Crock Pot Beef With Cabbage And Carrots

rsz_beef_cabbage_carrots

Once upon the time there was a beautiful queen (wife) who needed to make sure her townspeople (husband) had enough food to get them through the cold winter (lunch for work). All that were left of the live stock were some skinny old cows (only thing thawed was a round steak), but she was wary of her usual preparations. So she went down to the castle’s larder (opened the fridge) and saw a cabbage and some carrots patiently waiting to be used. The following parchment lays out what her clever mind created  (This is all I could come up with). The peasants rejoiced at the ingenuity of their queen (My husband was pleased).

All fanciful attempts at storytelling aside, this is a simple slow cooker meal. It was also pretty tasty. The contrast with the cabbage brought out the sweetness of the carrots. And my husband always loves “something different”.

Crock Pot Beef with Cabbage and Carrots

1 ½ -2 lbs round steak
1 medium  cabbage
8 carrots
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the cabbage in half and remove the hard heart. Slice it into 1/2 inch ribbons. Cut the carrots in half and then slice lengthwise so you end up with thin sticks. Add your meat, vegetables, seasoning and water to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. Distribute to your peasants…. err, I mean, enjoy for lunch the next day!

 

 

Autumnal Chicken Salad

rsz_autumnal_chicken_salad

 

Happy Belated Autumnal Equinox! Yesterday I had some leftover chicken that I had to make into today’s lunches. I love a good chicken salad, and decided to make a fall themed one. And autumnal is just fun to say.The Michigan apple season is in full swing so those had to go in, and we have dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Add in a touch of maple and you have some great fall flavors. Some may consider chicken salad more of a summer style dish, but I’ve often wished it was more of a year-round food. Here’s to stretching out our enjoyment of it!

Don’t worry about exact measurements, the proportions are approximate.

Autumnal Chicken Salad

2 1/2 cup diced cooked chicken
2 small apples (or 1 large) diced
1 rib celery, diced
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
1-2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1-2 Tbs maple syrup
pinch salt

In a large bowl combine your chicken, apples, celery, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries. In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise, ginger (if using), salt and 1 tablespoon each of the vinegar and maple syrup. Taste the dressing. If you want it sweeter add more syrup, but if you think it needs more tang add more vinegar. Once the dressing is to your liking add it to your large bowl and toss until it coats your salad. You could serve this on its own, on a bed of lettuce, or as a sandwich filling. Ooh, you could use roasted sweet potato or squash rounds as a bread replacement! I’m going to have to try that next time. Enjoy!

 

 

Why Quit Pop And Alternatives

why quit pop

Pretty much everyone knows soda pop is bad for us; however many still drink it. Knowing something isn’t good for us isn’t always motivating enough to quit doing it, especially when its something as addictive as pop. Specific facts about what it does to our bodies can help us to make the commitment to quit.

Soda leads to obesity. There are 11 tablespoons of sugar in just one 12 oz can. Our bodies can’t burn off that much sugar all at once, so it stores it as fat. One can of pop a day can equal an additional 15 pounds a year. Want to lose weight? Skip the soda.

Pop erodes our teeth and our bones. The acidic content of soda removes minerals from our enamel leaving us prone to cavities and other dental problems. The high phosphorus content depletes our bodies of calcium, weakening bones. Harvard did a study of female teenage athletes and found that girls who drank soda were five times more likely to get bone fractures than those who did not.

A study from 2007 showed people who drink soda have a 40% higher likelihood of having metabolic syndrome. This was true even of those who drink diet pop. Someone with metabolic syndrome has three of the following symptoms including high triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar, and extra abdominal fat. People with these symptoms have a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. 

Those who drink soda have a higher cancer risk thanks to the carcinogenic chemical benzene. 5.5 parts per billion (ppb) is the federal limit of benzene in drinking water. Levels as high as 79 ppb have been found in soft drinks.

Pop is full of nasty chemicals. The preservative sodium benzoate has been shown to damage DNA. Another preservative, polyethylene glycol, is used as an oil solvent and anti-freeze in cars. The chemical dyes can cause cancer as well as many other problems.

So, if diet pop is not a good alternative what is? Iced tea can be a good choice. You can start with it sweetened and then slowly lower the amount of sugar you use as you get used to the taste. When I want to experience the tickle of the bubbles I mix a small amount of juice in with soda water. There are also many flavored sparkling waters on the market. Plain water is also a healthy and convenient choice.

Whether you call it soda, pop, or cola, our beverage choice can have a big impact on our health. If you’ve tried quiting cold turkey before and ended up going back to it, don’t give up hope. Read my post here on taking baby steps to a healthier lifestyle. I’m rooting for you!

Snowball Your Way to Healthy Living

snowballIf you are here you probably already want to start living healthier. There are so many different aspects that it can become overwhelming; avoid this, do that, don’t forget to watch out for the other thing. Because of that its easy to give up before you start, deciding that it’s just too hard.  When that temptation hits, try this method.

The popular financial guru Dave Ramsey has the snowball plan for debts. You pay off the smallest first and then use that momentum to move your way up the list.  We could also apply this method to changing our lifestyle.  Instead of trying to fix everything at once, pick one small thing and set short term goals.  For example, if you need to stop drinking soda pop you could start by saying that today you will replace one coke with, say, sparkling water. Or if you want to be more active take the stairs or walk in place for one set of commercials. The point is making it easily achievable.

You can then use this accomplishment to combat any negative thoughts.  So tomorrow if you are feeling down on yourself and about to enter that paralyzing cycle of self-recrimination, remind yourself that you can get, and already are, healthier. Use that momentum to keep reaching that goal. It will eventually become second nature.  When that happens set another small goal on the same topic. Back to the pop example, you could replace another coke a day with a healthy alternative.  Keep repeating this process and you will have quit drinking pop.

There is just so much information out there on what is hurting your health it is easy to get lost in it. Especially since people have differing opinions. Because of this its hard to translate that into your daily life. Starting small and staying strong will make it possible.

 

 

 

Basic Slow Cooker Beef Stew

The weather is starting cooling down, and its making me excited for Fall. Brightly colored leaves, cozy old sweaters, and fresh apples here we come. The chill in the air means its time to pull out the soup and stew recipes again. This beef stew is a classic standby.  I takes little prep time but is very satisfying. Throw it in crock pot in the morning and dinner is ready when you need it.

Basic Beef Stew

2 lbs stew meat, or cheap cut of steak cut into cubes
5 carrots
3 stalks celery
1 small onion
1 pound potatoes
any other vegetables desired, ex: peas, zucchini, green beans,mushrooms
2 bay leaves
1 Tbs sea salt (more or less to taste)
1 tsp pepper (more or less to taste)
5 cups beef stock, vegetable broth, or water

 

Chop vegetables. Place meat, vegetables, spices and liquid in crock pot or slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-9 hours or on high for 5-6. Meat may be tougher if cooked on high. Makes 6-8 servings of hearty classic beef stew.

Why T-tapp And Journal Week One

 Like many people with hypothyroid and/or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis I tend to have more trouble in the winter. Along with starting on some vitamin D supplements I decided to try adding some exercise as well. I chose T-Tapp because I had heard some great things about it. My husband had used Theresa Tapp’s program before, and enjoyed benefits from it. With all the hubbub of getting ready to tie the knot he fell out of the habit. However now that I’m doing it, he’s started back up again. We use the Basic Work Out Plus DVD. At $35.95 it is an investment, but it is totally worth it. You can watch videos and try some of the moves for free at their website at t-tapp.com. My mother-in-law uses a different version called T-Tapp More Rehab Program and loves it. It’s made “for those who have more to lose, more health issues to overcome or more birthday candles on the cake” and helps rehabilitate problems with shoulders, lower back, hips, and knees. She says it helps more than her physical therapy exercises did.

What makes T-Tapp different is that it your body provides all the resistance you need, so there’s no weights, or bands, or extra equipment. It uses comprehensive compound muscle movement. Here’s the plain English translation. Comprehensive means it uses both points of muscle attachment, so when your working your upper leg the part of the muscle that attaches to the hip and the part of the muscle that attaches to the knee are both being used. This gets double the workout from one movement, and helps build muscle density instead of bulk. Compound simply means more than one. Every move in T-Tapp uses 5-7 muscles at a time. You never just use your arms or just your legs. This means the basic workout does your whole body in just 15 minutes. The instructional video you use the first few days slows it down and shows you the moves step by step, so it takes 23 minutes. There’s only 8 repetitions of each movement, so unlike other exercises I’ve tried and I don’t get bored. It is also designed to help your lymph system function better to get toxins out of your body. I’m planning on doing some research on the how and why of that, so hopefully that will be another post soon.

I decided to keep a journal of how I do with this exercise program, and share it with you. You’ll find week one below. While I don’t get through the whole program every day, I am making progress and gaining stamina. The first couple days it tired me out and I’d have to sit and rest for a little while after doing it, but after the first week I can do the exercises then go right into washing dishes or whatever else it is I need to do that day. Another benefit I’ve noticed is that I used to carry a lot of tension in my shoulders, but now the soreness and stiffness are gone. It’s just a little thing in the scheme of things, but it is good to feel that difference. If you have done this before, please leave a comment to encourage others who haven’t. Those of you who are thinking about it, go ahead and try some of the free videos on their website. You could also read some of the amazing testimonials to get you inspired. If you try it, leave a comment and tell me how it goes! I’d love to hear about your journey with it as I’m starting mine.

T-Tapp Journal Week One

Day 1: I did the instructional video through the jazz twist. That’s about half the video. I feel tired and drained

Day 2: I took today off, not feeling well. I’ve been trying to get over a cold and don’t want to over do it.

Day 3: I did through the oil well, felt tired but good. Later in the evening I noticed a lack of my usual soreness and tension in shoulder muscles

Day 4: I didn’t get much sleep last night, so I just did primary back stretch because I had a lot to accomplish and a late start. I used the basic video not the intro but had no problems keeping up.

Day 5: I didn’t get much sleep again, my work schedule is messing with my sleep schedule. I did basic video rather than instructional with my husband and got all the way through it! (Except the hoedowns at the end) Tip: since I tire easy I sometimes only do sets of 4 rather than the 2sets of 8 done in the video so I can get to all the exercises. Did that in the jumping jacks and the T-Tapp twist.

Day 6 Husband birthday! Slept really well last night, tried homeopathic remedy for sleeplessness. Did through oil well on basic, went back to instructional for ttapp twist. I still have trouble with that one a bit, maybe because I’m a short torso? I will have to do my measurements. I still only did 2 sets of four on jumping jacks and ttapp twist. I may do that for a while until I can build up my stamina. Noticed that I was more aware of my posture today, and my shoulders felt great despite all the scrubbing I did yesterday.

Day 7 Wasn’t feeling well, probably overdid the sugar a bit yesterday. Made myself do the Primary backstretch anyway, but didn’t go beyond that. I have to get my tired self to the bus stop later in order to make it to work so I didn’t want to tire myself out.

 

UPDATE:  Due to extenuating circumstances that will eventually be explained, I am taking a break from my regular exercise routine.  However, I definitely still recommend this program.

Genetic Roulette Movie Review

You can watch the movie for free at geneticroulettemovie.com until October 31, 2012. (Be sure to take a look at the sponsors and thank them by buying their products.)

UPDATE (Jan 29, 2013)  There is another free screening here until February 3rd.

UPDATE (Nov 2, 2013)  Watch it free this week here!

 

Before I watched this movie, I knew GMOs were bad but I rationalized it. I figured if it was on the shelves it must not be that bad. It was easier not to know.

This video does an amazing job at explaining what a GMO (genetically modified organism) is, and why they are so, so, very dangerous. I don’t get angry or riled up often, but this movie got my blood boiling. For those of you just learning about GMOs, they are any living thing that has had their genes messed with by modern science. 88% of all corn and 94% of all soy products have been genetically modified. One example is Bt corn, corn that has had the genes of a bacterium grafted into it’s own DNA. This gene makes a toxin that splits open the stomachs of insects that eat the corn, killing them. There has only been one study done in humans. It found the pesticide produced by the corn in the blood of women, pregnant women, and their fetuses¹. I cannot express how angry this makes me. While there have been no studies that show the long term affect this has on humans, it is very likely that it leads to food allergies, auto immune diseases, and many other gastrointestinal problems. Since I suffer from these myself, this information struck a chord with me.

The video goes into the many illnesses that have been linked to GMOs, from food allergies to autism to heart disease. They do a much better job with it, so I will let you watch it and see for yourself. I know it is long, and in our busy lives time is a precious commodity. However, I cannot say how helpful this movie has been. It clarified many things, and convinced me to never buy or eat genetically modified foods. I found the first part to be the most eye opening. The second half, well, it was also eye opening. But the first half talks more about what the GMOs are doing to our health. The second half is more about the politics and how the big companies are getting away with pulling the wool over our eyes. If you didn’t manage to get to the end (I didn’t the first time I watched) there are some resources given to help find non-GMO food. I know I will be using them. Nongmoshoppingguide.com has a categorized list of safe foods, and they have an iPhone app so you can take it with you. Nongmoproject.com is a movement to certify and label products of being free from genetically modified ingredients. ThRey currently have 400 brands enrolled, and they are growing. The only way we can convince companies to not use GMOs is to refuse to buy them. If there is no profit in using genetically modified ingredients they will no longer be on our grocery store shelves. Our options as a nation are to spend a little more on groceries and live healthy productive lives, or spend a lot more on medical costs and be weakened by chronic illness and disease.

 

  1. Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada” by A. Aris and S. Leblanc [Reprod. Toxicol. 31 (2011) 528-533]. [Reprod Toxicol. 2012]

 

 

 

 

About me

My little nook of the Internet where I write researched articles, recipes, and tips on how to feel the way you always wish you did but never thought possible.

A headshot of Chrissy Hawkins.

My name is Chrissy Hawkins. I want to help the people who just feel like they never has as much energy as the people around them, who wonder why they get sick more often than their friends, or who just want to treat themselves and their bodies a little better. For most of my life I fit all of those descriptions. Things came to a head when I became really ill and learned I have thyroid disease and am allergic to gluten and dairy. Since these revelations, with the help of family and friends, I have started to turn my life around. I want to share what I have learned with others who are feeling run down and worn out. My newest passion is to learn as much as I can about ways to live my life more fully. I want to shout this information from the rooftops, but since my voice has never carried well, I’m posting it on here instead. My hope is that you find on here some tidbit that starts you on the journey to feeling happier and healthier than you ever realized was possible.

I am not yet a health coach, but as soon as I can scrape together the money I will be enrolling in a certification program. I did not want to start a blog only to have to change the title once I became certified. I will let you know immediately when I am able to start taking clients.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. So please, please if you think you may have a illness that needs diagnosed find yourself a good (preferably holistic) medical provider to help you.