Follow by Email

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gluten What?

Recently I have decided to avoid gluten to see if some of my mysterious side effects of pregnancy might go away.  I mean, geez, pregnancy and childbirth were hard enough, and now we have weird side effects afterwards, too?  I decided that it was free to just go for it and cut out gluten and see how I feel- and much less painful than having a blood test done (phlebotomy and I don't mix).  Besides being slightly inconvenient at times while I am trying to fix food for 4, it really hasn't been much of a struggle. 
I realized quickly that I needed to get creative after the first few days I ate eggs, a yogurt smoothie, and the innerworkings of a sandwich without the bread.  Who wants to take bites of tuna by itself!  Here is a little recipe I cooked up (actually, it's raw: no cooking skills needed.) as a sandwich substitute that is so refreshing even the carboholics are going to find it irresistable. 

tuna stuffed green pepper-
1 medium green pepper
1 can tuna (I prefer vital choice seafood)
1 small tomato- any variety- diced
diced red onion to taste- diced
1/2 cup homemade yogurt (or store bought, or mayannaise will do)
1 tbsp. mustard
juice of a half of lemon (I like adding the lemon zest as well)
freshly cracked pepper
pinch grey sea salt (or any salt you have on hand)

to make- slice the top of the pepper and scrape out the inside.  set aside.

Mix the tuna, diced tomato, diced onion, and the remainder of the ingredients into a bowl.  Fill the green pepper and top with an extra little pinch of sea salt. 

This can get a smidge messy- if you prefer, you can cut the green pepper in half instead of at the top, and make two shorter stuffed green peppers, which proves easier to eat.
Make it a healthy meal and add an apple!

From my family kitchen to yours!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Introducing Bearful!

I have been eagerly anticipating sharing more information about my new CPB due out SOON...and now, here is the cover!  The illustrations by my dear friend, Marcie Ferron are amazing, aren't they?  Here is a little teaser to get you in the Bearful spirit!

Children will learn how to fly, gallop, slither and more with this rhythmic, rhyming tale about an inquisitive bear named Bearful who, while romping through the forest, meets many new animal friends who teach him to move in new ways.

Could a Bear like Bearful shake a new groove and learn to move like other animals in the forest? This is just what Bearful asks himself one regular day in the forest, and begins to request the help of his new friends. Each animal he encounters gives a short demonstration and describes the way it moves, and Bearful then has the opportunity to practice his new skill. These catchy how-to’s not only encourage movement by the reader, but also encourages language development and outright fun!  Could Bearful possibly swim like a fish or hop like a frog?  Read to find out!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Healing the Gut of America, Part 2

Now that I have you all discouraged about the demise of the food industry, I am here today to encourage you with simple and healthy options for your family while staying on a budget! 

My last blog entry was to encourage you to stop taking labels or any food at face value, be an educated consumer, and try to eat locally.  I hear the groans already: local food is great, but it's too expensive.  It is just easier going to Wal Mart and buy everything all at once.  Well, I have some options for you that might surprise you!

Pick which one sounds best to you:
A. buy the same groceries you are buying now at the grocery store, but switch to organic versions, adding upwards of 30% a week on your grocery bill. 
B. drive 100 miles a week to different farms and pick up a few things at each one, wasting time and fuel.  C. Join a co-op or buying club where either the work is shared among the people, or one or two families do the work and coordinating with the farmers, and you just pick up once a week! 

The latter is how I run my co-op in GA.  It is so easy for people in my area to just email me their order, and come every Thursday to pick it up.  And many of these co-ops around provide almost an entire grocery list of items.  I know for me personally, I go to the grocery about once per month to supplement with a few things, and to buy other household items. 

OK, the convenience might be simpler than you think, but what about the cost?

In my experience, there is a shift in where your money goes rather than actually spending more.  Yes, the actual cost per ounce is slightly higher in organic food farmed in a sustainable fashion.  More of your grocery budget will go to each piece of food you buy, however, when you aren't going to the store, you aren't bombarded with BOGO's and convenience items that you simply don't need but probably buy anyway.  When I go to the store, I always buy things that I didn't plan on.  The deal was just too good to pass up!  And sometimes, it is a good deal and worth it, but think about how much you probably spend extra in a month on sugary treats, processed snacks, individually wrapped convenience items, ice cream, etc.  If 15-20% of your grocery bill comes from items you don't need, or convenience items that save you time like cheese sticks and gogurt, your health would be much better if you put that 15-20% into eating whole foods grown right in your hometown!  And added bonus: with buying locally comes the benefit of knowing your farmer and what they use on their crops and livestock, no middle man (even a co-op or buying club middle man is much less of a cost than a store), and far less fuel used, which brings the costs down over buying lower quality organic items at the store. 

But Anna, I looked and I can't find a local buying club in my area! 

I didn't have a local buying club in my area when I moved to Cumming, so I started one!  If you aren't quite ready for that, try this: get a few like-minded friends together and place a bulk grass fed beef order.  Calling up a farmer and asking what they can do for you is so easy, and they are always happy to help. is a great resource for information on pasture-raised animals, but also a great source for finding farmers in your area.  You might find that a little buying power from a few friends can get you a great savings for minimal work, and you can easily expand to buying other items locally in bulk, saving you more money.  Just as an example, we buy grass fed dairy from a local farmer for $5.00/gallon.  At the store, milk that is organic, but not necessarily pasture raised, is $5.89 or more plus tax!!!  Adding up that savings over time is signicant, and you will feel so good that potato chips and diet soda (which is horrible for you, buy the way) is not even missed.

Don't miss my next blog that will take your savings farther than you thought it could go!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Healing the Gut of America- Part 1

Do you believe that you have the right to choose healthy food for your family?  Do you believe that you are being "fed" food recommendations that are truly the healthiest for you?

You might be thinking, "well, yeah- obviously!  Why wouldn't I have the right to choose healthy foods for my family?  And, why wouldn't the FDA and the government have my best interest in mind?  They DO, don't they?" 

Read this recent quote from the FDA regarding A lawsuit by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF):

a. There is No Right to Consume or Feed Children Any Particular Food
b. There is No Generalized Right to Bodily and Physical Health
c. There is No Fundamental Right to Freedom of Contract

Now an FTCLDF-assisted suit in Wisconsin has caused a judge to issue a ruling expressing the official elite view of property rights:

(1) Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd;
(2) Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;
(3) Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to board their cow at the farm of a farmer;
(4) The Zinniker Plaintiffs’ private contract does not fall outside the scope of the States’ police power;
(5) Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice;
(6) DATCP [Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection] . . . had jurisdiction to regulate the Zinniker Plaintiffs’ conduct.

Learn more here:

WOW!  And this is the land of the free!  I don't bring up this point to start a controversial debate on all things political!  What I do want to start a conversation about is this:

What does this mean for me and my family?
How can I get the best, safest, and most nutritional food possible for my family?

These are important questions that ALL parents need to be asking themselves, for their own health, and the health of their children.  Just because you seem fairly healthy today, you may not be in a few years!  Our bodies can only take so much toxicity, and instead of piling on the perscription drugs and accepting the diagnosis of ADHD and other psychological disorders, I suggest we start at nutrition as a first option for healing. 

People say, "eating locally grown or organic foods is too expensive.  We are on such a tight budget."

I COMPLETELY understand this, and I am in the same boat, however I suggest this statement in return:
"Would you rather spend 10% more on food, or 25% more on your healthcare?

There are so many fabulous tips and ideas for saving money in other ways so you can afford better quality food, and I will be discussing these ideas in this blog over the next few weeks.  Unfortunately, eating "organic" food from the grocery store may not be a complete solution to this problem because even organic food at the store can be just as processed, and the organic produce still comes mainly from huge corporate farms where the soil is very depleted.  They may not have pesticides, but don't offer much in the way of nutrition. 

So what is the solution?

When you know your farmer, you know what they put on their land, harmful or not.  You know if they use crop rotation and compost methods to keep the soil rich, adding more nutrients in your food.  You know if they give their livestock hormones and antibiotics, because you talked to the farmer and you can see their passion.  Knowledge is power!  When you take a label such as "fair trade," and "organic" as a way of trusting a food source, you have taken away your own right to turly know where your food is coming from.  A label means much less than your own handshake with a farmer.  There are so many local sources for food, and to our benefit, family farmers, co-ops and local food buying clubs are easier to access than they have been for some time.  Farmer's markets are coming to an end this season, but google "local food buying clubs" with your town's name and you are sure to find sources for local food throughout the winter! 

Remember, you are your families health advocate, and it starts at home, and much of that begins on your dinner plate.  Think about it.  Ignorance is not bliss in the matter of nutrition!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Making Your Own Status Quo

Believing your life is yours to live is an inherent part of being human, but do we really truly live this way?  Advertisments and our own friendship circles influence our decisions on everything from our style, the books we read, the stores and restaurants we frequent, and how we raise our children.  This is nothing new, but do we really want to live this way? 

I suggest that we are influenced by the status quo because we want to belong, but instead of finding that through connection with people, we gravitate towards belonging through our wallets.  I love Dave Ramsey's quote, "Live like no one else."  It's actually on the back of someone's car I am often behind in car line at preschool, and it really caught my attention.  OH YES, that IS how I want to live- like no one else, for my family, my God, and leaving the world somehow better. 

I especially need this type of encouragment for how I raise my children.  I am sure I am not the only one who has gotten the raised eyebrows from other mom's at the park, or has certain family members who don't understand your way of child rearing.  My choice is to spend time with my kids instead of fretting over every dust mite on my mantle.  I do feel embarrased by my house when people stop by (Ahh, I would have at least swept the entryway if I knew you were coming!) and that their are crumbs and shoe piles lurking in corners.  Partly because I do feel like I should clean as I go more than I do, and have the kids help with that task more than they do, but also because I am tempted to believe that my friends ways of running their household is somehow better than my own way.

I find this feeling of conforming to others a fascinating phenomonon while we at the same time, live in a nation that screams individuality!  The oxy moron that somehow sneakily weaves its workings into our hearts, making us feel let down, exhausted and frankly, less than.

Here's a thought for today: think ahead to the end of your life (I know, I know a cliche, but so important!) and what you want it to look like.  Then think ahead to when your children go off to college and get married, visualizing the life you want.  What do you need to do TODAY to make that happen?  At the end of our lives, we really want our families to be the main focus.  We want our children to love us and be around when we're old.  We want to know we've made some spec of a difference in the world.  Don't try to fight your innate desire to love people to get lost in your desire to conform to everyone else.  After all, if everyone else was thinking of their desire to love others as you are today, they would all want to be like you!  Now there's a new status quo worth starting.  So go on, the new status quo starts with you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Four-Year-Old Humor

DISCLAIMER- If you give a little silly- you'll get A LOT of silly back!

As a parent, occasionally days get so bogged down with "no" after "no", and "Stop hitting your sister" and "Gentle hands" that the idea of laughing is lost in the distant webs of my mind. The days I am most exhausted come evening are the days that I realize after the fact that I didn't laugh with the kids. I just completely forgot to have fun. Me- the queen of fun, just FORGOT? Yes, it happens somehow. I realized that this was becoming all to frequent for us, so I decided that fun, along with other daily tasks, was non-negotiable. We really need to have some belly laugh moments. I once read that 4 year olds like gross "potty talk" and "three stooges" humor. Considering my phsyical comedy lacks elequent timing, I opted to execute my finest creativity in all things bodily.

I looked at my son Noah while we were snuggling at bedtime, and I said, "Why hello there! Is your name, "Booger on a nose hair?" He absolutely started belly laughing! I was so happy! We continued to warm up our silly brains, and began filling in the blank with , "is your name_____?" Noah was so proud of all the funny phrases he was coming up with, and we took turns for an hour with the most ridiculous phrases that I am embarrased to repeat here. But for your entertainment, the top contenders were, "Earwax baby," "Your name is Pimple poop," and "Hi! My name is Toe Jam Pam!"

Don't worry and think that your child will start poopy talking out in public or in front of Great Aunt Mildred. They will probably wait for those special times at the dinner table and bedtime when it's just you. And let me tell you, the grosser the better. This is a parenting win. So, live it up and laugh already!!!