Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Health Insurance vs. No Health Insurance

About 2 years ago I cancelled my health insurance. I reasoned that I was paying thousands of dollars more than necessary for something that I wasn't even fully able to use. My dermatologist doesn't take health insurance, and dental wasn't covered. So two out of my three scheduled doctor's appointments weren't covered. Awesome. So basically I was paying $3000 a year to go to the gyno, and of course the occasional antibiotic, which was what I needed.

What I got however when I was covered under health insurance was a lot of unnecessary headaches. This has happened 3 times in my adult life (pretty much the last 10 years). The first time was when I was in college out in Colorado. I woke up one morning with a stabbing pain in my side. I went to the doctor asap. He asked me if I had done any strange physical exercise. Nope. He had me bend over and touch my toes, do some random stretching all the while asking me if it hurt in these certain stretches. Weirdo. His very technical medical diagnosis was that I had probably pulled a muscle doing something I wasn't aware of doing (which was actually quite possible considering the amount of alcohol that was consumed during any given weekend), and he prescribed me pain killers. Hmmmm. Could that be any indication why people are so F-ed up on prescription meds?

Thank god I was done with my finals because 10 minutes with pain killers and a heating pad and I was in a coma. This lasted for 3 days until I went home for Christmas break. So while I was home I became really really sick. I mean I was sick for like 3 weeks. And kept ignoring it because I was too enamored with partying with my friends after not seeing them for 4 months. One night it was too much, I wasn't getting better, so the next day I was off to the doctors. First thing they did was give me a urine test. 

What'd-ya know? Kidney infection! I just want to publicly thank the campus doctor at CU Boulder for misdiagnosing me. He mustn't have had enough experience to know that when women get pains in their side it would be a good thing to give a quick urine test. 

Health insurance ridiculousness episode #2 started in Atlanta when I had just graduated college and was working at the dreaded architecture firm. I went to the dermatologist and ended up having a staff infection. Awesome. So I was put on this medicine which I guess cured it because the said rash never came back. So at the same time, I got sick. Like really sick. I was laid up in bed for about 3 days, and all of a sudden I have these killer headaches. I mean so bad I can barely open my eyes. So I go back to the derm for a checkup and I'm telling her about my headaches. She says something to the effect of  "I don't want to alarm you but one of the side effects of the medicine you have been on is brain swelling which could be the reason you are having headaches." 'Oh fuck' I thought. So she sends me off to an eye doctor to do a scan of my optical nerve or something like that. What'd-ya know? No brain swelling. 

It was actually a caffeine headache. 

How do I know? Well after feeling completely unnerved by both doctors and thinking my life was over and I had some weird unknown disease, I went to Starbucks and got the largest cappuccino they have. Guess what? In about 20 minutes my headache was gone. I just want to publicly thank my dermatologist in Atlanta for scaring the shit out of me and sending me for many unnecessary tests. Next time maybe ask if someone has a caffeine addiction. (Since we are the most over caffeinated country on this planet, that is the first thing I  would ask my patients.

The third episode was a few years ago back home. I went to my family doctor (who is no longer my family doctor) for chronic fatigue. The diagnosis was that I was severely low in B-12. So I started taking B-12 orally which fixed the problem. Well that spiraled into me going there literally every week for something different. A test here. A flu shot there. Some B-12 shots. He tried to push some vaccines on me but that was a giant failure on his part. Every time I went in there there was something else wrong that needed another visit. Finally I just stopped going. I was spending so much time going to these damn appointments and all I was left with was this feeling that I was seriously not right. I just kept thinking 'I'm 26 years old. Why the hell am I spending so much time at the doctors office?" 

At the same time I was going to a dermatologist that liked to cut moles off. A lot. She was a very nice lady who had a field day with the amount of moles I have on my body. It was a bit ridiculous. The last time I went to her she cut 1" out of my armpit. One look at the bloody gauze pads on the table and I was like 'this is not right'. So I found a new derm who is more about quality not quantity. 

All that was before I turned to diet and lifestyle to fix my problems. I cancelled my health insurance by reason that I would just pay for everything out of pocket which would be thousands of dollars cheaper, and it would keep me away from doctors until and if I actually needed to be there. I understand why it costs so much money now to take care of people's health from a doctor's/hospital's point of view. It's because they don't ask enough questions, prescribe too many drugs and tests, and get people looped into going to them for every little ache and pain. 

In the last 2 years since I did a major overhaul on my diet and lifestyle I feel better than I ever have after any doctor visit (except when I found out I was low on B-12... that S-H-I-T saved my life). Even though I don't know everything that is going on inside my body, I have learned to listen to it when it tells me it needs something. Need sleep? You got it- I'll give up my whole weekend to sleep if that's what I need to do. Eventually I guess I will get health insurance when I start to have kids or whatever. But until then, I am really satisfied with the progress I have made with changing the food that I eat and how I live my life. 

Disclaimer: I am not bashing doctors or nurses. I definitely appreciate their value when I am in need of their services, and this by no means that this is my view of all doctors or nurses. There I said it.

Advice: If you are not happy with your doctors find new ones. And get second opinions. And if you believe like I do that more progress can be made with your fork, change your diet and see how amazing you will start to feel.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The early bird definitely...

...gets a lot of S-H-I-T done!

Well, I guess all that sleep I got over the weekend filled up my sleep tank, because I woke up at 4 am this morning wide awake, ready to go. But what the hell do you do at 4 am? I had already cleaned my entire house including all of my laundry (yesterday). So I read. For 2 hours. I finished my fourth book in 2 weeks. Don't worry...I'm no speed reader. They were the equivalent to reading gossip magazines. Easy summer reads. Next time (if there is a next time) I'm going to get myself to the beach to watch the sunrise.

Anywho. By 6:30 I was dressed, back from grocery shopping, and cooking breakfast. Since I have all this time today I started planning my lunch. This is my new favorite salad- although it doesn't involve any lettuce.
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 can artichoke hearts (quartered)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 red onion
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper
  • thyme, sage, and/or basil (I used all three)
  • feta cheese
Umm, amazing! Just cut everything into big chunks, sprinkle on some feta crumbles, drizzle some olive oil, toss, and you are good to go. I can literally eat an entire large bowl of this in one sitting. And I will this afternoon!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lazy Days of Summer

stormy day in paradise

I was just laying in bed (yes it's after noon) and LOVING the fact that the weather is crappy and I have absolutely no reason to get out of bed. I always wondered where the 'lazy days of summer' saying came from. Especially since my life during the summer is pure craziness. I swear as soon as May 1st hits and the sun goes down later and the nights are warm and breezy I go into lets-go-psycho-crazy-and-experience-everything-the-beach-has-to-offer mode. 

But this weekend has been just that. Lazy! Last night I traded in dancing for Chinese food, wine, and a book. I got 11 hours of sleep. AMAZING!!! It's that time in the summer where it's more than halfway over, I've had so many beach days, I've done everything I wanted to do, and now I can relax. Ahhhhhhh!

Going to continue laying in bed for a while. Enjoy your Sunday!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"EAT YOUR MEAL...there are starving children in (insert country)"

I have a distinct memory of being guilted into eating my dinners when I was a child by reason of starving children in other remote parts of the world that I would probably never come in contact with. I don't remember who exactly it was that was telling us this (I don't think it was my mother... more possibly my grandmother) but I do remember thinking how absolutely ridiculous that was- how does me not eating my food translate to starving kids in Africa not being starving anymore? I was way ahead of my time even as a 6 year old.

I know now it was probably one of those things that you say to kids to get them to shut up even if it isn't the truth, but I would think it would be a better tactic to say something like "you better eat your meal otherwise YOU will be starving". RIGHT?!

Anyway, the point of this randomness is that I remember sitting at the dinner table when I was a kid and honestly not being hungry. I know for the sake of the sanity of every mother on the planet you have to have your kids eat the same thing all at the same time, but it just doesn't seem right to eat when you aren't hungry. I think we are all born knowing how to eat for what our body needs, and somewhere along the way we get messed up into thinking we need to eat breakfast by a certain time, lunch at noon, and dinner at 6pm.

Eating when you are not hungry equates to gaining weight...which is something us as Americans don't have any problem with right?

I have been trying to listen to my stomach more recently to tell me when I am hungry and not the clock. Sometimes I don't eat until noon or 1pm, but when I eat I am hungry. I have to admit the eat by the clock BS that's been drilled into my head by years of being in school and working in an office is hard to get over. Sometimes I find myself thinking "I should eat now it's noon"...instead of saying "I should eat now I'm hungry". So many of us are out of touch with what our body needs when it needs it because of what we were taught growing up. My goal is to get off the breakfast, lunch, dinner schedule in my head and eat when my body is telling me I'm hungry.

What were you told as a child to get you to eat your dinner?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Making Changes

So sorry for the minor interruption in my posting last week. I had a lot going on in my head that I had to work out. First of all, I was seriously considering moving in with my sister. She's moving back to NYC and needs a roommate. I had to make a decision rather quickly because if I wasn't going to move in she had to find a roommate. I thought about it at first and was like 'am I really going to uproot my life almost on a whim?' and then I was like 'this would be a great opportunity to advance my career and help build Raw Generation.'

This was the struggle I had in my head for 5 days. I have been very comfortable here in my awesome (very spacious) apartment 6 blocks from the beach close to all of my friends and most of my family. I have spent the past few years slowly making changes so that I was less stressed out, more calm, and healthier. On the other hand, I have always wanted to live in NYC. It would definitely be fun, but very different from what I am used to.

In the business coaching program I am doing, they talk about getting out of your comfort zone so you can grow. I am realizing that maybe I am too comfortable and I need to stretch myself. So I was like 'I can just sell my car, find someone to sublet my room, put all of my stuff in storage, continue working, and move in 5 weeks!' (That sounds like a Jess type of agenda) Well, I went up to the city Friday to look at the apartment. It's such a beautiful place, however, it's small. I stood in it by myself for a solid half an hour trying to figure out if just the bare minimum of what I needed to survive and work from home would fit. Not happening. And then I looked at the "kitchen" and asked 'where the hell am I going to cook?' Not happening. And then I asked myself if I could get by without cooking as much as I do.

This was the point where I had to checkin with myself to see if this was actually right for me right now. I have been working on this blog for almost a year now. My goal in writing to all of you is to share my experiences and the things I have learned about living a healthier life. Food and cooking have been my main topics (although more recently I have broadened my scope to other aspects of living a healthy life). And more recently, I have been "cooking" and testing for Raw Generation. Can I really live somewhere that is going to be physically impossible for me to have the space to cook and prepare?

As much as I would love to tell you that I am spontaneously moving to NYC in a few weeks, I had to stick with my more logical roots, be honest with myself, and listen to my gut.

ME: 'I would love to be in the city to explore and meet new people and live with my sister.'
GUT: 'This is not right for me right now.'
ME: 'I can do all of this. Work and get all of my ducks in a row in a few weeks.'
GUT: 'I need to plan this out so that in the next year I can make a move into something that is going to fit the lifestyle I have created and want to maintain.'

So there you have it. I am going to stay where I am and set myself up so that in the next year I can move into the city if that's what I still want to do. Everything has been changing so fast lately. I have a hard time keeping up with myself.

So there is a 2nd reason for my mild absence last week. I finished my first e-book. It was a 2 day writing marathon to get it to the point where it was 99% complete. I am getting it reviewed by a few people right now for some constructive criticism, and then I am going to get it posted up here on my blog as well as Amazon. I have no idea how this process works with Amazon so if any of you have any idea shoot me an email at jessicageier@gmail.com. I'm sure it's not that difficult, but any advice would be much appreciated. This is my next step... to get it selling. I'll be writing a post dedicated to explaining it when I am ready.

So, last week was hectic but super productive. I feel good about my decision and am glad that I was able to weigh the pros and cons and listen to my gut feeling. As much as I love being spontaneous, moving to the city on a whim is just not the type of thing I think I should do right now.

The moral of this story: listen to your gut!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Benefits of Raw Foods w/ David Wolfe

Quick post today! I am working through some major decisions I have to make this week. Will let you know more about what's on the horizon as soon as I can.

I just came across this short video done by David Wolfe, who is a raw foods and super foods expert. He very concisely explains what we get from raw, living foods, and how it benefits us in the long run. 

What's the key? Well there's two- minerals and enzymes.

I fully believe in what he is saying because I have seen the transformation my body has gone under since I started increasing the amount of raw foods in my diet, as well as eating (or in my case drinking) high mineral foods- dark green leafy vegetables.

Some powerful stuff here!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Flushing My Liver

Throughout my studies I have read of, in many places, the importance of having a clean liver. Ultimately you want every organ to be clean and functioning properly, but the liver is one of the organs that deals with toxins so if it's all backed up it's almost literally full of S-H-I-T.

The liver regulates most chemical levels in the blood and excretes a product called bile, which helps carry away waste products from the liver. All the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver. The liver processes this blood and breaks down the nutrients and drugs into forms that are easier to use for the rest of the body. More than 500 vital functions have been identified with the liver. Some of the more well-known functions include the following:
  • Production of bile, which helps carry away waste and break down fats in the small intestine during digestion
  • Production of certain proteins for blood plasma
  • Production of cholesterol and special proteins to help carry fats through the body
  • Conversion of excess glucose into glycogen for storage (glycogen can later be converted back to glucose for energy)
  • Regulation of blood levels of amino acids, which form the building blocks of proteins
  • Processing of hemoglobin for use of its iron content (the liver stores iron)
  • Conversion of poisonous ammonia to urea (urea is an end product of protein metabolism and is excreted in the urine)
  • Clearing the blood of drugs and other poisonous substances
  • Regulating blood clotting
  • Resisting infections by producing immune factors and removing bacteria from the bloodstream
When the liver has broken down harmful substances, its by-products are excreted into the bile or blood. Bile by-products enter the intestine and ultimately leave the body in the form of feces. Blood by-products are filtered out by the kidneys, and leave the body in the form of urine. (source)
The reason I am concerned with this is because I get acne right before and during my period as well as having other horrendous symptoms in general (as some of you well know if you have been lucky enough to be around me). I have read that awful period symptoms happen because your reproductive system needs to drain every month, and when the proper drainage channels are clogged up, you get PMS. 
Now, one of the best things you can do for this is a raw diet. I am TRYING to accomplish this, but have had a really hard time getting close to 100% raw lately. I also know that the more dark greens leafy vegetable juice I drink the less my symptoms are. However, sometimes I just can't bring myself to drink 2 huge glasses of dark green juice a day. Maybe that will change once Raw Generation opens it's doors and we are producing this stuff all day everyday. 
I found something else that I am trying. It's a very potent and pungent concoction that is supposed to flush out your liver. I had to make a few modifications because the original recipe seemed very unpalatable
Original Liver Flush
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 c. lemon juice
  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 knob ginger root
  • 2 c. orange juice
  • cayenne pepper to taste
My Liver Flush
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 whole lemon, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 knob ginger
  • 2 whole oranges, peeled
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • water and ice
  • DIRECTIONS: blend all until thoroughly chopped up and mixed.
I drank one this morning. It was intense. I'm not going to lie. I almost gave up. If I had put any more garlic I wouldn't have been able to drink it. But I am going to try it once a day for as long as I can stand it and see if I notice any differences. The one thing I'll tell you I noticed this morning was that about 10 minutes after I finished it I had to go #2. So maybe it does move things along and force your liver to dump the toxins into the intestines. We'll see! Only time will tell. If any of you are interested in flushing out toxins I suggest starting very slow. One of the side effects of the juice cleanses that are so popular now is getting very sick (a topic for another post- maybe tomorrow)

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Breakthroughs in Cancer Research

After considering everything that I have learned about food and how it effects our health, I have no doubt in my mind that the "cure" for cancer is plant based. It is very inspiring when I come across new information about what is being done in natural-based cancer research. I just wanted to pass this article along to you that I received written by Dr. Mercola'.

Surprising Cancer-Fighting Benefits of Pineapple Enzyme

(Original SourceBy Dr. Mercola
One of the reasons why conventional cancer treatment is such a dismal failure in the United States is because it relies on chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy drugs are, by their very nature, extremely toxic and typically work against your body's natural ability to fight cancer, e.g. destroying host immunity instead of supporting it. 
One of the biggest drawbacks to chemotherapy is the fact that it destroys healthy cells throughout your body right along with cancer cells, a "side effect" that often leads to accelerated death, not healing. 
Another devastating side effect of chemotherapy is the way it actually supports the more chemo resistant and malignant cell subpopulations within tumors (e.g. cancer stem cells), both killing the more benign cells and/or senescent cells within the tumor that keep it slow-growing, or even harmless.
As a result, this unleashes a more aggressive, treatment-resistant type of cancer to wreak havoc on the body.
A handful of natural compounds have been discovered, however, which exhibit an effect called "selective cytotoxicity."  This means they are able to kill cancer cells while leaving healthy cells and tissue unharmed.
This type of cancer treatment is intelligent, targeted and will not result in the death of the patient from "collateral damage" in what is increasingly a failed war not against the cancer being treated, but the patient's own irreversibly devastated body.

Bromelain in Pineapples Kills Cancer Cells Without Harming You
One such compound is bromelain, an enzyme that can be extracted from pineapple stems. Research published in the journal Planta Medica found that bromelain was superior to the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorauracil in treating cancer in an animal study. Researchers stated:
"This antitumoral effect [of bromelain] was superior to that of 5-FU [5-fluorouracil], whose survival index was approximately 263 %, relative to the untreated control."
What makes this impact particularly impressive is that the bromelain worked without causing additional harm to the animals. The chemo drug 5-fluorauracil, on the other hand, has a relatively unsuccessful and dangerous track record despite being used for nearly 40 years.
As written by GreenMedInfo:
"As a highly toxic, fluoride-bound form of the nucleic acid uracil, a normal component of RNA, the drug is supposed to work by tricking more rapidly dividing cells -- which include both cancer and healthy intestinal, hair follicle, and immune cells -- into taking it up, thereby inhibiting (read: poisoning) RNA replication enzymes and RNA synthesis.…
When a person dies following conventional cancer treatment it is all too easy to "blame the victim" and simply write that patient's cancer off as "chemo-resistant," or "exceptionally aggressive," when in fact the non-selective nature of the chemotoxic agent is what ultimately lead to their death."
Selective cytotoxicity is indeed a property that is only found among natural compounds; no chemotherapy drug yet developed is capable of this effect. Aside from bromelain, other examples of natural compounds that have been found to kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells include:
  • Vitamin C -- Dr. Ronald Hunninghake carried out a 15-year research project called RECNAC (cancer spelled backwards). His groundbreaking research in cell cultures showed that vitamin C was selectively cytotoxic against cancer cells.
  • Eggplant extract: Solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides (BEC), which is a fancy name for extracts from plants of the Solanaceae family, such as eggplant, tomato, potato, Bell peppers, and tobacco, also impact only cancerous cells leaving normal cells alone. Eggplant extract cream appears to be particularly useful in treating skin cancer. Dr. Bill E. Cham, a leading researcher in this area, explains:
  • "The mode of action of SRGs [glycoalkaloids solasodine rhamnosy glycosides (BEC)] is unlike any current antineoplastic [anti-tumor] agent. Specific receptors for the SRGs present only on cancer cells but not normal cells are the first step of events that lead to apoptosis in cancer cells only, and this may explain why during treatment the cancer cells were being eliminated and normal cells were replacing the killed cancer cells with no scar tissue being formed."
  • Turmeric (Curcumin Extract): Of all the natural cancer fighters out there, this spice has been the most intensely researched for exhibiting selective cytotoxicity. Remarkably, in a 2011 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, rats administered curcumin, the primary polyphenol in turmeric, saw a decrease in experimentally-induced brain tumors in 9 out of 11 treated, while noting that the curcumin did not affect the viability of brain cells "suggesting that curcumin selectively targets the transformed [cancerous] cells."

How Enzymes Might Help Treat Cancer
Bromelainis a proteolyticenzyme (an enzyme that digests proteins). In the Planta Medica study, it was injected directly into the abdominal cavity. Getting enzymes from your digestive tract into your bloodstream isn't as easy as it would seem, as enzymes are very susceptible to denaturing and must be helped to survive the highly acidic environment in your stomach. They are often given an "enteric coating" to help them survive the journey through your digestive tract.
And then, there is the matter of absorption. For nearly 100 years, medical dogma insisted that enzymes taken orally were too large to pass through the digestive tract wall.
However, there is now a good deal of research that they can indeed pass through your intestine intact and into your bloodstream and lymphatic system, where they can deliver their services to the rest of your body... one of the mysteries of medical science.
Now that we know this is possible, systemic oral enzymes have been used to treat problems ranging from sports injuries to arthritis to heart disease and cancer, particularly in European countries. But most of the research has been published in non-English language journals.

Is Cancer the Result of Diminished Pancreatic Enzymes?
This systemic use of enzymes is just now taking off in the United States, but the use of enzymes to treat cancer has its roots all the way back to 1911 with John Beard's The Enzyme Treatment of Cancer and Its Scientific Basis. Beard believed cancer was a result of diminished pancreatic enzymes, impairing your immune response. A study in 1999 suggests he may have been right on target.
Ten patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer were treated with large doses of oral pancreatic enzymes (along with detoxification and an organic diet), and their survival rates were 3 to 4 times higher than patients receiving conventional treatment. Proteolytic enzymes can be helpful in treating cancer because they help restore balance to your immune system. Dr. Nick Gonzalez in New York City, NY has also done a lot of work on enzymes in cancer treatment and has written a book on the subject.
Some of the ways proteolytic enzymes can be helpful in the fight against cancer are:
  • Boosting cytokines, particularly interferon and tumor necrosis factor, which are very important warriors in destroying cancer cells.
  • Decreasing inflammation.
  • Dissolving fibrin: Cancer cells hide under a cloak of fibrin to escape detection. Once the cancer cells are "uncloaked," they can be spotted and attacked by your immune system. It is also thought that fibrin makes cancer cells "stick together," which increases the chance for metastases.
  • German studies have shown that systemic enzymes increase the potency of macrophages and killer cells 12-fold.
Fortunately, you get (or should be getting) many enzymes from the foods you consume—particularly, raw foods. These directly help with your digestive process. The more raw foods you eat, the lower the burden on your body to produce the enzymes it needs, not only for digestion, but for practically everything. Whatever enzymes are not used up in digestion are then available to help with other important physiological processes.
This is one of the reasons why it is so important to eat a diet rich in fresh, organic, raw foods. You may even want to try juicing some of your vegetables, and the core of your pineapple, as a way of getting more nutrients—and enzymes—into your body. In the event you use enzymes in supplement form, it is crucial that, in order for enzymes to be used systemically, they must be consumed on an empty stomach. Otherwise, your body will use them for digesting your food, instead of being absorbed into the blood and doing their work there.

Looking for an Alternative to Chemo for Cancer Treatment?
Dr. Gonzalez is on the front lines and actively engaged in helping people by coaching them with natural alternatives instead of toxic drugs and radiation for cancer. I would personally not hesitate to recommend him to a family member or a friend diagnosed with cancer. His website, www.dr-gonzalez.com, also contains information on how to become a patient, and everything a potential patient needs to know.
Another source for more information about alternative cancer treatments in general is Suzanne Somers' book, Knockout. She reviews Dr. Gonzalez' work in one chapter, and Dr. Gonzalez personally recommends the book as a well-researched resource for anyone interested in getting more information.
Additionally, Dr. Gonzalez has written a series of books, two of which have already been published and received five-star reviews: The Trophoblast and the Origins of Cancer and One Man Alone: An Investigation of Nutrition, Cancer, and William Donald Kelley. Three others are in the works, one of which will contain 100 of Dr. Gonzalez' case reports of patients with advanced cancer who successfully recovered on his program.
 (Original Source)

The more I read about enzymes, the more I have been thinking lately that maybe the lack of enzymes is the key to cancer development. If our body is dependent on using enzymes to perform the millions of different functions, then doesn't it make sense for it to malfunction in the absence of enzymes? Our body is a machine like an engine, and it seems that enzymes are the oil. You can run your car without adding any new oil for a while, but eventually the oil will be used up and the engine will fail.

Food for thought...

Friday, July 13, 2012

What to do at a BBQ

As someone who always ends up in conversations with people about the food we eat, I fully understand not being a burden at a party. Most people haven't wrapped their mind around all the damage that the standard American diet causes. But as someone who cares about what I eat, it can be challenging going to someone else's house and finding something that I feel comfortable eating. Let me preface this by saying, sometimes I really don't give a S-H-I-T (usually if I am starving) and I will eat anything that's there. I hardly ever eat much meat during the week, so when I am out at a party I am sometimes more inclined to eat it. But most of the time I am at least a little picky.

I wasn't always this calm, cool, and collected about not beating myself up about eating 100% healthy all the time. I would work myself into a mental knot about whether I should eat the chemical filled, preservative laden, over processed, but really good something-or-other. Then I would eat it and feel guilty afterwards. Meanwhile, I'm at a party, but not really enjoying myself because I know I'm literally eating garbage.

This is what you do. Bring something you can eat. Not only will you look like a courteous guest, but you will be able to load your plate with whatever you brought and pick at the other things.

The things that I am picky about are:

  • conventional meat especially chicken (conventional chicken ABSOLUTELY disgusts me and if you knew how it was raised you would be grossed out too)
  • conventional dairy and eggs (same as above)
  • anything that comes out of a bag, box, looks florescent in color, originates as a powder, you get the drift
Most importantly, if there is absolutely nothing "healthy" where you are, pick the least bad things, and eat them anyway, and don't beat yourself up about it. You can make up for it tomorrow. I try to follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I eat super healthy, and 20% of the time I am more relaxed about what I am eating so I can go out, have fun, and not drag a cooler of food with me everywhere I go.

Have fun this weekend!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

SUCCESS! 1st attempt at raw crackers

sprouted red wheat berries
I have found a new obsession. Raw crackers! I tried making (and eating) them for the first time yesterday, and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were super simple and really tasty! This is definitely something we can (and will) make and sell at Raw Generation because they are completely raw.

Creates 1 tray in dehydrator, about 10 flat bread crackers

  • 1 c. hard red wheat berries, sprouted
  • 1/4 c. flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp. raw honey
  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • To sprout the seeds, you need to put them in a mason jar w/ sprouting lid or in a nut milk bag. Soak overnight, drain, let sit. Rinse every 6 hours or so for 24 hours. 
  • Mix raw honey in warm water until dissolved.
  • Put sprouted seeds, flax seeds, and honey water in food processor until thoroughly mixed.
  • Spread mash on dehydrator tray w/ sheet.
  • Dehydrate for 16 hrs.

The reason you want to sprout seeds is because it turns them from dormant to living. Sprouts are very nutritious because they contain all elements a plant needs for life and growth. The endosperm of the seed is the storehouse of carbohydrates, protein, and oil. When the seed germinates, these become predigested amino acids and natural sugars upon which the plant embryo feeds as it grows to maturity. When used as food, the life force is released and supplies the energy which is capable of generating healthy cells in the body and supplying us with new vigor and life. (source)

Double YUM!!! I am going to start testing other recipes for these crackers. I want to get these going for Raw Generation asap. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Living within Gardens

I'm going back to my architecture roots for a moment. I just came across a house built in Vietnam that is the coolest thing I've seen come out of the architecture world in a while. Even when I was in school and surrounded by design everyday, there were very few buildings that inspired me.

The front and rear facades are created by horizontal cement planters that run floor to ceiling. Isn;t this such a great idea? They are spaced according to the height of the plants in each. If this were my house I would plant  fruits, vegetables, and herbs. This brings urban gardening to a whole new level!

This really just goes to show that with a little creativity, you can put gardens anywhere. You don't need a huge swath of land, or a tractor, to grow plants. I guess in this case though you need an architect and a lot of money haha. But you can start small with pots in windowsills, or if you have access to a roof, make a little potted garden up there.

LOVE IT! Going to put this in my idea box for when I design my own house :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How to cut a mango

I have been hearing a lot of lamenting about how cutting mangoes is a giant pain in the ass. And I agree. Lucky for you I've put together a quick step by step guide on how to do it fast and almost effortlessly. Mangoes are a tricky fruit. They are odd shaped, they have an ambiguous shaped pit that confuses the smartest of people, and they are slippery. Triple threat!

Seriously though, I've found they aren't that hard to dissect.

1. cut off the bottom (end with the little stem)
2. cut off other end, stand up
3. slice skin off from top to bottom
4. you can figure out which way the pit runs by turning it over
(it's long and skinny and spans the widest part of the mango)
5. slice 1st "half" off of the pit
6. slice 2nd "half" off the pit
7. cut up into smaller pieces, you can also trim what's left of the center
to get the smaller pieces still attached to the pit
Voila! It may take a few times to get the hang of it but I promise you will have a much easier time at it this way. Enjoy!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The calm before the storm...

The last few weeks have been eerily calm. Although I have been working on what I've needed to do for Raw Generation's opening, I feel like I have been really stress free (very unusual for me). I guess this is the calm before the storm.

I just got word that our labels should be finished printing this week, which is one of the last things we've been waiting on. We are working out our shipping issues, last few edits to our website, and we should be up and running! 

Also, we are going to start sending out our newsletter shortly, so if you are interested in getting updates from us on the launch of our juices, new products when we develop them, lots of info on the benefits you will get from eating raw foods, and tips on how to eat more raw...

<------  SIGN UP!! 

(I promise we won't be sharing your email address, nor will we be blasting you with a ridiculous amount of emails.)

I just want to thank everyone for all of the interest in what we are doing. We are excited to be able to offer a
REAL nutritious product that people can use to make themselves healthier! I feel like it's been a long time coming, but we are in the final stretch now.

Hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Generation F

There is a new wave of people out there that are within 5-10 years of my age that actually wants to return to the land and become farmers. Yours truly included. Let's call them (us) Generation F. I actually fall somewhere at the end of Gen X and the beginning of Gen Y- but I'm not really sure what those generations stand for? Over spending or bigger government maybe?

Being part of a new generation of farmers is something concrete that I can get behind. Although I'm surprised that this group is emerging at such an early age. Generation F is comprised of people ranging in their mid 20's to late 30's who feel the need to get back in touch with the land and animals that feed us. I think it's great, and am proud to be able to say that I grow my own food, I get my hands dirty, and I want to feed myself better quality food.

Lee Kornhauser & Heather Colburn  Ages 26 and 35 | Elder Fire Farm Arts | Dowling, Michigan

"Be patient, each year gets easier! Not everyone is cut out for this sort of lifestyle, but even if you grew up in the suburbs or the city you can learn what you need to know to be a successful farmer—the earth will never stop teaching you."

Kristen Johanson  Age 37 | Blackberry Meadows Farm | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

"My husband and I became dissatisfied with the commercial food system and were seeking a more meaningful and sustainable life. On a whim, and with no experience, we chose to quit our jobs and start farming. The road has been long and full of bumps, but we have since found our home here, with our friends at Blackberry Meadows, where we live and work with our new son and the rest of the farm crew."

Courtney & Jacob Cowgill  Ages 32, 34 & 19 months old (Willa Cowgill) | Prairie Heritage Farm 
Conrad, Montana 

"We started farming partially because it was in our blood and partially because we wanted to live and work closer to our families, our food and the land, but mostly because we saw it as a moral imperative. The landscape and communities that raised us -- in rural Central Montana -- needed more families, needed more food and needed more farmers. It was a call we couldn't ignore."

A.M. Thomas  Age 25 | East Hill CSA | Middlesex, New York

"Farms are a microcosm of civilization. If we have heartless, industrial, unhealthy farms, then our country will be heartless, industrial, and unhealthy. But if we have good farms that care for our land and the food that they produce, then our country will be rich with wellness."


Drop a comment if you grow your own food- even if it's just one tomato plant or a pot full of herbs- you are part of Generation F!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

6 + months body lotion sober!

I have something I have to admit. I was an addict once. I couldn't go a day without using. In fact most days I had to use several times a day. It was so bad in the winter that I would wake up scratching myself uncontrollably. It would consume my thoughts and if I was ever caught without it I would have to do anything I could to find it. But I'm not talking about drugs, I'm talking about BODY LOTION! haha, it sounds similar though right?

Coconut oil has saved me. I have been 6 months body lotion sober and I'm never going back. My skin has never felt better and it actually looks better too. I have heard that coconut oil prevents wrinkles and aging, and I am hoping that is true because I can't fathom the idea of spending big bucks on anti-aging creams, serums, and potions with god knows what chemical ingredients. 

I use it on my face and my entire body. I thought maybe it wouldn't be great for the summer because it is so hot and who wants to walk around slippery and shiny when it's sweltering out, but it is a wonderful moisturizer for the summer. And BONUS! It gives you that glistening look that accentuates all the good muscle curves. 

But even better than all that is I am putting something 100% completely natural on my skin that has no man made chemicals that I am going to have to worry about. Your skin is an organ just like your heart and lungs. Your skin absorbs everything you put on it. The thing that really gets me about putting chemicals on my skin is this: they say most of these chemicals are safe, but when they are tested they are tested alone not in combination with other chemicals. When does it ever occur that chemicals do not come in contact with other chemicals? NEVER! Flip your bottle of lotion around and read the label with the ingredients. I guarantee you won't be able to pronounce most of the ingredients. Which means that those "safe" chemicals might not be so safe when they interact with other "safe" chemicals. 

Oh, and if you are going to try coconut oil instead of lotion get organic unrefined coconut oil. 

Just something to think about! Anyone ever made the switch? Good, bad, indifferent?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

RECIPE: Summer Salsa

This is a simple summer salsa that can literally be used with just about anything you are making right now. A cold pasta salad, as a salsa w/ corn chips, as a side with grilled chicken, as a topping for fish, whatever!
  • 2 peaches
  • 2 ears sweet corn
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion
  • 1 mango
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 2 limes
  • salt & pepper
It's so refreshing! Try it out for the 4th of July. Just these few items above makes a pretty large bowl whhich is perfect to bring to a barbecue or picnic.

Happy 4th of July! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer Shrimp

Thought you guys might like this shrimp recipe by Mark Bittman. It's quick, healthy, and requires simple ingredients that you probably have in your house already. Try it this week!

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