Thursday, February 7, 2013

Better than Weight Watchers

I have just begun logging my diet over at FitDay.com.

What is FitDay?  It is a type of food diary, much like the Weight Watchers system. 

How does it work?  You begin by completing your profile which establishes your beginning weight, your height, age, activity level, and weight goal.  Then you start the process by entering your food for the day, your activity, mood levels, weight (if any changes), and body measurements.

Having previously been a member of Weight Watchers (which helped me lose 15 lbs of baby weight in 2 months), I can attest that FitDay is very similar to the WW online program.  Of course, there are some differences.

FitDay.com

Pros:
  • User-friendly
  • Does all caloric calculations for you
  • Includes diary to record thoughts/feelings for the day
  • Includes nifty mood log
  • Has very large library of food items to choose from with information including calories and nutritional information (the only thing so far I couldn't find was kombucha... but that's okay)
  • Includes handy charts and graphs showing your progress
  • You can tailor your diet to your personal preferences (unlike WW, which heavily influences some foods and not others)
  • No points! (Wooooohoooo!)
  • Oh yeah, it's FREE!
Cons:
  • Website can be slow
  • Not as high-tech as WW
  • No "recipe builder" like WW (must log individual ingredients unless meal is in library)
Obviously, you get more when you pay for a service such as WW.  However, for being absolutely FREE, I really enjoy FitDay!  Once I logged my meals, I had an eye-opening experience seeing my calories and which were coming from carbs, protein, fat, etc.

I encourage you to check it out!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kefir Smoothie

(from Pleasant Hill Grain)

1 ¼ cups whole-milk buttermilk, yogurt, or kefir
1 ripe banana or 1 cup berries (fresh or frozen)
2 TB coconut oil
3-4 TB maple syrup or raw honey
1 tsp. vanilla (omit with berries)
Pinch of nutmeg
 

Blend and enjoy! :)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

How I Cured My Acne

So I'm not going to claim that this will cure everyone, but most assuredly it will help if you have problems with acne.

Over the years (since I hit puberty), I have tried many different ways to subdue the embarrassing breakouts that appeared on my face... Murad, Clearasil, ProActive, natural remedies, changing to mineral makeup, toner, a very expensive clay mask... lots of things.  I actually hear about this a lot from others that suffer from acne--they try lots and lots of things.  It's frustrating, and embarrassing.

When my skin began to improve is when I ditched the "oil-free" junk from WalMart and actually put oil on my face.  I made a moisturizer with jojoba oil and several drops of lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil.  And, NO!, the oils did not make me break out.  Jojoba oil is actually very similar to your skin's oil which makes it an ideal moisturizer.

Another treatment which improved the healing process was making a paste with sea salt and gently dabbing it on my face (mostly on problem area).  I left that on for about 5 minutes then washed off.  The salt helps draw out impurities.

Although these treatments were wonderful for my skin, I still had breakouts often.  Finally, I had enough.  I read "Wheat Belly," and decided to get rid of the wheat in my diet.  Crackers, bread, pasta, cookies... and guess what?  My acne went away! I couldn't believe it!  I guess the wheat I was eating was creating inflammation on my skin.  My theory was tested when I ate a big plate of spaghetti at a friend's home after my skin had been clear for awhile.  Just a couple days later, my skin broke out.  That was enough evidence for me!

Occasionally I have some wheat, although I typically limit it to treats (piece of cake, brownie).  And occasionally I get a blemish.  But it is nothing like it used to be.  They are not as red, painful, or noticeable.  And my scars have very gradually been diminishing.

Well, there's my "acne cure"!  Hopefully this may help those of you out there still aggravated with skin issues!

Further reading:
http://www.empoweredsustenance.com/7-secrets-to-cure-acne-without-chemicals/

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Unless an emergency precludes you... DON'T Give Birth at a Hospital!

Here in the United States, the C-section rate is over 30%!  In actuality (in my local area) it is between 45 and 50%!

This is ridiculous, ladies.  There is absolutely NO way that half of all babies are required to be cut out of a mother's womb.  This is a dangerous trend that has long-term detrimental effects for both mother and baby.

I recently was talking to a nurse friend of mine who has worked with many laboring patients.  I told her about my labor & delivery experience--that I was pushing for over 4 hours (not fun).  She quickly told me, "You would have been sectioned" (given a Cesarean section).

"WHY?"  I asked.  "My son was born just fine and healthy... I too had no complications."

"Well... I don't know... Moms get tired with all of that pushing..."

Granted, my friend here isn't the expert in this area; I would have gotten a (hopefully) more definitive answer from a physician.  Regardless, I was stunned by the curt response... and SO thankful that I birthed naturally in the comfort of my home!  Yes, it was long and very difficult.. and yes, I was extremely tired.  But that is no reason for my body to be cut open and robbed of a natural birth experience.

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/caesareans-harm-babies-long-term-health/

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sweetened Condensed Milk Substitute

Homemade (and healthier!) version:


1 1/2 c whole milk

1/2-1/3 c sugar
3 T butter
1 t vanilla


Mix 1 1/2 cups of whole milk and 1/2 to 1/3 cups of unrefined or organic sugar in a heavy pan over medium-low heat. Lower heat as much as you can when steam starts to rise and allow about two hours, stirring occasionally, for the liquid to reduce to about half. Whisk in 3 tbsp. butter and and 1 tsp. of vanilla. This recipe equals about half of a store-bought can of sweetened condensed milk. Allow it to cool before using.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/404615-healthy-food-alternatives-for-sweetened-condensed-milk/#ixzz2E6uTjSYE

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Week 7 of No 'Poo!

First of all, I can't believe I've been doing this for 7 weeks.

I mean, I haven't even told any of my friends or family (except the ones who happen upon my blog)...  Because I don't want them to think I'm a greasy hippie.

Nevertheless, my hair is doing GREAT!  I went through a week of major oiliness (week 5), but since then, my hair's oil factor has been normalizing and balancing out.  It feels clean!  I'm quite pleased.

I am still sticking to the original recipes that I shared previously.  The only change that I made was spraying the vinegar mixture only on the very ends of my hair.  Before, I was spraying all over.  I think that contributed to the oiliness.

The only "downside" is that my hair hasn't magically turned voluptuous and absent of fly-a-ways.  It's still just my hair.  However, my hair has stopped falling out like it was before.  So, that's good!

My conclusion: worth a try for anyone who is curious (like I was), great way to save some $ (especially those of us who want the natural stuff), and yes, I will continue washing my hair with No 'Poo!

Eating Healthy on a Tight Budget

Tips that I have (mostly) implemented:
  • Make soaked oatmeal for breakfast
  • Cook whole animals (chicken) then save the bones for stock
  • Grind your own flour
  • Make traditionally prepared legumes (soaked) and mix in meals that include some meat for well-rounded protein
  • Use ground meats (my husband and I love making patties with onions and spices)
  • Stir-fry it up!
  • Limit amount of treats, even homemade goodies... It makes them even more special when you do make them
  • Meal plan!
  • Buy in bulk, at farmer's markets, buy sale items
  • Take advantage of discount opportunities (Chuck's "super Tuesday," Target 5% off debit card)
  • Make practically everything from scratch!