Home again, home again….

Jigity, Jig….

We are home. Back home in super hot, Texas. We went from 101 degrees when we left, up to a very cold 41 degrees up in the mountains, right back to 102 degrees in Texas. What am I doing now, sitting here, in my air conditioned house, sweating. Yup, I don’t think we missed much.

What else did I come home to?: piles of laundry.

Okay, I’ll stop the complaining. We had a wonderful time with our family and extended family. It was great to see everyone and get a nice break in the beautiful mountain air.

While I was gone, I did some “blog thinking.” I got a question from my Dad about oils, specifically the oils in foods, which I was not able to fully answer. So while I sat patiently on our 20 hour car ride home, and danced in and out of 3G service (thank you, Verizon….), I did some research on the subject of oils. Wow! More to come as I need to organize my thoughts into a proper post or posts.

In the mean time, my dyer is calling me.

Until next time….



A Day at the Ranch

Within Rocky Mountain National Park, is a really neat old-time ranch. It was owned by a German family and operated as a dude ranch until the National Park service took it over.

With Grandma and Grandpa

View of the cabins are available and helpful Park Rangers are there to tell you about the ranch.

We spent the day hiking around this ranch and also a few other National Park hikes with Grandpa and Grandma. It was a chilly, but sunny day!

Is there really ever a bad picture when you in the Rockies?!?!

Wearing a buffalo skin jacket

Check this out!….

…Jacob is a natural!!!

with Grandma and Grandpa

The kids even became Jr. Rangers! The two days we were in the park they worked on various activities. Once they completed their work they got to turn it into the Ranger. Here she is checking with them about what to do when a cute chipmunk approached them: “Don’t feed them!”….unless it’s gluten-free, right?!?! 😉

Logan as a Park Ranger


L-Jay Health

I was doing some research and came across an article on McDonalds and thought to myself “When was the last time I ate there”? Thankfully I could not remember the last time I ate fast food at all. It seems like everywhere you go there is a McDonalds restaurant on the corner. Now they are in hospitals, colleges, airports, and even churches.

I remember watching a documentary Super Size Me and it was very interesting but sad of all the negative health effects that Morgan Spurlock developed just by eating fast food all those times, not to mention all the weight he gained as well. He put his health on the line just to educate and demonstrate how our bodies react to these foods. If you haven’t seen the documentary I highly recommend it.

Fast food costs are inexpensive and tastes very good, but the negative effects on physical health last much…

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What’s THAT?: Meet Kale

Meet Kale. It may not be that weird, but it was weird to me when it was first mentioned that I should eat it. WHAT? It’s strange looking and not what usually shows up in my salad.

My trainer, Jenn, had added it in to my meal plan, and when I saw it, I quickly replied: “Um, can I just eat spinach.” She let me substitute it, and it wasn’t until I saw the movie Forks over Knives that I realized it was a superfood that everyone should be eating everyday!

Joel Fuhrman, author of many nutrition books including “Eat to Live” puts kale as 1000 on the list of the most nutrient dense foods! Translation: probably THE most important, nutritious foods we can eat.

Joel Fuhrman’s list of nutrient dense foods

Here is another poster I found that explains why kale is a superfood to us humans:

Whew, that’s some good stuff!

Okay, so taste part and what to do with it for us “normal people.”

It is a very bitter vegetable. It’s nothing like eating iceberg or happy little romaine. It is beyond me why God would create such an awesome vegetable but then make it taste like dirt. Maybe there are people out there that do like the taste of kale, but for me, it was tough getting down the first few times. But now, after giving it a few tries, I’ve gotten used to the flavor and ways to make it to sneak it into my food.

Here are a few ways to eat it:

  • Make kale chips
  • Eat it raw: remove stems, and put it into a bowl with olive oil and a little bit of salt (takes away the bitter taste)
  • Mix it in with something: like “Bubble and Squeak”!
  • Buy baby kale (which is less bitter), and mix it in with your romaine salad
  • Juice it! It goes pretty well through a juicer, and then you can add an apple to take away some of the flavor.
  • Blend it! This is what I do for my kids: In a blender, mix kale, blueberries, almond milk, and strawberries…you will never taste the kale, trust me, kid approved! 😉
  • Saute it! In a pan, mix together olive oil, salt, and kale. Cook lightly until soft.

Kale is found at most all grocery stores. I always thought it was one of those “special vegetables” that only came from Whole Foods. Well, I was wrong; kale is pretty much everywhere I’ve been, and it’s not a special Whole Foods vegetable. It’s about as common as iceberg.

I’m still learning how to cook with kale, anyone have any favorite recipes or uses? Would love to hear from you, please share! 🙂

Happy kale eating!


A Day at the Ski Resort

While we were in Colorado, we had some summer fun. The kids, being raised in the hot south, have no experience in the snow. Visiting the ski resort offered the kids an opportunity to #1 see where people do the winter sports and #2 have some SUMMER FUN! 🙂

We had planned to do this day trip with Grandma and Grandpa for some extra help with the “big stuff” (a.k.a. the chair lift!)

I was a little hesitant about putting the children on a chair lift. Maybe is was my own personal lack of experience on chair lifts and snow, having also been raised in the hot south. Or maybe it was the stories that Shawn (raised in Colorado), told me about how every year the news covers stories of people plummeting to their death from chair lifts. I don’t know. But either way, it made me nervous!

It made me more comfortable when on my first ride up with Jacob, his little body tensed up and he said “whoa, we up high!”

But all kids, and adults, did great on the chair lift. Logan nick-named them the “flying chairs.”

After the chair lift rides, we took the short ride down on the Alpine Slide. I have no idea how long the slide was, but it was sure fast! Hannah and Julia got to go all by themselves on the little car-thingy. Thankfully, there was room for Jacob and Logan to ride with Mom and Dad! (Kids under age 5 were required to ride with an adult.) Although, by the end of our time there they were both pros and wanted to go by themselves.

Some other fun we had was a jumpy trampoline, a gondola ride, and a rock climbing wall. But of course, the alpine slide, which we rode probably 7 times, was everyone’s favorite!

Me and Hannah climbing the rock wall.

Playing giant chess. 2 (Grandma and Hannah) against 1 (Shawn)


Eating Clean on a Choo-Choo Train

Sorry, cheezy rhyme, but I couldn’t resist. I’m a Mom of four with two preschoolers 😉

Anyways, we headed out for the day and started it off like we have everyday: packing the cooler. Yes, this may seem like a pain, bringing a cooler, but #1 it saves us a lot of money bringing our own food and #2 it’s healthier. The cooler sits in the car all day (with a several cold packs…) and whenever we’re hungry, we just pop open the back of the car and chow down.

Here’s some of our snacks we packed for the day:

(Sorry for the picture quality…)

  • dried fruit and nuts
  • baby carrots
  • LOTS of fruit! 🙂
  • Larabars
  • My trusty vegan protein powder
  • fruit strips
  • applesauce
  • gluten-free bread

We try to eat as much from our cooler but do go out for one meal. When we started planning our trip to Colorado, Shawn, who is from here, said we had to go to the famous BeauJo’s Pizza. It would be our “cheat” meal for the week. So we decided to go for lunch. Well, as luck would have it, they had an ENTIRE gluten-free menu!

Whoohoo! They even had an option for Daiya for cheese (which is dairy and soy free). We decided to go with the dairy cheese this time, but try out the gluten-free crust. YUM!! 🙂

Honestly, I am very surprised how accommodating Colorado has been to alternative eating. TONS of fresh options, and lots of gluten-free options at restaurants and grocery stores.

Julia enjoying some gluten-free pizza

Train time up into the beautiful Rocky Mountains!


How fun! Heatlhy cookie dough! Check this out. 🙂

Playful and hungry

Who doesn’t love cookie dough? I mean, seriously! I never quite understood why some people actually bake cookie dough! As I didn’t grow up with cookie dough treats, I’ve told you about my excitement when found out about cookie dough ice cream before…

And isn’t cookie dough the most playful food ever? You make any shape from dough, using your hands or cookie cutters and eating half of the dough while doing so…

Yes, you can do really exciting, creative shapes… or you can just form balls like I did. Yummy, rich, buttery cookie dough balls. Not your average cookie dough though! This is a healthier, almost raw version! But as delicious.

RAW Cookie dough 

  • 2/3 cup cashews
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • 1 tbsp whole cane sugar (for the typical cookie dough flavor. Can be replaced by brown cane sugar or more agave)
  • dash natural vanilla powder…

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Book Review: “Wheat Belly”

My dear friend, Rose, recently read the book “Wheat Belly” by William Davis. She was wonderful and wrote a review of the book. It was originally posted on her blog, but she was nice and let me repost it. 🙂 Thank you, Rose, for your work on this! Below is her review:

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health

“I don’t know if I would really call this a book review.  I guess I just don’t know how to define book review.  I read this book – and here are some of my thoughts and findings.  I think everyone should read this – if they want to learn about today’s wheat and how the government has changed it over the past 30 years.

“Eliminating wheat may be inconvenient, but it is certainly not unhealthy.” – Wheat Belly by William Davis

Okay, last week I finished reading Wheat Belly by William Davis.  I am amazed at the amount of information I learned from this book.  I read it cover to cover – taking time to reread things that flew over my head.  I love to read, but when reading information and statistics, I get a little bit lost.

I think this is an excellent resource.  I really believe the information is valuable.  Throughout my reading it, I would take screen shots of sections with my phone and text them to people whom I thought would find the information valuable.  Some people did not like this, but one person, whom I am shocked to admit is my husband, was fascinated by the information I sent him.

Let’s start out by saying that the wheat of today is not the wheat from 100 years ago.  It’s not the wheat from 50 years ago (or my parents’ childhood).  Heck, it’s not even the wheat from when I was a little girl.  Wheat today is actually a hybrid version of the wheat that our ancestors relied on as a food source.

First of all, it ain’t wheat. It’s the product of 40 years of genetics research aimed at increasing yield-per-acre. The result is a genetically-unique plant that stands 2 feet tall, not the 4 1/2-foot tall “amber waves of grain” we all remember. The genetic distance modern wheat has drifted exceeds the difference between chimpanzees and humans. If you caught your son dating a chimpanzee, could you tell the difference? Of course you can! What a difference 1% can make. But that’s more than modern wheat is removed from its ancestors. (http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2011/07/wheat-belly-frequently-asked-questions/)

The first thing I was shocked to learn about today’s wheat is that “eating two slices of whole wheat bread can increase your blood sugar more than 2 tablespoons of pure sugar cane” Wheat Belly by William Davis – back cover.   This fact appalls me.  It also explains why people who are diabetic and who cut out sugar and increase their “whole grain” intake are overweight and continue to be overweight regardless of what they do to their diet.  The other information amazes me as well.  My husband struggles with his weight.  He has since right before we got married.  We switched everything we eat to “whole wheat” early in our marriage because we have been taught that as long as we are eating “whole wheat” we are healthy and would lose weight and prevent a ton of illnesses.  Even in doing so, I noticed that Stephen is always eating late at night.  He isn’t eating “bad” foods.  He makes a few pieces of toast, has an apple with peanut butter, counts out a serving of chips, etc.  But he can’t seem to conquer his night time cravings and therefore suffers from acid reflux and excessive snoring amongst a few other “issues” he has.  Wheat Belly addresses this and suggests to remove wheat from your diet for 6 weeks.  Stephen is on board so this week – now that the craziness of the month is over – I am on a mission to create a wheat free menu for the next six weeks for our family.  I am eager to see what happens.

All in all, I think the idea of removing wheat is a good one.  Of course, people are wondering what will we eat?  This is what we will enjoy – real, natural foods such as eggs, raw nuts, plenty of vegetables, fish, fowl, and meats. I am able to use healthy oils – olive and coconut liberally.

I’ve been trying to live a Paleo lifestyle, and it hasn’t been the easiest thing to do.  So I have had my fair share of “gluten free” foods.  I don’t buy gluten-free processed foods, but when I go out to eat, if there is a “gluten free” option, I usually try it.  It is important to remember – and Wheat Belly points out that “Gluten Free” processed foods are just that – they are processed foods.  Don’t fall for the “GF” label – if it comes in a box and is labeled GF, it is still processed foods that contain ingredients that you cannot pronounce and more than likely has corn syrup and sugar in it.  Taking wheat out of your diet and replacing it with processed foods is not going to make you “all better.”  Taking wheat out of your diet and replacing it with beautiful, whole fruits and veggies and meats and eggs will make a huge difference.

Now the only thing about the book that I found really interesting and a bit off the top is that the author starts off with “Remove wheat from your diet – it is the worst of the worst carbohydrates.  But other carbohydrates can also be problem sources, as well as . . .” (Wheat Belly, Davis 204).    Then he goes on to say “don’t replace wheat with GF foods from the store.”  After that, he goes a little over the top in my opinion – and I understand why because he’s trying to prevent diabetes, but he closes with “If you wish to roll back the appetite-stimulating, insulin distorting, and small LDL—triggering effects of foods beyond wheat , or if substantial weight loss is among your health goals, then you should consider reducing or eliminating the following foods in addition to wheat…” (Wheat Belly, Davis 204).  Are you ready??

Cornstarch, corn meal, all snack foods, desserts, rice, potatoes, legumes, fruit juice and soft drinks, dried fruit and other grains as well as FRUIT.

Yep – he suggests eliminating all the above foods (and that means foods that contain those foods) and then gives you the suggestion of eating meats, raw nuts, good oils, dairy (LOTS OF DAIRY) and veggies. And only some fruits – berries are the fruits that Davis recommends you consuming avoiding bananas, mangoes, papayas and pineapple should be limited if not eliminated from your diet because of sugar content.

I do think that eliminating wheat from anyone’s diet, especially someone who has an addiction to it like my husband would benefit from it.  The gut issues described in this book – celiac, ulcerative colitis – the weird ailments that are caused from wheat – insomnia, certain ADD/ADHD/Autism diagnosis – and even the fact that “whole wheat” is a leading contributor to diabetes, especially Type 2 diabetes.  The effects of wheat have been shown in study after study.

I also fully believe that there is a cycle of hunger after eating wheat which is why one must eat so much throughout the day.  The first thing I noticed when removing wheat and grains from my diet is that I wasn’t hungry:

Recall that people who are wheat-free consume, on average, 400 calories less per day and are not driven by the 90-120 minute cycle of hunger that is common to wheat. It means you eat when you are hungry and you eat less. It means a breakfast of 3 eggs with green peppers and sundried tomatoes, olive oil, and mozzarella cheese for breakfast at 7 am and you’re not hungry until 1 pm. That’s an entirely different experience than the shredded wheat cereal in skim milk at 7 am, hungry for a snack at 9 am, hungry again at 11 am, counting the minutes until lunch. Eat lunch at noon, sleepy by 2 pm, etc. All of this goes away by banning wheat from the diet, provided the lost calories are replaced with real healthy foods.  (http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/press-media/faqs/)

Reading this book has taught me, just like searching my Bible for answers regarding certain topics, that everyone much do the research themselves.  You cannot rely on information you were given as a child because your parents, church, or friends offered it to you.  You have to discover things on your own, and have your own conviction based on your own findings.  Because if you don’t, you may end up being unhealthy and unhappy because you never thought to find out for yourself.”

Posted by Rose
Rose is a part-time working mom to two beautiful children, Hannah (age 9) and Cayden (age 7). She is married to her best friend, Stephen.
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GMO Diets = BAD! (?)

I stumbled across this article today from ScienceNordic and thought it was interesting. It’s a study that is being done on rats and their diets. The researcher has been feeding the rats GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) foods and the results are….fatter rats.

So, I know we aren’t rats, but if it makes the rats fatter, what is it doing to our waist lines?

(Taken from ScienceNordic article):

“As part of the project, a group of rats were fed corn which had been genetically modified for pest resistance. Over a period of 90 days they became slightly fatter than the control group of rats fed non-GM corn. The same effect occurred where rats were fed fish which, in turn, had eaten GM corn.

“If the same effect applies to humans, how would it impact on people eating this type of corn over a number of years, or even eating meat from animals feeding on this corn?”, he asks.

“A frequent claim has been that new genes introduced in GM food are harmless since all genes are broken up in the intestines. But our findings show that genes can be transferred through the intestinal wall into the blood; they have been found in blood, muscle tissue and liver in sufficiently large segments to be identified,” Krogdahl explains.

“The biological impact of this gene transfer is unknown.”

What products are GMO?

It would be virtually impossible for me to list everything in the grocery store that was GMO. Unfortunately, it is everywhere and it is not labeled. Several other countries require labeling of the GMO products. The US does not require it and laws are trying to be passed.

I did find a helpful website that lists products by type: nongmoproject.org

Back in July, I had a post on Soy…which is GMO….

Would love to hear your thoughts on the subject of GMO products! Good or bad? I mean, playing devils advocate, if our crops all died from pests (GMO products help protect the produce from pests), we would starve, right?