Friday, December 28, 2012

What Is There to Eat?

Here is what our refrigerator looks like with some amazing food options:
Blueberries, Blackberries, Grapes, Dates, Spinach, Cauliflower, Homemade Hummus, Kale, Red Cabbage, Green Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Squash and Almond Milk.
....Cucumbers, Zucchini, Celery, Carrots and Green Onions.

....More Green Kale, Cilantro, Parsley and Red Kale.


...Apples, Oranges, Lemons, Tomatoes, Potatoes and Onions.


....Bananas, Avocados, More Lemons, Limes, Garlic, Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash!!!!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

"Hungry For Change"

Tonight, I watched a very motivating documentary on Netflix called, "Hungry For Change".  I highly recommend you watch this film and I promise you will find it worth your time.  Watch the trailer below:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Thoughts This Morning:

So as I was shovelling this morning, here were my thoughts: 
1) How many people who are unaware that they have a heart condition will put much stress on their vascular system while shovelling today and may be at risk for a heart attack,
2) How many great acts of kindness will be shared between neighbors, friends and strangers on a snow day like this,
3) How many small business owners are stressed out by this storm affecting sales,
4) How many elderly people are concerned about how they are going to clear off their sidewalks/driveway, get mail, run errands or get to medical appointments,
5) How nice it would be to own a business that generates income even I am not here at work so that I could take a sick day and spend time with the family, 
6) Wondering how busy Chiropractor's offices are going to be today and tomorrow,
7) Thinking about how one fall on this ice for an elderly person would be the worst event for their health and
8) How nice it would have been to have a 2 inch nut and bolt to repair the auger on my snow blower early this morning....I probably had one.....somewhere, but not enough time to find it.

I saw this on Facebook and thought I would share

Smoothie Recipe

I have been wanting to make a video on how I make my smoothies in the morning, but limited time in the morning with three kids inhibits the creation of said video.  So, here is the text version of the ever evolving smoothie that I make.  I make two blended smoothies in the morning, one for the kids and another for Casie and I.  This is the recipe for the smoothie I made the family this morning.  I will post more smoothie recipes soon.  As always, I do not have any benefit, financial or other, for any of the products mentioned.  Well, there is the nutritional benefit, of course.  : )

For the kids:

1 scoop per child of Amazing Grass' Berry, Chocolate or mixture of both.  CLICK HERE to find out    more about this product.
1/2 cup per child frozen blueberries (organic preferred)
1/2 banana per child
1 cup per child raw spinach and/or kale (organic preferred)
1/2 cup per child Original Flavor Almond Milk
1 teaspoon per child Chia seeds
1 teaspoon per child ground Flax seed
1 scoop vegan protein powder(non-soy based) per child (optional) NOTE: We use protein powder for our children as they are Vegan, and thus, do not acquire protein from animal sources.  They receive protein from plant sources but this protein powder is just to supplement what they are acquiring in their plant based diet.  If your children consume meat and dairy, I would not suggest you use a protein powder for children.

Add water to mixture to create consistency you prefer.

Blend and serve.


For Adults:

1 scoop per adult of Vega One Nutritional Shake mix.  I prefer the Chocolate, Vanilla and Chai flavors.  The mixtures between two or three of these is good, as well.  I'm not a huge fan of their berry or original flavor, though, as it tastes a bit artificial.  CLICK HERE to find out more about this product.
1/2 cup per adult frozen blueberries (organic preferred)
1 banana per adult
1 - 2 cup(s) per adult raw spinach and/or kale (organic preferred)
1/2 cup per adult Original Flavor Almond Milk
1 teaspoon per adult Chia seeds (optional, as the Vega One has Omega 3 Fatty Acids in it)
1 teaspoon per adult ground Flaxseed (optional, as the Vega One has Omega 3 Fatty Acids in it)

Add water to mixture to create consistancy you prefer.

Blend and Serve

From the Vega One Website:

What Makes Vega One Awesome?

15 g Protein
Vega One features our signature, broad-spectrum, plant-based protein blend, with all essential amino acids in ideal balance. Vega One’s Complete Protein Blend includes:
  • Pea protein
  • SaviSeed™ (sacha inchi) protein
  • Hemp seed protein
  • Sprouted whole grain brown rice protein
6 g Fiber
Boasting 24% of your recommended daily intake of fiber per serving, Vega One is a delicious way to work both soluble and insoluble fiber into your day. Fiber intake has been shown to help:
  • Maintain normal blood sugar levels1
  • Normalize elimination and maintain bowel health1
  • Promote a feeling of fullness, reduce feelings of hunger and thereby support healthy weight management when combined with exercise and a reduced calorie diet.1
Fiber in Vega One is primarily sourced from flax, inulin (fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS)), and pea.
Low GI Carbohydrates
Low glycemic—with an impressively low GI of 19.22—one serving of Vega One is comprised of 26% naturally-occurring complex carbohydrates. Sweetened only with stevia extract, Vega One has no sugar, maltodextrin or sugar-derivatives added.
1.5 g Omega-3
Giving you as much Omega-3 per scoop as 6 oz. of wild chum salmon, Vega One sources its plant-based Omega profile from white chia, whole flax seed (not flax meal) and hemp.
Blueberries are jealous—that’s because a serving of Vega One has as many antioxidants3 as 2.7 cups of them. Plus, each scoop of Vega One showcases 200mg of Vega’s custom 1000 ORAC4 Antioxidant Blend, sourced from some of the most antioxidant-rich fruit in the world, including:
  • Maqui, goji and Açaí berries
  • Pomegranate seed
  • Mangosteen
  • Grape seed extract
A single, one-scoop serving of Vega One delivers the equivalent of 3 servings of vegetables—mainly from our Green Blend, which features:
  • Chlorella (cracked cell, high CGF)
  • Alfalfa grass
  • Spinach leaf
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
Vitamins & Minerals
Helping you cover your key nutrient bases, a serving of Vega One give you 50% of your daily intake of vitamins and minerals. Premium vitamin and mineral forms such as mineral citrates were chosen to help you get more out of Vega One through better absorption.
With 1 billion CFU dairy-free probiotics (lactobacillus acidopholus and Bifidobacterium bifidum), Vega One helps maintain healthy intestinal flora—without a visit to the yogurt aisle.
Digestive Enzymes
We want you to get everything you can from a serving of Vega One. That’s why Vega’s Digestive Enzyme blend is added to facilitate the breakdown of nutrients in Vega One during digestion, so more nutrients are available to be absorbed by your body for higher net-gain nutrition.
Rich in amino acids, alkaloids, sterols, vitamins and minerals, 1000 mg of pure, organic, gelatinized maca are included in every serving of Vega One, to help you balance, invigorate, energize and maintain good health.
Part of the Green Blend in Vega One, chlorella is a nutritious, green micro-algae that delivers Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF), chlorophyll, protein, vitamins and minerals to help support immune function5.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Interesting Video on Salt

Salt OK if Blood Pressure is OK? |

#1 Anticancer Vegetable

Here is an interesting video discussing the best anticancer vegetable.  Can you guess what it is?  I was surprised. 
CLICK HERE to watch the video from

How Do You See The World?

It really boils down to how you perceive the world.
Photo: Perception can make all the difference

Kale Recipes

I love kale, as it is a nutritional powerhouse. 
We have kale chips, kale drinks/smoothies and kale salads.
CLICK HERE for 20 healthy kale recipes.
20 Fantastic Kale Recipes

Selflessness Defined:

Amazing video of sportsmanship and selflessness. 

I Thought This Was Funny:

Photo: LOL!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gift Cards

From a post I made on Facebook earlier this year:
So, there is something I have done occasionally and I thought it would be great to get some people on board to adopt this activity and pass it on. This is something cool and is rewarding to yourself and others. You can use any type of gift cards you want, but I always keep a couple of $5 coffee shop gift cards(Starbucks works good or we have Scooters Coffee here and that is what I use) in your billfold/purse. Don't use them for yourself, unless in case of emergency : )......but if you see someone performing a random act of kindness or if you see someone is having a really bad day, give them a card. Make sure to tell them why they are receiving the card and thank them for doing what they did or wish them that the rest of their day goes better if you gave them the card because they were having a bad/stressful day. Reinforce their positive behavior. If they decline it or they say that they don't drink coffee or go to where the gift card is for, then ask that they keep the card in their billfold/purse and look for someone in need or deserving of it for them to give it to. I promise it will be the best $20 you can find spending. Just think if just one of those 4 people adopt this activity and pass it on. It is also great to give these to coworkers, family members, babysitters, lawn care workers, etc. Maybe you see a mother by herself with multiple children and she is overwhelmed. Tell her to go out and take some time out for herself. Sometimes, you may want to even give yourself a card if you do something that impresses yourself and yet no one was there to give you a card. Try it! I promise you will find it rewarding beyond description. I ensure you you will make their day.

Quote from Ann Landers


Lunch - Pasta with Sauce

I am frequently asked what we eat for meals and so I am going to try and document as many recipes as I can.  I didn't have time to photograph the processing or the end result of this meal, so my apologies in advance.  Many times, our meals are a concoction of ingredients we have on hand as opposed to following a set recipe.  Each time we make our recipes, they seem to evolve anyway.  What is nice about cooking with vegetables is that most of them mix well together. 
Last week, I needed to make a meal for the boys and I wanted it to be nutrient rich.  I wanted to make some pasta with sauce for them but my first thought was that the only major nutrient was the tomatoes in the sauce, so I felt the need to boost the nutrient value of this meal a bit. 
First of all, think of the pasta as just the carrier for the nutrient dense sauce.  I make all different types of sauces but for this one I mixed in the blender the combination of 1/2 cup original flavored almond milk, 1/3 jar of store bought marinara(I used 1/3 jar of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce (found at Walmart), 1/4 raw onion, one cup watercress(optional), two cups of spinach,  3 olives (I used kalamata), 1/2 portabella mushroom and a heaping tablespoon of previously made hummus(optional - may substitute 1 clove of garlic, but there will be improved taste if the garlic has been roasted, which it is in the hummus).   After blending this together, I put it into a saucepan with 1/2 cup of cut up tempeh on low heat until the pasta was finished, stirring occasionally.  Once the pasta was drained, I mixed the pasta and sauce and let it cool down before serving.  As the sauce cools down, more of it sticks to the pasta.  For nutrient dense sauces like this, I use pasta shapes that are going to scoop or hold as much of the sauce as possible, so the kids fill up on sauce and not just on pasta.  I have the kids use spoons for this instead of forks, again to scoop up as much of the sauce as possible.

Fire Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce


Pasta - whole wheat, shapes that hold or scoop the sauce
Almond Milk - Original Flavor (NOT Vanilla Flavored)
Watercress and/or Spinach and/or Kale
Olives - I used kalamata
Mushroom - any type
Hummus - (optional), if not hummus, then substitute 1 clove of garlic, preferably already roasted
Tempeh(or Seitan) - for protein

Yes, the sauce looks green (like pesto sauce, as one of my patients reminded me) and it tastes really good.  Don't just think of the ingredients as flavors but also as nutrients.  Each vegetable you add add nutrients to the mix so don't be shy to add a diversity of vegetables.  If I would have had them on hand, I would have added squash or zucchini to the blended mix. 
Okay, if this all seems too overwhelming for you, start out blending some spinach with your marinara and serve over pasta, Or squash.  Or zucchini. Start out simple if you like, but adding the onion, mushrooms, garlic, olives, etc. will give it much more flavor and nutrition. 

Dr. Praeger's Healthy Meals

We usually make most of our meals from scratch, but we keep these on hand when we are short on time or ingredients to make a meal for the family.  So far, we have found these at Hy-Vee (in the health food frozen section) and Whole Foods.  We love the California Veggie Burgers, Bombay Veggie Burgers, Broccoli Pancakes, Spinach Pancakes, Spinach Littles and Veggie Littles.   These bake up in about 10-12 minutes in the oven.  While these are baking I will mix a can of black beans and avocado to smear on top of the burgers after they come out of the oven.   We usually put a variety of these product items on a cookie sheet and divide portions of each on plates and serve with a side of ketchup to dip them in.  These are also great for having on hand for Vegetarian friends/family to enjoy when they visit.  
My recommendation is to not even tell your children that these have vegetables in them.  Let them find out for themselves how good they taste. 
Lastly, I have no vested interest in this company nor do I benefit in any way by mentioning their product. 
CLICK HERE to visit Dr. Praeger's web site.
Spinach Littles
Broccoli Pancakes
Bombay Veggie Burgers

Friday, December 14, 2012

How Many Words Has Your Child Read

Thank you to B.O. for bringing this information to my attention.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tofu *Fried* Rice

*Casie Here*

Tonight I made a Tofu with vegetables and rice dish.
Here is what I used:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup rice (any kind) cook separate in rice cooker and mix in at the end
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1 portabella mushroom, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 medium zucchini
1 bunch of broccoli, chopped small
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup edamame
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 container of Tofu (I had extra firm, but any would work), crumbled
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
A few shakes of Shoyu sauce (could use soy sauce)
Small drizzle of Sesame Oil
Salt to taste
Chopped cashews for garnish on top

Saute onions in olive oil. Once transparent add things one at a time as you get them chopped up.
 I added them in order above.
Mix everything in and heat through.
Everyone loved it and it was especially a hit with the kids! 
Enjoy at your house!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What Am I Reading Now?

CLICK HERE to learn more about this book.

Vision Loss From Diabetes

Reuters came out with an article today discussing increases in vision loss related to diabetes.
CLICK HERE to view this article. 


Kale + Grapes = Delicious Smoothie

I came across this recipe on the Internet last week and I am always looking for ways to incorporate kale into our family's menu.  So far, this is my favorite kale recipe.  This drink tasted better than I anticipated, in fact, I was craving another glass when I finished my first glass and all our kids loved the drink.  This is a drink that I will be making the family at least 1-2 times per week.  If you are not familiar with kale, CLICK HERE to find out more about the benefits of this super food.  CLICK HERE to find out more about the nutritional benefits of grapes.




Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Easy way to make brussel sprouts:

CLICK HERE for the recipe.

CLICK HERE to learn about the health benefits of brussel sprouts

Sunday, December 9, 2012

More Cataracts:

I posted about cataracts yesterday and this is a cataract that I came across today.  Not only does this lens have a yellow, milky appearance but it also has these vacuoles that look like little bubbles or islands.  These cataracts are not affecting this patient too much yet so we will monitor these for now.  In the upcoming years, these cataracts will progress and affect this person's vision more significantly, at which time, cataract surgery will be considered. 
One of the biggest annoyances with cataracts is that most individuals have to deal with the mild symptoms of cataracts for years before they get significant enough to be removed.  Cataract surgery is an out-patient surgery and considered a minor surgery in most cases.  It is, however, still a surgery and so we wait until the cataracts and the resulting symptoms are significant enough to consider surgical removal of the cataract. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Find The Cataract

There is a lens behind the colored iris of the eye that is about the size and shape of a plain M & M.  This lens should be clear to allow light and color through.  Any cloudiness or defect in the lens is considered a cataract.  There are over 20 types of cataracts and the most common types are related to age, long term exposure to ultraviolet light, certain medication use, diabetes and trauma.  Some children are born with cataracts and even electrocution can cause cataracts.  Most people start to experience the effects of cataracts after the age of 65.

The symptoms of cataracts include blurred vision, decreased brightness of colors, glare at night, avoidance of night driving and need for increased light on reading material.

These videos were taken in our office.  The first picture shows a brown iris with a central pupil that looks black.  The lens in Image A is so clear that light is transmitting through it without disruption, causing the black appearance.  This patient does not have a cataract.

Image A

Image B shows an age related cataract that appears yellow, milky and cloudy.  This patient has decreased vision and many symptoms related to the cataracts, especially in low light environments.  These type of cataracts cause people to avoid driving at night and complain about how they need more and more light to see reading material.  Individuals with these type of cataracts will require cataract surgery to remove this cloudy lens to see better.  The cataract will replaced with a clear lens implant during the surgery.

Image B
Although the owner of this car (Image C) may have a cataract, let's be clear, a Cadillac is different than a cataract despite how many people think they have "Cadillacs in my eyes".  : )   

Image C
Image D is also a cataract.  It's location is the problem as it is in the center of where this patient is looking through the lens.  Imagine this patient's pupil getting smaller in bright light and now the only area of the lens that they can look through is right where the cataract is.   This person will complain of worse vision when they are in bright environments.  In low light environments, the pupil gets larger, like it is in the photograph (the pupil is dilated from the eye drops we use), and the patient can potentially see better because they are able to look around the cataract to see.  This patient also needs to consider cataract surgery because they are experiencing too many visual problems from this cataract.
Image D
The best way to reduce your risk of developing early cataracts is to wear sunglasses when you are outside to protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun, be a non-smoker, avoid becoming diabetic, avoid trauma to the eyes and avoid long term steroid use.  That being said, if you live long enough you will most like get cataracts. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Roasted Veggie Soup

*Casie Here*
This is my basic winter veggie soup recipe. You can substitute any of the veggies and just use whatever you have in the house at the time. It is WONDERFUL to use up any veggies that are about to be on the brink. They once had good intention of being used in a meal, but sadly never made it and ended up in the bottom of the crisper drawer. Anyway, use what'ch got and however much of it to make a smaller or larger batch. 
 I chop up and roast the veggies. This makes a BIG difference in flavor. It gives it depth and a much fuller flavor. Yes, you could just chop everything up and throw it in a pot and cook away, but roasting first really does make all the flavor! I toss with little olive oil or more recently I have been cooking with coconut oil (it's healthier). A little s & p and you are good to go. Throw in the oven on 350 for 30 mins or so. 
In this one I used butternut squash, sweet potatoes. regular potatoes onions and garlic. But I also love parsnips and carrots, even celery if I have them on hand.
 I did have a couple leeks on hand this time, so I chopped those up too, but didn't roast those. I added those to the pot after all the others came out of the oven. If you have never used a leek, don't be scared. They are big and scary looking, but you chop off all the dark 'leaves' on the stem as well as the little roots sticking out of the other end and discard. Then you are left with the part you eat and it reminds me of celery (I chop it first, then clean them. Putting them in a salad spinner with vinegar water does a nice job getting all the sand and grit off them, then you can rinse and spin it all dry and throw it in. Easy and fast). I pour in some organic vegetable stock usually just one box (we like ours thicker more stew-like, not watery and super thin). Add some favorite spices. My all time favorite spice is cumin. LOVE IT! I use it in almost every single dish I make. Had to buy me the BIG tub from the Sams spice department! ; ) Oregano and parsley are always good with roasted veggies too and a couple Bay leaves. More salt and peppa if you choose. I make sure there is enough salt (it makes a big difference). There is a fine line though between not quite enough and TOO much. Be careful! Get it to a good low boil and then is the fun part. I get my *new* immersion blender out and go to town pureeing it all up together (DON'T forget to take the bay leaves out first). Before I had my nifty immersion blender, I would transfer all of it to a blender in messy batches and back into the original soup pot. So glad I don't have to do that any more. 
What you have it a smooth, hearty roasted veggie soup that will keep you warm and toasty all winter. ENJOY!!!


These are photographs taken in our office by our slit lamp camera.  The clear cornea is a very unique tissue of the body.  It is one of the only living tissues of the body that in it's normal state does not have any blood vessels going through it.  Because it does not have a blood supply going through it, the cornea needs to acquire nutrients from the inside fluid of the eye and the tears.  It gets oxygen from the environment as opposed from your body and that is why proper contact lens wear and care is absolutely necessary for maintaining corneal health because the oxygen needs to be able to transmit through the contact lens.  If it doesn't achieve it's oxygen requirements, the cornea will be at risk for swelling, infection, inflammation, clouding and even possible blindness.  I will try and find some pictures of unhealthy corneas and post them in the near future.
Side profile of dome-shaped cornea (above). 
Eye without contact lens (above).
Eye with contact lens (below).  Most soft contact lenses are 13.8 - 14.5 mm in diameter and should lay onto the white part of the eye called the bulbar conjuctiva.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Dry, Dry, Dry!

It's that time of year again....for dry skin.  Your skin is the largest organ of your body and has to deal with many drying elements from the outside world.  Soaps can dry out your skin, towels that you dry off with wick moisture from your skin and the dry environment is pulling moisture from your body, too.
But let's not just blame those external factors because internal factors play a major role, too.  Not taking in enough water or eating foods/drinking beverages/taking medications that steal moisture from your body are likely to cause dry skin and dry eyes.  

In the Nebraska summer, we have more humidity in the air than I would like.  In the winter, there is so little moisture in the air and that can create havoc for most individuals outer protective layer, the skin.

I like to think of dryness and your skin this way:  If you are in a dry environment, then your body is providing that environment with moisture from your skin, so you are becoming more dry.  If you are in a humid environment, then you can pull moisture from that environment to hydrate your skin instead of losing it from your body. 
Dry skin and dry eyes often share a relationship.  If you have dry skin you have an increased likelihood of having dry eyes.  When I shake hands with my patients, one of the things I am doing is detecting how dry their hands are.  If I notice they have dry hands, I will definitely ask about dry eye symptoms.
Ask yourself how dry are your hands, your lips, your feet and your eyes.  Imagine how stressful it is for your body to deal with all of this dryness.  There is so much repair that your body has to contend with when your body/skin/eyes are dry.  Your kidneys have to work overtime when your body is dry because your kidneys need water to filter your blood.  Dry skin causes microscopic cracks and these breaks in your protective skin can expose your body to viruses and bacteria. Your eyes want to be lubricated and when your body is lacking water, the quality and the quantity of tears is minimized so your eyes can get irritated and dry.  Give your skin, your kidneys, your eyes and every cell of your body a break. Moisturize yourself!

Also, many medications and systemic conditions can cause dryness, so talk to your medical doctor about excessive dry skin and make sure there that medications you are on or other medical conditions are not contributing to this issue.

My recommendations for reducing dry skin/eyes include:
1. Reduce salt intake.  Look at food labels and appreciate how much sodium is in packaged foods.  Retrain your palate to enjoy the taste of food without the addition of sodium.  Salt pulls out moisture from tissue (dehydration), that's why it works so great for making beef jerky. 
2. Reduce caffeine intake. Diuretics, like caffeine, steal moisture from your body by pulling fluid     from your body and thus increasing the amount of liquid you urinate. 
3. Look into taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements (fish oil, flaxseed, chia seed, krill). 
4. Ramp up water intake ( CLICK HERE to view how much water intack you should be taking in based on your weight). 
5. Increase your intake of foods that have a high water content (fruits and vegetables).
6. Put a humidifier in your bedroom.  Increasing the moisture in the room will allow your skin to absorb the moisture instead of having your skin provide moisture for the room.
7. If you are a smoker, then this is another reason to stop smoking.  Smoking, among other things, dries out your skin. 
8. Reduce alcohol consumption.  Alcohol is also a diuretic, like caffeinated beverages, so it steals moisture from your body.
9. Reduce the use of hand sanitizer which is very drying to your skin and instead use soap and water.  Reevaluate what soaps you use at home and work.  We make our own hand soap and I find it much less drying than those you purchase at the store. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Get your kids to eat veggies!

I don't know why we didn't think of this and use our own kids....

Click HERE to go to their website and buy the DVD.