Sunday, August 21, 2016

Depression, Anxiety, and Copper IUD

Copper toxicity and Panic Attacks and Depression

I hesitated to write this post because it is about depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. I am not a medical doctor and certainly am not trying to diagnose or treat disease. 

I'm sharing information that I've read about and also had first hand experience with. I'm sharing because I feel it could be helpful to others. 

I feel that the information about copper toxicity and depression, panic attacks, and anxiety is really important and not always recognized or understood by many medical doctors or holistic doctors. 

Portrait, Woman, Profile, Face, Nose

A Friend's Story

Recently, a friend of mine became very depressed out of the blue. So much so that she was not able to concentrate enough to go to work. She was prone to crying all day and exhausted. It was out of character for her. She never had a history of depression and was normally confident and independent. She started to feel helpless and that she couldn't depend on herself. 
She felt fearful and like she was falling apart.

My friend went to her family doctor and many specialists. She had every possible test taken including thyroid, blood sugar, cholesterol, heart, liver, etc. that could possibly reveal an imbalance, a medical problem, or a nutritional deficiency. 

Laboratory, Medical, Medicine, Hand

Every test revealed that she was totally healthy.
Yet, she still felt exhausted, depressed, unable to function or eat. She did not have anything upsetting her or bothering her. She was unable to perform the work duties that she had been proficient at for the past 25 years. She was crying constantly and felt incapable and helpless. 

Herbs, Natural, Pharmaceutical, Green

She eventually consulted a holistic doctor out of desperation. This doctor suggested an 80% raw food diet ( many of these foods were high in copper such as avocado and mushrooms), many supplements (which contained copper), yoga, deep breathing, herbs, herbal teas etc. 
She bought everything and took everything and still didn't feel any better- she actually felt worse. This practitioner didn't know about copper toxicity and how it affects women and how difficult it can be when copper is detoxed from the body.

My friend feared she might have to take a leave of absence from her job.
No one could understand how she went from a healthy, vibrant, confident, happy, vivacious woman of 46 to a helpless, dependent, crying person in 6 months!

Girlfriends, Hug, Trust, Girl
In desperation, I sat down with her and said-" let's look at what changed in your life over the last 6 months!" She went through her life and felt like nothing had changed - nothing except she had changed her type of birth control to now using
 a new shiny copper IUD!!

The minute she said "copper" IUD- alarms went off in my head!!! 
I was familiar with copper toxicity because of my own experience years back after childbirth and knew that it could make a person feel crazy, depressed, and anxious. I suggested she consider having the copper IUD removed. Although she didn't really believe there could be a connection, she was looking for relief and decided to have it removed by her doctor asap! 

The story has a happy ending- 
A few weeks after removing the copper IUD and taking some nutritional supplements under the care of an experienced  holistic doctor's who understood copper toxicity care to help (flush) the accumulated copper from her system safely and responsibly , she returned to her normal self. 
It's been two years and the depression has not returned-

Swimming Pools May Contain Copper 
Initially, she felt a reaction when she went into a swimming pool, since some of the chemicals used in swimming pools are copper based and copper levels can really build in a swimming pool and then absorb into your body. There are kits that you can use to test the copper levels  in a swimming pool. 

I bought this testing strips to test the copper levels in swimming pools
Now two years later with her copper levels under control, she is able to swim in pools without reactions! You can also test drinking water if you have copper pipes

Copper toxicity and Panic Attacks and Depression
Do you have a copper IUD or exposed to copper through copper pipes, soy foods, vegan diet, PMS, plastic bottles, plastic bags, plastic containers, etc. swimming pools, etc.? Do you have panic attacks or are depressed? 
You may be suffering from copper toxicity . 

I am posting this information because high copper levels which can come from food, supplements, estrogens,  copper IUD's, copper pipes,  chemicals in swimming pools, foods high in copper, hormonal imbalance after childbirth,  etc. can cause an imbalance in the body that cause symptoms of depression/anxiety/panic attacks + all because of copper accumulation in the body. 

It is very common in women- yet goes undiagnosed.  

HOWEVER, ridding the body of copper is serious as it can cause very servere symptoms as it leaves the body - The liver, the bile, etc. must all be taken into careful consideration and done under the care of an experienced practitioner or medical doctor familiar with these disorders. 

So many suffer because doctors and even holistic practitioners are unfamiliar or unaware of the relationship between high copper levels in the body and depression/anxiety.

Although copper is a nutrient that we need in our body, excess copper (some people accumulate it) can be very toxic. 
I am listing some links that I found on the Internet that you can learn more about it .
You might help yourself or someone you know.

Many swimming pools have chemicals added to them that are copper based. This often many cause a reaction in some sensitive people. 

( Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and am not trying to diagnose or treat disease- consult your medical doctor if you have panic attacks or depression - the information here is for educational purposes only.- I have no affiliation with any of the attached links. I am not recommending nor endorsing them- I just found them on the Internet and am sharing.

-Please evaluate each article for yourself and read at your own risk- again consult your doctor before making any changes in your diet or taking any supplements )


Some websites that I found with good information : 

A very good article 

Good article

One woman's Experience and treatment : 

Analytics Research Lab, specialists on nutrition and the science of balancing body chemistry:

A very thorough description of Copper Overload by Dr. Michael Lam:

Aviva Allergy and Wellness Solutions; Susan Cachay is the Registered Nutritional Consultant

A description of "Copper Toxicity Syndrome" by Dr. Lawrence Wilson:

A description of Copper Toxicity by Holistic Nutritionist and Author Melissa Diane Smith

A book published by Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD and nutritionist, about Copper Toxicity.

Some of the symptoms associated with Copper Toxicity:

Additional website : 
Louise Gittleman: Is Copper making you crazy

Are you familiar with copper toxicity? Do you have anything additional to share?
Please leave a comment ( You must be on the blog, not the Email to leave a comment)

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Why I Join a CSA Farm for the Summer

For the past 10 years, I have participated in a CSA ( Community Supported Agriculture) which is an organic community farm. You pay a share upfront in the beginning of the season and then you are entitled to whatever grows all spring, summer, fall. The farmers designate the amounts each week based on the bounty.

This is the room to pick up your produce
I purchase a half share which means I pick up every other week. 
 It's too much work for me to drive to the farm each week, pick produce and flowers in the fields, and then take everything home and  prep the food the same day. Every other week works better for me because it is a job!

Today was my CSA farm pick up day . The way it works is that certain types of the produce are already picked and just ready to be bagged; However, some of the produce you must go out in the fields and pick yourself.

The day that I pick up requires a lot of work to pick up, clean, and to prep all the vegetables. Once you get the vegetables home, you need to be prepared and know what you are planning to make with them or things could spoil.

Despite the intense heat that we have been having, we had a good haul of veggies.

This is what the farmers picked and I just bagged: 
  • 2 pounds of red potatoes, 
  • 5 pounds of juicy beefsteak tomatoes, 
  • 2 pounds of onions
  • 3 bulbs of fresh organic garlic, 
  • 1 large bunch scallions 
  • 2 pounds okra
  • 2 bunches of lettuces 
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds carrots 
  • 1 pound and 1/4 of eggplant
  • 1 pound and 1/4 of red peppers 
  • 2 large spaghetti squash 
  •  Red onion 
This is what I had to go out into the hot fields and pick my own: 

It was hot - 90 degrees at 5:30 pm , and I was dripping- but I didn't let it stop me. 
My husband helped, but he gave up in the middle saying it was just too hot for him, so he went back to the air conditioned car.
I finished the picking by myself.
It's fun out in the fields- you make friends with other share holders and talk about recipes as your pick! So, in addition to what the farmers picked and I just bagged, I also picked plenty out in the fields! all organic!!

What did I pick in this heat? 

1.  1 pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes
2.  1 quart of tomatillos
3.  2 quarts of green beans
4.  1 quart and 1 pint of  edamame-  we were allowed 3 quarts but I was dripping by then.
5   1 bunch each of cilantro, dill, and basil 
6.  1 pint of husk cherries- we will just eat these - yum so sweet 
7.   I didn't pick my bouquet of sunflowers- I would have- but my husband was absolutely ready to go! 

You gotta have a new respect and gratitude for farmers, migrant workers, and the produce- 
it's hard work- especially an organic farm.. Thank you for this healthy food!

What will I make with my produce this week?

Homemade Potato Chips
My husband really likes sliced and roasted red potatoes- they come out like potato chips
I'll use a pound and half for chips and 1/2 pound of the potatoes I'll reserve to make soup.
I made the slices using my mandolin and then I tossed in olive oil and roasted them in the oven until crispy

The okra must be tiny for this recipe and this week they were the delicate tiny okra which is perfect for bamia This is small okra cooked in tomato sauce-

Roasted Vegetables
I roasted the eggplant, onions, red pepper, garlic, and orange cherry tomatoes at 375 degrees. I toss the cut up veggies in olive oil and Himalayan salt and then lay on a parchment covered cookie sheet.  comes out fabulous. Serve over rice, quinoa, or as a side with any meal.

I'll use the lettuce and some of the tomato, scallion, tomatillo, red onion, cabbage cilantro, and dill for 2 salads and make my lemon parsley salad dressing using the parsley.

Edamame-boiled in salted water 
This was simple. I just washed and then boiled the edamame in the shell in salted water until the inner beans were soft. Then I sprinkled with more salt before eating.

Roasted Tomato and Tomatillo Soup- recipe to be posted

Spaghetti Squash Chou Mein  
This is a delicious mix of vegetables that tastes like chou mein! Interesting and Easy

Community Supported Agriculture farms are very popular and are available in most communities. We have about 8 of them in a 20 mile radius of my home. The one I go to takes me 20 minutes to get to.
You can do a Google search for CSA's in your area. Usually, you need to contact them now for next year.

Four Reasons I join a CSA
It's great to get organic produce
It's great to get local produce
It's great to get  fresh produce
It's fun for the family to get out into the fields and experience farm life

Do you belong to a CSA or grow your own vegetables? What is your experience with it???

Monday, August 15, 2016

How to Freeze Whole Lemons for Convenience and Ease

organic lemons

Did you know that you can freeze whole lemons and limes and always have one handy for fresh lemon juice or lemon zest!

I buy organic lemons or limes by the bag at Trader Joe's.  They usually are good for about a week. Sometimes I just don't get to use them fast enough, so they start to spoil. While browsing Pinterest, I found a post that says you can freeze lemons or limes for convenience and ease!
Who knew?

I love the idea!  Not only does it prevent waste, but you will always have lemon in the freezer if you need some. Frozen lemons/limes defrost quickly and are great to have in a pinch. You can even buy extra organic lemons when they are on sale and keep them frozen until you need them. 

How to Freeze Lemons and Limes: 
Wash the lemon or lime well and pat dry. Depending on how you want to use the lemons or limes in the future, either freeze the whole lemon/lime just the way it is,  or cut the lemon into quarters. Do not remove the peel. Place in a baggy and label the baggy with the date for future reference.

How to Use Frozen Lemons:
  • Lemon zest? Simply remove the frozen lemon from the freezer without defrosting. You can zest the lemon more easily while frozen. The zest itself will defrost in seconds. 
  • Lemon juice? - You can use quartered or halved lemons. Simply defrost for 10 minutes and squeeze. 
  • Make ice cubes and put a piece of  cut up lemon in each cube. Use in drinks as needed.
  • Make my Middle Eastern Lemonade Recipe
Stop! Don't Throw Away the Peel
Ever since I became aware of the intense nutritional benefits of lemon and lime peel, I've been obsessed with creating recipes that include them. Apparently, we lose a lot of the nutrients from lemons by not using the peel!

Some sources say that the peel provides 5-10 times more vitamins than the lemon juice itself and a much higher Vitamin C level.According to the a post on Healthious- I'll let you read that yourself if you are interested- lemon peel has healing properties. Another post on Healthy Holistic Living goes into even more detail about cancer treatment and lemon peel.

Actually, I recently went to a vegan pot luck hosted by a holistic researcher and  biochemist , and he suggested throwing half of an organic lemon ( with peel and pits) into your smoothies each morning ( you need to use a Vitamix or a very strong blender to completely pulverize the peel)

The same biochemist confirmed that the lemon peel has a wealth of health benefits to offer, and we lose out by not using it. Of course, he suggested using only organic lemons and pulverize well.

Two Recipes which use the entire lemon with the peel:
bold lemon salad dressing and watermelon limeade

If you would like a recipe using the peel, I use whole lemons with the peel in my Bold lemon salad dressing

lemon salad dressing

And I use a lime with the peel in my 3 ingredient refreshing watermelon limeade

watermelon lime coctail

Do you freeze your lemons? How do you use lemon peel ?

Regardless of how you intend to use your lemons, freezing extra lemons makes sense from an economical and practical viewpoint.

I'll be linking this post to these  blog carnivals

Friday, August 12, 2016

Watermelon Limeade is simply Blissful

watermelon limeade in martini glasses

There is no getting around it, this recipe for fresh watermelon limeade is an all natural beverage that is beautiful to look at and blissful to drink. I made my drink without alcohol, but you could easily add some light rum if you like and then call them cocktails. Whatever you choose, the finished product will be outrageously delicious!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Tomatillo Guacamole for a fabulous Party Dip

tomatillo guacamole appetizer

Do you like guacamole? You will love this tomatillo guacamole just as much. Tomatillos, like tomatoes, are in season right now and they add an interesting flavor to regular guacamole. Traditionally, I add chopped tomatoes to my guac; This time I added chopped tomatoes and chopped tomatillos. I made it in the food processor in literally 2 minutes and didn't even wait to make this fabulous party dip for my next party. We ate it as a light dinner!!

I picked my tomatillos from my CSA farm. In addition to all the other fabulous produce this week, I was able to pick 2 quarts of golden tomatillos. I was surprised how flavorful and sweet these tomatillos tasted!

How to eat tomatillos

We ate a lot of them just like a tomato, either sliced or added to salad, or we just bit into them and ate the whole thing like a fruit because it was a little sweet. They are a little firmer than a tomato. These seemed a little sweeter and riper than the ones I've gotten in the stores. Maybe because they were a little more yellow ? or are there different varieties??? Does anyone know???

Since I still had some of these beauties left over, I decided to use them for this simple tomatillo avocado guacamole, which of course is absolutely delicious! It's one of the easiest dips to make and is low carb and healthy. I actually used slices of tomatillo as my dippers.

Tomatillos can also be cooked- see "my notes below" # 5 for how to cook tomatillos plus 5 recipes

When you are thinking about party or snack food, think healthy! This dip is made from avocado, tomatoes, tomatillos, parsley, and scallions-all vegetables that are naturally gluten free, fresh, and good for you. Why sit and eat store bought dip that isn't fresh and probably has additives when you can make this nutrient and enzyme rich dip in minutes.

No tomatillos?- Try my regular guacamole : Basic Guacamole 

I removed the paper peel from the yellow tomatillos

Tomatoes freshly picked my CSA farm; the round jeweled cherry tomatoes were amazing

2-3 medium tomatillos ( tomatillos are on the small side) 
2 medium Hass type avocados, peeled and quartered
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon ( about 1/4 cup of juice) 
3 large sprigs of parsley
2 scallions stems , chopped
Salt and cracked pepper to taste ( I used a little Himalayan pink salt)  
optional: 1 teaspoon of cumin ( I used it and thought it needed it -but if you don't like cumin omit it) 

Place all of the ingredients in the food processor . Turn on 2-3 burts ( on off, on off, on off) until slightly blended. Serve with gluten free crackers, celery sticks, or slices of tomatillo.

bowl of guacamole dip and sliced tomatillo

Guacamole in a bowl

I'll be linking this post to these  blog carnivals

How do you use tomatillos?- Please share in the comments

My Notes:

1. My number one reason for joining an organic CSA is to get fresh organic produce that is still bursting with enzymes! Enzymes are what help us digest our food and get the most benefit of the vitamins and minerals
2. My number two reason is that I love connecting to the earth. The farm is so peaceful and serene. I love spending time there in nature.

3. # 3 reason: I love that the CSA introduces me to locally seasonal vegetables that I probably might never try, like tomatillos! I love trying new vegetables especially when they are organic. Another vegetable that I never tried before was kohlrabi! You can learn about kohlrabi on my post where I ended up making it into kohlrabi lentil soup

4. I try to add as many vitamin rich spices like cumin to my recipes. It is amazing how beneficial spices are. Most cultures have always depended on spices like turmeric, cumin, garlic, etc. for their health benefits.

5. Tomatillos can be eaten raw or cooked- here is a link I found at Organic Authority for
How to Cook tomatillos and 5 amazing recipes ( use GF tacos in her recipes) 

  #1636, 1661, 1650, 1629 full size render 37

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Baked Ziti The Way Grandma Made It

Old Fashioned baked ziti is a comfort food that brings back great memories of family get togethers! Although there are as many baked ziti recipes as there are grandmas, this recipe is the one I always use. It is easy, requiring only 5 basic ingredients and it's a real crowd pleaser. In addition, it freezes beautifully (before or after baking) , and is absolutely lip smacking either way!

Do you need to be Italian to love baked ziti
No, it seems like everyone loves it, so it's a perfect recipe to make for company. I always make it when my daughter- in -law, Jackie, visits because she is a pasta lover. Of course once it's made, everyone else enjoys it too!

The recipe is so simple and basic, I never thought of posting it before. However, when I looked through my cookbooks, I couldn't find a recipe for baked ziti. So, I decided to make it easy on myself and record my recipe right on my blog. Of course I found hundreds online, but they were not as simple as grandma's recipe.

So, if you like baked ziti, or are looking for a dish to make for a crowd- this is it! Now you know where to find the recipe (and so do I).

 I used gluten free penne which is available at Trader Joe's for $1.99 a bag or available now in most supermarkets!

I don't make recipes with this much cheese and eggs very often and truthfully, I didn't really eat it!!  My husband and kids loved it and so did my other company. So, If you eat and like cheese and eggs- Enjoy! It's so easy to make.. and lends itself so well to gluten free eating too.

ricotta cheese mixture

I combine the ricotta cheese mixture, some sauce and  the cooked penne noodles before layering it 

I divided the baked ziti into two deep baking dishes. 
Start to layer the sauce, pasta, cheese mixture, repeat in each baking dish

Author: Judee Algazi @ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10minutes
Cook Time : 20 minutes for the noodles
Bake Time: 55 minutes

1 pound box of gluten free penne 
1 15 ounce jar of your favorite marinara sauce ( I use BJ's brand bc no added sugar) 
1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley
15 ounce container of ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten (might be able to omit
1 bag of Italian shredded cheese combination
1/2 cup of shredded or freshly grated parmesan cheese 

Boil the penne according to the instructions, drain, rinse and set aside
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large mixing bowl, mix eggs, parsley, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of sauce and 1/2 bag of the cheese and 1/4 cup of parmesan.
Mix with the cooked penne.
Pour 1/4 cup each of sauce over the bottom of 2 deep baking dishes. Add a layer of noodle mixture, some sauce, noodle mixture, some sauce and the additional cheese. 
Bake for 55 minutes

My notes: 
  1. You could probably leave out the eggs in this recipe and it would still be good.
  2. This is a crowd pleaser
  3. If you prefer not to use any grain, you could spiralize zucchini in place of the pasta and bake-