92 posts categorized "Health and Fitness"

Racheli's 1,000 Calorie Gluten-Free Coconut Lemon Muffins

Lemon muffin 2

Last night, I was totally overwhelmed with work and Shabbat prep, so I decided to make muffins. I like to eat, especially when I'm stressed. Actually, it's more like a compulsion. I just have to eat all the time. Since I'm basically eating very low carb, I came up with this recipe, and it's pretty delish if I do say so myself.

WARNING! This recipe is:

1) not for people who eat high carb or are counting calories

2) not for people who are afraid to bake without measurements

3) not for people who don't like coconut, walnuts, or lemon

4) not for people who have better ways of spending their time than experimenting with coconut lemon muffins because they're desperate for something sugar free and gluten free that won't kill them or give them excruciating stomach pains.

If you are none of the above, definitely try it! Here goes:

4 eggs, the cream from a can of coconut cream, ground walnuts, ground almond, (I used more walnut than almond because almonds are crazy expensive!) xanthan gum, lots of lemon juice (I used lemon concentrate because I'm lazy like that,) baking powder, baking soda, and any sugar-free sweetener your little heart desires. You can use stevia, apple juice concentrate, the fake stuff, silan, or whatever. I think that was everything.

You can also add shredded coconut flakes, or if you're feeling fancy, make a whipped topping from another can of coconut cream. See below for pseudo-directions. 

To get the cream from the can of coconut cream, you should let it sit in your pantry for three years like I did, or better yet, put it in your fridge for a few hours until the creamy part rises to the top. DO NOT SHAKE THE CAN! Don't use the leftover liquid. What is that, anyhow? Coconut oil? Slime? 

Mix it together until it looks like a fluffy blob. Scoop it into muffin pans and bake it for God knows how long. You know, until it's done. Let it get on the browner side. If you can control yourself, wait until the muffins cool a bit before you eat them. They will have a moist, fluffy, and strangely gummy texture. 

I promise that I will never, ever write a cookbook. (Bli neder.) 

Shabbat Shalom!

~Racheli

p.s.- While you're waiting for your muffins to finish baking, don't miss Rav Brody's OMG post below on wigs! OMG!!! 


The Skinny Girl's Diet

Hey everyone! How you beeeen? I've been great, thanks for asking. Except for the fact that my oldest son keeps calling me from school every day, giving me all kinds of excuses as to why he needs to go home. Whatcha think, kid? I ain't no friar! By friar, I don't mean a clergyman. I mean a sucker. I been around the block, kid! I know all ur tricks and den sum! 

It reminds me of when I was in 10th grade. Everyone used to skip band class, and so once in a while (like every other day,) I'd join them at the local bagel shop. So one morning, I walked into the bagel shop and see my parents sitting there, having breakfast! OMG. I pulled a John Travolta and cooly sauntered over to them, chewing on an invisible toothpick and trying not to let my heart beat out of its chest. "Yo, what up," I asked with a nonchalant nod of my chin, as if it were the most normal thing for me to be in a restaurant at 10:30 in da morn'. They be like, "You know what time it is?! It be 10:30 in da morn'!" Okay, so it was really more like, "Do you know what time eet eees?? EEET EEES 10: Tirty eeen de morneeeng!" Read it out loud. Then you'll laugh, I promise.

So what was I saying? 

Oh, right. The skinny girl's diet. First of all, I'm mad at David because he told me that no one wants dieting advice from a skinny girl. (Actually, he didn't use the word "girl," but I ain't gonna go there.) Well I suppose it's preferable to take dieting advice from a fat girl. That makes a whole 'lotta sense. Keep those brain cells for your job, honey. 

You know, I may look like a skinny girl with some rockin' biceps, but inside, I really look like this: 

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Okay, I lied. I don't look like this, but I feel like this - especially when I'm mad. But really, I feel all green and muscular because I'm eating healthy and exercising. I think all the superfoods I'm eating are what turned my skin green. It's like I'm turning into a giant chlorella. Chlorella. Sounds like a disease. 

Since losing weight is near the top of everyone's "To Do (Eventually, when I have time or am really out of important things to do)" list, I wanted to share with you a little secret that will help get your weight loss on the fast track:

KEEP YOUR INSULIN DOWN! 

That's actually the major secret of not only weight loss, but also of curing diabetes, as I wrote in Bye, Bye, Diabetes. 

What's the problem with insulin? Well, nothing, unless you're producing a lot of it. Insulin is a hormone that's secreted by the pancreas, which turns the sugar from carbohydrates into usable energy. It also normalizes blood sugar, so you don't have too much or too little in the bloodstream. BUT!! Insulin also does something else.

It tells your body to store calories as fat! 

Every time you eat something with lots of carbs and/or sugar, you are just raising your insulin and sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Even sugar-free foods can be high in carbs, so beware! Dairy? Fuggetaboutit! 

Here's a little mini-secret: if you want to lose lots of weight, get off the dairy! Dairy is loaded with hormones, blood, pus, antibiotics, and G-d-knows-what-else they put into those poor cows. If you must have dairy, eat goat or sheep products. But keep it as limited as possible. Dairy is very bloating and very insulogenic. Interestingly, high fat cream and butter are the exceptions. You can read about it in the website I linked to.

I'm not going to give you a complicated system. All I'm telling you is that if you want to lose weight, your goal needs to be to keep your insulin as low as possible. That means low carbs and sugar. If you must have carbs, eat healthy carbs, like quinoa and whole grain rice. If you want bread, eat sprouted whole wheat, spelt, or rye, and find a bread without yeast. In my opinion, fruits are no problem, but you must only eat them before a meal. Eating them after will raise your insulin and make your body store whatever you just ate as fat.

Here is a fantastic website that you should check out. The only area that I differ in opinion from him is that he allows more animal products than I'm comfortable with. In any case, too much red meat and chicken isn't good for you, simply because of the amounts of hormones and antibiotics they're putting in them. If you get organic, I would still recommend you not overdoing it on the animal protein.

I'd love to hear your comments! (Especially about the awesome selfie I posted!)

~Racheli


Full Throttle

A year ago during a stress test at Israel's Wingate Sports College, doctors discovered that I had severe atrial fibrillation. They told me that my life was at risk and rushed me to the Exercise Corner cardiac ward of the nearest hospital. The doctors wanted to put me on Coumadin – a blood thinner, which is incompatible with many leafy vegetables that are a mainstay in any natural diet. Then, they wanted to do electrical cardioversion and try to reestablish my heart's normal rhythm by giving it electrical shocks. This traditional medical protocol would have turned me into a doctor/med-dependent cripple.

I spent my three days in the hospital in teshuva, in personal prayer and in encouraging the other patients. These were my main efforts in regaining my health. With Hashem's loving mercy, Racheli Reckles was sending me fantastic information on alternative solutions to the traditional medical protocol during my stint in the hospital. Ultimately, thanks to her and thanks to the advice and guidance of two expert chiropractors – Dr. Randy Davis in Chicago and Dr. Reuven Bekermus in Ramat Beit Shemesh – I overcame the cardiac issue and thanks to Hashem, am functioning today full throttle. The adjacent photograph is what the gym in my office looks like. Thank G-d, I feel great.

Every decision I made in regard to doctors and meds was made in consultation with my beloved rabbi and spiritual guide, Rabbi Arush. This is the key point: before deciding anything about doctors and medicine, consult your own rabbi and spiritual guide. That way, you're bound to be blessed no matter what decision you make. But even before you consult whoever you consult, be sure to read Doctors and Meds, Yes or No?, my feature article in this week's brand new issue of Breslev Israel web magazine.

Wow - you must see this: Rav Shalom Arush tells how he came to be a believer in Take it to Heart.

Rabbi Avigdor Miller osb"m gives us an insight into The Torah Mind.

One of Breslev's leading rabbis, Rav Nissan Dovid Kivak, teaches us this week about The Value of Prayer.

Happy Birthday, Racheli Reckles! Yup, today is Racheli's b-day and she wants to celebrate. She asks, "So many people walk around like zombies, dead people, semi-conscious and hunched-over, with scowling faces or blank looks. So many people barely greet each other. C'mon folks, where's the joy, the singing and the dancing?" Don't miss Racheli's Live with Passion.

Thank G-d for Dr. Zev Ballen! His articles are a free dose of emuna therapy that are lifelines for thousands of people, and this week's The Deadly Displacement is no exception.

Dovber Halevi shines a Light in Today's Darkness.

Lori Steiner shows how to Climb the Spiritual Ladder.

Enjoy, and have a beautiful new week! If you haven't yet read Rav Shalom's new book in English, The Garden of Miracles, you don't know what you're missing!


Raw Seaweed - Superfood from the Sea

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Yesterday before sundown, I was on a lovely stretch of our beautiful beach in Ashdod engaged in personal prayer. I came upon a rock that was covered with seaweed, which is basically green algae. The ocean water was crystal clear. I took a chunk of the slimey green stuff, washed it off in the waves, and made a shehakol blessing. The taste was exquisite, like sushi or a fresh Chinese salad. And, my body rejoiced too. Why?

Fresh raw seaweed is one of the very best natural sources of dietary iodine, which is great news for your thyroid gland. What's more, it contains many other phytonutrients and vitamins. It's virtually the only vegetative source of Viamin B12, which is critically important for vegans. I'm not finished yet: it's also a powerful source of electrolytes as well as blood purifying chlorophyll and polysaccharides that act as natural detoxifiers of heavy metals and other toxic substances.  Seaweed helps to improve digestion, decrease LDL cholesterol, increase bone density, lower blood pressure and have been shown helpful for reducing excess body weight. It's loaded with iron and calcium too and protects against the "nasty big c", the disease we don't like to refer to by name.

Don't forage seaweed if your seacoast or seawater is polluted. And, stay away from freshwater algae because it is known to be toxic. If you don't have access to raw seaweed, try to obtain some organic seaweed - it's great for you.

Wow, what a gorgeous world Hashem has created for us. "Were our mouth as full of song as the sea, and our tongue as full of joyous song as its multitude of waves, and our lips as full of praise as the width of the horizon...we still could not thank You sufficiently, Hashem our G-d and G-d of our forefathers, and to bless Your Name" (Nishmat Kol Chai prayer).


The Beams Program for Beating Arthritis

No Arthritis
Arthritis sufferers - with Hashem's everloving grace, here's great news: You can beat the rap of arthritis without doctors, without pills, and with virtually no added expense.

Here's the scoop: Since a healthy soul needs a healthy body, I always incorporate recommendations for proper diet and exercise in my spiritual and emotional counseling. During the past six months, I've been in contact with three different people (24 year-old male, 58 yr. old female, 62 yr. old male), who had been suffering from severe depression on one hand, and arthritis on the other. All three have made remarkable progress. Milton (62, from Melbourne) writes:

I would never have believed it! At first (please excuse me), I thought you were crazy, rabbi. But, when you second-guessed everything I was eating, I thought "my, this man knows something." Fortunately, I no longer need steroids, and my situation is not autoimmune like the doctors said. It's a crime if you don't share your painless plan with the whole world. I'm grateful to your website, to you, and to Hashem. May you be blessed in every single way. With sincere thanks, Milton M.

With Hashem's help, you're going to be smiling too. Here's my plan - please follow the entire scheme, for it incorporates the mutual effort of body and soul:

1. From this moment on, no diet beverages or artificial sweeteners of any kind - they are direct causes of joint pain and degeneration.

2. Drastically lower - better yet, eliminate -  your intake of added salt and white sugar - they bleed the body of calcium.

3. Increase your calcium intake. Alfalfa sprouts, sardines, organic tehina, and almonds are especially high in calcium.

4. Raise your body's pH by eating less acidic foods. Alcohol and fried foods should be eliminated from your diet. Eat more vegetables. Junk food is totally taboo - they all contain trans fats, refined grains and MSG, all of which are poison for arthritis.

5. Get as much Omega3 as possible; fish and flaxseed (ground fresh, 2 teaspoons a day, added to yogurt or branflakes) are perfect for this.

6. Move over from white sugar and flour to whole wheat grains/breads and natural cane sugar.

7. Up your natural vitamin E intake - lettuce and wheat germ (2 teaspoons a day, added to yogurt or branflakes)will do the job. Unroasted sunflower seeds are also a terrific source of Vitamin E.

8. Do 5-10 minutes of light stretching and flexing exercises when you wake up and before you go to bed.

9. Walk for at least 30 (Preferably 60) minutes a day, while asking Hashem to cure you and to help you correct your soul.

10. Wash your hands 3 times consecutively as soon as you wake up in the morning.

11. Be careful to make a proper blessing before and after eating.

12. Give a coin to charity every day, then say Psalm 91. For those who seek a faster recovery, say Psalms 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150 (the "Tikkun Klali").

If you follow the above advice to the letter, you'll also trim out and feel younger. Go for it, it works!


Killer Antibiotics

Image result for eustachian tube anatomy in young child

This week, I'd like to address a very common and very big problem regarding the over-use of antibiotics. Now before some of you get all hysterical on me, yes, I absolutely agree that they are a wonderful life-saving invention. However, there are many - too many, in fact - cases in which antibiotics are prescribed when they're simply not necessary.

Take, for example, the all-too-common case of a young child with an ear infection. Typically, babies under two years old are more susceptible to middle ear infections because the eustachian tube doesn't drain fluid as easily as an older child's or adult's. You can clearly see the anatomical difference in the above drawing. 

I found this wonderful article that discusses the real cause of middle ear infections, and I highly recommend that all of you read this, especially the parents of young children. In a nutshell, most middle ear infections are caused by inflammation, but not as a result of bacteria! One Dutch study found that 88% of children with otitis media did not need antibiotics! Many times it's actually an allergic reaction to a food, dairy products being the biggest culprit. Well, what a surprise. Dairy is known to cause all kinds of health problems, from increased mucus production to all sorts of digestive problems to skin rashes, particularly around the mouth. My advice? Dump the dairy.

So what can be done when you have a child screaming in pain from middle ear inflammation? First, give the poor kid some Tylenol! Even though I hate Big Pharma, I am not a fan of screaming children, either. Why should they suffer unnecessarily? If you were screaming in pain, wouldn't you help yourself to a little relief?  I think even giving half a dose is also not okay, because would you give yourself half a dose if you had a fever or were in severe pain? I sure wouldn't! Don't turn your kids into martyrs, for G-d's sake.

Now that I have angered many parents out there, let me anger the doctors, too. I feel that it is completely negligent for a pediatrician or any physician to prescribe repeated doses of antibiotics for non-life-threatening medical issues. But you should know why they do this. First, their hands are tied legally. They are placing their licenses on the line if they give their patients any nutritional or natural healing advice. Second, they might really not know what other natural options are available, since it is well-known that nutrition and natural approaches to healing are not taught in medical school. So in reality, all they are left with is their little pen and prescription pad.

Some of you might remember the famous adage, "The pen is mightier than the sword."

Well, I've just given it a 21st century makeover: The pen is deadlier than the sword.

Believe me, I wish I were exaggerating. The CDC states that 2 million people per year become infected with antibiotic-resistant germs, and 23,000 of those people die as a result. Each year! If this were a plague, everyone would be running hysterically through the streets. Even if a person doesn't die from repeated antibiotic use, they are placing their health in major jeopardy, because antibiotics act like an atom bomb when ingested. They kill off the bad and the good bacteria, which allows the bad bacteria to grow unchecked by the dead good bacteria, and the vicious cycle continues. 

Now, let's take off our angry caps and put on our thinking caps. How, oh how, can we fix this problem? Well, there are many solutions. First, I would recommend that everyone find themselves a good naturopath, homeopath, or doctor of Chinese medicine, and make that doctor their primary care physician. Just stay away from the psychopaths.

Second, regarding otitis media infections in particular, Mullein Garlic drops are excellent for relieving inflammation. Garlic is a powerful anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial healing agent! You can get them at the local health food store. I would suggest that if you have small kids, you should have a bottle on hand even though no one may be sick at the moment.

Third, we have to get back to basics. As I've said time and time again, the entire approach of modern medicine is backwards. Instead of focusing on building up the body's defenses, their entire aim is to break down the body's defenses, all in the name of killing the enemy.

Let's put this strategy into perspective, shall we? If you were involved in a war with another country and you had to send your troops out to battle, would you drop an atom bomb on everyone on the battlefield, knowing that you will be killing your own soldiers in the process of trying to kill the enemy? What do you think would happen to a general who came up with such an insane tactic? 

If the good bacteria have been decimated in an intestinal Hiroshima, the best thing to do is to eat probiotics. These help the good bacteria reproduce and strengthen your immune system. Here's a good article that discusses probiotics in more detail. 

Back to basics means that we have to focus on eating healthy and taking care of ourselves! Our diets are the main cause of our physical and mental states of well-being! How can you expect to be healthy if you're stuffing your face with fake food and sugary snacks? How can you ask why Hashem gave you an illness if you eat like garbage? If you want to be healthy, you have to eat healthy! There's no way around it. And, of course, you must must must exercise!

I have one more thing to add to parents who are looking for spiritual reasons as to why their children are sick. Yes, it is obviously a tikkun for the parents. I'm not arguing with that. But I know, as a BT, that it's easy for a religious person to get caught up in the spiritual aspect of a situation without giving much consideration to the physical, practical aspect of it. The best route is a combination of both approaches. Yes, look for the spiritual message behind it. But while you're looking, you've got to put forth your maximum effort by looking for physical solutions as well!

Let's get back to the common example of a kid is getting repeated middle ear inflammation and going for a prolonged period of time on antibiotics without recovering from the original problem. Why are the parents still taking him to this doctor? I personally think the message for these parents and the rest of us is that we've got to stop having blind faith in modern medicine. We need to educate ourselves about natural healing methods and especially about how to keep ourselves healthy, so G-d willing, we won't need a doctor ever again!

You are welcome to post your infuriated comments below.

Blessings for a healthy, happy, and educated week!

~Racheli


The Gluten-Free Scam

6a00d8345263cd69e201b8d26a5feb970c-800wiI hope that title got your attention. These days, we're bombarded by gluten-free labels on almost everything. I even see bags of chips labeled gluten-free, as if to imply that rotten potatoes deep fried in rancid, toxic canola oil are suddenly healthy because they don't have gluten. And, yes! Canola oil really isn't healthy! 

I actually was eating gluten-free pasta and bread for a while, and for one reason only: it didn't make me bloated. However, you should know that this latest genius marketing propaganda that paints gluten as the Devil is just that - genius marketing propaganda. In reality, only people that suffer from Celiac need to be eating gluten-free. For the rest of us, we're just contributing to our declining health - and our declining bank accounts. Gluten-free is crazy expensive!

This article gives a great history of how the GF (gluten-free) explosion began. It turns out that the same guy who did the original study to see if gluten really did cause GI upset actually did a follow-up study that disproved his first study! He ended up saying that there was no causal relationship between gluten and GI upset in non-Celiac sufferers. Furthermore, other studies have shown that eating GF products leads to all kinds of nutrient deficiencies, and Celiac sufferers are included in that. 

Who, all of a sudden, decided to turn gluten into a big bad fluffy monster? I'll tell you who - the genius that got rich off of it. 

But, wait! How can this be? Aren't all doctors and scientists running around like Chicken Little for the past several years, screaming that the sky is going to fall if we keep eating gluten? Take, for example, Dr. Oz. I gotta be honest - I don't like the guy. But here he is, right on camera, saying that gluten-free products are a scam. A scam, I tell you!

When I was on my GF kick, I thought that new horizons were open to me. I thought I could eat all the GF muffins, cookies, and pasta I wanted and I wouldn't gain weight. WRONG! Newsflash, folks - GF products are loaded with fat, sugar, additives, preservatives, and, the ultimate Devil, carbohydrates! 

Okay, so carbs aren't the ultimate Devil. You need healthy carbs, like vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. You most certainly don't need processed white flour garbage. 

Let's take a look at the nutritional label of a popular GF pasta. Did you see the calorie count? 200 calories! PER 2 OUNCES! The carbs? 44 grams PER 2 OUNCE SERVING! Fiber? ZERO! I don't know about you, but even my 3-year-old can eat at least double that! Two ounces is a complete joke! Let's estimate that a normal adult serving is 8 ounces. That means that you're eating 800 calories and 176 carbs in one sitting! I can't even believe those numbers! Did I do my math right?

What about GF cookies? Let's find out, shall we? Are you sitting down? Hold on to something, because you're about to faint.

In a box of prepared GF Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookies, 2 cookies = one serving. In one serving, you have 150 calories, 63 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 25 mg of cholesterol, 160 mg of sodium, 23 g of carbs, and 13 g of sugar!! And remember, that's only for 2 cookies! Who in the world eats only 2 cookies? Someone like me could easily finish off 8 cookies in three minutes or less. Let's call a "real" serving 6 cookies. That means you're eating 450 calories, 189 calories from fat, 21 grams of fat, 75 mg of cholesterol, 480 mg of sodium, 69 g of carbs, and 39 g of sugar!

Is it any wonder we collectively suffer from such poor health?

If you want to eat healthy and lose weight, stay away from processed foods! As I wrote in Bye, Bye, Diabetes, when you eat unhealthy foods, especially ones that are high in sugar, you trigger your body to release insulin in direct proportion to the amount of sugar you're ingesting. Insulin, if you recall, is a fat-storing hormone. It tells your body to store the calories you've just eaten as fat. The higher your insulin goes, the more fat you will store. The more fat you store, the more unhealthy you become.

So where is the logic in eating gluten-free if you don't have Celiac?

Although Celiac disease is severely under-diagnosed, it is estimated that at most, about 1% of the American population suffers from it. But what about the millions of people that truly suffer from non-Celiac gluten sensitivity?

Well, who said it's really gluten sensitivity at all? This is a fairly new label, and it's quite trendy these days. There is so much conflicting information about it, that it's really hard to say for sure what's causing increasing numbers of people to be more sensitive to grain-based products. Could it be GMO's? Could it be the infamous herbicide glyphosate? Could it just be the fact that these products are so processed, that our bodies don't even recognize them as food?

I don't know. But what I do know is this: if you want to be healthy and lose weight, you've got to cut back on the processed garbage. All of these white breads, pastas, and cookies are completely unhealthy, whether they're GF or not. If you don't have Celiac, switch to whole, organic, and sprouted grains. A good general rule would be: if it's processed and loaded with preservatives, don't buy it - even if it says whole wheat whatever.

So there you have it. I hope this post saves you a ton of money. Even more importantly, I hope it motivates you to start eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. 

I'd love to hear your comments! 

~Racheli