. From dealing with diagnosis to undergoing chemotherapy, facing hair loss and possibly the loss of a breast, these fearless women undergo more than anyone ever should. These stories pay tribute to these women and their battles, and celebrate their victories. In this stunning new collection, readers will find compelling, inspiring, and uplifting personal essays about the experiences and emotions of living with—and after—breast cancer. $.50 of every copy will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®

    Yes! I Am Catholic: How Faith Plays a Role in My Life

    It is important for all of us to know that we are not alone in valuing our faith. When teens hear someone they respect talking about being a Catholic, whether it is another teen, a celebrity, or an adult they admire, they feel strengthened in their own convictions and beliefs. Here teens will read stories by people who could be next-door neighbors, teachers, favorite athletes, or beloved authors, including the following:

    Steve Chabot, United States congressman

    Bill Gullickson, retired Major League baseball player

    Catherine Hicks, actress, 7th Heaven

    Tara Lipinski, Olympic gold medalist, actress

    Tony Melendez, musician

    Anne Rice, novelist

    Tim Roemer, former congressman

    Matt Smith, MTV Real World

    These stories are from Catholics who have struggles in their faith life, yet they can still proudly say, "Yes! I am Catholic!"

    Continuing Saga of the No Sugar Diet

    Tuesday, March 24, 2009

    Though I know it probably makes all of you weep (with joy?), I've stopped keeping track of everything I'm eating. I don't have time, and it would also be a mighty boring list. Starting the no-sugar kick in the middle of a two-week grocery shopping period was not a good thing, and by last night I was practically crying myself to sleep because I was so sick of not having anything good to choose from to eat and feeling hungry.

    True confessions from Supermom.

    Today I got myself organized with a shopping list, got two kinds of raw treats going in the dehydrator, and went to the store. I bought so many fruits and veggies that I got comments about it from the checkout lady. :)

    When I was feeling so low last night I was reminded that once again I have not followed my own advice. I have done well at not eating sugar, haven't made a single slip up of what I call "overt sugar" (obvious sugary items that feature sugar as a main ingredient) in well over 10 days. I was extremely inspired by the podcast I did last week with Paula Brake. But then I made up too many rules for myself, and didn't have enough good things to eat instead. That's just a recipe for disaster. Once we get hungry and don't feel like we have a nice variety of healthy choices available, it isn't likely that we can stay on track.

    My talk with Paula reminded me once again that our bodies do so well when we give them really good fuel. Judging from all of the Bee Strong and vitamins I sell, I know I'm not the only person that wants (needs!) more energy, health, and vitality these days. Why not start at the source and feed myself stuff that will help my body do those things naturally?

    The trick is taking time to establish those habits, to allow ourselves some time to transition into a new way of eating and to feel comfortable letting go of some of our old favorites. (Finding new favorites is a great way to do that, too!)

    I am feeling happier (and less hungry) now that I have a nice supply of Larabars and Jocalat, some yummy tomatoes, raw organic agave nectar, wholesome bread from Great Harvest, and many other healthy and delicious goodies that will hopefully keep me afloat in healthier eating land for the next two weeks.

    Did you purchase the big ebook deal last week?

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    I had been so excited to tell you all about that deal because of the wonderful resources for baking bread, gardening, and healthy living. Unfortunately, they made some changes in the collection they were offering, and the Bread By Hand ebook and the Growing Your Own Groceries ebook were not included in the collection. Thankfully, I have received permission from the author of those books to send those to any of you that did purchase the ebook deal from Living on a Dime. Just let me know if you were one of those people and I can send those to you. (I can't send them to all of you--just those of you that did purchase the deal last week) I am sorry for the confusion!

    Email me at Supermom (at) SupermomsHealthAndWellness.com

    For Homeschool Moms

    Sunday, March 22, 2009

    Don't miss the wonderful Countdown to Easter resource that is available this week. Read more about it at my homeschooling blog.

    Getting Off Of Sugar: What I'm Eating Day 4-5-6

    Day 4:
    Breakfast: fruit smoothie (banana, frozen blueberries and strawberries, a kiwi, and some juice). I had a glass of this plus enough leftover to make 5 healthy popsicles that are now in the freezer

    Lunch: big salad (organic greens, some chopped up turkey breast, chopped tomato, salsa for the dressing)

    Snack: honey whole wheat bread with healthy peanut butter

    Dinner: homemade cream of mushroom soup (yum!)

    Snack: 2 oranges

    Day 5:
    Breakfast: scrambled eggs with some ham and shredded cheese
    Lunch: We went out to eat for my mother-in-law's birthday. We were at a buffet, so I got salad, steamed veggies, and some chicken. The only thing I ate that I didn't feel was a good choice was dinner rolls (two of 'em, I'll admit!).
    Dinner: ended up being pizza (again!!) because we were on the road all afternoon and evening. We do not normally eat so much pizza. I'm sure this hasn't helped me lose any weight this week.
    Snack: an orange

    Day 6:
    Breakfast: fruit smoothie, but this time I added some organic plain yogurt to it instead of juice, to try out getting some protein (an experiment)
    Snack: homemade honey whole wheat bread with natural peanut butter
    Lunch: organic green salad with some leftover meatballs chopped up, also a Roma tomato
    Snack: half a bagel (not whole wheat)

    I'm not having any withdrawal symptoms, though I am having small twinges every now and then of wishing I could have something sugary. My guess is that I'm having no withdrawal because I'm still having some items with sugar somewhere in the ingredients (albeit small amounts). Considering that I wasn't set up properly to eat sugar-free with the groceries I have on hand, I feel that I'm doing well progressing on my goal.

    Attention Homeschool Moms

    Friday, March 20, 2009

    I know that I have a lot of homeschool moms visiting me here, so I wanted to let you know that I have expanded into a homeschooling blog, and also a homeschooling podcast!

    Tomorrow (March 21) I'll be interviewing Amy Puetz about her wonderful new book, Countdown to Easter. You can read more about it here. I just wanted to let you gals know, because Amy's resources are really wonderful! I hope that some of you will join me, either by calling in, or listening online. :) These chats are really fun and interesting!

    If you miss it, you can always go back and download the audio to listen to it when you have time. Feel free to let your friends know!

    Sugar-Free Spaghetti Sauce

    In one of the emails in the class I teach we talk about making pasta and pizza night healthy! Here is a helpful email I got from one of my class members:

    I just got my email and when I saw this I thought I should share with you about 2 kinds of spaghetti sauces that I have found that do not use sugar. One is the Classico brand and the other is Bertolli Organic. I use mostly Bertolli because it is organic and I can get it at Sam's club. It is cheaper than purchasing it from the grocery store.

    Thanks for the wonderful class! I have truly enjoyed it thus far.


    Recipes from Paula

    Thursday, March 19, 2009

    I had the fun of getting to interview Paula Brake, and she was kind enough to share a few of the recipes that she finds helpful to people trying to eat more raw veggies and salads, and to eat less meat. Enjoy!


    Non-Dairy Ranch Dressing


    Hallelujah! Simple Weekly Meal Plans

    by Marilyn Polk

    1 cup Vegenaise or Nayonnaise

    2 teaspoons lemon juice

    1 teaspoon garlic powder

    ½ teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt

    1 tablespoon minced onion

    3 tablespoons distilled water*

    *If you prefer to use this as a vegetable dip for baby carrots, broccoli florets, cauliflower, sliced squash, sliced cucumbers, celery sticks, etc., then omit the water.

    We use the Vegenaise with the purple label and top because it contains grape seed oil. The other one contains canola oil – which we don’t use.

    Sunflower Tomato Dressing


    Everyday Wholesome Eating

    by Kim Wilson

    ¾ cup sunflower seeds

    1 ½ tsp.paprika

    1 cup canned tomatoes

    1 tsp. garlic powder

    1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

    2 tsp. onion powder

    juice of 1 lemon

    pinch cayenne

    1 cup water

    opt: 2 Tbsp. raisins

    ½ tsp. unrefined sea salt

    1/3 cup olive oil

    Puree all but oil in blender. Gently mix in oil last.

    To use as a dip, decrease amount of water.

    Vegetarian Chili

    (in crock pot)

    1 15 oz. can Light Kidney Beans drained

    1 15 oz. can Mexican Recipe Stewed Tomatoes (Del Monte)

    1 15 oz. can Chili Beans Mild Sauce (Bush’s)

    1 8 oz. can Whole Kernel Yellow Corn (no salt added) drained

    Put all canned ingredients into crock pot and heat on low.

    2 stalks celery chopped

    1 onion chopped

    ½ red bell pepper chopped

    1 tsp. chili powder (Frontier is best)

    3 Tbls. good sautéing oil (grapeseed, sunflower, etc.)

    Sauté raw vegetables in oil until soft/tender and add to crock pot. Turn crock pot on high for 1 hour and then on low for 3-4 hours or until done. Add water (distilled is best) to thin as needed.

    Serve as the cooked portion of your evening meal over prepared brown rice or with Tostidos Natural Chips.

    These include book and author names and are two of Paula’s favorite books and are simple. They can be bought from these websites: www.simplynaturalhealth.com (Kim’s) or www.AlphaOmegaFood.com (Marilyn’s). The chili recipe is great for people learning to eat without meat (even the guys usually like this - and it is easy). Paula’s husband is the cook and this is his recipe - Henry Brake.

    You can contact Paula at hpbrake@gmail.com or by mail at

    1830 Cokey Road, Rocky Mount, NC 27801

    Join me tonite!

    I'm hosting a great call for you tonite with health teacher Paula Brake. She's going to be sharing her story of going from sickness to health through changes in her diet. A bonus goodie will be included for all that listen in. The call starts at 8pm Eastern time today. Click here to join us.

    Free Shoppers Guide to Pesticides

    I've found the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to be a very helpful resource in my attempts to live healthier. In a recent newsletter they offered a handy pocket size guide to which fruits and vegetables are not important to buy organic (the "Dirty Dozen") and which produce items are best bets to buy non-organic (The "Clean 15").

    You can sign up for their newsletter and get your free copy of this handy list here. There is also a spot on that page to get the free shopper's guide even if you don't want to sign up for the newsletter. I like that!

    The No-Sugar Diet: What I'm Eating (Days 1-3)

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    Hopefully I won't bore you all to tears by sharing what I'm eating while making the break from sugar.

    Day One:
    Breakfast: scrambled eggs with a little bit of shredded cheese
    Lunch: leftover white bean chili, plus snatched a small piece of french bread pizza that I had made for the kids
    Snack: A banana (Fast Food!), some raw almonds
    Dinner: Chicken, broccoli, and brown rice
    Snack: homemade unsweetened apple sauce
    Drinks for the day: water, herbal tea sweetened with stevia

    Day Two:
    breakfast: fruit smoothie
    Snack: homemade unsweetened apple sauce
    lunch: salad made of organic greens, some dehydrated goodies, turkey, blue corn chips
    Dinner: spaghetti and meatballs
    Snack: homemade honey whole wheat bread with natural peanut butter
    Drinks for the day: water, herbal tea sweetened with stevia

    Day Three:
    Breakfast: scrambled eggs with some shredded cheese and bits of real cooked ham
    Lunch: homemade pizza at our homeschool get together
    Dinner: ended up being pizza also
    Snacks: honey whole wheat bread with natural peanut butter, 2 oranges
    Drinks: Water and herbal tea sweetened with stevia
    Not an entirely successful day today, because I am sure I consumed some trace amounts of sugar in the pizza that I ended up with for two meals. (a fluke! This does not normally happen.) However, I'm giving myself a big pat on the back because I passed up cake and ice cream from my child's birthday two days in a row, and didn't so much as lick off my finger when icing got on it! Don't you think that deserves recognition?! :)

    I'm not feeling any withdrawal symptoms from this yet, but I assume that I probably will. I did stop off at the store today to stock up on salad greens and some fruit. When I shopped for this two week period I wasn't planning to go off sugar, so I don't have all of the most helpful items on hand, and haven't had/taken time to make any of the healthy snacks that tend to help me get past the first few days off going off of sugar. (I've done this 2 or 3 times over the past decade) Tomorrow I hope to have some time to make a few things that might help. As it stands right now, I've been feeling pretty hungry and feel like there isn't that much to choose from to eat. It's not entirely true, but I get a little tired of eating what's here when I haven't planned for this change in advance.

    SO, Tip For The Day: if you are going to try to make a change in your diet, Plan Ahead! It will help you be more successful and minimize the down side to adjusting to what you eat.

    You Are Gonna Love This!

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    I know that many of you are working on making healthy improvements to your diet, while also keeping it affordable and practical. While I love to provide you with resources that do just that, I do not like to reinvent the wheel! :) When someone else has a great resource that I know is going to help you, I love to let you know about it.
    For the next couple days there is an incredible sale on 17 awesome ebooks that are going to be such a *great* resource for you!
    Check these out:

    Eating Healthy On A Budget e-booklet: Some very practical tips that will be especially welcomed by those of you that are skeptics. No-nonsense ideas that can help even the tightest budget be healthier than ever!

    The Bread by Hand eBook: A wonderful resource for those of you wanting to make homemade bread, but lack any special equipment for it. If you've got hands, you can do this! :)

    Momma's Guide to Growing Your Groceries: A fabulous resource for all of you that are thinking about doing some gardening this year, and full of great ideas that even a more experienced gardener can use.

    Also included in this amazing collection are a 14 MORE resources that will help you save bunches of money and time!

    Hurry on over to read all about it. This is really an awesome deal, and I am sure that you are going to find the information extremely helpful and valuable.

    Have fun!

    On My Mind Today--Weight Loss and Getting Off Sugar

    Monday, March 16, 2009

    With my first 4 or 5 babies, most of the extra weight came off by the time the child was around 1. (Just in time to get pregnant again--ha!) The last baby is turning six tomorrow. Obviously, the extra weight isn't going to leave on it's own. :/

    Thankfully, I'm tall. (about 6') I can get away with carrying some extra weight without looking too bad. But let's face it--weighing 25 or 30 or 40 extra pounds over my ideal weight (whatever "ideal" is...) just isn't too good. It makes my heart work harder than it should. It makes the bulging disc in my lower back complain more than I'd like. And I'm tired of not fitting into clothes like I want to.

    This isn't the first time I've thought about this, obviously. I've gone through spurts where I was concerned enough to join a fitness center and go workout almost every day. I did lose over 15 pounds doing that at one point, and I have kept that off, so it wasn't all for nothing. (I also felt hungry and tired all the time, and never got that supposed "high" from exercizing regularly. What a bummer!)

    What I've found is a case of conflicting priorities. For instance, I homeschool five of my children. And I'm normally the only person at home with them. How am I going to take time to go to the fitness center every day? I don't want to leave them home alone. And bringing them along with me seems a little too adventurous. (though I have considered getting a family membership, and setting up all of those little legs on stationary bikes and treadmills while I do my thing. I'm sure my workout time would double because of all the interruptions of people tripping and falling on the treadmill, and fighting over whose turn it is to ride the bikes, and whether or not the balancing balls can be kicked or thrown across the room....oy!)

    I do enjoy my Leslie Sansone walk at home DVDs, my rebounder, and my Joyce Vedral weight listing DVDs. Somehow, I lack the internal motivation to get those out and put them to use very often. It's too easy to find something else that needs to be done, or get sidetracked. (now I understand why some people hire personal trainers to come to their homes. If I had someone showing up at my door to make me workout, I know it would happen.... I would also like a personal chef to cook healthy meals for us all the time!!)

    Another conflicting priorities issue I deal with is one of the ones that keeps me from being a hard-core health nut. And that's the fact that so many fun and nurturing things in life and in our society revolve around food. At first glance (and second, and third...) it seems hard to imagine how to get the same warm-and-cozy mothering in if I'm not willing to make cookies or have birthday cakes. My husband often invites me to have a date night at home, where we watch a movie from netflix and have a "treat." I have noticed that these treats are now happening several times a week, and usually they are not healthy or low calorie. (There is a reason that I do not preach perfectly healthy eating--I would not be practicing what I preach!)

    I did manage to lose about 5 pounds over the holidays (how weird is that?!) but I've now gained two of them back, probably thanks to all of my "special" treats that are becoming all too commonplace these days.

    So I had an epiphany ;) last night and this morning. Maybe I need to challenge myself to get off of sugar, and get back to the many ways of making treats, date nights, and fun times with my kids also be healthy. (Yes, I should still try to exercise, but right now getting off of sugar completely seems like something that might help me without taking a bunch of extra time.)

    It is funny how when I am thinking from within my own issues, things can feel so difficult. "I don't know what we'll eat!" wah wah wah.... But if I treat my issues as if it is one of my class members writing and asking for advice, suddenly I have a whole bunch of truly great ideas for how I could keep the nurturing and fun aspects of eating in place, while making it more healthy. (I enjoy myself as a healthy eating coach a whole lot!)

    So today, a decision: I'm going to try to get off of sugar, and use my creativity to have healthy treats that my family and I will enjoy. I don't know if I'm going to be able to stick with it for very long, or how consistent I will be. But I figure it'll be a good series of blog posts to share with you guys, and maybe it will help you get some ideas of some more changes you could make at your house.

    Class Member Feedback, and Whipped Banana Oatmeal

    Sunday, March 15, 2009

    I got this from one of my wonderful class members and thought you all would benefit from the information!

    Hey Erica!
    I loved your breakfast ideas. My girls love the heart to heart and the honey sunshine as well. I enjoy eating them as well. If you sign up at Kashi they give you coupons to print off for 2 dollars off. I know at our wal-mart the boxes are like 2.98 so you can get a box of Kashi cereal for 98 cents :) Also when you print them off if you hit the back button you will be able to print it again. (there is a limit though.) Then they refresh every so often.
    Also my 3 yr old loves oatmeal, and I love making it for her it's very filling and full of great things for her. I thought I would share a recipe I use as well as a lady who has a website with a ton of variations. Anyways, I just thought I would share. http://www.katheats.com/kaths-tribute-to-oatmeal/

    Whipped Banana Oatmeal

    • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
    • 1/3 cup 1% or skim milk
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 1/2 a banana (I’m usually making this for 2 so we split the banana)
    • Pinch of salt
    • Stirred in:
      • Wheatberries (or spelt or rye or kamut berries)
      • 1 tbsp ground flax
      • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    For two servings, we start by combining rolled oats, water, and skim milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Slice a banana into VERY thin pieces, leaving just a few bigger chunks. As the oatmeal heats, stir vigorously at times to “whip” the banana into the oats. The oats will take 5-7 minutes on medium heat to fully absorb the liquid. They’re done when they reach your desired consistency! Then we stir in vanilla and ground flax (and often wheatberries) and portion into bowls. Add any toppings you like, such as almond or peanut butter, walnuts or almonds, coconut, crumbled granola plank or bar, or trail mix

    Another comment from a super class member!

    Saturday, March 14, 2009

    Peggy has been doing great in the class, and she wrote me this after the fabulous call we had on March 6:

    I just wanted to thank you and your Mom for tonight's conference call.

    I have a page of notes and a new way to look at salads -- salad doesn't mean just lettuce anymore. I honestly never thought of a bowl of raw veggies as "salad".

    I have gotten so many ideas and you always answer -- it's like having a personal coach!

    I like the Ranch Spritzer salad dressing, I use it on baked potato, too, along with lemon pepper -- don't miss the sour cream & butter that way.

    Your Mom is right on target about planning ahead -- that is one of the best things I have learned from you, it is too easy to "justify" the drive through when you are tired and hungry.

    And, I want to say again that making just one change a week has made this less overwhelming, it's not all or nothing -- looking back, I see progress (hey, I couldn't even spell whole wheat flour) but it has been gradual enough that the changes will stick --

    I can't say thank you enough. Peggy

    Handy Little Tip About Bread Crumbs

    Friday, March 13, 2009

    Last week I made a batch of bread, and today the last few slices of the last loaf were looking kind of sad and I didn't think anyone was going to eat them up. So, I threw them into the food processor and made it all into bread crumbs. After that I popped all the crumbs into a container and put it in the freezer. Now when I make anything that calls for bread crumbs I have nice, healthy Honey Whole Wheat crumbs!

    If you have heels of bread or crusts that your kids don't eat :) left over, you can always do this. If your food processor isn't handy, you can throw all the bread scraps into a ziploc bag in the freezer and just turn them into crumbs when you need them. It can be a little harder to get them uniform in size (sometimes bigger frozen chunks of bread remain) but if you don't care too much about perfection when it comes to bread crumbs, then it'll be ok. :)

    Class Member Success!

    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Guess What?? I just had to tell you -- I am still needing a caffeine boost to get started in the morning, but all the rest of the day I am drinking your special lemonade. This was one of my goals, and I am so tickled -- I will start next week to completely get off the diet sodas. I am adding a scoop of protein powder to a smoothie and that makes a great breakfast for me -- I have MS and sometimes breakfast is more than I can make so this has been a big help to me. Thank you so very much -- Peggy

    I love to hear from my class members about how the recipes and strategies are working for them! So many of you are succeeding in making healthy changes and I am very proud of you! Way to go!

    This Deodorant Passed the 16 Year Old Boy Test!

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    It's been a very long time since I've been aware of the dangers of aluminum and other harmful chemicals in most deodorants and antiperspirants. I've tried a few natural alternatives like the crystal thing and some other potions, but mainly I have found that they didn't seem to work well and weren't convenient to use.

    Since adding the Miessense Organics line of products, my own family has been test driving their deodorant and I just had to let you know what we're finding:

    It's easy to use and truly is unscented (Which we like. Scented varieties will come later on.)

    I asked my 16 year old son to give it a try. He did, and just came in to tell me that he has no underarm odor in over 24 hours since using it! (and that included him going to a concert where it was hot and sweaty!) If THAT isn't a testimonial, I don't know what is!!!

    My husband, a professional firefighter and EMT is also using it and finding it works well.

    I've also used it and am also finding it very effective. (My armpits don't stink. There. I said it.) ;)

    I am so excited about this!

    As I learn more about the toxins in everyday body care products, and how the damaging effects accumulate as we get older, I am thrilled not only for myself, but especially for my children to have a really safe way to take care of these needs that won't cause their health to suffer later on.

    You can purchase Miessense Deodorant here.

    Q&A: How do you get wheat for baking?

    Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    Some of you are starting to think about trying out making homemade bread. I have enjoyed baking bread for many years now (close to a decade, actually! which is making me feel rather more experienced at this than I had previously considered myself to be!!).

    I do grind my own wheat, and get wheat in 25-50lb. bags from a local Amish store that special orders it for me. If I were you, I'd do some searching on google for "organic wheat" and see what sources you can find. For sure there are places that will ship it in buckets, but of course that is more costly than finding it someplace local. You could make some calls to any of your area health food stores, bulk food stores, and Amish or Mennonite stores to see if they can help you. Typically these smaller stores have a whole catalog of products they can order, so if they know someone wants a particular item, they can get it in stock for you. If you live in an area where wheat is grown, you may be able to purchase it right from a farm.

    My bread recipe is here. I use a Whisper Mill to grind wheat, and a Bosch mixer for kneading.

    I will give you a little tip: On March 17 you are going to have access to a wonderful resource that will show you how to bake your own bread without needing any special equipment at all. Be on the lookout for my email that day! :)

    Black Bean Brownies?!?!

    Monday, March 09, 2009

    On the class conference call on March 6, Tammy mentioned that a friend of hers had made fudge brownies that included black beans in the recipe!! (and apparently nobody could tell the difference)

    Oh. My. Goodness!

    Well, we couldn't let *that* go, now could we?!

    I told Tammy that her "assignment" was to get that recipe for us, at least for curiosities sake! Here's what she sent:

    Ok Erica, here's my homework assignment:-)  The black bean brownie recipe.
    This friend is following weight watchers so she kindly included the
    weight watchers points value for the brownies.

    Black Bean Brownies

    1 box low fat fudge brownie mix
    1 15oz can black beans(drained and rinsed)
    1 cup water

    put beans (drained & rinsed) and water in food processor. Puree until smooth.
    Mix with brownie mix. Bake in a 9X13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking
    spray. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350F.

    servings 18
    WW points: 3

    So there you have it.
    Again thanks for the call last night I really enjoyed it.
    Your mom sounds like a great person and she is full of wonderful ideas
    and information.

    Blessings from WV,

    Quick, Easy, and Healthy Recipes

    Sunday, March 08, 2009

    I got this link today and saw some very interesting, colorful, and unique recipes that I thought you all might enjoy checking out. Clickety click!

    Q&A: How do you make homemade yogurt?

    One of the things that was discussed on our conference call the other night was making homemade yogurt. What a wonderful way to be sure that the ingredients going into your food are safe and healthy! Plus, making yogurt is very economical and easy.

    If you buy a yogurt maker there will be specific instructions on how to make it work with that particular maker. To make yogurt without a yogurt maker, there are a ton of resources available on the internet. Click here for one link I found.

    If that one doesn't seem like a good fit for you, google "make homemade yogurt" and you're sure to find something that works better for your situation.

    One thing I liked in the above link was the tip for making the yogurt a little thicker. When I have made homemade yogurt I have always found it kind of thin and that didn't go over so well with my family.

    To sweeten homemade yogurt you can add any fresh or frozen fruit and whir it up in your blender or food processor. You can mix in applesauce or any healthy jam or jelly. You can also leave it plain and add liquid stevia in a flavor that you enjoy! This adds flavor without calories.

    Finally! Organic Skin Care!

    Thursday, March 05, 2009

    Today I am about as excited as I've ever been about a new product. I have been literally bouncing up and down since my product shipment arrived a few hours ago!

    For many years I have been learning about the many dangerous chemicals and carcinogens that are present in the common lotions, cleansers, cleaners, and body care products available today. It is a shame when even supposedly "healthy" products still contain dangerous parabens, petroleum products, and more.

    Thankfully, I have found the Miessence brand, and it is one that I am SO excited about! This company produces organic, botanical products that are TRULY safe, healthy, and beneficial for you. Plus, they work GREAT and smell SO good!

    I first learned about Miessence probably 2 years ago, and was incredibly impressed with the products and the overall integrity of the company as far as their dedication to TRULY providing safe, certified organic products (not just pretending to be "natural" for marketing purposes). I always grow this business completely debt-free, so I had to wait to add these products at a time when I was comfortably able to do so. Last week I made the decision, and I am VERY excited about it!

    Truly, I could not give you a higher recommendation than I can for these products. I know you are going to love taking care of yourself so well!

    I have many Miessence products in stock for those of you that want to order items along with your regular purchases, but you can also visit my Miessence web site to see and purchase all items from the full range of products. If you see items there that you would like to purchase through Supermom's Health and Wellness, send me an email to let me know, and I'll try to get it in stock for you.

    I'll have more information for you about these *great* products in the future, but I just got them all added to the site and wanted to let you know about it. Go check 'em out!

    Green Smoothies--from a class member

    Just wanted to pass on what we and many others do to add greens in our diets. We use baby spinach or romaine lettuce along with fruit and must have bananas for smooth texture. You can add flax meal or nuts to add more protein. If you think yuck, just try baby spinach and frozen bananas and you will be amazed! Can’t taste the spinach at all! if you add TONS of strawberries to make it red then noone will know the green is there! Some hard core raw people use cabbage, chard and other greens that are more bitter.



    Jeanette wanted me to mention that she was inspired to try this because of Serene Allison's wonderful raw foods recipe book Rejuvenate Your Life. I am a big fan of this book as well!

    On Sale This Week

    Wednesday, March 04, 2009

    Just wanted to pop in quickly here to let you know that this week our three best products for building up the immune system or beating sickness are on sale:

    Berry Well
    Ultra Immune
    Winter's Breeze

    Sale ends Sunday morning!

    On a personal note, yesterday I did some recipe experimentation for you guys! I was able to successfully convert a donut recipe into something pretty healthy and still quite yummy. :) I'll be sharing it with you sometime soon. :)