Category Archives: Blog

Leg of Lamb Mosaic: Elegant Easter Dinner!

Butterflied Lamb, Stuffed w/Carrot, Spinach, Garlic, HerbsLamb can be a welcome change from typical roasts; perfect for special occasions. This lamb recipe is big on flavor, presentation, and economy; Leg of Lamb is usually better-priced than other cuts.

With some prep done ahead of time (like roasting the red peppers before-hand), it’s not too much work all at once. The whole recipe could be prepared the day before and refrigerated, then roasted on serving day; in such a case, the overnight chilling may make it take a bit longer to cook.

Serves 8 or so, depending on size of lamb, and appetites.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 to 5 lb. leg of lamb, boneless*
  • 6 or so red peppers (or 1-2 c. roasted red peppers)
  • 4-5 med. lg. carrots, peeled
  • 1 bunch of Swiss Chard (or substitute 6 oz. spinach)
  • 1/2 c. or so of diced onion (half of one small onion)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c. parsley
  • 1/4 c. fresh rosemary and mint, if available
  • 1 c. chicken stock

 PREPARATION

1. Ahead of time, prepare roasted red peppers. Roast in iron pan, at highest oven temperature: > 6 or so red peppers (as many as might fit in the pan)

2. Check them every 20 minutes or so. As the tops get slightly blackened, turn them to get the other sides cooked as well. When skins have darkened, set the pan aside to cool. Remove skin and seeds when cooled.

3. Set red peppers aside.

4. Also ahead of time, pre-cook the carrots, by steaming or microwaving until somewhat tender. Set the cooked carrots aside. Use: > 4-5 med. lg. carrots, peeled

5. Prepare the Swiss Chard  by removing the tough inner rib (or substitute spinach): > 1 bunch of Swiss Chard (or 6 oz. spinach)

6. Also ahead of time, prepare a seasoning spread of the following, mixed together and set aside: > 1/2 c. or so of diced onion (half of one small onion) > 2 large garlic cloves, minced > 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper > 1/4 c. parsley > 1/4 c. fresh rosemary and mint, if available

7. Prepare the lamb. Use: > 4 to 5 lb. leg of lamb, boneless

8. Open the fatter parts of the lamb up by slicing cross-ways, almost all the way through, spreading the “butterflied” piece open. Pound the meat until flattened, with a meat-tenderizing hammer.

9. Spread the pounded, butterflied lamb with: > The seasoning spread (of the chopped herbs/garlic)

10. Add the following ingredients onto the lamb in layers: > The trimmed Swiss Chard (or spinach) > The cooked carrots, left whole > 1-2 c. roasted red peppers, wrapped around the carrots

11. Starting with the smaller end, start rolling the lamb up, and tie it with kitchen string. Roast at 325 degrees for about 1 1/2 hrs. (to 130 degrees internally, when tested with a meat thermometer). Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. Add the following to the drippings in the pan, making au jus: > 1 c. chicken stock

12. Serve the lamb with a simple side dish of rice or red potatoes, and perhaps a sprig of spearmint or rosemary. Also popular: A little side dish of spearmint jelly.

*If boneless leg of lamb is not available, it’s not too difficult to cut the meat off of a semi-boneless leg of lamb. Even if it ends up as two pieces, it still all gets tied together and works out anyway.

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Whey is Way Cool (Weigh Less, Feel Full, Stay Nourished)

Meals for weight loss: Mix whey powder with ground psyllium husks & acacia powder

I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars monthly on a weight loss system. When my friend told me the monthly cost of the TR90 weight loss plan, I gagged! Then I researched (what all was IN their products?!) (See my findings here.)

THEN, I searched for the best prices on the raw materials I’d need to somewhat duplicate the TR90 product (hopefully at a better price). Although theirs contains fructose, I didn’t add that. How can a refined sweetener like fructose nourish my body?!

But I did decide to try out whey protein, which was a key ingredient in many “diet” mixes. The only other protein powder I’d ever tried was a soy-based one, back in the eighties. That was long before all the stir about genetically modified soy crops, and the other issues with soy. To mention a few: Soy contains phytoestrogens (which can disturb hormone balance). And, like any other bean proteins, the phytic acid soy contains can affect our ability to absorb other nutrients. Also, soy is a goitrogen (so it’s bad for those with thyroid disorders). And it contains protease inhibitors too (which block certain digestive enzymes).

I have not been keen on taking any products containing soy (I even steer clear of pea protein and such). But whey? This sounded interesting. I’d never tried it, though the young men in this household tank up on the stuff for their body-building regimens.

To begin my new regimen, I knew I wanted a plain whey protein, so I wouldn’t be paying for the cheap sweetener and other questionable ingredients many companies like to add. I ordered this 2-lb. pkg. Organic Whey Protein. It was quite an investment at $33/lb.- yipes! And Mark (of Mark’s Daily Apple), doesn’t think you need organic whey, since chemical/pesticide residues won’t be found in the whey itself. I still like the organic stuff though.  I’ve since ordered a larger size of the same product, more simply labeled, but still from the same company, called ProMix Grass Fed Whey Protein – 5lb Bulk Bag. It’s just $15.99/lb.- such a deal for a quality product.

If you’re “sheepish” about ordering five whole pounds of something you’ve never tried before, you can get this decent product instead: Jarrow Formulas Whey Protein; it’s a more economical brand, just $14.99/lb., but you do have to get two pounds to get the better price. Like the stuff I get, it’s also unflavored and low-heat processed, which preserves the glutathoine. (Glutathione can help with mercury detox; this Mercola.com post has a lot of ideas for that project!)

Having looked at the ingredients in the expensive diet mixes, I realized I could easily add a few of them to a base of whey protein powder, at a cheaper investment. For the main blend, I mix in some Acacia Senegal (“Heather’s Tummy Fiber”). I use about 1 TBS. per cup of whey powder. It soothes the stomach and promotes good gut bacteria. (And I think it helps me to not feel too hungry.)

I also add Psyllium Husk Powder, which helps make my regimen more of a cleanse. I had used larger quantities of psyllium husk powder back when I was pregnant (over 30 years ago)- it helped with constipation. I had also used larger quantities of it before I knew I had a thyroid problem, since it was one of the only things that helped keep me regular.

With the protein powder mix that I blend up now, I use much less psyllium powder (about 1 TBS. per cup o’ whey powder); it’s a small amount but I think it helps “move things along”. The way I’ve been eating lately ( including chlorella and kombucha and such in my diet), is designed to help pull mercury and other heavy metals out of my system. But, once the mercury is pulled out of my cells, it needs to continue on out of my body. So… I think the psyllium husk powder helps accomplish that.

Another handy trick saves me time, so I don’t have to add a little this and a little to every shake I make. For my first smoothie of the day, I use my “Fruity Blend”, so I can be sure to get those extra nutrients that certain superfruits contain. I add Freeze Dried Organic Tart Cherry Powder to part of the protein mix. Tart cherry fights inflammation and pain, it’s loaded with antioxidants. Plus, the melatonin it contains can even help folks sleep better.

I had been getting some organic tart cherry juice concentrate in liquid form, but then I read that bottled fruit juices contain methanol (especially bad for those with MS, but hey, I don’t think I want it either!). I decided to play it safe and get freeze-dried tart cherrie powder- less methanol, and super-concentrated delicious flavor! Plus, it mixes easily into my protein powder. Very handy!

I also get organic pomegranate powder, which has many known health benefits. Another benefit: It mixes into a batch of whey powder, to create a handy, flavored protein powder that’s ready-to-add to smoothies.

This might seem like a lot to take in… I better go for now, and let you “chew” on this, ha…

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EEK, It’s eEDCs (Leave My Endocrine System Alone, You!)

EEDCs Disrupt Your Endocrine System!Just for the record, I was not that woman. You know, the one at the store with the gloves and face mask on. (Though I’m not knocking it, mind you.)

And I’ve never been one to bring my glass jars of food to work, instead of a convenient plastic container.

I was never the one packing all my bulk health food supplies into brown paper bags instead of the handy plastic ones.

But I’m getting a lot closer to being that woman! I’m discovering there is a certain cocktail of chemicals at work in our environment, assaulting our bodies to hormone-disrupting effect. There’s a name for this stuff: “eEDCs” (or EDCs)–estrogenic endocrine-disrupting chemicals. This is a fairly new term. A word search reveals little on the subject–mostly articles by researchers. But I bet this term will be more prevalent as time goes on.

What does it mean to have your hormones disrupted? For one, it might mean weight gain. Other effects: Genital abnormalities, early puberty, reproductive and fertility problems (including decreased sperm count and quality).  The immune system might be affected, or behavior; even brain health. A link between EEDCs and cancers (especially of the reproductive system) has been noted; even a connection to diabetes. EEDCs seem to be especially dangerous for children and pregnant women.

So how do we avoid them?! We can get exposed though plastic food packaging (yes, they can leech into food, especially when heating the package). Most everyone now knows to avoid plastics containing BPA (one of more well-known disruptors), but there are many other chemicals in plastics (though not as well-known), that can cause just as much damage.

BPA is also found in receipt tape. In the case of receipts, the BPA is not bound to a plastic molecule, so it can easily pass from the receipt to your skin, and on to your food. I’ve always been a stickler about washing hands real well after shopping; now I see that my concerns were totally justified! It is wise to avoid putting your hands to your mouth after handling receipts- wash those hands real well, first!

Pthalates are another EDC, found in many beauty products (nail polish, shampoo, hair spray). Check your labels! Is it any wonder that many of us have begun to seek out the simplest, handmade-style soaps (with real short ingredient lists)? I even began washing my hair with an all natural bar soap for hair; my hair is at least as nice as it ever was using other products. I was actually just tired of buying watered-down soap (i.e. shampoo) in plastic bottles that would probably just end up polluting a landfill (or worse). Turns out, bar soap for hair is actually good for me, too! (I’ve also started using “Soap Nuts“; a natural way to get laundry clean with no chemicals. They’re even more economical than regular laundry soap!)

Not to drag anyone down; I don’t mean to freak you out about all these issues. But for those of us who feel like we took real good care of ourselves and still ended up with health conditions, these are some points to consider. No matter how well we think we’re taking care of ourselves, if we are unaware of the effects of certain contaminants in our environment, we ought to get informed!

Some of us already might have heard about more EEDCs being found in our water supply. What’s in your glass of water? Maybe some estrogens (from animal husbandry/agriculture); maybe some prescription drug residue. Maybe even some industrial pesticides, that also disrupt hormonal activity (and might cause breast cancer). Time to look into water filters! I love my Berkey water filter; thankfully, it removes chlorine too. Chlorine can destroy helpful gut bacteria, and in our water supply, it can combine with organic matter, forming chloroform. Not a great chemical to be constantly exposed to!

While we’re covering all the places EEDCs might be found, we should consider food, as well. Dioxins, PCBs, and heavy metals are of concern, since they tend to get stored in our fat tissues for years. They can mess with the endocrine system; plants, fish, and animals absorb these toxins when living in contaminated areas, and that passes along to us.

Environmental toxins are another source of EDCs. VOCs are found in various household products and cleaning chemicals (paints, solvents, preservatives, cleaning products, air fresheners, and craft supplies). I’m finding more friends who can’t walk down the laundry soap aisle, or who react to that person dowsed with a heavy waft of perfume. Even air fresheners can assault the system. Consider that air fresheners don’t really “freshen” the air; they only disguise it. Eventually, the nose doesn’t register that overpowering “fragrance”, but the chemicals are still working against our system. I’ve switched to beeswax candles, which have a natural smell that doesn’t mess with my endocrine system!

You’ve probably heard of the dangers of asbestos (yes, let’s avoid that!), but another problem is PBDEs, found in things like polyurethane foam, and some electronics. That’s one extra point for goose-down pillows!

It’s not really a huge deal- you might be like me, and just start gradually making a few changes. I’m using more glass containers for various foods now, and I get organic produce as much as I can. I wash my hands after handling receipts, eat wild-caught salmon, and use Dr. Bronner’s soap. I’m cleaning more often with vinegar and such. I’m not wearing gloves and a face mask, but I’m feeling all right.

An even more detailed article on this subject can be found here: Paleo & Environmental Toxins.

 

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Chicken w/ Sesame Orange Marinade (Easy Recipe for a Crowd)

I’m starting to plan for our annual Easter Egg Hunt on Palm Sunday, and think I’ll serve this, since it makes so much. Yes, it’s also nice to serve on a smaller scale (just reduce the recipe). But it’s ideal when you need a big batch of something, and don’t have a lot of time for preparation. Sesame oil is a key ingredient–it’s loaded with flavor, and is a healthier choice than many other vegetable oils. It’s the base of a great sauce!

Sesame Orange Chicken for a CrowdOccasions come up when a simple meat recipe is desired, to serve a large number of people. Boneless chicken thighs are a tasty, economical choice; creating a simple marinade makes preparations easier. The thighs can be partially cooked in the oven, then brought to the grill if desired, to add extra flavor.

This chicken will be tender and moist; it can be served with the homemade sauce, or on its own. 40 or so servings.

INGREDIENTS

20 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 c. hot water

3 TBS. salt

1 c. frozen orange juice concentrate

1 c. lime (or lemon) juice

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 c. white vinegar

1/4 c. toasted sesame oil (or peanut oil)

SAUCE INGREDIENTS

1/2 c. frozen orange juice concentrate

2 TBS. lemon juice

1 1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. hot pepper oil (or 1 tsp. cayenne)

1 c. toasted sesame (or peanut) oil

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1 bunch chives (or green onion), finely chopped

PREPARATION

1. In a 3-5 gallon bucket, or other large container, mix to dissolve: > 2 c. hot water > 3 TBS. salt

2. Add remaining ingredients and stir well: > 1 c. frozen orange juice concentrate > 1 c. lime (or lemon) juice > 1/2 c. sugar > 1/4 c. white vinegar > 1/4 c. toasted sesame oil (or peanut oil)

3. Let marinade cool off some; marinate in the above mix overnight: > 20 lb. boneless chicken thighs

4. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Finish on grill for extra flavor, or bake a bit longer, until done. Serve warm or cold.

5. To serve with the above sauce, add the following to a small bowl: > 1/2 c. frozen orange juice concentrate > 2 TBS. lemon juice > 1 1/4 tsp. salt > 2 tsp. hot pepper oil (or 1 tsp. cayenne)

6. Slowly whisk in, in a slow stream, until incorporated: > 1 c. toasted sesame (or peanut) oil

7. Garnish sauce with: > 1 red pepper, finely chopped > 1 bunch chives (or green onion), finely chopped

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The Weatherman Says Drought, But Joel 3:18 Promises Water!

We went on a little tour of the Napa wine country this past summer, taking this picture of a fountain at one of the wineries. It was almost like a dream; we bought some cheese while there; it was still warm from being “pulled” that morning. We had some excellent bread and other snacks to go with that cheese, and had a beautiful view of the countryside.

Remember the Lord's Promises! ("In that day...")Even though a drought has been officially declared here in California, I post this picture on one of the (few) rainy days we’ve had this season. Perhaps the ravines will yet indeed run with water! After all, God promises.

In the bleakness of winter, it’s good to look back on a perfect summer day, and remember that God has even better things in store. We can rest in confidence, even if (or when) things look bleak. Because God ultimately pours out His blessings on those who love Him, working all things out for the good. What an encouragement.

Wallpaper: Desktop Backgrounds w/Verses

“In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the LORD’s house and will water the valley of acacias.” Joel 3:18

Below are links to a couple of computer backgrounds you might enjoy (similar to the above picture, but formatted to fit a desktop screen).

To use for desktop wallpaper, left click on appropriate monitor size, then right click and choose “select :

Desktop Background for wide monitor, w/Bible verse from Joel 3:18Click here for Background for wider monitors

Click here for Background for shorter monitors

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Healthy Bathing: Turn Chlorinated Water into Liquid Gold

A recipe for relaxation can be as easy as adding one 1000 mg Vitamin C tablet to your bathwater, which will neutralize the chlorine and chloramine. If you haven’t experienced dry, itchy skin or red eyes from soaking in a bath that uses chlorinated tap water, you still might want to consider: Chlorine’s been noted to potentially increase allergies and asthma, cancer, and fluid in the lungs, sometimes damaging breathing passages and soft tissue, and even reducing beneficial gut flora. Crazy, right? Well, not to obsess. I’m not going to worry about it. But I am going to start dropping Vitamin C’s into my bathwater on those long-soak nights…

Salt Bath, Baking Soda Too, Lavender

I pulled out the Epsom salts after a darn dog bit my arm recently; a soak in this was recommended to help draw out any toxins. Well, my arm has healed nicely, but I’ve also realized that the Epsom salts might be handy on occasions besides emergencies. There are recipes for desserts and main dishes, but… how ’bout a recipe for relaxation, using various natural household ingredients?! Laurie at Empowered Sustenance recommends this little recipe: “2 cups of epsom salts, 1-2 cups of non-iodized salt and 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar OR baking soda (but not both).”

If you’re in a real detox kind of mood, up the baking soda to 1 c. (8 oz.). After a 30-minute soak, wrap up in a big towel and rest for fifteen minutes, as the toxins released can make one feel a bit weak.

I’ve added a few drops of favorite essential oils to my baths too; I get mine from Nature’s Gift, for a real treat. I love Marge at Nature’s Gift–she’s very down-to-earth and eager to help, and determined to offer optimum quality. I’m not subsidized by this company, in case you wondered. I just think they’re great! Several years back, I researched my options for aromatherapy-quality oils (not convinced that Young Living was offering the best price for the best quality), and determined I could get the best value for quality oils through Nature’s Gift. I’m still happy with all I’ve received from these folks!

If you’re ever feeling uptight in the late evening, consider that the magnesium sulfate in Epsom salts can relax muscles. (It can even help with constipation!) And regular salt helps keeps cells hydrated. Drink a glass of water before your bath too- that’s another healthy tip!

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Good Vibrations (Zip Up the EMFs, Be Less Zapped)

Swich from Electric Clocks, Cordless Phones, Etc.First off, I want to remember, above all else, that God is ultimately in control. The world’s getting kind of toxic, and pretty messed up, but I can’t freak out about it. Matthew 6:31 tells us, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’” God can take care of our needs.

Given that, I do pray that we can lead wholesome lives, being wise stewards of what God’s given us. One of the things He gave us is our body, so of course we should take care of it!

To do that well, maybe I need to be informed, and do what I can reasonably do to limit our exposure to “electro-pollution”.

You’ve probably heard someone making a brash, extremist comment before, about how, “Cell phones give you cancer!” Of course, now that practically everyone has a cell phone, we may not want to think about it. But it wouldn’t hurt to do a few things to protect ourselves, would it?

Some examples of electropollution are:

  • Cell phones and cell towers
  • Cordless phones
  • Dirty Electricity from power grids (signals similar to radio station static)
  • Fluorescent Lights
  • Wireless baby monitors
  • Smart Meters
  • Appliances and electronics

The following are a few easy things I can do to reduce our exposure and/or improve our home environment:

  • Turn cell phone to airplane mode at night and recharge in another room (away from the bed)
  • Use speaker phone with cell phone- less time is spent with the phone up to the ear (and the brain, which is most sensitive to the radiation). Especially important for kids’ developing brains!
  • Set the alarm using an old-fashioned clock, removing our electric one. I got this retro clock that runs on one AA battery- it’s pretty cool. (Apparently, the batteries don’t emit many ETFs.)
  • Get rid of cordless phones, which constantly give off radiation. There are lots of alternatives. This practical Slimline Corded Phone is just $33. For retro-style, there’s this Black Rotary Dial Phone (or get a similar one for $30 less, without the rotary dial…). We happened to have a couple corded phones from the eighties, in some pack-rat cubby in the garage- out they’ve come!
  • Get Beeswax Candles! Whether you’re “into” all this good vibration stuff or not, who doesn’t like candles? (So can you really go wrong?) I just ordered these 100% Beeswax Candles. Says care2.com, “Beeswax candles produce negative ions,  helping remove pollution from the air and increasing the ratio of negative ions to positive ions, meaning- cleaner air.”
  • Keep florescent bulb use to a minimum when possible.
  • House plants- they clean the air. And they’re so refreshing. Spring’s coming- what better time to stock up on some extra house plants. Here is a plant list NASA drew up, of particularly good ones for improving the air quality in space stations. Another plus about most of these plants: They are very hardy, even if your thumb isn’t super green…

Here’s the list of stuff you might want to do (though I’m not quite ready to commit to these!):

  • Turn WiFi off at night
  • “Salt Lamps” are also supposed to charge the air, making the pollutants fall to the ground, making the room feel a bit like a day at the beach. This Air Purifying Himalayan Salt Lamp is a possibility? But I’ll stick with my Beeswax candles for now…
  • Install Stertzerizer Filters? I’m leary, after reading this review on Amazon
  • Get a “Q-Link Pendant” to improve/amplify your body’s “good vibrations”? Note that “happy, healthy people have strong vibrational states”, so- maybe an attitude of gratitude would do just the same?

Lauren at Eempowered Sustenance has even more info in her post here. (You might even want to get the book, “Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution“, too. Or, maybe not- maybe it’s TMI!)

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Which One? Pros & Cons of Probiotics: Kombucha Vs. Kefir

Put kefir in Grolsch bottles for sodaI’m all for probiotics as part of a healthy diet for anyone. But which probiotic might be preferable? Let’s talk about “Water Kefir” and “Kombucha” today, since those are two probiotics you can brew at home from simple ingredients. They’re economical too, since they aren’t based on dairy. If you go so far as to get organic milk to make your own milk kefir, the pricing goes up, you know?

Laurie from Common Sense Home spells it out in detail; basically, this is the simplified version:

Kombucha is great for the digestion, but it’s also a cleanser, detoxifying the liver too.

Kefir is also great for digestion, and doesn’t contain the caffeine Kombucha can have (although it does have a touch of alcohol). But it’s not really a cleanser and detoxifier.

The Heal Thyself Forums mentions that the detox Kombucha might bring on is not ideal if you’re pregnant or nursing. or for anyone with a lot of excess mercury stores.

Heal Thyself also includes this word of caution: “Kombucha has Saccharomyces boulardii which displaces and replaces candida albicans in the gut. Candida binds mercury to keep it out of circulation. When you kill off candida in the gut, stored mercury is released back into circulation to redeposit into other organs and the brain.

That last paragraph concerns me! I ended up spending a day researching how to deal with mercury toxicity in the system. Read Dr. Mercola’s article, “Revised Protocol to Detoxify Your Body” for more info. Also, Dr. Mark Hyman mentions many of the complications that might be connected to mercury toxicity. Meanwhile, I have come to a few conclusions:

1. Drinking kefir is a no-brainer. Of course it’s good for you! And you don’t have to worry about going into some heavy detox mode.

2. Kombucha might be good for you (if you’re not pregnant or nursing), but do be prepared to deal with the candida/mercury issue, as your body might start freeing up it’s mercury stores. Metals need to leave the system, not just roam free!

3. Amalgam silver fillings aren’t cool. Though being used less often now, many of us still have silver fillings which leach mercury into our system. Apparently, the mercury constantly emits vapors that are carried from our mouth, on down through the digestive system, wreaking havoc along the way.

4. If you want to detox from mercury, you shouldn’t keep exposing yourself to the metal. Which means, if you have silver fillings, you should get them removed by a trained biological dentist (not by the average dentist that doesn’t know how to deal with this toxic substance).

5. I’m probably not getting my fillings removed any time soon.

6. But I can avoid shark, swordfish, tuna and other big fish that contain more mercury. Alaskan salmon and smaller fish contain less- I’ll stick to those.

7. I can keep taking my chlorella, since Dr. Mercola mentions that it’s helpful for getting rid of mercury and other toxins in the body. I’ve bought mine from Nuts.com, here. (They offer organic chlorella, which I really like.) But Amazon has a good deal on 1.1 lb. of the powder; find that deal here.

8. This whole mercury problem depends a lot on genetics. Some folks have a certain gene which discourages natural detoxification from heavy metals. So, while some people can get more exposure to toxic metals with no adverse effect, there are others who may ingest less, who suffer for it due to the inability of their system to process and eliminate the metals from their body.

9. Those more sensitive to mercury, due to their genetic makeup, might suffer from autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart problems, Type 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune diseases, and/or depression. And more!

10. My dad’s trying out certain nutritional supplements on my mom, to see if that might help her release stored mercury. Meanwhile, I think I’ll try brewing some Kombucha, adding a bit of that to my diet. Should it cause me to release some stored mercury, I’m hoping the chlorella will help me weather the detox successfully. I don’t like taking supplements (unless they’re food-based), but I always feel safe using super foods. If I notice anything, I’ll be sure to report back!

If you’ve experienced any symptoms after beginning a Kombucha regimen, please share it with us below in the comments section!

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How This Happened: Jen’s Story of Getting Saved

Hippies in Rochester, MichiganFor 38 years, I knew something was wrong. I just thought I could fill in the spaces myself! I was into new age stuff, eastern religion, astrology, I Ching…

I had gone to church at least two times a year when I was a kid, but the whole family got lazy about that. Plus, none of us was really going for the right reason. It was just “the thing to do”.

But I wanted to understand what the deal was. I’d ask the grownups, “WHO is the Holy Spirit?!” They would try to explain God the Father and Jesus the Son to me… I could almost wrap my head around those two, but the Holy Ghost eluded me. (And no one seemed able to explain Him…) Of course that was because it’s not a head thing- it’s a heart thing! But even as a youngster, I was quite the intellectual. So I just couldn’t figure it out.

Eventually (at 38 years old), some funky, rather unmanageable stuff came up in my life; I realized I really wanted to connect with God, and PRAY. I somehow realized I needed that “go-between”. I needed the Holy Spirit. A co-worker had been on my case about Christianity, so I’d been fending her off by telling her, “Yes, I KNOW Jesus died for my sins. Yes I KNOW I’m a sinner. Yes I AM a Christian.” But when I needed to pray, I felt like I wasn’t quite “in the club”. So… I prayed to God, asking for the Holy Spirit. He GAVE it to me! I started speaking in tongues, in a sort of musical prayer song, as I stood at the stove making dinner. I’m pretty sure God wanted to give me something to confirm that this didn’t come from me. And this unknown language certainly didn’t come from me! So I finally got it. I was completely transformed. Night and day.

Thankfully, my high school sweetheart, rebel comrade, hippie style, non-believing husband also got saved in the following six months- thank you LORD! At one point, in tears again (as this had become a common thing for me now), I begged my husband to just, “Confess that Jesus is Lord and you will be saved”. My husband said he could not say that, as he didn’t KNOW Jesus is Lord.

At that point I wanted to believe that it might be like a magical chant, that Tom just had to say the words. But my husband knew better. I’m glad he didn’t just go through the motions, and pretend.

After a bit more time, and many more prayers later, he did also get saved. The kids had easily come to Christ (not as much baggage with them?). And now we could all be so blessed, knowing the One True God, having Jesus Christ as our Savior. We continue on, almost twenty years later, serving the Lord, enjoying that unique fellowship we have with other believers, praying, and loving God. Praise Jesus.

Hey, if you have a story, please leave it in the comment section below- that would be fun!

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Store Up Treasures in Heaven (Seasonal Inspiration)

“Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth…Instead, store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust don’t destroy and thieves don’t break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20

It was a good Christmas. We went back east to visit family, and it was great.

I brought some of my water kefir grains, which was quite a conversation starter. Since the airlines don’t allow liquids, I pumped my kefir up a bit for the travel by putting them in an extra sugary brew for a few hours. I drained that off and packed the grains into a mini-zip-lock bag, reinforced inside several other little zip-lock bags. By the time I arrived in Michigan, those little grains had produced quite a bit of “gas”; the zip-lock bags were almost to the bursting point, quite surrounded by a pillow of air inside the bag.

But they survived! I put the grains into a new jar of brown sugar water upon arriving at my brother’s house, and eventually, my sister-in-law decided she’d take on the project after I’d left town. I hope it works for her!

Over the holidays, what with my kefir grains ever-reproducing, I thought I’d bring some to my nieces as well. They’re into wholesome cooking and natural ingredients, so I thought they might be game to try brewing their own kefir as well. After the initial shock of hearing about how these live little “grains” convert sugar water into probiotics, going on to ferment (in the right bottle) into a “natural soda” of sorts, they were finally convinced. I’ve heard reports since my visit, that the girls are now brewing their kefir quite successfully, so I’m glad I shared with them.

Store up treasures in heaven!During our stay in Michigan, I noticed a particularly striking, red barn-like shed in someone’s yard. What with its red color standing out against the surrounding snow, I thought it’d make a nice, inspirational picture. It reminded me of the verse from Matthew 6:19-20, about storing up our treasures in heaven. It’s good to remember that verse, especially after Christmas. After all, there isn’t really a gift (or “treasure”) around that compares with the simple joy of spending time with each other.

And now I’ve got a verse attached to one of my favorite winter pictures, to remind me of just that. I even made some wallpaper for my desktop, since it’s kind of fun to put a new picture up on it, that changes with the seasons. If you enjoy the verse and picture, you can click on the links below. They’ll bring you to the page with the extra-large images; all you have to do is left click on appropriate monitor size below, then right click on the image itself, and choose “set as desktop background”.

Click here for Background for wider monitors

Click here for Background for shorter monitors

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