Saturday, May 10, 2008

Product Review: Blendtec Blender

I purchased this blender after reading THE CHINA STUDY, EAT TO LIVE, and GREEN FOR LIFE (all Highly recommended and if you are buying this blender you'd be missing out if you didn't read these books, particularly GREEN FOR LIFE).

All three books really drive home the importance of eating Greens (Swiss Chard, Kale, etc.) on a daily basis. For me, this was a challenge. The only way I could tolerate kale was to slather it with olive oil or Earth Balance and salt and cook it, thereby destroying most of the benefits. Even then I ate it dutifully and without pleasure. Then I read GREEN FOR LIFE and got the idea to blend up raw greens with bananas and other fruit into nutrient dense green smoothies.

You need the high power blender for this sort of thing, other blenders can't handle it.

This one performs like a dream, it makes a killer green smoothie--no taste of kale! The cost of the blender is worth it for this reason alone. Now I can get my daily intake of greens without having to endure it. It's actually delicious and gives you a buzz of energy way better than coffee.

It fits on your counter under your cabinets--very important for an appliance you might be using every day. Mine now occupies the space where the coffee pot used to be and I use it at least twice a day.

You can make nut butters, various flours, breads, soup....etc. It's so powerful I think the motor could fly a small plane.

You can walk away from this blender and it knows when to shut itself off, and clean-up is a cinch. This is the single best appliance I've ever purchased.

Buddha Mama

I've just discovered Sarah Napthali has a new book out and I can't wait to read it. Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children: How to Be a Mindful Parent, follows Buddhism for Mothers, a Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children which I have worn literally to tatters. I've only just ordered Napthali's newer book from Amazon, but I want to share with you the first book. This is the single most helpful parenting book I've read to date (and I've read a ton). You do not have to be a Buddhist to benefit from this book, in fact, those who will benefit the most are probably the non-Buddhists.

Buddhism for me is a philosophy, a pragmatic way of approaching life and NOT a religion. I am totally seduced by the art and imagery of Buddhism, but I do not subscribe to any religion and find them all for the most part a divisive and destructive force in the world. However, Buddhism is different. Buddha himself said, here are some tips, but you have to find nirvana for yourself, you don't get it through worship. When viewed as a blueprint for life, Buddhist principles are very handy and practical, particularly in the parenting department.

Buddhism teaches you to stay in the moment and gives you a clear cut path to do that. A beautiful and useful (and doable) code of ethics help you stay mindful during all the mindless chores of motherhood and back you up in those moments where things can go awry. Right Speech, for instance, reminds you to watch more closely what comes out of your mouth when speaking to your children. Swearing, for me, is a hard one.

I go back to this book over and over--it's out on loan to one of my friends or I'd go back to it right now to give you specifics. If you need comfort or some helpful non-obvious tips, this is a great book. There's nothing flowery or cutesy, it's just real stuff for real life.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Lacinato Kale

Lacinato Kale has become king of my fridge.  Two years ago I couldn't stand it.  The nutritional content is through the roof and I was determined to like it, so  I just kept putting a few leaves in my smoothies, little by little increasing the amount.  Now I can hardly go a day without it.  

Kale is a cruciferous vegetable, known for its anti-cancer properties.   Lacinato Kale is the most nutrient dense of the kale varieties and is also known as black kale and dinosaur kale.  I do not believe you can supplement your diet with vitamins and get what you need (see THE CHINA STUDY for more on this) and use Lacinato Kale as the nutritional core of my family's diet.  As long as my son gets his daily smoothie, I feel confident he's getting what he needs and I'm more willing to let a birthday cupcake slide.  We single mothers have enough to worry about, this is an easy way to ensure your children are getting their veggies.  My son and all his friends LOVE green smoothies, so there's no cajoling.  

Here's what goes into a standard smoothie at our house:  Banana, filtered water, berries, flax oil, and a few leaves of kale.   High in calcium, protein, chlorophyl, and tons of vitamins and minerals, you get so much for so little with this stuff.  I was just reading an article about how this particular family of vegetables not only protects and benefits your health, but goes into your cells and tries to correct problems.  

The fact that you are ingesting Raw kale is also very helpful, since heating veggies causes nutrient depletion.  Chimps--who we are just a few tweaks away from--live almost completely on greens and don't suffer from the health issues we have.  It is my belief that greens are the Key to good health.  

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


BPA is bad news. I knew it before, but thought it was pretty much unavoidable. With the flurry of media attention lately (a recent New York Times article was the final blow for me), I've decided to to rid my life of this carcinogen once and for all.

Bisphenol-A is in plastic bottles, we knew that, but did you know it's in cans? As in canned food? So we've been eating it and drinking it. We don't do a lot of canned stuff at our house, but there are three staples: tomatoes, coconut milk, and beans. Beans I can do dry, so it's no problem but in case you're wondering, Eden doesn't put BPA in their canned beans, and neither does Trader Joe's. Coconut milk is a little trickier, but you're good with all Trader Joe's cans (they currently only do Lite coconut milk unfortunately), and Native Forest coconut milk is BPA free. It's ridiculous that we have to police our food but it's clear most manufactures and corporations aren't going to do it for us.

I'm currently researching the best water filters to replace my bottled spring water. When I called Crystal Springs to ask about the BPA they first told me it was NOT in the water bottles, something they told me when I first started buying the water. When I asked for a written statement, they put me on hold and about 15 minutes later a supervisor got on the phone and told me BPA is indeed in the bottles! Then she said it was a big media scare tactic and was perfectly safe. She totally disregarded my concerns and I asked her to close my account immediately. I'm freaked out that all this time I've been----and worse my sweet little son has been---ingesting BPA and paying for it! I'll let you know what solution I come up with for clean water as soon as I find it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Product Review: Varialand

Having spent a lot of time in Germany, I was delighted to find this creative, open-ended and adorable wooden non-puzzle. Each square has a picture to be placed with other squares forming various different scenes. There are many possibilities causing you to think and concentrate as much as you would with a puzzle, but in a more creative and right brained fashion. This is not a cheap toy at $25, but it's one to go in the keepsake trunk for your kids when they're older. And if you're a Euro-phile like me, you'll love it. Older kids will probably get a kick out of the German words all over the box. Ages 3+ Made by Selecta Spiel/Germany