Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spicy Lo Mein - Recipe!

I have had a few requests for this very simple Lo Mein recipe.  It has officially become our meatless meal for the week.  Actually my husband loved it so much he has requested it several times this week.  I hope you try it and love it as much as we do.

I note below the ingredients I utilized.  However, if you cannot source *organic*, use what you have available.  This recipe is enough to feed 4-5 people OR... (as in our case) two very hungry adults.  I am almost embarrassed to disclose that, but I promise you, it's THAT good. :-)


Organic Spaghetti  (1/2 box)
Fresh broccoli cut into small florettes (approx. 3 cups)
Fresh Mushrooms (8 Oz container)
Coarsely chopped cabbage (approx 3 cups)
Large white onion
Three scallions
2 large carrots (julienne style or shredded)
3 tablespoons of organic soy sauce
3 tablespoons of gluten-free Szechuan sauce
7 tablespoons of filtered water
1 tablespoon of organic potato starch (or tapioca starch)
1 tablespoon sea salt (if you are sensitive to salt you may want to reduce this to 1/2 tsp)

Step 1 - After your veggies are all prepped, in a medium sauce pan place filtered water in stove on high heat.  Add one teaspoon of olive oil and sea salt to taste to your boiling water.  You want the pasta cooking while you cook your vegetables.

Step 2 - In a wok or stainless steel pan add 3 tablespoons of real butter (or olive oil).  Melt this on medium heat.

Step 3 - Add onions first, then proceed with the cabbage, mushrooms and sea salt.  Allow this to cook down a bit for about 5-10 minutes. 

Step 4 - Now that the above has cooked down a bit you can add your broccoli, carrots and scallions.  Cook for another 3 minutes and turn flame off.  Turning flame off will allow you to enjoy slightly crunchy veggies.  If you leave flame on you will end up with overcooked and mushy veggies. 

Step 5 - Combine 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of szechuan sauce, 7 tablespoons of filtered water and 1 tablespoon of potato starch.  Make sure your starch is completely dissolved in the liquid.  Add to your veggies and stir.  The starch will add a wonderful thickness to the dish.

Step 6 - Your pasta should be cooked to perfection by now.  I prefer mine aldente so that it is not mushy when added to the veggies.  Once you are happy with the firmness, you can remove from the stove and drain. 

Step 7 - Add drained pasta to veggies and stir. I turn the fire on high for about 3 minutes right before I am ready to serve the meal so as to allow the flavors to blend a bit more. 

**You can alternate this recipe by adding shrimp (as shown here) or cooked chicken if you so desire. **

**If you do not have the Szechuan sauce readily available you can use 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper.  I prefer the Szechuan sauce because of its flavor but the cayenne alone provides the heat needed.  However, if you cut out the Szechuan sauce, I would recommend doubling the amount of water and starch.**

If you try this recipe be sure to leave a comment letting me know how you liked it or how you tweaked it to suit your family.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Enjoy and do share!!!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

To Bra or Not To Bra? That Is The Question.

What is the first thing you take off when you reach home after a long day?  Your jacket? Your shoes?  Or... is it your bra?  Speaking from past experience, I would dare say that most women reading this would answer their bra.

I am also noticing that more and more women are discovering that wearing a bra is not all it is hyped up to be.  Some have experienced that bras can actually make breasts droopy and stretched out; and more significantly, they can also cause cysts, pain, and even cancer.  This information is enough to make some forgo the bra altogether. After all, it was always so restrictive and uncomfortable that it was the first thing they took off . So you can say that some women have become bra-free in the name of comfort and health.

For other women however, this is not enough to convince them and their response is a resounding "no way!".  And the cancer detection and treatment industry (along with companies like Victoria's Secret) love these women. They want women to wear bras.  With one million bras sold EACH DAY in the U.S. alone, that's a lot of women binding and constricting the health out of their breasts in the name of fashion and sex appeal. Yet this is not entirely new.  Women have used a variety of garments and devices to cover, restrain, reveal, or modify their appearance.

I found it interesting to read that foot binding became popular as a means of displaying status.  It is estimated that between a billion and four billion women in China had bound feet between the 10th and 20th centuries. This process of crippling and deforming the foot to fit in ridiculously small shoes was considered a mark of status and such tiny feet were considered sexually alluring. Even when the practice was outlawed in 1912, this painful procedure was still practiced on young girls by mothers who feared their daughters would not marry well otherwise.

Corsets also bound women for centuries, to the point of disease and death. From the 14th century onwards, the undergarments of wealthier women in the West were dominated by the corset, which pushed the breasts upwards.  In the late 19th century, bras replaced the corset as the most widely used means of breast support. By the early 20th century, garments more closely resembling contemporary bras had emerged, although large-scale commercial production did not occur till the 1930s. During the 20th century, greater emphasis has been given to the fashion aspects of bras. Bra manufacturing is a multi-billion-dollar industry dominated by large multinational corporations. Bras (especially those that contain under wires) are really breast corsets. They are designed to "shape" the breasts, and this requires harmful pressure and compression of the delicate breast tissue. 
A study performed in 1991-1993 was published in the book Dressed to Kill which discovered that bras can contribute to breast cancer.  Like corsets, they constrict and interfere with circulation.  Lymph fluid cannot easily drain from a bra-constricted breast.  Backed-up fluid results in cysts and pain.  This stagnant lymph fluid cannot be adequately flushed away, concentrating waste products and toxins in the slowly toxifying breasts.  Ultimately, this can lead to cancer. 

It is interesting to note that essentially, a bra-free woman has about the same incidence of breast cancer as a man.  The tighter and longer a bra is worn, the higher the incidence.  24/7 bra wearers have over 100 times the incidence as a bra-free woman.  These findings have been confirmed by studies in China and Venezuela.  A 1991 Harvard study also found a significant bra/cancer link.

Both the lymphatic and circulatory systems provide vital nutrients and allow for the elimination of toxins. The lymphatic’s systems role is to flush out toxins and debris from the tissues. An impairment of the lymphatic system’s flow can lead to the toxification of the breast tissue.  You know how when you leave a rubber band around your wrist it cuts off circulation to your hand?  Well, a bra does the same thing to your lymph fluids - it constricts the flow. All things considered, bra-less really IS better!   

So why do so many women feel it necessary to wear bras anyway? It is obvious that no matter where we turn, we’re bombarded by the media with the idea that our breasts have to look a certain way in order to be considered attractive.  We therefore become willing participants in the effort to literally mash ourselves into these metal-reinforced contraptions. Think about it for a moment... the only people benefitting from them are the few who have decided to gawk at our chests. While we all want to look our best, it’s probably more important to place personal comfort and well-being (i.e., health) as priority over what society thinks about the appearance of our body parts.

There are healthier and MORE COMFORTABLE alternatives.  I personally forgo wearing anything whenever possible (especially if I am home or during bedtime).  However, if I am going out in public, I opt for a thin strap tank or silk cami.  Both offer support but are not restrictive, have no under wire and allow for the flow of blood and lymph fluids.

As a side note, I even wore my nursing bras well beyond the nursing phase, because they offered such great support.  If nursing bras are not a practical option, I highly recommend these very comfortable looking camis for my larger breasted sisters.  The reviews alone are quite encouraging.
And if you are concerned that going bra-less will actually sag your breasts, you can take comfort in the fact that a 15-year-long French study recently concluded that going bra less does not promote sagging.

So do take some time to determine what your priorities are with regard to aesthetics and health, do your research, make some informed decisions, and then go bra shopping. The best part in all of this is that you do have options.

Remember... when we are armed with new information we can make better choices that benefit our long term health. 

So what do you think after reading this?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

European, Journal of Cancer 1991 ;27(2): 131-5.
Cancer is Not a Disease by Andreas Moritz