Grandma’s Osterizer and How to Clean It

Osterizer and the Best Way to Clean a Blender

Regarding Second-Hand Appliances

I figure if an appliance has made it to the second-hand vintage store, that means it’s probably not gonna’ break down on you.  It’s proved itself too hardy to be broken, even when thrown carelessly in the back hatch along with other garage-sale toss-offs.  However, you can pretty much count on your brand spankin’ new appliance breaking on a Friday night about 2 days before the warranty expires.  Not happened to you yet?  Just keep buyin’.  It will.  It has me countless times.  I’m a magnet.

She’s a 1960s Beaut!

I have a lovely pea-green Osterizer blender in my kitchen.  It is a favorite in our home.  How did this 40+ (FORTY PLUS) year- old appliance end up in our home?  Well, when my husband and I were both medical residents back in 2004, we decided to branch into this parenthood thing and delightfully earned ourselves a baby nicknamed “The Screamer” by her sitter.  I would get up at 4:30 in the morning to deliver our screaming baby to the arranged childcare situation.  Sometimes, if my husband and I were both on call, she’d be gone for three days.  This child care arrangement wasn’t ideal for many reasons, including that I nursed her (until she was 18 months), and I was chained to the iron pump when she wasn’t around.  So it was decided that my retired mother-in-law would come to live with us to spoil “The Screamer.”  When it came time for introducing food to our screaming baby, my mother-in-law went back to her house and came back with her ugly Osterizer to make baby food.  Boy did I think that thing was hideous!  I mean, come on!  It does not match my kitchen!  However, it has moved along with us ever since, although Grandma ditched us to go back to her own house.  This once-percieved-as-ugly appliance has become a shining star in my eyes.  (Tears, please.)

I have a love affair with “my” Osterizer.  I’ve given away the two blenders given to us as wedding gifts.  When my father-in-law comes, he checks it out for me and orders any necessary gaskets or blades for virtually the cost of shipping and handling.  Then, she runs like new.  Never a problem with her motor.

My sister saw it summarized best somewhere on the internet:  “Vitamix?  Ninja?  No way.  Give me an old Osterizer.”  IF this puppy’s motor ever goes, I’ll be getting on e-Bay and getting another.  It does great for all the challenges I give it.  I’ve never had a Vitamix, so I guess it’s not fair to say it’s better.  But it’s pretty darn good at only a fraction of the cost.  And eats ice like its warm butter.

A Blender Cleaning Tip

And lastly, my sister also saw somewhere how to best clean a blender–you know, way down in the sharp blade part where you darest not go–and it was such a simple, fantastic tip that I wanted to pass it on!  Just fill ‘er up with some water and turn ‘er on!  (Translation just in case:  Fill it up with some water and turn it on.)  So I’ve taken to rinsing out the blender in the sink and then getting the blade clean with her warm water and blend technique.  If I do this, it gets the green smoothie grime out pretty well!

May you have a glowing week!  Let me know–do you have a favorite old appliance that just won’t go away?  I may be in the market for it!


It’s Not Just Food. It’s Chronic Disease.

wpid-IMAG0924.jpgThe age is moving down.  High blood pressure.  High cholesterol.  Obesity.  Diabetes.  In medicine we call these chronic diseases.  Diseases that won’t go away.  Before I left practice, I was seeing many kids with these diseases that don’t go away.  I’m talking junior high boys with obesity and high blood pressure.  What is that?  Let’s see…thirteen years old!  Then I counseled weight loss and more activity, never providing a springboard for success.  Never saying or thinking that most of kids’ calories come from grains which are not necessary components of our diet:  wheat, corn, rice, and oats.  Never thinking or saying that nearly all of these grains are accompanied by sugar of some sort, artificial preservatives, and highly processed, oxidized vegetable oils.  Never suggesting that parents reserve these juiced-up grains for treats rather than every day meal choices.  I never suggested that candy need virtually eliminated, again reserved for real treats rather than handed out daily.  If you think your child doesn’t get (or have the opportunity to get) candy or baked sweet goods nearly every single day outside of your home, I’d ask you to start asking them and recording the opportunities available for them so you have a true picture.  It is ghastly.

Our children need us to be bigger.  Need us to pull up our pants and do the hard stuff.  So they can.  It’s “just food”, doc.  No.  It’s not.  It’s DIABETES.  HYPERTENSION.  OBESITY.  ARTHRITIS.  HEART DISEASE.  STROKES.  DEMENTIA.  ADHD.  GERD.  I am shouting.  Instead of saying it’s “just food,” say it’s any one of these illnesses.  And take out the excessive, repetitious nutrients and add in the good stuff to help eliminate these chronic diseases in kids.

Questions to ask yourself.

1.  Where is my child getting most of her calories?  Is it from bread, buns, crackers, cookies, muffins, bagels, pasta, and cereal?  Yes?  A set-up for chronic disease.

2.  Do the flour-based (even if they’re whole grains) products have sugar of some sort in them or artificial preservatives or colors?  Yes?  A set-up for chronic disease.

3.  Do you ask your child specifically each day if they had a sugary treat?  At school, such as a sucker, mint, birthday cookie, or Doritos swapped at lunch?  Or at sports practice?  Or at Wednesday night church or Sunday School?  Or the sitter’s house? Or with grandma and grandpa?  The kids answer “yes?”  Don’t shoot the messenger.  It’s just the truth.  This is a set-up for chronic disease.

4.  Have you given up on serving a wide variety of colorful vegetables and fruits because the kids won’t eat them?  Yes?  A set-up for chronic disease.

5. Do you regularly eat out?  Yes?  A set-up for chronic disease.

6.  Are you always in a hurry, relying on boxed-food choices?  Yes?  A set-up for chronic disease.

7.  Do you think the vitamins and minerals placed in processed foods are good enough to replace the foods they are naturally found in–foods your kids wpid-IMAG1697.jpg likely don’t like so well?  For example, vitamin D should be found in your fish–not your milk.  And folate should be found in your spinach–not added back to your refined, white flour so you can keep on eating so much of it.  Omega-3s should not be found in your peanut butter.  The photo at right is a peanut butter label with omega-3; they added sardine, anchovy, and tilapia to it.  Nice.

How Can You Fight Chronic Diseases for Your Children?

Shun sugar and sugar sources.  Reserve for real treats.

Limit grain products because the kind you buy at the store have been stripped of any nutrients and all you get are their side effects.  Reserve for real treats.

Become aware of highly processed oils (vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and margarine to name only a few) because they wreak havoc on the cells and functions of the cells in your child’s body.  Eliminate them.  They are found in most all processed foods.

Remove artificial preservatives from your child’s diet.

Dedicate yourself to the endeavor of making them vegetable-eaters.  This is where chronic-disease fighting vitamins, minerals, and nutrients will come from.

Do what you want.  But your children aren’t destined to have chronic diseases.  They are nurtured.  Not natured.  It will take some heavy-duty fighting for the cause.  Are you up to the challenge?  No?  See you at the doctor’s office.

Defy the trend.  It’s not just food.  It’s chronic disease.





Folate Delivery Dressing

I have one more post on folate to share before I leave it behind.  It is a recipe I use to help my family eat more greens,Greens eat good food including the folate-powerhouse spinach.


Eat more folate-rich foods, including greens.


Some people–maybe you–can’t metabolize the form of folate called folic acid very well.  Folic acid is what is added to most grain-based processed foods and used in most vitamins.  These people do much better with folates found naturally in foods.  Since they don’t metabolize folic acid very well, their bodies are basically functioning on a “folate deficiency” despite adequate intake of folic acid.

So what?

I don’t know.  Which reason do you want?  Folate deficiency may play a role in depression?  Bipolar disorder?  Birth defects?  Anemia?  Atherosclerosis?  Alzheimer’s?  Chronic fatigue syndrome?  Gout?  Hearing loss?  Blood clots?

Although the research on folate’s connection to many of these conditions is not clear-cut, there are some suggestions.  On something as simple as eating real, folate-rich food, I don’t see a need to wait around for the million dollar research study.


When it comes to folate, spinach leads the pack.  I use this simple dressing which the kids enjoy to deliver folate-rich greens, including spinach, to my family.


Folate Delivery Dressing

1/3 cup of bacon drippings
1/4 cup of maple syrup (or honey or sweetener of choice)
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
Diced onion (may omit)
Salt and pepper to taste
Spinach (or greens of choice)

Heat bacon drippings in skillet over medium-high heat until melted and hot.  Add onions and saute until golden brown.  Add the maple syrup and whisk.  Allow to thicken and bubble.  Add apple cider vinegar and whisk again.  Allow it to reduce and thicken a little.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Use the dressing to pour over fresh spinach, tossing to wilt.  Use just enough to coat as desired.  Alternatively, the greens may be added to the pan and cooked a little.


warm bacon dressingBottom Line:

Nutrient deficiencies abound.  Not huge deficiencies that can be pointed at directly.  But little micronutrient deficiencies.  Feed yourself and your families fresh vegetables, fruits, and foods to overcome these deficits.  You’ll feel the difference!  It is important.  I just wish I could emphasize this enough!

Thank you to my lovely, young daughters for the graphics on this post.


Do You Check Papers?

Being a medical doctor requires honing observational skills.  I used to observe patients, but now I try to observe successful parents and teachers to see what tools I can pick up for use in my home.

She Checked Their Papers Every Day

A couple of weeks ago a well-seasoned mom with grown children shared something with me about her children’s success in school.  She raised two valedictorians and three doctors, although she and her husband attained only high school diplomas.  I thought her words were worth sharing even though the idea is so simple.  (Aren’t simple truths often the greatest truths?)

I’m not a smart woman–but I learned right away that I had to look at my kids’ school papers every day.”

She checked her children’s work every day.  She went on to say that every day the kids dug through their bags to show her their work.  If not, she dug through the bags.  (“And, hey, any love letters were fair game!”)  Together they assessed if the child had done their best or not or if there was just a lack of understanding.  Stupid mistakes were called out (and called just that) and real mistakes were worked through together so the child understood (and understood they were not “stupid.”)  A 65% was never criticized if the child did not understand something.  A 90% was sighed over if the child was in a hurry and missed easy questions.  Often the dad was called to the kitchen table to help sort out a math problem the mom couldn’t help with.  Although they did not “homeschool,” learning was a home endeavor.

Asking Questions

My family does homeschool, but I want to check each lesson without fail too.  And with each lesson I want to ask my children, did you do your best?  Were you in a hurry?  What do you not understand?  What can I help you with?

I’ve been asking myself, what did checking their work every day teach this woman’s children?  How did it help them succeed?  What was it?  Was it knowing the parents cared?  Was it the actual knowledge the parents were able to help with?  Was it the accountability?  Was it the caution against “stupid mistakes?”  (And if you knew the woman, you’d know it wasn’t a threatening environment or a desire for the children to be the best or outdo someone else.)

What do you think?  Do you check papers daily?  Or when your children were younger, did you check them?  If you homeschool, do you let your children check their own work or do you check it (or both)?  What do you think “checking” fostered in this woman’s children?  I’d be fascinated to hear.


P.S.:  Our newborn is a little fussy, but I’m still tracking iodine and other nutritional topics.  Your patience is appreciated until I have two hands free again to hit the keyboard!

Does Your Smile Reach Your Eyes?

Photos from Brandon's Android 105I have seen people whose smiles do not reach their eyes.

Look at yourself.  Does your smile reach your eyes?

If no, why not?

Are you tired?  Sleep-deprived?  Have you taken on too much?

Are you sad?  Angry?  Bitter?  Jealous?  Discontent?  In pain?  Lonely?  Worried?  Too self-absorbed?

What is keeping that smile from reaching your eyes?  Is there something you can do to lift the weight and let that smile rise to the eyes?  Get more sleep?  Give up certain activities?  Refocus your work goals?  Seek out a good friend?

And if you really think on it, smiles often actually start in the eyes, as the eyes alight on something of joy.  So practice connecting your eyes and your smiles by surrounding yourself with people and environments which bring you true joy.  True joy.

Wellness starts in the heart.  I’m going to be experimenting a little bit with some observational life posts in between the longer homeschooling, nutrition, and recipe posts (as I am remembering that newborn babies don’t allow a person to get much done).  No comments needed as I know time is precious.  Just chew on the thoughts as needed and delete the rest.


BabyThis month we said “Hello” to our new baby.  Welcome, our little girl.

Last week our family said “Good-bye” to an aunt and an uncle as they passed to the other side.

This morning I said “Good-bye” to my visiting parents and sister as they left for their long journey back home.  The mom who stayed home to provide continuity and security to my three sisters and me.  The dad who worked two jobs to make sure his wife could raise their kids the way they envisioned.  A warm home.  Full of the cozy smells of dinner and dessert.  Laughter.  Loudness.  Chaos.  Always noise.  Always love.  Always acceptance.  Traditional.  Traditional wasn’t bad.  I liked it a lot.

Time marches on, minding no man.  Seeing how the “Good-byes” in this life at times seem to outweigh the number of “Hellos,” this morning I am grateful for the choices I have been allowed to make to stay home with my children to give to them the joy that was freely given to me.  There is nothing my job as a doctor could have given my family or me worth what I have gained.  Hopefully what my children one day feel they have gained.

I am content.  May you find contentment too in the choices you make, even if they defy the definition of success as written by the world.


Thoughts on Choosing a Prenatal Vitamin

“Are you taking a prenatal?”

Picking a prenatalIdeally, we would all get our nutrients from foods.  However, with food intolerances, food aversions, soil depletion, lack of access to high quality food sources, and food processing, some argue that this just isn’t possible in today’s world.  I won’t argue either way.  All I know is that doctors like it when women who are trying to conceive, pregnant, or nursing take a prenatal vitamin, but they aren’t always helpful in recommending one or up to date on the latest nutrient information.

I have delivered four babies in four different states, and my four different obstetricians never once had a firm prenatal vitamin recommendation.  Often, I just cycled through samples they gave me at different visits or some Walgreen’s over-the-counter product.  The question at OB check-ups always was, “Are you taking a prenatal?”  And my answer usually was, “Yes.”  The doctor’s simple response was, “Okay.”   (Or–“No, I am not taking a prenatal.  I feel too sick.”  “Well, just make sure and get some folic acid.”)  End of conversation.  Never once did the OB request, “What kind?  Let me see it.”  However, I think obstetricians/practitioners need to know of any supplement put in their patients’ mouths so they can have the opportunity to offer guidance.  They may even have some great recommendations and samples based on a patient’s health history needs.  (Or not.)

Anyhow, after the last few folic acid/folate posts, I received a few questions and comments about choosing a supplement for pregnancy.  So I put my fingers to the keyboard and was reminded of what I already knew from my search many months ago for myself at the beginning of our surprise pregnancy.  Choosing a prenatal vitamin supplement is a real bear.  A real maze.  A twisted, contorted game.

The Dilemma

If you read my recent posts on folic acid versus folate, you probably think that it’s probably high time to ditch folic acid in favor of a natural folate in prenatal vitamins (and vitamins in general).  Great.  Now you know.  Now I know.  But what good is knowledge if you don’t know how to act on it in real life?  I tried to pinpoint a good prenatal vitamin with L-methylfolate for myself to take many months ago, but it wasn’t as easy as that.  Let me say it again.  It was not as easy as that.  If I liked the vitamin content profile, then I didn’t like the extra ingredients, for example the use of soy, oats, artificial colors, or vanillin (an artificial vanilla flavor).  If I liked the clean ingredient profile, it didn’t meet the minimum recommended iodine requirements.  Or it didn’t have any DHA.  Or it used ergocalciferol (a plant-based vitamin D) rather than cholecalciferol (the better utilized animal based).  Or the vitamin B 12 was not the methylcobalamin form.  Or it didn’t have any vitamin K2.

What do you do?  You do the best you can.  You choose the best you can.  (And you make EVERY BITE COUNT.  More on my personal experience with that in a subsequent post.)  There is no perfect prenatal out there.  There just isn’t.  I’ll tell you what I looked for.  But this is the story of my thoughts and learning.  Not my medical advice.  Please don’t use my blog posts as medical advice.   You’ll have to figure out for yourself with your practitioner’s help what you need for sure and also where you’re willing to compromise on your prenatal vitamin.

Things I looked for in my prenatal vitamin:

  • Does it use folate or folic acid?  I prefer L-methylfolate or another biological folate.
  • Does it have the recommended dose of iodine?  What is the source of iodine?  I prefer it to have iodine since my iodine sources are limited (I don’t tolerate eggs and dairy well.) and haven’t yet sorted through which source I feel is best for iodine.
  • Does it have selenium to accompany the iodine?  If iodine is taken, then selenium needs to be sufficient as well.
  • Is the vitamin D source from ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) or cholecalciferol (vitamin D3)?  I prefer vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
  • Does it have any vitamin K2 in it?  Vitamin K2 is difficult to consume from foods, especially on a dairy-free diet, yet it is very important for health and fetal development.  Many supplements lack this.
  • Does it have the methylated form of vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin)?  I prefer this.
  • Does it have any DHA?  (A type of omega-3)  None of the prenatals I looked at contained DHA.  I made a point to eat DHA-rich foods, and if that wasn’t happening, I supplemented.
  • Does it have biotin?
  • Does it have choline?
  • What extra ingredients does it have?  I don’t see any reason for artificial colors and artificial flavors (like vanillin).  In addition, I am always on the lookout for soy, dairy, and gluten in any supplements due to some sensitivities.  I scan ingredients, also, for added probiotics or FOSs which may not agree with tummy issues.
  • What are the amounts and types of other minerals, like iron, calcium, and magnesium?  Many prenatals don’t have the recommended allowances of these, which can be okay.  However, women need to make sure they know how much of these minerals are in their prenatal vitamins so they can get their needs elsewhere if required.  Some women rely on their vitamins because of food aversions and nausea.
  • What is the vitamin A source and how much is in there?  Striking a middle ground here would probably be wise.  Not too much.  Not too little.  If you eat a lot of vitamin A rich foods, lean on the lower end in the supplement.
  • How many pills need to be taken?  Sure.  One is ideal but probably not optimal for absorption and maximizing nutrients.  For example, the calcium needs of the body cannot be absorbed in one sitting.  It needs to be spread out through the day.

Putting Criteria into Reality

I don’t have a good prenatal to recommend.  Like I said, nothing met all of my criteria.  My most recent obstetrician didn’t mind that I didn’t take a prenatal vitamin as long as I took a “folic acid” supplement.  This was a surprise pregnancy, and by the time I started looking for a prenatal, I was overcome with pregnancy maladies.  (Read:  I am making excuses for not selecting a good prenatal.)

Initially, I took a vitamin B complex with an active form of L-methylfolate made by Designs for Health along with some fermented cod liver oil since we were in the dead of a brutal winter (which would provide vitamin D, vitamin A, and DHA/EPA).  Then, I switched to a Designs for Health multi-vitamin that I already had in my cupboard which would provide some vitamin K2, iodine, zinc, biotin, and choline for baby and me, but it recommended 6 pills per day!  Right.  I was not very compliant with that.  So I eventually picked up a pre-natal from the local health food store, Rainbow Light, and made do with it, but it did not meet all my criteria.  My nutrition overall was strong and well thought out, and I felt the prenatal was more of a safety blanket for me.  Like perhaps to cover my low intake of iodine until I recognized a weak area in my diet.

I went back this week and looked at some prenatal vitamins after reading up on folic acid/folate, and I wished I had had the energy to investigate them all early in that first trimester.  But I didn’t.  So here are some of the vitamins I looked at this week that met a lot of criteria I find important.  I also listed Rainbow Light since I took it and saw a lot of women commenters on other sites mention it.

Do not use this list as a recommendation list.  Use it as a place to start looking, comparing, and contrasting which vitamin might fit you best, and always enlist the help of your physician to make sure you’re not overlooking something.

Nutrient 950 with Vitamin K by Pure Encapsulations

This is not the prenatal from the same company.  The prenatal has folic acid, not folate.


Emerald Labs Multi Vit-A-Min Prenatal

  • This has L-5-methyl tetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF), vitamin D3, iodine (although a lower amount), selenium, methylcobalamin, and biotin.
  • No DHA or choline.
  • The dose is 4 capsules.
  • With the recommended dose, one does not obtain the recommended daily doses of magnesium and calcium.
  • The ingredient list should be inspected for a person to see if there are any sensitivities to included ingredients, like quinoa and FOS.
  • One source of vitamin A is vitamin A palmitate, rather than simply relying on beta-carotene.  A reader may want to research this a bit.  Especially if they eat many food sources of vitamin A.


Thorne Research Basic Prenatal

  • This has calcium folinate and L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF), both biological folates. It also uses vitamin D3, iodine, selenium, methylcobalimin, and biotin.
  • There is no vitamin K2.
  • Calcium and magnesium do not reach the recommended daily doses.
  • The source of vitamin A is also palmitate (and carotenes).
  • The dose is 3 capsules.

Designs for Health DFH Complete Multi

  • Designs for Health Complete Multi has vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), vitamin K2, natural folates (5-MTHF and 5-FTHF), methylcobalamin, biotin, choline, iodine, and selenium.
  • The calcium and magnesium are less than recommended allowances.
  • There is NO iron and no copper.
  • Its vitamin A source is carotenoids.
  • The dose is 6 capsules.

Optimal Prenatal Vitamin/Vitamin Powder

This vitamin is out of stock reportedly due to popularity, but there is a protein powder designed to be interchangeable.  They are working to get the vitamin back in stock.

Rainbow Light

Rainbow Light is a food-based multivitamin, vegan compliant.  It is what I landed on for a prenatal vitamin due to chance, and it gets good reviews on-line.  It misses some of my criteria.  I landed on it, but I don’t think it’s the best.

  • It’s vitamin D source is D2 (ergocalciferol).
  • It has no vitamin K2.
  • It does not have the methylated form of vitamin B12.
  • It uses folic acid.
  • On the other hand, it does have iodine, choline, and biotin.  It also contains iron.
  • The calcium and magnesium content, like the other brands, is less than the recommended daily doses.
  • It has some added ingredients, like red raspberry leaf, ginger, spirulina, probiotics, and digestive enzymes for readers to investigate.


I think this is a good list of prenatal vitamins/multi-vitamins to start to check out.  Do readers have any others (and thanks to those who gave suggestions)?  Remember, it’s all a game of checks and balances.  Start with a good, strong, well-planned pregnancy diet and make sure your supplement does that–supplements the gaps in your diet.  Run all of your supplements by your doctor.

All the best to you for a happy, healthy family!