Full Disclosure…I’m A Recovering Addict…

simplethings busy

…of the BUSY drug, that is.

How often do you take the time to enjoy the little things?  All too often I find myself running from one thing to another…just hurrying along with my head down, thinking of my to do list.  When I realize it, I have to stop myself….and look around for what I can see.

One Sunday morning last fall my girls and I were driving to my church, and as we were getting off the highway there beside the off-ramp there was a HUGE flock of Canadian geese resting.  I found myself almost wishing they would take off, so I could see them in their trademark V pattern.

On that same road is a mechanic shop who took some old tires and painted them to look like 2 Minions.  Every time my girls go past the shop, Miss J HAS to see them again.  (She LOVES Minions.)

Often, when I’m driving the back roads of my town, I have seen wild turkeys, deer, or other wildlife.  I know there’s a flock of wild turkeys that wander town, but never know where I’m going to see them next.  When I was still with my girl’s dad, they came through our yard a time or two, but they more often are in wooded areas.  I’m not sure how many deer live in town, but there are several.

I find when I take the time to notice the little unexpected joys in life, my stress seems to liquify.  What do you think?  What are some unanticipated surprises you have had that have brought you joy?

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Did You Get Your 12 A Day Today?

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I don’t know about you, but in today’s society how often do people really hug?  It takes a 20 second hug for the chemical oxytocin to be released by your brain.  Oxytocin is the body’s natural antidepressant and anti anxiety hormone.

There are people at my church who wear buttons advertising “free hugs.”  Every week I make sure I get mine.  I can honestly say it makes a difference in how the rest of my day goes; I’m better able to focus, and handle stresses and setbacks better.

The opposite is true on days I don’t see anyone else.  I’m easily distracted, more scattered, and more on edge.  (Today happens to be one of those days.)

On days I have my girls I seem to have the opposite problem.  Miss M is often clingy, and I have a hard time getting things done.  I try not to discourage it too much though, as I know it may well be just a matter of time and she won’t want to hug me at all.  Most of the time Miss J is that way now, so I treasure every hug freely given by her.

What about you?  Do you have certain people that you like to give or get hugs to and from?  Do you notice a difference when you get a lot of hugs vs. when you don’t?

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You CAN Get From Here To There

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Transitioning to clean eating isn’t as difficult as some would have you believe.  Here are a few ideas to help you:

  1. When you go shopping, mainly shop the perimeter of the store.  The fresh fruits and veggies (organic but for the clean 15, when possible; READ HERE FOR THE CLEAN 15 ) and fresh meat and dairy (again look for organic) are where to focus. The aisles have mostly processed foods.  As a single mom, I get that processed foods are easier; thats where the app I told you about yesterday, Buycott helps out.
  2. Besides using the app, start reading labels, and remember what to be looking for.  Things that are high in sugar, fat, and sodium aren’t good.  Stay away from hydrogenated oils, and the things I talked about earlier in the week; here, here, and here.  Even canola oil, which many tout as healthy (and I believed them for many years, until I had a similar experience to what another blogger had…I didn’t investigate further as she did though) is in fact far from it.  Now fresh Canola Oil CAN BE healthy, depending on how it’s made.  However, usually the high temperatures and chemicals used are of unknowable safety.  The high omega-3 levels can become rancid and oxidize during the process, so it needs to be deodorized…more chemicals, and much of that high omega-3 goodness gets stripped away.  Also, anything oxidized can bring on inflammation.  That includes causing arthritis, and myriad other issues.
  3. Drink more water.  I’m still having a hard time with this, but I’ve cut my caffeine consumption way down and have started every day first thing (even before coffee) having a glass of room temperature lemon water.  Read here for the benefits of warm lemon water.  Back before I met my ex I had just gone through a 3 month workout program and gotten in the best shape of my adult life, and I was drinking much more water then.  I believe the amount of water I drank played a role in my getting so fit.
  4. You’ve been eating conventional processed food all your life, so your tastebuds are used to certain things.  You may need to trick them at first.  One thing I had read about and started doing even before my ex and I broke up was mixing the healthier brown rice with the conventional white stuff.  (He complained at first, but over time got used to it.  Same with my girls, though now if we make rice its just the brown.)  The same goes for pasta…mix it half and half.  Using more herbs also helps raise the taste quotient.
  5. Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavors and different recipes to keep from getting bored.  Just tonight I made enchiladas out of an organic rice, pepper, black bean mix, half a can of organic diced tomatoes with a can of chicken and some shredded organic cheese, filled spinach tortillas, covered them with a combination of the rest of the diced tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce, put a little bit of Tastefully Simple’s Simply Salsa, and more organic shredded cheese.  We hadn’t had enchiladas in years.  I served them with guacamole and instead of sour cream (since what we had in the fridge had turned) organic cottage cheese.  Miss J almost cleaned her plate…Miss M not so much, but I have 2 containers of leftovers in the freezer now.

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Sources

6 Tips to Clean Eating Success. April 10, 2013.   http://youputiton.com/5-tips-to-clean-eating-success/

Michaelis, Kristen. Why Canola Oil Is Not A Health Food. http://www.foodrenegade.com/why-canola-oil-not-health-food/

Recipe: Warm Lemon Water (and health benefits!). https://foodmingleblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/recipe-warm-lemon-water-and-health-benefits/

So NOW What Do I Eat???

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So now that you understand just how bad GMOs and most processed foods are for you, how do you go about changing things?  Committing to adopt a clean eating lifestyle isn’t as hard as it might seem, and as I was starting out I found an app for my iPhone that substantially helped.  The app is called “Buycott, ”  and how you use it is simple.  You put in the campaigns you care about, then scan the barcodes of the products you want to buy, and they tell you if the company supports your campaigns or to avoid the company.  For example, I’ve joined 34 campaigns, some of which include Demand GMO Labeling, No Monsanto, Coke Boycott For anti-GMO labeling Contributions, Buy Good Food & Avoid Bad Food, Buy Organic Brands That Support Your Right To Know, Avoid eating Toxic Artificial Trans Fats, Say No To Canola Oil, No MSG or Free Glutanic Acid in Our Food…..you get the idea.  (By the way, the maker’s of this app don’t know I’m posting this, and aren’t giving me anything for it.)

Before you even go to the store to start finding food for your new lifestyle, you need to clean out the junk.  Anything with artificial ANYTHING needs to go.  If you can’t pronounce it, chances are high that it shouldn’t be going in your mouth.  Its easier to stick to clean eating if you don’t have the bad-for-you stuff around to tempt you.  (I had it easy and did it when my girls were either at school or with their dad.)

When I was starting out with this process, I used my app CONSTANTLY.  At first my girls complained that I wouldn’t get snacks their father gets them, but when I showed them the app and explained what it shows and why I’m using it, they were ok.  Now, when my girls are shopping with me, they will come up to me holding something and say, “Is this ok to get?  What does your app say?”  Last night that happened again at Whole Foods (my favored grocery store that just opened up this summer in my area), and though there was poor coverage as I hadn’t signed on to the wifi, I could tell based on what the item was and the standards of Whole Foods it was ok.  That comes with time.

If you think you need to do this “all or nothing”, you WILL set yourself up to fail, and give up.  Its a transitional process, and “falling off the bandwagon” is completely ok…you can do it in stages if you want (30% clean/70% not, then 40/60, 50/50, etc.); just please don’t give up and go back.  Your body will feel better, you’ll be more energetic, and you will be more “present” in your life.

Next time, I’ll go through some steps that can make it easier to transition, how to keep from getting bored, and how to get your family on board.

THAT’S In My Food?!? Part 2

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The list of countries who have banned GMOs and things made with them continues to grow.  On Facebook today I saw that Slovenia and Serbia have joined the ranks.  I also learned that the American Academy of Pediatrics has cut their ties with Monsanto, which is VERY good news.  They are the same people who produced Agent Orange in the Vietnam War era, developed Saccharin which has been confirmed as a carcinogen (causes cancer).  They are also spending millions to fight GMO labeling.

Slight tangent aside, I’ve been listing things banned in many countries but still lining the grocery store shelves.  The next thing banned in the EU, Canada, and China but prolific in America is bread, rolls, biscuits, etc made with “enriched flour.”  The flour is enriched with potassium bromate.  The baking companies say that the brominated flour makes the dough better able to stand up to their bread hooks by being more elastic.  Seems harmless enough, right?  Not really; it has been linked to several problems…everything from cancer, kidney and nervous system damage, thyroid problems, and gastrointestinal discomfort.  Yuck.

Next comes a lovely muscle enhancer found in almost half the pigs, a third of the cows, and an unknown number of turkeys.  Its called ractopamine, and originally used to treat asthma, in 2013 Russia issued a long term ban on red meat and pork due to traces of this chemical.  They have joined the 160 countries across Europe, China and Taiwan.  Since 1998 more than 1700 people have been poisoned from eating pork from pigs fed this.  It affects the cardiovascular system in humans, causing chromosomal abnormalities, hyperactivity and behavioral changes.  The damage to cattle is more severe, including death and/or disability, and reduced reproductive function.

There are a few more, and more not necessarily banned but should be avoided.  I’ll get to those another time.

So its clear that there are LOTS of things to avoid putting in your body (and your kids).  Next post I’ll start talking about how to transition to a cleaner, healthier diet.  (Not diet in the sense of losing weight, but you will probably find yourself shedding pounds put on through eating the junk that the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association pushes.)

SOURCES 

10 Banned Foods Americans Should Stop Eating Infographic. November 30, 2014. http://complete-health-and-happiness.com/banned-foods/

20 Ingredients To Memorize And Avoid In ANY Food You Consume.  http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/20-ingredients-to-avoid.html

Hari, Vani. Food Babe Investigates: How Food Companies Exploit Americans with Ingredients Banned in Other Countries. February 11, 2013. http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/02/11/food-companies-exploit-americans-with-ingredients-banned-in-other-countries/

Smith, Kim. Think You’re Eating Healthy? Think Again!   August 27, 2013. http://blogs.naturalnews.com/think-youre-eating-healthy-thinkagain/

 

 

THAT’S In My Food?!? Part 1

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Yesterday I started telling you about things that are banned across the globe, but are found in most every grocery store in America. I told you about 3 things then, and there are more than 7 more.  Listing them all would take several hours, and I know you don’t have the kind of time to read it all at once.  I’ve decided instead to break them up to a couple more posts.

Processed foods are more often than not what most families have for dinner.  Their convenience can’t be denied; after a long day at work coming home and making something healthy and nutritious is often beyond the scope of what parents are capable of.  (More on that in another post.)  Plus, there’s the kids complaining about whatever they have going on that day.  Getting dinner on the table…something they will eat…quickly is imperative.  All too often, that famous blue box of mac and cheese gets cooked….you might add some veggies and meat to make it more nutritious, but maybe not.

The thing is, that blue box is loaded with artificial flavors and colors, and other things besides.  All the artificial flavors, of which there are too many to name, ALL are made from chemicals and have absolutely ZERO nutritional value.  There are negative health impacts associated with every. single. one.  Artificial color is in almost everything these days.

Artificial color is MUCH worse.  What it is made of will make you decide never to it eat (or drink) ever again.  FD&C Red No. 40, or Tartrazine (a.k.a. Yellow No. 5)…any artificial food coloring…all are derived from petroleum. Yup….the same stuff that’s in your gas tank.  I don’t know about you, but that is something I don’t wnt my girls eating…nor do I want to!  These colors have been linked to behavioral issues, birth defects, and cancer as well.

So you think you can pick up a cooked chicken on the way home instead…how much can be done to a chicken?  Unfortunately….a LOT.  Arsenic-based drugs have been approved for use in chicken feed, so that they cause accelerated growth and make the meat appear fresher.  Though Pfizer has voluntarily stopped using these drugs, there are still many others on the market.  Chronic arsenic exposure has been linked to skin lesions, headaches, anemia, kidney damage and failure, low IQ, increased risk of diabetes, stillbirth, miscarriage, infant mortality, and low birth weight.

Usually, if you see something  in the ingredient list that is abbreviated, it’s a chemical compound made in a lab that has a detrimental effect on your health.  BHA is butylated hydroxyanisole; it’s known to cause cancer in rats and is suspected to be a human carcinogen as well.  BHT, or butylated hydroxytoluene, can cause organ system toxicity.  Both of these are in most breakfast cereal, meats, nut mixes, beer, dehydrated potatoes, chewing gum, and butter spread.

Olestra, AKA Olean, is a fat substitute developed by Proctor and Gamble and approved by the FDA in 1996.  It’s used in fat-free snacks, and is calorie- and cholesterol-free.  Rats fed chips with olestra in them ended up GAINING weight, and cramps, leaky bowels, and diarrhea.

I don’t know about you, but those things all make me think one thing…..EWWWW.  After I get through the list of things banned in other countries, yet readily available in most grocery stores across America, we’ll get to ways you can transition to healthier eating.

SOURCES

10 Banned Foods Americans Should Stop Eating Infographic. November 30, 2014. http://complete-health-and-happiness.com/banned-foods/

20 Ingredients To Memorize And Avoid In ANY Food You Consume.  http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/20-ingredients-to-avoid.html

Hari, Vani. Food Babe Investigates: How Food Companies Exploit Americans with Ingredients Banned in Other Countries. February 11, 2013. http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/02/11/food-companies-exploit-americans-with-ingredients-banned-in-other-countries/

 

 

Are You Being Unknowingly Manipulated?

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Did you know there are several products commonly used in foods in this country that are BANNED in several others?  Is it any wonder then, that America has higher rates of several diseases than most other countries?  America spends 2.5 times more than any other nation on healthcare, yet compared to 16 other nations we come in at the youngest life expectancy for men and near that for women.

One third of Americans are obese, and another third overweight.  Almost one third of children are either overweight or obese.  Obesity is the second highest cause of premature death, and is linked to 70+ percent of both heart disease and diabetes cases.

It can’t be the case that THAT many people just don’t care about what they are eating.  It seems to me that the food industry  and big harms has been using us Americans as guinea pigs for their genetically engineered food (or other products, some of which I will tell you below).  The profits they make cause them to continue to mislead us, which causes big pharma to sell us more chemicals to treat the symptoms, rather than heal us.  This is a never ending downward spiral.

Genetically modified (or engineered) foods are chemically altered, splitting DNA and combining it with other types of foods or even nonfood.  (What I told my girls was to think of say an apple that has as part of it, say a cockroach.  Their reaction was as expected…ewww!)  What I didn’t realize until I was researching for this article, was that these GMO foods alter OUR DNA as well! Some of the GMO produce has pesticide IN it, so that pests who eat it die.  I understand the thinking.  However, that means consumers INGEST the pesticide, and it is changing our DNA and causing health problems.

Fine…you think.  We won’t eat it, but its ok for animal feed right?  Wrong.  Cows and sheep that had been eating cotton were fed GMO cotton and died, some as quickly as under a week later, some up to 30 days.  An autopsy showed severe inflammation on the internal organs, along with black spots.  Other animals have gone infertile eating GMO feed, or die from internal bleeding.

Many countries…with more being added daily…have decided to completely reject GMOs since they have not been proven safe.  More than two dozen now ban them, while 3 times that have labeling for genetically modified food.  Yet there are neither here in the richest country on earth.

So what other things are banned elsewhere but not here?  One is BVO, or Brominated Vegetable Oil.  This was originally patented as a flame retardant.  Today it is found in citrus drinks like Sunkist, Fresca, Fanta, and Mountain Dew, and my daughter’s favorite….Gatorade.  (They love the fruit punch Gatorade.  I used to LOVE Mountain Dew, and miss it!)  It has been shown to accumulate in human tissue and breast milk, and caused fertility issues in animal studies.  Additionally, it is linked to major organ damage, growth problems, and hearing loss.  It competes with iodine in the body, which can lead to iodine deficiency, hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, and cancer.

One more thing banned internationally but allowed here in the USA is milk and milk products that are laced with rGBH.  This is a man made equivalent to a hormone made in the cow’s pituitary gland, bovine somatotropin, which will increase milk production.  rGBH was developed by Monsanto from genetically engineered E. coli bacteria.  (I don’t know about you, but that’s not something I want in my body!)  In 1999, the UN Safety Agency decided unanimously not to endorse rGBH milk, which is what brought about the international ban on US milk.  rGBH exposure can lead to colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer.

There are many more, but I’ll tell you about them in my next posts.

 

Sources

10 Banned Foods Americans Should Stop Eating Infographic. November 30, 2014. http://complete-health-and-happiness.com/banned-foods/

Hari, Vani. Food Babe Investigates: How Food Companies Exploit Americans with Ingredients Banned in Other Countries. February 11, 2013. http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/02/11/food-companies-exploit-americans-with-ingredients-banned-in-other-countries/

Smith, Kim. Think You’re Eating Healthy? Think Again!   August 27, 2013. http://blogs.naturalnews.com/think-youre-eating-healthy-thinkagain/