One of the things I love most about the Ladies Nights I facilitate is how excited the women get to share what they’ve learned about healthy habits. One woman at this last event suggested the need for support to continue making healthy choices. I think this is absolutely essential. With the help of the Internet, it’s now easier to find support through Facebook pages, on-line chat groups, interactive wellness programs, etc. But there’s no substitute for face-fo-face contact. These ladies nights are a great way for women to support each other in their health journey, but I encourage my guests to continue meeting and sharing what you’ve learned. You are each a valuable resource, and together, you are powerful beyond words.
As always, our discussion began around food. This time I brought coconut raisin truffles. These are super easy to make, with raw cashews (or any kind of nut, except walnuts, which are oily and don’t blend well), shredded coconut, and raisins (dates good, too). Use more fruit to nuts, so the mixture sticks. After mixing in food processor, roll tbs size into balls, and then roll again into shredded coconut. Easy and ready in minutes!
I also brought raw chocolate brownies. If you’re serving these to your kids, don’t call them brownies. Have them ready when they get home from school, and be excited. Say you made a chocolate fudgy treat you want them to try!
We talked about how food has changed over the years. First, there’s genetically-modified foods. Corn and soy are the two most genetically-modified edibles in this country, and corn and soy are in just about every processed food there is. While there is no direct causal link to genetically-modified foods and our increased illness, we do know that since gm foods were introduced into our food system in the 1990’s, there has been an 18% increase in food allergies. These days, if a child does not have food allergies herself, she surely knows somebody who does.
Education is key when it comes to making decisions about our food. Knowledge truly is power. I’ve reviewed a number of Documentaries and continue to watch more all the time, so that I can pass on what I know to you. UndertheLobsterScope is an interesting blog with a lot of information, albeit the blogger has clearly formed an opinion. Robyn O’Brien is the mom from Texas who began her foray into food research after her daughter’s face blew up one morning following her morning breakfast. AllergyKids is the site she started, and it’s a great resource for families with allergies.
We talked also about all the sugar consumption in this country. Sugar, more than any other food, is now believed to be a major factor in the inflammation leading to heart disease, cancer, etc. Sugar is in everything…our baked goods, condiments, breakfast cereals, etc. A hundred years ago, the average American consumed about 5 lbs of sugar per year; now that figure is upwards of 140 lbs per year. Most people recognize that sugar shouldn’t be too high, but because it’s listed in metrics, don’t understand that 4g=1 tsp. A packet of Kashi apple & cinnamon oatmeal, therefore, with 12g of sugar, has 3 tsps- or 1 tbs- of sugar! And be sure to check your yogurt packs.
Gluten was another topic that came up. “Why are so many people going gluten-free when they don’t have an allergy?” asked one mom. Great question! While I do have a wheat sensitivity, and have known this since childhood, many people walk around in a brain fog these days, not realizing that all the gluten they’re putting into their bodies could be the cause. Gluten is the “glue” that binds breads together and gives them a shelf life. Grains today are being bred for higher gluten content so they have a longer shelf life. We’re also eating more breads than we ever have, often three times a day. Gluten contains a protein called gliadin, that many people do not have the enzyme necessary to break down. So this protein leaks through intestinal walls and into the bloodstream, where our immune system attacks it because the protein is seen as an invader. When our immune systems are constantly on the attack, our bodies wear down. We become tired, foggy, and more susceptible to illness.
Here are a few of my favorite gluten-free websites:
We also had a special guest at this Ladies Night! Shh….I brought along “Husband”.
So often, I hear from the ladies that convincing the husbands is the hardest part to making any lifestyle changes. So I showed the ladies how to approach husband so that defenses would not be raised.
Then it was on to the smoothies! I forgot the cider, so for the ladies who enjoyed the green smoothie with water, you are all green smoothie superheroes already! Using cider will sweeten it more, so you and your kids might be more receptive to them.
Thanks again for another wonderful night, ladies! Be sure to find me on Facebook at Better Off Well, where I’ll keep you updated with tips, useful sites, educational resources, and more. And remember… get together again!!