Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's been awhile.....

I bought these wonderful heirloom carrots a few weeks back and just came upon these pictures. I just loved the vibrant colours and fun for kids to eat.

So, with these last images of 2010 I wish you all a happy and healthy 2011....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Locks of Love

I finally did it. Cut my hair! It has been long my whole life and recently got so long that I really needed to cut it. I figured what's the difference if I cut 6 inches or 10? I also thought donating it to make a wig for kids with cancer would be worth it. Not sure who I will donate it to, locks of love is a US company and I would like to keep it in Ontario.

Here are some before and after shots....

the specimen....

Well now it is time to start growing it back!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another Case For Vitamin D

I read another article abstract looking at 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels measured from 1024 children with mild to moderate asthma. They looked at baseline vitamin D levels and the odds of any hospitalization or ER visits over the 4 years the trial was examined. 35% of subjects were vitamin D deficient. After analyzing all the data they concluded that vitamin D insufficiency is common in this population of children with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma and is associated with higher risk of severe exacerbation over a 4 year period. (Journal Allergy Clinical Immunology July; 126 (1): 52-8 e5). Once again the importance of vitamin D can not be over-stated.

Sadly, I also just read how Ontario is no longer paying for vitamin D testing (unless indicated ie. osteoporosis) as the #'s of test requests drastically increased. Vitamin D should be tested and the mere 50$ to run the test could save the government lots of money down the road as deficient D levels can cause much worse things that would cost much more when we need to treat cancer, depression or constant illnesses from a low immune system (we can lump asthma into this group). Another well made decision by the goverment and another good reason to see an ND!

Importance of Sleep

I read this interesting abstract for a research article and thought I would share it....

It looked at 1930 (ages 0-13) children and then divided the group onto 0-4 and 5-13. It concluded that a shorter duration of nightime sleep was strongly associated with an increased risk of being overweight or obese in the 0-4 age group and had no significant difference for baseline in the older age group. Therefore shortened sleep duration in early life is a modifiable risk factor (meaning you have the power to change it!) with important implications for obesity prevention and treatment. If children in the 0-4 age group have insufficient nightime sleep, this could have lasting effect for obestiy. (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010 Sep; 164 (9):840-5)

I thought this was so fascinating and yet just another reason to ensure your kids get a good night's sleep.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chocolate Goodness....

In a blink of an eye he turned 5.

Now....onto the details of the cake. I am making a white cake with cholcolate icing with the Batman logo. I can not get myself to buy the pre-made icing. I will throw in the towel for a few things on birthdays (we will have gummi bears and I will need to use a little bit of yellow food die for the batman logo--) as for the icing it can be easily made. I looked at a few recipes and then made up my own. It turned out delicious!! Thought I should post about it so the next time I need the recipe I will know where to find it!!

1/2 cup melted butter
1 square of semi-sweet chocolate

While these were melting, I sifted together
1 lb of icing sugar and
1/3 cup of cocoa

I then added 1 tsp of vanilla and 1/3 cup of milk to the melted butter and chocolate.

and lastly slowly added the icing sugar mixture until you get the consistency you desire for icing.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Ginger Snaps

Aidan has been sick on and off this week. Yesterday, he had a terrible fever and was lethargic but with lots of fluids, herbs and homeopathics we made it through another illness! Today we baked some ginger cookies. Ginger can be warming on a cold day and promotes healthy sweating which is helpful during cold and flu season. It is also really good for nausea (and is safe in pregnancy), supports digestion and is an anti-inflammatory (great for joint pain).

This recipe is form the cookbook How it all Vegan (which I love and adore!).
(I cut the recipe in half and made about 2 dozen cookies)

2 1/2 cups flour (I mixed buckwheat and spelt)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup oil
5 tbsp of freshly grated ginger or 2 tsp powdered

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl (dry then add wet). Bake for 350F for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Surprise

I got this recipe from a friend and after changing it slightly, made these delicious pumpkin square/cake treats that the kids (and all their friends at the park), loved!! Pumpkin is rich in Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Potassium and Magnesium, it is also low calorie food and high in fiber.

I'm a one bowl baker and simply dumped all the ingredients into a big bowl, put into a cake pan and roughly 30 minutes later at 350F....done and delicious!!

3/4 cup grapeseed oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree (I roasted a pumpkin and then pureed it in the blender but you could use canned organic pumpkin puree).
2 cups flour (spelt, whole wheat or gluten free option)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use dairy free)

before going into the oven


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Prepping for the season

It has been way to long since I have posted. We moved Sept. 1st and with all the things needing to get done in the new house and trying to find our rhythm here, blogging has been a hard thing to do. I thought I would get back into it with something simple today.....remembering the importance of vitamin D. With winter approaching and days getting shorter, I thought I would share this recent journal article on the benefits of vitamin D for the immune system and how effective it is at warding off the flu virus (and viruses in general).

The kids get 1000 IU per day once fall hits and I up it to 2000 IU if someone in the house it sick. About a month ago I exposed Aidan to chickenpox with a 2 + hour playdate indoors with a friend that was in quarantine and full of active pox. Well, a month has nearly passed and no such luck here.......maybe it was too much vtm D? (As an aside if anyone knows of anyone with chickenpox let me know!!). Here is the article.....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Apple Crumble

we went apple picking today and a perfect thing to make with them is apple crumble.

7 large apples. (i used cortland)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp lemon
2 tsp cinammon
2 tsp vanilla
Mix the above ingredients and let stand for 20 min.
1/2 cups steel cut oats plus 2 tbsp, uncooked
I grinded a 1/4 cup in my coffee grinder (it's actually my flax seed grinder since i don't drink coffee!). and mixed the 2 parts all together
1/4 cup organic butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
Mix these together and then I added the oats
Place apples in dish, cover with oat/butter mixture. Cook at 400F for 35 minutes covered and then uncovered for 20 minutes. Voila!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Hate Carpets.....

Aidan had an ashtma attack last night. I heard him wheezing Friday morning and my radar was on. The problem is both his room and Bella`s room are carpeted. On top of that we are doing some reno`s to his room so it is a bit more dusty from his closet being taken apart. Looking back he should have not been sleeping there at all. Well last night at 3 am the wheezing started. I actually had to give him a puff of Ventalin and coupled it with a dose of Spongia and Hepar Sulph (he always does well with this remedy).
The kids were off to their Papa`s for the day and we certainly got a lot done with them gone with the first project being ripping out that carpet! Not sure why people lay carpet on hardwood. Carpets collect dust, dirt and dust mites. Cutting down the number of dust mites in your house is really important for people that have allergies and asthma and these little buggers love to live in carpet! When we lifted the carpet and looked at the underpad we were disgusted and this carpet was only put down about 5 years ago! It was a really easy job and within 2 hours the room was back together and Aidan`s bed was moved in. We are trying to convince him to share a room and I thought he would love the idea but he seems a bit put out. Well until his room is all cleaned up and de-carpeted, these 2 are bunking up.
cutting up the carpet into strip to roll and remove

removing the hundreds of staples that holds the underpad

after a number of sweeps and mops, shiny new floors!



Thursday, September 9, 2010

All things new....

We moved to our new house on Sept. 1st and as much at it is great being here, I do miss our old house. We had a great house that we made our own and the most amazing next door neighbour that anyone could ask for but all that being said our new neighbourhood is wonderful!
September marks the end of summer and with that comes all things new to our household. Aidan had his first day of 'regular' school, Bella had her first day of preschool ever (that's big change even if it is only 2 mornings per week!), we moved to a new house and the Jewish new year rang in a new year.
We decided to host the festivities, I needed to start collecting memories in the house to start making it our own.
Here are a few shots of all things new.....
1st day of 'school'
sweet wine, eggplant salad, gefilte fish

apples and honey to bring in a sweet year


Monday, September 6, 2010

Vegetarian Delight

I've been a vegetarian since I was 15 yrs. old. My husband, well he's a carnivore. If he cooks dinner he spends an elaborate amount of time cooking the chicken, basting the chicken and then barbequing the chicken. It is a good 2 hour ordeal which he couples with rice and peas. My dinner consists of the rice and peas. The other day I made a delicious vegetarian dinner that had him saying he might have a heart attack from all this 'healthy' food(oh my!). The kids licked their plates clean as well.
Chickpea Salad (I never use recipes just sort of throw everything into a bowl)
1 can of chickpeas (but I boiled for 5 min. to get them to be a little softer)
1 red pepper diced
2 carrots grated
1 tomato diced
1/4 cucumber diced
1 handful of sunflower sprouts
1 tsp of sunflower oil
1/4 fresh lemon
1 tbp of olive oil
pinch of sea salt

I coupled this with a orzo salad with peas and fresh parmesan and candied sweet potato. It was all delicious and animal free!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fresh Picks

This week's market buys. Fresh, local, organic.

Sprouts have great nutritional properties. Just take the case of broccoli sprouts, it is better than a full-grown broccoli because it contains more of the enzyme "sulforaphane" that helps protect cells and prevents the body's genes from turning into cancer. I bought sunflower sprouts, rich in lecithin and vitamin D, sunflower sprouts have the power to break fatty acids and lead to easy digestion. I used to have a sprouting factory in my kitchen and with moving to this new house in just 2 days (eek!), I plan to get my operation up and going. Stay stuned for more on sprouting......

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sweet Potato Peach Muffins

We made these muffins yesterday for our co-op backyard camp. They were a big hit with the kids. I love healthy options that are super easy to make and kiddies gobble up.
1 cup mashed sweet potato (I baked 2 sweet potatos the night before and simply mashed them the next moring)
1/2 cup mashed peaches (I used fresh peaches as these are in season but I think you can use any watery fruit ie. canned pineapple)
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour (I would use any flour ie. spelt, or gluten free alternative)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp. ground flax
2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375F. Mix sweet potato, peaches, eggs and sugar. Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground flax and cinnamon. Bake for 16-20 minutes. I put them in mini muffin trays so I reduce the baking time to 10-12 minutes. I usually just watch them until they are golden brown on top.

Monday, August 16, 2010

For the Love of Sucking

My children love to suck. Aidan started sucking his finger when he was 12 months. We were in Florida and thought it was the funniest thing and once he discovered how to do it there was no turning back. (He has since released the middle finger from his nose.)
We talk about it daily and I would have thought that nearing 5 he would diminish this act but there seems to be no end in sight. So, when Bella came along I gave her a soother. Not sure if that was the right thing to do but 2 finger suckers seemed unimaginable. Now she is quite attached to the soother. If she really wants it and I don't give it to her she just begins to suck her finger as her brother does. She does not discriminate the suck. Smart girl.

I began researching sucking in children. I found an interesting article involving tribal cultures and how no finger sucking exists in these cultures. As long as the babies and children can suck at the nipple as freely as they wish, which they usually do until 7 yrs. old, then there is no need to finger suck. Well, being self employed my nipples had to come with me to work (even if it was only 2 half days per week) when my children were 4 months old. Yet, my children were fed on demand, nursed through the night and co-slept in their infancy.

Dr. Spock says " the main reason that young babies suck their thumbs seems to be that they haven't had enough sucking at the breast or bottle to satisfy their sucking needs". I do not agree with this statement for my kids as Aidan nursed for 18 months and I nursed him whenever he wanted during the day and in the night to help get back to sleep. Bella still nurses and she is 2.5 yrs.

There is a lot of information on sucking and its self soothing abilties as well as how emotional children need to suck to reduce anxiety levels. I can see this for Aidan but not as much for Bella. Let us remember that sucking is a natural instinct, a survival technique that babies are born with so they feed and survive. We seem to think that this primal instinct should disappear when our babies are 6 months old. In western culture we think at 6 months these tiny beings have reached a new milestone and that they should lose that need to suck, when in fact they are still very much babies.

Lastly, there is information about intelligence and the need to suck. How the sucking reflex stimulates brain development and thus raises the babies IQ's. I'll go with that theory!
Well for now, they love to suck (and they love each other!) and no matter how much we discuss it they are going to suck until they decide they are done with sucking. The bottom line is it is something I have no control over as I can't cut their fingers off.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Sting

Aidan was walking in the park and stepped on a wasp and got stung! For those who know Aidan, you know how sensitive he is and one thing he can not deal with is, pain. Poor guy was screaming and could not be consoled. We quickly went home and got some Apis. This remedy is indicated for any stinging or burning sensation which he obviously had. After a single dose (!) and a spiderman sock to shield his foot the screaming stopped and we were able to resume our morning in the park.

I am putting together homeopathic first aid me if interested.

What Me?? A UTI?

I was suprised when at the beginning of the week I was exhibiting signs of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). I was having urgency and after a few trips to the bathroom with not much volume I finally clued in. I pulled out my dipsticks and low and behold within seconds white blood cells and blood were obviously and quite potently present.

And so it began.....Every 20 minuted I cycled my remedies and after 1.5 hours the relief had kicked in. I kept with my plan for the next few days and I would say 3 days later my symptoms were gone and my dipsticks were clear! Antibiotics did not even crosss my mind and they were not needed.

My Plan:
1. Water, Water and more Water. I normally only drink water and tea (herbal but occassionally I do love Chai). However in the past few months I have not been drinking or been too busy to drink so my intake has been less.
2. Homemade Cranberry Juice. I boil some frozen berries in water, blend and strain. So Easy and affordable. I drank about 8 oz of puree/day.
3. UNDA # 2, 7, 44. These are homeopathic liquid remedies geared for the kidney and urinary system. They are safe in pregnancy, children and those on medication but always check with your ND before using.
4.D-Mannose- this powder is amazing as it kills the bacteria (mainly E.Coli) by washing them away from the urinary wall. Tastes great too! I took a few tsp per day. This is what I give Bella every morning to ensure a clean bladder due to her history of frequent UTI's.
5. Acidophilus- 2 caps per day to put those good guys back!!
6. Citricidal- 2 tab per day to kill those bad guys!
7. Botanical Tincture- I have a botancial dispensery in my home office, so convenient when I need to make something quickly! I whipped up a urinary cleanse tincture at 11 pm!
8. Cantharis- a major remedy for UTI. Took a few doses on the first day.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A cavity or 3.....

Little baby Bell got her first tooth just shy of her 1st birthday. She had 2 bottom teeth for months and nothing else seemed to happen. She then developed molars. She had her molars before front teeth! Her front teeth came in towards the end of last summer she was probably 20 months. I remember how cute they were, little gap between the front teeth, cutely shaped and pearly white. I then noticed a little marking on her right front tooth and thought it was a bit of discolouration. When I went with Aidan to the dentist in the spring they looked at Bella's front teeth and she had not one but 3 little cavities!!

We are not sure why? After all she had only had those teeth for 7-8 months and all her other teeth were fine? We were told the common things; bottles, she never took one, sugar-we do our best to limit (not always so easy!), juice- she gets water or milk (or milk alternative), brushing teeth- I scrutinize every tooth when I brush and I even floss!

So, perhaps born with some weak enamel? Maybe a congenital malformation with those teeth? A kidney essence deficiency?

I recently started her on Calcium Fluoride Tissue Salts and give her 3 little tablets per day. It helps make up your bones, teeth enamel, skin fibers and muscle tissue. A deficiency can be seen with poor enamel of teeth, brittle nails or cracked skin. I am hoping these will help strengthen her teeth so we can avoid any further drilling.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

a great find with a twist

I love thriftng. It's always nice to get a great deal but even better is a really good find. That something special that I can re-use. I love antique items. We are mass producing so much in our culture and most of our items are made overseas for mere pennies with chemically based un-natural materials and are not made to last. Re-using items is a great environmental movement by using less resources and producing less stuff when we already have enough stuff. (My plan is to start sewing some kiddie clothes from some of our old adult clothes....I love that idea and how cute will bella look in a dress made out of ewan's old t-shirt!) Summer is such a great time to find those special finds as there are yard sales everywhere. Today driving back from the market I came upon these 2 special items.
not sure where these will go....bella's room or kiddie's bathroom?

look how beautiful this old window pane is!

Fresh Summer Salads

I love going to the farmer's market and am really excited for our new house to be steps from this weekly affair!! I love seeing what looks good and then coming home and making some delicious food. This is what I picked up today.
Kale, Basil, Carrots and Beets

I decided to make a beet salad using the beets and the beet greens. Beets are a great source of fiber, lower LDL cholesterol, is a known cancer fighting food and is rich in B-vitmains, specifically folic acid (great for those pregnant women!).
I cleaned the beets and roasted them in a covered pan for about an hour.
I then cleaned and trimmed the stalks off the beet greens and steamed them for about 2 minutes.
I needed a dressing so I cut up an orange, added a couple cloves of fresh garlic, a little red wine vinegar, olive oil and orange zest.
Orange zest is a great source of vitamin C, enhances your immune system and is a great digestive aid.
I mixed it all together and topped with some fresh basil. A great success!

For the second salad I used the kale.
I steamed the kale for about 5 minutes and while this was doing it's thing I quickly sauteed about 4 cloves of garlic in olive oil. I then drained the kale, squeezed out the excess water and sauteed it with the garlic. Voila! Kale is rich in vitamin K, A and C and because it is part of the Brassica family it is a powerful fighter of cancer cells, including breast cancer.
I met a women at the market when buying the carrots who said she made pesto from the tops. I usually feed them to my dog, but thought I might give that a try next.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Simple Dip of a Stick

I love getting urine from my patients. I know that sounds crazy (and gross) but as an ND with the simple dip of a urine sample I can quickly assess the internal aspect of a patient. The dipstick tells me how hydrated or dehydrated a person is, if they are acidic or alkaline. It also checks for white blood cells (also known as leukocytes), blood or protein to tell me if there is a urinary tract infection (UTI) or glucose if diabetic. All this with a simple dip of a stick. Baby Bell has had her share of UTI's (my next post will discuss this) and getting a urine sample used to be quite challenging. Now that she pees in a potty I can check her urine so easily! Today she was well hydrated and alkaline.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Life

I went to a birth yesterday that was simply magical. Mom was amazing and after 12 hours of natural labour out came a perfect baby. I am honoured to be part of this little beings life.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Farm Fresh

Trying to keep things local this weekend, we went to Forsythe Family Farms today.
It's in Markham and we often make the trip out of the city to spend some time in fresh country air. They have a little petting zoo, games for the whole family, a wagon ride out to an enchanted forest, fresh open space and a market full of produce, freshly baked goods, local eggs and meat products. Here are some shots of the day....
ewan loves goats.....

a healthy snack in the woods