By: Angela Landeros
My first job was working with children and adults with disabilities. Yes, and even women with multiple sclerosis. In my youth I wanted to massage horses, and I eventually got certified. I never wanted to massage people, because I thought it couldn’t be the same as working on an animal, for one, they don’t talk to you with words, and I was ok with that -- horses were what taught me how to truly listen.
When I was really sick right before I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was no longer teaching, but instead I worked at a local saddlery -- closest thing to horses was helping horse people. I had also eventually, for some reason, become a massage therapist who -- worked on people, who could talk!
I couldn’t concentrate on what you were telling me, but I tried. I kept working multiple jobs, but my brain wanted to explode! Many things were changing, and it seemed physically not for the better, and I didn’t know why! Wasn’t I doing what I should? I had a good mostly gluten-free pescatarian diet, and took lots of supplements.
I was following my path which seemed to be meant for me. I mean, how’d I get to be massaging people?! Something I had never wanted to do. How’d I get out of the arena teaching riding lessons to very special people -- something I had never thought I’d stop doing?
My husband and best friend were there every time I needed them, through every appointment with doctors, neurologists, MRIs and a spinal tap. My skin was on fire, my brain was on fire...my body was on fire. But why? No one could answer that question. I kept going, working and trying to listen. I prayed! And then I met a girl from church, the only one to join my meet up group, for people with MS who didn’t want to sit and complain -- but rather lift each other up! She’s the one who told me about my first online summit: The Autoimmune Summit.
I listened, and listened and listened some more, because finally people are telling me why I was sick and why inflammatory foods were -- well inflammatory, and causing all my symptoms. I truly believe I could have been diagnosed with any autoimmune condition, MS just happened to be what I got on the “Spin The Wheel of Disease” board game. I believe it’s a game of chance, and we are the victims. We won’t get into who’s at fault for ruining the food supply, but I will tell you, that you have more control than you think. Self control and disciple are hard, but disease is harder. Changing my diet to a non-inflammatory diet reversed my skin issues, anxiety, depression, restless leg syndrome, numbness and tingling, and the list goes on.
People I talked to about my health journey were so amazed that the right food could have changed my health and could have empowered me to stop MS treatment! When I say I talked to people -- it’s true I could finally hold two sided conversations, because finally my brain was cool and calm, although now what wanted to explode in me were my revelations! My new knowledge was spilling over! You can’t stop me from talking about my healing and discoveries once you give me the chance to speak. Writing about it and creating a tool for others just seemed like the natural next step.
Someone like me who never wanted to work on people was meant to heal other people through my health journey. A tough girl who never wanted out of the arena -- had to get out of the arena because life was going to change. My health was going to change. Massaging people?! Yes, because MS would cause enough damage so that I couldn’t walk and ride, and be out all day in the sun, I couldn’t walk the sales floor all day at the saddlery either.
By a miracle, I was meant to heal and be strong enough to do it. The left side of my body doesn’t work so well. I can’t walk far without a limp, and I have an action tremor in my left arm. All that and I’m the toughest massage therapist around! I work on athletes 6’4 and 250 pounds, makes the ladies feel like feathers in these tough hands. I told the doctors from the beginning, that my job helps my body. I may not be able to do many hours in a day (to the disappointment of many) but by grace I can do it, and with a fierce passion.
Now I am also meant to heal through telling my story, inspiring others to follow a food protocol that heals and that can, I believe with my whole heart, prevent disease in the body. Publishing my book, The FLog JournaI was a huge leap of faith! My wish is to help people take control of their health by learning to make good food choices with food journaling.
I don’t get discouraged that damage is slow to heal, as long as I believe and know I am healing by small improvements. I WILL keep going. The tremor in my left arm has improved over the years, and I feel better than ever. That’s proof for me!
This is a list of 16 of my favorite gluten free foods from my trip to the the San Diego Nourished Festival, plus an awesome gluten free app that helps you find gluten places to eat when you are on the go. I've included links to their websites, so that if you have additional food sensitivities, you can check out their ingredients.
Find Me Gluten Free App- www.findmeglutenfree.com
Enjoy Life- Most people with food sensitivities are familiar with Enjoy Life Foods. They set up this fun "play ground" where you follow a path to gluten free treats. My favorite, of course, is their chocolate chips. www.enjoylifefoods.com
Lilac Patisserie- This bakery had the best gluten free bread I've ever tasted. The texture was moist. They are local to California, but they ship their bread anywhere in the US. Www.lilacpatisserie.com.
Rickaroons- Coconut energy bar that takes like dessert! These are amazing! Organic, certified gluten free, certified non-GMO, vegan and paleo. www.rickaroons.com
Little Northern Bakery- More delicious gluten free bread. littlenorthernbakehouse.com
Cook's Sourdough bread- It is a yummy gluten, soy and nut free, non-GMO and vegan. Check it out at Www.cooksglutenfreesourdough.com
RW Garcia- For yummy, wholesome, non- GMO, gluten free chips and crackers, try these. rwgarcia.com
Jovial Foods- Love cooking Italian? Jovial foods has everything you need, GF flour, pasta, tomato paste. The list goes on. Check them out at www.jovialfoods.com
Gem City Fine Foods- I sampled their amazing pomegranate cheese cake. They are certified gluten and nut free. Available at www.gemcityfoods.com and Amazon.com.
Kabayashi Gluten Free Ramen Rice Noodle- No MSG, vegetarian, egg free, peanut free, some flavors contain dairy. Www.kobayashiseimen.jp/english.
Farmwise Foods-I had my first onion ring in about 15 years and it was delicious! The coating was made with cauliflower. Farmwise Foods has Veggie fries, veggie tots and veggie rings. www.farmwisefoods.com
Gomacro- Organic, vegan, gluten free, nut free, kosher, non-GMO, certified RAW, certified CLEAN. Their tag line says, if there was a certified delicious, they'd gave that too, and I agree.
Amy's Chocolates- They are a perfect balance between taste and nutrition. They are non-GMO, organic, gluten, dairy, soy and nut free with no wax or fillers. They purely decadent and delicious. amyschocolate.net
Hearthy Foods- This company has every type of gluten free flour you can imagine, plus lots of other yummy treats. Check them out at hearthyfoods.com
Ocho- These are yummy organic, gluten free, dairy free, non-GMO chocolates. www.ochocandy.com
Hopkins AG Almond butter- This wasn't at the expo, but I stumbled upon it at a farmer's market. It was the best Mexican Chocolate Almond butter. You can check it out at www.hopkinsag.com
Miyoko's Cultured Vegan Butter- This is another product that wasn't at the festival, but I stumbled upon it along the way. It is an amazing butter substitute for those who have to eat dairy free. It is made with cashews, but melts like butter and tastes like butter. It is also USDA organic. www.miyokos.com
That's it for now. If you try any of the above, let me know what you think. I'll be sharing more in my newsletter, and I'm hoping to have a guest blogger tell her amazing story in a future blog.
A new year is coming upon us. Some are sad to see this one go, and others are ready to leap into a new year, and have a fresh start. With a new year always comes conversations about resolutions. How successful have you been with making new year's resolutions in the past? Are you planning on making one again this year? I recently read that about 8% of the New Year's resolutions that are made are actually achieved. Maybe this is why so many have given up on making them. I think there are a lot of factors that influence or success or lack there of, including what we choose, how we go about making resolutions and working on them, and how we might inadvertently sabotage our own efforts. So, here are some things to consider when choosing a new year's resolution.
1) What makes you happy, and what do you feel really passionate about doing? Choose this for your resolution. When you feel passionate about something, you are more likely to invest your time and effort into it. Often people choose things that they feel they "should" be doing rather than what they actually want for themselves.
2) Join others who have chosen the same goal. Having social support to carry something through can increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.
3) Break your resolution down into small attainable goals. Write the goals down, check them off and celebrate their completion. When we create too much change too fast, our brain becomes stressed and resistant, so take it slow and steady, and remember to celebrate your efforts.
4) View your resolution as a journey, allow yourself the flexibility to change your pace and route as needed. If you wander off your original path, decide if you want to get back on it or if you prefer to change direction.
For more thoughts on resolutions, read my past article Savoring Life Once Again.
Also, check out my New Year, New You Program
It has been a while since I posted here, as we are in the midst of the holiday season, I thought it would be nice to share a yummy treat from my cookbook, Gluten Free Alchemy: The Heart & Soul of Creating Gluten Free Goodies. As we get closer to the holidays, I love to put on music, and get lost in the flow of baking. It is a great way to destress, lose track of the mundane, and create something different. The treats below are a good source of protein and healthy fats, and low in sugar and guilt. They not only taste great, but they feel great in your body, and they are extremely quick and easy to make. I hope you'll try them, and let me know what you think.
Coconut Lime Tea Treats
1 cup almond flour
1 cup ground cashews
1 tablespoon flax meal
14-16 dried dates
12-14 drops food grade lime essential oil* (or 1 teaspoon lime zest & 1 teaspoon lime juice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dark chocolate shavings or chips (optional)
1 cup shredded coconut (1/4 cup to incorporate, the rest to roll the balls in)
First combine the vanilla and essential oils. Next, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor with a chopping blade or grinder. Use only ¼ cup of the coconut in the recipe, and put the remainder in a bowl. Pulse grind until dough becomes sticky. Form dough into balls, roll in the shredded coconut, and chill for at least 1 hour.
Yields: about 18-20 cookies. Serving size 1-2 treats.
*I use Young Living brand essential oils for cooking and baking, because of their Seed to Seal quality process. You can find other brands in health food stores and specialty cooking stores. Their purity and quality may be slightly different, so if you use a different product, do a taste test as other brands may be more diluted.
Looking for more holiday cookie and treat recipes that are lower Glycemic and taste great. Check out my cookbook, available in Kindle and paperback. You'll find gluten free recipes for:
You might also like to check out my
New Year, New You- 28 Day Post Holiday Reset Program.
When is the last time, you did something for the first time? These song lyrics from Darius Rucker have been flowing through my head on and off for a good week now, especially since I spent the day with my three year old nephew this past weekend. When you are three, there are so many things that you do for the first time. Each day brings new experiences, a sense of exhilaration, and something new to get excited about. As we get older, we have fewer and fewer moments of doing things for the first time. Things become routine, mundane, habitual.
So I started thinking, when was the last time, I did something for the first time? I have to admit, it really has been taking quite a bit of thought. On my birthday, I went to a new restaurant and had a really delicious Louisiana style shrimp and grits, but I'm not sure that really counts. It was fun, but lacking that first time excitement. The next example that I came up with was doing a ropes course. That was three years ago. I must have done something for the first time since then? So I started to scroll through pictures on my phone for clues.
Last week, was my first attempt at making fermented carrots. Believe it or not, this is exciting to me. In March of this year, I took a tile painting art class for the first time called Meditate & Create. That was fun, and required learning a new process, some new skills and there was the enjoyment of being in the flow of new creativity. Then there appears to be a big gap, and in 2015 I did glass blowing for the first time, went to Texas for the first time, and started raising chickens for the first time. Then there is another gap and in 2013, I took my first craniosacral class. That was exciting, and in many ways, each craniosacral therapy session is a new experience.
So now I know why those song lyrics have been sticking with me. It is time for me to start having some more first time excitement, and I'm looking for ideas. When was the last time you did something for the first time? Do you have any ideas for new first time exciting experiences for me? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Written By Ruth Ann Smalley
I had to laugh the first times my kids used the expression “facepalm” to indicate their reaction to an embarrassing or difficult situation. Because, as an Energy Medicine practitioner, I knew that this natural gesture was starting to get the recognition it deserves. But most people still don’t know the whole story, so I’d like to tell it. Or, my version of it.
The hand to the face, or more specifically, the forehead, is actually a powerful healing technique. As Donna Eden, renowned healer and founder of Eden Energy Medicine explains, we instinctively move our hands to our forehead to help us cope with stress, shock, surprise, frustration, chagrin, and other strong emotions that tend to send us into fight, flight, or freeze. The subtle electromagnetism of our hands helps bring energy, blood, and oxygen back to our forebrain after stress has sent everything flying out to our extremities. I’d venture to guess that a facepalm like the one shown is also helping to shield our Third Eye chakra from unwanted intrusions, while we collect our emotions. However, we normally don’t really keep our hands in place quite long enough for the full magic to occur. At least 3 minutes of gentle holding is really what we need. And what would be better yet--if some nice person in our lives could do the holding for us!
Learning Energy Medicine has made me so much more aware of the power we all have in our hands. Humans as a species have known this forever, as you can tell from the historic use of the Hamsa symbol for protection and blessing in many cultures.
Going even further back, the ancient, evocative handprints in Argentina’s Cave of Hand make us feel touched through time, just seeing those individual impressions from people who walked the earth tens of thousands of years ago
Consider all the personal impressions you may have stored away about hands. Imagine the feel of a loving hand on your brow. The sensation of slipping your tiny hand into that of a beloved grown up when you were a child. The first time you held hands with someone you had a crush on.
If we think about how much our hands are our extensions of our brains, allowing us to reach out into the world to make connections--to give, to act, to shape, and create from our ideas--it makes perfect sense that hands and heads have a very special relationship. Hands are also connected to the field of the heart chakra, so they carry that heart connection, as well. (photo: marianocecowski).
Headache, light-headed, dull-headed, brain-fog: before I studied energy, these were pretty much the only descriptive terms I would have come up with for sensations the head might be prone to. What a surprise, then, once I began putting my hands on them, that the energy of people’s heads could conjure up words such as ping-ponging, pinballing, and surging, and images such as tides coming in; illuminated circuitry connecting; noisy gourd rattles gently transforming into calm human heads; or flashing, erratic lights, gradually coordinating into a softly glowing movie marquee. And best of all, deep, pure springs of water that have been buried and are now liberated, flowing to the surface, bringing your inner wisdom and insight into consciousness.
Hard to fathom if you haven’t experienced it, but yes, but this is how people’s heads can feel when I am holding them. As the energy gets organized, the shifts are amazingly palpable. Besides breathing, it is the simplest technique I know for creating a beneficial state change, for yourself, or for another. So, next time you find yourself instinctively facepalming, take note! Take a deep breath. Move your other hand to the back of your head, and stay put for at least 3 minutes. As you draw on the ancient intelligence of your ancestors, your attention and intention will make this a helpful, healing moment!
Ruth Ann Smalley, PhD, Certified Eden Energy Medicine and Biofield Tuning Practitioner. Vibrant-energies.com
Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash
Written by Guest Blogger
Head of Prevention Outreach
Health and wellness usually focus on the physical markers, such as Body Mass Index, blood pressure, blood sugar, muscle mass and more. But wellness also includes the ability to get through your day feeling good about yourself and your life. With mental illness and addiction issues, wellness can be more difficult to achieve. When you’re struggling with life, you might have thoughts of suicide, and you’re not alone.
Suicide is a major cause of premature and preventable death. In 2009 alone, there were about 100,000 years of potential life lost to Canadians younger than 75 as a result of suicides, with men at a higher risk than women. There were 3,890 suicides in Canada, a rate of 11.5 per 100,000 people. Research has shown that mental illness is the most important risk factor for suicide; and that more than 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a mental or addictive disorder. Depression is the most common illness among those who die from suicide, with about 60 percent suffering from this condition.
Another major risk factor is addiction. The rate of major depression is four times higher than those without, and people with substance abuse issues are six times more likely to commit suicide than those without. Sometimes it’s the drugs or alcohol that make people have suicidal thoughts, and sometimes it’s the idea that they have no hope.
Here are some warning signs that you or someone you love is at risk for suicide:
If you are feeling suicidal, like there’s no hope and your life isn’t worth continuing, seek help immediately. While you may not be able to see it now, there is always a way out of your situation and a future for you.
Connect with others: If you are worried that you may lose control of your actions and hurt yourself or others, tell someone. Tell a trusted friend who can lend an ear. Reach out to a suicide hotline. Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
Clear your home of weapons: Get rid of ways to hurt yourself, such as pills, guns or razor blades. If you can, leave the home and go somewhere you feel safe.
Develop a plan: Write down a method to keep you from hurting yourself. Keep it in clear sight, so that it’s easy to find. Write down ways to help you calm down, clear reasons to stay alive, phone numbers of friends and crisis lines, write down a place where you feel safe or remind yourself to go to the hospital. When you’re suicidal, you may not be thinking clearly, so having a written plan can help.
See a professional: Get help. If you’re suffering this much, you should be under a doctor’s care. Talk to your primary care physician, who can recommend mental health professionals to you. She can also get you started on medication that can help you feel better. You may not want to talk about your problems, but talking does help.
Remember that no matter how bad life gets, it will always get better. It may not get better soon, and you may have to work extra hard to get there, but it will. Everything passes. Remember that there are people who love you and want you in their lives. Take care of your mental health so you can start to build a happier tomorrow.
It is a soup and stew time of year here in Upstate New York with the single digit and below zero days and nights we’ve been having the past couple of weeks. For me, soup not only warms the body, but it has a way of warming my Soul. One of my favorite soups to make is bone broth. Basically, you slow simmer some bones in water with a little raw apple cider vinegar, and your favorite spices. The apple cider vinegar draws the micro-nutrients out of the bone and into the soup, so that your body can soak them up, and use them for energy. It is a true alchemy. Continue reading for a yummy bone broth soup recipe, and if you don’t eat meat, click on this link to my Soulful Soups article in this month’s Natural Awakenings Magazine for some vegetarian soups. You'll find the article on page 24.
You can make bone broth with fresh bones or you can use the bones that remain after eating a chicken, turkey, beef or even a ham, throw them into a crock pot (or slow simmer on the stove), cover with water and add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Next add your favorite spices like sage, rosemary, turmeric, oregano or basal, and toss in half of an onion. Put the lid on and set the heat to the auto setting. In 6-8 hours, when you’ve returned from your busy day, your bone broth will be ready. Transfer the liquid and any meat that has fallen off of the bones to a pot, and put it on the stove. Add in your favorite veggies, bring to a boil, and cook on medium heat for a few minutes until they are tender. If you like, you can also add rice or pasta. Or maybe try the my gluten free dumpling recipe from Gluten Free Alchemy now on Kindle.
Lately I've been feeling like I've been on a hamster wheel. Doing more and more at a faster pace which seems to fuel me doing more and more at a faster pace and the more I do, the more I feel like there is so much more to do. The other day, I decided to step off the wheel and into a labyrinth.
There is a beautiful little park in Altamont, New York that I pass on my way to work. It's name is Schilling Park and there is a labyrinth there. Recently, I was running ahead of schedule and decided to stop off. The labyrinth is a form of sacred geometry. It is a circle with a path that follows a pattern in toward the center and back out. It is said that as one moves through the labyrinth, they are connecting to a different level if consciousness much like meditation and prayer. Often people say that they receive a message or guidance while in the Labyrinth. Here's what I got, "Believe." My response was, "Believe in what?" The answer that came was, "Believe in yourself."
At first I was a little disappointed. I wanted more, but as the days went on, I began to notice how many times a day things like doubt and self criticism sneak in. Since visiting the labyrinth, when these automatic negative thoughts creep in, I find myself saying, "Believe in yourself."
Looking to step off the hamster wheel, visit the labyrinth at Schilling Park or stop by The Take Care Fair at Riverfront Park in Hudson on Sunday, June 25 th from 11:00-4:00.
It happens every now and then. I let my guard down, get distracted or busy and forget to read ingredient labels. This week, my husband had a stomach bug and was drinking ginger ale. My stomach started to feel a little off too, and I was out of ginger tea, so I had some ginger ale. I’ve never been a soda drinker and for some reason, I didn’t stop to read the label. A little while later, my gut started to cramp up and then the pain started in my hips moving down to my knees and into my feet. At that point, I knew what was happening. My body started attacking the glutenie invaders and my own tissue along with it. The next thing to happen was the brain fog, fatigue and having a really hard time making decisions. Although I was annoyed at myself for being careless, it ended up being a good reminder of how much better I feel now that I’m eating gluten free. I can’t believe that I felt that miserable everyday for a couple of years before I took the big leap to change the way that I eat. Often people will say to me that they feel bad that I can’t eat things with gluten anymore. I always tell them not to feel sorry for me, because I am so much happier and feel so much healthier not eating it that I have absolutely no desire to eat that piece of cake or bagel or whatever it is they are eating.
This little trip down memory lane of feeling miserable made me curious about what exactly is in caramel coloring anyway, so I did a little Google research and here is what I found. Caramel coloring is made by heating a carbohydrate at an extreme temperature and mixing it with acids, alkalis and salts. In the US, the carbohydrate that is used is usually corn or wheat but can also be things like barley malt or sugar. This is where the gluten can come in. But I also found this disturbing information in an article from The Center for Science in the Public Interest, February 16, 2011, FDA Urged to Prohibit Carcinogenic “Caramel Coloring.” According to this article, the process of making caramel coloring by reacting sugar with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperatures results in “the formation of 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, which in government-conducted studies caused lung, liver or thyroid cancer or leukemia in laboratory mice or rats.” You can read the article yourself here, and the FDA’s position here. If you aren't convinced to give up your favorite soft drinks yet, you might want to check out this Consumer Reports article for some product comparisons. For me, the answer is clear. It is not worth the pain, brain fog and 3 to 4 days of healing not to mention the possible long term effects of continued ingestion of this chemical ingredient. My motto is, if it doesn’t feel good in your body, then it isn’t good for you, regardless of the research.
So what did I do to feel better? Well to be totally honest, I did some moaning and groaning and complaining, because it really can be a good emotional release. Then I used some of Young Living’s Digize essential oil to help with the gut distress. I drank ginger tea to help with the inflammation and gave myself some Reiki to help with the pain. I drank lots of water to help move things out of the body and did some gentle stretching to help loosen up my constricting muscles and joints. I also forgave myself for being careless and allowed myself to be out of sorts and less productive, so that my energy could go into healing my body. What do you do to help yourself feel better when you get glutened?
Now for some happy news- Congratulations to Gail Chase! Gail was the winner of the first gluten free cookbook give away. Thank you to all of you who completed the Food Sensitivity Survey. Now, I could really use your help figuring out the title of the cookbook. You can take the Cookbook Title Survey here. This is totally new opportunity to win a free copy even if you did the previous survey. I look forward to hearing your responses.
I'm a nature loving, garden growing, foodie who loves to eat sweet treats, walk barefoot, snuggle with my dog, discover waterfalls, gaze at the stars,explore my dreams and co-create my own reality.