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Food is the staff of life but it can be a bane for the obsessive, extremely busy, or lazy person. Yes, healthy eating takes effort and perseverence.  When one is ill, it can be impossible without dedicated and imaginative caregivers.

We enjoyed entertaining in our years when health crises were not part of our picture. Planning and preparing a menu and not having those best-laid plans rent asunder by a sudden worsening of an illness can be challenging.

Much of our food shopping is done at a health food store called "New Frontiers" in Sedona, where we trust most of the produce to be certified as organically grown and produced. Although there are things to do with that produce to ensure a higher degree of safety, we feel we are avoiding the risks and tastes of chemical fertilizers and sprays, hormones, antibiotics, and the hazards and effects of molecularly altered food, which has not been proven safe.

We believe a healthy diet should include as many live foods as one can tolerate.  Those with a damaged digestive system may be challenged by eating raw foods.  If one can avoid red meats, dairy, and refined sugars most of the time, one is at least giving the immune system a better chance to recover from stress and injury.

However, many of our favorite recipes come from our "holiday files" for over indulging and ignoring the rules for healthy eating, albeit for a brief period of time.  

Things to observe and consider:

Keep your cutting boards clean, as in scrubbed, with hot and soapy water after each session of usage.  Keep a spray bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide handy (diluted down from 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide:  1 part 35% to11 parts distilled water). If you think your kitchen counters, sponges, dish cloth, etc. clean, just spray some of that 3% on them and see what's really happening in your kitchen.

Yes, I know, common household bleach is an excellent disinfectant--up to a point. But, chlorine chemicals are not healthy choices, in spite of their wide spread useage. They are toxic! My chemical sensitivities or environmental illness began when a kitchen sponge accidentally combined two different cleaners, one with an ammonia ingredient, the other with chlorine. I dare not drink or use tap water, commonly disinfected with chlorine.The toxic gas or fumes that result from chlorine gas has had a lasting negative effect on my liver.  From hives, asthmatic symptoms, muscle weakness, and more; the damage  was permanent. Later, when I contracted Hepatitis C, my liver's burdens became more heavy, indeed.

Have a safe source of water for all food preparation and internal usage.  Do not trust tap water for those purposes.  Even boiling the water does not remove the chemicals that have been put there intentionally or accidentally from environmental spills or leaching from the soil and elsewhere. We use a combination of conditioned water and reverse osmosis water for food preparation. We drink a water that has been further purified and ionized directly from the faucet.

I avoid microwave use at all times, but for those who can't wait a little longer to warm left-overs, at least put the food in a glass (microwave- safe container). Plastics of all kinds can be an additional way of harming the body.  When plastic is heated, its formaldehyde and other chemical constituents will probably be absorbed into the food.  

Please, never heat baby food or formula bottles in the microwave, let alone in plastic containers.

Remove freezer foods from their plastic containers and wraps before cooking or baking and put in a pyrex casserole or cake dish. Plastic wrap has its uses in the refrigerator but not in the oven or microwave.

Avoid aluminum cookware and utensils, including foil and cast iron cookware.  Haven't we heard enough about their possible risks as in Alzheimer's Disease? Although we use high quality stainless steel and Calphalon cookware for many cooking and baking projects, we try to limit their useage too. Pyrex and Corell make glass products with multipurpose uses that are safer in the long run.

Date containers of food put into the refrigerator. Ideally, we should date everything in the pantry and freezer too, but ? The rapid rancidity of many foods, especially when they are forgotten on the back of a shelf, is a major cause of disease where yeast sensitivity becomes more than a nuisance. Whether it is salad dressings, oils, nuts, flours, dairy products, and many other foods being stored, watch those dates on them. My nose quickly detects anything rancid, but not everyone has a two-legged bloodhound living in their home!  I can detect the smell of fragrance products a block away when I step out my door. When swimming pools in the neighborhood have chlorine replenished, I better not open a window. Sometimes, I smell it with the windows closed.

Juicing should be a part of everyone's life! Not only do freshly-made vegetable juices contain enzymes, probably long gone from anything canned or frozen, but they taste delicious. A morning of consuming freshly-made fruit juices and whole fresh fruit gets one off to good start. When my grandson proudly reported on his most recent favorite breakfast cereal, I cringed. It was "candy" in a cereal package, being touted as a nutritious breakfast food!! Ugh.

Green apple juice is my magic drink to help keep the kidneys and gallbladder happy. Granny Smith apples are favorites. Juice them and add an ounce or two of aloe juice for good measure. Both are said to aid digestion and healing. The apples contain malic acid, a nutrient that may soften those gallstones and kidney stones and keep one away from the surgeon's scalpel. Citrus juices and cranberry juice have long been considered helpful for correcting pH and correcting problems with bile duct blockages and urinary complaints. I would also recommend people seek laser treatment of stones before surgical removal of a gallbladder. The gallbladder is a very useful organ not to be readily disgarded. Hey, the liver considers it its best friend.

My cereal is Irish steel-cut oatmeal cooked ahead of time and eaten cold with homemade plain yogurt. No, it may not be for everyone, but I find it soothing to my digestive sysyem. Usually, I add a few slices of banana to sweeten it.

Acid stomach & acid reflux disease--Correct food combining may make the difference whether one becomes a slave to antacids or not. Few doctors bother to tell anyone that the antacid practice will  increase their need of them and cause more problems. The popularity of the drug Prilosec will probably increase as more people become slaves to those antacids.  Before you go on it, get a magnifying glass and beg, borrow or buy a PDR and read the section on side effects, and contraindications. It is not a harmless pill! Don't doctors know that we need a normal stomach pH, not one altered, in order for bad habits and over-indulgences to be tolerated. The bacteria, viruses, and yes, parasites that enter our mouths everyday are probably overjoyed when they enter the chemically-altered stomach of a Tum's user. I am also annoyed and alarmed by the frequent diagnosing of acid reflux disease without proof. When my entire common bile duct was filled and blocked over a year ago but emptied by an IV injection of morphine, it was not food I expelled the following morning, although the doctor in the nuclear medicine department had advised his students that my duct was probably blocked because of acid reflux disease! Do a search on parasites and read about the epidemic of parasites in this world (not only in third world countries). As an East Indian Fellow in Hepatitic Transplantation told me, worms are a big problem for bile ducts and pancreatic ducts of chronically ill people, such as those with liver disease and AIDS. Apparently, a healthy immune system with healthy pH usually (hopefully) destroys the eggs and larvae of invaders before they do damage.

Correct food combining is not difficult, just requiring some relearning and changing of eating habits. Forget the meat with potatoes idea.  Why not eat six small snacks every day instead of the one big meal in the evening, with the breakfast bar for breakfast, typically, and a fast food highly-saturated sandwich for lunch? Yes, a few pieces of fruit in a bag at your desk will supply a more healthful replenishment of energy and nutrition.  How about some raw nuts as a snack in the afternoon? Dinner could be a variety of vegetables, raw and steamed. If you must have meat for dinner, skip the rice and/or starchy vegetable with it. A salad or other steamed non-starchy vegetables with the protein should be adequate.  Oh yes, no bread or rolls allowed with the protein either! How about freshly-made carrot juice for an evening snack? I bet if you follow those suggestions, you may not even reach for your Rolaids or ? Also, any store selling sweet rolls and doughnuts must have stock in the companies selling antacids!

Healing properties of foods may keep the doctor away, if your food choices are from sources where processing and molecularly altering of them have not made their presence known. Did you read where the tomato is said to benefit the body attempting to avoid or eliminate prostate cancer?There is much interest in a nutrient supplement called MSM  (Methylsulfonylmethane) for healing skin and tissues; growing healthy hair and nails; and more. Are you surprised when I tell you that the refinement of foods generally removes most nutrients? Are you surprised when I tell you that the much-maligned egg yolk is a great source of the MSM nutrient? As a student nurse in the 1950s we observed that egg custards and eggnogs were generally a major part of the menu for burn patients. I eat many eggs and my cholesterol numbers are normal. Did you know that it is difficult to eat an iron-free diet? Although I supplement with iron-free multi-vitamins and minerals, and rarely eat meat and many other foods known to be high in iron (never cereals and breads enriched with it); I have abnormally high iron and ferritin counts. Of course, in my case that is typical of liver disease as with Hepatitis C. Some of you may be aware that phlebotomies or "blood letting" are frequently prescribed for the problem. If I could donate blood, I would be a regular contributor.

I won't go near artificial fats or oils!  A clarified butter is a better choice any day than a margarine. Yes, once upon a time it was a matter of economics for people. Certainly, today people have heard about and read that margarine is not a healthful choice! And, if it has been solidified, it is worse. Hydrogenating anything is adding to your already excessive intake of poisons.

Our son, Bruce, was following the guidelines of a meatless diet until a few years ago, when he reported no problems then with the strengths and energy required for the sports he loves. However, his love of sushi makes me very nervous. I have observed the success of a macrobiotic diet, where a former neighbor won a hard fought battle against breast and bone cancer and won. Food choices can make a big difference in our health and well-being. It deserves our study and adaptation if we chose to make a difference in our quality and quantity of life.

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