Successful Habit #2: Staying Healthy

Are you a ticking time bomb?

Children with healthy mothers are much more likely to survive childhood, attend school and live healthy, productive lives.

Liya Kebede

I never went to the doctor as a young woman. After that, I only went when I was pregnant. Then to the pediatrician with my children. I rarely thought about my own health until the day I hit meltdown. That was the day I was diagnosed with hypertension.

I began taking medication but I was never aware that diet played a major factor in my overall health. I continued to eat whatever I wanted. When I had a headache —which happened frequently — I would just take pain killers. I would stay in bed for days on end until the headache passed. It never dawned on me that I was suffering from multiple transient ischemic attacks or TIAs. (more…)

Mothering While Single: 5 Successful Habits

single mom

A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work.

John Lubback


Over the next 5 weeks, I will be covering my top 5 successful habits of single mothers.  I wanted to do one post, but I realize I had too much to say and I didn’t want you to fall asleep reading my post.  So one habit at a time.

I may also, recommend reading resources that may help strengthen any habit you already have or want to adopt.

What Success?

When it comes to mothering while single, how does one define success? Can we measure success by how well our children behave? Or can we measure that success by how emotionally balanced those children grow up to be? (more…)

Cheap & Healthy – One Product 3 Uses: Coconut Oil

Living healthy doesn’t always have to be a challenge for the single mom.

Still, there are many ways to cut cost while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  One of the ways I manage to eat and practice healthy habits is by buying quality products (which might be expensive on the surface) that I can use in multiple ways (which essentially is more cost effective).  Below I relate how I use coconut oil to enhance my health inside and out, while saving money. (more…)

Seven things to know about making cultured veggies by JRosemarie

2013-09-08 20.42.46I read with interest Donna Gates book The Body Ecology Diet and was taken by cultured vegetables.  I did some research on sauerkraut and Kimchee and purchase some ready made products from a reputable company.  I loved the veggies so much, I wanted to make my own.  Plus, I wanted to put my own ingredients in without the salt.

So I purchased a dozen wide mouth ball jars and a box of “Body Ecology culture starter”.  I used my seldom used Bullet Express to shred red and green cabbage, carrots, beet (for some of the jars), red and green pepper, ginger and some scotch bonnet pepper for the heat. I also blended some celery and used the juice instead of salt and plain water.  I made 6 jars and they lasted for about one month. However I am having trouble opening the last jar and that will probably end up in the garbage.

Some of my takeaways from the experience are:2013-09-08 20.35.18

1. It is easy and fun.  Once you have a good food processor to shred the veggies, the rest is quite easy.

2. Use organic where possible. Although the good bacteria will destroy any bad bacteria during the fermenting process, it is best to start with organic foods.  This way your good bacteria can concentrate of the fermentation process.

3. Salt is not necessary. You can use celery juice instead of salt.  The flavor is no different I find.

4. Don’t be afraid to add spices and herbs.  Some people to not like spicy foods or strong tastes from herbs.  They also do not like the taste of garlic and onion.  I added garlic, onion, rosemary and thyme despite the warnings in the video and loved the strong flavor.  This may not work for those who prefer their food more bland.

5. Use a culture starter. A culture starter though not mandatory makes the fermentation process much faster I think.  There are also way more good bacteria available if you use a starter.

6. Do not overfill your jars.  I made that mistake and by day 3 there was veggie juice all over my server when I opened the jars to let the air out and to check the veggies were ready.

7. Leave them in a warm place to ferment.  You will notice the liquid in your veggies starting to bubble by the second day. Within 72 hours you can try them to see if they are to your taste.  If not, you can leave them in the warm location for another 24-48 hours then try them again.

The above is not a comprehensive guide but just a few tips I learned during my experience and from research.  Fermented foods are not only tasty but they are also quite good for our guts.  Fermentation enhances the immune boosting properties of the foods you use.

There are lots of resources on the web with step by step directions on how to make fermented foods.  I used the video from Donna Gates website –




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If I can’t eat it, can I drink it?

Jason Vale, the Juice Master often reiterate his dislike for certain vegetables.  However he gets past his distaste by juicing.  Hence his favorite question, “if I can’t eat it, can I drink it”?  Below is a plate of freshly prepared fruits and vegetables I put together for my morning juice.

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organic beet greens, beet, pineapple, cucumber, celery, apple, carrot, lime, zucchini.

The juice was delicious but I wanted to make it a “thickie” or smoothie since it is my breakfast and possibly my lunch.

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after juicing

So I added a tiny ripe banana, 6 strawberries, and a tablespoonful each of chia, hemp, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and blended for a few seconds in the Vitamix.

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Done and delicious!

SuperJuiceMe Day 28: I’ve been SuperJuiced!

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Day 21: For Goodness Shake

Today is day 28 of my participation in the SuperJuiceMe program.  I have spent the last 28 days on nothing but pure, organic vegetable and fruit juice and the occasional homemade almond milk smoothie allowed by the plan on weekends.

I feel absolutely amazing!  I have had no headaches over the past month.  Before I started this journey I used to get constant headaches. I would wake up in the middle of the night with the most excruciating headaches.  These headaches would sometimes last for days.  Nothing worked. No aspirin. No pills.  I had to grin and bear the pain until the headaches disappeared.

I have lost four inches off my waist and have lost about 14 lbs. I will be going to my doctor tomorrow so I will know for sure how much weight I have lost since I only weighed a week ago when I visited my OB/GYN. Truthfully the weight loss is more a side effect than anything else. Seeing my belly go down is really one of my main goals along with ridding myself of poisonous blood pressure medications.  I will see what my doctor is saying about the medication when I visit him tomorrow.  Regardless, I will be visiting my MD less and entrusting myself into the capable hands of a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) going forward instead.

My Juicy experience has:

  • reinforced the notion that you are what you eat
  • taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to, regardless of the distractions
  • shown me that my health and my body is my responsibility – not the doctors, drug companies or food manufacturers
  • helped me to understand that by taking the time and effort necessary I can rid myself of chronic disease without dangerous and expensive medications, which carry an amazing array of life threatening side effects.

I will continue to juice for the rest of my life on a daily basis.  I am adding more and more vegetables to my diet and eventually will transition to about 80% raw foods.  At least that’s my goal.

If you are interested in learning how to take control of your health, read everything you can on nutrition.  Watch videos on health and wellness and add one green juice to your diet each day.  Netflix has a few movies/documentaries such as Food Matters, Hungry for Change and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  My SuperJuiceMe coach, Jason Vale made a documentary by the the same name where he walked 8 people with chronic disease through the 28 days juice plan I just completed.  Two more documentaries I would like to recommend are Cereal Killers and The Healing Effect. There are a host of resources at our finger tips.  Do something under the supervision of your doctor. You won’t regret it.

Finally, if you are up to the challenge, join me each Wednesday when I will drink nothing but juice all day.  These days will be my SuperJuiceMe Wednesdays.  I will also do the same on Saturdays if you care to join me then as well. And as Jason would say “May the juice be with you”.


SuperJuiceMe Update: Day 14

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Today, day 14 of my SuperJuiceMe program, started with an electrolyte sodium shot (1 stalk of celery juiced with 1/2 a cucumber) followed by a three mile power walk.  I must say this has been a lot easier than I thought and I’m thinking about extending this experience beyond the 28 days.  Of course since I’m primarily doing this to lower my blood pressure, if my readings are getting lower and are low enough when I return to my doctor on day 29, I may follow another juicing regimen.  Maybe juice a couple of days per week instead.  We will see.

I have not weighed myself again and won’t do so until day 28.  I’m getting a lot of compliments on how good I look.  I have an abundance of energy so I have been exercising more and more.

The juices are very delicious and refreshing.  Sometimes I want to stick my finger into my glass, scoop out the residue and lick it.  Gross I know but I used to lick the bowl after mixing up a cake batter.  I know some of you know what I’m talking about. That is the same feeling I get after drinking a green juice which is then blended with avocado. Amazing!

A couple of “did you knows?”:

2014-06-14 19.32.37Did you know that the harder the fruit/vegetable, the more juice you can extract?

2014-06-14 19.32.37Did you know that you can juice cauliflower and asparagus?

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Did you know that if you sandwich green leafy vegetables, such as spinach between hard fruit such as an apple, you can maximize the juice yield?

So this was just a short update on my progress.  All being well, I will provide another update in seven days.  Why don’t you join me and get SuperJuiced!

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SuperJuiceMe Day 7: Update

2014-06-07 14.22.04So today is day 7 of my SuperJuiceMe 28 day challenge. I had a health check up this past Friday because my doctor changed the time for my original physical date and I could not make it. Needless to say, I lost 8 lbs by day 5 (I started the plan on Monday and got weighed on Friday).  I feel energetic and the drinks are fantastic. This morning I walked 2.59 miles. Starting in week two I will be doing more exercises to help the body eliminate toxin build up being flushed out by the vast amount of nutrients flooding my body.  Protein is abundant in the form of avocado, hemp protein, and spirulina, in addition to the wide array of vegetables that contain amino acids.

I am using an app for the plan which contains recipes and photos. Each recipe comes with a video to show you how to make the drink and also tips and tricks. There are also several coaching videos which I find very helpful.  2014-06-08 09.13.21

Here is what I have learned about living on nothing but delicious, healthy fruit and vegetable juices for the past seven days:

  • You have to be mentally prepared. You have to train yourself to think about nutrition differently. I spent the two weeks leading up to the start of this program reading nutrition literature, reviewing different websites and watching documentaries on food, medicine and nutrition. I learned that it is very important to be mentally prepared because everyone will be trying to discourage you from doing it.  There is claim of concern that you won’t be getting enough protein or that you won’t be eating “food”.  That last part is laughable since I doubt what most of we eat on a daily basis can really be described as food.
  • As mentioned above even those who love you will try to talk you out of it.  From concerns about the body going into shock to not getting enough nutrients, the attempt to dissuade you from vastly changing your physiology will be well-meaning and persistent.  Again, mental preparation is key.  And it doesn’t hurt to have a valid reason for doing it.  For me, after 16 years of medication, it is time to try something radical.
  • Shopping for only vegetables and fruits is vastly different from shopping for “regular food”.  First, I found myself comparing price more so than normal since I purchased only organic or locally grown produce.  If you just grab and go from the first fruit stand, this could be a very expensive venture. However when compared to what being sick has cost me, I’m willing to pay whatever I can to get well.2014-06-01 12.02.40
  • You are going to be tempted to eat something.  Yes, I’m not going to say I didn’t feel like eating something this past week. Butterfly shrimp, bagel. But every time I think of the medication I’m on and look at my gut in front of me, I soon forget that crave.
  • You are going to feel good!  This may seem surprising to some but I feel wonderful. Not only physically but psychologically as well. For once I stopped acting like a helpless child ingesting what the doctor prescribed.  Now I’m taking charge of my health.  I feel amazing.

2014-06-05 20.28.192014-06-01 12.02.47 I have never really followed any food plan exactly prior to this one.  I find that the recipes are genius and that the creator Jason Vales thought of everything it seems. For example, several mornings before you have your first juice, there is an electrolyte sodium shot made up of one stalk of celery and 1/4 cucumber. This is to ensure your body is kept replenished with sodium and electrolytes so you can avoid muscle cramps for instance.

Another part of the plan that I think is genius is the Hunger SOS – If you are really hungry before your next drink you may have something like a 1/2 avocado with lemon juice (this is very delicious by the way) or some herbal tea with a raw energy bar. The avocado really helped me on my first day when I left one of my drinks at home and worked 10 hours on two drinks. But I didn’t back down. Apart from the avocado, I only drank the two drinks I brought to work.  The Hunger SOS, according to Jason is better than completely giving up.  Pure genius!

Also, I learned to make almond milk. Saturdays and Sundays, one drink is a smoothie made with almond milk you make yourself. Quite neat.

So, on I go to day 8. Oh, I forgot to mention. I’m sleeping well now and get up refreshed in the morning. I also, have not had any headaches this past week.



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Super Juicing Me: Standing up to a Challenge

wpid-wp-1401535464783.jpegOn Monday, June 2, I will begin my participation in two challenges; Writing 101 by WordPress and SuperJuiceMe 28 day detox program.  Yes, I will be consuming nothing but good, organic nutrients from June 2-29!

Ok. I must admit I love a challenge.  And though I get bored easily, the juicing challenge is right up my ally.  I have been juicing for about 10 years and I seldom leave the house without a homemade smoothie containing fresh fruits, vegetables and super foods such as avocado and cacao.

Why a 28 day detox?  I’m tired. Tired of ingesting large quantities of chemical medications while still not feeling, let alone getting better.  Blood pressure medication is expensive. The kidney damage from long term use is much more expensive in both money and quality of life.  A recent post I wrote relayed my frustration with the continuous roller coaster ride I am on while enduring the effects of high blood pressure on my well being.  What about protein you ask? First, I haven’t eaten any meat since February. And even though I sometime eat eggs and drink lots of milk, I get an abundance of protein from daily intake of spirulina, chlorella, and avocado.  Spirulina alone has gram for gram more protein than beef, fish, chicken or soybean. There will be lots of nuts and seeds on this program as well. For example, a cup of almond, which I will be getting plenty of, contain approximately 20g of protein.  So protein. Check!

Now to the movie SuperJuiceMe: One Disease. One Solution.  I watched this movie/documentary as part of my quest to learn even more about healthy eating and how to recharge my cells with nutrients instead of killing them with dead food and chemicals. I have also been watching and re-watching, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Vegucated (both on Netflix).  I must say that after watching Vegucated, I definitely don’t see myself ever eating meat again.  If you choose to watch it, you will see why.  I have also watched Food Matters and Hungry For Change again.  So, I’m preparing myself mentally and educating myself as to what I am getting into.

If time permits, I will give weekly update on my progress whether on a static page or via updated posts. This will be an even more difficult challenge for me because I am also scheduled to participate in the JPMorgan Challenge (June 4) and the American Heart Association Heart Walk (June 18).  I do these annually but I did not want to do the detox over the summer and I didn’t want to leave it until Fall.

My plan was to have a complete physical yesterday but my doctor changed my appointment time.  I would have liked to get all my vitals plus blood work from him before embarking on this process but will have to wait until next Friday. Still I will have a medical professional take my blood pressure.  I will also weigh and measure myself tomorrow.

I spent today purchasing fruits and veggies from the Farmers Market and Whole Foods, to ensure I will be ready on Monday morning.  I purchased and downloaded the SuperJuiceMe app on my Android phone. The app includes a shopping list and videos on how to make each drink.  It also includes “coaching” videos for use throughout the plan.

By the way SuperJuiceMethe movie is free this weekend so check it out. Even if you are a skeptic.  I also hope you will come back to check on my progress as well as to read my Writing 101 posts.

My Favourite Cookbook

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This post is in response to NaBloPoMo’s prompt: “Tell us about your favourite cookbook.” I have fallen behind on my posts but trying to catch up this weekend.

With delightful recipes like Hunan Lamb Stir Fry, Greek Beef and Mushroom Pizza, and Pear Scented Butternut Squash Soup, the Weight Watchers Power Foods cookbook is one of my favorite. Add the fact that each recipe carries a PointsPlus rating, Weight Watchers signature weight loss points system, this book is one delicious way to eat well, while maintaining a healthy weight.

This is not a diet book.  Neither is it a deprivation cookbook.  For anyone who has participated in Weight Watchers program like I have, you know that the program stresses portion control.  In this cookbook, there is something for everyone:

1.  Scrumptious meat dishes like Grilled Korean Steak in Lettuce Cups

2. Amazing seafood dishes like Vegetable Stuffed Sole with Dill Butter

3. Vegetarian delights such as Wheat Berry and Apple Salad

4. Open-Face Chicken Burgers with Tropical Salsa

5. Raspberry-Rhubarb Cake

However, what is pleasantly surprising about this cookbook is the wide assortment of breakfast recipes.  People who want to eat healthy may find it difficult to find enough to eat over and above oatmeal and scrambled eggs.  The Weight Watchers Cookbook delivers mouth-watering breakfast recipes that won’t leave you bored.   For instance, can you imagine waking up to Smoked Salmon Scramble with Potatoes and Creamy Dill Sauce? Also, Whole Grain Breakfast Porridge will take you away from plain old oatmeal to a pleasant mouthful of barley, bulgur, apricots and maple syrup, to name of few of the nutritious ingredients. These breakfast recipes are a great complement to green smoothies, for sure.

In addition to a wide array of easy to follow recipes the book also contain a useful dry and liquid measure comparison chart as well as a handy food guide preceding each section. For example, if you are a vegetarian, the food guide suggests various foods that can be eaten, where in the book those foods can be found, as well as protein options to consider.

Whether you are looking to maintain a healthy weight or to lose a few pounds, the Weight Watchers Power Foods Cookbook is a healthy, delicious and fun way to cook.