Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My food journey: MSG

Ok, I must get these posts done for you all! The food journey post, containing important nutrition things I learned last year. They are so good:)

Today’s topic is on Monosodium Glutamate, also known as MSG. Horrible stuff. Below are excerpts from Dee Mcaffrey’s  book, “The Science of Skinny”.

“It has been called the nicotine of food additives because, in addition to its harmful effects on the body, it is highly addictive. Comprised of sodium and glutamic acid, MSG is a flavor enhancer that triggers our taste buds and makes us eat more and eat faster. Nearly every fast food and chain restaurant uses MSG in some form, and it is added to thousands of prepared and processed foods. The foods that contain the most MSG are processed fat free and sugar free, mainly because when fat and sugar are absent, the food is nearly flavorless, so MSG is added to enhance its flavor.

Use of MSG has doubled every decade since it was first introduced to the United States in the 1940s and, and in 2001, 3 billion pounds were manufactured.

Most sauces, dressings, canned soups, and seasoning products such as bouillon and broth contain MSG. It is the main ingredient in additives clumped under the term seasonings on food labels.

Specifically, it affects the normal appetite mechanism that controls how much we eat. It excites and stimulates our taste buds, fooling our brain to think the food tastes better than it actually does. This allows food manufacturers to use cheaper ingredients while helping the lower-quality food seem to taste good. Because MSG affects the mechanism in our brain that tells us to stop eating, we eat far beyond our normal stopping point. The substance is also known to be toxic.

Another common MSG-related symptom is a headache that feels like a tight band around the head. But the most alarming effect of MSG is its link to obesity. Scientists have observed that animals fed glutamic acid become grotesquely obese.

When the rats eat foods containing MSG, they eat more than they need to. If the lab rats are getting grotesquely obese from eating MSG, doesn’t it make sense that humans are too?

The real scary thing about MSG is that it can be hidden in nearly forty other food additives Following is a list of other additives that contain plenty of MSG:

  • “Anything” hydrolyzed
  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Bouillon, stocks, and broths
  • Calcium caseinate
  • Gelatin
  • Hydrolozed soy protein
  • Hydrolyzed yeast
  • Isolated soy protein
  • Maltodextrin
  • Natural Flavorings
  • Seasonings
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Textured soy protein
  • Yeast extract

It’s important to point out here that there is no strict regulation on the word natural, and food manufacturers use it liberally, especially on patented ingredients such as ‘natural flavorings’.”

Pages 136-138

Whew! Yup, MSG is not good. The part I found most interesting is that it tricks your mind to think that the food tastes better than it really is, and that it doesn’t tell our brain that ‘I’m full’, and we over eat. Isn’t that crazy?

So, that’s the food learning for today. Thanks for stopping by to read:)

Monday, January 28, 2013


Church yesterday was inspiring. For the third hour of church, (Church is three hours split into three different courses of fun:), I’ve been able to attend Relief Society, another gospel doctrine class which is all the women.

It’s this class where I sit and listen to these spiritual goddesses all around me. I’m completely inspired and humbled by the teacher and women’s comments. I sit quietly sometimes, and try to listen to what the spirit is teaching me. Hard thing to master, and I’m far from there, but it’s an eternal quest to learn how to hear and follow the spirit.

The lesson was on a talk from Ann M. Dibb, called “I know it. I live it. I love it.” You can read it here. Fabulous read. We talked about what ways we could share the gospel with our friends, in simple and non pushy actions. One comment was to not use ‘church slang’ and acronyms in your Facebook status that only LDS members could understand, which made complete sense to me. Instead of ‘ I went to a great fireside this week’, which some people might think ‘roasting marshmallows by a camp fire?’, you could say ‘ Listened to a great church speaker, Sunday devotional’, or something like that, you know?

I remember serving a mission in Florida for the LDS church, and people thought that our Stake Conference was something where we go to eat a lot of steak. See what I mean? So, it’s better when talking about church topics, use simple terms that everyone could understand. 

My friends spoke up about a neat way they are using Instagram for sharing the gospel. On their phones, they will take a screen shot of a passage of sciptures they are reading, or a church talk, and share it, labeling it with the hashtag ‘Instascipt’. I thought to myself, “Not just for missionary purposes, but what a simple way to share a little spiritual sunshine with anyone who needs help to feel closer to the Savior that day.’ They said that anyone is welcome to start sharing their ‘instascript’ pics, and add to the growing collection on Instagram. I quietly thought to myself, “Well, I can do that, and that’s what I’ll start doing.”

I just learned what a hashtag is. It’s basically used in Twitter and Instagram. For Instagram, it’s a way to label your pictures. That way, when people search for something, they can find all the pictures labeled with ‘Instascript’ and other labels. I might start labeling all my food pics I share on there with the hashtag ‘real food’ or something.

So, if you’re on Instagram, or even if you’re not yet, get an Instagram account, and share a picture of something you read in your personal studies. Come join us! Think of it was little drops of goodness, ‘drops of awesome’, and remember that image of a water drop hitting the flat water surface, and the ripples going out to help someone out there.

Here’s my instascript for today. Some beautiful words from Richard G. Scott, a living apostle and very humble man.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Banana Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Update: I fixed the broken link:)

I’ve been having some fun updating this good old blog of ours. To your right, I added a ‘categories’ section, as I’ll be addressing more great topics in the future. I already started labeling past posts for easy finding.

I finally updated the header! After spending a ridiculous amount of time searching for a template that I liked, I finally just went with simple, and it works.

Ok, I want to share this great cookie recipe. Since going processed free, one of my favorite things is to find good sweet recipes that taste great, and don’t damage the body. It’s quite the quest, but we’ve found a few good knockout winners along the road. Here’s one of them.


These cookies get their sweetness from the bananas and the maple syrup. I think they taste even better the next day, as I put them in the fridge, and their flavors really sink in. I usually have doubled the recipe, and it makes a great amount to feed the kids and throw in Shaun’s work lunch.

I typed up the recipe in a handy Google document. I must say I’m in love with the font of the recipe title. I am a lover of fonts! They are so darn delightful to me.

So, if you’d like to try a wonderful, processed free cookie recipe, and see what the madness is all about, click HERE, print off, and enjoy:)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Good article to share

Well, I had the desire to update the blog today, and I slept in. The blankets were so warm, and I just couldn’t get up to exercise. Oh, well. Try again tomorrow.

I read a wonderful blog post last night from 71 toes. Such a great blog. What an amazing mom, wow.

It was about getting more in the pictures with your kids. Time flies just too darn fast!

Read the wonderful words HERE.

Here’s one picture of little Kevin and I. We kind of missed looking right at the camera, but you know, who cares:)


So, my dear friends, take the time to slow down and get in the pictures more with your precious kiddos. Love you all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kevin’s birthday

My darling little Kevin had his 4th birthday! His birthday was in the midst of our long sick time, when we were all getting the flu and colds from each other. It was rough, but we tried to do a little something for him. So thankful that we finally got better. Here’s our little celebration at home. We’re pretty simple sometimes, cupcakes and a present.




Kevin really loves tools, so Ethan and I went to Target to pick out something for him. It was fun to have a little date with Ethan. Love doing one on one time with the kiddos when I can. Ethan has to show Kevin’s present to him, of course:)




He’s so stinking cute. Things about Kevin I love:

  • He loves his blankets, still, and has to sleep with at least three of them.
  • Love his talking Spiderman plush toy.
  • Has the cutest giggle, and will go flying off the couch onto you when he sees us all playing on the floor. Has no fear, and can turn into a little, giggling wolverine in a second.
  • Loves to play “I Spy Bingo”, and work on his letters.
  • Always tells me’ Mama, you’re good. I want to keep you.”
  • Loves to wrestle with Ethan on the couch, constantly laughing.
  • Is still small enough that I can hold him all cuddled up in my arms.

I think I’m finally learning to slow down and enjoy them being little. I just think, ‘Wow, Kevin’s 4! Ethan’s getting so huge, and Brooke is moving towards toddler years.' Please slow down, but they won’t. They keep growing. It makes me think of this wonderful quote I saw on Pinterest. Oh, I love this one!!

“You will never have this day with your children again. Tomorrow, they’ll be a little older than they were today. This day is a gift. Breathe and notice. Smell and touch them; study their faces and their little feet, and pay attention. Relish the charms of the present.

Enjoy today, Mama. It will be over before you know it.” Jen Hatmaker

Isn’t that beautiful? I just love it. It nails what I need to be doing every day with these sweet kids. Just enjoy every moment with them, even when the challenging days come. Each day is a gift.

I love taking the time to just hold them. I’ll sit on the ground, and call out ‘Who wants held?’, and they will come running. I usually have to take turns and hold each one for a second, but I think they get a lot of security and peace from just being held.

I love being their Mama. I love making good food for them, and creating a safe haven for them to live in. We’re not perfect, they still stress us out some days, but we try. That’s all you can do. Don’t ever, ever beat yourself up and let your thoughts dwell on the negatives. That’s just what Satan wants you to do, so you waste precious time not ‘relishing the charms of the present’. We just don’t have time to waste thinking thoughts that don’t get us anywhere, but that lesson can take a long time to learn. Just don’t forget how blessed you are to be alive, even if its really, really cold right now! Ready for some warmer days, that’s for sure:)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A really good story

Here’s a very heartwarming story that I’ve waited a year to share with you all. I started to tell this story, and left it told halfway. I now can continue it for you:)

Let me take you back. Last year, around Christmas, our world came crashing down when Shaun lost his job. This is a trial that I know many others have been through, and I don’t wish this trial on anyone. It’s so hard to see your dear companion, who works hard and is emotionally vested in taking care of his family, lose his job and become very worrisome. Being the mother, I cannot fully understand the husband and provider role as he can, but I can tell it can be stressful to not know how exactly we’re going to pay the bills, house payment, etc. Such a load our husbands bear.

After the income stopped, we had some good lessons to learn. We learned to cut back, to accept help from kind friends and family, and to have faith. That’s the thing you always hear in trials; have faith in the Lord and things will work out. Bottom line is this; you’re still scared. You try to be strong and believing that everything will be okay, but when you can’t see the end of your trial, sometimes it can be extremely worrisome.

Well, the time came to give up our Nissan Armada. Great car, but too costly to own anymore. The day came when the tow truck guy came to repossess it. Emotional day. I calmed Shaun down, and gently said something to the effect of “It’s ok. Let’s let it go”. I told the guy to give us a few minutes to clean it out, and he patiently waited. I tried not to think of the trips we took this good car on, and the good times it provided. The boys were outside playing.

The guy hooked up the car, while the boys watched. Shaun and I tried not to cry as it was slowly raised onto the tow truck. I tried to explain to Ethan that we didn’t need that car anymore, and that we would be okay with a new car.

Ethan rode on his bike in the culdesac following the tow truck for a bit, then stopped and watched it go. I can’t ever forget that picture of him, sitting on his bike, in the street watching. So very hard. I went back to Shaun in the garage and hugged him as hard as I could.

That’s where I left off in that blog post a year ago. Now, here’s the rest of the story.

After the tow truck left, it was not more than one minute when another truck showed up. This time, it was the mail truck, with a letter that needed signing to get. I thought, “Great. Another letter from the bank telling us how behind we are in our house payments.” Yet, when I looked at the letter, it wasn’t a bank letter, but it was written in handwriting. From someone.

I opened it up with Shaun, and it was a card, with a bank envelope inside. We were still trying to dry our eyes from the car repossession crappy experience, when we read the card that said something like ‘Hope this helps, from a friend’. We opened the envelope to find cash. I won’t say exactly how much it was, but it was cash, and a lot of it. As we kept counting out more bills, we were shocked, overcome with gratefulness, and a fresh set of tears.

I remember both of us dropping to our knees in the garage, completely overcome, and offered a prayer of incredible thanks. We also tried to backtrack and think. Now listen up, this is where (when it’s appropriate) it’s a blessing to share your trials openly with others, because you give someone the chance to serve, and they will be incredibly blessed for their service. The Savior has important lessons to teach us on earth, and we have to be willing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable for a moment, to accept help, and for others to reach out and help, learning their own wonderful lessons in the process. I gained a huge testimony of that from this experience.

I want to say it was on a Wednesday that I wrote on Facebook, ‘Shaun lost his job. Heaven help us’. Some dear, wonderful Christ like soul read my status, and acted fast, and their card arrived Saturday. Writing this down tonight makes me so emotional, thinking about the kindness and generosity of that friend. I love not knowing who it is, because that just makes it more magical, you know?

PS: If that wonderful person is reading this now, isn’t this fun for you to read? You get to hear the inside story of your incredibly thoughtful act of service! I just think that’s really neat:)

The money was a soft cushion for us to fall on, as we were trying to get on our feet for the next 4 months of Shaun job hunting. It truly helped. We talked about how much we wanted to be in a financial position to do that for someone, someday. When someone does something so kind for you, it just makes you want to continue that circle of sweet service. We’ll never forget that day when the card arrived.

This last year has been an amazing one. Shaun finally got another job, in a much better workplace for him. The nurses love him there, and he works so hard, always going the extra mile. He always inspires me to do better. Shaun also started school, doing his pre-requisites for nursing. Finally, we started school! So wonderful.

I was blessed with a flexible part time job of working for my friend’s jewelry business, taking pictures of their rings. I have the best bosses in the world, and it’s not much time away from home. When I’m there, I get to listen to my podcasts and online classes, and learn tons while I work. Huge blessing.

When you’re out of work for a bit, you do one thing for a long time; catch up. Constantly trying to get caught up on the bills. Hard. No summer vacation last year, which can be very emotional taxing on one’s soul, when it seems that everyone else gets a fun trip with the family. Last fall, I watched an online class that was streamed live on Creative live. It was Ramit Sethi, some smart, fast talking financial guy. He taught very important and common sense stuff about finances. It sparked something in me. Best thing I learned from that class was automation; having some money automatically taken from your account and transferred to a savings account, each month.

I know, duh, probably a tip that most others know about, but for me, it helped. I thought, ‘next year, we are going on a vacation!’ Yet, it won’t happen if we don’t plan wisely for it. So, I got started with a savings account, and I’m doing the best I can to build our vacation fund. I told myself that whining sucks, and getting cracking into action works. I have to give myself these little pep talks from time to time. Go, me!

So, this is my little warm fuzzy story I’ve waited so long to share. I hope you enjoyed it. Please know that whatever service you do for someone, it blesses their lives tremendously, be it a small or large service act. The Savior wants to mold us and help us become the best we can be, and that requires moving our feet, and thinking of others. I’m so very thankful for that friend who thought of us, and for all the help we received during that hard unemployment trial. I will never forget the things I learned, and hope that this year will be another great year of lessons for us:)