Thursday, January 31, 2008

Essential Winter Reading

This is the perfect time of year to snuggle up with a good book or magazine. My friend Tina Sams over at The Essential Herbal is offering a free sold out issue of her March/April 2007 issue of The essential herbal magazine.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A foot of snow in Sandy Oregon

We have had about a foot of snow in the last few days. Unfortunately, I am out a camera so I got this picture from The snow is much deeper than this picture shows.

Any tips from readers on a good digital camera for plant and nature pictures would be truly appreciated!

A perfect time to be "snowed in". The entire family picked up a nasty stomach virus, starting with Ella, Tony and then myself. So we have been sick, but enjoying the scenic views of the beautiful snow from inside. Starting to feel much better today, my appetite is slowly returning. Homemade chicken soup is on the menu.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The gift of emotions and pregnancy hormone changes

Often in the US people view emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety and other mood swings as weaknesses. I now view this time of changing emotions during pregnancy as a gift. In my first pregnancy with Ella I was hit with these emotional ups and downs, it took me a while to really recognize the meaning of it all. At first I felt guilty for "acting like a crazy hormonal b#%*#" and really found myself apologizing to others for my "bad" behavior. Things from my childhood raised their ugly head, things I had forgotten- buried emotions burst to the surface and some days I would just cry. This happened only a few times before I realized, hey I need to listen to the message here! In the process of my pregnancy new boundaries were set with family members and friends that should have been done long before the pregnancy. People in my life that I "tolerated" before all of a sudden it was not a priority to have them a part of our lives. Like everyone else I have friends, family and acquaintances that have major problems, however they do not cross the line and bring it into our home and I do not become a part of it. I realized that everything that has happened to me throughout my childhood was a lesson~ I could do things differently as a mother. There was a time of deep sadness where I wondered how some of the things that happened to me as a child and a young woman could have happened, then I realized they did the best they could with the knowledge they had. I realized that I had learned from those experiences & I could do better! I learned to listen to my body even better than I had before. My empathy for others was increased when I felt the miracle of motherhood. All of this was such a gift, learning to view these subtle changes in my own emotions made me be a better mother and wife after Ella was born. Learning to be more in touch with my own emotions helped me to recognize subtle changes in Ella's emotions as an infant. This helped my marriage as well, 'nipping things in the bud' early on and talking about them helped to take care of frustrations before they got too out of hand resulting in an angry screaming blow out.
Now I am in the 14th week of my second pregnancy. I rest when I want to. I took a break from work & studies & I returns calls when I feel like it. Others think this is highly unusual for me, usually I tend to go full speed toward any goal, work, or project, ignore burnout and keep going, but hey- for once I am taking my own advise and listening to my body. I ask for help when I need it and take warm baths. The swinging emotions are back but not quite as strong because a lot of the BS from the past that needed to be resolved was dealt with during the last pregnancy. When problems do arise I deal with them to the best of my ability, however I have no problem with drawing the line. I have been taking time to really reflect, listen to my body and my baby, learn from the beautiful lessons of motherhood. New fears have came up with this pregnancy such as will I be a good mother of 2? How will Ella react? I have been journaling about this and really trying to reflect for the answers, and part of me knows that the answers will come as time passes and I will do just fine. Instead of feeling guilty about the intense feelings I have been experiencing, I let myself experience them, learn what I can and move on. I realize that not everyone is going to be in my "mode" and they may judge- I say let them think what they want, change is never comfortable for most people.
I also try to listen to my body in other ways as well and realize some of the symptoms I have may be due to lack of rest, diet deficiencies or food sensitivities. I have also been experiencing herbs in a new way with new symptoms & experiences in this second pregnancy. I am learning so much in this entire process and I feel so blessed!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Cinnamon Fruit Warm and Yummy!

Anyone receive fruit baskets for Christmas? Lots of fruit left and I don't always feel like eating it cold in these winter months~ Here are some great warm recipes!
Cinnamon Fruit
Cinnamon is warming and a mild digestive. Rebecca has written a great post on cinnamon check it out over at The Herbwife's kitchen
Use pears & apples about 3 of each
Brew some cinnamon tea
use a bay leaf if desired and a pinch of sea salt
In a pan combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, uncovered, until the tea has reduced by half and the fruit is tender, about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temp~ You can serve over hot cereal or top over yogurt - fruit keeps in fridge for about 5 days- make it ahead and it can be ready for breakfast!

Vanilla Poached Pears
2 large pears, peeled, halfed and cored
2 cups apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, slit vertically

In a frying pan, combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover loosely, and poach until tender, about 20 minutes. Let the pear halves relax in the juice for about 10 minutes before serving warm.

Recorce: Healing Secrets of the Seasons By Judith Hurley

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Glycemic Index Chart and foods

Since many people will no doubt make new years resolutions to eat a healthier diet, I thought that the glycemic index was worth a mentioning here. The Glycemic index is a system that ranks foods based on how they effect your blood sugar levels. Below 55 is considered low, between 56 and 69 moderate, & above 70 will cause high spikes in blood sugar levels.
For detailed information on how insulin levels can effect your health Henriette has some great posts and discussions on herb blog here
here, here & here.
jim mcdonald also has some great articles that will keep you busy for a while in his article index scroll down to metabolism, endocrine, immune & digestive. states:Eating a lot of high GI foods can be detrimental to your health because it pushes your body to extremes. This is especially true if you are overweight and sedentary. Switching to eating mainly low GI carbs that slowly trickle glucose into your blood stream keeps your energy levels balanced and means you will feel fuller for longer between meals.

  • Low GI diets help people lose and control weight
  • Low GI diets increase the body's sensitivity to insulin
  • Low GI carbs improve diabetes control
  • Low GI carbs reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Low GI carbs reduce blood cholesterol levels
  • Low GI carbs can help you manage the symptoms of PCOS
  • Low GI carbs reduce hunger and keep you fuller for longer
  • Low GI carbs prolong physical endurance
  • High GI carbs help re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise
Some foods have an extremely high glycemic index (some of these in that past have been considered "diet" foods) some examples are
Rice Cakes 92
Baked Potato 85
Parsnips 97
Rice Pasta Brown 92
Pretzels 81
Green Pea soup 66
Watermelon 72
Dates 103
Baguette 95
Orange juice 52

Lower on Gycemic chart

Pond cake 54
Carrots cooked 39
Sweet potato 54
Speghetti Protein enriched 27
Tomato soup 38
Cherries 22
Grapefruit 25
pear barley 25
Multi grain bread 48
Apple juice 41

Surprisingly low "snack" foods

M&M's peanut 32
Snickers bar 40
Chocolate bar 49
Peanuts 15