Monday, March 30, 2009

Goodbye Dairy... Again! And other things (like, listen to your body!)

Sorry for the lack of posts... I've been spending alot of time lately packing other things into my schedule: studying (I'm behind in my Nutritional Therapies class), setting up my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pick-up in Tustin, setting up my online community for the OC Weston A. Price foundation at, rehearsing several times a week for my upcoming bellydance performances (this past weekend was a bridal shower performance!), doumbek drum lessons and practice.

So, you ask, what has happened in the past few weeks? ALOT!

I gave up on my experiment with raw grassfed dairy. After a month of eating raw milk and raw kefir and raw cheeses, I noticed scabs in the interior of my nose that would not heal and yucky, green nasal mucus. Sorry, I know, TMI. But, if you're healthy, your nasal mucous membranes should produce clear mucus. It's the only major change I have made in my diet, so I figured my body did not really like dairy after all. I have eliminated most of the dairy now (with some leftover grassfed butter to finish), and my nose is finally healing. I am sad to lose dairy, again, but happy that my body is grateful for the absence of bad dairy reactions.

This leads me to the point about listening to our bodies. Maybe I'm paranoid and using my body as a science experiment, but I think it is crucial to have a strong awareness of what is going on internally. I think Western lifestyles have left us being very disconnected to our bodies, and being in a rush or on the go all the time isn't helping! This is where taking up meditation, or yoga, or walking in nature, or even bellydancing or other activities that connect you to the physical, is very helpful for keeping you aware of the body and its needs.

And, if you are in need of healing (physical or emotional), keep a daily food log. It is amazing what writing all your food intake can show you, even if it is only for a week. I have been keeping a food log for months now, and it has helped me notice certain trends, such as eating good quality fats (coconut oil, cod liver oil) during the evening means that I have improved blood circulation in my hands and feet at night AND the skin on my fingers is no longer cracked. As well as the eat-dairy-bad-things-happen-to-me observation.

YMMV: Your milage may vary! You need to determine your own trends, so listen to your body!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

You Plan to Fail If You Fail to Plan... Meal Plans!

Many people are tightening their belts in this current economy, but that's not a bad thing when it comes to eating! How many countless times have you opened the fridge at the end of the week and there's a bunch of stuff in there -- you don't know how old all the unlabeled containers are and you have vegetables growing mold? Well, one way to solve that problem, help reduce waste (mother Earth will thank you!) and be frugal is to plan your meals.

Even if you're the best of cooks and you can make a "leftovers" soup or salad (which are both great ideas by the way!), you will probably benefit from meal planning. You can have a sense for how much protein sources to buy (vegetarian or animal) as well as different fruits, veggies, and grains (if you eat them). Since I go to my farmers market every weekend (and soon will be participating in my new CSA program!), I have a general idea of the different types of produce available. And, as you can see by my list below, I do try to keep my menu fairly simple, except for items on the weekend when I have more time to roast or do more time-consuming, labor-intensive cooking. I usually do a quick stirfry of my veggies with appropriate herbs, seasonings, and olive/coconut oil, or I will steam them and top them with grassfed butter. (Psst - alot of the nutrients in your veggies are more easily assimilated into the body with fat! And why would you want to eat your veggies plain anyway? =)

Erica's Menu for this week

Dehydrate soaked walnuts
B - green smoothie with avocado, cucumber, and lemon
L - eat out with a friend
D - honey mustard lamb with broccoli garlic stirfry

B- leftover lunch
L- leftover fish and veggies plus maybe some kale chips
D- eat out with sister-in-law

B- bitter melon soup with eggs
L- leftover lamb and veggies
D- natural corned beef with braised green beans

B- leftover bitter melon soup
L - leftover corned beef and veggies
D-beef veggie soup with crockpot roast, leeks, tomatoes, onions, fresh carrots, etc.

B- green smoothie
L- leftover soup
D- natural sausage veggie stirfy with broccoli, onion, carrots, cauliflower

B- fried eggs
L-leftover stirfry
D- baked cumin chicken legs with whatever veggies I have left

Plan again!

Note- I don't include dessert because I usually do not eat dessert. My body does not react well to grains, dairy (as I have sadly found out recently even though it was raw or fermented grassfed dairy), sugar, or fruits, so I do not incorporate them into my meal plan much. Please follow your own plan and listen to your body! Your body will let you know what foods are best for it.

Thanks again to Jenna @ My Joyful Haven for being brave enough to post her meal plans!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hair Nutrition - FAIL!

After writing up this article about unsafe beauty products a few weeks ago, I decided to experiment with my hair. My previous JASON shampoo was rated as a "moderate hazard." So, I went "no 'poo" for at least 14 days. What this meant was washing my hair every other day, and on the days I did wash, I used baking soda for the wash and apple cider vinegar as a rinse. This was meant to be a good test to see if my hair felt better without the oil-stripping shampoos or the added chemicals.

A big FAIL for me! This is not to say that using baking soda and apple cider vinegar would not work for others, because there are alot of advocates out there online. I just could not get the greasy feeling to leave my hair, ever. Plus, on days when I bellydanced with my group, the apple cider vinegar smell (and maybe the baking soda smell too) would be extremely strong, to the point I was certain I was making others raise eyebrows. ACV smells good in food, but not as a perfume while sweating!

Alas, I am going back to something better. I found Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps All-One Hemp Lavender Oil Liquid Soap that doesn't smell bad (lavender-scented!) or leave a greasy feel. And, the EWG's Cosmetic database rates it a 2 or "low hazard." Plus, you can use this soap for washing your body too, and probably a bunch of other things. I like!

Now, on to more experimenting with other beauty products...

I've also been doing some research on Metabolic Typing so should have a new post soon about that! Fascinating stuff about how we are all biochemically different from one another, so one diet doesn't fit all. Coming soon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Top 10 Must-Have Ingredients

Thanks to Jenna at for offering the idea to discuss this topic! Here is the list of my top 10 ingredients that I always enjoy on a weekly basis and cannot live without. They are in no particular order -- all good eats!

Photo courtsey of Shi Yali

1. Garlic - in bulb form or peeled whole (refrigerated).

2. Coconut oil - cold-pressed, virgin, organic. I use this in my tea in between meals, on top of steamed veggies, the list goes on and on!

Photo courtesy of woodleywonderworks
3. Eggs (the perfect food!) - I'm looking for no-soy eggs right now... tough to find but I will keep looking!

4. Wild salmon - canned or fresh. I can eat this stuff for breakfast!

5. Good Celtic or Himalayan salt or RealSalt - regular salt can have dextrose (from corn!) added to it!

Photo courtesy of djprybyl
6. Kale - I love this green raw in a salad or baked like a chip!

7. Butter - preferably organic & grassfed... I'm going to try raw grassfed organic butter as soon as my current supply of Kerry Gold unsalted butter dwindles. I love it on top of steamed cauliflower & other veggies, eggs, etc.

8. A probiotic foods of some sorts: kimchi, kefir (my first attempt to make @ home today!), yogurt, etc.

9. Kombucha - yes, the weird, fizzy, slightly vinegary- and sweet-tasting drink. I'm gearing up to make this at home soon. It deserves its own category.. I'm so addicted to it!

10. Bones - for making homemade bone broth. Good for digestion, multiple uses, easy to make.

That's all, folks! What's on your favorite 10 list??? Please share!