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Monday, September 26, 2011

Living with Environmental Sensitivities

Well here I am blogging again.

Today I want to share with you the 'joys' of living with environmental sensitivities.

I am very lucky and have a hubby who is very talented at renovating.
We have decided to redo our main bathroom as it was looking a little sad and we think the shower/bath might be leaking. As someone who reacts to mold I want the bathroom to be free of any mold especially if it is behind the walls.
So the past month we have been out looking for tiles and accent pieces for the shower and bath.

Because of my sensitivities we bought our bathtub over 8 months ago and stored it at a friend's place so it could off gas. Acrylic tubs can off gas for quite a while. We also bought our vanity 6 months ago and it has been off gassing in our garage. Most people wouldn't even think of this as they would just order their tub and vanity or hire someone to come in and put it all in. That would make me very sick, so everything has to be planned well in advance and even still there is the chance that when I return home I may react to some of the off gassing.
It has been quite the learning process for my husband as this was all very new to him and so we researched and went to place like the Healthiest Home when we renovated our house. Products like natural bamboo floors, no voc paint, formaldehyde free plywood and the list goes on. At times it can be overwhelming for him as he has to ask about everything he does before he does it, and even then, sometimes a product that is quite inert will still cause me to react.

Every time we do any type of renovation I have to leave the house or I risk reacting to the chemicals that are being used. It is a bit of a pain, but it is just part of who I am and I am so grateful that I have a best friend who has a lovely spare bedroom just waiting for me.

These days there are so many healthier options. We have always used no or low VOC Paint ( volatile organic compounds) it is better for the environment and really everyone would be better off using it in their homes. Especially those new parents who always seem to decide right before the baby is born to paint the babies room. There are so many chemicals in paint and it can take up to 30 days or more for the chemicals to off gas and you have a new little one breathing in all those fumes.
See info below on VOC's
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.
Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes, and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.

So as you can see it is a good idea to use products that have no VOC's in them.

Needless to say it has been a busy time getting ready to renovate and move to my girlfriends house.

I always like to take food with me and with my food allergies it makes it easier on everyone if I bring food. A lot of our meals are shared and my girlfriend is following the PH Miracle Diet so it can get complicated when we are fixing meals together.

Yesterday I made on of my favourite soups that is in my cookbook, Finally... Food I Can Eat.
Zucchini soup is such an easy, healthy soup to make and of course I had to make some oatmeal cookies to take so that when I get the munchies I have a healthy cookie to snack on.

Check out the recipe below for oatmeal cookies and let me know how you like them. I think you will love them!

Oatmeal Cookies
3 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp honey
1 egg or egg replace ( I use flaxseed)
1/3 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins or carob or choc chips

In a food processor mix sunflower seeds, oats, oat flour. Add in everything else and mix. Spoon drops onto a cookie sheet and bake 350F for 15 minutes or until done.
Instead of an egg I will take 1 tbsp ground flaxseed and add it into the water called for in this recipe. For more egg replacers check out my cookbook

Testing my iPhone blogging

This is a great way for me to be able to blog when I am away during our up coming renos!

Friday, September 23, 2011

What's For Dinner?

So today despite waking up this morning with a migraine ( thank you Universe for Axert), I got out to do some grocery shopping. I stopped at our local Parkdale Market where I picked up some yellow beans, carrots and bartlett pears.
I am eating a pear right now and it is delicious! I love pears and have yearned for them all summer.

I also stopped at a local butchery in Ottawa ( Saslove's) for those of you who have never been there, all I can say is go.
This is where I get all my deli meats ( they are all nitrite free and have no preservatives and are made with local, hormone and antibiotic free meats) My favourite is the smoked turkey. I also picked up some locally raised grass fed beef and some nitrite free all natural chicken and lamb sausages.

I am trying to stay away from regular store bought beef because it is full of hormones and antibiotics and they are not grass fed but grain fed.
A cow is meant to eat grass people, not grain! Farmers get them to eat grains and fill them full of hormones so they will grow faster and so they can get to slaughter faster.
If I am going to eat meat, I want it to be the real deal and so I will spend the extra money ( yes it is more expensive), but I think if more people demand grass fed beef then more farmers would go back to the old and better ways of raising cows.

This afternoon like all afternoons I lay down to meditate or do relaxation. I find my fatigue levels have been quite bad lately and so sometimes I rest for an hour sometimes 3 hours. My favourite thing to listen to is a mindfulness CD by Jon Kabbat Zin. I actually look forward to it and try to think of it as my time, time for my body to rest, relax and heal, instead of thinking "boy I wish I felt well enough to be out doing something or working today." It really is all about thinking positively no matter what is going on in your life.. Somedays it is hard to do I know, but try it, it may help.

So what is on tonight's menu?

Barbeque steak which has been marinating most of the day in lemon juice, organic olive oil, garlic and onions. I marinate my meat in lemon juice as it helps to lower free radicals that occur when barbequing meat.  Free radicals can promote cancer cells. So if you are going to barbeque, think of marinating your meats in lemon juice or a type of vinegar for at least 4 hours prior to cooking.
Tonight's menu will also include lightly cooked yellow beans, and carrots done on the barbeque. Carrots are easy to cook on the barbeque and they have such a great flavour done this way. You can put them in foil with a little olive oil or if you have a bbq cooking grill for cooking vegetables you can use that. Sometimes I put some freshly ground black pepper on the carrots or even some fresh rosemary from our garden. Make sure they are all flat and not on top of each other, better for even cooking. Always cook on lower heat with your barbeque as it reduces the risk of free radicals occurring.

Well happy cooking, thanks for reading my blog and lots of love to you all.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

First Day of Fall

Today is the first day of Autumn so I thought it would be nice to share one of my Fall type recipes. 

I find that once the days start to be shorter and the nights cooler I feel like cooking. 
One of my favourites things to make is soups, but because I don’t have a lot of energy I am not one to spend a lot of time making soups. I want them to be easy, quick to make, tasty and of course good for me.
Here is one of my favourites from my cookbook, Finally... Food I Can Eat. Hope you enjoy it!

Sweet Potato Lentil Soup

Olive Oil
1 cup red lentils
4-5 cups water
3 large carrots or half a bag of the little pre cut ones
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 tsp sea salt
1 ½ tsp cumin or turmeric or fresh ginger
My favourite is to use fresh ginger

Wash lentils and discard and foreign objects ( sometimes you find little rocks in with the lentils)
In a soup pot sauté onion in oil for 5 minutes. Add cut up sweet potato, carrots, salt, lentils and spice and cook in the oil for a few minutes. Add water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree soup with a hand- held mixer. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My first blog attempt

Well here I am starting a new blog. I hope to be able to share my thoughts, my recipes and any other information regarding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Food and Environmental Allergies that I may find along my journey to wellness.
I have had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for over 26 years. I wasn't diagnosed until I was in my mid twenties, as it really wasn't easy to diagnose back then. Not being able to do what I want to do in life because of my health issues has been well, a real bummer to say the least, but through it all I have learned so much about myself, others, illness and health in general. I have met so many wonderful people along the way. Practitioners who were great, and some not so great.
Doctors who treat the whole body and actually listen to you are key in your wellness.
As of late, I have two wonderful doctors in my life. Dr. Jennifer Armstrong a wonderful Environmental Doctor who is top in her field across the world and Dr. Richard Nahas another top physician in his field. With their help and knowledge and I pursuing many different modalities of treatment.
One of those is hypnosis. When I first was told about hypnosis I was a little hesitant. Would I do strange things while in a trance? What could hypnosis do for me? I am happy to say that I love hypnosis and my hypnosis practitioner. She is so keen and has such insight and is eager to help me on my path to Wellness. If you want to check her out, visit her website at, her name is Johanna Lynn.
I have also written and article about hypnosis and it was posted on Kris Carr's website, Crazy Sexy, as well as Johanna Lynn's website, so check it out if it interests you.
Through hypnosis I am learning so much about my thoughts, my past experiences literally from the time I was born and so much more. It has brought me to so many other healing techniques such a EFT ( Emotional Freedom Technique) and the idea of "We get what we expect". Louise Hay is another wonderful person who has for years taught us that positive affirmations make such a difference in our lives.
Here is her quote for today. " There is enough for everyone. The Universe is always full and always flowing."

One of my greatest accomplishments has been to co publish with General Store Publishing a cookbook that is near and dear to my heart. Finally... Food I Can Eat is a cookbook and dietary guide designed for those with multiple food allergies and food intolerances. It has been a wonderful way for me to share what I know with others and help them to know that you can eat birthday cake and Christmas time hors d'oeuvres even though you are allergic to dairy, wheat, gluten and other foods. It has been so well received in Canada and has been translated into French and goes by the title "Libre" We hope to get it into the USA next.

So if any of you are out there wondering what you can make that is healthy, tasty and free of top allergens, check out my website, my cookbook and my blog where I will post some of my new recipes that I am developing.
Sending love and good wishes out to all of you. See you back here soon with a new recipe!
Much love,