Eating Healthy on a Budget

Last time we talked about how important it is to eat a clean healthy diet to keep your immune system strong.  One thing that I hear in response sometimes is “But eating healthy is SO expensive!”  I admit it does cost a little bit more but I say ‘pay a little more now or pay for it later’! Thankfully there are some things that you can do to decrease the impact on your day to day budget.

For starters several of the warehouse stores are including more and more organic, non-GMO items. (Side bar: non-GMO means non-Genetically Modified Organism. Genetically Modified Organisms are plants that have been altered at a genetic level by inserting DNA from other organisms including bacteria, fish and other species into the plant DNA! There is so much wrong with that picture on so many levels. I’ll have to dedicate another post to delve into to that. It’s a doozy!)  If you don’t have a membership to a warehouse, partner with someone who does until you save enough money to buy a membership of your own. Some warehouse clubs offer rebates on your purchases that you can apply to your membership fee the next year. If you’re thinking ‘but I’m single or have a small family. There’s no way I will be able to eat all of those large, bulk servings before they expire or go bad!’  Again, partner with someone! Pick a buddy and plan to go maybe once a month and stock up on things like organic frozen (not canned- too much salt and preservatives) fruits and vegetables or a case of paper towels and toilet paper and split it. In time you will build up a good sized stash of things that isn’t overwhelming and are less likely to perish and you can use the money that you save to pick up a few fresh, organic items at your local grocery store or farmers market.pexels-photo-109277

EAT. OUT. LESS! Eating out is laden with unhealthy additives like MSG and it’s EXPENSIVE!  For instance, a “value meal” for a family of four can run you about $20.  Well, you can get a YUGE bag of frozen organic vegetables for about $9 from a warehouse store which is enough for 4 rounds of dinner for a family of four and a pack or two of meat (or more if your talking ground meat) at your local grocery store.  So for the cost of one (cheap) dinner out you can buy enough food for two meals and then some. Fresh vegetables can cost even less like a large box of organic spinach.  food-salad-healthy-lunchWe use it to make salads, fresh juice and smoothies. Baby spinach has NO taste so sometimes juicing or slipping it in a smoothie is the only way that I can sneak something green into BeBe’s diet. Shhhhh he does’t know my secret! What he doesn’t know won’t hurt me.  If you partner with someone you can buy organic meat in bulk, too and split the pre-portioned packs for even less than what it costs at your local store.  Keep doing this bit by bit and you will eat and, therefore, feel better and have more energy and a stronger immune system and perhaps be able to spend less money on medications and doctors visits. Just a thought….

 

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Only eat fruits and vegetables when they are in season! Newsflash! We are NOT supposed to be eating fresh strawberries in January!! That is just wrong! They are out of season so they will have less flavor, less nutrients and COST MUCH MORE! Firstly, they will be harvested prematurely, then sprayed with chemicals to keep them from ripening during the super long boat ride they will have to take to get here form the other side of the equator!! There are lists all over the internet with what is in season in your area and when. Print one out and keep it handy.

One other way to save money is STOP THROWING AWAY FOOD! Americans throw away anywhere from one third to one half of our food daily! One day I stopped and noticed that every week food seemed to get sucked into a black hole in the back of our refrigerator only to be found when something started to grow on it! Yuck!  So I started making an effort to check every few days and FREEZING the leftovers. They’ve come in handy in a pinch on a lazy weekend afternoon and my husband asks ‘what can we eat for lunch?’  and I remember that we have frozen spaghetti or taco meat and the like that I can defrost quickly and feed us with little effort in a pinch.

Also, when you do cook, make a double portion! Cooking ground meat? Cook 2 pounds instead of one and freeze the second pound. Defrost it and dump spaghetti sauce or taco seasoning on it and throw together a quick meal on a rainy day!  Baking chicken? Same thing. Double up and freeze for another day.

Consider buying some of your staples online. We use Vitacost.com and other websites. Since we participate in the Upromise program (it’s free), we get cash back every few months into our kids’ college funds when we cdfmake purchases through their links. We get organic pantry items delivered to our front door in about 2 days (free shipping) and free money is added to BeBe & Bunny’s futures.  Win-win!

If you have any questions or money saving tips that you would like to share, please do so in the comment box below

@ www.MommyMadeMD.com

The Doctor is in!

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…

Take Home Tidbits

  • Buy organic produce in bulk when possible.
  • Frozen food is better for you than than canned.
  • Consider a warehouse club membership to defray costs or partner with someone that has one.
  • Buy fresh fruits and veggies only when they are in season!
  • Stop throwing away food!

Back to School Bug Brigade

It’s that time of year again – Back to [Home] School!

This is that lovely time of year when kids dive in head first and swap cooties! Typically medical offices and urgent cares look like an abandoned Western Frontier Town right about now – tumbleweed and all.

Back to school bugs Back to school physical exams are done and the dust begins to settle and then BOOM! Typically at just about two weeks after school starts there is a flood of kids coming in like a Petri Dish Parade.

Back to school bugsThe incubation period on all the cooties has expired and they begin to rear their ugly heads – strep throat, colds, stomach flu, the list goes on….

So what can you do to protect you and yours?

There are a few thing things that you can do to gird up your immune system. The most obvious is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of (hopefully organic) vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats and protein – in that order! That is honestly the best foundation.  Hippocrates even knew that everything begins in the gut.

Back to school bugs

About 80% of your immune system is found in your gut in the GALT system (Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissue).

Back to school bugs

With that in mind there are additional things that you can do to strengthen or regulate the immune system via the influence of what you ingest.  First and foremost taking a good quality probiotic daily can fortify the defenses in your gut and help crowd out any bad bugs trying to take up residence.  If you tend to have recurrent ear and/or throat infections, you can also use a probiotic powder.  After brushing your teeth at night, sprinkle a little bit of the powder on the back of your tongue so that the good bacteria found in the probiotics can colonize the back of your throat and the opening of your ear tubes overnight to discourage the growth of the bad guys like strep! The Waldeyer’s Ring of Tonsillar tissue is a ring around the back of your throat full of immune system tissue and modulating cells. Let’s give them what they need!

Back to school bugs

 

Another option is taking colostrumColostrum is that nutrient rich, antibody laden golden richness that is produced as the “first milk” when a child is born.  You can actually purchase grass-fed, cow colostrum and reap all of the benefits of the immune boosters there, too. Colostrum helps regulate the balance of immune cells in your system.  You have two types of helper cells in your immune system, Th1 and Th2 (T helper cells 1 and 2, respectively).  Oftentimes due to insults like poor diet, infections, and environmental toxins the balance of these two types of cells is off and, therefore, not functioning optimally.  Think of it like this: your Th1 cells are your Watchers on the Wall and are supposed to protect the kingdom from any possible threat while the Th2 cells are the villagers down below.  Now the Th2 cells aren’t pushovers by any means and can wield a sword when necessary but they are not the same caliber of warriors like the trained fighters on the Wall. You do need both but The Watchers on the Wall (Th1) need to do their job properly so that the villagers (Th2) can do the other things that they are better trained to do and not wear themselves doing things that are above their pay grade.  Due to environmental insults all too often the Th2 cells are all over the place doing way too much and the Th1 cells are laying down on the job.  Taking colostrum can help rev up your Th1 cells so that they can do their job properly and the Th2 cells can go back to business as usual.

One thing that you can also do to help prevent the SPREAD of germs is to teach your children (and yourselves) to wash your hands properly, dry them off and then use that paper towel to turn off the faucet (moist Petri dish) and then use it again to grab the knob (Petri dish number 2) and open the door with it, THEN throw it away.  Also, when you cough or sneeze, do so into your ELBOW – not your hands (that you will then use to open a door, use a pen or something else and spread the joy).  Some viruses like one of the most common causes of the stomach flu can survive on surfaces for 6 WEEKS!! This is how they get passed around so far so fast – think cruise ships. So WASH. YOUR. HANDS! Also, wipe down and sterilize door knobs, toilet handles, sink faucets, etc to slow the spread of the germs.

If perchance you lose the battle and get sick, all is not lost! There are a lot of natural things that you can do to help shorten the course of your illness.  Too much to include here today so put a pin in it, sign up for our newsletter @ MommyMadeMD.com, and be sure to have that info and much more delivered straight to your inbox in the future.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me via the comment box below @ www.MommyMadeMD.com

The Doctor is in!

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…

Take Home Tidbits

  • 80% of your immune system is in your gut. Protect it with probiotics and colostrum.
  • Cough and/or sneeze into your ELBOW not your hands to reduce the spread of germs.
  • Some viruses can survive on surfaces for SIX WEEKS so WASH. YOUR. HANDS!

A Heart is a House for Love

Why I choose to homeschool….

The typical reasons that families choose to homeschool are many.  Although some of those reasons played a factor in my final decision, they weren’t the end all be all. Many people choose to homeschool due to various reasons: a desire to instill their family morals, values, and religion/world view in their children, concerns about preconceived prejudices and culture clashes in the world and, therefore, classroom, or bad experiences or episodes with “mean girls” and bullies.  The list goes on.  I chose to homeschool simply because I knew HOW I wanted my children educated. Little did I know before they got here how much more important that concept would become. My mother was an educator before she retired when I was born. She taught at all levels from the primary grades up through college and professional training. When I declared that I wanted to homeschool my children, she (along with my brother) was my biggest cheerleader! And I quote “That’s wonderful! All children are DIFFERENT. They are not cookie cutters!”

Why I choose to homeschool....SOLD! There you have it folks! The one certified educator in the family (who was featured in the news back in the ’60’s by the way for her groundbreaking ability to teach kids -especially boys) was singing my praises! That settles it!!

I never even considered homeschooling until I was asked to sit on an exploratory board regarding education at my Church home back in Los Angeles. At the time I was pregnant with our first child and hadn’t even thought that far in advance yet. I was just focused on getting her here healthy and couldn’t even see past that point. The plan was to incorporate educational services and perhaps be a homeschool facilitator as a Church family. I had no idea what to expect but when asked to serve, I answered. I learned SO MUCH! The most impressive thing that I learned was about the Classical Method of Education which is how the ancients taught. Quite frankly it’s the style used up through recent times when the whole concept of public schools was introduced just over 100 years ago in the late 1800’s. Yes people, homeschooling is NOT NEW. Sending your kids off to school is – but that’s a history lesson for another day.

Anywho, I fell in love with the Classical Method. With my medical education and understanding and training in child development, the Classical Method ‘made nothing but sense’ as my brother always says. It basically takes the understanding of how the brain naturally develops and uses that to infuse information into the brain in a manner consistent with the brain’s natural strengths during that particular phase of development. Let me explain…

Typically the Classical Method involves three or four phases or stages. The Trivium (tri means three like in the word triangle, a geometric shape with three angles or sides) is what is most commonly used describes the three stages of the Classical Method. There’s also the Quadrivium (quad means four) that extends through the college years if you so choose.

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The three stages of the Trivium are Parrot (Poll), Rhetoric, and Logic. Let’s dive in!

The Parrot/Poll Stage refers to younger children who repeat (parrot) everything that you say so you put that to your advantage.  Instead of learning all of the words to the latest Top Ten Hit, my kids learned the entire historical time line (over 150 facts) from Creation to September 11th (along with all the States and their Capitals, the times tables or what we call skip counting, science facts, all 44 Presidents, The Preamble to the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights) at the age of 4 because I taught them a song by teaching 7 points a week to music with movements for only 15 minutes day! You heard me correctly – just 15 minutes a day!! Don’t get me wrong my kids do listen to regular music (they prefer serious ol’ skool like The O’Jays and Earth Wind & Fire and some gospel but I digress) but why not throw a CD in the car on your way to the grocery store and input something useful as well?! Using music, movements, and pictures/videos allowed my kids to absorb the information  in a way that worked best for them.  All types of learners can pick up the needed info in some way as it utilizes all of your senses. My barely verbal at the time 2yo BeBe would “sing” along and try to do the movements, too. If he even heard the music from a distance, he would come running from wherever he was to join in the fun.

These facts are taught in cycles. So each school year is dedicated to a time period and you learn the History and Geography that coincides with that Historical Period as well as the Math and Science that was developed during that era.  So you can see that all the pieces string together in a story that makes sense and help to connect the dots. Last year we focused on Ancient Times so to tie it all together we chose an Ancient Egypt theme for my daughter’s birthday.

imageShe loved it! She watched several documentaries of her choosing in preparation for her party. (It was her idea – I promise!)

Now the next phase, Logic, takes all of the facts that were learned in the previous stage (which have been repeated at least twice at this point) and hangs more detail on the proverbial pegs that were put in place. As the brain matures you give more and more detail and dive deeper. So for instance you may go over a simplified version the story of The Odyssey or The Iliad a few times in primary school so that by the time you’re in middle school, it’s old hat and reading the original text is a no brainer because you already know the story like the back of your hand. Oh yeah! No textbooks here folks! We read and study the original works – not what someone else picks and chooses to be important enough to cherry pick and smash together with other random facts of their choosing. We go back to the original documents so we learn to think critically and draw our OWN conclusions and not what someone else wants us to think!

 

homeschoolThe third stage is Rhetoric. So teenagers like to argue all the time right?! Well this phase teaches them how to write out well thought out arguments utilizing all of the facts that they have acquired over the years.  There are even moot court and debate competitions to really seal the deal.

As I learned more I thought “If I had been taught like this, I’d be a genius!” The extra benefit of homeschooling is I get to re-learn all the stuff that I missed or didn’t retain the first time around (Baby Brain is real! I don’t care what the studies say). Win-win!

In a nutshell you learn how to learn! (and how to think critically) There are stories after story of middle school aged kids teaching themselves Latin, Greek, Hebrew and other subjects. This is why when people ask me if I plan to homeschool all the way through (with the air of exhaustion in their voice), I answer with a resounding “Yes!” By the time my kids are up and really rolling in middle school, I will be able to sit back and watch them shine.  I anticipate they will be teaching me a thing or three by then.  Homeschooling shouldn’t create more work down the line, it should create less.  Once you lay down a good foundation, the rest of the pieces should fall in to place over time.

Homeschooling with the Classical Method is clearly what’s best for me and mine. I get to give my children the individualized love and attention and teaching style that they need (with a few extra hugs throughout the day – my favorite part). However, do what is best for you and yours. There are plenty of brick-and-mortar schools and homeschool facilitators (also known as the hybrid method where your kids go in 1 – 3 times a week and you teach the lessons throughout the rest of the week at home) which offer the Classical Method style of teaching but that may not be what fits you and your family best. Many people love the Montessori method.  Just make sure you find a school that actually uses the true Montessori method and not just the title on their placard. Each kid is different. You may even need to educate one child one way and another child another. Different schools or school settings may be best depending on the kid.  I would say that this article was just penned to encourage you to think outside the box. However, in my house there is no box! That’s the beauty of it all.

homeschool

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time….

Take Home Tidbits

  • The Classical Method uses the way that the brain naturally develops to facilitate learning
  • Utilizing the Classical Method mean that you learn how to learn and think critically
  • Homeschooling is NOT new

Helpful Resources

Homeschooling Stats

The Well Trained Mind

The Core

The Trivium

How Children Learn

Dumbing Us Down

Inside American Education

Weapons of Mass Instruction

 

An Additive Has No Name….

If you watch Game of Thrones at all, then you totally got the joke in my title but MSG is no laughing matter.  Mono Sodium Glutamate, MSG, was originally developed to induce obesity in laboratory rats! Nowadays it is added to foods under a myriad of different undetectable names to encourage over eating and addictive like behavior around food.

MSG, also known as umami, is that intangible ‘je ne sais quoi’ that makes some food taste oh so good!  It is what is known as umami, the ‘fifth taste’, that makes you say “mmmmmh!” and “Please, Sir, may I have another?!” It’s described best as savory.  The original four, sweet, sour, bitter, salty are what we grew up learning.  Now here comes the fashionably late, umami.  There are three umami substances but we will focus on MSG here today. MSG is typically used in Asian, Latin, and Caribbean cuisine and seasonings and it is now found EVERYWHERE including many common fast food chain items, packaged foods,  Mono Sodium Glutamate, MSGseasonings, salad dressings and the like as well as snacks like chips and canned items like soup and even the good ole’ American hot dog has joined the party!  It helps increase the food industry’s bottom line while increasing our bottoms – and not in a good way.  As I said before it was originally created to induce obesity in lab rats so that the impact of obesity and all of its effects could be studied. It elicits salivary secretion, enhances appetite, and increases foot palatability.

Some people are uber sensitive to MSG and develop headaches, dizziness, flushing, rashes, asthma attacks, nausea and even neurological symptoms and worse in response to eating it.  Studies have even shown alterations in brain structure after low dose MSG ingestion. The rest of us just develop an insatiable appetite.  The problem is that it can be called so many different things that detecting it on food labeling is nearly impossible!  Here are some examples: autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed protein, soy protein isolate, and sodium caseinate just to name a few. Oftentimes MULTIPLE different pseudonyms for MSG will be listed on the SAME LABEL so they get you coming and going! You don’t stand a chance!

So the next time that you succomb to ‘you never can eat just one’, check the label. There’s probably a good reason or two or three

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…

Two Minute Tidbits:

MSG masquerades as many different things with many different names

MSG induces obesity and an increased appetite as well as structural changes in your brain

MSG is also known as umami, the fifth taste, and is found in MANY prepackaged foods, sauces, snacks, and seasonings

Supportive Documents

Truth In Labeling: MSG hidden sources