Saturday, January 30, 2010

Basic Cookie Recipe

Ok, so these don't look basic at all. They started as a very basic cookie dough. We made 3 batters. Added a few spoons of raw beet juice for the beautiful pink color, left one white and replaced 1/4 cup of cocoa powder for 1/4 cup of flour in the third.
These 3-colored cookies are inspired by my Bubby who makes many different yummy cookies and should be writing her own blog...
Basic cookie recipe:
  • 4 Cups Spelt Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch sea salt
  • ½ Cup Sunflower Oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ Cup maple syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
Combine the flour, baking powder & salt.
In a separate bowl combine the oil, eggs, maple syrup & vanilla.
Mix dry and wet ingredients.
Shape as desired and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for roughly 15 minutes.

This is the most versatile dough I've ever used.

Other things to do with this dough:
  • Roll into balls and partially flatten. Make indentations in the cookie and fill them with jam.
  • Roll out the dough on a baking sheet, top it with jam, oats and coconut for really yummy squares. Add some bits of the cookie dough to the top as well. (baking time a little longer).
  • Make 2 recipes. In the second replace 1/4 flour with a 1/4 cup cocoa. Roll out each dough separately and pile 1 on top of the other. Roll up for beautiful pinwheel cookies. Partially freeze the rolled up dough before slicing to maintain the shape.
  • Add lemon zest & poppy seeds for lemon poppy seed cookies.
  • Add sesame seeds and sliced almonds and replace vanilla with almond extract.
  • Add 2 tablespoons beet juice and use heart cookie cutters to make a little girl very happy.
  • Can be used for hamantaschen
This is a very child friendly recipe. I can't remember the last time I had to make it myself. Plenty of volunteer bakers here making beautiful cookies with this dough. Which leaves me plenty of time for blogging...


Can't bother juicing beets and still want pretty pink cookies? Call Mr. Greens (or go to your local healthfood store) and order some fresh beet juice. When you get home, freeze them in small ice cube trays so you have pink when it's needed.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Birth, glorious birth

This post is not actually about birth per se.
It’s about crazy things I’ve heard, firsthand, in my experience as a doula.

Heard this from a male ob-gyn at a young woman’s first birth: “Have you ever done this before? NO? Well I’ve done it thousands of times!”
Really Dr. K? You’ve given birth before? Thousands of times? I would have loved to be your doula…

To a woman moaning in transition, a male ob-gyn said: “why don’t you lie back and relax and let me do all the work.”
Excuse me Dr. S.? Have you experienced transition? It’s not called labor for nothing. What is ‘all the work’ that you are so eager to do? This mom would be much safer if you 'lie back and relax' and let her do what her body is telling her to do.

This same Dr. S. to a woman he pronounced as ‘fully’ but she didn’t feel the urge to push yet: “if you don’t want me in here, 7 is pushing and 9 needs stitches, Nurse, call me if she decides she wants the baby out”. 7 & 9 are room numbers. Not names of people. Not that he should mention women by name to each other; that would be unprofessional... but to call them by their numbers? 'If she decides she wants the baby out' - what exactly does this mean?

Let me tell you what that meant in this situation. Mom breathed through the next few contractions and suddenly bearing down, grabbed my arm and said, "baby is coming, please don't tell the doctor". I did tell the nurse to get the Doctor. By the time he arrived there was a nice round head in my hands... Like a good doctor, he told her how lucky she was that she called him in time because he was about to call an emergency section for 4.

To be honest, I always share these quotes for the irony-impact and get some good laughs. Today I shared something crazy that I heard* and a young, pregnant woman said “that’s SCARY”. And I realized she’s right. It is scary when doctors or midwives don’t recognize that the labor of childbirth is done by the mother. We are in a sorry state when our medical professionals share a poor depiction of their understanding of the birth process. Or is it that they actually have a poor understanding of the birth process? I would like to believe that they are toying with women when they say these things and don’t really believe it themselves.

Doctors don’t deliver babies, mothers do. A doctor or midwife is needed to simply catch a baby. Of course they should be available in the event their help is needed. Which is not very often. For the most part women do not need medical help giving birth.
But that’s for another time, for now, amuse or scare yourself with the crazy things that people say.

For more on this,
There’s a great website that mentions lots of crazy stuff overheard at (or about) births.

* Bet you're wondering what it was that I heard and shared. Bring on the Chux - don't say I didn't warn you.
Female ob/gyn says to pushing mom: “don't breathe too deeply during pushing or you'll suck the baby back up!”
Do you think she has an in-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology?

Credits for this one to my friend Julie who actually told it with a straight face.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More Soup

I love soup. I can eat soup in any season. Soup makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. This time of year, it helps to feel warm and fuzzy. When it's hot out, I don't really want to feel that way, but that's what happens when you eat soup. Yes, there are chilled soups and gazpacho, but I'm a hot soup kind of girl. Come to think of it, eating soup on my deck on a hot summer day sounds perfect right now!

Mediterranean Lentil Soup

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt n pepper
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed well
  • ½ cup red lentils, rinsed well
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • ½ head garlic – peeled & left whole
  • 2 quarts water
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 lemon

Saute onion & carrot in olive oil until tender.
Season with salt & pepper.
Add water & lentils.
Separate the parsley leaves & stems. Wrap the stems along with the peeled garlic in cheesecloth.
Add to pot.
Bring soup to a boil & simmer until the brown lentils are very soft. (the red will have broken up)
Toast cumin seeds & crush in a mortar and pestle.
Chop parsley leaves and set aside.
When the soup is done remove cheesecloth, squeezing out broth.
Add the crushed cumin and more salt and pepper if necessary.
Serve with chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Digestive Health Review - Dr. Haskell

Due to popular demand, I wrote up a review of the Women's Health Workshop we had on Digestive Health.

I have divided it up by speaker, so as not to overwhelm you with too much information all at once.

Dr. Haskell spoke of many aspects of digestion and showed us how we can improve our health. He started by encouraging us to tune into our Inner Intelligence – that has been with us since conception. He encouraged us to support this intelligence and to respect it. (There was a later demonstration how the inner intelligence plays a role in muscle testing.)

Dr. Haskell spoke of how our organs are run by two separate systems: sympathetic & parasympathetic. He described the dance between them. The sympathetic system deals primarily with movement & action, the parasympathetic with digestion & relaxation. These two systems were compared to the gas & brake of our bodies. We can’t use them simultaneously. For example, if we are angry or stressed in a physical way, we should not be eating a heavy meal because our parasympathetic system is temporarily shut down (as our sympathetic system takes action) and we won’t digest our food properly. We were encouraged to become more aware and respectful of what’s happening in our bodies.

Dr. Haskell spoke of how we are born perfect and healthy. Picture a scale tipped towards good health. As we grow, we add toxins through diet, lifestyle and environment and the scale starts to tip in the opposite direction. He encouraged us to empty that side of the scale by removing toxins, adding better nutrition, and getting adequate sleep.

He briefly covered the benefits of breastfeeding. The colostrum and nutrients in breast milk infiltrate our guts with beneficial bacteria. People that were never breastfed are lacking some healthy gut flora and need to change the ecology of their intestines. This can be done by taking a colostrum supplement and acidophilus.

There was a demonstration as to how starchy foods convert to glucose in our blood and how to make better food choices. For example, eating whole grain bread or brown rice would quickly spike our blood glucose level. If we add a good source of fat to either of those, the digestive process would slow down considerably and the blood sugar levels would remain more balanced. Good fats are good for us! We need many more animal proteins and vegetables than grains and starches to have more energy and to promote weight loss. Low fat – high carb diets do not work. Dr. Haskell thought the Atkins diet is a good start, but not a long term plan. Once we’ve gotten the boost we need by changing our eating habits, we must find the balance.

We were given the tools to recognize symptoms of candida. Including but not limited to: sluggishness, sweet cravings, bloating, digestive issues, white coating of the mouth, gas, yeast infections, etc. This can come from antibiotics or birth control pills. It is further exasperated by starchy or sugary foods that feed the yeast. When there is yeast lining our intestines, we are not absorbing nutrients in the foods we eat and become ill and weak. Candida is very common and can be easily treated. There are two steps to fighting yeast. Starving it and killing it. Those may seem harsh but they really work. To starve the yeast: avoid all products that have yeast in them. Avoid foods that feed the yeast such as: fruit, simple carbs, fermented foods, soy products and starchy vegetables. What can you eat? Lots of protein and green veggies. To kill the yeast take: grapefruit seed extract, oregano oil and undecylenic acid (from castor beans). Take acidopholus to add healthy bacteria to your intestines.

Dr. Haskell covered some food allergies and different methods for identifying them. He talked of how rapidly symptoms disappear when foods we are sensitive to are removed from our diets.

We learned how chewing gum heats up the mercury in our fillings and allows it to vaporize. We end up ingesting this heavy metal. Mercury poisoning leads to alzheimers, infertility, impaired immune system and more. The only way to get rid of mercury that we have ingested is by taking chlorella with every meal. The mercury binds to the chlorella and will help it through the elimination process.

Dr. Haskell ended with how nutrition can affect the dental arch. He showed us pictures of people that had lived off the land, ate pure food, etc. and how perfect their mouths looked. There were pictures taken ten years later, after processed foods had infiltrated their regions and their dental arch showed serious decay and deterioration.

Wow! That was TONS of great info. Now what? You were given some great tools here. How you use them is up to you.

Dr. Haskell can be reached through his website or via email.

For Esther Hadassah's report: Health and Wellness: Digestive Health Review - Esther Hadassah

Digestive Health Review - Esther Hadassah

Due to popular demand, I wrote up a review of the Women's Health Workshop we had on Digestive Health.
I have divided it up by speaker, so as not to overwhelm you with too much information all at once.

Esther Hadassa began with a personal experience that led to her journey to health and wellness. She had seen a specialist for serious abdominal pain and was told that she needed an emergency surgery to remove her gall bladder. The doctor assured her that she didn't need it anyways. She thought, maybe I can live without it, but if I was created with a gall bladder, there's a reason for it. Esther went home and made drastic changes in her diet and lifestyle and no longer needed the surgery.

Esther shared a beautiful approach to living in harmony. We were taught to look at our bodies in a whole new way. Esther told us that symptoms in our bodies (even unpleasant ones) were an opportunity for change, and that change can lead to many good things. She explained the major organs that affected women’s health: the spleen, the liver and the kidneys – all according to Chinese medicine. She showed us how to recognize symptoms and which organ they might be coming from. She gave us tools and suggestions to help resolve these issues both nutritionally and environmentally.

A brief outline:

A deficiency in spleen energy can be resolved by eating: orange veggies such as winter squash, carrots and sweet potatoes; beef, turkey and chicken; grains: oats, amaranth, millet & quinoa. To support the spleen we should eat peacefully and focused. Sit down and chew slowly – no multi tasking while eating. Suggestions for making our homes more spleen-nourishing included: getting rid of things we don’t need, creating a peaceful environment and having family photos hanging. Activities for the spleen included: gardening – even in small pots, making dough and spending time in nature.

The liver associates with the color green. If your liver energy is not flowing, eat green leafy veggies (kale, parsley, lettuce), green lentils & peas, fish & omega 3 oils. Spend time near the water, release old emotions and do some breathing exercises.

For your kidneys, eat beans & legumes, walnuts, pine nuts & flax seeds. Get plenty of rest and take frequent breaks. Abandon your fears – fear hampers your kidneys.

It was truly refreshing to hear these gentle methods of healing. Nothing radical or offensive. Esther really encouraged us to take good care of ourselves.

Thank you Esther!

Esther Hadassah can be reached via email: or by phone: 347.622.3074.

For Dr. Haskell's review: Health and Wellness: Digestive Health Review - Dr. Haskell

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Harmful Ingredients to Permanently Ban

Bring out the (industrial sized) garbage bags. I'm about to share some information from the "What is your stomach trying to tell you" workshop. This post will cover a list of what I think are the most toxic ingredients commonly used in food today. I will share some of their uses and some of the side effects. What will you do? I'm hoping you'll get rid of the old and make space for a healthier you.

Hormones & Antibiotics
If you have never taken a supplemental hormone or antibiotics for illness, yet you eat conventionally raised animal products (beef, dairy products, chicken, eggs, fish) you have ingested large quantities of Hormones and Antibiotics.
Why are they used? Hormones are used to increase milk supply in dairy cows and to encourage rapid growth in beef cattle. How are we affected? Through the excessive ingestion of hormones in beef and dairy products, we see young girls and boys reaching puberty at a very early age. We see adults with hormonal abnormalities.
Antibiotics are included in the feed for all farm raised fish, and feedlot-raised cows and chickens. These animals are not being raised in their natural habitat nor are they fed their natural diets. Crowded living conditions combined with poor diets cause these animals to be disease prone and drugs are used to prevent death before slaughter. By ingesting large quantities of antibiotics through the animal products we eat we are creating super-bugs. Harmful germs that are immune to all antibiotics. We are also destroying the healthy bacteria that our digestive tract and overall health so depends on.
What can you do? Eat farm-raised, grass-fed organic beef products. Farm raised organic chicken. Eat fish caught in the wild. If you must have milk, purchase it directly from a farmer you trust. Keep it raw. Eggs should come from farm raised organic chickens fed an organic vegetarian diet.

Artificial Colorings & Flavorings
Artificial colorings and flavorings are used to enhance the flavor and appearance of products in an inexpensive way. Common side effects include: allergies, rashes, ADD/ADHD & seizures.
What can you do? Stop buying products that have artificial flavors and colors. FDA approval is no guarantee that a substance is risk-free.

The name says it all. Preservatives preserve. Potassium Sorbate is added to many refrigerated products like packaged salads. This extends the natural shelf life of 5-7 days to 45-60 days! Nitrates keep your deli looking nice and pink. Without them they would evolve to an unappetizing grey. Nitrates convert into nitrous oxide in your gut and are carcinogenic. Other common side effects of preservatives include: vomiting, rashes, hives, tight chest, headaches, eczema.
What can you do? Prepare your own food. Carefully read labels of food products to insure your family is not ingesting these harmful chemicals.


Don't get me started on MSG... Monosodium Glutamate is a neurotoxic flavor enhancer used in many packaged foods and Chinese style restaurants. It's many side effects include: Seizures, Brain cell death, Brain damage, Allergies, Headaches, Strokes, Hypoglycemia, ADHD. Why is it used? It's cheap! Shame on the FDA for not taking control of this dangerous situation.
What can you do: Avoid products with MSG.
Buyer beware! This insidious ingredient hides behind all kinds of masks:
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
  • Plant Protein Extract
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Yeast Extract
  • Textured Protein
  • Autolyzed Yeast
  • Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
  • Malt Extract
  • Malt Flavoring
  • Bouillon
  • Broth Stock
  • Flavoring
  • Natural Flavoring
  • Natural Beef Or Chicken Flavoring
  • Seasoning
  • Carrageenan
  • Enzymes
  • Soy Protein Concentrate
  • Soy Protein Isolate
HFCS - High Fructose Corn Syrup
HFCS is found in an obscene amount of prepared foods. Soft drinks, breads, pastries, snacks, sauces, dressings, ketchup, fast food items, crackers and more. Common side effects of HFCS include: high insulin levels, increased triglycerides & ldl cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, metabolic disorders, liver disorders and pancreas disorders.
Why is it used? HFCS has a long shelf life and is cheaper for manufacturers than sugar. It is especially cheap because we have an abundance of corn in the US that is heavily subsidized by the US Government.
What can you do? Stop buying products with HFCS!

Hydrogenated Fats
Hydrogenated fats are more plastic than food. The process of hydrogenation (or partial hydrogenation) solidify the fats and extend their shelf life. Oils become rancid. Once hydrogenated they do not. It allows for textures of foods we could not otherwise create. How are we affected? It messes with digestion; causes: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, birth defects.
What can you do? Throw out the margarine and shortening. Bake your own pastries (most bakeries are still using these harmful ingredients). Carefully read food labels. Things to look out for: chips, crackers, frozen foods, deep fried foods, breads, cookies, pre-seasoned rice and grains.

Artificial Sweeteners & Splenda
Boxes of nutrasweet include this message: Warning! This product has been proven to cause cancer in laboratory animals.  Excuse me? Cancer? Why are people buying this? Oh, because it has no calories. Splenda and other artificial sweeteners are used in products geared to the sugar-free market. Consumers wanting to cut down on sugar or calories purchase these products thinking they can 'have their cake and eat it too'. Artificial sweeteners are not food. They are toxins your body needs to fight and eliminate.
Common side effects of aspartame include: central nerve impairment, headaches, memory loss, mood swings, fainting spells, hazy vision, tinnitus, severe depression, irritability, aggression, anxiety, personality changes, insomnia, phobias, heart palpitations, tachycardia, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal issues, nausea, abdominal pain, hives, menstrual changes, marked thinning or loss of hair, hypoglycemia, and more.
Splenda is marketed brilliantly. "Think sugar say Splenda". Not true. While there was some sugar in Splenda, it is processed and chemically altered. Side effects of Splenda include: Flushing/redness of the skin, itching, swelling, blisters, welts, nausea, stomach cramps, dry heaves, becoming withdrawn, loss of interest in usual activities, feeling forgetful, moodiness, dulled senses, unexplained crying, acne or acne-like rash, anxiety, panic attacks, headaches, seeing spots, mental or emotional breakdown, altered emotional state, bloated abdomen, diarrhea, trouble concentrating, depression, vomiting, seizures and more.
What can you do? Don't buy artificial sweeteners or products made with them.

There are great alternatives. We'll talk about those next time.

To good health and a clean pantry,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Salade de haricots verts

or Green Bean Salad – sounds much more gourmet in French, don’t you think?

  • 2# haricot verts - thin French green beans
  • 10 garlic cloves
Lay flat on a baking sheet
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil
Coarsely grind a generous amount of fresh pepper over the veggies
Roast at 400 until blistered
(about 12-15 minutes)
Cool slightly

In your food processor pulse:
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 coarsely chopped tomato
  • 2 tablespoons sliced basil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt & pepper – to taste

Gently toss dressing over roasted veggies.

Sautee 2 tablespoons pine nuts and sprinkle over this luscious salad.
This salad can be served warm or cold.
Serves beautifully in a very shallow bowl.

Some important things to note:
When preparing the dressing, make sure everything goes into the processor already prepped (chop the garlic, tomatoes, basil). If you skip this step you will end up with a very liquidy dressing instead of the intended chunky one.
You can make this with regular green beans (if you must) but it is so much nicer with the tiny French beans. If you are using regular green beans, figure on 20 minutes for roasting time. Either way, keep an eye on them.

Bon Appetit


photo credit: Dovid Lew

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest. It happens when stomach acids back up into your esophagus.
It is frequently experienced soon after eating or when lying down. Heartburn is very common in pregnancy.
There are many ways to prevent and treat heartburn (acid reflux, GERD).
I am going to share the most preventive and least invasive methods.

Heartburn generally comes from diet or lifestyle. Usually a combination of both.

What not to eat:
It is important to avoid acidic foods such as: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, onions, citrus. Also avoid spicy foods, dairy (a little yogurt is ok), fried foods, mint and chocolate.
Avoid alcohol. Stop smoking. Smoking relaxes the sphincter muscle at the bottom of the esophagus allowing the acid back up. Being overweight can greatly contribute to heartburn.

Eat smaller meals more frequently rather than a large meal.
Don’t go to sleep for a few hours after eating – don’t lay down either. Keep pretty upright. Elevate the head of your bed slightly.

Supplements that help:
Papaya Enzymes are great for heartburn. So is pineapple or its enzyme -Bromelain.
Fresh Ginger in a tea or Ginger Capsules are very helpful for digestive issues and heartburn.
Fresh lime juice is said to ward off heartburn.
Eating raw almonds can also be helpful.

What else can I do? (or not do)
Maya Abdominal Massage helps with many issues of digestion. Avoid wearing anything tight fitting around the waist. Relaxation exercises and guided imagery can also help heal this condition.

If there are other health concerns you would like to see addressed here, leave a comment or send me an email.

To good health


Monday, January 11, 2010

Essential Oils - Digestive Blend

Many of you are familiar with some of the benefits of essential oils. Don't know what I'm talking about? I'm sure you have experienced walking into a room where fresh herbs were just chopped or somebody was using a body product that was scented by an essential oil such as lavender. Maybe you have a candle that is naturally scented. True essential oils cost more than artificial fragrances and are actually medicinal.

Essential oils are extracted from plants - generally by pressurized steam. The heat from the steam causes globules of oil in the plant to burst and the oil then evaporates. The  vapor and the steam then pass into a water cooled pipe where the vapors are condensed back to liquids. At this point, the essential oil separates from the water and floats to the top.

Essential oils are very concentrated - a little goes a very long way.
Common use includes placing a few drops in the top of a diffuser. A candle is lit in the bottom of the diffuser and the heat allows the room to be infused with the scent. One combination that I like is ginger and lemongrass. Essential oils are also used as inhalants. For example, using a blend of oils to clear a headache or a stuffy nose. We also use essential oils topically. Lavender is great for burns. Tea tree is an antifungal. Both herbs have many other uses.

In this post I am going to share a recipe for a blend that helps with abdominal pain that is related to gas and digestion. I use equal quantities of each - but I am not familiar with the science behind it. If someone that reads this has any further information to share, please comment.

Digestive Blend:

Drop into an empty bottle.
Roll gently to blend - never vigorously shake your essential oils.
Combine a few drops of the blend with a carrier oil - such as sweet almond oil or olive oil.
To use, wet a few fingers with the oil. Massage into the skin in an upward motion starting on the lower right side. Move up until you reach the height of the navel. Move across the navel and down the left side. Rubbing in the right direction is really important. If you rub the wrong way (literally) you will be sending the gas back down, deep into your intestines.
Use this oil when you feel bloated, gassy or constipated. This blend helps to break down gasses and encourages their release. I have used this on babies and adults with tummy aches and have seen great results.
Also, the first time I made this I did not have the Tarragon and Anise. It still worked, but is more effective when all the ingredients are used.

Essential oils can generally be purchased in health food stores or wellness centers. They can also be purchased online. I hope to share other recipes of essential oils and aromatherapy.

As always, I welcome your feedback.


Friday, January 8, 2010

What is Your Stomach Trying to Tell You?

I'm proud to share that we will be hosting another health workshop.

Last month's event was a smashing success. We are pleased to let you know that our next event will be held on Monday, January 18th at B'nos Menachem. Program is starting at 8:30 sharp. Doors will open at 8:15.

What's exciting? We will be talking about Digestive Issues. Nutrition. Balance. Harmony.

Chana Lew (yes, that's me) will be giving a short presentation on simple changes you can make today. I will draw on personal experience and share things that worked in my family. Hopefully you will walk away with some things that will work for yours too.

Esther Hadassah will be talking about Optimum Health and Wellness. As a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, she will tap into her vast knowledge of the human body and share some insights that will enable us to heal and grow. She will highlight some great habits for health, happiness and flow.

Dr. Alexander Haskell will be sharing "the 10 most important facts you need to know about digestion." With you (my loyal readers) I will share that list below. Sneak preview. You saw it here first.
Each presentation will be followed by a few minutes worth of questions . For those that can stay, there will be a general Q&A following the last speaker.

Hope to see you all there.
To good health!

Dr. Haskell's List:
  • A practical way to determine food allergies
  • A single nutrient that improves both appetite and digestion
  • Understand the different types of digestive enzymes and how to choose one that works for you
  • What is Candida of the gut, how does it get there and the need to treat it from several fronts
  • Digestion, blood sugar and the balancing of mood and energy through the day
  • Simple method of preventing heartburn and hiatal hernia
  • When to use chiropractic for digestive problems
  • When to take supplements for maximum absorption
  • Three ways to immediately improve bowel ecology
  • Two ways to minimize the absorption of mercury and other heavy metals
  • The use of food combining to improve digestion

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Remember the $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe?

Well, I had a hard time doing without. We had made some great changes in our food life and I realized that what's missing are Neiman Marcus Cookies. So I set out to adapt the recipe. I'm going to share it with you because I don't think you should have to do without either.

This recipe makes lots of cookies. You could eat yourself sick and still have plenty left to share.

Chani’s Neiman Marcus Cookies
  • 1 c Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 c Maple Syrup
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 4 c Spelt Flour
  • 5 c Rolled Oats, (blend 3 cups in food processor to a fine powder)
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cups Cacao Nibs
  • 3 c Chopped Nuts

Mix oil, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla. Add flour, oatmeal, salt, powder, soda. Stir in chocolate & nuts.

Drop by large teaspoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Still Crying it Out

More on the 'crying it out rant' & its comments.

While I agree that there is more than one way to put a baby to sleep, I don’t believe in not responding to a baby’s attempt to communicate.
Ignoring your child is wrong. Period.

I have ‘successfully’ ferberized some of my own, and I feel terrible about it. It goes against the grain of parental instincts. Why didn't I listen to my inner voice that said "pick your baby up!" I convinced myself that it was "for his own good." I believed that someone else knew better. I fell victim to a decision made out of desperation. Those children did sleep through the night earlier, but I believe there are long term ramifications.

According to a study at Harvard, infants who experienced persistent crying episodes were 10 times more likely to have ADHD as a child, along with poor school performance and antisocial behavior. When babies cry alone and unattended, they experience panic and anxiety. Their bodies and brains are flooded with adrenaline and cortisol stress hormones.

There is so much trauma that occurs beyond our control. Shouldn’t we do everything in our power to prevent pain and suffering?

None of us “have an hour” to put our babies to sleep, but putting a baby to sleep is part of being a parent and sometimes it takes longer than we like. The time I spend with my baby at night (until she falls asleep) is an investment in her security and my peace of mind. When I sit with my baby, I might catch up on some reading. My husband gets into bed with our 5 year old and learns Rambam until she falls asleep.

Some people call the Ferber method “sleep training”; more appropriately, “training a child to know that you will not respond”.
Richard Ferber himself recanted his statement: "Sleeping alone is an important part of [your child's] learning to be able to separate from you without anxiety and to see himself as an independent individual." He told Newsweek: "That's one sentence I wish I never wrote."

Some 200 years before Richard Ferber ever came to be the Alter Rebbe voiced his opposition at such practices. His son Reb Berel (who became the Mitteler Rebbe) was learning at night and did not hear his baby crying. The Alter Rebbe came and soothed the child and then, in a strong message to his son (and all of us) the Alter Rebbe said: “No matter how important the thing which you are engaged in is, you must always hear the cry of a child.”

I sincerely hope that when our children cry, they feel that we are responsive. I hope we all tune into our maternal instincts. If a decision to Ferberize your child comes intuitively that is far more important than the theory of others. If it’s a logical decision it might warrant some reconsideration.

Looking for other sleep methods? Check out, but mostly go with your gut.

Hibernating with the bears (or the Lews)

The Northeast has been spending some significant time in subarctic conditions. There is no improvement in sight... It's that time of year when I refuse all social events and avoid leaving the house. I make excuses not to take my kids to school. What to do when you stay home all day? Eat soup.

Golden Split Pea Soup
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 cups peeled & cubed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup peeled & cubed apples
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or liquid aminos
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro

Sautee onions in olive oil.
Add spices & ginger and cook for another minute.
Add split peas, water, sweet potatoes, apples and chili powder.
Bring to a boil & simmer for 40 minutes.
Combine chopped tomatoes with lime juice and tamari.
Allow tomatoes to marinade while soup simmers.
Add tomatoes to soup.
Puree soup in batches.
Serve with chopped cilantro.

Here's to staying warm,

Don't be Shy

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Crying it Out - my personal rant

I'm continuously disturbed by parents who allow their children to 'cry it out'. For those not familiar, this is a method used for teaching babies to sleep. Baby is placed in the crib and kissed good night. Lights go out, doors are shut, baby screams. There are different variations that include parents coming back into the room after 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, 20 minutes, etc. Baby usually is asleep by the time they reach an hour. The second night takes 1/2 hour, the third night (or so) baby knows that crib means sleep and doesn't fight the process. Some parents actually stay in the room but will not take their babies out of the crib.

This method doesn't actually teach babies to sleep. It does teach them to submit. It teaches them that nobody will respond to their cries (and they wear themselves out and fall asleep). It doesn't teach them to sleep independently. It teaches them that they can't depend on anybody. It teaches them to fend for themselves.

Independence is healthy. Being unable to depend - unhealthy.

It's hard to be a parent. Especially so when there are lots of others that need us. Especially when there are so many deadlines, appointments, commitments, etc. You can see the results of a neglected house, but the long term effects of a neglected baby, while far reaching, are hard to pinpoint. It is normal for a baby to be fussy every now and then. Having a fussy baby should not allow us to become desensitized to our child's cries. Allowing a baby to cry it out does just that. It desensitizes our parental intuition. We crush our natural instinct to reach out and comfort a crying baby. When we crush our instincts and our intuition we fall down a slippery slope of self-denial, self-doubt and insecurity. We continuously question ourselves and our ability.

Being left alone to fend for ourselves carries on to our adult lives. We lose our faith in mankind. We feel that we can't depend on anybody. We don't know how to trust. We tend to do everything ourselves. We suggest that others are too busy. We consider ourselves capable through desperation. We become martyrs or victims. We use the pretense that "others won't do it as well," and then label ourselves 'perfectionists'. Where does all this lead us? We are essentially crying it out.

Let's make an attempt to regain our faith in humanity. Let's right this wrong. Let's allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Let's ask for help. Let's allow someone to help us for the simple reason that we ask them to.

Go ahead and pick up your baby for the simple reason that she put her hands up. Don't wait till she's crying. I certainly don't want to beg for help. Do you?