WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity- and Mito too?

Definition: (from the MCS America site)

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is “a diagnostic label for people who suffer multi-system illnesses as a result of contact with, or proximity to, a variety of airborne agents and other substances." (EPA)

General Information

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) was identified in a 1989 multidisciplinary survey of 89 clinicians and researchers, and modified in 1999. Top consensus criteria (Multiple chemical sensitivity: a 1999 consensus, 1999) for MCS define the condition by these criteria:

A chronic condition.
Symptoms recur reproducibly.
Symptoms recur in response to low levels of chemical exposure.
Symptoms occur when exposed to multiple unrelated chemicals.
Symptoms improve or resolve when trigger chemicals are removed.
Multiple organ systems are affected.

Toxic substances that people with MCS become disabled by include any quantity of exposures to pesticides, secondhand smoke, alcohol, fresh paint, scented products and perfumes, candles, fragrances, food preservatives, flavor enhancers, aerosols, tap water, cosmetics, personal care products, new carpets, petroleum products, formaldehyde, outdoor pollutants, newspaper ink, cleaning compounds, printing and office products, and other synthetically derived chemicals. Some also become ill from natural products that are highly concentrated such as natural orange cleaners due to high volatile organic compound and pesticide concentration. Symptoms can range from minor annoyances (headache, runny nose) to life-threatening reactions (seizures, anaphalaxis).

Older article, but found the mutations of interest- full article can be found via this LINK

Case-control study of genotypes in multiple
chemical sensitivity: CYP2D6, NAT1, NAT2,

Gail McKeown-Eyssen,
Cornelia Baines,
David EC Cole,
Nicole Riley,
Rachel F Tyndale,
Lynn Marshall
and Vartouhi Jazmaji
Accepted 10 May 2004
Background Impaired metabolism of toxic chemicals is a postulated mechanism underlying
multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Because genetic variation alters the rate of
chemical metabolism, this study was designed to determine if MCS cases differed
from controls for genetic polymorphisms in drug-metabolizing enzymes.
Methods Female Caucasian participants (203 cases and 162 controls) were drawn from a
larger case-control study based on a reproducible and validated case definition.
Common polymorphisms for CYP2D6, NAT1, NAT2, PON1, and PON2 were
Results Comparing cases and controls, significant differences were found in genotype
distributions for CYP2D6 (P = 0.02) and NAT2 (P = 0.03). Compared with the
referent homozygous inactive (CYP2D6) or slow (NAT2) metabolizers, the odds
for being CYP2D6 homozygous active (OR = 3.36, P = 0.01) and NAT2 rapid
(OR = 4.14, P = 0.01) were significantly higher in cases than controls. The odds
for being heterozygous for PON1-55 (OR = 2.05, P = 0.04) and PON1-192 (OR =
1.57, P = 0.04) were also significantly higher in cases.
Conclusions A genetic predisposition for MCS may involve altered biotransformation of
environmental chemicals. The CYP2D6 enzyme activates and inactivates toxins;
the NAT2 enzyme bioactivates arylamines to protein-binding metabolites. A
gene–gene interaction between CYP2D6 and NAT2 suggested that rapid
metabolism for both enzymes may confer substantially elevated risk (OR = 18.7,
P = 0.002). Our finding parallels others’ observation of a link between PON1
heterozygosity and neurological symptoms in Gulf War syndrome. This first
demonstration of genetic variation in drug-metabolizing enzymes in association
with MCS requires replication. However, it suggests new research directions on
genetically variable toxin pathways that might be important in MCS.
Keywords Multiple chemical sensitivity, environmental intolerance, environmental
hypersensitivity, unexplained symptoms, genotype.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Project Elimination- SUCCESS!

Last night, Abby was able to stay up and watch movies with us for a few hours and clearly her face was remarkably better! Her energy was better, the rash was better, and the OCD and anxiety were remarkably better! She was enjoying being up and around- her face though tired, looked significantly more like "my Abby".

This morning I am THRILLED! By eliminating the Miralax(PEG allergy?) and Corn(and maybe reducing her exposure to high histamine foods) we have rolled the clock back to this past October...

I cannot express my absolute joy to see my "Happy Abby" back!

Still some residual OCD but she said NOTHING compared to just 3 days ago!

Tummy is hungry and not hurting.

Clearly, she is going to tire quickly today, but to be expected.

Bowels are working on their own.

The question is, how long before another flare? What will trigger her next? Today though, I am just going to enjoy being with my kid again- I am going to embrace the joy all day today that leaps into my heart when she is smiling, chatting and wandering around with a bit of energy-and best of all a manageable pain level.. For today, I truly believe in miracles.

I may not always win against this disease(s)but today, the Fixer won! Abby won.

I cannot rewire Abby and make her normal, but I am more determined then ever to figure out exactly "how" she is wired, and what we need to do to keep her as functional as possible.

When the next flare happens;tomorrow,next week, maybe tonight, we will have today to look back on and to keep us on track and fighting.

Shirataki Noodle Pizza Bites! 12 calories in each crust!

My husband doesn't digest starches well, One of the foods that we miss is pizza, or even just fun little snacks on a friday night if we watch movies.( not a food for Abby, but think I can tweak it to met her needs, but since she has always had allergies, she doesn't long for pizza the way my hubby does!)( tomatoes are high histamine, but we used fresh basil leaf instead of the normal spinach I would usually grab now if I can just find a substitute for tomato and she can eat it! LOL.)

I of course am concerned about calories right now as well. As you can imagine Pizza doesn't fit in our diet at all!

So I decided to try to make a "pizza" crust that would make a a yummy pizza bite that we could eat!

We left the topping separate so each person could top with what they pleased, and if you are careful, this can be super low calorie!

My hubby did top his with cheese, I left mine without :-)

Recipe for crust- 12 calories a crust!
4 tablespoons of egg white(32 calories)
2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese(40 calories)
1 bag shirataki
dash of salt
1 teaspoon(heaping) italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon "dry" minced onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1.2 teaspoon baking powder

6 generous sized(I tried to make a bit bigger then a "bagel" bite which are 180 calories for 4) mini pizza bites

follow the directions from my 10 calorie chocolate noodle cookies to prepare the noodles and puree them.

Add the spices and parmesan cheese and mix well in food processor- your dough will look pretty thick and "crumbly"

I did throw these in the fridge for about 30 minutes to allow the "dry spices" to absorb some moisture.

This dough did stick together but I was a little worried it would not. I baked them for 20-30 minutes, I was trying to get these to be more "biscuit/cracker then "moist cookie!". With the extra egg while and parmesan they did get firm enough to be a good vessel for toppings.

We made homemade pizza sauce(organic tomato sauce,low salt,dry Italian seasoning,garlic salt,cayenne pepper)and topped with fresh basil leaf,fresh mushroom slice, fresh slice of cherry tomato,diced applegate ham slices(no nitrate,low calorie)- my hubby decided he "had" to have cheese on his! I wonder though if I bought low calorie mozzarella cheese, or feta if he would be okay with it, it would reduce the calories for him.

After we added our toppings, I threw them back in to bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 375- and ready to eat!

So if you go without the cheese or use a low calorie cheese, 4 of my pizza bites will run you around 50-75 calories and possibly less vs bagel bites which are going to run you 180.

My husband who is truly a guy who LOVES frozen pizza bites said that he still would want the pizza bites over my creation if he could eat them, but after not being able to eat "carbs"(even tomatoes are a treat for him!) for months and months- he said he would GLADLY eat these a couple times a week(though tomatoes will limit his consumption)- said he "felt" like he was eating a carb which made the different texture well worth it!

To get an idea of 50 calories I took this picture with gummy vitamins- 2 fiber gummies run 15 calories. To take D, B, fiber, and multiple it is 45 calories!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Miralax and the Rash..

A few days without the Miralax- and VAST improvement. The pesky rash that has been spreading all over her was reduced by 50 percent in just a couple days. Her face looks "better". She is still at a low point but had enough spoons yesterday to shower and let me brush out her hair and deep condition it- Tons of sleep..

Hoping that maybe tomorrow I can at least convince her to use some spoons to get out of the house to hit a small bookstore- or some other quick outing. Poor baby has been struggling to make it out of her room this week let a lone out of the house. Sometimes though, just getting out of the house despite the energy it takes really helps alleviate some stress.

I am hoping in a few days she will be back to "her" normal. I am slightly hopeful as well that all of these "new" issues we thought were purely corn(removing corn had helped a little, but not enough) were actually do to the Miralax..not that we will put Corn back into the diet as we have seen improvement in her GI without it, but maybe I won't have to read the labels on the toilet paper too!(corn in her TP- go figure!). The chemical miralax is made out of(PEG allergy) is in many soaps and cosmetics and lotions. However, because of all her other allergies we have found quite a few "alternate" soaps already.

Just another stage in the journey.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Vaccine History -

I already posted today, but as I was getting ready to finish my morning reading, an Email from The Thinking Moms' Revolution popped up.

Now I admit, I am a devoted reader of this blog- and for good reason- the posts are based on facts that help Mom's make decisions for their children.

For the record, I vaccinated my girls(Now 19 and 17). For the record, knowing what I know today, if I could do it all over, I would not vaccinate. I admit, I don't think the vaccines we gave the girls caused the Mito, but I wonder if it made it worse- I also wonder how my daughters who are now 3rd generation vaccine recipients are paying the price for my generation and parents generation herd immunity.

For anyone wanting to understand why it is so many are now questioning the safety of vaccines(That is if somehow you don't believe thousands and thousands of parents who have witnessed a terrifying transformation of their child within hours to days after a vaccine) I recommend reading this:

Unavoidably Unsafe
Posted on April 27, 2012 by SavageTMR
So in my other life (non-autism life) I work in the world of oil spills. I don’t get to do anything glamorous like scrub oil off of swans or pull up alongside oil tankers in my speed boat shouting through a bullhorn. I’m in the back office counting the beans, paying the bills and filing forms with the government. STOP YAWNING – somebody’s got to do it!! But during the daily grind this month, my partner (and hubby) pointed out this opinion piece about “How to Prevent Oil Spills” by Joe Nocera. The basic premise of the NYT article is that in order to make the Big Oil CEOs care about and curb the damage their companies cause you’ve got to send them to jail. Because if you’ve got enough money, fines don’t phase you one bit. Case in point, BP recently unveiled its 2011 net profits of close to $24 BILLION. This is AFTER paying out $22 billion settling claims and paying cleanup costs for Deep Water Horizon. There isn’t a financial slap on the wrist big enough to have these guys re-consider the way they do business. Yep, going to jail would be the only way to incentivize the industry. Except one thing: it’s never gonna happen. Never. Oil is too important to this nation.

So what the heck does this have to do with Thinking Moms? Well, it really gets my panties in a bunch when I think about how everyone was completely up in arms about BP two years ago: Do they have enough insurance to cover DeepWater Horizon? Was there negligence involved? Will there be a criminal investigation? I can tell you there are a lot of checks and balances built into the oil industry. There is insurance and re-insurance. Then there’s that whole liability and gross negligence thing. It’s certainly not perfect, but there are things in place to help replace the environment, economic losses and what not. And as much as I’ve witnessed the oil industry mess with the world to benefit themselves, I was not prepared for an even more manipulative industry to become a part of my world.

What product has grown from approximately $1 billion in revenue in 2001 to $27 billion in 2009? This product also enjoys 100% liability protection. This same product does not have to dip into revenue to fund a program to pay for injuries it creates (but is not liable for). Do you know what I’m talking about? One guess. Vaccines. Simply put, no pharmaceutical executive is weighing the cost vs. benefit of creating a safer vaccine. Or losing sleep over a “hot lot”. No doctor is worrying about how long the Gardasil vaccine was tested for safety or it’s horrible track record. Not. Their. Problem. Congress, in 1986, erased that worry from their balance sheet. So you’ve got an industry making a TON of money from a product that has 100% liability protection. And that protection extends to the folks that administer those vaccines. Woo hoo!!

How did this happen?!

You see, in the 1980s a lot of kids were having adverse reactions to the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine. Lots of lawsuits were being filed against docs and vaccine manufacturers. This caused the pharmaceutical industry to make noises about pulling out of the vaccine market, and the alarm bells rang that the nation’s health and safety were at risk. Why were vaccine manufacturers getting ready to take their ball and go home? Because vaccines fall into a class of products considered “unavoidably unsafe”. I am not kidding you. This “unavoidable” word comes from the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act itself “products which, in the present state of human knowledge, are quite incapable of being made safe.” So they TRIED, but sorry, they just can’t come up with vaccines that are safe enough that their risk department will allow them to sell them. Because a HUGE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY sees that even THEY do not have enough money to cover all the expense of fighting and paying injured vaccine recipients. This is an industry that today spends over $200,000,000 A YEAR in lobbyists. Which puts it way ahead of Oil industry in terms of lobbyist expense.

So the Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (that title alone points to fact that vaccines can injure children) in 1986. This releases all manufacturers and administers of vaccines from all liability from any injury caused by a vaccine. Then an interesting thing started happening…


As part of this Vaccine Injury Act, vaccine administers had to provide Vaccine Information Sheets (VISs) prior to vaccinating a patient. Parents know these sheets. Betcha didn’t know it was a legal requirement, huh?

These sheets are considered a parent’s or patient’s INFORMED CONSENT. Except there are a couple of things I take issue with. First, vaccines, on this sheet, are referred to as safe – not, as above, where they are classified as UNAVOIDABLY UNSAFE. So unsafe that an entire industry threatened to walk away from producing them if they were not given complete immunity from the fallout. Think about that piece of information the next time someone tells you that vaccines are proven safe. It is not true. I realize that into each life a little risk must fall, but stop telling people that vaccines are completely safe. My second problem with this VIS sheet is that it announces that the chances of having a severe problem from this MMR shot are “extremely small”. I really think that it should tell people that anaphylaxis and encephalopathy are “on table injuries” in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. An “on table injury” is a vaccine injury that is so common that it is presumed to be caused by the vaccine and is included in a table of more frequently compensated vaccine injuries. By the way, encephalopathy is brain damage.

So – um – I’m sorry, but I did not see those specific words on that on the little yellow flyer they handed to me prior to giving either of my children one of their dozens of vaccines. Nope, UNAVOIDABLY UNSAFE never made it onto that sheet. This drug — which I am told I am REQUIRED to give my child – is considered unavoidably unsafe.

Good thing there is a way to compensate folks for these avoidable injuries and death. It is called the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. From 2001 until 2011 the program has compensated about 2500 families a total of $2 billion. Now, $2 billion might sound like a lot of money, but it really is nothing. It’s about $800,000 per claimant. We all know that $800,000 doesn’t go very far in the care and feeding of a medically fragile individual. Right now the going rate of raising and seeing a child with autism through adulthood is about $3 million. Oh, and that $2 billion? It wasn’t paid by the vaccine manufacturers; it’s paid by the tax payer. The fund is financed by a tax on vaccines. So the purchaser of the vaccine finances this fund. Nice, huh? Even the Oil companies pay into their own fund. But don’t worry fund administrators, most new parents don’t know what encephalopathy looks like until waaaay after the VICP’s statute of limitations have kicked in. By the way, encephalopathy presents as inattentiveness, poor judgment, poor coordination of movements, lethargy, seizures, tremors, twitching, changes in sleeping patterns, headache and stiff neck. Yep, other than crying, not too many of those symptoms would be noticed in a 9 month old…

So go ahead and boycott BP gas stations because they repeatedly have accidents that spill oil and kill employees — but at least BP can be sued in court. They pay their fines and restitution. Hey, you actually have the right to boycott their stations. And the people in your town don’t point at you and call you dangerous or crazy. We run around hand waving about oil companies, when there is a bigger product-safety issue facing every single one of us. One in which we do NOT have informed consent about a product that is inherently unsafe, from a manufacturer that we cannot sue, in an industry that has proven itself to be increasingly less and less trustworthy, and is under increasing pressure to create more and more revenue opportunities. And if we boycott this product we are labeled crazy, dangerous or worse. Much worse.

What the hell can we do?

Talk about it.

Share this blog with new mommas. Moms-to-be. Grandmoms-to-be. Moms of Tweens. They NEED to know the truth. Then they can make their own decisions.

INFORMED consent.



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Astaxanthin via WebMD-

Astaxanthin is a reddish pigment that belongs to a group of chemicals called carotenoids. It occurs naturally in certain algae and causes the pink or red color in salmon, trout, lobster, shrimp, and other seafood.

Astaxanthin is used for treating Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, “brain attack” (stroke), high cholesterol, and an eye condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is also used for preventing cancer.

Astaxanthin is applied directly to the skin for protection against sunburn.

How does it work?
Astaxanthin is an antioxidant. This effect might protect cells from damage. Astaxanthin might also improve the way the immune system functions.

Insufficient Evidence for:
Eye problems such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Alzheimer's disease.
Parkinson's disease.
Improving recovery after stroke.
Protecting against cancer.
Reducing cholesterol levels.
Reducing skin damage from ultraviolet (UV) light.
Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of astaxanthin for these uses.

Astaxanthin is safe when it is consumed in amounts found in food. The safety of using astaxanthin supplements and astaxanthin in skin products is unknown.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of astaxanthin during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

The appropriate dose of astaxanthin depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for astaxanthin. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

I might just try it on my skin I do love my sun sunshine but regular sunscreen is so full of allergens and chems worry about using it.

Here is a few more clips of info on Astaxanthin from Dr. Mercola:
cientists long ago discovered that a class of naturally occurring pigments called carotenoids held powerful antioxidant properties that are crucial for your health.
But only recently has one particular carotenoid jumped to the forefront in terms of its status as a "supernutrient," becoming the focus of a large and growing number of peer-reviewed scientific publications.
This carotenoid is called astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin is produced by the microalgae Haematoccous pluvialis when its water supply dries up, forcing it to protect itself from ultraviolet radiation.
Astaxanthin is leaps and bounds more powerful than beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, lycopene and lutein; other members of its chemical family. Astaxanthin exhibits VERY STRONG free radical scavenging activity, and protects your cells, organs and body tissues from oxidative damage.
What makes astaxanthin so different from other nutritional elements? And what can it do for your health?
The answers to these questions will form the basis of the remainder of this article, and I think you'll be quite impressed.
Astaxanthin is in a League of its Own

There are many properties that make this carotenoid special. Here are the main differences:
Astaxanthin is by far the most powerful carotenoid antioxidant when it comes to free radical scavenging: it is 65 times more powerful than vitamin C, 54 times more powerful than beta-carotene, and 14 times more powerful than vitamin E.
Astaxanthin is far more effective than other carotenoids at "singlet oxygen quenching," which is a particular type of oxidation. The damaging effects of sunlight and various organic materials are caused by this less-stable form of oxygen. Astaxanthin is 550 times more powerful than vitamin E and 11 times more powerful than beta-carotene at neutralizing this singlet oxygen.
Astaxanthin crosses the blood-brain barrier AND the blood-retinal barrier (beta carotene and lycopene do not), which has huge implications for the health of your eyes.
It is soluble in lipids, so it incorporates into cell membranes.
It is a potent UVB absorber.
It reduces DNA damage.
It is a very powerful natural anti-inflammatory.
No adverse reactions have been found for people taking astaxanthin.
It is virtually impossible to obtain the recommended daily amount of astaxanthin from diet alone because there are only two prime sources: microalgae and sea creatures that consume the algae (such as salmon, shellfish, and krill).
Carotenoids 101

Carotenoids are the compounds in your foods that give you that vibrant cornucopia of color -- from green grasses to red beets, to the spectacular yellows and oranges of your bell peppers -- as well as all of the beautiful flowers in your garden.
Almost all living things obtain their colors from natural pigments.
Beyond their visual splendor, these pigments have deeper value in that they carry out a variety of important biological functions. They are critical to the photosynthetic process and protect the plant or organism from damage by light and oxygen. Many animals incorporate carotenoids into their diets, which provide them with antioxidants and a source of vitamin A activity.
By consuming a plant or organism that contains these pigments, you gain a similar protective benefit.
There are more than 600 naturally occurring carotenoids, but most people are familiar with only a few.
Carotenoids are classified into two groups:
Carotenes, which contain no oxygen atoms: lycopene (the red in tomatoes) and beta-carotene (the orange in carrots) are examples.
Xanthophylls, which contain oxygen atoms: lutein, canthaxanthin (the gold in chanterelle mushrooms), zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin are examples.
Zeaxanthin is the most common carotenoid found in nature (peppers, maize, kiwi, grapes, oranges and squash).
At this moment, about ten different carotenoids are likely circulating in your blood. None of the carotenes tested to date are able to cross your blood-brain barrier -- but astaxanthin does.
All Carotenoids are Not Created Equal

Some carotenoids (including beta-carotene, lycopene, and zeaxanthin) act not only as antioxidants, but also as pro-oxidants when present in your tissues in sufficient concentrations -- which is not a good thing.
Astaxanthin is unique in that it cannot function as a pro-oxidant, making it highly beneficial.
Zeaxanthin is already abundant in your diet, provided you eat enough fresh, raw, vegetables and some fruit. Your best source of lutein is from the yolks of eggs -- but make sure they are organic eggs laid by free-range pastured hens.
Astaxanthin is different in that you are probably not consuming much of it, and certainly not enough to take advantage of all its benefits.
Astaxanthin is the most commonly occurring red carotenoid in marine and aquatic animals, especially salmon, giving it its characteristic pink color. Salmon and other sea creatures, like other animals, cannot synthesize astaxanthin themselves and must obtain it from their diets, which include zooplankton and krill. These smaller organisms feed on the microalgae, which are the original producers of the pigment.
Laboratory-made astaxanthin is now commonly used worldwide to supplement fish feeds in order to obtain the desired pinkish to orange-red color. However, wild salmon are 400 percent higher in astaxanthin than farmed salmon, and 100 percent of theirs is natural astaxanthin, rather than synthetic.
Astaxanthin's Long List of Health Benefits is Growing by the Day

There may be no other single natural substance that performs so many beneficial biochemical functions as this little-known carotenoid. Its scope is truly amazing.
Here are just some of the ways astaxanthin can positively impact your health, according to the latest research:
Boosting immune function
Improving cardiovascular health by reducing C-Reactive Proteins (CRP), reducing triglycerides, and increasing beneficial HDL
GREATLY protecting your eyes from cataracts, macular degeneration, and blindness (which I will discuss at length below)
Protecting your brain from dementia and Alzheimer's
Reducing your risk for many types of cancer (including cancers of the breast, colon, bladder and mouth) by stimulating apoptosis (cancer cell death) and inhibiting lipid peroxidation
Improving recovery from spinal cord and other central nervous system injuries
Reducing inflammation from all causes, including arthritis and asthma
Improving endurance, workout performance and recovery
Helping to stabilize blood sugar, thereby protecting your kidneys
Relieving indigestion and reflux
Improving fertility by increasing sperm strength and sperm count
Actually helping to prevent sunburn, and protecting you from the damaging effects of radiation (i.e., flying in airplanes, x-rays, CT scans, etc.)
Reducing oxidative damage to your DNA
Reducing symptoms from pancreatitis, multiple sclerosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson's disease, and Lou Gehrig's disease, and neurodegenerative diseases
I personally use it to help protect me from radiation damage when I am flying during the day. The radiation is reduced by 99 percent when flying at night so this is not an issue for night flights. However, it does have to be taken for three weeks to build up levels to provide this level of protection.
This impressive list continues to grow as more studies are being published all the time about this incredible nutrient.
Carotenoids and Your Eyes

When you were a child, odds are you were told, "Eat carrots -- they'll give you good eyesight!"
There is some truth to that old adage, as carrots contain carotenoids -- many of which are important for your eyes. Vitamin A, or retinal, is vital to your retina -- without it, you would simply go blind. But vitamin A is readily available from your diet.
Of all the carotenoids, only zeaxanthin and lutein are found in your retina, which has the highest concentration of fatty acids of any tissue in your body. This is because your retina is a highly light and oxygen rich environment, and it needs a large force of free radical scavengers to prevent oxidative damage there.
It is theorized that your body concentrates zeaxanthin and lutein in your retina to perform this duty. The concentration of these two pigments in the macula of your retina are what give it its characteristic yellow color. (The macula is actually called the "macula lutea" which literally means "yellow spot.")
Zeaxanthin and lutein both cross the blood-brain-retina barriers, as astaxanthin does.
It is interesting that your eye preferentially concentrates zeaxanthin over lutein in the central macular retinal area (called the fovea), where the greatest amount of light impinges -- and zeaxanthin is a more effective singlet oxygen scavenger than lutein. Your body seems to naturally "know" this and accumulates it where it's most needed!
Leading Causes of Blindness: Macular Degeneration and Cataracts

Science is now revealing that astaxanthin may be the ULTIMATE carotenoid for eye health and prevention of blindness.
Blindness is an enormous problem worldwide. These statistics might disturb you:
Age related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 50.
Sixty million people suffer from ARMD worldwide, and 10 million are blind.
Severe, irreversible vision loss affects 30 percent of people over the age of 55.
Cataracts are another major cause of blindness, affecting more than 20 million people in the U.S. alone. Cataracts are caused by lipid peroxidation of the epithelial layer of the lens. Although they can have other causes, most are related to aging.
Cataracts result in 3 million cataract surgeries every year.
Clinical studies tell us that photic injury from the cumulative effect of repeated "photic insults" and the resulting gradual loss of photoreceptor cells is a major cause of ARMD. Therefore, anything you can do to cut your losses from these photic insults will reduce your risk for developing macular degeneration as you age.
Protecting Your Retina with Astaxanthin

Vitamin C can help protect you from retinal injury from excessive light energy, and indeed, high levels of vitamin C are found in human retinal tissues. But this common nutrient cannot do the job alone.
Epidemiological studies have shown that diets high in carotenoids (especially lutein and zeaxanthin) are associated with a reduced risk of cataracts and ARMD. It has also been shown experimentally that regular consumption of lutein supplements can increase your macular pigment density, which may potentially reduce your risk for later development of ARMD.
Scientists have studied lutein, zeaxanthin, canthaxanthin, and astaxanthin for their respective abilities to protect the retina. But none function to the degree that astaxanthin does, in terms of potency as a free radical scavenger and/or permeability across your blood-brain-retina barrier.
In studies, canthaxanthin was actually found to be potentially damaging to the eye as it caused eye inclusions, which can lead to retinopathy. So this carotenoid was ruled out as a supplement.
Dr. Mark Tso of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University (considered by most professionals to be the most prestigious ophthalmology training center in the world) has clearly demonstrated that astaxanthin is the clear winner when it comes to protecting your eyes. He discovered that astaxanthin easily crosses into the tissues of the eye and exerts its effects safely and with more potency than any of the other carotenoids, without adverse reactions.
Specifically, Tso determined astaxanthin could ameliorate or prevent light induced damage, photoreceptor cell damage, ganglion cell damage, and damage to the neurons of the inner retinal layers.
He concluded that astaxanthin supplementation could be effective in preventing or treating a whole host of eye diseases, including:
Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD)
Diabetic neuropathy
Cystoid macular edema
Central retinal arterial and venous occlusion
Inflammatory eye diseases (i.e., retinitis, iritis, keratitis, scleritis, etc.)
Other researchers (Shimidzu et al, Bagchi, Martin et al, and Beutner) have since confirmed Dr. Tso's finding that astaxanthin is the most powerful antioxidant ever discovered for eye health, giving your eyes an additional layer of long-term protection.
Prevention of Cancer and Support for Your Immune System

Besides being a huge discovery in the prevention of eye disease, astaxanthin is showing great promise in cancer prevention, at least in animal studies. Because astaxanthin is not commonly found in human serum, information on its epidemiology in human health is lacking.
Several studies have shown the effectiveness of astaxanthin as a cancer preventative in rats and mice:
In 2002, Kurihara et al studied the protective effect of astaxanthin against cancer in mice. He found astaxanthin "improved antitumor responses by inhibiting the lipid peroxidation induced by stress."
Tanaka et al (1994) showed that astaxanthin protected mice from urinary bladder cancer.
A second study by Tanaka (1995) showed that astaxanthin prevented oral carcinogenesis in rats, and that the inhibitory effect on cancer was more pronounced than that of beta-carotene, which they had previously tested.
A third study by the same research group (1995) found a significant decrease in the incidence of colon cancer in animals fed astaxanthin.
As a side note, it is interesting that the principal dietary source of astaxanthin is salmon, which is a central to the diet of Eskimos and other coastal tribes of North America. These groups have demonstrated an unusually low prevalence of cancer, which has traditionally been attributed to the high levels of certain fatty acids in salmon.
But it is certainly worth exploring the possibility that the astaxanthin in their fish diets may have played a cancer-protective role as well.
Astaxanthin was studied intensively by Harumi Jyonouchi of the University of Minnesota to determine if it has benefit to immune function. They found that astaxanthin enhanced antibody production and T-cell and T-helper-cell activity, and partly restored diminished humoral immune responses in old mice.
Astaxanthin also reduced inflammatory symptoms in mice that had H. pylori infections.
For an extensive literature review, and much more about astaxanthin's biological effects and mechanisms of action, you can read "Astaxanthin and Cancer Chemoprevention" by John E. Dore, Ph.D. of Cyanotech Corporation.
Boosting Your Endurance and Fat Loss

Astaxanthin may even improve your muscle endurance and enhance your ability to metabolize fat!
Is there anything this nutrient DOESN'T do?
Mice given astaxanthin were found to have accelerated body fat reduction (i.e., "fat burning") when combined with exercise, as compared to exercise alone in a 2007 study by Aoi et al. Aoi reports the carotenoid seems to exert this effect by protecting the function of a lipid transport enzyme on the membrane of mitochondria that "fuels" energy production.
The end result?
Buff mice. Not that the world needs more physically fit rodents, but what works on mice often works on YOU.
Protection from Sunburn and Other Damaging Radiation

The ability of Haematoccous pluvialis to protect itself from the effects of intense ultraviolet radiation can actually help you avoid sunburn. This is a result of the "singlet oxygen quenching" I discussed earlier.
Current research is showing that, if you take 2 mg of astaxanthin daily for a month, it will be very difficult for you to get sunburned.
The same powerful antioxidant properties that protect the algae from the sun's rays will protect your skin as well. It takes a few weeks for the pigment to build up in your tissues, so you can't just swallow a few pills just prior to your sun exposure and expect miracles.
Similarly, if you find yourself needing an x-ray or a CT scan, you can gain some measure of protection from this radiation exposure by taking 2-4 mg astaxanthin for several weeks prior to the scan.
If you are planning to fly on an airplane, you are also exposed to massive amounts of ionizing radiation, especially if you fly during the day. In this case, it would be wise to take a similar a dose of astaxanthin for the few weeks preceding your trip.
Final Suggestions

You may recognize the name astaxanthin because I have mentioned it in reference to krill oil, which has been my favorite source of animal based omega-3 fatty acids for many years now. One of the reasons for that is, krill oil naturally contains astaxanthin. And our krill oil has the highest concentration of astaxanthin of any krill oil supplement on the market today.
Because of the profound benefits this powerful antioxidant offers, I am excited to announce that we are in the process of developing several astaxanthin products that will be available in the near future.
If you are going to give astaxanthin a try, I recommend starting with 2 mg per day. If you are on a krill oil supplement, take that into consideration; different krill products have different concentrations of astaxanthin, so check your label.
Eating a variety of fresh organic foods -- and incorporating supernutrients like astaxanthin -- is the best approach to health, along with good sleep, exercise, and earthing. You may want to consider incorporating more raw foods into your diet, and listening to this interview with raw food expert David Wolfe is an excellent starting point.
Source: International Carotenoid Society
Source: "Astaxanthin and Cancer Chemoprevention" John E. Dore, Ph.D.

Until a few days ago, I had not heard of it- thinking I will take a closer look- love learning something new though!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Fixer..

For the most part, I like to fix things, and take any broken item as a personal challenge to fix. When I see something that others think is hopeless, I usually see something begging me to transform,restore,fix.

Give me an old dresser, I will find legs, build shelves, paint and create a cabinet.

Give me an old broken sewing machine, I will tear it a part, fix or order parts to fix.. touch up paint and a good wax ...seeing it shiny and purring and ready to sew for another generation is incredibly soul satisfying.(prefer fixing over sewing with them)

Give me just potatoes and cabbage when our budget is pinched and it is a personal challenge to create a memorable meal.

Give me my delicate orchid Abby who is so prone to breaking and for 17 years I have plucked the threads and mended.. I refuse to take no for an answer or that there is nothing to do to fix her.. there is ALWAYS a way to fix even the greatest damage, and I want Abby healthy.

Admittedly, sometimes something will break in the house and I gladly let Derek fix it- he can do it faster then I can sometimes..I have always admitted that I will be glad to lean on the right leader, and Derek is a terrific leader and is always willing to be the fixer when I need a break.

With all the medical stuff and Abby, I have spent years trying to find a "fixer" of a Dr. Someone like me who will go without sleep, who will pester and dig, who is willing to roll up their sleeves and try to fix something they have never fixed before, just because they thrive on fixing..

One of my insecurities or frustrations is simply lacking the academics at times to make the connections to take my fixing of Abby to the next level. Another frustration is that despite some terrific Drs and some not so terrific Drs, I cannot find a Dr. willing to be Abby's fixer..and I cannot count the Drs. we have seen all over the Country since Abby was born...

I have high expectations. IF you have a 10 year science/math/medical education, this fixing stuff should be way easier for them then me-

Once in awhile I have a day where I am tired, beaten, feeling as though I am failing. I get mad at myself, I get mad that our bodies are so unforgiving and our minds are twice so...When Abby has started to wake and heal and then tumbles over the cliff again with a new symptom, that cup sure looks half empty instead of half full. On those days, I cannot even imagine there is a pitcher any where to fill that glass back up..

Thankfully, I have more days then not where the glass is half full. I have a network of "thinking Moms" that I can throw my theories and thoughts at, who are always as joyful as I to learn something new.. Who also question EVERYTHING, and are fearless thinkers. Who are patient,who share and teach me..

Abby has gone from a bad week to an even worse week. Her face doesn't even look like her, and I literally only saw her for 30 minutes yesterday as she is just trying to sleep through it all. It is days like this that I must look in the mirror- I can look and see a Mom who just accepts this disease and stops questioning(oh, that would be so easy! Or I think absolute acceptance would easier,I haven't tried it yet!)or I can look in the mirror and see "The Fixer". When faced with the choice of acceptance or fixer- I, no matter how disheartened,scared, frustrated, always pick the Fixer.

Yesterday thanks to my "thinking Moms" I found out that Miralax may be a problem. Based on Abby's consistent pattern of developing sensitivities or allergies to anything she is repeatedly exposed to, I suspect she has developed a PEG allergy. I am still eliminating corn from her diet and environment and that is the toughest challenge yet, so I am not especially happy about trying to eliminate PEG. IT is going take a lot of "fixing" and thinking outside the box- I mean, at some point, I am going to run out of things to eliminate! :-)

It is doable though- and as a Fixer, I am ready for the challenge.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

10 calorie Orange -sicle Miracle cookie!

Added a pic of the orangsicle cookie to my gallery- have not done a break down on the calorie but am sure I am inside the 10

1 bag zero calorie noodle

3 egg whites(I used 3 tablespoons of the whites scramblers instead this time which is 25 calories)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 box of cheesecake sugar free pudding(small box, so 25 calories)

1/8 box sugar free orange jello (large box it is what I had, but 1/8 th is about 10 calories, I likely used 20 calories worth.)

1 dash salt

The big difference is, that when you mix the dry ingredients and the shirataki noodles- there was very little! So I decided to whip the egg whites stiff so that they would add more mass and bulk.. which I did - I folded the shirataki noodles that were already mixed with the other ingredients into the stiff whites- and then to the fridge for an hour. Warned, it still did not look like enough for a dozen.

These puffed up much more- so I was able to use less per cookie and spread then a little further on the sheet. I baked for 13 minutes at 375.
Here is a picture after I made the first batch of what was left- this actually made 6 cookies! :-)

These came out oddly jiggly- and the texture was alarming! like mushy marshmellow with a skin- still, I decided before I gave up I would freeze them- freezing transformed them into nice little chewy sweet orange bites! The little dab of sugar free whipped cream was not necessary-though added to the whole "cream sicle" flavor though it would add a couple calories..

I like them a lot frozen- but right out of the oven I was discouraged. Now that these batch is frozen through, I will let them thaw and see if they stay a pleasant texture, or if I just stick a popsicle stick on them and keep them frozen! :-)

Miralax- Maybe not as safe as the Drs. say-

What is Miralax
Miralax has active ingredients of polyethylene glycol 3350. It is used in constipation, irritable bowel syndrome.

On Apr, 23, 2012: 4,865 people who reported to have side effects when taking Miralax are studied

If people were to have side effects while taking Miralax, what are they:
(1) Asthenia: 1,011 reports. It's more common among females aged 60+ years old
(2) Dyspnoea: 878 reports. It's more common among females aged 60+ years old
(3) Vomiting: 858 reports. It's more common among females aged 60+ years old
(4) Anxiety: 710 reports. It's more common among females aged 60+ years old
(5) Pyrexia: 696 reports. It's more common among females aged 60+ years old
(6) Diarrhoea: 694 reports. It's more common among females aged 60+ years old
(7) Nausea: 571 reports. It's more common among females aged 60+ years old, and is moderate
(8) Constipation: 526 reports. It's more common among females aged 60+ years old, and can be severe
(9) Pain: 519 reports. It's more common among females aged 60+ years old
(10) Fatigue: 502 reports. It's more common among females aged 60+ years old, and can be severe

Patient comments in a side effect forum

After taking my first dose of Miralax, I experienced severe dizxiness. It lasted for approximately 5 hours. I reported it to my doctor's office, by way of a voice mail, as no human answers the phone at doctors offices anymorel You are at their mercy

I started taking Miralax and became dehydrated, had water retention, sweats, tremors, heart palpatations, high blood pressure, could not sleep and had no energy. This stuff is terrible as far as I am concerned. I took the last dose yesterday am and

I have been on Miralax, one capful a day for 3 months now. I am experiencing severe dizzyness/vertigo, not sure it if is related to Miralax. Has anyone else had these same symptoms

I started Miralax and unsure when is the best time to take it. So I started it at night time. The first night not to bad, but a lot of gassiness. Second night the same, but palpations, weakness and insomnia. Has anyone experienced these side effects.

miralax is giving me cramps all the time. it is worse after I eat.

i had a terrible experience with Miralax........first day i was ok but from second day i started severe diarrhea,bloating associated with cramping abdominal pain......and today is the 4th day my diarrhea is controlled but i am feeling very weak and s

Russell34 please contact me. I believe horrible things have resulted from the use of this drug. I believe it is a detriment to society and again Big Pharma at it's best, lying all in the name of money!

My experience with Miralax was a nightmare. I had a severe allergic reaction which involved hives, splitting headaches, abdominal pain, rectal burning, serious back pain and excema, which covered my head, neck and face. As soon as I stopped taking it

I will not use this drug because it has fluoride in it

Do not give this to your children.  It says right on the bottle do not give to children.  My son went to summer camp and the nurse accidently gave him to much and he had had bloody diarrieah for a week now.  I am never usin

every time I try to take it..  reccomended adult dose, my legs and feet swell and feel really tingly - like I'm walking on mush.. or baloons or rubber or something.. it's totally wierd - yet, I do usually get a BM within hours!!

So, after reading this far I decided to try to find the "COMPLETE" list of Miralax side effects. Went to the Miralax website- nope.
Went to WebMD- and found this
;Nausea, abdominal cramping, or gas may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Inform your doctor immediately if you have excessive number of bowel movements, persistent diarrhea, or rectal bleeding while using this medication.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

At this point I am getting annoyed- Where is this "complete" list of miralax side effects?

So I search for "complete list of miralax side effects" still limited results on my search but did find this site that lists "reported side effects to the FDA".

Here are a few side effects that were reported that caught my eye-


Reactions: Weight Decreased, Eczema, Pyrexia, Cardiac Disorder, Dermatitis, Blood Pressure Inadequately Controlled, Electrocardiogram T Wave Abnormal, General Physical Health Deterioration, Renal Cyst, Tremor, Cholelithiasis, Insomnia, Dehydration, Vision Blurred, Thyroid Adenoma, Mesenteric Vascular Insufficiency, Fluid Intake Reduced, Renal Pain, Atelectasis, Hepatic Function Abnormal, Mental Status Changes, Constipation, Renal Artery Arteriosclerosis, Fatigue, Anorectal Disorder, Aortic Arteriosclerosis, Dizziness, Bilirubin Urine, Depression, Urinary Tract Infection, Lung Neoplasm, Anxiety, Lung Disorder, Renal Failure, Barrett's Oesophagus, Hypophagia, Influenza Like Illness

Adverse event resulted in: life threatening event, hospitalization

Suspect drug(s):

Reported by a consumer/non-health professional from United States on 2010-03-02

Patient: 56 year old female

Reactions: Weight Decreased, Hepatic Function Abnormal, Lung Neoplasm, Dyschezia, Renal Cyst, Cholelithiasis, Drug Toxicity, Barrett's Oesophagus, Renal Impairment, Asthenia, Myocardial Infarction, Influenza Like Illness

Suspect drug(s):

Reported by a consumer/non-health professional from United States on 2010-02-25

Patient: 57 year old female, weighing 88.5 kg (194.6 pounds)

Reactions: Dreamy State, Hemiparesis, Autoimmune Thyroiditis, Speech Disorder, Abnormal Dreams, Emotional Disorder, Oxygen Saturation Decreased, Migraine, Hashimoto's Encephalopathy, Hypoaesthesia, Hepatic Enzyme Increased, Heart Rate Decreased, Syncope, Visual Impairment, Memory Impairment, Feeling Abnormal, Asthenia

Suspect drug(s):
Dosage: 17 gm; qd; po
Administration route: Oral
Indication: Constipation
Start date: 2009-07-01
End date: 2009-11-10

Other drugs received by patient: Aspirin / 00002703 /; Calcium Magnesium / 01320801 /; Potassium; Levothyroxine Sodium; Multi-Vitamins

Reported by a consumer/non-health professional from United States on 2009-12-22

Patient: 77 year old female

Reactions: Back Pain, Vomiting, Nausea, Pain, Muscular Weakness, Cerebrovascular Accident, Abdominal Pain Upper, Dizziness, Muscle Spasms

Adverse event resulted in: death

Suspect drug(s):

So quite a list for a product that markets itself as almost side effect free! Maybe if I called the FDA number or Miralax directly they would give me the "COMPLETE" list of side effects? I can always ask our pharmacist too. I do understand that there is a big difference between a "rare" side effect and a more "common" one.. but considering Abby reacts to many "common" and "uncommon" items she is at higher risk to experience one of those "rare" side effects.

So what exactly is Miralax? Here is the Wiki definition-Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is a polyether compound with many applications from industrial manufacturing to medicine. It has also been known as polyethylene oxide (PEO) or polyoxyethylene (POE), depending on its molecular weight, and under the tradename Carbowax.

Here is an easier to understand definition-

Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is made from ethylene glycol (ethane-1,2-diol), the main ingredient in antifreeze. When ethylene glycol (molecular weight, 62.07) polymerizes, reacts with itself (in water), the reaction yields a variety of products containing varying numbers of ethylene glycol units. These products are all called PEGs. The general molecular formula for PEG is H(OCH2CH2)nOH, where n represents the number of ethylene glycol units contained in the PEG polymer. PEGs have many industrial, food and pharmaceutical uses.
Other People Are Reading
Definition of Polyethylene Glycol Polyethylene Glycol Safety

Types of PEGs
The molecular weights of PEGs are determined by the number of ethylene glycol units incorporated into each PEG polymer and vary from 300 grams per mole to 10,000,000 grams per mole. The molecular weight in turn determines the characteristics of each type or category of PEG. Low molecular weight PEGs, containing two-to-four ethylene glycol units per polymer, are clear, watery liquids. PEGs containing up to 700 ethylene glycol units per polymeric product are clear, thick liquids. PEGS having 1,000 or more ethylene glycol units per polymeric product are waxy solids.

Characteristics of PEGs
PEGS are non-toxic, odorless, colorless, nonirritating and do not evaporate easily. PEGs are considered inert (they do not react with other materials), and they are nontoxic. PEGs are soluble in many organic solvents. All PEGs readily dissolve in water and do not change the color, odor or taste of the water.

Medical Uses of PEGs
The characteristics of PEGs make them excellent materials for use in the pharmaceutical industry. PEGs are used as lubricants and are employed in a variety of pharmaceutical products as solvents, dispensing agents, ointments, delivery liquids for medications, fillers for tablets, as suppository bases, in ophthalmic solutions and as a treatment for constipation. PEGs are also used in veterinary products.

Industrial Uses of PEGS
In manufacturing processes, PEGS are used as water-based coatings, anti-dusting agents in agricultural products, brighteners in electroplating, cleaners and detergents, moisturizers in cosmetic products, dye carriers for paints and inks, packaging products, non-stick agents for molded products, color stabilizers for paper, ceramics manufacture, a softener and anti-static agent in textile manufacture and in soldering fluxes.

Oral Health Uses of PEGs
PEGs, in combination with other products, are used in toothpastes, breath fresheners and mouthwashes, including anti-plaque and antiseptic mouth rinses. PEGs are used to keep all ingredients in solution and to increase the shelf-life and stability of the products.

I also found a site where they found polyethylene glycol in their sunburn relief aloe Vera- apparently, using polyethylene glycol on a sunburn is know to cause bad reactions,so why did the manufacturer put the stuff in a product made for sun burn relief?

My conclusions are this chemical is in a lot of products from medical to cosmetics to toothpaste to industrial. Abby is unique in that she develops reactions to products she is repeatedly exposed to.. We have months now of exposure to Miralax- maybe some of the new symptoms we are seeing in Abby are the results of a reaction to the Miralax(or all PEG's). Abby said she is down to every other 3rd day for the Miralax now. I am hoping she will tolerate the blackstrap molasses, maybe some ground flax seed and few other more "natural" laxatives now that her stomach and intestines seem far better then they were over the holidays. You would think I would have researched the Miralax when the Drs. recommended it and have all consistently reassured me that it was safe- nope, I trusted since "everyone" said it was safe and over the counter that it was safe for Abby. I used to think the same thing about Tylenol- until Kristi over at Babyfoodsteps dug up a lot of research indicating that Tylenol may not be as safe as we have been told.

NOTE to self- Read ALL Labels! Research what you are exposing your body to on a daily basis. You might be surprised by what manufacturers are bathing us in day in and day out...

Monday, April 23, 2012

10 Calorie, Chocolate MIRACLE noodle cookie!

Yesterday was one of those days where I was so frustrated that despite "project elimination" Abby is still have flares. Now I should cut myself some slack, she is GOBS better then she was 2 months ago.. yet, it just got me so down and really kind of mad yesterday that I have so much more to learn about Abby in order to keep helping her- she is a very complex organism! Cute too! :-)

Of course when I get frustrated I want to eat, and I want chocolate. I have been on my own project elimination this past 3-4 months have eliminated about half of me! LOL Well not that much, but I was determined to just say no to the "bad" food- it never fixes a thing to stuff my face, just makes it worse!

But I NEEDED chocolate, and those 10 calorie chocolate meringue cookies are just gross- I wanted moist,chewy and doughy!

I had just received an order of 24 bags of Shirataki noodles(Zero calories people, zero calories!)last week and have been browsing recipes hoping some creative soul would have an interesting recipe beyond stir fry or spagetti! I did find a couple cool ones, but no cookies and no cakes. Well honestly though, who would try to make a cookie from a weird kind of chewy and smelly(they call it the "authentic smell", and it does rinse off)noodle? Apparently, the world left it to me.

Here is the recipe I created-

UPDATE- A few folks have complained this is not sweet enough- I recommend if you like a very sweet chocolate instead of bitter sweet that you use C&H Stevia/sugar blend- 2-3 Tablespoons should make it a lot sweeter for you. :-)

1 bag Shirataki noodles(zero calories)
2 medium egg whites(35 calories)
3 tablespoons dutch chocolate(30 calories)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons honey(C&H Stevia/sugar blend 2 TABLESPOONS or to taste)(raw honey-45 calories)(stevia version-zero!)
a dash of salt.

Made-1 dozen teaspoon sized cookies. 10 calories a cookie!!!!!

375 for 10 minutes.

First- open and rinse those noodles!(shirataki also known as miracle noodle picture is of the traditional yam zero calorie which is what we use)
I rinse them in the strainer with hot water- be prepared, they don't smell good at all! I sprinkle them with a few teaspoons of lemon juice and let them sit a minute, then rinse again in hot water. Let them drain well- water is our enemy in this recipe!

Next, get out a big frying pan- you don't need any grease or anything the noodles don't tend to burn or brown( and I tried!)and they don't stick(they really are a miracle, huh?). Dump the noodles in the pan and over high heat start cooking them. I stirred mine around a lot-

As you stir and they start to dry, they start making a "squeaking" kind of noise as you push them. I kept mine on the heat until they lost translucency(some) and bits and parts seemed a bit "shriveled". Take them off the heat. I know, at this point it doesn't look like much does it? Don't worry if you over cook, it will just mean 1 or 2 less cookies. IF you undercook it just means your cookie dough maybe a little runny, and you may need another teaspoon of coco powder to "thicken" it.

After they have cooled for a few minutes I put them in my handy mini Ninja food processor. I ran it until it almost looked like a gel-

Then I threw in the honey,coco powder, baking powder,salt( I thought about vanilla, but as I said, moisture is the enemy when working with these noodles)and processed it quickly till blended. It seemed a hair on the runny side, so I threw it in the fridge for an hour and hoped for the best-

Here is what it looked like after being in the fridge-

I covered a cookie sheet with a piece of tin and sprayed with Pam non stick cooking spray.(no idea what would happen and figured if it was a mess the tin was easy clean up!)

I tried 5 minutes at 375- but the tops were clearly sticky/raw still. So 10 minutes. I was thrilled with what I had created!

Sara was my brave, brave guinea pig. She topped hers with a touch of sugar free cool whip- I watched her face carefully, mostly to know if I was going to need to duck if she spit it back out- but she declared them a SUCCESS! She said her first thought was it was a lot like the flourless chocolate torte in flavor(these are not very sweet, more of a dark chocolate flavor, you can add splenda or stevia for a sweet tooth!) 3 hours later I broke one a part and they are just as moist as can be.

Truly a miracle cookie.

Thinking I am going to make little garlic/basil pizza bite crusts tomorrow. Derek cannot handle starches well, but these noodles agree with him. He has been missing pizza. So a zero calorie pizza crust would thrill him!

Chocolate unfortunately is a "high histamine" food so not allowed for Abby. I am thinking about trying a pumpkin spice version for her..

If you come up with a new twist let me know! Who knew a zero calorie stinky noodle could make such amazing 10 calorie chocolate cookies?

Allergen free Ice Cream?

It is going to get hot here in Houston soon, and who doesn't like a nice ice cream on a hot day?

If you are allergic to so much, it starts to get really really hard to buy food ready to eat at the grocery store. In a constant battle to find foods and a variety of foods that help Abby feel her best, we are forced to think outside of the box with food, and I have admit, we are all enjoying the process especially when getting to creating things like ice cream!

Our whole family was excited when we found a few different brands of soy free,dairy free ice cream. That was about 6 months ago. Since then 'project elimination" has accelerated, and now before you eat something, you have got to read the label on the front AND the back! LOL

When I read the list of "ingredients" on the coconut milk ice cream from the store- I thought it was ridiculous and a little scary I just expected more from a product made for folks with allergies! So yesterday we made our own.

The very first problem I encountered- we don't own an ice cream machine, a pretty big problem! We cannot own one, I just get this visual of me using it day in and day out creating calorie dense creations to the point that my freezers were nothing but ice cream! LOL

Headed to Pinterest- my go to place for creative solutions. Found a 2 ingredient ice cream recipe that needed NO ice cream machine! Well BINGO!

The recipe was just whipped cream with sweetened condensed milk and a dash of vanilla. Perfect if Abby did not have a dairy allergy!

So, I had seen how to make whipped cream from coconut milk, and figured somewhere out there in allergy land someone had tried to make sweetend condensed coconut milk- a quick web search and I found that lots had and it was easy !

Here is "my" recipe which I might tweak when we try again.

Coconut Ice Cream-

3 cans of organic coconut milk- (2 need to be refrigerated overnight)
1/4 cup sugar(Imperial or CH are corn free and honestly could have used honey, or no sugar at all or very little but was following a recipe I found)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract(allergy safe)
Organic fresh pineapple( small tidbits well drained)
unsweetened organic coconut shreds(find them in the freezer section)

First- put a glass or metal bowl in the fridge to get it ice cold.

Making your own Sweetened condensed Coconut Milk-
In sauce pan combine the 1 can that is not refrigerated of coconut milk and 1/4 cup sugar(or less, it is very sweet!)and vanilla.

Put on lowest setting and stir occasionally- It takes about 2 hours to reduce about 50 percent. Stir well now and then to avoid "lumps".( it will be clearly thicker but more translucent then "dairy" sweetened condensed milk)

Now, put your sweetened condensed milk in the fridge to get nice and cold(or freezer)

Open your two cold cans of coconut milk- the firm cream will have hardened separate from the "water". scoop out only the firmest of the cream leaving anything creamy or watery in the can(you can save this to make smoothies later-just freeze it)

In your cold bowl beat the coconut cream- sometimes it gets more whipped then others- but stiffer then creamy is what I try for..(I have mixed results)

Gently fold in your coconut sweetened condensed milk you put in the fridge earily into your whipped coconut cream.

Pour into freezer safe container- I now throw the pineapple tidbits and coconut(you can toast if you prefer)on top(mix in gently). Seal your container and freeze completely- (overnight).
You can add any ingredients you like nuts,berries, cookies- whatever flavor ice "cream" you are craving!

NOTE: You can also mash and whip one ripe banana in the food processor and fold it in when you fold in the condensed milk- this will help keep the ice cream a little more "soft" when frozen. Another lesson learned, putting raw strawberries in wasn't ideal- next time I will cook them a little to the "stewed" point- I suspect they will stay a little softer vs turning into rock hard strawberry rocks :-)

I also plan on figuring out how to can that sweetened condensed coconut milk- WOW it was AMAZING! I am betting it means I will have to learn how to use the pressure canner.. but it is time to face my fears, and worth it for that shockingly tasty condensed coconut milk!

I also made a very simple coconut flour bread(heavy on eggs) while I was playing in the kitchen this weekend. Interesting texture and once we all sampled it we all approved. This loaf was very flat though(need smaller loaf pan!) and if we sliced it for Abby it would be more like biscotti(not a bad idea!). We are trying to add blackstrap molasses into Abby's diet(love to throw out the miralax!) and we thought we will cut up the loaf we made for breadpudding with coconut milk and a "gingerbread" flavor- so the tasty little loaf is wrapped up and tucked into the freezer for the next kitchen fun day!.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

New Vocab.....

As Abby's journey leads me down various paths I have been doing a lot of learning! Let's see what I can remember and share.

Kefir- Kefir is a cultured, enzyme-rich food filled with friendly micro-organisms that help balance your “inner ecosystem.” More nutritious and therapeutic than yogurt, it supplies complete protein, essential minerals, and valuable B vitamins.

Kefir is simple and inexpensive to make at home.
Kefir is used to restore the inner eco-system after antibiotic therapy.
Kefir can be made into a delicious smoothie that kids love.
Kefir is excellent nourishment for pregnant and nursing women, the elderly, and those with compromised immunity.
What if I’m lactose intolerant, and don’t do dairy? Or don’t digest milk products well? Is kefir right for me?
The beneficial yeast and friendly bacteria in the kefir culture consume most of the lactose (or milk sugar). Eat kefir on an empty stomach first thing in the morning before (or for) breakfast and you’ll be delighted to find it can be easily digested — as numerous people who have been lactose intolerant for years have discovered.

Quorn- Quorn™ is the brand name of a premium line of all-natural, meat-free frozen foods. The Quorn brand has been sold in the UK since 1985, and is now the #1 retail brand of meat-free foods in the world! Since its US launch in 2002, Quorn products have become the best-selling frozen meat-free brand in natural food stores*! Quorn products deliver great taste, fantastic quality and a wide variety of items to meet the demands of on-the-go lifestyles. You can always depend on Quorn products to be meat-free and soy-free.
There are believed to be over 600,000 varieties of fungi in the world, some of which are the most sought-after foods, such as mushrooms and truffles. The principal ingredient in all Quorn products is mycoprotein (“myco” is Greek for “fungi”). The mycoprotein comes from Fusarium venenatum, which was originally discovered growing in a field in Buckinghamshire, England. In the late 1960s, initial product development began, and mycoprotein’s potential as an efficient and nutritious protein source was soon recognized.


While much of the mannose used in glycosylation is believed to be derived from glucose, in cultured hepatoma (liver-derived) cells, most of the mannose for glycoprotein biosynthesis comes from extracellular mannose, not glucose. [2] Many of the glycoproteins produced in the liver are secreted into the bloodstream, so dietary mannose is distributed throughout the body. [3]
Mannose is present in numerous glycoconjugates including N-linked glycosylation of proteins. C-mannosylation is also abundant and can be found in collagen-like regions.

Recombinant proteins produced in yeast may be subject to mannose addition in patterns different from those used by mammalian cells.[4] This difference in recombinant proteins from those normally produced in mammalian organisms may influence the effectiveness of vaccines.

Mannose can be formed by the oxidation of mannitol.
It can also be formed from glucose in the Lobry-de Bruyn-van Ekenstein transformation.
[edit]Therapeutic uses

D-mannose is sold as a naturopathic remedy for urinary tract infections, and it is claimed to work through the disruption of adherence of bacteria in the urinary tract.

The root of both "mannose" and "mannitol" is manna, which the Bible records as the food supplied to the Israelites during their journey through the Sinai Peninsula. Manna is a sweet secretion of several trees and shrubs, such as Fraxinus ornus.

Mannose differs from glucose by inversion of the C-2 chiral center. Mannose displays a pucker in the solution ring form.
This apparently simple change leads to the drastically different chemistry of the two hexoses, as it does the remaining six aldohexoses.


Quercetin belongs to a group of plant pigments called flavonoids that give many fruits, flowers, and vegetables their color.

Flavonoids, such as quercetin, are antioxidants -- they scavenge damaging particles in the body known as free radicals, which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause. They also help keep LDL ("bad") cholesterol from being damaged, which scientists think may contribute to heart disease. In test tubes, quercetin has strong antioxidant properties, but researchers aren't sure whether taking quercetin (and many other antioxidants) has the same effects inside the body.

Quercetin acts like an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory, and may help protect against heart disease and cancer. Quercetin can also help stabilize the cells that release histamine in the body and thereby have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Allergies, Asthma, Hay Fever and Hives

In test tubes, quercetin prevents immune cells from releasing histamines, chemicals that cause allergic reactions. On that basis, researchers think that quercetin may help reduce symptoms of allergies, including runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and swelling of the face and lips. However, there is no evidence yet that it works in humans.

Heart Disease

Test tube, animal, and some population based studies suggest that the flavonoids quercetin, resveratrol, and catechins (all found in high concentration in red wine) may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (plaque build up in arteries that can lead to heart attack or stroke). These nutrients appear to protect against the damage caused by LDL ("bad") cholesterol and may help prevent death from heart disease. However, most human studies have looked at flavonoids in the diet, not as supplements. Animal studies have used extremely large amounts of flavonoids (more than you could get through a supplement). More studies in people are needed to see if flavonoid supplements can be effective.

High Cholesterol

Test tubes studies show that quercetin prevents damage to LDL cholesterol, and population studies show that people who eat diets high in flavonoids have lower cholesterol. One study found that people who took quercetin and an alcohol free red wine extract (which contains quercetin) had less damage to LDL cholesterol. Another study found that quercetin reduced LDL concentrations in overweight subjects who were at high risk of heart disease. More studies are needed, however, to show whether taking a quercetin supplement will have the same effect.


Studies show that quercetin supplementation reduces blood pressure in people who have hypertension.

Interstitial Cystitis

Two small studies suggested that people with interstitial cystitis might benefit from flavonoids. People with this condition have bladder pain, similar to a bladder infection, and often experience an urgent need to urinate. In both studies, those who took a supplement containing quercetin appeared to have fewer symptoms. However, the studies included other flavonoids, so it isn't known which one might have the most beneficial effect. More and better designed studies are needed.


Some preliminary evidence indicates that quercetin might reduce symptoms of prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate). One small study found that men who took quercetin had a reduction in symptoms compared to men who took placebo. The study was small, however, and the results need to be confirmed.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

There are reports of people with RA who had fewer symptoms when they switched from a typical Western diet to a vegan diet with lots of uncooked berries, fruits, vegetables, nuts, roots, seeds, and sprouts containing antioxidants, including quercetin. But there is no evidence that the positive effects were due directly to antioxidants, and no evidence that quercetin supplements would help treat RA.


Scientists have long considered quercetin, and other flavonoids contained in fruits and vegetables important in cancer prevention. People who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to have lower risk of some types of cancer. And animal and test tube studies suggest that flavonoids do indeed have anti cancer properties. Quercetin and other flavonoids have been shown in these studies to inhibit the growth of cancer cells from breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, endometrial, and lung tumors. One study even suggests that quercetin is more effective than reservatrol in terms of inhibiting tumor growth. Another found that frequent intake of quercetin rich foods was associated with lower lung cancer risk. The association was even stronger among subjects who smoked more than 20 cigarettes daily. However, more research is needed.

Dietary Sources:

Fruits and vegetables -- particularly citrus fruits, apples, onions, parsley, sage, tea, and red wine -- are the primary dietary sources of quercetin. Olive oil, grapes, dark cherries, and dark berries -- such as blueberries, blackberries, and bilberries -- are also high in flavonoids, including quercetin.

Available Forms:

Quercetin supplements are available as pills or capsules. They are often packaged with bromelain (an enzyme found in pineapple) because both are anti-inflammatories. Other flavonoid rich extracts include those from grape seed, bilberry, Ginkgo biloba, and green tea.

There are also water soluble forms of quercetin available, such as hesperidn-methyl-chalcone (HMC) or quercetin-chalcone.


There isn't enough evidence to recommend quercetin for children.


Recommended adult dosages of quercetin vary depending on the condition being treated.


Quercetin is generally considered safe. Side effects may include headache and upset stomach. Preliminary evidence suggests that a byproduct of quercetin can lead to a loss of protein function. Very high doses of quercetin may damage the kidneys. You should take periodic breaks from taking quercetin.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women and people with kidney disease should avoid quercetin.

At high doses (greater than 1 g per day), there are some reports of damage to the kidneys.(so not an option for Abby)

---Magnesium is an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, keeping a healthy immune system, maintaining heart rhythm, and building strong bones. Magnesium is also involved in at least 300 biochemical reactions in the body. A deficiency in magnesium can lead to muscle spasms, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, migraines, osteoporosis, and cerebral infarction. Conversely, consuming too much magnesium typically causes diarrhea as the body attempts to excrete the excess. The current RDA for magnesium is 400mg. Below is a list of high magnesium foods.
#1: Bran (Rice, Wheat, and Oat)
Rice, Wheat, and Oat bran are great additions to breads and breakfast cereals like oats, rye, and buckwheat. One cup of crude rice bran contains 922mg of magnesium (230% RDA) which is 781mg (195% RDA) per 100 gram serving. Crude wheat bran contains 354mg of magnesium (89% RDA) per cup, or 611mg (153% RDA) per 100 gram serving. Crude oat bran contains 220mg of magnesium (55% RDA) per cup, or 235mg magnesium (59% RDA) per 100 gram serving. Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#2: Dried Herbs
Dried herbs are packed with vitamins and a healthy addition to almost any meal. Dried coriander provides the most magnesium with 694mg (174% RDA) per 100 gram serving, or 14mg (3% RDA) per tablespoon. It is followed by Chives (160% RDA), Spearmint (151% RDA), Dill (112% RDA), Sage (107% RDA), Basil (106% RDA), and Savory (95% RDA). Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#3: Squash, Pumpkin, and Watermelon Seeds
Great as a snack or in a salad, pumpkin, squash, and watermelon seeds are packed with magnesium.
Squash and pumpkin seeds provide 535 mg of magnesium (134% RDA) per 100 gram serving, or 738mg (185% RDA) per cup. Watermelon seeds provide 515mg (129% RDA) of magnesium per 100 gram serving, or 556mg (139% RDA) per cup. Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#4: Cocoa Powder (Dark Chocolate)
Dark chocolate is becoming more popular and with good reason, long regarded as junk food dark chocolate is packed with vitamins and conferred health benefits. Cocoa powder provides 499mg of magnesium (125% RDA) per 100 gram serving or 429mg (107% RDA) per cup. Dark baking chocolate provides 327mg per 100 gram serving (82% RDA), or 95mg (24% RDA) per square, and a typical chocolate candy bar provides 63mg of magnesium (16% RDA) per 100 gram serving or 28mg (7% RDA) per bar. Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#5: Flax, Sesame Seeds, and Sesame Butter (Tahini)
Flax and Sesame seeds are a great source of heart healthy oils and also provide a good source of magnesium. Flax seeds provide 392mg (92% RDA) per 100 gram serving or 39mg (10% RDA) per tablespoon. Sesame seeds provide 351mg (88% RDA) per 100 gram serving, or 32mg (8% RDA) per tablespoon. Sesame butter (tahini) provides 362mg of magnesium per 100 gram serving, or 58mg (14% RDA) per tablespoon.
Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#6: Brazil Nuts
Possibly the largest of all nuts, brazil nuts are a great source of magnesium. Brazil nuts provide 376mg (94% RDA) of magnesium per 100 gram serving, 500mg (125% RDA) per cup, and 19mg (5% RDA) in a single kernel or nut.
Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#7: Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are the number one source of vitamin E, and a good source of thiamin. Sunflower seeds provide 325mg (81% RDA) of magnesium per 100 gram serving, or 455mg (114% RDA) per cup.
Click to see complete nutrition facts.

#8: Almonds and Cashews (Mixed nuts, Pine Nuts)
Nuts are great as a snack or as an addition to salads and soups. Almonds provide 286mg (72% RDA) per 100 gram serving, or 395mg (99% RDA) per cup. Cashews provide 273mg (68% RDA) per 100 gram serving, or 352mg (88% RDA) per cup. Pine nuts provide 251mg (63% RDA) per 100 gram serving, or 339mg (85% RDA) per cup. Mixed nuts in general provide 251 mg (63% RDA) per 100 gram serving, or 361mg (90% RDA) per cup. Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#9: Molasses
A good substitute for refined sugar in cakes and breads, molasses is also a great source of magnesium. Molasses provides 242mg (61% RDA) per 100 gram serving, 816mg (204% RDA) per cup, and 48mg (12% RDA) per tablespoon.
Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#10: Dry Roasted Soybeans (Edamame)
Great as a snack or as an addition to salads, dry roasted soybeans are also a great source of magnesium. Dry roasted soybeans provide 228mg (57% RDA) of magnesium per 100 gram serving, or 392mg (98% RDA) per cup. When boiled, edamame provides 64mg (16% RDA) of magnesium per 100g serving, or 99mg (25% RDA)

BlackStrap Molasses
-Health Benefits(Via Whfoods resources online- wonderful information)
Blackstrap molasses is a sweetener that is actually good for you. Unlike refined white sugar and corn syrup, which are stripped of virtually all nutrients except simple carbohydrates, or artificial sweeteners like saccharine or aspartame, which not only provide no useful nutrients but have been shown to cause health problems in sensitive individuals, blackstrap molasses is a healthful sweetener that contains significant amounts of a variety of minerals that promote your health.

Iron for Energy

In addition to providing quickly assimilated carbohydrates, blackstrap molasses can increase your energy by helping to replenish your iron stores. Blackstrap molasses is a very good source of iron. Particularly for menstruating women, who are more at risk for iron deficiency, boosting iron stores with blackstrap molasses is a good idea--especially because, in comparison to red meat, a well known source of iron, blackstrap molasses provides more iron for less calories and is totally fat-free. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. And, if you're pregnant or lactating, your needs for iron increase. Growing children and adolescents also have increased needs for iron. Just 2 teaspoons of blackstrap molasses will sweetly provide you with 13.3% of the daily recommended value for iron.

A Spoonful of Molasses Helps Your Calcium Needs Go Down

Blackstrap molasses is a very good source of calcium. Calcium, one of the most important minerals in the body, is involved in a variety of physiological activities essential to life, including the ability of the heart and other muscles to contract, blood clotting, the conduction of nerve impulses to and from the brain, regulation of enzyme activity, and cell membrane function. Calcium is needed to form and maintain strong bones and teeth during youth and adolescence, and to help prevent the loss of bone that can occur during menopause and as a result of rheumatoid arthritis. Calcium binds to and removes toxins from the colon, thus reducing the risk of colon cancer, and because it is involved in nerve conduction, may help prevent migraine attacks. Two teaspoons of blackstrap molasses will meet 11.8% of your daily needs for calcium.

An Energizing Mineral-Dense Sweetener

Molasses is also an excellent source of copper and manganese and a very good source of potassium, and magnesium.

Copper, an essential component of many enzymes, plays a role in a wide range of physiological processes including iron utilization, elimination of free radicals, development of bone and connective tissue, and the production of the skin and hair pigment called melanin. Numerous health problems can develop when copper intake is inadequate, including iron deficiency anemia, ruptured blood vessels, osteoporosis, joint problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, brain disturbances, elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduced HDL (good) cholesterol levels, irregular heartbeat, and increased susceptibility to infections. Using two teaspoons of blackstrap molasses to sweeten your morning cereal and the coffee or tea you drink during the day will supply you with 14.0% of the daily recommended value for copper.

That same amount of blackstrap molasses will also provide you with 18.0% of the day's needs for manganese. This trace mineral helps produce energy from protein and carbohydrates, and is involved in the synthesis of fatty acids that are important for a healthy nervous system and in the production of cholesterol that is used by the body to produce sex hormones. Manganese is also a critical component of an important antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is found exclusively inside the body's mitochondria (the oxygen-based energy factories inside most of our cells) where it provides protection against damage from the free radicals produced during energy production.

Like calcium, potassium plays an important role in muscle contraction and nerve transmission. When potassium is deficient in the diet, activity of both muscles and nerves can become compromised. Potassium is an especially important mineral for atheletes since it is involved in carbohydrate storage for use by muscles as fuel and is also important in maintaining the body's proper electrolyte and acid-base (pH) balance. When potassium levels drop too low, muscles get weak, and athletes tire more easily during exercise, as potassium deficiency causes a decrease in glycogen (the fuel used by exercising muscles) storage. Simply by adding two teaspoons of blackstrap molasses to your morning smoothie, you can supply 9.7% of your potassium needs for the day along with a healthy dose of carbohydrates to burn.

Calcium's balancing major mineral, magnesium is also necessary for healthy bones and energy production. About two-thirds of the magnesium in the human body is found in our bones. Some helps give bones their physical structure, while the rest is found on the surface of the bone where it is stored for the body to draw upon as needed. Magnesium, by balancing calcium, helps regulate nerve and muscle tone. In many nerve cells, magnesium serves as Nature's own calcium channel blocker, preventing calcium from rushing into the nerve cell and activating the nerve. By blocking calcium's entry, magnesium keeps our nerves (and the blood vessels and muscles they ennervate) relaxed. If our diet provides us with too little magnesium, however, calcium can gain free entry, and the nerve cell can become overactivated, sending too many messages and causing excessive contraction. Insufficient magnesium can thus contribute to high blood pressure, muscle spasms (including spasms of the heart muscle or the spasms of the airways symptomatic of asthma), and migraine headaches, as well as muscle cramps, tension, soreness and fatigue. In two teaspoons of blackstrap molasses, you will receive 7.3% of the daily value for magnesium.

Switching from nutrient-poor sweeteners like white sugar or corn syrup, or from potentially harmful fake sweeteners like aspartame or saccharin to nutrient-dense blackstrap molasses is one simple way that eating healthy can sweeten your life.

The truth behind the phrase "slow as molasses" becomes apparent when you reflect on molasses's thick, viscous, syrupy texture. Featuring a robust bittersweet flavor, blackstrap molasses helps create the distinctive taste of dishes such as baked beans and gingerbread. Blackstrap molasses is very dark in color, having a black-brown hue.

Blackstrap molasses is just one type of molasses, the dark liquid that is the byproduct of the process of refining sugar cane into table sugar. Blackstrap molasses is made from the third boiling of the sugar syrup and is therefore the concentrated byproduct left over after the sugar's sucrose has been crystallized.

Molasses has been imported into the United States from the Caribbean Islands since the time of the early colonists. In fact, it was the most popular sweetener used until the late 19th century since it was much more affordable than refined sugar, which was very expensive at that time.

In some respects, molasses has had a rather sticky history with at least two important historical events centering around this sweet food product. The first is the Molasses Act of 1733, a tariff passed by England to try to discourage the colonists from trading with areas of the West Indies that were not under British rule. This legislation is thought to be one of the events that catalyzed pre-revolutionary colonial dissent and unrest.

It is not often that a fateful tragedy occurs that centers around a food, but unfortunately, in 1919, one such event did occur. The event is referred to as the Great Molasses Flood and occurred when a molasses storage tank holding over two million gallons of molasses broke, and its sticky content came pouring throughout the city streets of Boston, Massachussetts, traveling as fast as 35 miles per hour and creating a thirty foot tidal wave of sweetener. Unfortunately, this was not a sweet matter as twenty-one people died and significant amounts of property was destroyed.

Blackstrap molasses gained in popularity in the mid-20th century with the advent of the health food movement. Today, the largest producers of molasses are India, Brazil, Taiwan, Thailand, the Phillipines and the United States.

How to Select and Store
Look for blackstrap molasses that is unsulphured since not only does it not contain this processing chemical to which some people are sensitive, but it has a cleaner and more clarified taste. Blackstrap molasses made from organic sugar cane is also available in some markets.

Molasses should be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator or a cool, dry place. Unopened containers should keep for about one year, while opened containers should keep for about six months.

How to Enjoy
A Few Quick Serving Ideas
Mix equal parts molasses to raw honey-great spread for toast!
Adding molasses to baked beans will give them that traditionally robust flavor.
Molasses imparts a wonderfully distinctive flavor to cookies and gingerbread cakes.
Basting chicken or turkey with molasses will give it both a rich color and rich taste.
For some of our favorite recipes, click Recipes.

Individual Concerns
Blackstrap molasses is not a commonly allergenic food and is not known to contain measurable amounts of oxalates or purines.

Nutritional Profile
Blackstrap molasses is an excellent source of manganese and copper. It is a very good source of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. In addition, blackstrap molasses is a good source of vitamin B6 and selenium.

For an in-depth nutritional profile click here: Blackstrap molasses.

My question is, how many of you are still reading and managed to make it down to me? I know I posted a lot of information, but you have to admit, some interesting stuff! Words like Magnesium we hear all the time, but did you really know HOW important it is? Or which foods are great places to find it? A sweet lady on one of my groups told me about the Quorn- I had no idea they had such a product. It is lower calorie then tofu and from the reviews has a great flavor, Abby has problems with fungi/molds but the rest of are always adventurous with food and we plan to give it a try! :-) I had a Great Grandmother who lived to 100,and if you ask any of the surviving family that spent anytime with her about BlackStrap Molasses,they will all Groan! If you complained about feeling poorly, her first question was always "Have you moved your bowels?" If you made the mistake of admitting you had not, before you knew it, she had jammed a big spoon of BlackStrap molasses into you! Sometimes, those home remedies actually have merit. If your family has a home remedy, before you blow it off, take a minute and look it up- you might be surprised and find it has merit too! I tried to make sure that sources I gave had listings of foods that you can incorporate into your daily lives to increase some of these good minerals/supplements via your food instead of pills when possible. Abby cannot take many supplements without extreme reactions so I really rely on food to get the good stuff into her.

FYI- I want to be clear, I am not recommending that any of my readers start taking any of the above mentioned products/supplements without the guidance of a Doctor-
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