A Morning Ritual

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Between the chillier days and fighting off germs, I have developed a new morning (and sometimes nightly) routine. It’s the best.

Basically, it’s a power house tea. And it’s my new favorite thing. I simply heat up some water in the tea kettle, squeeze some lemon juice into a mug, add 2 drops of Thieves. I let it all “brew” for a minute or two and keep a spoon near by to give it a stir every so often, to keep the oil from lingering at the top.

Now, hot water with lemon is already great by itself. It’s an awesome way to start the day and jump start your digestive system. But, due to the off and on stuffy nose I have woken up with, I decided to step up my game. Sometimes I even add a splash of fermented apple cider vinegar. You could even take it a step further and add some raw/local honey.

Between this tea, liquid  silver, monitoring my sugar intake (yes, even fruit) and incorporating fermented foods/beverages, I have thus far (knock on wood) kept any signs of sickness away. Neither of us have experienced any cold/flu/cough this wintery season . . . and we hope to keep it that way. Do you have any winter rituals?

PS: We use the nasal spray version of Sovereign Silver. We have found it to produce the best results AND it lasts the longest (= more bang for your buck). I pick it up at Sprouts/Whole Foods for $14 and it lasts a good month if not longer (for preventative measures. If you’re already sick, you may use it up faster).

 

These Last Weeks

As we are waiting for our baby’s arrival these next couple of weeks . . .

I will be eating up this book. It was at the top of my “wish list” for Christmas.

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I will still be sipping on this fermented stuff. You can read more here on why and here on how.

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I will be mulling over more of the sacred/secular dilemma. Many of you have texted or emailed me such kind words regarding the 31 day series (that I didn’t finish). I stopped at day 17 because I too am still digging and learning and soaking up. I bit off more than I could chew context wise and I should have started the writing process much earlier in order to to be sharing with you all at such a fast pace. Lesson learned. I hope to continue this discussion as a series.

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I will be contemplating Tsh’s thought provoking, “20 Questions for a New Year” (oh, Tsh, you slay me)

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I will be attending a seminar on the gut brain axis held by my favorite herbal supplement company, Nature’s Sunshine, and like many of you, I will be slathering myself with oils . . .

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Lavender for weirdo-third-trimester-insomnia

Citrus to brighten my sleepy mood . . . and when did I start waking up with bags under my eyes?

Peppermint for headaches and lingering morning sickness

Panaway for sore hips and achy lower backs

Thieves, melalueca, and lemon to ward off sickness

 

 

Beet Kvass (part 1)

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I took the summer off from “fermenting” and am excited to kick off this season with beet kvass. What is beet kvass? Is it as gross as it sounds? Well, considering I HATE beets, take heart. It’s not as gross as it sounds.

Now, like kombucha, or alkaline water, or bone broth, you can find and read some crazy stories regarding healing and regained health. However none of them are ever going to be approved by the FDA or confirmed by your family doctor. That’s cool. This is totally up to you and your body. Your body will tell you if something is “working” or not and it has been used for centuries given its medicinal purposes. The plus side is that kvass is simply beets, salt, and water. So even if you don’t experience a crazy healing story, at least you got some solid nutrients. In fact, there are a few “at leasts” to consider,

It’s nothing new. Fermentation is a natural cycle of nature that we have simply moved away from with all our “modern progress” . . . however, fermented food (and drink) offer huge health benefits when taken advantage of. Nature knows what she’s doing, we just need to listen.

It’s full of bacteria. The good kind! Our guts need all the help they can get. Chances are you could use some healthy bacteria. Between Z-Pak’s, stress, sugar, our obsession with antibacterial hand gel (this one drives me crazy), and our “never-come-into-contact-with-dirt” mentality, our bodies are starving for some good bacteria. Quite literally.

It’s affordable. Probiotics are not cheap my friends but fermentation is a cheaper and sometimes better alternative. It’s not only a way to add variety into your diet, it’s a way to add in probiotics while saving your wallet. Making a gallon of beet kvass cost me around $3.00, that’s a pretty sweet deal.

It’s local. You can’t get much closer than your own kitchen. When we ferment things like kombucha, kraut, veggies, and kefir, the bacteria is local to your surroundings. It’s tailor made to your specific bacterial needs.

It does stuff. Like I said, there are all sorts of claims out there regarding it’s magic like properties (beets are good for you, fermentation is good for you, so good stuff is bound to happen). Age spots disappearing as a result of a cleansed liver. Bowel regularity increased as a result of improved digestion. A remedy for kidney stones, heart burn, and morning sickness. Now, none of these things are guaranteed. The human body and the bacteria we ingest are alive, they are going to do their own thing in their own time. But I think it’s worth the $3 to at least try.

I will be sharing the results and “recipe” soon!

The Problem With Paleo

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If anyone has yet to notice, “paleo” is becoming quite popular. Not always in a good way. When I began this whole health journey, NO ONE (no one!) knew what paleo meant. Now my conservative great aunt in her midwestern bubble thinks she is “paleo.” The caveman diet is just another fad diet. Or is it?

The problem with paleo is simple. It’s just a name. South Beach. Atkins. Jenny Craig. Doctor Oz. It’s just a name.

I would argue that it’s time to ditch the name and emphasize the message. What’s the message? EAT REAL FOOD. The name doesn’t mean squat (no pun intended). . . especially this day and age. Paleo is merely on the heels of the gluten free epidemic. Gluten free pasta. Gluten free cookies. Gluten free donuts. Gluten free muffins. It isn’t helping anyone’s gut. It’s just words. It’s just a new strategy for marketing agencies to sink their teeth into. They LOVE food allergies and aversions. They are not interested in your wellbeing or gut lining. It’s merely a new way for them to hook you as the consumer. Organic. All Natural. No added sugar. Flavored with fruit juice. It’s just words.

I’ve seen “primal” and “caveman” thrown around on granola-ish bars like it ain’t no thing. I’ve also picked up these granola-ish bars and cackled (maybe even evil laughed) as I read their ingredient labels. Brown rice syrup anyone? Vegan protein?

The “paleo” label isn’t the solution to our SAD (Standard American Diet). Paleo isn’t the solution to our ever increasing ailments. It’s just a word and it is starting to lose it’s identity a bit. It’s also starting to confuse some people and piss the others right off. The solution is found in TURNING BACK. Turning back to what we so ignorantly have thrown out the window.

Eating from the land. Stewarding animals. Playing in the dirt. Sitting in the sunshine.

When did we start caring more about how many calories we are receiving rather than how many nutrients we are receiving? When did we stop listening to the wisdom of mother earth? Do you know that sweet potatoes provide both the fiber and minerals needed to slowly release it’s carbohydrates into our blood stream so we don’t experience a high or crash? That’s not on accident. Did you know that fatty cuts of grass fed meat provide the fat soluble vitamins needed to process and benefit from it’s own protein? Without these vitamins you cannot benefit from protein. Not an accident.

It’s as if we view this planet as a wasteland. It’s as if we think we are starving and in need of Walmart and Trader Joe’s while all the while, we live on a planet with an actual, synergistic eco system. Where the weather, ground, inhabitants and growth all work together. A place where we can grow and thrive off the land. Where the sun shines, the rain pours, the plants grow, the cows moo and the colors, smells and rich herbs provide the emotional and physical supplementation our mental, emotional and physical health need.

But that takes work. That takes time. Some sweat and elbow grease. More time outside. More time resting. More time in the kitchen and maybe less time indulging (although not always, pork belly is pretty darn satisfying).

We want the easy way out. The protein shake. The muscle milk. The baby carrots. The weight loss pill. The 30 Day Shred. We want results now, without breaking a sweat. “I sweat!” you say. “I sweat every freaking day at spin class!” Awesome. But that’s not the sweat I’m talking about. That might be part of it (eh, maybe) but I’m talking about the sweat produced by running after HEALTH not running after momentary results.

We want thin waists and toned muscles. We want same day shipping and instant coffee. We want quiet kids who leave us alone and Stouffers frozen lasagna. Here’s a juice box, here’s the ipad, now be quiet!

You might be thinking I rabbit trailed. I don’t think so . . . I think it’s all pretty intertwined. The fad diet and P90X. Suzanne’s Thigh Master and 100 Calorie Packs. Your kid’s attention span and the constantly changing frames, scenes, music and colors on their favorite show. Can you blame them? Drive-through gratification. Microwaveable satisfaction.

The problem with paleo is it’s just a name. The name acts as a way of helping people identify what is what and who is who. But then we get questions like this . . . Is this paleo? Do you eat this? I know most paleo people don’t. Oh, it’s paleo? It must be healthy. OR EVEN . . . Oh, you’re paleo? (insert eye twitch and grimace).

The question should not be whether THIS is paleo and THAT isn’t paleo. This question should be, is this good for my body? Does this provide nutrients? Does this help or hurt me? Health is found in the everyday, mundane, repetitive choices we make. Whether that’s our bedtime, afternoon snack or cutting back on activities or perhaps adding in some more activity. It’s not a matter of whether or not this snack is paleo. It’s a matter of nourishment and longtime health. Health that takes work, sweat, sacrifice and play. It’s about real food and real living.

 

 

 

Fruit Salad Popsicles

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I’m not a big salad person. Fruit salad is better, a step in the right direction. Add some kiwis and I’ll consider eating your fruit salad. Make it into a popsicle and I will definitely partake in said fruit salad.

These “fruit salad” popsicles have no rules. No measurements. No limits. Endless possibilities. That being said, this is not your typical “recipe.” I’ll tell you what I used but the only reason I had so much fruit on hand is given I made an overly large fruit salad for some friends and ended up with leftovers. A lot of leftovers. It just didn’t look appealing in tupperware. I don’t know.

A few reasons I love these popsicles . . . . they’re popsicles. They are soooo versatile. They are cheap. They are easy. They are pretty darn delicious. I’m already dreaming up some fruit combinations . . . I’ll post them below. Here is the “combo” I used this time around . . .

Kiwi (use paring knife to remove skin and slice)

Grapes, halved or whole (have you ever had frozen grapes? One of my favorite munches)

Cantaloupe chunks

Honeydew chunks

Strawberry chunks)

Bananas (sliced or “chunk-ed”)

Pineapple (I used canned because it was cheaper and saved time. I also used the juice, which wen’t against everything in my freaky self but hey, you do what you gotta do somedays)

Lemon juice and honey (and poppy seeds for fun!)

1. After slicing/chunk-ing your fruit, pour into large bowl. Microwave some honey (depends on how much fruit you have going on, I had A LOT. I’m guessing I used 4 tablespoons?) in a bowl for 20 seconds. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into honey and mix thoroughly. Microwaving the honey makes it much more “mix-able.”

2. Pour honey/lemon mixture over fruit (if you want to throw in some poppy seeds, go ahead and sprinkle them over the fruit as well). Mix fruit until evenly covered.

3. Cover bowl and place in fridge. The longer it sits, the better. Mine sat overnight. Again, these are “rule-less” popsicles so you don’t have to let your fruit sit but I found that they produced juice of their own and were much “sweeter” after hanging with the honey and lemon for a while.

4. If you didn’t use canned fruit and feel as though the popsicles need more liquid (you want them to freeze without air spaces between fruit chunks), you can add the fruit juice of your choice OR place SOME of the fruit into a blender/food processor etc, and pulse until more liquified and then add back to the remaining fruit in the bowl. If you blend all of the fruit, you will have brown popsicles with no chunks. Yuck.

5. Spoon the fruit salad into popsicle molds and freeze till Frozen

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I very gently tapped the popsicle molds against the counter before placing the popsicle sticks into the molds to make sure there were no “air pockets” between fruit chunks.

Enjoy your salad!!!!

 

DIY: Fermented Ketchup

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I have LOVED ketchup my entire life but haven’t bought it in such a long time. Mainly because of the sugar, wierdo ingredients and an attempt to remove night shades for healing. Last week I had two big packages of skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs and was looking for a slow cooker recipe. The one I landed on called for ketchup so I just figured I might as well get around to making it myself. Am I right?

It cost me around $2.50, I knew exactly what was going into it AND it’s FERMENTED!! Just one more way to incorporate friendly bacteria into our diets. Remember, health begins in the gut! Not to mention, it only took me 8ish minutes to throw together. If that.

Here is what you will need

– 3 x 6 oz cans of tomato paste

– 1/3 cup of honey (preferably raw but whatever)

– 3 TB fermented, apple cider vinegar

– 3-4 garlic cloves, minced

– 6 TB sauerkraut juice (what? I know. Check out this post)

– 2 1/4 t salt

– Dash of paprika or cayenne pepper

– Glass jar with a lid (this recipe made around 25 oz, I split it into two jars. If you need more ketchup, I would double the recipe, it never hurts to have it on hand!)

Here’s what to do

1. Put all the ingredients into a bowl. Stir.

2. Fill up the glass jar(s), leaving a inch at the top. Use a napkin to wipe the inside of the lip, making sure there is no ketchup inside the lip.

3. Tightly screw on the lid. Let the jar hang on your counter top (room temp) for 3 days. That’s it!! For real. After its 3 days are up, store it in the fridge.

Now you can dip french fries, enjoy ketchup on a hot dog, or make awesome “honey, basil chicken” in the slow cooker (which will be coming your way quite soon) all while encouraging a healthy gut and a balanced budget. Win, win.

 

 

Real Food Meets Real Life

Normally I post our weekly menus and give you a peek into how we eat on the “reg.” Well, sometimes life isn’t very “reg.” This is especially true of the past few days. My whole “real food” journey has been going on for 3 years now and I have had to learn a thing or two about how to make real food work for real life . . . or at least I think I have. Here are a few thoughts  . . .

1. Relax. Stressing out about food is the last thing you need to be doing, especially if your day(s) have been crazy. Cortisol, inflammation, anxiety . . . save yourself the tummy or head ache. While your body is a temple that is to be treated with respect, it is also temporary.

2. Instagram. I have discovered some of my favorite products via Instagram. While I’m not encouraging you to become a phone addict, Instagram has been oh’ so helpful in discovering awesome products and awesome people. I listed some of my favorites below, click on their pic to be taken to their home site.

PALEO TREATS 

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PETE’S PALEO (no, not all of these links are paleo. stay with me)

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BARNEY BUTTER

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EATING EVOLVED

 

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CHAMELEON COLD-BREW

 

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3. Be prepared. This isn’t always doable and that’s okay! However keeping a box of these

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or these!

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on hand is always helpful. If you do have time, put together a bag of almonds and dark chocolate to keep in your glove box or bag . . . I keep oranges and avocados in my swim bag with a plastic knife and spoon. I also maybe keep my favorite salt in a Ziplock bag as well. That’s weird. I know. Jerky or canned tuna is another awesome “convenience food.”

4. The Key Three. Protein. Fat. Carbohydrates. When I’m staying at other people’s homes (as in, right now) I usually make a run to the nearest grocery store and grab one of the following protein sources: ground beef, grass fed hot dogs, rotisserie chicken. AND I grab both avocados and sweet potatoes. Why? They will keep me nourished and require very little preparation.

5. Think on your feet. Today we were “car-less” for a few hours and stranded at a coffee shop. Did I mention we were starving and scones (sadly) just weren’t going to cut it? We found a store nearby and grabbed a package of gluten free salami and helped ourselves to the olive bar. Boom. Bam. Be creative and learn to think on your feet.

6. Liquid Silver

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and Wellness Formula

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If you are experiencing a stressful season, chances are your sleep is a little “off” and if you’re anything like me, a sore throat and scratchy voice is just around the corner. The morning we left AZ, I woke up feeling real sick. These are two “must have-s” to keep on hand. Along with turmeric and ginger tea! Have you heard of Mickey Trescott? She’s real cool. Real cool.