Wednesday, May 23, 2012
About Allergic Reactions To Wheat Grass (From Livestrong.com website)
"Consuming wheat grass may trigger dangerous side effects if you're allergic to other grasses, to wheat or to gluten, according to MayoClinic.com. Consult your doctor before using wheat grass if you have any allergies to determine if the herb is safe for you."
"According to CityFarmer.org, those with allergies to mold should avoid wheatgrass, as they may experience allergic reactions to the mold that grows on wheatgrass."
As I dance around my kitchen playing fun music and making up my green smoothie, guaranteed to help empty the garden in my fridge. I spot two containers of wheat grass that I bought while away. Since I should have used it days ago, I take out one small container and cut the grass into my blender full of filtered water, kale, celery, and mango.
Suddenly I realize I feel itchy, sort of like when I get around lawns and grass sometimes. My ears itch, too, so I quickly find the coconut milk and pour a cup, taking the Allegra with it. Did I take it this morning? I don't recall exactly, but I'm definitely taking an antihistamine then. It dawns on me that I'd better shower to get that wheat grass off my hands, as I feel allergic.
Am I allergic to wheat grass? I look it up on Livestrong, and I discover first of all that many people who think they are allergic to grass are actually allergic to the mold that grows on the cut grass, after the rain, etc. A further search reveals that wheat grass is a low allergy food, but people allergic to wheat might reconsider this food choice. I was thinking grass and they are talking wheat. Maybe I'm okay.
But then I read this:
People who have a sensitivity or allergy to any form of wheat should not consume wheatgrass juice or any other form of wheatgrass. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include hives, a rash, difficulty breathing and swelling of the mouth or throat. According to CityFarmer.org, those with allergies to mold should avoid wheatgrass, as they may experience allergic reactions to the mold that grows on wheatgrass.
It is the last part that gets me. I have to take allergy shots weekly for mold, as well as for dust, pollen, trees, grass, etc. And although most of my allergic responses were cut in half during the nearly 2 years of shots, I still have to have the dreaded allergy shots. Both arms. And sometimes I can even feel those shots when I am swimming laps. Ouch!
So my short answer to myself is this: No more wheat grass. When I had a little bit in my blender full of smoothies while at the ocean, that was one thing. But right now, I am itchy when I wasn't before. And it wasn't like I was expecting that when I made up the smoothie. It could be the mold factor, but it just feels like I've tossed part of a lawn into my blender. And I have enough allergic symptoms to give the entire blender full of green smoothie to my husband.
Why didn't I think of this before? Why was I so eager to use all the ingredients in my fridge and waste nothing?
So as the thunderstorm dumps a mother lode of rain down from the sky, perhaps freeing me from pollen even as the mold count is sky high outside, I know that this is what I will be working with this week:
1. Sometimes it is best not to use all the ingredients, just like we don't need to always clean our plate or empty the blender contents.
2. Even though I don't like to think about allergies, I need to think about it more. Some day this might not be a problem, but right now it is. The mold factor is why I gave up peanuts.
Of course, wheat grass is one of the primo detox and health ingredients, so popular that I couldn't even get to try it until recently. Every place I tried to order it was sold out of wheat grass. And I seldom hear about wheat grass allergies, but as the rain pounds down on Washington, D.C., I do think I'll be perhaps taking another Allegra tonight and making a different kind of food choice. Or fasting. Just not consuming wheat grass.
I'll console myself by making a fruit face mask tomorrow from one of Ani Phyo's recipes. That involves two cups of pineapple, 1 banana, 2 kiwi, 2 cups of honey dew melon, very ripe, all mushed up. Supposedly putting this on the face and/or body for 20-30 minutes makes a radiant glow, exfoliates, etc. I'm usually not into this kind of thing but why not. I don't think I'm allergic to any of these ingredients.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
My two raw vegan cookbooks by Ani Phyo just arrived by mail. "Ani's 15-day Fat Blast" had my attention, and I pushed myself to get to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's to pick up some of the ingredients to at least make my Blueberry Blast from the Detox section of her plan. This involved wild organic blueberries (frozen) from Trader Joe's, along with a tablespoon each of coconut oil and cinnamon, along with raw almonds and filtered water.
And it was delish! Awesomely refreshing. But recently I stopped soaking raw almonds as much. I'd just forget, perhaps because I was so busy constantly filling the water filter again and again. Soaking raw nuts isn't even just about making them easier to digest. Ani recommends 1 cup of nuts to 2 cups of water, soaked at least over night, rinse them well, discard the soaking water, which contains enzyme inhibitors. She always uses her soaked nuts and seeds with a day or 2 of that soaking. I've even read that the protein in raw nuts is more attainable when they are soaked.
I thought I was ordering Ani's latest book to secretly get off 15 pounds and do the happy dance. It turns out this book is full of little details I've needed all along. For instance, I've read so many uncookbooks that claim that raw cacao does not contain caffeine. Ani says it does and that one serving per day is enough. She also recommends combining it with maca, one of her favorites. I actually am not as crazy about maca, although I now make myself try out two tablespoons per day. It seems everyone else loves it, especially athletes. It tastes like burned butterscotch while raw cacao puts me into some kind of heavenly state. As David Wolfe said, raw cacao could give you the day ever. But the truth is that I've been enjoying too much raw cacao almond mylk, my favorite, as it is with Ani Phyo. I've even learned to create an almond joy smoothie as well as a chocolate banana one.
One of the great values of Ani's newest book is the little side boxes, the ones that tell you why apple cider can benefit your health, along with the importance of prebiotics and probiotics in burning up the belly fat. Do you know what a prebiotic is? I had to look it up!! I knew kimchi and sauerkraut were a few of the probiotics (yogurt and kefir are a few of the others).
To me, Ani's gifts include making raw vegan food simple and accessible to nearly anyone. These recipes are straightforward and easy to make, not complicated creations that will take hours and hours. There is planning that comes from soaking nuts, etc. and kimchi will actually have to ferment for days, but these smoothies and other recipes are easy to whip up.
In fact, Ani's kimchi recipe was the first one that I actually could follow well enough to make a successful vegan kimchi. And it was pretty good! Even though I didn't have all the ingredients.
Ani was just the person to get me past my fear, the fear that I was going to eat spoiled, moldy food that would make me sick or otherwise end up with a very bad experience.
Many long time raw vegans will find little new here, but most other people will really enjoy her light playful way with food, the way it isn't all grim suffering. Her plan start with a 3-day detox that people can skip but that she warns can not be repeated again and again to lose weight. The second phase is the melt down for days 4-7, and days 8-15 are the Blast-Off phase.
Ordinarily I wouldn't go for any lose weight quick book. That is all in my past. But I was able to get a sneak peak at some pages online, enough to know this is sound advice, not something crazy, and I already love the detox drink. It is actually quite refreshing. So this is doable.
For me, what holds me back is that I am swimming laps almost 2 hours per day. And no, I actually am not seeing massive weight loss doing that, although I am toning up, building that core, getting long, lean muscles and plenty of endurance. And it does feel so good. But it is well known that many people who swim don't see the same kind of weight loss as people who do weight-bearing exercise such as running. And I am not able to get back to running yet.
note: I am losing weight slowly and for keeps.
My strength training slowed down when I got hit hard by allergies, to the point of feeling miserable. I'm back with allergy shots, taking Allegra, just changed my hepa filter pre-filter, and I'm hoping these healthy new drinks help, too. My nose is no longer running, I am not sneezing my head off, so I'm hoping I'm on the mend.
But I am eager to try out Ani's plan to see how it goes. I will soon be giving it a try. I also got "Ani's Raw Foods Essential" since I constantly was borrowing it from the library. This is the book that had all the great kimchi recipes. And both of these books were rewards for reaching goals. And I plan to get "Ani's Raw Asia" next.
I'm a huge fan of Ani's foods because her recipes are simple to follow, and I love all the other info she includes in her books.-
And she is helping me to correct some mistakes, like skipping the soaking of the raw nuts. I won't do that any more. She's got me to maca and spirolina, too, although I don't have any chorella, something else she loves. Her book is full of a lot of advice for people who want to set up more raw foods in their kitchens and want to know more about how to use them.
But in this book, what is most valuable may be the information about belly fat and how to get rid of it. I'm very excited to try all this out.
Here is the kimchi recipe I used:
This is her website:
And this is the book I gave myself as a reward, also described above:
I had also read somewhere that Ani is now working on a new book, trying out a brand new Vitamix blender that has come out, and making an hour-long dvd.
Here are Ani's Raw Food Truths:
1. The food tastes delicious.
2. You eat a truckload of food.
3. Food is easier to make.
4. Food is easier to prepare.
5. Real food is cheaper, more eco-nomical.
6. You will be bloat free.
7. Food is easier to digest.
8. Calories don't equal energy.
9. Real food is friendlier and healthier--especially for people with food sensitivities.
10. It's your diet, and you are in control.
And yes, this is the book with the kimchi (also kimchee) recipes and other basics:
And this is the book I am getting for my next reward--because rewards are important:
Saturday, May 19, 2012
The email hits me like a truck. Kashi, the company portrayed in T.V. ads as crossing the world to find us the finest foods anywhere, even the most remote villages, uses genetically modified soy in its cereals. Yes, that's right. Kashi explains that natural doesn't mean natural quite the way you or I imagine it.
Actually I haven't eaten Kashi cereal in years, but I used to eat a lot of it. Way back, eons ago, I was at a Weight Watchers meeting where a leader told us all to get in our Kashi Go Lean first thing in the morning to get our fiber, just get it over with. I remember thinking fiber must be a horrible drag and was so hard to get.
Now I look back, having been on a mostly raw vegan diet for weeks, realizing that fiber is so easy to come by and so healthy, too. I don't need to get fiber out of a box! I don't need it to look like a candy bar and be filled with sugar like Fiber One bars either! And I definitely don't need to consume GMO-laden cereals to get my fiber for the day.
Actually just 1-2 green smoothies per day does wonder for the fiber count! And it is amazing what it does for the digestive and gastrointestinal system, too! Fiber is known in the raw vegan world as nature's broom sweeper. So efficient at pushing out the gunk from the system and helping to eliminate toxins. (Always drink a lot of water, too, or at least put lots of water in the smoothies!)
But I must admit that I was deeply disappointed when I heard about Kashi. There was a time I imagined I should write to them and beg for a job, so that I, too, could l travel the world finding only the finest, purest, most wonderful ingredients for customers. Only it turns out in this case, the best that Kashi trekkers could do was bring us all back a crap load of genetically modified soy, and I have read that something like 90 percent of all the soy and wheat is now GMO. If that is true, that is more than sad, especially with all the allergic reactions going on, not to mention the health and environmental concerns.
This GMO betrayal beat the one I felt weeks earlier when I learned that Kashi was owned by a giant food corporation and wasn't some little company run by granola-filled hippies who wore jeans, sat around the table talking peace, karma, and taking breaks for yoga and meditation, but instead was apparently just brilliant marketing.
Maybe this even beats the story one scientist discovered about a blueberry pomegranate cereal that is so popular--and doesn't have one blueberry or pomegranate in it. It is all chemicals! The researchers concluded that it seemed that the companies advertised what we WISHED was in our cereal when we ate it.
But Kashi brings it home with a quote about what natural actual means on the label, which is basically not much. Organic has to mean at least something, but other words like natural and flavor, etc. should set off alarms.
Here is a quote from Joseph Mercola:
"t turns out the soy in Kashi cereals comes from genetically modified Roundup-ready soybeans, which have a gene inserted in them that allows the crop to withstand otherwise lethal doses of the weed killer.
USA Today reported that consumers felt duped into believing that Kashi was all-natural when it's noti. Their complaints were initially brushed off by Kashi general Manager David DeSouza, who told USA Today that since the FDA doesn't regulate the term "natural," the cereal maker has done nothing wrong by defining "natural" as minimally-processed with no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or sweeteners."
So much in the world has changed. Recently I thought of requesting a few books from my local library and discovered that they were only available in ebooks--and me without a Kindle or Nook! I'm not about to download a cookbook to my library.
Instead I rewarded my recent efforts by buying two Ani Phyo raw vegan cookbooks online, since I know that I will use them often. I got free shipping, and I'll be able to pour over the pages any time I want. With cookbooks, I still prefer turning the pages. And yes, that means for me, that I need to donate at least 10 more books from home in keeping with my decluttering efforts. Bring something in, send a lot of stuff out. And at this point, the stuff going out happens to be two big bags of clothes I decided to release from my life. I need the space. And there truly is freedom in having that gone, knowing someone else will benefit, will want exactly what I have to donate. Why should it just sit in my closet?
Going raw vegan has never looked better to me. I'm not 100 percent raw vegan, but fairly close to it much of the time. I no longer eat Kashi or much of anything prepackaged if I can help it. But I do mourn the loss of the idea that people were going around the world on my behalf, finding the best and finest and most exotic everything, talking with the local villagers, learning the traditional lay of the land, bringing us back pure, healthy, nontoxic food.
The ads should now change. Instead they should show genetically modified soy and a great big bottle of Round-Up, that notoriously toxic pesticide, and show scientists whipping up chemicals that taste like real food. Instead of happy villagers holding out their finest foods for the Kashi trekkers to purchase, maybe the image should be the vast factory farms and GMO land, perhaps footage of children in ER because they just had a severe reaction to GMO soy. In Britain, the number of children who are allergic to GMO soy is staggering.
But then again, maybe some day diet companies will tell people they can get fiber from nature, like vegetables and fruit, maybe whip up a smoothie. But then they wouldn't have to buy prepackaged products that are full of salt content so high that people blow up like balloons when they eat it, some of them created by the diet companies.
Want to know more about the movement to eliminate GMOs from our food and what you can do about it:
As for me, I need another raw cacao smoothie. Kashi did not go to a remote mountain top to get it for me. Instead I turned to Navitas to get an organic raw vegan product, Fair Trade, and with Amazon, I got a a great big discount for ordering 2 together, no shipping charge, to me within a few days. I used raw almonds from Trader Joe's but couldn't find organic there, so I'm searching. I used filtered water although it would have been nice if it flowed from a mountain stream, and added a dab of vanilla, plus I might have tossed in a peeled banana and ripe, peeled mango, too. Mmmmmm. And for chia pudding, I might have poured some in a bowl, then added chia seeds.
Where did I get the idea for raw cacao powder? From David Wolfe, a raw foods expert featured in "Hunger For Change" and the Food Revolution Summit, someone who hikes to the high mountain tops of the Peruvian Andes to hang out with shaman and learn more about the ancient ways, become one with the land, and who wrote some awesome words about the superfood, raw cacao, that I had to get some. He promised me the best day ever, and I have to admit, the raw cacao put a smile on my face.
The news of Kashi with its GMO-riddled soy in the cereal? Not so much. And yes, Kashi is owned by Kellogg, which also owns MorningStar.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
I rocked the pool for 1.5 hours today. Always I wear my swim suit to the gym, never changing there, but it is only when I get into that pool that I feel like superwoman, rocking that pool lap after lap, occasionally adjusting my Speedo swim cap and Speedo Vanquisher swim goggles, the same kind Olympic swimmers wear.
In that pool, I can let my mind go. I love to feel the power of my arms as they reach out and part that water, love how my body suddenly flies forward into the breast stroke, and often don't notice my legs until my feet occasionally cramp for a moment. There is nothing quite like the feeling of water flowing over a swimmer, especially ocean water, but a good saline or low-chlorine pool will do.
When I see swimmers in the movies, they are almost always doing the breast stroke. "Look, look," I tell my husband, pointing out that the breast stroke is the most beautiful swim. Of course, I've heard more than once that the breast stroke dates me, since older swimmers, especially women do the breast stroke, but nearly all young swimmers do the free style. And that is one stroke I no longer do, probably never enjoyed. My prime stroke is the breast stroke, alternating with the side stroke, also a great workout and rescue requirement. When no one is watching, I do the back stroke, and love to feel the power of my arms whirling backward through the water. I just think my stroke is messier and might make some people fear that large killer whales have landed in the pool. (Also I can only do my strongest stroke if I have to share swim lanes.)
I have long arms and when they are spread out, I need more than one swim lane at many pools. So when I get the pool to myself or half of it to myself, I've hit the big time. I'm swimming like I'm heading out into Caribbean waters, soaring past a Hawaiian green sea turtle, or headed for that finish line.
In that pool, I know I'm not just rocking my workout and hitting a personal best for 2012. I'm also swimming my way to 20 pounds less in weight, a chance to shake my butt in my smaller jeans, and button up a very pretty rose pink blouse that would look great with those jeans. I actually can visualize myself swimming toward my ultimate goals, one lap at a time.
Although 90 minutes is not my best at that pool, I've rocked it for 2 hours 10 minutes before, it was a good workout and I love the serotonin rush. At my current weight, it isn't easy being in a bathing suit, even a good one, but once I'm in that pool, it hardly matters.
And when I get home, I hug my reward. Once again I ordered Navitas raw cacao powder (2 pack) with free shipping and the package arrives as if it came express. So I am hugging my new shipment of raw cacao a little too close even as I enjoy my chocolate almond milk drink and my chocolate chia pudding.
After burning a zillion calories in that 90 minutes, plus walking 90 minutes before that to and from appointments, not to mention having to head to grocery stores to stock up for my next green smoothie adventure, I get to fuel up a bit more tonight. I doubled the amount of chia in the pudding to be sure I got enough protein. Also chia is a runner's best friend--and I suspect a swimmer's best friend, too, as it has a great combination to prevent muscle spasms.
Still I've had to take an Advil. Somehow all that reaching through the water left my left arm just a bit sore, not serious, but enough.
And my follow-up adventure is to chop up a lot of cabbage, onion, radish, ginger, etc. for my vegan kimchi adventure. My husband bought me this incredibly beautiful Napa cabbage, so I'm making kimchi. I think it takes 2 weeks to ferment but I'll get it started tonight while the cabbage is fresh. I couldn't get the Daikon radish at Whole Foods so I'll use regular giant radishes. (I had a tougher time finding some organic produce, too, and am hoping to make up for it at the farmer's market this weekend!)
Of course, once I rest up, my next workout is to get the rest of my clothes back into the closet, do whatever decluttering I can manage on that project, and know that dropping 20 pounds means more clothes to donate. Hurray! I already have one giant bag full for donation and am working on another, determined to fill it. But this time my donation bag is mostly full of clothes I don't wear as opposed to clothes way too big to fit. (I always donate clothes that are too big right away so that I can't fit back into them.) I'm determined to ensure that many of my clothes are soon too big and will need to be donated.
In case you are wondering how to make a divine chocolate almond milk drink, soak at least two handfuls of almonds, toss them into the blender that is at least half full of water, pour in a dab of vanilla, 2-3 heaping tablespoons of cacao, and perhaps toss in a peeled banana and peeled ripe mango. For chia pudding, pour some of the concoction in a bowl, then pour in the chia seeds. Some people put the chias into the blender but I prefer to pour them into the bowl to make sure I don't miss a single on in the blender blades. (I have a Black & Decker Cyclone blender from the old days that is still handling all these smoothies.)
Here is the kimchi recipe from Ani Phyo that I am attempting:
This is her website:
And this is the book I will reward myself with when I lose 10-12 pounds (Ani's Raw Food Asia):
And here is a story about Dara Torres, 45 years old, and still an amazing competitive swimmer, heading back for more Olympic gold!
Thursday, May 17, 2012
I can't wear new clothes unless they are washed first. If I forget or am desperate, I will feel very sick in no time. My husband knows that my new t-shirts have to be into that wash right right away or I'll hand wash as soon as I get home. Lately I've noticed that once is not enough. Is it my imagination about those chemicals? No, as it turns out. I heard years ago from someone who was a packer for a clothing company that there were a lot of chemicals in the clothes when new, but now Kim Barnuoin, the famed Skinny Bitch gets into detail on that.
Here is just one excerpt: It is about Formaldehyde Resin in new clothes.
"Clothing manufacturers use this, then they use it again, then one more time to make sure we never have to take care of our clothes. It's missed with urea--yes, animal piss--to make clothing wrinkle, mildew, and stain-resistant, water resistant, anti-static, and free of odors. Studies have found that that even after two washes, the level of formaldehyde doesn't fade at all...Wearing something bathed in formaldehyde can easily find its way under your skin. It causes contact dermatitis, which is like living with one big rash," Kim Barnouin writes in "Skinny Bitch: Home, Beauty & Style"
The writer continues on to explain that formaldehyde can sensitize people so that even the slightest exposure of the "cracked-out chemical" can cause allergic reactions including nausea, headaches, etc. (Some people have even reported asthma reactions.) She ends with this. "Oh, and before I forget, it causes cancer. The end."
Barnouin notes that most of the dyes in our threads come petroleum and coal. The dyes are packed full of caustic soda, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and are you ready for this? DIOXIN. Yep, one of the deadliest toxins known to man. Artificial dyes are supposed to last longer, but have been linked to headaches, rashes, diarrhea, muscle pain, dizziness, fatigue, and difficulty breathing, according to Barnoin.
And the author goes on to take on flame retardants, PFCs, and something else I have a hard time tolerating--rayon! Barnoin notes that rayon comes from wood pulp that goes through an intense process. That includes being soaked in solvent!!!! Only 50 percent of the chemicals are recovered and the rest go into the environment.
And polyester, a fabric that often is seen in the fat lady clothing shops, still makes the rounds because it is cheap. Petroleum based products include nylon and acrylic. And yes, acrylic fabrics are suspected to be carcinogenic. (I have such reactions to rayon and these synthetics that I have to give most or all away. The clothing doesn't breathe, and it can be beastly on a hot day, too! And anyone worried about smelling nice and not sweating up a storm usually avoids these synthetics like the plague.)
And because Barnoin is a vegan writer, she takes on the taboos include down in jackets and vests, other clothing. The down feathers are cruelly plucked from the breast of birds while they are still alive. The birds are tortured over and over again before being slaughtered for meat. Other subjects include fur, seals, leather, silk, and wool.
I absolutely love Kim Barnoin's book which she promises to be a "no-nonsense guide to cutting the crap out of your life for a better body and a kinder world."
Sometimes people think it sounds crazy that I have to wash brand new clothes once, often twice, before wearing them. Now I'm so glad that I've been doing that, and I know now why I often have such headaches and even feel like I'm gasping for air when I put on some new clothes. Sometimes I can even smell the chemicals and my hands suffer from even handling a lot of new clothes.
So maybe I'll try washing the clothes three times in Woolite, even though I want them to look new.
When I think about losing weight and getting new clothes, this isn't what I have in mind! Not being marinated in toxic chemicals!
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