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Well Spring has finally sprung and our gardens are all in full swing.  In our family we love to garden.  From tomatoes, flowers, cucumbers, herbs and everything in between.  In fact we have a rather large herb garden, even bigger than our veggie garden.  Some people think it is silly to “Waste” all that yard space, but I love the smells, the flavors and the amazing health benefits from the wide variety of herbs we have.

One of my all time favorite herbs that I use in nearly EVERY single meal is Parsley.

I know your thinking, “That green grassy garnish that use to be placed on every plate in every restaurant back in the 80’s?”  Yep that’s the one.   I can remember going out to dinner with my parents to The Ground Round and every time we would go I would get this big green piece of leafy “grass” on my plate, one time my dad said. “go ahead, eat it… I dare you”  So being the adventurous gal I have always been, I bit it.     I was surprised it didn’t have a ton of flavor.  Rather a fresh flavor, and yes almost grass like.  It wasn’t something we had in our garden growing up and it certainly wasn’t something we had on our dinner plates at home.   So to me it was that green leafy grass at The Ground Round.  Why in the world did it ever end up on my plate? I didn’t know, but I kinda enjoyed it.

As I grew older and took an interest in cooking and preparing meals I noticed that this herb was making it’s way back to the restaurant scene.   Only this time it was finely chopped and only in fancy fine dinning places.   So as I learned to cook and appreciate the fancy look of things, I purchased a container of dried parsley.  I added it to many things, not because it tasted like anything but it was “fancy”.006

As an adult I have come to realize I have a real passion for food and cooking.  I was instantly drawn to all the new cooking shows that were found on The Food Network.  Guess what I found them using, yes you guessed it…. Parsley.   Fresh, finely chopped parsley.  Guess what I started to add to all my dishes at home, yep again you guessed it fresh finely chopped parsley.

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I found that every time I purchased it, it would go bad before I could use it all.   Soon I decided to start growing my own.   It was a dangerous thing right at my finger tips.   I truly had no reason for liking it so much, other than the chefs all used it on TV.    One evening over dinner my husband  finally spoke up and said ” What is all this green stuff in my potatoes? “Why must you use so much?”    I didn’t want to sound silly and say, “Isn’t it fancy?”   So, I refrained and went to do some research for my case.

The case of  Husband vs The Use of  TOO Much Parsley…..

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I would have to say I was preparing a rather convincing case.  I found tons of information.

Parsley is actually a power house of an herb.

 

This is what I found ~

Parsley is highly nutritious and full of anti oxidants.

It also happens to be  the world’s most popular herb. ( I knew it – lol)

Parsley is high in Vitamin K,C & A.  It is also high in Iron & Folate.

Parsley has been known to~

Lower Cancer Risks

Freshen Bad Breath ( that was why it was used as a plate garnish )

Enhance Immune Systems & Promote Optimal Health

It is a known Natural Anti Inflammatory & Can prevent inflammation such as inflammation associated with arthritis

It is Heart Healthy

Has been used to treat urinary tract infections and many other bacterial issues as it has antibacterial properties.

So can you guess who won that case?  All I can say is:  We still grow our own parsley and not only is it still on all of our dishes as a garnish I now add it to smoothies, salads, marinades as much more…..  It truly is a power house herb!

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NO ….. It is a rather simple word, yet so hard to say.  Why is that? Is it because we see” No” as a negative response?  Is it because we want to please everyone?  I think we often say yes because we fear having to supply a reason, excuse or explanation for saying no.  Guess what, you can say” no” and you don’t have to explain yourself.

I have been guilty of being a” YES Person” nearly all my life.   That is, till I realized there  is positivity in saying NO!035

 

Not too long ago just like so many other parents I found myself in a “YES Rut”.   I said YES to EVERY  bake sale, fundraiser, book fair, class trip, play date, coffee date, book club, moms club , you name it – I signed us up for it.

 

I think that as a parent we think that there is power in busyness.  I think we respect those that seem to be “doing it all”.   I know when I finally sat back and thought about my busyness I realized I was doing a disservice to myself and my family.  In fact, I was NOT pleasing myself at all.   I was too busy to enjoy much of anything.  By not having the guts to say no I was overextending myself.   I caused myself  far too much stress and anxiety.  Stress is toxic and can lead to a slue of bad side effects.  Which for me, it did.  It took working with a Health Coach for me to see the connection.

 

Not only was I stressed and overextended, but I wasn’t saying YES to myself.    I was putting my family, my health, my life and my dreams on the back burner.  I was just too busy saying yes to everything and everyone else.    When I finally took that first step and said no, It did feel weird, but it also felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.   I remember sitting at the ball field and actually watching and enjoying my own children as oppose to babysitting the entire team.   I remember almost feeling guilty.    I am telling you, DON’T feel guilty saying no!  DON’T feel guilty enjoying your life!  DON’T feel guilty for not saying yes!    I now have time to enjoy my kids – after all, they only stay kids for so long.   I can go back and be a volunteer” yes junkie” again, but I will never get to be their mom while they’re little again.

 

Embrace the freedom you have to say no!  You will be surprised at all the positives that result!

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By Eileen M Kenison

Just recently sauerkraut and other fermented foods seem to be all the hype in the clean eating world. But why? Remember when I said I cured myself with my organic diet? Remember how I was a skeptic at first? Well, I totally understand if you are too. When it came to fermented foods, not only was I a skeptic, I  also thought…. YUCK!  Over time I have grown to truly enjoy many fermented foods and I figured out what the hype is all about…….

I have learned that our gut holds the key to our health. I have also learned that most disease originates in our gut. Once you heal your gut and make your digestive system work properly, disease symptoms will resolve on their own.

You may be thinking the same thing I was thinking when I first heard that I needed to heal my gut. “I don’t have any gut or stomach issues.” And this may seem true to you. However, after doing my research, I have found that many diseases originate in the gut. For example, if you suffer from any of the following diseases you may want to start treatment with your gut first before resorting to medication: MS, Lupus, Kidney Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Thyroid Disease, Type 1 Diabetes, Depression, ADHD, ADD, OCD, Food Allergies, Gout, Asthma, IBS, Allergies, Yeast Infections, Eczema……..  I found this list to be endless.

This is where the fermented foods come into play. First, “What are fermented foods?” You may have heard of sauerkraut and kimchee.   These are just two examples of fermented foods.   Fermented foods are foods that have been  through a process of lacto fermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid.  This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, vitamins, acids and probiotics.

People all over the world have been fermenting foods since ancient times. However fermented foods have begun to disappear from  American dinner plates. We are finding that in today’s world of antibiotics, chlorinated water and antibacterial soaps we are failing to replenish the good bacteria in our bodies. Therefore we are not effectively getting the much needed nutrients from our foods.

Fermented foods restore the proper balance of bacteria in our gut. Fermented foods are rich in enzymes. Our bodies need enzymes to digest, absorb and utilize the nutrients in our food. You can eat a great diet full of nutrients, but unless you actually absorb them, it’s useless. When you improve digestion, you improve absorption.

Now of course you’re ready to go shopping for some good fermented foods. Be sure to shop for raw foods that are kept in the cold food section of your super market. Start small. Try adding one or two servings a day. Some of my favorite fermented foods are Kombucha, Kefir, Kimchee, Sauerkraut & Miso.

Many of the local super markets have many varieties available. When I first started adding these foods to my daily diet I was afraid, as I imagine you are too.   This is where my motto ” See food differently” came from. Instead of sitting down to a bowl of sauerkraut I would eat a serving at the same time I took my daily vitamins. I didn’t see it as “food”  I saw it as something I needed to do to feel better. Kombucha (which is now one of my favorite beverages to enjoy) was something I had a hard time choking down. I would fill a shot glass a day and force myself to choke it down before my morning tea. Many of these foods have very strong bold flavors which you too will learn to enjoy! In the mean time, see it differently.  We have all taken prescriptions for our health that tasted awful.  We did it because it was going to make us better.  Well, this too will make you better!  You will feel better, brighter, and lighter as  your symptoms will resolve.

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             Finding the Right Natural Deodorant ~

by Eileen M Kenison

 

After I went organic in my diet, I then chose to try to eliminate other toxins in my daily life. First starting with my deodorant.  Remember how I thought an organic diet was just a trend.  If so, you know how wrong I was.  I had also thought that the hype around deodorant and it’s harmful chemicals was just a trend, people have been using deodorants for ages. Right??

As a person who has always been attracted to research and knowledge I wanted to find out what was in my daily deodorant and if I should be avoiding  it.  What I found was eye opening.

“Deodorant”  or what we all think of as deodorant is actually two products in one.  For the most part they all contain an antiperspirant and a deodorant.   So, what does that mean? Well, antiperspirant is exactly what is sounds like.  It prevents our body from perspiring.  And then the deodorant is just like a perfume, it is added to make us smell good.

Most of the deodorants that I used in my research contained an antiperspirant ingredient referred to as AZG – also commonly referred to as Aluminum.   AZG  acts as an antiperspirant as it does not allow our armpits to sweat.  It swells our pores to the point that they close off, almost creating a plug effect.  This plug does not allow the toxins to escape our bodies. Basically, AZG is considered to be a neurotoxin  This is harmful enough, but where do the toxins go?   These trapped toxins have been found to accumulate in or near the lymph nodes.  We all know how dangerous this can be.    Recent studies show that prolonged use of AZG has been linked to Cancer, Liver Disease and Alzheimer’s.

Below is a list of AZG ingredients that you should avoid:

  • Aluminum Chloride
  • Aluminum Chlorohydrate
  • Aluminum Chlorohydrex Polyethylene Glycol Complex
  • Aluminum Chlorohydrex Propylene Glycol Complex
  • Aluminum Dichlorohydrate
  • Aluminum Dichlorohydrex Polyethylene Glycol Complex
  • Aluminum Dichlorohydrex Propylene Glycol Complex
  • Aluminum Sesquichlorohydrate
  • Aluminum Sesquichlorohydrex Polyethlene Glycol Complex
  • Aluminum Sesquichlorohydrex Propylene Glycol Complex
  • Aluminum Sulfate Buffered
  • Aluminum Zirconium Octachlorohydrate
  • Aluminum Zirconium Octachlorohydrex Glycine Complex
  • Aluminum Zirconium Pentachlorohydrate
  • Aluminum Zirconium Pentachlorohydrex Glycine Complex
  • Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrate
  • Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine Complex
  • Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorhydrate
  • Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex Glycine Complex

When it comes to my organic diet, I have a saying.  “Count Chemicals not Calories”  So why should my motto be any different when it comes to what I apply to my skin.  When it comes to all natural deodorant – “Less is More!”  My current deodorant has one single ingredient.

There are plenty of deodorants on the market.  When shopping for your all natural deodorant look for products that kill odor causing bacteria, and neutralize the smell of sweat rather than stopping it.  After all , sweat is a necessary part of our bodies natural cooling and toxin releasing system.  Look for a product that has natural antibiotic properties such as tea tree oil, witch hazel, baking soda, sage, mineral salts or lemon peel.

 

 

By Eileen M Kenison

Meal Time Isn’t What It Once Was –

We are busier now than ever before.  If you’re like me, most of your evenings are spent driving one kid here and another kid there.  Evenings can be hectic!  Are you forced to eat on the go, often not sitting down together as a family?  It is my belief that because of this hectic routine our families are missing out on valuable time together.   There is something to be said about a quality home cooked meal while sharing the events of your day.  I promise, if you follow my simple 3 step process you can save the dinner table and enjoy quality family time.

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Step #1 Check Your Inventory & Create a Menu –

Pick one day a week that is your planning day.

This is a great site to get free templates for menu planning.

Things to consider when planning – or making your menu for the week

  • What items do you have?
  • What days are you the busiest?
  • Can you plan to cook once and eat for several days? -I often will cook a main protein in the beginning of the week. For example I will roast extra chicken on Monday and use it in the next two days of my cooking.

There are times I know I just don’t have the time to plan ahead that is when I rely on Once a Month Meals.

Step #2  KeepingThings Stocked Up –

004If you have a real well stocked pantry you will save a ton of time & you won’t need to run to the market as often.  A huge time saver is purchasing in bulk.  I shop for my bulk items with Wholeshare.

Every kitchen cook will have a different list of what they need in their stocked kitchen.  Here is a list of items I try to always have on hand.

  • Oils – Olive, Grape Seed, Coconut, Avocado, Sesame
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Spices – Garlic, Parsley, Oregano, Chives, Turmeric, Coriander, Cumin,
  • Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper
  • White & Red Wine
  • Stock –Homemade or store bought. Chicken, Beef, Vegetable
  • Apple Cider Vinegar, Rice Wine Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar
  • Citrus – Fresh or frozen juices
  • Flours – Coconut, Almond, Wheat, Spelt
  • Bread Crumbs – Homemade or store bought
  • Beans, Legumes, Lentils – Dried or canned
  • Grains, Quinoa, Faro, Millet
  • Rice – Jasmine, Brown, Wild
  • Pasta – Fresh or dried, Quinoa Pasta, Rice Pasta
  • Seeds, Nuts, Dried Fruits
  • Canned or frozen vegetables

If I have these few staples on hand I will only need to purchase a protein, fresh vegetables and herbs to make a delicious meal in no time.

Step #3 Prep –

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Pick one day a week that you do your meal prep work.   This is often best to do the day you purchase your fresh herbs and vegetables.

  • Chop, slice & dice the vegetables you will be using for the week ahead. Most items can be stored nicely in either mason jars or Ziploc bags with a paper towel
  • Make all your dressings & marinades – Store them in mason jars
  • Prepare your meats for the week. Trim, Season, Chop – Do not add any salt, or citrus as it will begin to cook
  • Don’t store your meats with your vegetables – Be sure to store them separate
  • Par boil vegetables – For example potatoes or carrots that have a long cook time

All it takes is simple planning ahead and you too can enjoy dinner again!

**A 2012 study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that people who cooked at home at least five times a week were 47% more likely to live 10 years longer than the people who relied more on processed foods.”**

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