Aloe Vera Probiotic Kefir Water

If you haven’t been making your own kefir water, it’s high time you did!

If you are a client of mine then you are probably already on a good probiotic supplement for excellent gut health and immune system support. Science has also found certain strains of microbes to be helpful for depression and anxiety.

What is Kefir Water?

Kefir water is made from kefir grains. The kefir grain is not actually a grain but a symbiotic polysaccharide containing both yeast and bacteria that ferments sucrose and breaking it down into more easily digested fructose and glucose. Fructose is easily digested by the liver and does not spike blood sugar the way sucrose does.

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Don’t panic about drinking “sugar water”. This is a natural process where the kefir bacteria feeds on the sugar, and as it ferments, the sugar content is reduced.

Kefir water is full of beneficial bacteria, yeasts, enzymes, easily digested sugars, acids, vitamins and minerals. In fact, one study showed that Water Kefir contained over 450 kinds of beneficial bacteria!

In my opinion, the taste of plain kefir water is rather boring. While some prefer it that way, I like to put mine through a second 24hr brew with juice or crushed fruit, making kefir “soda”. Organic Black Cherry juice is one of my favorites as my drink is now turbo charged with natural antioxidants from black cherries. Continue reading

A Doctor’s Story About His Mental Illness

Portions of this article are from www.KevinMD, as written by Mark Vonnegut, MD, JUNE 19, 2015. Click here to read the entire article.

Dr. Vonnegut spent time in a mental hospital as a young man, determined to get well, get out, and get on with life. He progressed from being a landscaper, to medical school, married with three sons, and is a published Author. He gives hope to those struggling with any type of mental illness. Excerpts of the article are below.


“…In my career as a mental patient, I started with schizophrenia, worked my way up through manic depression, and have now settled at bipolar disorder. I can joke about it because I recovered sufficiently to get into and through medical school, internship, and residency, and have had the enormous honor and privilege of being trusted by parents to help them and their children. I make no bones about it; I make mistakes just like everyone else, but am very proud of how well I do my job….

“There are all kinds of statistics, but the bottom line is that no one among us is 100 percent crazy, and no one is 100 percent sane. The chance that you or someone you love won’t need help at some point with what we broadly call “mental illness” is 0. Continue reading

“Tumbleweed” Thistle – aka – Russian Thistle

Awww…The Texas tumbleweeds!  Scenes like this one were very common in Lubbock wa10cwhere I was born, and lived, until I was ten years old.

However, around our home, the tumble weeds were never allowed to get that large because, while they were still young, they would end up on our dinner table.

mini-tumbleweedsWe lived with my grandmother, Aunt and Uncle and it was very common for my sister and I to be sent outside to scavenge for the young thistles. Some kind of greens…mustard greens, collard greens or the humble thistle were on our plates almost every night. No wonder we were healthy!



This year was the first time I saw a small Russian thistle on our property. So of course, I couldn’t let it grow up and become a pesky tumbleweed. Part went into a green smoothie with blueberries, and the rest was lightly steamed for dinner.

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Wild Edible’s

We seem to have an abundance of weeds this year, so armed with my “Wild Edibles” book I went off to forage some greens from around our property. There was plenty of wild grass, wild mustard, dandelion, purslane, and a hearty thistle with a little purple flower.


Wild Edibles

Apparently all thistles are editable. This one is particularly thorny so heavy gloves were a must when picking it. They are rich in vitamins A and C, plus copper, phosphorus, potassium, iron calcium and magnesium.



Wild mustard

Wild mustard is said to be the number-one healthiest green. It is rich in vitamins A, B, C, E and K, plus calcium, potassium, sulfur, copper, manganese, and fiber, and also high in antioxidants.



Some of these plants were pretty fibrous, and can also be a little bitter.


After blending the greens, I strained the liquid, added some homemade kombucha, fresh blueberries and kiwi and enjoyed a very fresh green smoothie.







We also had some spontaneous Phacelia Grandflora gracing our landscape for several months. They are considered toxic, so I did not put any of them into my smoothie. Sure were beautiful to look at though.

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Finally, a Successful Kitchen Adventure

If you have read my other blog, on some of my kitchen disasters, then you understand why I’m excited when I actually have a success…or even better, two…IN A ROW! Wow! 🙂

First, I started making my own Kombucha a couple of weeks ago. The first batch was a little tart, more like vinegar, actually. My second batch, however, is perfect! It’s not too sweet, not too tart, and delightfully carbonated. 

Then today on Facebook, I saw a post on how to make Cauliflower Rice from Oh My Veggies. Oh yea, had to try that one!

Per her instructions, I used the grater on my food processor. Continue reading

Never Focus on the Problem

Arthur Mendelson Your focusing on the problem. If you focus on the problem you can’t see the solution. Never focus on the problem. See what no one else sees. See what everyone chooses not to see; out of fear, conformity, or laziness. See the whole world anew each day! (Patch Adams, the movie)

Remember that scene in the movie Patch Adams?  The four fingers test?




The point is, when we over-focus on a problem we often miss the solution, and often there is more than one solution. 

When we take a step back and view a challenging situation as though we are watching a movie, we often see things a little clearer. Other aspects will come into focus. By taking our eyes off the “symptom” or the “problem” it is then that our brain finds a solution. We must look beyond the surface to find what lies underneath.

See what others choose not to see out of fear. Fear of what? The truth, perhaps? If we see the truth in a situation it may require action on our part. It could be that we may have to acknowledge or accept an aspect of the problem that we truly have no power over to change. Remember, the only person that we have power over to change is ourselves.

That can be painful when it involves others we love and we can see painful or deadly consequences to their choices where they either don’t see them or don’t care to look.

Or perhaps it would mean recognizing something in ourself that may need to be addressed, such as a serious personality flaw. Sometimes seeing beyond a negative situation may mean recognizing the part we personally played in creating the situation. Often it is our perception of the problem we must change. Continue reading

Another Kitchen Adventure

Today was a no-pressure day so I decided to bake. For those of you that don’t know me, I am not very skilled in the kitchen. In fact, I am somewhat of a hazard. I have…

1) exploded a pan of grease on the stove – setting a blaze of fire and smoke that scorched the cabinet above and filled two rooms with such black smoke we had to have the rooms professionally cleaned;

2) caught my cookbook on fire (I kept it as a reminder);

3) fused a tea-kettle to the top of the electric range so badly that it could not be removed. As the stove cooled, the entire surface began to crack. We had to buy a new stove that time. It was an ugly stove anyway and needed to be replaced, therefore not a total disaster, just an expensive one.

So other than a few kitchen towels being set on fire (and who hasn’t done that!)  I’ve been pretty good lately.

My son, (now age 25) however, is a good cook without recipes. He began checking out the kitchen on his own at a very young age.










When he was three years old he pulled a chair up to the stove and started cooking. Notice, I have no picture for that one! GASP!

In the early years it was curiosity, but by age three he probably decided it was a matter of survival.

Now, today there are two signs that hang on my kitchen wall…This one I bought… Continue reading

What Kind of Happiness Do You Pursue? Does it Matter?

New research suggests that experiencing the right kind of happiness can change our genetic code that defines the core of our very being.


New studies indicate that our bodies recognize – at the molecular level – that not all happiness is created equal – It then responds in ways that can either help or hinder our physical health.

Wow, let that sink in for a minute….Now, there are two types of happiness’s – 

Hedonic happiness, is the type we get from pleasure of the senses, such as going on vacation, having a good meal, enjoying a hobby, sport or other types of personal indulgences.

Eudaimonic happiness, is a contented state of being happy that we get from a noble goal that brings us pleasure. This can be working to relieve the suffering of another living being, spiritual pursuits, or searching for and finding a greater purpose in our lives.

The hedonic or simple pleasures in life do make us feel happy but they don’t have a positive impact our genes.

Researchers found that the sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness.

According to Barbara L. Fredrickson, it’s the difference between enjoying a good meal and feeling connected to a larger community through a service project. Both give us a sense of happiness, but each is experienced very differently in the body’s cells.

“We know from many studies that both forms of well-being are associated with improved physical and mental health, beyond the effects of reduced stress and depression,” Fredrickson said. But if all happiness is created equal, and equally opposite to ill-being, then patterns of gene expression should be the same regardless of hedonic or eudaimonic well-being. Not so, found the researchers.

Eudaimonic well-being was, indeed, associated with a significant decrease in the stress-related CTRA gene expression profile.  Doing good, produces a stronger expression of antibody and antiviral genes.

In contrast, hedonic well-being was associated with a significant increase in the CTRA profile. Their genomics-based analyses reveal the hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.  Simply feeling good types of happiness had weaker expression of antibody and antiviral genes.

Fredrickson found the results initially surprising, because study participants themselves reported overall feelings of well-being. “Their daily activities provide short-term happiness yet result in negative physical consequences long-term,” she said.

“We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ‘empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically,” she said. “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”

Steven Cole, one of the authors of the study explained:

“What this study tells us is that doing good and feeling good have very different effects on the human genome, even though they generate similar levels of positive emotion. Apparently, the human genome is much more sensitive to different ways of achieving happiness than are conscious minds.”

So, lets pursue the doing of good for others as well as for ourselves!

What type of Eudaimonic happiness do you engage in?


Barbara L. Fredrickson, Kenan Distinguished Professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined the pattern of gene expression within the cells responsible for fighting off infectious diseases and defending the body against foreign materials (Fredrickson et al., 2013). In this study, eighty (80) healthy adults were assessed for “hedonic” and “eudaimonic” well-being.

Levels of Maturity

As humans we all display various levels of maturity in our behavior. Generally we would expect that people behave according to the level of maturity for their years. In other words, a forty-year old would act like a forty-year old and a twelve-year-old like a twelve-year-old, and so on. However, we all know that this is not the case. Many adults never develop beyond a childhood level of functioning and some teenagers’ function at the adult level early on.

I would like to make it real clear that I am not referring in this article to those that are mentally challenged in some way, and thus are not capable of emotional or mental maturity due to a physiological problem. I am referring to those who never develop beyondBy three methods we may learn wisdom a childhood level of functioning because they choose not to, or don’t realize what level they are functioning at because of poor parental example as they were maturing. Or perhaps, due to a traumatic occurrence in their life, their emotional maturity has been stunted. In other words they are genuinely ignorant of the level of maturity they are functioning at and can learn to grow and mature.

There is a book titled Transforming Your Dragons by Jose Stevens, PhD that describes the various stages of maturity and how an adult would act if they were fixated at the younger stages. While I don’t agree with everything in Dr. Stevens’s book, I think most of it is fairly accurate. Continue reading