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Category Archives: Physical Health

Who Knew There Were Others Like Me?

About a week ago a friend of mine added me to a new group on Facebook. It’s a group of Health minded moms who are working hard to create healthy families. This wasn’t the first time I joined a “healthy” group like this, and so I wasn’t really expecting that much. The last group I was added to was also for Jewish folks, who wanted to cook healthy and such but ehh. Often times I find a similar thing with so-called healthy cooking magazines where the recipes are “lightened” up but still a far cry from truly being healthy. But I suppose as long as we are trying and doing the best we can, then we are on the right track. Hey, it’s not like I’m miss perfect either!

However, this new Facebook group has completely astounded me. We’re talking hard-core crunchy granola moms!!! In fact, I’m beginning to feel like the bad one since I’m not THAT strict when it comes to organics and natural products! But it is incredibly refreshing to join in conversations that I can add my comments (things I’ve learned or picked up along the way) and hear other peoples experiences and ideas as well.

The truth is that very often I feel like an outsider when it comes to my health ideologies. That I take herbs instead of antibiotics or that I visit chiropractors and naturopaths instead of medical doctors. The fact that I try hard to eat as fresh as possible because I sincerely believe that our government regulated industries are causing detriment to the nutritional value of our food (i.e controlling farms, GMO production, etc) So often times, when I’m with friends or family, I tend to keep quiet about the weird things I do, or eat.

I had FINALLY convinced my sister in law to taste my freshly juiced Wheatgrass and she spit it out saying it tasted like Moose balls …. (Or something like that) So you can see that often I feel like the Salmon (or Goldfish Smile) swimming upstream amongst the mainstream swimmers. I’m not complaining. I always was the one who enjoyed going my own way and doing my own thang but generally I tend to water down the things I tell people and keep the details to a minimum.

So I must say that this new Facebook group is really quite wonderful. Sure, I have many acquaintances that are health minded like me …. People who I’ve met online, or through my Doctors, but finding a group of Jewish women, all who were raised in the same type of system as me, and all who are looked upon as a bit “nutty,” well, it’s really enlightening to feel at home amongst these women.

No, I wasn’t paid to advertise, but if you are feeling a little adventurous and want to add a little more natural to your life, then I highly recommend the Healthy Homes for Jewish Families group on Facebook. (you may have to request to join, I’m not sure. I was added against my will Smile) But feel free to look around. You might just learn something funky!

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Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Physical Health

 

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Let’s Keep the Healthy Stuff Healthy, shall we?

veggieWould you like to know what’s on my mind this week? Not much to tell you the truth. Lots of fun exciting things happening in the life of Duby – including collecting Cheesecake recipes and ideas for a children’s program I’m planning for Shavuos.

On the health side though – not too much happening. (sorry Smile)

But with all the cheesecake and dessert planning, it has occurred to me how awfully ironic and strange that someone who touts healthy this and healthy that, has found herself in charge of Yom Tov desserts. (ps – I requested to be in charge and my mother in law happily agreed) Of course, I give this a lot of thought. My 8 year old sister in law doesn’t know me as the carrot crunching naturalist, but more as the girl who bakes fresh Cinnamon Buns and Chocolate Rugalech, and brings them over for a pre-Shabbos treat. Quite a contradiction isn’t it?

A few weeks ago, my hubby was at someone’s house and was snacking on cucumber slices, dipped in salad dressing. He was snacking with the kids of the household and they were all super proud of their very healthy snack choice. Yes, they could have chosen the cookies or the twizzlers, but instead they chose the veggie and dip so they could grow up big and strong! (the kids, not the hubby Smile) well, whaddya know, after munching for a while – my husband decided to check the label of the dressing bottle (more for fun I suppose to find out what made it so yummy). I’m sure you can guess what he found on the bottle. The thing was loaded with chemicals and sugar up the whazoo.

The point of my story (and I do have one) is that I propose we keep the healthy things healthy so the dessert can be dessert. When we eat a cookie, we are aware that we are eating a “treat” (as in something that shouldn’t be eaten all the time – not in the sense of a reward). Even the new age Cookie Monster gives a disclaimer that cookies are great IF you eat them AFTER you’ve had your dinner / fruit / vegetables etc.

How are our kids (and ourselves) supposed to differentiate between what’s really healthy and what’s really not, when the supposed healthy foods aren’t much better than the dessert?

Let me break it down for you.

If the salad is filled with nutritious and fresh vegetables, but the dressing is loaded with ketchup, sugar, soy sauce, do we still call it a salad? (if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it….:)) I’m sure I’ll get a lot of criticism for this statement but here goes anyway:

What’s the difference between eating the sugar loaded vegetable dish and eating a chocolate chip cookie?

The difference is that when we’re eating the sugary salad – psychologically – we believe we’re eating something healthy.

A quick anecdote I’d like to throw in here for fun. (and because I just thought of it). Years ago, I once spent Yom Tov at someone’s house (no, I won’t tell you who). They’re food is heavenly. Like YUM. Duby at this point was trying to watch what she ate, and knew in her mind to just eat the healthier foods and stay away from the bad ones. (sounds easy right?)

I’m sitting at the Yom Tov table and I’m realizing that there was no healthy option!!!!! Every vegetable was turned into some sort of Kugel, farfel, muffin, or cake type of thing. And that wasn’t even the starch product for the meal! I sat there in disbelief. The healthy stuff was compromised and I ended up eating things that I really hadn’t wanted to.

We are trying to teach our children how to choose healthier foods and make healthier choices – but what are we doing when NEITHER is the healthier option?

Granted, I haven’t done the breakdown of the nutritional differences of said Chocolate Chip Cookie and Said Sugary Salad – but it’s my opinion that it is teaching a convoluted message.

So yes, I’ll confess in front of a jury that Duby the healthy weirdo bakes NON healthy desserts. If you’ve been following my blog you probably remember my experience of baking healthy. (You can click here if you want to read about that adventure) but I’ve realized it’s not for me. Maybe when I have kids, I’ll change my tune and embrace the coconut oil- raw honey-oatmeal cookies, but for now, I’m keeping my desserts as DESSERTS, and the healthy stuff HEALTHY.

An oxymoron? Perhaps. But at least I know that the nutritionalangel value of my veggies are not compromised and you can rely on the fact that my Cinnamon Buns aren’t compromised either Smile

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Physical Health

 

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Is Our Religion Getting in the Way of Our Health?

 

Matzah joke

Well my friends, it’s obvious that I’ve been neglecting my blog. I’ve been enjoying my other projects and you could say I use up all my writing energy elsewhere with not much left for my blog.

So I guess we’ll see what will be the fate of the 5 Pillars. Lord knows I don’t want to give up on the whole blogging thing, but at the same time, I often feel guilty when the posts aren’t frequent enough.

Let’s talk about something that has been weighing on my mind lately.

Really, this is more of a rant / vent about something I don’t have an answer for. This is something that has popped into my brain as I’m recuperating and getting back on schedule from our week long marathon called Pesach.

Is our religion getting in the way of our health?

Another way I would phrase this question is:

“Do our Holiday customs make us unhealthy?”

Ouch!

For those of my readers out there (and I know you’re out there!) who wouldn’t dare say a negative thing about our way of life, I’ll try to tread lightly, but I gotta tell you – this isn’t the first time I’ve thought of this concept. (please, spare me the hater comments)

Let me explain:

The holiday of Pesach comes along with many Laws and Customs. Many of which don’t exactly scream healthy. Let’s examine a few of them:

1) According to Hagaddah, we are instructed to drink 4 cups on wine in one evening. (and then do that again the next night)

2) We are instructed to eat Matzah:

a. 1 whole Matzah for the Matzah portion of the seder, (minimum you can eat ½)

b. ½ Matzah for Korech (the sandwich).

c. 1 whole Matzah for Afikoman

So according to the Haggadah – for those of us math whizzes – that’s 2.5 Matzahs that we HAVE to eat entirely. (oh and the first matzah needs to be eaten within a few minutes).

3) We have a full Yom Tov meal – usually 3 courses

4) Aside from the Seder, we are instructed to have a full meal for lunch after Shul, and then another full meal hours later for dinner. By full meal, I mean eat fish AND meat.

Shall I continue?

I am somewhat bothered by some of our traditions-turned-Halacha that have been solidified throughout our generations.

Allow me to continue.

Many of my friends, family and the wonderful world of the Imamother forum have similar complaints of digestion issues over Pesach. Many have constipation, others are running to the bathroom while others just feel fat, bloated with discomfort.

I gave this some thought and here’s what I have come up with.

It is WONDERFUL that our tradition is to do away with ALL processed foods on Pesach. It’s excellent that we don’t have chemicals and additives in our foods. Everything is homemade – from the juice we drink, to the seasonings – it really is excellent for our health.

However, (and this is a big however) – our diet over this holiday isn’t exactly one to be admired.

A) Meat, Matzah and Dairy products are not constipation friendly. They plug us up!

B) We have done away with many vegetables and fruits that help maintain healthy digestion. Foods like Broccoli, Spinach, Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, kale, or berries which are very high in fiber etc …. are not allowed because they cannot be peeled. So other than a salad, we are left with very heavy and starchy vegetables (or kugels which aren’t very light on the stomach either)

Obviously I wouldn’t (publicly) suggest going back on years of traditions as I know these are important, but I cant help but feel some of our “Laws” (and I put laws in quotations because eating only a peel-able vegetable is NOT a law) are not very good for our health. I have a hard time understanding why our infallible Torah would instruct us in ways that can G-d forbid cause us to be ill.

Luckily, Pesach is just one week long and it only comes a year. And now that it’s over, we have just enough time to get back to our healthy habits before its time to combat all that Cheesecake on Shavuos! Constipation-Leunig

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Physical Health

 

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My Personal Conflict With Homeopathy

 

Last week I blogged about my newfound interest in homeopathy and the class I am taking on the subject. It has been a fascinating journey so far and I really am enjoying all the new information. (I should probably mention that I’m about 2 weeks behind on my lectures and assignments but I don’t think you’ll tell on me, right?)

My main reason for studying homeopathy in the first place is twofold:

a) It’s a large division of Natural Healing that I knew absolutely nothing about.

Many people sort of lump it together as the same as the rest of natural, holistic methods – and this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Homeopathy and its methods are its own entities, with their own procedures and set of rules. If you ‘break’ them – it’s no longer considered homeopathy.

b) What can it do for me and my family?

I suppose anytime we learn about something that interests us, we ask ourselves this question. Is homeopathy something that I would consider using in the future (or present) when health issues arise? Can it help us in ways that other natural healing modalities can’t?

Those have been my two motives.

So far, I have come across one very large conflict.

Duby’s Bowl For Healing

I have always been a huge believer and proponent in creating a “bowl for healing.” What this means is, just like my blog – the 5 Pillars – it’s important to create not ONE but several avenues of healing.

– A physical healing. Nutrition is KEY … exercise, sleep, fresh air, clean water. Etc. We can do yoga and meditate all day, but if we’re eating Snickers for lunch and Jelly Bellies for supper – well, it aint gonna cut it.

– An emotional healing – my Doc tells me that EVERY illness has a mental component. (I suppose that’s hard to understand when it’s something simple such as an ear infection or strep throat…) but the fact remains, there can always be an emotional healing that accompanies a physical one.

– An Energetic Healing. I know I haven’t blogged about this topic at length but more and more we (as in alternative health minded people) are learning about Energy Medicine and how it plays a huge role in not only healing from illness but increasing in energy, vitality, moods, stamina etc. (who wouldn’t want that?) Energy healing can take many forms – such as Meridian tracing, Chakra clearing … things like Acupuncture, EFT, EMDR, Polarity… there are so many kinds, its difficult to list all!

The point in creating a ‘bowl’ for healing is so we as – one WHOLE body – which includes body AND mind AND spirit – can have a complete and entire healing.

The beauty of Homeopathy is that it prides itself on being THE ultimate healing modality that does this complete healing the best. Why?

Because Homeopathy teaches that with ONE single remedy – it has a combination and is a ‘recipe’ of your complete condition INCLUDING the mental, emotional and physical issues.

Why? Because Homeopathy – while a physical remedy, is considered an “energy medicine” that helps realign a person’s “Vital Force.” In doing so, this sets off a chain reaction – healing all the parts that are imbalanced – whether it’s a physical or mental imbalance.

Now, I MUST mention that MOST holistic therapies do this as well. My Doc would probably never speak to me again if I said his teachings on Naturopathy don’t include mental and emotional aspects of an illness – it CERTAINLY does!! In my first appointment with him, he drilled me (in that loving way of his) about my personal lifestyle and environment – and took that into great consideration when working with me.

However, as much as it’s strange to write this, based on my class and what I’ve learned, Homeopathy believes that they do this healing different – and BETTER than everybody else, ALMOST sounding like no other therapy is needed. (I’m not educated enough to argue this point, I’m merely relaying over the concepts I’ve been learning)

Who would have thought a school of healing could be so elitist? Smile

Getting back to My Personal Conflict:

It’s quite simple.

When taking a Homeopathic Remedy, they teach you that there are things you should stay away from, or try not to do – because it can interfere with the Remedies at work. Since it’s considered an ENERGY Medicine – they tell you to stay away from ENERGY medicines.

So, if you get acupuncture, or do something like EFT, Chakra therapy – then it might cause the remedy not to work.

Also, taking any kind of vitamins or herbal tincture can get in the way of a remedy working.

(have you figured out my conflict yet?)

I know that while on Allopathic medications –one needs to stay away from certain substances. (although quite frankly since I’ve never taken antibiotics, I can’t tell you what. But obviously there are substances that don’t mix with prescription drugs!)

Nevertheless, when it comes to holistic healing, I have a hard time with the concept of taking an “end all be all” one remedy – and having to stop all other things. Something about that doesn’t sit right with me. I understand why those rules are in place – I understand that it can interfere – but does that mean I have to get rid of my “bowl of healing?” Do I need to discard it and put all my eggs into one… plate?

The truth is I am a new student to Homeopathy and still in the beginning of the journey. And who knows, maybe it’s one of those things where I shouldn’t “knock it till I try it.”

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Emotional Health, Mental Health, Physical Health

 

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Homeopathy – What is it?

 

homeoapthyI’m sure some of you may have realized I haven’t blogged in almost a whole month. Yes, I’ve been a neglectful blogger, but I suppose my writing energies have been focused elsewhere; working on my writing classes and my children’s’ book. My ‘health’ energies have been focused on a very fascinating Intro to Homeopathy course and I suppose that between that, oh and regular life stuff like laundry, my blogging has become back burner. (how sad!)

When I realized how long it’s been since I’ve blogged, I decided to shelve my work in progress series on “rethinking health” – and instead, make things a little easier and blog about what I’m studying!!! (why didn’t I think of this sooner?)

So here goes.

Intro To Homeopathy.

I decided to take this class because it was offered by someone I knew – a homeopath who’s been practicing for over 30 years – and she actually no longer takes clients because she focuses all her time on teaching a plethora of Homeopathy classes. Also, I’ve been studying Naturopathy for about 2 years now (give or take) and very often the subject of homeopathy comes up amongst friends, fellow health nutters –and I never knew anything about it. Like many people out there in the big wide world, I lumped homeopathy along with other natural healing methods, assuming they were all pretty much the same type of thing.

WRONGO. (as the Grinch would say)

That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Homeopathy really is NOTHING like any other healing modality and I can tell you that this stuff is freakishly fascinating.

What is homeopathy?

In simple terms, it’s a natural form of healing that combines ALL aspects of health when prescribing a remedy. The homeopath will ALWAYS look at the mental/ emotional wellbeing (and symptoms) along with the physical symptoms of an issue.

So, for example. Suppose my sister calls me and tells me she has a terrible cold, winter bug type thing. As a student of Naturopathy and herbalism, I will tell my sister:

“go to take Echinacea, Astragalus, bump up Vitamin D, take hot baths, drink ginger tea, remove all wheat/sugar/dairy, and go rest etc..”

A Homeopath on the other hand will say (for example)

“What kind of cough is it? Is it dry, wet, barking type?”

“Are you feeling chilled? Are you hot, cold?”

“Do you feel like you want to be left alone, or do you specifically NOT want to be alone?”

“Are you feeling angry, emotional, anxious, etc..”

The basic principle of homeopathy is that what is good for one person, may not be good for another. Meaning, 2 people can both be sick with a similar illness but they are given 2 different remedies. (this is one of the reasons why it is very difficult to do scientific studies on the effectiveness of Homeopathy because no 2 remedies are the same!)

Why? Because each person comes with their own ‘junk’ in whatever form. Homeopathy teaches that true health means a complete homeostasis between mental, emotional and physical faculties.

For example. If someone is plagued with severe migraines – we can say they are not ‘physically free.’ However, if a person is physically free of ills, but has poor concentration, brain fog, and memory difficulties – are they mentally free? My teacher gave the example of a person who watches a ‘tear jerker’ movie. If they cry a bit during the movie, that’s a healthy reaction. But if they’re still crying a week later, that’s a sign of an emotional imbalance. We learn that there needs to be a complete balance of all three – and functioning properly. (of course Duby adds in the importance of Spiritual health as well.) A homeopath will take ALL of the issues into consideration when prescribing the one customized remedy for a person.

How did it start?

Not that anyone is interested in a major History lesson – I happened to think it was kind of cool how it all came about.

The dude who founded Homeopathy was Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (please don’t ask me how to pronounce his name, I have no idea) … he lived 1755- 1843 in Germany.

He was a medical doctor with his own practice. He was translating medical texts and was fascinated about a species of tree bark which was being used to treat malaria. He took some of this tree bark (talk about experimenting on one’s own body!) and found that it CAUSED SIMILAR symptoms to the malaria illness. Long story short he continued researching on the idea that that “Let Likes be Cured by Likes.” In other words, a remedy will be given with a substance that produces in a healthy person those same symptoms a patient experiences. But in a person who is sick, that substance will help cure them. (I told you it was freaky stuff!)

Of course there are others that came along after him and researched his findings more, and solidified his ideas etc… one such person who I found truly interesting was a man by the name of Constantine Hering… he began to study Homeopathy ONLY because he thought it was crazy and wanted to disprove its legitimacy !!!!! He’s now known as “the Father of American Homeopathy.”

Ok, history lesson is over.

I had No idea….

I found it surprising to learn that in the early 1900’s there were 22 homeopathic medical schools, 100 homeopathic hospitals, and 1,000 homeopathic pharmacies… why those numbers no longer exist today, is another topic Smile

Long story short, Homeopathy is nothing like I’ve ever studied (even though there are similarities in the sense that it wants to create a long lasting healing in a safe and gentle manner) and I’m finding it really fascinating.

I’m sure I’ll blog about this topic some more since my class runs for the next few months….

 

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Emotional Health, Mental Health, Physical Health

 

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Hey Ya’ll! Paula Deen and Her “shocking” Health Announcement

Hey ya’ll!!!

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that Paula Deen – famous for her heavy Southern cooking – has Type 2 Diabetes. She was diagnosed 3 years ago, and recently made it public, and she is now a spokesperson for a diabetes drug.

The blogosphere is filled with articles on Paula Deen’s cooking style and its role in her disease, so I’m not going to add to the pile with yet ANOTHER article.

What I would like to talk about is something Paula said regarding her grandmother. Here is the quote from the USA TODAY article:

“Type 2 diabetes is like “Russian roulette” when it comes to whom it’s going to strike, Deen says. “It’s about heredity. It’s about age, lifestyle, race. I’m the only one in my family who has it. My grandmother cooked and ate like I ate, and she didn’t have it.””

Bubby’s Homemade Cooking:

This got me thinking.

My bubby also ate like this. Ok, maybe Southern Fried Chicken wasn’t a staple in the Lower East Side back in the day, but I’ve read through enough of my Bubby’s recipes to see “FAT” as the number one ingredient. Fat, Butter, Cheese… I have recipes of cakes and breads and stews…. Quite frankly, I’ve never attempted most of these recipes because to make it “Duby Friendly” I’d have to practically change the entire recipe!

So why is it, I asked myself, that our grandparents were able to eat this way and they didn’t get diabetes?

My bubby of blessed memory lived well into her 80’s and was pretty healthy for almost her entire life. There was no heart disease, or diabetes or even Cancer … (thank G-d)

So why is it that people TODAY who are seemingly much healthier (and thinner) seem to contract all these diseases and chronic illnesses???

I’d like to open this discussion, and I really want to hear from YOU guys – my readers – why YOU think this is.

Here are a few reasons that I came up with…

1) Sedentary Lifestyle: TV, Computers,

Do I need to explain this one? It’s kind of obvious. Our sedentary lifestyle is a big factor in many of the “new” illnesses in today’s world.

Years ago, people did manual labor jobs. Whether working in factories, on farms, – people were moving and doing all day long and “breaking a sweat.” Today, of course these kinds of jobs still exist, but for the most part, our industries are more service and information based (technology, computer programming, online work etc.), and how much sweat are we really producing sitting at a desk on the computer?

Speaking of computers, of course, I don’t need to tell you about how computers have COMPLTELY taken over our lives. (Laptops, iPads, computer games) It’s one of those things that if abused can be a terrible thing, but yet it is hard to maintain a balance.

Long story short, back then maybe people ate “heavier” and “fattier” foods, but people MOVED!!!

2) More Driving, Less Walking

Back in the olden days (and not even so old!) people walked everywhere. Kids drove bikes, and adults walked. (at least that’s what they tell me Smile) Before I went away for high school I remember asking the principal if there was a bus to school. She told me that since everyone lived in the area, everyone walked to school. I believe I was a little frightened by this prospect, but what an incredible way to start the school day with a cool brisk walk to school!!!

3) Toxins / Pesticides

It’s not that food didn’t have pesticides back then, but take a look at how our farming industry has become so commercialized. The attitude of “big is better” and “more for cheaper”…we’re eating unnaturally colored and oversized vegetables, and they use many pesticides to produce vegetables that last longer and grow larger.

GMO. Enough said.

Now let’s talk about toxins in the actual air around us. All around us is toxins – from the shampoo and toothpaste we use to the chicken / meat we eat – from the chemicals to steroids and antibiotics …

Another interesting point is that back then we had more homegrown (made in the USA) food, while today many of our produce is imported. Unfortunately, other countries don’t necessarily have the same regulations and standards. (another reason for eating Locally!)

4) Food is overall less nutritious than it used to be

Because of all the pesticides and ways our food industry is allowed to cut corners, it’s understandable that even healthy food (such as vegetables) is less nutritious than it used to be.

Duby’s Note:

I would like to insert here a small caveat. While my Bubby and Zeidy didn’t have to worry about GMO’s like we do today, this doesn’t mean that in those days, things were all honkey dorey.

Just last week I was chatting with my aunt who was telling me how my Bubby Rivkah didn’t let her children eat certain foods because she knew they were suspect.

For example:

a) White Flour: Back then (we’re talking the 1950’s) people used White Flour without really understanding why it wasn’t healthy. People liked the look of white bread, so companies milled and then bleached the flour, thereby stripping the vitamins. (I’m sure you all paid attention to my last blog post Smile) My bubby understood this and in ALL her baking and cooking, she would add Wheat Germ to put back lost vitamins and minerals. (I remember my mother teaching me to add Wheat Germ into my meatball mixture)

b) My bubby never let her kids have Tuna Fish in their school lunches. The companies back then weren’t regulated like today, and a scandalous report found particles of rodents(!!) in the canned Tuna. (My aunt also told me that they found shards of glass in the cans as well!)

c) Never were they allowed to have dry cereal. Why? Because Bubby understood these weren’t a source of good nutrition. It turned out that dry cereal had as much food value as Styrofoam. Once this became common knowledge, General Mills and others began to ‘put back’ the vitamins into the foods.

Even back then, it was imperative to keep your eyes and ears open and pay attention to what’s going into our bodies.

5) Supersized portions

We are stretching our dollar and stretching our plates. Check out the image below from TheVisualMD.com for a startling comparison of how our portion sizes have grown over the years.

So yes, maybe my bubby made cheesecake all the time … but something tells me those slices were a LOT smaller than they are today Smile

clip_image001

6) Margarine vs. Butter

I’ll admit – many of my mother’s recipes call for Margarine – to make the recipes pareve. But NONE of my Bubby’s recipes call for Margarine. They all call for Butter or Fat. Isn’t that interesting? Now, I know that eating a stick of butter is unhealthy. (Thank you Kristen Wiig on Saturday Night Live for that incredible sketch!) However, there is something to be said about eating REAL vs. FAKE.


A friend of mine in Agoura Hills, California – is an incredible baker. She bakes all these heavenly goodies for her family…and I once asked her about worrying about weight, or health. She told me that yes, eating cake isn’t the healthiest thing in the world, but she knows what her kids are eating. There are NO preservatives and she’s choose which flours to use. While you shouldn’t eat an entire batch of cookies, at least she knew the products were “real” and “wholesome.”

(Duby’s Note: I agree with my friend’s opinion only to a certain extent. Sugar is sugar no matter how you look at it. Yes, it might be more “natural” than Aspartame {which may cause cancer} but sugar can be harmful in other ways.)

Long story short – margarine, while is wonderful to us Kosher bakers, it really is a terrible thing to put in our bodies.

7) More Medicines – More Illnesses

I don’t have any statistics to back me up on this one (and this is totally my opinion) but there is a REASON why it’s called “Bubby’s Homemade Remedies.” Our Bubbies all knew just the herb or tonic to whip up when we were sick, and they didn’t fear illnesses like we do today.

Walk into any school building, and you’ll find kids with every allergy under the sun:

Wheat Free

Gluten Free

Soy Free

Egg Free

Nut Free

Dairy Free

(am I missing any?)

Then we got seasonal allergies up the whazoo. As for us adults, there are an incredible amount of autoimmune disorders- and the numbers of these illnesses are increasing. Our bodies and immune systems are literally overwhelmed and while trying to survive it’s attacking itself causing all these problems.

We have a very efficient and impressive medical industry, yet, we seem to be getting sicker.

In conclusion, my Bubby certainly baked with Fat and Butter and made delicious kuchens and kichels and a whole bunch of “ich” type goodies. While I may try to emulate her recipes, as Paula Deen says that she bakes/eats just like her grandmother did, we need to remember that we live in a completely different world, and must live/cook/eat with the realities of the 21 century.

What do you think my dear readers?

Why do YOU think our grandparents were able to cook the way they did and yet we have more illnesses?

Or do you believe that our grandparents were just as unhealthy as we are today?

I would love to hear your opinions!

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Misc. Ramblings, Physical Health

 

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“Rethinking” Grains

Last week I began discussing rethinking what we already know about health. (or what we think we know.)

We discussed that nutrition is crucial for our long term health, and many consider it to be the building blocks and foundation to being healthy. Without a proper foundation, a “building” has no chance….

So today, I’m gonna jump right in:

Rethinking Grains:

Grans is a very hot topic. It’s one where everyone has their own opinion, experiences and preferences.

No matter which school of thought that we follow, we need to remember the most basic thing rule: Beware of White Flour:

clip_image001What is White Flour?

White flour products (such as “enriched” flours) are missing the two most nutritious and fiber-rich parts of the seed: the outside bran layer and the germ (embryo). The wheat is milled, which removes the bran and germ. This process gives the flour a longer shelf life.

These products should not be STAPLES in our diets. On OCCASION I bake yummy cookies and cakes for my friends and family, but as a general rule, white flour should not be a staple, used in sandwiches, pastas, dinners etc.. White flour has been STRIPPED of nutritional value and while “carb loading” might give us a quick boost of energy, the satiated feeling doesn’t last long and the negative effects last longer.

White flour can and WILL make us fat and sleepy. It causes anxiety, mood swings and depression and weakens our immune systems making our bodies more susceptible to illnesses. There is a very long list of why white flour is bad – so please when you have a moment, google it.

Ok, so white flour is bad. I think we all get that by now, right? So what’s the alternative?

How about Whole Grains?

“Whole grains (or foods made from them) contain ALL the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. This definition means that 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain.” (Definition of Whole Grains – WholeGrainsCouncil.org)

So let’s talk whole grain breads. Once again – it’s a HOT topic and it can be VERY confusing.

Breads – Check those Ingredients!!

If you want to make things super fun, let’s talk about the fact that many of the breads sold in supermarkets that claim are whole grain and super duper healthy, are not as healthy as they seem. This is why we must learn to understand to decode nutritional and ingredient labels.

The other night, I went to my local grocery store to do some investigative research on the subject. I went with the intention to compare the popular breads and study the labels. I then went home and researched this on the internet.

If it Looks Whole Grain, and Says Whole Grain, Is it Whole Grain?

The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Am I eating whole grain?” Just because we ate “brown” colored bread, doesn’t mean the bread is in fact whole grain. Many products tout they are a healthy source of whole grains, when in reality refined flour is the first ingredient. The FDA does not define what percentage of grain must be whole in order to use this claim, so be sure “whole grain” or “whole wheat flour” is listed as a primary ingredient.

My dear readers, I was so flipping confused I can’t even begin to express my frustration at how difficult it was to demystify the healthy breads amongst the supermarket shelves!!

Breads or Cereals may say “Whole Grain” on the label, but that doesn’t tell us how much of the flour contained within is really whole.

Points to Remember:

– White flour products should NOT be staples on our tables.

– Introduce sprouted bread products – Duby recommends: Ezekiel Bread, and Alvarado St. Bakery Sprouted Breads I am also a fan of The Baker Company. They have very few ingredients in their products (always an excellent sign!).

– Many people have difficulties digesting WHEAT and wheat products. There are many whole grain breads out there that are NOT made from wheat and therefore easier to digest and lower on the glycemic index. (Spelt is one of them – and I make a Spelt Challah with no sugar and it’s wonderful!)

– Its imperative to listen to our bodies when we eat grains. Have a little fun science experiment with yourself. If you “crave” another slice or don’t feel at all full after eating one or two slices, you might want to consider switching companies.

– Don’t rely on fiber numbers to find whole grains. Breads, especially "light" loaves, may have added processed fiber.

– The less ingredients the better. Even if a bread IS IN FACT whole grain, it defeats the purpose if it contains sugar, high fructose corn syrup and a whole host of preservatives.

Test your Knowledge: Which Bread is Healthier?

These two breads both look healthy and wonderful. Both boast “high in fiber,” “no High Fructose Corn Syrup” and have that healthy look to them. Both say Whole Grains, and look to be a great bread to grace your table!

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However, when we look at the label and ingredients, the bread on the left contains “100% whole Wheat flour,” while the one on the right, contains whole wheat flour AND regular white flour. This means that we as the consumer have no idea how much or how LITTLE whole grain it really has!

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Food for thought!

Editor’s Note: The breads pictured here are not necessarily Kosher and weren’t examined based on the fact that they are. They were merely used for investigative purposes.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Physical Health

 

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