Eating right...?

So the weather has been so horrible that I thought I could finish my couch, but 2 days ago I broke the only tack strip I had and well since I am sick I have not been able to go and get more.
So as my couch still sits in the living room unfinished, I figured it was time to catch up on my reading. If you are my Facebook friend, you might remember these ...

 I bought a few books on Ayurveda and how to cook that way. I have been reading 3 of them at the same time ( yeah I get bored with just one, I'm a weird one).
I have always wondered how people in the eastern cultures keep their meals simple and use certain spices to make them more digestable.
Well after a week or so of reading, all I can say is OMG, we are doing it all wrong! LOL.
I think one of the problem in western cultures is that we think ok, fruit=ealthy, veggies=healthy, nuts=healthy and then we mix it all, and then well, they are no longer healthy for us.
As they say too much of a good thing, isn't a good thing anymore.
Let's take fruit for example. When I was little my dad always told me fruit, should be eaten alone, I have no idea where he got this concept, but he was right. I remember him doing fruit only days when he felt his body needed a break. And I repeat, he is one of the healthiest people I know, never goes to the doctor unless it is for a checkup every 2 years or so.
So why can't we eat fruit with other things you might ask?
Well Ayurveda explains it plain and simple. Fruit is very easily digested, so it is ideal as a snack and eaten one kind at a time if possible.
When we mix it with other foods, like fats, starches or protein, the fruit will not only stay in the stomach until the other foods are digested and passed down to the intestines, but will also ferment given the hot acid and wet enviroment in the stomach, and then produce fumes that will be absorbed in the colon later on. They can also give us gas and indigestion.
We can probably get away with some fruit in our meals if we eat it first, as it will be digested in the order it was received and hopefully not cause any problems.
So there goes the big fruit salads and the pancakes breakfast with mixed berries and noodles salads with apples. Sadness!
One other thing they emphasize is spices, they use specific spices to make foods better suitable for the different type of bodies we have.
They believe bodies are made from energy, 3 types of energy to be exact. And we all have different constitutions, hence we cannot all enjoy the same stuff without causing imbalance and disease.
Now we all know one diet is never good for all.
They give specific instruction as to what to eat for each body type and try and see how these foods sit with you, depending on the amount of the dominant energy "dosha" in your body.
I am a Pitta body type which indicates my body is mostly fire and water, so eating spicy, heating foods is not good for me because it aggravates the natural heat I already have. I am better off eating cooling and bitter foods to calm my fire. Pittas also are the only body types which can handle more raw foods than the other 2, given the strong digestion we have.
A raw food diet is never adviced, unless you are looking for cleansing or you are a Pitta type in the summer and you need cool foods to keep your balance.
One other thing they mention is that we have 6 tastes, sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.
Taste, is the key to using this nutrition practically for any constitution for healing and balance.
Taste is divided in 3 categories, the taste we experience when we put something in our mouths, the effect this taste has in our digestion and the effect it has on our metabolisms.
Something bitter to the taste, has a cooling effect in digestion hence helping some body types like mine, some astringent foods like pomegranate or cranberries are good for Pitta as well and Kapha but not for Vata since they are a cold and dry body type.
They list most of the food categories and let us know what helps us with balance and upsets our systems.
I realized I had always eaten most of the wrong foods, liking spicy and sour foods most of my life, I always suffered from acid reflux, given that these foods have a heating effect on my digestion, hence aggravating my "dosha" with more fire. Not a good combination.
So ever since I discovered this ancient method, I eliminated those heating foods and I have never taken another antiacid pill. So simple, yet so hard to grasp for our complicated minds.
They have foods that are ok for all the body types and can be easily altered by adding heating spices like cumin or curry for Vata types since they need the heat for their cold bodies.
Beans for example are not for everyone, they provide many different ways to aid digestion when using these, to make them easier on the body and to not create a gas war.
Some of these foods take some preparation ( soaking beans for 3 to 4 days) but they will do the body good.
Here, we are so used to having it right here right now, we have sabotaged our own health in the process.
Ayurveda advices a mostly vegetarian diet, some body types can handle little amounts of meat but it can be aggravating for others, like mine.
I want to keep reading and introducing these foods into my life and hopefully see the effects of this nutrition.
Sometimes people look at me like I am crazy when I mention that I use foods to help my health, instead of medicine.
But I believe the simple ways always work. Instead of complicated amounts of vitamins and rigorous diets.
One thing they mention as well is, if we do not enjoy eating the foods we cook ( diets) our bodies will reject them and they will not have the effect we wanted.
So we should play around and adapt some recipes and use the food that upset our bodies sparingly.
I am thinking this would be a great topic for the ladies here on Fresh Start ( a group we have in our neighborhood).
I need to hit my herbal book to see if I can find a good tea for this nasty cold/cough I have and hope my kids will try it too.
Hoping for a better week!



Today was a bit of a crazy day here, got up and got the kids off to school.
I really, really tried to get started on my couch but it did not happen. I put the fabric down and layed the old pieces on and marked them, now I need to cut it. Ughh this couch has been totally neglected and I really want to get it done.
Cleaned the house and did a ton of laundry ( l love how I choose to do all my bulk work on days like this one).
We have a tradition for Valentines, we always make gnocchi with the kids, and they love it.
Today though I had an appointment for Brenna, to go see the eye doctor at 4:00 PM since she had been complaining of headaches. Bad day for this with all the traffic and crazy people in love.
Well, $250 and 2 hours later, I was running so late!. The place where I take my kids for glasses is right next to my favorite market, so I had to stop there to get some goodies. I ran in and grabbed some Portobello mushrooms ( My biggest pet peeve is when I see it spelled PortAbellA eeekk!!!) and some other stuff I needed.
By now, I am speeding back home, to hungry kids and a pot full of potatoes to mash.
Onto the gnocchi now, if you have never had this, you need to try it now!
Gnocchi is an italian dumpling type of pasta, made out of potatoes and flour.
I learned how to make gnocchi when I was pregnant with my first child and I had a bad craving. My mom, always hated cooking, so she would not make them for me, so I tried and tried until I got them right. And now I make them for my kiddos.
Finally back home, we got our hands dirty and made our traditional dinner.
I made tomato sauce for them and some yummy creamy stuff with the portobellos I got at the market.
It was worth the work, the mess and the running.
Here is the recipe for the gnocchi if you ever want to try it.

Potato gnocchi

4 lbs russet potatoes ( other kind will be too watery)
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder ( I use this, because the flour in the US sucks)

Peel the potatoes and place them in a steaming dish, steam for about 40 minutes or until tender.
If you prefer to boil them, do not peel them or they will absorb too much water and the dough will be  mushy.
Once the potatoes are done put them through a food mill to get a fine puree, do not blend or use a food processor, because these machines brake the starches and you will end up with a gummy mess.
You want a nice, fine puree.
Once you have done this add the flour and the baking powder, start working with a spoon, keep adding flour until you can handle the dough with your hands.
Dump it on the counter and start working it adding more flour until it is smooth and does not stick to your hands anymore.
I usually go by how it feels here , if the potatoes were too moist you will need more flour.
Dust some flour on the counter and cut the dough in smaller pieces and start rolling into small cilinders, about the thickness of your thumb.
Cut them into small bite size pieces. You can give them their traditional shape by rolling them between your thumb and a fork, they will look like a small rolled shell.
I usually skip this step since it's just aesthetics and they taste the same with out the extra work.
Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add the gnocchi, in about 2 minutes they will start to float, let them cook for about 30 seconds more and then skim them out with a slotted spoon.
Serve with your favorite sauce.


Working it.

1- The gnocchi ready to be cooked
2- When they float they are ready
3- The sauce I was throwing together while I was cooking batches.
4- My sauce, I used 1/2 onion, 1 Portobello mushroom chopped,  handful of fresh parsley chopped, and one pint of cream. Salt and pepper to taste.

The result! My gnocchi doesn't look like the pictures you see out there because I do not  roll it against the fork, so they just look like regular dumplings. They taste the same though.

I am so glad this day is over!
Hopefully I can get started on my couch tomorrow!
Happy Valentines Day!


Oh how I love my Lapacho Extract

So it has been a bad week for us , Brandon has been home for 2 days now, with a sore throat and a cough and Brenna just got picked up from school with a tummy ache and started throwing up as she got here.
Ahhh the fun times of mommyhood... lucky for me, I have my loved Lapacho Extract I use for pretty much everything.
For people who don't know much abour herbs, the Lapacho tree, mostly known here as Pau d'arco ("bow stick" in Portuguese), is a tree that grows in some countries in South America, one of those countries being mine, Argentina. The bark of this tree has certain properties that can be used to treat a great variety of illnesses.
When I was little my dad used to drink big mugs of Lapacho tea. My dad has got to be one of the healthiest people I know.
Very anti doctor himself , he helped his immune system by drinking a mug of tea a day, he had a great variety of herbs stored in the cupboard, and a strong smell emanated everytime I opened it up to peek in there.
Of course being a child I thought herbal teas were yucky, but I grew to understand their properties and how to use them myself to help me with my health problems.
I am so very thankful to my dad for that knowledge. Everytime I tell him I give my kids Lapacho extract, I can picture him beaming.
So it has been a Lapacho Extract week here and let's hope they are all better in a couple of days.
Here is a good article on Pau D'Arco, if you care to read it
Pau D'Arco

For those interested, I usually buy all my herbal stuff at
since they carry all my cleansing tea mixes I use and such.
Hoping for a healthier week ahead.


Ahhh Mondays

Mondays are crazy, at least here. I tried to start on my couch but I didn't get far.
Dallin had spotlight at school for his "half birthday" and Valentina got her new dress in the mail, I cannot believe she is going to a school dance, wow time flies.
Dinner was a "lookinthefridgeandworkit" kind of thing and this is how it went.
I had one head of couliflower and an eggplant and I always have pasta, so vermicelli it was.
I roasted the veggies in the oven with some salt, pepper, onion powder and italian herbs. Cooked the pasta and added some olive oil to it, mixed in the veggies and voila, dinner was served.
Two of my kids even ate it, woot!, the other two had noodles with cheese... oh well, I keep trying.
Here is the result, it was great!

Since we are close to Valentines we had FHE on Love one another, and decorated heart shaped cookies for the activity/treat.
They loved it! I didn't love the mess but oh well...I learned to pick my battles.
Happy kiddos...

Tomorrow hopefully I get to work on my couch, since I do not have to volunteer at the school. Wish me luck.

Sleeping at the right time.

This is my son Dallin, and as you can see he has no problem falling asleep anytime, anywhere, much unlike his mother.

On my quest to health this past year, I realized that eating a plant based diet wasn't the only thing to achieve good health and prevent disease.
There are many other aspects of life we tend to ignore that are just as important.
One of them being sleep. Now coming from a latin country I had never in my life gone to bed before midnight and much less acquire 8 hours of sound sleep.
I am a firm believer that our bodies are syncronized with the earth and the time zones with live in ( thanks dad). And when we eat out of season foods, eat late or stay up until midnight, it affects us a lot. But I was too busy to follow this belief.
This theory, was confirmed by one of the Andreas Moritz books I read. He explained that melatonin, the sleep hormone we release when it is dark, is essential to our health, aging and stress levels.
He said that if we go to bed around 9:30 or 10:00 when our melatonin levels get higher, we will indeed fall asleep faster and easier ( hello insomniacs!) than if we ignored these gentle promptings we get when the hormone starts to peak.
Now I had to put this to the test, because like every child, I did not believe my dad and like I said before I had never gone to bed that early, not even when I had to be at work by 5:00 AM.
I started going to bed at 9:45 or so, and it worked!! I fell asleep in about 10 minutes and the next day I was a new person. I kept doing this and it kept working like a charm.
Much to my amazement, I feel better than I did my entire life of sleep craziness.
I don't know about the antiaging, but I guess we will see.
Mind you, if you go to sleep at this time you will wake when the earth wakes (dawn) and your body will keep it's syncronized pace with the earth. Ayurvedic medicine refer to these as Vata, Pitta and Kapha times of the day. Here is a nice article about it, if you care to read it.
Vata,Pitta, Kapha times of day.

Now I know there are people who work at night and I wondered how will they get this special sleep?
Well, doing some research I found an article by Doctor Mercola ( alternative physician) and he says that if you sleep in a completely dark room, melatonin will be released and benefit the person the same way. Here is the article .
 Melatonin Natural Hormone

Anyway, I just thought I would share this important fact I discovered on my quest to health.
Stay tunned for my living room project I am still working on!


Winter is really affecting my sanity.

Sooooo, after receiving so many praises about my reupholstered chair, I have decided to redo my entire living room set , yes you read right , the entire... set.
I have so many projects stuck in the garage waiting for better weather that I must find something to do now! I have cabin fever and a set of old couches that are in too good shape to give out.
So I was extremely lucky and I scored 50 yards of chocolate brown upholstery fabric through one of my mom's friends so all I had to do was go hunting for a colorful print for the matching chair!
Now mind you this 50 yards of fabric match my wall colors!, so I will only paint a couple pieces of furniture to make the room a bit more fun since it has quite a bit of brown in it.
Here are the fabrics!!! and the chair/couch they will go to.
Stay tunned!!!!


My first major upholstery project.

So finally I got around to reupholstering my wing back chair! I have to say this is my very first time doing a chair this big. I have done a few kitchen chairs before with just one cushion, but I had never ventured into the living room stuff. So here it is!
I will go into detail to try and explain everything I did and things you should not do. Other blogs and places I went to find out the how to's, had little info and I had to check many posts to kind of have an idea of what I needed and such.
So be patient and I will explain.
First of all find yourself a cheap piece of furniture at your local thrift store or garage sale , wherever, the idea is get it cheap so it doesn't become an expensive thing.
I found this bad boy at Savers for $15, I checked that the frame was good and strong and that the chair looked fairly well taken care of, besides the fabric of course. I brought it home and I was so eager to start that I started to take it apart right away.
Well first piece of advice, take pictures !!!! I did take pics of the before but I was not very thorough with the pics, so when it was time to put it back together ( 3 weeks later after getting sick and all) I had a bit of hard time remembering details and that caused some delays. You can also video the process of taking it apart. Be carefull not to tear anything or pull too hard so that you can reuse the harware and you will need the pieces of fabric as they are so you can cut the new fabric.

Piece of advice number 2 buy yourself a few handy tools.
You will need a staple remover, I used a screwdriver and well I did get some cuts on my hands so this will be something you want to have.
Small pliers, I think they have specific ones for this kind of job, I used a small one I had to make jewelry and they worked fine.
A rubber mallet, if you use a hammer to pound the fabric, the fabric will tear.
A staple gun, I have an electric one and it works good, you have to put pressure on the gun before you fire so the staple goes in all the way. If you have an air compressor and want an air gun that's even better, I would not recommend the hand one or you will have tendonitis by the time you are done.
Staples, I used 3/8 inch 10 mm for most of the chair and 1/2 inch 12 mm for the thickest parts.

I used a butter knife to pull the tack strip, always start with the back since it's usually the last part they put on, so slowly put in the knife between the fabric and pull, you will see the little nails of the tack strip starting to come out , be carefull tack strip is sharp and bendy and you will poke yourself with it if you don't handle it carefully. If you are careful enough to pull it out you can reuse it and save some money there, if not Joann carries this type of strips.

My chair had these metal ones, there are different kinds, I find these easier to use.
Pay attention at how everything is done, so you can redo it the same way.

Once you have taken the back part, you will see the inside of the chair and the thousands of staples, here is where you need your staple remover, pliers and lots of patience.
Pull all the staples you see holding fabric, do not take off the ones holding the foam, place them in a plastic cup ( you don't want to step on these). Most chairs are assembled in similars ways so go with the wings, the arm rests and the front part. Always make sure you don't pull the fabric so it doesn't tear.
The last part will most likely be the bottom of the chair. This particular chair needed to have the legs removed before we could get all the fabric off. Save the cambric fabric (dustcover) from under it and from under the cushion to reuse if you like . Mine was in good condition so we reused it. Also you can save the piping cord ( decorative cord you see on the edges of the chair) buttons and such.
Once the chair is bare, check and see if you will need batting or foam to make it more cushy.
Check the springs in case you need to replace one. Vacuum it and set aside.
Now the fun part. For the fabric make sure you choose something easy to work with like a floral pattern, geometric patterns are harder to align, and if you are new at this you want to make it easier. Upholstery fabric can be quite expensive, I got this piece on ebay for $24 plus shipping, it was a good find because I got 8 yards, 54 inch wide and it was a Duralee piece ( they are quite expensive). So I was super happy. You can find nice fabric at Joann's and use a 50% off coupon and that will leave you at around $5 to $8 a yard, for their cheapest options, which is probably the best you are going to get these type of fabrics for. Or you can stalk fabrics on ebay but it is time consuming. Home Fabrics also has pretty good stuff on sale sometimes. If you do not mind spending
more, then by all means buy what you love and pay the price.
I cannot even remember how many websites and blogs I visited to have an idea of how much fabric a wing back chair will need. Some places said 5 yards other said 7 or 8 I was so lost I bought 8 yards just to be sure I will not be short.
Well here is the deal I only used 4 1/2 yards
( 54 inch wide) on this chair and that was because I used a geometric pattern which needs to go certain way, if I had used a floral one I would have used a little less.
One other piece of advice, if you use a cotton fabric ( like I did) they fray quite easily so be generous when you cut or you will suffer like I did. Especially generous on the pieces that cover the piping strips, because those are a pain to sew up when the fabric is short.
Mark all the little cuts the old fabric has with chalk, so you will know where to cut to make the fabric fit around the chair when you are putting it together.You will see the cuts are not even and that the people who make these chairs just cut as they go, but well since I am no pro I marked it all and went by their random cuts.
This chair required quite a bit of sewing, so since I am not a pro at this, I enlisted the help of the Sewing Queen, my Ma.
Here she is, Hi Ma!

So start with the last part you took off, here you see at the bottom right pic , I started with the front bottom part that goes under the cushion, we sewed the cambric fabric to the front part and put it on, if you have a geometric pattern, make sure you pull evenly so it doesnt look crooked and fasten the fabric to the bottom, here I made the mistake of stapling the cambric fabric to the back and then I had to take it apart to staple the other fabrics that come together once you get most of the pieces on , amateur mistake...but oh well, live and learn.
On the picture to the left I put on the big front part on, but I did not staple it until the end, then added the wings, these were a lot of work because unlike other chairs, these were sewn together with the piping in the middle and since we cut the fabric just right, it frayed, and I even had to stitch it up by hand to make sure it would not come apart. Again, live and learn.
This is when all those pictures you took at the beginning when you were taking the chair apart, will come in handy!
Little details like which piece of fabric covers which, are very important.
As I realized my piping strips were kind of short on the fabric ( that ones that go stapled between pieces) I used some of these tacks to keep them in place, since my staple gun barely got them.
Here I am doing some hand sewing and here is the chair with most of the fabric laid on it. The only piece that is stapled here is the bottom one, all the other ones are on, but not quite stapled yet.
Another hard part were the folds on the armrests and placing the buttons right in the middle to hold all the folds in. I reused the buttons the chair came with and I just covered them with new fabric and sewed them up tight around the nail.
Here is the chair almost done, here I had stapled all the pieces on the back and I was ready to do the back.
The back had all the tack strip and some arched piece of carboard to give it the nice form it originally had. I saved it all and reused it. This part was hard too since we had to put on the fabric, the piping strip and the cardboard together in one shot, so here I switched to my 1/2 inch staples. I found it was quite dificcult to hold all the pieces in place while stapling and get a nice clean result, so I cheated and I used some glue to hold the fabric to the carboard and the piping strip to the chair, when the glue was set I stapled and it was much easier.
After the top back part then came the time to finish the sides with the tack strip. Here you have to aling the fabric and poke the tacks through the fabric then when you turn it inwards, it sets in a straight line.
Here you use the rubber mallet to gently hammer the tacks down. I used a hammer with some fabric as a cushion to not rip the fabric. Once you are done with one side, do the other making sure you pull evenly and tight so it doesn't look baggy in the back. It takes time and a few pokes but it's worth it :O).
Then you are done! Now the easy part which is folding the fabric under the chair and placing the cambric fabric (dustcover) under the chair. I used the same one since it was in good condition.
For the cushion, check and see if you want to add batting before putting on the cover.  
Tadaaaaa!!!! Here it is ! I still have to paint the legs but I put them on for the picture.
Next time I will take more pictures of the process so you can see better. We had quite a bit of trouble with this chair so pics were few. But if you have any questions, ASK!