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Posted on 03/30/2010

Who doesn't love the classic saying, "April showers bring May flowers"? We see the soil awaken with the first sprouts of green poking up. Did you know that those showers bring more than flowers? Go below the surface. It's the awakening of microorganisms. Billions to hundreds of billions of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and various 'bugs' are stirring. That translated is mold. Mold that is being thrown up into the air we breath.

Many people are allergic to mold. Mold is encountered many ways. Moldy basements, old moldy houses, closets, the great outdoors. If you are a mold sufferer you know the discomfort it can cause, head aches, migraines, sinus trouble, asthma, bronchitis, light headedness, brain fog, irritability, hives, runny eyes, attention deficit, hyperactivity, anger/rage, polyps...........the list can go on. Most of the moldy areas I've mentioned are easier to avoid. The big problem is that it's impossible to stay away from the air. Unless we are walking around with an astronaut helmet equipped with a oxygen tank.

So what is one to do to alleviate the symptoms of our mold allergies? One thing we can do for ourselves is to keep our living area free of mold. By keeping basements dry, bathrooms well ventilated, removing house plants we improve our indoor air. This lessens the burden on our immune systems. That alone can not always be enough to keep us feeling like ourselves this time of year. Many people turn to one or more of the many over the counter meds for relief. Those may improve the mold allergy symptoms but one is left feeling tired, dehydrated and constipated. Many turn to doctors for a pharmaceutical prescription. Those may also help but the list of side effects leaves me wondering if the risk of sudden cardiac arrest is worth the elimination of a few allergy symptoms.

Did you know there is more you can do to lessen the burden of these mold allergies on your immune system. It might even be enough to get through the season med free! We have to look at the molds in our lives that we can control. Our immune systems are like a camels back. It can only hold so much before it collapses. I will assume for the sake of this blog article that mold is the only allergy you are suffering from. (In reality, this is not the case!) We can't control the outdoor air. We can control our indoor air. WE CAN ALSO CONTROL THE FOOD WE EAT!

Believe it. It's true. We can control the food we eat to get more relief or total relief from the mold allergy. Yes, this means sacrifice. But just imagine being free of allergy symptoms, not wasting time and money on meds and doctor visits and reducing the strain on your immune system that would increase quality of life, even length of life.............

What foods would we want to omit from our consumption habits? The answer, the moldy foods. What follows is a list of moldy foods (meds & vitamins) to omit if you are a mold allergy suffer. P.S. Yeast is a mold.

Sources of Yeasts and Molds
Alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, whiskey, etc.)
Antibiotics
Baking yeast
Brewer's yeast
Buttermilk
Cheese
Citric acid
Coffee
Dried fruit
Fermented foods
Foods enriched with vitamins
Fruit juice (unless homemade)
Herb tea
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
Leftover's (food)
Malt
Many fresh fruits (es. grapes, oranges & melons)
Meat from animals fed antibiotics
Mineral supplements (es. selenium & chromium)
Miso
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Morels
Mushrooms
Nutritional yeast
Nuts and nut butter
Peanuts and peanut butter
Pepper
Products with vinegar (mayonnaise, dressings, catsup, mustard, pickles, kraut, olives, etc)
Soy sauce
Sour cream
Sourdough bread (imitation made with yeast)
Sourdough bread
Sprouts
Tamari
Tea
Tempeh
Tobacco
Tomato sauce
Torula yeast
Truffles
Vinegars
Vitamins, especially B vit, unless labeled 'yeast free'
Xantham gum (fermented from corn)
Yogurt
Special thanks to Beth Loiselle, The Healing Power of Whole Foods, for the list.

Fear not for I know what I'm talking about. I have dealt with allergies including mold allergies in myself, my husband and with each of my children. At one point my husbands health was in such poor condition he could not tolerate leftovers! Sounds crazy but it's true. Molds were one of the causes of his sinus polyps and crashing immune system. My children, among other effects suffered by molds, demonstrated behavioral symptoms, sinus congestion, agitation, hyperactivity and goofiness (like a happy drunk).

I would like to add that dairy products are highly bacterial, mucous producing and contain large amounts of hormones. It would be wise to omit dairy products for a healthy immune system.

I (we) found health through the foods we chose to eat. You can too. Now, that's the way to reduce health care cost!!

Posted on 02/26/2010

It's March......time to march in like a lion and march out like a lamb. It's also time to spring clean. Which brings us to all those adds for 'green' cleaners we are seeing more of these days. The 'green' cleaners on the market are earth friendly for sure and much better for your family's health but they are not quite budget friendly. There are many recipes available, but you usually have some ingredients to purchase and you can end up with a different recipe for each cleaning task. For example the oldest recipe for glass cleaning is vinegar and water. Have you ever smelled vinegar and water? You don't want to start spraying that all over the house. It doesn't exactly leave your room smelling fresh. CaveChick has a better way.

Some years ago, 5 to be exact, my son Ryan and I took our new pug puppy to puppy classes. One day the topic was on how to deter chewing on inappropriate things. You know the stuff: furniture, shoes, etc. We were told that dogs/puppies hate the taste of Original Flavor Listerine. We were to dilute Listerine with water, 50/50, put in a spray bottle and spray what we didn't want our little dear pug puppy to chew. We went out and purchased our squirt bottle and Listerine immediately. Ryan and I were so excited when we got home. We mixed up the magic potion and began spraying it on the kitchen chair legs...........well our cute little puppy walked up to the chair leg, sniffed it and much to our amazement began to lick it. OMG! She likes it. We were still at square one on the chewing situation. And now that she likes Listerine I had to quickly wash it off the legs of the chairs. But didn't my chair legs look sparkly! "Hey Ryan," I said, "What else do you think I could clean with this stuff?" I started with the windows. I got a streak free shine. I went to the bath. The mirror sparkled after a spritz and wipe with my new cleaner and paper towel (yes, I use paper towels). What about the really dirty stuff ? Why not! There is alcohol in the Listerine to kill all those germs. So on to the faucets, counter top and yes, the toilet. You name it. It was clean. It also smelled really good. It smelled clean and fresh, not chemically. Original Flavor Listerine is eucalyptol and menthol, yum.

The biggest plus of all is the cost. Pennies! If you really want to get a great deal use the generic versions of Original Flavor Listerine. Be sure not to get the minty stuff! The ratio of Listerine to water shouldn't be less than 50/50.

I use it on windows, mirrors, sinks, toilets, tubs, faucets and tile. (BonAmi is great for what needs to be scrubed.)

FYI: Don't use it on wood furniture. All that alcohol will dry out the wood.

Posted on 01/31/2010

February is our month of love and one way or another we focus on our hearts. In love or broken hearted we should all want our ticker to be healthy. As always exercise and good nutrition are most important to our healthy hearts. It's our chosen lifestyle that dictate our health. Yes, I said, 'our chosen lifestyle'.

Pick up any magazine. You'll find loads of information on what is heart healthy. You can always count on an article listing the diets of indigenous people promising the health promoting affects if you eat the listed foods. Problem is there are so many suggestions it's hard to remember and many times there are contradictions. I believe the true health benefits derived from the eating habits of these different areas is in what the article doesn't mention...... what they don't eat. For example let's look at how soy has been promoted as the nutritional savior of the rural Asian diet. It is being added to almost everything by Western manufacturers of processed foods. We are lead to believe it will save our hearts by adding it to our existing food choices in our Standard American Diet. I believe that in these Asian diets soy is part of the already healthy natural diet. They eat rice, vegetables, fruits, no diary and appropriate amounts of fish and meats. This adds up to a diet full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, complex carbohydrates and a more balanced protein intake. CaveChick food. Good for them! For Westerners that are living on refined foods that have a sprinkling of government decided vitamins, cheese, large portions of meats and little fruits and vegetables......it would take a miracle for just the addition of soy to make a change in ones heart health. Having said that, quit looking for miracles, change your lifestyle food choices.

Change our lifestyle. Change all our food choices. First, I think it might be easier to think of what not to eat in our new lifestyle. Stay away from the unnaturals. Stay away from a diet full of fractionated food. CaveChick believes that the whole is worth more than the sum of it's parts. We'll start with a simple rule - if it didn't grow that way don't eat it. When you get the hang of it you can work on incorporating healthy manufactured food into your lifestyle. But don't even think of eating the following...

1) hydrogenated oils.

2) refined grains.

3) artificial flavors, artificial color and chemical preservatives.

4) sweetened beverages or your fruit (where's the fiber).

5) processed food. No matter how many vitamins that are promised to be added!Watch for the so called 'functional foods' also. CaveChick believes the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts.

6) diary products. That's cheese, milk and butter! (p.s. Eggs are not a dairy product.)

7) refined sugar for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Being a nutritional foodie I would like to give you a few ideas to make good nutrition choices easier to remember. You just eat like a CaveChick. Choose foods that are as nature provided. If you are purchasing a prepared food look at the ingredients. Are they as nature provided? If not, don't buy it. Choose to eat:

1) Whole grains. Replace white flour in your recipe with whole grain.

2) Fresh fruits and vegetables.

3) Natural oils - coconut, almond, avocado, walnut, palm, olive, hemp

4) Raw nuts and seeds, lightly toasted.

5) Sugar as an occasional choice.

6) Meats, if you chose it, as a flavoring ever so often. Many have come to view 'meat' as the main event. The more the better. That just ain't so.

I'd just like to add that there is no such thing as 'not enough time to cook'. That's just not acceptable. Make time. Your lifestyle should include time to nourish yourself and your loved ones. It demonstrates self respect. It teaches self respect. It also gives you control over what you consume. It's your health and your lifestyle. Be good to it.

It's Valentine's Day. We want chocolate! Lucky for us dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and serotonin boosters. I once hosted a desert Valentine's Day party called, 'Was It Love or the Chocolate'. You guessed it. Everything at the party was chocolate. Yum! But anyway, I'll give you the link to happiness. I've found a great chocolatier that makes vegan (dairy free) chocolate complete with the pretty boxes!

www.rosecitychocolates.com/vegan-valentines-chocolates.html

Happy Valentine's Day!

Posted on 01/07/2010

It's the New Year. So many resolutions. Everyone knows that the #1 resolution is to loose weight, get healthy and cut out deserts. Every year it's written how this is so hard to accomplish. AND WHY? Because everyone has unrealistic goals. Not that loosing weight, eating healthy and cutting out deserts is unrealistic. It's how people go about it.

Diets don't work. Everyone goes on a restriction diet. Looses weight by starvation. Then goes back to the old way of eating. The way of eating that made you fat in the first place. If diets don't work how is one to loose weight? Answer: There needs to be a shift in focus to understand..........YOU HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE! FOREVER!!!!

Lifestyle is what you eat, when you eat, where you eat, how much you eat AND exercise/activity level.

For many of us it's cold outside. We come in after shoveling the snow or just playing in it. We need something to warm up our insides. A big mug of hot chocolate with lots of little marshmallow is the first thing that comes to mind. But what about that New Years Resolution? Don't chuck it.

A standard recipe for hot chocolate would be: milk that's loaded with fat, lactose, bovine hormones and probably antibiotic and pesticide residue, chocolate syrup containing cocoa, more milk, stabilizers and sweetened with lots of corn syrup and marshmallows that are laced with artificial flavors and preservatives. For one 8oz. mug you are looking at over 220 calories with over 20 grams of fat and over 40 grams of carbs (the highly refined kind). Not a pretty picture.

CaveChick Hot Chocolate recipe is the best choice. Dairy free and natural it offers that warmth from the inside for about 55 calories per 8 oz. mug with 3.5 grams of fat and only 3 grams of carbs coming from the 'milk' and less than about 5 grams of carbs from the mini marshmallows. You also get to enjoy the benefits of almonds. Almonds are full of essential vitamins and minerals. As well as being heart healthy and full of natural calcium and magnesium.

I like Almond Breeze unsweetened chocolate non-dairy beverage as is. Adding the little marshmallows makes it fun. There's no sugar overload. Just a sweet sip on your lips. You stay safe from diabetes, the sugar rush and dairy allergies. Perfect for kids and you.

CaveChick Hot Chocolate Recipe
2 cups Blue Diamond Natural Almond Breeze Unsweetened Chocolate non-dairy beverage
1/8 cup natural mini marshmallows
(Elyon natural vanilla, WholeFoods fresh, Dandies vegan)
Heat chocolate almond beverage in medium saucepan over low heat. About 5 minutes. When heated to desired temp. pour equally between 2 mugs. Put about 6 mini marshmallow atop each.
There you have the enjoyment of hot chocolate staying in your lifestyle the healthy way.
Posted on 12/21/2009

The Holidays are well upon us. The good, bad and the ugly...........but we don't want ugly skin. No time for a facial. No monies for a facial. Try CaveChick's natural, quick and easy way to brighten your complexion.

Put your favorite natural facial cleansing lotion or cream into the palm of your hand. Sprinkle a little BAKING SODA on top of the facial cleansing lotion/cream. Use a finger to mix. Now it's ready to use. Rub ever so gently onto face, neck and decolletage. Careful, do not get in eyes! Rinse with water. Moisturize as usual.

Not only does the Baking Soda remove makeup build up and dry flaky skin particles but the natural antibacterial properties of the Baking Soda, sodium bicarbonate, will work wonders on acne breakouts. Got a pesky pimple? Make a little 'paste' with the Baking Soda and let sit on that bump for a few minutes!

Happy Holidays and A Very Happy New Year!

Posted on 10/26/2009

CaveChick (Vegan) Pumpkin Pie by: Lori Diversey

2 c. Pumpkin, canned (If using fresh cooked pumpkin reduce 'milk' to 1/2 c.)
1/2 c. Maple syrup, grade B
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 c. alternative 'milk' (unsweetened almond, unsweetened soy, RiceDream, etc)
2 tsp. Pumpkin spice
2 Tbl. arrowroot

Mix well in large bowl. Pour into pie crust. Cover edge of pie with foil/parchment paper (crust shield). Bake in preheated oven 425 for 15min. Remove crust shield. Reduce heat to 350 for 40-50min. or until pumpkin filling begins to crack. Cool. Fills one 9" pie crust.

Vegan Pastry Crust

2 1/4 c white spelt flour (use whole grain if preferred
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c walnut oil
5-6 Tbl. alternative 'milk', RiceDream, almond milk, soy, etc

Add flour and salt to medium bowl. Add oil and 5 Tbl. alternative 'milk'. Stir lightly with fork. Add additional 'milk' as necessary. Dough should be moist, not wet, and pliable. Makes two 9" pie crusts.