Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo – The Preverbal Pumpkin….?

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Does turning 40 mean I’ve turned in to the preverbal pumpkin?

Last month I made a few different medical appointments, took off work for the morning so I could knock them out; later I realized that I looked like a masochist booking all these in one morning.

I started out my day getting blood drawn to get an update on how my Thyroid is functioning. I’m currently on Nature-Throid, which is a T4/T3 combo.

Then I saw my chiropractor to get Graston Technique and myofascial release on my calves, feet, and toes. Pure and utter torture! BUT it works!

graston-image

HMGS-GrastonTools

Then I headed to get my “Well Woman Exam” at the gynecologist. It had been just shy of 3 years since my last exam; I personally do not think that I need to do it every year. I am not on birth control, have regular cycles, and have no symptoms or abnormalities occurring that would warrant annual visits.

However since ovarian cancer did hit close to me, I’m looking into genetic testing for myself to see if my risks are high enough for MD Andersen’s Cancer clinic will take me as a preventative patient.

This is where the day got interesting.

The doctor and location I went to is new to me, I wanted to find someone that was close to my home. This place received good reviews, so I decided to give them a try. I go in, fill out paper word, weigh-in, urinate in a cup (apparently me telling them I was not pregnant wasn’t adequate), and strip down to nothing but my socks. Man am I happy I wore socks that day!

The lady comes in the room and much to my surprise, she was the opposite of what I was expecting to walk through the door…..she explained she was not the doctor that she was a midwife and was it ok with me that she complete my exam. I said “yes” that was fine; I thought to myself….”oh yes…maybe she is a bit progressive in her thinking, education, and more up-to-date on research than the doctor would have been”. NOPE!

While she was very good at communication and executing the exam….the education and mind-set was very old-school and not accurate.

I think I heard “Now that you’re 40…..” at least 5 to 10 times! I asked her if “now that I am 40 if I’ve turned into a pumpkin or something” and she giggled and said “ya…kinda”.

Pumpkin

Here are the three inaccuracies that jumped out at me when she was giving me the “now that you’re 40” recommendations.

  • “Now that you’re 40, you need to make sure you’re taking calcium”. Fallacy!
  • “Now that you’re 40, you need to start getting mammograms”. Nope!
  • “Now that you’re 40, you need to start looking out for perimenopause symptoms”. What?!?

Please allow me to break down my thoughts and provide some up-to-date resources, data, and information.

Calcium

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The old-school way of thinking that we need to supplement with calcium is not accurate. We do not need to supplement with calcium to have strong bones or teeth or anything else that they claim taking calcium does. Calcium supplementation is correlated with increased heart disease, kidney stones, and premature death. Calcium can cause medical issues with the heart and kidneys.

Naturally because this is a very controversial topic there are lots of articles and arguments in both directions, mostly because “big dairy” doesn’t want to lose their customers and money because people don’t “need” to drink milk, eat yogurt, or cheese (however I do love eating cheese, because it tastes so yummy, not because I need it for calcium). Also, note who is paying for these studies…..is it “big dairy”?? Think about the fact that there use to not be calcium supplements….people ate vitamin and mineral rich foods and worked hard physically and they were healthy.

Calcium needs co-factors to be absorbed and used by the body; vitamins K2, D and A, magnesium, and zinc.

Side note: Rosita Extra-Virgin Cod Liver Oil has K2, D and A in it naturally as a food derived supplement. WARNING: Not all Cod Liver Oils, Fish Oils, nor Krill Oils are created equal. The fats in these products are very delicate and will go rancid very easy, thus the “fish burps”. Do not pick the product based on price….you could be doing more harm than good to your body.

To error on the side of caution, the best way to get calcium in your body is to eat real whole foods like leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, almonds, blackstrap molasses, cold-water fatty fish, bone broth, raw grass-fed dairy from A2 cows (if you tolerate it), goat, or sheep. But milk nor dairy products are necessary to obtain calcium.

calcium_foods_0

For strong bones you should include resistance training and make sure you are getting all your vitamins and minerals in your diet.

Mammogram

Mammogram

This can be a very controversial topic. I’m going to try and keep this section as short as I can while hitting the highlights of the topic. I’ve ran across a plethora of articles over the years that discuss mammograms not being as beneficial as allopathic (traditional western) medicine claims.

What you need to know is that mammograms are not super accurate and have lots of false positives and false negative results. The big one for me is that there is a high amount of radiation associated with this test and radiation can cause cancer. Specifically ionizing radiation is a risk factor for breast cancer to develop (see Dr. Mercola article links below).

My conjecture is that the mammogram business is so big, creates many jobs, and makes so much money that not pushing them on women and not doing them doesn’t seem to be an option – because it “works” sometimes.

The alternative that I like is a Thermogram (see links below). Thermograms are a much safer and less invasive than mammograms. They can be used starting earlier in life and can be done more frequently without harm to your health. They also provide more accurate results.

A multi-pronged approach is best, use all the tools that we know and have, including mammograms when necessary. Do self-exams, do thermograms, do ultrasound and if necessary do mammograms and MRIs.

BUT, prevention of cancer is the real key.

What you put in and on your body, your lifestyle including sleep and exercise, and your hormonal/endocrine health are all very important in the prevention of cancer.

Perimenopause

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Let’s start with definitions:

Pre-Menopause is the time when a woman is having regular menstrual cycles, fertile child bearing years.

Perimenopause is the time up to 10 years prior to the full stopping of your period (aka: menopause), during which a woman’s hormones are changing typically causing a variety of unpleasant symptoms.

Menopause is when a woman goes a minimum of 12 months consecutively without menstruation.

Premature-Menopause-Symptoms-Reasons-MainPhoto

The truth is that every woman goes through menopause at different ages, therefore I deduct that women also go through perimenopause at different ages. Some women have very gradual long time symptoms and some women it hits like a freight-train.

It may in fact be me not wanting to face the fact that being 40 means that I am now old enough to experience perimenopause symptoms, due to just my age. My brain doesn’t want to comprehend nor accept this!

What I do know is that my lifestyle (aka: long-term chronic stress) broke my body down in such ways that directly affect my sex hormone outputs and I have been working a long time to rebuild my health and hormones. I still have regular menstrual cycles. This has motivated me highly to heal as quickly as I can so that I can better manage the impending perimenopause.

Encouragement: I believe that women can transition through perimenopause into menopause without it being miserable and traumatic. This isn’t common these days, but it is possible. As I learn more, rest assured that I will be writing and sharing what I learn.

Below are a few books that I recommend:

Takeaways

  1. Do not take calcium supplements, get it from real whole foods. If you do take a calcium supplement do not take it by itself, take it with co-factors.
  2. Use more safe methods of breast cancer screening before subjecting your body to cancer causing radiation.
  3. Just because someone is 40 doesn’t mean that they are going to start perimenopause. However it does mean that one should get as healthy as ever possible before any major hormonal changes start occurring. Particularly the adrenal glands.

 

Below are links for you to read and research further the topics briefly discussed in this post.

Calcium Resources:

http://empoweredsustenance.com/avoid-calcium-supplements/

http://www.healthy-diet-healthy-you.com/Benefits_of_Calcium.html

https://paleoleap.com/calcium/

https://chriskresser.com/how-to-keep-your-bones-healthy-on-a-paleo-diet/

https://www.thepaleomom.com/why-dont-i-need-to-worry-about-calcium-2/

The following excerpt is from a PDF called “The Real Food Action Guide by: John and Ocean Robbins” Pgs. 7 – 8:

“John Robbins: For years, the dairy industry has been telling us that dairy is the best thing for healthy bones, that kids need to drink cow’s milk, and that milk is Nature’s perfect food. Actually, milk is nature’s perfect food for turning a 90-pound calf into a 450-pound cow in about 12 months. If it were true that we need dairy products to have strong bones, then the countries in the world with the highest dairy product consumption would probably have the strongest bones, and they would probably have the lowest rates of osteoporosis. Well, the four countries with the highest consumption of dairy products in the world, are: Finland, Sweden, the United States, and England. Now, the four countries in the world with the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world happen to be those very same four countries: Finland, Sweden, the United States, and England.

Ocean Robbins: This can actually seem kinda hard to believe, when we’ve all been inundated by ads telling us that the calcium in dairy products is the best way to build strong bones. Most of us have come to believe that this is just a fact of life.

John Robbins: Yes, but in reality it’s a fabricated myth designed to sell dairy products. Now, it’s true that milk has a lot of calcium, and that women, in particular, need more calcium then men do. But a famous study of 78,000 female nurses found that the relative risk of hip fracture for women who drank two glasses or more of milk per day, was nearly one-and-half times higher than for those who drank one glass or less per week. And another population that can need a bit of extra calcium is the elderly. Yet a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that elderly people with the highest dairy product consumption actually had double the risk of hip fracture compared to those with the lowest consumption. Calcium is of course important. But dairy products are not the best way to get this important mineral. One reason is that the calcium absorption rates for green vegetables is so much higher than it is for dairy products. For kale, the calcium absorption rate is 50 percent; For Brussels sprouts, it’s 64 percent. But for milk, it’s only half of that – 32 percent.

If you want to have strong bones throughout your entire life, your best approach is to eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, to exercise regularly, don’t drink Coke or Pepsi because cola drinks are made with phosphoric acid that deletes calcium from bone tissue, and minimize your consumption of animal protein, which has a similar effect. You’ll feel better, your bones will be stronger, and your overall health will benefit in many other ways, as well.”

Mammogram Resources:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/10/25/mammogram-effects-risks.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/10/14/mammography-promotion.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/26/mammograms.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/30/mammography-screening-programs.aspx

http://realfoodforager.com/3-risks-your-doctor-wont-tell-you-about-mammography/

http://realfarmacy.com/why-mammography-screening-is-being-abolished/

http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/thermograms-safer-accurate-mammograms.html

http://realfarmacy.com/mammograms-cause-cancer/

http://thestir.cafemom.com/healthy_living/191875/women_told_having_fewer_mammog

http://www.saragottfriedmd.com/what-if-breast-cancer-dr-saras-prevention-top-10-list/

Perimenopause Resources:

http://www.bridgitdanner.com/womens-wellness-blog/2017/3/31/what-in-the-world-is-peri-menopause?rq=menopause

https://go.magicmenopause.com/waiting-list

https://www.drlovely.expert/

Recipe: All-In-One-Meal – Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

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Tools:

  • Chopping Board
  • Knife
  • Large Deep Pan w/ Lid
  • Spatula and or Large Spoon

Ingredients:

Seasonings:

Directions:

Chop onion into small even sized pieces and saute in pan with butter or Ghee, season with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder over a medium-high-heat. While you onion is cooking, chop bell pepper into small even sized pieces and mince garlic cloves.

Once the onion is ½ way cooked, add the bell pepper with a little more salt and garlic powder. Once they are soft and have some color on them (de-glaze pan with broth or lemon juice) add the ground meat and season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if you desire). Add in any seasoning or herb to the meat you prefer, the more flavor the better.

While the meat is cooking, chop the cabbage into large long strips. (Cooking Tip: Because cabbage cooks down, if you cut the pieces too small they will dang near disappear in this dish.)

Once the meat is cooked through and is nice and brown, add in the minced garlic and cook for a few mins. Add the chopped cabbage, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, juice of two lemons (I used previously frozen lemon juice), and more of each seasoning. Place lid.

Reduce to medium-heat and cook for approximately 20 minutes; after this time the cabbage should be wilting and easier to mix/stir. Stir well and if more liquid is needed to continue the steaming of the cabbage add in bone broth or white wine and maybe a little more lemon juice and salt and place lid back on and continue to cook for 30 – 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If you so choose, this dish is served well over rice. This is the time to make rice, with approximately 30 – 35 minutes of cook time left. I personally like to cook rice in bone broth and a couple of dashes of salt instead of water to add in nutrients and flavor.

Rice & Broth

Cooking Tip: As you may have noticed, I season each layer as it goes in the pan, this allows for the flavor to build as the dish progresses through the cooking process, if you do not the dish may turn out bland.

Done. Eat. Enjoy.

Unstuffed Cabbage Over Rice

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The annual fee is less than Sams Club or CostCo at $59.95 per year. Since March 2015 and today, I have saved $1,222.28 purchasing through Thrive Market. The second best part, aside from saving money, is that it all gets delivered to my door and I do not have to go to stores thus saving me time and energy as well.

Thrive Market allows you to shop for all the healthy food items you know and love at discount prices, because they cut out the middle man, and it gets delivered to your door so it also saves you time. Not only to you save money, but for every paid membership Thrive Gives a membership to a family in need.

How-to: Grow a Meyer Lemon Tree (Part 2)

Where we left off…..

A friend of mine and my cousin told me that I’d have to graft them in to another plant, because their root systems on their own aren’t strong enough.

WHHHHHHAAAAAAAT!?!?!

shock-and-awe

The research began…..

Through my research I learned that my sprouts need to grow for at least a year before they are big enough to graft into another plant.

Sooooo…..my mission is to keep all of them alive so I can graft them and see which ones take and grow big and strong enough to plant in the yard and produce lemons.

Had I known all this before I sprouted them….I probably would have went a bought a tree already grafted and big enough to plant in the yard, BUT I’m in it now – they are growing.

Next Step

This weekend I replanted each sprout into their own bigger pot. Since I’m fully committed to this process, I bought soil and fertilizer made specifically to encourage growth of citrus plants. I mixed the soil shown in the photo with an organic compost soil that I bought from my local nursery.

Supplies

As they grow bigger in these pots, I’ll need to add more soil and move the one in the smaller pots to bigger pots like the others, because I was to big pots short.

Replanted

Eventually, they will outgrow these pots and need to be replanted in even bigger pots. I’m really looking forward to seeing them grow into bigger more hardy plants.

I’ll keep you all posted as to how the process is going.

Check me out on Instagram for random picture updates of them as they grow.

 

 

 

Your Power, Your Control, Your Responsibility

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I cannot tell you how many people I see and hear that bump around in life as if life just happens to them; many in a woe-is-me victim mentality.

There is a lot that can play into this mental and behavior pattern….I think this is a learned behavior. Children learn from their parent’s example. Perhaps they learned that this behavior gets them the attention they want from other people? Perhaps they are ignorant to the fact that they have more control over their life than they think they do? I think all of these things are true. The good news is that we can change if we want to.

old-way-new-way

The truth is, while there are some things that happen to us that we cannot control, most things we can. And at the very least we can control how we react and manage the few things that “just happen” to us.

I think our lives are the sum of the consequences of the choices we make. Not making a choice is still making a choice and there is still a consequence for it.

you-rae-free-to-make-whatever-choice-you-want

I think excuses are the most common way that people unload responsibility for themselves and their choices. Instead of making an excuse, just own it – it is what it is. What are you afraid of? That someone will judge you? They will probably judge you no matter which you choose…..so you might as well do you.

99% of the times you are the only person holding you back. Get out of your own way.

stop-getting-in-your-own-way

Taking responsibility for yourself, your choices, and your actions isn’t easy – it takes practice. It takes being self-aware, self-reflection, and the cojones to own your consequences.

No one likes to feel out of control. Too many people give their control and power away to other people.

Stop that! Just stop….

stop

As with all things – you get out what you put in. You have to put in effort. You have to do the work.

Private Or Public Directions On A Signpost

Feelings

This one is difficult: The way you feel is your choice. No one can make you feel a certain way. You can choose your emotions. Yes, people say hurtful things – your feelings are hurt – Ok. Now choose to calmly communicate in a loving way that what they said or did is being perceived as hurtful to you. This gives you the power to control your emotions and work out your own feelings without having a victim mentality. Your reaction and your choice on how you will respond to a person or situation is your responsibility.

how-u-are-feeling

Stress is a big one – this one you DO have control of. I’ve written about stress before; stress is “your perception of a situation” changing your mind/perception changes your stress reaction. Stress is something within you, it is not external. Stress isn’t something that happens to you, it is something you create within yourself. So it is fully in your power and control to not “stress out”.

stressed-stress-relax

People

You can also take responsibility for the people you choose to have in your life. Removing toxic people and toxic relationships from your life is your choice. No one (except your spouse, in my beliefs) is off limits. It may not be easy to do at the time, but you will be so happy that you did it after it is done.

toxic-relationships

Health

Your health or lack thereof is your responsibility. Not your parent’s, not your doctor’s – YOURS. It is your body. You get out what you put in. Lifestyle choices (sleep, exercise, stress) and nutrition (quality, quantity) are all your choice. How you treat your body is very telling; it tells you and those around you how you think and feel about yourself. If you believe that you are valuable and worthy you will treat your body well. It is the only body you’re ever going to have, if you treat it poorly you will suffer the consequences for it. It is in your power and control to treat your body well.

take-responsibility

The personal growth, confidence, and happiness that comes from taking responsibility for yourself, your choices, and your life is the best and most freeing choice you’ll ever make.

Don’t think about it…..just do it. Take action….starting right now.

Recipe: Main Dish – Baked Chicken Leg Quarters

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First, please allow me to ask you…please source your chicken as best as you can. It really is so very important not only for your health, but also for our environment. Vote with your dollar. If you struggle with costs, buy in bulk…also…with each meal eating twice as many vegetables than meat allows you to eat high-quality meats but overall eating less of them thus cutting down the costs.

pastured-chickens

Second, if you want the most delicious chicken ever….brining is a very key step.

Recipe: Main Dish – Baked Chicken Leg Quarters

Tools:

  • Paper towels
  • Large short-rimmed baking sheet
  • If you want: Foil, Silpat, or Parchment Paper
  • Tongs

Ingredients:

bragg-24-herbs-spices

    Seasoning Options:

  • General – Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, and Bragg’s 24 Herbs & Spices Seasoning
  • General – Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika
  • Lemon Pepper – Salt, Pepper, Lemon Zest
  • Greek – Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Dill, Rosemary, Nutmeg, Parsley
  • Greek – Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Basil, Thyme, Mint, Marjoram, Chives
  • Italian – Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Oregano, Basil, Parsley
  • Mexican – Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Oregano, Parsley, Chili Powder, Cumin
  • Cajun – Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Cumin, Coriander, Paprika, Cayenne, Oregano

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove chicken from brine, rinse in cold water, and place on paper towels. Use additional paper towels to dry the chicken. Use avocado oil to grease the short-rimmed baking sheet. If you choose to use lemons or limes, slice them thinly and place a layer on the bottom of the short-rimmed baking sheet.

Once the chicken is dry, smear with avocado oil or butter on the underside of the chicken and season with spices of choice. Then place on the short-rimmed baking sheet, bottom side (you just seasoned) down.

Then smear with avocado oil or butter on the skin-side of the chicken and season with spices of choice.

If using lemon or limes and have some left over, place the remainder of slices around the chicken pieces. Also, if using fresh herbs you can put them under the skin of the chicken with some butter for increased flavor.

Place in oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes (non-convection time). The skin will be or should be brown and crisp. If it isn’t crisp and you have a convection function use the convection for the last 15 minutes of baking or use the broiler function for the last 5 minutes of baking.

Pull out of the oven and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before eating.

Done. Eat. Enjoy.

I highly encourage you to Sign-up for Thrive Market

The annual fee is less than Sams Club or CostCo at $59.95 per year. I saved over $1,000 in 2016 purchasing through Thrive Market. The second best part, aside from saving money, is that it all gets delivered to my door and I don’t have to go to stores.

Thrive Market allows you to shop for all the healthy food items you know and love at discount prices, because they cut out the middle man, and it gets delivered to your door so it also saves you time. Not only to you save money, but for every paid membership Thrive Gives a membership to a family in need.

How-to: Grow a Meyer Lemon Tree (Part 1)

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My mother-in-law surprised me one day with a bag of Meyer Lemons and Meyer Lemon seeds she had harvested.

I’m not much of a green-thumb, so I was quite intimidated by this! However, I LOVE lemons and really really want my own Meyer Lemon tree. I had previously read and saved an article on how to grow them in pots and in-doors.

My mother-in-law and my step-mother both have Meyer Lemon trees planted outside in the ground. Both of their trees were 4 to 6 years old before they started producing. Sooooo right off the bat this is a commitment.

lemon-blossom-open

I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything to attempt to grow my own from the seeds my mother-in-law gave me….I mean really….what’s the harm in trying….right??

The research began…….I found a couple of articles that I liked….one and two.

This is what I did….

  • Purchased high-quality composting soil from my local nursery down the street
  • From the first article: Soak the seeds in water for 2 to 3 hours
  • From the first article: Let them dry on a paper towel
  • From the first article: Gently peel the outside shell off the seed and place the seed in a cup of water
  • I mixed my composting soil (1/3) with my potting soil (2/3) and made sure it was moist.

I didn’t know how many would sprout so I planted all of them; see article one’s pictures, that is how I placed them in the pot. About 23 seeds in a medium sized containers; see article two for more information on this.

  • From the second article: I placed my seeds in the pot and covered with about ½ an inch of soil and gently watered.
  • From the second article: I covered each pot with parchment paper, secured with a rubber band, and poked a few holes in the top so they can breathe. Covering it creates a mini green-house.
  • From the second article: I put them inside (because I planted them during winter months) near a window that gets light from outside all day but afternoon direct sun for an hour or two.

After a couple of weeks I checked the soil to make sure it was still moist and it was because the soil I used was really good and it was covered. Nothing happened!!!!! So, I checked again after another week and gave them some more water. Nothing happened!!!!! After a couple/few more weeks….nooooooothiiiinnnngggg happened!!!! So…..I gave up and decided I was going to buy a tree in the coming spring that was already going and established. I put them in the garage stacked up on each other.

A garden snail

Then a couple of weeks later as we were leaving for a long holiday weekend trip….my husband says LOOK!!! They grew! I didn’t know what he was talking about! Hahaha – I went over to see what he was looking at….and I’ll be dang! If they didn’t grow! I had five sprouts. So, I unstacked them and left them there while we were gone.

When we got home they were bigger so I took them inside, removed the covers, gave them water, and put them back in the window. As you can see four of them are bitter than one….but….whatever! I got FIVE! I’m waiting for them to get a little bigger and stronger before I transplant them into their own pots.

meyer-lemon-sprouts

In the meantime in Huntsville, TX in January we had a couple of days in the teens and despite her best effort of covering them, adding a heat lamp, and bucket of water the leaves froze. My step-mother had to harvest all the lemons off her trees.

The bucket-o-lemons below was so big and heavy it had wheels.

bucket-o-lemons

She gave me 15 or 16 lemons (some the size of oranges) and I took them home to juice them and freeze the juice for future use……meaning that I had a bunch of seeds to share with others.

lemon-seeds

I promptly posted on Facebook that I had some seeds if anyone wanted them, I’d happily pass them along. A few people responded and I’m going to send them seeds.

Then a friend of mine and my cousin started telling me that I’d have to graft them in to another plant, because their root system on their own aren’t strong enough.

WHHHHHHAAAAAAAT!?!?!

whhhaaat

The research begins…..

As the journey continues, How-to: Grow a Meyer Lemon Tree (Part 2) to follow….

Recipe: Breakfast – Egg Muffins

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Egg Muffins are one of my favorite batch or bulk breakfasts and snack items.

Key Ingredients:

  • Pastured / Free Range Eggs
  • Protein of Choice
  • Veggies (if you have limited time, buy pre-cut veggies)
  • Starch (if you are not eating carbs for breakfast or are low carb, omit)

Protein Ideas: Ground Sausage or Meat of any kind, Bacon, Pork Chop or Loin, Left-over Chicken or Steak

Veggie Ideas: Pico de gallo, Garlic, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Artichokes, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Bell Peppers, Green Onions, Tomatoes

Starch Ideas: Potato, Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash

Making Egg Muffins

I like to use a 12 cup muffin tin. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease each cup or use silicone inserts.

Season and cook your protein (don’t cook all the way, it will finish in the oven) and chop the protein into small pieces. While the meat is cooking chop the veggies. I like to sauté the veggies in butter, salt, pepper, and garlic for flavor. I use the same pan as I used to cook my protein in. If I’m just using pico de gallo I don’t cook it first. Beat 12 eggs in a bowl, add salt, pepper, and herbs of choice.

Note: Keep in mind that the cups are shallow so only a little of each layer can go into the cups.

If you are using a starch, either chop it in small pieces or grate it, season it and place in the bottom of each cup. If you are omitting starch, then spoon the meat into the bottom of each cup – otherwise add a spoon of meat on top of the starch layer. Then add a spoon of the veggies. Then ladle in the egg.

If you like and can tolerate cheese, you can sprinkle with cheese.

Note: Season each layer, so they don’t turn out bland. If I have a pesto on hand, sometimes I’ll swirl pesto into the top of each one before baking.

Place in the oven for 25 – 30 mins. Pull-out and place muffins on a cooling rack. After they are cool, put in individual sized portions in Ziploc bags in the fridge.

These are awesome with some franks hot sauce!

egg-muffins

Pizza Variation:

  • Chopped Pepperoni
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Chopped Tomatoes
  • Fresh Sautéed Garlic
  • Mushrooms (Optional)
  • Dried Basil
  • Dried Italian Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper

Another Variation:

  • Small Pieces Prosciutto
  • Chopped Pre-Cooked, Seasoned Asparagus
  • Goat Cheese
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt & Pepper

There is literally unlimited flavor combinations and variations you can make.

2016 Reflection = 2017 Theme

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I realize that I’m late posting a New Year post….I hope you can forgive me.

I have decided that 2017 is the year that I’m not going to let stress or should-ofs, would-ofs, or could-ofs hold power over me and how I think or feel about myself or my life.

I am not making resolutions or goals that have anything to do with what “I don’t want to…”, or “I’m not….”, or that are in any way a restriction or way to make myself smaller in the world.

Instead….I’m only making goals for this year that allow for more freedom (mentally, emotionally, and physically).

My Theme for 2017 is “Let it Go”

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Let Go of stress

Let Go of all the things out of my control, that I want to control

My active exercise:

  • Recognize – when I’m having negative or stressful thoughts
  • Stop – myself mid-thought
  • Analyze – if the thoughts are about the things I can’t really control or do anything about (which they usually are)
  • Let it Go – actively tell myself to “Let it Go!” (insert a deep belly breath)
  • Move On – to a new thought

It has only been about a week, but so far this exercise is working quite well.

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I have written about stress before here and here, but stress is our reaction to our perceptions about a given situation. While some stress is probably inevitable, some of it doesn’t have to be….I can make a choice to Let it Go.

I believe there is freedom in Letting Go.

My hope is that by practicing this exercise and Letting Go of all the things and not allowing the unknown to stress me out….that I will be able to be more present in there here-and-now.

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I have always been the type of person who is goal oriented and results driven; it is what propels me forward every day and in my life. I think having specific and attainable goals is important; I’ve said for years that “if you don’t know where you are going, then you will not know how to get there”. I do think that we must leave room for error, movement, bending, and flexibility in our resolutions – allowing them to evolve as we do and as our life does throughout time.

Do not allow your resolutions or goals hold more power than they actually do and dictate how you feel or what you believe about yourself and your life. Allow them to be fluid rather than the end all be all.

I wish to you all a healthy and happy 2017!

Introducing: Araza Natural Beauty

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As you may or may not know I’m all about finding and using the highest quality food and products I can. It is particularly important that we are using the most natural high-quality skin care products that we can. Our skin is our largest organ and is permeable, meaning it absorbs everything we put on it into our bodies. (In this post I discuss this further and other options in this link.)

That being said, until recently I found it quite difficult to find a quality ALL natural make-up that I like and is still affordable. I’ve been using products that are better than what is found a drug store but nothing as clean and nourishing as what I’m about to tell you about……

Soooooo I HAVE TO tell you ladies about a make-up that I’ve found and absolutely love….it is the epitome of natural!

Araza Natural Beauty

It is made with the most pure and certified organic ingredients so it will nourish your skin. You can feel good about putting it on your skin. It is Paleo Certified! It is made in the U.S.A., cruelty free, and gluten free.

I started using the 7 in 1 Coconut Cream Foundation and the Green Tea Cream Concealer. I cannot speak more highly of these products!

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A little goes a long way. You can get as little or as much coverage as you want. It doesn’t feel like I’m wearing anything on my face AND it stays on all day (even with my touching my face). BEST OF ALL it doesn’t settle in my fine lines and wrinkles!

Araza has a Jojoba Infused 100% Natural Mineral Powder Foundation for those who prefer a powder over a cream and a Natural Clay Finishing Powder as well, that I’ve not used yet.

You can order sample sizes of all their products for $2.50 to test out colors.

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Araza also offers Natural Sunshine Contouring Bronzer, Olive Extract Cheeky Cheek Color

Long-Wear Raspberry and Citrus Infused Eye Color (15 shades)

Coconut Lip Gloss and Organic Peppermint Luxe Lip Balm

a “Light” – An Illuminating Raw Beauty Oil

Eco-Friendly Bamboo Brushes

Last but not least Gift Cards for all the favorite ladies in your life.

 

Book Review: One-Pot Paleo Cookbook by: Jenny Castaneda

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I have to admit that I’m a bit of a recipe and cookbook junkie. I read cookbooks with the same enthusiasm that other people read novels. I particularly enjoy cookbooks that have lots of pictures of the food in them.

Honestly there aren’t very many of them that I use with any regularity, but I think this one is going to be an exception. I work full-time and struggle with making sure that we have healthy meals throughout the week that are easy and fast.

Enter….the One-Pot-Paleo cookbook!

The first thing that I love about the book is on page 10. “the recipes in this book, you’ll find some that are quick and easy and come together in less than an hour, which are perfect for weeknights. Those that are simmered or braised for hours to achieve maximum flavor are ideal for weekends, and those that are marinated overnight can be prepared the night before, therefore transiting into a quick-and-easy meal the next day.” I would venture to guess that the recipes that simmered or braised for hours could be done in a slow cooker or in the oven at low temperatures all day while one is gone to work to come home to a delicious easy meal.

Although this cookbook says “Paleo” on it, due to the author’s heritage of Filipino and Spanish, she includes ingredients that are not squeaky clean Paleo like white rice, butter, wine, Worcestershire, arrowroot, and tapioca flour. On page 11 she has a short table of ingredient alternatives to these to provide other Paleo options. I personally have no issue with any of those ingredients and will likely not make swaps.

On pages 194 – 196, she has a “Recipe Allergen Index” to easily reference for those with dairy, nut, grain, and egg allergies. Beware that it is noted here too that all the recipes contain nightshades so they may be difficult for those following an Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).

In the Appendix, on page 192, she has a page that gives helpful tips for “Weekend Prep for Weeknight Meals”, which is fantastic! Seriously, who doesn’t want to make their weekday evenings easier?!

For those that aren’t quite so experienced in the kitchen, I think this would be a great book for you. Not only are we talking easy one-pot meals, but there is a section in the book called “The Basics” on pages 184 – 191 that has bone broth recipes, condiments, rice variations, and common sauces.

It is also nice that it is noted on each recipe that it serves between 2 and 4 people, which is great for those of us with small households. For those with larger occupancy, each recipe can be doubled (I assume that larger families already have to do this and are prepared to do so).

The pictures in the book are beautiful and will make you hungry. hungry-face

To Buy or Not to Buy….That is the question……I say YES!