Tuesday, July 31, 2012

No canaries in the kitchen!

  Aaah, yes, the cast iron skillet your grandmother used to have to whip up some cornbread!  It seems that this heavy-duty, no frills, basic cookware is now a popular alternative to teflon, non-stick pans that have been the standard in most American kitchens.  Yes, they are VERY heavy to lug around, especially for the weak of wrist (rememba, "now I can pick this pan up" commercial for pain relief? haha).  But they have two things going for them that is making their comeback:

         (1)  they are one of the few non-toxic choices for cookware
         (2)  they are pretty cheap

  Let's look at the facts:

         "In two to five minutes on a conventional stovetop, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces can exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases linked to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesses each year, according to tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group." (from EWG website) 
   Here is some other popular cookware and their potential hazards:

 Aluminum  -  a reactive metal and suspected casual factor in Alzheimer's disease

Stainless steel  - potential likelihood of metal leaching into your food and allergen issues, especially if
                scratched from cleaning with abrasive materials

Copper - due to the possibility of copper leaching, recommended to never have direct contact with your

 Calphalon (anondized aluminum) - claims that a protective coating protects from leaching nickel but should not be used if surface is worn or scratched

  "Greenie" non-stick - they are easy to scratch, coated aluminum or stainless

  So, that does not leave us with much to cook with!  Here is what the experts say are the safest choices:

   Glass is best for both microwave and oven.

   Cast Iron  (but make sure you purchase it already seasoned or season it yourself before using, to keep it from rusting and sticking and to lower the amount of iron leached.  Also, do not get very wet by boiling water in it or soaking in water)

   Ceramic   I have recently purchased a set of Xtrema ceramic cookware for its high ratings and features,
                   that Dr. Mercola recommends

               " Xtrema cookware is made of inorganic non reactive natural minerals that make the product environmentally friendly. This cookware clearly addresses today’s growing desire for a healthier cooking alternative to metal cookware and their coatings, which can eventually deteriorate and peel or flake off into foods. Xtrema also provides greater functionality in terms of usage with multiple cooking appliances. Xtrema can be used safely and effectively in the oven, microwave, toaster oven, broiler, stored in the freezer or refrigerator or used to serve food right on the table."

       click for more info:  extrema website


   Here is what I think of the ceramic cookware:

    >  supposed to be the healthiest cookware
    > very easy to clean - nothing will scratch it
    > maintains heat longer
    > food tastes better cooked in it
    > has a 50 year warranty

    > very expensive
    > can easily chip, need to handle and store carefully
    > handles get very hot ( but they do include covers)
    > skillets are slightly raised in the center, making some foods hard to cook evenly
      > takes longer to heat up initially

Since I needed to replace my worn out calphalon and am trying to eat healthier,  it was important to me to have the safest cookware there is.  I am generally pleased with the Xtrema but ended up buying a cast iron skillet to cook pancakes,etc easier.  Hopefully they will keep improving the non-toxic cookware if there is more public demand. 
My suggestion to anyone wanting to upgrade to less toxic cookware:  buy the standard, inexpensive cast iron skillets and/or griddle and then a few of the pricier ceramic pots for stovetop.  And use glassware for baking. 
       And let the canaries sing!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Let's Get The Lead Out!

Saturday's wellness event also included Dr. Rashid Buttar, an internationally known physician who happens to reside in Charlotte.  He is somewhat of a medical maverick, going up against our country's system of allowing us (among many other things) to continue to be exposed to toxic metals (vaccines, dental fillings, etc).  People all over the world come to his clinic in Cornelius seeking alternative treatment for cancer and other chronic diseases.

Dr. Buttar's book "The 9 Steps to Keep the Doctor Away" tells us the secrets of longevity and health; primarily detoxification of our bodies, a regulated immune system, and optimal hormonal balance.  (I got an autographed copy!)

In his talk, Dr. Buttar went over the 7 main toxicities that we are exposed to and adversely affect our health. He feels that if you can effectively detoxify your body, disease can not exist.  Here are the highlights from
his lecture.

Seven Toxicities:

     1) Heavy metals
           > Mercury is still found in vaccines and silver dental fillings (even though we are led to believe
> Autism is brought on by being genetically unable to detox mercury           > Hepatitis B vaccines given to infants are unnecessary and their undeveloped gastrointestinal systems are unable to handle the vaccine
          > There is still mercury in vaccines (although the FDA allows the label to not have to list it)
          > Alzheimers is also caused by mercury and can be treated with detoxing

     2) POPs - Persistent Organic Pollutants (i.e. air pollution, etc)

     3) Bacteria, Yeast, parasites (these suppress the immune system)
           > Taking daily probiotics is recommended

     4) Energetics (radiation,etc)
           > There has been a 500,000% increase in electromagnetic power in the past 20 years because of cell phones, computers and other electronic devises
            > You don't want to live or work in close proximity to big power lines
            > Keep cell phones out of the bedroom when sleeping (we charge ours in the bathroom) and for a better night's sleep, unplug all electronics in your room

      5) Emotional/Psychological Wellness
           > Your body will be out of balance when emotional issues are not dealt with, resulting in physical ailments, depression and compromised immune system
           > The first thing Dr. Buttar tells cancer patients who come to him for treatment, is to address this area and work on any deep-seeded issues, to be able to heal
           >  It is important to let go of anger and forgive everyone who has "wronged" you.....not for them, but for your own well-being.

      6) Food Toxicity
             > Any food that is processed, pasteurized, hydrogenated, fried or altered artificially (GMOs)
               He believes that raw milk is ok to drink

       7) Spiritual (your relationship with God)
             > Differences in religious views has always been a source of emotional and physical conflict. 
             > Bottom line is - when you fell so strongly about your religion that you impose your beliefs onto others, it becomes a toxic situation to your body.

Dr. Buttar is continually being harassed by medical and government organizations, accused of being "irresponsible" with his holistic methods of healing. He has spent $14 million to fight such lawsuits but is willing to fight the fight because of all the people who need and want his help. It takes brave professionals like him who have an inside view on what is really going on in the field of medicine and food industry, to present Americans with the truth. There is so much corruption and dishonesty with big business making huge profits at the expense of our health!

p.s.   I am obsessed with the one silver filling in my mouth and can not wait to get it removed!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Green Smoothie Girl Groupie!

Last Saturday I attended a wonderful holistic health event in Cornelius with Robyn Openshaw (aka Green Smoothie Girl) and Dr. Rashid Buttar (Center for Advanced Medicine).  Both speakers shared their own personal stories of how they became involved in the crusade for natural healing, especially through a whole foods, plant based diet.  Much of the information presented on how the SAD (Standard American Diet) is making us sick, how proper nutrition can keep chronic disease away, and the benefits of detoxification was not new to me but I did learn some things.  And I left very inspired and motivated to try even harder in my wellness journey, particularly with more mindful eating with less animal protein.

I thought Robyn would be promoting the Blendtec with demos in ways to use it for blending and juicing but she only showed how to make one basic green smoothie.  She spent most of the time talking about her personal experiences that led her to the raw food diet and how a plant based diet can change your health and your life.  She drinks one quart of green smoothie every day and her children drink one pint.  One quart gives 12-15 servings of fruit and vegetables (the average American gets 1-2 servings per day).

Robyn's mantra is that spending 10 minutes a day in the kitchen (making your smoothie) can add hours to your day because you will have more energy, need less sleep and will be more productive and focused.

Robyn is a single mom to 4 children, and talked a bit about how young moms are the most powerful people on the planet.....decisions they make on their children's nutrition and eating habits can change the course of their lives in many ways.  It truly is the most important aspect of general health and the the gift that keeps on giving!  She started the strict vegan diet for the whole family when her baby boy was chronically sick with severe asthma....soon after he got off all meds, started to thrive in good health and is now getting ready for college with a full baseball scholarship.

A few helpful tidbits that I got from Robyn: 
  > you can use dehydrated greens (Ormos is one brand) and mix a tsp with water for times when you are not able to blend your own smoothie
 > she recommends a combination of 1/3 water, 1/3 greens and 1/3 fruit for beginner blenders; adding some stevia for a more pleasing taste
  > you can add a few drops of essential oils to the smoothie (lemon oil is a natural fat burner & appetite suppressant)
> hemp and chia are the most nutrient dense seeds and also help with mood - good to add to the mix

 I tried her Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie recipe and it was surprisingly very good!  It is a delicious way to incorporate the goodness of raw veggies and the power of nutritious coconut that will start your day off right and sustain you until lunchtime.  Greens can be a little hard to swallow first thing in the morning!

                                     Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie

  1 1/2 c. coconut water (raw from a coconut, or you can find this in cans or cartons)
  1 large carrot, cleaned and cut into small pieces (or 5-6 baby carrots)
  1/2 of a medium beet, raw, peeled
  1/4 c. cashews, raw and unsalted
 1/4 c. chopped dates (or 5 whole, pitted)
  2 tsp. vanilla extract
 12 frozen strawberries
 (makes one quart, about 400 calories)

   To view a Youtube of Robyn preparing this smoothie, click here:


   I will never be a vegan, and can not even imagine totally giving up fish, eggs, butter, yogurt and cheese but people like Robyn who are bringing attention to how critical good nutrition is for the sake of our health and wellness, are so admirable.  Moving towards a more plant based, whole foods diet can be life-changing and like Robyn, I have an increasing desire to help others learn about this more natural, holistic way of eating and living.
   Next blog:  Dr. Buttar!