I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.

I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Metamucil Can Cause Heartburn

I have been using Metamucil, about every other day or so, for months. Hubby and I started taking one glass of powder in water in the evening after he received some blood work indicating his lipid count was slightly high. Metamucil can help reduce cholesterol. (See my post Metamucil For Lowering Cholesterol)

For about a week, I have been getting heart burn nightly. I have had a few dietary changes over the last few weeks (see my posts on the Anti-Candida Diet) including a giant increase in my consumption of nuts and seeds, and lemon juice. I also take fish oil capsules, and have been told by one person that fish oil caused them to get heart burn. So basically, my thoughts were everywhere but on the Metamusil. By process of elimination, I got there. So this morning I decided to do a little internet searching just to eliminate the possibility. Bingo, I've found my source.

Here are a couple of places where others have indicated having the same issue:


And here

Neither of these gives any explanation as to why this occurs in some people, but shows that others have experienced the same effects I am. I'll try to find something a little more scientific...

I have to add that after doing a bunch of reading, there are other side effects as well. Before taking Metamucil, do a little research. If you have a pre-existing condition for which you are taking Metamucil, or other fiber supplement, read what others with a similar condition have experienced. Some with ulcerative colitis or other conditions have had difficulty tolerating Metamucil. For some, it is a wonderful, side-effect-free experience with many bonuses. For others, not so much.

UPDATE: Since writing this, I have decided to try experimenting with flavorless Metamucil to see if made a difference in how well my belly tolerated it. I bought this:
I wanted to give it a few days to see if that made a difference. I have now taken this kind (description below) three times, in the evening.

Metamucil, Clear and Natural, Clear-Mixing Powder. Flavor-free and taste-free, this one is made from 100% inulin, natural vegetable fiber. This kind calls for one TEAspoon per 8+ ounces of water. (The orange flavor kind calls for one TABLEspoon per 8+ ounces of water.

I have had no heartburn at all with this product. It is quite different from the orange flavored kind. It stirs clear in the water, and you cannot tell it's in there when you drink it. Very different from the orange kind, which is very obvious in the water (despite the flavor) as it is very thick. The longer it sits in the water, the thicker it becomes. If you don't stir as you drink, you can end up with a sludge at the bottom of the glass. It's a very different experience, and so far, a better one for me. For those with physical reactions to the other kind, it's definitely worth a try. And who needs the flavor, really. And who needs the sugar?? I'm glad to have found an alternative. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Candida Diet - Maintenance Phase

I have been on the anti-candid diet since Christmas eve. And I have to say it has not been a hard diet for me to stick with. I like it! How strange. To be fair, I still drink coffee every morning (against the rules) and I take metamusil in water about every other night or so, which is flavored and sweet. (Definitely against the rules) Other than these two transgressions, I have been very good about sticking to the "ok foods" list. I never did experience the belly upset I got on the GAPS diet, and my bloated belly has discontinued. Occasionally I get an edgy belly, and I have yet to figure out what is causing it, but it's still early on in the process. I have discovered that replacing meals like breakfast with nuts and seeds is not the best idea. =) My belly doesn't like that. Ok, ok. I've got to be better about creating good breakfasts for myself. That has always been true. It's my toughest meal. But I have also been experiencing this:

Heartburn. For about 4-5 nights in a row, I was getting indigestion. Heart burn. Very unusual for me. I wasn't sure what it could be. Someone told me once that fish oil caused them to get heartburn, but I've been taking fish oil, 2-3 times a day, for months and months. I wondered if it could be the lemon juice I use as salad dressing. Just by fate, I did not have salad for the last two nights. And I have not had heartburn for the last two nights. And I have taken the fish oil both evenings. Hm. Could it be that simple? Could it be that I'm greatly reducing the amount of nuts and seeds I'm consuming during the day. I will experiment and see what it could be. But because it went on for so many days in a row, and always in the evening/night time, I'm pretty sure it's something I'm eating every day. So it's a process of elimination. I will post back!

My favorite foods on this diet? Guacamole, salads with lots of veggies, lemon juice salad dressing.

*Next day* Just popping in to say that tonight I had my fish oil, Metamusil, and salad with lemon juice dressing. I had some nuts/seeds, but way fewer than I had been eating. And tonight I have no indigestion. At least not yet. Hm. I'm a bit surprised. I kinda thought it would turn out to be the lemon juice. But it's looking more like the nuts/seeds. Maybe I'll do some research on that.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


After dinner tonight, my daughter went seeking nibbles in the fridge, and found a bag of parsley. Much to my husband's and my surprise, she nibbled some. Then ate the rest f the stalk. Then she ate several more stalks. Then she asked to have some in her lunchbox for school tomorrow! My husband stated that "No one eats parsley!" I chimed in that I actually love the taste of parsley, and used to eat it right out of the garden. He wondered about it's health benefits. Just for fun, I looked it up. !

From the website Natural Health Techniques:

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), the world's most popular culinary herb is also known as “rock celery” and belongs to the Umbelliferae family of plants. Parsley is one of the world's seven most potent disease-fighting spices which also include Ginger, Oregano, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Sage, and Red chili peppers. (emphasis min) 

The website then lists a whole bunch of ways parsley helps the body maintain and regain normal functioning. Surprising. Here are just a few:

· Anemia: Builds up the blood because it is high in iron.  The high vitamin C content assists the absorption of iron.
· Antioxidant: Increases the anti-oxidant capacity of the blood.
· Bactericidal (kills bacteria) 
  • Bad breath
  • Baldness: Believe it or not, men even scrubbed parsley onto their scalps to cure baldness—which doesn’t work.
  • Blood purifier
  • Blood vessel rejuvenation: Maintains elasticity of blood vessels, and helps to repair bruises.
  • Diarrhea is greatly helped by drinking parsley tea.
  • Digestion: Parsley is an excellent digestion restorative remedy. It improves the digestion of proteins and fats therefore promoting intestinal absorption, liver assimilation and storage. Because of its high enzyme content, parsley benefits digestive activity and elimination.
  • Dissolves cholesterol within the veins

    Wow. Who knew? =)


This morning, I made quinoa. What is it, you ask. I will tell you. But first, it's important that you pronounce it correctly. It is NOT qwin-oh-uh. =) It is pronounced keen-wah. Cool, what?

So. What is it? Check this out:

The Wise Geek website says this and more...

"Though not technically a grain, quinoa can substitute for nearly any grain in cooking. Actually the seed of a leafy plant, quinoa’s relatives include spinach, beets and Swiss chard. Due to its delicate taste and rich amounts of protein, iron, potassium and other vitamins and minerals, it is quite popular. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and is easily digested."

It is interesting, there is no doubt. And if you're not a grainy-type, it will be an experience for you. It was for me. First of all, quinoa looks odd. It is shaped like little round things with tails. Yeah, tails! Kind of bug-like. Ew. Then it's got this crunch to it. It's odd. But it is not strong flavored. So if you can get past it's odd shape and crunch, you're in. For me, the more that's added to it, the better. On the package I buy, there is a recipe for Scarlett Quinoa Salad that has all kinds of stuff in it, including beets, that was actually really tasty. Even my 6-year old picky as can be daughter ate it, and really liked it. Yeah!

So if you're looking for something different to add to your diet, whether you're restricted by gluten, or yeast, or dairy or many allergenic foods, or just looking to change your food choices up a bit, give it a try! 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Candida Diet - Middle of Week 3

Here I am in the middle of my third week on this "diet" and I'm..... really liking it? Yes, I really am! That doesn't mean that I don't want what others are eating once in a while, but as a general rule, I am completely satisfied with what I am eating, and am very, very proud of myself for doing it! I do still have my coffee in the morning, but I went from 2 mugs of coffee with creamer and sugar or honey every morning to one mug of coffee (half-caff., as before) with a little bit of rice milk (or half and half or creamer if I'm out) with no sweetener. When I first cut back on amount, I immediately made myself a cup of tea to follow the mug of coffee so that I wouldn't "miss" the second cup, but after two days of that I realized I really didn't miss that second cup. I drank it because it was there. And now it's not...and that's ok. Yay, me. And hubby is not complaining about having to cook around my restrictions. He is making fantastic meals, as usual, that are ok for me to eat. Lucky, lucky me!!

I have had only one episode of funny belly since the first few days of the diet, and that was yesterday. A little bloating, just a little. I don't know what caused it. I can't think of anything from my diet that would have done it.... I dunno. Could be anything. But I think that's a good record anyhow. I have been getting a little indigestion, but that could be the fish oil. I dunno. I cleared that up today with peppermint oil. (LOVE peppermint oil)

So my plan is to wait until I've completed three weeks on the diet (this Friday) and will then reintroduce a food to see how it goes. (Much to my husband's joy - lol) I think the first will be potatoes.

Symptoms cleared? Well, my belly bloating, for the most part. My sinus pressure issues have pretty much gone away completely, thought I have sneezing and runny nose in the house, most likely due to the cats/dust. I'm still fuzzy headed, alas. I feel a little less down, but I think that's due to getting out of the house for a few minutes every day in the sunshine. Anyhow, progress. =)

Bonuses: I like what I'm eating, for the most part. LOVE my salads with lemon juice. I can't see going back to vinegar. I much prefer the lemon juice dressings. Another bonus, my kids eat better because I am buying healthy stuff. That makes me very happy. =)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Health Benefits of Nuts and Seeds

On the candida diet, I am not supposed to eat many of the "filler" foods I typically eat in large quantities. These include pasta, wheat crackers and bread, cheese, and so forth. And I am a person who grazes all day, and I eat a lot. I like to feel full! One of the hardest parts of going on any kind of diet is feeling satisfied after eating. It is probably the reason why so many fail to stick to a diet. It is essential to be surrounded by "ok" foods that make you feel full. For me, those "ok" foods include eggs, avocados, and seeds and nuts. Everything else is veggies and rice and such, which is great, just not filling. So on my kitchen counter is a collection of nuts and seeds and rice cakes. And I munch on them alllll day long. Granted, I have likely increased my fat intake quite a bit, but things will even out in the end. I just have to get used to eating differently. And so far, I have been satisfied, and that is the reason I am able to continue with the diet.

But a fun motivator is to look up the benefits of the foods I'm consuming a lot at the moment. So here goes. The benefits of eating seeds and nuts are....

According to this website:

"Researchers found that people who eat nuts regularly have lower risks of heart disease. In 1996, the Iowa Women's Healthy Study found that women who ate nuts >4 times a week were 40% less likely to die of heart disease."


"Nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, phytonutrients andantioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium.  Nuts are also high in plant sterols and fat - but mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 - the good fats) which have all been shown to lower LDL cholesterol."

This website states the following:

"The amino acid arginine is also present in nuts which, as stated in this month's lead article on impotence, can help overcome erectile dysfunction. Arginine has also been found to boost immunity and lower elevated blood pressure levels. In addition, certain nuts like pecans, walnuts and almonds contain tryptophan - another amino acid that stimulates the production of the 'feel good' hormone serotonin in your brain, which can help ward off depression and promote a more relaxed state. "

From the same website:

"Another must are Brazil nuts. A recent study conducted at the University of Illinois in the US suggests that Brazil nuts may play a vital role in preventing breast cancer. According to the scientists who carried out the study, this benefit is probably a result of the high amounts of selenium they contain. 

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that helps neutralise harmful free radicals that can attack healthy cells and increase the risk of serious conditions like heart disease and cancer - including breast cancer as already mentioned, and lung, bowel and prostate cancer. "

Good stuff. Now for the seeds!

This website discusses the benefits of pumpkin seeds: 

Prostate Protection
They promote overall prostate health and alleviate the difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate.
Improved Bladder Function
In some studies, pumpkin seed extracts improved bladder function in animals.
Depression Treatment
They contain L-tryptophan, a compound naturally effective against depression.
Prevention of Osteoporosis
Because they are high in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis. Low intake of zinc is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis.
Natural Anti-Inflammatory
Pumpkin seeds effectively reduce inflammation without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Prevention of Kidney Stones
They prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation, according to studies.
Treatment of Parasites
They are used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites. Studies also show them to be effective against acute schistosomiasis, a parasite contracted from snails.
Great Source of Magnesium
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds contains 92% of your daily value of magnesium, a mineral in which most Americans are deficient.
Lower Cholesterol
Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.
Cancer Prevention
The same phytosterols that lower cholesterol also protect against many cancers.
This website discusses the benefits of Flaxseed:

"(HealthCastle.com) Its high content of alpha linolenic acids has made the ancient flax seed become our modern miracle food. Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is a type of plant-derivedomega 3 fatty acid, similar to those found in fish such as salmon. Benefits of flax seed as shown in many studies include lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) levels. Other benefits show that flax seed may also help lower blood triglyceride and blood pressure. It may also keep platelets from becoming sticky therefore reducing the risk of a heart attack.
flax seed health benefits

Other Benefits of Flax seed

Aside from alpha linolenic acid, flax seed is rich in lignan. Lignan is a type phytoestrogen (antioxidant) and also provides fiber. Researches reveal that lignan in flax seed shows a lot of promise in fighting disease -- including a possible role in cancer prevention especiallybreast cancer. It is thought that lignan metabolites can bind to estrogen receptors, hence inhibiting the onset of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer."

Both of these are going on my shopping list along with Brazil nuts!!

The Benefits of Lemon Juice

I have been attempting to follow the Anti-Candida Diet for about a week and a half. On most days, I have a salad with lunch or dinner. Because vinegar is a no-no on this diet, my salad dressing has been lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. As soon as I started eating salads with this dressing, I started craving it like mad. I look forward to eating it! I've always appreciated salads, but this is ridiculous. So I started to wonder why my body was so in need of lemon juice. I mean, I'm still craving the dressing after eating it nearly every day for 12 days! So I'm doing a little online research on the benefits of lemon juice:

*Vitamin C
*Very high in citric acid which helps fight off colds
*Liver stimulant (can help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome )
*Can control conditions such as constipation and diarrhea
*Can help with heartburn, bloating and gas
*Contains calcium, potassium and magnesium


According to this source , the health benefits of ingesting lemon include: Indigestion and constipation (relief of), fever, dental care, hair care, skin care, burns, internal bleeding, rheumatism, weight loss, respiratory disorders, and so on.

Wow, who knew? I wonder which of these things my body is using it for.... The websites, especially the second one, make for some interesting reading. I also occasionally add a few drops of therapeutic grade lemon essential oil to my drinking water, for immune support. (I get mine from http://www.YoungLiving.com)

Love these natural cures!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Kale Chips

Over the holidays I had the great pleasure of trying kale chips for the first time. My brother, visiting from across the country, made this tasty treat in the oven, and it was devoured by every one of the four adults and four kids in the house. One of my kids is particularly particular, and the other is little. But both ate the baked kale with gusto.

To make this snack, cut a head of kale into bite-sized pieces. Toss the pieces in olive oil to lightly coat. Add a little salt. Spread the pieces out on cookie sheets. (One head spread across 3 baking sheets when I tried it myself) You want the pieces to be able to dry out in the oven, so spread them fairly thin. (Not clumped together) Put the cookie sheets in a low heat oven (I used 275*) and bake until the pieces dehydrate and become crisp. (About 20 minutes or so)

You'll be surprised at how popular they become! We've made them twice since having them over Christmas, and we're still craving them. =)