Archive for October, 2010
I thought that I should highlight this wonderful item this week on my “Juable Foods Blog.” For those of you who are new to the blog, the word “juable” is a word that I created. The word is derived from the root of my first name…lol. The idea of this blog is that I will highlight food items that I enjoy. I may also write about really difficult concepts, these are the concept that make you think, contemplate, or ponder…this simply means that I am giving you something to chew on figuratively or literally. Sometimes, like in this blog, I will combine the concepts and give you something that I enjoy eating along with something to ponder.
Last year, I began working with a wonderful trainer named Ellen. She provided a meal plan for me and on her list of alternative sweeteners was Trader Joe’s Blue Agave Sweetener. When my trainer provided this sugar alternative, I thought to myself, “Yuck, fake sugars are nasty because they leave a terrible after taste.” After doing some research of my own, I found that this sweetener is so much better than white sugar, in fact white (processed) sugar is the worst sugar that you can eat or cook with. Hesitantly, I tried the product, which cost about $4.99 at an organic store and I loved it. That’s right, I love it!!! This sweetener does not leave the terrible after taste that I have experienced with other sugar alternatives, I also found that this product is great to use in baking brownies and cookies.
As you all know, I am on my own journey to improve my health. I am not too concerned about what I look like aesthically (although I’m not a dog face), I am more concerned about the health of my internal organs and my overall feeling of good health. As I have previously shared, my doctor advised me that I am pre-diabetic. I am adamant that I will fight diabetes and I will not be diagnosed with that disease as it runs heavily in my family due to old southern style cooking practices where homeade sweets were a part of the daily diet. I said all of that to say, this product could be a good alternative for pre-diabetics like myself or for diabetics. Since using this product, when I eat things made with white sugar, my body immediately notices it and my brain tells me that the item is too sweet. If you knew how much I used to love sweets, you would know that this realization is more than a miracle. By the way, I am down 11 pounds in two months so I am feeling well about my progress in obtaining my goal of health.
If you decide to try the product, please leave a comment and let me know whether or not you like it.
I know I’m not the only one who has experienced difficulty in relieving my bowels, right? Lol! I thought that line would be a great ice-breaker since this is a topic that most people do not like to discuss. Thank God my name is Judith and I believe in being frank no matter what (smiling). For those of us who have difficulty relieving our bowels, we may need to change our diets(eat less red meat), exercise more, drink plenty of water, etc). Bowel problems could exist because of many reasons but we have a duty to ourselves to find out how we can eliminate waste better. Why? Because healthy waste elimination = healthy bodies as you are releasing toxins etc.
I grew up in a house with two older sisters and one older brother. As the baby in the family, I was often bambuzzled by my older siblings. I remember innocently playing with my dolls or watching my favorite cartoon “Tom & Jerry” when one of my siblings would call me into the bathroom. I would walk in and I would see a red face, grimacing, and smell an odor. Geez!!!! I would say, “Why did you call me in here?” Then I would hear, “Can you pull my finger, it’s stuck?” Looking back this is funny but I would not wish this job on my worst enemy. It was a stinky job and I never intend to do it again (rofl).
After having a few bowel issues of my own I sought out a great Health Spa that specializes in colonics. The spa that I went to was Skintuition. After the colonic itself the Colonic Therapist told me to go to the restroom and elevate my feet on two stools. All I can say is that this experience was great! I was being cleaned out and flowing like a river. I would leave that place at least five pounds lighter than I came in. Have I piqued your interest yet? If so, you can purchase these footstools for about $8.00 each at Walmart.
If you take the footstool challenge, please leave a comment and let me know if it helps you too. If you try it and do not like it, I want to hear that too. See ya later and “May the footstools be with you!”
Dear Young Ladies:
Today we have a very special guest, Jemeker Thompson-Hairston. I asked Jemeker to provide you with this week’s dose of encouragement and enlightenment. Jemeker is a part of my church family and this makes her “real family.” Go grab a cup of tea and a snack and join this special journey with Jemeker and Judith today!
(Judith) Where were you born and who raised you? Did you feel like anyone understood you? Who was your backbone as a young girl?
(Jemeker) I was born in Los Angeles. I was raised in both Los Angeles Hattiesburg, MS until the 9th grade. I was raised by my Mom, who was a single Mom, and my grandmother. My grandmother was my backbone as a young girl. My grandmother was strict and stern, she was stricter than my Mom. I was afraid of her because of her firmness. When I went to my grandmother’s house I saw a two-person couple, which was different for me as my Mom was raising me as a single woman.
(Judith) Out of your mother or grandmother, which one understood you the best. Why?
(Jemeker) My grandmother seemed to understand me the best. I respected her and I understood that my grandmother was looking out for my best interest.
(Judith) As a young girl what did you want to be? Did you have any support towards this goal?
(Jemeker) I wanted to be a track star. I ran track in elementary and junior high school. My mother supported me with the goal of being a track star. I enjoyed running because in Mississipi we would race each other and that was fun. I loved to run track! Looking back it(running) could have been an escape from the pressures of my life, but back then I did not know it.
(Judith) What was the best advice that your grandmother ever gave you that you still use today?
(Jemeker) My grandmother taught me to put God first in everything that I do. She always instilled in me that I should go to church. At first, I did not understand what that(putting God first) meant. At 22 years old, I was in the drug game with my husband. We had money, cars, etc. At 22 years old, my husband was killed and I heard my grandmother’s words come back to me. When I was around twenty-eight I got into trouble (arrested) and I heard my grandmother reminding me to put God first.
(Judith) Where did you get your sense of determination?
(Jemeker) I think that I got my “go getter attitute” and “confidence” from my grandmother. I think that both of the women in my life (Mom and Grandmother) were go getters.
(Judith) Looking back, what would Jemeker of today tell your younger self?
(Jemeker) I wanted to be a track star and be in the Olympics. I would tell my younger self to, stick to your dreams, plans, and goals. Don’t look at other people. Stick to your purpose. There is always hope. God is merciful and gracious. You can always call on Jesus. He loves you and you are not just a conqueror, you are more than a conqueror. God replaced all the things that I used to do with good things. I live on His (God’s) grace.
(Judith) In closing, what thoughts would you like to leave with the young ladies?
(Jemeker) “I want to be positive now and I am telling my story because I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through in my own life.”
Young ladies, please remember that your history does not determine your destiny. You can always turn over a new leaf and start again. Join me in thanking Jemeker for stopping by and sharing her inspiring story of struggle and triumph with us.
The WIC program is a clinic based program which was designed as a pilot in 1972 and received permanent federal funding in 1974 (McKenzie, et. al, 2008). The WIC program was designed to provide a variety of nutritional and health-related goods and services to pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children under the age of 5 years old (Mc Kenzie, et. al, 2008). The program was founded as a result of evidence that linked poor nutrition in pregnant women and their newly born children to mental and physical health defects (Mc Kenzie, et. al, 2008). In 1974, the average number of monthly WIC participants was 88,000; in 2004 that number was more than 8.5 million women and children (Mc Kenzie, et. al, 2008). This means that half of all infants in America and one-quarter of children between 1 and 5 years of age (Mc Kenzie, et. al, 2008).
The WIC program is said to be one of the most effective ways to improve the health of mothers, infants, and young children (Mc Kenzie, et. al, 2008). Benefits of participation in the program include:
- Positive health outcomes for pregnant women and their babies.
- Babies are born with higher birth weights.
- Fewer fetal and infant deaths.
- The program is cost effective as USDA research has shown that every $1 spent on WIC saves the taxpayer $4 in future Medicaid (state health insurance).
I provided all of this background information because many women and children are suffering right now due to our present economy and other unforeseen issues. If you are a pregnant woman or girl or if you know of one such women please refer her to the WIC program. This is a federally funded program that is designed to supplement meals for low-income mothers and their children. If you know of a woman/child who is hungry perhaps the WIC program can be a resource. While doing the research for this article I noticed that most states have lists of covered or allowed food items that participants can purchase with their vouchers. Many of the items were bread, cereal, eggs, butter, and juice and a host of other items. Some states like Illinois did not allow flavored milks (i.e. chocolate milk) or super sweet juice (Hi-C). I think that this effort to make healthy food choices for the participants in this program is awesome. Great job, Illinois!
In short, I think that the WIC program is a much needed resource, however in these tough economic times and with the rise of gestational diabetes, childhood diabetes, and obesity it would be great if the private sector stepped up more to help those in need. If I could dream, I would ask that local (per state) farmers donate 20% of their organic farm products to families in need through the WIC program. Also, each state should allow their farmers to participate in donating fresh fruits and vegetables. In return, the farmers could be given a state and/or federal subsidy or tax break. I was taught that if you give somebody something you should give them something that you would like. In this case, I like organic food items and I would want to give the same to others who cannot afford it, but who desperately need the help. I think the WIC program is extremely necessary and does alot of good for many women and their children but I wrote this article because I would like to see the private sector step up and help support the WIC program since this program is supporting nearly half of all infants born. Also, I have known many women who utilize this program and they are grateful for the program but the main issue that some of them have is that they often struggle to have enough to last throughout a month. American women and childen should not be hungry or have to ration their food, so I asked myself, how can we make this problem disappear? I figured it out, right now my power is in my pen, so I am writing this blog as a clarion call for us to mobilize and do more. We can do so much more, if we do it together!
Do you all have any comments or suggestions about the WIC program?
McKenzie, J.F., Pinger, R.R., and Kotecki, J.E. (2008). An Introduction to Community Health. (6th edition). Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc.
As I previously shared, I lost two aunts last month (Sept 2010). Deaths in my family have been pretty frequent in the past five years. I have a new appreciation for life and for living the life I want and not just living the life I think I have to live. What do I mean? Well, about 10 years ago I started to feel really restless. I felt emotionally and physically depleted. I felt like I was put on this earth to do more than just work a mundane 9-5 job and pay bills. I was working a job that I enjoyed intellectually but it was starting to become old hat and this job did not allow me to use my creative side. I felt like a part of me was dying… and it was….my creative side. Creatively, I see the world with bright colors, I smell wonderful aromas, I hear wonderful sounds that amaze me, I taste foods and drinks that make me happy……all that to say life is supposed to be enjoyed and experienced. At any rate, I started having conversation with friends about my passions, but I just did not know what I wanted to do with my passions or how to make a living from them. Some friends laughed and some friends said that I was just a dreamer but I had to block all of them out and make a real decision for myself. Anyone been there before? When I was at school or work, I remember thinking many times, has my body been invaded by aliens? Is this really my life? I would come home from work, eat dinner, binge on sweet treats and get ready for the rat maze the very next day. I felt trapped! I felt cheated because this is not the life I wanted to live and it seemed like it was not the life that I chose, so how did this happen? I began to think about how I got into this rut. It all started when I began helping to care for parents at age ten. As I grew up, I spent my life continuing on that path. I do not regret helping my parents because they gave me life, but somewhere along the way, I let go of my many dreams. On really bad days, I would sing the theme song from the hit sitcom “Friends” you know the line where the song says, “You’re life’s a joke, you’re broke, you’re love life’s doa (dead on arrival). Seems like you’re always stuck in second gear, when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year….I’ll be there for you (now that you are singing along I can continue my story..lol).”
Anyway, in 2008, I decided to begin pursuing my passions no matter what. This decision has not been easy, but I am sooooooo glad that I made it. I am still on my journey and every step in the direction of my dream makes me feel a sense of accomplishment and personal enjoyment. So, what are your passions? Are you living your dreams or the passions that you had for yourself as a kid or teen? If you are like me, maybe you need to do some soul searching and re-discover your purpose.
If you decide to take this journey with me, please leave a comment. I will be your number one (#1) cheerleader (smiling).
Dear Young Ladies:
I hope that you are doing well and living or working toward your dreams.
The other day I spoke to a young lady. I asked her if she would be interested in attending an event. She was young, perhaps, eighteen years old. I told her that I would love for her to attend an event for young girls. She said, “I cannot because I have to see what my boyfriend wants to do first.” I thought to myself, “What!!!” In my head, I could not believe that a young lady was 1) putting her life on hold for a young man that is not even her husband or 2) she did not even consider her own feelings. I don’t understand this kind of thinking. A young lady needs to have/keep her OWN IDENTITY. Right?
I usually write these letters to you young ladies, but this time I really want to hear from you all on this one. Is this normal these days? Do you or someone you know put your life/her life on hold to please a boyfriend? If so, why? Let’s talk about this one (smiling).
As always, I love you all enough to share my experiences in hopes that your lives will be a little bit better and you will know that you are not alone in this maze called life.
I did well on my no sugar no flour lifestyle eating plan until last week. At the end of September I had two losses in my family and my sister had major surgery. Needless to say, I was stressed out and had a relapse with sugar and flour. Amidst these struggles, I still managed to lose 7 lbs in four weeks. Pretty good I think!
I am currently in the process of having the mercury fillings removed from my teeth this will help as my Naturopathic Doctor told me that the mercury level in my blood was seven times greater than it should be. Geez!
Ladies, I would like to share my story about hormone balancing. I was feeling fatigued for no reason, I was anemic due to heavy menses, and acne. My Naturopathathic (holistic) doctor drew my blood and checked my hormone levels. She found that I am estrogen dominant. Being estrogen dominant is not good as it can cause feelings of emotional distress, fibroid tumors, etc. Hormones, ( testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen levels) especially for women, need to stay properly balanced. My doctor has me on two creams to balance my hormones. Lastly, she prescribed a thyroid pill as it(thyroid) was underfunctioning. How did she know my thyroid was under-functioning? She checked my blood. She also had another way for me to check my thyroid’s functioning. Well, my doctor had me monitor my temperature for three days. She told me to take my temperature first thing in the morning before I get out of bed. A normal temperature, which may indicate normal thyroid functioning is a temperature of 98.5. My temperature was 96.5. I am noticing that my thyroid pill is really helping to regulate my bodies temperature. I think it has increased my metabolism as I am burning fat like crazy (lol). The body simply amazes me!
If anyone is having problems hormonally or in any other capacity and you are tired of not getting answers from your doctor (Western Medicine) or relying on prescription drugs, please consider a good holistic (natural) medicine doctor. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself if given the opportunity. Our bodies need essential vitamins, minerals, temperature and hormonal balancing. Once our bodies are receiving the proper essentials that it needs, the body will function well and fight off disease.
Leave a comment and tell me about your health journey.
This week’s blog is a special one as I am highlighting a positive man in our community. Pastor Dejon Jernagin is a Husband, Father, Pastor, and he is passionate about his work and his creative endeavors. Please enjoy this wonderful interview!
Name: Pastor Dejon Jernagin
Occupation: Admission Rep for Kaplan College, Pastor Jernagin, Christian Comedian, Screen-Play and Comedy Writer.
Number of Years in Occupation: I have worked in education for 12 years. I have been a licensed minister for 11 years.
(Judith) What is your marital status? Do you have children? How has your role as a husband or father affected your career?
(Dejon) I am married. I have 3 boys (6 yrs, 8 yrs, and 9 yrs). Being a husband and a father has helped my role because it makes me look at things from the right perspective. I think about what I do, why I do it, and the time it is going to take. Because I am raising Black men I look at things totally different for their sakes.
(Judith) During your early years as a man, what were your goals? In the early years, how did you plan to achieve your goals?
(Dejon) When I was a college basketball player, my goal was to reach the NBA. I never thought that it was not going to happen. I played and took odd jobs in basketball in order to reach my goal.
(Judith) Did you face any hardships that tried to derail your goals? How did you handle the situation? What was your personal turning point?
(Dejon) In my family alone I was the first to do a lot (i.e. go to college). I dealt with things spiritually, so I have to give credit to God. I leaned on brethren from church for support. The brethren in the church communicated with me and listened to what I was going through as a young man.
(Judith) As a man, what tools did you need to be successful?
(Dejon) Discipline is important. I had to have self-control. I had to be patient and wait for things.
(Judith) If you could say anything to your wife about how her presence has impacted your life, what would it be?
(Dejon) I would thank her for being a virtuous woman and that is how she impacted my life. She is there for me and for my kids. I believe that I obtained the favor of the Lord by having a wife that is virtuous.
(Judith) If you could say anything to your children about how they have impacted your life what would it be? What advice would you give to your children about being successful personally, professionally, and spiritually?
(Dejon) My sons are three (3) opportunities to correct things that I may not have done right when I was growing up. I want to help them avoid problems or mistakes that I made. Spiritually, I want them to know that only what they do for Christ will last. Whatever they do, do it for the glory of God and it will last.”
(Judith) What are your personal and professional goals?
(Dejon) My personal goals are:
1). Continue to serve the Lord with everything that I have
2). Position my family for the future financially and spiritually.
3). For my wife and I, I want to prepare to be great grand-parents one day.
4). Professionally, I want to build high schools. I want to build the first Pentecostal Universities.
(Judith) What advice would you give to young men or other men in regard to achieving their goals (the secret to your success) in regard to personal growth, family, and career?
(Dejon) Listen and learn to communicate when you have an opportunity to listen to someone with wisdom (i.e. grand-father).
I know healthcare reform in America has been a hotly debated topic for several decades, however, I wonder if the correct contentions have been debated. As I told you all before, I have personally dealt with chronic illness in my life. I have watched many of family members deal with chronic illnesses also. Examples of chronic illnesses are arthritis, asthma, and diabetes. I believe that there are some simple changes that can be made to an individual’s eating and exercise patterns that can help prevent or minimize the effects of chronic illness. I also believe that holistic medicine could help improve the health of many people before they are diagnosed with chronic illnesses. Also, I believe that those people who are already affected by chronic diseases could benefit greatly from holistic medicine and not just prescription drugs or Westernized Medicine. I want to make my argument clear, I am not anti- Western Medicine, but I am pro holistic medicine and Western Medicine. I think that if both disciplines work together, then many illness would be prevented or intervened upon if the disease has already been diagnosed. I am saddened by the fact that insurance companies do not cover holistic treatments, especially since I have noticed significant health improvements in my own health, after beginning my own journey of using Western medicine and holistic medicine in tandem. In my humble opinion, the current healthcare reform need not be done, perhaps we need a complete healthcare massacre to fix the blaring shortcomings of our current system here in the U.S.
What do you all think about our current healthcare system? Do you use holistic medicine? Do you think that insurance companies should cover holistic medicine? Why or why not?
Dear Young Ladies:
I am so happy to be back. Last week was the first time that I missed posting for an entire week, but I had a personal situation arise.
Anyway, I would like to talk to you all about money. I want to tell you that it is important to understand money and I do not think that there is an age where you are too young to understand the value of a dollar. When I was about three years old my parents gave me a piggy bank which I used to save most of the silver dollars that my grandfather used to give me (smiling). By the time I was seven years old, my Dad sat me down and explained the value of a dollar. Yes, I had to hear a long story about how my Dad walked 7 miles one way to get to school and how poor he grew up (lol). Back then his story was boring, but now I appreciate what he was trying to tell me. He was trying to tell me to understand how to budget and live within my means (only buy what you can afford with cash). My Dad gave me a dollar and he said, in the future when you get a dollar here is how you should handle it: Out of $1.00 (give God 10% or $1.00), give an offering of any amount (for instance $1.00), save 20% ($2.00), and if you need to spend the rest ($6.00) on bills etc. Young ladies, this was the best advice that I was ever given!!!! At first I did not understand how to practice what I had been taught when I went to college, but after a lot of trial, error, and debt I figured it out.
So, my advice this week is to look for resources through books and people in order to learn about finances. I personally like to read Suzie Orman’s financial advice but I am sure there are other sources.
Please leave a comment. Let me know what you know about finances and whether or not you think that it is important to understand your finances.