Garden Love and Gomassio

I finally started up my garden again this year after a couple year sabbatical. It feel so great to be playing in the dirt again, planting little seeds watching them grow, feeding our bodies directly from the earth and bringing awareness to my children of the importance of where our food comes from.

Growing up on an organic farm, we ate mostly from what my parents grew. And as a kid I took it for granted. That’s just the way it was! Food grows outside, we pick it, we eat it. During the summer time and school was out, we had to participate in the upkeep of the garden. It was a chore. All my friends were out playing and I had to stay back and put in my two hours before I could do anything. I didn’t like doing it. I complained often. But boy am I happy my parents did that! It is definitely one of those moments where my parents said “You will thank me later”, and I did 🙂

Having ma parents show me what real food was at such a young age, got me to grow into a food conscious adult, as well as bring awareness to the planet and living things. Now with my kids when we are out in our little city back yard, they observe bugs and ask questions about why I grow certain things and not others and talk about edible flowers. When having children, gardening becomes so much more than just eating from the source. And while I do not have the capacity to grow enough food to feed my family all the vegetables we require, it is still enough to have fresh greens daily and to involve my kids in something I find so important: Health and our Earth, and how the two are connected.

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We have been eating a variety of greens and herbs from the garden for several weeks now, but this is our first batch of radishes, and the kids were so excited to pick them!! Radishes are such a great vegetable for kids to grow because they are so easy, grow fast, are easy for them to pick,  and are cute and pink! Although they have a little spice to them, my kids didn’t seem to mind. I think the excitement of eating from the garden took over the slight spiciness 🙂 I remember loving radishes as a kid. When we ate them at my grandmas house we would put some fresh organic butter on them and then dip them in gomassio, this powder thing that my grandma would buy. For many years I reminisced about how tasty that was, thinking it was a childhood memory or that i had to be at my grandmas house to eat radishes that way. Until I found out that Gomassio was essentially just sesame seeds and salt. So I recreated this childhood memory with my own kids and it was perfect 🙂 We had some leftover gomassio and my daughter being the awesome little creative chef she is decided to use it to make a vegetable stir fry 🙂 I unfortunately have no pictures of that dish. IMG_2495

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp himalayan sea salt, or real salt

Steps:

  • smash them together until fine enough to dip radishes in it!
  • A mortar and pestle would be ideal here, but I broke mine a while ago and never bought a new one, so we used my daughters mini food processor

Food for Fuel

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photo source: Internet

Why do you eat? Why do you eat what you eat? Do you have a thought process before eating certain foods? Do you feel like your relationship with food could improve?

Food is essential for life. Without food or some form of it, we would not be able to live. Yet in these modern times, food is the cause of so much illness, poor health, sometimes even death. Why is that? Why is it that something that is designed to keep us alive, kills so many?

I think the reason why is because too many have lost contact with food’s primary purpose: FUEL. Then, nutrition.

Food is fuel for our bodies. Just like we need to put gas in our cars regularly, we need to put food in our bodies regularly. The highest quality gas will allow your car to run optimally. The right amount of radiator fluid and good oil, have the same purpose: to help your car to function properly. Too much or too little of these things will make it that your car will either overflow and not know what to do with all the extra liquid, or won’t be able to get you to where you want to go because of insufficient energy. While our bodies are much more amazing and intricate and complicated than a car, the basics are very similar. We need the proper kind of fuel to move optimally. The wrong kind of gas will break your car just like the wrong foods can create illness and poor health. Treat your body as you would your car, fill the tank with the right kind of fuel when it is empty, stop filling when it is full, give it the right kind of oil and at the right time.

Isn’t that great news? I think it is, because it really is THAT simple.

Too many people have lost touch with the simplicity of feeding one’s body and that is where eating disorders, obesity, poor health, etc…. arises. I don’t believe many foods to be truly evil. As a matter of fact, other than being a strict vegetarian, there is nothing I absolutely won’t eat. (Don’t quote me on this I might change my mind later). What I do believe in though, is eating the right foods at the right time. How do you do that? Well just think about what you are trying to accomplish. If all you are interested in is the pleasure of awakening your senses with delicious foods, then by all means, go for it, because, let’s not be hypocrites here, eating food for pleasure can be quite delightful. (Have you seen some of the recipes on my blog??) Even then though, I would suggest to be mindful about this. Do you eat for pleasure every time you eat? If that’s the case, I would suggest you make sure that what you find pleasurable also has a double purpose of properly fueling your body with nutritious ingredients. If it doesn’t, then maybe it’s time to revisit your relationship with food. If you are interested in being healthy and having your body work properly, then I suggest you start thinking about your meals and what you are going to be eating according to what your activities following that meal are. Are you going to be exercising? Are you going to be sitting at your desk for several hours? Are you going out dancing? Are you going to the park to play with your kids? Are you sitting on the couch watching a movie? Depending on what you will be doing, your body will require different forms of fuel. The foods I choose before an afternoon at the park running around, often are different than the foods I choose once the kids are in bed and I am reading a book or watching a movie. With this mindset I rarely feel deprived. If I MUST have a cupcake or ice cream or pizza or croissant, or which ever other foods that are not optimal for my body’s wellbeing, then at least I can make sure to eat those things at a time where my body can use those foods as energy instead of storing them as fat.

Subsequently, choosing the proper nutrition for your fuel will have an even greater positive impact on your health. I mentioned pizza, cupcake and such, and while I believe it is fine to let myself eat those things at times, it is rarely what I will choose to FUEL or FEED my body with when I have health in mind. Using the proper fuel will ensure optimal body function. While eating pizza at lunch when I will be going for a run later is much better than pizza at dinner when I will just be sitting and watching a movie, no pizza is best. So do not let yourself get trapped in the “FUEL” mindset, meaning you are using the fact that you will be using what you just ate as fuel for exercise as a reason to feed your body junk regularly. Combining proper fuel with proper nutrition is where it’s at if you are looking for optimal health. While a cookie might be lower in calories than some dried fruit and nuts, the benefits you will get from the latter outweigh the benefits you would be getting from a cookie. Wether you are burning off the calories or not.

I believe that the quality of your calories are far more important than the quantity of those calories, I will also argue that at which time you choose to consume those calories are almost equally as important than the calories you are choosing to consume.

It might take some practice at first but eventually this will be second nature. Reaching for a cookie at bedtime, or going to the gym on an empty stomach won’t make any sense to you. Having a big carb loaded lunch will sound awful if you know you are returning to the office to sit at your desk for several hours. By thinking of food this way you are bringing back your intuition to what feels best. Because in the end, isn’t that what we all want? To feel good? And I can guarantee you that the momentary “good” feeling you get from eating a “treat” is nothing compared the long lasting bliss that comes with eating a clean, nutrient rich diet.

So next time you reach for something to eat, ask yourself, “What am I trying to accomplish for my body with this food?”

Weaning from Mothers Milk

I have had several people ask me about how I weaned my kids from breast feeding. So I thought I would share it here in order to make it easier access for those who asked and also, hopefully, in order to help mothers who are in the process.

I have 3 kids. The baby is still nursing full time. My daughter self weaned at 2 1.2 years old. And my middle child had to be weaned about 9 months after his baby brother was born. So I have experience with both self weaning, and “assisted” weaning. For the purpose of this post I am sticking to “assisted” weaning, what I did with my son, what worked for us.

I am by no means a lactation consultant. I am just a mother who has her own experience with her own children. Every mother will have her own ways of doing things and what worked for me might not work for another, but I still feel compelled to share in case what I have to offer can help ease the stress for some.

Firstly, if you are looking for my tips and advice on night weaning, go here. I wrote about how I night weaned my two older kids at around age 10-12 months.

This post is intended to focus on the last daytime feedings of an already night weaned child.

The first piece of advice I want to give is: make a plan and stick to it. If you are really committed to weaning your child, make a plan, and stick to it. From what I experienced, being too flexible with dwindling down the nursing, just extends the time it will take for the nursing to stop. At first I was pretty vague with my son. I just said I would “slow down” or “limit” the feedings. If that  sounds vague and confusing, its because it is. Imagine a child trying to figure out what it means? I would say “Not now buddy, we will do gougoutte (french for booby) later”. When is later? After a coupe days of doing that with him, and him having fits because he wanted the boob now, I realized I needed to be more clear. For both of us. That’s when I decided to put him on schedule. It’s pretty known amongst parents that children in general thrive with routines and schedules. Children like to know what is coming next, it helps them handle situations more easily. I experienced the reality of this with weaning my son. As soon as I implemented a schedule, he was on board and within less than two weeks I managed to not only slow down the daily nursing, but I eventually cut it down to just the early morning feeding which was the hardest.

A little more detail. When I decided it was time to wean him, I stopped offering him the boob altogether. I waited for him to ask for it. Within just a few days I wanted to cut down even more and that’s when I tried saying no, later, but that didn’t work so well, so I implemented the schedule. I decided that he would get milk first thing in the morning when he woke up, and right after his afternoon nap. I told him this. I reminded him of it regularly. So when he would ask for the boob and I would say no, it wasn’t foreign to him.

Once I felt like he was doing well with this, I cut out the afternoon feeding. A very important note here: BEFORE he would go down for his nap I would tell him that when he wakes up, he is not getting gougoutte, he can have a banana or some water, or an orange, etc…. If I ever forgot to tell him this, he would freak out upon awakening. This seemed like a deal breaker for him. So I tried to never forget to tell him before he fell asleep that he was not getting the boob once he woke up. He would definitely ask after his nap, but didn’t get too bent out of shape when I would say no. I honestly think it took less than a week for him to get to that point. And about 2 weeks for him to stop asking altogether.

The last feeding to go was the early morning one. It was the hardest. Mainly because he would crawl in to bed where his baby brother was sleeping, demanding the boob and if I didn’t give it to him he would freak out and wake up his brother. So it took a bit longer to stick to my words as I didn’t want to wake up the baby. I essentially did the same thing as for naps though. Before bed time I would tell him that when he wakes up in the morning and he comes to my bed, we can snuggle but we aren’t doing gougoutte anymore. Little by little it caught on until he would just come into our bed and ask for a snuggle. Pure bliss. For real. I didn’t expect that stopping to nurse him would lead to such amazing snuggles. Here is a more emotionally charged post about this 🙂

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Although I had to wean my son, he still nursed until he was almost 2 1/2. I truly love nursing and he might still be nursing today if he didn’t have a baby brother. But I have noticed a growth spurt happen after the weaning. It’s like breast feeding him was the only thing keeping him in the baby stages. He is so much more verbal now, more independent. I feel like I can talk to him and have him understand me better. His brain doesn’t go into baby booby land just seeking comfort when something bothers him. He is just 2 1/2 now, I weaned him last october. And for a 2 1/2 year old he is pretty communicative and understanding. Although he still acts like a baby sometimes, for the most part, it seems as though the weaning has allowed him to start opening himself up to self soothing, or just needing a hug, which in a lot of ways is a relief for me.

So there you have it. My path to weaning my children. If you have any questions, I am more than happy to answer them. Again and always though, as a mother, follow your intuition and your heart, and do what feels best for you and your baby. We all have a unique bond with our children and it is important to stay connected and in touch with that bond in order to make intuitive choices.

I hope this post helps. Happy weaning!!

Intentions, Not resolutions

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The end of the year is fast approaching, and so are most peoples New Years Resolutions. I’ve stopped having new year’s resolutions a long time ago. Mainly because I have stopped waiting for a new year to get going on something that I know will benefit me, but also because I would find myself caught up in the all too familiar excitement of setting new goals, too many of them, going all out for a few weeks and then falling off the excitement train to go right back to my old habits.

Instead I have started reflecting, and setting intentions. This is something I do routinely, not just on the new year, but I find the collective energy so strong on the new year, that I like to participate in this momentary heightened state of excited consciousness and send out to the universe bigger intentions, bigger reflections and brighter goals than I do all year round.

What I did not like about resolutions, is that I found myself in a state of “want”. I want to exercise more. I want to eat better. I want to make more money. I want to do x,y and z. And while wanting definitely got me going for a while, it never lasted. Plus wanting those things just put me in an “end goal” state of mind, whereas with intention setting, I can focus more on the journey.  Resolutions has such a finality about it. Intentions has more of a lifestyle adjustment feel to it, in my opinion.

Thinking about my life with intention instead of resolve makes me feel happier, more free, more open to flexibility and change-of-course if things shape up somewhat differently than I had anticipated.

To some people, this is all semantics, and the wording you use might have no impact of what you set out to accomplish. In any case, I think it is nice to take some time to reflect on the past year, what worked, what didn’t, what I want to improve on, what I want to create.

Here is what I propose for anyone interested:

*look back on 2014 and think about all your triumphs and failures. Write them down. Allow yourself to sit with the uncomfortable feelings that arise while reliving your failures or the moments you didn’t live up to your best self. This is important as it allows you to release the negative emotions you might have brewing inside you about yourself. Remember that those moments have passed, you survived and hopefully you are stronger/wiser thanks to them. There is no need to hold on to those any longer. Holding on to those will only hinder your growth and your ability to manifest greatness. When thinking about your triumphs you can get better insight on where you excel and how that can support you in accomplishing more in the year to come. I think this is an important step as it is equally beneficial to let go of the past to be able to move forward as it is to acknowledge our strengths and be empowered by our own positive opinions about ourselves.

*write down the qualities about yourself that you feel allow you to accomplish things in your life, wether it be you are hard working, or easily motivated, or determined or outgoing and social. Acknowledging and looking at your qualities can give you more strength and power in your intention setting as it shows you parts of yourself you have a good connection with which in turn will assist you to stay on track with what you set out to do.

*write down your intentions and which qualities about yourself will allow you to accomplish those intentions. Say you are outgoing and social, and one of your intentions is to be more active, then maybe you can enroll your friends in a weekly hike, or join a bootcamp with people you enjoy being around.

*do not overdo it. Having too many intentions can quickly become overwhelming. Having just a few things to focus on can allow us to actually focus on them. If you get the hang of your new intentions quickly and it becomes part of your lifestyle, nothing stops you from creating new ones!

Are you setting intentions for yourself this year? How do you go about doing that? I find it fun to think about the future and how I can make it brighter 🙂

Intenseness Does not Equal Healthness

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(Healthness should be in the dictionary)

I used to be that person, the one who wouldn’t do a workout if I couldn’t give it my all. If I didn’t have at least an hour to workout, then why bother? If I can’t get a good sweat going, what’s the point? For years that attitude more or less worked for me. I was living a single life and worked as a trainer at a gym. I had the time and convenience of taking classes and working out during breaks or after work. And I made sure I sweat every single time. It didn’t count as a workout if I didn’t have to change my shirt and sports bra afterwards. It was a great feeling really. To have to peel the soaking clothes off my body, proving that I had given my all, that I had an intense workout worthy of a fitness trainer and an all out workout beast.

That was me in my twenties. Pre-babies. I was on fire and unstoppable. What size clothes I fit into mattered more than the long lasting health benefits of my lifestyle.

Although it took some getting used to and some ego-checking, I am so grateful for the shift in my perspective and my approach to health.

Today, every little bit of physical activity counts towards my goal of lifelong health.

I didn’t really “choose” to change my outlook on fitness, I kinda had to make changes according to my mommy lifestyle. I didn’t have the time or energy to spend so many hours at the gym. I had to find other ways to stay fit and active. At first I was still striving to get that “perfect” body (whatever that is), still trying to look the way I did before I had children. My workouts were solely driven by a desire to improve my appearance. It worked some, but not fully. It was way too easy for me to skip a workout, or reach for an unhealthy snack, as I felt I looked “good enough”.

After my second baby arrived I started viewing physical health quite differently. And it wasn’t until my 3rd baby arrived, that I really got a good handle on what true health means for me.

Today being fit and healthy looks so different than it did in my early twenties. And funny enough, I feel like I look better than I did before I had my first child. Even if under my own scrutiny I notice the cellulite and stretch marks that weren’t there before, somehow, I find myself more beautiful than I did back then. My skin was tighter then, my belly wasn’t marked, my breasts were fuller, and yet I didn’t have the appreciation for how I looked the way I do today. Not only that, but I am much healthier today than I was at any point in my twenties.

What changed is I shifted my intense workout attitude for a more healthy one. My intense workouts were driven by a superficial desire to look a certain way. This kind of mentality is neither healthy nor is it sustainable. One day I was bound to burn out on spending hours at the gym. Today, I don’t have time to spend hours at the gym, but I do have time to spend hours at the playground! Working out at the playground while hanging out with my kids is a very healthy way to move my body. I don’t put many expectations on myself when I am at the playground, other than do a minimum of two exercises. Sometimes that turns into 10 exercises, sometimes it’s just two. But at least I moved my body. The next day, I might be on a walk and I decide to do a few jump squats on a bench and some pushups. That takes less than 2 minutes. Or I will run some of my favorite stairs with my boys after I drop off my daughter at school.

Moving my body a little bit every day guarantees I remain consistent. And if that is my only goal: moving my body a little bit every day, I rarely let myself down. Some days I get a full on workout and it feels amazing. Some days, I focus on my cardio and run stairs intentionally to get a good sweat going, and I love it. Sweating and working out feels great to me. But those things are not my priority anymore. Feeling good is. And sweating every single day, getting an intense workout every single day, doesn’t feel good to me anymore. Mainly because I don’t have the energy given the amount of sleep I get. But moving my body a little bit every single day, is a MUST for me to feel good and have a Good Life.

My point here is that to be healthy, I needed to make choices that are sustainable and convenient. Doing a quick 15 minute workout in my living room, is very convenient. Working out at the playground is definitely sustainable as I will be going to playgrounds for years.

I still love intense workouts. I love kickboxing. I love sweating. Yet I don’t believe those things to be essential on a daily basis to be healthy. I do believe in connecting with my inner beast every now and then to push boundaries and see what I am made of. But that’s not my every day approach to fitness anymore.

Once my kids are all in school, I wouldn’t be surprised if my priorities change again. Once I have more time to myself I will probably find a different way to act out on my desire to remain healthy. But for now, intenseness doesn’t equal healthness.

Sleeping like a Baby

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Who ever decided that this phrase was to be used as a positive comment? I mean babies, generally, aren’t great at sleeping. New borns wake up every couple hours to eat. If I were to get up every couple hours and go to the kitchen for a snack I doubt I would feel like I was getting good rest, (not to mention the amount of pounds I would be putting on). If you are one of the lucky one’s whose baby just decided to sleep through the night at just a few weeks old (I hate you), you are very lucky.

I have 3 kids, one of them is still a baby. And in my world, sleeping like a baby means you don’t sleep enough, at least from a parent’s perspective. My daughter was a decent night sleeper, but a terrible napper. I couldn’t put her down. She slept well on me but as soon as I tried to lay her on the bed she would wake up. I didn’t mind too much as she was my first and I had nothing else to do but to carry her around, go for walks, clean the house and such. It was extra cuddling time. It was just frustrating when I wanted to get a workout in or take a shower. My first son, had digestive troubles for the first few months, so nights were awful. I would have to walk him around at 2am trying to help sooth his aching belly. He was a great napper though. I could put him down and he would stay asleep for at least an hour. Which was awesome. Since him and I would spend so much time together in the middle of the night, I welcomed the hour long break in the day. My baby now, is a terrible sleeper all around. He wakes up frequently at night, and I can rarely put him down for naps. He naps on me during the day, and is snuggled by my side at night, frequently waking up for a snack or just to make sure I am still there.( God forbid I went to the bathroom during one of his wakings.)

I’ve learned to adapt to this. I do a lot with him sleeping on me during the day. Heck, I’ve even figured out how to workout! (yep, that’s me in the video). But he wakes up easily if one of his siblings is too noisy.

I’ve learned ways to make my life more manageable on intense sleep deprivation. I would even say I’ve become quite good at it. There was a time I would wake up resentful, not feel like doing anything at all, just zombie around all day and couldn’t get the older kids to bed fast enough at night just so I could lay down myself.

But now, I feel like I live a life full of awesomeness. I am not getting any more sleep than a few months ago. My baby still wakes up several times a night. But I’ve adjusted and just like most things in life, it takes on average 6 weeks for our bodies to adapt to any new routine. So I guess you could say that I have hit a sleep deprivation plateau, where my body has gotten used to the amount of sleep I am getting and I can now sustain the lifestyle that I have without too much struggle.

For the most part, I have accepted the fact that my life right now is not powered by sleep. But there are days when I get frustrated and just wish he would sleep more. So when I see or hear the phrase “I slept like a baby”, and I think, “wow you must’ve had a crappy night”.

“I slept like a toddler”. Now there’s a phrase that makes sense to me!! Both my older kids sleep great. And as soon as we night weaned them, they started sleeping through the night and haven’t gone back. It. Is. Wonderful.

I live a very full life on very little sleep. I have never been so tired and so happy at the same time. Although I do not get that much sleep, I have stopped resenting that. Letting go of the thought that I NEED more sleep, made it that I have been able to allow myself to function at whatever level I can each day without judgement. Sure I regularly want more sleep, but I don’t believe I always need it. Some days I feel like I am awesome and I get so much done, and some days I can barely get myself dressed and out the door for school drop off without wishing it was 7pm already. But everyday I am accepting. And that acceptance has taken away a lot of the frustration, the annoyance and the short temperedness. These early days with the babies are the ones that go by the fastest. It won’t be that long before the baby sleeps through the night. And soon enough they will all be in school all day long. Finding out who I am right now, in these moments of sleep deprivation, is an interesting process to me. As long as I don’t make it about other people and lash out at my family, then all is good.

So there are my thoughts on sleeping like a baby. The eternal optimistic that I am has found many positives in my sleep deprivation to make me not hate life, but I won’t hide that I am looking forward to the day I get more than 2-3 hours of sleep in a row. I am not ready for night weaning yet, and that is why it hasn’t happened.

If you have a sleep deprived life, please share your experience and what you do to deal with it. I hope most people have a better experience than I do, because truth be told, it does suck to not get enough sleep.

 

Think Ahead, Lazy Parenting

Advance meal prep is where it’s at when trying to be a lazier parent. Although I truly love being in the kitchen and can spend hours creating, cooking, mixing, etc…. There are days when I don’t have time, or I just don’t feel like it. I started doing serious advance meal prep when I was pregnant with my first child, almost seven years ago (!!!!) And I have since done that at the end of each pregnancy. As the due date approached, I would start cooking like crazy and freezing a bunch of stuff so that we would have an abundance of wholesome foods to eat once the new baby arrived, without me having to spend much time in the kitchen, therefor having more time to snuggle with my new baby 🙂 Combine this with the generosity of friends dropping off food, we always had a very easy and healthy first 6 weeks postpartum. I did this with all three pregnancies, and for some reason, once we ate all the food in the freezer, I would go right back to cooking everyday from scratch. But not this year! I have already started filling up my freezer and will keep doing it.

I am sharing this post with you for two reasons:

  1. Maybe you haven’t been doing this for your family, and I can help inspire you to start making big batches of food and freezing them for future meals, therefor easing your stress around meal prep at times.
  2. To share with you some of favorite go-to freezer meals that we eat throughout the “winter”.

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This was my freezer last year at this time, since I was about to give birth to my 3rd baby. There are several batches of muffins: carrot muffins, zucchini muffins, blueberry muffins. There are several soups: carrot soup, butternut squash soup, lentil soup. As well as some veggie stews, and chili. There are some curries in there and some apple sauce. As well as my go to raw energy bites. I had also made huge batches of raw granola, that I kept in the pantry.

I cannot share enough how nice it is to have a freezer full of nutritious wholesome meals. If I have time and energy, I truly like prepping my meals fresh, but I also like to be able to stay out an extra hour if we are having a good time somewhere without the worry of having to go home and cook a meal. Or if I know ahead of time that I will be out late, I can take one of the pouches of food out and let it thaw in the sink all day so that when dinner time comes we will have a meal just waiting to be heated.

And I love having a variety of muffins ready to be grabbed for my daughter’s school lunches and snacks.

I use a vacuum sealer. It keeps food fresh longer, without the unfortunate layer of ice that can form in jars. And it also saves so mud space. The soups and stews can be stacked, avoiding the clutter of too many jars.

I hope you find this post useful. What do you do to make your life easier in the kitchen? Any tips are greatly appreciated!  I truly value eating nutritiously, and I also value having fun, being lazy and living in the present, which a little bit of thinking ahead can help me accomplish 😉

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!

Halloween Smoothie!!

It’s Halloween. For most families that means trick or treating and eating way too much sugar. Our family will definitely be ringing doorbells and filling up buckets with junk. The kids love it. It’s a really fun tradition and I don’t want to take that away from my kids when everyone else at school is talking about it. That said, their health still really matters to me and eating too much sugar is just bad. So I have come up with a solution: I make green smoothies. I do this when I know we will be going to an event where the kids will be eating way too much junk food. The kids are used to this by now, but I tell them we do not leave the house until they are done with their smoothie. They choose: “drink your smoothie and go out (trick or treating in this case), or don’t drink and stay home.” We’ve never stayed home 🙂

On Halloween night it should be even easier to get your kids to drink this:” It’s monster juice!”;  “It’ll help keep al the scary things away when we go to haunted houses!” Get creative!

The reason for a green smoothie is simple: they fill up on a really nutritious meal so that their bodies can handle what they are about to throw at it with more ease.

Fiber is huge in helping keep blood glucose levels from going out the roof. Fiber traps sugar as it passes through the intestines, therefor slowing down the rate at which your body digests it which helps reduce the amount of insulin your body needs to handle it. So eating lots of fiber before eating sugar, is one of the best things you can do if you are committed to eating sugar. This is one of the reasons why eating whole fruit is so different than just drinking the juice, which is void of fiber, therefore is just sugar. Protein has a similar effect.

I add fat to the smoothie in order to help feel full longer, in order to feel satiated. Fat triggers the pyloric valve between your stomach and small intestine. That valve is what slows down digestion and allows you to feel fuller longer as well as reduce sugar spikes.

When making a smoothie for good nutrition keep these things in mind. Does it have fiber? Does it have healthy fats? Does it have protein?

I don’t do this every time I make a smoothie. I do this when I make a smoothie before going to an event where I know we will be eating foods that I do not believe to contribute greatly to my health.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups packed of greens. I used all kale here. Make sure to use fresh greens, not frozen.
  • 2 1/2 cups almond milk (or any milk you prefer)
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 small apple with skin, cored
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 dates
  • 1 small chunk ginger (optional)
  • 8 ice cubes (optional, I just wanted the smoothie cold)

Steps:

  • Put everything in blender and blend on high until super smooth
  • Drink up!

This made about 40 oz. Enough for my little family of 5.