Here is another SUPER simple and painless way to improve the health of your family.
Swap out that blue can of chemicals: either the salt, lite salt, or salt free can that has been gracing your dinner table. For one of these two:
Containing all of the 84 elements found in your body, the benefits of natural Himalayan Crystal Salt include: Regulating the water content throughout your body. Promoting healthy pH balance in your cells, particularly your brain cells. Promoting blood sugar health and helping to reduce the signs of aging.
I buy the grinder from Costco for around $4.00.
The richer and more varied the colors in the salt the better!
Add this to everything! Top your eggs, finish your protein and veggies! EVERYTHING.
The also amazing but less easy to find is The Grey Celtic Salt:
Grey salt is a “moist” unrefined sea salt, usually found in the Brittany region of France’s Atlantic coast. Its natural light grey color comes from the minerals absorbed from the clay lining the saltponds. The salt is collected by hand using traditional Celtic methods and wooden tools.
Grey Celtic Salt
These two completely blow away the competition! They will not break the bank and once you switch you will notice the pure real, healthy, and difference of good quality Salt.
The kids are heading back or have headed back to school, and in so many ways it feels like a new year in general. The new school year brings on thoughts similar to that of the new calendar year.
What are you going to do differently?
One of the easiest things you can do is to add in healthy fats.
Toss the margarine – along with any other vegetable oil spread or Crisco type products. What is that stuff anyhow?!
Bring back butter! The real stuff – preferably grass fed. Have you heard of Kerrygold? It’s amazing, and I know more than a few people who eat this stuff straight off their knife.
Try coconut oil. If you have not heard of the amazing health benefits of coconut oil, there are countless websites that are singing the praises of this superfood! Authority Nutrition has a top 10 list. Add it to your coffee, use it place of your conditioner or moisturizer – really this stuff is down right great.
Bring back whole milk and cream. Quit using sugar water skim milk in your coffee, enjoy your coffee and/or tea with heavy cream or at least half and half. You will enjoy the cup so much more. Reading the ingredients on the bottle of non-dairy creamer likely requires a degree in chemistry.
If the kiddos are on skim and are whole milk phobic, try to stair step them up. Up it to 2% and then whole. Before they realize it, they will be in whole milk Heaven.
We will post more ideas in the upcoming days and weeks!
Last Wednesday, we received a phone call at dinner telling us that we needed to get Erin and Charlie’s daughter, Elise, from the neighbor. Charlie had to call EMS because Erin had a seizure after a completely normal day at work.
Imagine, waking up to a regular schedule, getting ready for work, dropping the kids at school, working all day, returning home thinking about dinner, and boom, your world is black. This is what happened to Erin last week. A normal day, and then she awakened in the Emergency Room with no memory of how she arrived there.
As family descended, the discussion centered on a panic attack, because she had experienced a few over the past three months, or so we thought. In fact, as Erin and I worked on the conception of The Sweet Life Sugar Free the very first night, I witnessed her first “attack.” Her hands were shaking as she tried to type, and she got flustered. We took a break and discussed her day. She had experienced a hectic day at work and was not able to drink her water, take her supplements, or eat anything substantial. She drank two bottles of water and took some magnesium and potassium. She was obviously dehydrated, and possibly excited and nervous about starting our new venture. After a few minutes she felt better, and we got back to work as our girls played “Princess” in the adjacent room. Later that evening, as she was leaving the house, she came to get me because she couldn’t buckle Elise into her carseat or get her keys into the ignition of her car. She said she just “couldn’t get her hands to do what she was telling them to do”. I gave her yet more water, and she and Elise stayed for the night.
The next day, Erin was better and carried on as normal.
About a month ago, she called me from home early in the afternoon, and told me she had the same experience at work and had to leave because she couldn’t type. “My hands just aren’t working,” she said. This time she chalked it up to too much coffee and being nervous about her upcoming PET scan. Again, she slept and felt better the next day.
She was certain that both of these “panic attacks” centered around her anxiousness about her PET Scan on May 13, 2015, dehydration, lack of nutrients, and too much coffee. Makes sense, right?
I reread her post yesterday from May 15th, which discussed her clear PET scan, and how she was thanking Cancer for helping her have courage and appreciate the little things in life. She was so relieved when the scan came out clear just one short month ago. She closed her post by telling Cancer, “You are not welcome back!”
Fast forward to last Wednesday evening. I had Elise (Erin and Charlie’s daughter) and my kids at home, and my husband, Chip, returned from the hospital at 11:30 pm after sitting with Erin’s husband, and his cousin, Charlie. Erin was awake, and they were awaiting the results from the CT Scan. As soon as Chip walked into the bedroom, he received a phone call from his aunt in Denver that he needed to return to the hospital immediately…the CT results did not look good. There were two spots. I sat straight up in bed, and all I could think was, “No!” She had a panic attack, right? And, it certainly couldn’t be Cancer because she just received an “All Clear” on May 13th! That was less than one month ago! She was doing everything right! There was no way – the radiologist had to be wrong!
I got updates throughout the night without much information. As with many diseases, the waiting is horrible, terrible, endless. No one tells you anything. (Doctors, take note!) Chip returned home again about 6:30 am with no more information, other than Erin was scheduled to be transported to a different hospital. They had been waiting for hours for the transport so she could get an MRI which would show more detail in the brain. The hope was that the CT was showing something insignificant. She was to be observed by her oncologist and an awaiting Neurosurgeon. Everyone was just waiting, in holding mode, as if the clock remained still. Finally, she was transported about 8:30 am, on Thursday morning and taken to the MRI. Then, more waiting. At this point, more family members were on planes making their way to Texas.
In the meantime, Erin’s oncologist arrived and had taken a look at the CT scan. She told Erin and Charlie that it appeared the Cancer from the breast had taken root in the brain. Basically, Breast Cancer in the brain. I know what you are thinking…what about the clear PET scan? I hope you are as outraged as the rest of us were. The response was, “Insurance only covers a scan from the neck down.” I was stunned! Are you kidding me? They were told that day, for the first time by Erin’s oncologist, that 1 in 10 Breast Cancer patients with HER2 breast cancer, develop tumors in the brain! (Click here for more information on HER2.) Yet, they don’t scan for this? It is absurd! It was disturbing to all of us there that not only do they not scan the brain, but that Erin was never told to watch for symptoms or told that this was a possibility. All of these “panic attacks” she was having were small seizures caused by the tumors! Outrage, contempt, and anger seized every muscle and nerve in my body! No mention, no warning, no prevention – is that really what we call healthcare?
We also all learned that the tumors have more than likely been in her brain this whole time. Since the beginning of the story! I did not know that the particles in the chemotherapy cannot travel up the brain stem, therefore, leaving the brain as a free for all. The rest of her body is completely clean, and looks great, according to all the doctors. Seeing that the tumors in the brain are breast cancer tumors, they had to get there before she started chemotherapy almost two years ago since the rest of her body is cancer free. They were trapped in the brain without a chance of being eliminated by the chemotherapy and treatments she was receiving for the rest of her body!
Later in the day, the neurosurgeon entered the room and gave Erin the news that, yes, there were definitely two tumors in the brain, and there was an additional one near the brain stem for a total of three. She was scheduled for brain surgery the next morning at 10:30 am. Not much time to think, which was good for Erin, and probably everyone in the room for that matter! He was going to be able to remove the two higher tumors, but would have to do radiation for the third because it was too close to the brain stem. It is by the grace of God, and the advantage of a Ketogenic diet, that the tumors did not raise their evil heads until two years later, spread, or cause more havoc. Erin is still a believer! She was able to recover from her earlier surgeries before she had to do this one! This VERY big one! Whew, this was a lot to swallow! MoreCancer and Brain Surgery in less than 24 hours! We all thought she was fine!
Friday roles around, and thanks to many prayers, and an excellent neurosurgeon, nurses and staff, “the surgery could not have gone more smoothly,” according to the surgeon! Praises for everyone in that operating room, all of her caregivers, and more than anything, the strength of our amazing warrior, Erin! She is amazing!
The day after surgery, she was up walking, and ready to go home. A little impatient, maybe, but strong as an ox! She was not waiting or relying on anyone! In fact, she said to me, “I just really don’t like asking others to do things for me!” Really?!?! She had just come out of brain surgery! We are all still in awe at her strength and determination. It is going to take an army to get her to sit still and recuperate. She was able to come home yesterday, and already talking about paint colors, as she stared from her chair to her fireplace. “Goodness!” was all I could say and smile.
My what a difference a week makes, and what a week it has been for my dear friend! She is not just a fighter, but a warrior. She is not just a patient, but a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a mighty encourager for those suffering through cancer, those that have fought the same battle, and those that may in the future. If only the insurance companies could see through the patient to the person.
Erin stands without fear and encourages the rest of us! May this be an encouragement to everyone that the battle carries on, and Erin will fight not only for herself, but for all the others out there as well! Be strong you amazing woman! You will win this battle, if only by your own will and determination! I have no doubt, and I love you dearly! You ARE an amazing warrior!
And yes, this is Erin yesterday – after brain surgery just four day earlier! Amazing!!!
Daily, we are asked about what we use or where we purchased something. Be it information or a cooking gadget, often times we refer to Amazon. Due to this, we decided to put some of our favorite items together and create:
The Sweet Life Sugar Free Amazon Shop
We want our store to be an excellent resource for books, vitamins, and basically everything else that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. We have books listed that vary from history, to science, some that border on beach reads, and of course, cookbooks. As of now, we have several items that you will find in our own kitchens and the kitchens of our Keto dreams (hello-programmable touchscreen crock pot.)
We will continue to add books, tools, pantry items, and other miscellaneous products to the store as we fall in love with them.
Please take a moment and click through the store. Every book and most products listed, we have read, used, or have come recommended to us from highly trusted sources. In the coming days, we will also be adding in supplements.
We will try to link ingredients and tools that can be found on Amazon directly in our posts, but we have a tab up and ready that will direct you straight to the store!
If you have questions or would like a suggestion please email or send us a message, and we will get back to you!
This may not seem like the most likely post for mid-May in South Texas.
But, with the rainy weather, May being an impossibly busy month, and my recent cough due to sleep deprivation and too much stress, I grabbed from my stash of Bone Broth in the freezer to start this crazy work week off on the right foot.
So many more people are going the all-natural route in trying to head off the sickies, and one of the easiest and most comforting ways to do so is with a large cup of salted bone broth. I can tell you, this stuff is MAGIC in a cup.
I got the idea in my head that I wanted to make broth right after getting back from Colorado last year and reading about this amazing stuff. I called around to several grass-fed ranchers to inquire about purchasing bones. You would have thought I was asking to buy a white unicorn!
Finally, I spoke with a simply lovely woman who informed me that she would be having a one-year-old calf butchered for her family in the next month and would happily sell me the bones. No one had ever asked them for bones before.
During this month, while I waited for my calf bones, I went to Whole Foods and purchased a bison femur bone (They did not have any beef bones in stock). So happy I made that first batch! After that, we were completely hooked on broth.
Mrs. GrassFedCattleRancher called me back when the calf was ready, and we chatted for a while on the phone. She was curious about what I was doing with the bones, and we set up a time for me to collect my stash.
That Saturday, we set off on the bone gathering pilgrimage. When I got there, Mrs. GrassFedCattleRancher was working on her very first batch of Bone Broth. She told me after our conversation she decided to give it a whirl. When we chatted I mentioned the benefits that I had directly experienced, which included happier tummy, happier husband’s tummy, more energy, and improved skin. My skin looked like I had aged 25 years after 6 rounds of chemo.
Those bones made the best broth! After a few batches of broth, I wanted to make sure that we did not run out. I called Mrs. GrassFedCattleRancher and set up another pickup. This time her daughter would meet me in town. When I met her daughter, she literally thanked me. She told me her parents are totally amazed at what the broth has done for them. In fact ,her father, who had suffered from arthritis for decades is no longer taking his daily handful of Advil. He drinks bone broth every day, and believes it has completely changed him.
It was the best feeling to know that I had turned this couple onto bone broth, and that he was no longer putting a handful of Advil through his body every day!
Just type in “Benefits of Bone Broth” into Google and you will get:
About 469,000 results (0.27 seconds)
Here is my super simple Bone Broth recipe:
3 to 5 pounds grass-fed beef bones (soup bones) and/or knuckle bone
½ cup raw apple cider vinegar (ACV)
3 celery stalks,
3 carrots, halved
3 onions, quartered
Sachet of herbs (parsley, peppercorns, thyme, rosemary, Bay leaf, etc)
Roast Bones at 400 for 30 minutes to 1 hour until fragrant
In a large stock or crock pot place roasted bones, and pour in cool filtered water to cover, Add your apple cider vinegar. Do not heat yet.
Allow mixture to rest for 30 minutes to an hour. This will allow the vinegar to pull the nutrients from bones.
Bring the pot to a boil, and add more water if needed
Reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 24-72 hours – just leave it going!
With about four hours remaining, add the vegetables
During the last 30 minutes of cooking, toss in the herb sachet
Remove bones, veggie, and herb sachet (knock out any remaining marrow back into broth)
Pour broth through a strainer or cheese cloth into a glass container
Drink with generous amounts of quality Himalayan or Celtic salt, or use in any recipe calling for broth, stock, or added water.
The broth can be consumed immediately and stored in the fridge up to 5 to 7 days. You can also store in the freezer up to 6 months. We like to freeze into ice cubes so we can pop them in a mug to reheat when needed.
When reheating, bring broth back up to boiling for one minute. Enjoy!
I always make my Sprouts run on Wednesdays because it is double ad day, meaning you get all of last week’s sales, plus the sale prices on the items for the following week! It is usually a really great deal for produce. Not everyone wants to make the trek over to 1-10 and Callaghan or 281 and 1604, but this week is worth it! All supplements are 25% off, and if you spend more than $100 you get an additional 10% off. This also includes items like Jay Robb Whey Protein and Stevia products! It is worth the trip this week!
I got some great products on sale today and stocked up on:
Bulk Cashews (only in moderation folks)
Grass Fed Whole Milk for the kids
Cilantro and tomatoes to make another batch of salsa
Summer squash and zucchini (on sale – I always stock up)
All colors of bell peppers (on sale – stock up)
Green onion to use in a stuffing I make for the yellow squash (to be posted at a later date)
Brussel Sprouts (The ultimate cancer fighting food)
The Spaghetti sauce we like is also on sale
All Supplements are on sale – yes ALL!!!
Let’s talk about supplements for a minute… There are a few we recommend to anyone starting on a Ketogenic diet. The main reason, is because you are switching to REAL food and eliminating ALL processed foods and grains from which you obtain a large amount of sodium.
We always advise that you see your primary doctor to order base line blood tests to see where you might be deficient in certain nutrients. Shoot for optimal or ideal levels on your blood work- not average levels! (Unfortunately, our average population is not all that healthy.) We take more than we are showing you based on our own individual deficiencies. The following are needed by the vast majority of individuals.
When you go through Keto Adaption you lose a massive amount of toxins and water. It is very easy to get dehydrated because you are losing essential minerals as well. These supplements will help you immensely…
Celtic or Himalayan Salt – (The darker the better) think of all the boxed and processed foods you are no longer eating – they are filled with salt. When you give them up, you need to make sure you are supplying your body with quality sodium filled with trace minerals.
Potassium (99mg) – I take one in the morning and one in the evening. If you have cramping when starting Keto, you can up the dosage and then bring it back down to two a day. It maintains fluid balance in the body and relaxes muscles – also eat avocado, parsley, cabbage, celery, watercress, coconut, and cauliflower.
Magnesium Glycinate (800mg at night) – Magnesium helps hold potassium in the cells. It promotes healthy muscles, strengthens bones and teeth, heart muscle, nervous system, helps digestion and energy production. Magnesium is also great for constipation, sleep and keeping a regular heart rhythm. Good sources: Nuts
Vitamin D3 – Is actually a steroid hormone that activates more than 930 genes in human physiology mostly in the brain – powerfully anti-inflamitory and a great antioxidant. Everyone differs on dosage – see your doctor, but D has over 900 uses in the human body. Depends on sunlight, body weight and other factors
Statins inhibit vitamin D production
Low Vit D Contributes to: Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis
Weak bones and teeth, Illnesses
Other sources are fish, eggs, cheese, and oysters.
Vitamin C – This is great for your immune system and overall good health. I usually take 1000mg in the morning and 1000mg in the evening. When you limit your fruit intake, it is good to supplement with a quality Vitamin C. Make sure you are also eating your bright veggies like the yummy peppers I bought today, broccoli, cauliflower, lemons, and limes.