Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CTWW: Proudest Green Acheivement

Once again I am joining in the change the world Wednesday.  This week we are asked to talk about our proudest green acheivement.  For me, my proudest acheivement is making many green changes over time and actually sticking with those changes.  For some things, I still have a ways to go, but for other areas, I am truly happy with what I have acheived. 

One thing I have started doing is looking at what health and beauty items I use and how I can make greener choices.  I have attempted to make sure that the products I use are as natural as possible, and if I can I like to make my own products so that I know what healthy green ingredients are going into them.  I also hope that I can reduce packaging by making my own products.  Currently, I am using baking soda and essential oils for toothpaste, coconut oil/baking soda/corn starch/essential oils for deodorant, soaps with natural ingredients (I hope to make my own someday soon).  I am always on the look out for new recipes to try so that I can be more green and more healthy.

I try to be very conscious about recycling.  I try to make sure that if we can recycling things in our recycling bin, we do so.  We currently have a house guest who does not seem to get the recycling piece of things, even though he likes to think that he is really green.  I have made sure that the containers that he uses get recycled along with what we use.

Last year we started our first garden.  Along with starting our garden, we started to compost.  Our neighbor was looking to get rid of a composter and gave it to us.  Not only did it help us financially (since we didn't have to pay for it), we were able to keep an old composter (that still had years of working time) in use.  We now compost everything that is able to go into the compost bin. 

These are just a couple of changes that I have made, but I think the biggest change I have made with regards to going green, is I now think before I act.  I may not always make the best choice, but it is a conscious thought out choice and I try to make the most eco-conscious choice I can depending on the situation at hand.

What are you most proud green accomplishments?


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

CTWW:Review of Goals From Last Week

Unfortunately, I am not going to participate in CTWW this week.  I'm sure that I am looking at activism in too intense of a way, but I just don't think I have time right now to commit.  I have a social work background and when I return to work full time, I would love to work in an eco-friendly activism area (which is why I am probably thinking too big with this challenge.  I may look more into doing it, but right now I'm not going to commit for this week.)

As for last week, my goal was to get coffee out, but to make it at home or just drink tea.  I didn't quite meet my goal.  For some reason, iced coffee just kept calling my name and I tried to avoid and ignore it, but I didn't plan well enough to have cream in the house for coffee, so what did I do?  Did I go out and buy the cream?  No, I went out and bought iced coffee at local coffee places (and by local coffee places I don't mean small shops, I mean chains).  So my new goal is to stop buying coffee out and if I can't stop actually drinking the coffee, I will by the creamer at the grocery store, not the coffee at my local Dunkin Dounuts or similar places.  In general, I am going to try to stop buying processed pre-made foods, but make my own.  A big part of this is due to some food intolerances of me and my children as well as my husband.  I am wondering if there are hidden foods that we are eliminating that maybe causing at least one of my sons to have an issue.  Also this will greatly reduce waste and be better all around!

Where I did meet my goal or at least come close to my goal was in the area of driving for no reason.  I made sure that when I went out in the car, I had a reason to drive, not just to go for a ride.  I made sure that I knew what errands needed to be completed and where and tried to make it so that it was more economic and environmentally conscious to drive.  If I had a better grocery store closer, I would walk with the kids and get what I needed daily or close to daily so that I could get in my exercise, get the kids outside, and not use my car as much.

After sitting here writing this post, I think I am going to re-look at the CTWW challenge and see f it is something I can do.  I may have to think outside the box, but I really want to try to do this challenge and the challenges that get presented every week.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eating Disorder?

Never in my life would I have thought that I would have an eatign disorder.  I thought that anorexia and bulemia were the only eating disorders, never thinking about over eating or compulsive eating as an eating disorder.  But, you know what?  I think that I am a compulsive/over eater.  I have, for as long as I can remember, had a really hard time knowing when to stop eating.  I have had issues with eating until I get sick.  Now I don't mean that I force myself to get sick, I just eat so much that there is no where for it to go.  I have never really been more than 25 pounds above the high end of my weight range and currently I am about 8 pounds above the high range.  The thing is, I feel better when I am about 25 pounds less than I am right now.

I have been attempting to change my eating habits.  I have written about havign a food addiction for certain foods.  If you read Dr Neal Barnard's book "Breaking The Food Seduction", it makes perfect sense why I am addicted to the food that I am.  My problem is that I need to stop eating those foods and like an alcoholic or a drug addict, I crave, really really crave them.  It's time.  It's really time to stop all this nonsense and do what I need to do.

I have a multitude of reasons for going plant strong.  My husband's doctor recommended that he eat that way.  I have cancer and heart disease in my family and going plant strong is one way to fight that history.  I also have issues with high blood pressure.  I have been pregnant twice and both times I ended up with pre-eclampsia.  With my twins, my blood pressure was 188/111 the day I delivered them and that was on blood pressure medication.  I just read some information that stated if you had pre-eclampsia you are more at risk for having cardiac issues even after you deliver your baby.  Given that I have heart disease in my family and my only uncle (myu mother's brother) died when he was only 42, just 4 years away from the age I am now, I really need to get focused and make the changes I need to.

I really believe that going plant strong is the best way to go.  I love my meat, but can't stand how animals are treated.  I have a really hard time believing that it is ok to eat some animals and not others.  I also have  areally hard time sometimes eating meat when I think about my science courses that I have taken in the past.  I often have the hardest time when I am preparing my own meat.  If someone else has prepared it, I am more removed from it and don't think about it as much.  That just goes to show you how important it is to be a part of the preparation of your food! 

So I am here to admit that not only do I have food addictions, I more than likely have an eating disorder in the form of compulsively over eating.  I need to get this undercontrol before I end up causing more health problems.  I have to give credit to this blog post for getting me to think this way:

Hopefully I can start posting some of my healthy plant based recipes that I will be cooking for my family!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Change The World Wednesday

It's been a while since I wrote anything for CTWW, but here I am this week.

This week, make your coffee or tea at home. Getting coffee/tea out every day not only costs a lot but also generates a lot of waste. Make it at home instead. And don't forget ... both coffee grounds and tea leaves are great in the compost bin.

Or ...

If you don't drink these beverages or always drink them at home, choose one other food or beverage, which you typically buy at either a restaurant or grocery store, and make it yourself at home. And, of course, we'd like to hear all about it!

My husband and I stopped drinking coffee just after Christmas 2009.  We started buying loose tea at Teavana and started making tea at home instead of buying coffee at those big expensive coffee houses.  My husband has done great with this change.  Me, not so good.  I tend to be fine during the cold months since I really don't enjoy hot coffee that much, but once spring comes, I love my iced coffee.  My older son started preschool this March and to get out of the house with my 2 year old twins, I started getting bagels and coffee out.  This has been an expense that my family really doesn't need, never mind the crazy amount of plastic coffee cups in my recycling bin.  Not only that, but I am trying to get dairy out of my diet, and having coffee every day at my local coffee shop means that I am having cream everyday.  This is not good for my digestive system.  I am also getting other foods that I am trying to eliminate from our diet.   The other issue is that I am trying to eat whole foods that aren't processed.  I am way too tempted to eat foods that I don't consider healthy and I end up getting unhealthy foods for my twins even though my goal is to get them to eat healthy foods.  This challenge is confirming that I really need to stop going to coffee shops and getting my iced coffee.  If I really desire ice coffee, I can make a cup at home and then I can use my own homemade almond milk and I can have healthy snacks for me and my kids.  My real goal though, is to get away from coffee all together and go back to only drinking tea!  Oh and we definitely compost our spent tea after making sure that we re-brew to get the most out of our tea leaves.  I never thought that I would re-brew tea, and my grandmother must be looking down from heaven saying, "I told you you can re-use tea!"

And even though this is not part of this weeks challenge, I plan to stop taking car trips with no purpose other than to get out of the house.  I will start taking the kids for a walk or once my older son is in school full time, I will start actually going places with the twins and make sure that every time I get in my car there is a purpose and that there isn't a better way to get my errands done.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I remember when I first found out about blogging.  I was at a twin's group meeting and people were talking about blogs.  This was about 2 years ago, and once I started, I was hooked.  I first started with a blog about my kids as a way to keep track of the different things that went on in our crazy life, being a mom of 3 in 10 1/2 months.  Then I got on this kick about healthy/natural living, thus this blog came to be.

Now that I am embarking on a major diet change, I am looking to my fellow bloggers for support.  Now I don't really have a lot of followers, and I don't have a lot of people that actually comment, but I use my blog as a way to help me.  I don't publish anything that is too personal, yet I try to be as honest as I can.  I am using my blog as a way to document my struggles and hopefully my many more successes.  I am also hoping to use this as a place to share some of my recipes that I have found that help me as I move along this crazy road of getting healthy.

To get specific, my goals are to become more plant strong and give up any animal foods.  I am also going to start eliminating foods that have shown up on my list of potential allergies/intolerences.  I have also been reading Dr Neal Barnard's book "Breaking The Food Seduction".  I have only read some of it, but what I ahve read makes total sense to me, especially after taking a substance abuse class in grad school.  It certainly makes me feel better knowing that there is a reason why I have such a hard time giving up certain foods.  I know that this does not give me an excuse to continue to eat those foods, but it certainly helps me to realize how I need to deal the issues aound those foods.

The other part about blogging that I absolutely love is, I love to read other people's blogs.  I wish I had more time to spend meeting people out in the blogosphere, but with 3 little ones, a husband, a house, cooking ,cleaning, work, and just every day little things, there is jsut not enough time.  There are too many blogs to mention, but I get so inspored by reading other peoples blogs.  I love learning about thier children, their way of eating, their struggles, and so much more.

So for my first recipe share, I want to share with you my Lentil dal recipe.  I found a recipe years ago and have since lost it.  At this point, I have made it so often, that I know the basics of what goes into it and have made it my own.

Red Lentils:
1 c red lentils
1 onion chopped
1 T yellow mustard seeds
1/2 t garlic powder (you can use cloves, but I tend to be lazy)
1 T garam masala
1 t cumin
1 t corriander
1 t fenugreek
1 t tumeric
1 lg can of diced tomatoes
1 handful of brown rice

Cook onion, garlic and mustard seeds in a small amount of oil.  When the onion is translucent and the mustard seed are popping, add the rest of the spices and cook for a minute or so.  After a minute add the red lentils after they have been rinsed.  Add the can of diced tomatoes, the rice, and enough water to cover.  I usually add about 1 3/4 of the large tomoato can.  Cook until the rice is done, which I have found is any where from 30-45 minutes.

I have to admit that these are approximations of the amounts of ingredients.  I tend to just kind of throw things in and not really measure exactly if at all.  You can add other beans along with the lentils.  I have added chick peas and tonight I added some brown lentils just for the fun of it.  You can also leave out the rice and use less water and cook until the lentils are done about 25 minutes and cook the rice on the side.  I am hoping to get more adventurous in teh kitchen and start trying to make up my own recipes.  If anyone has suggestions for learnign how to make up your own recipe, like what spices go together and with what foods, I would love it.  I am always on the hunt for new books and my new passion is cooking plant strong.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Making the Switch

Yes, I have decided to wrote about my diet changes on this blog.  At one point, I had started another blog just to talk about my diet changes, but I just don't have enough time to write on too many blogs.  I've finally decided that I am going to fully commit to changing my diet, which means that I am going to have to eliminate a lot of foods, and a lot of foods that I really enjoy eating.  I am hoping that I see some positive results from changing my diet so that I will be motivated to continue.

The more research I do, and the more critical thinking I do about diet, the more I realize just how much your diet plays in your overall health.  There are so many different food/diet philosophies out there, and I'm not really sure that there is one right diet for everyone.  The one thing that I do believe is that whole food cooking is the only way to really be healthy.  Although I have to admit that I do not eat this way all the time, my newest goal is to always, or at least as often as possible, eat whole foods.  By this I mean, I am going to cook my food from whole ingredients, not buy pre-made or processed foods.  This has been my goal all along, especially when I started this blog.  Some where along the way, this goal got lost and I stopped writing about it and I stopped really even thinking about it. 

I've written before that I think I may have issues with Candida.  This stems from issues I've had dating back to at least 2000 (whish is when I first saw a doctor for my digestive issues), and probably a number of years prior to that.  The Candida issue makes the results of my blood test seem even more likely to be true.  One of my sensitivities is to yeast as well as gluten, wheat, and other gluten containing foods.  I have definitely had issues with long term anti-biotic use.  When I was in high school, and I am having my 20th reunion this year, I had chronic urinary tract infections, for which I was placed on anti-biotics prophylacticly.  I was even doing test for infections at home so that I didn't have to actually go to the doctor's office for a test.  Then I was also on medication for acne as a teen.  What I really should be doing is following an anti-candida diet and see if that clears up some of my issues.

This is going to be a long road.  I've written often about my struggles with giving up certain foods.  I've also written a little about how I feel that I have an addcition to these foods.  There is some thought that once you clear up Candida and you heal your gut, you will be able to tolerate at least some of these foods once in a while.  My concern is that if I go back to eating these foods once I heal, will I just be setting myself up to fail, just like a drug addict or an alcoholic who thinks that they can have just one?  I probably shouldn't be looking this far ahead, but I am thinking that I also need to plan for the future.  I believe that it will take some time to heal my gut and get rid of the  issues that I am dealing with, but I think that I am finally at a point where not only do I want to do this, but I am really interested in making it fun and not looking at it as if I am losing something, but as a way to gain new receipes and try new foods!


Monday, June 6, 2011

The Gut Brain Connection

The more I research, the more I realize that there is a gut brain connection.  The problem is that I can't seem to make the necessary diet changes to see if there is a food connection to certain issues that I am facing.  One specific issue that I think may be a result of my diet, is my inability to concentrate and feeling spacey.  There are certainly more issues, but I won't go into them now.  Part of the issue is that I really believe that certain foods have a hold on me and that they some what act in the same way as a drug acts in our bodies.  With that being said, I really need to just stop eating the foods that I think trigger certain symptoms in myself.  The hard part about food addiction is that you need food to live.  Some of the foods that are triggers may be around all the time, unlike drugs and alcohol which you can get away from most of the time!

As a social worker, I truly believe that there are time when medication and therapy are the only way to deal with certain brain issues, but as a social worker I also know that there is more to a person than just symptoms.  There is a whole person to look at and just because you stop the symptoms, doesn't mean that you fix the problem.  This is where I think social work and holistic health can really work together. 

Since I think that there is a problem, I need to look at the big picture and try to figure out what i can do to really fix the problem, not just mask it by covering up the symptoms.  I also think that in reality, changing my eating habits, such as eliminating sugar, gluten and gluten containing foods, and dairy, will in the long run benefit my whole life.  I  am truly hopeful that by changing my diet, I will become a healthier person all around.  I also think that changing my family's diet is going to be really important and also really tricky.  My kids are already picky eaters, but at least my husband will eat anything.

As always, I am going to try to move forward and eat the way I need and want to eat.  Iam hopeful that I will soon be writing more positive things about the way I am feeling and I am hoping that my mental clarity will greatly improve!  I am hoping to write about the different types of foods that I will add to my diet and the different foods that I am eliminating.  Any information regarding diet changes and these triggers is greatly appreciated!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Getting My Life Organized

I've written a lot about my desire to get organized, so I will not belabor the point.  I am slowly getting there, but it is certainly going to take some time.  I have gotten a couple of shelves from freecycle to help get some of the toys we have organized and it actually seems to help a little.  My biggest problem is maintaining what changes I make.

One of the newest areas that I need to work on organizing are the different things that I do to help me live a handmade and natural life.  One of those areas is my recipes for natural house and beauty products.  Right now, I have all the different recipes in different areas.  My goal is to put these all in one notebook, separated between household products and beauty/body product.  I have been making both my own toothpaste and my own deodorant and I really want to make sure that these recipes are at my finger tips so that I don't have to go searching.  I know the basics; baking soda, cornstarch, coconut oil, and essential oils for the deodorant and just plain baking soda and essential oils for toothpaste.  I also have been making my own body cream and I really need to write down exactly what I use since my husband has a specific cream that he finds works extremely well.  At this point, I need to go through what I have for recipes and start organizing them so that I can easily find them when I need them.

I am also going to try to start off organized when I start learning about herbs and diet.  I have my notebooks and my organizer, now I just need to make sure that I take notes in the right notebook and keep things organized and orderly.  Getting and maintaining my organization will help me be able to get everything I need so that I can make the different products I need when I need them and not have to go searching for how to make them.