Monday, June 30, 2014

rhubarb lemonade + an evolving mullies = no guts no glory

Part 1

I have this unique ability to not hear anything going on around me when I type or read and when my oldest child Mac told me I was getting "too much screen time", well, I realized something's gotta give.  This lovely little blog was the beginning.  I started it after my sister came in town on Labor Day 2012; Katie gave me a frame with fabric embroidered inside, "to the mullies" giving homage to the make believe land we used to "swing" to after we jumped off our swing set.  She and her family are here now vacationing with us for a lovely looooong week.  Writing here helped get me through our life altering family food change... boy have I learned a lot.  Perhaps I will post again after the Summer, perhaps I will not.  In the meantime, you can find me with my family and friends swinging to the mullies on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and on YouTube.  Most especially, keep up with all of us in the Lake County Food Revolution on Facebook and Twitter cuz food is forever.

I'm having way too much fun smashing it with other ambassadors and foodie friends alike. Turns out I super love making videos cooking with my kids:)  I taught myself how to splice footage and edit videos together on my iphone and taking a break from the blog will give me a chance to see how much trouble we can get into showing how this American FoodRev family is swinging her bat.  Thumbs up, sideways or down... Single, double, triple or a home run... Let's cook tried and true recipes from all over the nation and globe together...  I hope you too will gather a little team and try cooking along with me - that way we won't feel so alone if our busy lives and kids give us the finger to sit the bench.  
The game goes by and I'm only sitting to catch my breath.

Here's our latest, just in time for your 4th of July picnics and barbecues!!!

An Ambassador Smash - Rhubarb Lemonade

Recipe sent with love from Food Rev Haarlem, Netherlands by Food Rev Ambassador Terri Salminen. She and I are having a blast communicating over the ocean and getting to know each other "on the line".  We have become fast friends and I feel so lucky to be connected with her!  I cannot wait to see what we smash up next:)  I decided to post her recipe as she wrote it to me, as it's so terribly simple and delicious and I want her voice to be here with me.  I had enough to make three last cocktails yesterday for the arrival of my sis and bro-in-law.  I added some vodka, cut strawberries and stirred it up in some gorgeous copper mugs.  Oh I'll be making this one again and again:)

Hello there Lindsey -- This is what I did: cut three large stalks of rhubarb into chunks and put them in a sauce pan, just covering them with water (about 1 liter). Squeeze the juice of one lemon, and drop the lemons in the pan with a whole vanilla pod. Bring the ingredients to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Let the rhubarb cook 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and strain the rhubarb through a sieve. Return the juices and the vanilla pod into the pan, removing the cut lemons. Now -- this is the fun part. Simmer the rhubarb juice to half its original quantity (about 20 minutes) on low heat. When cooked down and turning dark pink, add two to three tablespoons of honey -- sweetening it to taste. Let the rhubarb juice cool -- keeping the vanilla pod in for flavor. It's wonderfully tart and delicious -- especially with a splash of San Pellegrino mineral water, some cut strawberries and fresh mint leaves. xxxxxxTerri

Part 2

So with that, here's my parting thoughts on this glorious 4th of July week.  I'm thinking about my beloved America, about becoming a Food Patriot and it's such perfect timing.

I started this blog with a question:  Will this family food change help improve Abbie's symptoms and avoid an ADHD diagnosis with subsequent medication?  I'm signing off this Summer with my theory on why our family food change helped Abbie shed the ADHD and sensory processing symptoms. Was it the reduction in refined sugar?  The elimination of artificial color and preservatives?  The removal of gluten?  Or was it something else that connected these elements?  Today I'm going to talk about GUTS and connect some dots.

Here we go...

Antibiotics (ABX)
The effects of ABX on our gut bacteria are known by most of us.  Use them too often and they kill off the good AND bad guys in our guts; Think Vietnam agent orange carpet bombing.  Throughout our lives (starting in the womb), we get numerous, sometimes unnecessary (sometimes life saving) doses of ABX.  In addition, our factory farmed animal meat is loaded with it.  ABX make animals big and fat fast and they help animals survive the unnatural conditions of crowded factory farm barns.  How much ABX is left in the meat when we eat it?  More than we think.

Filtering the GMO debate
GMOs have really come into the limelight over the past two years.  I certainly had no idea about them when I started looking into our food.  One must separate genetically engineered organisms (GEOs) and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) first so that we can talk about our guts.  Think of what humans do in GEO's as forced plant sex... we've been doing it by hand in fields and in laboratories for centuries.  On the other hand, GMO's are created when scientists splice a class of herbicides such as glyphosate (the active ingredient in the popular weed killer "Roundup") with the plant seed's own DNA so that every cell of the plant gives off the neurotoxin.  These crops are classified as systemic neoniconitoids (SN-GMOs) and were approved in the glorious 1980's.  Because they are cheap, these crops overwhelm the ingredient lists of our processed food and new research is showing these crops have put the world food supply at risk.  But how could they have been approved in the first place?!  Here's what happened: These herbicides cause a fatal neurological pathway disruption (the shikimate pathway) in plant and bacteria cells which kills them.  This pathway does not even exist in our human cells so it was deemed safe back in the 80's because industry scientists and the FDA were not paying attention to the bacteria in our guts.  Like the tobacco industry, SN-GMO safety has been determined by its own GMO seed industry research, not by independent research = big red flag.  Also, their testing trial length is 90 days = not an appropriate length for human safety standards.

Are you still with me?:)

Enter in the science of Microbiology and the Human Microbiome Project.
Since the 1980s, we have learned much about the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies.  To this day, we have only scraped the surface on the association between our gut bacteria in both healthy and diseased individuals.  Here's the nitty gritty (and read more in this book): Our gut bacteria outnumber our human cells 10-1 in our digestive track.  The loss or weakening of our gut bacteria lining in our intestines = Dysbiosis or "leaky gut syndrome".  Food proteins can then sneak into the blood and these foreign proteins stimulate an immune response in our body = food sensitivities & allergies.  In addition to digestion, we are learning that gut bacteria handles mood regulation, neurotransmitter production (the ADHD brain?) and immune function.  The gut-brain relationship is a glorious new scientific frontier.  Bottom line: Bacteria = the building blocks of earthly life.  Bees, farm animals and humans all have gut bacteria and these little buggers keep us alive.

Connecting Roundup,  SN-GMOs and ABX
Common non-SN-GMO crops such as wheat and sugar are doused with Roundup to kill the crop and hasten the harvest.  Remember that Oregon Farmer who discovered illegal SN-GMO wheat in his fields a few years back? (Monsanto had planted and tested SN-GMO wheat in OR, but alas it was never approved by the FDA).  Imagine the farmer's shock when he sprayed his crop with Roundup and the wheat didn't die... So, not only do we have Roundup and other harmful herbicides INSIDE the DNA of our food protein, but we also have it sprayed all over the OUTSIDE of super common conventional food crops + we may not be able to STOP this crap from spreading in the wild. Yum.  The combination of toxic herbicide load, SN-GMO foreign food proteins and ABX overuse is altering and wiping out our gut bacteria which is leading to a wide range of unintended physical and mental health issues, unique to each person's own DNA.

Our food change worked.  Eating and cooking with real food (and choosing cleaner, organically processed food) helped repair Abbie's guts... all of our guts.   We will continue to avoid fake foods - artificial color and preservatives, SN-GMOs and heavily herbicide ridden foods like the dirty dozen, wheat and refined sugar.  Abbie has food sensitivities to these foods which was causing her symptoms.  We do cheat and symptoms come back, though never as severe.  Turns out we all feel better when we eat clean, and we're certainly slimmer (Me, Chris and my parents have lost a grand total of 75+ pounds with no "dieting").  It's the key to our continued, imperfect success and it's the common thread connecting all of the amazing health success stories I read about every day.  Each of our food maps look different and I'm hoping to give my Abbie, Mac and Tommy a foodie pen so they can write without me someday.  

So where do we go from here?

Spread the word birds: Russia just completely banned GMOs.  And Europe has always either labeled them or banned them (Europe also puts labels on food with artificial color explaining it causes hyperactivity in children).  Americans are unknowingly stuffing our faces with SN-GMOs & fake food because we have no labeling laws and we innocently trust our pisspoor FDA regulated food industry standards.  Read about how the famous Seralini Study has been republished after three rounds of rigorous scientific peer review (after being retracted by an editor who was a former Monsanto employee).  I hope we continue to reach out and hold the hands with the rest of the gathering world on GMOs and labeling laws.  You know what they say, "open hands are hard to hold on to anyway"...  I super hate the ending of Titanic.

I hope you enjoyed and were able to follow my somewhat simple, geeky synopsis.  We have a light on the path that is much brighter than when I started two years ago.  I'm so glad I didn't wait to try cleaning up our food and I'm here to cheer you on.  

Go balls out for real food with me.

Don't let the torch go out.  Find your inner nerd.  Read and google about how to achieve strong, stellar gut... 

Find your inner athlete and start practicing in the kitchen.  Don't give up on your meal planning and bring your kids along on some fun cooking runs...  

Become a Food Patriot and start changing the marketplace with every purchase towards food companies you can trust.  YOU make a difference no matter how small a change you are making...  

Join our Food Revolution and help Jamie Oliver, me and the other 1000+ global Food Ambassadors get compulsory food education back into our schools... 

Come on America, let's have a big Food Day together and make our mark on the world as the generation who turned this mother ship around.

No guts no glory.  

Happy Happy Birthday America,



I hope you enjoy this lovely Summer song;)  

"Should this be the last thing I see? 
I want you to know it's enough for me.  
Cause all that you are is all that I'll ever need... 
LumiƩre darlin over me. in love"

to the mullies... 

i'll be seeing you and your grass stains.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

mango pops

make me: dairy free mango pops

2 organic mangos + 1 can whole coconut milk + the 5 strawberries left in the fridge + 1/2 c of frozen raspberries forgotten in the freezer + a few swirls of coconut nectar (maple syrup or honey will do too!)

blend it until smooth and creamy.

fill your fun pop molds and freeze.

happy breakfast bonus this morning!  the kids give them super high and wide thumbs UP.  



blue and green pops = ikea
rocket pops = pier one
posicle bags = thank you christina!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

a food patriots student showcase

i joined jennifer and jeff spitz at chicago's amudsen high school to experience a food patriots student showcase event.  weeks ago, the high school screened food patriots.  biology students then chose from a multitude of options to fulfill a "food health service project" (if you are a teacher, insert your class here:  sciences, consumer economics, english, reading, math, technology... it's a core curriculum's dream).  i had the pleasure of walking around, listening and speaking to the 200+ biology students who presented their short film documentaries, photo displays, poems, rap songs, skits, powerpoint presentations, research and countless science projects eclipsing around what they took away from the food patriots film screening.  

i pinched myself a few times.  "this is actually possible"... "this is actually happening" ...

i was blown away.  i even had tears in my eyes a couple of times as these kids weren't just teaching each other, (students poured in each class period to talk to the biology students and "vote" on the most impactful projects in a variety of categories) they taught me.  being in the gym, experiencing this from both a food ambassador and a coach's perspective, it's hard not to see the food education parallel with athletic training.  you proudly (sometimes painfully) master one aspect and you're off to another... and another and another until it's "way more than just a 10% change".  the connectivity in and outside of the school was electric.  each student had something personal to share on how their 10% change was growing bigger every week.  talk about a fun way to food ed swap and get kids teaching kids!

i am a dreamer.  i like to be around dreamers like jennifer and jeff.  i have so much hope for the lake county food revolution and this infectious food patriot thang.  time and time again, this film is proving to cross political, socioeconomic, ethnic and racial boundaries.  people of all ages and sorts are leaving the food matrix inspired to gather and sit at the same table.  food patriots are up for the challenge of improving america's food.

with our 3rd successful food revolution day in the books, i'm looking forward to the next:  making more cooking videos with my kids, working alongside the food revolution & food patriots to bring food education into every lake county school, community and workplace we can!

it's gonna be a great summer:)