Modifying Original Recipes to Fit Your Needs!

A blog about healthy eating, healthy living and happiness. Join me and I'll show you how easy it is to substitute, modify and enhance your favorite recipes to accommodate your special diet, all without missing a thing!

June 29, 2012

Update on life, food and happiness

My oh my... it has been FAR too long that I have written to you! The last few, well actually the last several months of my life have been busy, overwhelming at times, so much fun and filled with new challenges and adventures.

While today's post is a little out-of-the ordinary for me, being that it doesn't contain any recipes, I feel that you should get a little explanation as to why I've been apparently...missing!

Let's rewind a bit... scroll through your mind back to March...

Through networking (yes, people really do that) I was able to meet a wonderful woman at school who allowed me the opportunity to attend the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California.

It was phenomenal.

Never in my life have I been surrounded by so many different natural and organic products, all most of which I could actually eat! The event held over 5,000 vendors from across the U.S. - it was a short trip but one that I will never forget.

Next on the list... Well, I graduated!

I earned my Bachelors in Business Administration with an Emphasis in Marketing from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado.

How amazing it is to be able to come home and not scurry around trying to get a workout in, dinner made and homework completed all before going to bed at 10:30pm to get my 8 hours of precious sleep (I told you I wasn't a traditional college girl haa).

My boyfriend, Tony, also graduated from CU with a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering -- yea, I'm a lucky gal ;-)

We spent about a week soaking up this new graduate life before heading to the British Virgin Islands for a wonderful vacation with my family. Yes I know, lucky again :) We spent one week living on a sailboat, cooking nightly meals on the water and enjoying plenty of rum punches, snorkeling, tanning and well, you guessed it... truly relaxing.

Ooops... I skipped something. The day before we left for our much-earned vacation, I paid a visit to my doctor to go over the test results of my GI Panel test. You see, the last few months of school my stomach returned to the feelings I experienced about 2 years ago when the heart of my "stomach issues" occurred. Everything I ate was upsetting my stomach, shooting pains here and there, headaches, serious fatigue, low appetite.. you get it -- not good. Anyway, back to the test results.

Turns out... I tested positive for a parasite (not exactly sure what kind, the "positive" result was enough to signal I need some treatment). The bacteria levels in my gut, the good bacteria that everyone has, well, mine are all out of whack. One is extremely low while the other is much too high. I also have some sort of colitis -- a.k.a intestinal inflammation. Oh an don't forget about this one, my body is basically rejecting the fat from foods. My doc actually said I have "malabsorption of fats" - hence, the reason I can't gain wait no matter how hard I try. Whew! What a whirlwind!

The good news is, I am being treated for all of the above with natural remedies - no antibiotics for me! Hopefully, I'll see a change in the coming months and finally get some of these issues cleared up.

Okay, now that I've brought you down a bit let me bring you back up!

I have not only one but TWO internships! I am a digital marketing intern at Rudi's Organic Bakery and am also the client services intern at a Denver marketing agency, Red Door Interactive.

It's awesome! I love the difference between the two and am certainly getting a ton of experience and really figuring out what I love to do :)

So now I've caught you up a bit on the life of Melaina. But you may be wondering.. what about food??? The recipes.. the pictures.. Well, it just so happens that I have a few pictures of successes and one or two failures regarding my time spent in the kitchen over the last few months. Take a look...

 You've heard all the rage about "mug brownies" right? 

I've been trying my hand at it and while all of my attempts have been delicious, I have yet to get it just right.

And.... failure #1: Garbanzo crackers. Not enough oil on the pan leaves for a very tough clean up. I'll let you know when this one works out...

Foodie Pen Pals!!!

It is the most fun thing I've been a part of in a while and I highly recommend that you join! Check out what I had to say about last month's goodie box and keep an eye out for my description of this month's delicious delivery...

It even came with a recipe map using the ingredients I was sent! How amazing is that!?

My boyfriend and I also recently celebrated our 4 year anniversary! I'm such a lucky girl to have such a wonderful man :) We went to a restaurant called Root Down in Denver. Such a cool place! I enjoyed the oh so creative "Beetdown" cocktail alongside house-made Lamb Sliders on gluten free buns, plus some of the best sweet potato fries I've ever laid my hands on.

Hmm what else... 

animal crackers! 

I bought the cutest animal cutouts from amazon and was finally able to make this recipe from Healthful Pursuit that I had stashed away for quite some time. They are so good! (The only change I made was subbing protein powder for the coconut flour) Now go on.. make some for yourself.. I know you want to ;-)

We also must not forget the yeast free sandwich bread from The Essential Baking Guide Part II by Brittany Angel and Iris Higgins. *Sidenote: these cookbooks are truly amazing! The price is a steal for the amount of information you get and the amazing variety of recipes that are included.* I halved the recipe and made my own version of ciabatta bread and it turned out perfectly! Crispy crust but a soft chewy center, the slightest hint of sweetness and a whole grain taste. MMMmm mmm mmm!

Since the weather has been heating up... over night oats have been my best friend. I pack these babies full whenever I make them and and up splitting it to I have two breakfasts.. the first right when I get up and then I finish my delicious creation once I'm at work. Lovely idea isn't it? You can steal it if you want :)

Last but not least... homemade dark chocolate filled mini cups. Yup, you heard that right. What are they filled with you ask? Some have sunbutter, some have fresh raspberries, a few have dried blueberries and cherries and the last few have the strawberry lavender jam that was given to me in the first foodie pen pal box. I know you're already jealous, so here's a little taste...

I know it's not very nice of me to post all of these pictures without recipes so I promise that soon my friends you will see these recipes and you can try them out on your very own. Until then, enjoy the pictures :)

June 17, 2012

The First Guest Blogger on It Really Works - Jillian McKee!

I'm thrilled to be sharing this post with you all from Jillian McKee. She is the first guest blogger to appear on It Really Works! and what she has to share will certainly get you thinking more seriously about life, food and health and how these three important things are so interrelated. Enjoy this article and feel free to pass it on to others!  

(*Disclaimer: The following article was written entirely by the author, Jillian McKee. I did not influence any of her writing nor am I advocating for everyone to move to a vegetarian diet. However, the words she has to share are profound and should be taken seriously as these health tips and facts are backed by research and science.)

Improve Your Cancer Prognosis: Go Vegetarian!

According to the British Journal of Cancer, there is a strong correlation between vegetarianism and a reduced cancer risk. When the studies were complete, the results showed a 50% decrease in incidence of blood and lymphoma cancer, a 75% decrease in bone marrow cancer and a 66% decrease in stomach cancer. Strict vegetarians are the least likely to develop cancer, but those who avoid chicken and beef also had a greater chance of survival. A vegetarian diet can have many health benefits including:

Lowers Risk of Death
Red and processed meats are more likely to increase stomach cancer risk. Avoiding them helps to keep the immune system healthy and decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease risk.

Effective in Treatment and in Prevention
Vegetables, fruits, and legumes are recommended for a healing diet. Antioxidants, phytonutrients and vegetable proteins are all effective in healing a person diagnosed with cancer. Vegetables can also prevent malnutrition and are beneficial in fighting cancer.

Helping to Restore Energy Levels
During cancer treatments, patients often lose healthy muscle mass and energy is depleted from the treatments. Vegetarian diets can restore energy levels and help patients heal faster. Leafy green vegetables will restore nutrients in diets and can help to prevent the patient from feeling lethargic. It also lessens abnormal cell growth.

Containing All Nutrients for Faster Healing
Antioxidants help to fight free radicals in the body that contribute to cancer development. The immune system becomes stronger and cells are less likely to multiply. Fiber is also present in legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Fiber provides the bulk to help move cancer-causing substances out of the body faster.

It may seem all well and good, but vegetarians diets do also have their drawbacks. Some of which include:

Not Protecting From Bowel Cancer
A vegetarian diet will not prevent bowel cancer. Vegetarians develop bowel cancer at a rate of 29% as compared to meat-eaters at a rate of 33%. Study do not result in sufficient evidence to say that vegetarian diets will prevent bowel cancer, however it does slightly decrease the risk.

Unhealthy Eating Habits May Develop
Since it is possible to follow a vegetarian diet by eating only junk food and no meat, there is danger in being a vegetarian. Vegetarians must ensure that they are eating green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, and legumes to avoid malnutrition. Since no meat is in the diet, legumes and nuts serve as dietary protein. Soy-based products are also protein substitutes that can be effective in fighting cancers. As long as there is no history of allergic reactions, soy is effective in fighting cancer.

Decrease your cancer risk and go vegetarian! Even during chemotherapy, a vegetarian diet will help the body to heal faster. There are far more benefits to going vegetarian than not. Consider how a vegetarian diet can help prevent risk of cancer and improve energy levels. Most people, even those diagnosed with mesothelioma or liver cancer, are pleased with their choice to go vegetarian. 

Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.

Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.