Completely Sugar Free Chocolate!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 2nd, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

ChocolateMy recent facebook post was “Dark Chocolate contains 8 times the antioxidants of strawberries…” I don’t eat sugar. Refined, unrefined, raw, none of it. I have honey and agave nectar on rare occasions, but still find it to affect my body negatively. Mostly I notice nasal congestion, joint pain, irritability and back pain when I eat sugars. So, what’s a chocolate loving girl to do? One that also is allergic to dairy? I get unsweetened baker’s chocolate, melt it on the stove or in the microwave, adding orange or tangerine juice and a bit of pure vanilla extract about 1/2 way through the melting process. Then, I smooth it onto some parchment paper, cool it in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, then I have my chocolate! I like it best with a dollup of natural peanut butter….oh yum…that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup memory! So, if you don’t eat sugar or are looking for healthy alternatives, give it a try! It’s quick and easy!

I also like to make Peanut Butter Bon Bons, a recipe I adapted from my Auntie Dru, who brought it to my grandparent’s house on Cape Cod. I use the melted chocolate/orange juice/vanilla mixture from above and pour it onto previously made peanut butter balls. To make those, I mix crunch peanut butter ( all natural no sugar) and brown rice flour, enough to make it lose it’s sticky quality. Powder your hands with a bit of the flour ( I use brown rice flour bc I am gluten free and it’s very light. You could use another flour or potato starch). Roll teaspoonfulls of the pb and flour mix into bon bon size balls. Cover with melted chocolate and refrigerate for 2 hours….so yummy….they will disappear in a flash!

Enjoy!!! -Amy Roemer 12-2-2010

Happy World Vegan Day!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 1st, 2010 by admin – 2 Comments

vegan food pyramidDid you know that today is World Vegan Day? What does that mean, you ask? It means that vegans around the world are hoping people will consider eating vegan foods (no animal products), wearing vegan clothing (no fur or leather) and shoes (animal free mooshoes.com has options). Sound too overwhelming? I have a bit of experience here, as I lived vegan for 14 years. I started gradually taking animal products out of my diet when I was 18 years old and had already had many health issues having mainly to do with my reproductive system. Animal products have hormones in them, something to keep in mind, next time you are experiencing any hormonal/fertility issues. I felt better, lighter, cleaner, and I fell in love with soy, vegetables, almond milk, etc…!

So, why did I stop? With an ongoing health issue, I’ve tried many shifts in my diet and feel that if we listen to our bodies, they will let us know when we need a change. My change came just before I became pregnant, six years ago. I was feeling very fatigued and had a candida overgrowth in my intestines. I had to give up fermented foods (all my beloved soy products) for 90 days and with my dairy and egg allergy, I had only nuts and legumes as protein sources. I knew I had to eat some animal products to get me through this time.

I started with chicken broth, fish, and slowly got on some solid poultry. I noticed that I no longer had cold hands and feet! I also had a renewed energy level. When I was pregnant, just the task of eating enough seemed to take all day! So, animal proteins were again, working for me. I have to say, I am still not a big fan of animal protein, I just don’t drool over it, I love love love vegan food, but I find my body, for now, is asking for chicken, turkey, and fish for energy. So, I have vegan meals (at least one a day) and vegan days, and choose consciously as often as I can.

If you aren’t ready to tour a butchery or chicken farm and get grossed out into eating vegan, you can always go to your local health food store and buy hormone and cage free products. You can also put vegan meals into your diet (oatmeal with sunflower seeds, almond milk and fruit is a vegan breakfast! Pasta with veggies for dinner!)  If everyone did that for one meal a week, it would make a big difference on the impact of over grazing on our land and poorly treated animals, and it would be healthier, you may even lose a few pounds!

So, happy World Vegan Day! Eat some veggies! Wear something cotton! Reach for the Pleather! -Amy Roemer 11-1-10

Food Prep Day!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 10th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

Roasted veggies, apple bread, rice noodles, and butternut squash on Food Prep Day

Roasted veggies, apple bread, rice noodles, and butternut squash on Food Prep Day

This lovely October morning in the Midwest, the trees are orange and yellow and the sun is shining and it’s Food Prep Day at my house! Twice a week is my goal, but at least once a week, my husband takes our 5 year old daughter on an adventure for a couple of hours and I head for the kitchen to prepare food for the week!

One reason I do this, is that I have several food allergies and having food at the ready makes my life sooooo much easier! Second, it saves lots of time for me and my family and we eat healthy, made with love food more often. Third, we have cut our grocery bill in half! By preparing the perishable foods we’ve already bought, we make it much more likely that we will eat it before it spoils. It’s been all over the news that Americans throw out tons of food each year due to spoilage. Not only is that hard on the wallet, it’s sad to imagine all the work that went into each plant from seedling to harvest and each animal’s life that was supported, then given so that we could eat it, gets wasted! I know, I’m guilty of it, too. But, I’m trying to make a change and my Food Prep Days have made a huge difference!

Here’s how my Food Prep Days go. I recommend shopping the day of or the day before, so that your perishables are as fresh as possible. I pick two grains. Today, I cooked a pot of rice pasta (good for side dishes) and made 2 buckwheat breads (one rosemary flat bread for snacking and sandwiches and one apple bread for desserts). I have gluten sensitivity and a yeast allergy, so making my own breads really makes a difference for me in the week!

Next, I pick vegetables. Today I had a butternut squash that I quartered and baked ( I can cube it or mash it for meals), I had a daikon radish, carrot, onion, and garlic that I cut into 1/4” slices and baked with a bit of oil, thyme and sea salt….yum! (And there’s no way during a busy week that that daikon radish would get sliced and cooked…it would be heading to the dumpster if I hadn’t cooked it!). I threw in 4 potatoes to bake for my husband and daughter (I’m avoiding nightshades at the moment). I don’t think my husband would think of baking a potato during the week, but if I bake them, he’ll mash them, so that’s an easy one, esp. since I have the oven going!). If I have any greens, I’ll wash them and bag them. One less step means I’m more likely to toss them in a bowl with some dressing and eat them!

Protein is an important one to remember! I pick two, today I am baking some chicken breast to later slice for sandwiches, dice into a chicken/noodle salad (using the rice noodles I cooked….see, it all comes together!) and salmon, which we can eat whole, or cut for a tuna like salad. I like to mix it in with Veganaise ( a mayonnaise substitute, it’s low in cholesterol and egg-free, I’m allergic to eggs).

After cooking all my items, I let them cool, and of course sample them! Then, put them in containers and store them. It’s like having a buffet in your fridge!

Right now, my Food Prep Days are Sunday, a weekend day, so I’m likely to at least get that one in, and Wednesday, middle of the week, so I replenish until Sunday. Most times, my husband occupies our daughter while I do this, but other times, she helps me with part of it, or I plan our day so that I wear her out (play, go to the park, swim, etc…), then come home and cook while she watches a movie or draws. So, it can be done. I’ve even done it late at night, because it really makes life so much easier.

So, the benefits of Food Prep Day are having healthy home cooked meals at the ready, cutting your grocery bill by up to half, wasting less perishable food, and having respect for our environment, plants, and animals that we consume! Remember, that prepared and packaged foods have far more calories, fat, and unhealthy ingredients in them. Eating home cooked meals can also help you lose weight and have healthier skin and hair!

Now my food is all prepped, I can go out and enjoy the amazing fall day and when I get home, I will have a bounty of good food to choose from to replenish myself! Let’s hear it for Food Prep Day, start yours today! -Amy Roemer October 10, 2010

Cuckoo for Coconuts!

Posted in Articles, Uncategorized on September 9th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

Coconuts, we’ve seen them as the savior on many a film or tv program, think Gilligan and the Skipper, too! Tom Hanks in Cast Away! Sometimes referred to as a tropical fruit, others say it is a tree nut. In any case, it packs a lot of nutritional punch. Coconuts provide protein, vitamins B and C, calcium, Iron, and phosphorus, as well as a healthy fat, essential for good health.

Coconut water is used to treat kidney and urinary/bladder issues, building muscles, treating sore throat, stomach ulcers, constipation, goiters, and is great for your skin (wrinkle remover) and hair! Almost makes you want to live on a deserted island!

How do we get more coconut in our diet in a healthy way? One thing I like to do is take an old spice jar, fill it with 1/3 cinnamon and 2/3 finely shredded coconut. In the morning, I sprinkle that on my toast or oatmeal and get that cinnamon toast taste without the sugar! (You can also add some sugar, if you want).

Another way I like to get coconut into my diet is to replace 1/4 of the flour in a bread or cookie recipe with finely shredded coconut (if you can’t find it, just get any shredded coconut and grind it in your blender at home). The healthiest choice is unsweetened and organic, of course! Start where you are comfortable. The coconut adds moisture and sweetness, yum!

I made a simple coconut flax bread using finely shredded coconut, ground flax, apple sauce, and cinnamon. So simple and so delicious toasted with a bit of Earth Balance (vegan butter substitute).

Amy's Coconut Flax Mini Loaf

Amy's Coconut Flax Mini Loaf

Amy’s Coconut Flax Mini Loaf:

1 Cup finely shredded coconut

1 Cup ground flax

1 Tsp cinnamon

1/4 Cup apple sauce

1 Tsp Vanilla (optional)

1/4 Cup warm water

Measure 1 Cup of ground flax, spoon out 2 teaspoons and place in a small bowl with 1/4 Cup warm water, set aside for 5 minutes or until the flax becomes thick ( This is used as a binder, you can also use egg whites if you like)

Mix all other ingredients in a bowl, add the thick flax. Mix together. Add more warm water or almond (or other milk) to the mixture if more moisture is needed. It should be a thick mix, not runny.

Place dough in an oiled mini bread loaf pan (available at Michael’s) and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until browned.

Let cool, eat plain, or toast with Earth Balance, cashew butter, etc…!

(double the recipe for a standard bread loaf pan)

Enjoy! -Amy Roemer 9-9-10

A great source for coconut recipes is: http://www.freecoconutrecipes.com/

“What’s wrong with that person?”

Posted in Articles on July 30th, 2010 by admin – 4 Comments
Me painting easter eggs with my autistic nephew, Harry, and my daughter, Helen.

Me painting easter eggs with my autistic nephew, Harry, and my daughter, Helen.

“What’s wrong with her?” I over hear someone ask about a child who seems to have autism. This scenario plays itself out over and over again around the globe. Someone in a wheelchair, someone who is blind, deaf, short, tall, with cerebal palsy, severe injuries gets asked this question. This leads me to ask “What is wrong with us?” How do we have this global reaction to difference? Maybe nothing is wrong with these people, maybe, they just wear there differences in a more obvious way than most. If everyone in the world were the same, the world would stop. Think about it. If we lived in a world where everyone were like me, for example, we’d have a whole bunch of people who love to talk about healing, do lots of painting, write poetry, spend time with their family, yes, that’s all good, but who would invent and build the computer I am typing on, or the lights that I am using, or grow the food I eat, or make the car I drive? So, diversity is a gift to us all. We may not clearly see the purpose of each other’s differences, but they are there.

We can reach even further on this theme and look more closely at how we speak about even our “normal” friends. (”The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well”-Joe Ancis). How often does conversation about a mutual friend or family member revolve around how you or others think they should change? Or how often are we “hurt” because someone didn’t act how we would have or we wanted to? I have a friend who never called me back when I called her. For years I got so frustrated by her behaviour. I wanted her to call me back within a day or two, just like I would if I were her. Well, I am not her! So, I reflected on that and decided that if I want to be her friend, I have to accept her and love her for the way she is, not try to change her. It was such a great relief for me to no longer be victimized by what she was “doing to me”. I knew it was a weak spot for her and not personal. So, I accepted that difference between us.

So, let’s try to ask the question “What’s right with that person?” more often. Imagine the energy shift in that question. Next time you are thinking of or talking about a friend or loved one. Try coming up with what you love about them. How uplifting would that be? What if that became the global question?-Amy Roemer 7-30-10

Fexibility

Posted in Uncategorized on June 15th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

I decided to expand on my facebook post today. “Arthritic conditions are representative of inflexibility. Many elderly people have these conditions as so many new ideas and technologies come into the world that they are fearful or hesitant to embrace. If you are experiencing arthritis, ask yourself, “Where in my life am I not being flexible?” As with all of my posts, I try to live what I write. If I post it, I try it. So, I thought I’d ask myself where in my life I am not being flexible. Not that I am experiencing arthritic conditions at the moment, but as I’ve done my yoga practice, I do notice that I am less flexible than I used to be 15 years ago! Yes, you could say that is my body just naturally aging. What if part of the “natural” aging process was that the more information we take in, the more we form and have opinions about them and the more we hear others conflicting opinions on said ideas and feel the need to know what our own idea is on that subject. The amount of media we are exposed to on a daily basis can make this a task we do hundereds of times a day! How do you feel about the parents of the 16 year old girl who was sailing around the world? Should they have let her go? Are they bad parents? Are they good parents? And, how do you feel about the BP Gulf oil spill? And how do you feel about how President Obama is handling the health care situations? And, I know it’s been years, but how do you feel about OJ???

Can  you feel yourself getting tense just thinking about all of those questions? So, what to do? First. Choose very intentionally what you watch and read. I don’t watch the news or any program with commercials. How many times can you be bombarded with questions about your health and what pill you should take? Second, remember that everyone is human (well…allright, there are some aliens out there, William Shatner? but…) and we are all forming these opinions based on our own individual experiences of the world so far. I hope that people have compassion for my opinions and so I make an effort to have compassion for theirs. Third, I suggest, keep learning new things! Is there a new technology out there that you are afraid to learn? Take a class, buy a new gadget and learn how it works. This not only keeps us flexible and in a youthful state of mind, it keeps that mind of ours fresh and working well!

So, take a few minutes and ask yourself “Where in my life am I being inflexible?” , take a step toward being more flexible, and watch how you feel!

-Amy Roemer June 15, 2010

P.S. I love William Shatner!

Ayurvedic Sesame Oil Massage

Posted in Uncategorized on June 4th, 2010 by admin – 1 Comment

Ayurvedic Sesame oil massage, as Dr. Parla Jayagopol taught me during a lecture in Los Angeles, is a beneficial daily technique for overall health. By massaging warmed sesame oil in the cool seasons and cool sesame oil in the hot seasons, you can bring relief of joint pain, skin conditions (eczema, dry skin, etc…), arthritis, and more. It is even said to give breasts better tone and shape! Sesame oil is made up of very small molecules which lift toxins up and out of your body. (Though some people use olive oil).

To give yourself or a loved one a Ayurvedic Sesame oil massage:

Get good quality sesame oil (preferably organic, as we are trying to remove toxins from the body, not add them)
Submerge the bottle in warm (or cool if it’s hot out) water, until it is just above (or below) body temperature
Stand on a towel or mat (in case of drips)
Place a small amount of sesame oil in your hand and rub your hands together, then massage your scalp (if you have time to wash your hair)
Then your face, ears, neck, and down your body from there
At all joints, move your hands in a circular motion. If you have any joint issues, continue to circle the joint for several (20-30 circles), this keeps your joints lubricated.
End with your feet
Wait 5 minutes, then take a hot shower and exfoliate with a loofah (plastic ones are fine)

That is the ideal, but you can also massage the oil into your face and joints for a quick massage and go! I love how my skin looks and feels after this! I use sesame oil instead of lotion often, as author Kevin Trudell says, don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t eat!-Amy Roemer 6-4-10

I like Spectrum Organic Sesame Oil, it runs about $8.39 for a 16 ounce bottle. http://www.spectrumorganics.com/?id=6#j57

Expanding Time

Posted in Uncategorized on May 17th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

Life Art Healing Fans! I’ve been so busy preparing for the Healing Power of Nature Workshop, painting my Transformation Bench for a public art project in Shorewood, WI this summer, creating a cafe press store ( which was mostly done by my amazing husband),sketching covers for a book, raising Helen, my soon to be 5 year old daughter, preparing for her birthday party…Monsters vs. Aliens or Barbie theme….her preschool graduation, quick trip to New England, being a wife, friend, sister, daughter, niece, taking care of myself through good food, meditation, getting into nature, yoga, and…..no wonder I haven’t found time to post an article to Life Art Healing! Phew!

Sound familiar? There is so much to do in this amazing world we live in and most of us are fortunate enough to have access to an abundance of ways to fill our time! Bored? Whose bored anymore with facebook, twitter, tivo, dvr, ondemand, etc…! Instead, I think we are overwhelmed! How do we find balance when there is so much to experience? One tool that I am working with is expanding time. No, I’m not casting some sort of spell, though I do have witch ancestors! I am creating spaces to do what I want and need to do. My life coach, Fran Asaro (www.thriveanyway.com), suggests to get your to do list out of your head and onto paper, or screen, file, whatever works for you. Even though I am a list girl, I didn’t realize how much I had been keeping up in my head! Today, I divided my to-do list into 4 categories, then used some of Helen’s markers to mark which tasks needed to be done first-yellow! Second-pink! Third-green! Then I marked this week as my yellow week, next week pink, and the following week green! Now it all looks so much more doable that I can even see open time in there! Look, I’m getting this done now that I put it on my list, in yellow!

What I also am getting into the habit of doing, is believing there is time to do everything on a daily basis. When I wake up, my affirmation is “I have all the time I need to get what I need to get done today.” It’s amazing how the spaces suggest themselves! Our apartment was cleaner this weekend, than it has been all month, while my husband was away and I had 24/7 Mommy duty. Helen helped me clean, had moments where she drew pictures or played by herself and wow, I was getting so much done during a time I thought things would be piling up!

That’s not to say that accomplishing everything has to be seen as the best thing one can do. Sometimes, relaxing into the attitude that you did enough, is what is needed. Animals are great at showing us that. Our cats nap most of the day, eat, and play. I think they are amazing, loving beings! I’m not judging them for what they did or didn’t do today. So, we can relax our need for an accomplishment fix and sometimes enjoy just being. There’s no better way to do that than to get out into nature, where we are away from our stuff and just placed into the present.

So, make a list, check it twice ( with colorful markers, if you so choose!) look for the surprising open spaces in your day and get out into a peaceful place once in a while!  -Amy Roemer May 17, 2010

Looking for an amazing Life Coach? Check out Fran’s website www.thriveanyway.com

Sing Your Song by Jill Augustine Carter

Posted in Articles, Uncategorized on April 11th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

Life Art Healing is excited to present “Sing Your Song” by guest writer, Jill Augustine Carter.

Jill Augustine Carter was born in Chicago and as of this year has spent the other half of her life in Los Angeles, CA. Teen model, actor, fine art consultant, ghost-writer, Realtor, and insurance agent, her most exciting vocation so far has been her recent work with Peace Warrior Brigitte Secard, author of SoulFire-The Birth of Wild Aliveness (http//:generationinstantgratification.com). She is also working on a project near and dear to her heart, CampaignforCivilDriving.org (currently under contruction) as well writing her new blog : www.Channel941blog.blogspot.com. She is honored to have been asked by Amy to contribute to “Life Art Healing”.


Sing Your Song

Lately, I have taken to watching Channel 941 on Time-Warner cable. Actually, ‘listening to’, is more accurate, as it is a music station; “Light Classical”, to be exact. I like the fact that the music is continuous; never interrupted by a spoken word. Once in a while, if I walk past the television in the living room, a fact about the composer or musician currently playing will be at the top of the screen. Here’s an example: “Chopin finally succumbed to tuberculosis while living in Paris. He was only 39 years old.”

There are several things about Chopin that I find particularly interesting. Not the least of which being, I used to detest his music. I didn’t get it. It struck me as treacle and overly romanticized. I hated the flourishes and aimless meandering all of his pieces seemed to include; so fussy compared to my favorite classical composer, J.S. Bach. Then, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum… On December 5th, 2008, nineteen days after turning 49, I was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer. Within days, I was relieved of about 1/3rd of my colon. It was a sudden and shocking turn of events.

And one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.

My favorite line of that New Year was that I was “new and improved and 1/3rd less full of shit!” I thought I was making light, but the reality is, somewhere inside myself, I knew those words were actually true. What before may have seemed important became trivial; what before had been important became imperative.

Like singing my song.

What IS my song? I have spent a lifetime humming various melodies in search of it. I have hung in there with some of the tunes for years and years, only to decide that the chorus has become monotonous or that the through-line is no longer pleasing to my ear. My ear… Wait. Let’s get specific: MY SOUL and what it wants, what it hears and what it hungers to hear, reveals itself more and more to me with each passing day. It is a mandate I am joyfully learning to fulfill.

Chopin is delicious to me now.

His melodic meandering is like the path of life itself. The sweet, aching, melancholia, balanced by occasional outbursts of exquisite trills can be seen as a musical narrative of the human heart. Thank God Chopin sang his song before he died. And thank God I lived long enough to appreciate it.

So it is time to sing. Even if my song is not perfect. Or it changes. Or it even grates, occasionally. The voice may wobble or occasionally falter, but if sung with conviction, the song cannot help but be beautiful. Regardless, it is my turn now. No time to waste.

your song

How to be sick

Posted in Uncategorized on March 16th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

I know to use a neti pot when I feel a cold coming on. I know to do yoga and exercise on a daily basis, to eat right, to sleep well, to stay balanced, get into nature….I know, I know! Yet, when my daughter recently came down with a cold, I neti potted once, then went into Mom mode and forgot to keep caring for myself! Oops! Guess what happened? I got the worst cold I’ve had in years! Why? I kept asking myself. So, I listened. My head was too dizzy to read, to think! What was this all about?

Day #3 revealed the answer. Here I was, being sick. How do we Americans do sick? We hunker down, when possible, and watch tv and lay there until we are either needed or feel so disgusting that we actually get up and take a shower, or we go through the motions of our daily lives and down some medicine or other in hopes that it will make us feel somewhat better.  So, when I got to that point…the so disgusting I needed to take a shower, I thought, this is how I learned to be sick!  Now, here I am, with all the knowledge I have, doing the same old behaviour! Yikes!!!!


So, I vowed to put the remote away and step #1 get out that neti pot and cleanse my sinuses…..wow, did I feel a million times better, just doing that! Next, I meditated. A nice calm, untimed meditation, first with the vision of myself feeling better soon, then off to a gentle zen state. Then, I sat on the balcony for a long time with a sketchbook in my hands. Mostly I watched the clouds move across the sky. Then, I wrote a short poem. Watched the clouds more…nature gets you into the present, I remembered, nature is so healing. Again, I was so improved by this day of really staying with myself, not escaping because I had been invaded by a virus.

The next day I took a walk, tissues in my pocket, but oh….how nice it was to breathe fresh air and have the kind of magical moments nature can bring you. I came upon about 13 deer in the woods, 3 of them were taking a little nap under some trees! Now, those deer know what to do!

I am trying to redefine what being sick looks like. If you stay home sick, you’re supposed be laying in bed, right? What if your boss saw you taking a walk? Rest is absolutely important and some laying on the bed is a very good thing, but seeking out what heals us physically and emotionally, is a road to a more meaningful and perhaps quicker recovery.

Now, I’m recovering, but deeper still, I realized how I am always reaching for perfect wellness and while that is a good goal to have for lots of reasons,  is it healthy to expect any aspect of my life to be perfect all the time? The imperfection of life is what makes it so beautiful.

-Amy Roemer 3-15-10