Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Open House

All the practitioners at

Elemental Health

invite you to our

Open House

Sunday December 14

3 - 6 pm

We will offer

  • Auricular Acupuncture 30 min for $10 (profits will benefit charity)
  • Reflexology 15 min for $15
  • Chair Massage 30 minutes for $30

We will have locally produced gifts available

Join us for refreshments and conversation

A Dose of Methyl Paraben?

I delivered week two of food to my friend last night. We got to catch up. Mom looks great! I had a perfect wintery night chatting in the kitchen; a cup of tea in one hand and a three week old sleeping on my chest for a few hours. My friend and I will always discuss health, healing and wellness and other silly things. I've not had my own child, yet have a wealth of information from my stint as a nanny, as a day care teacher, and always as a friend of a new mom. She had a doozy for me this time.

First, the little guy gained a half a pound his first week. According to the pediatrician that's unheard of for an exclusively breast fed baby but other healthy friends' MDs said the same thing. Next, the doctor shared that Vitamin D is missing from breast milk. That's not exactly true. Yes, I know it is winter and I know we live in that northern area most deficient of Vitamin D. My friend does give the little one daily sun baths which definitely compensates, and thanks to his fair skin tone he needs less than 2 hours each week of sun exposure. Regardless, the pediatrician prescribed infant Vitamin D drops. Vitamin D is sort of like the missing link in the body's absorption of calcium and phosphorus. The doctors are concerned about bone and heart health. The prescription remained unfilled, but when the now 3 week old started with a few sniffles Dad picked it up from the pharmacy.

When mom looked at the ingredients, she was shocked. Should I really knowingly give my child methylparaben, polysorbate 80, sodium hydroxide, red food dye, and caramel coloring just to get a dose of Vitamin D? Am I being a negligent mom by knowingly depriving my child of a vitamin or by knowingly feeding my child synthetics? Many of my friends have chosen to postpone or abstain from all vaccinations. That is a personal educated choice. Children's immune systems are fully intact by age two. My personal choice would be to keep their systems clean and pure of synthetics at least until that age. Most of my friends have chosen to use only glass bottles, natural cloth diapers, organic pesticide-free food, and all those other good things. Here blatantly on a label for all to see are chemicals preserving and coloring a vitamin easily sourced from the sun, oily fish and fish oils and fortified milk.

First of all, red food dye and caramel coloring is apparently to appease the parents' vision and palatability because a 3 week old isn't seeing much right now. Caramel coloring is an emulsifier as is Polysorbate 80 – keeps the ingredients combined. Polysorbate 80 is a common emulsifier in cosmetics, vitamins, vaccines and even ice cream and milk products and has been proven to damage fertility. Sodium hydroxide is a pH buffer. Hello, if you didn't use synthetic ingredients you wouldn't need to buffer the medication.

Then comes the methyl paraben. I understand medicine needs preservatives but there are natural alternatives like soy lecithin and beeswax. Parabens offer an inexpensive way to increase the shelf life of products and to inhibit the growth of bacteria, molds and yeasts even though they are known to be highly toxic. Scientific studies have found that parabens have the potential to cause cancer. The estrogen activity of this ingredient has been directly linked to the development of certain cancers, including breast, prostate, ovarian, and uterine.

Health conscious folk have been lobbying for years to have laureth sulfates, parabens, and phlatates removed from personal care products. Product ingredients can be searched on cosmeticdatabase.com and the site includes a risk ranking and the effects the ingredient has on the body. Cosmetic companies have made some changes but for the most part, consumers are absorbing chemicals with every use. Unfortunately, I found no resources for medications free of synthetics.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Second Week of Food Delivery

I didn't cook for my friends last week since they were being thankful with and fed by family and friends for the holiday.

I stated at the end of the last entry what I would be cooking this time and my ideas changed some. I was watching the grey windy sky and all I wanted was roasted root vegetables and gingerbread, but since I was feeding someone else I also made some veggie burgers.

Here's what I made

Veggie Burgers

These vary depending on what I have on hand. Today I didn't have much variety of vegetables so these were protein-packed burgers.

1 cake of extra firm tofu, drained

½ cup or so of flax meal

A few shakes of sesame oil

A few tablespoons Braggs amino acids

Slivered almonds, crushed

¾ cup cooked lentils

½ medium onion, chopped

Small wedge of purple cabbage, chopped

Broccoli stalks, peeled and chopped


Salt and pepper

Brown rice flour

Cook the lentils. If you drained tofu before you've got your method. If I'm in a hurry I press the cake between paper towels or tea towels with my hands until the towels are barely damp. I mix the tofu, sesame oil and Braggs amino acids, thyme, almonds and flax meal and let it sit while I chop the veggies and sauté them in a skillet olive oil. I hand blend the sauté veggies once they've cooled and add it to the tofu mixture. Drain the lentils, mash them a bit if you like and add to the burger mix. Add salt and pepper. In a glass pie plate, I pour a handful of flour. I form into small patties and coat both sides in the flour. You can bake or pan fry them.

Roasted Root Vegetables

This rendition of roasted veggies is a little different than most I make. I wanted some sweet and tart flavor with the earthy sweet and bitter flavors of sweet potatoes and rutabagas.

Dad handed me a bag of tangerines when I departed from my family thanksgiving gathering. "Too many seeds," he grumbled. Uh, thanks? I deseeded one and squeezed the plentiful juice as well as the juice from half of a lemon into a ceramic baking dish. I added a couple dozen fresh cranberries and a dollop of brown rice syrup. I peeled and cut the 2 sweet potatoes and 1 small-verging-on-medium rutabaga into large chunks and added it to the dish. I baked at 425 until the veggies were soft and absorbed nearly all the citrus juice.


Vegan and gluten-free! As far as I am concerned my oat flour is gluten-free. Oats are gluten-free; most are packaged in plants that process wheat so if you are allergic to wheat or gluten be careful. I purchase all my flours online from Purcell Mountain Farms. The flours are organic, but since they also process wheat, the flours are not guaranteed gluten-free.

My first gingerbread was insanely moist and amazing flavorful but it was dense yet delicate and falling apart. The pumpkin puree wasn't enough of a binder. You can certainly add an egg to this or a Tbsp of flax meal or some potato flour (starch). For the second batch, I just increased the flour to 2 ½ cups total and added another tsp of baking soda. It helped.

¼ cup Earth Balance

½ cup molasses

½ cup soy creamer

¼ cup maple syrup

½ cup brown rice syrup

¾ cup pumpkin puree

1 cup oat flour

1 ½ cup sorghum (milo) flour

2 tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp total: allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon

With flame on low, I melted the Earth Balance in a saucepan, added molasses, soy creamer, maple syrup and brown rice syrup. In a large bowl, I sifted the flours, baking soda, baking powder, ground ginger, and other spices. I incorporated the liquid into the flour mixture. I mixed in about 6 oz pumpkin puree. Pour the mixture into an oiled square ceramic baking dish. Bake at 300 for 75 min.

I made another batch in a small rectangular baking dish with fresh grated ginger and I topped it with about 12 fresh cranberries and some slivered almonds. I might make it a little more Swedish next time with grapefruit rinds and lingonberries.