Antibacterial This and Antibacterial That….

You don’t have to look far before you find products in your home, at work, or even made available as a courtesy to the public, with antibacterial properties designed to destroy any germs that might be lurking nearby.

In fact, bacteria and germs are the common bogey-men we are warned to avoid, almost at any cost.

Now I’m not going to pretend to know where the lines are. Working in health-care, the potential risk for contracting some kind of infection or illness is very real and somewhat alarming. But I would like to propose a couple of thoughts to ponder:

  • What if we worried about building our immune system, as much as we worry about avoiding germs?
  • What if we are destroying necessary and helpful bacteria along with the germs that could cause illness?
  • What if, in destroying the necessary and helpful bacteria, we are actually making ourselves even more vulnerable to the germs and diseases we are trying to avoid, and compromising our natural immunity in the process?

I remember a day when it didn’t matter what you had, you were prescribed antibiotics. Even back then, there were the “quacks” trying to sound the alarm that the overuse of these products was unwise and that there would be repercussions. Now, even the medical field has had to concede that we have created super bugs that are increasingly resistant to even the newer, stronger antibiotics being produced to try and stay ahead of the ever-increasing risks.

That whole circus is more than I am willing or capable of addressing, so I want to bring it down to choices I can make personally to build up and strengthen my immune system and give my body it’s best chance for self-defence.

Now my personality is one that would grasp on to this and then attempt to purge anything and everything in my home and my diet, embarking on a whole new trajectory in one fell swoop!! At almost 60 years old, I am learning that this really never works for me in the long-run. So I am taking things one or two steps at a time, and implementing changes, and at a pace, that I am most likely to sustain.

So, my immediate priorities are:

  • a diet rich in whole foods, avoiding preservatives and additives as much as possible, and beginning to grow more of our own herbs and vegetables, and purchasing local produce
  • increasing healthy bacteria to my digestion system by consuming fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut and taking a quality probiotic supplement to increase healthy bacteria
  • educating myself on the use of essential oils and using them instead of toxic options for cleaning, therapeutic benefits, as well as personal care products such as moisturizers, shampoos, foaming hand wash, antibacterial hand gel etc.
My essential oil collection so far…

Foaming Handwash

This is one of the recipes I use for foaming hand wash. Thieves is a blend of oils that you can buy from Young Living, or you can make your own blend by combining various single oils listed below.
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Servings 1

Instructions
 

  • Thieves Blend
    4 Tbs Castille
    1 Tbs veg glycerin
    10 drops Thieves
    2/3 cup water
    Kitchen Blend
    As above but add:
    4 drops lemon
    2 drops cedar
    3 drops Thieves
    2 drops eucalyptus
    Combine ingredients in foaming soap dispenser. These can be bought in most department or hardware stores as well as Amazon, or save ones that you may have on hand from purchased foaming hand soaps.

Homemade Thieves

  • 10d clove oil
    9 lemon and/or orange
    5 cinnamon bark
    4 eucalyptus
    3 rosemary
    Combine in dark glass bottle.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

There are so many options and variations. Pinterest is always a wealth of information.

We do need to fight germs, there is no doubt. But our first line of defence should be our own natural immunity, and then when additional precautions are necessary, we should look for effective methods that do not involve toxic chemicals that are detrimental and counter-productive in the long run.

Stay tuned…. This is my relentless pursuit, not my arrival.

Our Anniversary Weekend Away – Part Two

It’s all about the food….. 🙂

One of the first things I look for when we go away for something special, is a place where I can cook!! It truly is something I really enjoy, and I love experimenting.

Now I’m no expert…..not by a long shot! One of my dream vacations would be to travel around the world and learn to cook all the dishes native to each place. So many different flavours and interesting ingredients to discover!!

However, this could be a little tricky for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that I HATE to fly!!!

So, if I ever get rich, I am going to build a cooking school and offer classes where the cooks come HERE and teach me/us!!

Until then, I hack around in the kitchen and cross my fingers!! So far, there have been no human casualties, and everyone here seems to still like to eat!

On the menu tonight would be a shrimp and scallop dish – something we’ve never made before. We thought since it was just the two of us (when does that ever happen?) this would be perfect opportunity. When we paid the cashier at the grocery store check-out, I knew why we don’t do this often and certainly not for the whole household.

I like to cook with wine……..sometimes it goes in the food…..but usually not. I actually prefer drinking wine while I’m cooking over having it with my meal.

So, I cracked open a bottle of red, put out some cheese and olives to snack on, and turned on some music.

This is my element!

Glenn, still not feeling well, took a well-deserved rest while I began the prep.

I really had no recipe, just an idea….and I had NONE of my usual herbs and spices on hand. So this was going to be somewhat of a challenge. But after half a glass of wine, I was feeling brave!!

Vegetables all prepped and ready to go…..

Beans went into the pan first, then I added butter for sautéing as well as a bit of water to create some steam. Then the garlic…….always the garlic.

Once the colour began to change and the beans started to get tender, I added the peppers and green onion, then about half a cup of half and half cream.

I wasn’t sure how long it would take to cook the shrimp and scallops and knew that overcooked wouldn’t be good. So I waited until the cream sauce had started to thicken and then add the seafood.

I plated the greens in anticipation of the finished dish…

Once the sauce began to coat the ingredients nicely, I added salt and pepper and a few red Chile flakes. Then, we filled our plates and enjoyed.

I will add the recipe below and modifications I would have made in my own kitchen with a greater selection of ingredients. But we really enjoyed it…and the leftovers next day were even better!!!

If you try the recipe, let me know how it turned out.

Seafood Alfredo with Vegetables

Jumbo shrimp and scallops cooked with fresh beans and peppers in cream sauce.
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Servings 4
Calories 234 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 lb fresh jumbo scallops
  • 6 large fresh jumbo shrimp
  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • !/2 large red bell pepper sliced thin
  • 1/2 large yellow bell pepper sliced thin
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic chopped
  • 3 stalks green onions sliced
  • 2 tbs butter melted
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch red chile flakes
  • 1/2 cup half and half cream
  • 1/4 cup parmesan or to taste

Instructions
 

  • Melt butter in large non stick frying pan.
  • Add green beans and saute until turning bright but still crisp. I added 1/4 cup of water and steamed as well.
  • Add fresh garlic and continue to saute for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add scallops, shrimp, peppers and cream. Continue to saute until sauce begiins to thicken.
  • Add and adjust seasonings.

Notes

We made this dish when we were away for the weekend for our 34th anniversary.  We stayed in an Airbnb and my selection of herbs and spices was quite limited.  I feel added chives, fresh basil, sun dried tomatoes etc. would really enhance this recipe, as would some good mushrooms!

Nutrition

Calories: 234kcal
Keyword Keto, Low Carb, Seafood
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Our Anniversary Weekend Away

We took to the road and headed to the Prince Edward County area to stay in our first ever Airbnb and take our first tour of some wineries.

The place we stayed was wonderful!!! It was the bottom half of a chalet style home. It was clean, modern, and had a great kitchen!!!

The first night we just snacked on cheeses and crackers, olives, and wine… I think I was meant to live in Italy!!

The next morning I made omelets, and we debated what we were going to do for the day since it had rained the night before, and Glenn was actually sick before we left. He had a sore throat and a terrible cough that kept him up for a couple of nights.

But the sun came out and we picked two places that had been recommended to us. The drive was over an hour through some beautiful country. There were lots of farms, rolling hills, and……..tourists.

Our first stop was at Waupoos Estates Wineries. We strolled around the grounds and checked out the grapes. This winery is along the banks of Lake Ontario and though it was quite windy when we were there, the setting is beautiful as are the store and the restaurant. They host weddings and events, and it would be a beautiful spot for a celebration.

The main entrance
Tasting room and store
Party tent for events and the restaurant.
Rows and rows….
There’s my red wine hanging right there….. 🙂

We then went down the road a bit further and found an artisan cheese shop. Along with regular dairy cheeses, they also sold cheese made from goats milk and water buffalo. They don’t keep the animals there, but buy the milk from other producers/farms.

Lots of cheese samples as well as cured meats available
Even the cheese store grows grapes!
So……..a drinking fountain right beside the port-a-potty. Yeah, definitely not!

We then visited the second place on our list…..County Cider Company. Unfortunately, the restaurant was packed and Glenn didn’t feel up to braving the crowds for a tasting. So we just got to take a couple pics and leave.

The restaurant with a patio behind that overlooks rows of grapes and the lake… There are better pictures on their website www.countycider.com

So that was the end of our excursion. We took a different route back to our Airbnb along Hwy 33 and we were surprised at how many other wineries we passed along the way, including Sandbanks which looked huge!

Should we do this again……and we will, I would pay the money for a guided winery tour. You are picked up and chauffeured to four or five different places and can enjoy tastings without worrying about having to drive. I’m sure the drivers would be quite informative and we would get a better overview of the area and all that there is to see.

We picked up some fresh veggies on the way back and I got to make a seafood dish for our dinner and we enjoyed the best white wine I’ve ever had….one we got at the Waupoos winery.

More pics and a recipe coming in the next post… 🙂

Gut health – Immunity and Autoimmunity

I always thought that ‘gut health’ (actually, I never really ever thought about gut health) but IF I HAD ever thought about gut health, I would have assumed that it only referred to proper digestion and elimination, and that as long as things seemed to be moving along in a relatively timely fashion, everything must be okay!

Digestion and elimination are definitely important factors, but there is a lot that seems to happen during that process….things I’m just starting to even consider.

Some of the symptoms of poor gut health, would be those that you would expect, things directly related to digestion/elimination like bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation etc.

But then there were other things that I often personally chalked up to aging; things like joint pain, muscle soreness, slowing metabolism, weight gain, poor memory, brain fog…

Apparently, and not surprisingly when you think about it, gut health significantly impacts our overall health, even systems and symptoms that aren’t obviously correlated.

I was surprised that gut health can be a contributing factor to autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, celiac, etc.

Our immunity is also supported by gut health and it seems that many of our attempts to protect ourselves from germs and bacteria, are actually lowering our natural resistance and rendering us increasingly defenceless.

Should you be concerned?

10 Signs You Have an Unhealthy Gut:

1. Digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhea

2. Food allergies or sensitivities

3. Anxiety

4. Depression

5. Mood swings, irritability

6. Skin problems like eczema, rosacea

7. Diabetes

8. Autoimmune disease

9. Frequent Infections

10. Poor memory and concentration, ADD or ADHD

There are many quizzes you can take online to determine whether or not you are experiencing a healthy gut. I would have to say, that I doubt many, if any, of us who haven’t been making intentional improvements, have a healthy, balanced digestion system. Our diets and lifestyles are our biggest enemies, and also the things we have the best opportunity to control and change.

The medical field seems to be catching on to the correlation between bacteria in our gut and autoimmune disease, and I have read articles where they are researching vaccines to destroy some of the bacteria causing problems. While this may be crucial for some, in my opinion, there are many other lifestyle and diet changes that most of us would do well to explore, especially if we are not yet experiencing serious, debilitating diseases.

So that’s where I am going…. What can I do to increase my overall health, beginning with my gut, and prevent some of the more serious consequences.

“Gut Health”…. Have you ever thought about it?

October 17 will mark one year since I began my health and wellness journey.

My primary goal at the time was to lose some weight – ideally about 100lb of it!

I am at the 55lb mark and ready to expand my focus to include some of the factors in achieving true health and wellness at a cellular/systemic level.

While weight is definitely an important component in good health, in many respects excess weight can be as much a symptom as it is a problem. Addressing underlying root causes is now my focus going forward.

‘Gut health’ is increasingly becoming widely recognized as being a key factor in establishing overall health, including in areas such as our immune system, inflammatory conditions, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, mental health, and even cancer.

While for many years the digestive system was considered to be quite simple, advancing research and testing capabilities are showing that it is actually quite a complex system, and significantly, maybe even solely, affected by lifestyle choices, factors, and environments.

I’m going to blog about the things I learn going forward; partly because I want to pass on the information I consider to be significant, and partly because it helps me to solidify the facts and details in my mind.

Don’t expect a lot of technical jargon though, I’ve tried reading actual medical research reports, and I understand Japanese better – at least I know what ‘sushi’ means.

You are responsible to do your own research if you feel that this is something you need to look at. I will try to share the information sources I have found helpful, so you can read in entirety and make your own discoveries.

Please be aware, even though some of the sources I may list, sell products and programs etc., I am not personally promoting the products or the brands, and have no financial interest involved.

I hope you find some of this interesting and helpful, and I would love to hear your thoughts as well.

Yet, here you are…..

Life often holds unexpected, unforeseen, and definitely unwelcome surprises.

The specific circumstances can be varied. Sometimes it is bad news, like a job loss, or a diagnosis, or the death of a family member or friend.

Our relationships can be difficult, maybe even fraught with unwelcome pain and heartache. In fact, just about any meaningful relationship, usually involves some times of discord or conflict.

You have been put in a position or situation you never wanted to be in.

Yet, here you are…

So what to do when these unwelcome events transpire?

For me, my bottom line is that I am not in this by myself, and there is Someone bigger than me that is going every step of the way through this, right along with me.

No matter how hard it gets, I have learned that as unwelcome as these difficult times can be, some of my greatest lessons, some of the deepest work in me as a person, and some of my greatest courage and strength, have come out of these difficult and painful times.

To say that I have felt overwhelmed by life some days, is an epic understatement, and I think you know what I mean. You don’t have to have lived very long before you are flooded with thoughts like:

  • This is hopeless…
  • I can’t do this…
  • This is too big…
  • This is too much…
  • I’m not going to make it…

We may want to run, we may want to isolate, we may even want to medicate but we all know, that though those coping methods may help in the moment, they do not provide solutions, and often only create bigger problems.

I don’t know how you will deal with whatever circumstance you find yourself in. Can you just hear though, that no matter how dark it seems, there is hope, there is light, there is healing, there is breakthrough…..if you just don’t give up.

Don’t overlook or underestimate the fact that in spite of everything

Yet, here you are!

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18