South of the Border Gazpacho with Kickin’ Lime Cream

This is a favorite in the Schuchmann household!  Even my grown son Eric who is not into healthy food loves it!

Kickin’ Lime CreamSouth of the Border Gazpacho

1 C raw cashews
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
juice of 4-5 large limes
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T raw honey
1 t sea salt
zest of one lime
1/4 C water (more or less to acquire desired consistency)

Place all ingredients except water into blender and blend until smooth and creamy, adding water as needed.  Vita Mix and other high power blenders will require less water than standard blenders.  Place in serving bowl.

South of the Border Gazpacho

8 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 large cucumber, seeded and diced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic
juice of 1 lime
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T raw honey
2 T chili powder
2 t sea salt
1 t cumin
1 t ground coriander
1/8 t chipotle powder

(optional garnish: fresh cilantro leaves)

After putting lime cream in bowl, without cleaning out blender, layer half of each gazpacho ingredient into blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  If your blender is small, you will want to put about a third of the ingredients in each batch.  Pour into large bowl for serving.

Fill each soup bowl with gazpacho with a dollop of lime cream and cilantro leaves for garnish.

If you do not like spicy food, eliminate the chipotle.  If you like your food hot and spicy, use serrano peppers instead of jalapenos and add extra chipotle.

Since you are using fresh vegetables, your gazpacho will taste slightly different each time you make it.  Choose vine ripened tomatoes and high quality veggies for the best flavor.  Roma tomatoes are especially delicious in this recipe, but you will need about 12-15 medium romas for this recipe.  Do not leave out the cucumber!  It makes a huge difference in the flavor.  Feel free to substitute other kinds of tomatoes, peppers, and onions for variation.

If you like corn chips, you can either find a recipe for raw corn chips made in the dehydrator or buy some organic, non-GMO corn chips to complete this meal.


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Blood-Building Gazpacho

Blood-Building Gazpacho

I am always looking for healthy recipes that taste really good.  This one was inspired by the raw borscht recipe in the book “Eating Without Heating” by Sergei and Valya Boutenko.  It looks beautiful in the bowl and tastes great!

Place the following in the blender, blend thoroughly, and set aside in a large serving bowl.  (If you have a small blender, you may need to divide it into 2  batches.)

1 C water
2 medium beets
1 1/2 -inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
2 large cloves of garlic
2 fresh bay leaves

Place the following in the blender, blend briefly (30 sec.), and pour into the same large bowl.  (If you have a small blender, you may need to divide it into 2 batches.)

1 C water
1 medium carrot
1 stalk of celery
1/3 C raw walnuts
1 T apple cider vinegar
2 oranges (remove peel and seeds)
1/2 T raw honey
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste

In a food processor, chop the following into confetti-sized pieces and add to the blended mixture and stir.

1 medium carrot
1/4 of a small head of red cabbage
1 small handful of fresh parsley

Serve this delicious gazpacho chilled or at room temperature.  Do not heat.

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Balancing the demands of being a wife/mother with the demands of being a student

A question was recently posted on the e-mail group for Charis Childbirth students about how a woman can most effectively balance the demands of being a wife and mother and the demands of being a student or birth professional.

Here are my thoughts on the topic:

When we read in Proverbs 31 about the virtuous woman, it can make us feel a little inadequate.  (Before you read further, get out your Bible and read Proverbs 31:10-31 even if you have already read it before.)

WOW!  She did it all.  She was an excellent wife and mother, she spun her own thread and made beautiful clothes for her family, she fed her family gourmet foods, she woke up early and stayed up late at night working, she was a successful business woman, she was benevolent, her husband had a good reputation because of her, she had a positive outlook toward the future, she was a skilled housekeeper, she spoke with kindness and wisdom, and the list goes on.

When I first read this passage decades ago, I thought to myself, “Is all that even possible for one woman?”

Here are some things to consider when thinking about the Proverbs 31 Woman.

1.  She had a supportive, godly husband.

2.  She did not do it all in one day.  That is an account of an entire lifetime of accomplishment.

3.  She had maidservants.

Here are some valuable lessons I have learned along the way:

1. I must keep my relationship with God the highest priority in my life. Nothing should ever become more important than intimacy with God.  If it does, it is time to reevaluate and shift things around.  Our lives can be full and still keep God on the throne.  It is just about keeping Jesus at the center of all I do and hungering for Him above all else.

2. I desperately need my husband to love me “like Christ loved the Church and laid His life down for her”! (Read Ephesians 5:25-33)  I believe that is the main reason I have been so successful in all I do (as a wife, mother, teacher, minister, business woman, etc.)  My husband takes his role in our family very seriously and truly does live to see me blessed.  He has been willing to give up everything for me, but has in turn gained so much more than if he had tried to hold on to his own desires.  He is a very fulfilled man!  Without our husbands laying their lives down for us, as women we are crippled in all we do.  So, if I do not allow my husband to love me that way, I steal his blessing, I make life more difficult for myself, and as a family we are not in the center of God’s will.  That is hard for us at times because of some of the popular Christian teaching concerning women that makes it sound like our job is to lay our lives down for our husbands.  That is backwards!  Our job is to respect and honor our husbands and our husbands’ job is to love us and lay his life down for us.  When the proper order of things takes place in the home, the woman shines and the husband is fulfilled.  (Todd wrote some things about how husbands can support their birth professional wives in past Charis newsletters in a column called “The Secret Power”.)  Todd and are a team.  Everything we do, we do as a team.  Midwifery isn’t MY thing, it is OUR thing.

3. I can’t do it all today! There are seasons in our lives where we have the time and energy for certain pursuits and then there are other seasons when we do not.  In our family, we all pitch in so that things run smoothly in our household.  There are no jobs that solely belong to one person.  During soccer season when my oldest son was in high school, he had very little time to help with chores around the house because of the long hours he spent on the soccer field.  Instead of insisting that he “pull his weight” and make him do all the chores he normally did, he and I sat down together and figured out what he could realistically accomplish in a day and the rest of us pitched in to cover the rest.  Some things just did not get done until soccer season was over.  After I gave birth to my babies, however, Eric did way more than his share since I was “out of commission” for weeks.  No one in our family is exempt from serving and doing housework.  If I wasn’t homeschooling, I would have more time during the day to do all of the housekeeping, but I do homeschool and I have neither the time nor the energy to be the only one cooking, cleaning, gardening, etc.  Todd wants me to be successful in teaching my children, so he is willing to pick up the slack.  I think he does more laundry than I do.  He is also realistic about his expectations of what I can accomplish and has made “executive decisions” about things that we will live without for a season because it is more than I can do.  Now that I will most likely be starting school in January, our family has talked about the things that I will not be able to do for the next 3 years and they have all agreed that they will pitch in so that I can be successful in my studies.  You see, I can’t do everything all at the same time.  I am a great housekeeper, but there are seasons when I delegate those tasks.  I love preparing meals for my family, but I don’t do it every day.  Over the next few years, I will shine as a diligent student.  The only thing that must be mine to do every day is spend time loving on my husband and children.  Everything else can be delegated, postponed, or omitted.  The dust bunnies can wait.  At the end of my life, I believe my husband and children will make a list like the one in Proverbs 31 and it will look very impressive; but it will be a collective list, not a list of what I did every day.  If you look at my life one day at a time, it is not very impressive.

4. I need help! I think it is pride that gets in the way of our asking for help.  I learned the hard way that pride comes before a fall.  I fell hard.  Instead of admitting that I can’t do it all myself, I worked myself into a burnout when, in 2006, my adrenal glands said “we quit!”  With that scary event fresh in my memory, it is much easier to accept help from other people and I have even learned how to ASK for help.  My husband would hire a personal assistant for me (a “maidservant”) if he could afford it.  But since he can’t, instead of hiring someone, I have bartered with friends and acquaintances.  My friends and I have swapped childcare so we can have some quiet time to get things accomplished.  It is fine to ask people to help you!

5. I need a Sabbath rest! If I don’t give myself enough rest each day and a day of complete rest each week, I can’t make it.  I accomplish so much more when I take a day off each week to rest than I do if I work every day.  That means taking a day off of household duties as well as paid work and school work and even church work.  If you find that your Sundays are not restful because of church activities, then you will need to find another day of the week to rest.  Todd has become very protective of our Sabbaths and our family is doing better than ever as a result.

6. I must want to succeed! If I am honest with myself about some things, I find that I truly lack the desire to succeed in those areas.  When that is the case, I will surely fail.  A desire to succeed is the first step toward success.  If I want to be able to be a good wife, mother, and student, then I have taken a giant step toward being able to do it.

7. I must believe I will succeed! Desire alone, however, is not enough.  I must also believe I can do it!  If I don’t believe I can do it, then I will find every reason in the world I will not succeed.  As I focus on the obstacles to my success, I will have a difficult time seeing the answers to overcoming those obstacles.  Even when those answers are pointed out to me, I won’t believe the answers are for me.  If I believe I will succeed, however, then I will look past the obstacles and see the way toward success and be willing to do the work necessary to overcome the obstacles.

8. I must be willing to work hard! There is no room in a successful person’s life for laziness.  Also, I can not allow discouragement due to the difficulty of the task to paralyze me.  Anything worth having is worth working for.  It is super fulfilling to accomplish something that is not easy and requires sacrifice.

9. I need to take care of my “temple”. God has given me this body to carry me through this life on earth.  If I take good care of it, then it will take good care of me and I’ll have a much better quality of life as a result.  God gives us so many things and I believe it pleases Him when we take good care of those things.  Our bodies are no exception.  It pleases God when we are good stewards of our bodies and we get to reap huge blessings as a result.  A healthy body makes it easier to fulfill our purpose in life. 

10. I can know and trust that God, who is the one who put all these passions and gifts inside me, intends for me to walk out my calling. One way or another, he will help me accomplish what I was designed to do in a way that glorifies Him.  It brings God glory when my relationship with Him is the highest priority in my life, when my family relationships are healthy, and when I use the gifts He has given me.  He wouldn’t give the gift if He did not intend for it to be used on earth, and he wouldn’t intend for it to be used if my family and my relationship with Him had to suffer as a result.  It is, therefore, possible to be a good wife, good mother, AND a good student!

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“I want to be a Cupcake” ~ Tips for Making Healthy Food Delicious

“I want to be a Cupcake”

Tips for Making Healthy Food Delicious

While trying to encourage her son to eat his dinner one evening, my friend quoted the well-known saying, “You are what you eat,” hoping it would be the motivation necessary to cause him to heartily eat his vegetables with gratitude.  His response, however, was not what she anticipated, and made everyone in the room roll with laughter.  “Well,” he proclaimed, “then I want to be a cupcake!”

That little boy is not unlike most adults.  While we say we want to BE healthy, we don’t always want to EAT healthy.  The reason for that is very simple.  We BELIEVE that healthy food is not as delicious as unhealthy food and we fear that to embrace a healthy diet means to give up the enjoyment of food.  That is so far from truth and, with creativity, it is possible to eat well and thoroughly enjoy it!

Most people understand that eating a food as close to the way it grows as possible will provide the most nutrients and enzymes.  But most people don’t know how to make raw vegetables taste good.

You can enjoy a smoother transition to eating healthy by following a few tips that can make it super delicious to add nutrient-packed raw fruits and vegetables into your diet.

Be adventurous. Be willing to break out of the box and try new things.  Keep a positive attitude and this can be a lot of fun.

Become educated. The time and effort it takes to research and learn about the benefits of eating a variety of raw fruits and veggies is well worth it.  There is an abundance of living enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and water present in raw foods.  These are the building blocks every cell in our bodies needs to function properly.  Once we learn for ourselves and truly understand how much our bodies need raw foods, we have an easier time taking ownership over this adventure.

Use the internet to find recipes. I have found my most favorite raw recipes by searching online.  Many people post their favorites on their blogs or on raw food websites.  Some recipes will be delicious, and some might not.  Remember, this is an adventure!  I try to regularly post new recipes our family enjoys here on my blog.

Experiment with international flavors. Other countries serve raw vegetables seasoned differently than we do in the United States that are extremely delicious.  Many of my favorite meals have been inspired by international cuisine.  Two examples are my Thai Salad and Cinco de Mayo Salad.

Make your plate a work of art. The more color, the better!  A variety of colors means a variety of nutrients to build the body and a variety of flavors to please the palate.  Look how beautiful my Tangy Kale Salad looks.  It tastes incredible.

Stimulate all five taste centers on the tongue. When preparing food, it is important to balance the flavors of all five tastes (sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and bitter) so that your tongue is completely satisfied with every bite.  I learned this from Sergei and Valya Boutenko, teenage authors of the book “Eating Without Heating”.  Even my children have learned to put this into practice as they experiment and create their own delicious recipes with raw vegetables and fruits.  My Spicy Cream of Celery Soup is a great example of how amazingly delicious raw soup can be when the right ingredients are used.

Eat fresh, locally-grown produce when it is available. Produce that is harvested and shipped long distances is not as fresh and lacks the wonderful flavor that fresh-from-the-garden produce has.  I have never tasted more delicious broccoli than the broccoli I picked myself at Henley Farm in Virginia Beach.  It was so delicious that my children wanted to eat it raw, dipped in a simple sauce we made in the blender, for every meal; and when it was gone, they begged me to go back and pick some more.

Make your own dips, sauces, and dressings. Not only are people choosing to make their own condiments because they are healthier, but also because they are more delicious and less expensive. It is so easy and only takes about 5 minutes to make a delicious, nutritious dip or sauce in the blender.  Dressings can often be made by simply shaking the ingredients together in a mason jar.  There is an abundance of recipes for raw dips, sauces, and dressings online that can turn a drab salad or veggies into a wonderful taste experience.  My Dressing for Spinach Salad is addicting!

Host a Raw Food Potluck. Even if only a few people come, a raw food potluck is a fun way to try new dishes and exchange recipes.  We host one in our home monthly as a way to encourage others toward wellness and to provide another enjoyable avenue of accountability to be a good steward of these amazing bodies God has given us to use while on earth.

With a little education, some creativity, and a good attitude, you can change your mind about wanting to “be a cupcake” and take a giant step toward wellness.

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Reducing Infant Mortality

Reducing Infant MortalityOn Wednesday evening at at 11:00 PM Reducing Infant Mortality, Improving the Health of Babies went LIVE!!!

The video can be seen and downloaded at the website:

This is a free film. Please use it, show it, put it on your website, link to it, and most of all, send the link to policy makers. Send it to your State and National Senators and Representatives. Until the end of August, your representatives and senators are in their home offices. This is the perfect time to make an appointment to see your legislator and talk to them personally. Can you imagine if 10 people from your district insist on having an appointment to talk about maternal/infant health care20in the next 2 weeks? What if we continue on,. making appointments and showing up to talk to their aides after they return to Washington? What if they each have many copies of Reducing Infant Mortlaity on their desks, and showers of emails with letters about the rights and needs of infants and women and links to the film? I can imagine this. Can you? This is one way we can make a material difference.

Send it to your local Health Department. Send it to your local Hospital. Send it to your State  Department of Health! (In Georgia, they requested a copy!) Link to it on Facebook and My Space! Post it on your favorite networking sites. It is open source which means you can use it any way you like as long as you don’t change it or delete the credits. We are counting on you to use this film to help your voice to be heard.

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Diet Makes a Difference for Children Who Have Focus/Attention Processing Difficulties

This is an excerpt from the article Focus/Attention Processing Dysfunction Characteristics:

Diet: It has been known for over 20 years, first starting with Dr. Feingold and his famous Feingold Diet, that by reducing sugars, colorings and preservatives, children with attention disorders have a much easier time focusing.

Many parents report that when they change the diet of all children at home, that they see a tremendous difference in learning ability and behavior. Some of the diet recommendations that seem to be the most effective include:

Reduce sugar intake. It’s the hidden sugars that get us in trouble, such as the sweeteners in fruit juice, boxed cereals, granola bars, fruit rollups, soft drinks, chocolate milk, pancakes, waffles, etc. Remember that a Snickers candy bar has about 30 grams of carbohydrates, and 35 grams of sugar. When you add the two together, you get 65 grams. Without realizing it, we often feed our children this same amount of sugar by just giving them juice and a bowl of cereal. For many children, consuming this much sugar contributes to their difficulty focusing and controlling their moods.

Increase raw fruit and vegetable intake. As we know from the research in books such as Children with Starving Brains by Dr. Chandless, many children are low in essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. These children either are not getting the daily nutrients they need for their brain to function well, or they are eating the correct foods, but are not absorbing the nutrients found in the food.

The enzymes contained in raw foods greatly assist the digestive system in absorbing nutrients. This can make a huge difference with some children. To make this difference, parents always had grapes, apples, bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, and other fruit around to eat, and made sure the children had three servings a day. These parents also kept a plate of raw vegetables such as carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, and green pepper strips along with plenty of ranch dressing around for lunch.

Use less processed food. As the pioneering Dr. Feingold, and many of the researchers following him found, when food is boxed, it is filled with preservatives. Those preservatives can be very toxic to a child’s nervous system. Processed food also has no life in it. The rule of thumb for brain-healthy eating is to shop as much as you can in the periphery of the grocery store, where the plugs are in the walls. Buying food that is refrigerated in the store ensures you that the life-giving nutrients are still in there. When it is canned or boxed, the live nutrients, such as the fats that are good for the brain have been removed so that they do no go rancid on the shelf. Of course, there are some good brain fats that are not refrigerated…such as cans of tuna or salmon, and mayonnaise.

Increase water intake. Children are often tired because they are dehydrated. They do not drink enough water during the day. A great book that details all the symptoms of being low in water intake is Your Body’s Many Cries for Water by Dr. Batmangahlidj. He recommends that children drink half their weight in ounces of water. Making adequate water intake during the day a family priority is very helpful for many families. Water helps eliminate histamine and other toxins from the body.

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Dark Green Leafy Vegetables for Pregnant Moms

Side-Lined Long Enough! Leafy Green Veggies to the Rescue!

Women who are looking towards pregnancy and those in the midst of pregnancy have a friend just waiting to get involved: dark leafy green veggies. Spinach; kale; collards; mustard greens; turnip greens; broccoli; Brussels sprouts; red leaf lettuce; even yard greens such as dandelion; there are many to choose from. Don’t confuse these with any old green vegetable, such as green beans, or with iceberg lettuce or celery. These have leaves – one way or another and they have to be dark. With the large variety available, there’s likely to be at least one or two each woman likes. These power-packed vegetables help keep the body healthy and with growing a baby in the womb. Though many of the nutrients and benefits I’ll discuss are also found in other foods, I want to focus on the amazing benefits of this class of food.

Look at quality prenatal vitamins and then check the nutrients found in dark leafy green veggies: calcium; magnesium; molybdenum; vitamin K; Riboflavin (B2); Folate; most B vitamins except B12; vitamin A; vitamin C. These foods are chock full of what we want to have for our growing babies, but in a much tastier, easier-to-assimilate package.

Variety of nutrients/Variety of benefits:

Though most grain products are now supplemented with the artificial form of folate, folic acid, we can get all the benefits of folate from a great source: dark leafy green veggies. Personally, I think natural is best. So, to me, simply choosing foods naturally high in folate, such as leafy green veggies, is a wise choice. Folate has been shown to prevent spinal cord birth defects, so as a woman looks toward pregnancy, she wants to eat plenty of foods with this nutrient. In pregnancy, our bodies use this nutrient to actually build genetic material. If ever there was a nutrient that women in the child-bearing years should love, it’s this one.

Vitamin A and C are known for their work in helping our immune system and vitamin A is known for growing healthy bones and teeth. One study even showed that women in SE Asia who had good levels of vitamin A had lower maternal mortality rates. But, we don’t want to get too much vitamin A because there is an amount that becomes toxic and too much vitamin C can cause the opposite problem as constipation. So, what’s a pregnant mom to do? Eat dark leafy green veggies! They have both and are balanced in such a way that it’s nigh on impossible to overdose on these vitamins from this source, because you’ll be full way before the overdose.

Calcium and magnesium are known for helping our bones, but did you know they also help in keeping your blood pressure normal and are needed to help your blood clot normally? And, calcium and magnesium work together to turn our food to energy. ENERGY! What pregnant woman doesn’t want more energy? When thinking of calcium and leafy green veggies, think first of broccoli or alfalfa. Alfalfa actually has both calcium and iron in it, but they can both be assimilated and don’t ‘fight’ each other as normally happens when eating foods with both. Another wonderful benefit of magnesium is that it’s used to build genetic material. Women who are low in magnesium may get nauseous. That’s not saying all pregnancy-related nausea is due to lack of magnesium, but we sure don’t want to encourage it, do we? So, you know you want these nutrients. How to get them? Don’t think first of a pill; think of your friends: dark leafy green vegetables. They are designed with these nutrients in the right balance that’s needed in order for your body to use them. You need twice as much calcium as you do magnesium. Otherwise, they’re out of balance and can’t work as well.

We all know how iron is recommended for pregnant women. But, did you know that the iron present in the foods you eat is easier absorbed when you eat it with a vitamin C-rich food, such as leafy green vegetables? And, eating vegetables along with meat will help your body get more iron out of both of these foods. It’s a synergistic dynamo! Hopefully you already knew eating iron-rich foods with foods high in calcium, such as dairy, can cause a competition where neither nutrient is taken in as well as we wish. One answer is to eat dairy foods separate, but since this article is about dark leafy green veggies, look towards alfalfa, as I mentioned in the paragraph above.

Energy. When we think of nutrients to give us energy, we often think of B vitamins. Well, if it’s B vitamins you want, it’s dark leafy green veggies you’ll be eating. Taking in any B vitamin in a mega-dose can actually cause a deficiency in other B vitamins, so – once again – we need a balance here. The best balance, in my opinion, is to take them in the way we were designed to assimilate them: in food and the foods with a great balance of B vitamins are our friends. The darker the leafy green, the more B vitamins it has left in it. B vitamins are destroyed by high heat, so think raw.

Vitamin K is what our bodies use to help our blood clot. This is important because we want our blood to clot well after we give birth. We also want our babies’ blood to clot well after birth. Dark leafy green vegies are jammed packed with this. Although women are often told that they can’t raise the levels of vitamin K in their preborn babies or in their breastmilk, I wonder whether this is really true. CNM Bernice Keutzer, in her article “Q & A about Vitamin K” talks of a study where women who took high enough levels of vitamin K DID raise their breastmilk levels of vitamin K to the same level as fortified formula. And, I keep remembering that vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. So, it’s stored for the long haul. Surely, if we ate good levels in pregnancy with optimal amounts of fat and continued to eat well after birth, our bodies are designed to give our babies what they need.

Molybdenum is a nutrient most of us don’t think of often. But, we use this nutrient to store iron and to make enzymes we use for metabolism. Sluggish metabolism? Think molybdenum and where to get it? You know the answer, don’t you? An wonderful side benefit of molybdenum is that it may even help our bodies fight off cancer.

Instead of Side Effects, Think Side Benefits:

In pregnancy, there may be varying complaints that can be easily avoided with a diet high in dark leafy green veggies. Let’s look at some of those:

Helps Resolve Constipation

Because the growing womb may press on the lower intestine and rectum and because many women work now, with little time to eat or drink as they need to, this is a commonly heard complaint. Leafy green vegies provide fiber and fluid in the diet. Even simply taking alfalfa capsules regularly (a wonderfully easy way to up the dark leafy green veggies!) with a glass of juice and good bowel habits, is a great way to have this problem go away naturally.

Lowers risk of UTIs

Just keeping your vitamin A at healthy levels can help lower your risk for this. This is important because asymptomatic UTIs are implicated in preterm birth and other problems.

Good-bye Leg Cramps

Because of the wonderful balance of calcium and magnesium in dark leafy green vegies, these are wonderful for combating those painful, nasty leg cramps, especially if you’re eating salt to taste.

Crave Something besides Ice

Craving ice may be a sign of anemia. To be on the safe side, eating leafy green veggies with protein-rich foods may help deal with this. Choose crunchy foods, even crunchy dark leafy greens!

I Kissed Anemia Good-bye

Women of the world, unite to prevent this! Eat those leafy greens! Anemia is not always caused by nutritional deficiencies, but it often is. And, when it is, reach for your leafy green friends. If it’s due to lack of folate or iron, either way, leafy greens have part of what you need. If you suspect or have been told you have anemia, up your consumption to 3-4 times a day with a protein-rich food. Remember what you read above? The folate, C- and B-vitamins in leafy greens help your body assimilate the iron much better without all the problems that can occur from pills. BUT, don’t over-cook your friends. Keep them dark green, crunchy and tasty. That’s how you know they still have their nutrients.

Go Green to Support Skin Changes

Our bodies were designed to change to birth our babies. We often see a variety of changes in our skin as we and our babies grow in pregnancy. Some are due to hormones, but in every body system, proper nutrients are needed in order for them to function as they should. This includes the skin. Leafy greens are a skin’s friend. Eat them before pregnancy so the skin is healthy going into the pregnancy and keep on eating them so it can stretch and change as needed.

How Much?

Think at least two servings a day. Find your favorite two or three dark leafy greens and keep them in the house all the time. You may not like them frozen, but may find you love them raw, or vice versa. You’ll get more nutrition out of them raw or juiced, but eat them daily. Keep them in the highest humidity place in your refrigerator. Don’t forget to consider alfalfa or broccoli sprouts to your list of choices.

If you have trouble getting these in because you are so busy, consider keeping alfalfa capsules in your purse so you can eat them with your food on the go. Look for restaurants with dark leafy green vegetables or salads and tell them this is important to you.

I hope I’ve encouraged you to make friends with dark leafy green veggies. They were designed to meet your needs, pregnant momma!

By Debby Sapp

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Building & Maintaining a Healthy Immune System

Building & Maintaining a Healthy Immune System


So many families have been struggling with viruses or other infections this winter.  I am a firm believer that we are what we eat.  Eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong foods is the best place to start if we want to build a body that can stand up against invaders.  Next, lifestyle plays a big role in our ability to fight disease.  A low-stress lifestyle goes a long way toward our overall good health. 


I recently spent the evening with a group of fantastic single moms who wanted to learn more about how to keep their kids from getting sick all the time.  I did some research and put together the following lists for them:


Things that keep our immune system from functioning properly:




Vitamin/Mineral Deficiency



Insufficient Sleep/Rest

Eating foods to which one is allergic

Being Overweight

Eating too much or too little

Pollution and other Toxins


Smoking and Second-Hand Smoke

Eating too much fat, especially animal fats


Cow’s milk and cheese


Things that help our immune system function properly:

Adequate Hydration

A Variety of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, especially raw (supplies essential nutrients)

Adequate Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids in the diet

A Good Night’s Sleep

Low-stress Lifestyle

Enjoyable Moderate Exercise and other Stress-relievers

Losing Excess Weight

Avoidance of Toxins

Avoidance of Allergens

Low-stress, Pleasurable Activities- such as vacations, picnics, beach outings, hikes, jogging, reading a book, getting a massage, singing, playing an instrument, enjoying leisure time


Immune-Boosting Foods:

Mushrooms – particularly Reichi, Maitake, and Shitake                

Green Tea

Goji Berries                                                                              

Citrus Fruits                                                                             
Bell Peppers


Nuts (not peanuts)                                                                    
Pumpkin Seeds

Sesame Seeds                                                                         
Sweet Potatoes

Carrots (& All Orange Vegetables)                                              

Winter Squash

Collard Greens                                                                          

Fresh Thyme                                                                            

Garbanzo Beans                                                                       


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Sweet Potato Wheels

Here’s a fun, simple recipe for a side dish kids love.  This is so yummy, it could even be a dessert.


Sweet Potatoes
Agave Nectar (or honey)

Peel sweet potatoes, slice them into 1/2-inch thick discs (my kids call them “wheels”), and steam until tender but not mushy.  Arrange warm sweet potato wheels on a plate and lightly drizzle with a mixture of agave nectar and cinnamon.  If you don’t have agave, honey can be used instead.


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Almond Butter, Oats, & Agave Snack

My children came up with the idea for this snack and I finally tried it…. and WOW!  It is really delicious.  They call it “Almond Butter & Oats”.

Mix together the following ingredients (adjust amounts to fit your personal taste):

1/2 C Old-fashioned Rolled Oats
1/4 C  Almond Butter
2 t Agave Nectar
dash of salt


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