Organic Shopping List

>> Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I came across this list again today. Thought it might be helpful to share. Always try to buy organic off the dirty dozen list if you can, because these fruits and veggies either have thin skins or the farmers use the highest amounts of pesticides for these crops. If you're not able to buy organic for whatever reason you can buy off the "clean 15" list because they have the lowest amount of pesticides.

DIRTY DOZEN (buy these organic if you can)
Bell Pepper
Grapes (Imported)

CLEAN 15 (lowest in pesticides)
Sweet Corn
Sweet Peas
Sweet Potato

Click here for further reading.


Practice What I Preach

>> Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I am having a very emotional, stressful week so I haven't been able to blog recently and I'm not going to be able to blog much this week. I will say, however, that I haven't been practicing what I preach this week at all. I have fallen off the wagon and turned to my comfort food, or in my case drinks...coke and coffee. Probably two of the worst things, especially in times of stress. AND I feel it in my body. I've been having more frequent headaches, less energy, etc. This is a slippery slope I'm on and I'm going to have to stop it before I get too far gone. I'll report back in a couple days or so what my game plan is for getting back on track and for undoing the damage I've caused.


At a Loss for Words

>> Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I've tried several times to post a lengthy discussion on healing but either keep getting disrupted or finding the right words to say. Soooo, I'll just say this for now...

Everyone has different starting points for healing. For some of us, cutting out processed foods may be all that it takes to heal and eliminate symptoms. For all of us, that is the least we we need to maintain our health and prevent future disease. However, others may need deeper healing and may require a more aggressive approach toward their nutrition. Eating whole foods may not be enough and it may be necessary to cut out other foods...good, real foods but foods that are hard to digest and hinder healing. It may also be necessary to add in healing, "probiotic" foods that are full of friendly bacteria that encourage deep healing.

My husband has had multiple sclerosis for over 10 years and obviously needs deeper healing than I needed when I was sick. We are about to embark on a new diet which we're very excited about. I'm eager to write all about it but finding it all a bit overwhelming right now so I'll post more tomorrow.


>> Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bethany writes:

"What about babies who are nursing? Does their immunity in their gut come from what the mother's eating? And do you think it's more about immunity or being allergic to something that causes eczema?"

Good question Bethany. First of all, having allergies and issues with your immune system are one in the same. If you have an allergic reaction then it's your immune system that's reacting.

I remember when I was seriously ill several years ago and my immune system was a mess! Lo and behold I started having allergic reactions right and left. Drugs that I had been taking for years started giving me hives or breathing problems which sent me to the ER several times. I was even having reactions to the laundry detergent they used in the hospital or a great lotion someone gave me. Crazy! Once I started building my immune system back up I was able to tolerate certain things again. But it goes to show that the more unbalanced our immune system is, the more reactions you're going to have.

And, as a matter of fact, I was just reading about the subject of allergies and breastfeeding this week in Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell McBride...

"As far as the science knows an unborn baby is sterile. Its body has no bacteria, viruses or fungi living in it. When the time of birth comes, as the baby goes through the birth canal, it gets its first dose of microbes. Its skin, eyes, mucous membranes in the mouth and nose acquire their first microflora. Through swallowing liquids in the mother's vagina the baby's digestive system gets its first population of bacteria, viruses and fungi. So, whatever lives in the vagina of the mother is what the baby would get."

It goes on to say...

"So what happens after the baby is born? The most important thing that should happen is breastfeeding. Breast milk, particularly colostrum in the first days after birth, is vital for appropriate population of the baby's digestive system with healthy microbial flora. It is known that bottle-fed babies develop completely different gut flora to the breast-fed babies. That flora later on predisposes bottle-fed babies to asthma, eczema, different other allergies and other health problems. We all know that breast is the best! However, most things that are floating in a mother's blood will be in her breast milk. A mother with abnormal gut flora would have a whole host of toxic substances, which are produced by pathogenic microbes in her gut and maldigested foods absorbed into her bloodstream. These toxins will be excreted in her breast milk and fed to her baby. In particularly severe cases mothers of [autistic] children could not breast feed their babies because the baby would refuse the breast or just fall asleep after the first few mouthfuls of the breast milk. We know that some of the toxins, which are produced by abnormal gut flora, have the chemical structure of opiates, like morphine and heroine. If the baby gets these opiates in the breast milk then it is quite understandable why the baby falls asleep after the first few mouthfuls. Another reason for the baby to refuse breast milk is milk allergy. In a woman with gut dysbiosis the gut lining is damaged and leaky. It allows through partially digested proteins and antigens. Milk antigens have been detected in breast milk. I have seen a few cases when the baby took to the breast after the mother removed dairy foods from her diet. A lot of cases of severe eczema in babies can also be relieved by this measure."

It all stems from the immune system. And our immune system lies within our gut. Our gut contains an ecosystem that must be kept in balance. And your gut affects your baby's gut. I don't say that to make you feel guilty but rather to empower you. You have power over your baby's gut which can affect his future health!


Whole Foods Defined

>> Saturday, March 7, 2009

Before I get any further into healing our guts, allow me to define a few terms...

First of all, I use the terms "real food" and "whole foods" interchangeably. Whole foods basically refer to those foods that have been minimally processed, containing no artificial additives or preservatives. Whole foods are less refined. I prefer to think of whole foods as foods that are as close to the way God created them as possible.

Highly refined foods like white flour, white sugar and white rice have been stripped of their nutrition while whole foods like seeds, whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables tend to have more fiber and provide vitamins, minerals, protein and high-quality fats which are necessary for optimizing overall health.

So let's take oats for example. The quick-cooking oats most people buy their children which are found in little envelopes and boast all kinds of fun maple sugar flavors, etc...are not only far from the way they grew in the field but they have all sorts of added sugars, and flavors. These kinds of products have been refined and are not as nutritious as their commercials claim. Oats that are closest to the way they grew and therefore "whole" are oats groats. Steel cut oats and rolled oats (old fashioned oats) are slightly more processed but but pack a lot more nutritious punch.

Another perfect example are protein bars that are so popular in our country now. They claim to be highly nutritious and yes, they are full of protein which is important but we have to start thinking "quality" of food, not quantity of fat grams, protein or calories. Protein bars are not real food. It's a conglomeration of powders and preservatives...far, far, far from the way those ingredients grew in the field.

The bottom line is that we have to choose wisely, read labels and think about what we're putting into our bodies. The further foods gets from it's original state, the less nutritious it is. But more importantly, the more damage it causes the lining of our gut therefore leaving us susceptible to sickness, weight gain, disease, depression, you name it.

In future posts I'm also going to be discussing other terms like "traditional" foods and "probiotic" foods. These are whole foods that have been fermented or cultured. In a nutshell, they are foods full of friendly bacteria that feed our gut and keep them happy. More discussion later.


It All Starts in the Gut

>> Thursday, March 5, 2009

I have come to firmly (and I mean firmly!) believe that most all of human diseases and conditions come from an unhealthy gut. Our immune system lies within our gut. And our gut doesn't just affect our digestive system, it affects our whole body; our central nervous system, our neurological system, our name it. Think about it...not too long ago it was very rare to be diagnosed with autism, alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, cancer, even diabetes or heart disease. I believe the Western diet has wreaked havoc on our entire bodies and our society. We must restore the health of our guts by returning to whole, natural foods full of healthy bacteria.

Here is an excerpt from a great article I found by Dr. Cowan that illustrates this point beautifully...

"We have millions of intestinal villi, which are tiny finger-like hairs projecting into the intestine. These villi increase dramatically the surface area of the intestinal lining, making it a more effective semi-permeable barrier, which means it keeps unwanted things out of our bloodstream while absorbing the nutrients. These villi are covered with a layer of healthy intestinal flora, in some estimates about five to seven pounds of millions of varied bacteria, viruses, yeast and other microbes.

These healthy bacteria are vital for healthy life. They make vitamins, they digest food, they make antibiotic substances to keep down pathogens and they function as our immune system. I tell my patients that this system is analogous to a lush meadow with a thick layer of soil (the villi) covered by a lush layer of grass (the healthy bacteria). When both are intact, the meadow is healthy, but if you went to the meadow and stripped off the grass (this would be the equivalent of using an antibiotic in a person, or even not eating probiotic food), a whole cascade of catastrophic events will follow. First, you will get erosion of the soil, then the soil that’s left will be weak and unsupportive of healthy grasses. Weaker varieties of grass will grow or even no grass at all. Next, as the soil develops erosion cracks, poisons, runoff, etc., will start to seep into the ground water. At this point the land is dying.

This is exactly what happens inside us. First we strip our grass, then the soil erodes - the villi get weak and blunted, and then can’t support healthy micro-orgnisms. The cracks develop, and finally poisons seep into our groundwater, the blood. We now have foreign proteins in our blood, which either directly poison our nervous system (i.e. autism) or create antibody formation in reaction to these abnormal proteins, which is the whole process of auto-immune illness. Diseases which are the direct result of this process include not only intestinal diseases such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, but all the auto- immune problems such as eczema, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and on and on. It is not a stretch to confirm what natural medicine has claimed for literally thousands of years: The majority of human illness starts in the gut and must be healed by treating the gut."

More about this tomorrow...


Pure Bliss

>> Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I was going to blog about avocados or herbal teas or something of the like today. But then I came across this video and felt like I HAD to share it. This is my child who has been hospitalized several times for "failure to thrive". He had seizures, was blind and generally grumpy all the time. He has a feeding tube and the docs were prescribing him commercialized formula out of a can. Since switching him to "real food" he hasn't had a single seizure, he's flourishing and happy and joyful all the time. He's even gaining some eyesight! If that isn't a testimony to real food I don't know what is.

It's a shame that too many kids these days are being prescribed pills by the bucket load for all kinds of physical and behavior problems. I know medical intervention is necessary sometimes, however, food is the best medicine there is regardless of the condition/diagnosis. Kids are at our mercy to provide for them. If parents were to provide their kids with whole foods then they wouldn't have behavior problems in the first place. I'm not blaming parents for their kids' problems...I'm blaming the Western diet...but parents can intervene with more conservative measures to heal their kids. We don't need to rely on Western medicine. In fact, I believe that traditional medicine can do more harm than good, in most cases. There are other ways that not only help kids but HEAL kids. Nate is one of many that proves that real food works!!

For more information check out


Buying in Bulk

>> Monday, March 2, 2009

In an attempt to save money on our grocery bill we have decided to join Costco. I often read that buying in bulk is the way go but I've been skeptical for awhile about whether or not we could buy organic items at a place like Costco. Much to my surprise, we can! I've only gone twice but here are my favorite finds so far:

organic, range-free chicken broth
Muir Glen organic soups (for busy days)
cold pressed olive oil
nitrite free bacon
"naked" chicken nuggets (w/o breading...that was a FUN find!)
Kirkland brand cleaning products...most of them are natural and don''t have perfumes
organic tortilla chips
organic butter
100% maple syrup
all-natural peanut butter
organic jelly
Newman's Own juice

There also seemed to be lots of organic produce, fish and meats. We've been buying those through our co-op but I saw some good deals.

We've been buying our rice, oats, corn, etc. in bulk at a local health food store, but you can check out these great resources if you're interested:


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