The Health Mama

helping healing with whole food nutrition


January 2015

Question and Answer

Angie started her first radiation treatment yesterday. She said it was a weird experience. She threw up last night and felt really tired so I guess the effects are pretty immediate. I was studying that Milk Thistle is an herb that helps detox the liver. I have milk thistle tea or you can take it in the capsules, but it will help with getting the radiation effects from your body quicker. Also if you take any kind of pain killers often or other medications, Milk Thistle is a great idea.

I got some questions from one of my good friends so I thought I would just post her questions on here incase any of you have the same ones. Of course, this is just my opinion and I am not a doctor. Just a mom who wants to raise the healthiest family I can and provide the best chance of them and myself to live the best life possible. Here is the email question:

Denise my friend!!!!

So I’ve got a couple questions here for ya. Really looking into studying a little more on the paleo diet. I liked the vegan diet but keep leaning more towards paleo, but the one thing I keep reading when looking up foods to eat is to eat as much bacon as one desires. So I question pork in general? I always thought that was a big no no. What’s your thoughts? Also, meal preps I read about it has meat in at least two of the 3 meals per day. I was kinda thinking to only add lean meats like 2-3 a week for one meal?
Also, what do you send your kids to school with for lunch? And what are your most often made breakfasts? Besides green smoothies? It is time I do this for my family! It’s been nagging at me for years and I finally feel like I’m at a state in my life, with no baby…baby, no pure exhaustion, from being up at night, and such that I can handle taking the time to feed my family properly. My son really struggles at school, with a few subjects…just the really important ones like, math, reading, English, and I feel like if I could get him on the right eating path then he might be able to do better. I keep hearing this anyway. Also my other two are young and I know that one has digestive problems, he’s so skinny, he doesn’t want to eat anything, and he’s got reflux really bad. And then my youngest two-year-old he wants to eat everything that’s not veggies. He’s so picky!! My family has committed to eating no treats this month. It’s been the hardest on me!!! Sad to say! My kids eat like crap, and I feel a huge weight and responsibility because of it!
One more question…my 2 year old, is allergic to dairy, all my kids have been at this age, until they are about 4. Really I think forever. We drink very little of milk around here, we don’t really eat a lot of dairy actually. So I give Nash almond milk instead of cows milk. The dr’s say they are fine with it only because he is chunky enough that he doesn’t need the extra fat in cows milk like a lot of babies do. But I randomly heard, maybe it was one if your posts, can’t remember, that almond milk is bad for babies because they have a hard time digesting almonds, so it wasn’t really good for them until they are much older and can digest almonds. Do you know anything like that?”

Thanks for the questions. It means a lot to me that she would even take the time to write. Some of her questions are ones that I have had myself over the years and every year there are more studies so even now my opinion can change if enough testing can be done, by the right doctors. The Paleo diet is probably the closest diet to the way I eat and my family eats. When I was Vegan, you listen and learn things that Vegan’s put out there and so it really easy to just close your mind to everything else and believe that eating that way is the only right way. For me, my hormones got worse on a Vegan Diet even though my skin and eye sight got much better from the amount of greens I was eating. I started listening to a few more opinions, which led me to more doctors and experts about hormones and I kept hearing about good animal fats and organic grass fed meats and organ meats. I think the first interview that really changed what I thought was Terry Whals and the Whals Diet. She is a doctor that has MS and with her diet she has basically given herself a life back and went from a wheel chair to now running and biking. She has a great Ted talk by the way if any of you haven’t watched it. So, I just kept reading and listening to podcast until I realized that I needed to give this a try instead of going on medication, like two doctors wanted me to do, to get my period back to being regular. You really have to custom how much meat and protein with how you feel, digestion, sleep, skin, and others signs and know for you if the amount is right. I do eat protein now with almost every meal and it is usually animal protein. I am very strict though and only maybe two or three occasions have I eaten any meat that wasn’t organic and wild or grass fed. If I don’t have that option, I make that meal a Vegan meal. The cruise was one of those occasions, I had a steak one night but the rest of the week I only had fish and tried to get the wild fish whenever possible. I believe if you feel good on this, you can have it at every meal with no problem. It is really the quality that matters and if you don’t have good quality meat, then stick with plant and good fats for your meal. It is great for your kids and husbands because they feel satisfied and full. When I eat just a salad, it is huge because I need it to be that big to get full for the meal.

The bacon debate is still out there. We do eat bacon, but not everyday. I never thought I would ever eat bacon again about five years ago, but if you use it as a treat and get the right quality then I think it is absolutely fine to eat bacon. It’s really hard to find pastured bacon, but that is your best option. Pete’s paleo is an online company that I have ordered from that will ship it to you. I also buy the the uncured bacon by Applegate farms at Costco. You will pay more, so just eat it less. Bacon adds tons of flavor and if you can find pastured bacon that you don’t have to worry as much. I will save one or two pieces and use them on my salads with a pastured egg, yolk should be runny, and this makes an amazing salad. I have read to avoid Pork all together and believed and wrote about it years ago, but now I believe that it’s ok, but don’t believe that you should have as much as you want, everyday. Some paleo writers eat bacon constantly and I think if we just use are basic knowledge and instincts we know that isn’t the right answer. Just like I would say about Paleo treats or most foods, more isn’t always better. It just adds up and then it is taking the place of more nutritious foods in your diet. Enjoy it though when you do have it, with no guilt.
The diet your kids have definitly makes a difference in behavior, focus, and health for our kids. I have seen it and lived it. I remember a friend telling me they saw no difference in their kids when they ate healthy, but I knew that the one meal isn’t going to really show you. He had never really restricted wheat, dairy, and processed sugar for even one whole day so it’s pretty hard to see a difference if it’s still in their system. It can take weeks to see a difference so be patient. You have to do it day after day and be consistant, get it out of their diet completely, then after a few weeks add it in and see how they act. I would look into taking gluten out of your diet for you and your kids. There is just too many studies and research now to ignore it and the effects it has on us and our kids. That is something I am still trying to get my other kids to do, besides Isaac who always does it. The hardest part of this is that if you don’t homeschool your kids than they will get offered treats everyday at school, at every sporting event, at church every week, every stranger and worker at Walmart, ect. ect. It’s basically at every turn. It is REALLY HARD! I just try and control what they eat at home the best I can, make healthy treats for them so they never feel deprived, educate them, and then let them decide and live. It is still a work in progress here, but it’s worth the battle and tears. My kids are not picky eaters at all, but it wasn’t always like that. You just have to stick with it. Even now, I give them a very small amount at meals. They have to eat it and then can have more if they would like. There is no choice and I always have a consequence if they don’t do it and often a positive reward when they do. We are so hard on ourselves as moms but we are really where it all has to start. We are in charge of buying the food and preparing it for the most part. It helps if you can get your husband on board too because it is easy to get sabotaged by goodies brought in by him. The GAPS diet is something to research for any kids with food allergies. If you have anytype of leaky gut issues, then you have food allergies and so much of what we are fed doesn’t get absorbed. This may be part of the reason he is so skinny. I am going to also study gaps diet because I believe it would help some of our issues in our family that we just can’t seem to fix with the other foods and things we are doing. We still have some eczema issues, even though it has improved and we have seasonal allergies in some of the kids. My kids don’t really ever get sick so I know it has helped in so many ways, but still there are things to work on. You have to be committed but if you look up Gaps Diet and Real Foods on Youtube, you will see a series that can teach you a lot about it. I will post my journey with it in February. I am having our whole family see a specialist in Gaps and run some tests on everyone.
As far as almond milk goes, it really is a good idea to wait until they are older before they get almond milk on a daily basis. Nuts, even when soaked can be hard on a little gut and you also don’t want them to develop an allergy to them. I made homemade almond milk yesterday. I do it about once a month but besides that, I use Trader Joe’s light coconut milk and dilute it in water. It is $.99 a can there and is in a BPA free can, has only coconut milk and water in the ingredient list. Just because of money and it works for my family, we pour two cans into a glass half gallon milk container and fill the rest with water and mix up. We use this in all our baking, smoothies, hot chocolates or whatever you would use regular milk in. It works great and the fats in it are awesome for kids and adults. You can use three cans of milk or whatever you want. It’s so thick that it works great for recipes even when diluted. We go through a lot of it so this is our solution. If you do use milk, I would only do raw organic milk and never pastured milk.
Breakfast can be hard. We still do smoothie’s every morning usually even though mine have changed over the past year. We use coconut milk and I add 1 TBS MCT oil. I don’t use fruit or if I do, just a small amount of organic berries. I use and rotate between good protein powders and then I use greens and other super foods. We usually do a small cup of smoothie and then I rotate between eggs, bacon, organic sausage, or even some gluten free toast with tons of grass fed butter on it. Remember that even those that can’t do dairy can usually do grassfed butter or ghee is even better and easy to make at home. I really just get some good fats in them and some high quality protein and they get a few servings of veggies with their smoothies. Sometimes we have left overs like sweet potatoes in butter, coconut cream and cinnamon or some left over grass fed burgers for breakfast. We have bone broth instead of smoothie’s sometimes and just mix it all up. We never do cereal and I rarely do toast without eggs or another protein and fat to go with it. Just think outside the box. Kids also don’t need tons of variety. Just a few different meals you can rotate through. Remember to use lots of good fats, like coconut oil, grassfed butter, avocadoes (can put in smoothie’s if kids don’t like them) and organic animal fats like tallow, duck fat, even bacon fat to cook up your eggs or veggies. This fat is so important for their brain development and it will keep them full and stop the need for snacking.

I know this is really long answers but hopefully it can help a little. If any of you have some other ideas, just post a comment and I will share them with others. It is worth the effort and it will make a difference in their health, even if it is in ways we don’t see for awhile.

Here are a few more photos from our cruise last week. I am missing the sun shine!



Keeping the faith! Hummus

IMG_1671Angie has had a few setbacks these last few weeks. She found out that there is some cancer in spots that they didn’t find before so there will be radiation treatment done the next two weeks and then she will be trying another experimental chemo agent for the lung cancer. It has been a hard few weeks for her. She was feeling so good at Thanksgiving and we all just felt so hopeful that everything was working.

Faith is an action word, it doesn’t come easily for some people, but if it is an action than it is something that we have to work at. I think that Heavenly Father knows that trials like Angie having cancer are not easy. It is emotionally exhausting more than I would even know. But having to be tested is how our faith is strengthened. I think of the story of Abraham and Isaac. That was a true test of faith, well I believe this is one of Angie’s and anyone that knows and loves her, test of faith. We have to just trust in our Savior. He will not leave us and will comfort us when we are in need. He also knows the whole picture and we only know pieces of the puzzle, but maybe not what the picture will look like once each piece is in place. I look at her family and how close they have gotten this past year. I look at her husband and see how much he is trying and how much better his health is. There are blessings through trials that could come in no other way. I believe that Angie can still beat cancer and live a long life. She is trying so hard and doing everything she knows to do to help her body fight. We need prayers and guidance for her to know what to do for each step of this trial.

I have been studying lately about the most nutritious foods on the planet and not surprisingly it is organ meats. Organic organ meats are some of the most beneficial foods there are for man. I know this is just absolutely mind blowing for some of you to think about eating organ meats. Well, as you have seen me try liver smoothie’s, I have also struggled with consistent ways of getting this kind of nutrition into me on a regular basis. I think I found a great alternative. Standard Process has a supplement that is easy to swallow, no taste and packed with organ meats. It is called Catalyn. It consists of adrenals, liver, spleen, kidneys, and more foods like mushroom and nutritional yeast. I bought it this week and am going to try to take at least 3 a day everyday for a month and see if I can notice a difference. I know the food itself is always the best way to go, but this is much more practical for me.


Here is a good Hummus recipe that we made this past week. We sometimes buy organic tortilla chips, but I still don’t like to have those often because they are cooked in Vegetable Oils, which is not a good oil. If you can find a brand that is cooked in coconut oil, please let me know! We also use cut up veggies to dip in Hummus.

Hummus Recipe
Total Time: 5 minutesServes: 8-12

2 cans garbanzo beans
1/4 cup raw sesame seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tsp cumin
Sea salt to taste

Drain and rinse garbanzo beans, reserving 1/4 c. liquid. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend. Add more water or olive oil until desired consistency is reached.

Cruise photos and setting your Adrenals

I just got back from the Carribean last week with Adam’s company- Alder alarm. It was amazing to spend a week with my husband without any phones, kids, and schedules. We didn’t use our phone all week except to take some photos. This vacation definitely helped me with the stress hormones that normally are firing all day. I know not everyone can just go on a cruise but I am very grateful for the chance we were able to go and the wonderful people that we spent the week with. I was constantly thinking about Angie during the week because she got a biobsy taken to see if it matches a new chemo drug that the Drs want her to try if it is a match. She was in the hospital for a few days but is home now and feeling good. She should find out the results this week. I can’t imagine the stress that Angie must deal with at this time so that got me thinking about a webinar that I watched recently so I thought I could share that on the blog post today.


Yuri Elkaim recently did a webinar and discussed 7 pillars to your health. I thought I would share with you some notes I took from his webinar. I also share the name of a book that I think everyone should read by Dr. Christianson.

1: The pH of your blood
pH stands for Potential Hydrogen, or the acidalkaline balance of your blood. If we are acidic, we can’t have the energy and vitality that we want.

In 1931, Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize for discovering that cancer (and inflammation) can’t thrive in an alkaline, oxygenated environment. It can only grow in an acidic environment. Therefore, when we are acidic, it creates a feeding ground for disease, making our blood sluggish and our cells oxygen-deprived. When our blood is sluggish, we feel sluggish.

The good news is that we can easily improve our pH with diet improvements.

2: Eating too many energy “vampire foods” such as caffeine, sugar and wheat
These foods take energy out of your body, they may give you high energy at first but they will bring your energy down later. Energy and health are synonymous.

Our body is built to feel energetic not lethargic, so if you are suffering from low energy it means something may not be working properly in your body.

Yuri’s recommendation is to get these foods out of your diet in order to naturally feel more energized. You want to overcome sugar addiction and upgrading from wheat will help you build an action plan to eliminate these foods effortlessly, without feeling deprived.

3: Poor Nutrition Status
North Americans eat less than 2 servings of fruits and vegetables a day (and usually they are eating iceberg lettuce and potatoes as their veggies) but the daily recommendation is 8 to10. Besides not getting enough servings of life-giving plant foods, our soil has become depleted of vitamins and minerals, making our fruits and vegetables far less nutritious than 50 years ago.

This combination has caused many nutritional deficiencies, which can lead to food cravings and more serious diseases.

The nutrients we get from our food are very important and if we don’t get enough it becomes an issue.

One major trick to consuming more fruits and veggies is to carve out 30 minutes to prepare your produce when you get home from the grocery store. How many times have you just put them in the fridge and then when it’s time to eat, you don’t feel like cleaning or prepping your produce and so, you don’t it, and it goes bad? Both your wallet and your health suffer from lack of planning.

I wash all of my greens, dry them and put them in a container with a piece of paper towel. That way when moisture builds up that would normally wilt the leaves and shorten the life of your produce; it will go into the paper towel instead and extend the freshness of your produce.

Then they are ready to be cooked in an evening stir-fry, added to your morning smoothie, or even added to a can of soup for dinner. Just grab a handful of pre-washed kale or collard greens or cut up bell peppers and steam them with the soup to add more veggie power to your meal.

Each week, slice up fresh jicama, multi-colored carrots, celery and red cabbage and use it with nut butters, organic cheese, guacamole, or hummus to bump up the health meter.

Buy frozen organic fruit that you can easily add to a smoothie, or blend zucchini shreds into muffins or brownies, or use them in place of noodles for an Italian meal.

Half the battle is having the desire to eat more fruits and vegetables because you care about your health and want to protect it. The other half is planning. It’s true in my own life that failing to plan is planning to fail.

4: Digestion
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine was right some 3000 years ago, “all disease begins in the gut”.

If we eat foods that require a lot of labor to digest we will fell sluggish.

Most of us are not mindful eaters. We are eating on the go, under stress or while watching TV or checking email and we aren’t realizing how much we’re eating. It’s impossible to digest food properly when we are in the sympathetic nervous system, fight-or-flight state. Undigested food particles cause intestinal irritation and inflame the gut lining, contributing to intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome, allergies, and autoimmune diseases.

How we eat is just as important to our health as what we eat and the simple act of mindful eating can have great impact on our digestive health and overall sense of well being.

I encourage you to eat at least two mindful meals a day and see where that takes you.

5: Being a Stress and “Adrenal Burner”
Our body has not evolved biologically since we first walked the planet, yet we live in a world that has evolved exponentially. Technology is at our fingertips, which allows us access to everything. This is both a good and a bad thing. Constant phone calls, emails, texts, and demands, create a “non stop” state within our nervous system.

Our adrenal glands pump the hormones to help us cope with this stress, and when the stress doesn’t stop, our adrenals burnout.

According to Yuri, about 90% of people in western world are suffering from some stage of adrenal fatigue. Most Western doctors do not recognize it as a real condition. Yet the natural, alternative, and integrative practitioners can see it in hormone panels when there is a noted drop on cortisol and DHEA, two key stress hormones.

This greatly impacts your vitality. If your adrenals are burnt out, most likely your thyroid is next. This contributes to exhaustion, weight gain, and hair loss and allows the cycle to ensue.

How about we turn over a new leaf and catch all of this before it happens?

Yuri recommends finding energy in tranquility, not in stimulation, and not in “vampire foods” and I agree wholeheartedly.

He’s referring to things that help balance our body.

For example, if you have an intense work out one day, you should balance that out with a tranquil activity such as yoga, meditation, journaling or spending time in nature the next. Otherwise, you put yourself “non-stop mode” constantly making demands on your adrenals that they just can’t keep up with.

6: Exercise (the proper kind)
More on exercise from Yuri, a former pro soccer coach…

He explains that intensity is important but duration and frequency are the real defining factors.

Yuri recommends working out 3 times a week with 20 to 30 minutes of intense strength training exercises such as dead lift, squats, pull ups, push ups, lounge walks that can be done on a circuit fashion, which will serve as a cardio workout at the same time.

He advises giving your body more time between exercises if you are in a state of burnout and going lighter with weights.

I advise yoga, walking, and exercises that lift your spirit while you move your body. Be careful with long running because this can be cause major stress on the body. Do more walking instead of jogging or running sprints for one minute on and off for a total of 4-5 rounds.

7: Having a passion and purpose in life
Leading a purpose driven life is very important.

You can have a clean diet, work out properly and sleep well but if you can’t stand what you do on a daily basis or you have nothing you are passionate about, none of the other stuff will matter. Having a purpose or creativity is a primary food; something that feeds you other than food.

Yuri recommends really taking the time to consider the things that you love to do, things you are naturally good at, and things that honor you as an individual. Do more of those things on a daily basis, even if only for 10 minutes.

The bottom line is that we all need to take time out to rest, recover and hit the reset button, and we need to do that strategically, following proven processes that work fast.

When energy and adrenal dips come my way, I go into recovery mode, doing things that restore and reset my system like massage, energy work, yoga, meditation, and scaling back on social engagements.

I also adjust my food quite a bit, strategically cycling my carbs and proteins. This combination works within a matter of a few short weeks to take me from stressed to thriving.

If this information is resonating with you, then I highly suggest a must-read new book that will take care of the rest once you implement Yuri’s plan. It’s called The Adrenal Reset Diet by medical doctor, Dr. Alan Christianson.

One of the coolest (and countercultural) things he explains is how when you are stressed, eating carbs at night is a very good thing. It can take you out of that tired but wired feeling by shutting off fight-or-flight mode. This has improved my sleep as well.

Cycling your carbs appropriately provides a HUGE support to the adrenal glands and is a strategy alone that can give your life force back.

Also the top three supplements by Yuri is a good greens powder, good digestive enzyme, and Maca powder to help with stress.

Gluten Free Diet-Is it worth a try??

Happy New Year!! I am feeling hopeful and excited for the New Year. There has been many lesson’s learned from this past one. Life on this earth is hard. I know that is the way it is suppose to be, but just didn’t realize how hard it can be at times. I know I am very blessed but it is so hard to see the ones you love suffer or lose someone you love. I have felt my Heavenly Father’s arms around me this year. I know Angie has as well, along with my Dad who has passed. He is watching over us and with us at times when we need him. I have faith and believe in miracles. I also believe in the will of the Lord and trusting in him and the process. I believe in prayer and the power of the Priesthood. I believe in blessings and when keeping the covenants made in the temple, I know there are more blessing that we receive than we even realize. I am ready for the New Year! I will be pondering what my goals will be and how I can try and improve myself and the lives of the ones I love this next few weeks. I thought I would share a few photos from our Christmas. It was a lovely holiday time this year. I felt more grateful than normal, I guess because I have learned some valuable lessons this year about not taking life for granted. I hope your holidays were wonderful as well. My kids got an opportunity to give all their bikes to a family that just came here from Africa. They actually saw their Dad killed in the gangs and fighting that is going on in their country. They escaped to Kenya and got into a program that is here in Utah. They literally have nothing and so 8 families in our neighborhood took them Christmas plus just basic living essentials. Santa wrote my kids a letter to tell them how proud he was of them. He also brought them all new bikes for being so willing to give their bike to a child who has never even had one. This was one of the best parts about our Christmas. We also had ugly sweater parties, concerts at Temple Square, presents, Santa, and even the Grinch visited this year.











New Year’s Goal- No Gluten???

Some of my friends have been thinking about trying out the gluten free way of eating for this New Year. I thought I would share some recipes and a few things to think about. It is a great idea to go 100% gluten free for 30 days and then have one day where you go all out with the gluten. Observe how you feel and test your body to see if it likes the way it felt when you cut it out of your diet. It seems overwhelming but truthfully, it’s not that hard once you commit. If you do it correctly, by not just replacing junk with gluten-free junk, you will really improve your health.

I just wanted to share some information to those out there that are debating whither to try a gluten-free diet or not. I was raised on whole wheat. Everything my mom made was whole wheat. I have this amazing mom who ground her own wheat and made about 6 loaves of homemade bread every Saturday growing up. We had homemade pancakes every Saturday and most everything we ate had some kind of wheat in it. I know that wheat is in the scriptures as the staff of life. It is hard to wrap your mind around why we wouldn’t eat it anymore if we have been for hundreds of years and for all the faithful people out there, it is in the bible. I felt the same way a few years ago, but was on a journey to figure out why my son got so many migraines. This has caused me to study MANY doctors who have done endless research on the effects of gluten on everyone.

I currently don’t eat gluten. I do not have Celiac disease or have been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity but I know that what we as Americans have done to wheat has changed the food and what we have done to our own gut biome or bacteria in our guts has changed completely over the last ten years. Genetically Modified foods, pesticides, chemicals in the air, water, beauty products, and foods have all changed the bacteria in our guts. So wither it is because wheat is hyberized and totally different than acient wheat or because we just can’t digest wheat gluten anymore, we need to look at this ingredient more closely. It may be causing more problems that your aware of. It may just be worth doing a self test. If you go to this article by Dr. Tom Obryan you will find out why this is something to take seriously. There is a wonderful podcast at this link you can listen too.

Also this is my favorite Gluten Free breakfast blog. She is a great blog when your just starting out because she has almost any food that you are used to eating, but made gluten free. She has great information on the ingredients and then all have turned out really good. She is also dairy free so I like that as well. The crepes and german pancakes are our family’s favorites.

Take care this week sis! We are fortunate to get to go on a cruise through Adam’s work. It is our one trip every year where I get Adam all to myself. I just can’t wait. I have some great books ready to read and can’t wait to sit out in the sun and get some Vitamin D.

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