Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wagner Cereal

Most days we have the same thing for second breakfast (our first breakfast is fresh veggie/fruit juice, or a smoothie), and I think I'll just call it Wagner Cereal. And I'll tell you, this sure fills me up. 
It is protein packed and fiber full!
You can modify it to change things up a bit by adding different fruits to it.
The Walnuts and Flaxseed are the only 2 EXCELLENT sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Flaxseed has twice as much as Salmon, and Walnuts have 50% more. 

"What are the functions of omega-3 fatty acids?
Every cell in our body is surrounded by a cell membrane composed mainly of fatty acids. The cell membrane allows the proper amounts of necessary nutrients to enter the cell, and ensures that waste products are quickly removed from the cell.Promoting Healthy Cell Membranes To perform these functions optimally, however, the cell membrane must maintain its integrity and fluidity. Cells without a healthy membrane lose their ability to hold water and vital nutrients. They also lose their ability to communicate with other cells. Researchers believe that loss of cell to cell communication is one of the physiological events that leads to growth of cancerous tumors.
Because cell membranes are made up of fat, the integrity and fluidity of our cell membranes is determined in large part by the type of fat we eat. Remember that saturated fats are solid at room temperature, while omega-3 fats are liquid at room temperature. Researchers believe that diets containing large amounts of saturated or hydrogenated fats produce cell membranes that are hard and lack fluidity. On the other hand, diets rich in omega-3 fats produce cell membranes with a high degree of fluidity."

"What can high-omega-3 foods do for you?

  • Reduce inflammation throughout your body
  • Keep your blood from clotting excessively
  • Maintain the fluidity of your cell membranes
  • lower the amount of lipids (fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides) circulating in the bloodstream
  • decrease platelet aggregation, preventing excessive blood clotting
  • inhibit thickening of the arteries by decreasing endothelial cells' production of a platelet-derived growth factor (the lining of the arteries is composed of endothelial cells)
  • increase the activity of another chemical derived from endothelial cells (endothelium-derived nitric oxide), which causes arteries to relax and dilate
  • reduce the production of messenger chemicals called cytokines, which are involved in the inflammatory response associated with atherosclerosis
  • reduce the risk of becoming obese and improve the body's ability to respond to insulin by stimulating the secretion of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate food intake, body weight and metabolism, and is expressed primarily by adipocytes (fat cells)
  • help prevent cancer cell growth" - Check out this website to read more, and it has a list of 24 peer reviewed medical research sources for all this info!

So don't skip the ground flax seed and raw walnuts.

And Almond Milk has 50% more calcium than cow's milk. Pretty cool!

I was also surprised that I could eat uncooked oats, but then I realized that I've eaten them before in no-bake cookies, and they're just fine! And they certainly contribute to the fiber in this breakfast. I am sure that eating this every day for breakfast is definitely contributing to my digestive health! 
Wagner Cereal:
- 1 Tb ground flax seed (Wholefoods bulk section)
  (Costco or any grocery store has it too)
- 1/4 c. raw chopped walnuts (Costco)
- 1/4 c. Grape Nuts cereal (Costco)
- 1/2 c. plain Shredded Wheat (Walmart)
- 1/3 c. regular rolled oats (LDS Cannery or Costco)
- 1/8-1/4 c. raisins or even craisins(Costco)
- 1 Tb raw shelled sunflower seeds (Wholefoods bulk section)
When you're ready to eat, add:
- 1 c. soy or almond milk (Costco)
- half a banana(or a whole if you are really hungry!) Cut it down the center twice and then into chunks to get a piece in every bite
Optional Additions:
- 1 tsp. agave, pure maple syrup or honey to sweeten (Costco)
- 1 Tb unsweetened coconut (Wholefoods bulk section)
- any fresh or frozen thawed fruit - we love to add berries! or peaches!

Gather a whole bunch of tupperware containers and make a week's worth at a time. Then all you have to do in the morning is open it up, cut your banana, pour your milk and enjoy!

And thanks for all the positive feedback! I love comments, and they motivate me to keep posting!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day!

Picture from
Today is Earth Day. What does this mean? I have never 'celebrated' Earth Day before. I haven't really ever noticed it before, but today I did. My husband jokingly asked me, when I told him it was Earth Day, "Isn't that a holiday for hippies?" He always tries to push my buttons by making references to hippies and 'going off the grid' sometimes when I mention things that are environmentally friendly and a more natural way of living. But, if caring about the Earth, this planet, this home that God has made for us to live on, enjoy and care for, if that makes me a hippie, then so be it.

I am thankful for this Earth, and I want to do my part to take care of it. A healthier Earth means healthier people! Right now, I feel we are doing what we can do to help make the Earth a nice place to live. And sometimes things fluctuate and flow in and out of the priority list. I don't think everyone can or should do everything we do. I feel in some cases that it is just not possible. I do think we could all do something though, and some things are easy. One little thing done by each person will make a difference.

Here are some things that I am excited about that we are doing. Seriously, I'm excited, and Seth usually just laughs at how much I love it, but that makes it all the more fun, and I am so thankful that he does these things along with me. Under our counter we have 3 small waste bins (one is actually made of a cardboard soymilk box) One for compost, one for recycling and one for compost - I love to see what we can use for compost to help our garden grow or that can be recycled into something new instead of adding to a landfill.

Here are some more ideas of things that you could try to make the Earth healthier:

  • Compost
  • Recycle
  • Reuse paper that has a blank side as scratch paper
  • Shred non-glossy paper and newspaper and use that for compost
  • Buy food items in bulk so there is less packaging
  • Turn lights of in your house that you aren't using
  • Turn the water off while you brush your teeth or soap up in the shower
  • Keep your house 1 degree cooler in the winter, and 1 degree warmer in the summer
  • Cloth napkins and rags instead of paper products (just throw them in with the wash when you do laundry)
  • Walk or bike to nearby destinations instead of driving
  • Eat one meal a week with no meat or dairy products (or eat less than you normally would.) The meat and dairy industry contributes 18% of the world's pollution. The transportation industry contributes only 15%. I was shocked when I learned that!
  • Buy something organically and or locally grown
Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 19, 2013

"ChickenPea" Salad Wraps

Chicken Salad Sandwiches is an American staple. Something you can always turn to when you're hosting a get together, or on a hot summer's day. So I really wanted to make over this wonderful dish in a colorful healthful way. Chickpeas (or Garbanzo Beans, but Chickpeas sounds like so much more fun!) are my favorite bean. Yes, I love them, and I do think they are the most like chicken, and I think I even like them now more than chicken, believe it or not. I don't want to boast, but I just have to be honest, this dish is AMAZING! A winner on the first try. It will definitely be a staple in the Wagner household from here on out :)

"ChickenPea" Salad Wraps

- 2 14oz. cans chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
- 1 granny smith apple - or any apple (finely diced)
- 1.5 c. carrots (finely diced)
- 3 stalks celery (finely diced)
- 1/8 c. onion (finely diced)
- 1-2 avocados (diced)
- 2/3 c. craisins (or halved grapes)
- 1 Tb. spicy brown mustard
- 2-3 Tb. lime or lemon juice
- 1/4 c. Veganaise (or light mayonaise)
- 1/4 tsp. dried dill
- 1/4 tsp. dried basil
- 2 heads romaine lettuce
- 1/3 c. chopped dill pickles (optional)
- tomato (optional)
- chopped pecans (or your favorite nut)(optional)
1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl(except lettuce, tomato and nuts). 
2. Chill for 30 min. if desired (or if you can wait that long!)
3. Serve in large leaves of Romaine lettuce; garnish with tomato and nuts if desired)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Progress Update - Digestive Health and Clearer Skin!

Well, it's only been a couple months since we started all this, and I'm already seeing improvement in some areas!
Since I've cut out dairy and meat, my digestion has really improved! I'm having a lot less trouble digesting my food, and I just feel better after I eat. Before, after I ate, I often felt great discomfort, and even pain, and suffered terrible consequences. It's amazing it took me this long to be willing to change! But I am so glad I am now. I did eat meat this week, a couple times actually, and each time, my digestion regressed to a state similar to my former condition, and I did not like it. I don't want to feel that way anymore. No thank you. I don't miss eating meat or even dairy. That is a shocker. But, thanks to avocados, I am very happy with my current food choices, and I've been pleasantly surprised that my tastes can change. People can change what they like! I've gotten used to feeling better, and I want to keep feeling better and better, and the food that makes that possible is tasting good to me. Really good!

My digestion isn't perfect of course, but I am almost positive as to what causes the problems I still encounter occasionally: stress and lack of sleep. Yes, these are the culprits. Sometimes they are under my control, and sometimes they are not. I am doing what I can to help lessen these problems, but I have a long way to go. It is good that I know what I need to help myself, and I have a goal to work toward. I could basically guarantee myself excellent digestion if I:
- drink my veggie/fruit juice when I wake up
- practice yoga in the morning (and hopefully another time during the day to help lessen stress and slow down)
- eat my big bowl of cereal (which includes plain shredded wheat, rolled oats, grape nuts, ground flax seed, raw walnuts, raisins, banana and almond or soy milk)
- have a nutritious, plant centered lunch with whole grains
- drink a big fruit smoothie (with frozen fruit, water, ground flax seed, and raw kale or spinach
- eat a dinner centered on veggies, beans and whole grains
- eat at least one large green salad
- not over work myself
- get a good nights sleep from 10pm-6am
Yes, this is the absolute ideal for me. I am sure of it, and all of this happens maybe once or twice a week, but it is what I have to strive for, and if I do even half of these things each day, my digestion is still pretty good, so hooray for that!

I've also noticed that when I eat processed oils with my food (any kind, obviously, I haven't been eating dairy kinds, but olive or canola oil, or any expeller pressed processed oil products such as veganaise (vegan substitute for mayonaisse), or tofutti better than cream cheese, I don't feel as well for one, and my skin is not as clear. When I don't eat those things, my skin is much clearer. I wish I had known this as a teenager! But at  least I know now.
And I would just like to say thank you to all of you have shown me support in my journey and are hopeful for my success. I have been deeply touched by people's desire for me to gain good health, and for the many people who want to learn more and hope that I will post recipes and instructions about how to do this.
Sometimes I even feel a little overwhelmed by it. I truly want to tell everyone about all the recipes I'm trying and inventing, so they can try them too, and sometimes I can find the time to post a recipe or two. But, I am finding that as a wife and mother, with a part time job on top of that, who is trying to learn how to do this herself just doesn't have the extra time to spend working on her blog as much as she would like to.
So, please accept my apology for being very slow to post my recipes. It takes quite a bit of time to invent them and carry them out, and critique and try them again. I aspire to write a cook book someday, even if it is just for my own family. That is a dream that I have. But you can't write a cook book in a day, I'm guessing it will take me years. But the important thing is to enjoy the journey.
And while you are waiting for me to post, and if you are really serious about wanting to make healthful eating choices and change your life, you can do it! I believe in you. If you really want it, you can do it. Search for those resources. I have posted on the side of my blog, links to movies and cookbooks that have really helped me on my way.
If you are interested in what I am doing, check them out, and they can give you way more ideas than I can! They are the experts, and I am just starting out as a beginner, so they can really give you the guidance you are looking for. I would especially recommend "Forks Over Knives" the movie, the extended interviews, and the cook book. That is solely focused on eating for health. And I wish you all the best in your own journey and hope with all my heart that I can be a good example and help inspire and empower people to discover improved health :)