Saturday, November 28, 2009

Scarborough fair on my deck - and in my turkey

I didn't get a real garden going this summer, since we were in the middle of a move. That's a bummer.

But, I do still -- in November -- have fresh rosemary, sage and thyme growing in pots on my porch. I loved that I went from plant to pot in a few steps. They were great on the turkey the other day and tonight when I whipped up some leftovers. Deck gardening at night!

This morning, I picked parsley to put in my fresh juice with beet, carrot, celery, a little lettuce, lemon, ginger and garlic. It was awesome, and my brother-in-law enjoyed it, too.

Now if only I'd remembered to pick some oregano when I was cooking the eggs.

Food is good if it's good and fresh. Thank you, earth and sun!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Yummy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for a delicious turkey from Polyface Farms (and a husband and in-laws members who cooked it), fabulous pastured eggs from our local farmer, and nobody pushing my son to eat foods that aren't good for him.

I'm also thankful for health, a home large enough to stuff a bunch of people into, the resources to buy healthy food, family, friends, my healthcare practitioners, and Holistic Moms Network.

And no one complaining that our dishes don't match.

I'm also grateful for my husband and in-laws for taking my son to the park (and later again out to the madness that is consumerist Friday) so that I can have a few moments alone.


See a longer post about gluten-free holidays in my column at the Washington Times Communities: "Reading Ingredients: Tales from a Health-Conscious Mom."

Also check out my posts (with recipes!) on GFCF pumpkin pie and GFCF hazelnut flour rolls at my other blog, Inexact Science: Raising Healthy Families

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Review of new PBS show on "healthy" living

Watch out parents: there’s a new show in town trying to convince your kids that it knows something about healthy eating. Before I share my concerns about PBS’s new show, “Fizzy’s Lunch Lab,” I’d like to describe the kind of show about healthy eating I would actually consider allowing my son to watch.

There would be lovely images of farms, farmers markets, orchards, produce aisles, and, of course, gardens of all types – backyard, patio, windowsill, balcony, community/shared. Featured foods would be fresh and whole – as close to the source as possible. A connection to nature would be everywhere with innovative ways to bring nature to the city and to pack in a lot of growing like the national non-profit organization, Growing Power, Inc.

I’m a mom who makes nutrition a top priority, and, after looking closely at this show, I think PBS has really missed the mark in its attempt to encourage healthy eating with “Fizzy’s Lunch Lab.”

Read the rest of this review -- about the lack of green on the show, the lack of understanding about healthy fats, and the overselling of grains -- on my guest blog post at Kimberly Hartke's blog, Thanks, Kimberly!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Yes, we do hug trees

When my son was just a baby three years ago, I wore him all over the Green Festival and bought him and a friend copies of the children's book My Mom Hugs Trees by Robyn Ringgold. I think I might have even met the author and had her sign our copy (the book is upstairs, and the boy is asleep; if I don't write this now, I never will).

It's taken a while for the lovely book to make it into circulation because it's not exactly for babies. It was fun when I rediscovered it, and now my son really likes it. He referenced it the other day upon snuggling our magnolia. I had to smile. So the next time we had a free morning, we did a photo shoot.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Toy's the Season

So what do you do when a near-elderly neighbor gives your kid a Toys R Us catalog (along with a few other Sunday inserts) as though it's a gift?

After my husband accepted this offer, I ought to have put the stuff in the recycling bin immediately. But they went onto the floor of the car, and before I knew it, three-year-old eyes had latched onto them. "I want that Elmo magazine!"

(Don't go thinking we have any fuzzy red bug-eyed animals around these parts. But he knows the character from friends & neighbors.)

So now he's practically memorized the 80-page leaflet. At first, I was sick to my stomach with the comments about what he wants for Christmas. Yikes! Crunchy don't play that! I just hosted a screening of Consuming Kids, for crying out loud!

Now he's gotten more involved, requesting I whip up a whole family: "They are doing hair cutting. I want that to play with my brothers and my sister."

Uh, he doesn't have any siblings, and if he gets one, there are not going to be any S's at the end, if I have anything to say about it.

Today, we were cleaning out the car in the driveway when said materialist neighbor drove up. "We've got that funny magazine," Boy Wonder announced. "The toy catalog," I translated for some inexplicable reason.

She must have been thrilled and went on to ask, "Did you see some things you want for Christmas? But you know you have to be a good boy, don't you." The kid has never heard the word "good" from us Alfie Kohn disciples.

I just chuckled and hoped she would go away. Eventually, she did. Now I'm wondering if I can disappear the toy catalog without my son finding it in the recycling bin and having a fit over how cruelly I threw away his prized possession.

I might just have to burn it and bury the ashes in the woods.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Looking for bright sides

Today I could tell I wasn't going to get the uninterrupted writing time I needed to work on some freelance work. We had to do some family errands, and I decided to put on my "om" necklace that carries a place for a little cotton disc on which you drop a little bit of an essential oil (okay, I don't know where the disc are, so I used the paper towel that was still in the necklace from last time). I chose Young Living's Joy oil. It's a blend that is supposed to create "magnetic energy and bring joy to the heart."

I don't know if it was added benefits of the recent run of bodywork I've gotten to heal from running into a glass door or the Emotional Freedom Technique work I've been doing or if it was, in fact, the Joy oil, but I am happy to say that I was much cheerier today than a typical rainy November day usually finds me.

Smiley face!

Here are the ingredients of the Joy blend: Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora), lemon (Citrus limon), mandarin (Citrus reticulata), jasmine (Jasminum officinale), Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii), and rose (Rosa damascena).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Halloween costume-making

Just a quick post to show that even someone without a lot of sewing skill can make a frog costume!
And check out these other Green Halloween tips from my Holistic Moms Chapter.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Traditional, GFCF, and Low-Carb Eating 101

I just attended a local hospital's women's health expo and spoke to a diabetes nutrition educator who was horrified that I would pursue a low carb diet. "Why would you do that?" she asked. I dropped a lot of names, none of which she was familiar with. I just wrote her an email and decided to post it here for my own (and anyone else's) future reference.

Dear health practitioner,

Different people find health and wellness through different means, but it is through a gluten-free, casein-free, low-carb, low-grain “traditional” diet that I personally was able to reverse autoimmune hyperthyroidism, regain my fertility and address chronic depression.

A powerful book about the wisdom of limiting or avoiding grains is on the site of author Melissa Diane Smith. She wrote a book called Going Against the Grain that explains connections between grain intolerance and other health issues and explains why grains give so many people problems.

I recently saw two speakers talk about avoiding grains at a Gluten Intolerance Group gathering in Richmond, VA.
Dr. Stephen Wangen
, author of The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Solution, has written a new book called Healthier Without Wheat. Information is available at
Dr. Rodney Ford makes the case that gluten has neurological impacts on people who do not have celiac disease. Information is available at
These men both gave fascinating presentations.

In terms of traditional eating, the group I referenced is the Weston A. Price Foundation
Some quick information from the WAPF on healthy vs. unhealthy fats is at
An article on proper preparation of grains is at
and in Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions

A growing number of people are finding better health through increasing their intake of vegetables and decreasing their carbohydrates. Some people even point to a theory of food combining that claims putting carbohydrates with animal proteins inhibits proper digestion of food and leads to an acid/alkaline imbalance, which contributes to inflammatory conditions and to an overgrowth of Candida (yeast).

Some of this information can be found at The Body Ecology Diet - and in the BED book by Donna Gates.
Some general resources on the benefits of limiting carbohydrates can also be found at
The Gut and Psychology Syndrome -
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet -

A great read on why follow the wisdom of our ancestors is Nina Planck’s book, Real Food: What to Eat and Why. A farmers' daughter and a proponent of farmers markets, Nina also has a new book out for fertility, mom and baby. See her website at

I hope you’ll get a chance to look into some of these resources and share this information with your patients.

In health,
Crunchy-Chewy Mama

Friday, November 6, 2009

More evidence about gluten's potential harm

It took me three hours to get out of 20 miles worth of DC traffic and the rest of the 70 miles to Richmond, but I am so glad I made it to see the West End Gluten Intolerance Group’s evening presentation with two doctors and important researchers on the effect of gluten on the body. I saw the tail end of the first presentation by Dr. Stephen Wangen, author of Healthier Without Wheat. There was a nice buffet of donated GF treats and snacks, and then I got to hear the presentation by Dr. Rodney Ford from New Zealand who is known as “Dr. Gluten” for his research that shows gluten can have a neurological impact on people who do not have celiac disease. His story was powerful, and I'm so glad I got off gluten five years ago and have kept my son off of it.

I am grateful to Going Against the Grain author Melissa Diane Smith for telling me about this fabulous event!

Look for more of a report in the next few days at my column for the new Washington Times Communities, “Reading Ingredients: Tales from a Health-Conscious Mom.”

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Boy Wants Feedback

I have an alter-ego. Her name is Ms. Moo. She is our son’s bathtime towel, a black and white hooded number I got at Target going on two years ago.

The other day, when my son knew he was being annoying, he asked, “What’s Ms. Moo saying?” It was like he wanted to give me permission to stop him from his negative spiral.

Then he’d ask it if he’d been super cooperative, to nudge me to comment on how pleasant it was that we ate a meal together in peace.

This lasted for only a few days, maybe because we don’t take baths around here all that often. But she came out again last night. I’ll be interested to know if he starts to turn again to her and invite the sort of super-ego commentary he’s not capable of and that part of him doesn’t want to hear from me. I don’t usually want to judge or make pronouncements. But it's like he's trying to take positions and reflect on his behavior such that he craves this input from a higher power. With udders

Now let's not talk about how he's also regressed to wanting to put his hand up my shirt again.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Guns & Halloween

I couldn't believe my eyes, but there was one of my neighbors, a 7-year-old boy, dressed in khaki like a solider stationed in Iraq. And slung over his should was a machine gun. That he pointed at people.

I understand that gun play is a normal part of childhood, but can we at least require some imagination if we're going to allow it? Why do we have to go to the nth degree to be realistic? Light sabers, swords, wands I can handle; their power is something we have to think up (well, not so much with swords, but how often do you see those?) Machine guns are real and frightening images a lot of kids have to deal with daily in war-torn areas. But this is not one of them. So why bring it in? I suppose that children of service members might see this as normal and honorable. But it still gives me the willies.

I said nothing during the big community gathering and had almost forgotten about it until he came to my door. And then I muttered something like, "Wow, that gun makes me uncomfortable. Please point it down." Later, an older kid with a leather jacket outfit had a big gun, too, and he got something more like, "I have a little kid and I don't like him to see guns. Maybe you can rethink that next year" before I added a cheerily contradictory, "But have a good night!"

I couldn't let these images go, but I know my comments probably didn't do any good and maybe just made me seem like a grump. So be it. I just wonder what the parents are thinking by letting this go so public. It's one thing to let kids glorify violence in your own home or to just plain let them pick up sticks and do whatever with them. Fine. Kids need to act out the whole range of human emotions and impulses. That's healthy.

But bringing a fake machine gun to the community playground after a parade where there are babies and toddlers? Can't we wait until after dark? Why is this okay?