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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Soda Pop Planters

Just yesterday I saw a picture for these in Mother Earth News and thought it was such a clever idea that I did an Internet search for them this morning to share a picture with you, and not only did I find the picture, I found INSTRUCTIONS!

I plan on finding a soda drinking friend and hitting them up for several of these bottles as I have lots more herbs I'd like to plant and I think these are just perfect for that project!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Avoiding Toxic Food Substances

So, now that I have pretty much figured out that I have an obvious sensitivity not only to MSG and Aspartame as I have been sharing here over the past couple of weeks, but as I've shared in the past a sensitivity to High Fructose Corn Syrup, the hard part is figuring out how to avoid these substances, not to mention GMO's. It can be overwhelming.

The first and easiest way to avoid these items in your food is to avoid packaged and processed food. An overwhelming majority of these kinds of food will contain one or more of these substances. If you stick to fresh produce, meats and whole grains you can avoid many of these and by sticking to organics of these items you can avoid most GMO's as well.

I know organics can seem significantly more expensive, but by cutting back on the processed and packaged food, you can apply the saved money there to organically or naturally grown produce without too big a hit in your budget.

Another option is to grow as much as your produce as you can. What if you live in an apartment or have no property to grow on? No problem, many foods can be grown in containers! While I am blessed to live on several acres, between rabbits, gophers and moles not to mention sandy soil I have never been able to grow in the ground. But, I have been able to grow tomatoes, zucchini , yellow squash, strawberries, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, garlic, several varieties of herbs, peas, peppers and more all in containers!

Almost anything can be used as a container. For bigger plants we use wine barrels, but we also use gallon and five gallon buckets, kitty litter buckets(ones the fresh litter comes in) old animal water buckets and more. Just today I saw a clever idea that would work well for herbs and smaller plants; 2 liter soda bottles, hanging up side-down with the bottom end up and cut off! I am going to copy this idea myself as I still have more herbs I wanted to plant but ran out of containers. Those pests I am battling will have a hard time getting to hanging containers too!

If you must buy packaged foods try your best to stick to organics and be sure to take along a list of the hidden names of MSG. Unless you stick to a totally pure natural, fresh food diet you're not going to totally be able to avoid these substances, but you can do your best to avoid them as much as possible.

I have also discovered for myself once I cleansed my body of all the toxins I was continuously taking in I have been able to add back in my health shake or protein shake once a day with no obvious side effects so far. I think for me, it was that I was consuming SO many items that had these substances on a daily basis I reached toxic levels. I had learned in the past with my corn syrup issues the same thing. Once I had gone a long time without any I could occasionally have some with no ill effects, but if I had it more than a few days in a row I would have symptoms again.

While I personally feel it's best to avoid these substances as much as possible, my point is that each of our bodies are different and each of us may be able to tolerate different levels of these substances and like all things in life, moderation is the key. While I want to try my best to attain optimum health, I also don't want to be overly neurotic about my food.

I will share some photos of my container gardens past and present later and see if I can find those hanging soda bottles to share with you along with a few other ideas.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Symptom Free

I have gone close to a month now avoiding MSG, Aspartame and other harmful ingredients as much as possible. Not surprisingly nearly all my concerning symptoms went away. I expected they would once I narrowed down what was causing them and avoided the substances that were causing them.

What surprised me though were other health concerns that have cleared up that I never related to these substances. Since I was sixteen years old I have suffered from chronic heart burn and acid reflux. I have been on over the counter and prescription meds for close to 30 years. Not one night would pass even on medication that I wouldn't wake up with burning pain and food coming back up my throat into my mouth. I had tried every thing from bland diets, natural remedies and more. NOTHING ever helped. Well, guess what? Since less than a week after giving up foods with toxic substances I am for the first time in close to thirty years off ALL medications for heart burn and acid reflux!

One night about a week ago I made Green Chili Enchilada's for supper. I used natural chicken, organic salsa, organic corn tortillas, canned green chili sauce and natural cheese. Within ten minutes the left side of my face around my lip went numb. I knew everything I used other than the can of sauce was natural and/or organic. So in a frenzy I dug through the trash for that can to look at the ingredient list. Sure enough, not even hidden on the label was the MSG! That night for the first and only time since giving up toxic foods I again experienced heart burn and TERRIBLE acid reflux.

That experience is enough to convince me, that I am on the right path. I also now realize other health issues I just passed off to age or environment or my liking for spicy foods is also related to these toxic food substances. Other symptoms I never would have expected to be related besides the heartburn that are now gone or nearly gone, are allergy type symptoms, fullness in my left ear and menstrual irregularities.

Avoiding this stuff is harder than one might think at first as it is in so many foods. More on this later.....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mother Knows Best

After watching the films in my previous posts, I became sure that my mother was right, and Aspartame was evil stuff. I now sure wish I would have listened to her all those years ago. The other substance my mother used to nag me about was MSG. Again, I was never convinced until watching those movies already mentioned, as well as THIS ONE:

I honestly don't remember if this one named MSG specifically, but it was a combination of the movies already listed as well as this that convinced me my bizarre health symptoms were from substances in my food. To this day I don't know whether it is the MSG or the Aspartame that I am reacting to or both. But I do know without them, I no longer have symptoms, and other symptoms I never even related to these substances are now gone!

See, my drinks not only contained Aspartame, they contained MSG as well. MSG is in EVERYTHING, or nearly everything. And those who put this substance in their food stuff are VERY sneaky about it. It wont always say MSG or even monosodium glutamate.

I wonder why they are so sneaky about it? Why don't they just label it as it is, rather than sneaking it under hidden names?

Here is a GREAT website that has tons of information on this toxic substance as well as lists of the hidden names, and just about anything else you could ever want or need to know on the subject: TRUTH IN LABELING. They are also really friendly and helpful if you email them with questions. They helped me to find the hidden MSG in a "health" shake I consume and was reacting to, but couldn't find the MSG or Aspartame in the ingredient list. It was surely in there, just under one of the many hidden names.

Later I will share the other symptoms that I had that I had lived with for years, that I never even would have thought had anything to do with any of this, that all have miraculously disappeared since I gave up foods containing these substances. I will also share what medication I have been able to give up for the first time in over 30 years since stopping eating foods that contain MSG or Aspartame. I will share ideas on how to avoid these substances and more.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Is Your Diet Soda Making You Fat...or Sick?

I came across this video a few weeks back on Facebook and found it VERY informative, not only about "diet" soda and weight gain, but more so on other effects on our health. It really covers how they are bad for our bones and yet another symptom I suffer(ed) from; heartburn/acid reflux.

VERY much worth watching!

My Big Light Bulb Moment.

Yesterday I was sharing my bizarre health symptoms and how I was able to link them to my favorite calorie free beverages. I didn't know for sure what it was in them that was causing the symptoms. I was assuming it was the caffeine. Perhaps I was overdosing myself on caffeine. I checked the milligrams I was consuming per day with the recommended amounts and it was a bit over, so for that time being I was sure that was the issue.

A few days later SWEET MISERY arrived from Netflix.
I honestly don't recall why I had it in my queue to begin with, I had originally thought it was about GMO foods, and was a little disappointed that it was on Aspartame.

My disappointment quickly faded! As I watched this documentary I quickly realized that BOTH the drinks I was consuming that caused these symptoms I was having had Aspartame! People in this film talked about symptoms VERY similar to mine. All of a sudden it all made sense. I HIGHLY recommend this movie for all, whether or not you think you are having symptoms related to Aspartame and similar substances. It is VERY eye opening in many other ways. I was shocked and angered as I learned more about how this product actually got approved and how it had great difficulty getting approved at first, and of all the noted side effects and diseases caused by using this product. Yet, we are constantly being assured it is safe to use.

Feeling I found my answer, I quickly purchased the follow up; SWEET REMEDY.

I was unable to find it on Netflix, so I purchased it as I really felt so strongly that this was my answer! This film was even more enlightening as it touched on even more toxic food substances like GMO's and MSG.

I feel both these films are worth watching, but if I could only see one, it would probably be the second one as it went into more depth on the dangers of many of these food additives, and some of the politics behind keeping these dangerous substances on the market while keeping safer, natural sweeteners off the shelves.

I wish I could say the Aspartame was my full and complete answer on my health issues, but it wasn't. While these films opened my eyes and helped me to start to narrow down what substance(s) are a concern for me, it just scratched the surface. But they did get me looking into all of this a bit more.

I will share a few other films that have helped me in my search as well as some youtube videos you can view now, and many helpful links to sites on the web. I thought here was a good place to start though, as this was my own personal starting point as well.

Check back in soon for more!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What Is Causing This?

For many years now, more than twenty at least I have been consuming diet beverages despite many warnings from my mother and others. I never thought I was suffering any of the so called side effects other than an occasional head ache or digestive upset. But certainly nothing that would make me give up a calorie free treat in exchange for the same treat with 200 or more calories! My goodness, I wouldn't want to get fat!

I read all the warnings that drinking such beverages could actually lead to weight gain, and ignored them, as there seemed to be as many disputing that argument.

In the last two years as I have gotten really into fitness, I started consuming protein powders, health shakes, amino supplements and more. Not to mention continuing my 2-3 a day energy drink habit. I mean, I need energy to keep up with these intense workouts, right?

Several months ago, I started having really bizarre symptoms and was convinced I was having either several mini-strokes or developing MS. My left side of my face would get numb, even my brother noticed my mouth drooping. My left hand would go numb and my arm felt heavy and like it was lagging. My speech felt like it was slurred to me, words were hard to form and I was having lots of trouble concentrating, forming and keeping thoughts and just more odd such symptoms.

Now, you'd think I'd go to the Dr. My brother even urged me to after he witnessed one of my "episodes." Those that know me well, know I don't go to the Dr. unless it is an immediate life threatening emergency. Also, over time I noticed these symptoms were most severe after consuming my Energy drink and also a certain Amino supplement that I am fond of.

Once making the connection, I completely stopped all of the above supplements and drinks to kind of test myself to see if this was really what was causing such disturbing symptoms. My symptoms almost completely disappeared within three days. One day I was extra tired and had a big day and drank an Energy Drink. That was the day my brother witnessed my symptoms and the very last day I consumed an Energy Drink. Not only did the numbness occur, but the confusion was the worst ever, so bad in fact, that I actually got lost driving to meet him, because for some reason, I couldn't distinguish my right from my left. I was sure I was making left turns to my destination and was confused to why I was struggling to find where I was going. I eventually got there after several calls to my brother, and didn't realize until the last turn what I had been doing! He told me to make yet another left turn into our final meeting place, and I was outraged when it appeared to be a right to me. Why would my brother screw up the directions so badly? Then all of a sudden it hit me...I was the screw up...I had been making rights rather than lefts the whole time!! I was frightened beyond belief. As a 42 year old woman, who takes pride in how well I educate my children at home and someone who is very physically acute and aware, taking martial arts, yoga and more, I have NEVER had a problem telling my right from my left!!

It was that day I realized something was terribly wrong, and something I had been consuming for years in my quest for health and fitness was causing it.

It was then I started my own research trying to discover exactly what was going on. What I found surprised, shocked, scared and totally outraged me! What was happening to me, had happened and is happening to several others. I did not like the answers I found, on many levels.

Over the next several days, I'd like to share with you what I've discovered and what I am doing to improve my own health and my family's health. I will share links of sites and research I found as well as movies, youtube clips and more.

So, check back very soon as I try and gather everything together in a way that wont overwhelm or bore you. If you have been suffering with strange symptoms or have children who are suffering with hyperactivity, behavior problems, chronic allergies or sickness, be sure to check back in. Hopefully you can find some answers too!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Recipe.

I found this recipe last week and made it last night for the family and it was a HUGE hit! It makes a nice summer meal. The dressing was incredible. My fourteen year old actually asked me to make the dressing again to dip chicken in.

Here is the link to the recipe: Oriental Chicken Salad.