Crazyhippiemom’s Weblog

Just an urban hippie with a kid in tow, sharing a little eco-friendly, holistic info with the world.

The Happier Life Chronicles – Thought 4 The Week August 24, 2008

As the list of life’s stresses increases exponentially, we find ourselves consumed with finding quick fixes while trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy.  Gas, food, health care and education top just about everyones’ list as culprits.  Some hypothesize about the reasons, while others determine to take action.  We look to hybrids, farmer’s markets, foreign pharmaceuticals and alternative modes of education to solve our problems and ease our minds.  It’s a different world than our parents or even their parents grew up in.  This fast paced society, calls for more money, more time, more, more, more…until you’ve given of yourself completely.  However, in the midst of it all, there must be time for a mental revival.  A time dedicated only to renewal of our minds.  A sabbath, if you will.  A time set aside for a specific thing. 

From this mode of thinking, the Thought 4 The Week was born.  I firmly believe that we must start our week, not with an empty canvas, but with a canvas containing a background of inspiration and motivation.  A background, that no matter what is painted on the canvas, the background will permeate and continually hint at the beauty beneath. 

The Thought 4 The Week contains six elements: Word of the Week, Leadership Quote of the Week, Thing To Ponder, Philosophical Quote of the Week, Useless Knowledge, and Inspirational Quote of the Week.  The contents of each of these elements are by no means original, however, when pooled together, they can foment a newness and rev you up for the week to come. 

Thought 4 The Week

Word of the Week
Ambisinister: (am-bi-SIN-uh-stuhr) adjective: Clumsy with both hands.

Leadership Quote of the Week
“If it’s a good idea, go ahead and do it. It’s much easier to apologize than it is to get permission.”
Admiral Grace Hopper

Thing To Ponder
Why is it that people say they “slept like a baby” when babies wake up every two hours? 

Philosophical Quote of the Week
“Our eyes can only see our beliefs. Our beliefs cause us to make assumptions, draw conclusions and cause confusion. Our five senses are very limiting.” White Bison

Useless Knowledge
The name of the first presidential airplane was the Sacred Cow.

Inspirational Quote of the Week
“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.” Mahatma Gandhi

To subscribe to my Thought 4 The Day, which is simply a daily installment of the Thought 4 The Week, send me comment listing the email address to which you wish the Thought 4 The Day to be sent.

 

Water Is Your Friend August 17, 2008

I applaud the water bottling companies for their ingenious attempt to “make-over” water! Yes, my friends, you may not have noticed it, but water is being made over, right before your very eyes. Recently, I’ve seen the sleeker, more eco-friendly bottles, some with cool blue hues to attract a more discriminating consumer, others with a more minimalist approach – clear bottle, scarcely worded labels – you catch my drift.  But why do I applaud them? Because they are in the business of selling perhaps the most therapeutic and health-preserving remedy known to man – Water.  Okay, call me naive for actually believing that the companies are in it for your health. There’s a lot of profit in selling plastic bottles! But I wish to just ponder for a second, in my warped reality, about the millions of potential soda purchasing teenagers who were lured into picking up a shiny bottle of water instead. Call me nuts!

So, let’s talk about water – the mystery and the magic! I overstate (as is my custom) for effect. We’re actually going to be discussing the benefits of water, why drinking it as often as possible could improve your health (obvious) and extend your life (these statements have not been approved by the FDA).  In a nutshell, water transports nutrients and hormones to vital organs.  It also gets in there and gets rid of all the stuff that shouldn’t be there. Yippie!! It hydrates and aids in digestion. It’s truly the miracle liquid. It does quite a few more things for the body as well…

  • Removes toxins and waste from your body
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Improves energy
  • Keeps skin healthy
  • Improves brain function
  • Reduces risk of heart-attack
  • Improves immune system

To maintain optimum function, being well hydrated is necessary. It is not always easy to drink the recommended 8 glasses a day, for some, even 4 or 5 glasses is hard.  This was a challenge for me as well, so I implemented a few strategic “inspirations” that kept me on track and may work for you as well.

  • Carry water with you everywhere you go – preferably in a glass bottle or container (like a Perrier bottle)
  • Keep a glass or bottle of water next to you when you’re sitting for extended periods of time – like at your desk at work
  • Set your “water” alarm to remind you to drink your water at set intervals
  • Add lemons or mint leaves to your water to make it more appealing
  • Eat water-rich fruit such as melons

It goes without saying that water is the end-all-be-all when it comes to health management. It purifies, hydrates and refreshes the body in ways no other liquid or solid can boast. Water does it all, because indeed, water is your friend!

 

Pristine Clean Intestines August 9, 2008

This may seem like an odd thing to say but, I like my intestines pristine clean! Yes, my intestines.  Why, may you ask, is this the first sentence of this post?  And my answer, ladies and gentlemen…who wouldn’t want pristine clean intestines?  And, in an effort to successfully obtain those pristine clean intestines, I undertook the task of a mono-fruit detox.  Oh yeah, baby! One fruit, well, actually 8 fruit, but of one kind.  I literally ate 8 apples over a 24 hour period.  And some organic apple juice and water…but you get my point.  A mono-fruit detox with apples as the mono-fruit!

Why apples?  Apples, as you know, have phenomenal health benefits.  We’ve all been told, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” Well it aids in creating pristine clean intestines as well.  How?  Glad you asked.  Besides being an awesome source of dietary fiber, it reduces cholesterol, maintains healthy bowel function (now that’s what I’m talking about!), reduces the risk of stroke, Type II Diabetes and asthma. You can’t beat that with a stick!

Of course, you can complete a successful mono-fruit detox with just about any fruit, I just personally prefer the health benefits of apples.  Grapes (strangely enough, my favorite fruit), is another wonderful option for the mono-fruit detox.  In fact, grapes provide an enormous amount of Vitamins A, C, B6 and folate.  They’re also quite refreshing.  What more can you ask for? The list of acceptable fruit can go on and on, but we’re talking about pristine clean intestines and this mono-fruit detox…

Why pristine clean intestines? Now we’re getting down to business.  Cleaning the intestines contributes to ones health in many ways:

  • Rids the bowel of excess fecal matter 
  • Helps skin conditions
  • Reduces the risk of most cancers
  • Fights fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Reduces Blood Pressure
  • Assists with allergy relief

As the body detoxes, you may experience certain side effects, none of which are life-threatening. Side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Thirst
  • Mood Swings
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Body/joint aches 

Like I said, I like my intestines pristine clean and after reading the benefits, everyone should want to do an internal Roto-Rooter on themselves.  I chose the mono-fruit detox, however there are many types of detoxes out there to help you obtain pristine clean intestines.  Do a little research or check out more of my posts on healthy eating and weight loss.

 

That’s It! I’m Buying a Bicycle June 17, 2008

I’ve finally figured it out – the more I used my telepathic powers to will gas prices into submission, the higher they have risen.  So, I’ve decided to use reverse psychology – I’ll buy a bicycle and act as though I don’t give a rat’s gludius maximus, and THEN the gas prices will come down, won’t they?  Of course they won’t silly…we’re dealing with a far greater entity than any of us realized.  Our entire civilization and everything we hold dear is in some way or another connected to fossil fuels or, as we in the eco-friendly world like to call them, non-renewable sources of energy. 

We drive, we cook, we use plastic, eh hem…sorry about that, but you get my drift.  We are dependent and Big Gas knows this, the government knows this, dargone it, the whole world knows it!  So when we hear those crazy hippie people calling for government sanctions against the vilest offenders of our emissions regulations; or asking for a change in the way we live our lives with regard to the environment, we listen, put on our most interested face, tilt our head (to imply that we care), and keep on doing what we’ve always done…drive, cook and use plastics.  Now, no one is telling you not to drive, cook (although, if you’ve ever read any of my raw recipes posts, you know this is definitely a selling point for me), or use plastics (you may want to look into this one though).  Just consider how many minor lifestyle adjustments you can employ in order to keep a forest or two around for another hundred or so years.

World opinion has so evolved on this topic that internationally, governments have implemented strategies to reduce emissions.  There are even repercussions if certain countries don’t fulfill their ends of the bargain. ( A little side note – compared to some other countries, the U.S. policy on this topic pretty much sucks.  It’s a Big Gas thing!).  Americans, however, have shown a significant spark of support for helping our environment in ways such as: tax incentives to utility companies encouraging them to sell clean energy; tax incentives and rebates to households using energy efficient appliances; requiring that by 2010, half of all cars produced be hybrids; and requiring car manufacturers to meet higher gas-efficiency standards.  This, however, is for large corporations.  What can the regular Joe Schmoe do?  What are our options?

Okay, so I’ve been yanked off the proverbial soap box with a proverbial hook – thanks guys, no really.  Here are a few ways to do your part to keep emissions down and the earth’s heart rate up…and, as always, if you think of anything else I might have missed (and that’s highly possible), please leave me a comment telling us all what you think we can do to help out.

  • Sign up with 41pounds.org – you know that little flier that comes in the middle of all those other fliers for items you don’t want from companies you’ve never heard of?  Well, 41pounds.org makes sure your mailbox stays free and clear of those pesky mailers.  How so? Well for $41, this nonprofit services stops 80-95% of unwanted junk mail and catalogs for up to five years. And how do they do that??? Go to their website and find out for yourself – 41pounds.org
  • Maintain that old jelopy (car) – Can somebody say ‘tune-up’? How about keep those tires well inflated? These are sure fire ways of getting your car to join in the fun.
  • Ride your bicycle– And you thought I was kidding!  First of all, just think about how much $ you would save on gas – that’s another car note in itself!  Next think about how much you’d save in maintenance.  You can live without a car and so can your kids.  This may be an awesome opportunity for the fam to get some much needed exercise.  Check out How to Live Well Without Owning A Car by Chris Balish.
  • Buy a hybrid or a smart car – Yes I know the ‘aesthetics’ don’t even begin to compare to, well, just about anything on the non-hybrid, non-smart car market.  And, yes, I know you’ve got a large posse who likes to ride wide legged with arms out-stretched…tell them to get their own cars because you’ve got to help save the environment!  Do you realize the impact owning one of these cars can have on your wallet…not to mention your, wallet.  And did I mention the impact it can have on your wallet?  Just wanted to drive that point home.
  • Carpool – Okay, your posse can ride.  In fact, pick up as many as can legally fit in your vehicle and get going.  Carpooling reduces emissions significantly by taking at least one other vehicle off the street.
  • Public Transportation – Get on the bus, train or whatever your city has to transport a large group of people from one place to the next.  Some employers even provide transportation allowances as incentives.
  • Telecommute– YeeeeHaaaa!!!! This, by far, is my super favorite of all the options.  Not because I won’t have to get up, get dressed, get in the car, get in traffic, get in the office (late)…not at all, it’s only because I know this one little gesture will help save the environment.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
  • Turn off the lights– Could it have been a foretelling of things to come when Teddy Pendergrass sang this song?  Probably not, but it does speak to a great waste that goes on in homes everywhere – keeping lights on unnecessarily.  So just do what Teddy said and, “Turn ’em off!”
  • Donate your junk– There are more than enough charities that’ll take your crap.  Not your bad attitude crap, but your unwanted items, especially electronics.  Check out recyclingforcharities.com where you can donate old cell phones, PDA’s, digital cameras, you name it.
  • Buy local – Do your best to keep your travel to and from the grocery store short.  Also, try not to have purchases shipped, if you can get it, go get it…on your bicycle.
  • Eat less or no meat – V/V powers unite!  Just kidding, but really…eating meat produces 3000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.  At least consider it.

Reducing emissions is a job for all of us.  It is important that we do our best to reduce our carbon footprint and try to keep this earth around for our decendants.  Do what you can to implement these suggestions into your daily life.  If you’d like more suggestions, check out carbonfund.org.  If you have suggestions of your own, please leave a comment…you can never do too much.

 

Sell Your Stove – More Raw Recipes May 30, 2008

This installment of Sell Your Stove has recipes to please both Herbies (herbivores) and Carnies (carnivores) alike.  It has become painfully clear to most, that consuming raw and/or lightly steamed veggies and raw fruit improves your health exponentially.  Of course, the main hinderance has always been taste, and we are slaves to our tastebuds (those wiley suckers).  Even if the food item could cure whatever ails you (and most raw fruit & veggies can), most people would still decline to consume the produce because of that five letter word, TASTE.  Keeping all this in mind, I went on a research mission, searching the ends of the virtual world, trekking high and low, across rivers and lakes (okay, okay…perhaps I overstate) to come up with what I think are some pretty darn good recipies for Carnies who just can’t get past their you-know-what.  Here are some tastebud inspiring raw recipes to win over even the most hard core Carnie.

Recipes

Apple Salad in Lettuce Cups

3 1/2 cups of diced apples
1 cup of diced celery
1 cup of diced banana
1/2 cup of raw walnuts
1 cup of raisins
Half head of lettuce

Mix all ingredients (except lettuce) together and place in lettuce cups

Banana-Date Salad

1 cup of pitted, chopped dates
1 cup of diced bananas
1 cup of diced celery

Mix all ingredients together and serve over crisp greens

Nutty Vegetable Salad

1 small bunch of parsely
1 head of Romaine lettuce
1/2 chopped sweet pepper
1 cup of raw mixed nuts
1 cup of mini tomatoes

Mix all ingredients together and place on lettuce cups

Veggie Corn Chowder

2 1/2 cups of Almond Milk
5 ears of corn on the cob, shaved
1 small avocado
Sea Salt to taste

Put aside one handful of corn.  Blend everything else in a blender, pour into bowl.  Add the handful of corn and sea salt. “Living on Live Food” Alissa Cohen

Brocolli Soup

3 cups of water
1 cup of almonds
1 teaspoon of honey
2 cups of broccoli
1 avocado
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon of onion
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon of cumin
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In a blender, blend water, honey and almonds until smooth.  Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

Banana Nut Ice Cream

2 frozen bananas (very ripe)
4 pitted prunes
1/4 tsp. of vanilla
1 handful of almonds
1 Tbl. honey

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until you get the consistency of yogurt.

Live Fries

1 lb Jicama
1 Tbsp of onion powder
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 Tbsp of paprika
Sea Salt to taste

Slice Jicama so that it looks like fries.  Combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Enjoy.

Raw Fruit Cereal

Cereal: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, chopped peaches
Milk: blend a banana and enough water to make banana milk
Pour milk onto cereal and enjoy

So that’s my list for now.  Try them out and see how you like them.  Let me know what you think by sending me a comment on any of the recipes you’ve tried.

 

Over 60 Prescription Drugs Induce Eye Disease May 22, 2008

In an effort to continue my all out attack on Big Pharma, I was perusing the electronic pages of our good ‘ole friend, Public Citizen, when low-n-behold!  A press release entitled, “Article in ‘Drug Safety’ Identifies 62 Drugs That Can Cause Eye Disease”!  Oh my…you don’t say. 

This is just another in a long line of FDA blunders.   One of the most recent being Permax, used to treat Parkinson’s Disease was found to increase the chance of blood backflow to aortic valves of the heart. Symptoms included shortness of breath, fatigue and heart palpitations. In 2006, about 12,000 patients received prescriptions in the US, however it was removed from the U.S. market in 2007.

But back to this eye disease business.  Isn’t it enough that the majority of drugs already on the market have been found to cause severe adverse effects to vital tissues and organs…now add insult to injury, and toss eyesight into the mix! The eye, as we all know, is a delicate entity, and full of cells requiring continued nutrition and replenishment.  When we ingest the prescribed toxins (or Big Pharma Candy as I like to call it), we deplete the eye’s cells of that much needed nutrition.  This depletion results in any of the following symptoms: cataracts, glaucoma, eye surgery complications, eyelid and conjunctival diseases, optic nerve diseases and retinal abnormalities. Loss of color vision, blurred and impaired vision, decreased night vision, skin lesions and blindness.  Yikes! So in order to, say, correct my IBS issues, I might have to sacrifice my vision.  No Thanks.

Now here’s a list of some of the pharmaceutical drugs that have been implicated in causing eye disease.  For the comprehensive list, go to worstpills.org.

Chloroquine and hydroxycholoroquine, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, amoebae and malaria;
The antibiotic linezolid;
Ethambutol, used to treat tuberculosis;
Corticosteroids;
Alpha-1 blockers, particularly tamsulosin;
Botulinum toxin (Botox);
Morphine administered intravenously or by mouth;
And drugs in the anticholinergic and adrenergic categories

It goes without saying that anyone taking even one of the pills listed above or on the comprehensive list should pay extra special attention now to any changes, whether slight or severe, in vision.  I would even go so far as to request alternative meds to treat whatever ailment you’ve got going on.  Vision is not vital, but it is one of the most important benefits for those of us that have it.  Don’t allow you reliance on Big Pharma Candy to rid you of such an important aspect of your life. 

 

The Water Birth May 15, 2008

You know that warm, bubble bath you prepare for yourself when the day’s been rough and the kids are acting up?  You know how you just sink into that glistening, sudsy tub and let you cares run away like gazelles on a pasture?  You know how your mind is just whisked away, into some far away land where the air is warm and the drinks are cool?  Well, a water birth is kind of like that, but without all the suds and gazelles and cool drinks.  It’s contractions and waiting and contractions and waiting… it’s pretty much labor in a tub full of warm water! But oh the benefits…

Waterbirth International states that, “support in water is one of the most beneficial things that can be offered to a woman in labor.”  Apparently the warm water calms and relaxes women during this stage of labor.  And who wouldn’t want to be calmed and relaxed at this stage of labor???  There are plenty more benefits too:

  • Facilitates Mobility – The woman can easily adjust to any position that suits her with minimal or no help.  She is in control of her birthing experience.
  • Speeds up labor – NEED I SAY MORE!!!
  • Reduces blood pressure – A relaxed mom is a healthy mom.
  • Provides significant pain relief – NEED I SAY MORE!!!!
  • Reduces the need for drugs or intervention
  • Encourages an easier birth for mom

Preparation 

Any woman considering a water birth is encouraged to seriously do her homework.  Water birthing is major business and it is imperative that all parties involved (mom, dad, doula, midwife, etc.) are fully knowledgeable about what they’re about to get into.  Here are some steps to preparing for a water birth:

  • Examine your motivations and expectations – will this be a comfortable setting and situation for you? Are you comfortable with being in a tub full of water partially clothed?  Are you modest, not-so-modest, an exhibitionist????? Whatever the case, make sure you have visited your feelings thoroughly.
  • The Tub – you have one of two options: rent a tub ($350-$400) or use your own (which might not be as adequate as the birthing folks would like, but then again, they’re not shelling out $400 to rent you a tub either!  The tub should be big enough to sit in comfortably and deep enough for the water to come up to armpit level.  Make sure the tub has been cleaned with any eco-friendly cleaner and rinsed thoroughly. The doula or midwife assisting will provide you with any other specifics.
  • The Water – the water should be pure enough to drink (not that you’ll be drinking it!).  Water temperature should be between 95-101 degrees F.  Adjust the temperature to what feels best for you.
  • The Birthing Room – No you’re not doing this in your bathroom! The room should be big enough to facilitate the midwife and her equipment as well as a host of visitors who have come to witness your little miracle. JK.  But really you need to have space to do this thing, confinement is not an option.
  • Edibles – You can drink (water, that is) all you want. You may also eat light, easily digestible foods.
  • Get in the tub – only when your contractions are coming in significant intervals. Adjust you position to whatever suits you.  Just be comfortable.

The birthing process with water births, like any other type of birth, varies.  Labor can stall or progress at lightning speed.  If you find that your labor isn’t progressing, get into the tub, or conversely, if you’re in the tub and labor isn’t progressing, get out of the tub.  The change in environment usually jump starts labor.

The Birth

Once the baby is born, he can be removed from the water.  Many mothers like to reach down and pick their baby up immediately, while others like to let the baby linger a little longer (no more than 30 seconds).  The baby will begin to breathe as soon as his face emerges from the water, until then, the umbilical cord does the ‘breathing’.  The placenta can also be delivered in the water, however this must be discussed ahead of time with your birthing assistant.

Some rightfully cautious persons have suggested that there could be risks involved with water births, however over the 30 years, as water births have risen in popularity, no risks have been determined.  Water birthing is as safe as or more safe than the traditional methods.  A growing number of obstetricians, as well as midwives and birthing centers believe that water birthing reduces stress during labor and delivery which, in turn, reduces fetal complications.  Water birth is definitely a viable option worth considering.