Strawberries in the Arizona Desert

My first strawberry of the season

My first strawberry of the season

For years I have been in search of the elusive “organic” Strawberry.
If you are a gardener, you know why commercial farmers use pesticides herbicides on their crops.
Strawberries do not ripen further once picked, so they must stay on the vine in order to become the beautiful sweet fruit that they are. That makes them susceptible to bug damage. The bugs do not care if they are completely ripe or not. That, my friend is the big reason for pesticides.

Strawberry plants stay in the same place year after year. That means that weeds will grow and cause issues. That, my friend is why chemicals are used to stop the sprouting of any weed seeds-enter  herbicides.

Now let’s look at the poriosity of the strawberry.  The strawberry has larger pores than a teenager. This allows for the chemicals to soak right into that beautiful thing.

So the next time you go to buy those big beautiful King Size Strawberries in the clam shell during the spring time, look to see if they are organic. If not, write to company that produced them and ask what chemicals they use in their farming.

I have finally figured out the secret to growing strawberries in my desert garden. No pesticides, no herbicides. Just big- fat- juicy- organic strawberries that are as sweet as sugar.
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My First Week Without Eggs.

I love to eat eggs, cook with eggs, bake with eggs. I miss my eggs.

I love to eat eggs, cook with eggs, bake with eggs. I miss my eggs.

One of the naturopaths where I work told me that she just knew that eggs would come back as one of my sensitivities. What was her clue? I told her often of my love for eggs as    an almost daily food. She said that any thing that we eat on a daily basis is most likely on its way to becoming a food sensitivity for any one with a leaky gut; which is almost everyone.

I thought that my original egg sensitivity was about the corn/soy feed that the chickens were eating. Though this can be a big part of the reason that some cannot eat eggs, sometimes it is truly about the egg.

I am no longer sensitive to corn or soy, but I am still slightly sensitive to eggs. (Boo!) It does make sense. I eat eggs almost every day. This is really too often, but I did not care. Not until I realized that eating eggs was standing in the way of healing my gut. It is truly now the egg protein that my body recognizes as an intruder.

I know, I am probably making too big of a deal about it, but these are not just any eggs. They are the eggs from my chickens who run and play in grassy fields, eating bugs and scraps from my organic garden. I worked hard to raise my flock organically on pasture that I planted for them myself. I have a right to whine. I feel betrayed. I am pretty sad over this. But I am a survivor, I have survived worse. I am a fighter and I will win this battle.

A beautiful girl laying beautiful eggs.

A beautiful girl laying beautiful eggs.

I am feeling pretty grumpy right now. I miss my eggs. But I am determined to kick this leaky gut thing-seal up my gut and have the ability to eat eggs again-in moderation (who said that?).

So instead of acting mean about it. I will bring the eggs to work and share them with my co-workers, I will share them with my family and friends.

Soon my body with have repaired the leaks in the gut and I will be able to eat eggs again.

Grumble…grumble.

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Paleo Apple Kale Cooler for Breakfast

Kales and apples for breakfast

Kales and apples for breakfast

I told one of the doctors in our Naturopathic office about my decision to give up eggs for a month. This decision was based on the results of my food sensitivity  test that I wrote about last week.

Her suggestion was to eat vegetables for breakfast. Nutrition packed vegetables. She told me that her latest kick was to put kale and lemon juice in the blender. I have plenty of kale, but that sounded pretty boring to me, so I changed it up a bit.

After my H.I.I.T. (next post)training on the elliptical this am, I decided to make my cooler. I put a cup of filtered water into my Vitamix. I peeled half of a lemon and put that all in, I put 1 chopped up seeded green apple and flipped the switch on. Then I added a couple of big handfuls of kale and turned the dial to 10 for a couple of minutes. Once the kale was liquefied, I added a dropper full of liquid stevia and then about 4 ice cubes.

It is beautiful, it is healthy and it will help me get those 6-9 cups of veggies in that the doctor says that we need every day. To stay full though I will be looking for a clean source of protein later today.

Update, January 29th. Since coming up with the  Paleo Apple Cooler, I have been mixing it up. I have used my broccoli leaves, and actually any of the edible greens from the garden in my breakfast coolers. I like the apple, but have added strawberries. oranges, or cucumbers.

I have also found that if I get home before Steve and make one for him that he will drink it before dinner.

I win!

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Food Sensitivity Testing

Much better than last time.

Much better than last time.

The results are in. I have mostly good news, a little bad news and some great news.

The good news first. A few years ago I had my food sensitivities drawn. At that time peanuts were very bad for me, corn and soy were also bad. Dairy and eggs were high. There were others, but these were the main ones that troubled me.

So I said “Good bye” to my  first love- peanut butter. I grew up on PB&Js on wonder bread, I ate peanut butter on a spoon and in my Reese’s cups. Chocolate and peanut butter was my favorite combo.

Corn and soy were not hard to give up, except the part about reading every label, because corn or soy is in just about everything. I started feeding my animals corn/soy free feed and only drank the milk from my goats and ate the eggs from my chickens. These foods did not seem to bother me, so I assumed that it was the corn and the soy that the animals were eating.

Now that I had my labs drawn again. I have found that I no longer have the peanut, Corn and soy sensitivity. Yes folks, that’s right. Gone.

Now I am only slightly sensitive to chicken, milk and eggs. Only a +1 mind you, but it is still there. My employer/doctor says that even though this seems like bad news to me; it is really great news. He said that it shows that I have been working really hard on sealing up my leaky gut. Because I went 100% off of peanut butter, corn and soy; the antibodies that my body was creating against them have died.  I can now enjoy an occaisional spoonful of peanut butter. But I have to be careful, because my body still knows how to make those antibodies. So moderation is the key. The funny thing is though now, I do not care about eating peanut butter anymore. The addiction is gone.

So after the doctor said “Way to go!” He tossed me a bottle of Colostrum and a bottle of Glutamine. He said that those two products will enhance my gut healing. He suggested that I stay off of chicken, milk and eggs for a couple of months and then re-test.

Does that mean that my gut will seal and remain sealed forever. Does it mean that I will not ever be sensitive to any other food? Will I ever be 100%? It is possible, but only if I work very hard and stay vigilant.

But I am going to give it my best shot. Sealing the gut will take care of keeping the foods where they are supposed to be-inside the gut. That way our body will not have to work so hard to create antibodies (guardians) that are made to keep the food particles (invaders) out of the atmosphere (other places than the gut). This in turn will allow our bodies to work harder on other things like expelling toxins, and getting healthy. But our leaky  gut is an ongoing battle, it is a response to several things. Poor diet, stress, toxins antibiotics. We cannot control them all, but it is my goal to get as close to 100% as possible. So here goes….

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Paleo Prep

inflammation

inflammation

 

I have started these anti-inflammation diets before. It is not so much about weight loss for me as it is for inflammation busting. I did well for awhile but then fell away-all because I did not prepare well.

The one thing that I am doing now that I think is most helpful, is the food sensitivity test. Our office does this through a company called Immuno labs I am waiting for the results to come back. I think that it would be awful to go through the process without first finding out what foods are causing my issues. I will share that with you when it comes back.

Surroundings-I hope that this time will be different. I now work in a Naturopath office that is on board with Paleo. We do not keep junk food around. It is a type of positive peer pressure. Part of my job is to  encourage our patients to make this switch too.

People – other than the office; I mostly hang out with  family. I lovingly call Steve my twinkie eater. But he has an appointment with the Naturopath coming up. He sees how excited I am about this and I think that I can get him to help me stick with it. Who knows maybe he will join me.

Information-I have been scouring the internet for Paleo information. Some sites are more helpful than others. I will be sharing with you what I learn as I learn it.

A reason. I have a genetic predisposition to a chronic inflammatory condition. Uveitis. It  is like arthritis in the eye. I have been taking Celebrex for years to keep the flare ups down. Celebrex can cause many health issues on its own. As I have improved my diet over the years and taken turmeric, I have been able to reduce the amount of the drug significantly, but I still rely on it from time to time. I want to become Celebrex free.

We all have inflammatory issues-caused by genetics plus diet. My research is telling me that though we may not be able to change the genetic issues, we can control the inflammation through diet. I intend to do that for myself and to teach my family and friends how they can do it too.

 

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Paleo (esque) in my life

Too much information can be misleading and frustrating.

Too much information can be misleading and frustrating.

You all know that I have dabbled with elimination diets, low carb and paleo eating plans in my attempt to kick the uveitis issue that I have.

What I have learned is that many of us will not do the hard things until we are forced to. Pain vs pleasure and all that.

We know that inflammation is the cause of almost every disease out there.

Now that I am working closely with an amazing naturopath doctor (who happens to be my new boss). I am learning even more about the relationship between disease-inflammation and diet.

What I am learning is that it is a lifestyle that has caused the inflammation in my (our) body (bodies). It is going to take a lifestyle change to undo the damage. I need to change. I need to turn my occasional dabbling into a new lifestyle.

I am not going to call it Paleo. I am going to borrow my Dr’s term “Paleo-esque”.

Paleo is a diet that is at least 9 cups of raw veggies per day along with good quality meats, nuts and oils. Some occasional fruit is allowed. It sounds like a lot of diets actually. Whole 30, Sugar detox, Caveman, Elimination diets. I just like the word “Paleo”.

When I look at Paleo blogs, I see beautiful pictures of scrumptious looking baked goods and candies. This confuses me and my friends, so I asked my doctor. He told me that he refers to these items as Paleo-esque. He says that they are not to be used in the beginning or often. They are there only for an occasional treat. So I have some research to do and will start really taking a good hard look at some Paleo books.

Before you start throwing rocks at me, I will say this. I totally understand. I grew up in the 60’s in America. That means that my mom allowed us to drink Kool-Aid almost everyday. She bought into “Wonder Bread”. Ding Dongs were my favorite fruit and real fruit (because of shipping the food) was more expensive than a package of cookies. Captain Crunch was one of the hero’s in my life, I was Coo-coo for Cocoa Pops and Trix were for kids.

Fast forward to the 80’s; I thought that I was doing a good thing for my kids when I perfected my homemade bread and oatmeal cookie recipes. You will never see a box of Ding Dongs in my house. But I make delicious brownies, fudge and caramels from scratch. My kids also drank lots of fresh juice (because I thought that was a good thing). Now we know that those things were not the answer either. Today my adult children both suffer with inflammatory issues as well.

So here I go. I have taken a food sensitivity test through my  office to determine the foods that I am sensitive to and will start a Paleo-esque lifestyle. No body is perfect (especially me) but it is my desire to learn to change, and to share what I am learning with others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Considering Naturopathy

Since starting Naturopathic therapies, I am less sensitive to sunlight

Since starting Naturopathic therapies, I am less sensitive to sunlight

As a new nurse with many years of cardiology office experience; I originally thought that I would become a cardiac nurse.

I am after all fascinated with all things heart related. Even my kids knew  growing up that I loved heart shaped jewelry. Not to mention that I am very romantic at heart. (Sorry, I could not help myself).

You all know that I almost quit my job in order to stay home and take care of my 80 year old mother. She was recovering from cardiac bypass at my home on the farm.

But God had other plans for me. Steve showed me a job posting for a naturopath office and told me that he thought that it was the perfect job for me. He was so right.

It has been a couple of months now, and my eyes are truly being opened to the miracle that this is in my life. I am unlearning so much of the conventional medicine that I worked so hard to learn. It is coming easy though, because it makes more sense. One staff member reminded me today that without my nursing knowledge, I would not be able to understand what the doctor is sharing with me. This is true.

My doctor/employer and his staff are being so patient with me as I learn. I draw blood everyday, I hang IVs, I do IV  pushes, and give injections. But it more about nutrients and supplementation than medicine. It is about knowing what types of labs to run; in order to ask the body “How can we  truly help you to become healthier?”

I am actually learning how to support the body and assist it in doing the job that it was meant to do.

I am learning that cholesterol is not the enemy that I once believed it to be. I am becoming so intolerant of refined foods. I am learning more about eating (and enjoying) a paleo-esk lifestyle.

Here is something that I found truly terrible. I went to my eye doctor and was told that my vision had improved since October. That has not happened to me since I was diagnosed with Uveitis 11 years ago. I told her what my naturopath employer is having me do. I mentioned that my eyes are less sensitive to sunlight. I even occasionally forget to wear my sunglasses. This is very uncommon for me.

My eye doctor told me that eye specialists are aware of the benefits of these therapies. I asked “Then why was I not told about it 11 years ago? This would have saved me a lot of pain and mental anguish.” The response was that there is no evidence based research to prove those therapies to work.” I  said “You and I both know that most of the research that is done is paid for by Pharmaceutical companies. It would not benefit them to pay for this kind of research.” The response that I got was a shrug and a suggestion that she would be very interested to follow the success that I have with my eyes. I am not making a quick decision here yet because she does know my history, but maybe it is time to look for an eye doctor that believes in Naturopathy.

Or maybe, just maybe God wants her to see the healing happen. Maybe she could help others eventually.

 

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