Thursday, September 10, 2015

Starting a Business, Traveling, and Eating Gluten Free

Well Hi Everyone!
It's been a while since last I posted,  I thought I'd catch you all up as I sit in the back seat of one of my husband's oldest and dearest friend's car listening to them chat about everything under the sun, on our way back from meeting up in Reno Nevada. 
May 1st, My son and I started a baking business C & C Baking (We are on Face Book, C&C Baking) which has been interesting  with my husband being the venture capitalist. We have our Lemon Bars, English Toffee Bars (see picture below)  and other goodies in a coffee shop in the mall near where we live, and our breads like Rustic Italian, Herb & Garlic, Sesame etc. along with Gluten Free Goodies at a local Food Co-Op which is really exciting for us.
In June my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. We decided to rent a cabin in the woods for a week. We decided to go to South Dakota. It had been raining before we got there for about 3 weeks we were told which left everything green and lush. We traveled to Mount Rushmore for the first time and saw the Badlands, simply beautiful! 
The trip we are returning from now was one to see family in Northern California. 
Traveling is always an interesting adventure in searching for foods without wheat. Now again we are not Gluten Intolerant nor do we have Celiac Disease, we CHOOSE to eat this way and as we have reaped the many benefits like no longer having joint pain, being bloated, better sleep, etc. we see no reason to add it back into our diets. 
I found that while actually on the road traveling, we ate a LOT of Tacos on corn tortillas. Fortunately we really like them and with the extra bonus of vegetables they worked well. When we were served Mahi Tacos at Joe's Crab Shack which we didn't realize we're served on flour tortillas, we simply ate the filling with a few corn chips, no big deal. 
Many people trip up on Gluten Free I think, because we over think the process. 
No  wheat flour generally freaks people out, but there are other kinds of flour on the market that can be used to bake things like breads, crackers, english muffins etc., just remember that Gluten Free products are not "Health Food" most still have sugar and sugar is what makes people fat! 
If you stick more towards a bit of protein whether it be from plants or animals, fruits and vegetables you should be fine. 
While traveling we look for  a cleaner simpler  menu item. Oftentimes restaurants may not have Gluten Free items but they make substitutions which works well if cross contamination is not an issue for you.  (Pictured: Breakfast at the Palazzo, Las Vegas, the wheat toast was substituted with fruit)

 When you start seeing  gravies, breaded or battered foods, or even toast for breakfast, you have to remember that these have wheat flour in them, and that flour is in almost everything processed as either a thickener or a filler.  
I guess we have become foodies. 
We enjoy food and the preparation of it, but while traveling we really have to be aware and ask questions. 
I have an App I downloaded called "Find Me Gluten Free" (GF) and it can pull up several different restaurants in any area we may travel to and it lists the name, how far they are from where I am, directions, and reviews from other people with Gluten issues. I love the reviews feature as it has really helped us find food that we know we can eat. The reviews are also good to find out by others how they reacted to the food and if the kitchen is a dedicated GF kitchen which is imperative to people with Celiac. 
People are becoming more aware of Gluten and its effects on the body, as the information continues to become more commonplace should allow more choices available while traveling. 
I still like to cook at home and know my ingredients, yet it is nice to know our traveling doesn't always mean a steady diet of tacos, which strangely enough is what the guys decided we were having for lunch while I was writing this blog...
Until next time I would like to share one of David Wolfe's sayings in that I wish you the Best Day Ever!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cholesterol Tests You Don't Know About, That Could Save Your Life

In 1979, when I was only 16, my dad passed away from undiagnosed arteriosclerosis. Cholesterol testing was not the norm back then and death was often the first sign that you had any blockage whatsoever. He smoked, loved peanut butter on his sandwich and did very little in the way of exercise (it wasn't promoted in the way that it is these days).

In the last thirty years, things have changed so much that few people I know don't know what cholesterol is, or haven't been tested to know what their numbers are, yet we have still got people with heart disease and it is a growing concern even with today's youth.

We are in need of good testing, dietary changes, and doctors who actually care.

My husband, Wayne who is tested regularly, has been told for the last six years by our G.P. that he needs to go on a blood pressure medication, and cholesterol lowering drug, a statin because Wayne had a 242 cholesterol number and basically he was going to have a heart attack, or a stroke if he didn't.

The doctor has also stated that he does not have to exercise.

He is busy at work, so no need for it,  just take the pills and all will be better. (This makes me crazy by the way, as I am always trying to get Wayne to go for walks, bike rides, or whatever will get him moving.)

Prescription medications are not something Wayne wants to take, so I decided to do some research on what else can be done. My dad never had an option.

The first thing I looked at was dietary, my husband likes meat, he was a meat and potatoes guy and assured me that wasn't going to change. If I couldn't take it out, what could be added into the diet to make a difference?

I have made his breakfast, lunch, dinner and packed the snacks for him for thirty years, I was fairly confident that I could add things in.

Juicing! I was able to find several recipes that said they helped with blood pressure so what the heck?


We bought a juicer, beets, celery, carrots and apples. The flavor was something that was a bit different, but my husband was willing to drink it, if it meant no meds. I am pleased to say that for him, the juicing does the trick and his blood pressure has dropped to acceptable numbers where he doesn't need to use the medication. We have expanded our variety of vegetables that we juice, kale is a big favorite around here, and juicing has become so important to our daily routine for both of us that we even purchased a smaller juicer that we take when we travel.  

As a side note, the G.P. was not happy about Wayne not taking the medication any longer.

Now for the cholesterol.  

We were challenged to "Go home and research it" by the G.P.

What I found was that there were two different kinds of the "Bad Cholesterol ". For simpler terms the skinny sticky and the fat and fluffy. Basically the fat and fluffy are not great but basically bounce around your bloodstream and are flushed out of your system. The skinny and sticky are the bad lipids that lay down like grout and stick to the arteries causing plaque buildup. The skinny and sticky can cause blockage as well as often times break off and go to your arteries causing strokes or complete blood blockage. I also found a few tests, such as the C-Reactive Protein Test that can check to see if there is cardio vascular inflammation around your heart or if there could be plaque buildup in your arteries, The NMR LipoProfile cholesterol particle size test, and the EndoPat non invasive test which evaluates blood vessel health.

I also found that most doctors won’t order these tests and the tests may or not be covered by insurance.

In order to get these tests done we scheduled an appointment with Dr. J. a  Naturopath.
After evaluating a food log and lifestyle report, along with the blood tests, she said "You need to exercise". FINALLY, someone who had the patient's best interest at heart!

  • This is key, With Wayne exercising, or moving as he likes to call it, more fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds added to the diet, no grains, wheat, or flour products, and less meat ( grass fed organic only) we are seeing a change.**




There are supplements like Red Rice Yeast that Wayne must take which is actually the original natural plant form of what statins are made from, yet because they are natural and all plant based he is much happier with this decision.

Weight loss, better sleep, and more activity have all been great side effects of this lifestyle change as well.

Wayne has blood tests scheduled this week to see where we are at, but everything indicates we are moving in the right direction.

My dad didn't get the chance that Wayne has been afforded, and I don't know if he had, would it have been something my dad would have been willing to do.

What I do know is food is the cure, what we choose to put in our mouths now, can either nourish us or possibly hurt us later. Our bodies are amazing creations and function optimally when we feed it the best fuel possible which is of course non processed natural beautiful foods. Would you put cheap gas in a Rolls Royce? Why then do we deserve any less than the best?


** This is the original text that was submitted for publication before I rewrote it to become "5 Tips To Combat Heart Disease and Stroke"**

Monday, February 16, 2015

I Had Some Articles Published!! Here are the Links...

Hey Everyone! I wrote a couple of articles for an online blog that got published and wanted you to be able to read them so I have included the links.

The First one is "5 Tips to Combat Heart Disease and Stroke."
What I didn't touch on is that the new studies are showing that a diet of HIGH CARBS AND SUGARS are what are causing heart disease. If we cut down on these things our bodies often times can heal the damage done in our veins and arteries. Our risk for Diabetes can be reduced also.
*FAT DOESN' T MAKE YOU FAT by the way it is SUGAR THAT MAKES YOU FAT!*

http://fitlife.tv/5-tips-to-combat-heart-disease-and-stroke_original/

 Juicing

Hiking




The Second one is  "3 Keys to Loving Yourself and Others - Adaptogens"
These are all natural Super Herbs that help with mood swings, libido, sleep, and tons more!
I use them every day!!


 http://fitlife.tv/3-keys-to-loving-yourself-and-others-adaptogens-original/

I hope you enjoy them, Happy Reading ~

Friday, February 13, 2015

Thoughts about Valentine's Day

Hi Everyone!
Well, today is Friday the 13th UGH.
Valentine's Day is Saturday (That's right tomorrow, in case you forgot) a real double whammy for those who don't want to celebrate, but know they should if they want to see Sunday!

I was at the grocery store and wow, is there a ton of stuff to help you not forget! Cards, clothes, candy, flowers, champagne, wine,  stuffed animals, What is up with the turtles anyways??!

I started to think about all the commercialism as well as all the incredible garbage ingredients in most of these items. The sugar that not only will make you fat, but can oxidize your arteries causing heart disease, and some that are even cancer causing.
I thought about the study showing that scented candles are not only harmful to people but are worse for pets, dogs most especially. It's so aggravating. So what are we to do?

Many people make dinner reservations and then stress about getting there, waiting because the rest of the town had the same idea as you did, eating, paying and then leaving a tip, OH THE FUN!!!
If this is what you are going to do, go early and just know it may be a long evening, breath and simply enjoy it. My husband and I use to go out and I would be so stressed by the time the food came it was obvious that no romance was in our future. My head was not in the game, I was thinking about everything but what the night was meant to be. He and I PERIOD!

Now I will say that I have an incredible husband and for our 30 years together he has been awesome.
Sometime ago, however we decided a few things about Valentine's Day.

*To start with we usually don't buy a card for each other anymore. I do check with him just to be sure, but after 30 years they tend to repeat themselves.

*I do not need a big honking box of chocolates that I will love, but complain about later, and truth be told I usually have a bag of kisses in a bowl on the counter.

*Flowers are great, but expensive especially at this time of the year. I much prefer when he randomly brings some home just because he thought I would like them, not because he felt obligated too.

*I have plenty of candles.

*He doesn't like Champagne.

* We don't like to go out, I generally don't like the food, or the way it is cooked, so we stay home.

Unromantic, well perhaps, but we still celebrate and here is what we do:

I make the dinner. This way I am happy with what I am about to eat, it is cooked to my specifications and I know it is organic and grass fed. This year Wayne is smoking ribs, he loves them, and this way he is doing half the cooking, works for me!! * A side note here, if you want to cook at home and are hoping for romance, don't make anything gassy. Ribs and baked beans are a winner at our house, but NOT for this meal. *

Set a nice table: Candles, music, set the tone for your evening.

Attire: You don't have to be sloven just because you are staying home, make the effort it will pay off.

Dessert: A must! This year we are having individual cheesecakes, which I will be making as soon as I finish this blog. Again I know what is in it and I love it.  A sweet treat is always nice.
* If you are buying dessert, just make sure it is something you both like that isn't gassy. Maybe something you can share,  just try not to have a ton of leftovers that you will feel guilty about eating later.*

A tip for gift givers and receivers:
If you know this person think, what do they really want? Better yet, what will they remember?

Memories are often much more desired by women then any type of candy or flowers.
I am not a man so I can't really say what men want, but my husband doesn't like me spending money randomly on stuff he really doesn't want. What he really wants is time with me.

* MEN* This is different for everyone and what I like may be absolutely opposite of what your partner wants but, If my man would simply come over to me, extend his hand to take mine, then take me in his arms and start to slow dance with me...as Josh Turner 's song says "Well, Honey why don't we just dance….." that would be the only gift I would need and dancing usually leads to romancing.

*Women* Be happy! Start that day with thinking this is going to be a great day! Don't let thoughts of your daily grind or the kids get in the way for you. This is your night to concentrate on how great this person is, don't let it get lost with other thoughts, be present, in the moment.

*Singles* No date doesn't mean that you can't enjoy a nice evening having a great dinner, maybe treating yourself to a sweet treat and remembering that you are an amazing person, you are perfect all on your own, Celebrate You!

Off to get those cheesecakes started,
I hope everyone has a great Valentine's Day

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Carrageenan, It's All Natural So What's The Big Deal?

Hi Everyone!
I usually don’t blog so close together, they say it is a sign of being too pushy, but this is so important that if you don’t know about it I feel it an obligation to shout it from the roof tops as soon as I can. I even contacted a few friends directly in hopes that elimination this from their diets may help them with some health issues that they are facing now.
While researching for another blog I came across something I felt was worth investigating, Carrageenan.
Now I had seen this word listed on ingredients before, and had remembered vaguely that it was not good for us but couldn't remember why.
As someone who has read labels for years I thought I was doing pretty well, until this.
Label reading is only as good as the knowledge you have of what you are reading and Carrageenan is listed but what the heck is it really?
Carrageenan or Irish Moss as they are starting to call it, comes from Red Seaweed and is all natural, the government has deemed it safe as recent as 2012 so this ingredient in conventional as well as organic foods is safe... right?
Well, lots of things are natural but still not safe for us to eat, Carrageenan is one of them.
The main purpose Carrageenan is used is for thickening, or stabilizing the foods we purchase. Think dairy products that can separate, soy and almond milk are also products that this can be found in.
It is often used in frozen and cooked chicken to keep it juicy and tender.
It can also be found as a binder in deli meats.
It is also listed in many of our pet foods.
There are two kinds of Carrageenan, food grade or "Undegraded" which the government has deemed safe for human consumption and "Degraded" which is not for human consumption.


So what's the big deal, just eat the food grade and you will be fine would be the simple thought. The answer is more complex however, because once the food grade Carrageenan hits your stomach the acid in your stomach takes over and scientists are concerned that the acid is turning the Carrageenan into degraded, the bad kind, when it gets to your digestive system.
At that point the bad or degraded Carrageenan has become A CARCINOGEN, A CANCER CAUSING SUBSTANCE!


This is showing up in humans as the following: gastrointestinal inflammation, intestinal lesions, abdominal bloating, spastic colon, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, malignant tumors, as well as low grade inflammation, which can go on undetected for years causing all sorts of problems. It can also show up as an immune response in the body which has similar effects of salmonella.  
Tests on humans generally show nothing out of the ordinary yet, it in lab rats when Carrageenan is added to their diet they have developed colon cancer.
Studies on Carrageenan have been going on since the 1960's and the findings are shown over and over to be problematic, however major manufacturers have and continue to lobby the government and fight hard to keep this substance in our food system.
Some manufacturers are now removing this from their products and replacing it with things like guar gum, which has been found not to put rats in danger of getting cancer, and others are simply putting the words "Shake well" on their products so if their items do separate it can be controlled by the consumer. Others, even some organic companies, are not willing to remove this from their list of ingredients.
What is the answer?
Really know what you are reading on those labels and then you must make the decision for yourself.
Studies have shown many people have shown great improvement in their overall health by removing Carrageenan from their diet.


I just found a few things in my own house with Carrageenan in it  like the holistic cat food we buy, as well as my husbands all time favorite Nesquik which our kids and grandkids have enjoyed as well, it makes me angry that I have been uninformed and not involved enough. This stuff is out of my house permanently!


We need to make good choices, I have always said you are only responsible for what you know and now you know this too.
Stay Healthy my friends!


For more information on this please visit www.cornucopia.org for a complete report as well as a scorecard/ shopping list of items that are conventional as well as organic with Carrigeenan as an ingredient.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The day my hair fell out, and how I kept my sanity with vinegar, coconut oil, and laughter!


As a vibrant woman turning 50 in 2013, I finally had a grasp on who I was, a strong intelligent woman with wisdom and a ridiculous sense of humor.


On my fiftieth birthday I decided to bust out my Tiara and be Queen for the Day. 


I got some really strange looks, yet I had fun, so what the heck. I mean at this stage of life I think we become freer than ever before. We start to use our energy wiser and choose our own battles while weighing in on whether they are even worthy of our time.
We are more settled, less worried about other people's opinions about who we should be, how we dress, or how we act. We are trying to make better choices for ourselves in how we eat, the chemicals we are around and our environment as a whole. We are simply more self assured, yet when the rubber meets the road often times things can catch us off guard.


Let me set the stage: I heard a special lecturer speak on hair dye while I was attending school. Now I knew there were chemicals in hair dye, but I had been coloring my hair for over 20 years.
I listened to him, " If you are coloring your hair every two weeks (Toni) it's too much".  
Wow! O.k. What ?
He didn't really say my name, but how did he know that my roots were showing every two weeks and I was faithfully coloring that often. Was he watching or something?  Yikes!


He then talked about the chemicals in hair dye and how they can seep into your skin, your brain, causing all sorts of problems. Ugh! Oh great!  I'm 1/2 Italian, got my first gray at 17, and colored ever since.
Well that was it, I decided I was going to stop!


I finally did stop about 8 months later on March 9, 2013.


I had tossed the idea around and felt I could live with it. I'm sure I drove everyone nuts with should I or shouldn't I, but that was it, in June I was going to stop.


Wait what?  I said June, but stopped in March, why the three month speedup?  This is why...
IMG_0171.JPG


That's right my hair was coming out in clumps in my hand! I had just put the color refresher packet on my hair and was massaging it in, when poof, the rubber has now met the road!


*This becomes a defining moment in a woman's life no matter the age.
The vanity of losing your hair.
The bargaining with the Universe.
The decision to laugh or cry, and about a million other feelings that come rushing over you.*


Well, I decided that I was going to laugh, they say its good for the soul, it takes more muscles to laugh than frown, whatever it took, it seemed to be the better of the two choices.
Oh, don't be confused, I was still freaking out,  yet I had to keep my wits about me.


After pouring about a gallon of vinegar over my head to stop the burning and neutralize the stinging and while repeating that for several days, a trip to the beautician, and the doctor's office determined that the color actually burned my scalp.


I started coconut oil treatments on my fried scalp immediately.


I took a jar of the oil and placed it in hot water to warm it. Next with a hair dye brush, painted coconut oil on my scalp as if I were sectioning and coloring my hair. I then covered my head in a plastic shopping bag, remember to do your part to recycle, they are not just for carrying your groceries home anymore.


I left it on for at least 30 minutes, but if I were at home that day I would leave it on for several hours, there is a UPS man and a FedEx man that can tell a tale or two about the crazy lady with the shopping bag tied on her head. I repeated this once or twice a week for several weeks, it is a great way to condition your dry scalp, and can be done even when you don’t burn it first!


My hair did continue to fall out for several weeks after the incident, but it was only noticeable to me and eventually recovered completely.  I have not colored it since.


Yes, the grow out can take forever depending on the length, but make hats and updo's your friend! A quick twist and a huge clip can cover most of the outgrow line and look cute or even fairly chic while doing it.
I love baseball caps, so now I have some great ones and hey, I got to shop with an excuse!
I also went shorter. I love the way my hair looks now and people even say I look younger.
Who knew?


Listen, we will all face some vanity decisions in our lives, question is, do we do it with ease or worry?
My advice is to buckle up and enjoy this crazy time of life, it's a journey of choices and I choose to laugh!

P.S. I recently decided to remove my gel nails as well. The chemicals in those have got to be crazy and I had two tips pop off in one week which had never happened before.
I actually had talked to my nail tech about taking them off because of what this was doing to my real nails and how all this could be affecting my body.
This time I decided to just take them off myself, and get the nail polish off my toes.
I really can't afford to learn another lesson, I mean who knows what might fall off next??


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Texas: Food, Beer, and Fun in one weekend, gotta love it!!

Hi everyone!
I hope this finds you healthy and happy!
I am sitting on the plane of last leg of our Trip to Texas and thought I could share with you all that we experienced over our long Independence Day weekend. 
Now if you are not a fan of Texas or do not want to hear someone gushing about it, you may want to stop reading now, otherwise here we go. We flew in to San Antonio jumped into a rental car and took off! We were on our way to the 41st annual Wilie Nelson 4th of July picnic in Fort Worth the next day, but first we had to stop in Round Rock for dinner. Why you might ask, no, not for the world famous donuts at the Round Rock Bakery which use to be a must before we went wheat free, but because that is where the Salt Lick Barbeque was located. The Salt Lick has 3 locations now. The original is in Driftwood and it is really quaint, if you ever get a chance to go there do it, you will love it if you like Barbeque. *Side Note: many people think that grilling is barbequing IT IS NOT. Grilling is what you might do on your home grill or what is often called a barbeque. True Barbeque is where the meet is usually prepared with a dry rub and then left to set for several hours, after that it is smoked over wood at a low temperature in either a smoker or a pit  for sometimes 12 - 18 hours depending on the size and type of meat. After this process it is sliced and served, sometimes mopping occurs, that is when sauce is mopped n the meat over and over. My preference and from what I have seen, Texas Barbecue is served " Dry" wth the sauce on the side.*
The Texas air permeates wth the smell of burning wood, the Salt Lick states " You can smell our pits from miles away" too funny! 
After our fill of the famous Therman's Choice plate: Brisket,Sausage and Pork Ribs, along with Beans, Potato Salad, and Cole Slaw and a Coke, everything that is flavored and carbonated is a Coke in Texas, I had a Dr. Pepper from Waco, Yum! After the purchase of shirts and Salt Lick Rub for home use, we waddled out to the car. I would also like to add that Barbeque is generally served with bread, we are wheat free so we passed on it, but did get the pickles and onions, I think they and jalepenios are a must with this type of food.
                            
 Ok, Saturday was all about The Willie Nelson Annual 4th of July Picnic!
Its held at the Stockyard in Fort Worth. 
There are several food trucks on the grounds that we got some killer Frito Pie at that night.  
For lunch however, it was all about Billy Bob's which basically shared the parking lot and co hosts the event. ICE COLD TEXAS BEER, which is the only way to get a beer in Texas I do believe, and a BILLY BOB COB(salad) Wow! This salad makes almost any man happy with its ample amount of meat, my hubby thought it was steak, I thought it was brisket, and the bacon it was amazing! It is served in a huge bowl that was more than enough to fill us up for hours and it did! 
Back to the beer for a minute, the Picnic only serves Bud or Bud Light, Shiner Bock is our favorite and there was a newer Texas only beer we tried called Ziegen Bock, nice and smooth no aftertaste. So we bought and drank our beer in Billy Bob's in the awesome honey tonk and also provided me the opportunity to shop Texas suvinors which in my world is always a good thing :)
Well, that was a fantastic way to celebrate our 4th of July 2014.
On our way to Rockport Texas we stopped somewhere I just have to mention in San Marco which is a truck stop called Buckee's. I mention this because it is a must see. I found out that they are opening all over Texas, but this  one in San Marcos is 68 THOUSAND Sq. Ft.!  It has everything! Snacks, BBQ, drinks, fruits, Vegis, deli counter, t-shirts, home decorations, you name it, they probably have it, and yes they even have gas too. 
In Rockport we ate a great little place called Moon Dogs. It's on the water and their food and drinks are great. I had two different tacos, one fish, one beef, both excellent. We were in a party of 5, everyone ordered something different and the comments were all positive, can't beat that! 
Moon Dogs was doing a remodel: addition but were still opened, well worth your time. 
The last place I want to mention is The Crab N (in).
I mention this because it is like several restaurants that cook your fish that you bring them and they supply the sides, or you can buy the whole meal from them. 
I have never seen this before, so I thought it was a cool idea. 
I would love to tell you how wonderful the meal was, unfortunately that was not our experience. To be fair, this place is popular and it was packed. We had a table of 3-4 different groups all ordering different ways they wanted their fish prepared. We are wheat/ gluten free so we ordered ours blackened. Others ordered theirs blackened or fried. Ours came out much later than everyone else's and it was much darker. 
After finishing all I could eat, my husband and I compared notes and both of us realized the food was hard for us to finish as the salt, or extreme over salting was  rediculous. 
We were guests, and knew only three other people at the table, it was no time to complain. As our hosts were brought up to speed, one of them tried the fish and was surprised we had eaten it. 
Other people who had ordered the blackened fish, tried it, and it was totally different from what they had gotten. Could they have had an off night? 
Could they have over seasoned,?
Could they dislike tourists? All are possible, yet sometimes we all just have an off moment.
 I would simply say if you eat at one of these type of places and are not happy, remember this is Texas, most people really do care and will make you some of their fish to replace it. 
I will remember this because,
 I LOVE TEXAS!!!