Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

I made a pumpkin smoothie today.  I'm eating it now.  So yummy.

I say eating because it turned more into a pudding rather than a drinkable smoothie.  I still have 2/3rd's of it left so I may add more soymilk to make it drinkable. Or, I may just eat the rest as a pudding, it's so delicious.  :)

The seasonings were the same as on the canned pumpkin.  I used half of the pumpkin puree so I used half of their recommended spices.  The result is that it has the flavorings of a pumpkin pie.


1 cup canned pumpkin
1 box 12.3 oz. silken tofu
1 cup unsweetened soymilk
1 frozen banana
4 date rolls or medjool dates
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 pinch of ground nutmeg
1 - 1 1/2 cups of ice

Picture to the left is a coconut date roll.

Add everything to vitamix blender and blend well.  Add the ice and blend well again.

Edit:  I left out the tofu, and it's just as creamy without it.  I want it to be more of a milkshake smoothie instead of a thick milkshake, but I'm happy with it the way it is. 
I'm afraid if I make it thinner, it will end up weak tasting and I don't want that!  It's delicious as is.

Also, this time I used medjool dates instead of the date rolls, and it tastes just as good.  If the coconut sounds good to you,  you could add some unsweetened dry coconut to the smoothie.  This recipe is enough for two servings, if you can control yourself and only eat one.  :-)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Carrot Cabbage Soup

I've come down with a cold, so I wanted to make a soup to help with the sore throat and raw sinuses.  I was going to just throw something together and have done with it, but I knew if I did that it probably wouldn't be as tasty as if I planned a recipe.

I had some cabbage on hand and wanted to do something different with it than what I normally do like a stir fry. 

This was a real challenge for me because I really don't feel all that well.  My head is throbbing a bit, so I grabbed my thinking cap and gently placed it on top of my head.  A brothy rather than creamy  soup sounded better to me for this cold, plus I didn't want to add another step to making the soup.

And, presto . . . . .  yummy.  Another favorite for me.  If you try it, please let me know if you liked it.  And please be honest.  I can take it.  :)

1/2 cup pearl barley cleaned and rinsed
3 cups water
3 cups carrot juice
1 medium to large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 large head of cabbage sliced
2 large carrots chopped
2 large ribs celery chopped (I like to add some of the leaves for soup)
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried majoram
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 can beans rinsed and drained.  (I used northern, but red has more nutritional value, which I'll try next time, but really, any bean is good.)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Pour the three cups water into a pot and bring to boil.  Add the pearl barley and simmer while you prepare the vegetables.

After the vegetables are chopped, add to a soup pot the onion and garlic and water saute  for about five minutes.  Add the rest of the vegetables and continue to water saute for about five minutes more.

Then add the minced ginger and all of the seasonings and stir well while adding the carrot juice.  Let the mixture come to a boil and turn off the heat.

When the pearl barley is ready, add it with the water to the carrot juice and vegetables mixture.  Add the drained and rinsed canned beans at this time too.  I didn't worry about using a 'no salt' can of beans.  If you look at the sodium per serving it will be less than the 300 mg allotment for the day on the Eat To Live program.  And the sodium gives it added flavor to the soup also.

Finally add the tablespoon of apple cider vinegar at the end and stir well.  Taste the soup to make sure the vegetables are cooked to your liking.  Cook a little longer if you like them soft.

If you can let the soup set covered on top of the stove for a while without the burner on before serving, it will allow the flavors to meld nicely.  Warm the soup before serving.  

I also thought I better mention that this is a sweet soup because of the carrot juice.  If you don't like sweet, either substitute some vegetable broth or water for some of the carrot juice or for all of it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cream of Potato Soup

I'll post the picture tomorrow if I took one.  Can't remember if I did or not. :)

I made a cream of potato soup, adapted from a recipe that only had carrots, onions and potatoes.  I changed it so much that it really isn't the same recipe it once was.

I took into consideration my husband and myself.  I wanted to make a soup he could eat, but one that I could eat also.  This is a Vegan recipe.  I add the ham at the end for DH and remove my portion before doing so.

I don't normally eat the starchy vegetables, so it didn't bother me that this one meal would be more than the limited one cup portion of starch E2L allows.

So here's what I came up with.

6 good sized potatoes peeled
1 medium onion chopped
2 carrots - small chop
4 celery ribs - small chop
4 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup cashews
1 cup soymilk
1 teaspoon Braggs Liquid Aminos
1 10 oz bag frozen cauliflower thawed
black pepper to taste
2 large kale leaves, center stem removed and chiffonaded
ham chopped in bite sized pieces - optional; don't u

Peel the potatoes and cube.  Add them to a good sized pan like a dutch oven.   Add enough water to just cover the potatoes.  Bring to a boil and lower heat to low and simmer until done, about twenty minutes.

Water saute the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic for about five minutes.  I like my veggies to still have some crunch.  Set aside until potatoes are cooked.

If you're going to use the ham, saute with a little canola oil while you're waiting on the potatoes.  Maybe 2 teaspoons.  I try to brown them on all sides for about eight minutes.  Take them off heat and set aside.

When the potatoes are done, remove from heat.  Measure 1 cup of the potatoes, it doesn't matter if a little water ends up in the cup and set aside.  Add the sauteed vegetables to the potatoes.

Place the measured, one cup of potatoes into the blender.  Add the thawed cauliflower, the cup of soymilk, the 1/4 cup of cashews, pepper to taste and enough water from the potatoes to be able to blend well.  Pour this mixture into the potatoes and combine thoroughly.

At this point I took out a serving for myself.  The rest would be for my husband.  I added the ham to the soup.  I didn't add extra salt because the ham has plenty of sodium and was enough flavoring for the soup.

For my portion, I steamed the kale for about five minutes and added it to my soup.  If I were to make this just for myself, I wouldn't add the ham, and I would increase the kale and add a whole bunch of steamed kale to the soup. 

Also, because I made the soup this way, I was able to add some nutritional value to my husbands meal by adding the blended cauliflower, soymilk and cashews.  He didn't know they were in there and I didn't offer the information either.

I'd love to hear from you if you decide to try this soup.  I thought it was really delicious, and for me, the added steamed kale was a nice addition.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Router replacement

There is a reason I haven't posted lately.  My router quit working so no internet.  I had to purchase a new one which cost me over $100. Yikes they're expensive.

I tried my hand at plugging it in and getting the software going so I could use the wireless feature.  I did fine with the desk computer, but when I tried to add my laptop, it took me a few hours to figure it out.

I don't give up easily though, so I kept at it until my laptop was able to get online wirelessly.  Yay, I'm able to surf the web, post on my blog and answer emails. 

Funny thing, it wasn't really difficult.  I felt kind of stupid when I found out how to do it.  :-)

Now I'll be able to keep up with my blog again.  What did we do without computers, the web, email, blogs, facebook, twitter, etc.?

Hopefully tomorrow I'll share another recipe.

Eating to live,
Laina :-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Red Lentil Chipotle Mango Soup

1 cup red lentils
4 cups water
1 onion chopped
5 garlic cloves minced
2 large ribs celery chopped
2 large carrots chopped
1 teas cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger minced
1 1/2 cups frozen spinach
3 Tablespoons roasted chipotle mango sauce
2 squirts Chipotle Tabasco Sauce

In a large pan add picked-clean rinsed and drained red lentils and four cups of water. Bring to a boil and cover with lid tilted a little. Simmer over low heat until soft, about ten minutes.

Cut and chop the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. With the celery I cut three long slices lengthwise and then cut into bite size pieces. I cut the carrots lengthwise also and if they are on the larger size I cut again so you have four separate lengths. And then chop them as you normally would into bite size pieces.

I water saute the veggies for about five minutes. I like crunch in my soups so I cook my vegetables crisp-tender . I taste as I'm sauteing so I make sure it's the right texture for me. You may like yours cooked completely and if so keep cooking for another five minutes or until it cooks to the degree of doneness that you like.

TIP: If you leave the vegetables crisp tender, I think you'll find the flavor of the onion, garlic, carrot and celery is more intense.

When the lentils are finished cooking, you can blend them in your blender or use an immersion blender. I leave mine as is without blending.

Add your sauteed veggies to the lentils and add the cumin, coriander, ginger and the spinach. You can use fresh if you'd rather. I always have frozen on hand and it's quick and easy. Stir to combine all the ingredients.

At the end I added the roasted chipotle mango sauce. You can order the mango sauce online or just add a small amount of pureed mango. (If you decide to purchase the sauce online, the raspberry is really tasty too.) The mango gives the soup a really nice, mild sweetness. If you're one that doesn't like any sweetness at all to your savory dishes don't add it because you probably won't like it.

And finally add a couple of squirts of the chipotle tabasco sauce or to taste. And if you substitute pureed mango for the mango sauce, add an extra squirt or two tasting as you add.

I hope you'll try this soup and let me know how you like it. Cook and eat to live everyone!

Laina :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Last of my eggplant

I'm so sad. I just picked what may be the last of my eggplant for the year. We have a cold front coming in and it's suppose to get down to freezing for two nights in a row. There are some flowers still on the plant but they'll fall off when the temperature drops.

My bell peppers have already stopped producing. Well they've been blooming and there is a bell pepper, but it's the size of my pinky nail so I pulled them up, root and all.

I didn't get a whole lot of the aubergine, but I'm grateful they did okay and that I was able to enjoy one of my favorite vegetables. I have heard from others that some of their garden didn't do so well this year, and was sad for them because I know how much that hurts when you spend lots of money, time, and effort with the results being no crop, or a ruined crop.

I also picked probably the last of the zucchini too. You'll see them in the photo along with the tomatoes. I'm going to try to save the tomato and zucchini plants by covering them with blankets at night and then uncover them during the day.

Susan at fatfree vegan calls this Fuhrman weather. I chuckled because Eat To Live is all about greens and this is the best time of year for them - spinach, lettuce, kale, collards, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage . . . etc. Also many of these are cruciferous veggies which are stars of this diet, especially for those who have autoimmune diseases.


I picked whatever grape tomatoes were left in the garden. Many are orange, not nice and red, but here's a tip. Many think you should put a slightly green tomatoes, or not quite ripe tomatoes on the window sill to complete the ripening process.

I use to think this too, but I came across a tip (don't remember where) and tried it to see if it would work. And it did. The author of this tip also said that all I was doing was frying my tomatoes when they sit in the sun like that.

So next time you've got an unripe tomato, wrap it in a towel on your counter. It will ripen within a day or two if it's close to already ripe. I'm going to try it with the grape tomatoes in the picture above and see if I can get them to redden up a little more.

Also, it's not a good idea to refrigerate tomatoes. It makes them mealy and removes flavor somehow. So purchase your tomatoes when you'll use them or use within 3 days of purchase. Also when your tomatoes are sitting on the counter, turn them over stem side down. It helps them to last longer.

Eat to live everyone!

Laina :-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

I am still so thrilled with my homemade soy yogurt. I ate some with lunch today as a dessert.

I measured 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries and microwaved them just enough so that they weren't frozen hard anymore, but still frozen. Sort of like a softer frozen only not soft. Is that confusing? :-)

On top of that I added probably three forth's cup of my homemade yogurt, and I absolutely loved, loved, loved it. Most of the blueberries are underneath the yogurt.

Smooth, creaminess passed my lips with a mild tartness with a slight hint of vanilla. I thought my yogurt days were over, but since trying the crock pot method of making yogurt, I'm now doing a happy dance with my bowl of yogurt in one hand, and a spoonful of yogurt in my mouth with the other.

I'm thinking that I could do this with any fruit and combine it to make a nice, creamy yogurty dressing for my salad, or just enjoy it as a dessert.

Either way, if you're someone who is vegan and have given up yogurt because it's dairy, this yogurt version made with soy milk is quite delightful.

A guy named Slim from a yahoo group discussion list came up with a different version of yogurt that I'd like to try sometime soon. He uses lentil milk with some other ingredients which sounds intriguing. I'll let you know when I give it a try.

Eat to live!
Laina :-)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Soy Yogurt

I' m so excited that my yogurt came out so well the first time I tried it. Don't you just love it when that happens. :-)

I read a few different websites about making your own yogurt, and the crockpot method drew me right in because I like simple and easy.

I did have a nice picture of the mixture in my crockpot, but can't seem to find it so I may have deleted it. But the picture above to the left gives you an idea of the final product and it's thickness.

But one of the website I surfed over to that encouraged the use of the slow cooker had in the comments section under the recipe that the rice milk and the soy milk didn't turn into yogurt. So because of that, I was apprehensive about trying to make soy yogurt in my crock pot because I didn't want to waste my time and money on something that wasn't going to work.

Another website suggested adding tapioca flour and agar. I bought the flour and thought I had agar at home but didn't, so I felt for sure my recipe wouldn't come out right. But I decided to try anyway because I didn't want to wait another day. :-)

Before you begin, make sure you sterilize whatever utensils you'll be using. So here's what I did.

I added two containers (32 oz) of Westsoy Organic Unsweetened Soymilk into my crockpot, and turned it on low for two and one half hours.

I was going to add the tapioca flour, but forgot to. An hour had passed before I remembered, so what I did was measure out a cup of the flour and added just enough water to mix. I took that mixture and added it to the crock pot and whisked well to incorporate it throughout the milk.

When the two and a half hours were up, I turned off the crock pot or you may want to unplug the unit to know you've turned it off, and waited for 3 hours.

After the 3 hours were up, (set a timer so you don't forget) I took out about one cup of the mixture from the crockpot and added six ounces of Silk Live Soy Yogurt. The health food store didn't have plain so unfortunately I had to use the vanilla.

This particular brand of yogurt has 6 live cultures, but............. it has added ingredients that I don't care for. There's one other store here locally I can check to see if they have a better brand of soy yogurt. I live in a small town so I'm limited to the amount of choices I have.  

I put the lid back onto the crockpot and wrapped the whole thing in a very large heavy towel and let it set overnight. In the morning, about twelve hours later I checked on it and was thrilled at the results.

It was creamy smooth with a very nice texture. The yogurt had a nice tang, not overpowering. The only thing I didn't like was the faint vanilla flavor. I had hoped that the six ounce vanilla flavored yogurt wouldn't be noticed in the large batch of yogurt, but you can taste it, but it's faint. So I hope I can find some plain soy yogurt before I try this again.

The rest of the flavor tastes very much like the soy milk. I haven't added any fruit yet, but I'll be eating some yogurt by itself and probably add some thawed frozen fruit.

I have a nice Dole frozen fruit variety in the freezer. I also have a bag of frozen blueberries I may try. Or another possibility would be to use some just-fruit jams I have in the refrigerator that might taste nice with the yogurt.

I added one cup to my morning smoothie and it added a nice flavor. There was sweetness from the fruit and a little tart from the yogurt. It was a nice combination.

After setting in the refrigerator for a while the yogurt mixture thickened some. Here's a picture of it a couple of hours later.

So if you've been wanting to try your hand at making soy yogurt, I think you may want to give this a try.  It really is so very easy and simple.

If you don't want to make that much at one time you can cut the recipe in half. I've read on others websites that this will last 7 to 10 days. So for me, this recipe is a bit too much since I'm the only one who will be eating it.

I'd like to try almond milk next time and see how it turns out. 

All the best to you and your health.

Laina :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Laina's Vegan Chile

Tonight I decided to make my own version of a vegan chili. It came out really good except it was just a tad too spicy. The next time I make this I'll use less chili powder.

My DH doesn't follow the E2L healthy diet so I made the recipe and set some aside for him and added his ground beef to his portion.

Laina's Vegan Chile

2 small onions chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
2 bell peppers (any color) chopped
2-3 medium carrots chopped
1 large rib of celery chopped
1 pound mushroom sliced
2 cans no sodium beans (kidney, pinto, black, northern - whatever you like)
1 32 ounce can of tomato puree
1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn
1 Tablespoon masa
2 teaspoons ground oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 Tablespoon crushed leaf basil
1 Tablespoon crushed leaf parsley
2 teaspoons red chili powder
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
currants or raisins added when serving if desired

Water saute onions, and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the peppers, celery and carrots and water saute for 3 more minutes on medium heat. Add a little water as needed for sauteing. Add mushrooms and saute for 2 more minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Heat for five minutes on low and add more water if needed according to the consistency you like. To the right is a picture of the chili I use or a brand that is similar. I don't have a picture of the exact same brand, but this is the same, just a different company.

The kind you purchase in the spice isle in a jar has salt and other spices added to it. This red chili to the right is pure red chili. If you can't find it where you live and would like me to purchase and mail you some, just let me know.

Or, if you can't find this in your store you can always buy the red chili pods or even the crushed red pepper and grind away in your coffee grinder.

When I serve my chili, I lay a bed of lettuce in a bowl. I used romaine, but you can use any lettuce or spinach. If I had green cabbage in the fridge, I would have used it.

Add the chili to whatever green you chose and top it with grape or cut up tomatoes and add about one tablespoon of currants or not.

Here's a picture of what I ate tonight. Yummy!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Granola with homemade almond milk

I thought you might enjoy watching this youtube recipe by Jennifer Cornbleet. It looks really tasty and is E2L friendly. If you try it, let me know.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Today I planted some spinach, lettuce and some mixed greens. I was going to plant some kale too, but ran out of time. I'll post a picture of my garden this weekend or early next week. I'm really excited because I haven't planted an autumn/winter garden before.

The picture to the left is what they looked like before they were rudely taken from their comfortable home and placed in a strange place, but at least it was a nice warm bed today.

The kale is going to be planted by seed, so you won't find them in the picture with the rest of the greens. Just wanted to save you from straining your eyes in case you tried to look for them. :-)

Today I've decided to go off of my horrible diet coke habit.........again! I went off of coke and did so well. But after giving in to one coke it led to another and another and now I'm drinking them regularly again. Ugh!

I'm going to read some websites that will tell me all the ills of drinking diet coke to remind myself of just how bad the stuff is. Usually when I read my E2L book again, it really helps too.

I've really been struggling with eating. I may get in 2 good meals and one bad. Or I may snack on something standard that's not healthy. It's probably the coke because I know it's one of my triggers that causes me to eat the wrong foods.

I'm probably doing around 85% E2L, but my goal is 100%. So I may begin the 6 week challenge again. Some of the others at an E2L discussion group are going to do the challenge, so I might join them. I don't think I have any more company coming or anything special that might interfere with committing to six weeks.

Well it's late and I need to read my emails so until next time . . . eat for health everyone!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Susan V's Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup

Sorry I've not been keeping up with my food blog. I have been keeping up with eating nutritionally though, just swerved off-plan a little here and there.

I want to take a few minutes to brag about Susan Voisin at . Many of her recipes have helped me to stay on track. I'm sure many of you would say the same thing. There were times I cried when I first began E2L. I thought I'd never enjoy food again.

I thank Susan and others like her who offer so many recipes to choose from. Some of the recipes I've tried have put a smile on my face, and have given me hope that I really can enjoy eating nutritionally and continue to enjoy cooking also.

The only criticism I could offer would be why it took so long for this particular recipe to arrive. :-) I ate half of the soup tonight. I could have eaten the whole thing, that's how good it was.

The only thing I did different was to use plain old green cabbage for some crunch instead of the zucchini Susan has spiraled atop her bowl. I think the zucchini looks prettier, but I am needing to up my intake of cruciferous veggies. I added some tomatoes for color, variety and taste. Tomatoes and basil go together like peanut butter and jelly, don't cha think? :-) I also added about 1/2 cup of unsweetened soy milk, and a little extra basil. I LOVE BASIL.

Give this recipe a try. I think you'll be glad you did. Oh, and I love the color too ......GREEN! hee hee

Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup

2 pounds zucchini (about 5 small to medium)
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cups vegetable broth (I used Imagine No-Chicken)
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
3 tablespoons raw cashews
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
additional salt & pepper, to taste

Set aside one of the zucchini; trim and coarsely chop the rest.

Cook onion in a large saucepan for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the chopped zucchini, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the broth and simmer until zucchini is tender, about 15 minutes.

Pour into a blender (in 2 batches, if necessary) taking care to avoid burns by not filling the blender more than halfway. Add the basil, cashews, and nutritional yeast and blend until smooth.

Return soup to the pot, season with salt and pepper to taste, and keep warm. Shred the remaining zucchini with a spiral slicer, mandolin, or grater. Pour soup into bowls and sprinkle grated zucchini over top.

Servings: 6

Friday, September 11, 2009


I've had family visiting this past month. Preparing the standard fare for them made it more difficult for me to stay true to eating healthy. But I have mostly stayed on track and I don't mind eating the standard diet once in a while. I just don't want it to be difficult to get back to eating my greens again.

I haven't weighed in. I don't think I've lost anything and I'm hoping I haven't gained either.

So another week and I will go back to eating E2L 100%. Well hopefully I will. I'm sure I'll have some detox issues again, but it shouldn't be too bad. I really need to do this for my health. You'd think for that reason it would make it much easier.

I had some zucchini this week right out of the garden along with fresh garden tomatoes. I'm going to really miss my fresh veggies when summer takes a vacation.

I'll miss going into my garden and popping those sweet grape tomatoes into my mouth. It's like eating candy. Yum!

This weekend or next, I'll be trading those sun-loving veggies for cooler crops like spinach, kale and lettuce.

This week I cut up some zucchini and tomatoes in bite size chunks, and simply added an Italian dressing. How simple is that? And how delicious! I must admit, I love simple and delicious to shake hands. :-)

I'm wanting to post more often to hold myself accountable, so hopefully I will. I hope that by blogging I can offer some encouragement to those who are trying to eat a more healthy diet.

Eating for health and enjoying it,
Laina :-)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eating For Health continued

To continue, my health was getting worse instead of better even though I was eating so nutritionally.

Well let me back up a little bit. My high cholesterol and high blood pressure is what brought me to, "Eat To Live", but other health issues were already going on too.

When I reached the age of fifty is when my health first began to decline. Well no, that's not totally accurate, so let me back up a little bit more. :-)

Twenty nine years ago I was diagnosed with lupus, and then later on they said it was FM (fibromyalgia) and not lupus. I was relieved at that news even though I felt horrible.

There are a lot of symptoms I suffer on a daily basis. Some of the symptoms of FM mimic lupus. They still want me to have a blood test periodically to made sure I don't get lupus. There's one blood test that still comes out positive, so they think I may end up getting it.

Okay, back to when I reached the age of fifty. I had Grave's Disease and didn't know it. It's one of those things, which was my habit, that I blamed on the FM.

During a yearly medical exam I told my doctor that I wasn't sleeping well. I was taking 4-6 benedryl nightly trying to get some sleep. When I finally did fall asleep it was in the wee hours of the morning. When I awoke I would drag myself through the day as if I were a zombie.

My doctor did some blood work and the
test results revealed that I had Grave's Disease (hyperthyroidism). I also had a goiter which is common with Graves Disease. I was told I could either have surgery or I could take a radio-active iodine pill. I chose to take the pill.

So now my thyroid is non-active (dead) and I have to take Synthroid for the rest of my life. Looking back, I wish I had known about E2L. It may not have changed anything, but then again it might have; at least it would have been worth trying a nutritional approach first.

Some of the symptoms of Graves disease are: hot flashes, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, sensitivity to heat, weight loss, brittle hair, etc. Basically my immune system was attacking the thyroid.

I visiting many websites and
read up on the thyroid to find out what was going on with my body. It amazed me to find out that that a tiny little organ affects so much of the body.

After treatment, it took over a year for the doctors to find the proper dose of medication for my needs. The insomnia continued, and I had hoped that the it was due to the wrong thyroid dosage, but was disappointed when my sleeping didn't improve.

I also finding out during the yearly testing, that I have osteopenia which is a precursor to osteoporosis.

Another thing I was dealing with while they treated me for Graves disease was that my liver enzymes were elevated. They couldn't give me the normal drugs they give patients before receiving the radio-active-iodine because the drugs would have been too hard on my liver. They were only able to give me a beta blocker to help protect the heart from this treatment. So the specialist warned me ahead of time that I'd probably be really sick. And I was.

What happens is that all your thyroid hormones dump into your system all at once when they give you the iodine pill which can be dangerous to the heart. My pulse was beating rapidly and the beta blockers are suppose to help bring the pulse to a normal rate to protect the heart.

I went for months with little to no sleep each night while going through the process of the thyroid dying. To be candid, it was one of the worse times of my life.

I was in bed 24/7. When I finally had my first appointment to see the doctor, she waited too long. My body went to the other extreme and went totally hypothyroid. She tried to prevent that, she just waited too long for a check up. She did apologize for not bringing me in sooner.

A couple months later I had to have all my teeth pulled and had to be fitted for dentures. That wasn't a pleasant experience either. I tell everyone who ever mentions wanting dentures that they really don't. There's nothing like having your own teeth.

With all that going on with my health, the day of my next doctor's appointment is when I found out I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. That was like the last straw for me. I had reached the last thread, and was ready to let go. I cried . . . I was depressed. I just felt like every time I turned around my body was giving up on me, or attacking me. I wasn't sure how much more I could take. I cried out to God during this time and He really helped to see me through it all.

To add another trial to this ongoing list, my husband lost his job. We ended up needing to live in our RV. When he found a job about four months later we were forever grateful, but he was only making 1/3 of his previous salary. More new challenges were added to the list.

The greatest thing that happened during all of this is that I saw the hand of God at work in Tim's and my life. He truly is an anchor for the soul.

One day I met with a friend and shared what I was going through and explained that I wanted to treat my new health issues with nutrition and vitamins, not medically, so she loaned me her book, "Eat To Live". I'm so thankful to her for letting me borrow it. I read and read, and read some more, and then purchased a copy of my own.

I decided I would follow this new way of eating and within three months the blood pressure's back to normal and the cholesterol began to improve.

By the way, this was a really difficult diet for me. I cried and thought I'd never enjoy food again. I went from SAD to jumping right in and doing E2L completely.

I didn't like the foods I was preparing. So I mostly ate smoothies and salads. I did like Dr. Fuhrman's chili recipe, but that's about the only recipe I made that I actually liked the way it tasted. When I'd try and prepare new recipes I would throw them all out because I thought they were awful, especially without adding salt for flavor.

But, I perservered, and made it through each day, one day at a time. I slowly began to enjoy eating again, and kept trying new recipes, and found some soups and dishes that I can say I really enjoyed.

Excited about the benefits of eating nutritionally when I saw the improved blood results, I tried to do a ten day fast but couldn't even make it through the second day before I gave in and ate something.

A yearly physical was due, and a bone density test. The results showed the osteopenia has turned into osteoporosis in one of my hips and also the lower back. An x-ray showed I also have osteoarthritis.

I thought the increased pain I was having was the fibromyalgia, but it was the arthritis. The insomnia that began while I had Graves Disease only got worse, and I was feeling horrible.

My health was getting worse. About the only thing I could do with little to no sleep was to get on the computer and surf the i-net and check email with my laptop.
I'd get up from bed and move a few steps to the couch.

While my health was declining, I had signed up to take a writer's course via the internet, and that helped to give me something to do, and keep my mind off my problems.

Every muscle in my body was a mess and in pain. The back of my legs were in so much pain it hurt to simply sit on the couch. I tried to walk a little in the house or back yard, but I didn't have a whole lot of strength to do anything, but I would try.

I couldn't cook or clean for a while either. That made me feel so useless. I hated it when I had to watch my husband do the things that I should be doing.

I wasn't able to prepare healthy food for myself, and my husband eats the typical diet, and he doesn't cook, so I ended up reverting back to eating unhealthy foods. I did try to still eat somewhat healthy, but it was the standard diet for the most part.

Months passed. I tried a couple of sleeping pills the doctor prescribed, but they weren't helping. After some time passed with no relief in sight, I decided to try benedryl for sleep. It helped some, and I began to feel somewhat better after a few months. It was all a process and took a while. The doctor prescribed some muscle relaxants which seemed to help me to sleep also.

Time passed, and when I was able to prepare my food again, I began to eat more healthy and soon got back to eating the E2L way almost 100%. I still struggle with sleep, but it's so much better than before. I am so grateful to be able to get five or six hours of sleep, but here lately I've been getting seven or eight. My usual is one or two nights with little to no sleep, but the rest of the week I sleep. It's wonderful

I'm now doing the six week challenge. This is my second week and I've lost three pounds. I weighed in at 134.5 and need to be at 123 if I want to reach my ideal weight. I'm not sure I'll lose all of that. I'd be happy right at 129 to 130.

I'm walking three days a week with a friend when I can. It all depends on whether or not I sleep the night before. I still suffer with lots of pain and weakness. I'm hoping that the longer I eat this healthy, nutritious diet it will benefit me and change some of the health issues I'd like for it to target. But if not, I'm still going to eat this way because it's benefiting me in so many other ways.

A recent finding is that my vitamin D is really low and the doctor prescribed mega doses of a prescription vitamin D. 50,000 IU's twice per week for 3 months. I've been on it for a month now, so in two months she'll do a blood test and see how it's doing.

So I'll keep on keeping on eating the nutritarian way, and hope for the best. I'll be honest though, this isn't the easiest way to eat. I still struggle because I loved eating the standard diet.

My plan is to continue the six week challenge until I get to a comfortable weight.

So here's to greens, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies that God gave so abundantly for nourishment. I thank God all the time because He is really the one who led me to Dr. Fuhrman and his nutritional program.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Spiral Slicer - A must have tool

Joyce Chen Saladacco Spiral Vegetable Slicer

I bought a spiral slicer a couple three weeks ago. I finally got it out and used it today. I'm so glad I did. Why did I wait so long? I highly recommend you buying one if you don't already have it.

I made zuchinni spaghetti for supper tonight, and it was wonderfully delicious. And fantastically easy, what a quick meal.

I happen to be growing summer squash in my garden this year and had some sitting on the counter.

I spiralized a couple of them, medium in size and topped them with Walnut Acres low sodium tomato basil spaghetti sauce. I warmed the dish in the microwave for a minute or two, just to warm it, and wow. The crunchy texture of the raw zuchinni, and the tomato sauce delighted my palate.

I love this dish so much that I know I'll be eating it often. And the slicer was easy to use, easy to clean, and actually it was fun to operate.

Next I'm going to give carrots a try and add them to my salad. I love new kitchen tools, don't you?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Eating For Health

Back in 2006 a friend loaned me her book, "Eat To Live,"
by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. After reading the book I joined his membership website and implemented his suggestions by changing the way I eat, from a standard American diet (SAD) to eating a healthy diet of nutrient rich foods.

I also read his book, "Fasting And Eating For Health." I had hoped to do a ten day fast after eating healthfully for a few months.

For about a year or so I ate the E2L way, and tried fasting, but I couldn't make it through 2 days. I felt like such a wimp. :-)

My health was compromised which is the main reason I decided to try eating this way. I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol too. I also suffered with fibromyalgia for over 20 years. I was hoping that this new diet along with a possible fast would heal me, or at least lessen the pain. There were some other health issues also that I'll mention in another post.

After the first year my of eating fruits, veggies, greens, beans, nuts and seeds, very little sodium, no oil, and limited starches, I saw some benefits to my health within three months.

My blood pressure was 139/95 and I brought it down to 120/70. My cholesterol was 295 total and it came down to 231 within 3 months time. The bad was 206 and I brought it down to 161.

I am so thankful to God and to my friend for introducing me to the book, "Eat To Live."

Those are wonderful benefits and even if that would be all the benefit I'll ever see, it's worth eating a nutritarian diet.

My doctor had wanted me on drugs for the high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, but I told her to give me some time to bring the levels to a better range, by changing my diet, and wow, I did it. Yay! :-) I was so thrilled by the results.

But then a little later on my journey to health I got really sick - my health deteriorated even more which was surprising to me because I was eating such a high nutrient diet. I was so discouraged.

To be continued.....