Stress!!

     Have you ever been stressed?  Upset, uptight?  Nah you say?  You are lying!  This world is full of many stresses.  Working too much, not working at all, health concerns, kids, school etc.  Life is full of ups and downs.

     Last November I was at work.  I work at a rehab facility in Boise, and if I have talked about this before forgive me, but I do have a point that I will get to.  I was driving to work, and not feeling my best.  I have to leave a 6:10 so that I can start my shift at 7.  That right there is a stresser.  Anyway, I was feeling short of breath.  Much like when I had a pulmonary embolism 5 years ago.  I didn't think much of it, and continued on with my day.  Around 11:00 in the morning, my heart started to race, with more shortness of breath.  I went to talk to the charge nurse to explain my symptoms, and he took my blood pressure.  It was sky high.  He was very calm, and drove me to the ER, and after testing I found out I had yet another pulmonary embolism.  My hubby met me in the ER, and also had a calming effect for me.  After getting home my husband announced that he lost his job that day as well.  Yes it was the day from hell to say the least!

     Since last November things have pretty much stayed low stress as we were receiving unemployment.  Unemployment is not much at all, but it carried us through with my income as well.  Then in June our unemployment ended and we are living on savings.  So guess what?  The stress came back with the thoughts of running through our savings.  It will carry us until October, but then what?  My poor husband has been tirelessly filling out applications, going to job interviews etc. with little success.

     So what happens to your body when you are stressed?  For me I have gained weight.  There is a reason for this.  Our bodies are pretty amazing, and they do what they think is best for us.  Cortisol increases in our bodies, and makes us think we are hungrier than we really are so we eat more.  Your insulin levels rise and you crave sugar and fatty foods.  This is exactly what has happened to me.  I have been trying and trying to give up sugar, but with all the stress I just can't seem to get away from it.  I want comfort foods, something that will make me feel better.  Now I haven't gained a whole lot, but enough to make me sit up and pay attention.

     So what can we do to alleviate our stress?  It is such a hard concept to grasp, and something we need to work on continuously.  Many of you may not know that I'm LDS (Mormon)  We have a strong belief in God.  We have a strong belief in faith as well.  Faith is a hard nut to swallow as well, but at the end of the day what are you going to do?  I have learned through much stress that I just have to turn it over to God.  Give all my problems to him and then try hard to forget them.  Easier said than done, but with practice, practice, practice it can be done.   If we are doing all that we can, good things will happen with his help.  I truly believe that.

     There is still stress though, and the need for comfort food, so how can we alleviate that?  Pack your home with good foods.  Get rid of the junk, that way you won't eat what you don't have.  It's a fighting battle for me when I go to the store, to not purchase junk.  It's so prevalent these days!  I guess what it all boils down to is how bad do you want to be healthy, and how much are you going to fight to get it.

     Today we received some much needed good news.  My husband received an email asking him for an interview to get his old job back, now you might wonder why he would go back.  It's under a new owner, so we again are hopeful that everything will work out.  A lot of stress has been lifted.  Life goes on, and at the end of the day how you handle things will either make you healthy or not so much.



https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/stress-weight-gain#1 

Friends

     Have you ever had any friends that get upset about the way you eat?  Recently on Facebook I posted a YouTube video that was about hormones in dairy.  Dr. Klapper explains how cows are continuously kept pregnant and have been genetically modified so that they will continue to produce milk through their pregnancies.  It was an excellent video, chucked full of good information.  I have started to post to my regular wall to expose more people to a plant based lifestyle.  I also have a plant based group that I continuously post to because they are like minded people, but I want others to know about the dangers of animal products and perhaps more and more people will come over to this lifestyle. 

     However, one of my friends (boss at work) came unglued and commented that she was sick of seeing vegan posts.  I told her that I did not tag her in any of them.  They were not directed towards her.  She said, "well I'm tired of seeing them on my feed".  She went on to say that I needed to stop posting and to be careful because it confuses people.  Excuse me???  That is my wall, and I will post what I want to.  I told her to either unfollow me, or unfriend me.  I'm pretty sure she unfollowed me as she hasn't made any comments to other things since.  I would never ever say anything about someones posts even if they offend me.  She uses the "F" bomb frequently and I have never told her not to post that garbage.  That is her wall, and it's none of my business what she posts.  I just keep on scrolling, or unfollow.  Facebook has become it's own culture with a set of rules that are sometimes ridiculous.  I keep my facebook so that I can post plant based things on it, and advertise for my blog.  Otherwise, I would probably get rid of it.

     I have an idea of why people get so bent out of shape.  Vegans are notorious for getting in the face of people, and thinking their way is the only way.  Vegans are a kind of cult.  Their protests are awful.  I have nothing good to say about PETA except they don't eat animals.  They are in your face kind of group.  I'm not a "vegan"  per-say,  I'm a whole food plant based person.  I eat healthy foods so that I can be healthy.  I have however found out the cruelty associated with meat and dairy industries, but I don't protest animal slaughter houses. 

     Another reason I believe why people are so uptight with vegans, is they feel guilty about what they are eating, but don't want to give up their way of eating.  They don't want the information and know that what is said is correct and then have to make that decision to give up their delicious steaks, or milkshakes.  Whatever the reasons, I wish we could all just live in peace.  There is no reason to jump on someone for how they EAT!  Be respectful, and set an example.  Those examples go a long way, more so than ridicule. 

     On a side note, when I met my boss at work the following day, she was professional and fun to talk to at work.  There was nothing said about the incidence on facebook of which I was grateful.  I also strongly agree with sticking up for what you believe in.  Had she said anything, I would have told her this is not the place to have this discussion.  I didn't back down on the post.  I let her know that I will continue to post what I have learned and follow, and she could do with it as she wanted.  I have however, lost a couple of friends due to the posts.  That is their choice, and I hold nothing against them.  True friends wouldn't do that to each other. 

     If you are interested in the video, I'm posting it below.  Very informational.   

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW1BnYIioMc  

   

Grains (Millet)

     It seems while eating a whole foods plant base diet, someone is always thinking up new things to eat.  I find myself a bit overwhelmed with the fact that there is so many things to try out there, and not enough time to try it all.  I guess that's the beauty of this lifestyle is we never get bored.  Although, if you don't plan your week you could find yourself eating something you shouldn't because it's convenient.  This is why I'm always on the lookout for new things, and batch cooking saves me a lot of the time. 

     This week I bought some millet at the store.  Millet is a grain, and not a very familiar one, but I thought I would give it a try this week to see if we like it.  Someone on instagram posted their video by mixing coconut milk, pure maple syrup and millet in a pot and eating it up for breakfast.  Now my husband doesn't like quiona so I thought why not give millet a try.  I'm kind of burned out on steel cut oats.  (Also remember that quiona is a seed not a grain)

     Millet has a lot of advantages in this small little bead.  What are the benefits of millet.  Millet is high in starch, and we all know that starch keeps you full longer.  That in itself is a great benefit.  I get pretty hungry after eating cereal for breakfast.  Millet contains, B vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium and fat.  Healthy fats so don't run away from millet.

     Millet is one of the best grains you can add to your diet to protect your heart, because of the magnesium content it lowers your blood pressure. 

     Millet like oats controls your cholesterol and also can help our hearts.

     Millet helps control diabetes.  Diabetes is becoming rampant in the US, but in other countries like India where they harvest and eat millet on a regular basis diabetes disease is low.  There is a 30% less rate of diabetes in countries that consume millet on a regular basis. 

     By consuming millet or grains in general they aid in digestion.  I don't know about you, but my digestion is top notch since going plant based.  Constipation is a big concern if you eat animal products causing troubles in your colon with cancer.  When you eliminate regularly it improves your digestion, helps you to retain nutrients that your have eaten, improves your kidney and liver health as well.  I don't know about you, but I hardly ever get sick which means my immune system is great! 

     Also consuming grains can help detoxify your body.  Millet along with many other grains have antioxidants that help maintain our body health.

     Millet can also help in asthma sufferers.  Less wheezing.  Wheat has the opposite effect on asthma sufferers, but millet doesn't have the same properties as wheat.  However, if you suffer from thyroid problems, it is advised that you check with your doctor first before you consume heavy amounts of millet.  I guess moderation in all things is important. 

     For the full article about millet go to this link.  https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/cereal/health-benefits-of-millet.html

Veggies for Breakfast?????

      I have been reading a book called The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss, Author is Chef AJ.  It's an interesting read.  When I first started this journey my plan was to lose a lot of weight.  At first I lost 30 pounds probably because I didn't know what to eat, and I was learning what I could eat.  Now a year or two later, I have figured out this program, and my weight loss has stalled big time.  I can eat vegan foods, but they still contain lots of calories.  Not necessarily good for me.  Now that I'm reading her book, things are starting to make sense.  You really have to cut out a lot in order to lose more weight.  You don't necessarily have to not eat delicious foods, but less calorie dense foods.  I wrote an article about it in a previous article, but didn't really come to understand it until now.  I guess listening to things over and over and studying information, it really start to sink in.

     She suggests to eat 2 pounds of non starchy veggies per day.  She is very thin, and eats 4 pounds a day.  I ate a pound of broccoli the other day, and my tummy didn't feel all that great.  It was cooked, and it still gave me a tummy ache.  I need to gradually eat more and more non starchy vegetables, so my body gets use to it.  It's important to eat starches to and legumes and fruit, but your big portions should be non starchy.  It may take some time for me to really embrace this.

     One thing that she does suggest is to eat your veggies in the morning.  It really is the easiest time to get that much in.  Face it, our lives are busy!  Before I started eating veggies, I would usually start with oats, and fruit, toast and peanut butter, but veggies????  This sounds ludicrous!  I thought I would try it, which is when I got a stomach ache.  I love broccoli with balsamic vinegar that I get at Costco, Dijon mustard and nutritional yeast.  I know this is going to sound weird, but it gives it a kind of meaty taste, and roasting it in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes insures that it will be chewy.  Today is the third day in a row that I have had veggies for breakfast, and I can honestly say I'm starting to enjoy them.  I have also found that for myself if I eat anything sweet in the morning, I crave sweets all day long.  This is also mentioned in her book.

     I'm not perfect at this.  This whole lifestyle is a learning curve.  Just when I think I have things figured out, I get a new book and learn something new.  I totally love this lifestyle, it has changed my life.  I'm grateful that my oldest son introduced it to me almost 3 years ago.



  Broccoli with the balsamic glaze, well what's left of it.  I forgot to take a picture at the beginning!  LOL

Steamed cauliflower and kale.  Important to get your greens in everyday!
















Water sauted zucchini, onions, mushrooms.  Hashbrowns, with nootch, (nutritional yeast) and smoked paprika.  

Keto Diets, Are They Safe?

     Keto diets have been around for a long time.  Remember the Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet?  I have done the South Beach Diet.  It states that you can eat a high fat, low carb diet with success of losing unwanted pounds.  Does it work?  Yes it does!  How does it work?  By lowering your carbohydrates, it forces your body to go into ketosis meaning your body will burn fat or ketones instead of glucose, and your body needs that glucose to power your body and brain.

     I have tried every diet on the planet, and though it wasn't called the Keto diet, they are all one in the same.  High fat low carb.  Probably 4 years ago, I did this diet.  My hubby and kids were with me for it.  We did lose weight, but in the process didn't feel well at all.  How can something that the good Lord put on this planet to eat be detrimental to our bodies like fruits and vegetables, and in the long run what does it do to our bodies,  When your body doesn't have the glucose it needs, your energy levels are down.  You tire easily.  Also if you are eating a high fat diet in the long run your arteries will line themselves with plague (a gooy fat substance) that can cause heart disease.

     What do the plant based doctors say about these diets.  Dr. McDougall author of The Starch Solution, and The Healthiest Diet on the Planet, says when your body is in ketosis, you are sick.  You lose your appetite and thus you lose weight.  He says you can't stay this way very long.  You give up, and gain your weight back.     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKdoLFfAZnE  Another body builder was talking about if you need to lose weight fast, don't eat any carbs at all for 2 weeks, and you will lose.  He said it's mostly water that you lose, and what happens when you are done?  You gain that weight back and then some.  It's  a vicious cycle.

     In a recent study conducted in Finland, 2400 men were followed for 22 years.  They were broken up into 4 groups depending on how much protein they ate.  The lowest consuming about 78 grams of protein a day, and the highest consuming 109 grams of protein.  After that 22 years, 330 men were diagnosed with heart failure!  For me that is 330 too much!  It's like playing Russian Roulette.  You just don't know where that bullet will shoot you!   https://www.livescience.com/62687-high-protein-diet-heart-failure.html?utm_source=notification  Incidentally, you don't need as much protein as some my think, and  this is another subject for another day, but this is a good video worth watching.   https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-great-protein-fiasco/

     Along with all the protein consumed on a Keto diet, your kidneys have to work harder.  Also that protein sits in your gut like a bomb and causes cancer.  Since going plant based, my digestion has never been better.  It works like a well oiled machine.

     Do you know anything about Dr. Atkins?  That diet is still around today, and I have seen some of his products in the grocery store.  Remember they are all processed foods.  Dr. Ornish who is a plant based doctor says it is possible to lose weight on these diets, he also says that it is possible to lose weight smoking cigarettes.  We all know that isn't healthy. 
 https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/watch-dr-dean-ornish-debunks-low-carb-ketogenic-diet

     Diets will come and go.   There will be consequences of good and bad, but diets don't work.  Eventually when you stop that diet you will gain that weight back, and also have some diseases to go along with those choices.  I'm so thankful that I did the research into a whole foods plant based diet.  It has changed my life, and the lives of my family.  I will never go back to eating animal products.  I still have processed foods, and I need to stop eating those as well.  It's a life long education, and the more I learn the more I see that a plant based diet is the best on the planet. 

     On a side note, I just had a friend tell me that she has been doing a keto diet for over a year, and has reversed her health issues.  That's great, but in the long run what is really happening in her body.  In a whole food plant based history, I know of no troubles.  I even had a cardiologist from Cornell University call me, and tell me that plant based diets or lifestyles are the best with no ill effects.  I think that people like this keto diet because they like hearing that they can eat all the wrong things.  All the fats, and animal products that yes taste good, but aren't good for us, the animals or the planet!


   









Groceries

     The other day I was at the grocery store and was buying up their kale.  I buy a lot of kale because I have green smoothies.  The cashier asked so what's with all the kale.  I told him we don't eat meat, and kale has a lot of protein in it.  He wasn't really into listening, so the conversation ended there. 

     You can tell a lot about people by what they have in their grocery carts.  Please don't think from this article that I'm judging people in any way, but you really can tell what kind of people they are by what they eat.  At Walmart when I bought all that kale, there was a family with a mom and dad and children, all very large and over weight.  The dad was in a motorized cart, telling the kids what to put into the cart, all of it processed foods.  I thought to myself how sad that you are relatively young (middle 40s) and not walking through the store.  His ankles were huge.  I can't imagine the life they lead.  Now okay, he may have just had surgery or had a sprain, but those foods certainly were not going to help his situation. 

     How do I grocery shop you ask?  I stay out of the middle sections of the store where all the processed foods reside.  I do venture into where the soy milk is so I can make yogurt.  Or I do happen into where canned and dry beans are and sauces for Mexican foods, but for the most part I stay in the fresh produce isle. 

     Have you noticed how foods are marketed?  They are eye catching.  They market to children, with fun logos ie Skittles "taste the rainbow" or all the cereal boxes with Disney characters on them.  So inviting to small eyes.  I remember Frosted Flakes with Tony the Tiger.  Okay everyone, I'm almost 60 years old, and to this day I still remember his name, and how he used to say "They're Great!"  It has stuck in my brain all these years.  He is still on the box!

     Have you gone into the produce isle?  I have to be honest.  When we were struggling more than once in our married lives we would go to the store, coupons in hand and get things cheap!  All the wrong stuff I might add.  The produce isle seemed too expensive.  I couldn't afford that stuff for my family!  Well, since going plant based I have discovered just how inexpensive it is, unless of course you live in Hawaii, but that is another subject.  LOL  If you aren't buying all the processed, dairy and meat items, then living a plant based diet is relatively inexpensive.  It does cost a bit to get set up with spices and appliances, but once that is done you are good to go.  On average we (meaning my husband and I) we spend about 300.00 per month on groceries.  That might be a bit high though as some weeks we don't go to the store.  It all depends on how the produce holds up.  Looking back now, I wish I had understood what a plant based diet could have done for my family.  We do have some health problems that I'm positive could have been avoided.

     I have noticed that we buy about the same things when we do shop and that is a lot of potatoes, salad makings, and Mexican items like tortillas, beans and such.  Rice is another item that we buy frequently, and I try to buy that in big quantities then I don't have to buy it very often.  I buy Dave's Killer bread, and freeze it.  I do buy lots of frozen vegges so that if I'm too lazy or in a hurry to eat fresh I always have it on hand.  I also purchase vinegars, mustard and of course nutritional yeast for flavoring dishes and getting the vitamin B12 that is a must for vegans. 

     All in all grocery shopping is a breeze these days.  I must say though it's been a bit of a learning curve as we ate the SAD (standard American diet) all those years. 

     If you need help with grocery shopping, and you live in the Boise area let me know if I can be of service. 

     Contact me at nrrook@gmail.com or 208-640-3890       

Aging, Happens To the Best of Us

     This year I will be 60 years old!  WHAT?  How did that happen?  I never thought in a million years that I would be 60!  I thought I would be young forever!  Well..... much to my chagrin it's happening.  I have to dye my hair about every 6 weeks, I have really come to enjoy relaxing more, and I am having a much harder time losing weight.  I love sweets, and they go straight to my hips.  I have also noticed that I'm starting to look like my mother when she was old!  LOL  Well at least that's what I see in the mirror.  Others have told me that I don't look as old as 60.  How old are you supposed to look at 60? 

     Aging is a natural part of life.  It's inevitable.  We can't live on what ifs.  What if I were 30 again I would do it so differently, what if I were in high school again, I would have studied harder.  This kind of attitude gets us nowhere.  We have to take life by the horns and dig in to where we are now and if we need to make changes, then do it!

     I have noticed one thing, and that is by eating a plant based diet I have more energy.  I work a 12 hour shift 3 days a week at work and by the time I get home I'm a bit tired, but I still have energy to do things, although I know how important sleep is, so I try to relax and get the rest that I need for the next 12 hour shift.  I wonder how long I will be able to keep up this pace.

     I work in a rehab hospital, and we have 38 patients that have a myriad of health conditions and most of our patients are elderly.  We do have a sprinkling of young every now and again, but mostly elderly.  Most of our patients have inflammatory issues such as arthritis, chest pain, abdominal pains, rashes or fatigue.  All causes of inflammation.  What causes inflammation?  Animal products.  Here is a video my doctor Greger.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dj_MaHa2NDY

     I'm positive because I don't get sick more often, and my my knees aren't worse is because I eat a plant based diet.  I keep my inflammation to a minimum by eating this way.  Now I'm not by any means perfect.  I do fall off the wagon from time to time, not with animal products, but sweets are my nemesis.  I have noticed that my body hurts more when I do eat sweets.  Working on ditching the sugar. 

     How do we stay "young"?  We can't, but we can do things that help us age more gracefully.
I love this video by Dr. Ellsworth Wareham.  He didn't retire from being a surgeon until he was 95!!!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX58PyQwrcI&t=673s  Lots of great advice from a man who has been there done that.  Knowledge is power, and the more we learn about how to care for our bodies the better off we will be.  It's my hope that I will see my grand children get married.  I was married as some would considered late.  (27).  So having my first 2 grands didn't come until recently, I have a ways to go until I see them married.  At any rate, my goal is to take care of myself so that I will age gracefully, and see wonderful things to come in my children's lives and grand children's lives.

Drugs

     I have been following High Carb Hannah on YouTube for quite some time.  Probably since I started my own plant based journey.  I loved the way Hannah did her videos.  Always showing new recipes, and I bought a couple of her ebooks which I still love.  Well written, and yummy recipes. I also watched her and her husband in their tiny house, built off the grid and trying to plant a garden in Arizona.  I say trying, because it is pretty desolate where they live. 

     This morning I got on to see if she had posted, and she had.  I watched with anticipation what new found food she made.    Her and her husband have also been going on lots of vacations, and have vlogged their experiences.  I knew she had Costa Rica coming up, and I did really enjoy  her Hawaii trip.  It was beautiful what she posted.  She talked a bit about the foods she was taking with her on the airplane, and then she dropped a bomb.  She is going to Costa Rica to participate in taking a drug that will help her forget her past.  WHAT????? 



     The drug that she will be ingesting is called Ayahuasca.  Ayahuasca grows in the Amazon, and also in Costa Rica.  She refers to it as "plant" medicine.  She also states that it is the strongest hallucination!  One other thing she said that hundreds of years ago, the plant showed the Shaman how to make this tea to help people.  My mouth hit the floor!  Who believes this stuff!  She's a smart girl, or so I thought!  Now don't think I'm judging her.  I'm stating what she said on the video which I will link below. 

     Apparently she is going to a resort where there are medical doctors that help you through the process.  She also states that people throw up!  Why would you want to do this?  I hate throwing up when I'm sick!  Supposedly it helps you with depression, and addictions.  I'm sorry, but aren't we supposed to handle our trials with medical doctors, or essential oils, or holistically?  Group sessions where we can talk to other people and work through things? 

     Growing up, my parents relied heavily on the medical world.  I see nothing wrong with that, but as I have gotten older and I think wiser I have done a lot of reading about naturally curing myself like a whole foods, plant based diet.  This lifestyle can and has cured a lot of diseases not only with me, but many other people.  I was going to have a total knee replacement, but came across a doctor that used to be a medical doctor, but changed to holistic healing.  I had a couple of prolozone (ozone) shots to my knees, and I feel great.  I am opting not to have the surgery.  Everything I read about total knees and working in a rehab hospital has changed my mind about it.  Joints are just never the same and as good as natural joints. 

     I will link her video, and a couple of articles below.  I would say research it out for yourself.  To me a drug is a drug is a drug, no matter how you dress it up.  I never want to have a hallucination, something that isn't there, and there is no scientific evidence to show that it really works in the long run.

     Please be kind when replying to this article.  You may not agree with me, and that is your right.  If you do leave a comment use tack. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHJWLBWlatg&lc=z22tf5cqemvvh3vap04t1aokgxvsqtkbl13stjnzymwirk0h00410

https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/ayahuasca-addiction/#gref


https://draxe.com/ayahuasca/

This Has Been Quite the Month

     This week I go in for a kidney stone removal.  I'm a little apprehensive.  Of course with any surgeries there are risks.  I am on blood thinners because I have a clotting disorder, so I will be on blood thinners for life.  The surgeon is keeping me on those thinners because the surgery doesn't involve any cutting.  They will just go up in side, grab those stones and out they will come.  The surgery is all of 60 - 80 minutes long, but I'm looking forward to being done and feeling better!  I have been in pain for over a month with these dang things.  I have heard it is worse than child birth, but given I have only had C-sections and so I don't know about the labor thing. 

     This past week I went in for pre-admission testing.  They didn't have to draw blood as I had a bunch of blood test a couple of weeks ago to find out what was going on with this clotting disorder.  Everything else looked good with my blood work.  My cholesterol was just right, as was everything else.  My blood pressure was normal as well. 

     My nurse said you are very healthy for your age!  I was so tickled that she said that.  There are some things that diet just can't fix like my APS (antiphosolipid syndrome) or clotting disorder.  It can fix kidney stones though.  I just need to drink a ton of water, which I have already started to do.  Once these bad boys come out, it's a gallon of water for me every day. 

     I have read articles that a whole foods plant base diet can cure so many issues.  MS, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure just to name a few  Are you willing to do what it takes to cure your diseases?  It's a trade off.  You either eat really clean and enjoy life to it's fullest without disease, or you eat things that might taste good for a second.  It's totally up to you! 

     I am almost 60 years old!  (How did that happen???)  At any rate, I'm a healthy 59 year old woman, who can see many more years to come, and feeling well enough to enjoy life. 

     Keep me in your thoughts and prayers this coming week!  I make the Calcium stones!  Look how jagged they are!  YIKES!
Image result for kidney stones

Sugar


Image result for sugar is like a drug

     It's true that sugar is addicting.  I'm sorry to say that I'm addicted.  I have had a hard time my whole life being addicted to this stuff.  Growing up, my mother had a treat drawer for the grandkids, I was always in it.  My mother always made donuts for Christmas, because it was a tradition!  Can't sway from tradition!  We always had gum in the cupboard, and when I was 3 years old I climbed up on the counter to get to the gum, fell and broke my arm.  I don't remember the pain from that fall, but I do remember the cast.  I remember walking to the neighborhood store to buy penny candy, and eating most of it even before I got home. 

     When I was a bit older in school we had a field trip to the Wonder Bread factory.  We each got a little loaf of bread, and a bottle of chocolate milk.  I was pudgy in my junior high years, and didn't really start losing weight until I got to high school and got a boyfriend, I guess I just lived on love and stopped eating.  However, there was 7-11 across the street where we would go to get sugar in the form of sodas, and cheap treats! 

     As I got a bit older, and got married and had my family, sugar has always played a roll in our home.  It's a cultural thing in our church.  Go to an activity, have a treat.  I baked quite frequently for my family.  Always had cookies in the cookie jar etc.  I was helping my children to become addicted, and it worked!  My kids also have a sweet tooth.  Vicious cycle. 

     It wasn't until I became a plant based eater that I really learned the truth behind sugar.  I love to listen to Chef AJ.  She talks a lot about calorie density.  That woman eats a lot, and is thin!!  This past week, I listened to a webinar that was posted to Youtube.  I don't think it's available anymore as this is what she uses for her plan, and it's her business.  She talked in great detail how calorie density plays a huge roll in how a body loses weight.  She demonstrates how many apples you could eat compared to how many M&Ms for the same amount of calories.  I had heard her say it before, but for some reason it caught my attention this time.  She also talks how sugar can be so addicting.  There is a pleasure center in our brains.  When we eat sugar or complex carbs ie breads, pancakes etc it turns on our pleasure centers on with dopamine much like drugs.  The more we eat, the more we have to have.  Isn't that how drugs work?  Very addicting!

     I have tried several times to quit the sugar addiction.  I haven't quite yet figured out how to overcome this problem.  I don't have a problem with meat, dairy or oils but sugar is a whole different problem.  I know, don't have it in the house, but I still work full time in a hospital full of nurses that like to bring junk to our break rooms, and a nurse that has chocolate in her office.  I have NO willpower!  If it's in front of me, I sir-come to temptation.  Then I feel badly with stomach aches etc.  When I pack my lunch for work, I pack good things to eat but then the sweet tooth comes to bite me in the butt.  I guess it all boils down to what you want to do with your health with your weight.

     I do know that when my hubby gets a job, I'm going to join Chef AJ and her program for ultimate weight loss.  I have seen people that have had great results working with her.  We all have our crosses to bear, and mine is sugar. 

 

Life

     Just a fair warning, this blog post is going to be a bit different than my entries in the past.  A lot has been happening in my life, and I felt so many emotions this last couple of days.  If I said I wasn't depressed, I would be lying. 

     As many of you know, I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons).  There is so much expected of us as members of his church.  At times it's overwhelming, for example 3 hours of church every Sunday, visiting members, sometimes meetings in the middle of the week.  My ward is so incredibly hard to get to know.  We have lived here over a year, and I have an acquaintance is all.  No one that I can really be friends with.

     When we moved here from Coeur D Alene, I left my dear friend behind that I loved like a sister, heartbroken to leave her.  I miss her everyday! 

     I work in a hospital full time, and I work 3 twelve hour shifts, and mostly 3 in a row.  This is so I can have multiple days off.  I have been learning a new job over this past 2 weeks.  I am a MA - CNA by trade, but my body is breaking down so I have decided to work at the front desk.  My heart aches because I love patient care, to get to know your patients has been such a blessing in my life.  I have seen so many sad cases and miracles as I have worked in the rehab hospital.  Truly blessed my life.  I will miss this work immensely!  However, as we age we can't do as much.  My knees are shot from years of abuse ie, skiing, water skiing and patient care.

     I have also had some challenges in just this last couple of months.  In November I suffered a pulmonary embolism as I'm sure you have read.  This was a devastating diagnosis.  Put on blood thinners, wakeful nights thinking I may not wake up, seriously frightening!  On top of that news, my husband lost his job.  Now I have that to worry about as well.  He is an older gent, and employers do look at that. 

     This past Saturday, I lost one of my dear friends to cancer.  She struggled with this for months, years....She and I had some wonderful memories, why would she be taken so young from her family that loved her, from her friends, and she was so talented in quilting!  She was a wealth of info when it came to sewing.  She had so many talents.  As I'm writing this, tears fill my eyes just thinking about all the great times we had together.  I met her just after we were married 32 years ago.  She became my fast friend.  I have lost too many friends to cancer, and while my husband is my best friend, he's not a girl!  There is just something about girlfriends you know?

     I don't tell you all this to depress you, but it is all kind of depressing.  I tell you this because life is a challenge.  Yesterday I didn't go to church because I was tired, and beat from the news of my friend.  I just needed some time to wrap my head around it.  I also began to think about my future or the week ahead.  Do I really want to wallow in self pity?  Do I want to sit in a dark house all alone and just watch endless hours of Netflix? 

     The answer to the above question, was at first yes!  Then I got to thinking that God really would be upset with me.  My ward is so difficult, but I know he wouldn't want me to give up.  He wants me to endure until the end.  He wants me to fight!  He wants me to be happy!  How can we attain happiness in our lives?  We can follow the Savior, I believe in his atonement!  He died for me!  He paid for my sins.  I must go to the church that is unfriendly because that's where I'm supposed to be!  I can learn more about the Savior, I can do this for me!!!  I'm not there for others, I'm there for me.  I can also be an example to those at church, and be nice to them.

     Another way to come out of the doldrums, is to count my blessings!  I have so much to be thankful for!  I have an amazing husband that supports my every whim!  He loves ME!  We have 3 great children, all who served as missionaries for our church!  One oldest son is married to an awesome girl whom I love dearly, and they have 2 beautiful little girls.  That in itself is so great! 

     Life is so hard!  We all have challenges, no one is exempt!  We are here on this earth to overcome our challenges.  We are here to see how we handle things.  We are here to prove ourselves to do what we know is right.  Life is too short to be sad!  The sun WILL come out!  Things always work out.  I need to have the faith that things will be fine.  It's an ongoing challenge, but I'm sick and tired of being unhappy!  It's time to find things that make me happy.  I need to serve others, to reach out to those that are in need, that way I forget about me and find happiness in serving others. 

     I hope all that read this are doing well.  I hope you are eating healthy and are happy.  Life is what YOU make it! 
Image result for happiness quotes     

 

Smoothies!

     As you know I have been hypernourishing myself for a while now.  I have learned a lot, and really went into it blindly.  I trust the good doctor that helped devise this protocol, but then I got to thinking, I really should do my own research on this.  We should never ever just go into anything blindly.  So I looked up some of the ingredients in this concoction. 

     Kale, now you can use spinach, but I can't as I make a lot of kidney stones.  Spinach contains high levels of calcium oxalates, and there in lies the problem.  So kale it is.  Did you know that kale is in the cabbage family?  I didn't.  It is super easy to grow, and I might plant it in my garden this summer because I can freeze it for my smoothies.  Why eat kale?  It is low in calories, high in fiber and contains alpha linoleic ALA acid.  This fatty acid is good for brain health, reduces type 2 diabetes risk, and boosts heart health.

     Kale is the new beef meaning it contains iron.  It's important to have high hemoglobin (blood count) in your system, and it helps with our energy.  Don't worry, it's not constipating at all.  Just the opposite.  Iron also helps with cell growth!  

     Kale contains 88% of our daily recommendations for vitamin C more than an orange, and vitamin K to help maintains bone health.  It also helps stop the build up of calcium in your tissues that can lead to stroke and atherosclerosis.   It contains 192% vitamin A which helps our teeth, skin and helps prevent urinary stones!  Okay, I'm there!  

     Kale also contains more calcium than milk, and milk is not the kind of calcium you want.  That is another article though.  Kale doesn't leach calcium out of our bones.  It will protect us from osteoporosis, and hip fractures that so often plague our elderly. 

     Kale also is a great antioxidants key ingredients are quercitin and kaempferol.  Research has shown that these play a role in preventing cancer cell formation.  

     Kale also helps with inflammation.  Because kale is high in vitamin K and omega 3 fatty acids, it helps with inflammation which causes issues with autoimmune diseases like asthma and arthritis.

     Kale also is a good detox ingredient.  It helps our livers by ridding our bodies of toxins.  

     Kale is a power house food!  I try to have a green smoothie everyday.  It's a great way to get all your greens in.  Also because the membranes of the greens are ruptured it's easier for our bodies to assimilate the nutrients found in kale.  

     My smoothies also contain 1/4-1/2 cup of flax seeds.  I will talk about those in my next article!

     Here are my smoothies for my 3 day work week.  I threw them in the freezer, and I will just process them in the mornings before work.  I can't drink all of it before work, so I drink at least half before and then when I get home at 8.  Cheers!











The Intelligence of Animals

     When I started this 2 years ago (man that went fast!) I did not do this for the animals.  I started eating a plant based diet strictly for my health.  My blood pressure was high, I was over weight, and sluggish.  So 2 years ago on January 1st, I started eating healthier.  I have to admit there were set backs, and still I have a hard time not cheating.  I don't cheat by eating meat, I have tasted it here and there, but it doesn't taste good at all!  My issue is with sugar.  I have an extremely hard time not cheating with sugar!

     As the years have rolled on, I have come in contact with a lot of education.  I have talked to many people, and I have learned so much!  I have found what I'm passionate about.  I could talk about nutrition to anyone and everyone.  Well, at least if they will listen.

     Along with that education, has come a lot of information about animals along with factory farms, cruelty and madness.  I think I have mentioned before as a child going to pick up my father from work, and he worked across the street from a slaughter house.  The stench was awful, but sadly as a child I didn't put two and two together. 

     So how intelligent are animals really?  I used to think that cows were the dumbest animal on the planet, but studies have been done that tell us this isn't the case.  Apparently cows have good memories.  They recognize faces, and even after years they still know someone.  They don't eat plants that aren't good for them, and if they are feeling ill they eat plants that help them to feel better.  I have seen films of calves being taken away from their mothers.  I can't even imagine.  The mothers have been know to cry for their babies for hours, even days.  That to me is just so cruel!  Apparently cows have a leader in their groups.  If there is one cow that doesn't want to listen, that cow is isolated from the rest.  They also can learn tricks just like a dog.  Watch this video.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK-4-5eYRwc  Love this so much! 

     Who likes pigs?  The little ones are so dang cute!  My daughter at one time wanted a mini pig, but we later discovered that mini pigs don't exist.  It's just a scam to make money.  Pigs are highly intelligent.  A study at Cambridge University did a study on pigs, and found out that pigs will recognize themselves in a mirror, that they understand how mirrors work and can use mirrors to find food.  They also will play games in order to get treats.  Some say that they are a dirty animal, and hate the fact that they role in mud, but it's just a way to stay cool.  Researchers have discovered that pigs are as intelligent as a 3 year old child.  Here is another video about a pig named Nelly.  Very interesting.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YKgfCH_Phk

     When we lived in Utah, we had the opportunity to bottle raise a couple of goats.  My children enjoyed this immensely.  We found out just how smart they were, and that they loved the affection that we gave them.  We would sit in the backyard in chairs, and they would crawl up into our laps for some love.  I wish I had pictures of this.  Queen University in London did an experiment to see if they could train goats to solve puzzles.  I will let you read the article here.  https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/never-underestimate-goat-not-stupid-looks-180950265/

     As you can see these animals are intelligent.  You can see that they enjoy the love and affection that we humans can give them.  Why are they any different than your dog or cat?  I have seen videos of cattle and pigs on their way to the slaughter house, and the fear in their eyes.  I will refrain from showing those videos, but if you are interested there are a lot online. Do your research as I have. Makes me sick to my stomach to watch what really happens in these factory farms.    I know that God isn't happy with how these animals are treated. 

     I have had friends tell me that their farms are not run like a lot of these places, but really the animals are all the same.  They are intelligent creatures.  Eating meat and drinking milk is not for me.  We don't need to eat it!  Eating a plant based diet has blessed my life.  I do still have health problems, but I know I would feel a lot worse if I didn't eat a plant based diet.  I wish a plant based diet would help osteoarthritis, but it's because of my snow skiing and other activities that caused my bad knees, not my diet. 

     We must learn to be compassionate.  We need to learn kindness.  We also need to stand up for what we believe in.  I will never go back to eating meat.  I have learned so much in the last 2 years that it isn't an option for me.  Lets find compassion for all animals!


Image result for compassion for farm animals

     

The New Year!


      

 Who fell off the wagon?  Come on, be honest with yourself.  I see posts on Facebook all the time where people say, I have eaten this way for months, and I'm gaining weight.  At times, I don't think they are being honest.  They cheated and just don't want to admit it.  We have all been there.  We all are human.  So what if you cheated, there is always tomorrow!

     I have to admit I did succumb to things I should not have put in my mouth.  My kids came home from college for the holidays.  There are traditions that come with Christmas.  We didn't have the traditional oysters and clam chowder, but there were Christmas cookies with white flour and butter.  Now before you unsubscribe saying I'm hypocritical, please remember that NONE of us are perfect.  We are all on this earth with trials and tribulations, and we are trying to overcome a lot of things.  Sweets are my problem, and cookies that my mom made, and her mother made just come a long with the holiday.  Personally, I don't think one holiday is going to kill us.

     There are those that ridicule others for drinking milk and the milk industry I will agree is horrible.  I am not one of those people who will look down my nose and judge everything that goes in your mouth, after all it's really none of my business.

     Today is a new day, with new ideas and new recipes!  Today we went to Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods and picked up items that filled our fridge and pantry with goodness.  Lots of fruits and veggies.  Potatoes, bananas, soy milk and coconut milk.  Cleaned out the fridge and freezer.  Out with the old, and in with the new.

     The holidays were awesome.  I don't regret making cookies with my kids.  Memories that will last a life time.  I cherish that time with my family.  I look forward to them coming home, and being together.  As we start a new year, do the very best you can to reach the goals you set.  Don't make them unreasonably high or unreachable.  Do something small, and finish that goal, I think 3 goals is perfect!   Try to be a better person than you were last year, but don't beat yourself up if you fumble and fall.  Life goes on, and it's too short to worry about things that are out of your control.  I will never be that skinny 21 year old ever again.  I  need to love myself and accept those things I can't change.  I wish the best for each and everyone of you!  Lets make this a great year!



Image result for new years goals

By the way, my goals are 
1. Get stronger before my surgery, yoga 3 days a week.
2. Eat a WFPB diet NO Cheating!
3.  Read my scriptures every day!