Just a Little Caffeine and Aspartame

I try super-hard to feed my family healthy food the majority of the time. Despite my best efforts, we occasionally slide off the wagon and wallow in the chicken nuggets and french fry soup a little longer than I’d like.

But I do know the problems. And I am trying to address them.

I just don’t have the time—nor the affinity—to make homemade yogurt, churn my own butter, or grind my own wheat. I applaud the women who do. And at one point in my life, I measured my own worth as a mother and homemaker by those women.

But I have been released from those chains of comparison because God had a little talk with me and told me that that’s not me. At least not now. Not here.

And I’m OK with that.

I think. 


There’s another thing standing in my way of total embrace of the natural and healthy lifestyle.

That would be my little addiction to Diet Mt. Dew.

I love the stuff. And I know it’s bad for me. And I won’t touch aspartame in any other food product because yes, I really do believe it’s a scary chemical.

But I’m still struggling with my Diet Mt. Dew.

So, Saturday, I had my cold Diet Mt. Dew in the car. Susanna and I were running errands in Green Hills. We were in Macy’s—almost to the door—when she said she was thirsty. We went back through the mobs of shoppers to the nearest restroom sign, but there was no water fountain there. I didn’t feel like going all the way back to the 3rd floor, so I told her she could finish off the Diet Mt. Dew in the car.

I felt guilty for a smidge of a second but concluded it was only a small amount. We got to the car and she started sipping.

Now, because I am the trying-to-be-healthier mom that I am, I decided we would also stop at Trader Joe’s for a few of my favorites from there. We hopped out of the car. Susanna had the Diet Mt. Dew in hand. We were headed in when I stopped.

“Susanna. Why don’t you finish that drink before we go in?”

I couldn’t let all those yogurt-making, mill-grinding, butter-churning, Trader Joe’s-shopping moms know that I had—on occasion—allowed my daughter to consume both caffeine and aspartame, now could I?

They just wouldn’t understand; I don’t care how far away that municipally contaminated water fountain was from the door.

Intentional Eating in 2010


I continue with my theme of “Living Intentionally,” as I turn my attention to my diet.

Ugh. The diet. The eating plan. The “lifestyle program.”

I think there’s just something to the saying that “life catches up” to you. I’ll be 40 this year, and I know I’m much less healthy than I was a decade ago. Fast food, processed food, sugar—it just makes me fat. It DOES.

A few months ago, I started the Transitions program. Transitions is a low-glycemic eating plan. It begins with a one-week fruit and veggie detox followed by twelve weeks of making new habits of healthier eating.

I did OK at first, then the stress of the holidays arrived and my motivation, focus, and resolve to stick to any eating plan that didn’t involve butter on top of butter and chocolate dipped in chocolate vanished.

Today I begin Day 3 of my fruit and veggie detox week. I am doing well so far.

Here’s where the “intentional” part came in: I know part of my failure in the fall was due to inconvenience. When do I eat breakfast? Often running out the door. What is breakfast? Something I can grab.

So, I decided to set myself up for success.

That’s intention, people.

Preparation is key:
I mapped out my menus for the week. It took a long time, but I persevered and tried to be as realistic as possible. From the menus, I made a grocery list and went shopping.

Sunday afternoon, I spent about one hour cleaning and bagging fresh veggies. I washed the apples and grapes. I sliced cucumber. I washed lettuce and chopped it. I washed grape tomatoes and blueberries. All of the salad ingredients are ready to go. A healthy snack just needs to be pulled from the fridge.

I also boiled several eggs. A hard-boiled egg is a great breakfast food or snack. Totally portable!

It’s been so easy and convenient to eat right out of the fridge. Love it!

Sub the ordinary starches with steamed veggies:
I made spaghetti sauce and pasta for my family. I can have the sauce but not the pasta. Instead, I sliced some zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, and carrot and lightly steamed them. I poured the sauce over the veggies. Surprisingly, it was quite good.

I use these Glad Steaming Bags, which are excellent. You just throw in cut veggies and microwave for about 3 minutes. There’s a handy tear edge. The veggies are perfect. No mess. No clean-up.

Seasoning Is Vital! 
Garlic, onion, salt, pepper, cumin, vinegars. Liberally season the veggies and salads to enhance the flavors. Bolder flavors are more satiating. I pour balsamic vinegar on everything, and I love it!

A Neat Water Alternative
I’ve just discovered flavored sparkling water. Canada Dry makes one, which I like. But this week, I discovered La Croix sparkling water in berry flavor. It has a hint of cherry Icee flavor to me. No calories, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners. Very good. Quite refreshing. And a little more exciting than plain water. I got this idea from a water-hating friend.

I feel good about this second try. I feel intentional. Intentionality for good health involves a CONSTANT reminder and affirmation that every decision is important. Nothing is slight. Every GOOD decision is an affirmation that I’m heading in the right direction. Every NOT-SO-GOOD decision is an opportunity to be more intentional.

This is hard. Oh, so hard. But by God’s grace, I will persevere.

Tips for Preventing H1N1 Swine Flu


I get a gajillion FWD emails from my Aunt Pat (thanks, Aunt Pat!). But this one (quoted below) sparked my curiosity and seemed legit (who knows, right?). I did search Snopes and didn’t find a matching hit; so if it’s a myth, it hasn’t come to the attention yet of the folks at Snopes.

Anywho, I figure if you follow his advice, you’re only out a few minutes a day of gargling with salt water.

Also, if you do not have a good multivitamin, talk to me. I DO take a great multivitamin that—I’m convinced—contributes to my overall health and well-being. Melaleuca’s vitamins have a special delivery system**. We also have an immunity booster supplement. I promise you that Chris and I have both taken Activate at the FIRST sign of a throat tickle or yucky feeling and we rebound like that (*snapping fingers*).

Another boost to your immune system is to GET THE TOXINS OUT OF YOUR HOME. When your immune system is continually assaulted with chemicals (they’re in many household cleaners and personal grooming products, including shampoo, even kids’ so-called “gentle” and “pure” products!), it becomes taxed and compromised. Then, when the REAL germs come along, your immune system has little to nothing left with which to fight. I can help you convert your home to a more natural, healthier, safer environment using Melaleuca products. Leave a comment below or email me if you’d like to learn more (maryb1517 [at] gmail [dot] com).

clip art: royalty-free image from dreamstime.com

Preventing Swine Flu – Good Advice

By Dr. Vinay Goyal. Dr. Goyal is an MBBS,DRM,DNB (Intensivist and Thyroid specialist) having clinical experience of over 20 years. He has worked in institutions like Hinduja Hospital , Bombay Hospital , Saifee Hospital , Tata Memorial etc.. Presently, he is heading our Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, Malad (W).

***The following information was compiled from notes taken at a lecture by Dr. Goyal in August 2009.***

The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it’s almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.

While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps, not fully highlighted in most official communications, can be practiced (instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tamiflu):

1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).

2. “Hands-off-the-face” approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat, bathe or slap).

3. *Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don’t trust salt). *H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don’t underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

4. Similar to 3 above, *clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. *Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but *blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.*

5. *Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). *If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.

6. *Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc) as you can. *Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.

**Explanation of Melaleuca vitamins’ special delivery system: The minerals in some supplements crystallize during digestion, which inhibits absorption. In addition, minerals also tend to trigger free radicals during digestion. This cascade of free radicals can “use up” the antioxidants in your multivitamin (vitamins A, C, and E), rendering them nearly useless.

Oligofructose Complex binds minerals to organic compounds (oligofructose and amino acid) to mirror the way minerals are naturally found in fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods. This binding process not only keeps the minerals more available for the body to absorb, it also guards the minerals—disarming their ability to generate massive amounts of free radicals. As a result, more of the critical nutrients you need for better health are available for use every day. (Source: Melaleuca)

Odds and Ends

I’m running so far behind with—well, with just about everything, really.

  • I bought Twilight to read. I know, I know, I’m like 2 years behind the excitement. But I usually have such a time getting through fiction. Typically, I find it boring and predictable. I have high expectations for the Twilight series, though. I haven’t started it because I’ve set it up as a reward. I get to read it when I finish my latest writing assignment, which brings me to …
  • I have a Bible study unit for Cokesbury’s Bible Lessons for Youth due… um, yesterday. Yes, I’m behind. Yes, I cursed writers who were late when I was an editor. Yes, I will get it finished this weekend. If I have to stay up all night Sunday, it will be finished by Monday.

  • And then I get to start Twilight.

  • In my Back-to-School giveaway, the winner is… my fellow POTATO friend, Chonta. You won’t see her comment on the post because it magically disappeared, but she posted nonetheless. Chonta wins some fabulous Melaleuca kids’ products. (Disclosure: I am a Melaleuca marketing executive and customer. I am compensated by the company when I sign new members to the company. I purchased these products on my own, however, and sponsored the giveaway myself. I received no additional benefit from the company, nor was my giveaway affiliated with the company in any way.)
  • I will post about the first day of school. Hey. I still have Christmas photos on my camera that need downloading. Like I said, I’m just running a wee bit behind. I will get to the first day of school. Stay tuned.

Back-to-School Giveaway! WIN! WIN! WIN!

Koala Pals School Days Set

Start the Year Right by Going Green and Switching Your Home to Melaleuca Products

It’s back-to-school time. What better way to get your little ones ready than with these fabulous products from Melaleuca??? The children’s vitamins will keep their minds sharp and energy high. The bubble bath is sweet-smelling without the use of harsh chemicals.

Did you know that most brand-name children’s soaps and shampoos contain chemicals that irritate delicate skin and scalp and have been linked to long-term illnesses? Parents should think twice before reaching for Johnson’s Baby Shampoo or Gerber’s Grins and Giggles products.

If you want to convert your home from toxic chemical cleaners and toiletries and you’re ready to “go green,” contact me at my blog, The Writer’s Block or by email at maryb1517 [at] gmail [dot] com. Melaleuca products are an affordable, effective, and safe alternative to supermarket brands.

OK. Here’s how to win the Koala Pals School Days Set:

1. Leave me a comment below. (If you are reading this on Facebook, click on over to my blog to leave a comment.) Nothing specific at all; it can just be “hi.”

2. Tell your friends and blog readers to enter, too.

That’s it! I just want to see who’s out there, I’d love to meet some new readers, AND I’m always excited about getting Melaleuca products into the hands of moms.

Contest ends Monday, August 17 at midnight. Drawing to be held Tuesday, August 18. I’ll announce the winners here on Wednesday, August 19.

Tell your friends.
You’ve got ONE WEEK.

Mommy, M.D.

OK–so I need to catch way up on holidays and birthdays and pictures and such, but that would require actually dumping all the photos off my camera and organizing them. Ugh!

So, instead, I decided to blog a little about my trip to the doc with Spencer on Friday.

I’ll start by saying I love my pediatrician and his office. I mean, almost psychotically, love him. I told him I’d follow him to Kansas. And I really meant it.

But, really, why do I need my doc for ear infections? I know ear infections. I do.

Thursday afternoon/evening Spencer started complaining of a hurting ear. A little ibuprofen and he was feeling fine in 15 minutes. He was up for a bit through the night, but overall felt OK with the ibuprofen.

Friday morning, I sent him to school. I mean:
1. I knew he wasn’t contagious.
2. I knew he would feel fine with some ibuprofen.
3. I knew if we sat home, he would feel fine and just run around and play anyway.
4. I knew if I kept him home, I’d have to also keep Seth home; because, that’s just what I do since they are in the same class. Too much trauma and hassle of “Why can he go to school and I can’t?” “Why does he have to stay home and I can’t?”
5. I knew #3 would then be doubled.
6. I knew I could time the ibuprofen dosages with his getting out of school.
7. And I had a ton of stuff to do on Friday.

OK. So, I picked him up and we went to the pediatrician’s office at 3. Now, this was no small task, either. I actually had Chris leave work early and meet me at home to watch Seth and Susanna (I checked her out early) because going with all 3 to the ped’s office is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

We had to see another doc because My Favorite Pediatrician doesn’t work Friday afternoons. That’s OK.

The nurse takes us back.

“OK. What seems to be the problem?”

I wanted to say, “Ear infection left ear. Amoxicillin—1 teaspoon, 3 times/day for 10 days.” Oh, and here’s your $25.00 co-pay, thank you very much.

Instead I say, “He’s complaining of his left ear hurting.”

Barrage of questions follows:
“When did it start hurting? Any fever? Any coughing? What kind of cough: a dry, hacking cough or a wet, productive cough? Appetite? Is he playful? Does he have a fondness for Dora? Could he pick a criminal out of a line-up? Is his favorite color fuscia?”

I say, “Yes. No. I don’t know. Tuesday. Wet, productive. No, celadon.”

She says, “OK. Let’s walk down the hall and get your weight.”

For real? He’s like 36 pounds, give or take.

Back in the exam room. “OK. Put on this large T-shirt and the doctor will be right with you.”

As he wiggles out of every piece of clothing to change into the large shirt, I’m thinking, the doctor better at least whip out the stethoscope for all this production. Something.

Here comes the doctor. “Hi! How are we today? Spencer, what’s wrong?”

Again, I’m thinking. Ear infection. Left ear. Amoxicillin.

“My ear hurts.”

Now. I know you are shocked and surprised to hear that—despite Ms. Nurse Every Question’s interrogation and subsequent recording of my answers—the doc starts asking me many of the same questions. “When did you notice? Fever? Can he multiply and divide fractions?”

“Well, let’s just take a look.” The doc pulls out the little ear thingey.

He looks. A few “uh-hmms.” Other ear. “Uh-hmm.”

“OK. Well that left ear is—”

Oh, wait. Let me guess. An ear infection?

“Infected. The right ear looks fine.”

The doc sits down and starts typing his diagnosis. “OK. We’ll give you some amoxicillin. You’ll give that—”

“Oh. Oh. I know,” I’m raising my hand like an eager nerd in chemistry class. “One teaspoon three times a day for ten days.”


But then as I think we are in the home-stretch, this doc throws me a curve ball. He says he’s giving us an ear drop. Hmmmm. Trying to catch me off-guard? Trying to spice up an otherwise boring Friday afternoon? A steroid/antibiotic ear drop. I didn’t see that one coming.

“Alright,” the doc says and stands to leave. “Spencer, hope you’ll feel better soon. Oh, and for the pain, you can—”

“Continue with the ibuprofen,” I finish his sentence.

He leaves, and I’m a little hacked he didn’t listen to one beat of the heart, didn’t touch the tummy, didn’t test a reflex.

“OK, Spencer. Let’s get dressed.”

“No. I want to wear this shirt home!”

I then explain to my son that this shirt does not belong to him and must be left for other boys and girls. He finally relents.

We leave wearing our own clothes, pocketing a handful of Cars stickers, and clutching a receipt for our $25.00, thank you very much.

Oh, yea. And we came home with a prescription for amoxicillin, too.

Yummy, yummy!

I’m perfecting my smoothie recipe now. I got a fabulous new blender for Christmas, and I’m loving it.

Here’s the smoothie we had for breakfast this morning:

Breakfast Smoothie
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
1/2 cup frozen peaches
3 heaping T. fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 cup vanilla-flavored almond milk
1 scoop of Melaleuca citrus-flavored FiberWise powder
1 packet Truvia (stevia herbal sweetener)

Blend on high until desired consistency. Adjust ingredients according to taste and texture.

Susanna loves my smoothies. Chris just raved and raved. He said, “This is delicious! And I normally don’t like these types of drinks at all.” The boys still won’t really drink them. But, oh well, 50% ain’t bad, I guess.

Lots of fiber, protein. Nothing gross, fake, or highly processed. Yay! Baby steps to good health.

Our homes are filled with toxic products. Read on for an enlightening, but scary article. It’s especially important if you have children and still have toxic cleaning products in your home.

Wisconsin State Journal
Hazardous Homes Part II: Household products that may be harmful


January 7, 2008

Donna Lotzer, poison education coordinator with UW Health, demonstrates how some medicines and household cleaners can be mistaken for candy or health drinks. The second gumball from the left is actually a vitamin. And notice how much the can of Comet sink cleaner looks like the adjacent container of parmesan cheese.

Though most of us think of our home as a place where we are safe from what seems an increasingly dangerous world, we are more often filling our houses with products and chemicals that may threaten our health. And much of the time we’re not even aware of it.

Annual calls to the Wisconsin Poison Center have risen more than 40 percent in the past five years.

Today more than 75,000 chemicals are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency but less than 20 percent of them have been tested for toxicity. That lack of research means doctors and researchers often know little about the effects these substances have on humans or how much is safe.

Federal labeling laws don’t require manufacturers to list all toxic ingredients on labels so consumers don’t necessarily realize what’s in the products they use at home.

Mary Powers has personally heard the anguish that can come when an accidental poisoning happens in the home.

Powers is manager of the Wisconsin Poison Center in Milwaukee, part of the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. But she is also a nurse who answers emergency calls at the center.

And those emergency calls drive home for her the realization that our homes, supposedly havens for our families, can also harbor little-known hazards. Last year, the center received 45,012 emergency calls about accidental poisonings, 75 percent of which came from homes and nearly 66 percent of which involved children younger than 5.

Powers said the phone calls from parents who find themselves in such situations are terrifying. “They’re asking, ‘Is this going to hurt my child? Is this going to kill my child?’ “

But it’s not just children who can be exposed to toxic threats in the home. It could be an elderly couple overcome by carbon monoxide from a defective furnace. Or someone working on the garden who is accidentally doused by pesticide. Or a housewife cleaning her bathroom floor who unknowingly mixes ammonia and bleach and creates poisonous fumes.

“It happens all the time,” said Donna Lotzer, a poison education coordinator with UW Health. “You can get chemical pneumonia. An older person could die.”

Toxic products in the home account for more than 90 percent of poison exposures, according to the Wisconsin Poison Center.

Everyday exposure

While accidental poisoning in the home is a frightening experience, we are generally less alarmed at the increased and everyday exposure to toxins and chemicals about which we are not even aware.

But statistics from the EPA show that the average household in this country generates more than 20 pounds of household hazardous waste per year. Cleaning products, according to the agency, make up about 11.5 percent of the 3.2 billion pounds of waste produced annually in the U.S.

Studies are linking some of these chemicals to illness and disease. For example, consider two organic hazardous chemicals commonly found in our homes that present a cancer risk to the general population that is about 100 times greater than the EPA considers acceptable. These include formaldehyde, which is found in many home products including permanent-press sheets and naphthalene, used in mothballs.

According to the EPA, products we use in our homes can cause a wide range of health effects including eye, nose and throat infections, headaches, nausea, loss of coordination, and damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system.

Of course, chemistry has also given us plenty in the way of products that make our lives safer and more comfortable. And chemical industry officials say threats from products such as household cleaning supplies are overblown and research on the dangers of the chemicals they contain are misleading because they often involve laboratory animals. Those results, officials say, don’t necessarily mean that the chemicals are dangerous to humans.

Doug Fratz is vice president for scientific and technical studies for the Consumer Specialty Products Association, whose 260 members include manufacturers of everything from disinfectants and pesticides to household cleaners. He said it is misleading to blame health problems on the use of cleaners when the dust mites, mold and mildew brought into the air by cleaning are the more likely culprits.

Hidden chemicals

Frequently, the dangerous substances to which we are exposed are not apparent. That’s because the chemicals that can harm us are hidden in pleasant-smelling perfume or in a poorly-labeled bottle of cherry-red cleaning fluid. The most frequent substances involved in poisoning of children 5 and younger, for example, are personal care cosmetics such as cologne or perfume. These contain ethanol, which can cause intoxication, coma and seizures. Chemicals called phthalates are found in products ranging from nail polish and fragrances to shampoos and hair spray. Some research has shown that high levels of exposure to these chemicals in laboratory animals can cause cancer or reproductive system abnormalities.

But the science remains uncertain. Other reports, including one from the Food and Drug Administration, say there is little risk from exposure to phthalates. Still, some cosmetic manufacturers are removing the chemicals from their products.

Second on the list of products most dangerous to children five and younger are household cleaners such as sanitizers and toilet bowl cleaners. These contain corrosives that can cause internal and external burns. Third on the list are over-the-counter analgesics such as non-aspirin pain relievers; they contain acetaminophen which can cause liver failure.

Inadequate labeling

A big part of the problem is that manufacturers are required to list only “active ingredients” and not all toxic ingredients on labels, according to Dr. Henry Anderson, the state’s chief medical officer and an environmental and occupational disease epidemiologist for the state Department of Health and Family Services. Labels on many household cleaners are a good example, Anderson said.

“There are more and more of these agents such as brighteners, cleaners and polishers,” Anderson said. “You look at the labels and they don’t tell you anything.”

Yet such products are loaded with substances that can be harmful. Disinfectants contain the chemicals phenol and cresol, which can cause diarrhea, fainting, dizziness and kidney and liver damage. Furniture and floor polishes contain nitrobenzene which, if inhaled, can cause shallow breathing and, if ingested, poisoning and death. The chemical has also been linked to cancer and birth defects. Metal polishers contain petroleum distillates, which can irritate the eye and can damage the nervous system, kidneys, eyes and skin.

Powers, the nurse who answers emergency calls for the Wisconsin Poison Center, knows firsthand how little information is listed on many labels.

“I know that many parents have trouble finding the ingredients on a label when they call us,” Powers said.

Packaging can also be an issue. Lotzer gives talks at schools and elsewhere in which she demonstrates how easy it is for a child or even an adult to mistake a bottle of cleaning fluid for a sports drink or a box of chewable vitamins with candy.

Anderson said misleading packaging and inadequate labeling can prove dangerous, even fatal. Over the past several years, he said, two people have died and hundreds became sickened using commercial waterproofing sprays to waterproof their tents, clothing and other outdoor gear. The sprays contain a water repelling ingredient known as a fluoropolymer. Because the chemical resin isn’t considered hazardous at the concentration used in the sprays, federal law doesn’t require that labels mention its presence.

But a cluster of cases involving the sprays in Michigan became known through data collected by poison centers. Studies showed that when the chemical is mixed with other solvents and pressurized in the can it can end up deep in the lungs of the person using it.

‘Green’ products

Growing awareness of the dangers posed by our increasing use of chemicals is bringing some change, however. For example, more “green” products, formulated without most of the harmful chemicals used traditionally, are available.

Robin Pharo, who owns a Mount Horeb company called Healthy Homes and advises clients on how to reduce exposure to indoor contaminants, said safer cleaning products marketed by companies such as Seventh Generation are available on the Internet and in stores such as Target.

Terry Mayhall helps run a Madison cleaning company called Kleenmark and said that a few years ago the company made the decision to switch completely to green cleaning techniques. The company’s cleaning crews use products that are made without harmful chemicals and they are taught to use techniques that minimize exposure, such as spraying cleaners or furniture polish on a rag first instead of dousing the object to be cleaned.

Mayhall warned, however, that even some so-called “green” products are not necessarily what they seem. Some of the companies are also lax in putting all of the contents on their labels. Still, he added, the increasing availability of safer cleaning options to the consumer is a good thing.

The decision to make the change, Mayhall said, was prompted by concern for employees. But the company has found that homeowners are demanding the products they use and now sells many of those cleaners commercially.

— Tony Davis of the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson contributed to this story.

In case of accidental poisoning, call 911 if the person has collapsed, is having seizures or stopped breathing. Otherwise call the Wisconsin Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for advice on what to do.


My Guinea Pigs Loved It! and Thoughts on the Theology of Unhealthy Eating

Last night I served my family (our parents included) my first foray into preparing a raw foods dish. I made a “fruit cobbler” for dessert. It was really, really good. We couldn’t believe it didn’t have any sugar! I got rave reviews from my test kitchen. (I’ll post the recipe in a separate entry.)

I read this in a raw food cookbook I checked out of the library (my addition in italics):

My body is … [God’s] … temple. My body isn’t a discount body. Just because something is cheap or free doesn’t mean I need to eat it, especially if I know it’ll do me more harm than good.
Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen, Ani Phyo

Check out her website here: Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen.

I am also loving this Scripture verse right now:

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.
—1 Corinthians 10:23 (ESV)

I think it’s quite illuminating that the second part of that verse speaks to the good of one’s neighbor. I don’t want to hyper-spiritualize this issue (but since I do believe the Bible speaks to every molecule of our lives, I think this is appropriate…), but I really believe that all of our (humanity’s, broadly and our family’s, specifically) issues with healthy eating, weight gain/loss, healthy living, disease, epidemic obesity, environmental concerns, etc. stem from each seeking his or her own good. Indeed, we are self-absorbed, self-seeking, self-satisfying, self-indulging creatures. We have mass-produced plants and animals until they are stripped of their natural health benefits, all for the indulgence of our insatiable appetites. We have created more and more ways to feed our sweet and fat and salty tooths, all to the detriment of our health. We pour millions of dollars into fast food so that we can have it all right now. And all of this seeking for our own good just creates addiction to more. It’s powerful. It’s destructive.

I don’t know why it’s all kind of an epiphany for me to figure out that the way I eat—my food addictions, my idolatry of satisfying cravings, my lusting after french fries—is, first and foremost, a sin issue and an inevitable aspect of the Fall. But, I am, for the first time, kind of seeing all of this through new lenses. I don’t think I’ll totally abandon all of my eating patterns, but I am ready to embrace more healthy foods and free myself from the bondage of sugar, fat, and salt.

Eat Your Fruits & Veggies—You’ll Feel Great!

I’ve completed my first week now of “conscious eating.” I have very deliberately paid attention to my body as I have drastically reduced my intake of sugar, fat, and processed foods. (I know this seems a little ironic, being posted after the squash casserole recipe.)

Each day I’ve tried to eat high fiber/protein for breakfast. Lunch has been either a tossed green salad and fruit or black bean/whole wheat burrito and fruit.

Guess what? I have noticed more energy throughout the afternoon. A greater satiation that lasted throughout the evening.

And as I suspected, stopping the sugar and fat helped REDUCE the cravings for sugar and fat. Eating sugar and fat brings on a greater desire for more sugar and fat.

Oh, and I lost about 1.5 lbs. this week. 🙂