Primitive Diva

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Three Goats Farm of Montgomery, Texas
Melissa is a former beauty queen, personal trainer and certified holistic health coach. Melissa founded Queen Bee Wellness to specialize her coaching practice towards Women's Wellness and Beauty. She helps women focus on finding their own natural beauty from a integrative approach of balancing Mind, Body and Soul. Melissa believes that what we put in our mind is just as important as the nourishing food we put in our bodies and products on our skin. She strives to coach women to balance a healthier body image, approach to wellness and authentic living. With her passion for a clean lifestyle, Queen Bee Wellness therapeutic skin care products were born- to help women enhance their natural glow, without causing harm to their health from chemical laden toxic products. Melissa's philosophy to real beauty is summarized in "Wellness is Beauty". Melissa resides on a 10 acre farm in Montgomery, Texas with her husband and teen aged children. In her spare time she is chief goat wrangler and milker of her "Queen Bee" herd of dairy goats at Three Goats Farm.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What Vegetarians Should Learn About Traditional Foods.....

Information and Research via Weston Price Foundation (Media Panel)

While the traditional foods movement seems to focus heavily on the inclusion of high-quality, pasture-raised meat and dairy products and is, indeed, a largely animal food-based diet, that doesn’t meant that it offers no guidance or dietary wisdom for vegetarians. Indeed, there’s a lot that vegetarians can glean from the traditional foods movement and, in many ways, the practices advocated by traditional foods enthusiasts and organizations like the Weston A Price Foundation and the Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation might prove even more important for vegetarians and vegans who rely on grains and legumes for much of their foods. From soaking and souring grains and legumes to fermenting veggies and eating healthy fats, here’s five things that vegetarians can learn from the traditional foods movement.

1. To soak, sour or sprout grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and beans.
Grains, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes often make up the foundation of a vegetarian or vegan diet. For this reason, it’s critical that vegans and vegetarians learn to prepare these foods to reap the greatest nutritional reward from them. To prevent premature sprouting until conditions for plant growth are optimal, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans are potent sources of antinutrients which include phytate and enzyme inhibitors. These antinutrients cause reduced mineral absorption and reduced ability to properly digest foods. Since vegans and vegetarians forgo mineral-rich meats and bone broths, deriving much of their mineral intake from plant-based sources, one of the most significant and beneficial actions an adherent to a plant-based diet can take to maximize nutrient intake would be to soak, sour or sprout all their grains, nuts, beans, legumes and seeds – a traditional practice that renders the nutrients in these foods more bioavailable1.
Sprouting, soaking and fermenting grains, nuts, beans, seeds and legumes activates the enzyme phytase which neutralizes phytate, and these traditional processes help to free up minerals otherwise bound in a raw, untreated state. Indeed, once phytate has been adequately degraded, legumes can become good sources of both iron and zinc2. The simple act of sprouting and roasting oats, or malting, before preparing a breakfast porridge has been shown to increase zinc absorption by 55% and iron by 47%3. Sprouting mung beans followed by a simple fermentation increases the absorbable iron by over 70% compared to the untreated bean4. Simply choosing to bake whole grain sourdough bread over regular whole grain bread not only reduced antinutrient content, but significantly increases the availability of magnesium5. Incidentally the process of souring grains as required in sourdough bread appears to naturally increase the levels of folate by as much as three-fold13.

In a plant-based, vegetarian or vegan diet you miss out on animal foods as a dense source of minerals, for this reason you can do your body a favor by making sure to properly prepare grains, nuts, beans, seeds and legumes to maximize the availability of iron, zinc, magnesium and other minerals. Read more about soaking grains, beans and legumes.

2. To only consume traditionally fermented soy products and with iodine-rich companion foods.
For many vegans and vegetarians, soy and soy foods make up a base of the diet: soy milks and yogurt, tofu, texturized vegetable protein, soybean oil, soy-based protein powder, cooked soy beans and other soy foods. Unfortunately, soy foods, much like all beans, are a potent source of antinutrients. Soy’s potent isoflavones can also interfere with human endocrine function, particularly the function of the thyroid and reproductive health of both men and women and may have broader implications for the population as a whole7. Properly prepared through traditional means of fermentation (note that soaking and germinating on their own prove inadequate), as in traditional soy sauce and tempeh can reduce phytates found in soy almost completely. Also, by serving small condiment-sized portions of soy foods with traditional iodine-rich accompaniments like seaweed, one may help counteract soy’s antithyroid properties.

3. To eat healthy fats, including monounsaturated and saturated fats.
Fat plays an enormous role in health and well-being and the traditional foods movement focuses heavily on the liberal use of fat, particularly animal fats and this may rub some vegetarians and vegans the wrong way, particularly those who adhere to a low-fat vegetarian diet or attempt to adhere to a no-fat vegetarian diet. Fats help us to absorb vitamins and offer other health benefits as well. In a recent study, women who ate the most fat (particularly saturated and monounsaturated fat) suffered from fewer signs of aging than those who ate the least8. A look into history will illustrate that peoples who consumed their unprocessed, native, traditional foods enjoyed good health9 and that their diets ranged upwards of 80% of fat by calorie10. Moreover, vegetarians should remember that while they should continue to consume vegetables liberally, a recent Swedish study indicates that fruit and vegetable consumption is linked to a reduction in the risk of heart disease only when combined with a diet rich in full-fat dairy11. Whether a vegetarian feels dairy meets his or her needs or preferences, we could all do with making sure to consume healthy, wholesome traditional fats. Healthy fats that are suitable for vegans may include unrefined olive oil (see sources), unrefined coconut oil, ethically and sustainably harvested palm kernel oil, almond and other cold-pressed and unrefined nut oils while a vegetarian might also include butter and ghee (see sources).

4. To learn how to culture vegetables and make naturally fermented probiotic beverages.
Meat and animal foods are rich sources of B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12 which is not found in plant-based foods with the exception of fermented and cultured foods and beverages. For this reason vegetarians and vegans are at risk of B vitamin deficiency; indeed a 2002 study analyzing the B12 status of vegetarians found that more than 60% of vegetarians suffered from stage III B12 deficiency12. Fermentation of vegetables and beverages, as in the case of kombucha and water kefir, can provide B vitamins though reports of B12 in fermented foods are largely unreliable so vegetarians and vegans should not rely on kombucha, water kefir, sauerkraut and other fermented foods as a source of B12; however, they do present an excellent source of other B vitamins.

Nutritional yeast, which is not strictly a traditional food, can be a source of vitamin B12 as well as other B vitamins and is also produced through fermentation. Incidentally, it is a source of free glutamic acid and those sensitive to MSG might do well to avoid it altogether.

Beyond the benefit B vitamins, fermented foods and beverages present an excellent source of beneficial bacteria and live food enzymes. Beneficial bacteria work in conjunction with the immune system, keeping the body alert, healthy and keep pathogens at bay15, and may even show promise in alleviating inflammation in the gut16.

5. To find a source of raw, enzyme-rich protein and eat it every day.
In populations adhering to their traditional, native diets, people consumed at least some form of raw, enzyme-rich protein every day. For many people this meant eating meat, milk, eggs, butter, cream, fish or roe raw and for traditional foods enthusiasts who drink raw milk liberally. While the thought of eating raw meat or egg yolks may turn a vegetarian’s stomach, one might, instead, choose to eat fresh sprouts – while the protein offered in fresh sprouts is minor by comparison to that offered in fresh meat, it still offers an opportunity to consume an enzyme- and vitamin-rich food daily. Sprouted mung beans are a popular traditional food in Asia. For vegetarians who aren’t opposed to the inclusion of some animal foods in their diet, raw egg yolk from pastured hens mixed into a salad dressing or mayonnaise offers a great source of vitamin-rich, raw protein and fat as well as fresh butter, milk and cream.

1. Hotz, et al. Traditional food-processing and preparation techniques to enhance the bioavailability of micro-nutrients in plant-based diets. Journal of Nutrition. April 2007. 2. Sandberg. Bioavailability of minerals in legumes. British Journal of Nutrition. December 2002. 3. Larsson, et al. Improved zinc and iron absorption from breakfast meals containing malted oats with reduced phytate content. British Journal of Nutrition. November 1996. 4. 5. Lopez, et al. New data on the bioavailability of bread magnesium. Magnesium Research. December 2004. 7. Doerge, et al. Goitrogenic and estrogenic activity of soy isoflavones. Environmental Health Perspectives. June 2002. 8. Nagata et al. Association of dietry fat, vegetables and antioxidant micrnutrients with skin ageing in Japanese women. British Journal of Nutrition. January 2010. 9. Price. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. (6th Edition) Keats Publishing. 2003. 10. Cordain. Saturated Fat Consumption in Ancestral Human Diets. Phytochemicals: Nutrient-gene Interaction. 11. Holmberg et al. Food Choices and Coronary Heart Disease: A Population Based Cohort Study of Rural Swedish Men with 12 Years of Follow-up. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. October 2009. 12. Herrmann & Geisel. Vegetarian lifestyle and monitoring of vitamin B-12 status. International Journal of Clinical Chemistry. December 2002. 13. Kariluoto, et al. Effects of yeasts and bacteria on the levels of folates in rye sourdoughs. February 2006. 15. Gorska. Probiotic bacteria in the human gastrointestinal tract as a factor stimulating the immune system. 2009. 16. Isolauri, et al. Probiotics effects on immunity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. February, 2001.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Play in the Dirt and get a little WILD....Letting Nature Heal!

Sorry to have been away from my Blog for a few weeks. I typically write and share about the science of nutrition and its extreme importance in the overall Healthy Living perspective. However, as I have been completely immersed in research for my Primitive Diva book for the past 2 weeks- I have been led to several books that have provided life changing introspectives that have resulted in profound and beneficial change to mine and my families lives. I am learning the importance of taking care of and/or nourishing our spirit, soul and our TRUE selves NOT just our physical bodies! I have been enlightened to the fact that we cannot be whole without reconnecting to our selves through nature and disconnecting from the "busy-ness" of our lives. This allows us to embrace who were TRULY are and to realize potential and gifts that we hold. It has been a lesson in "stopping to smell the roses...." This has created change in EVERY role I have in life as author, health educator, wife, mother and friend. The beauty of this new found knowledge is simple....briefly,throw out the science,the minute breakdown of nutrients and cellular function,all neuro-psychological jargon and SIMPLY reconnect with the natural wonder around us.See what happens.....!

First, as a mother of a child labeled as "Special Needs",Learning Disabled and ADD/ADHD and who obviously possesses a brilliant minded IQ, I experience a great deal of frustration, stress and guilt for not being able to find the "right" dietary formula to help him, the "right" tutor, the "right" educational protocol, the "right" form of motivation,the "right" discipline, the "right" diagnosis.....I am exhausted just typing that-let alone living this daily. In my above mentioned research for the Primitive Kids chapter,I pondered a book that has sat on my bookshelf for several years- titled "Last Child in the Woods"- A Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. This explores the many changes and advances that our childrens generation have experienced and the resulting total disconnection to nature and their use of our human instinctual imagination. Being in nature has a calming result on adults and children----it offers a much stronger effect than any drug on the market. It can produce substantial bio-chemical changes. So, why do we move farther and farther away from our bond with nature? This book offers us insight on numerous studies of the "whys and whats" of this cultural movement and what it has brought forth. Combine this with the deleterious shift in our food supply, process and manufacturing and its no mystery why we have the staggering rise of many highly disturbing trends: (i.e. childhood obesity, attention deficit, violence (brought forth by increased stimuli...)and, depression). This book has important resonance with many parents who feel our children deserve the childhood that we were blessed to enjoy.

Today's kids are increasingly disconnected from the natural world, says child advocacy expert Louv (Childhood's Future; Fatherlove; etc.), even as research shows that "thoughtful exposure of youngsters to nature can... be a powerful form of therapy for attention-deficit disorder and other maladies."

Instead of passing summer months hiking, swimming and telling stories around the campfire, children these days are more likely to attend computer camps or weight-loss camps: as a result, Louv says, they've come to think of nature as more of an abstraction than a reality. Indeed, a 2002 British study reported that eight-year-olds could identify Pokémon characters far more easily than they could name "otter, beetle, and oak tree."

Gathering thoughts from parents, teachers, researchers, environmentalists and other concerned parties, Louv argues for a return to an awareness of and appreciation for the natural world. Not only can nature teach kids science and nurture their creativity, he says, nature needs its children: where else will its future stewards come from? Louv's book is a call to action, full of warnings—but also full of ideas for change.

Book Description
“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” reports a fourth grader. But it’s not only computers, television, and video games that are keeping kids inside. It’s also their parents’ fears of traffic, strangers, Lyme disease, and West Nile virus; their schools’ emphasis on more and more homework; their structured schedules; and their lack of access to natural areas. Local governments, neighborhood associations, and even organizations devoted to the outdoors are placing legal and regulatory constraints on many wild spaces, sometimes making natural play a crime.

As children’s connections to nature diminish and the social, psychological, and spiritual implications become apparent, new research shows that nature can offer powerful therapy for such maladies as depression, obesity, and attention deficit disorder. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade-point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that childhood experiences in nature stimulate creativity.

In Last Child in the Woods, Louv talks with parents, children, teachers, scientists, religious leaders, child-development researchers, and environmentalists who recognize the threat and offer solutions. Louv shows us an alternative future, one in which parents help their kids experience the natural world more deeply—and find the joy of family connectedness in the process.

Please give yourself the gift of reading this amazing book.....I am contemplating a "Primitive Kids" group where like minded parents can meet to discuss and support each other in this quest. I will send out some information over the summer. This book among a few others have led me to another literary discovery that has given me incredible personal insight--"Women Who Run With Wolves"! I am awaiting its arrival in hardcopy now. Even though I have only read 20+ reviews and discussions on this book, haha....I honestly feel I know its contents by heart! I will write at length after my get away to Colorado where I will dive into the whole foundation of the book. I wanted to share some of its contents that drew me to the book.

Women Who Run with the Wolves
by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.

Every once and a while a truly great book for women comes along. Sometimes the book calls us to arms, sometimes it provides us with important new information about ourselves or our bodies, and sometimes--like this book--it will nourish our souls.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a Jungian analyst and cantadora, a collector and teller of stories. She has birthed a book about the archetype of the Wild Woman that has so much gut-level wisdom in it, you immediately sense that Estes is a woman who is really living her life (as opposed to simply existing in it). Estes has gotten past mentalized "good ideas," and presents material that applies to the total being: body, heart, mind and soul. This book is for any woman who longs in her secret self for something more, who knows that her mind works better than her heart, who feels as if she's stretched too thin, who has forgotten how to create, have fun, get dirty, laugh, cry or growl. Estes offers the "medicine" of folk and fairy tales to these wounds with insight and care. She shows how the archetype of the Wild Woman can be a model of wholeness for the modern woman.

Who is this Wild Woman? If you're thinking this is a book about how to be wild and crazy, you would be a little bit right, but mostly wrong. The Wild Woman is not wild in the sense of being crazy, angry or out-of-control, she is wild because she has not lost her connection to life, death and rebirth--or, to put it more simply, nature.

"A healthy woman is much like a wolf: robust, chock-full, strong life force, life-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving. Yet separation from the wildish nature causes a woman's personality to become meager, thin, ghosty, spectral. We are not meant to be puny with frail hair and inability to leap up, inability to give chase, to birth, to create a life. When women's lives are in stasis, ennui, it is always time for the wildish woman to emerge; it is time for the creating function of the psyche to flood the delta...It means to establish territory, to find one's pack, to be in one's body with certainty and pride regardless of the body's gifts and limitations, to speak and act in one's behalf, to be aware, alert, to draw on the innate feminine powers of intuition and sensing, to come into one's cycles, to find what one belongs to, to rise with dignity, to retain as much consciousness as we can."
Ms. Estes begins her book with a story that introduces us to La Loba, The Wolf Woman, one of the hundreds of Wild Woman's names. (To you students of the Goddess: are your whiskers twitching yet? The ancient, female being of many names and places...yes, of course, who else could Wild Woman be but the Great Mother herself!) Estes then expertly leads us down the pathway to Her door; a pathway often so perilous with briars, bogs or other mysterious oogly-wooglies we would never even try it without someone like Estes' help! The titles of the chapters are evocative in and of themselves: Stalking the Intruder: the Beginning Initiation. Nosing out the Facts: the Retrieval of Intuition as Initiation. The Mate: Union with the Other. Hunting: When the Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Finding One's Pack: Belonging as Blessing. Joyous Body: the Wild Flesh. Self- Preservation: Identifying Leg Traps, Cages and Poisoned Bait. Homing: Returning to Oneself. Clear Water: Nourishing the Creative Life. Heat: Retrieving a Sacred Sexuality. Marking Territory: the Boundaries of Rage and Forgiveness. Battle Scars: Membership in the Scar Clan. La Selva Subterranea: Initiation in the Underground Forest. Shadowing: Canto Hondo, the Deep Song.

Estes writes in a casual, lively style, full of good humor. This is not a dry, analytical, passionless discussion, and you will not find one ounce of psychobabble anywhere. As one friend of mine exclaimed, "This woman talks like me!" As I read, I found myself laughing, crying, and nodding my head in agreement. It sparked such a sense of longing I felt my heart would burst at times--something deep in my bones woke up, stretched and sniffed the breeze. I remembered what it was like to be alive in this way, and I saw how "civilized" I had become. Just as pictures can tell a thousand words, I'd like to quote a little tale Estes learned from her late Uncle Vilmos which will clearly show what happens in this civilization process:

"A man came to a szabo, tailor, and tried on a suit. As he stood before the mirror, he noticed the vest was a little uneven at the bottom.

'Oh,' said the tailor, 'don't worry about that. Just hold the shorter end down with your left hand and no one will ever notice.'

While the customer proceeded to do this, he noticed that the lapel of the jacket curled up instead of lying flat.

'Oh that?' said the tailor. 'That's nothing. Just turn your head a little and hold it down with your chin.'

The customer complied, and as he did, he noticed that the inseam of the pants was a little short and he felt that the rise was a bit too tight.

'Oh, don't worry about that,' said the tailor. 'Just pull the inseam down with your right hand, and everything will be perfect.' The customer agreed and purchased the suit.

The next day he wore his new suit with all the accompanying hand and chin 'alterations.' As he limped through the park with his chin holding down his lapel, one hand tugging at the vest, the other hand grasping his crotch, two old men stopped playing checkers to watch him stagger by.

'M'Isten, oh, my God!' said the first man. 'Look at that poor crippled man!'

The second man reflected for a moment, then murmured, 'Igen, yes, the crippling is too bad, but you know I wonder...where did he get such a nice suit?'"

Just like the man with the new suit, we often develop personas that display to everyone how good, caring, nice, etc., we are. To the outside world everything is perfect, but inside our true natures are crippled. Women often get so much support for these pleasing personas, we loose touch with how much they narrow our choices, cut us off from life, and bring us unnecessary pain. Women Who Run with the Wolves helps us see that we have become like the tailor's gullible customer. Perhaps we have been hobbling around in our fancy suits for so long we have forgotten we weren't always a cripple.

Estes' book will show you where you have lost touch with your heart, your guts, your creativity, your wildness--your life! The stories she presents, and her insightful analysis of those stories, will gently lead you back to yourself. Even if you are unmoved by this review, I would ask you to run to the nearest bookstore and read the introduction. Let Estes' own words touch you. This is one of those powerful books that, if you are ready for it, it will call you. If, at the next full moon, I hear howling at midnight, I'll know someone out there heard the call.

Both of these books are available in my Primitive Diva Amazon Store. The bookstore supports this blog and my research for the upcoming book on living primitive in a modern world....So, if you enjoy-please shop!

Much Love and Many Blessings,
"The Primitive Diva"