Friday, October 29, 2010

How I got to where I am journey, part 4

I'm sorry this has taken so long to write this next portion of my journey. A lot has been going on and I had taken a break from blogging to write a query/proposal for my cookbook. I'm still not done the proposal but I did query one agent and I have not heard back. I've read that new authors can query up to 40+ agents before they find one interested, so I still have a long road ahead.

Here are the links to parts one, two, and three...

I left off at the point when I was tentatively diagnosed with Celiac Disease. My doctor recommended that I go on a gluten-free diet to see what happens. Gluten is in wheat, rye, and barley, so I had to stop eating bread, anything made with flour, and pretty much everything that I had been used to eating. In adjusting to this, I starved! All I could eat was fruit and vegetables. I ate a lot of potatoes during this time, lol! I cooked potatoes every way possible, boiled, sauteed, baked, roasted, fried, potato cakes, french fries, mashed, au gratin..the list can go on and on! I had to figure out how to make things a new way. I had to read the labels on everything, which I wasn't used to doing. I began to do research on the internet about restaurants so I knew in advance where I could eat. It wasn't easy at all. I was heart-broken and despondent.

On the bright side, I actually started to get better! The pain went away and my appetite started to come back, which was too bad since I couldn't eat anything! I wanted to get off on the right foot with my new diet, so I started to make smoothies and started exercising. I love soy milk fruit smoothies and I was eating them everyday for breakfast. I started having bloating and fatigue and a few other symptoms persisted. I spoke with my sister on the phone about what was going on and when I mentioned about the smoothies she thought that maybe it was the soy causing the problems because she had the same symptoms whenever she ate soy. When I stopped eating gluten, I inadvertently cut out soy products as well. In processed foods, soy and gluten are in everything. A lot of the time, if a product is gluten-free it will still have soy in it. By avoiding gluten, whenever I ate soy certain symptoms would always be there. I felt better because I was eating a lot of fresh fruits, veggies, and meats but there were still some things that I hadn't given up that were full of soy.

On my next trip to the doctor, she went over the results from the endoscopy, biopsy and blood work that she did. The results of the biopsy showed that I did not have Celiac disease! I was so happy!! I told her about the problems that I was still having with soybeans and she recommended that I go back to eating gluten and avoid soy and we would redo the blood work and see what happens. The first thing I did...was to go and get a sandwich from Larry's Subs! I was so happy to have bread again!!! I think I ate bread every day for weeks after that!

I thought avoiding soy would be easier than avoiding gluten but I was in for a shock! Eating soy made me tired, irritable, gassy, bloated and it gave me stomach cramps, rashes, and diarrhea. Normally people with a soy allergy can still eat soybean oil and soy lecithin, so I continued eating foods with those things. Unfortunately I am not normal, because soybean oil and soy lecithin were making me sick but I didn't realize it. I felt so much better because I wasn't eating fast food anymore, my diet was much improved but the test results did not change. I got online and researched soy and I found out all the ways soy is in our food and we don't even realize it. There is a very long list of ingredients that I was still eating because they didn't necessarily cause a reaction but maybe they were messing up the blood work. I went on a very strict diet. I avoided anything that had anything to do with soy; chocolate, store-bought bread, most snacks, cereal, desserts, cookies, candy, soups, boxed rice, tuna...the list is really long!
I found out about GMO's in my research, I'll get into that with another blog post, though. Factory farmed animals are feed soybeans and I wondered, could that be causing me problems? I watched the movie Food Inc, which opened my eyes to the travesty that is factory farming and I started to look into organic food. Once I made the switch to organic meat, veggies, fruits, and bread, I started feeling so good. I hadn't felt that good in a very long time. I definitely think that there is a correlation to gmo soy, gmos in general, and how sick I had become.

I decided to start exercising. Up to this point, I could not sustain an adequate workout, my energy levels were terrible. I would get really bad stomach cramps whenever I did aerobics, and it was impossible to get into a regimen that way. I desperately wanted to get in shape. I had lost 18 pounds from being sick and I wanted to lose more by being healthy. Once I had transitioned to an all organic and homemade diet, my energy level started to improve and I didn't feel pain anymore when doing aerobics. I wanted to try running, to see if I could do it. I joined a running group of people that were training for the Be Her Freedom Run. I felt so good when I ran my first ½ mile, and I wanted to keep running. I started training and my body responded so well! I loved the strenuous workouts that I was doing and I was really happy that I was on the right track, healthwise. Now I am in a size 8/6 and I am so much stronger now than I'd ever been before. I feel as though this soy allergy has been a blessing because I learned so much about myself over the last 2 years and I have grown and matured in so many areas. I've taken control of my bad habits and I really want to make a difference in others lives. This is why I wanted to write a book and a blog, to get the word out about how bad 'normal' food is for us and that cooking healthy food is definitely worth the effort and it will make a big difference in your life.

Well that's all for now! I won't go so long next time without blogging!
Love, peace, and hair grease!! {sorry I couldn't resist:-)}


Monday, October 11, 2010

How to make the best cup of coffee...

This is the coffee I bought today...First Colony Coffee

I love coffee. I always have.  I used to drink WaWa coffee when I lived in NJ but since there isn't any WaWa coffee in Florida, my hubby and I started drinking Folgers coffee.  I'd always buy those International Delight non-dairy creamers because I thought they tasted good.  I never really thought about the ingredients before.  That's the thing about ingredients, these companies use natural chemicals and artificial chemicals to make products taste like food, but it really isn't food.  Here is a list of ingredients of the French Vanilla flavor:  Non-Dairy Product Ingredients: Water, Sugar, Palm Oil, Corn Syrup, Contains 2% Or Less Of The Following: Sodium Caseinate* (A Milk Derivative), Dipotassium Phosphate, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Mono And Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Carrageenan, Salt. That really doesn't sound very appetizing now, does it?  When I was pregnant with my fourth baby, Eva, I couldn't drink that creamer anymore.  The taste became so repulsive to me and I had to find a new cream.  Guess what I decided to try...cream, from a cow!  It tasted so good!  Who'da thunk that real cream would taste better than fake cream?  It's probably because there are only 2 ingredients, milk and cream! This is the best tasting half and half creamer...Organic Valley Half and Half
 After I made the switch to half and half, the Folgers didn't taste very good.  We started trying different brands of coffee because the real cream brings out the flavors in the coffee while the fake stuff masks the flavors. Folgers really isn't that good compared to what I've been drinking lately.
Now I buy Organic Fair Trade Certified coffee and conventional coffee just doesn't compare.  I splurge on my coffee because it is worth the money.  Fair Trade Certified coffee says that farmers will be paid a fair price for their coffee because most conventional coffee farmers are not paid enough to take care of their families.  When people don't have enough money to take care of their families, the children suffer the most.  Children from very poor families are sold and bartered for money.  Families sometimes will knowingly sell their child to a trafficker or a brothel for money for food and basic needs.  So, when I go to the store I spend the extra $2-$4 to support the companies that take good care of the farmers who harvest the coffee.  Each of us can make a difference by taking our vote to the store.  Companies pay attention to which products are purchased and they make sure that consumers get what they want.  If we, as consumers, want Fair Trade coffee, that's what the companies will give us!  Here is a tip...don't ruin the organic coffee with toxic aspartame...use real organic Fair Trade Certified sugar, it will make a huge difference in the taste and you'll be actively participating in the fight against human trafficking.  All that with just one cup of coffee!  My morning cup of coffee never tasted so good!!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Organic Chicken Wings with Homemade FairTrade BBQ Sauce

Baked Barbeque Organic Chicken I've just started making my own barbecue sauce.  My mom always makes her own but I've never tried her recipe, so I came up with my own.  It is loosely based on hers but all barbecue sauce has similar ingredients anyway.  So I used FairTrade certified sugar in this recipe and it came out really well.  My oldest son, Alex, never eats sauce on his chicken.  I always have to make some plain chicken for him, which I did this time, but once he tasted the sauce it was all over!  He loved it!  I was so excited.

Organic Fried ChickenI was also in the mood for fried chicken last night so I made some.  This is probably the healthiest fried chicken possible that still tastes like fried chicken.  I don't deep fry it, it's low in sodium, and cooked at a much lower temperature than traditional fried chicken.  I've also stopped making biscuits and macaroni and cheese with it so the meal has less calories and fat overall.  I usually serve it with green beans and maybe some fruit.  Last night I made some farfalle pasta with a little butter and Parmesan cheese to go with the chicken.  I still enjoy my favorites but I pair one favorite dish with healthier sides and I don't feel bad at all about having fried chicken, especially when I only buy organic chicken!

What are sugar beets?

I'd never heard of sugar beets until a few months ago but apparently they are genetically modified and already on the market.  I came across this story today...which is quite shocking...

Federal Court Finds USDA Broke The Law In Allowing Planting Of Genetically Engineered Sugar Beets

The USDA, according to the article, allowed the planting of GM sugar beets without running the appropriate testing for them to prove that they are safe for humans to eat and that they won't damage the environment.  These sugar beets have already been introduced commercially and Americans have been eating this "sugar" without knowing it.  Since GM foods are not required to be labeled, how can we avoid eating them?  Buy pure cane sugar, but make it Fair Trade cane sugar.  It's so amazing to me that yes we can avoid gmo's but if it's not Fair Trade Certified it is most likely harvested by slaves!  Did you know that gmo's are banned in Europe?  Most Americans don't even know what a GMO is!  Crazy!