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Friday, December 30, 2011

Perfect Excuse For Baking

Since it's the holidays, I've been doing some baking. I know that I'm not supposed to consume too much sugar, but for some reason this time of the year it's hard to say no to cookies and cakes. Since I can't eat most, I decided to make my own. I discovered this amazing website: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com. So many great gluten free and vegan recipes.

To take to my husband's parents for Christmas I made the Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies. The only change I made was instead of using 1 and2/3 cup of brown sugar I tried 1 and 1/3 cup of coconut sugar. The cookies were very rich tasting. They had almost a caramel flavor. Not sure if it's my reawakened taste buds or the fresh addition of coconut sugar.

I also made mini cupcakes from a gluten free mix I had bought some time ago. The mix called for eggs, but I subbed Ener-G Egg Replacer. The mini cupcakes were light, airy and super chocolate-y.

For dinner the other night I made the Mexican Pumpkin Soup. The soup is super spicy and filling. If you have a cold, this dish will make you sweat it out. The soup made a lot, which I like. Leftovers make life easy. I also toasted a gluten free burrito. I spritzed it with olive oil and sprinkled cayenne and sea salt on it before setting it in the over for about ten minutes. The chips went perfectly with the soup.

Most mornings I begin with a glass or two of green juice followed by g-free oatmeal mixed with fruit. Some mornings my body says it can't stomach another bowl of cereal. About a twice a month a bake a batch of muffins. Half of which I freeze to have on hand when cereal falls out of favor. Yesterday morning I made the Carrot Muffins. The recipe required coconut flour. A new ingredient that I was skeptical of purchasing. Would I use the flour again? For this recipe, instead of using 1 cup of light brown sugar, I added in 3/4 cup of coconut sugar. My husband ate one right of the oven. No complaints. And he's a muffin connoisseur. He usually picks one up from Crumbs or Zabars at least two or three times a week. The muffins have a rich taste and are very satisfying. I've tried other g-free, vegan muffin recipes. None compare to the Carrot Muffins.

Karina of Gluten Free Goddess, mentions that the secret to g-free baking is finding the perfect mix of flours. In most of her recipes she uses three to four flours. She writes that g-free fours have a more pronounced taste than regular wheat flour. To keep one flavor from over powering another, you have to find the perfect blend. When I began g-free baking I was skeptical of purchasing so many tiny bags of different flours. At this point, I've accumulated so many that baking isn't such a pricey trip to the grocery store any longer.

Next up is buckwheat flour and Karina's Flourless Vegan Chocolate Cake.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Return To Peacefood Cafe

After Monday's failed attempt to snag a table at Peacefood Cafe, I returned yesterday. This time my husband and I grabbed one of the few two-seater tables still available at 12:20pm. The place was already pretty full.

To kick things off we shared a green lemonade. Notice the double straws. Usually you see this kind of thing in malts not green juice.



For my lunch I had the chickpea fries, which my husband also sampled, along with roasted japanese pumpkin and brussels sprouts. The fries came with a tangy dipping sauce and sprouts. I think the sauce has some sort of soy product. I did dip a little, hoping that a small amount of a sensitive food wouldn't be too problematic. I experienced my usual back of throat mucus, but nothing too extreme.




My husband had the seasonal veggie panini on their homemade focaccia. I neglected to snap a shot with my Blackberry. He really liked it. The bread looked great. Being cut off from yeast, I really miss bread.

Seated very near us, was a woman constantly pushing her incredibly over sized stroller, while she ate. My husband said all the back and forth pushing he spied from his peripheral vision was making him sea sick. I'm not sure if the woman was attempting to burn off the calories she consumed by simultaneously exercising her right arm. Being a mom, I would roll my baby's stroller until he feel asleep. Then I would stop. This woman had no concept of stop. In addition, she kept pushing her gigantic stroller into people.

As a mom, I understand the challenges of raising a baby in the city. But geez, can't people be mindful of the close quarters in the city and choose a not so huge stroller? I purposely didn't go for a Bugaboo for three reasons. For one, it costs almost $1000. Secondly, it's of mammoth proportions. Not the best for rolling into cafes shops or even apartments. Thirdly, once a kid hits age two he/she looks ridiculous in a Bugaboo. An umbrella stroller like a Maclaren is a much better choice. It's more compact. You can use it up to age five. And it costs between $200 and $300.

Back to our meal. I was hopping to have room for one of their g-free desserts. But I was too stuffed. I also had wanted to try one of their soups. A return visit sometime soon is definitely in order.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Lunch That Didn't Happen


One of the things I've been looking forward to during my week-long break from work is lunch at Peacefood Cafe. The restaurant is 100 percent vegan. They press their own made to order fresh juices, make interesting smoothie combinations, offer raw and cooked entrees and have many gluten free options. Also, it's delicious. My husband and I walked in today. Well, we attempted to walk in. There was such a big crowd waiting for a table that we could barely fit. It was like trying to get on the 2 train on a Monday morning. Somehow we managed to squeeze in where we realized that the wait for a table could easily be an hour long. We just weren't up for or expecting a que.

While I was bummed out that I didn't get to have lunch at one of my favorites spots, I was happy to see that a vegan restaurant was booming. All I can say is we need more spots like Peacefood Cafe. On my way out, I caught sight of the gluten free pumpkin loaf. Life is so unfair.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Fail!


One of my favorite shows growing up was the A-Team. The quote that always comes to mind was Hannibal saying in between cigar puffs, "I love it when a plan comes together."

Yesterday's all-day juice detox was just the opposite. My husband and I began the day by walking our son the fifteen blocks to and from his school. On the way home, we hit Trader Joe's for a few cooking essentials, even though we weren't eating that day. I came home drank juice, cleaned, drank juice, did laundry and drank more juice. Around 3pm I began to feel incredibly cold and hungry. At this time Juice No. 4 was up. The lemon, water, cayenne and agave mix. The lemon drink made me feel like I was straddling line between nauseas and hunger.

An hour later my husband said, "I'm so hungry."

"Me too," I added.

"I'm STAAAARVING!"

That's when we broke out the veggie chips.

So, I didn't juice all day. But, I like to think I reaped some of the benefits of drinking almost 50 ounces of juice in a day. For dinner I had a very healthy brown rice, kale, azuki bean burrito rolled up in a g-free wrapper along with homemade guac.

Overall, I think Blue Print Cleanse's green juice is too sweet. I'd be "sweet" if they offered an all veggie green juice or a less sweet green one. I tried a shot glass amount of the cashew nut milk and was heaving over the toilet afterwards. Bon appe-puke.

I've had issues with nuts over the past year and a half. I'm hoping some time in the near future that my body accepts nuts. I've began taking digestive enzymes with most meals. I'm already noticing an improvement with a little less bloating and intestinal ruckus.

I think the next time I embark on a juice detox, I will either make my own or purchase Organic Avenue's all veggie juices. I will also plan on eating a healthy dinner, unless I'm feeling totally satisfied by a day of juice.

As B. A. Baracus would say, "Don't be a fool...," and as I add, "...and feel you have to stick to a plan that's not coming together."


Thursday, December 22, 2011

One-day Cleanse



This is a peek inside my fridge this morning. The juices arrived from Blueprint Cleanse yesterday. My husband said, "One is white!" I explained that it's a cashew nut milk, which we're supposed to drink last– a sort of liquid dinner. Of course I woke up this morning feeling very hungry. I drank several glasses of water, as I tackled the every growing pile of papers and mail accumulating on the kitchen counter. I have one juice down and five more to go.

Juices 1, 2, 3 and 5 are a green mix of celery, cucumbers, romaine, apple, parsley, kale, spinach and lemon. Very sweet tasting. Juice 4 is a blend of lemon, water, agave, and cayenne. Juice 6 is the nut milk which includes cashews, water, cinnamon, vanilla and agave. Curious to try 4 and 6 since I usually only drink green blends.

Right now I'm feeling a little sleepy. Probably has more to do with the fact I got about six hours of sleep than the lack of food. Happy I have the day off to detox, clean and nap.

Well, it's time for juice number 2!

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Beef With Beef



While at the gym on Saturday, I caught a repeat episode of Top Chef. The contestants were challenged with preparing a multi-course meal for an American Cancer Society benefit in Texas. When one thinks of Texas the mind often lands on...beef. Similarly, when I think of Cancer my mind zeros in on beef.

Guess what the main course at the Cancer Benefit's dinner was? Beef! With the meal being broadcast nationwide, the program seemed like a great opportunity for the chef's to demonstrate their culinary muscle while creating a meal that wasn't carcinogenic. The various employees of the Cancer Society got right in on the blackened steaks. No mention of eating a diet of foods that help prevent cancer.

I realize that benefit dinners come with big ticket prices. In return guests expect to be wowed by their plates. I think a healthier, nutrient-dense meal would have wowed patrons, challenged chefs and been equally meaty. Don't mess with beef. Do mess with veggies.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Mucus



Once again I've dove full force into a wellness related book. My current one is Clean by Dr. Alejandro Junger. The book goes into great detail about mucus. Something I'm all too familiar with. Shoot, I could probably write my own book on this topic. The book details that our bodies make mucus as a protectant from irritants such as chemicals, prescriptions drugs, junk foods, consuming dairy, pesticides and more yucky stuff. The problem is when enough of this mucus gets made it gets stuck in our bodies. Signs are puffiness, dark circles under the eyes and even enlarged pores. Sounds like my portrait.

While I am feeling somewhat better with my new Fluconazole and decongestant regimen, I still have a lot of mucus being formed in my sinuses. I can only imagine what the rest of my body looks like. Probably like an old fashion Nickelodeon slime fest.

I'm going to try a one day juice cleanse next week. I know it's only one day, but I want to see how my body handles this. I just recently stopped experiencing a daily loss of feeling in my fingertips and chills. If all goes well, I plan to try a three-day cleanse another time. The best part is, I talked my husband into doing it with me. We both already drink at least eight ounces of greens daily and often much more. My husband even makes the juice himself. Now I have to decide between Organic Avenue and Blueprint Cleanse. They both offer delivery. Stay tuned for the juicy details.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wellness Toolbox

Things are leveling out since I restarted the Fluconazole last week, by taking a half a tablet every other day. Last week was a bit hellish between sinus inflammation and drainage, constant itchiness, plus insane thirst from taking decongestants. Today, I'm finally feeling like my body is calming down.

I visited Dr. Firshein today. He spoke about how I now have my toolbox of supplements. He said depending on how I'm feeling, I can open up my wellness toolbox and choose accordingly. For example, if I'm feeling more tired than usual then I should take D-Ribose, L Tyrosine, and Enada. If allergies are aggravating me then take extra Quercetin. This strategy makes me feel empowered rather than helpless, as I've felt so many times over the past few years.

Despite all the set-backs, I feel hopeful that my health is coming under control. Next month I have some work related travel. A couple of months ago, the thought of work-related travel really stressed me out. As my health comes under control, I'm slowly getting my life back and able to enjoy things more.

The moments that I can breathe clearly, I never take for granted. I hope to get to a point where I can take these times for granted.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Two Fun Blogs

Instead of writing about my current state of health, I thought it'd be fun to highlight two blogs I'm enjoying reading.



My friend Sandra moved to London with her family in August of this year. I miss all the fun times we had together: working on Macy's holiday ad campaign, concepting ads for the first chewable, minty-fresh birth control pill (no joke. and we got paid to do this.), co-teaching at NYU and Media Bistro, eating at Sweet Melissa's, and playdates in Brooklyn. Her observations about life in Tooting are honest and make me laugh. Read it and giggle: http://weirdstuffinlondon.blogspot.com/





Another friend of mine, Ann, left Manhattan as well. Ann suddenly found herself free of the commitment of a full-time job. She sublet her apartment in the East Village and took off on a whirlwind adventure. I find her blog empowering. I first read it on a day when I was feeling overwhelmed by work and my health. Her blog re-set my frame of mind, lifting me out of my state of yucka. Check it out: http://www.eastvillagenomad.com/

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tummy Time

My Glutenfreeda Oatmeal test went very well. My tummy didn't go bonkers yesterday. I had a tiny bit of pinging, which lasted ten minutes but not the usual three-hour plus belly-roll-athon.



Instead of packing lunch today, I visited Organic Avenue where I purchased their zucchini pasta with pesto. The dish came with a side of pine nut parmesan. I sprinkled the nut cheese and dove into the pasta. Halfway through, I felt like my throat was closing. Next, my stomach let me know that it wasn't happy. I pushed the $10 dish aside and ate some gluten-free crackers I keep in my desk.

I'm well aware that nuts are a new allergen for me. Since I happily ate them for many years, I have a difficult time always avoiding them. I tried almond butter again for the first time in three months last week and my sinuses revolted. I really don't know what I was thinking by consuming the nut cheese. I guess I was optimistically eating. Hoping by being non-judgemental toward the pine nuts, my body would follow. But that wasn't the case. Now I sit at work with my lower region doing somersaults.

Also, I've been up since 3:30am. Not sure why. Maybe side effects from the Allerga D? Between gastrointestinal distress and a lack of sleep, I'm a real fun gal.

Now let's change topics to my husband's hands. During the cold months, I often put lotion on my husband's rough hands. They're so rough, that I could easily snag a pair of tights on them. The other night I reached for his hand. Instead of feeling roughness, I felt smooth skin. I asked if he had already lubed up his hands. He said, "No."I was shocked. How could Mr. Roughskin have such smooth skin? Could it be all the green juice he's been guzzling? On that note, I'm going to go pour me a tall glass of green.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Glutinous Insurgents



Lately, I've been experiencing a lot of rumbling, pinging and other strange occurrences coming from my abdominal area. It's like a monster truck show is going on in my intestines. I remember before I switched my diet from glutinous and animal-based to gluten-free vegan that every afternoon I had major gas and bloatedness. Basically, I looked pregnant. Pregnant with a gaseous monster.

I reflected upon my diet, which is totally gluten free. Well, I thought totally gluten free. I think I singled out the possible culprit. I believe the source of my discomfort could be the organic oatmeal I've been eating in the morning. Oatmeal is one of those controversial foods simply because by nature it doesn't contain gluten. But oatmeal is grown in fields adjacent to the evil wheat. Also, it's a rotation crop meaning it's grown on soil that also grows wheat, barley and rye certain times of the year. So contamination in the field is one issue. Secondly, some oats are processed in facilities where wheat or other glutinous grains are handled. Again, contamination.

The solution: Glutenfreeda Oatmeal!




The oats in this box are grown on oats members only soil. No glutinous outsiders. And these oats have their very own exclusive processing facility that boasts a huge "Gluten Keep Out" sign. Hopefully, no belly swell or strange noises from the nether regions today. I'll be sure to keep you posted on my progress.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Raging Green Juice-aholic



Over the past three weeks, I've been experiencing bouts of nausea more than likely caused by taking oral fluconazole. The drug can be toxic and one of its side effects is liver damage. So it seems you don't have to be a raging alcoholic to mess up your liver. You can be just the opposite, a raging green juice drinker. I stopped the fluconazole, went on a green juice bender and had my liver checked.

Today, I spoke with my doctor who said my liver numbers were perfect. I picture my liver beaming with pride and happy to autograph glossies of its self. That's the good news.

The bad news is my congestion has worsened and my sense of smell is gone. I have constant yucky drainage down the back of my throat. My doctor told me to try taking a half a fluconazole tablet every other day and decongestant as needed. I'm off to buy a fancy pill cutter when I finish this post.



Tonight, I plan to make green juice using the goodies I bought from the farmer's market yesterday: cilantro, parsley and giant bag of apples ( for $2!).

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Latest Vegan, Gluten-free Breakfast



My new breakfast invention isn't actually so new. Actually, it could be labeled lazy. The centerpiece of it is cold oatmeal. That's right, I pour a bag of instant gluten free oats into a bowl. Next, I add about a tablespoon of ground flax meal and about half a cup of Erewhon gluten free brown rice cereal. On top of this, I stir in chopped apple or pear plus banana. Additional add-ins include cacao nibs, goji berries  and dried cherries. I top it all off with organic rice milk. I love it.

I had been making hot oatmeal, which I had to add agave too.  The hot stuff got boring fast and the taste became almost icky. I find that eating it cold, tastes better and requires zero agave. You could toss in nuts, a sprinkle of cinnamon or other spice of choice or berries. If you're feeling really wild, a few Enjoy Life chocolate chips are a nice treat too.

About half an hour before eating the cereal, I have a glass of green juice. I try to always quick-off my day on an alkaline note. Pretty soon after arriving at work, things usual go acidic anyway.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sick Avoidance Tactics

Yesterday, I started feeling like a cold is coming on. Or, possibly it's my fungal infection trying to take hold again. My husband has been sick, so there's a good chance he cold have passed on the evil germs to me. In an effort to give my body a boost, I've been taking echinacea drops twice a day, attempting to get more sleep (last night I went to bed at 9:15pm.) and drinking more green juice. 




This time when I visited Organic Avenue, I boldly selected their Mellow Green blend, which combines cucumber, celery, romaine, spinach and parsley. This stuff is the color of a dark forest. I expected this juice to be stronger than other green versions simply because it's lacking fruit. However, I was surprised to discover that it's actually smoother than the Green Love, which has lemon and pear. The name Mellow Green says it all. The juices are a whopping $12 for 16 ounces. However, if you return the glass bottle, you get a $2 credit. Yesterday's cost my only $8, since I turned in two bottles. 


I've also been trying not to touch my face. Why does my face always itch when on the subway? 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Freebies From Freelancers Union



Yesterday, I received a goody envelope from The Freelancers Union. It included a notebook, pen, chocolates and bookmarks. If you're not familiar with them, the union is a wonderful resource for finding jobs, networking, health insurance and more. They even have an online contract creator for independent workers.

Last week Kaitlyn from The Freelancers Union asked me if I would share my story of unpaid wages with the New York Post. I said sure. Back in 2006 I worked for a small ad agency called The Coastal Group. Little did I know, that the owners David and Todd Weiss, were jerks. Each week it became increasingly difficult to get paid. After a month, I left. I continued to try to collect the $5000 they owed me for two weeks of unpaid work. I eventually took them to small claims court. The Weiss brothers were a no-show. The judgement was in my favor. The problem with small claims court is that there is no support or enforcement of a ruling. It was pretty much up to me to find these jerks and get my money. By the time of my court ruling, they had closed shop. I did find this youtube video about them.

Overall, I was happy with the article. Although, the writer neglected to mention the Coastal Group and referred to them as a printing company. Secondly, I look weird in the photo. Nevertheless, The Freelancers Union sent the article to all New York State legislators. The Union is trying to get an act passed to protect independent workers and help them get paid when clients don't pay. Fingers crossed that the legislation gets passed and the legislators think I look cute.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bo Knows



Chick-fil-A highly guards its motto 'Eat More Chikin'. Vermont folk artist Bo Muller-Moore has been silkscreening the phrase 'Eat More Kale' onto t-shirts for the last ten years in an effort to rally people around local agriculture. According to Chick-fil-A-'s lawyers, the phrase 'Eat More Kale' is likely to cause confusion of the public and dilutes the distinctiveness of Chick-fil-A's intellectual property and diminishes its value.


As far as confusion, I think people know the difference between kale and chicken. Does the fast food restaurant think people will walk into their restaurants and order kale? To me, this seems like an opportunity for Chick-fil-A to start offering a kale option. 






Chick-fil-A's message is always accompanied by a cow, that supposedly wrote the message, 'Eat more chikin.' The obvious misspelling lets you know a cow, and not a human, wrote the message. Because while cows can write they can't spell. Bo's slogan is different. It isn't accompanied by Mr. Ed or any type of mammal that's capable of writing or speaking in English. 


If you visit the fast food giant's website there's a page of healthy dining tips for kids. If Chick-fil-A really wants to embrace a healthy image, you'd think they would get behind a pro-kale message. Or maybe their healthy ambitions are devoid of any real nourishment. 


All I can say is, go Bo! 







Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Upper Juicy West Side

Lately, I've been more into green juice than green smoothies. I think it may have something to do with my over consumption of the vegan chocolate chip cookies I made last Wednesday night. I was too full for a smoothie, but I had room for green juice.






Over the weekend, I visited my neighborhood Juice Generation where I purchased three pints of Essential Green by Cooler Cleanse. Cooler Cleanse was co-founded by Salma Hayek. She's been doing juice cleanses for 15 years. I'm not sure if she's a full-time or part-time vegan. Essential Green is the perfect balance of slightly sweet with loads of green goodness including cucumber, celery, parsley, spinach, kale, dandelion greens, watercress, pear, lemon, and ginger. My husband drank some and said it was intense. If I had tried this juice several months ago, it would have been too intense for me too and not sweet enough. I feel like my sugar avoidance (other than the recent chocolate chip cookie meltdown) has recalibrated my taste buds. 


I also discovered that my hood is getting another great addition. Organic Avenue is opening directly across from Peacefood Cafe. I'm so excited to have three awesome juice/smoothie/vegan food options. Actually more than three if you include the sit-down restaurants Blossom and Josie's. Although Josie's offers animal-based dishes too, making it a good spot for my family. 


My husband wondered if Peacefood would be put off by Organic Avenue strategically moving in across the street. I guess we'll have to see if they become war food Cafe. 













Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Touching Topic



Last week my doctor emphasized that I should never touch my face since this can quickly lead to a sinus infection. Lately, I've become highly aware of how often people touch their faces. I was just chatting with a coworker in her office where I watched her rub her eyes and chin. Yesterday in a meeting one woman spent the majority of the thirty minutes rubbing the area around her mouth.

I've caught myself almost touching my face several times throughout the day. I find that I usually do this when I'm immersed in a writing task. I tend to want to touch my face when I'm thinking or problem solving. I wonder if there's ever been a study to determine if people think faster when they touch their face. I wonder if my work is suffering from my refraining?

In today's Metro paper I read about a science competition called the Ig Nobel Prizes. The competition awards silly yet original research. Recent winners include why woodpeckers don't get headaches and a toy helicopter that collects whale mucus. Last year's winner in the peace category was a study confirming the widely held belief that saying bad words relieves pain. I think my study to determine if face-touching leads to better brain function is perfect.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Waves of Nausea




Over the past week, I've been getting hit with waves of nausea. This usually happens on the subway, which is somewhat understandable. But still odd. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night unable to  sleep. Now that my body is deprived of caffeine there really isn't an excuse for random awakenings. Unable to sleep, I walked into the kitchen where I was hit with another wave of nausea.

Today I looked up side effects of fluconazole. One is liver disease. Funny that a disease can be a side effect. Symptoms of liver disease are nausea and pain on your right side. I had some odd pain on my ride side a few nights as well. I panicked and called my doctor.

My doctor didn't freak out, which was good. Instead he said to cut back on the fluconazole. He said to take my next dose on Saturday or Sunday. I visit my doctor on Tuesday of next week when I get my liver checked. Hope my liver behaves. The doctor seemed to think I wasn't in any real trouble. I guess if I had a history like Courtney Love then things might not seem so ok.

Last night I smelled my first cucumber in about two years. I had forgotten they have a scent. I also noticed that the garlic crackers I eat have a stronger flavor these days. I imagine the flavor is garlic, something I haven't truly tasted in a long time.

It's obvious I need to cut back on the fluconazole. But I hope my sinuses don't worsen. Fingers crossed for continued taste and smell.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pig Out Vegan Style



Friday night my husband and I met friends for dinner at Hundred Acres. The restaurant is known for locally sourcing most of their ingredients and their menu boasts impressive meat-based dishes as well as vegetable sides. I'd visited Hundred Acres many times in the past for dinner as well as their awesome happy hour featuring $6 drinks and glasses of vino.

My husband and I split their local greens salad with fennel, honey crisp apples and herbs. The salad was also dressed with shaved parmesan, which I avoided since dairy is one of my sensitivities. For my main I said to the waitress, "I'm going to order a few sides, creating a vegetable dish for my main." The waitress responded with, "That's fine if you're not that hungry."

Huh?

Why would eating vegetables mean I'm not hungry when in fact I was close to ravenous?

Instead of responding with, "I have multiple food sensitivities including chicken and beef so I've adopted a less inflammatory vegan/vegetarian-bsed diet.", I decided not to respond to her comment and I said, "I'll have the roasted brussels sprouts, braised mustard greens and crispy smashed creamer potatoes."

Needless to say by the end of the meal I was so full that I was almost uncomfortable. I pigged out on veggies.

Oink.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fork Floosie Flub



Back in 2006 I formed a once-a-month dining club called the Fork Floosies. (Above is a poorly shot pic of the floosies in action) Including myself, it consists of five women who take turns picking a restaurant to dine at each month. I used to look forward to sharing interesting pasta dishes, hand-made sausages, cheese platters, bottles of vino plus sides of brussels sprouts. Other than the sprouts, most of these items have been removed from my diet thanks to the fungus throw-down going on in my body.

These days the dinners are a source of stress for me because food makes me sick. Instead of whole heartedly picking dishes, I have to carefully avoid most. I hate having to say I can't eat this or that. I feel like my friends must think I'm a high maintenance picky eater.

Last night we gathered for dinner at Almond. My friends ordered interesting wines. For me, water. My friends dove into meaty pasta dishes. I ate veggie sides. We kicked things off by sharing a bowl of olives. Around ten olives in, my sinuses began to get clogged. Not as bad as my pre-Fluconazole days, but there was that ugly mucus build up again.

I suddenly remembered something my doctor had said to me. He said if a food has been sitting out, there's a good chance it could have fungus and I need to avoid these foods. Olives always sit out in bins. Darn! Why didn't I think of this before ordering? I ate my butternut squash puree, brussels sprouts and potatoes with a clogged nose. I just didn't feel great and couldn't wait to get home to nasal douche. This was my first set back since I've begun my new regimen of anti-fungal meds and decongestant. It just sucks it had to happen on a night a had social plans.

I imagine over the course of the next few weeks, I'll be discovering more off limit foods, while relishing in the safety of others. Like today I ate a tropical banana Raw Revolution bar. I ate one bite and then waited twenty minutes to see if I had any reactions. I didn't so I ate a few more bites, then finished the bar a bit later. The bar contains hemp and sunflower seeds. It's exciting to think I can eat foods with these used-to-be-known-as-evil seeds.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nuggets

Yesterday, I came across a daily deals site for vegans called Vegan Cuts. Granted I already subscribe to Groupon and receive Gilt Groupe deals, Doodle Deals plus even Daily Candy has a version. So far I happily admit I've spent zero dollars on deals. However, Vegan Cuts could push me over my zero limit. Searching their past deals, I found this whimsical necklace that I really want:



While I can't seem to wean my son off chicken nuggets, I'm sure he would take a liking to the necklace. His liking would lead to questions, which may lead to him trying some non-chicken nugget food. He tried veggie nuggets once. He took a bite and then spit it out. The other night I was warming his fav nuggets and he said, "Don't give me the ones with the corn in them." I guess either my husband or I will be eating the rest of the veggie nuggets.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Don't Touch


I had a follow-up visit with Dr. Firshein this morning. He was so happy to hear that I was feeling better and that my body wasn't reacting to everything I ate. He said he felt like this was his Richard Simmons moment and that we should hug and cry over the good news. I of course almost cried. But somehow held it together. The doctor said it's become evident that my body has a difficult time with fungus. Fungus isn't like an apple a day. He said for me to continue on the Fluconazole for another two weeks. Then I'll take the medication every other day for a month or even just once a week, depending on how I'm feeling.

He said I'll have to be forever vigilant with my diet. I must try my best to avoid yeast and fermented foods  to avoid a recurrence. While abstaining from champagne, bread and beer is no fun, I'm happy to say I was able to eat tahini-free hummus last night without a sinus meltdown. The world of food is opening for me. I think I'll be able to eat almonds and other nuts again.

The doctor also said I have to really watch my sugar intake. Sugar feeds fungus. Sugar is an ingredient I've pretty much eradicated from my diet. I use a little agave when making my gluten free vegan muffins and on my morning oatmeal. Otherwise, it's been kicked to the fungus curb.

The last bit of advice he said is for me not to touch my face, since this is one way sinus infections can easily take hold. If I do, then I should rinse my sinuses as soon as possible. I honestly didn't think I touch my face that much. Seems that I'm a face-touching fiend. I've caught myself doing the deed at least ten times today. I managed to stop myself a few times. I rinsed my sinuses after one incident. It's amazing how itchy my face is. Any advice for decreasing facial itch?

In closing, I came across a recipe for a chickpea tart. I can't wait to give it a try.




Monday, November 14, 2011

The Magical Plastic World of Disney Dining


Last week I spent at Disney World. Instead of blawging, I was busy standing in lines and dodging Goofy. For weeks my upcoming trip to Disney had been a source of stress due to my limited diet. Let me tell you the majority of food available on the Disney compound isn't good for even a healthy person. Walt Disney World is all about making dreams come true. I'm not sure that a diet of french fries, oversized turkey legs and chicken nuggets is dream-making fuel.

Since Disney feeds people from all over our nation, as well as the world, you'd think they'd want to set a better example. My husband, son and I found one fruit stand at Disney's Hollywood Studios. We ran up to a giant bin of oranges. As I grabbed one, I realized it was plastic. We did manage to find a few real naval oranges in a much smaller bin along with a some rotten apples and bananas. As far as fresh produce, this was it. However, if hot dogs were your fancy there were five varieties to choose from.

The first day I arrived at Disney, I visited the local Whole Foods where I stocked up on organic fruits, some veggies, guacamole and a few other essentials. I also ordered and drank a fresh green juice. Two mornings, I attempted to make green smoothies using my Magic Bullet. No matter how much ice or water I added, the concoction came out too lumpy and undrinkable. I so missed my Vitamix. Everyday, I brought with me apple wedges and gluten free crackers into the park. One day I had my Whole Foods guac and crackers for lunch.

One of my favorite meals was lunch at Tokyo Dining in EPCOT. My husband and I were seated at a window seat overlooking the park. I ordered two avocado and cucumber rolls, which I quickly devoured. Then I ordered a third. I also guzzled a glass of mandarin, pineapple and lemon juice. Shaved ice made the juice taste more like a slush.

Even though I was in sunny Florida with temps hovering around 80 most days, I found myself freezing. My finger tips kept turning white and loosing circulation. Usually this only happens to me in extreme cold. Honestly, I felt like I was starving. One night I broke down in tears at Wolfgang Puck Express. I was so hungry, but there was so little I could eat based on my food sensitivity diet. In a fit of desperation, I ordered a side of mashed potatoes. Tears rolling down my face, I ate the entire plate of potatoes, which I know were full of milk and butter. Luckily, my body didn't freak out over the consumption of dairy-doused potatoes. The warm dish made me feel much better. I realize now in some situations, you just have to go with the flow and eat.

Mid-way through the vacation something miraculous happened. My sinuses became less reactive to food. Was it the magic of Disney? Or something else? I think the addition of Fluconazole and decongestant is make a huge difference. I'm back home now and back to my healthy regimen. My husband was even excited to drink his green juice yesterday and green smoothie today.

Something else magical happened. This morning I was able to smell my perfume for the first time! Since I used to not be able to smell, I based my purchase decision on packaging. Luckily, the packaging reflected a scent I like. I'm almost looking forward to smelling my husband's farts




Saturday, November 5, 2011

Too Much Info Or Not Enough

While searching for a solution to my ongoing sinus/Candida problem I came across this forum on Topix for other similar sufferers. I was so amazed and relieved to find over 300 pages of other fellow sufferers. Suffering never made me so happy. Well, not really.

All of the sufferers who had experienced improvement mentioned that a combination of diet and  prescription anti-fungals had brought them to a renewed state of health. Since I've already overhauled my diet, I hoped that the addition of an anti-fungal would do the trick.

I visited Dr. Firshein on Tuesday. Before I could share my newfound knowledge with him, I broke down crying. The doctor must think I'm a total wackadoo. He passed me a box of tissues. He was calming and understanding. I have found with some other physicians, if I mention researching a health-related matter online, they often frown upon patients attempting to educate themselves. This was not the case at all with  Dr. Firshein.

He agreed that trying Fluconazole along with decongestants was the right strategy to move forward with. I first balked at the decongestants. My ENT had taken me off them 10 years ago because he said they caused high blood pressure. Instead my ENT had me take 10 years of steroids and antibiotics. Honestly, it seems like a few days of decongestants are much less invasive than weeks or months, or worse years, of steroids and antibiotics. This is why it's so important to find a doctor that meshes with your point of view.

I have now been on Fluconazole and Sudafed for five days, and I'm already noticing improvement. I'm not experiencing the extreme inflammation and mucus build up. Yay!

Fingers crossed for more good news to come.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sticky Lips



The other day I swiped across my lips a tube of Sephora lip gloss. Immediately, a rancid taste took over my mouth. I quickly wiped my lips clean and went forward with a bare look. Later on I visited Whole Foods' make up wall for a better lip gloss. There were enough brands and options to overwhelm me.

I settled on a tube of Mineral Fusion's Polished lip gloss and tossed the Sephora tube. The packaging states that the gloss is preservative free and according to their website also gluten-free. All of their products are vegetarian and some are vegan. Not sure where the gloss I purchased falls. But after one swipe of this tube, I was left with the same taste I had before using it, which is exactly what I would expect from a lip gloss. The gloss gave my lips some amped-up shine but without being sticky. Many lip glosses are so thick that if the wind blows, my hair gets stuck to my lips. Hair lip isn't a good look.

I'm eager to try one of their colored glosses next. In addition to tubes they also have gloss wands. Sounds magical. With that, have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Secret ingredient: Fungus!





It's funny how I try so hard to do good things for my body, only to discover my efforts could be hurting me. I visited my doctor yesterday and mentioned the rash along my hair line and on my chest. Even though my rash is on my face, it's at least courteous enough to hide under my long hair and clothing. My doctor asked if I had eaten any new foods. I mentioned the cultured veggies. He said while these can be beneficial they often have fungus and that I should stop eating them until my situation is under better control. Over the past three weeks, I thought I was feeding myself a dose of angelic bacteria and enzymes, but it seems I've been eating satanic fungus. 


Sunday night I tried one of the recipes from the book The Body Ecology Diet. The recipe combined millet, sweet potato, onion and carrots ,which were slow cooked on the stove top for about 30 minutes. I expected this dish to be perfect for me, since I love all the ingredients. I had tried a dish with millet at Candle Cafe and loved it. I had some for dinner that night. It meet the requirement for food but that was it.  I figured it would taste better for lunch the next day. I was wrong. It tasted like a bowl of blah. 


I dumped the blah into the trash and then took a walk to Organic Avenue. This was the first time that I bought lunch, marking a real splurge. I religiously pack my own every day. I chose the Creamy Dandelion Salad, which contained dandelion (duh!), raisins, pine nuts, lemon and I think olive oil. I can't totally remember but I loved the bitter greens with the sweet raisins. Somehow this rough salad had a creamy texture. I also bought a bottle of their Green Love juice. This not-too-sweet juice I preferred over Blossom Du Jour's. It contained kale, cucumber, spinach, celery, romaine, swiss chard, collard greens, pear, lemon, and parsley. I actually have half of the bottle left, which I plan to down later today. 


So there's two attempts to do something good for me gone horribly wrong. I'm realizing both of these detrimental events were caused by the Body Ecology Diet, which highly recommends incorporating cultured veggies into one's diet. Maybe this book just isn't for me. 


This morning my husband saw a new book on the counter titled, The 30 Day Vegan Challenge. He rolled his eyes and said, "When are you going to give up?"













Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Drag Me To Some Place Nice


Over the weekend my husband and I watched Drag Me To Hell. The film follows the story of a loan officer who evicts a gypsy woman from her home and becomes the recipient of a supernatural curse. The loan officer is slowly dragged to some place not so nice. This is my life with chronic sinusitis. I feel like no matter all dietary changes, all the supplements I take, all the alcohol, sugar and yeast I avoid, I can't escape the hell of sickness.

I did some Googling where I found a slew of people who had suffered from Candidiasis and became allergic to everything they ate. Most of the people were put on prescription antifungals for a long period of time. A strict diet and the meds slowly killed the evil yeast inside them.

This excerpt about my condition makes me realize that there's only so much the natural way can improve my condition:

The spreading yeast fungus prevents proper digestion of all nutrients – the food we eat, the vitamins and minerals we take – thereby depriving the body of what it needs to remain healthy. It can trigger an over-reaction of white blood cells which normally gather to heal infection, making our immune system either over-active or under-active, and multiple health problems can take place.

I have suffered from extreme food-induced sinusitis for almost two years. The areas around my nostrils are permanently red from blowing my nose umpteen times a day. Today I visit Dr. Firshein. I'm hoping he puts me on an antifungal. I want to be done with nasal douching once and for all. I want to be done with stockpiling tissues. I want to be done with spending money on countless doctor visits. I want to be dragged to serenity.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Favorites List

To offset my recent frustrating sinus days, I thought I'd share some things that make me happy. (Sorry sinus cavities you don't make the list.)

1.West Village Stroll
On my morning commute to work, I always get off the subway one stop early. This gives me a much needed ten minute walk and allows me to meander through the West Village every day. As I climbed the subways stairs at the Christopher Street stop this morning, I stepped into an elementary school Halloween parade. I walked behind Strawberrry Shortcake and Dracula, who were probably on their way to a high powered negotiation with Pinkalicious. The townhouses and courtyards were already decked out for the holiday.





I love gourds. ( I need a t-shirt with this motto.)


2. Yogi Tea
I always keep in my drawer at work at least two flavors of Yogi Tea. They're organic and each bag has attached to it an entertaining message. Today's reads:


I have no idea what this means. But I like the universe and dancing.

3. Stuff My Son Says
I keep a Word doc of all the funny, profound and unexpected things that my three-year-old son says. A few recent favs:

"What do you want to be for Halloween?"
"Trash."

"What'd you do at school today?"
"Slept."

4. Reading on the Subway
I used to really dread my commute to anywhere on the subway. I counted each stop. Held my breath. EAch ride was a source of absolute stress. Now, I look forward to each ride because I pull out the latest wellness related book I'm reading and immediately get immersed. I get so absorbed that I've missed a stop or two.

5. When my husband makes green juice.
I told my husband that green juice counteracts the negative effects that beer has on his body and that cleaning the juicer erases blemishes from his face.*

*This is a lie. My husband really loves me and is sweet enough to make juice for us and clean the juicer.

6. Tillecat
My cat turned 19 today. She takes 4 different meds and barely weighs five pounds. What's her secret to longevity? Sassiness!

7. Koyo Organic Brown Rice Chips
While in South Carolina, mom picked up these chips. Their ingredients are safe for me and they are delish. I eat them straight up or topped with guacamole and cultured veggies.

8. Ghost Stories
I love and at the same time fear ghost stories. One of my favorite shows is Ghost Hunters. When I was four-years old I saw an apparition in the first home I lived in in Camden, South Carolina and in my early thirites had another experience in Avignon, France at Le Mirande hotel. This past December, my mom had a midnight ghost run-in in Charleston, SC. Maybe it's timing? Or possibly southern Jews attract spirits...

9. Goji Berries
Pink and super tasty in gluten free oatmeal. They're a good source of protein, antioxidants, essential amino acids, and over 20 vitamins and minerals -- including vitamin A, C, and iron. Better than your average raisin. 

10. Rainbows
No favorites list is complete without rainbows.






Friday, October 28, 2011

Food Makes Me Sick

The realization that food makes me sick is so disheartening especially since I've been trying to heal myself through food. Yesterday I was at the editors's. It was mid-afternoon, and I was feeling hungry. The kitchen at the editor's is stocked with pretzels, Skittles, York Peppermint Patties, and granola bars. All of these items either contain gluten, sugar or a host artificial stuff that'll make me sick. The producer ordered a sandwich from a nearby deli and I, a banana.

Within ten minutes of eating the banana, my sinuses became incredibly inflamed and clogged with gross mucus. Something as innocent as a banana makes me sick. I could understand feeling bad, if I had tasted "the rainbow".

This week has been struggle. I feel like my body has taken several steps backwards along the healing path. I'm currently reading The Yeast Connection by William G. Crook. The book highlights the connection between candida overgrowth and an over use of antibiotics plus steroids. The book recommends a yeast-free diet. I was confident that my diet is yeast free, other than the three glasses of sparkling wine I consumed last weekend. Those three were my first in more than six months. I checked the ingredients on my gluten free English muffins and bread and was horrified to read this listed for both: yeast.

Gulp....cry....

Sure it's easy to give up these morning breakfast items. The hard part is replacing them. So many foods are a bother. I foresee my next post to be something along the lines of veggie sushi for breakfast.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thresholds


I'm discovering that thresholds aren't static. As I experience more and more good moments free of insane inflammation and disgusting sinus mucus, I find it increasingly harder to handle the bad days. I feel like my threshold for sickness and discomfort is lowering. I can't take as much as I used to. Honestly, I don't know how I survived so many weeks even months as sick as I was. These days I have less patience for sinusitis. Yesterday, I felt poopy. I just wanted to cry. Instead, I went to the bathroom and cleaned out my sinuses. I guess nasal douching is a form of shedding tears. Thick, gross tears I never want to see again.

I met my friends Kristal and Madhu for dinner last night. On the way, I passed Blossom Du Jour, a to-go vegan eatery. They had pressed, fresh juices. I selected a pint of The Field of Greens, which contained spinach, cucumber, apple, ginger, lemon. The apple overpowered all the ingredients. If I let the juice settle, all the greens settled to the bottom leaving the top four-fifths of the liquid looking like apple juice. Overall, the juice was too sweet for my tastes. Once again I discovered that thresholds can evolve. What a few months ago would have tasted ok, now I could barely stomach. I like my green juice less sweet. Since I spent $7 on the juice, I drank it down and then headed to Cookshop for dinner.

Ten minutes after finishing the juice, my sinuses became super clogged. I think it was all the sugar from the apple. It made enjoying my amazing veggie plate a little difficult. I found myself gobbling up all the brussels sprouts, greens and cauliflower, but avoiding the sweet carrots.

Over the past two months I've greatly decreased my intake of dark chocolate. I'm curious if my threshold for this old fav has changed. I can only hope.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cheating


Cheating is one of those things you hope to get away with. Sometimes you do. Sometimes you're not so lucky. This past weekend I cheated a bit on my anti-candida diet. My son was visiting his grandparents, so my husband and I went out.

Saturday night is when the first incident went down. I had two glasses of Sekt, German sparkling wine. The next day I felt a little more congested. During the day, I had green juice, a green smoothie, cultured veggies. I rinsed my sinuses a few times with all my meds and headed out again Sunday afternoon when the second incident began.

I had enjoyed the bubbly so much the night before that I just had to have another glass. This time it was Prosecco at a beer bar. Afterwards, my husband picked up a slice of vegan vanilla, lemon cake from Peacefood Cafe. I had planned to have a bite or two, which turned into me eating half the slice.

Monday I definitely noticed a decline in my health. I felt much more congested and had to rinse my sinuses two times at work. Last week at work I experienced two days without having to go through this routine. Candida thrive on sugar, found obviously in vegan vanilla, lemon cake and sparkling wine. They were happy to be feed the sugary feast.  I think if I had just cheated one night and then gone right back to my regimen, I wouldn't have felt so poopy come Monday. Two nights of nefarious behavior were too much for my body.

So, remember, cheating gets you nowhere. Or somewhere you'd rather not be.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The King of Alkaline Foods


Over the weekend I picked up some Umeboshi plum paste from Fairway. The pickled plum is a natural antibiotic, antiseptic and digestive aid. It's also known to be beneficial for water contamination, liver function, prevention of ageing (anti-oxidizing effects), general detoxification, carbon monoxide poisoning, skin diseases such as eczema, lack of appetite, bad breath and dysentery, typhoid, and paratyphoid. With this long list of benefits, I say eat up!


I spread the paste on vegan sushi, which I ended up dipping into guacamole to counter some of the sourness. The sour taste reminded me of lemon pickle, a condiment in Indian cuisine.


The plums are aged similar to kimchee. After being left out to dry in the sun, the fruit is packed into barrels with sea salt and shiso leaves and then pressed by weight for six months. By the way, shiso leaves possess many anti-viral qualities and are a member of the mint family. Six months later you have the king of alkaline foods. The process creates natural bacteria, enzymes, organic acids and powerful alkaline qualities– all in a tiny little plum.


Fairway also had the actual Umeboshi plums. The paste was a little less expensive and I figured it'd be easy to spread on edible vehicles such as sushi or g-free crackers and bread. 


Next time you come across the royal Umeboshi, be sure to stop and bow to the king. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Don't Think



Yesterday I checked out the IBM Think experience at Lincoln Center. It was the last day for the exhibit, so my husband and I arrived for the first screening of the video installation. Before entering, we checked out the data visualization wall and the various posters.

The exhibit's execution was flawless but its content was short. I felt like IBM searches for incredibly complicated solutions to simple problems. (They are a data company so they have to prove their worth.) For example, they presented the problem of world hunger and stated that much of the world's supply of rice falls victim to floods. What's their solution? They analyzed the DNA of rice and found a way to reengineer this code and create a hardier rice.

Introducing...Genetically Modified Organisims!

Introducing:
Impaired immune systems!
Reduced antibiotic effectiveness!
Increased Allergic responses to foods!

In addition to the ethical implications of genetically modified foods, there is quite a list of health concerns. These days you have to be prudent in order to avoid GMOs.

I found this astonishing fact online:

Today, an estimated two-thirds of all products in supermarkets contain genetically engineered ingredients, including tortilla chips, drink mixes, taco shells, veggie burgers, muffin mix, and baby formulas.

One solution is to avoid packaged foods and focus the majority of your meals around whole foods. If you want a treat like a slice of pie or a cookie, make it yourself with organic ingredients. Or visit a vegan bakery. I find most vegan bakeries are more ingredient aware and try their best to source from local farmers.

IBM should change their tagline from Solutions to a Smarter Planet to Solutions for a gullible planet.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Purple Zing



The other day I picked up Rejuventive Foods' Vegi Delite. I couple weeks ago I tried their raw sauerkraut which I loved as a side to foods, on g-free rice bread and crackers. The purple color is a fun splash to any plate. However, I think I preferred the taste of the straight up kraut. I"m eager to try their kimchee next. I love spice.

Overall, adding this raw, probiotic food to my daily meals is really helping my overall health. I have so much less bloating and gassiness, which is caused by the candida yeast overgrowth, which is caused by the over consumption of antibiotics and steroids as well as a lack of eating fresh greens and whole foods. These days it's just my husband and son who are bringin' on da noise.

I love the Rejuvenative Foods brand. However, their packing and logo lacks shelf-appeal. The design is kind of chaotic and messy. I imagine that's how people's guts are before they start eating the raw, probiotic foods. I think they could really benefit from the expertise of a skilled designer and copywriter. I'd welcome this raw challenge!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Green Spending



One thing that I feel guilty about is the amount of money I spend each week on groceries. Since I've overhauled my diet and been incorporating more organic greens and veggies in my diet, I probably visit the market about five days a week. A couple times a month I hit the weekend farmers too.

Living in New York and carrying my bags from store to home, makes it impossible to truly stock up. I can a handle one bag per arm. Also, my refrigerator only has so much room. These days it's always packed. Next to my husband's beer, you'll find kale, cucumbers and cultured veggies. In the fruit and veggie drawer not only are there granny smiths, lemons and more cucumbers but also a chunk of Callebaut chocolate (leftover from when I used to eat a lot more sugar and engage in a lot more baking) along with tiny vials of tobramycin and amphotericin (medicines that I use in my daily nasal wash). Also, it's hard to stock up on fresh, organic produce since whole foods have an expiration date unlike processed ones.

I have no actual idea exactly how much I spend, since I'm partially afraid to total the amount. The book, In Defense of Food, encourages readers to spend more on fresh, organic whole foods while eating less overall and specifically eating less or abstaining from eating processed and manufactured foods. It states in the end you'll have better health, fewer doctors visits and fewer medical bills.

I have come to believe that food can heal. As I see my health slowly improving, I see myself being able to get off my intra-nasal medications that cost close to $200 a month and to stop visiting the otolaryngologist, who charges cabout $4,000 for a visit and debridement. So, spending $2.29 for two organic cucumbers at Trader Joe's or $4 for a pound of fresh, local kale seems like a steal.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Heart Healthy Post


I'm about three-quarters of the way through In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. I like the cover moto, "Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants." The book clearly sets up what's wrong with our food supply, why it went wrong and what you can do to ensure you eat foods that are good for you.

One thing I've discovered that the book mentions, is when grocery shopping stick to the periphery. This is where you find fresh produce and lots of greens. Other spots I hit are usually frozen foods for Amy's g-free vegan burritos, the rice section and other gluten free areas.


Another point the book highlights is that the American Heart Association, for a free, will bestow its heart healthy seal of approval on a product. Some that have paid include Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, Trix and Yoo Hoo. I wonder how much they'd charge for me to add this symbol to my online portfolio? I'd like to think my work is heart healthy.

The book is chock full of enlightening information and suggestions. I plan to pick up a copy of Food Rules by the same author. Reading books about wellness, keeps me inspired to continue on my own personal journey toward a sinusitis- and yeast-infection-free life. Some days are really tough. Overall, the bad moments are lessening. If you've read any good books about wellness and healthy lifestyles, please share.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pink Alert



Last night I had dinner with some old friends at Dos Caminos. When I went to sign my credit card bill, I saw something that really disturbed and annoyed me. Under the total and above the tip was a line that read "Breast Cancer Awareness Donation", along with space for me to write in a dollar amount.

There are numerous things wrong with finding this on one's bill. First of all, who would receive my donation? The Breast Cancer Awareness Fund? I googled this "fund" and didn't find an exact match. Please let me know if anyone has better luck. Secondly, after enjoying a nice dinner with friends do I really need to be hit up for a guilt trip donation? Thirdly, if the Breast Cancer Awareness Fund really wants to help the American population, shouldn't they offer some cancer prevention tips or highlight a healthy vegan dish on the restaurant menu?

Last week on a plane, the flight attendant made an announcement that passengers could make a $5 donation to a breast cancer group (can't recall exact name) and in return they'd receive a Minute Maid Pink Lemonade. I googled Minute Maid and received much better results. The ingredients in pink lemonade include:

MINUTE MAID COOLERS PINK LEMONADE CONTAINS PURE FILTERED WATER, SWEETENERS (HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SUGAR), LEMON JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE, LESS THAN 2% OF: NATURAL FLAVORS, CALCIUM CITRATE (CALCIUM SOURCE), VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID), VEGETABLE JUICE (FOR COLOR).




With less than two percent of natural flavors, the drink hardly constitutes as lemonade. Instead, it seems more like a way to guarantee that people ingest over-processed and over-sweetened beverages, which leads to sickness which leads to more people getting breast cancer which leads to more people knowing people who get breast cancer which leads to more people making a "donation" which leads to more sales for Minute Maid. 


We all hear how cancer is big business. Let me how many times each day or each week the cancer machine infiltrates your life and tries to get you to spend money.

Saliva Test Part Deux



I subjected my husband to the candida saliva test. Just as he stumbled out of bed, I thrust a glass of water before him and said, "Spit into this glass."

"What?"

"Just spit."

"Gross. Into our drinking glass?"

"Yes."

His saliva formed some of the tendrils that mine had but they quickly disappeared, unlike mine which grew and grew and....then I tossed them down the sink.

Seems that something is indeed up with my saliva.

Today I'm nursing a green smoothie that's packed with dandelion greens. The dandelion combination is bitter and definitely more suited for the hardcore green smoothie lover. It's back to kale, parsley and spinach for me.




Monday, October 17, 2011

Saliva Alive



I'm always reading if not two then three wellness/candida/sinus/vegan-related books at once. Right now it's In Defense of Food and The Yeast Connection and Women's Health. The latter of which has an accompanying website, where I found a candida saliva test. Wa-hoo!

The test requires that first thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything, simply spit some saliva into a glass of water. This morning I poured a short glass of purified water from my Brita pitcher and then proudly spit into it.

The test says to wait any where from 1 to 30 minutes. Then look in the glass and:

(from the website)
If there are strings coming down from your saliva, or if the water turned cloudy, or if your saliva sank to the bottom, YOU MAY HAVE A CANDIDA CONCERN!


While I waited, I went about my business cleaning up the kitchen. I was terrified to look in the glass and find a tiny colony of creatures holding a sign that reads, "PLEASE HELP US" Or find that my spit had turned the water a radioactive green. 


Instead when I checked, I found the aforementioned strings. Kind of like the tails of jellyfish suspended from my spit that sat on the surface. Is this the yeast? Looks like the test may have confirmed exactly what I already know. Just to be sure, I'm gonna have my healthy, yeast-free husband take the test too. Results coming soon!