Thrive Sweet Potato Pie recipe

Thursday, November 08, 2012

I know that lots of people enjoy sweet potato items for the holidays.  This is a great demo video showing how to use the convenience of freeze-dried foods to make a classic sweet potato pie!  What I love about it is that this recipe is easily "healthified"!  My version of this recipe follows the video.  You can easily print the recipe using the Print Friendly button!

Healthier Sweet Potato Pie


1 1/2 cups Thrive Sweet Potatoes (rehydrated with water)
1/3 cup coconut sugar
half teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons Thrive whole egg powder + 4 tablespoons water

1/3 cup coconut sugar
half cup whole wheat flour
half cup chopped pecans
quarter-cup melted butter
quarter-cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Combine the base ingredients with mixer until nicely mixed and fluffy.  Pour into greased 8x8 casserole dish.

Mix topping ingredients together and sprinkle evenly over the base.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Raw Almonds and more

Friday, October 12, 2012

For the past few years I have made raw almonds, walnuts, and cashews available through the store, and many of you have enjoyed being able to get good prices on these items without having to buy a huge amount at once.  However, it seems that every year I run into problems with the supplier being able to provide the products in a timely manner, some orders end up waiting for months on end, and it becomes chaotic in my home trying to divide up a thousand pounds of products and ship out huge, heavy boxes of these items.  Due to these issues and the current needs of my own family, I have decided not to offer the raw nuts through my store this year.   I would, however, like to point you in the direction of the best place I know for you to get raw nuts and many other high-quality items that will support your family's health goals into the new year.  Click on over to Green Smoothie Girl's big Group Buy and see what she has to offer.  I think you will be impressed.

Yes, the minimum amounts for some of the products may be a lot.  Consider teaming up with your local friends and family members to see if anyone wants to split an order with you!  You may find that you can get really good prices on a manageable amount of pantry goods this way.  :)

10/11/12 Sale!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

With a special date like 10/11/12, how could I miss the opportunity to create a special sale?!  :)

So, from now until the end of 10/11/12, please enjoy the following special $10, $11, and $12 items:

Bee Strong--reg. price $14, on sale for $12

Thoughts on PMS, the cyclical nature of women, and respect

It never fails that when I talk about any of the products that help with hormones or fatigue, there are women eagerly wanting to buy some.  Recently one of my friends purchased some of the new liquid B-12 because of how tired she feels, particularly during PMS.  Her comments got me thinking about these issues, and I had some thoughts I wanted to share, and I hope to open up a conversation about these things.

Some women have it worse than others.  It isn't nice to spend a week or 10 days a month (or more) feeling like you hate people, want to quit life, or crying and feeling miserable.  Hormones that are out-of-whack can sure make like feel harder than it really is.  I'm all for taking some vitamins to help me feel less homicidal one week a month.  LOL

However, I also have an intuition about this:  We are cyclical creatures, ladies.  We are not, by nature, made to be "even-steven" every day of our lives.  We are created to live out our childbearing years on a rollercoaster, of sorts.  Should we always be at war with this?  Is there a way we can make peace and accept this and allow it to nourish us?

I get it.  We live in a go, Go, GO! world.  Most of us are busier than we'd ideally like to be.  Most of us give and give to our families and our friends and our jobs and our social obligations, leaving ourselves in the dust.

I get it.  Nobody cares if you've got cramps or need a nap or are crying at commercials.  They all NEED you, and so you stuff it all down, or set it aside, and carry on.  I have been a mother for 20 years and have six children.  I know.  I know.  I know.

You can take some vitamins or supplements to help you not feel quite-so-strongly that you want to -smack- somebody.  You can eat some extra chocolate, too.  But what if you anticipated each cycle and made space for what your very nature is communicating to you month after month, year after year?  What if instead of fighting what your body is asking for, you choose to surrender, and see what happens?

Here is my challenge to you:  For your next couple of cycles, be mindful of how you feel and when you feel it.  Take notes if you need to.  Download the P Tracker app for your phone and make notes in there.  Notice when you feel energetic and full of ideas.  Notice when you feel tired and need naps.  Notice when the cramps come and you want to just curl up and rest quietly.  Notice what is really coming out when you feel angry or upset.  (Maybe you aren't crazy!  Maybe, just maybe, it is true stuff coming up at a time when you do not have the reserves available to ignore it.  Maybe it is stuff you should deal with later in the month.)  Take note of how you think and how you feel, and after a couple cycles you will probably start to see a trend.  From there, start to plan to take care of yourself by honoring these stages of your cycle.

When the time comes that you need a nap, make time for it, and thank your body for helping you to take a much-needed and well-deserved rest.

When the time comes that your body is crampy and sore, don't automatically silence it with a pill and keep forcing your way through life.  Try to take time to nurture yourself as kindly and sweetly as you nurture everyone else that you love in your life.

When the time comes that you feel quiet and want to curl up with a book and stay at home, try to give yourself that space.  Get your cozy blanket, a box of tissues, and read and laugh or cry or whatever you feel like doing, and just accept yourself at that point.

It does us no good to only find ourselves acceptable when we are energetic, At Your Service, prettied up, cheerful, and thin.  Ladies--you are more than all of that.  It is time to accept yourself in all of your womanliness, including the times that ask us to pull away and take time for ourselves.  Honor it.

Superdad Vitamins on Sale!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

It's no secret that our Supermom and Superdad vitamins are some of the best multi-vitamins you can get.  Not only do you get a full complement of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, but a bunch of green superfoods like spirulina, barley grass, chlorella, and wheat grass as well!  Most high quality vitamins like these will cost you an arm and a leg, so I am very pleased to have such a great product to offer you at such an affordable price!

Right now you can order the Superdad 180 tablets or 180 vcaps at a great sale price.  Unfortunately the supplier has had to raise prices, so after this sale ends on October 12 we will have to increase ours as well.  Until then, take advantage of the opportunity to stock up while you can save a bundle!  Sale prices are in effect through October 12, 2012.

One Day Sale Starts NOW! (October 1)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

So this past week's sale has gone so well that I sold out of all of the Berry Well that I had in stock, so now I'll be getting more in stock, probably by the end of the week.  As I was thinking about what to offer for sale next week, including a NEW PRODUCT, I knew what I needed to do:
Since there is already a bit of a wait for the new shipment of Berry Well, I can give you one more day to take advantage of that great sale price PLUS get to take advantage of a bunch of other sale items on Monday October 1, only!  Due to the week I have going on and the wait on new stock, most orders probably will not ship until Friday or next Monday, so this is really for those of you that have some flexibility on when your order arrives.  Unlike my usual habit of personally emailing you if there will be a delay on shipping your order, just know that there will be, but nothing too extreme.  :)  If your weeks fly by as fast as mine do, you will be into next week and opening your box of goodies from Supermom before you have time to think about it!
Here are the sale items that you can order til Monday, October 1 at 9pm Eastern time:
NEW!  Liquid B-12 vitamins!  This is something I have been eagerly awaiting and am so excited to be able to offer to you.  Wonderful for your brain, your heart, and YES indeedy--your ENERGY levels!  Oh how I love B-12, and you will too!  Introductory special priceMonday only.
Vitex with Dong Quai:  Your husband will appreciate it when you regularly take your Vitex!  PMS will cease to cause you to feel the extreme grouchiness and other miserable (for you and everybody else!) symptoms that plague so many women.  Stock up now before you go another cycle without it.  
Superkids Liquid Multivitamins--now in glass bottles!  We love these yummy-tasting vitamins for kids.  They are full of all the good stuff you want in a multi-vitamin, but without all of the junk (aspartame, corn syrup, sugar, MSG...) that are found in so many other types. Stock up price Monday only--just $15.99 per bottle!
Supermom vitamins are on sale too!  Both the 180 tabs and the 240 vcaps have had a price increase at the supplier level, so later this week both of those prices will have to be adjusted in our store.  The 240 vcaps are available here for our usual price of $33 until later in the week when we have to set the regular price at $36.00.  Get the 180 tabs on sale for just $28.50 Monday only.  Regular price will be increasing to $39.50 later this week.  Be sure to click here for the Supermom 180 tabs.
And of course don't forget the Berry Well!  You can still order it at the sale price on Monday as well.  
We still have some Sweet Leaf Stevia on clearance, so add some of those items into your order as well. 
I hope you enjoy this One Day Sale! 

Fall Sale!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I was thinking of all my fellow hard-working moms out there, and decided to have a nice fall sale on some of my favorite products for energy and family health!  These sale prices will be in effect through Sunday.  Check these out:

Bee Strong is the most popular supplement I sell, because it gives a natural boost of energy and wellness that is absolutely wonderful!  Combined with Berry Well you get an even bigger boost, which is why I recommend these products to every busy mom and dad I know.  :)  

For a long time I have felt lacking in energy, and about one step away from getting sick, even though I tried to eat healthy and exercise. Awhile ago I decided to try Berry Well and Bee Strong to see if they would help at all. Within a day I was buzzing around the house feeling great, full of energy, and tackling tons of projects! My health and energy have continued to be wonderful as I've taken these products, and I've had very noticeable lack of energy on the days when I've forgotten to take these. So, I am so enthusiastic about these products that I am now offering them to you!

Never fear the flu or other illnesses when you keep Berry Well on hand! Each ingredient in this pleasantly fruity syrup holds its own against flu, colds, and a swarm of bacterial and viral infections. Berry Well is a practically miraculous combination of:

• Luscious, purple elderberries (first used long ago by Native Americans) that provide anthocyanins. The anti-viral powers of these immune system enhancers attack many strains of influenza A and B—without the side effects or complications of a flu shot.

• Raw honey sweetens the mixture with more than just good taste. It delivers a rich supply of live enzymes required to help body systems fight colds and respiratory infections of all kinds.

• Bee propolis and Echinacea root extract—both considered powerful, natural antibiotics.

• Raw apple cider vinegar, a folk remedy celebrated for its use against a long list of ailments, increases your body’s alkalinity. (Although today’s diets tend to make us more acidic, an alkaline body is safer from cancer and other diseases.) And the potassium in raw vinegar helps cells fight bacteria and viruses.
Take it regularly if you feel that your health needs the boost, or when you first feel sick.

Omega fatty acids are extremely important to our health, but most of us aren't getting anywhere near enough of them in our everyday diets.
I've known about Omega fatty acids for a long time and have taken them in the past, but usually found that the capsules smelled very fishy, and had the unfortunately side effect of producing fishy burps hours after taking them. Yukk!
So I was so thrilled to find Omega Balance 3-6-9 because it's got all the good stuff we need, and none of the bad stuff that makes us not want to take it!
Omega Balance contains a blend of borage, organic flax seeds, and fish oils. This unique combination provides an excellent source for these extremely important fatty acids!
Alpha linolenic acid, EPA and DHA (Omega-3s), and GLA (an Omega-6), are necessary for the maintenance of cardiovascular, nervous system and skin health. Oleic acid (an Omega-9) has also been shown to promote a healthy vascular system.

Here's a healthy version of the vapo rub your Mom used to spread on your chest when you were a kid!

While the old vapo rub was made of petroleum products that are harmful to your body, Winter Breeze is made from natural coconut and olive oils, along with beeswax as carriers for camphor, menthol, eucalyptus, wintergreen and tea tree oils. These oils are known for their abilities to clear mucus and help heal upper respiratory and bronchial infections. 

You can also apply Winter Breeze to your feet, where the antibacterial, antifungal oils soak through your skin and into body cells. If this vapor rub is applied regularly at bedtime for several months, foot fungus and cracking should disappear!

This is one of those products that most moms end up needing in the middle of the night. Get yours now and be prepared for those respiratory illnesses that pop up so quickly during the winter months!

This is my family's go-to supplement anytime somebody is starting to feel sick.  Ultra Immune is scientifically designed to help support healthy immune function. This potent herbal formula is based on a high quality Elderberry and Olive Leaf extracts and is potentiated by stabilized Allicin from garlic. Ultra Immune includes Allisure®, a clinically-tested, safe and unique form of stabilized Allicin.

Allicin is partly responsible for the strong immune supporting properties in garlic, and has become an increasingly popular way to promote overall wellness.

In addition to Elderberry Extract, Olive Leaf Extract and Allisure®, Oregano Oil and Rosemary Oil have also been added. These two natural compounds have been used extensively to provide sound immune system support.

Getting Well

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Earlier this year I shared that I've been working with a naturopath in order to solve the mystery of why I wasn't really experiencing a high level of health/wellness even when I was putting forth a lot of effort to eat really well and exercise.  She had several observations and suggestions for me, all of which centered around the idea that my thyroid, adrenals, and parasympathetic nervous system needed a lot more support.  All of that made sense to me, so I got started on some Standard Process supplements (some thyroid support and some iodine and something else I can't remember right now), tried to follow the lifestyle suggestions for helping burnt-out adrenals to heal (everything from no sugar and no caffeine --easy because I don't caffeinate-- to no stress  --hahahaha-- and going to bed early and sleeping in til 9am --again double, triple, and quadruple HA to all of that).  She also suggested that I start going to a specific chiropractor that uses the activator method and has the type of thinking process and approach that she felt was going to really benefit me.

The kicker to the chiropractor was that he is an hour away from me.  And he is out-of-network for my insurance.  And he would want to see me multiple times a week for quite some time.

Can you hear my groans???

And of course, there is nobody else that does his special brand of what he does anywhere closer.  (only one other one in the state, in fact)

Well, I was told to do this in April.  But then we started taking some of our kids to brain training 5 days a week (2 hour minimum chunk of our day each time we go) I didn't think it was possible to fit in anything else.  But by the end of July I had decided that somewhere in all of this crazy, busy life, my health had to be supported as well.  After all, just about everything runs on Mom Power around here, in one way or another.  Looking toward the upcoming school year and many exciting but challenging possibilities for the year, I wanted to be experiencing a much higher degree of energy, health, and vitality.  So off to the new chiropractor I went.

It has now been probably 6 weeks or so since I began.  It has not been easy to scrape the time for this out of my schedule.  But you know what?  It's helping!!  My terrible lower back problems are fading off into the distance more and more each week.

I used to be just about crippled every time I would get out of bed in the morning.  It would take me about an hour of getting going in the morning before I felt like my back could do things like bend over to unload the dishwasher, bend over to tie my shoes, carry laundry, etc.  There have been times when I have wondered how I would even get myself and all the kids out of the house safely if there was ever a fire or emergency at night if my husband wasn't home.  (yes, these are the things I think about)

Now almost every day I wake up without any back pain or weakness.  I am regularly hauling around laundry right from the time I wake up, with no problems at all!  Not that I had big dreams of slinging laundry from dawn til dusk for my whole life, but it is really great to have so much more of my back strength working!

The other great thing is that I really think my parasympathetic nervous system thing is improving too.  I used to be tired a lot.  My body could not recover from exercise or exertion very well.  Where all the "other people" would exercise and then sing praises of their increased energy and wonderful mental clarity, I would never, ever get that.  I would just feel zapped, hungry, and needing a nap.  (I didn't have time to take the naps, mind you, I just wished I could!)  Exercise had become such a zapper for me, hijacking whatever energy I had for the entire day's supply, that eventually I just took exercise off my list because I couldn't spare the energy for it and still homeschool my boys and run the rest of my life as well!  (Yes, I gained back all the weight I had lost from all of my exercise diligence, but at least I didn't feel as awful and I could manage my life fairly well.)

Since getting into the chiropractic care, I have had one really interesting and consistent improvement, and that is that my body is waking up early almost every day.  I've not ever been an early riser by nature.  My default preference (if I could live like a teenager) would be to stay up late and sleep in every day.  Of course, The Life of Supermom cannot accomodate this option most of the time.  It has just been really, really, REALLY nice to have my body rest and then wake up and say, "OK, I'm good.  Let's go get some of this stuff done!" With all of the many, many things that I have going and that I'd like to have going, this is a big, big blessing!

I don't know if I can count on this early-riser thing to keep going, but I'm very pleased with it for what it has been.  See?  Today I woke up at 5:30, and now YOU get to read this blog post!  ;)

Supermom's Ten Tasty Zucchini Recipes

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Nobody needs 101 zucchini recipes to wade through. You know you’d only end up wasting a ton of time and ingredients in search of a few decent ones that you’d actually want to have again.

Over the years my family has grown zucchini in our garden over and over again, and it’s always the same: After a few hot days in June or July, every flat surface of the house is covered with zucchini, and other than zucchini bread, I have no idea what else to do with it.

Sure, I’ve tried a few recipes here and there, but usually my kids didn’t like it, and it felt like a waste. Are there any *good* recipes for zucchini out there?

Well, this year I decided to find out. My mission: Develop just ten *really good* and healthy recipes. And they couldn’t all be variations of zucchini bread.

My test kitchen was fired up for most of June and July. It was *much* harder than I expected! Eventually persistence prevailed and I found ten that I am really pleased with.

This collection includes great zucchini recipes for lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts! We have a fabulous soup, a knock-your-socks-off grilled sandwich (it’s true!), a yummy casserole, two great cookie recipes, a chocolate cake recipe that will soothe your chocolate cravings with compromising your health goals, as well as one delicious zucchini bread recipe and a couple muffin recipes, and more. I also share my best tips on freezing your abundant supply of zucchini so that you can enjoy it year-round!

Better yet: every recipe is healthified! For the baked goods you will be using whole wheat flour and nutritious and delicious coconut sugar. (It’s not weird. You’ll love it. I promise.) Every recipe is vegetarian-friendly. All of these recipes use healthy, natural ingredients that will do your body good.

This is the ebook that will make you look forward to zucchini season and enjoy using it all year long! Available for instant download.  Priced super cheap, so everybody can enjoy it!

Clickety-click to buy it now!

How to Use Thrive freeze-dried cheese

Since some of the cheese is on sale this month I thought some of you would want to know how to use it.  Here's a video from the company that shows how to do it for best results.

See all Thrive Foods posts here.

Breakfast Salad?

Monday, August 06, 2012

This is the first that I've heard of a breakfast salad being "all the rage."  Have you heard of it?  Maybe it's just something that's raging in places where people normally eat Weetbix.  ;)  Go check it out and tell me what you think.  Would you want to try breakfast salad?  Have you heard of this phenomenon?  Am I the last to know about this?!

(Personally, I do not think it looks appealing, but I am going to have to sleuth this out some more and see what else I can find.  I very much love my morning smoothies, as you know, and since I put spinach or greens into it, plus now add chia seeds, I feel quite good about it.  There's something about a cool, refreshing, and sweet glass of smoothie in the morning that seems so -right- to me.  ;)  )

Saturday Spotlight: Freeze-Dried Cauliflower

Saturday, August 04, 2012

I love this quick video that shows easy ways to use the freeze-dried cauliflower.  You can grind up any of these fruits or veggies in a coffee grinder or food processor or blender and add them to just about anything.  Such an easy way to add more good stuff to what your family likes to eat!

It's Finally READY!

Friday, August 03, 2012

FINALLY!  It's done.  Go check it out here.  If you would like to save yourself some time in the kitchen while also feeding your family good, nutritious food, you are going to love this.  Use coupon code "bloggylove" to take 50% off. (just because I love ya)

Homemade Ketchup

This recipe for making homemade ketchup looks easy and interesting!  The full ingredients and instructions are here.  I am thinking about trying it, using regular apple cider vinegar, and making it in the crock pot instead of on the stove top.

Will you try it?  Let me know how it goes!

August Monthly Specials from Thrive Foods

Thursday, August 02, 2012

The monthly specials for August have been released!  You will notice in this PDF document that there is a regular retail price, a website price, and then the lowest price is the club price.  You can take advantage of the Q club pricing only when you order through me this month (or if you are already a Q customer), or if I help you get set up with your very own Q.  When you see up a Q with me this month I will have an extra gift for you!  (What's a Q?)

Sale items:

Celery (freeze-dried) regularly $25.29, sale price $21.09 on the website, or $20.29 through me (read why I love it here)
Green Beans (freeze-dried)  regularly $15.99, sale price $13.39 on the website, or $12.79 through me
Potato Chunks (dehydrated) regularly $12.89, sale price $10.79 on the website, or $10.39 through me
Colby Cheese (freeze-dried) regularly $49.19, sale price $41.09 on the website, or $39.39 through me
Monterey Jack Cheese (Freeze-dried) regular $47.29, sale on website is $39.39, just $37.89 through me
Peach Slices (freeze-dried) regularly $30.79, sale on website is $25.69, or just $24.69 through me
Roast Beef (freeze-dried) regularly $53.29, sale on website is $44.39, or just $42.69 through me
Instant White Rice regularly $11.19, sale on website is $9.39, or just $8.99 through me

Q club members can also get the Thrive freeze-dried whole strawberries for just $16.29 this month (regularly $21.69)  You can get a deeper discount for buying a case of 6, as well.

There are several more items on the PDF document, so be sure to check that out as well.

Motherhood Monday: The Gianni's have a baby!

Monday, July 30, 2012

I've enjoyed the work done by Kevin and Annmarie Gianni for several years now.  They are the folks at Renegade Health.

Awhile back they were big all-raw-food enthusiasts, but eventually found that their health was not being entirely well-served by an all-raw diet.  One of the things that I love about Kevin and Annmarie is that they are very honest and won't stick with dogma just for the sake of it.  If they are eating an all-raw diet and they are not healthy, they tell you, and then they tell you what they did to change or fix it.  They use a lot of blood tests to determine how their health is really doing, and they are open to continual learning.  While they do still enjoy a lot of raw foods in their diet, they have expanded as well to meet the needs of their particular bodies and health goals....including pregnancy!

About a week ago they announced the birth of their first child, and adorable little boy named Hudson.  Recently they shared this post about why Hudson is not a "raw baby" and sharing what worked for them and seemed the wisest path for them to take for nutrition during pregnancy.  I really enjoyed their honesty, and thought that others would benefit from learning about how they approached this important topic.  Read their post here.  Notice that you can get a FREE digital copy of their book High Raw on their site.  It's a very good book that I have appreciated very much.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin back in 2009. It's still good information! You can listen to it here:

Saturday Spotlight: Thrive FD Celery

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I love using the Thrive freeze-dried celery!  So many of my soup and casserole recipes use celery, and with this product I never have to wash, scrub, or chop celery.  Best of all:  I don't end up with limp celery that gets wasted because I didn't use it in time!

Here's a video from Shelf Reliance that tells you more about the celery:

Remember:  You can always get the best pricing when you have a Q membership.  Contact me for help setting up a Q, and I will have an extra gift for you!

Thrive Foods from Shelf Reliance

It's been about a year since I started using Thrive brand freeze-dried foods from a company called Shelf Reliance.  My good friend Marla had told me about how convenient the products were, how great it was that the fruits and veggies didn't have any additional weird ingredients in them, how happy she was with the quality, and how much time and money she was saving with them as well.  All of that has turned out to be true for us as well, and because of that I plan to start regularly telling you about the products, sharing recipes, and so on.  I'm hoping to have a regular Thrive Thursday post for you so you can learn more about these great products!

Right now I just want to tell you about two important news items:

July is featuring an awesome deal for hostesses.  If you host a party with at least $100 in sales, hostesses can get 50% off one item, up to a $500 item!  This is *in addition* to the other hostess benefits.  This is an awesome opportunity to get a big item (like a shelving system or one of the big packs of food or survival gear) at a great price.

Obviously I probably do not live in your neighborhood, so we can't do a home party, per se.  But you can place an order of your own, or collect orders from a couple of your friends, I can help you qualify to get this benefit.  You actually have until a few days into August to close out the orders, so if you are feeling too rushed, don't worry.  Shoot me an email or text me and we can help set you up to take advantage of this mighty fine deal.  :) or 859-339-9417 for texting 9am-9pm Eastern time.

July sales specials can be found here.  You need to contact me right away to order and take advantage of these items.  August specials are coming up very soon, so stay tuned this week to hear about those!

Our children are always with us, and we are always with them

Friday, July 27, 2012

So often scientific discovery echoes what we already know instinctively and in our hearts.  This article is awesome, and so is this video.


Moms: Keep on building

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"I'm starting to kinda freak out, Mom."

It was my oldest.  He's nearly 20, and in a short while he'll be moving across the country for a great adventure.  Some of the realities of his plans were starting to seem a little scary to him this morning.

So we grabbed our morning smoothies and sat on the couches in the living room early today and talked about it.

It was going well until he said, "So how do you really feel about all of this, Mom?  You don't really ever say anything about how you really feel."

Yeah.  That.

Well, what can I say?

When I think of you going all the way to Texas, I know you can do it. 

I know you are going to be fine, that you can get a job and manage your life and eat decent food and make decent choices.

I'm happy that you are having a grand adventure because I know life will tend to funnel out those opportunities more and more as the years go by.

I know you will make some mistakes, too, but you'll be ok.

You've got everything you need to spread your wings and fly, which is exactly where you should be as a 20 year old young man.

But when I think of you going all the way to Texas, I know that

-I will miss being able to talk to you and work on projects together in person

-you might end up staying longer than expected, or putting down roots and living far away from us for a long time or forever.  This could be a bigger goodbye than just a few months.

-and I think about my little boy that I adored to a level that I didn't even know was possible before he was placed in my arms.  He is the one who brought out the warrior mother in me and changed me forever.  He is the one I never slept without touching for years when he was little.

I won't tell you that the years go by quickly.  If anything, having my oldest being a little tyke seems a million miles away from today.  It's like a distant, beautiful dream that makes me cry just because of the overwhelming amount of pure love and joy that is contained in all of it.

Childhood memories often make me cry.  I think it's because it seems like something has been lost.  There once was a beautiful, curly-haired, spunky little boy who disappeared because he grew up.  It's bittersweet.  Yes, he's still in there, and I love it when I see glimpses of that same fun little character that was my close buddy for so many years.  We have built upon an amazing storehouse of unconditional love, adoring companionship, laughter, memories, great conversations, and much more.  I don't regret a minute of the time I spent lavishing love on any of my kids, and as I am now moving into this stage where they are starting to leave the nest at greater distances and for longer periods of time, I can see even more clearly the value of all the investments I have made as a mother.

You won't regret it, moms.  Your generous, wholehearted love toward your children is what you are building on.  It is a strong foundation.  Build it up.  You can do this.

I got riled up today...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

All of the kerfluffle surrounding Chick-Fil-A recently resulted in several facebook friends urging everyone to go to the nearest establishment to buy up chick'n sandwiches to show support for their recent public stance on a social/political issue.  My reaction was basically, "Why would I go eat garbage on purpose?"  Regardless of anything Chick-Fil-A does or does not agree with, I don't eat their food because it's full of chemicals, preservatives, MSG, and a whole bunch of other non-real-food items.  Did you know that their chicken sandwich has nearly **100** ingredients?!  ONE HUNDRED, people!  ONE HUNDRED!  For something that should theoretically be chicken and bread.  Wow.  You can see the label here and learn more about what all of those lovely chemicals actually are, and why you shouldn't be eating them at all.

Of course, Chick-Fil-A is no different from pretty much every other fast "food" place.  In order to be that fast, that cheap, and that tasty, corners have to be cut.  And typically that means that fresh food has to be tinkered with and altered to the point that it is frankenfood.  The more you learn about this stuff, the worse it gets, and the more motivated you will be to pack food for the car or wait to eat when you get home.

One facebook friend said I was being pretty harsh in my observations, and after some thought I decided that I do have harsh feelings on this subject. I started thinking about dear friends and relatives that have died from cancer and leukemia, and about young children that have also had cancer and died.  All the time I hear people say how much they hate cancer.  They say, "What is causing cancer?"  "Why does this happen?"  We wear pink ribbons and "walk for the cure" and donate money for cancer research, to find a cure for cancer.

What about prevention?

Not enough people want to look at what we are putting in our mouths, what is in the water we drink, what is in the cleaners and cosmetics and body care products we use, what is in our medicines and vaccines, and what's going into every bit of our environment and the very air we breathe.

Why do so many human bodies have thriving cancer cells, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, obesity, and a zillion other problems?  Why do we see young children even having high rates of these problems?  Might there be a connection to how we are (not) taking care of ourselves?  Might we be damaging our bodies with our food, water, air, environment, medical approach, or something else?

Our bodies are made to run on certain types of fuel, and yet it is getting harder and harder to be able to make that happen.  As one of my friends pointed out, it often seems like in order to have truly healthy food, we have to DIY pretty much everything.

I feel that way every time I find out that one more thing that I thought was safe isn't.

It's a bummer.

It can be incredibly hard to manage all of these things in our culture.  Even as passionately as I feel about these issues, I find it difficult to consistently live out my convictions to the extent that I would like to.  And for all of the many very good things that I *do* consistently manage to do, even I do not experience perfect health, perfect energy, or have ease with weight management.  So, when I tell you that I have great compassion for all of us as we strive to respond to these issues and guard our health, believe me that it's true.  I have to have compassion for my own human frailties and shortcomings every single day.  We all have to be kind to ourselves, as the deck is stacked against us in so many ways.

What I do think is possible is for us to continue to educate ourselves, read labels, ask questions, and not turn away from the job of doing better as we respond to what we learn.

Food, cosmetics, cleaners, body care, basic health care, and water are all generally things that we can find solutions for and work toward improving in our everyday lives.  Unfortunately, there are many things within our environment that we cannot immediately control that can still interfere with our health.  We could do all the "right things" that we know to do and still not experience great health, not be healed from an illness, or we could even get sick with something terrible and die.  We don't have any guarantees.  We can do our best to keep ourselves and our families strong and healthy, and leave the rest to God.

Harvesting from the Garden

Thursday, July 19, 2012

We are growing several varieties of organic heirloom tomatoes.  We have big beefsteak types, small Roma types, even some that are pink!  Also, banana peppers, green bell peppers, cucumbers, and of course tons of zucchini and summer squash still coming into the kitchen daily! 
We are also growing several varieties of organic heirloom sweet corn!  Since so much of today's corn supply is GMO, I no longer even buy corn from farm stands.  Instead, we grow our own.  It is fun to husk the ears and see which kind of corn was inside.  Some types have done quite well, others we would not have again next year.  The drought this month certainly has had an effect on the corn growth as well.

We still have a lot of zucchini and summer squash to use up.  Just about every day I am testing and tweaking recipes to use in my (quickly!) upcoming zucchini recipe ebook!  We have found some really good, new ways to use zucchini that are definitely more interesting than just making zucchini bread over and over again.  :)

For the corn, we will probably eat it every night for dinner until we're tired of doing so, and I'll be freezing the husked ears of corn whole, in gallon-size ziploc bags.  I don't even blanch them.  Just stick 'em in the bag and freeze.  Works just fine for us and we enjoy the corn throughout the rest of the year.

For the tomatoes and peppers, I'm thinking of canning homemade salsa this year.  For some reason I have never done this, even though I started canning probably 18 years ago and have canned tons of other things.  I am on the lookout for a good salsa recipe, so if you know of one, let me know!

People keep asking me how we kept the bugs off of our garden.  This is certainly our most successful organic garden yet.  I will admit that in other years we have just planted, let things grow, and if the bugs got to it, we didn't fight back.  The addition of the natural, homemade bug repellent that my husband used on our organic garden this summer has made a huge difference in the amount of bugs and quality of produce we've had.  For the most part, everything coming out of our garden looks really good and hasn't been buggy at all.  You can check it the recipe here.

Who Needs a Hug?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What do you think?  Are you a hugger?  

Do you hug a lot in your family?

One of the best things about having a bunch of kids 
is that we have a lot of people to hug at our house!  :)

I am a work in progress

Friday, July 06, 2012

And so are YOU!

Isn't that good to know?

We don't have to be *all done* and have it *all right* right now!

We are all growing, glowing, works in progress!  (even if you can't see the glow right now, I believe it is in there)

I love that.  It gives me a happy lift and takes the pressure off.  Today is not the finish line for having it all together.  (GOOD THING, too!  Can I get an amen?)

Yesterday I re-joined the local fitness center.  It closed to members awhile back, and in recent months as I have seen all of those lost 15 pounds (from my juice fast) find their way right back to my body, I have been thinking oh-me-oh-my-what-am-I-going-to-do?!  This situation is getting out of control, yo!

And then my friend Maria mentioned that the fitness center had re-opened (Don't worry.  I don't think it was a hint.) and the next morning I was down there first thing, signing myself up for a 6-month membership.

I am not 24 anymore, folks.  The "baby weight" ain't never gonna go away.  (Hey--I gave it 9 years...I think I'm convinced now.) At 40+, it seems my body wants to stay in a long-term relationship with fat, regardless of what I eat.  (except for juice-only, which I'm not going to do again.  Remember why?)  I'm still working on that whole thyroid/adrenal issue, too, so I'm sure that is a contributing factor.  But I'm feeling better in some ways, and decided that regardless of the crazy and breathless pace of life that I live right now, exercise just has to be on the docket, one way or another.  

I made the commitment to six months, figuring that the thrifty side of me will needle me out of bed and over to the weight room on those mornings when I just don't wanna.  ("You already spent the money!  You have to go now!")

As a mom it can be very hard to invest in yourself.  This is something I have struggled with so much for the 20 years I've been a parent.  Everybody needs stuff.  Money is always needed elsewhere.  Your time is spoken for by all of those wonderful people in your life.  And if you homeschool or work away from home or add in any other stuff, boy howdy!, the demands get mighty intense.  Sometimes the season of life that you are in makes it pretty nearly impossible to get away for exercise.  I have certainly been in that spot a lot.

There have been times when I've thought that I might just give up on trying to be at a more "ideal" weight until the kids are older....or maybe after they've moved out.  I don't know.  Just some mystical time in the future when I could exercise without cramming it in between cooking breakfast and spelling lessons.  Crazy thing is, I don't want to go through the rest of my kids' childhood feeling bad about how I look in pictures, and not wanting to join them for a swim because of how I look in a bathing suit.  So, the time is now.  Or at least, I hope it is.

Gardening, Huge Sale, and a Hot Offer! (and a very cute kid!)

Friday, June 29, 2012

It. Is. HOT. Here.

Is it hot where you are?

We have had over 100 degree temps here today, yesterday, and continuing for a few more days, they say.

Good thing that I have good garden workers like my youngest son!  He is 9 years old and he loves to help his dad with all of the planting, watering, weeding, and picking from our garden this year.  Our kitchen surfaces are generously covered with zucchini, summer squash, green beans, basil, peppers, and more.  With all of this hot weather, I suspect tomatoes will be in full-force within a week.  I have been testing out many recipes that use zucchini, in particular, in hopes of putting together a little zucchini recipe collection for you all.  Since our zukes seem to be coming on earlier than most other people that I am hearing from, I am hoping that I can find some award-winning recipes (Well, the Johns Taste Buds Award, anyhow!) into an ebook for you all.  I love how easily zucchini grows, but too often I have tried recipes that have not been all that good, and I feel like my ingredients have been wasted.  :(  Right now on the blog you can check out some of our favorites:

Zucchini Quinoa Patties
Chocolate Zucchini Cake (YES!)
Black Bean and Zucchini Taco Bake

My husband has handled all of the gardening this year.  He choose heirloom varieties and has been doing all the doin's organically.  You can read here about the essential oil concoction he put together to help keep the bugs away from our food.  :)

HUGE STEVIA SALE!  Due to changes in the marketplace that are SO good for you, the consumer, but not so favorable for me, the small business retailer  :), I have made the decision to liquidate all of my current inventory of Sweet Leaf Stevia.  You can read more about this decision here.  Please take advantage of these sale prices and stock up on all of your favorite flavors while they are available.  (Psst....know what else?  Read on to find out how to get FREE SHIPPING, too!)

FATHER'S DAY:  I dropped the ball.  You see, being a mere mortal mother that I am, sometimes things fall to the wayside.  Recently, I put together a Father's Day gift pack, and then never got around to telling you all about it.  :(  Sorry about that.  But fair is fair:  It's still up, and you can stock up on the gift packs through this weekend.  It's all good, no matter what day it is.  Right?  :)

Have you seen this thing on facebook where business and blog pages are mentioning that facebook has changed things up again, and now you won't see their posts unless you clickety-click something?  Yeah, well, I don't know how much truth to that there is, but I do notice that the stats I see are showing me that only 20-30% of you that have Liked the Supermom's Health and Wellness facebook page are actually getting to see the updates that I send out.  Every day or so I send out a recipe, link to an interesting article, ask questions, or do *something* that is related to healthy living.  If you haven't been getting those posts, would you click on over to the page, make sure it's "liked," and then also be sure that under the Like section you have checked "Show in News Feed."  Hopefully that will help.  And, hey--if it's all an urban legend, forgive me?  (I checked and it isn't mentioned there....does that count as due dilligence?)

Since it is a hundred degrees out, I think we need a *hot* offer for you awesome people!  How about FREE SHIPPING on all orders of at least $100?  Great time to get your stevia, vitamins, and everything else you need!  This offer is good through the weekend.  (possibly longer, depending on how quickly I get back to changing the settings...)

Goodbye, Sweet Leaf Stevia

Let's talk about Sweet Leaf Stevia.  I have offered Sweet Leaf products for sale on this site since the very beginning.  In my opinion it is the best stevia product on the market, it is the only one I recommend, and I enjoy using it in my own home.  Years ago when I started this business, stevia products were hard to find in stores, so my decision to offer it here was primarily because I wanted you to have access to a product I believed in, and I knew that many of you wouldn't easily find it in your local stores.

Fast-forward to 2012, and you know what?  Sweet Leaf Stevia has really expanded in the marketplace!  Even in my small-town stores I see it on the shelves regularly, plus I see it offered at really great prices through Amazon, Vitacost, etc.  These large businesses have the volume buying (and selling) power that I, as a small business, do not, and therefore they are able to offer much lower prices than I could possibly sell for, and oftentimes you can even get free shipping!  I think that's a great opportunity for you all, and after some serious consideration,  I see it as my time to go ahead and liquidate my current stock of Sweet Leaf Stevia products.  All of the Sweet Leaf Stevia products have been reduced dramatically, in the hopes that you will go ahead and stock up now, and help me clear my shelves.  Please go buy all you want before your favorite flavors are sold out!

I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to share this product line with you all, since it's one that has been such a benefit to my family for so many years.  I still think it's a great product, and no doubt I will continue to mention it here from time to time.

You can still check out some of my favorite recipes and tips about Sweet Leaf Stevia here:

Why I recommend Sweet Leaf Stevia over all the others.
Ways to use Sweet Leaf Stevia
Supermom's Healthy Lemonade Recipe
Peppermint Tea Recipe

Essential Oils for the Garden

Photo of my own personal organic gardener and husband of nearly 21 years, Dave Johns, our youngest son who at 9 years of age is the biggest gardening enthusiast of all of our children, and our faithful and sweet doggie Brandi.  :)

My wonderful husband Dave has been heading up a big garden for us this year.  We always garden without pesticides, but with mixed results.  (some years our plants get eaten up)  This year Dave did some research and decided to try out a combination of essential oils to help keep the bugs away.  It worked really, really well in our garden and in our fruit trees and grapevines, so now we'd like to tell you about it!

Just combine: 

16 drops tea tree oil
16 drops clove oil
 and 32 drops peppermint oil
with a gallon of water.

Dave used a gallon size sprayer to combine all of these items and spray the garden, trees, etc.  He learned that it wasn't really necessary to spray directly on the plants, but instead he generally sprayed the entire garden area.  He saw a dramatic reduction of bugs in the area, and our fruit trees are doing better than they have in years.

He mentioned that he hasn't seen any bugs dying from this spray.  We don't want to hurt bees, earthworms, or other beneficial garden friends.  (I don't even want to kill non-beneficial bugs!)  We just want to let the plants grow so we can eat them without sharing with buggy critters!  :)  Hopefully this mixture is just creating a less appealing spot for bugs to hang out, without hurting anybody.  We have had a bumper crop of zucchini, summer squash, banana peppers, kale, swiss chard, green beans, and bell peppers so far, and nothing tastes like essential oils, which was actually a concern of mine.

I hope this is helpful to you.  If you try it, let us know how it works for you.  OK?

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

So let's just say that you have a lot of zucchini from your garden that needs to be used up, and you and chocolate have a friendly relationship.  Why not put 'em together and make this simple cake?

(yes, yes, I KNOW that I just posted another chocolate cake recipe the other day.  WHAT'S YOUR POINT?!)  Lol

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  No-stick spray a 9x13 pan.

Stir together:
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups coconut sugar
three quarters of a cup of unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder without aluminum
half teaspoon sea salt
4 eggs
one cup natural applesauce
half cup melted coconut oil
3 cups grated zucchini

Once you mix up all of the ingredients just pour it all into your pan and make for 50-60 minutes, until the center tests as done.  Very moist and delicious.

Zucchini Quinoa Patties

I tweaked a recipe from to get this.  Turned out so. darn. yummy.  A lovely way to use up your garden zucchini!

2 heaping cups of cooked quinoa
three-quarter cup Mexican blend shredded cheese (or similar)
half cup small curd cottage cheese
1 cup shredded zucchini (try to press the water out of it first)
3 eggs
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
half a cup of Thrive freeze-dried onions, or about a half of a small onion, chopped
half a cup Thrive freeze-dried celery
half teaspoon coconut sugar
a little sea salt and black pepper and garlice powder
a sprinkle of Lawry's seasoned salt

To cook quinoa:  Bring 2 cups of water plus a little salt to a boil, then add one cup of quinoa.  Reduce heat to low and keep covered while it cooks for 15-20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.  Let cool for a couple minutes.

I use an electric skillet at 250 degrees for this, but you could also use a skillet on your stove top.  You'll just have to work on finding the perfect temp. to cook these at.  Use no-stick spray to coat your skillet and let heat up before you drop the patties onto it.

Combine all the ingredients and then drop about a quarter-cup of mixture at a time onto the skillet, kinda patting it down just a little bit.  Let cook for about 4 minutes on each side.  Easy and so delicious!

Healthified Chocolate Oatmeal Cake

Monday, June 18, 2012

Let's say, theoretically, that you have PMS that is telling you FEED ME CHOCOLATE CAKE!!!!  What should you do?

I'll tell you what to do.  You make this cake and eat it too, with no guilt to cry about tomorrow when the PMS roller-coaster takes you over another loop.  ;)  (also TAKE YOUR VITEX ladies!  It will help you not want to kill people quite so much during that very special time of the month, and that's worth a whole, whole lot.  Just ask your husband.)

Chocolate Oatmeal Cake
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1-1/2 cups oatmeal
  • 1-1/2 sticks butter
  • 2 cups coconut sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the dry oatmeal into a medium bowl. Pour in the boiling water. Add the butter, sinking it into the hot water and oatmeal so it will start to melt, and set aside.  Spray a 9 by 13-inch pan with no-stick spray. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the other ingredients and then add the oatmeal and butter mixture.  Mix well.  Pour it into your 9x13 pan and bake for 35 minutes.  You can eat it without frosting.  It is moist and yummy just as it is.  :)  

Black Bean and Zucchini Taco Bake

Just created this tonite and it turned out to be quite good.  Kind of like a taco lasagne!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 pan with no-stick spray.

You will need:
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
a little olive oil
22 ounce salsa verde
10 ounces diced tomatoes in juice (or you can whiz them up smoothly in your blender if your kids hate tomato chunks like mine do)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups of cooked black beans
1 medium zucchini, thin sliced and then quartered, or you could shred it
1 package of ten 8 inch whole wheat flour tortillas
grated cheddar cheese or mexican blend cheese

Using a large skillet, saute the onion and green pepper til soft.  Stir in salsa verde, tomatoes, spices, beans, and zucchini.  Stir well and frequently so the bottom doesn't burn.  Bring to lightly bubbling and let cook for about 5-10 minutes.

Rip up 5 of the tortillas into bite-sized pieces and cover the bottom of the pan and layer over each other.  Then pour half of the tomato/bean/zucchini mixture on top and spread out.  Sprinkle half the cheese on top.  Then do another layer of ripped tortillas, followed by the rest of the tomato/bean/zucchini mixture, followed by the rest of the cheese.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.  Cut into squares or rectangles like you would for lasagne.  Could serve with sour cream.  Yum!

Drug-free Poison Ivy Treatment

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today we have a guest post from my cousin Abby!  I thought that some of you would find this tip to be very useful.  Abby and her husband Pete are editors of the literary magazine Prime Mincer.

I tell everyone this, and I usually get a gentle, reassuring, smile that suggests that it's not that they don't believe me, but do sincerely doubt what I'm saying. 

I am HIGHLY allergice to poison ivy. I get it every year, and stopped going in the woods altogether a long while ago. Even with tights, socks, boots, and everything tucked in together, I still get it just by being out of doors. The first year I got it bad I had to go to the doctors and get on steroids. It's bad. However, in a fifth grade science book I came across the treatment, but didn't test it until years later. I wish I had listened sooner, and I urge anyone who does get poison ivy to take heed.

Here's what you do: When the itching gets bad, go into the shower. Turn it on HOT, and then direct the spray to the affected area(s). Slowly turn up the heat. This will finally hit that "itch" where it lives and will be about the most pleasurable experience of your life. It's endorphines like no other. Eventually the relief will turn to numbness, and this is when the magic occurs. Turn off the water, get out, and you'll find that the place previously burnin
g with misery is numb and will stay that way for hours. If it begins itching again, jump back in the shower. There were times when I took up to four showers a night in order to sleep, but it worked. This will treat, but it also shortens the lifespan of the whole encounter. The patches are being drained of their poison and the skin gets dry. 

Whatever you do, do NOT take a hot bath. This will put the poison in the water and then it will spread everywhere. Look to the hot shower, and all will be well. Trust me!

Tuesday's Tip: Processing Strawberries

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's no secret that we use a lot of frozen berries here because of our delicious breakfast smoothie habit.  :)  Blueberries and strawberries are our most common berries of choice, though sometimes we use other fruits as well.  Seeing as how both strawberries and blueberries are on the Dirty Dozen list, it's pretty important to buy organic when possible.  However, for a long time I didn't feel like it was really affordable to do so.  Over time I've gradually gotten more and more of my berries organic (organically...? How say you? Como se...?) and I'm always keeping my eyes open for good deals.  Sometimes at my Kroger store they will mark down the organic berries to a very good price (anywhere from $1.79-$1.99/lb.), so I try to always walk past the berry section to see if I can pick up some good deals while I'm there.  Pretty regularly I get there when the lady has just done the mark downs, and I can get 10 or more pounds at a time!

I also found out about a strawberry patch about an hour away from me that, while not certified organic, does not use pesticides on their produce.  I didn't have time to go pick berries, but my mom was so awesome to drive down there to pick up already-picked berries for us!  We spent $12 per gallon of these freshly picked, essentially organic berries, and that was a price I thought was excellent considering that I spend more than that on bags of non-organic frozen strawberries already!  We bought 9 gallons of strawberries, and while that may sound like an awful lot of berries to take care of, we actually got through it pretty easily.  Let me tell you how:

1.  My husband gathered up our 4 younger boys and set them up with an assembly line to pull the green tops off the berries.  Normally I would have personally sliced each and every top off and wouldn't have thought of having them do it by hand.  It worked really well, they had fun doing it, and with all four of them working steadily, it was done in a short time.  I will say that the juvenile hand-pull method of de-stemming strawberries does not always yield perfect results.  For my purposes, this was good enough and that works for me!  :)

2.  After that I cleaned both sides of my kitchen sink and filled both sides with cool water and as many berries as could fit, plus added about a quarter-cup of hydrogen peroxide.  I swished it around with my hand a couple times, making sure the floating berries got dunked a few times.  I let that all soak for 20 minutes, then drained the water, and then refilled and added a quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar to each side and did another soak for 15-20 minutes, then drained the water and refilled once more for a rinse.  The hydrogen peroxide and apple cider vinegar work great to kill off any microbes, parasites, or other nasty germies that you don't want to eat.  This soaking method is very easy to do, though of course it monopolizes the sink and takes a little while to wait.  I usually do this method of cleaning produce while I do other things in the kitchen or around the house.  No problem!

3.  After the washing, soaking, and rinsing, I just bagged up the berries whole, putting them into gallon-sized ziploc bags.  And this is the step that I most regret.  Why?  Because I have ended up with gallon-sized hunks of frozen berries that are not that nice to work with.  Generally speaking, nobody in my family likes to start their day with the background noise of me slamming frozen fruit around on the kitchen counter.  (strange, isn't it?!) I didn't think it would be quite so bad, and for that I will pay for awhile.  However, now you get to learn from my mistake!  Ways I could have avoided this would have been to either flash freeze the berries on a flat cookie sheet before adding them to the ziploc bags, (this option would not have been practical for me because of the amount of berries I've been processing), let all the berries sit out til they dried completely before bagging them up, or to simply use smaller ziploc bags for the freezing.  Today I had maybe 10 pounds of berries to process, and I used sandwich-sized bags to freeze them in.  Those will be the right size for the amount of berries I would use for smoothies in one day, so even if they chunk up a bit, it will be manageable since I can just peel the bag off and throw them into the blender.

Do you have any tips for getting great deals on organic berries?  Do tell!

My Juice Feast: The Aftermath

Saturday, May 19, 2012

It has been four months since I ended my 19-day juice fast/feast and I guess I'm finally ready to give my impressions of how I feel about having done it, and whether or not I would do it again.

Ending the fast was difficult. Although I thought I was prepared with plenty of good recipes for eating the way I wanted to go forward (which was mainly a high-raw, vegan diet), I found that this did not seem to work well for my body.  Although I thought I ended the fast gently and with wise food choices, my digestive system was a wreck.  Everything I ate, no matter how mild, how small a portion, or how healthy it was, gave me abdominal discomfort, gas (nice!), and general digestive and elimination misery.  I had expected a small amount of transition time, but nothing that I had read (including an entire book on juice fasting, and many web sites, and being in a support group) prepared me for anything like this.  It went on and on and on and on for days, weeks, and then well past the one month mark.  It was uncomfortable, embarrassing, and frustrating.  Eventually I decided to branch out of the "perfect" things I was eating, to see if other items could soothe my tummy.

Part of what I wanted to see with the juice fast was if I would notice any difference in my health/energy/body while cutting out so many non-beneficial items, plus some questionable ones.  I was particularly interested in seeing if I could pinpoint any adverse reactions to grains (and mainly wheat) because of a book that I had read which basically vilified wheat and all grains.  I was curious if what the author had to say would ring true for me.  (and if possibly I might learn something important that would be beneficial for my health)

For me, I did not experience any amazing energy, mental clarity, or general extraordinary wonderfulness either during my fast or after it.  When I eventually tried eating a little bread, I found that my tumultuous stomach calmed down a bit, which was a better reaction than I had experienced with anything else I had eaten since exiting the fast.  I didn't experience any adverse reactions that I could identify, and so wheat and brown rice and oatmeal have continued to be a regular part of my diet ever since.

It was really amazing and kind of disheartening to see that even a full two months after ending the fast, my stomach was still really "off."  Having never had problems with digestion, gas, bloating, etc., it really stunk (ha.  excuse the pun.) that this was my reward for all of my hard work and determination to do a juice fast.

I went to see a naturopath to discuss my health, my reasons for doing the juice fast, how my body was refusing to let go of fat even though I would eat no sugar, etc. etc. etc., and the way that despite all of my biggest and bestest efforts in eating healthfully, I still felt so so weary all the time.  She mentioned that in the case of a juice fast, when smooth digestion is interrupted in that way, it can take a long time for it to get back to being running well.  Certainly this has been true in my case.  I also found out that I apparently have some serious thyroid and adrenal issues that are probably the real cause of my low level of energy and the great difficulty with managing my weight successfully.  Juice fasting and healthy eating alone will not fix these problems for me.  Thankfully there are some supplements and other things that I can do to help my body heal and go forward.  I'm working on it.  (It is very humbling to be an overweight health and wellness educator!  And it is very difficult to be a wife, mom, home educator, and business owner when you feel like you are running on empty almost all the time.)

Here we are at approximately the 4-month mark and my stomach issues are still not fully resolved, though slowly things are improving.  Between what seems to work for my stomach, and what seems to work for my life, my diet now is vegetarian, with a large percentage of what I eat being veggies and fruits.  I do not want to eat meat and I do not find it difficult to go without it.  Although I do keep dairy products to a smaller amount, I am eating them for now.  Ideally I would prefer not to, but ideals are not serving me well these days, and so I am continuing to humbly walk along, open to learn, and giving myself permission to live without pressure to be perfect.

For me, I do not think I would be willing to do a juice fast again, unless I thought it was necessary as a matter of life and death.  19 days of hard work and sacrifice has turned into months of discomfort and embarrassment that I would not want to repeat ever.  I do think that juicing can be a great thing for the body, and I think that eating well and including fresh fruit and veggie juices is a great idea.  If your health is in really dire straights, it may be that a long juice fast is the right answer for you.  In my case, I do not believe it was overly beneficial.