Why I Stopped Drinking Coffee and Wine

I have been dealing with thyroid nodules for the last 8 years.  Two Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists advised me that I did not need surgery; one recommended that I needed it.  Until last year, they did not irritate me.  I almost opted to have surgery last year; however, a few weeks before I was scheduled to have surgery, I was told that my insurance would not cover all expenses.  Was that a coincidence?  No, not at all!

Doctors make surgery sound so simple. They would  remove my entire thyroid, and I would have to take thyroid medication for the rest of my life. I wasn’t comfortable with that.  I was introduced to an herbalist that instructed me on my thyroid nodules. Basically, nodules form because the blood needs to be detoxed.  You detox the blood and the liver with a healthy diet and herbal supplements.  I took the recommended herbal supplements and ate a vegan diet for a month.  (By vegan, I didn’t eat any meat, dairy, pasta, bread, or sweets).  My nodules began to reduce in size.

I didn’t continue the vegan lifestyle, but I continued taking the supplements. I’ve always been a coffee lover, whether it’s plain coffee, cappuccino, or  iced coffee.  I wasn’t an alcohol drinker, but in the last few months, I begin indulging in red wine, about 2-3 glasses per week.  I noticed that my nodules were beginning to grow and become irritating again.  After discussing with my herbalist, he said that coffee and wine increases thyroid nodules.

I stopped drinking both immediately.  Alcohol, coffee, and black tea are highly acidic.  You hear conflicting reports about coffee; some articles say that it can have positive effects on your health and some say to avoid it.  Wine is good for the heart, but you need to drink a good-quality wine to get the benefits.

I’ve mentioned in my previous posts that I do not eat pork, shrimp, crab, and lobster for religious reasons.  Although beef, chicken, turkey, and certain fish (not shark or catfish) are acceptable to eat, I will most likely return to the vegan lifestyle. Meat is very acidic, and it is very important to keep your body alkaline.  I would prefer being a vegan over having surgery and taking medication for life.

The Dangers of Cosmetics

Women (and in some cases men) use cosmetics to enhance facial features. However, some cosmetics contain chemicals that can be harmful to the body. Below is a short list of those ingredients that can be found in color cosmetics. I’ve also included some ingredients found in nail polish. It’s summertime, and many of us want to show off our feet by wearing vibrant colors on our toenails. It’s fine to look beautiful. I want to make you aware of all of your options.

 

Common ingredients found in makeup (i.e. foundation, color cosmetics):

Propylparaben – preservative; can mimic estrogen; can disrupt hormones

Methylparaben – preservative; can cause (breast) cancer, skin, and eye damage.

Disodium EDTA (ethelenediaminetetraacetic acid) – makes hard water soft

Diazolidinyl urea – preservative and formaldehyde releaser; can cause allergies. It should be noted that formaldehyde is toxic and used to preserve cadavers (dead bodies).

These chemicals can also be listed as benzoic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, methyl ester, etc. For a complete list and for more information about cosmetic ingredients, visit
https://www.ewg.org

 

Common ingredients found in nail polish

Acetone – this is used as nail polish remover, sometimes 100% or diluted. Used for laboratory experiments or cleaning laboratory glassware.

Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) – increases flexibility and shine in polish; causes birth defects

Formaldehyde – causes cancer

Triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) – used to make plastic; disrupts hormones, and contributes to weight gain and obesity

Always read the ingredients before you buy any product. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it or buy at your own risk.  Personally, I enjoy being pampered from a manicure or pedicure.  There may be non-toxic brands available, or you may opt for no polish.  If you have the time, you can do it yourself in the comfort of your own home.

For ideas on homemade makeup and non-toxic nail polish options, visit:

Continue reading “The Dangers of Cosmetics”

Natural Hair: Getting to the Root of It

At the beginning of this year, I decided that I would stop chemically treating my hair and embrace my natural hair.  I think just about every woman that I know has decided to do this. I admit that I was hesitant about going natural because my hair is very course.  After talking to other sisters and hair professionals, the key is conditioner and LOTS of it. I use Taliah Waajid for Children and  Silk Elements MegaSilk Olive Moisturizing Treatment.  I also use coconut oil and shea butter on my hair. I was also told that it would be a lot of work, and that I would need to give my hair time to recover from the many years of relaxing.

Last year, I wore a very short cut, which was really cute and easy to manage. However, I was starting to notice that my hair was thinning around my hairline.  Since natural products and herbal supplements are improving my health, it should work for my hair.  I decided to try Ninja Hair Growth Tonic for my thinning patches of hair. I saw results within 2 weeks. I  massage my scalp with it 1-2 times each week nightly and wash it the next day.

To make my transition to natural hair easier, I have been wearing fluffy twists, which look natural.  They also feel very light. My stylist says that my hair is growing fast. When the relaxer “grows out”, I can rock my natural hair and love it!

Alternatives to the Use of Household Cleaners

For those of us that clean, particularly moms (and dads), we may use cleaning products  with very strong odors. Sometimes, the smell is so strong that it makes us cough.  We use it because it works, right?  If we open the windows as we clean, the smell won’t be so bothersome.

Well, have you ever read the ingredients on the label of a bottle of cleaner?  For instance, toilet bowl cleaners, no matter the name brand, contain hydrochloric acid or HCl for all my fellow scientists.  Hydrochloric acid is a strong acid, which means that it can burn the skin.  The fumes from the vapors are very toxic.  Whenever, I’ve had to use this for lab experiments, I wore gloves and worked under a fume hood.

Some of you may use bleach to clean your toilets and for washing your white laundry.   Although like hydrochloric acid, bleach will kill the germs and “whiten whites”; however, bleach contains chlorine, which is also toxic. (If you swim in a chlorinated swimming pool, you may notice that your eyes my burn if they come in contact with the water).

Many drain cleaners contain concentrated acid.  So, since HCl and bleach are both harmful, there are safer, effective ways to clean.  Mixing 1/2 cup of vinegar with 1/2 cup baking soda will clean the drain.

As the weather is getting warmer, you see more insects. Since our house is surrounded by trees, we often find ants and other insects in our home.  Since my son is fascinated with all types of bugs, I don’t want to use any strong chemicals in our home.  We also have a dog that should not be exposed to chemicals. For gnats, I leave a small glass of apple cider vinegar in the area that they populate.  After a few days, I’ll notice gnats floating in the glass of vinegar.  For ants, I make a mixture of 1:1 white vinegar and water and 5 drops of essential oil. (I chose lavender scent, but it’s your personal preference). It kills ants (and spiders also).  I spray it around the doorways to repel the ones that are trying to enter our home.

Here is a list of alternatives that you can use in the home instead of chemicals:

1. Glass cleaner – 1 tbsp. vinegar in a quart of water

2. Shower cleaner – use vinegar in a spray bottle

3. Furniture polish – use a damp cloth or try this recipe: 1 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 tsp. olive oil, and 1/2 tsp. lemon essential oil

4. Chlorine bleach – use non-chlorine bleach

5. Toilet bowl cleaner – baking soda and vinegar. (This also gets rid of urine odors, particularly for households with boys!). Baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate.

6. General cleaning – water, vinegar, and lemon juice.  White vinegar kills both salmonella and E. coli bacteria from contaminated food or water.

Simple household items can do wonders in your home.  You’ll not only make your home environmentally sound, but you will also save money.

How I Overcame Pre-diabetes and High Cholesterol Without a Prescription

When I had my annual physical this past January, my doctor was very impressed with my blood work results.  My thyroid functions were normal along with my cholesterol and blood sugar levels.   My issues with pre-diabetes and high cholesterol were no longer a concern for me.

In October 2016, I started taking herbal supplements. My family and I were introduced to an herbalist from Washington state. He gave us advice about our current medical conditions and herbal remedies.

Over  that next month, I didn’t eat any meat. I had stopped eating pork one month before. (See my post 5 Reasons That I Stopped Eating Pork).  Shellfish was no longer a part of my diet, either.  This includes shrimp, lobster, crab, oysters, clams, squid, and scallops. Having lived in Maryland for the past 11 years, crabs were always available, expensive sometimes, but available. With the exception of fish with fins and scales, everything else that lives in the water is unclean ( Leviticus 11:9-11).   Many of us believe that it’s a delicacy because it tastes delicious.  However, we don’t associate it with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.  Shellfish are typically bottom-dwellers that eat and carry bacteria.  Shrimp are commonly known as sea cockroaches. Think about that the next time you have shrimp cocktail or a crab cake.

In addition to not eating meat for one month, I did not eat dairy or bread.  My weight has not changed, but I have lost body fat.  When I saw my personal trainer 2 weeks ago, my body fat was 30 percent. Last year, it was 32 percent, so I have made progress. Under 30 percent body fat is ideal.

In conclusion, you can treat many common illnesses with a proper diet and herbs.  The body can basically heal itself if it’s properly cared for.  Many herbs have healing properties (Jubilees 10:12), so don’t need to go see the pharmacist.  Once you start taking prescription medications, you may have to take them for the rest of your life. It is better to treat the illness now with what the earth has to offer.

Hello Readers, I’m Back

Hi There!

I know that it’s been months since I posted my last update. I have been busy with work and family. Yes, I am still working on my fitness and health. I admit that I have been on a roller coaster with the weight loss. Once I lost 10 lbs. this past April,  I ended up gaining 5 lbs. back over the summer.  We moved and it was somewhat stressful, and I was indulging in pastries and other goodies. After getting back on track recently, I was able to lose 7 lbs. in 6 weeks.

There have been so many changes for my family and I this year. I cannot talk about everything in one blog post; however, I will fill you in on the things that  I’ve learned.  I hope that some of these principles and life lessons will be an encouragement to you as well!

Lose the Weight and Keep it Off

We are now almost in the middle of April, and you’re probably wondering if I ever lost those unwanted pounds.  Am I still working out and eating healthy?  Well, the answer to both of those questions is “Yes”!

My weight in December 2015: 146 lbs.

Current weight: 139 lbs.

In my last post, 10 Things I’ve Learned From 21 Days of Fasting, I mentioned that weight loss is a side effect of fasting.  However, the important factor is keeping the weight off.  I am still working out at 6:30am before going to work 2-3 times per week.  My mid-section still needs toning among other places.  My cholesterol levels are normal, and my blood pressure is under control.

Unfortunately, I am still pre-diabetic, which baffles me, after a 21-day fast. I made many dietary changes like cutting carbs and adding more protein. My doctor suggested losing 10 more pounds and cutting out sweets. I eat fruit, which has natural sugar; I am doing more research to find out which foods are the best for me. I don’t eat junk food, but something is elevating my blood sugar. Since I do have a family history of the disease, I want to take preventative measures now.  I will share more as I continue to do the research.

A co-worker told me that bitter melon works to lower blood sugar levels. I did some research and I found a supplement called GluControl from Vitamin Research Products.  I have been taking that for the past week…2 capsules twice daily. I will see if that improves my blood sugar levels.

 

10 Things I’ve Learned From 21 Days of Fasting

As I reached the final day of fasting this past Sunday, I can reflect on the many things that I’ve learned.

  1. Getting closer to God.  This is the main reason for fasting.  It is always nice to get better acquainted with my Lord and Savior through His Word and through prayer.
  2. I don’t need caffeine.  Sure, I like the taste and smell of a cup of coffee, but I didn’t have withdrawal symptoms from not having it for 21 days.  That tells me that it’s not a necessity. Caffeine can affect you in negative ways, like rapid heartbeat or being jittery.
  3. I will cut back on steak and other meats.  My husband and I ate steak almost every week before the fast. I’m not going to totally go vegan since God said that all food is good (I Timothy 4:3-4). However, I have felt amazing these past few weeks. I want to continue to feel energetic.
  4. Diet made more of a difference for my weight loss. I didn’t fast for the purpose of losing weight…it’s just a side effect.
  5. Trivial things don’t matter.  My cell phone was lost, and I didn’t have one for 2 days. At the end of the day, it’s just a material possession.
  6. I need to cut back on social media. I use social media to promote my blog, but other than that, I’m not the type of person that lives on Facebook and always taking selfies.  You ever notice that everywhere you go, whether it’s work or the doctor’s office, people rarely talk to each other anymore? They’re either texting or on social media.  Some people text while they’re walking.  Even driving, although you can get a ticket for that!
  7. I didn’t miss eating bread.  When you’re a pre-diabetic, it is better to resist it.
  8. It felt good to teach someone a spiritual lesson.  I’m always open to talking about spiritual matters with those that will listen.  When I can write about it, it is even better.
  9. Your body needs a detox.  Every now and again, your mind and body need a detox.  See my post on Why Regular and Natural Detox is so Important For Your Body
  10. Television is used as a tool for mind control.  We didn’t watch regular television during the fast, not even the local news.  We watched documentaries and nature shows. It is a mindless distraction.

 

 

What Your Food Packaging Says about Your Eating Habits

 

When it comes to shopping, there are a number of things we take into consideration for the foods that we buy, because we know what we like from our food. The more you know about a person,the more that you can tell about what sort of foods they like. What about the other way around? Have you ever considered that your choice of products off the shelves says something about the sort of person you or your eating habits are?

Well, it isn’t an exact science, but then again, social sciences never are. Though it certainly can make for an amusing topic of conversation.

There are a number of ways you could categorize eating habits, taking into account the sort of person, diet, lifestyle and budget that go into selecting the products.

The Student Diet

At some point or another, we’ve all experienced this particular selection of eating habits. You head towards the bigger, bulkier packaging with the simpler, cheaper designs. You don’t have a huge amount of money, and you’ve been saving it for Friday night drinking.  However, you’re hungry a lot more than you used to be when you didn’t have to attend lectures all afternoon. A lot of your food packaging shares similar characteristics.

  • Clear cooking instructions.  You checked before you bought it. We all did. There is no point in buying something you don’t know how to cook. And if it tells you that all you have to do is add boiling water or stick it in the microwave for a few minutes, then you throw five of them into the basket.
  • Resealable. It probably isn’t going to last long no matter what it is; the next time you have to pull an all-nighter to get through your big assignment, you’ll be digging just about anything out of the cupboards to keep you going. But you’ll be finding things that you forgot you had ever bought, and you’ll be thanking your lucky stars that they had resealable packaging, or you’d probably have rats! My guess is it’s that little bit of our parents we have in us that reaches for the resealable packaging after we’ve flown the nest.
  • Container-based packaging.  Your mum maybe used to buy noodles in a bag. Little, plastic, and useless once opened. That’s not what you as a student look for; when you buy noodles, you buy them in a pot. Yeah, it takes up more space in the cupboard, but you don’t need a plate, because you can eat them right out of the pot. Pie? In a pot or tin. Curry? In a little plastic tray. Fruit? In a tin. Beans? In a tin; you can eat them cold right out of that. Being a student means that you used up all your dishes weeks ago and haven’t gotten around to washing them yet, and you don’t need to because your food packaging is the same as a bowl.

 

The Single People Diet

You’ve grown out of the student diet. Your metabolism no longer quite handles all of the rubbish food you used to eat. You’ve started washing your dishes and you’re more aware of your spending; not because you don’t have money, but because you know that you worked hard for hours on end to get that money, and you’re saving it for something important. Regardless of specific circumstances, there are often shared characteristics.

  • Freezer friendly packaging. Most foods that are cost-effective are provided in family sized-portions. You’re just one person; you can’t eat all of it. The freezer is one of the most essential items in your home. Everything has to go in there because you are not going to finish eating it in one sitting. You look out for that ‘cook from frozen’ symbol, because let’s face it, we know we’ll never remember to get it out to defrost before we leave for work.
  • Tins.  You end up cooking too much food quite often, and you’ll also  end up only eating half of something as well, because you’re only one person. With leftovers, half a loaf of bread, opened boxes of freezer food, half consumed packs of meat, and ice cream for movie night all tucked up in the freezer, not many of us have room for much more.  Tinned foods, which can be stacked and stored easily for long periods of time, become particularly popular among single people. Jars are less popular, mostly because they can be difficult to open; you become wary of buying more. As a single woman, I can attest to this.  I have jars that are sitting in the cupboard almost two months after being purchased, waiting until I remember to ask someone stronger than myself to help me loosen the lid.
  • Simple.  Ever noticed that the supermarket brand stuff is incredibly simple? They didn’t even create extra cost by hiring a designer, and they don’t waste money marketing their products. It’s as cheap and simple as it gets, and for some single people it offers the most effective solution. Save money, but eat well. I don’t know if you’ve tried any of this,  but when I lived in my first flat, I practically lived on it; I couldn’t tell any real difference, other than the packaging, which is basically a ‘does the job’ method of packaging.

 

The Family Diet

Families vary a lot. Different ages, sizes, and incomes. There are a lot of variables to take into consideration. But their shopping tends to share a number of the characteristics of the single people and the students.

  • Big or Bulk Packaging.  If you’re a family, you have at least two mouths to feed, but generally 3-5. This means a lot of food, and often of incredibly varied types. Bulk packaging and bigger packaging options are popular for families, often labelled ‘family size’ to draw the attention of economical parents.
  • Colorful Packaging. Kids are drawn to colourful things and cuddly animals. Anyone who develops food products aimed towards children knows this.  So if you have kids, you’re going to find yourself drawn to, if not dragged toward, the most colorful, child-orientated  packaging on the shelves.
  • Nothing Artificial. In your younger years, you might have scoffed at packaging that displayed boldly and proudly that it had no added sugars, colors , or preservatives. Now that you’re a parent, you’ll be grasping at them with desperation. Kids are small and energetic, but the few months of being a parent taught you that they have sensitive stomachs.  Once they started moving and eating solid foods, it taught you just how big of an effect added sugars can have. Most parents start looking to limit additives by the time their first child is three.

 

The Health Conscious Diet

Maybe you’re a sporty sort of person; maybe you just like to take care of yourself. It is important that you have the right standard of health from your food and you take your time to select foods that are suitable for your health needs.

  • Fresh packaging.  Packaging that promotes or improves freshness tends to be a more popular selection among those who are particularly conscious of their health.  Of course, many fresh fruits and vegetables do not include packaging, but those that do usually provide ventilated plastic packaging. Simple packaging is important for fresh foods.
  • Nutritional Information. Those who are health conscious will of course be concerned about what is in the foods they are buying, which makes the nutritional information strip seen on most food packaging a particularly useful feature. However, rather than scrutinizing everything strictly and finding the best possible product from the options available to them, most health conscious types will select from those where the nutritional information is most clearly displayed.

 

Written by E. Clark

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 33,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.