Cough Suppressant Tea

So simple and so effective. I had a cough lingering for a little over a week. Any thing that lingers for over 24 hours has overstayed it’s welcome. And I take serious action to get back to my fully functioning self.

I went on a field trip with my gardening class to a local farm and as we were walking through the orchard and admiring all the fruit trees my teacher starts talking about the Loquat tree and the healing properties of the leaves. As soon as he said “it is known to help alleviate coughs”, I grabbed a few leaves and asked him how to prepare it. As soon as I got home I made a batch and within a couple days of drinking my cough was completely gone! Not that I am surprised that nature works so well, I am just continuously amazed at the simplicity of healing myself naturally.

So I am sharing this with you, in case you believe in the power of nature as well and you can get your hands on some loquat leaves!

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Loquat leaves have this fuzz underneath them. You need to rub that off gently as it would be unpleasant to drink it.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large loquat leaves, fresh or dried
  • 5 cups water

 

Steps:

  • rub the fuzz off the leaves
  • chop up in large pieces
  • add to 5 cups of boiling water
  • simmer for 5 minutes with a lid on
  • let it cool
  • strain
  • drink a small cup 3 times a day until the cough is gone!

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I found the tea to be a subtle and pleasant flavor. Very easy to drink. You could add fresh lemon and honey to add to the benefits of healing, but I found it effective and tasty as is.

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Red Cabbage and Beet Sauerkraut

I’ve always been a lover of sauerkraut. I loved it as a kid and still love it as an adult. I don’t remember when I started making my own but if I asked my wallet I’m sure it would remember 😉 If you are someone who buys or has ever bought raw sauerkraut, you know what I’m talking about. It’s amazing how much money one can charge for a head of fermented cabbage. I spent that money for some time because it was well worth it for me. And while I will still purchase it on rare occasions if the craving hits and I didn’t anticipate that 2 weeks prior, then I splurge. Sauerkraut, which is a fermented food, is a very high source of probiotic, which is essential for good gut health. Having a healthy gut is pretty much one of the best things you can do for you overall health. Have you ever heard that we have two brains? Our actual brain, and then our gut, or “second brain”? Well it’s true. Our gut holds so much information that it is imperative we take care of it. Eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, amongst many other things, is a great way to introduce probiotics to our systems. While I make the plain and simple version more frequently, I like to play with the flavors every now and then. My latest kraut creation is a beautiful combination of red cabbage, beets, and red onions. Not only are we getting the benefits of fermentation here, but we are adding all the health benefits of raw beets (great for blood health and liver cleanser) and onions (awesome immunity booster). This batch came out surprisingly mild in flavor while still containing that delicious fermented taste that I look for. If I would have let my sauerkraut sit for a few more days, I probably would have gotten a stronger flavor, which would have been awesome as well. I’ve been introducing sauerkraut to my kids since they were babies, and they all like it. They are not always in the mood to eat it but I keep on presenting it to them, and some days they eat happily. I think it’s important we give our kids plenty of chances to eat “funky” foods without pressure in order to teach them about variety and so they can be familiar with all kinds of flavors of health boosting ingredients. Go slice yourself a cabbage and enjoy one of the cheapest ways to eat your way to a healthy gut.

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One of my favorite lunches recently has been this sauerkraut combined with some avocado, yellow yams, and whatever fresh greens I have growing in my garden. I actually crave eating that most days!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of purple cabbage
  • 2 small beets
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 TBS salt or to taste
  • 1 cup filtered water

Steps:

  • run vegetables in a food processor with the shredding attachement
  • put in a large bowl and add water and salt and massage really well to get the salt in there, it will get the vegetables to start releasing their juices faster so the fermentation process can start
  • either use this method here, or put your mixture in a large mason jar with screened lid covered with a piece of fabric (to keep bugs out) and press it down every few days to make sure the cabbage remains submerged in water. This is imperative or it will go bad!
  • let it sit on your counter or any place out of the way, for at least 2 weeks, taste it and let it sit longer if you want a stronger flavor.
  • when you are satisfied with the flavor, put it in sealed jars and keep it in the fridge for weeks!

Sprouting

Sprouts are one of the greatest sources of high quality nutrients in the world of raw foods because by definition, sprouts are still in the process of growing and therefor at the peak of their life force. They are not done growing, nor have they been “picked” and are slowly dying and loosing nutritional value. They contain enormous levels of proteins, vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, chlorophyll pigments and enzymes. The nutrient content in sprouts can rise from 50-2000 per cent!!

Whats more is that the body more easily absorbs nutrients from sprouts and are easily digested.

Sprouts are simply amazing and highly nutritious.

I started sprouting when I was pregnant with my first child, over 7 years ago. I started doing it because I wanted to feed my body the highest quality nutrients, and also because being a vegetarian, I have to be smart about my food choices in order to make sure I do not lack of vitamins and minerals, which can easel happen during pregnancy. Sprouts ensured that I was getting sufficient and high quality life force enzymes.

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                                                                     Radish seed sprouts, mung bean sprouts, chickpea sprouts

Sprouting at home is so easy and cheap. I sprout various ways, with a sprouting tray, with a nut milt bag, in a colander. One of the easiest ways though, using what you have at home, is to use an empty jar, a piece of cheesecloth and a rubber band.

For this last method, just put your seeds in your jar, rinse then soak in enough water to cover the seeds. Put the cheesecloth on the top of the jar, secure with a rubber band, and let sit for at least 8 hours.

Empty the water, rinse and empty again. And let it sit in a dark, warm place with the jar upside down or tilted to the side to allow for excess water to slowly drip out. After the first soaking process, you should never leave water in the jar other than the natural moisture from the seeds being rinsed.

Repeat the rinsing process twice a day until your seeds start sprouting. Depending on what you are sprouting it can take anywhere from 2 to 5 days.

If you have sunlight and remember to do it, place your sprouts for 2 hours in the sun to give them a nice energy boost.

Once they are sprouted, place them in a jar in the fridge and eat within 3 days to receive maximum life force and vitality from them.

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                                                                                          Brocoli, mung bean, and green lentil sprouts 

You can add sprouts to anything. I love to eat them as is, or on salads. Sometimes I make a little sprout bowl with varying sweet and savory flavors. For the kids, I throw them in their smoothie before blending. You can top a bowl of cooked food with them too. Really the possibilities are endless.

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                                                                                        Kiwi, persimmon, shredded coconut, sprouts

I cannot encourage you enough to start sprouting if you haven’t been doing it. It makes my body so happy to be eating such live foods.

Lice Prevention

This is not a very exciting post, but I find it to be a useful one. Because lice SUCK. I got lice a lot as a kid. I have vivid memories of my parents fine combing my hair trying to get all the nasty little bugs. I had hair down to my waist, like my daughter does, and they had to chop it short, in a bob, because I had so much lice and couldn’t take all the combing. This was when I was 7 years old. Then as a teenager, I got lice a lot too. By then I had a say in my hair and i wouldn’t let them cut it, so I had to walk around the village with my hair wrapped in some home made vinegar essential oil mixture, smelling quite awful. I remember still using the toxic shampoo, but in conjunction of the home made wrap around my head. It was slightly embarrassing to say the least. All this to say, I have been somewhat negatively affected by the existence of these horrendous leeches.

As a parent, I cannot imagine how frustrating it was to have to deal with so much lice. I don’t want to go through that. And I don’t want my kids to go through that either. And as usual, I am better at preventing things than I am at “fixing” them. So in the hopes of never having to deal with lice, I have taken preventative measures in my own hands.

There was a lice outbreak at my daughters school early december. So I made this little natural home remedy to prevent her from getting lice. Every morning before school. I would spray her hair with this, brush it and tie it in a tight braid. From what I hear, lice do not like the smell of rosemary and tea tree. Nor can they really make themselves comfortable in tightly bound hair. Washing hair less frequently also helps.

Holiday break has come and gone and I think we might have escaped the lice out break this time around.

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Method:

  • In a small spray bottle, put 5-10 drops each of rosemary and tea tree oil (or as much as you can handle), top it off with a little water, shake well.
  • Spray on your childs’ head every morning before brushing.

Have your kids ever gotten lice? What did you do?

Edible Body Scrub

I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but you could really eat this body scrub. All the ingredients in it are edible and it tastes good enough to eat, so why not take a spoon with you to the shower?

Little back story on this scrub: It was meant to be a whipped body butter. My friends and I had a little DIY holiday gift making session. One of things on the “menu” was a whipped body butter, amongst other things. When it was time to make it, we realized that my friend had picked up coconut butter, not cacao butter. BIG difference here. As the reality of the situation sank in, we decided to move forward with our creation and see how it goes. Unsurprisingly, coconut butter doesn’t whip like cacao butter does. Being a big rawfoodie, I knew that the texture of the coconut butter was going to be too grainy to ever create the luxurious smoothness of a body butter. So after unsuccessfully trying to whip this into a lotion, we decided to turn it into a scrub. At this point it just became super fun and creative. We didn’t really care what the end result would be as the process itself was interesting. We threw in whatever ingredients sounded nice together, adding some known things to make the scrubby feeling, and voila! I present you the Edible Body Scrub.

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I am sharing this with you not so much because I think you would want to try making it, but more to show you that screw ups can be quite quite fun, insightful, and surprisingly useful at times. Also to remind you that even when a recipe doesn’t turn out the way you expected, with a little creativity and imagination, you can usually find something else to make.

I was skeptical at how useful this scrub would be, but after using, I must say, I LOVE it!!! It definitely felt like a body scrub, and it definitely left my skin feeling smooth and hydrated afterwards. No need for lotion!! AND, I got to have a snack while in the shower, super bonus points for that.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut butter
  • several drops of grapefruit essential oils
  • 3/4 cup of oats
  • a handful of dried rosebuds
  • 1/3 cup of poppy seeds

Steps:

  • Melt the oil and butter together,
  • let harden for a bit
  • then mix well with a hand held electric mixer
  • add all other ingredients and mix with a spoon
  • store in a jar

We ended up splitting the coconut oil and butter once it was melted to make 2 different “flavors”. The other one we made was coffee coconut sugar. That’s the one that is dangerous on a spoon. It might never make it to my body if it stops any where near my mouth.

I have no idea how long this will keep. I will maybe come back and update this post once I find out.

Have you had epic fails that became surprisingly good?

Natural Cold Remedy

If you have been following my blog, you are likely aware that I am not a fan of chemicals, especially going in to my body. I put extra effort in preparing wholesome meals and feeding myself and my family clean, nutrient dense foods for many reasons, and the biggest one is so we can be healthy and have a body that functions optimally, in order to enjoy life to the fullest. Sometimes though, our immune systems can’t handle things that are going around and we can get sick. Although this rarely happens, I like to be prepared in the event it does. Since I do not take store bought medicine or pills from a pharmacy or even really go to the doctor for that matter, I research ways to heal and fight illnesses naturally. I firmly believe in the healing powers of plants and all things that nature has provided for us, therefor I will always look there first before turning to a more “clinical” method. That is when I came across this site and recipe:

http://www.cauldronsandcrockpots.com/2013/01/elderberry-elixir/

I am so excited to have strained my elixir tonight and to be able to share it with you 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup elderberries
  • 1/2 dried elderflowers
  • 1/4 cup mullein leaf
  • 1/4 cup dried boneset
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon
  • 1/2 peel of 1 lemon
  • alcohol (I used brandy)
  • raw honey (it is so nutritionally dense compared to the non raw kind

Steps:

  • Put all the herbs in a jar
  • Fill it a third of the way up with honey
  • Finish filling with alcohol
  • Screw the lid on top, give it a good shake
  • Keep it in a place where you will see it daily so you can give it a good shake everyday
  • Let it sit for 6 weeks
  • Strain, put it in bottles, label and store for a few years

When you feel any symptoms of a cold or flulike sickness coming on, take 1/4 tsp every couple hours until you feel better.

I haven’t tried the efficacy of this yet, and although I hope I never need to take it, I kinda hope to get sick just to see how well it works!

Citrus Hand Scrub

I spend many hours in the kitchen. Creating, chopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, drying, repeating. Add to that the toddler butt wiping and diaper changes, I am constantly washing my hands. Even if I use gentle soap, my natural oils are constantly being stripped, leaving my hands feeling dry.

For that reason I keep a small jar or bowl of sugar scrub by my kitchen sink. This is the only time you will ever see me using sugar in my kitchen. Once I am done with whatever I had going on in the kitchen, I grab a walnut size ball of scrub and friction it all over my hands and wrists.

The scrub cleanses my hands gently while hydrating them. I quickly rinse off the sugar under warm water and massage the rest of the oil and moisture all on my hands and arms afterwards. I don’t usually towel dry after that.

It feels wonderful. It’s like a mini self massage. I actually take a moment to close my eyes and enjoy the feeling of the rough sugar against my skin mixed with the silkiness of the coconut oil. It’s such a nice way to wrap up my kitchen time. And my hands feel nourished, even if for just a moment before I go change another diaper and wash my hands again 😉

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 15-20 drops of either lemon or orange essential oils

Steps:

  • put everything in a bowl and massage together until well combined
  • store in a jar or bowl with a lid in a place where you will see it frequently

I make small batches intentionally as I like to switch up the oils I use. I have made this with almond oil and olive oil instead of the coconut and it works just as well. It will remain liquid though, and I personally like the fact that coconut oil will harden. I find it easier to grab. Play around with the essential oils too!

DIY Window Cleaner

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If this picture is a familiar image in your home, kids licking/kissing windows, hands all over them, then those hands go in their mouth then on their food, then back in their mouths, you get the picture. Then I hope that like me you have chosen to use a chemical free window cleaner.

Chemicals are bad for the environment, we all know that. But that might not be enough of a reason to switch to chemical free house cleaners for some people. So if like me, you have small children that lick windows, roll on the floor, eat food that has been left on the ground under the table for a couple days (don’t judge me, I don’t always choose to spend my time picking up after every meal), maybe knowing that how you clean your house can affect your children, might help you make more conscious decisions with what you use.

I just looked up what is in Windex, the most commercial brand out there. And here is a list of some of the things that are in there: Isopropol Alcohol, Hexoxyethanol, Ammonium Hydroxide, Propylene Glycol, Liquitint Sky Blue Dye. I don’t even care to do the research on why most of those are bad to ingest, I will just believe my gut instinct and not use it in my house. I know there are a lot of companies that make chemical free products, but  I find them expensive given I can make my own at home for less than $1.

Instead, I make a very easy, very cheap mixture:

  • 1 part water,
  • 1 part white vinegar,
  • several drops of essential oil to add a nice fragrance safely.
  • Put everything in a spray bottle.

Right now I have lavender in the mix, but I like to switch it up. I use it just like a store bought window cleaner. It works perfect. No smudges, dries quickly, a little less quickly than if it had alcohol in it, but it’s till great. And I feel good about my kids licking the windows. (That’s a lie. I wish they would stop doing it so I wouldn’t have to clean them so much, but that’s beside the point).

I use that same cleaner to spray my kitchen floors after having washed them with soap, to disinfect.

What do you use in your home? If you have en easy, cheap, DYI recipe for some household cleaning products, please share!

Daily Multi Vitamins for Kids

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In a post a couple months ago I had mentioned how I was determined to keep the green yukky thick goopy noses at bay this year once my daughter started school. Well it has been 2 months now, and I am happy to say that so far, so good!! What I have been doing differently this year from previous years, is that I committed to giving my kids a daily dose of multivitamins. Not the store bought, industrialized, incapsulated, who-knows-whats-really-in-them-anyway?, and does-your-body-even-assimilate-all-this-stuff?, multivitamin. The real kind. The kind of vitamins you get from eating, or in this case drinking, fruits and vegetables. Every morning for the past 2 months, I have been making our family a green juice before I drop my daughter off to school. They drink it first things in the morning. It’s not always easy to get them to drink it. Some days it goes down fine, others I have to hold the cup for them, or sometimes make up games to get them to drink it. But it’s been SO WORTH it. By this time most school years, my daughter has brought home some gross runny nose. No other symptoms, just that nasty stuff all over her face that she wants to kiss and hug us with. Then she sometimes gives it to her brother. Not this year. I love kisses and snuggles too much to have them be ruined by excessive mucus. Up until now I have been making a juice that consists mainly on the stuff you see in the picture. Ingredients change a bit depending on what I find at the farmers market, but up until now it’s been pretty green pretty cleansing and detoxifying, as well as immunity boosting and all around just amazing. I really love having this kind of juice being the first thing I put in my body, and although my kids aren’t aware of it just yet, I am really happy that they get to experience such goodness too.

Here is a not exact recipe of what I have been making:

  • 4-5 cups of greens ( I rotate my greens weekly, you should too)
  • 1 cup herbs (I rotate mainly between parsley and cilantro)
  • 1 big chunk of ginger
  • 1 lemon, with peel
  • 2-3 stalks of celery
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 green apple, or 1 carrot, or 1 beet

Juice everything and drink it immediately!!!

I am about to switch up this juice recipe as I am feeling the need to get into more fall vegetables and I feel like our bodies could use some other nutrients than the ones we have been getting through so much green. But I am definitely committed to continuing juicing for my kids (and my!) health. Without a doubt, they are the reason I am keeping this up everyday. If I were juicing only for myself, I know I would have skipped a bunch of days or even would have taken a break from it by now. But why take a break from taking vitamins daily? Which is what juicing essentially is. While smoothies are great since we get a good dose of fiber in them, we tend to add other things in them as well and they are a little heavier to digest. And we cannot put nearly as many greens in a smoothie without feeling full as we can in a juice. Which makes it that we don’t get as many vitamins and nutrients. As the weather cools down and I have built up a good immunity for us up until now, I will be adding more smoothies in our diet and more colors to our juices. Stay on the lookout for those recipes coming soon 🙂

Red Cabbage and Sour Apple Sauerkraut

Another probiotic goodness recipe!! Easy to make, even easier to eat! There actually was another 16oz jar filled with this recipe but we ate it before I remembered to take the picture.  Oops 😉

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small head red cabbage
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1TBS salt (or to taste)
  • 1 cup water ( or more if needed, just make sure the cabbage is submerged)

Steps:

  • slice everything real thin and follow the same set up and steps as my garlic and onion sauerkraut
  • Always taste your mix before getting it to ferment and adjust the salt accordingly. A too salty kraut is a real bummer.