Friday, September 26, 2014

The Rise in Food Allergies and Why

Heading off to a women's retreat today with a friend but came across a headline this morning that deeply saddened me but also alarmed me.

The headline was of a 14 year old who died from food allergies.  The unusual part of the story was about WHY so many children are developing food allergies now a days.

By Gabe NobleGiovanni Cipriano was an ordinary 14-year-old high school freshman who had a passion for baseball and had just made the honor roll. One quiet night, as he snacked on trail mix and watched a movie with his mother, his throat began to incessantly itch. Unbeknown to Giovanni and his mother, there were peanuts in the mix, which he had been allergic to since he was 18 months old. His mother gave him a double dose of Benadryl and frantically rushed to the hospital.
"I took his hand and I said, 'Don’t worry, we’re here.' And when I grabbed his hand, he was cold and his body was blue," Giovanni’s mother, Georgina, said. The anaphylactic reaction led to a coma, and he died several weeks later.
Giovanni was one of the 6 million children in the United States who suffer from food allergies, an alarming number that has nearly tripled in the past two decades. Dr. Martin Blaser, a microbiologist and professor at New York University, is working tirelessly on groundbreaking research into this dramatic spike in food allergies. His hypothesis is that exposure to antibiotics early in life is diminishing positive gut bacteria and thus weakening children's immune systems, making them more susceptible to allergies. Blaser warns parents: "Antibiotics are not free, they do have a cost. And it is not just monetary but in the development of the immunity in children."
Blaser’s theory has been tested on young mice. They were fed a strong dose of antibiotics, and soon after their immune system changed and they developed a peanut allergy. They were then given the missing positive bacteria, and the results were astounding: The allergy was gone!
While his research is still a work in progress, the results so far are positive and could potentially lead to a cure for food allergies.
(to watch the interview click HERE)

This is exactly why we try very hard to only buy  hormone and antibiotic free meats.  Did you know that 80% of all antibiotics used in the US are used on animals?  Mainly the ones you are eating.  In turn, YOU are consuming that antibiotic. It can be through meat or animal by products( milk, cheese, etc). 

So not only are we seeing these super bugs develop that antibiotics are no longer helping to get rid of and antibiotic allergies on the rise,  but it looks like it is contributing to these deadly food allergies that are everywhere now. 

Little Miss is allergic to nuts, but not in a deadly way.  She would break out from the peanut oils on her skin in what appeared to be blistery hives.  I tested her again recently and she didn't appear to have the topical reaction so I thought, "Yes! She's outgrown it!". 

I fed her peanut butter and jelly the one day and then PB banana the next only to have her end up with horrible diarrhea.  As soon as I removed peanuts from her diet again, the diarrhea abruptly stopped. 

That is only a small problem though compared to those with severe nut allergies, so I am grateful. 

What you eat really does matter, and what your children eat really does matter.  

Knowledge is power.

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Friday, September 19, 2014

Your Apples are 14 Months Old and Other Yummy Facts

We try to buy most everything "organic".  I put quotations around the word because we often don't buy 'certified organic', but the product is still void of pesticides and herbicides.  The process to have your product labeled "Certified Organic"  is costly and many smaller farms simply can't afford it.

So at a farmer's market you should just ask questions about the produce-"Do you use pesticides/herbicides on your crops?" But never ask if it's organic.  Because with out $$ and that little label, farmer's cannot claim that they are organic, but they still may technically be free of chemicals.  Don't assume though because they are coming straight from the grower though that they are chemical free either.

There are some things though that I don't buy organic because it is really not warranted.  You might have heard of the Dirty Dozen list that tell you the top things that you should be buying organic.  There is also a Clean 15 list.  This list tells which fruits or veggies that pesticides/herbicides don't affect too much or aren't used on that often.

Dirty Dozen are typically the dirtiest because of the thin skins they have and the ability of pesticides/herbicides to penetrate and go right into the produce itself.  No amount of washing is going to get it out.  Greens on the Dirty Dozen list have a broader surface area so more space for chemicals to lay upon. The Clean Dozen are generally so because they have tough skins that chemicals can't penetrate as well or that chemicals aren't used as much on.

Imagine if you will:

I ask you if you would like an apple or a nice salad.  You say, "Sure!"

I take out the apple or lettuce and head over to my sink and proceed to dump weed killer on it.

But don't worry!  I then run the produce under the faucet to rinse it off.

I turn around and hand the apple to you or the nice bowl of salad.

You're ok with eating it right??

I don't know of anyone in their right mind who would be ok with that.  Yet that is exactly what is happening to the produce we are consuming.  We just don't see it happening right before our eyes.  This is why it is so important to know where our food is coming from.

I learned another shocking fact about our produce recently:

 Did you know that apples in the supermarket are typically 
14 months old??

I mean, yeah we know that apple harvest is in the fall, yet we have apples available year around in the store.  I think I assumed that they just grew in some other part of the country or world other parts of the year and were shipped in.


Here is how 14 month apples-known in the industry as Birthday Apples- end up in our stores (and stomachs) and why you should care:

No wonder a fresh apple from the tree tastes so much better!!!

Just another reason to buy in season and organic.  At the health food store I buy most of the items on my grocery list from, you won't find produce that is out of season(except in the frozen section).  Why?  Because it takes abnormal measures to keep that produce good year around( abnormal meaning chemicals).

'Fresh' produce is often an illusion.

Is any produce better than none?  In  my opinion no. I would rather my kids go with out then hand them something laden with chemicals that have been connected to a whole slew of diseases and disorders( such as Parkinsons).  I always picture myself pouring that weed killer on the fruit/veggie and handing it to my child like I mentioned earlier.  Would I do that?  Would the nutrition the kids get from that peach out weigh the toxic pesticide they are ingesting?

I say no.

I am not a food snob.  My eyes have simply been opened to our world of food and the system of it. I don't think rejecting food that is labeled as toxic in fields qualifies as being a food snob.

 I call it surviving and staying alive.

 I knew not what I knew not, probably just like you.  I thought I was doing great in our food choices. And I was compared to most people out there.

I don't look down on those who don't think twice about what's in that box dinner or on that apple.  My contempt is for the industry and how it is allowed to be run.  With learning the truth behind what we eat, I feel a bit hoodwinked and kept in the dark.  Don't you?  It's like ordering a steak only to find out it's dog meat.

The question now though is this: Now that you are armed with this knowledge, what will you do with it?

If you want to know  how to correctly, easily and naturally preserve produce so you can still enjoy it year around check out this step by step guide.  Maybe next time you won't be tempted to grab that Birthday Apple then!  I know I won't be anymore!

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Maybe Our Journey is Not Meant to Be...

I have encountered several people who have said that since it has taken so long to sell our house that it must not have been God's plan after all. Or that God wanted us to learn something else along the way and it was never about packing up and hitting the road.

Don't think we haven't thought of these things and prayed fervently to God to make his way clear.  There have indeed been times when God has pushed on in a certain direction in life but the whole lesson was really about something else and we never achieved what we thought was the ultimate goal.

What's that saying?  It's not the destination, it's the journey.

It is more important to us to do what God wants then for us to be right.  It would hurt our pride a bit to have God suddenly say, "No, it's not really about you traveling the country for a year, it was about what you learned along the way or the people you met. It was simply to see if you would take that great leap of faith and trust me."

So we have gone back through out the past year and reexamined.  What prompted us to try to set out on this journey- was it something we wanted or God wanted? Did we pray about it and seek God's will each step along the way?  Did we see God step in during the past year to make things happen?

Every time we have reexamined we have come to the same conclusion:

  • We in no way ever wanted to sell our home and live in an RV for a year with our family.  So this was not birthed out of our own personal desires.
  •  God was the go to guy in each step of this journey and we always followed his prompting and leading for each and every decision.  We weren't just doing our own thing. Each twist and turn has been God's doing.
  • Nothing shows  that a dream or goal is God-breathed more than when he makes his presence known through doing the impossible.  We have seen this happen during the past year also. We had no idea how this would all work out at all, but he keeps putting the pieces in place.
So our conclusion is that we are right where God wants us to be and still fill led that we are suppose to pursue this cross country journey.

Often we think if we are in God's will then things will happen FAST!  Tell that to Noah who built a boat for 100 years  Was Noah not following God's will because it took a long time?  What about the Israelites?  Ok, they were being punished for 40 years for disobeying, so maybe that isn't a good example. But God still delivered on his promise in the end.

I read the following this morning out of the book Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson:

"Until recently I attached an ASAP to every prayer.  I wanted God to answer as soon as possible.  But this is no longer my agenda.  I don't want easy or quick answers because I have a tendency to mishandle the blessings that come too easily or too quickly.  I take credit for them, or take them for granted.  So now I pray it will take long enough and be hard enough for God to receive all the glory.

I'm not looking for the path of least resistance; I'm looking for the path  of greatest glory.  And that requires high-degree-of-difficulty prayers and lots of circling."

Isn't that the truth??

It reminds me of those that come into wealth very quickly or easily and then squander it away.  Those that have lived with out, have struggled financially and had to work for every dollar tend to handle a windfall or increase in wealth better.  They appreciate it more don't they?  And they are more likely to give glory to those who helped them achieve their dreams.

I have people who I haven't seen in a long while ask me,"Oh are you back now?!"  I laugh and say we still haven't left yet.  I then explain that I have come to the realization that God knew we would be in deep trouble if we hit the road right away last year after he first laid this journey on our hearts.

We have acquired so much knowledge of RVing over the past year.  We would have been risking our lives if we would have just jumped in last year with such limited knowledge and experience.  We were prepared to do that at God's calling(as scary as it would have been), but he knew that it would be better to give us time. I greatly appreciate that now!

We will continue to reevaluate God's direction in our lives, because our prayer is always that he take the reigns no matter what direction that may lead.

But for now, God is making it clear that we are still working towards traveling the country for year.

Here is my new prayer:

"I'm not praying ASAP prayers; I'm praying ALAT prayers.  As Long As it Takes. I'm going to get in my prayer circle and I'm not coming out until God answers. This does not mean I'm forcing God's hand.  After all, we can't force God to do anything! It just means I'm praying with confidence. I believe that God never overpromises or underdelivers. He always delivers on His promises, but He does it on His time!" 
~Draw the Circle

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Monday, September 1, 2014

Festival Singing and Bake Off Results

So today we are wrapping up our local festival here in town.  Snuggle Bug and Sissy entered the bake-off and Sissy also was in the Karaoke Contest.

Snuggle Bug made Gooey White Chocolate Chip Fluffernutter Bars.  They were AMAZING.  

Sissy made a 3 layer Raspberry Blackberry Chocolate Truffle Cake with Marshmallow Fondant.
She won 1st place in her youth division.  That blackberry and raspberries on top of the cake are done all in fondant.  I went to bed the night before when she was starting to make them.  I was so impressed the next morning when I saw the finished product! 

Baking is truly her God given talent.

Sissy also entered the singing contest.  Another gift of hers.  
She is singing The Broken Beautiful by Ellie Holcomb

So proud of my kiddos!

Many Blessings,
The Mama