Medical Mystery Solved: GMO’s and Cat Barf

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My husband and I have been on a recent researching frenzy.  The topic?  GMO’s -AKA genetically modified organisms.  Of course we began this journey after watching, “Food, Inc.”  We are very healthy eaters as it is, but since watching that movie a few years ago we strive all the more for organics and grain-fed lean proteins (chicken, turkey, no beef or pork).  We are probably 98.5% Pescatarian (wild not farm-raised fish, vegetables).

So, what does this have to do with cat barf?  A lot, actually.  I am not talking about the occasional hair ball either, rather vomit.  Large amounts of vomit full of food, disgustingly yellowish in color and sometimes projectile in nature.


I now will refer you to the movie, “Genetic Roulette.”  Trust me, you want to watch this.  I am going to present some evidence here with regards to my cats and allow you to do your own homework.  I really hope this inspires you to make changes in your life and in the life of your pets.  You will be amazed, trust me.


Back to the cats.  We have five.  Yes, five- and they are all indoor.  For a long while I had them on a seemingly healthy diet based on advertisements and hype.  Gosh, we had them on a variety of foods.  We kept trying to find a food that would eliminate the piles of puke around our house and reduce weight gain.  (I won’t name all the brands here…)  Purina One Smart Blend sounds like a healthy and wholesome food, right?  The chicken and rice formula is what our cats ate.  Here is some of the promises they state:

  • Real chicken is the #1 ingredient, blended with other high-quality protein sources, to help support strong muscles, including a healthy heart.
  • Omega-6 helps give your cat a radiant coat and healthy skin.
  • Enriched with vitamins and minerals for strong bones and joints.
  • Highly digestible so more nutrition goes to work inside your cat.
  • Crunchy kibble helps reduce plaque build-up and whiten teeth.


But…all these promises do not contain a “non-GMO” disclosure on their bag.  So, anyway…they ate a lot of Purina One Smart Blend.  Our oldest cat, Bageera, was becoming more and more obese, so I switched them all to the “lighter” version.  He became even more obese and all five of them vomited daily, multiple times a day.  (All the same texture and yellowish-bile color.)  They all also began to develop skin issues, dander knots and my oldest cat developed a large fatty mass under his left front leg/chest area.  I finally had enough of cleaning up cat vomit and running our carpet cleaner to remove the ugly yellow stains from our carpet.

Now, let me say that although Purina One Smart Blend (as well as other countless brands of pet foods) use chicken as their “main” ingredient, is this chicken grain-fed or corn-fed?  Is the chicken (or beef or fish) byproducts?  This literally means pieces, leftovers of the worst parts of the animal or fish.  As well, is the rice or corn or soy ingredients organic or are they actually from GMO products?  There IS a huge difference here.  Let me show you.

Once I switched my pets to organic and non-GMO pet food, guess what happened?  (It is truly quite amazing and a miracle!) They ALL stopped barfing.  It has been one year now, and all five of them completely, totally, utterly stopped hurling.  Once in a great while they will cough up a hair ball.  Cats do that, it’s normal.  Vomiting up yellowish-bile piles containing food repeatedly throughout the day is not.  Additionally, their coats shine.  No more mats in their fur.  They have all lost the weight they had gained on the GMO food.  The best part of all is that our oldest cat is now totally buff!  He runs around the house like a kitten and plays with twist ties from bread loaves.  Did I mention that he is almost 13 years old?  His fatty growth has now also almost completely resolved.

In saying all this, please read labels.  Look for the non-GMO label, organic ingredients and know your vendors.  Most corn and soy, as well as other fillers, are GMO grown.  Educate yourselves and be interested in your pet’s health in addition to your own.  There are organic foods available for your pets.  The extra cost is worth avoiding the vet costs, and your pets will forever thank you.  I know mine do.  Daily.  As well, I really love having carpets that are free of yellow barf stains and saving trees from all the paper towels I used for cleaning up the vomit mess.

With love on a Saturday,


The Three R’s

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Rest is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for ALL ages.  It rejuvenates your body and mind, regulates your mood, and is linked to learning and memory function.  On the other hand, not getting enough rest can negatively affect your mood, immune system, memory, and stress level.

The three R’s for maintaining a healthy lifestyle have nothing to do with natural resources and waste management, although those are GREAT things to practice for the environment (reduce, reuse and recycle).  Rather, most importantly, the three R’s that need to be a part of our lives consistently are rest, rejuvenate and renewal.

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1. Make time for down time.  Consider a leisurely walk or a 5-minute mini meditation.  Just close your eyes and focus only on your breathing for 5 minutes.

2. Follow a routine.  Consider waking up 10 minutes early each day for some simple stretches to start your day rather than jumping into high-speed mode.  Stretch and wind down before bed each night.

3. Give your mind a break.  Consider participating in an activity that directs your mind to full attention on that task.  Fully “be in the moment,” which will give your mind a mental break from a nagging “to do” list.



1. Schedule your “me” time.  If we don’t take the time to step back from the chaos, even a few minutes each day, and rejuvenate that emotional energy, we soon run out.  We crash.  Carve out a few minutes EACH DAY to catch up with friends, paint your nails, read, go for a jog, or even just meditate.  That small moment can refill your emotional bucket and ready you for the evenings’ madness.

2. Journal.  Take 15 minutes to think of the positives in your day or something you look forward too.  Write.  Practice gratitude.  Being thankful truly is a natural stress-buster and antidepressant.

3. Splurge and get a massage.  Not only will this ease sore muscles and release stress toxins from your body, but you will feel refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for life!



1. Get creative.  Creative renewal is such an important part of the creative process.  Every mind goes stale after a while.  You need to empty your cup.   Do you paint?  Start an outline or watercolor.

2. Enjoy the outdoors!  Turn on the Discovery channel or tune into David Attenborough or repeats of the late Steve Irwin to get enthused about this wonderful world you inhabit.  Better yet, get out into your garden or the local park.  Go hiking.  Get down on the grass and watch the ants.  Follow a butterfly or gaze closely at a pretty flower.

3. Embrace your hobbies!  Pleasures can bring a lift to your mood.  Because hobbies generally incorporate pleasures into your life, maintaining hobbies can be good for your overall sense of joy in life.  As well, gratifications can lead to a reduction in stress and a sense of well-being, and hobbies are usually experienced as gratifications.  If you want more happiness and less stress experiences in your life, hobbies provide a direct route to gratifications that can lead to this.

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The three R’s are just as important as maintaining a good diet and exercise for our overall well-being, and quite necessary for our joy and health.

Wishing you all a rejuvenating weekend,


No for candy, yes for super food!

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Have you ever heard of a jujube?  I always thought jujubes were only candy.  Not so!


Last week I tasted the most delicious jujube tea at our local farmers market and received a little health-history lesson about this very special super food.  Jujubes are a bit larger than a walnut, a beautiful brownish-reddish color and felt very light and soft in my hands.


The jujube originated in China where they have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years and where there are over 400 cultivars. The plants traveled beyond Asia centuries ago and today are grown to some extent in Russia, northern Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East and the southwestern United States.  Some jujube trees grow up to 40 feet tall in Florida, but are smaller in size in California.


The benefits of jujube the super food

Jujube contains high levels of protein, carbohydrates, fat, carotene, vitamin C, B, P, and minerals like calcium, iron and phosphorus. Below you will find some benefits of jujube.

    1. Decrease in seborrheic keratosis

Vitamin C present in jujubes is an antioxidant, that participates in the physiological oxygen reduction of the body and lowers the production of seborrheic keratosis by preventing the chronic melanin sedimentation in the body.

    1. Liver protection is another benefit of jujube

The fat, protein and sugar contained in jujubes protect the liver. These nutrients stimulate liver to synthesize protein, thus increasing the amount of albumin and red protein, controlling the ratio of globulin and albumin, preventing transfusions and reducing the level of serum alanine aminotransferase.

    1. Many will be glad to know that hair loss prevention is among the benefits of jujube

Jujube has the function of nourishing spleen and stomach. There is an old saying in China goes like this “Good spleen, good skin”. With radiant skin, the hair can have a sound shelter. So eat more jujubes can prevent hair loss and help you to grow glossy hair.

    1. Nourish stomach and brain

In fact, jujube is used in Chinese medicine to nourishing spleen and stomach. In case of irritating substances in prescription medications, jujubes are equipped to protect the spleen and stomach. Jujube is rich in protein, carbohydrate, organic acids and fat, which produces the tonic effect for the brain. Jujube cake with flour and jujubes is very delicious and moreover it can improve the functioning of the brain and stomach.

    1. Nourish the blood and provides vital energy

As a matter of fact, rich amount of vitamins in jujube is one of the most important benefits of jujube which is advantageous for capillary. Take 20 jujubes, brown sugar (30 grams) and 1 egg; make it with water stew. You should take this mix every day. It is beneficial for women’s recuperation after childbirth.

  1. Sleep promotion

As it has already been said, jujube nourishes the blood and spleen, but it also has a soothing effect. Take 1000 grams of jujubes, wash them, eliminate the nuclear, then smash and add water to boil on slow fire. After that, filter the juice and mix honey (500 grams). Mix into the paste with heating, reserve in bottles. Take 15 ml for two times a day. The mix continuously served will prevent and cure insomnia.

Additionally, jujube is important in calcium supplement, anti-diarrhea and emission control prevention. But, jujube is not appropriate for people with constipation for the rich content of carbohydrate.


The jujube tea I sampled was delicious.  It reminded me almost of a cinnamon-raisin type of tea, but satisfyingly rich.

I am sharing this very special recipe with you below.  The making of this tea certainly is a process, but well worth the time involved.

Ginger jujube tea is normally served hot with pine nuts. Ginger has a soothing effect on stomach and sore muscles and jujubes alleviate stress.

This Korean tea is dark in color and has strong flavors of spicy ginger and sweet dried jujubes because it was cooked in simmering water for a long time. A fast way to make ginger tea is to use a pressure cooker.

When it is cold outside, this spicy hot drink will warm your body and even heart.

Korean Ginger Jujube Cinnamon Tea

Yields: about 16 cups
Total time: 50 min


    • 40 dried jujubes, Korean dates
    • 2 oz ginger (55g)
    • 3 oz packed brown sugar (85g)
    • 0.5 oz cinnamon sticks (14g)
    • 3 liters drinking water

Korean ginger jujube tea 생강 대추차


Preparation Wash ginger and dried jujubes. Peel off ginger and cut into thin slices.

Brew Put ginger slices, dried jujubes, cinnamon sticks, and 3 liters of water in the pressure cooker. Cover and cook under pressure for 10 minutes over medium high heat. Then reduce the heat to very low and cook for another 10 minutes. Release pressure and add in brown sugar and without cover, simmer for another 5 minutes, or until sufficiently infused.

Serve Drain and serve with a few pine nuts in the tea and honey or brown sugar on the side.

Korean ginger jujube tea 생강 대추차

Serve with pine nuts.

Korean ginger jujube tea 생강 대추차

If you do not own a pressure cooker, this process can be accomplished (as per our local farmers market vendor) by slow-simmering for several hours.  Honey and brown sugar truly is optional, as the jujubes have their own sweet, unique flavor.

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What a neat little super food, don’t you think?

Happy Monday,


WANTED: More Hours In A Day

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“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”  – James Howell, Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish (1659)


Over the past few weeks (or longer) I have slowly (and rapidly) been burning out.  Long work days (usually 10 hours and sometimes longer) and online classes with homework leave little time for pleasure or relaxation.  On average, I am in front of the computer approximately 14+ hours each and every single day.  Everything has become chore-like for me lately, even walking, which I love to do.  Same schedule, different day.  Same work out routine, different day.  My time off work is spent working!  I don’t know about you, but this equals severe burn out and feels like a mild depression-induced routine.  In all honesty:  I hate it.

Truly, we all have different crosses we bear.  What do we do when we have a routine like this?  Of course, we all know we must make changes, but what if you cannot make a dent of a change in a full schedule in your life?  I am still experimenting myself.  It is imperative that we MUST make changes eventually.   I know I cannot continue on this type of routine day in and day out without feeling awful mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  There is just not enough “me” to go around.  A vicious cycle isn’t it?  But, the fact of the matter is: life still happens.  We still have our responsibilities and obligations, our families need us, chores cry out to be finished, our pets are hungry and in need of attention, extra school work on top of an occupation if you are finishing your degree later in life, on and on and on…and there are only so many hours in each day.

Yesterday I had a half day off and I knew I had to do something different to nourish “me” and get back to feeling like my old self.  And I did it!  Spring is here, and the weather has been teasingly beautiful lately (today it is 77 degrees where I live).  I was thinking of naming this blog something like, “how to have “me” time for under $10″ or “can you have fun for less than $10” or even “is it possible to have a great day for little or no cost?”  But, that was not the point in how I spent my day yesterday or what I want to share with you all in this blog now.  Most importantly, I want to share how utterly important it is to have therapeutic time for yourself regardless of an insane daily and weekly schedule.  Is it possible?  I believe it is.  It will take planning and thought and action.  When we become desperate enough, we will look for ways to do this.


I decided to change  my work out yesterday morning (because my goal was NOT to have a same thing, different day kind of day!).  I started Tony Horton’s 10-Minute Trainer, ABS.  It felt SO good to do something different and really it did kick my butt! I would so recommend this plan for ANYONE with limited time (like me) and the desire for just doing something different with their work outs.


**Note: You can get the FREE DVD BONUS Workout—Tony’s Fountain of Youth yoga (a $19.95 value)—when you buy 10-Minute Trainer here:

(All of this for $79.90, but 10% off this price if you become a club member! Pretty good deal if you ask me!)


I was now ready for a few hour adventure out of the house.  I am so blessed to live so close to the beach and the mountains.  I decided to take my little dog to a beautiful park at one of our local beaches for a long walk, Marina Beach Park, and have time for playing ball,  just letting the sun shine on my face and enjoy the sounds of the pelicans and scents of the ocean air.  Little did I know we would have a delightful surprise: lots of seals!  My dog has never before seen a seal and this was actually pretty comical.  Was it a dog?  A cat?  A monster?  (We call rats and rodents “monsters”).  Instead, it was a baby seal that was coming closer and closer to us, crying out to his/her mother, and my little dog, Buddy, quivered and growled and stayed put on my lap not sure what to do but protect me!

baby seal nursing

Here is part of the pathway we walked:


Children LOVE this ship:


My favorite view of the bay side:


Our next stop was for lunch!  Just me and my dog!  He truly is the PERFECT DATE!  (My husband was at work)

I splurged and had a glass of cold white wine and we shared grilled fish tacos outside on the patio at Duke’s Grill:


Our delicious & healthy lunch:


Here is Buddy, lounging on a cushion, runny eyes from the sand, lip sticking to his tooth looking much like a Chupakabra!



To conclude, I feel so refreshed today because I took some “me” time to relax, play, enjoy, savor very special moments and I also found a pretty rock on the beach that will remind me of this day.  I also ate healthy and had a new work out.   My total bill for this delightful time was $7.08.  Yes, under $10!

Even though it was only a couple hours, it felt like a full day off.  I am a happy girl today and wish you a refreshing moment every day in YOUR life routine!

~The joy of living comes from a heart of thanksgiving.~


A Pitcher Plant and a Bee

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I love nature.  I crave being outdoors as much as possible, away from computers, fax machines, television, treadmills, the telephone (even the smart phone!) and the hustle and bustle of everyday work days.  Animals, creation, flowers, the wind, order, simplicity, scents…truly it all is amazing.
Today, after over three hours, I just could not stand it anymore.  I watched the little honey bee venturing into the mouth of one of our pitcher plants.  He was mesmerized by the sweet scent, completely unaware of the long, suffering death he faced.  Once the bee passed over the outer rim or lip of the pitcher mouth, it was all over for the poor guy.  He fought hard to climb up and escape, literally hours at it.
There is nothing more exciting and suspenseful than watching a pitcher plant devour a bug with your own eyes.  I don’t mind the nasty flies and small “no seeum” bugs being sucked into the pitcher plant’s alluring trap, but this bee was another story.We have two different types of pitcher plants.  Both plants engage in the same eating frenzy. They are great plants to have where you may have a pesky bug or mosquito problem.  The pitcher plant stores up a sweet-smelling juice that literally lures insects into its mouth.  Unfortunately, once the insect is about to sip, they instead slide and fall down the pitcher of the plant into an abyss of fluid, losing energy to climb back up and being overpowered by fate.  This bee wasn’t about to give up his life! The pitcher plant eventually “eats” the insects.  The juice or liquid in a pitcher plant is similar to nectar, which is why an insect such as a bee is attracted so easily to feed, however, the juice contains chemicals similar to our own stomach’s digestive system. Basically, the plant slowly munches away and the insect eventually dissolves, becoming part of the very juice it tried to drink.
Back to the bee…after watching his struggle all morning long, I just had to help him out.  I gently bent the pitcher down and patiently waited for him to climb out, which he did, and pretty quickly.  Away he flew, and I am really hoping he is thankful for his freedom.   I hope he shares this act of kindness with his friends and I can go the rest of my life without being stung…or worrying about my dog being stung (who is highly allergic to bees!).  What do you think?  Helping this bee actually made my day, one tiny humane effort in this enormous world we live in.  I believe everything makes a difference, do you?
Today has been a gloriously beautiful day.  Add that it is Friday…
I am wishing you a wonderful weekend, time for yourself and with those you love, moments of laughter and especially good food, health, and lots of Vitamin D provided by the sunshine!  🙂