Thursday, March 31, 2011

And He Finally Eats

I cooked and 3 of 3 ate his weight... in swiss chard.  Swiss chard???  Yes!  He finally eats.  This is one happy momma that is getting back into cooking mode!  Here's a bit of proof.

video

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Eating Is Believing!

When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.
Ayurvedic proverb.

Our family changed our diet about 5 1/2 months ago.  If we were to follow previous years' patterns then this winter my kids should have thrown up a few times, had the flu, and at least 3 or 4 long fever spells.  This year not so much.  We are the healthiest we have ever been.   On our diet of grass fed meats and other organic food my kids, my husband, and I have fared great through the flu season and even the allergy season!

My two girls have been very healthy.  Neither got flu shots and so far so good.  I can only think of a time or two there was a day or so of a fever with no other symptoms towards the beginning of the lifestyle change.

The baby boy, 3 of 3, was a different story.  He suffered from constant ear infections and even pneumonia since October even on the organic diet.  We made trips to the doctor's offices every few weeks and spent countless hours holding/rocking him during the night.  He was on an antibiotic at least once a month for 4 months.  BRUTAL.  B. R. U. T. A. L.  We were on the brink of a break down.

After 4 months of continuous ear infections we were a few weeks away from surgery to have tubes put in 3 of 3's ears.  I talked to so many friends who told of an instant change in their child after tubes.  I was convinced!

Before we got tubes in his ears I wanted to try one last thing.  I had long suspected dairy to be a culprit of late night screams and discomfort.  I was also aware that milk can thicken mucus too.  A 3 week trial period was put in place.  I removed all dairy from his diet.  I was sure this was my answer.

After the removal of the dairy, another ear infection and pneumonia.  I was so discouraged.  I called the doctor to schedule tubes.  Then one day my husband read the ingredients in the soy yogurt 3 of 3 ate like it was going out of style.  Milk!

He still had milk in his diet.  I became a reading label detective.  The total removal of dairy from his diet as well as the organic food did the trick.  He has not had another ear infection.  Only a few times for a few days he has had a clear, runny nose.

I am planning to reintroduce dairy to him when he turns 2.

With that track record one would think that I would stick to this diet like glue!  That has not been the case the past few weeks.  I started a project to finish every unfinished project in this house.  Every closet, drawer, room was organized.  We painted the last room that needed painting and a host of other to do's.

Those jobs left one tired momma that decided to eat out.  It can't make that big of a difference.  Can it???

We had company too.  They left today.  We loved having them and we partied hard!  Eating out EVERY meal was a fun treat and left more time to enjoy the company.

I am here to tell you that the kids and I feel super YUCKY!!!!  The two littlest, 2 of 3 and 3 of 3, have colds or allergies.  Something is bothering them and they have not been sleeping good.  Runny noses, unable to breathe which means sleeping difficult.

And tummy complaints have returned too.  Every time we eat out at a restaurant that is not "organic" she complains about her stomach.  And my 3 of 3 is worrying me with his disapproval of most of his food that is not home cooked.

video

One of the most interesting things I noticed was that 3 of 3 ate a hamburger at Terra Burger, an organic burger joint in Austin.  Loved it.  Ordered him a burger at Johnny Rocket's and he put it to his mouth and shunned it.  In fact, he has shunned most restaurant food in general.

It could be a stage he is going through of just rejecting most food put in front of him or getting his 2 year molars.  I don't really know.  I just find it interesting that during the past few weeks when I didn't make cooking healthy meals a priority my son almost stops eating all food I don't prepare.  The 2 littlest get sick and the others don't feel their personal best.  Energy levels are low, people aren't sleeping well and are crabby.

It may be a coincidence.  Eating is believing!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Natural Product Updates

A friend of mine, Bryan, is always posting articles on facebook about natural products in the news.  They are interesting and informative.  Sometimes I want to do a quick post on the article.  Most times I don't get around to it.

Bryan was kind enough to compile a list of articles in the news this week.  Please feel free to add any link for articles you have found this week too.  Hopefully, Bryan has time to do this more often.

Thanks a bunch, Bryan!!!!!

Natural Products Updates (What You May Have Missed!)
Here are some exciting links to what is happening in the natural and organic marketplace this week:

GMO Issues:
Environmental Concerns
Liquid laundry soap in a cardboard bottle?
Health and Fitness
 Product Information

Friday, March 25, 2011

They're Back!

The last few weeks I have been working on so many projects as well as managing my 3 little people.  I have done a terrible job preparing meals and taking the time to cook healthy.  Throwing together last minute meals has been the norm.  And P Terry's drive through dinners are becoming more frequent too.

And can you believe it???  My afternoon sleepies are BACK!!!  Yesterday afternoon while reading a book to 1 of 3, I told her I had to close my eyes for a bit.  I was mid sentence and was about to pass out to sleep.

So for me, a diet that lacks loads of fruit and vegetables and homemade treats that are not loaded with sugar equals a narcoleptic Natalie.

I must do better so I can get my energy back.  I so need a nap.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Would You Rather???


Would you rather eat meat from a cloned animal or an animal born au natural?  Would you eat meat from an offspring of a cloned animal or the offspring of an animal born the way nature intended?  Would you rather drink milk from cloned animals or milk from a cow that was born from a dam (mother cow) and a sire (father cow)?

Did you even know that cloned meat may be on our plates and in our cups already or at least very soon?

In fact there have already been government hearings in California on the issue.  In the documentary Food Inc., the hearing for Senate Bill 63 documented a lobbyist from the California Farm Bureau saying she was concerned about SB 63 which required the labeling of cloned meat.  She said that labeling creates unnecessary fear in the consumers mind before the industry has the opportunity to educate the consumers about why they want to use the technology and the benefits of the technology. The California Farm Bureau does not feel that consumers just having a cloned meat label would be helpful to us.

We must be too stupid to make decisions on our own.  We need the government and the California Farm Bureau to protect us from ourselves.  From our FEAR!!!  Or maybe our stupidity.

What I think she meant was that the cloned meat label wouldn't be helpful to the California Farm Bureau.  I think she meant to say, "Dear Mr. Senator, We know that meat with a 'cloned' label would probably fail in a free market.  So we are encouraging you to say that our product is safe (even though we have no idea if it actually is safe) and let us hide the truth from the consuming public.  We need government interference in the free market to succeed.  We are counting on you and you can count on us for a big donation in your next campaign.  Thank you very much and we'll get a check in the mail."

The Senate Bill 63 passed the California legislature and the labeling of cloned meat was on its way to becoming law but was vetoed by the Terminator Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

So I am wondering...would you rather?   Before you answer I'll leave you with this last thought.

Dolly was the first animal ever cloned in 1996.  She lived 6 years even though the normal lifespan of a sheep is 12 years.  The cell that was used to clone her came from a 6 year old sheep.  Hummmmm.

"Dolly the sheep, for example, developed premature arthritis and lung disease that led her creators to euthanize her after just six years--roughly half the lifespan of a normal sheep.

"The developmental and genetic abnormalities that tend to characterize cloned animals and their offspring raise concerns about the use of cloning technology in food production. Dolly's creator, Ian Wilmut, has stated that small imbalances in a clone's protein, hormone, or fat levels could affect the safety and quality of its milk or meat."  Source  (The entire source article is very interesting and informative!)

We have no need to worry if cloned animals or their offspring hit our supermarket shelves, though.  The FDA says cloned meat is safe.  I feel so reassured.

Oh, and the FDA says there may already be meat from offspring of cloned animals and milk from cloned animals on the market.  It is just to difficult for them to monitor.  That's our government.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

And With A Wave Of Her Wand...

My professional organizer, Noa, has helped me tame my house and make it much more enjoyable.

I LOVE Groupon!!  Last year I bought a voucher for a 3 hour professional organizer for $35.  I had a year until it expired.  Last year I was no where near ready to organize.  I was in survival mode with baby number 3, a 1 year old, and a 4 year old.

I'm back to myself and roaring to get back in the game!!!  Last month I finally scheduled the appointment.  I LOVE my organizer, Noa Simmons, from Noa Noa Design Solutions.  She is delightful and works her magic quickly.  For the initial 3 hour organizing project I chose my kitchen.  If you read my blog, you know I cook a lot!!!

It wasn't until we finished up with the kitchen that I knew I had to have her return.  Really, I had no idea just how badly I needed her help until we finished the kitchen.  I actually had an empty drawer and shelf when she finished!  I have had her come back 3 more times.  We are going though this house room by room, closet by closet.  And then last but not least we'll tackle the garage.  I need order in this place with my 3 little people that are always getting into things and making more "mommy" work.  Organized space has made an astonishing difference!

For the past few weeks I have neglected my blog as I have had "pre" organizing work to do.  I have to organize my mess so Noa can organize the room!  It's been fun to read letters from old friends and find treasures I thought were lost forever.  It has also been fabulous to complete projects I have wanted to tackle for years.  My husband and I painted his office and I have cleaned almost every square inch of this house in the organizing process.

I hope to be back to my regularly scheduled blog posts tomorrow.  For now I"ll leave you with a picture of today's project, a newly vacant room which will become my craft room.  We focused on the closet.  The closet is the catch-all for my hobby supplies:  painting, sewing, scrapbooking, crocheting and a few others.  Ahhh.  I now have all kinds of space.  I might even take on a NEW hobby.  See, I have room for more junk!!!



I would highly recommend Noa for any friends that live in the Austin area.  She is just a lovely person with a great skill of organization and design.  LOVE her!!  Here is her website and phone number.  www.noanoadesign.com  512-739-1267


Oh, and if you don't know about Groupon, here is a link to check it out.  Groupon sends out daily emails with deals at least 50-90 percent off of retail.  Great stuff!!!  


Off to finish a few odds and ends left.  What a difference an organizer makes!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Break Movie Mission


We are officially on Spring Break!  The two littlest people in this house aren't such great sleepers when they travel.  Sleep is very important to this momma and daddy, so that means we don't travel.  At ALL!!!  We are Spring Breaking it around Austin.  We've got a few day trips planned that will thrill our little people.  Going to be fun.

I was thinking that this would be a good time to give a movie mission to my readers.  These movies  made me want to radically change the food we eat.  If you have Netflix, all of these movies should be available to watch instantly.

Movie Missions:

Food, Inc.
The Future of Food
Food Matters
Fat Head
King Corn

I would love your thoughts after you watch them!  If nothing else they are entertaining and will make you think.

Have a happy Spring break and be careful!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm On A Mission

I am really interested in what other families spend on their monthly food budget (grocery bills and eating out).  I am going to get serious about a food budget while trying to maintain this organic lifestyle.  I think it is possible to eat mostly organic on a budget.  I am out to prove myself right or wrong.  So please leave a comment with your monthly budget and number of family members.  You can leave it anonymously if you would like.  But please enter your real food budget!

Thanks friends.  I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Answer To Follow Up Question About My Children/Husband



Yesterday I posted about how I am faring on my organic journey.  I got a great follow up question about whether I have noticed changes in my children's energy and behavior.  My friend also wanted to know how my husband was doing.

So today I will give you a quick run down.

First up, my kids.  I have to give a disclaimer: I have super easy children.  SUPER EASY!!!!  They are dear and very well mannered.  So when I think if their behavior has changed drastically on organic journey I have to say no.  They were easy then and they are easy now.

They ate pretty healthy before we changed our lifestyle.  I have always been a label reader.  They hardly ever ate foods that contained high fructose corn syrup.  I tried to limit foods that contained a lot of food coloring and additives which I have read are a source of behavior issues in children.  They eat candy (still do) but get a piece a day.  They will be the first to tell you that they remember overeating candy and they don't like it when it makes their tummy hurt.

So for them the only real changes have been the clean meat, dairy and some produce (no hormones or chemicals).   They eat fruits and vegetables very well and seem to enjoy our meals.  They had perfectly pleasant behaviors before we changed our lifestyle.  And they still do.  

I have noticed some changes, though.  For example, I have noticed that they don't complain about not feeling good after they eat.  When we were eating Chick Fil A for lunch multiple times a week and dinner out at restaurants, 1 of 3 would complain about her tummy hurting after eating.  Same goes for 2 of 3.  I never hear complaints from 2 of 3.  And I only hear complaints from 1 of 3 when it is time to sit down and read her 15 page reader.  It never fails, she needs a nap or her tummy hurts or her teeth hurt.  She feels much better when she learns that she isn't going to get to have a friend over or go to the park if she is sick.  Oh, and that she still will have to read!  It is usually followed up with, "Well, I don't feel that bad!"



My kids energy level seems to be a bit better, too.  When they were the princesses of eating out, I used to notice when they felt bad after eating they were mopey and needed to rest.  That is never the case after eating now.  They just head off to play and play.

As far as my husband goes, he has the baby morning duty.  That is our arrangement.  I nurse the first year and get zero sleep and he gets up with the toddler when the 4am-5am shift rolls around the second year.  I'll have to get back to you on him.  I think he is still a bit tired.

I think it is interesting that as little sleep as we have gotten this year we have been fairly healthy.  The girls have too.  Only little 3 of 3 has suffered with ear infections and pneumonia.  Since he has been completely off dairy he has not been sick.  AT ALL.  At times just a bit of clear runny nose that quickly goes away.  He has been well for at least a month.  We had a false start with removing dairy from the diet.  Be sure to read labels if you try this, even if it is soy it may still be milk based.  I have to wonder why anyone would choose soy when they can tolerate milk?

I can't prove that there is a correlation between no dairy and his health but I sure am thankful for the break!  I will reintroduce dairy after the cold/flu season.  We'll see.


One last thing, I notice that my children seem more happy and playful.  They giggle more, give hugs and kisses more.  I don't think this has anything to do with the organic change.  I think it has to do with the fact that our lives have slowed down a bit and we are coming together and connecting.  And that is what it really is all about...bonding with our family.

Monday, March 7, 2011

How's That Working For Ya?



I thought tonight should be the night to tell how this crazy organic lifestyle is working for me.  I'll talk about my energy levels, my weight loss, and eating habits.  I'll also mention a few things that I am in the process of tweaking.

So far I have lost 17 1/2 pounds since mid October 2010, when I started the blog and started eating healthy foods.  And since I had been gaining weight for a pregnancy or in that weird post pregnancy stage for almost 3 years, that amount of weight loss is going to mean a new wardrobe!!!!!  I'm waiting a bit longer and when I get back to my pre preggo weight I'm going on a shopping trip.  I'm thinking New York City.  A girl can dream, huh???

That is nice and all but the big difference I notice is in my energy.


Since all 3 of my people are finally starting to sleep through the night (at least a few times a week) I can start to see how my energy level is faring with my new lifestyle.  It is amazing.  I used to have sugar crashes during the day and need a nap.  No longer.  I am almost like the girl I once knew, peppy, energetic and excited about life.  As a family we have started going on adventurous outings.  Well, as adventurous as you can get with a 1, 2, and 5 year old tagging along.  I have noticed monumental changes in my energy level!  Praise God.  I am becoming the mommy I want to be to my kiddos.

As far as eating goes, I am still eating one raw meal a day, a salad.  I eat anything I want to eat, it is just usually fairly healthy.  Remember, I am in no way, shape or form dieting.  I am just trying to get healthy.

I have started cooking a bit more in butter.  I have found that I really like to cook in olive oil or butter.  I have tried coconut oil and think I have to give it a bit more time to acquire a taste for it.

For a while I tried to have a meal or two a week that was vegetarian.  I like meat.  I LOVE meat.  So for now, I have nixed the vegetarian days.  I feel better and have more energy when I eat meat.  Buffalo or bison has become my meat of choice.  Bison steak.  Enough said.

We all love fruit so we eat it for most snacks and sometimes dessert.

I am finding that for our family of 5 to eat grass fed meats, organic fruits and vegetables, and organic processed foods, it usually costs around $300 a week.  (Please click this link to see a revised weekly cost.)  I cook ALL of our meals.  There is the rare occasion that we still do eat out but I tell you it is RARE.  And at times I am even cooking 2 different meals.  My two littlest people are in a fairly picky stage so they go through a lot of food.  I am spending quite a bit on things I know they will eat.  This won't last forever.  Soon enough they will have to join in the family meal at every meal.  I foresee that saving me quite a bit of money.

One more thought on the $300 a week: I usually buy extras when something is on sale.  That adds quite a bit of expense each week too.  I don't mind as we always eat it.  So I could easily cut down my budget if I only purchased exactly what was needed for each week.

My husband and the kids still love it!  And I try and make a point to still include their favorite meals into our rotations.  In fact today we had a yummy homemade pizza and ice cream for dessert.

I think that it is fair to say that this organic lifestyle is working for us.  Big time!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

He's My Baby Boy No Longer!!!!


Before Picture

Today my baby boy got his first haircut.  With each snip of the scissors, my baby boy disappeared and a little boy appeared.  I do have one little curl as a memento of the shaggy headed little baby boy that stole my heart.  Now that I've seen the little boy I could just eat him up.  He still has my heart!







After Pictures


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Had No Idea!


I am in the process of ratcheting up the child-proofing in this house.  My little guy is fearless and dangerous!  He is always climbing and standing on furniture.  My nerves can't take much more so I have been moving out toys that he uses for stepping stools.

Anyway, I just got an email from parents.com about child-proofing you house.  It mentioned something I had never heard of and had no idea I should have asked our contractor about.  Have you ever heard of testing for Radon?  Apparently radon is a naturally released radioactive gas.  It is released when uranium breaks down in the soil, rocks and water.  If your house has 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) then your family is being exposed to dangerous amounts of radon.  And high amounts of radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.



Here is the information from parents.com 

Test for Radon

Approximately one in 15 homes (including apartments) has a high level of radon, a radioactive gas released when uranium naturally breaks down in soil, rocks, and water. Radon is believed to be the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, but because you can't see or smell it, you won't know if you're being exposed without testing for it. Fortunately, an inexpensive test kit that's available at home-improvement stores will be reliable in this case: Leave it out for as long as the directions recommend, then promptly return it for analysis. The EPA considers a reading of 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) or greater to be unsafe. If your levels are high, you'll need to have a certified radon-mitigation contractor install a piping system to vent the gas out from under your home. The EPA even recommends that you consider doing this if your level is higher than 2 pCi/L. Contact your state radon office for more information at epa.gov/iaq/whereyoulive.html. If you're building a new home, make sure your contractor uses radon-resistant construction techniques, and request a radon test as part of the inspection when purchasing a home. If yours tests negative, retest every two years or after renovations, says Elizabeth Blackburn, of the EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection and Environmental Education."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ThunderHeart Bison...Out Of This World Fabulous!


My family and I have finally found bison or buffalo we love to eat.  My initial experience with bison was not so good.  In fact, I wasn't sure I would ever eat it again.  I liked the health benefits of grass fed bison so I didn't rule it out forever!  All I can say is you have to try bison from Thunder Heart Bison.  You will thank me for it!  Here is the where to find us link from the website.

The bison at Thunder Heart roam free on 13,000 acres in South Texas.  They are field harvested which supposedly eliminates the stress of the ride to the slaughter house.  Whatever the reason, the bison was tender, tasty and not even a tad bit gamey.

My baby girl, 2 of 3, the one that acts like I'm poisoning her so often, cried when I put the plate of bison in front of her.  She loudly repeated over and over, "I down't wike it!"  We told her she just had to taste it and then if she didn't like it she didn't have to eat it.  As soon as she had a bite, her face lit up and she said, "I weally wike it!  I want some mo!"  And she ate and ate and ate it!

So far we have eaten the ground bison and the bison steak.  Both were fantastic!  Wondering what I can make with my last pound tomorrow.

The website, thunderheartbison.com had this to say about the health benefits.

Low-fat, grass-fed Thunder Heart Bison — the red meat that's healthy to eat.


Nutritional Comparison*
SpeciesFat CaloriesCholesterol
Bison1.8714382
Beef8.2821186
Pork9.6621286
Chicken**7.4115089
**Skinless*per 100 grams of cooked lean meat
(Figures from the US Department of Agriculture)

Unlike most Bison, which is grain-fed, grass-fed Thunder Heart Bison not only enables you to avoid many of the negatives associated with meat; it also provides important positives to your diet:

Grass-fed Bison provides nutrient dense, low fat, low cholesterol meat with as many Omega-3s per serving as salmon, and three to six times the amount of omega-3s as grain fed animals.  It is also high in selenium, beta carotene, taurine, and the all important CO-Q 10.

It contains the highest-know levels of the fat-blocker and anti-carcinogen, CLA (conjugated linolaic acid). Research on CLA is showing evidence that CLA has the potential to reduce the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and a number of immune disorders.

It also has high concentrations of selenium, a natural trace element that acts as a mood elevator. The original "happy meal". In research conducted by Dr. Martin Marchello at the Carrington Research Extension Center, grass fed Bison was determined to contain as much as four times more selenium than grain fed Bison.

Bison fits the dietary recommendations of the American Heart and American Diabetes associations.

Grass-fed Bison contains four times the amount of vitamin E found in grain fed beef. It is also a rich source of the vitamin beta-carotene, a vital antioxidant which reduces the risk of cancer by preventing cell degeneration.