It’s been more than ten years that I have wanted to start an online blog. I remember the first time I saw Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s blog and I was hooked on her healthy cooking ideas and recipes and lively humor as well. I knew I wanted to do something similar, but honestly didn’t think I had the skills or the time with 4 young children at home. As I have grown older and the kids have become more self sufficient, I realized that now is the time to get started. I have been studying natural living themes and making my best attempts at living a natural life for many years, and I want to share what I have learned and experienced with you now. I hope that this page will serve as a resource for you and encouragement as you also live a natural life! -Becky
Thank you for visiting my blog! I am so excited to share what I love doing everyday with you here! My hope is that this blog will be an inspiration for living a natural and simple life, and provide information and resources for you to be able to do that. I am looking forward to sharing this journey with you!
I’m Becky Barranca, many know me by my maiden name, Rebecca Lynn Rodriguez. I am a daughter of God, I like to call him Yahweh. I’m married to Fernando Barranca the love of my life, and the mother of 4 beautiful children that we were blessed with. I am a daughter and a sister and a stepmom and have been blessed with a wonderful extended family. I am a 4th generation proud Arizonan of Mexican descent, so I enjoy a colorful culture that blends the rich heritages of both the USA and Mexico together. I was in the life insurance business for more than 20 years, and now I dedicate my time to homeschooling my children, ministry work and a home bakery.
GROWING UP and now, I have always been drawn to nature and I spend a lot of time outdoors. Like many in my culture, as a young girl, my grandparents taught me about using natural remedies for minor ailments. My Aunt Carmen taught me about using malva (mallow) for hair and “bledo” (amaranth) and “verdolagas” (purslane) to make healthy green dishes for dinner. My Tata Kiki taught me about grapefruit tree flowers to make tea and Nana Belia gave me “manzanilla” (chamomile) for tummy aches. Auntie Marilyn taught me about using chaparral (creosote) for healing. Using plants as nutrition and for possible healing of ailments has been a part of my life and culture since childhood. I look forward to sharing what I have learned with you!
One common aspect of our Hispanic culture is that we LOVE our tortillas, sweet breads and sugary drinks! So in addition to learning about nature’s remedies, as a child I also enjoyed having fresh tortillas from Carolinas, pan dulce from Food City, which usually included my Tata Kiki’s favorite, cochitos! Sometimes my cousins and I would try to sneak one of my Tata Vic’s Strawberry Barq’s sodas in a glass bottle. But he always caught us lol!!
Unfortunately for me, the refined carbs and sweets took a toll on my teeth resulting in lots of fillings as a young person. And I still struggle a bit with my weight, because I really do like bread! But what I have changed now is that I don’t have as much of those things anymore, and I have found healthier alternatives to the refined sugars and grains. Instead of soda, we drink fresh organic Jamaica (Hibiscus tea) sweetened with a little raw honey or coconut sugar. Instead of tortillas, we’ll have some Forbidden Rice (black rice) to complement our dishes. As for the delicious pan dulces and cochitos– well we do splurge a couple of times a year! Now though, we try to focus on grain free and organic desserts and sourdough breads at our home bakery Hollyhock and Nopal Bakery LLC.
CANCER? As I have grown older, I have learned more about healthy eating and living. But even though I have tried to live a healthy life for many years now, I’ve always been aware that just being human puts us at risk for cancer! My concern as a woman had always been focused on breast or reproductive organ cancers. In fact, in the early 2000’s I ran a non profit organization that focused on Hispanic Women’s breast health issues. I spent several years teaching on the importance of taking care of ourselves. Unfortunately through the years I have lost several friends to cancer and their passing has left scars on my heart.
In early 2019, feeling very tired and thinking I had a thyroid imbalance, I went for a regular checkup and had my annual blood tests done. I was shocked the following week when I was given a diagnosis of cancer! Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. I had never had anemia or blood issues and in fact had never heard of CLL. The next couple of months became a whirlwind of more blood testing and visiting cancer centers for specialist opinions. I even took a trip to Monterrey, Mexico to visit with one of the top hematologists there to get a third opinion and confirm the diagnosis. Now I’m under care at Mayo Clinic and SCNM and I am so thankful to God to say that this cancer is not aggressive and that most people live many years without needing treatment. However, in the meantime because my immune system is under more stress, I tire easily and I need to be extra cautious and aware of my health.
The cancer diagnosis has changed my mindset about life. It has reminded me that life is precious and we have to make the most of every moment! At the same time I know that God is able to heal me! It has been quite a life change and a journey that I am just embarking on, and I hope you will join me as I walk through this and all the seasons of my life!
Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.