I can’t believe it, I actually got the flu and this time I’m a bit flummoxed!  I’m trying to give up my dependence on prescription and OTC medications, but what can you take to naturally counter-attack the invaders taking over your body?

A quick google search (gotta love the Internet) yielded a mass of results and here is what I found:

Honey Throat Soother –

When to Use: Use in place of cough drops when you have a sore throat.

How it Works:  Honey is a natural throat soother.  Thyme expels phlegm and relieves congestion, it is also a natural antiseptic and immune stimulant.

Ingredients: 1/2 Cup of Honey, 1/2 Cup of Boiling Water, 1/8 Cup of Thyme

Honey Throat Soother

Combine water and honey and bring to a boil.  Put 1/8 Cup of Thyme into a large Tea Infuser or cheesecloth ball.  Remove from burner once a boil is reached and pour into a small container or Ball jar.  Add the Thyme and allow to steep for 2 minutes. Remove Thyme, cover, and refrigerate.  To Use: Take 2 Tbsp. my mouth every hour for 12 hours or as needed for sore throat.

Elderberry Syrup –

When to Use: If you have the flu , a natural replacement for Tami-flu.

SambucusHow it Works: Elderberry can minimize the duration of flu symptoms like chills, headache, and upper respiratory congestion.  World renown virologist Dr. Mumcuoglu (pronounced Mum-shu-glu) did an independent study on the Sambucol Elderberry Syrup and states, “To my knowledge, it is the only product that can cut the flu in half, before complications have a chance of setting in.”  She tested Sambucol on patients in the Southern Israel Flu epidemic of 1992/93 and found that within 24 hours 20% of the patients taking Sambucol showed dramatic improvement in symptoms like fever, muscle aches & pains, and coughing.  By the second day, 73% showed improvement and by day three, 90% were improved!  In 1995 studies proved that Sambucol was effective against human, swine, and avian flu strains.  You can read more about it here.

Emergen-C Immune Defense-

When to Use: Anytime!  A good supplement for everyday use, but especially helpful when your immune system is under attack.

Emergen-c Immune DefenseHow it Works: “Vitamin C activates the white blood cells that are most important in antibody production and in coordinating immune functions.  Enhanced Zinc, with a full 100% of RDA, fights free radicals and helps maintain healthy white blood cell activity.  Vitamin A helps overcome the harmful effect of free radicals and Vitamin D regulates activity of the white blood cells.  Hibiscus extract, used for centuries as an antioxidant, the polysaccharides in Hibiscus help stimulate the immune system.  Elderberry Extract is a strong antioxidant which boosts the production of cytokines, enhancing the immune system.”  For more information about this, and other Emergen-C products, check out this website.

Ginger Soother –

When to Use: Anytime you have an upset stomach.  A great alternative to ginger ale.

Ginger SootherHow it Works: Made with Chinese yellow ginger, honey, lemon, and natural flavor this drink will “sooth the throat and stomach, warm the internal organs, and ease nausea and ailments from colds to headaches.”  Ginger aides in digestion, alleviates high blood pressure, relieves nausea (and morning sickness), and lowers your LDL Cholesterol.  It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory that is thought to help with arthritis.  Ginger is a powerful antioxidant and has been known to alleviate the symptoms of colds and flu with its immunity-boosting abilities.  Ginger Soother is made by The Ginger People, the leading brand of ginger in North America.  They have all kinds of wonderful ginger products (plus an adorable little ginger man as their mascot) and have lots more information about the benefits of ginger on their website.

The Netie Pot –

When to Use: Anytime, but especially beneficial to relieve mild sinus congestion.   Warning: Do not use if you are completely congested and cannot breath through your nose or if you have an ear infection or blocked ears.

How it Works: The Netie Pot looks like a cross between a tea pot and Aladdin’s lamp.  It works by thinning out the mucus to flush out the nasal passages.  In technical terms, “Saline solution can help increase the speed and improve coordination of the cilia so that they may more effectively remove the bacteria, allergens, and other irritants that cause sinus problems.”  In non-technical terms:  It helps you breath better.  The Netie Pot can be a little tricky to learn, but once you get the hang of it you will wonder how you ever lived without it.  It’s difficult to explain how exactly to use it, so I better show you instead:

Wendi Dee Loses Nearly 100 lbs.

I’ve spent the last 7 years of my life being overweight, and the last 6 years being obese.  I tried eating healthy, I tried exercising, but I was still fat.  I understand what it feels like to give up hope.  I had decided that I was going to be overweight for the rest of my life, because NOTHING was working; and then I found something I hadn’t tried before.  RAW food.  It sounded strange and I wasn’t sure that I was ever going to feel full, but it was worth a try.  After one week I started to see a difference, and after 2 months I have lost 15 lbs.!  I feel healthier than I ever have in my life, even better than when I was actively hiking and rock climbing.  I finally feel…ALIVE!

My story is not unique, I am inspired and encouraged by others who have had similar experiences.  Recently I found a video about a woman named Wendi Dee.  Her story is my story, and I am encouraged by her journey.  If you are struggling to lose weight and are unsure about trying a RAW food lifestyle, please watch this video.  I promise you won’t regret it.  If you are inspired by Wendi’s journey, visit her webpage at

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Tabouleh, or not Tabouleh…

Today’s lunch is Tabouleh (tah-Boo-le), made with sprouted Quinoa.  I decided to start with something we’ve tried before, and liked, in hopes of making the transition a little bit easier.  Tabouleh is a Mediterranean Salad that usually consists of: parsley, bulgar, mint, tomato, onion, lemon juice, olive oil, cinnamon, allspice, and other herbs.  The traditional salad is comprised mostly of parsley, while the american version is more grainy and contains mostly bulgar.  Tabouleh is typically served on a bed of lettuce, cabbage, or grape leaves.  It’s a pretty simple dish and can be eaten alone or as a side dish.  My 7 yr. old really liked it.

Quinoa (keen-WAH) is an amazing little grain packed full of protein, 24g per serving size.  Often referred to as “The Mother Grain”, Quinoa is the only grain that is considered a complete protein with nine essential amino acids.  It has a nutty, crunchy flavor when it is sprouted.

The Benefits:

  • Highest source of protein in a “grain”
  • Good source of  Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), helpful in reducing Migraines
  • Gluten Free
  • Low in Sodium, Saturated Fat, & Cholesterol
  • High in Omega 3’s
  • Good source of Folate

Sprouted Quinoa has a high Glycemic Load of 62 (the daily target should be no more than 100) so if you are diabetic it would be advisable to cook it, lowering the G.L. to 18.

Try making your own Quinoa Tabouleh with this recipe.  You will first need to sprout your Quinoa, which will take at least 24 hours.  One recipe usually makes enough servings for 8 people.

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Fish Out of Water

So starting a RAW food diet cold turkey is sort of like moving to a foreign country overnight without learning the language or customs.  After looking at RAW recipes, I’m realizing I need a RAW to english dictionary.  The ingredients lists call for a whole bunch of stuff I’ve never heard of before, and in combinations that frankly seem a little odd.

The whole experience is different.  From the items on the grocery list to the trip to the store.  The first visit to Earth Fare was a little scary and I felt like everyone was secretly laughing at me.  I don’t know how many times I had to ask the poor stock boy where to find stuff, and I think I was in the store for about 2 hours!  Who knew that shopping at the organic health food store would feel like infiltrating a secret society?

If you want to add more RAW foods to your diet, you will need to outfit your cabinet with a few basic supplies.  The following is a list of items I recommend keeping on hand (complete with pictures & where to find them in the store):

BRAGGBOTTLESBraggs Liquid Aminos –

Where to Find It:  Look for Braggs in the aisle with the soy sauce.  Possibly with the vinegars and olive oils.

How to use it: Use this as a replacement for soy sauce or as a “salt” to season foods.  Braggs Liquid Aminos contain 16 essential and non-essential Amino Acids (the natural building blocks of protein).  It is a product of non-fermented soybeans and is gluten free.

Braggs ACVBragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar –

Where to Find it: With the vinegars and olive oils.

How to Use It: You might want to skip this one and opt for something cheaper, but I don’t recommend it.  Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is used in most RAW dressing recipes.  I’ve tried all different kinds of ACV’s and this one is hands down the best.

Olive OilCold Pressed Olive Oil –

Where to Find It: In the aisle with the vinegars and oils, possibly with the olives.  If shopping in the conventional grocery store you will find it in the baking aisle with the other oils.

How to Use It:  You will use olive oil in most everything.  It is used in dressings, meat substitutes, doughs for “breads”, and even soups!  Most all Olive Oils today are “Cold Pressed”, even though the term itself is considered obsolete.  Olive Oils used to be mixed with hot water and steamed during a “second pressing” in an effort to increase its yield.  This process would evaporate its delicate flavors.  Today, most Olives are harvested when its cold and only heated up to room temperatures during the mixing process.

Coconut OilVirgin Coconut Oil –

Where to Find It: All Coconut Oils will be sold in a jar and will be in a solid to semi-solid form.  Look for it in the baking goods aisle.

How to Use It: Virgin Coconut Oil is used in many dressings and in baking RAW desserts.  While high in saturated fats, Coconut Oil is comprised of medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) and lauric acid which are essential in maintaining and building the body’s immunity.  MCT’s are more easily digested than fats found in other oils and are immediately converted into energy by the liver.  For more on the benefits of Coconut Oil, read this article.

JOYVA TahiniTahini –

Where to Find It:  You will only find this in the organic grocery store or specialty food store.  Look for it in the aisle with the peanut butters or the ethnic foods section.

How to Use It: You will use tahini in RAW dressings, sauces, and some pates.  Tahini (tah-HEE-nee) is a paste made from ground sesame kernels.  Tahini contains natural oils that will separate and rise to the top, so you will have to stir thoroughly before each use.  It’s very high in calories and fat (not trans), so watch to make sure you only use the recommended serving size.

White Miso PasteMiso –

Where to Find It: The paste (preferable) is usually in the refrigerated section with the ethnic foods.  If you can’t find the paste, you can substitute with Miso soup packets found in the aisle with the Asian foods.  The White Miso generally has a more preferable flavor, but you can use any Miso in recipes.

How to Use It: You will use Miso (MEE-so) as flavoring in many recipes.  It is usually used in combination with fresh ginger.  Miso is generally made from Soybeans and has a mellow, buttery taste.

base_media-2Coarse Sea Salt –

Where to Find It: The Sea Salt will be found with the other salts in the conventional and organic grocery stores.  Be sure to purchase the coarse grain as the Fine Sea Salt has usually been refined.  My personal favorite brand is La Baleine.  You can find it in most grocery stores.

How to Use It: In place of regular salt for seasoning.  Sea salt contains trace minerals that contribute to a more intense flavor.

Agave NectarAgave Nectar –

Where to Find It: With the honey in the organic food store.  It might be possible to find this in the conventional food store depending on your region.

How to Use It: Anywhere you would use sugar, you can even use it as a substitute for pancake syrup.  Agave (Ah-GAH-vay) is used as a natural substitute for sugar as it has a very low Glycemic Index, it is rather high in Fructose though so it should only be used in moderation.  While it has the same amount of calories as sugar per teaspoon, it is 1.5 times sweeter so you will need less nectar than sugar to sweeten.  Use sparingly, if at all.

RAW HoneyRaw Honey –

Where to Find It: With the sugars and sweeteners.

How to Use It: Use as a sweetener in place of sugar.  Honey has more calories per teaspoon than Sugar, but you will use less because it is sweeter.  Honey & Sugar both contain glucose and fructose, but unlike sugar Honey contains enzymes that allow our bodies to break down and absorb the molecules.  Compared to Sugar, Honey has a low Glycemic Index and is a natural Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Viral, & Anti-Fungal substance.

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Going Cold Turkey

We could make the transition slowly, and avoid detox, but we knew that we would fall off the wagon if we did.  We’re getting rid of anything that can hold us back: old cookbooks, food, cake pans, and whatever else could be a temptation to quit going RAW.  Now our cupboards are embarassingly empty:

No more junk food or processed snacks.

Okay, so these aren’t exactly considered RAW foods, but until we get the dehydrator we are going to have to make do.  The RAGU, peanut butter, and coffee are soon to be gone too and we are taking the jelly back to the grocery store.  This is harder than we thought!

Our new “meat”, lots of nuts and seeds.  Not sure how we are going to use them yet, but I’m excited about learning! (The noodles are going to a new home along with the RAGU.)  Rice is not considered a RAW food, so instead we are using quinoa.  I know we’ve tried it before & didn’t like it, so I’m a little nervous about using it again.

No more processed sugars or saturated fats (Crisco & Margarine), instead we are using honey & olive oil.  RAW foodies rely heavily on herbs & spices to flavor their food and less on salt.  Luckily the only spices I had that didn’t fit the bill were Garlic Salt & Onion Powder.  One thing about RAW food is it smells delicious!

We used to have white flour, sugar, and sweets in these jars.  Now we have whole oats, kashi, and trail mix.  It’s amazing how many sugary products we used to have around the house!  And we thought we were eating healthy.


Veggies, hummus, eggs, and whole milk.  It doesn’t look like much, but this is supposed to feed us for the next week.  Looking at these pictures, I’m getting a little nervous.  I hope we have enough food and don’t feel hungry all the time.  Well, there’s no going back now.  Let the journey begin!

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Going RAW!

gen·e·sis (jn-ss) n. pl. gen·e·ses (-sz) a beginning or origin of anything

So we finally did it. We made the commitment to eat RAW and this time we did it “cold turkey”. We gave away all our “bad” food (Goodbye sugar. Sniff, sniff.), old cookbooks (all except grandma’s recipe box), and anything that could be considered a safety net. Yup, only forward from here.

All the bad foods we have to get rid of, there's a box of brownies hiding in there.

It hasn’t been an easy decision to make and lots of people are asking us “Why?” We started looking into a vegetarian diet when I first became sick, almost four years ago.  We quickly decided that it was “too hard” and gave up the idea. We did change our diet to include as many healthy options as possible. We were doing GREAT…until about a year ago.

We started adding more “convenience” foods because they were cheaper. We also convinced ourselves that we didn’t have the time to cook healthy. We felt like hypocrites, we would talk to other people about the importance of eating healthy and then go home and mix up some brownies (Mmmmmm, brownies….).

A funny thing happened. We started getting sick! We didn’t even really notice until the doctor’s bills started to pile up. We realized that we were sacrificing our health for “convenience” and vowed to make the commitment to “eat to live.”

We started to research the scriptures to see what the Bible had to say about food, and found that the bible frequently linked a vegetarian diet to better health, strength, vitality, and improved mental clarity (Daniel 1, Deut. 32:12-14,) . I didn’t find any scriptures that talked about a meat diet associated with these attributes, in fact, it talks about people getting fat, sick, and dying (Prov. 23:20,21).

I’m not saying that eating meat is a sin (God created all things and called them “good” , Gen. 1) and Paul specifically said that eating meat is not a sin (Romans 14:14). The conclusion that I drew was that God’s perfect will for us was to be vegetarians (Genesis 1:29-30). It wasn’t until after the flood that God permitted us to eat meat, and even then he put limitations on what was acceptable (Genesis 9:3-4, Deut. 14:4-5).

After deciding on a vegetarian diet, we had a family conference. We talked with our 7 year-old son [Little Man] about our decision and told him that it would mean having to give up lots of food he was used to.  We explained that it would be hard at first and he might not like everything (because our brains were addicted to processed foods) but that after some time he would actually crave the good foods.

We all agreed to start right away and put it to prayer. We plan to continue to pray and fast through this process. We hope that God will give us wisdom and that we will draw closer to Him to provide. It will require sacrifice and will be a difficult adjustment, but we know that God will give us the strength to persevere.

I will continue to write about our experiences as we adjust to our new lifestyle and hope that in some small way they can be a blessing to you (or at least provide a little humor).

God Bless,

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