Grandma Where Have You Been?

Late in 2013 my mother took a fall one morning and broke her hip.  That would lead to a cold hospital stay in downtown Fort Worth, sleet, snow and ice.  I remember staying in my mother’s room overnight each night as she needed monitoring.  The only place to sleep was directly on the cold concrete linoleum floor right next to a window where the cold from the winter storm pounded on the pane.  That week I stayed awake for a total of 38 hours straight  My mother was confused and helpless.  We were lucky to get a very good orthopedic surgeon that same evening to operate on my 86 year old mother and provide her with a prosthetic hip.

We knew that one day this would happen and happen it did.  She was no longer able to stay at home.  Doctor said she would have to be in 24 hour care.  That meant nursing home.  Woe is me.  We did not know what we were about to embark upon.

So I journeyed in the daytime looking for that perfect place.  She would be transferred only after about a 5 day stay.  Looked at one as close as I could find that was recommended by one of the nurses on the hospital hall.  For this story, I will call it “The Scarisson.”  That is because it was a nightmare.  Looked like the Hilton inside and out.  Beautiful hallways, courtyard, special beauty shop, hotel luxury looking dining room.  But then, shortly you would find out that there were 15 patients to 1 caregiver.  You would be met by different people all the time.  They rushed to get the job done and left everything in a mess.

I was told by the elder attorney I had hired years before to be at the nursing center every single day and different times of the day and check on her and make sure things are going right.  It was much harder than I ever suspected.

At this first place, we were there only 2 months.  In that time, my mother had fallen and dislocated her hip twice!  Once in middle of the day.  Another time at 4 a.m in the morning.  The last time I had been begging for them to provide my mother with a UTI test (urinary tract infection) as she was getting sicker and sicker and I was so concerned.  It was another cold wintry night when I was awakened by a call from this home to tell me she was on her way to the hospital, that she had fallen.  I stated to them “this is the end of the Scarrison”.  It was found she had e-coli bladder infection, was out of her head and tried to get up on her own and fell at 4:00 a.m.  She dislocated her hip for the 2nd time and it was super painful.

There were things I liked about this place.  It had some nice amenities.  But the rooms were small and only enough space to fit two twin sized beds.  Elbow to Elbow with another resident.  I do not even recall who that was right now.  She may have still been in the private room, but I doubt it.  I just remembered begging for this test and being in tears at their front desk late one night —- the night I was called at 4:00 a.m.  Mom got through it like a trooper.  It was another time I did not expect her to make it.  She did.

So, now, where do we go?  another nurse recommended one that we will call “Unspeakable Health Care”.  This one too looked very nice, had the same accommodations and we were assigned a roommate.  Aside from the roommate hogging the best side of the room and all the space there was in the shared bathroom, it was okay.  My mom was not talking much anyway.  The food was better here.  The same confusion was there with caregivers  rushing in and rushing out.  She was left in many peculiar situations.  Alone a lot of the day.  I was there taking her to her dining room twice per day.  Also, I washed all of her clothing.  Did not want to go looking for it.  There was no time for that.  Nor did I want to have to keep shopping for her new clothing.

The original roommate moved next door when one of the residents passed away and was able to keep that room to herself for sometime.  Then my mother got a special roommate, Stella, who was 94 years of age and in good shape mentally and could get around well.  Still only about 6 inches between mom’s bed and her roommate.  Not much floor space at all.  Just enough to run the wheel chair in and out, get to bed and get out of bed.  Thankfully, this place had lots of space and interesting things to see in its hallways and a wonderful courtyard.  But, there again, 1 caregiver to 15.  Not much care.  Had a shower girl who did all the showers M-F and she was very good.  I  felt safe with my mother there getting her shower.  Again, was there every single day twice per day, even if it was only for 30 minutes, but most of the time it was more.

We enjoyed our new friend Stella and delighted meeting her family and friends that came through.  She was popular.  All was pretty good in this place, although there was a time or two she fell and plenty of times with urinary tract infections.  You will learn that no one tries to see that your parent eats or drinks water.  You are lucky if they get to them to take to the potty every 3 hours.  At that time, my mother could wear pull ups and was almost continent.  Still, there were many times she would have quite a mess to clean up and then would get sick.

But all in all, I liked it there.  After a while they changed administrators.  The new one was a single older male that smoked as I recall.  Most of the nurses and aids all smoked.  This is a common thread in this industry.  But when the new admin came into town, things began to go down hill.  Eventually I would have to take my mother out of there at night in 35 degree weather home after calling a lawyer and getting advise.  They were using the residents that had urinary tract infections to label them ‘infectious’ and then move them to an isolation ward.  My mother has dementia which is a type of Ahlziemers disease.  She had doctors orders she could not be isolated or catheterized.  She would pull the catheter out and it would make her dementia much worse.  It is known you can never change things on an ahlziemers’ patient.  They need the same surroundings with familiar pictures and things all the time to keep them settled and secure.  Take them out of their environment and stick them in a room with blank walls, new people and no familiar things and they would get much worse.  So, one night I was literally ambushed by this admin and his ADN (assistant director of nursing).  They were going to put my mother in isolation and put her on a catheter because they said she was infectious!  A complete lie.  They had already taken steps to take her 94-year-old roommate out of her room late that night packing her up in her gown and wet hair!  Needless to say Stella was upset.  But Stella did not know any better nor her daughter.  They thought they ‘had’ to do what  they were told.

Well, after I called the attorney, I packed my mother up and put her in my SUV along with her wheel chair and took her back to her own home.  It was hard.  I had no idea what I would do in the morning.  She slept with me on one of the trundle twin beds.  She was stiff and hard to move her.  Afraid because not sure what was going on.

The  next morning I managed to get her cleaned up and dressed and I remembered I had put her name on a list at another nursing home that I had personal recommendations.  These recommendations were from church friends.  It was good.  I called and they had room.  I took her right over there.  She has been there now for almost 3 years!  Not without incidents, but nothing like what we had suffered before.

At least this one will listen to you when you have a complaint and abusive people are fired.  I put a camera up in my mother’s room last October 2016.  Since that time her care has been much better because I can monitor it from my phone anywhere I am.

I still go over there every day, but now she has a single room, nice shuttered window with live plants, her own 5 gallon water drinking machine, food bar, private bath and the color green is all around her (her favorite).  So much better, but still a daily struggle to keep good help, watch for bruises and abusive people, watch her food intake and her water intake and keep her clean.

Recently I was called to come to my mother’s nursing home early one morning.  They said she was not talking, not moving and may need to go to the hospital.  I told them to call the hospital we have always used but they would not do it until I got there.  Upon arrival I could quickly see my mom looked as if she was dying.  She was laying on her bed turned to her side and staring, not speaking.  She could say some things but not much and I just knew she was dying.  I called my husband and he came up there while I cried waiting for the ambulance.  I packed up things she would need and followed closely to the hospital 30 to 40 minutes away.  She would get the best of care there as always.

Well it was busy as usual in the ER at Harris downtown Forth Worth, Texas, and by now they should know my mother and I as we have been here at least 20 times over the past 3 years or more.  I have lost count.  Unfortunately, most of those times were for urinary tract infections.  I found out early that after age 75 they say you cannot feel it if you get a urinary tract infection and as you get older it is a common thing.  It affects mood and state of mind and easy to spot from that with her.  So here we were again, but this time was the worst I have ever seen and I have seen some bad ones with her.  I really was not sure what I was going to hear.  She was almost like in a coma.  Eyes glazed.  She wanted to sleep all the time.  She was babbling when trying to talk.  We were taken care of pretty quickly.  They did a ‘in and out’ on her and found right away she had a sever urinary tract infection.  This one was from a bacteria she has never had before.  It was called pseudomodus.  I was told it was super bad, and it was.  She was hurting, she had no energy and wanted to sleep all the time.  I could only get her to stay awake long enough to eat.  She had to be spoon fed. This was all new.  She usually was quite apt at feeding herself and choosing if she wanted to eat the food or not.  Not so much now.  I was there to feed her lunch and dinner most of the time and also sometimes the breakfast.

So, they had her stay overnight in the ER because there were no rooms available.  We love this hospital and know how extremely competent they are and well-managed that it why it was not bad to wait.  I went home to get some sleep and they moved her sometime between midnight and in the morning.  I came back to find her in a room in an area called “palliative care”.  I learned that the name was for the patients that were not on hospice, but getting prepared to be.  This floor looked like a cross between a hospice center, chapel and funeral home.  I noticed that they did not have nurses stations ever so many rooms, but instead were only a few located at the nurses desk at the end of the hall.  I did not like that.  When I needed them it was hard to get them.

They said it had nothing to do with her status, but that was what was available.  Okay.  We can live with it.  Well, Mom was not crazy about their food and so I made the, traditional by now, trip down to the cafeteria and picked out some foods she liked.  It was about 2000 steps for me there and back.  Whew! nothing more draining than being at the hospital.  You have all the physical things you need to do and at the same time your emotions are in toll.

So, I would clean her up and feed her like she was a baby.  She had no ability to do that now.  She was on a drip for this onerous bacteria for 6 days.  She went straight to sleep after taking her last bite of food each time.

Now we are down to very soft foods to get her to eat.  So, I would stay there a while and then leave and do some errands and try to get some work done and then return for the next meal.  I would get home every night around 8:00, 8:30 and sometimes later.

My commercial customers for my fiberglass fencing business were calling and I was getting out quotes to them as I was sitting in the hospital room wondering if mom was going to make it.  Always on edge.

So, still weak, unable to stand and sleeping and slurring her speech, the doctor came in that was on call for her at the hospital and said she is not longer testing for that bacteria and he was going to dismiss her.  I was very surprised he was doing that.  she was very weak and hardly ever awake, but he did dismiss her.  Back to this nursing home and I was sure to tell them that this ominous bacteria which is usually transferred by hands, comes to you because of improper cleaning and changing.  She was left in too many urinated briefs for too long.   Some 8 to 9 weeks later I would learn from my mother’s own internist that the bacteria was what you would find in standing water, like swamp water.

Well, this whole ordeal this time would take her down one more large notch.   Now she would not be able to stand to get into her wheelchair, not be able to go to the potty or wash her hands in the sink, would be very tired a lot of the time, would slur her speech from time to time and her memory would get much worse.  Surprisingly, her appetite would not.   She was eating well.  There was a loss of weight, appreciably and she is small.   So, I was sitting in the doctor’s office with her and he was talking about her status and what to expect.  She fell asleep and did not hear a word he said. He listened to her heart and she was fine.  Now I am told she is quite normal for this stage of her life and disease.  She would now lose more weight and her blood pressure would normalize.  It had skyrocketed with this illness.  She must have really been hurting, but with her mental condition, could not express it.

He said she would lose her appetite and not want to eat.  Don’t put her on a tube. I  told him I would not.  This is the last stage of her ahlzeimers.   No one knows how long this stage will be, but she is changing probably 20 percent every week or so.  It hurts to turn over or move at all.  It hurts to change her clothing.  It disturbs her immensely to try to get near her face and get her dentures to clean them and brush her teeth.  Its gotten almost impossible to take out her dentures.  As soon as you get close to her with your finger she starts screaming.

So I am forced to let her go except for brushing her teeth for several days before forcing her to let me take out her teeth.  Just have to trick her.  She knows she is doing  this and feels bad about it but will tell you she cannot help it.  She has a nervous condition and her eyes are getting worse about perceiving things closer than they really are.

I am there now minimum of 2 hours on average per visit.  I do everything there is to do for her during that time and get the room clean and in order, smelling good and fresh clothes layed out for the next day, water on her table, disinfect surfaces, wash hands and face and put on lotion before I go.

I can watch her on my phone but now they are actually getting someone to help her with eating her lunch and that takes a huge load off of me.  I usually get there early afternoon and leave around 7:00 p.m. if the night is going well.

There are other families that take care of their loved ones as well and it’s really tough to do.  Seeing them going down, dying slowly, is such an emotional drain.  But knowing that they smile and are happy when you are there is uplifting and gives you a continued sense of purpose.  I have actually drawn closer to my mother in these failing years.  Would not have it any other way.

I have learned so much taking care of her in this environment that I will be passing on the information and will be doing something to improve what I have seen throughout the three nursing homes she has been in thus far.  Right now its just keeping my energy level up and pacing myself as I have a job and work every day also.  There is lots of balancing to do, but someday it will be over and I will rest easy knowing I did everything I could possibly do to make her feel safe, secure and well cared for in her frail condition, but most of all loved.

The attention alone would make her want to live and her days much more meaningful.  I sincerely hate it when I see the majority of the residents in nursing homes left there to suffer and fend for themselves.  No advocates for them.  This system needs a complete overhaul, but for now must work within it the best possible way we can and that means sacrifice daily.

 

DID YOU KNOW THAT PLANTS ARE DOING THE MATH? READ AN ARTICLE FROM APOLOGETICS PRESS

The following article has been reproduced by permission from Apologetics Press.  The article in its entirety is copied here verbatim and the website and other info is included.  I would like to thank Apologetics Press for making a vast amount of information concerning God, Creation and the Existence of God as it is found in the Bible and through science available for those seeking to learn about their world and their God.

As follows:

Plants that Do Math Add Evidence for God

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

 

One of the first steps to becoming a good student in school is to learn the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. Students spend hours trying to master the basics of arithmetic. But it seems that students in grade school are not the only math masters. A new study indicates that plants may be exceptional at math as well. Allison Smith and Martin Howard of the John Innes Center in Norwich suggest that plants perform basic arithmetic in order to preserve the correct amount of starch during the night (Ledford, 2013). Heidi Ledford, writing for Nature News, explained that scientists once thought plants broke down starch at night time at a fairly constant rate. Experimental results, however, have shown that plants can vary their rate of starch consumption based on the number of hours of darkness they experience. Regardless of how many hours plants sit in darkness, they can regulate their starch use so that virtually no starch remains when the light returns (2013).

While this is the first study to suggest that plants do arithmetic, researchers indicate that this process could explain other biological systems, such as animal hybernation and long migrations in which food supplies need to be regulated to ensure survival. More research will be needed to verify Smith’s and Howard’s conclusions, but Howard states: “We are dealing with a fundamental biological process in cells that’s doing a sophisticated arithmetic calculation” (Ledford, 2013).

The implications of these findings that pertain to the existence of God are obvious. If plants really are doing arithmetic, that means they have been programmed by some type of intelligence. This intelligence must understand arithmetic, and be able to write into plants a code by which the plants can use arithmetic to their advantage. The atheistic, materialistic explanation for the origin of the Universe cannot adequately account either for the laws of math or for plants that can use those laws to survive. When the Creator designed plants, He saw that they were very good (Genesis 1:12). The concept of an intelligent Designer is the only one that adds up.

REFERENCES

Ledford, Heidi (2013), “Plants Perform Molecular Maths,” Nature, http://www.nature.com/news/plants-perform-molecular-maths-1.13251.

 


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Bunny and Garden Part Ways for Now

It was Spring in Texas again.  I know I said I would have her back in my garden again this summer, but I had second thoughts.  I remembered  she had taken advantage of my young tender leaves as they were spouting up and some of my garden never got a chance.   I missed the okra from the year before.   I also missed the great carrot crop I had the year before.   The odd thing is that the bunny does not dig up the carrots!  She merely eats the carrot tops—young ones are mostly desired.

Where I have loved seeing Mrs. Bunny all the time in the yard, nesting, resting and enjoying the peace and solitude with no predators after her.  Amazed that she stayed out there through the harsh winter we had.  Occasionally saw her mate, Mr. Bunny who was quite large.  About 3 times her size.  This year I was determined to let my carrot tops grow and not have to put everything on hold while the baby rabbits grew to a certain age and hopped out.  Last year really the only food that stayed good and kept giving were my cucumbers.  She was not interested in them.  So, this year started early getting it weeded, fertilized and ready for planting.  Next I employed my husband with his gracious heart to help me seal off the back yard.  Looks like bunnies can get in small places easily and will dig and hunt for a way if they want in.

So, we decided to  put chicken wire all around the bottom of one side where it was open too much at the bottom.  Then we decided that a composite fiberglass edging was great to hammer in all the way around the yard to prevent them  trying to dig under and prevent the view of the yard.

It worked.  The garden has now been growing nicely.  Mrs. Bunny took up residence in my front yard and happily eats the organically grown grass.  She hops over the neighbor’s lawn also and enjoys a meal there on occasion.  One day she found another way to get in the back yard but could not remember how she got in and ran all the way around the yard looking for her hole.  I felt kind of sorry for her.  I opened up the gate and there she went.

Then it rained.  The ground was soft and she actually dug out an area under the chicken wire and came in.  Just sat there like “hey, this is my yard” when I found her.  She did not make a move.  Layed on the grass and looked at me.  Finally I got close and asked her to show me where she got in.  She must have known what I meant, she went right to it.  Then I just placed a few sticks in the ground there and she has not been able to get back in again.

I loved getting to know her, sharing the yard and making great bunny memories, but its time for a real garden this year.  I”ll bring her some of the carrots like I did last year.  She only has to eat them in the front yard this time.  She has her own covered porch and secret home under the bushes.  I’d say she’ll do fine.   All is well in bunny land.

Natures Sunshine Herbs

Gardening and Tails of Cotton

Spring and Summer of 2013.   Got an early start on planting the Spring garden for cool weather plants and a slow start on the summer portion of the garden for warm weather plants.   I had planted a variety of lettuces and carrots February 2.  A few weeks later we were enjoying  dark green  kale plants growing about 2 feet tall, Romaine Lettuce, Red Lettuce, Carrots, Spearmint.  As the temps began to warm up it was time to pull up the lettuces a little at a time and begin planting cucumbers, tomatoes and okra.  But, along about the beginning of May, I discovered a cotton tail rabbit with pretty penciled eyes and small sharp ears, a delicate small body and a fluffy white cotton ball tail that loved my dense forest of carrot greens standing tall and making a cool but tasty place to live and move about while she was a rabbit in waiting!

Mrs. bunny, as I called her, dug a 4-5 inch nest at the end of the carrot garden and when I was tending to the garden and got a little too close she shot up like a rocket and across the yard in one leap!  One day I noticed that she stayed in the garden and just backed up and looked at me.  That was strange.  I kept on with my business, watering and picking my way through looking at the plants.  Then I saw a couple of very small baby bunnies that could barely hop, only an inch at a time.  They hid themselves well for such young ones.  Later I would see the rare appearance of a large male rabbit, standing watch over these little ones outside the above-the-ground garden.

I was careful with my watering but I would see them running across for cover from time to time.  I thought this very small mother rabbit was too petite to have more than the two babies I had seen, but much to our surprise one day we lifted up a large Kale leaf and there were huddled five little ones laying close together and sleeping snug like little puppies.   Well, now this delayed my plans a bit and I endured a lot of rabbit life for the next 4 to 5 weeks until all of them were weaned and left the nesting grounds.  Now and then one baby might wander back to the garden and hide beneath the cucumber vines as the season got hotter.

One day we caught one of the little ones.  It was so cute when we raised up the vines there it was crouching down as if to hide with eyes squinted and very still.  We just followed it to the fence line and picked it up.  We enjoyed petting it but we let it go back into our garden to wait for its mother again.

Didn’t see that one any more.  We have enjoyed the mom coming and going even until now.  I continued to pull fresh carrots for her and layed them out under the rose bush (a very thick and cool place for her to stay).  The next day you could see where she had  whittled away on the carrots.

The garden surprised me planting the cucumbers so late in June they began coming up in July.  We thought that the cukes would be toast in the Texas heat.  The bees were late showing up also.  I sent up a few prayers for my garden and asked for the bees and for help.  I should not have been surprised, but I was.  July and August were some of the wettest and coolest months we have had this summer and in years.  There were an abundance of bees every day pollinating and buzzing harmlessly.  There was life in that garden and fantastic crop of cukes!  We could not keep the okra because the little rabbits loved them so much they never got a foothold!  They also loved the young tender Kale plants.  They stayed away from the cukes pretty much.  No evidence of eating them at all.

I finally figured out why my tomatoes don’t grow in this garden each year.  It is not lack of calcium.  It’s not lack of fertilizer.  It’s not too hot.  It’s not too cool.  It’s not the rain, heat or drought.  Its  not bugs or worms.  It’s the thickness of the soil.

I learned that Cukes like loose airy soil and tomatoes like thick dense clay type soil.  Next year I will plant a separate garden for tomatoes along the fence on the ground.  My above the ground garden?  it will still be the home of Mrs. Bunny but I may put some screening around my Okra plants.  I missed our okra this year!

Mrs. Bunny is still out there, enjoying the cool grass and peace every afternoon and sometimes I see her out there at night, just resting and enjoying the moonlight.  It was a good season all in all.  Made a few friends, ate well and plan on doing the same next year.  I thank God for the bees, the unseasonably cool months, the rain and our cotton tailed bunnies.

God Bless all my readers!  may you have a wonderful fall and winter.  Be thinking about a winter garden.  I am.  You can enjoy the dainties of earth harvested with your own hands until next Spring and change it once again.

Natures Sunshine Herbs

Basalmic Vinegar Dressing at its Easiest, Tastiest, Healthiest

I wanted to pass along another discovery of “how to do it yourself” in the kitchen.  One of my pet peeves is some of the “all natural” dressings available on the shelf at the grocery  contain undetermined amounts of soybean oil.   Soybean oil is a favorite cheap oil t(that really is not conducive to good health), of most of our commercial food providers out there.

Soy causes an estrogen producing action in our bodies that can, if over-done, cause cancer or accelerate cancer if you already have it.  So, doctors will take patients off soy products when it is determined they have cancer.  But the best thing is not to over-do on estrogen producing or essence type foods or chemicals.  There are normal amounts of estrogen that occur naturally in all of us.  Smaller amounts in men as their dominant hormone is testosterone, but present in both sexes.  The conversation about estrogens in foods can go on and on.  Suffice it to say there are plenty in commercially grown meats, fed to chickens and cows in their feed to make them grow very very fast and fatter!  Also, estrogens in pesticides, gasoline vapors and much more.  So, as if we didn’t have enough to avoid in this toxic world to keep from accelerating our chances of getting cancer, this one is a biggy.

Thus, I really  like it when I can come up with something that helps to save us from estrogen overload.  Here is one.

Balsamic vinegar dressing can be easily made by taking your old  empty bottle of Balsamic dressing, rinse it out, and pour into it 1/3 each of balsamic vinegar, 1/3 water, 1/3 grapeseed oil.  I say grapeseed oil because of its many medicinal qualities as well as fat burning capability.  Grapeseed oil is at the top of my list for fat burning assistance.  So, put these 3 ingredients in the bottle, add about 1/2 teaspoon of powdered or granulated garlic, 1/2 to 3/4 tsp of sea salt, 1/4 tsp or so of cayenne pepper, and about 1 tsp of onion powder.

The cayenne pepper is also a fat burning agent.  I don’t have to tell you how good garlic is for you.  Balsamic vinegar I am sure has some good qualities to it, but I have not studied it so I cannot say what they are.  But, this mixture makes a tasty combination and shakes up well and stays together while you are pouring it on your veges or meats.

Of course, you can change this up to suit your tastes, but the magic is in the fact that using the grapeseed oil, you get a super quality dressing that is helping you stay with your diet and you don’t get any soybean oil!!  Like magic it shakes together nicely and surprises you how well it stays mixed even after you set it down.

You see on the commercial bottles of basalmic vinegar dressing, they will not tell you how much of anything there is.  It could well be that there is only a trace of a good oil in there and the majority is soy.  This provides the seller a better profit margin, but provides you with a bigger waisteline margin!  as well as the known dangers of overdoing it with any estrogen causing food.

So, there you  have it!  an inexpensive, healthy way to  make a great dressing that helps you in so many ways.  Feel good next time you “don’t” go shopping to buy another bottle for $3.50 to $4.00 each of a commercial grade dressing that is way below par for you and your health!  How easy is that?  I keep the old bottle from the store because it is labeled already “Basalmic Vinegar Dressing”.  Usually those bottles are glass.

Working on a good vegan mayo next.  That is a super fat burner like you cannot believe!  If you are a mind to, purchase the Vegenaise Mayo at Whole Foods or Central Market, HEB.  Its pricey.  Around $6.00 to $8.00 per quart!  That is why I say “if you are a mind to”.  I know someone that has  lost about 80 pounds  using this on his sandwiches and sides as an addition to the low carb diet.  Remember low carb diet is a non-gluten diet, no sugar but just now and then and picky about what type.   So, my goal is to duplicate that Mayo best I can and see if it still works.  It is eggless.  He says doesn’t matter which variety of Vegenaise he tries, it works.   If you are older than 30, there may be other factors you have to deal with regarding weight loss, but if your main issue is carbs and gluten – this is for you!

God Bless All My Readers and here is hoping you have a blessed day!

Low Carb Low Calorie and Delicious Chicken Enchiladas!

I was watching a couple of cooking shows while in the dentist’s office.  I have been looking for something new to offer my family for meals.   Then I saw something I don’t recall ever seeing cooked on television, enchiladas!  In this case they were beef to be sure, but the point I was looking for I did get.  The rest I could make up myself the way I want.  So, I already had some cilantro washed and chilled in the refrigerator.  I already had boiled chicken legs, skinned and de-boned and were in the refrigerator.  I already had some sour cream, some grated cheese and, last but not least, I already had some spelt flour tortillas!  So, I looked in the cupboard and found the diced tomatoes, a can of tomato paste, set out my “Mexican spices”, my 9 x 13 glass casserole dish, cooking spray and away we go.  So, thought I would share this amazing dish.  You will love eating something you enjoy knowing it is healthy and low calorie and will not make you feel bloated or bad in any way.  Cost: about 50 cents per serving.  Calories:  if no cheese, just sour cream added, perhaps 225 calories and almost no fat!

Your family will think you went to enormous trouble, but you didn’t!  You can cook this in a very short time, about 30 minutes total if you have already prepared the cooked chicken legs and de-boned and chilled with broth the evening before.

So, here we go.  I proudly provide you with my masterpiece!  Bon Apetit!

Ingredients: (THIS MAY SURPRISE YOU)

1.  skinned, boiled large package of chicken legs – deboned.  I like to start out on high, just to get it to boiling, then turn down and simmer about 4 for 30 minutes or until looks like the chicken is well cooked and tender.  There are about 12 pieces of legs in large package.  I use Tyson Chicken if I am buying from grocery store.  It is known for not raising the chickens using chemicals, hormones to make them grow fast.  When this has cooled, debone, keeping all the good chicken pieces (no cartiledge or stringy looking veins) and pour the broth over the chicken in a large mixing bowel, cover with saran wrap and let chill overnight in refrigerator.

2.  Set out:  1 package of at least 6 spelt flour tortillas (Central Market and maybe HEB)

3.  set out 1  13 x 9 glass casserole “Pyrex” dish or similar

4.  Set out 1 large can, opened, of diced tomatoes

5.  Set out 1 small can tomato paste

6.  Sea Salt

7.  Cayenne Pepper

8.  Granulated Garlic

9.  Cumin

10.  2-3 large Poblano Peppers, washed well

11.  Your cold bowl of pieced up dark meat chicken

12.  1 large onion

13.  1 large sweet red pepper

14.  1 large “soft” tomatoe

Keep your cold sides of:  1.  organic sour cream  2.  fresh washed and chilled cilantro, 1 plate full 3.  shredded cheddar in the refrigerator until ready to serve the meal.

You are gonna love this!

Directions:  In your black iron skillet (if not use your favorite heavy metal skillet) with grape seed oil (super duper fat burning oil)  Just about 2 – 3 tablespoons of oil, heat skillet on medium, meantime cut up your onion in small pieces, slice up your red pepper lengthwise for pretty pieces and throw into the warmed pan, sautee and stir for a few minutes.   If you have a tomato that is a little soft, not good for salad, but very good for this, cut up into medium pieces and add to the mix.  Add about 1/2 tablespoon (sprinkle over) of granulated garlic, about 1 tsp of salt, about 1 Tbls  of cumin, about 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper (or less, you decide).  Stir together with the veges as they are cooking.  After they look kind of softly cooked, about 5 minutes, scoop out the chicken in cupfuls together with the broth.  (you have already skimmed off the chicken fat off the top of the bowl of congealed broth/chicken).  Add to the skilit, mix with more chicken to make the skillet look full with all of the mixture about 2 inches of food in the pan.  Stir and simmer frequently for about another 10 minutes and there should be a good amount of natural juices in there full of flavor.  Next, while this is simmering on low, turn to your glass baking dish.   Spray with Pam or other type vege spray.  If none, just wipe with paper towel with some vege oil on it.  Open your cans of tomato paste and diced tomatoes.  Pour 3/4 of each can into the blender.  Just blend a couple of quick times to make it smooth, not thin. It should look a bit like tomato soup texture.  Take 1/2 of that mixture, taste to see if need salt.  Add the salt, spread half of it over bottom of glass baking dish.  Lay 1 tortilla at a time on there, fill with a big spoonful ( about 3 Tablespoons) of meat vege mixture on the tortilla.  Close the tortilla and move it over to the top left.  Lay next tortilla next to it, repeat, close, move close to the 1st one.  Lay last one, fill it, and it has just enough space to place it there.  Start next row.  Your pan should hold easily 6 of these.  When finished filling all of these, pour the rest of the tomato sauce over the top of all of them nicely, taking care to make it look like a back and forth motion, don’t smother them.  Just pour back and forth giving them all a nice red tomato sauce with a little bit of the tortilla showing.

You should have already washed the Poblano Peppers and placed them in a small heavy pan  with about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom and steam on medium heat for about 20 minutes until just tender.  While this was cooking, so was the meat ingredients.  Turn off.  Let set.  When you are finished pouring your tomato sauce onto the filled tortillas, take these steamed Poblano’s and put on a plate and cut lengthwise about 1/2″ wide pieces.  Lay these decoratively, vertically (up and down) on each of the tortillas you filled and covered.  Now you have a very pretty dish ready to go into the oven!  Cover with good amount of heavy foil.  Oven at 350 and set timer for 10 minutes.  At the end of the 10 minutes, let the dish set in oven with it turned off and rest for about 20 minutes.  Meantime, set your table, put out your fresh cilantro on a plate, kind of piled high for looks and keeps it fresh.  Set out sour cream, perhaps Lemon Water and Ice or your favorite complimentary drink.   Take out of the oven, top with little grated cheese (couple of tablespoons) and dollop of sour cream.  This is amazingly good!  Piece up some of the Cilantro leaves on your dish and eat it all together.  Soooo good!  You family will beg for these time and time again!

If you cannot find Spelt tortillas, try whole wheat ones if you can have wheat.

God Bless all my readers.  Here is to your health!

Natures Sunshine Herbs

Safety Concerns Regarding the Fish We Eat – reported by THE HEALING GOURMET

Here is some interesting facts concerning the source of your fish that you buy, eat, dine out and eat, dine in and eat. This educational article written by THE HEALING GOURMET on 4/26/2013 is worth reading and keeping for reference.
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TODAY’S ARTICLE
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Fukushima. The Gulf oil spill. Polluted fish farms. Genetically engineered salmon.

While seafood – and omega-3 rich fish in particular – has always been an excellent source of vital nutrients, widespread contamination has left many of us wondering…

What fish is safe?

Unfortunately, more than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported. What’s more, a report by Food & Water Watch, found that less than 2% of the 860,000 imported seafood shipments were visually inspected and less than 1% were actually tested for contaminants.

If that’s not enough, there is an industry-wide “bait-and-switch” that is occurring. Fraudulently labeled seafood is turning up in cans, restaurants and even in your local grocery.

In today’s article, I’ll show you how you can protect yourself from the health-harming contaminants found in seafood and the clean options that will provide you with power-packed nutrition.
“Fishy” Seafood and the Safer Options

#1 Imported & Farm-Raised Catfish: Also called Basa and Swam, almost 90 percent of catfish comes from Vietnam – a country with loose regulations on the use of dangerous antibiotics and other chemicals.

Safer Catch: Like catfish, pollock is a mild, white fish with a delicate flavor that’s naturally low in mercury. Look for pollock from the US, Canada and Norway which provide the most eco-friendly harvesting.

#2 Eel: Also called unagi, eel is primarily farmed in China. Toxic nitrofuran – a powerful carcinogen – and many other drugs and pesticides are used to reduce the spread of disease in eel pens. Eel is also highly contaminated with mercury and cancer-causing PCBs.

Safer Catch: Swap eel for squid – an eco-friendly option that is low in contaminants, a great source of protein and easy to prepare.

#3 Atlantic Flatfish:These fish – including sole, flounder and halibut – are high in contaminants. They also have a long history of being overfished, contributing to the collapse of our oceans.

Safer Catch: Swap Atlantic halibut for Pacific halibut- a delicious option that’s environmentally friendly.

#4 Imported & Farm-Raised Shrimp: One of the dirtiest seafoods sold is imported farmed shrimp. Chemical residues, antibiotics and an assortment of other contaminants have been found in farmed shrimp.

Safer Catch: While avoiding imported, farmed shrimp can greatly reduce your exposure to contaminants, it’s important to note that 70 percent of domestic shrimp comes from the Gulf of Mexico. With the recent oil spill, this raises concern for the health of these shrimp stocks. Your best bet is MSC-certified wild-caught Pacific shrimp from Oregon.

#5 Farmed Atlantic Salmon: Due to cramped quarters, rampant disease and a steady diet of “fish meal”, farmed salmon is rife with chemical contaminants ranging from pesticides and antibiotics to PCBs. In fact, fish consumption data shows that 800,000 U.S. adults eat enough PCBs from farmed salmon to exceed the allowable lifetime cancer risk 100 times over! Also of concern is the FDA’s consideration to allow genetically engineered salmon to be sold, unlabeled, in the near future.

Safer Catch: Avoid chemical contaminants and “Frankenfish” by choosing only wild Alaskan salmon.

#6 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna: According to the New York Times, Atlantic bluefin tuna have the highest levels of mercury and have reached near-extinction levels. Choosing more eco-friendly tuna varieties (like albacore or yellowfin) may not be the answer, either. Oceana – a non-profit ocean protection group – collected 1,215 samples from seafood vendors from 2010 to 2012. They found that 59% of tuna is not just mislabeled but it is almost entirely compromised of escolar – a fish once banned by the FDA.

Safer Catch: Swap tuna for smaller (but just as flavorful) Atlantic mackerel and sardines. You’ll enjoy all of the health benefits of omega-3 rich fish, without the high levels of mercury and contaminants… not to mention questionable contents.

Keeping Healthy Fish On Your Plate and In Our Oceans

As the use of chemicals and unnatural agricultural practices soars to meet global food demand, it becomes increasingly more important to take a closer look at the origins of your food.

Know your farmer and your fishermen. Read labels. Ask questions.

While the health effects of these chemicals may not be immediately felt, their long term impact on human health is indisputable. Protect your health tomorrow by saying “no” to contaminated seafood today!

To Enjoying Safe, Sustainable Seafood,

Kelley Herring
CEO & Editor-in-Chief
Healing Gourmet

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Do You Get Enough of This Diabetes-Fighting Fat?

A trimmer tummy and better blood sugar control… from a fat?

It’s true!

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating a diet rich in a certain fat for six months improved insulin resistance by more than 12%! What’s more, it also reduced belly bulge… without exercise!

Learn more on p. 29 of Fats That Heal, Fats That Harm, included in Healing Gourmet’s health transformation program, The Food Cure.

Click here to learn more…

References

Ronald A. Hites, Jeffery A. Foran, David O. Carpenter, M. Coreen Hamilton, Barbara A. Knuth, Steven J. Schwager. Global Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Farmed Salmon. Science 9 January 2004: Vol. 303 no. 5655 pp. 226-229 DOI: 10.1126/science.1091447
Ronald A. Hites, Jeffery A. Foran, David O. Carpenter, M. Coreen Hamilton, Barbara A. Knuth, Steven J. Schwager. Global Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Farmed Salmon. Science 9 January 2004: Vol. 303 no. 5655 pp. 226-229 DOI: 10.1126/science.1091447 Lymbery, P. CIWF Trust report, “In Too Deep – The Welfare of Intensively Farmed Fish” (2002)
EWG. PCBs in Farmed Salmon. Jane Houlihan. July 2003.
Miyazaki,W., Iwasaki, T. Takeshita, A. Polychlorinated Biphenyls Suppress Thyroid Hormone Receptor-mediated Transcription through a Novel Mechanism J. Biol. Chem. 2004 279: 18195-18202. First Published on February 25, 2004, doi:10.1074/jbc.M310531200
Schantz, SL., Widholm, JJ and Rice, DC. 2003. Effects of PCB exposure on neuropsychological function in children. Environ Health Perspect 111 (3): 357-576.
Import Alert: Government Fails Consumers, Falls Short on Seafood Inspections. Food and Water Watch. May 30th, 2007
New York Times. In China, Farming Fish in Toxic Waters. 12/15/2007
Oceana Study Reveals Seafood Fraud Nationwide. February 21, 2013
New York Times. Bluefin tuna and an ocean of troubles. Published: Monday, February 4, 2008
Environmental Defense Fund. Seafood Selector.