Monthly Archives: December 2015

Grow A Healthy Gut in 2016 – Microbiome Resources For You!

Want to know how easy it will be to get healthy, lose weight, say good-bye to chronic complaints about digestion, headaches and other maladies and have a Happy New Year in 2016?

Read one book.  Make some changes to what you eat and start on the path to good health. That’s how easy it is.

2016 New Year of Health

Get healthy in 2016. It’s easy.

I sincerely wish I had found the book about 15 years ago when bladder cancer became out ticket to travel down the rabbit hole of so-called “health care.”

Surgeries (12), hospitalizations (52) and BCG therapy (5 courses of a form of bacterial Russian roulette that was supposed to kill the cancer cells) and up until just 3 months ago, my husband was just as unhealthy as he had been when the ride started.

For years, we had heard from his medical team that Pat’s problem was “leaky gut,” a diagnosis often delivered with a shrug and not one idea on how to change it.

So, what does our tale of woe have to do with getting healthy in 2016?

In October, I bought Dr. David Perlmutter’s most recent book, Brain Maker, and I finally got a clear understanding of what leaky gut is and means and why it was critical to Pat’s health.

What I learned from a book (which was not, once mentioned by the cadre of specialists who have seen, treated and billed my poor husband) is that the intestinal lining – the largest mucosal surface in the body and the barrier between “the inside and outside” is exactly one single cell thick!

Bad news? If you have leaky gut it means your cell wall is permeable and you have a very serious health issue. Good news?  Leaky gut is manageable, dare one say reversible?

Not one of the idiots who had Pat in their care knew, mentioned or even touched on the criticality of this condition or the way to help fix it.  They just kept prescribing antibiotics – life-saving but also life-threatening – and sending him home.

After reading Dr. Perlmutter’s book, Brain Maker, I learned about the good bacteria that should be in the gut and those that can cause problems if they overtake the good bacteria.  I got a broad but enlightening introduction to the “second brain” and the fact that the gut often sends messages to the brain to make it act – not the other way around.

Everything I read influenced our next round of dietary changes. Dr. Perlmutter’s recipes made it easy to make the needed changes.  And suddenly things started improving for my husband.

Once I read Dr. Perlmutter’s book and implemented changes (see NOTE ON DINING below), I started doing some research on the microbiome.  This is a growing field and there is a tremendous amount of research going on under the covers on the second brain.

It appears that the world of medicine is about to change, radically and for the better. If you want more information here are some resources I recommend:

This TED talk lays a solid foundation for how our gut bacteria work and how they affect our health . Rob Knight opens the door in this TED talk then helps us walk right in by talking about how gut bacteria might be implicated in a raft of chronic health issues like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Celiac disease, obesity, allergies, and asthma.

If you want to know what’s going on in your microbiome – a snapshot if you will – here is the place to go. Visit this crowdsourced research project and get your gut bacteria analyzed for less than $100.

It’s all there, available for anyone who wants to get their health back.

After reading, listening and changing a few more things in our lives, for the first time in 15 years, Pat and I are able to manage his infections, lower his blood sugar and give him back his life.

One book, one person changed our lives forever and for the better!

Borrow it from the library, download it from Amazon, buy it.  Sign up for Dr. Perlmutter’s regular posts, videos and information and get healthy in 2016!

Happy New Year, everyone.  Here’s to your health.

NOTE ON DINING:  As I said earlier in this novella, what the book/doctors are saying on how to correct your microbiome may seem a bit draconian if you are just getting started.  Take it one bite at a time and you will get your health back.

By the time I read this book, we had already totally cut out ALL processed foods.  We ONLY eat organic, non-GMO foods – including meat, poultry and wild-harvested fish – and fruit and veggies I either raise or get at the local organic food exchange.  That has helped both of us lose over 50 pounds and really feel physically better but it didn’t move his blood sugars a whole lot nor did it cut down on his regular trips to the hospital.

Now, he and I both eat freshly made sauerkraut (I am on my 3rd batch and enjoy making it).  Also, instead of spending $7.50 for a pint at the local farmer’s market, I make a gallon + a pint for about $1.50! It’s cabbage with salt!!  Amazing and amazingly good.

We both drink kombucha which I make and bottle and are loving it!  Again, buy it in the health food store and pay $5.00 for 12 ounces.  Make it at home and it’s about 50 cents a glass.  We recently added duck eggs to our diets – 16% more protein and said to be better at creating a gut environment that is less conducive to the growth of cancer cells.

Simple changes to our diet and a bit of knowledge about how the gut works and how critical it is to overall health could have changed our lives and saved us emotional currency, time and thousands and thousands of dollars over the last decade and a half.

I urge you to explore the concept of microbiome and gut bacteria.  Just Google it and see how many diseases are actually being studied and in some cases reversed by getting good gut bacteria to outweigh the bad – autism, ALS, ADHD, Alzheimer’s and that’s just the A’s!


AVOID GMOs – Dr. Perlmutter Adds His Voice

Merry Christmas….and here’s my gift to you.
DON’T BUY GMO foods or use RoundUp

Okay, this may not seem like an appropriate post during the holidays but what greater gift can you give yourself, your family than good health?

Growing organic veggies is easy.

Grow your own food; you’ll know where’s it’s been.

If you want to eat healthier and don’t want to grow it yourself, if you want to support local farmers and growers and walk a bit softly on the earth we call home, perhaps 2016 is the year you get started.

One of the easiest ways to begin your quest for health is to READ and decide to buy or not buy based on what the product is, what it contains and who made it.

It’s common knowledge that one of the easiest things to do is cut out GMO products – cut them out, get rid of processed foods, start buying and eating organic.

Now Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Brain Maker and Brain Game, adds his voice to those warning about GMOs but his information is a bit more frightening than any I have read before (and I have read an awful lot about this topic).

Dr. Perlmutter shares the most recent and perhaps most damning research that shows that GMOs are the tip of a very unhealthy iceberg called glyphosate.  You all know glyphosate more commonly as RoundUp.

Here’s the quote that makes me want to rant, and rave and cry…don’t buy RoundUp or any of its derivatives.  Don’t eat GMO food. “Roundup was among the most toxic herbicides and insecticides tested. Most importantly, 8 formulations out of 9 were up to one thousand times more toxic than their active principles.”

Don’t believe Dr. Perlmutter?  Read the research yourself.

Try making this your New Year’s resolution: leave the weeds alone!  Or eat them. Or pull them. Or burn them. Or pour pretzel salt and white vinegar on them.  But for your sake, your family’s sake, the planet’s sake, don’t spray them with RoundUp or any of it’s relatives.

What you spray ends up in the water table, your food, your neighbor’s kids, you.  Please, stop.  Please.

Holiday Entertaining: Recipe for Lasagna with Cabbage

My Italian born husband loves this lasagna and so do I.

Adapted from Crescent Dragonwagon‘s cookbook – The Passionate Vegetarian,Pumpkin and Bean Lasagna is rich, flavorful and, once you have the fillings assembled, easy to make.

Another plus is this lasagna is diabetic friendly!  I only use 15 (fifteen) lasagna noodles in a five pound casserole.  So my husband can enjoy exceptional flavor and not worry about his blood sugar.

Give it a try on a cool, rainy day and you may never go back to the old fashioned way of making lasagna again.

FYI – as I mentioned, this is a 5 pound lasagna — a BIG lasagna using a pan that is about 5 inches deep, 15 inches long and 12 inches wide.  After guests have had their fill, I cut whatever I have left into serving sizes and freeze it for another rainy day.

The ingredients are listed in order and, like most lasagnas, you assemble the fillings before you start to put the dish together.

Cabbage, Pumpkin & Bean Lasagna

Carmelized Garlic – 20 cloves of garlic, halved and pan fried until just golden.

Bean & Butternut Filling – 2 pounds of pumpkin (or butternut) cut into 1/2″ to 1″ pieces and pan fried under low heat until soft.  2 cups cooked kidney beans, drained. Mash the pumpkin or squash slightly and mix in the kidney beans

Cabbage – Cabbage sliced in ½ inch thick ribbons  NOTE:  I use the cabbage to take the place of most of the lasagna noodles.

Cheese Filling – 1 pound ricotta cheese, 3 raw eggs, 2 ounces cream cheese and 1 cup milk. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth.

Spices – Nutmeg, salt & pepper to taste.

3 cups grated Mozzarella Cheese

Whole wheat lasagna noodles – uncooked.  If using cabbage in place of noodles you will only need about 15 noodles.

Tomato or Spaghetti Sauce – I use 2 quarts in my lasagna.

Once you have all the layers ready, start assembling your lasagna the way you always do.  Cover with aluminum foil then bake at 350 degrees for about 75 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 20 to 30 minutes to let top brown a bit and release some moisture.

Let sit for about 15 minutes before you cut and serve it.

I like this dish because I can serve it and actually sit down to dinner with my guests.  Hope you like it, too.
Happy holidays to everyone!

Dark Chocolate Breakdown – How to Buy Healthy Bars

I almost never post about sweet indulgences but I do LOVE a good bit of dark chocolate now and then.

Like most people, I thought the higher the percentage of cacao, the healthier the bar.

In trying to respond to an Amazon question, this morning about Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks , I discovered that I was totally, completely wrong!

Since I take my responsibility to Amazon pretty seriously…and I take chocolate even more seriously, I decided I better get the skinny on what 55%, 65%, 75% and 80% really means in the world of all things chocolate!

So here, to set us all straight just in time for all that holiday chocolate we are buying, baking, eating and enjoying, is a post from the Bright River Chocolate company, a chocolate company that makes the percentages make sense!
They even have a pie chart!

Enjoy the info then enjoy some healthy chocolate this holiday season.
Happy Holidays!

A Must Read Before Ordering Your Seeds!

It is the time of year I love and hate – December.
December means not much of anything is growing in my garden. I hate that.
December means seed catalogs arriving in my mail box daily. I LOVE that.

My garden is resting up for 2016.

All the plants are gone & the soil is waiting for 2016.

But before buying any seeds from catalogs or companies I have not used in the past, I like to check their provenance i.e. are they selling organic seed?

This year, courtesy of a blogger named Wolf and posted to a site named 12160 (the shortwave radio frequency for alternative broadcasters, apparently) I found a comprehensive list of seed companies owned by or selling Monsanto products.

If you read my “stuff” or know me, Monsanto is a big No-No for me.  I will not support a company that feels poisoning the earth, water and air and genetically modifying seed and food products is okay.  I will do without rather than give them on thin dime.

So, don’t be fooled.  Before you buy any seeds this year, consult 12160’s list of the bad and the good. Vote with your wallet.  Vote for clean air, clean water and healthy, organic food.

Buy organic seeds.



Protein From The Garden – from Garden Rant

If you struggle with the ethical issue of killing and eating animals, like I do, you have either become a vegetarian or are becoming one. I am on the cusp.  I eat fish – only wild caught and wild harvested.  Occasionally (maybe 10 times a year), I still eat poultry.

Eat vegetables for a protein rich, ethical diet.

My backyard garden is full of protein rich plants.

On average, 98% of the year, I am vegetarian, growing as much of my own food as I possibly can; buying the rest from local, organic farmers.

My choice opens me up for a lot of “advice” from well-intentioned people who love me and who think I simply don’t get enough protein.  As one of them quipped, not so long ago, “I’ll buy you a walker when your muscles break down.  You’re too old to cut out protein from your diet.”

The truth is, I haven’t cut out protein; I’ve just changed the source of my protein to foods that don’t cry, don’t make friends with each other, don’t lovingly care for their babies, don’t greet you in the field.  Up until this morning, I didn’t really have an argument that supported my food choices.

Garden Rant and Evelyn Hadden have provided me with knowledge I need to defend my choice!

Turns out that foods I grow (like kale and beets), foods I love (like sunflower and pumpkin seeds and cheese) and foods I buy locally from my organic farmer friends are packed with protein!

FYI – I can’t quite get my arms around eating insects – one of the protein sources Hadden cites. But I’m on board with all the rest and grateful for a chance to eat without any compromises.

So if you are just thinking about changing some animal protein to plant, or if someone is telling you you have to eat meat to maintain your health, check out Hadden’s article and consider the options she offers.

Oh, also courtesy of EvelynHadden, if you want to find out just how much protein the foods you’re eating have, check out the protein content at the USDA National Nutrient Database.