Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Adventures in Anti-inflammatory/hypoallergenic diets!

I realize that it has been well over a year since I last contributed to this blog, and not from a lack of any health or nutrition topics I could discuss.  Life's just been plain crazy!  So what is pulling me to suddenly write a random blog post, you ask?

My daughter's eczema.

It showed up about this time last year and has gotten worse and worse.  No amount of natural or medicated creams or lotions seems to help and though I have considered going to an allergist to figure out her issues, the wait to get an appointment would be months out and I have a hunch that the culprit may be one of the following: wheat, dairy, eggs, or peanuts (all amazing and delicious foods).  So, as much as I don't want to do this to her, why not just eliminate these foods from her diet and see if there is an improvement?

I was considering going on an anti-inflammatory diet anyway to see if I can regain some pep and get rid of some pain.  (An anti-inflammatory diet consists of a lot of beans, rice, fruits, and vegetables and no dairy, sugar, or gluten.  Though these are wonderful, nutritious foods they can feed a state of inflammation in the body if it's already brewing, so staying away from these foods for a time can help decrease inflammation in the body and allow for better healing) 

So to hopefully rid my daughter of her constant itchiness and bleeding/scabbed skin and to improve my health, we are going forward.

This is not easy for me.  I live off of bread and dairy products and I really love homemade cookies and fudge brownies.   However, the hardest part about going forward with this diet is the amount of prep work involved.  This diet is generally a diet of few (if any) processed foods, which means that I need to carefully prepare meals and snacks when PBJ's, pretzels, and cheese sticks have been the norm.  I usually wouldn't mind all the prep work, but I am a full-time working mother of two active little girls and I the thought has continued to circulate in my head: "I just don't have the time for this!"  Needless to say, I've been dragging my feet for the past month or two.......

....but after slowly gathering a meal and grocery plan, I've actually come up with quite a few delicious meals and snacks that will hopefully still be appealing to my daughter and won't leave my taste-buds crying for flavor from a bland diet of rice and beans.  It has involved a lot of research and recipe searching, but I think this will be very doable!

As I was preparing tomorrow's meals this afternoon, the thought came to me:  how many other people out there have thought about going on an anti-inflammatory diet to help improve their health or have thought of putting their child on a restrictive diet for similar reasons or to reduce allergies but have thought that it would be too much work or didn't know where to start or just thought there was no way they could give up good food?

Perhaps I need to revive this little blog and include some tips and recipes that others would find useful?

Just a thought.

And hopefully between my work days, my mommy days, and my quest to find a regular exercise routine, you'll be seeing me back on here soon....... :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

100% Whole Wheat Bread

After being gluten-free for four months now and feeling much better, I am trying to slowly start adding gluten back into my diet.  And what better way to start than with baking some 100% whole wheat bread??  
My mother taught me the fine art of bread baking when I was 10 years old, and I say art because it IS an art form!  If you've never baked bread before or have only tried a handful of times, it takes a lot of practice to get the "feel" for baking a perfect loaf of bread.  And I am a fan of homemade bread!  Not only is it yummier and super cheap, but without added preservatives and high fructose corn syrup, it is also much healthier than store-bought bread.  It is especially healthy if you use 100% whole wheat.  Remember, I am a big advocate of wheat as a health food.  Luckily it is also really tasty. (Just imagine how hard it was for me to go without for months!) 
So, I thought I'd share my recipe in case anyone out there is looking for a yummy whole wheat bread recipe......
4 c. warm water
2 Tbsp yeast
2/3 c. sugar (or you can use 2/3 c. honey--very yummy!)
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp salt
8-10 c. whole wheat flour (this will all depend on altitude and humidity, so use as much as you need to make a firm but soft dough)

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl and let sit 5-10 minutes or until yeast foams.
2. Mix in salt and slowly add wheat flour.  Mix for 5 minutes, adding enough flour until dough is no longer falling and sticking to sides of bowl.  (FYI: Although I use a super-old, super-awesome Kitchen Aid, you don't have to have a mixer to make bread! In college I didn't have a mixer so I used a little hand mixer to add half of the wheat flour, and then I added the rest of the flour in and hand-kneaded the dough.  The bread still came out awesome.)
3. Grease sides of large bowl with dough inside, cover, and let rise for one hour.
4. Knead dough for a few minutes on a floured surface and divide and form into loaves (Makes about 3 medium-sized loaves.)
5. Place loaves in greased bread pans, cover, and let rise for 40 minutes.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until tops and sides of loaves are golden brown.

Monday, January 10, 2011

How do you solve a problem like Morning Sickness?

It has been a looooong time since I have posted on here, and I apologize.  The bummer is, I have had all these new, delicious, healthy recipes to share as well as a few other things I have recently learned about health, particularly the vital role that estrogen plays in health.  However, the last few months have seen me struggling to just keep up with my family blog let alone get my basic daily tasks done.  The reason?  Morning sickness.

While it has been a very exciting time in our family getting ready to welcome cherub #2, morning sickness, for me, is far more than just "morning sickness".  It is a 24/7, puking-all-the-time, losing-lots-of-weight, and taking-multiple-trips-to-the-hospital-because-of-low-blood-pressure-and-dehydration kind of sickness.  Good thing I have my precious little cherub #1 running around the house to remind me just why I put myself through this.

So I have had some posts I've wanted to write, but have failed to find the energy to do so.  I tried some healthy and deeeeelicious recipes at the end of the summer that I had posted up on my fridge to remind me to share on this blog, but just looking at the recipes made the so nauseated that I threw them all away (I'm sure I will regret this someday).  So this post will simply be about a health topic that has consumed my life lately (morning sickness) and what I have been learning.....

Like I said, my morning scikness tends to be a bit more than just a morning barf session.  I feel like I have tried every single trick in the book to battle nausea: ginger, lemon, sour candy (which does help take the "edge" off for me a little bit), eating regular small meals, eating first thing in the morning, meds, essential oils, chiropractic adjustments, pressure points, massage, and so on and so forth.  While none has been a cure-all for me in the least, the two things that have helped the most that I would recommend to any sick pregnant momma are the following: zofran and acupuncture. 

Zofran:  The only medication that has successfully kept me out of the hospital (for the most part).  There are a few other nausea meds out there that doctors prescribe pregnant women, but I would recommend this over them all because it has definitely been the most successful at limiting the vomiting (it is the #1 anti-nausea med prescribed to cancer patients) and is very safe to take while pregnant with minimal side effects.  Hallelujah for Zofran!

Accupuncture:  Now this is a treatment I would actually recommend for many ailments beyond morning sickness.  I got acupuncture once when pregnant with my first child and noticed no difference so I never went back.  With this pregnancy, while I was in the height of weight loss and trips to the hospital to get IVs, my OB strongly recommended that I go get acupuncture treatments on a regular basis.  So I started going once a week and after two weeks, I was able to start eating and stop losing so much weight.  It really is quite miraculous!  In addition, I have been taking a few Chinese herb pills that have seemed to be a big help in conjuncture with the Zofran.  I really have been surprised at the results.  Plus, the treatments are so relaxing that I take a nice little snooze every time (and this coming from someone with a former needle-phobia).  So I would oh-so-highly recommend this form of therapy if you ever find yourself suffering from morning sickness that you just can't seem to manage or control.  Or, like I said, for any ailment, really.  My acupuncturist specializes in treating women with infertility issues and has remarkable success!  I also know people who's chronic pain is relieved from acupuncture or who are able to better fight off cancers with regular acupuncture treatments, so check it out!   

So there's my explanation for the long blogging hiatus, as well as a few ideas on how to manage morning sickness.  I can't claim to have the "cure", but find it interesting that I have found one western (modern) medical modality and one alternative therapy that have really made a difference in my health the past month or so.  I say, thank heavens for both.

And now that I'm going on 19 weeks pregnant and gaining back some weight and energy, hopefully you'll see me on here a little more often.......  :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Catching some Zzzzzzzz's

Through my many nursing school classes and continuing education courses, I can't count how often the importance of getting good, quality sleep is to one's health.  Like I said in a previous post, it is one of the three pillars of good physical health: diet, exercise, and SLEEP!

And if you don't believe me, the good people at Harvard Medical are here to back me up with 6 reasons NOT to scrimp on sleep:
  1. Adequate sleep promotes learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
  2. Sleep affects metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
  3. Sleep deprivation threatens safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
  4. Sleep affects mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
  5. Adequate, quality sleep is correlated to good cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
  6. Sleep is a key player in a healthy immune system: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help prevent and fight cancer.

Okay, so sleep is good.  But how many people really get enough sleep??  Studies conducted have indicated the the majority of us are not getting enough quality sleep, which doesn't surprise me since we Americans lead these busy, go-go-go kind of lives.  I have said multiple times throughout my life that sleep seems to be the best friend I can never have.  When I haven't been pulling late nights studying as a college student or up with a crying baby in the middle of the night, I have suffered from insomnia off and on.  Interestingly enough, insomnia is often a symptom/indicator of sleep deprivation; how ironic is that!?  Sometimes I think, "well no wonder I feel like crap!  I NEED MORE SLEEP!"  So if you're needing to catch some extra "zzzz's" and need a few little pointers or guidelines, here are a few little tips I have learned about sleep from class after class after class, as well as from my own personal experience:

* Whatever sleep you can get, try to make it consistent.  I remember one of my professors saying that it would be better to consistently get 6 hours of sleep every night going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time every morning, than to get an average of 7 hours of sleep a night but varying bedtime from 9pm one night to 12am the next to 10pm the next.  Our bodies run on an internal clock and the more we can keep scheduled wake and sleep hours the way our bodies like, the better they can function and the healthier we will be.  I remember an oncologist (cancer doctor) once speaking to a bunch of us nurses at a convention about the increased incidence of cancer in nurses who worked mixed night and day shifts (aka  nurses who had sporadic, varied times of sleep).  Thanks, doc.  I now have even a greater phobia of cancer.

* The average person needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night.  My body likes between 7-8, and everyone is different, so experiment a little.  You want enough sleep, but getting too much sleep can also be draining.

* Don't press the snooze!  It won't help you feel more rested.  In fact, notice that you'll often feel more drained throughout the day. That is because when you "snooze" for five more minutes, you are not allowing your body to run through a full "sleep cycle".  Did you know that while you sleep, your body goes through four different stages of sleep about every 90 minutes?  Getting multiple full sleep cycles every night is what helps our bodies to feel rested when we get up in the morning.  This is why a person who sleeps for 10 hours at night can still feel completely drained the next day if he was waking up every 1/2 hour at night: he was not going through complete sleep cycles.  He was not getting quality sleep!  So skip the snooze.  It's not going to help (but it sure is enticing sometimes!).

* Create a routine.  If you suffer from insomnia, it could be a symptom of sleep deprivation or it could be anxiety-related.  I think my insomnia comes from both. :)  And you know what has helped me the most?  The routine! 
     ~ Going to bed at the same time every night
     ~ Taking time to relax, meditate, or unwind so my mind isn't going a million miles a minute
     ~ Using a noise machine, soft music, anything consistent or repetitive to help me fall asleep.  For
        years, I would listen to the same religious talk on tape as I fell asleep.  I had heard it so many 
        times that my brain no longer paid close attention to every word, and the soft, quiet voice would
        put me out within minutes where it would have taken me an hour plus to fall asleep otherwise.

Sleep is really kind of my personal little soap box on health.  I swear by it.  Doesn't mean I always get it, but I swear by it.  I can honestly say that my health is ALWAYS better (and dramatically so) when I am getting enough, quality, consistent sleep.  And seeing as it is now 10pm, perhaps that is what I will go do right now. :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jicama Salad

In my continued search for some yummy, gluten-free recipes, I came upon this yummy salad recipe and we had it tonight with marinated Mahi-Mahi and coconut rice.  Yum!  So I thought I would share....

Jicama Salad 

1/2 large jicama, peeled and cubed
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 orange pepper, diced
1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/2 c. diced red onion
2 oranges, peel cut away and cut into small wedges
1/2 c. finely-chopped cilantro
1/3 c. fresh lime juice
2 T. olive oil
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of paprika
Salt to taste

Toss ingredients together and chill for several hours before serving.

Healthy Eats: Gypsy Stew

So the verdict is in: my small intestine biopsies have come back positive for gluten sensitivity.  Rats!  I can't emphasize what a bummer this is for me, seeing as I am a honey whole wheat bread fanatic and I LOVE to bake.  I am so much a better at baking than I am at cooking.  I have been experimenting with brown rice flour, but to be honest, it just is NOT the same as wheat: bread is not the same, pancakes aren't the same, muffins aren't the same.  *Sigh*

On the up-side of things,  I have really been picking up a few new recipes and dishes that don't require any gluten or flour or baking, and they are quite scrumptious.  So I thought I'd share, since I hope I'm not the only one who is starting out on this (painful) gluten-free journey.  (I do hope to someday start slowly adding gluten back into my diet, but we'll see....).

Here's recipe #1.  I mentioned the benefits of cinnamon in stabilizing blood sugar, so here's a savory, hearty, very healthy recipe that uses cinnamon.  I'll be honest: it's a different recipe, but in a yummy-yum kind of way. :)  Hope you enjoy!

Gypsy Stew

1 can garbanzo beans
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 c. frozen spinach
2 chicken breasts, cut and cubed
2 cans chicken broth
1 c. water
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper
1 package frozen spinach, about 10-16 oz
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
8 dashes cayenne pepper
8 grinds fresh ground pepper

Add all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours (6 hours leaves the sweet potatoes soft, but still firm; 8 hours makes them a little mushy in my opinion).

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sugar! Sugar! Sugar!

Did you know that sugar is essential to your survival?  Your brain runs on sugar; and without it, your brain would cease to function and you would fall into a deep sleep and never wake up.  True story.  

But don't take it to mean that you should go down a box of Krispy Kremes with the excuse that you're just trying to keep your brain alive.  Lucky for you, (or unlucky, if you were wanting an excuse for a Krispy Kreme overload) the body is aaaaaamazing at controlling the level of glucose (sugar) that is constantly flowing through your veins to your vital organs....and your body doesn't require sugar in Krispy Kreme quantities to do so.  With the combined efforts of the liver and pancreas, the body can store and release glucose as needed so that it can enter into the body's cells (via the blood vessels--the body's "highway") and be used as energy.  

As many people may know, the pancreas's inability to release insulin (the hormone that allows sugar to enter the body's cells) results in type 1 diabetes.  Those with this type of diabetes are dependent on insulin injections to survive. Those who live with type 2 diabetes usually have a pancreas that works just fine, but their body's cells have become resistant to insulin usually as a result of a diet chronically high in sugar.  Many people with type 2 diabetes can manage their disease quite well with diet and exercise.  And then there are those of us who don't have diabetes.  As far as we're concerned, our body is processing its sugars just fine so we have nothing to worry about.  Right?

Well, not so.  Did you know that when the body undergoes increased amounts of stress that it can affect the health of vital organs (like the pancreas and liver) that control blood sugar?  I remember learning this truth right away when I first worked as an ICU nurse.  I had many young, healthy, athletic patients who had suffered multiple fractures and injuries from car accidents who had never been diagnosed with diabetes, yet their blood sugars were super high one hour (known as hyperglycemia) and would bottom out the next (hypoglycemia).  They hadn't suddenly developed diabetes; their bodies were just having a hard time regulating their blood sugars after suffering such stress and trauma.  The consequences of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) over a period of time include blood clots, circulation problems, and poor healing.  The consequences of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) are lightheadedness, dizziness, tiredness, and then eventually nighty-night brain and eventual death.  Yikes.

Well, unfortunately for us, our bodies don't have to experience extreme trauma before our organs begin to have a little trouble processing, storing, and utilizing our sugar.  Because pregnancy is taxing on the body, it isn't highly uncommon for mothers-to-be to experience hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.  Likewise, those with compromised immune systems, bad diets, and poor sleep habits can all be at risk for having unbalanced blood sugar (high or low).  It is my personal belief that many people are walking around having these issues without even knowing about it or knowing that it could someday escalate into full-blown diabetes, and trust me, you don't want diabetes. 

So here are a few "Holly Suggestions" to keeping your pancreas and liver healthy and to give your body an extra boost in controlling that blood sugar:

*Try to limit the simple carbohydrates in your diet (white bread, candy, cake, and, sadly, Krispy Kremes).  Simple sugars absorb into the bloodstream rather quickly giving you a nice sugar rush (and a momentarily-high blood sugar) and burst of energy.  Unfortunately, the energy dies down quickly and your pancreas has to work extra hard to keep the blood sugar stabilized.  Many people who tend to get a little hypoglycemic at times think that they need more simple sugars in their diet to help bring their blood sugar levels up, when in reality, they really need a diet less in simple sugars and consistently higher in the following:

*Get most of your carbs in your diet from whole grains (oatmeal, whole wheat, brown rice) and hearty veggies (sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, broccoli, peas, beans, etc).  These more complex carbohydrates take longer to break down and absorb into the bloodstream.  The result is less stress on the pancreas and liver and a better ability to maintain a steady, healthy blood sugar level. 

*Cook with Coconut Oil.  Oh boy, this is my favorite!  I am obsessed with coconut anything.  I LOVE coconut, and lucky for me, coconut oil helps decrease the stress on the pancreas and is recommended by many chiropractors and naturopaths as a natural blood sugar stabilizer. 

*Cinnamon.  Okay, I don't know all the science behind this one, but it is a well-known blood-sugar stabilizer.  And did you know that cinnamon is a surprisingly delicious addition to savory dinner recipes!?  It's true.  So eat more cinnamon.

*Eat something every 3 hours.  I used to think my husband was ridiculous for always getting on my case about this, but it's true.  Sometimes I can lean on the side of hypoglycemia, but this never seems to happen when I'm making sure that I don't go unearthly-long stretches of time without eating.

*Get good sleep!  I am always getting on my husband's case about this one, only because it is my own personal belief that complete physical health consists of proper diet, proper exercise, and proper sleep.  And I don't believe any one is more important than the other!  7-8 hours every night.  Early to bed and early to rise, people.  You get your best sleep that way and I swear by making a habit of going to bed consistently at the same time every night (if you can help it) and not sleeping in regularly (again, if you can help it).  You'll feel better and your body will be better able to do its job to keep you alive and well and not just in the blood sugar department. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Guest Post: The Heavenly Infirmary

I have recently become well acquainted with someone else who has a passion for all aspects of health and is on her own mission to discover better health for herself.  She described to me her most wonderful analogy of finding peace and healing from physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering and I have asked her to write a guest post for this blog since she can explain it so much more eloquently than I can.  The following are her words about a "Heavenly Infirmary":

To the reader of this particular post: what I write here may seem a bit ethereal and "out there". I know. I have had the same reaction to it many times. But, after having truly experienced it for myself, I can no longer dispute it, nor would I wish to- I share this very private part of my existence, hoping to offer a venue of healing for the ravaged traveler out there.

In several different blogs, and elsewhere, I have alluded to difficult therapy. That is a compliment for some of what I have had to work through. My last therapist, while hating any organized religion, did love and serve God. In working with patients who have suffered miserably at the hands of others, my therapist has been given insights into how much Heaven really is a part of our daily lives, our happiness, and our healing, and what It will do to ensure that healing.

Probably the greatest gift this particular therapist has given me is a concrete knowledge of and experience of a Heavenly Infirmary. She had been, literally, trying for years to get me to go to this Infirmary in my mind and heart, to receive healing from some of the atrocities of my life. For whatever reason, I always resisted her. Maybe I did not fully believe in any power I might find there.

It was not until the last year or so that I finally gave in and went to the Infirmary. I did so because what was happening was so far beyond my scope of being able to help and I could not bear, for one second, the profound suffering that I saw. It dealt with a little child who had been so brutally beaten and broken that I knew he needed all the help that the Highest Being in the Universe could provide.

At the Infirmary, his little legs and body received the physical help and recovery he needed. While the physical hurts could not be completely washed away, they were tempered with understanding and spiritual balm.

As I witnessed the healing happening to him, I broke down and wept uncontrollably. I finally understood the power of this Infirmary. My therapist, a "tough old bird" was also very touched and moved as I recounted for her this experience.

I have not shared my feelings about the Infirmary with anyone besides her, other than with a trusted friend in the past day or so. I would like to share just a little about it here.

I believe that we, our souls, can and do exist on different planes, other than merely this mortal one. Given that, I also believe that spiritual and physical healing can also occur on these different planes. The Infirmary of which I speak, for me, exists on one of these planes. It is a very real place. I take myself there when I can find peace in no other place. I tell Heaven I need Their Help and that I am giving myself to Their comfort and care. I am greeted at the door by Their Love. I am taken in and given exactly that which I need.

In my experiences with the Infirmary, I have received rest from severe and debilitating physical pain that no medication has been able to touch. I have received loving chastisements, telling me what needs to change for me to be happy. I have received kind humor and familial intimacy from Them. They offer an unbridled and unconditioned support, love, and knowledge.

They give me a warm and fully functioning and safe place to be, away from heartache and hassles, until I am strong enough to again face them. When I leave the Infirmary, after receiving the help that I need and have asked for, I am never saddened with the good-bye.

In Their fully supplying love, They have given me the confidence of peace. I know when I need It again, I will be back. And, They will be there with outstretched hands and hearts.

Copyright © 2010 tba (URL: http://---.blogspot.com). Readers may distribute this post for noncommercial purposes provided such distributing is of the entire post, including author's copyright and contact information.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Man's Search for Meaning

I'm close to finishing this book and holy cow, what an experience!  What a masterpiece of deep thought, human suffering, and psychology all mixed into one.  I feel as though it has taken some of the lessons I have learned about physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health from the "Feelings" book, and perfected it into the raw, real, fundamental lessons that actually fit into my life.  
   The message of this book reiterates to me the important role that suffering plays in bringing us closer to our Maker, because intense human suffering brings one to the depths of the soul to question the very purpose of its existence.  Of course, Viktor Frankl's experience with human suffering is on a much deeper and extreme level than most any of us will comprehend or experience seeing as he survived the horrors of Auschwitz during World War II; yet somehow, the insight he gained from the pain, suffering, cruelty, and despair he experienced and witnessed, is wisdom that (I believe) most any human can plug into the equation of their lives and relate to on some level.  
   Though I have written mostly about topics related to physical health, I cannot ignore that health (which means "wholeness") is more than just physical.  One cannot be truly whole without the well-being of the mind and spirit as well as the body.  This is partially why I found the book "Feelings Buried Alive Never Die": because I do believe that the health of our minds and spirits (or lack thereof) greatly effect our physical health (and vise-versa).  While sometimes I believe that even the most positive and spiritual of people can experience great physical suffering and death from no fault of their own, I am fascinated by Viktor Frankl's observations that those in the concentration camp who had something positive to live for and had their spiritual and mental health intact usually defied the odds and survived far longer than those who were more physically robust.
 "He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how."
I may add to his profound words that sometimes enduring through the unthinkable how can bring us to our knees in humility to rediscover the why (if that made any sense!?).

I came up with that little thought and then read this paragraph:

"...it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.  We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life--daily and hourly.  Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct.  Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.  These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment." 

   You could probably have a semester-long discussion and debate about those words in a college lecture hall (probably has happened!?), and I can't come up with an eloquent, deep commentary on it, except for to say that I am grateful for my suffering (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc) and the opportunity it presents me to act as a better individual than I thought I could be or thought I was and to bring me closer to my God.  Often (well, usually) it isn't until I have endured through one trial and reflected on it that I can clearly see the purpose behind it; but there always is a purpose, and He is always there to carry me as I take the necessary steps to find it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

What are you eating???

Ever wonder the exact nutrition value of your food (especially if you prepare it yourself and don't have a nutrition label to go off of)??
Well, a few months ago my husband found an awesome website that will tell you every nutrient found in every food from a cup of raw broccoli to a slice of pumpernickel bread.

It also contains information about the glycemic index, effects of processing foods, healthy recipes, great foods for breastfeeding moms to eat, and healthy but yummy menu options for those with diabetes and heart disease.
Check it out!