Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Stung by a Scorpion

Each year we make it a point to travel up to our favorite spot in the mountains. Some times we even get up there twice in one year. We decided to plan a our trip during the week that we normally attend the Homeschooling Conference. This year I just didn't feel the need to go to the conference and preferred a relaxing week in the mountains instead.
This is the new cabin we chose. It is in the same area that we always go but we wanted to try staying at a different cabin for some variety.

The cabin was lovely and we loved the property. Our views were stunning.

 Almost every night we enjoyed a blazing camp fire and even some glutenfree, vegan smores.
We even could go on hikes right down the hill of the property we were renting. The kids had a blast exploring all that nature has to offer.

We did many other fun things with the children to enjoy our time together. We took some of them horseback riding and the rest of us enjoyed following along in a covered wagon.

We even went on a train ride. It was very relaxing and beautiful.

I enjoyed many a raw meals enjoying the fantastic views from this deck.
When we travel my go to quick raw meal is melon!! Just slice it open and eat.

And of course each morning began with a killer green smoothie/green soup. I always pack a high speed blender!!
Our oldest son enjoyed time alone with Dad while having a blast on the water. This is their second time Whitewater Rafting.

 They are the two at the front of the boat in this picture.
So there was just one snag in all of this amazing fun. Scorpions!!!! The new cabin we rented was filled with them. They were the small, brown, North Carolina scorpions(found out the name later after I was stung). I was the one to discover them just moments after we arrived at the cabin. I was checking out all of the rooms figuring out the sleeping arrangements and scoping the area to make sure there wasn't anything that needed to be "childproofed". Then I decided to poke my head into the shower of one of the bathrooms and that is when I saw two scorpions scoot across the tub. Of course I screamed at the top of my lungs and hubby came running. He quickly smacked them with something and that was that.....or so we thought. To make a long story short, we ended up killing 10 of these scorpions. And they were not just in the cabin but outside as well crawling around in the rocks; everywhere.
I was a wreck. So nervous that one of the children was going to get stung. I kept praying and praying that it would not happen. On night 3 of our stay I was finally able to sleep. The first two nights I was so afraid I got up every half hour and checked in on the kids to make sure no scorpions were lurking about in the bedrooms. Well, it was that night that I got stung. I was unaware of it until I woke up in the morning and saw two strange holes in my leg. Hubby just assumed it was a nasty spider bite, we never even thought it could be scorpion stings....duh!!!
When they proceeded to get worse I did some snooping on the internet and saw pictures of these Brown Scorpion stings online that looked identical to mine. But I quickly learned that I was lucky to have only gotten hit 2 times, others had as many as 10 or more stings from a single scorpion. The kids joked about it saying that we at least know they are not the deadly type cause mom was still alive. Ha, ha, ha. I may have been alive but boy was I in pain!! Just when I thought it may be getting better it quickly turned ugly again.

See those lines coming off of it? That is the infection tracking up my leg. At this point I started to apply wheatgrass poultices. Everything drained out and I was on the path to healing.

Here it was towards the end of the whole ordeal, this was 3 weeks after I got stung. Nasty still but getting better. No I never went to any doctor, I felt there was no need. I just kept it as clean as possible and found the most relief when applying the poultice I made out of wheat grass pulp. I am left with scars from the stings, they are a light brown and seem to be fading as time goes by.
All in all we had an amazing time on our trip but I can assure you we will NEVER rent that cabin again! I never will forget the view though and the peacefulness I experienced as I sat out on the porch all by myself in the early morning hours.

+JMJ+ Today I am grateful that the little bugger that stung me was not the deadly type! And I am most thankful that none of the children got stung. It is a totally different story if children get stung...then it is a must to get medical treatment.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Strawberry Banana Chia Pudding

I really enjoy using chia seeds in the morning green smoothie but I also really enjoy creating many different chia pudding recipes. I have been focusing on berries the past few months. We all know the health benefits of eating berries daily and here is another way to incorporate them into a healthful lifestyle.
Check out how Dr. Fuhrman feels about this wonderful fruit with medical research to back up the claims(I've posted his article before):

Berries and their Flavonoids Protect the Heart

Berries are one of my super foods — the second B in G-BOMBS — rich in fiber and phytochemicals and low in calories, giving them the highest Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) scores of all fruits. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries are vibrantly colored with antioxidant phytochemicals, and they are some of the highest antioxidant foods in existence. The deep red, blue and purple pigments of berries are produced by flavonoid antioxidant molecules called anthocyanins, which are concentrated in the skins of the fruits.1 Flavonoids, including anthocyanins, are not merely antioxidants; they are thought to have a number of additional beneficial effects in the body that are unrelated to their antioxidant capacity. As such, several studies have shown that high flavonoid intake is associated with considerable risk reductions (up to 45%) for coronary heart disease.2-5
Recent research highlights the cardioprotective properties of berries
A 2011 study investigated berry consumption in relation to risk for elevated blood pressure. Compared to eating no blueberries, just one serving per week decreased the risk of hypertension by 10%.6,7 New findings published in January 2013 from the Nurses’ Health Study support these results with data in younger women (age 25-42 at the start) who were followed for 18 years. In these women, three or more weekly servings of blueberries or strawberries was linked to a 34% reduced risk of heart attack compared to lower intake of berries.8

How do berries and their colorful anthocyanins protect the heart and blood vessels?
Studies using berries or berry phytochemicals in human participants or on human cells have uncovered some of the possible protective actions of berries on the cardiovascular system. Berry flavonoids seem to act in several different ways to maintain heart health. In human subjects, researchers found that berries mitigated oxidative stress, decreased oxidation of LDL (which helps to prevent the production of atherosclerotic plaque), increased blood antioxidant capacity, and in some cases improved lipid levels, blood pressure or blood glucose. Higher anthocyanin and berry intake is associated with reduced C-reactive protein (CRP), suggesting that berries may curb inflammation; additional studies have confirmed that berries have anti-inflammatory properties. Berry phytochemicals also may enhance nitric oxide production in the blood vessels, which helps to properly regulate blood pressure.1,9-12

Why not amplify these benefits by eating berries every day?
If observational studies showed a 10% decrease in hypertension risk for one serving of blueberries per week, and a 34% reduced risk of heart attack from 3 servings of berries per week, imagine the protection that is possible when you eat berries every day! Even during winter, we can get our daily dose of anthocyanins from frozen berries. Also remember that in addition to promoting heart health, berries also have anti-cancer effects and provide protection against diabetes and dementia.13-16

1. Erdman JW, Jr., Balentine D, Arab L, et al: Flavonoids and heart health: proceedings of the ILSI North America Flavonoids Workshop, May 31-June 1, 2005, Washington, DC. The Journal of nutrition 2007, 137:718S-737S.
2. Huxley RR, Neil HA: The relation between dietary flavonol intake and coronary heart disease mortality: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Eur J Clin Nutr 2003, 57:904-908.
3. Knekt P, Kumpulainen J, Jarvinen R, et al: Flavonoid intake and risk of chronic diseases. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2002, 76:560-568.
4. Mursu J, Voutilainen S, Nurmi T, et al: Flavonoid intake and the risk of ischaemic stroke and CVD mortality in middle-aged Finnish men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. The British journal of nutrition 2008, 100:890-895.
5. Mink PJ, Scrafford CG, Barraj LM, et al: Flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease mortality: a prospective study in postmenopausal women. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2007, 85:895-909.
6. Cassidy A, O'Reilly EJ, Kay C, et al: Habitual intake of flavonoid subclasses and incident hypertension in adults. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2011, 93:338-347.
7. Bioactive Compounds in Berries Can Reduce High Blood Pressure. In ScienceDaily; 2011.
8. Cassidy A, Mukamal KJ, Liu L, et al: High anthocyanin intake is associated with a reduced risk of myocardial infarction in young and middle-aged women. Circulation 2013, 127:188-196.
9. Galleano M, Pechanova O, Fraga CG: Hypertension, nitric oxide, oxidants, and dietary plant polyphenols. Current pharmaceutical biotechnology 2010, 11:837-848.
10. Basu A, Rhone M, Lyons TJ: Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health. Nutr Rev 2010, 68:168-177.
11. Chong MF, Macdonald R, Lovegrove JA: Fruit polyphenols and CVD risk: a review of human intervention studies. The British journal of nutrition 2010, 104 Suppl 3:S28-39.
12. Basu A, Du M, Leyva MJ, et al: Blueberries decrease cardiovascular risk factors in obese men and women with metabolic syndrome. J Nutr 2010, 140:1582-1587.
13. Stoner GD: Foodstuffs for preventing cancer: the preclinical and clinical development of berries. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2009, 2:187-194.
14. Stoner GD, Wang LS, Casto BC: Laboratory and clinical studies of cancer chemoprevention by antioxidants in berries. Carcinogenesis 2008, 29:1665-1674.
15. Wedick NM, Pan A, Cassidy A, et al: Dietary flavonoid intakes and risk of type 2 diabetes in US men and women. Am J Clin Nutr 2012, 95:925-933.
16. Devore EE, Kang JH, Breteler MM, et al: Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Ann Neurol 2012.

Here is my recipe for chia pudding. Enjoy!

Strawberry Banana Chia Pudding

by Elizabeth @

3 ripe bananas, skin must be covered with loads of brown spots!

1 T chia seeds

juice of 1 orange

tsp organic coconut nectar

Soak the chia seeds in the orange juice to which you have added and dissolved the teaspoon of coconut nectar, for about 15 minutes until it becomes gelatinous.

 Next pulse 2 of the bananas with the strawberries in a food processor.

 Continue to pulse as you add the chia and OJ mixture. Pour into a bowl and top with the remaining 1 banana. Allow to set up for about 30 minutes and enjoy!

+JMJ+ Today I am grateful that all of the school books have arrived safely and we are tackling a full school schedule now. 

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