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The Official Blog of The GEM.

Diamonds on your inside. That’s what we want. Don’t you? This blog is a place to visit for guidance, humor and wit about healthy, happy lives. We only have one life. Make it count!

Don’t Dig On Swine…part 1.

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Pork+Meat Glue+Cult following=McRib

Now you know the equation. But do you know what the hell ‘McRib’ is?

If you knew, you might think twice about bee-lining it to the drive thru to get you some piggie love. First off, it includes “restructured meat product” and a flour-bleaching agent used to make the soles of shoes. Delectable? You ready for this?

How many ingredients does it take to make a McRib? Holy Cow! Er, Pig.

At first glance, the sandwich contains just pork, onions, and pickles doused in BBQ sauce and laid out on a harmless bun. But the truth is, there are roughly 70 ingredients. The bun alone contains 34.  In addition to chemicals like ammonium sulfate and polysorbate 80, the most frightening may be azodicarbonamide — “a flour-bleaching agent most commonly used in the manufacturing of foamed plastics like gym mats and the soles of shoes.” According to McDonald’s own ingredient list the bun also includes calcium sulfate and ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, among other chemicals. Whaa? I’ve never seen those ingredients in my recipe books AND they are banned in Europe.

You know what they make those things out of, Chet? You know? Lips and assholes! (The Great Outdoors,1988) Or, as it’s called, this “restructured meat product” includes pig bits like tripe, heart, and scalded stomach, says Whet Moser at Chicago Magazine. (Scalded stomach???) These parts are cooked and blended with salt and water to extract proteins, which act as a “glue” that helps bind the reshaped meat together. (There’s that famous meat glue again!)

Is it really that bad for you? Need you ask? Though “slightly trimmer than the Big Mac,” the McRib, still packs in 500 calories and 26 grams of fat. And despite its name, one thing you won’t find inside a McRib is bones. The absence of any detectable “rib” is what gives the unnutritious mush its “quirky sense of humor,” says McDonald’s U.S. marketing director.

Is that really humorous?


The Year of YOU.

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“…and that’s when I get to wondering, what would happen if I told her she something good, ever day?” Abilene, the Southern nanny, wonders about the little girl she cares for in Kathryn Stockett‘s, The Help.

So everyday she tells the little girl, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” We may not have a nanny named Aibilene that tells us this everyday, but why can’t you be your own advocate? Your own self-esteem booster. Your own best friend.

Here’s the plan. I DARE YOU to try it this new year.

Find a mantra and believe it.  Tell yourself everyday that you are kind, that you are smart, that you are important.  Settle for nothing less.

You will need to do a few other exercises to enhance this. You owe it to you.

1. Get up 10 minutes earlier and WRITE down 3 things that you are grateful for. That you feel blessed about. FIND IT>

2. Before you go to bed at night, write down 3 things that were GOOD about the day. Big, small, whatever. Just find 3 positives.

3. Tell someone they are special to you. Ask a friend to lunch, make a visit to someone in need.

4. Take time for your self-to affirm your importance. One hour each week, just for you. Accept nothing less.

You may find yourself rolling into the next year with fresh perspectives and a stronger view of yourself within. It benefits everyone when they have a stronger, more confident you. What do you have to lose??

Here’s to a kinder, smarter, more important 2012.


It’s The Sound of Sunshine Coming Down.

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Holiday breakfasts for girlfriends, cocktails only parties for adults, Christmas Eve dinners, Christmas brunch and dinner. Any excuse for a party, I am in. I LOVE IT. Why in the world?? a couple of my (non-entertaining) friends ask. Because I love having happy friends around–to share laughter and hope. It’s the sound of sunshine. Sounds sappy, but I’m convinced you can hear it.

The New Year is certain to bring lots of noisy sunshine for me. I have an announcement. In order to spread more sparkled rays, I plan to open a gathering place so everyone can enjoy each other. My jewel of a friend and I will open THE GEM, a place to glow for juice, tea, smoothies and happy. Stay tuned for more. It’s gonna be FUNNN!

Listen for it. Look for it. Find it in everything you do.

The Sound Of Sunshine…hear it


Color Me Badd

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Families that eat together, stay together.

Tis the season to hop up the kids on candy, iced cookies, and brightly colored punch. Quick trips to the McD’s drive thru. Beware.  I am learning more and more about the negative effects of processed food on our children.  Like serious ones. Ones that we are currently treating with medications. ADHD, depression, anxiety, aggression, even poor hand writing (yes, hand writing. I will ‘write’ about that one soon.)

New research has found that delayed food sensitivities caused attention deficit disorder and removing these food sensitivities could reverse attention deficit disorder in 75 percent of children.HOLY COW. Aggression, violence and bullying are on the rise in schools. A study in England found that supplementing prisoners with multi-vitamin and fish oil could reduce violent crime in prisons by 37 percent.

But I can’t deprive my kids of the fun stuff…..WAAAAAA. Stop whining.  Did you really just say that?

Small changes can have a big impact on your family’s and your children’s health and happiness. Starting with what you bring home.

  • Eat at home and Eat together.  You complain of not having enough time to cook, but you spend hours watching The Food Network. Create a special place to sit down together, and set the table with care. You’ve all heard the research that family meals are basically the cure for every problem in America.Well, just try it and see.  At the very least, you have a chance to find out what your children are up to.  Taking back our family dinners will help us learn how to find and prepare real food quickly and simply, teach our children how to connect, and build security, safety, and social skills, meal after meal, day after day.
  • Eat a real breakfast. This is a critical life skill we must reclaim and teach our children. Kids (and adults) who eat breakfast are thinner and smarter. Think REAL, whole protein-rich food to power up the brain for the day. Scrambled eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies. BUT NOT CEREAL, which has more sugar than a twinkie–and has essentially no nutritional value.
  • CLEAN your kitchen. Throw out foods with ARTIFICIAL FOOD COLORS, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, and sugars or fat as the first or second ingredient on the label. Fill your kitchen with real, fresh, whole, local foods whenever possible. Shop at nearby farmer’s markets.Have fresh fruit and veggies always available for your kids to snack on.
  • Take your vitamins.  A multi-vitamin and  Omega-3 Fish Oils are a MUST. Our kids have different needs at different times and supplements can fill some of these gaps. Deficits in magnesium can cause insomnia and constipation.  DHA deficits cause diminished brain function and inflammation.
  • JUST STAY AWAY FROM ARTIFICIAL FOOD COLORINGS. 

PEACE.


Is a Goal a Verb?

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One of my very favorite movies is Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts.  In the opening and closing scenes there is a crazy guy walking down the street yelling, “Everybody’s got a dream.  What’s your dream, baby?” Pretty Woman is a modern day Cinderella-style story. Julia’s character, for the most part, ‘falls into’ the fairy tale ending. What luck.  She really didn’t have a plan.  And while she had some sense of a moral compass, the career in prostitution seemed to dilute it’s nobility. Hey.  Wake up. Dreams are for sleeping. Goals are for winning.

In the real world, dreams don’t come to reality without hard work and a plan. Do you have a goal for yourself? For your family? For your career? A goal without a plan is just a dream. Write down your goals. List a first step to achieve that goal. Then add another. Hold yourself accountable, with tangible results and deadlines. Give yourself a real punishment if you don’t accomplish your goal. Punishments such as no chocolate for a year, donations to organizations you dislike, no more shoe shopping–they seem to have profound effects on the bottom-line results of your success.

Draw out your path. It is the ONLY WAY to arrive where you want to go.


Fat Thursday

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No more dry, creepy giant birds and casseroles made with ritz crackers and cream of mushroom soup for Thanksgiving.  For the first time ever, we are going Italian.  Homemade lasagna, chicken marsala, sauteed spinach, mozzerella! angel hair pasta, garlic bread, Prosecco, gelato.  The works!  Some say, ‘What a travesty! Thanksgiving is about turkey and green bean casserole.  Sweet potatoes, marshmallows and 3 lb pumpkin pies.  That is the tradition.’  I say, ‘Hell no!’ Thanksgiving has nothing to do with that 20 pound bird.

What it IS about is…stuffing your face with great food, laughing with long-time friends and family, drinking too many bloody marys in the comfort of people who love you.  The most important thing on Thursday is to STOP AND GIVE THANKS.  Thanks for your health, for your happiness, for your opportunities to make a difference. We all have incredible wealth–that manifests itself in so many ways.  A family that loves you, a family you love (usually).

This Thanksgiving, tell someone who won’t expect it that you are grateful for them in your life. Hug your kids just a little longer. Make the day a little more special. Light a candle for someone you miss. Make your guest tell something big or small that makes them smile. I promise everyone will be better for it.  Cheers to all of you!


More Awesome!

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Remember my earlier post about The Book of Awesome?  I can’t get it out of my thoughts.  So I thought I should share a few more AWESOMES:

Fluff.  With chocolate nut butter.  On a spoon. Too awesome for words.

Hot pink, green and aqua Christmas decorations.  Glitter. Awesome!

Walking onto the Survivor’s Circle stage at the Komen 3Day Walk closing ceremony.  Awesome.

Impromptu girl gatherings in my kitchen for juice and laughs.  The idea of starting a happy place called The Gem, super awesome. (More about that in the coming weeks).Overhearing 4 women talk about my tacky holiday decorations–and then rising above the front porch chair to wave at them–then seeing the looks on their faces…..Awesome!

Dental Floss.  Fluffy socks. Jeans that button easily. 7 minute frosting. Sonic Ice. Awesome!

The disco ball in my dining room.  Awesome.  The new quartz chandelier that replaced it after a year and a half, awesome.

Having happy, healthy friends & family…AWESOME.

What’s awesome for you today?  Live it, love it.

 


Inspire someone. Influence. Motivate. Can you do it?

The Komen 3 Day/60 mile Walk this past weekend brought out many inspiring people. Many were walking because they really wanted to show support for a loved one who was battling this disease. Some walked to honor those who had lost their lives to kancer. Some were ‘Survivors.’ They all felt inspired to make a statement of 60 miles and raised over $7million to prove it. Some of these people had NO business walking 60 miles. Too heavy, too old, too weak. And yet they did it.

One woman in particular stood with me in the Survivor’s Circle in the opening and closing ceremony. Rinni obviously represented some aspect of inspiration to be on stage. She carried the flag of COURAGE. This forty-something woman looked like she was finishing up a chemo regimen. That’s a scary battle that takes courage–one that every woman on that stage had experienced. As we rehearsed the day before the Walk, I learned this was far more that just a round of chemo. This marked the end of her THIRD recurrence. While training for this walk, Rinni’s kancer returned with a vengeance to her brain and liver. Her doctors insisted she drop out. Her teammates, her fabulous friends, however, refused to let her fade into the woodwork. They insisted she take this small yet powerful journey with them. They pimped out a wheel chair in hot pink sparkles and wings and PUSHED HER FOR SIXTY MILES. She had the COURAGE to stay in the game and face this kancer with her head up to be the true inspiration for all of us. She has children. She could have easily stayed home and focused on herself and her family for the rest of her limited days. I must say most of us would shrink into the darkness of fear of stage four kancer. She wasn’t about to. She chose to be out in front, to show others how to live in the face of something so scary. AMAZING. Her flag, no doubt, was the definition of INSPIRATION.

See pathetic photo of me below. Mile 58 of the 3 Day Komen Walk. Not a pretty sight. And definitely not inspiring. Who would take notice if I dropped out? I could easily hitch a ride home and call it a crazy weekend. It wasn’t a race, there were no prizes, I had nothing to gain, really. Nor did the thousands of women out there with me. Thank God I had teammates who motivated me to keep going, that I had a flag to carry,that Rinni was now a part of my psyche, that it mattered.

Sometimes you want to quit. Sometimes you think no one will care anyway. It’s too hard. It’s too much to handle. Well, I call bullshit. Get up, get moving and make a difference. Believe it or not, you will inspire someone else to do the same. You may never even know it. It may seem others have it easier. More than likely, they don’t. They are pushing through their challenges, never giving up. So do something, do anything, that matters.

Sunny D(isgusting)

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Sunny Delight–Sunshine in a Bottle they say. It has been marketed to us kids since the seventies. Today it is all over kid programming–offering a refreshing, healthy beverage. Seemingly happy kids bouncing around in the sunshine, playing, laughing, unwittingly consuming crap. They serve it in schools, they serve it in Lunchables (that’s another post).  It all seems benign.

Take a moment. What do you think are the ingredients in that seemingly harmless orange bottle? My first guess was water, orange juice and obviously sugar. Well, that is partly correct. Real orange juice comprises less than 2% of this concoction. Get out your dictionary and call your doctor. You are poisoning your children. I have bolded the dangerous ingredients.

Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup and 2% or Less of Each of the Following: Concentrated Juices (Orange, Tangerine, Apple, Lime, Grapefruit). Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Beta-Carotene, Thiamin Hydrochloride, Natural Flavors, Food Starch-Modified, Canola Oil, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Sodium Benzoate To Protect Flavor, Yellow #5, Yellow #6

In addition to the HFCS which is linked to obesity and insulin issues, there is CANOLA OIL in your juice.  Say what? WHY is there equal parts of juice as there is inflammatory building, artery blocking CANOLA OIL? If that oil wasn’t enough, they’ve added artificial coloring–which is made from petroleum.  Do I need to explain why petroleum is harmful to consume? I won’t even go into the sodium hexametaphosphate, mainly because I can’t even spell it much less know what it does.  Oh, and why does juice needstarch?

Our lives are busy.  We know that.  But don’t err on the side of processed convenience if the label screams UNHEALTHY.  Don’t allow your children to control the choices at home.  When you explain WHY, they usually get the message.  They don’t want to consume poison either.  If you educate your children on these hidden dangers, they will eventually make better choices for themselves–even when you aren’t around.


GMO. OMG! WTH?

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GMO.  A genetically modified organism.  Sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie.  Not something you are eating everyday. GMOs are foods that have been genetically altered using another organism’s genes to obtain certain desired traits.  Peanut genes in a strawberry? Why do you care?

Allergies. Many children in the US and Europe have developed life-threatening allergies to peanuts and other foods.  Soon after GM soy was introduced to the UK, soy allergies skyrocketed by 50 percent. GM soy contains a protein that was never before part of the human food supply, and might be allergenic. In fact, sections of that protein are identical to those found in shrimp and dust mite allergens. Tasty.

Development. Children are three to four times more susceptible to allergies. Also, they convert more of the food into body-building material. Altered nutrients or added toxins can result in developmental problems.  Isn’t it suspicious the developmental delays that are so prevalent these days??

Unknown Disease. Monsanto, the corporation responsible for producing roughly 90% of genetically modified seeds around the globe, will try to bring their new, GMO sweet corn to a grocery store aisle or farmer’s market near you. These are seeds that are resistant to pests–it causes organ failure in mammals. While we are a bit stronger than a rat…I deem that frightening. 

This is the first time an engineered vegetable could be served straight to your dinner table. Usually they are hidden in the ingredients of packaged foods (high fructose corn syrup, all soy items).

Since GMOs tolerate Roundup (that kills any living thing around it), these new GMOs could pass the same health and infertility problems that are linked between Roundup to crop disease and livestock infertility, on to humans who consume this GMO corn.

What do you do?

Eat organic. Limit packaged crap. Eat whole. Grow your own heirloom seeds. Know where your food comes from. Know that Monsanto is the devil.

Happy Halloween.