Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hidden Corn a.k.a. Evil Corn

If you must eat corn, and I am from the south so you KNOW I loves me some corn on the cobs. But if you must eat it, buy it organic and whole, or grow it yourself. 

Making your own cornmeal/cornflour and other useful corn products is both easy and rewarding. Plus you leave behind the risks of Bt toxin or overconsumption of corn products, which can lead to gluten sensitivity or allergies and other health problems. 

Hidden Corn Based Ingredients

Selected Studies on the detrimental effects of corn gluten:

To Better help those trying to adhere to a TRUE gluten free diet, we have comprised a list of foods and products that contain corn.

**Although this is a comprehensive list, it should be noted that it is not representative of all hidden sources of corn.  Corn and corn by products are used ubiquitously in thousands of foods and commercial applications.
Ingredients that definitely contain corn:
Corn alcohol
Corn chips
Corn gluten
Corn extract
Corn flakes
Corn flour
Corn fritters
Corn oil – corn oil margarine
Corn meal
Corn puffs cereal
Corn starch
Corn sweetener
Corn sugar  (dextrose, Dyno, Cerelose, Puretose, Sweetose, glucose are all possibilities)
Corn syrup
Corn syrup solids
Corn meal
Corn flour
Corn tortillas
High fructose corn syrup
Hydrolyzed corn
Hydrolyzed corn protein
Modified corn starch
Tamales (coating)
Taco shells
Vegetable oil
Zea mays
Ingredients that may contain corn. Not all of these terms are definitively derived from corn, but they can be.  Use with caution:
Acetic acid
Alpha tocopherol
Artificial flavorings
Artificial sweeteners
Ascorbic acid
Aspartame (Artificial sweetener)
Baking powder
Barley malt
Bleached flour
Blended sugar
Brown sugar (typically the caramel color)
Calcium citrate
Calcium fumarate
Calcium gluconate
Calcium lactate
Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA)
Calcium stearate
Calcium stearoyl lactylate
Caramel and caramel color
Carbonmethylcellulose sodium
Cellulose microcrystalline
Cellulose, methyl
Cellulose, powdered
Cetearyl glucoside
Choline chloride
Citric acid
Citrus cloud emulsion (CCS)
Coco glycerides (cocoglycerides)
Confectioners sugar
Crosscarmellose sodium
Crystalline dextrose
Crystalline fructose
DATUM (a dough conditioner)
Decyl glucoside
Decyl polyglucose
Dextrose (also found in IV solutions)
Dextrose anything (such as monohydrate or anhydrous)
d-Gluconic acid
Distilled white vinegar
Drying agent
Erythorbic acid
Ethocel 20
Ethyl acetate
Ethyl alcohol
Ethyl lactate
Ethyl maltol
Food starch
Fruit juice concentrate
Fumaric acid
Germ/germ meal
Gluconic acid
Glucono delta-lactone
Glucose syrup (also found in IV solutions)
Gluten feed/meal
Golden syrup
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose
Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose pthalate (HPMCP)
Invert syrup or sugar
Iodized salt
Lactic acid
Lauryl glucoside
Linoleic acid
Magnesium fumarate
Malic acid
Malonic acid
Malt syrup from corn
Malt, malt extract
Methyl gluceth
Methyl glucose
Methyl glucoside
Microcrystaline cellulose
Modified cellulose gum
Modified food starch
Molasses (corn syrup may be present; know your product)
Mono and di glycerides
Monosodium glutamate
Natural flavorings
Polylactic acid (PLA)
Polysorbates (e.g. Polysorbate 80)
Polyvinyl acetate
Potassium citrate
Potassium fumarate
Potassium gluconate
Powdered sugar
Pregelatinized starch
Propionic acid
Propylene glycol
Propylene glycol monostearate
Salt (iodized salt)
Semolina (unless from wheat)
Sodium carboxymethylcellulose
Sodium citrate
Sodium erythorbate
Sodium fumarate
Sodium lactate
Sodium starch glycolate
Sodium stearoyl fumarate
Sorbic acid
Sorbitan monooleate
Sorbitan tri-oleate
Sorghum (syrup and/or grain may be mixed with corn)
Splenda (Artificial sweetener)
Stearic acid
Sucralose (Artificial sweetener)
Tocopherol (vitamin E)
Triethyl citrate
Unmodified starch
Vanilla, natural flavoring
Vanilla, pure or extract
Vinegar, distilled white
Vinyl acetate
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Vitamin supplements
Xanthan gum
Yeast (look for gluten free labels)

Paper containers and plastic wrappers may contain an inner lining that is coated with corn.  The following are examples:
Milk or ice cream cartons

Use caution with the following foods, which may include sources of corn from various products, such as cornstarch, corn syrup and corn/vegetable oils:
Commercial soups
Peanut butter
Various meats (cold cuts, ham, hotdogs, sausages)
Breaded or fried foods
Chop suey
Chow mein
Cheese spreads
Fish sticks
Mixed vegetables (frozen, canned)
Pork and beans
Creamed vegetables
Breads dusted with corn meal
Graham crackers
Baking mixes
Pancakes (certain mixes)
Pancake syrups
English muffins
Gravy (thickened with corn starch, for instance)
Salad dressings
Canned or frozen fruits sweetened with corn syrup
Dates and other fruit confections
Ice creams, sherbets
Chocolate milk, milk shakes, soy milks, eggnog
American wines, whiskey, gin, beer, ale
Carbonated beverages such as Coca-Cola, 7-Up, etc
Instant coffees
Powdered sugar
Jams and jellies
Chewing gums
White distilled vinegar
Monosodium glutamate
Baking powder
Cake yeast
Bleached flour
Gelatin capsules

Non Edible Items That May Contain Corn Ingredients:
Adhesives (envelopes, stickers, stamps)
Medications (both over the counter and prescription)
Laundry starch

Eleven Foods You Should Never Eat Ever Again

With the exception of a birthday cake here and there and the like a few times a year, we stay clear of these eleven foods. I lump most of these foods into the same toxic and dangerous categories and weed killer and rat poison. 

Eliminating these from your diet can go a long way to restoring health and energy, too!

1) White bread, refined flours. White bread and refined flours have been stripped of virtually all vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other important nutrients. Because of this, the body does not know how to properly digest and assimilate them, which can lead to health problems. Refined white flour has also been bleached with chlorine and brominated with bromide, two poisonous chemicals that have been linked to causing thyroid and organ damage. 

2) Conventional frozen meals. Most conventionally-prepared frozen meals are loaded with preservatives, processed salt, hydrogenated oils and other artificial ingredients, not to mention the fact that most frozen meals have been heavily pre-cooked, rendering their nutrient content minimal at best (especially after getting microwaved again at home). Prepackaged frozen meals should be avoided in favor of fresh foods or homemade frozen dishes. 

3) White rice. Like white bread, white rice has been stripped of most of its nutrients, and separated from the bran and germ, two natural components that make up rice in its brown form. Even “fortified” white rice is nutritionally deficient, as the body still processes this refined food much differently than brown rice, which is absorbed more slowly and does not cause the same spike in blood sugar that white rice does. 

4) Microwaveable popcorn. This processed food is a favorite among moviegoers and regular snackers alike, but it is one of the unhealthiest foods you can eat. Practically every component of microwaveable popcorn, from the genetically-modified (GM) corn kernels to the processed salt and preservative chemicals used to enhance its flavor, is unhealthy and disease-promoting. On top of this, microwaveable popcorn contains a chemical known as diacetyl that can actually destroy your lungs. If you love popcorn, stick with organic kernels that you can pop yourself in a kettle and douse with healthy ingredients like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and Himalayan pink salt. 

5) Cured meat products with nitrates, nitrites. Deli meats, summer sausage, hot dogs, bacon, and many other meats sold at the grocery store are often loaded with sodium nitrite and other chemical preservatives that have been linked to causing heart disease and cancer. If you eat meat, stick with uncured, nitrite and nitrate-free varieties, and preferably those that come from organic, grass-fed animals. 

6) Most conventional protein, energy bars. By the way they are often marketed, it might seem as though protein and energy bars are a strong addition to a healthy diet. But more often than not, these meal replacements contain processed soy protein, refined sugar, hydrogenated fat, and other harmful additives that contribute to chronic illness. Not all protein and energy bars are bad, of course. Be sure to read the ingredient labels and know what you are buying. If it has ingredients you don't carry in your own pantry or can't grow in your own garden, it's probably better to pass it over for something healthier.

7) Margarine. Hidden in all sorts of processed foods, margarine, a hydrogenated trans-fat oil, is something you will want to avoid at all costs for your health. Contrary to popular belief, butter and saturated fats in general are not unhealthy, especially when they are derived from pastured animals that feed on grass rather than corn and soy. And if animal-based fats are not for you, stick with extra-virgin coconut oil or olive oil rather than margarine. 

8) Soy milk and soy-based meat substitutes. One of the biggest health frauds of modern times, the soy craze is a fad that you will want to skip. Besides the fact that nearly all non-organic soy ingredients are of GM origin, most soy additives are processed using a toxic chemical known as hexane, which is linked to causing birth defects, reproductive problems, and cancer. Soy that has not been fermented is also highly estrogenic, which can throw your natural hormone balance out of whack. 

9) “Diet” anything. Many so-called “diet” products on the market today contains artificial sweeteners like aspartame (Equal) and sucralose (Splenda), both of which are linked to causing neurological damage, gastrointestinal problems, and endocrine disruption. Many diet products also contain added chemical flavoring agents to take the place of fat and other natural components that have been removed to artificially reduce calorie content. Instead, stick with whole foods that are as close to nature as possible, including high-fat foods grown the way nature intended, and your body will respond surprisingly well.

10) White, refined sugar. Does this need explanation? It's REALLy bad. Opt for kinder-to-your-blood-sugar options or more natural unrefined alternatives. Honey, molasses, licorice, cinnamon (sweetener AND actually helps diabetes), and pure maple syrup.

11) GM / BT Corn. The built-in pesticide Bt toxin has been integrated into certain GM crops to ward off pests. Bt corn, for instance, has actually been designed to produce the toxin directly inside its kernels, which are later eaten by both livestock and humans. In a recent study, researchers detected the Bt toxin in a shocking 93 percent of maternal and 80 percent of fetal blood samples. And 69 percent of non-pregnant women tested positive for the toxin in their blood. And this toxic corn is in EVERYTHING. Everything IS corn. If you shop in a grocery store anywhere outside of the whole food produce section, chances are nearly every box and package you pick up will have corn. See my post listing many of the corn containing foods and non-food items most average Americans consume and encounter in their everyday life.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Time Flies

My youngest daughter, Katy, 18, and her grandma Dot.

Where have the years gone!?!

Salt & Vinegar Chickpea Crisps

I made these yummy vegan snacks today and am so excited to try other flavors for my next batches. And there WILL be more batches.

My last few experiences with dried chickpeas wasn't a thrill. Between boiling them for homemade hummus, and milling the chickpeas into gluten/wheat-free flour, which broke my grinder- TWICE, I decided me and the 'old chickpea didn't have a harmonious relationship. So to make this dish I opted for the canned variety (organic of course) this time around and avoided  the bitter aftermath. 


2 cans chickpeas
3-4 cups white vinegar
Course sea salt
Olive oil

Drain chickpeas and put into a pot. Pour vinegar over top until just covered. 

Add a pinch of salt.

Bring to a boil.

Remove from heat and let sit 30 minutes.

Drain well.

Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Spread chickpeas out onto the parchment.

Drizzle the chickpeas with olive oil, and sprinkle generously with salt. 

Roll the chickpeas around in the oil to get a good coating of oil.  

Don't skimp on the oil, though don't add so much there is a big pool of it. Lots of salt. Enough to make sure everything is covered well. At least, those are my own instructions. The salt falls off and since it's coarse don't be afraid to be a little liberal here. 

Bake at 425 for 45 minutes. Turn over halfway through and check on them after a half hour or so to make sure none are too brown. 

Personally, I set my heat at a cool 420 degrees, turn the chickpeas over at 20 minutes, scoot them around again at the 1/2 hour mark, turn the oven off at 45 minutes, and let them sit for 5-10 more minutes, watching carefully to make sure they don't burn. I think that helps crisp up the last few that need a little more time without burning the batch.

Most come out nice and crispy. Some a little burnt, but only a couple. Some a little soft inside. All are really delicious, though. I've only ever done the salt & vinegar, and I'm trying to figure out how to make them crispy and barbeque flavored without bad ingredients.  

DO be careful when they first come out. They are HOT. 

I think they are yummiest when they are still warm, but a great crunchy snack cooled off, too. Plus they have a protein punch and aren't a GMO potato or corn product. Yay!

Karma & Hecate

Karma & Hecate hanging out. 

Stamping with Sea Creatures

We have this fun stamp set with realistic sea creatures. The kids colored in their ocean, then stamped in their inhabitants. The shark, whale and seals are always popular when we play with this. 

For Hours of Play, All You Need is One VERY Sophisticated...


Pretty Clouds

A few weeks ago we had some really big clouds that were pretty to watch. They were pre and post rain clouds as it turned out. There's something calming about blue skies and big fluffy clouds. 

Alex Turning Nine

It happened in a blink of an eye. Alex is officially 9 years old! 

April 15th, 2013. 

Brookie Cookie

Brooklyn's mom & dad call her Brookie Cookie, but because Brooklyn is a little hard for some of the little ones to say, and because I say Brookie, the kids actually now call her Brookily, which is too sweet and adorable.

By the by, there are oodles of products, sites & graphics for Brookie Cookie. Here are some neat ones...

An all natural Brooklyn based cookie company. Click the logo to link to their site.

A children's book titled 'Brookie Cookie Bookie' about friendship, acceptance and celebrating our differences. Click the picture to link to the site.

And when in doubt...

Mentos & Diet Coke

Alex saw the Mentos and Diet Coke experiment on Myth Busters and HAD to try it.

Kamron's 5th Birthday Party

Earlier this month Kamron turned 5 years old, and his family celebrated with a party! 

Kamron opening presents.

Kam's mom made this awesome spiderman cake. Actually the whole family took the day off from work and school that Friday and they all worked on the cakes and decorations together. How fun! 

Getting ready for the pinata. 

Pinata carnage.

Alex stuffing a mangled donkey leg full of booty.

Alex sharing some of his bounty with Kamron. Unlike my child who was raised by wolves, Kamron   sweetly picked up the few pieces of candy that landed by his feet, but didn't dive into the candy pit like some.

Alex with his winnings. I was thinking of how I could convince him to leave it there. No such luck it turns out.

Kamron and his mommy, Tabitha!

Kamron, Ethan & Elijah.

Dad helping to slice and serve the cake.

Desiree, Ethan and Elijah enjoying their delicious cake. 


The boss, aka Dean, and his hog. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Our Friend Wormy

Once Upon a Time, in a land not very far away, there was a worm....

"Ms. Wendy, we found a worm!"

five minutes later...

"Ms. Wendy, our worm is pregnant. It's going to have a baby!"

five minutes later...

"Ms. Wendy, Wormy is lost. It's going to have a baby and we need to find it!"

five minutes later...

"Ms. Wendy, we found Wormy! 

"Ms. Wendy, we have a pet worm!"

"Ms. Wendy, Wormy is our friend!"

five minutes later...

"Ms. Wendy, we're teaching Wormy how to swing!"

five minutes later...

"Ms. Wendy, now Wormy knows how to swing. He's big, now!"

five minutes later...

"Ms. Wendy, we buried Wormy so he can take a nap."

five minutes later...

"Ms. Wendy, we found Wormy again!"

five minutes later...

(while holding a limp worm up) "Ms. Wendy, why is Wormy not wiggling anymore?"

five minutes later...

(while holding up a popsicle stick from the sandbox) "Ms. Wendy, Wormy got sick so he had to go to the doctor and they had to cut him open and now he's gone. We miss Wormy."

five minutes later...

"Ms. Wendy, we are going to try to find Wormy again tomorrow!"

The End.

Kitty Routines

It's super sweet that the kitties are on the same daycare schedule as the kids now. 

They line up (in front) of the kids when it's time to go outside and wait patiently until everyone is ready and I open the door. 

They put themselves to bed now when it's naptime. We used to carry them to bed, but now they seem to sense when lunch is just about over and they go lay down on their own. Sleepy kitties. 

They come sit at the table on the bench when lunch is being put on the table, their little heads peeking over the edge to see what's being served- accept they get shooed away, silly kitties, you don't eat at the table! :-) 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Snack Tray this Week

This week we're having a new snack tray combo that is too yummy not to blog about. Inspired by this photo, I see only all my favorite foods!

Apples, avocado, pecans, almonds, mangos, cranberries, raspberries, and beets on a bed of greens. I could have this for every meal and never get tired of it! I hope the kiddos like it, too!

Not my picture, but this WILL be my tray! Mwahahaha!!

Best of all it's dairy, soy and gluten free, and deliciously vegan! 

Spring Cleaning

This weekend Alex and I spent several hours cleaning out the garage. We were both sore and tired by the end of it all, but in a good way. Alex actually put himself to bed last night which almost never happens. That kid was pooped. I dare not post pictures here of the before because it was positively shameful. 

Last summer we went to lots of yard sales and thrift stores. It was a fun hobby for us to look for treasures together, haggling over pennies and nickles. Ahhh. Good times. But with that haggling came great bargains and an accumulation of 'stuff'. 

For a few years I have tried to simplify our lives and eliminate extraneous 'stuff', almost at all costs- brutally discarding things that I really liked but knew I had not used in eons or ever. I'm one of those people that comes home from shopping and leaves bags in the trunk or stashes them in a closet and forgets about them- only to buy them again a few months later, and discovers when we move or during Spring Cleaning that I have multiples of brand new things. But few times have I brutally discarded things with any lasting regret. 

So when all our 'stuff' that had collected in the garage over the past year became too much I really didn't have much difficulty parting with most of it this weekend. And actually I found several things I had been missing- the plug adapters for the keyboard so you can plug in regular headphones, some of Alex's Kindergarten artwork that must have fallen out when we moved in, a love letter my oldest daughter wrote to Alex years ago on a napkin when we were at a restaurant together, two new packs of wooden skewers, much hunted for tools, yard sale treasures I dared not part with they were so precious and yet somehow forgotten until I found them again, and a couple of burned CDs with pictures and videos of Alex as a baby and getting his first hair cut.  

Actually, the real mountain of 'stuff' was Alex's collection of recyclable materials he planned to use 'one day' for 'something'. Building rocket ships, jet packs, science experiments, eco-friendly housing for his future adult self (and family, of course)- he had grand plans. Grand plans indeed.  But the reality was most of it was just sitting in a giant pile by the back door and fell over on top of you everytime you tried to make your way to the car. He never actually used the materials for anything. Classic pack-ratidness. So it was a use-it or lose-it situation and Alex was quick to agree it had gotten out of hand. Thank the stars for little miracles. No showdown needed this time. 

Alex's pile was not unlike Beatrice Lestrange's Gringotts vault in Harry Potter's Deathly Hallows where they were forced to overcome a mountain of gold and jewels to reach their goal. Except instead of gold, I was wading through empty laundry containers, plastic food containers (cleaned of course), oatmeal rounds, boxes, pringles cans, jars, old wiring, boxes, random knobs, plugs and switches, boxes, milk jugs, 2-liter bottles, boxes, packing styrofoam, bubble wrap, boxes, kitty litter boxes and did I mention BOXES?

Luckily most everything we had to ditch was already bound for the recycle heap and our recycle bin was empty thanks to Alex's determination to never let me throw any recyclable item away, even in the recycle bin. With both garbage can and recycle bin full to the brim we rolled them out to the curb for today's pick-up. We can now see the floor and walls again and walk freely in the garage without it feeling like an obstacle course. Yay!

And best of all I have my makeshift art studio back again, which has been sitting dormant since last Summer because I couldn't get to it after the yard sale season ended. I LOVE doing my woodworking and art in the garage on Summer days with the garage door open a little, and the side door propped open with this misshapen but loveable wood stump, and having my music on.

Next weekend we will tackle the bedrooms. My room in particular. That is the place where all things eventually come to be stored because it's the closest room to the main area and a quick place to stash 'stuff' when company visits. A few weekends ago I did get through my closet, but all I really managed to do was empty my closet of non-essentials and move them outside to the main room. We all know by now that clutter makes for a stressful space. And I endeavor to never have stress whenever I can. So tackle it I must. Thankfully Spring is here and I am motivated to do my annual Spring Cleaning and re-simplify my home so we can have the laziest days possible through the Summer.