Healthy, Wealthy & Wise

The month of November I was pretty out of commission with a bad case of bronchitis that had me coughing into the new year. That's my main excuse for the long absence from blogging.

Ever since I got whooping cough in 2007 and then pneumonia in 2010 I've had bad lungs, but this winter was particularly bad.

I started getting interested in some alternative medicine options a little earlier in the year and this nasty illness pushed me over the edge.

My adult acne was not responding well to even the most aggressive traditional treatments (i.e., Aczone and Retin-A) so I tried the "oil cleansing method." It may seem far fetched to some, but at this point having tried everything the dermatologist could think of aside from Accutane, I was ready to try anything. While I can't say that my acne is cured, my skin is much less irritated and my cystic acne is much less severe. I no longer use any other topical products on my skin and it feels better than it has in a long time.

We got a Blendtec for Christmas. This machine is incredible. I use it every day. The Hot Italian and I are increasing our fruit and veggie intake with our green smoothies in the morning. I can't believe how much produce we go through. It's awesome! I can't claim any miraculous health benefits, but I do feel better. My cravings for sugary sweets have gone down a lot. Now I crave a healthy fruit smoothie instead.

I finally got back into our local produce co-op, Bountiful Baskets. It's fun to think of ways to use all of the produce we get each week in our smoothies and other meals. I've also been making a lot of soups. One of our favorites is chicken enchilada soup. The Hot Italian tells me that it's even better than the chicken enchiladas I used to make with cream of chicken soup and cheese...and much healthier. Every time I make it is a little different, but this is the general recipe:

Chicken Enchilada Soup
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 yellow onion chopped
2 grated or chopped carrots
1 chopped red pepper
1 Tbsp chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 can red enchilada sauce
1 can green enchilada sauce
4 chicken bouillon cubes
6 cups water
2 lbs chicken breast
2 handfuls spinach (add 5 minutes before end)

Combine all ingredients except the spinach. Cook on low heat until chicken is cooked. The secret is the low temperature. The chicken turns out really tender when you cook it nice and slow. Take the chicken out and shred. Enjoy! This is also great with a can or two of black beans. Experiment until you find just the right combination of flavors for your family.

My latest discovery in my quest for health is yoga. I went with a friend while the Hot Italian was out of town and now I'm hooked. I haven't had any back pain at all since I started going, despite my 3 bulging discs. And my anxiety is reduced significantly. The Hot Italian practically insisted that I join the yoga studio because he loves seeing me come home so refreshed and rejuvenated. I can't wait to go again tonight! I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a break from their normal rushed routine.

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