Archive for December, 2010


This week, I’m home from work for the holidays. I’m enjoying it immensely. I’ve already hosted one dinner party, and I’m doing a brunch party tomorrow. I’ve also been cooking some lovely, nourishing meals, as well as doing some baking. I made an orange-spice cake for Monday’s dinner for which I may post a recipe, and today I’ve made some homemade granola for my husband. No, it’s not the most nourishing thing, seeing as I didn’t soak the oats, but I did use blanched almonds, unsweetened coconut, and I used grass-fed ghee and organic grade-B maple syrup, so that it’s full of good fats and minerals. It’s also rather tasty. The trick was baking it in a lower oven than most recipes call for, and stirring it every 10 minutes.

I think I would enjoy being a full-time homemaker, but I do also enjoy being a scientist, so I have no plans to quit my job anytime soon. I am, however, considering writing a cookbook for women who think that busy women can’t also make fabulous homemade meals that make their husbands feel like the luckiest man in the world. Seriously, I’m so not old-fashioned, and yet there’s something supremely satisfying about hearing my husband brag to his friends about the meals I make him on a regular basis.

Garlic and Cranberry

I know I’ve been away for a while, and now I update twice in one day (see my earlier post!), but I wanted to share this. I was in Brazil for a few days, which involves two long flights, one 8-hour and one 10-hour. Now since I like to just sit and chill on a flight, I only got up once on both of those flights combined. Needless to say, in addition to the traveler’s tummy that hit me, I also came home with mild urinary symptoms. I wanted to share the routine I’ve been using to try to kick it on my own without having to figure out where my new primary care doctor is!


Cranberries are the go-to for urinary problems. Back when I had recurrent UTIs, I drank cranberry juice or ate blueberries every day. Both of these fruits contain a substance that prevents bacteria from sticking to the lining of the bladder [source: my doctor from 3 years ago]. But sugar can exacerbate UTIs, so it’s important to get unsweetened juices. I used to buy Knudsen’s Just Cranberry and mix about 4 oz. into a glass of lime-flavored seltzer as a tart morning cocktail. But this time, I had cranberry capsules on hand, so I’ve been taking one of those with each of my meals.

Garlic is a natural anti-microbial, which can kill off strains of multiple-drug-resistant E. Coli [see this abstract], so I thought I might try it for my problem. If nothing else, garlic is anti-viral and might help prevent a seasonal cold/flu [Source]. But in order to have maximum potency, it’s important to crush the garlic and let it sit exposed to air for 10 minutes. So before 2-3 meals a day, I crush a clove of garlic, then I eat it with my meal.
This has the side effect of making most of what I eat taste like garlic, which I don’t mind, and I do tend to have garlic breath, even just after brushing my teeth. Oh, and garlic is a bit spicy, so take it slow and have water handy. The last thing is that it’s important to take garlic with a meal. I got wicked indigestion taking it before my meal rather than in the middle, but waiting until at least halfway through fixed that. And I’ve been eating plenty of yogurt because, hey, it’s still an antibiotic and might mess with my gut.
A Note about Uva Ursi:

The traditional UTI cure that gets a lot of press in herbalist circles is Uva Ursi. I first heard of this when my mother-in-law recommended it, but I looked it up and it seems tricky. First of all, it’s not recommended to take it often. Supposedly you’re not supposed to take it for more than 5 days in a row, and you’re not supposed to use it as a treatment more than 5 times in one year [Source]. So not a good preventative. And maybe a little scary/strong. Since I like a nourishing approach to herbalism, I decided to give Uva Ursi a miss and stick with foodstuffs first.

I took one day off work to treat myself with a focused effort of lots of fluid, cranberry pills, and garlic. I took garlic and cranberry 3 times that day, and made sure I was drinking such that I had to urinate strongly about once an hour. Then, I kept taking garlic and cranberry (although I sometimes forget my garlic with lunch, so it’s only 2-3 times a day), and have made sure I’m staying well-hydrated. I’ve also been avoiding alcohol and caffeine, but I’ve been drinking lots of strong nettle tea as part of my liquid, because it strengthens the urinary system. I’m so glad I was able to clear this up on my own, and I’m even considering keeping up with the garlic more long-term.
(Disclaimer: I am not a health professional, and have no medical training. Please don’t use this information as an alternative to the opinion of a professional.)

A New Direction

Earlier, I wrote about how I’d like to take my love of real food and natural health and turn it into a wellness consulting business. I even made a new Google account with an email address and a separate blog to act as a website for this hypothetical consulting “business.” Well, taking even a low-level course to get any kind of herbalist or nutritional consultant certification is not in the financial picture for me right now, but I think still have something to offer. So I’ve decided that I’d let my blog followers help me out. If you’re interested in chatting with me about nutrition, and even getting a copy of some of the meal-planning documents that I use personally, please contact me at wildwomanwellness [at] gmail [dot] com. This is, of course, free of any charge, and it is my hope that anyone who enjoys my style of life and meal planning will help spread the word when I actually do decide to strike out semi-professionally.

Materials that I have personally include:
  • A meal template, which I can use to plan six meals in a matter of less than an hour
  • A shopping list template that I use to organize my grocery shopping so I don’t forget anything anymore
  • A list of products that I keep on hand for natural healing
  • And over a year of experience trying to live my beliefs about nourishing, traditional foods, and how I’ve navigated the pitfalls, while still being a productive grad student!