Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The ONE Thing....

There is one thing that really, really bothers me about the way we eat.  ONE thing.

THE DISHES!  Oh my goodness.  We always have dishes.  We even have a dishwasher but always find ourselves handwashing also.  The thing about our diet is....we have to make everything, and I do mean everything, ourselves.  So while it's all yummy in our tummies it is definitely not good for the kitchen sink! (Or for our sanity! hehe) 

Does anyone else run into this problem?  We wash dishes all day long and they are never done.  We generally wash as we go but still they pile up?   Phooey on the dirty dish monster!  I love my cleaning schedule but those darn dishes.....*sigh*.....

So if any of you have some fabulous 'dish-tips'  they would be much appreciated!

If only it could stay this way!  Typically, it will look scary again in no time at all..........

Aaaaaagh!  Back and forth every day!  Clean, dirty, clean, dirty.  At least the food is good, right!?!?!

On a lighter and much more fun note:  It's supposed to be SUNNY outside on Friday!!!!!!!!!!!  I am so excited!  You can bet that my cloth diapers are going to get some much needed sun as well!  Sunshine also means.....BURGER DAY!  We are looking forward to our favorite Quinoa Burgers again, complete with sweet potato chips!  Soooooooo excited!

There are a variety of recipes on the net for sweet potato chips, just give it a quick google if you are interested!  However, I will leave you with my favorite way of making these lovely chippies!

Sweet Potato Chips
4 medium sized sweet potatoes or yams, any variety (long and skinny if you can find them!)
Enough of a high quality exra-virgin olive oil to have about an inch of oil in a stock pot
Sea Salt to taste

*Wash, peel and slice thin your potatoes.  I use my food processor which has a slicing option.  You can also use a sharp knife or mandoline slicer.  Heat the oil on medium heat and drop your potato slices in until the bottom of the pot is covered, just as long as it's not too crowded in're good!  The chips are done when the edges start to curl and the slices bubble a bit.  Lay them on cooling racks lined with paper towels to drain and sprinkle with sea salt!  Repeat as necessary! 

My favorite!!!!!!!!!  Sooooo good!  Enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mud Cake!!!!!

Sometimes, one must have cake.  True story. 

This cake is chocolate, gluten free, vegan (if you opt out on the honey), chocolate, easy, simple, delicious and oh yes.....chocolate! 

Mud Cake adapted from Fitnessista's Chocolate Mug Cake
Serves 1, Ingredients:
1 Tbs gluten free oat flour
1 Tbs buckwheat flour
1 Tbs coconut flour
1 Tbs cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of sea salt
1 flax egg (1 Tbs flax meal mixed with 3 Tbs water)
2 Tbs non-dairy milk of choice
1 Tbs vanilla flavored coconut milk yogurt (you could use applesauce but I strongly recommend yogurt!)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*generous swirl of honey (yes, that is an exact measurement! *wink)
*1 Tbs dairy free chocolate chips

Ingredients for chocolate sauce:
melted coconut oil
pure maple syrup
cocoa powder
~mix together until desired consistency and flavor is achieved (I used a tsp of oil, just shy of a Tbs syrup and added cocoa until it looked like chocolate syrup!!!)

~Spray the inside of a large coffee mug with non-stick spray of choice or rub with coconut oil.  Add dry ingredients and stir.  Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well.  *Honey and chocolate chips are optional.  Microwave for 2 minutes! 
~While your cake is cooking, make the chocolate sauce
~Serve as desired!

Mine was a double batch with a side of banana soft serve!

Double serving, with some serious chocolate sauce!

Pictured here with banana soft serve!  (Not pictured~the GIANT spoonful of almond butter I added!)


Hope you find this cake as enjoyable and simple as we!  The combination of flours is fabulous and the yogurt makes a huge difference!  I shall leave you with the song that is, for reasons unknown, stuck in my head!

Actually, the Tony Benett version is the one stuck in my head....but I couldn't find a suitable youtube.  So instead, you get Michael Buble!  Enjoy! 

Do you ever wake up with songs in your head and no idea why that particular song is the one on your mind?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Healing Baby Colds

Hello all!  Recent events have inspired this post!  Turns out, my babies are sick.  I hate that they are feeling under the weather.  It's never easy for a mother to see her children when they are ill even with something as simple as a cold.  I hope this blog doesn't make it appear that I have everything together all the time, nonchalantly shrugging my shoulders while simultaneously reaching into my well-stocked all natural apothecary for the perfect remedy to any ailment, injury or malady!  That is most certainly not the case!  I am still very new to the world of natural healing, herbs, supplements.....things our grandparents and great grandparents knew instinctively that we have long forgotten.  I am very interested in this 'new' world of natural remedies. (I say 'new' because really we should never have retreated from this way of life!  It makes a lot more sense!)  I have learned a lot since my daughter was born a little over two years ago and I am grateful for the people in our lives who are helping us to further our knowledge of this subject!  However, I most definitely still freak out about my children being sick, as most moms do, and immediately call my mama, midwife, best friend or hit-up facebook for a good venting/freak-out status! (That's what it's for, right?!)  So with this post it is my intention to give you ideas for some great, all natural helpers to use when your kids are sick!

First, I strongly suggest you pick up this book from the library or purchase it for yourself!  "Naturally Healthy Babies and Children" is a great resource for a variety of ailments!  It may say 'babies and children' in the title but there are many adult remedies as well and it's useful for pregnant and nursing mothers also.  The thing about our society today is....we don't know how to handle being sick.  Our kids get ear infections, colds, the flu, bronchitis, fevers, even constipation and we immediately run them to the doctor for an antibiotic or some other chemical-laden medication that will end up doing more harm than good especially over time!  Now, please don't get me wrong!  I am not against the medical world, I certainly think it has it's place but I really think there should be a better blend.  I think the medical and natural healing worlds should work together and that we should first reach for all things natural.  That being said, we need to remember that our bodies were designed with an immune system and a fabulous one at that!  For instance, your body's response to an invador is sometimes fever.  It is best to let the fever run it's course because it is actually trying to make you or your child better.  It is an immune response that signals chemicals in the body to get moving on the 'intruder' and burns away impurities.  We have been taught to suppress this natural response with medication while that may actually be keeping our children from healing as quickly as they could have if the fever had been allowed to do it's job.  A lot of these remedies and natural healing aides are not immediate cure-alls but will help your child to strengthen his/her immune system and allow them to feel better until the malady has passed.  Some of them will help your child to get over their sickness more quickly and others will help prevent an illness from having the ability to invade your child's space by, again, strengthening the immune system!  The remedies listed here that need be ingested are only appropriate for a child old enough to eat solids.  Please read the instructions on any homeopathic remedy to ensure the correct dosage for your child.  If your baby is nursing, you can take the remedies yourself and they will transfer via breast milk to your child!  Here are a few of our go-to remedies for some of the more common ailments:

*For any problem your child is having: teething, colds, congestion, earache, I recommend becoming very friendly with a good chiropractor!  Not all chiropractors are licensed and qualified to treat infants and children so be sure to interview well!  If you are local and need a good one, I have some recommendations!*

For colds/flu:  As a preventative, it is a good idea to make sure your children are getting a variety of healthy foods that include as many organic fruits and vegetables as is possible and please stay away from processed and refined foods!  However, even kids who eat mostly raw foods have days when they aren't getting everything they need so we use a multi-vitamin to 'fill in the gaps.'  I get our gluten-free vegan vitamin drops at the local health food store but you can probably get them online as well.  We also give our toddler vitamin D drops daily in the fall, winter and spring and any day we won't be in the sun for at least 30 minutes.  I have noticed this helping with teething also! 
~Make sure your child is getting plenty of fluids and lots of rest.  A smaller baby who is still nursing will require extra nursing and cuddle sessions.  If your child is bottle fed and seems to be wanting more fluids than usual, you should oblige and, of course, give them extra cuddles!  Green smoothies, fresh juices and water are great for older kids and toddlers.  Children are really intuitive and you may notice them asking for more fluids than usual or 'making up for' what they aren't eating with additional fluid, let them!  Our daughter drinks green milk (almond milk with spinach blended in, sounds gross but you can't taste it).

~Breast Milk!!!!!!!  You will notice that breast milk is a common thread in these remedies.  If you are nursing a smaller baby and also have a toddler or older child who is sick, you can pump some extra milk and add it to your child's cereal or glass of whatever milk they typically drink.  I will give my toddler girl about 2 ounces of breast milk in her sippy cup with her almond milk filling up the rest.  Breast milk is a natural antibiotic and has incredible nutritional stats.  I realize that some people are extremely grossed out by this and it's not your fault!  Our society is scared to death of boobs and I'm really not sure why ~get over it peeps, that's why they're made mmm-k?!?  It will be alright, promise!
~Elderberry syrup/extract is great for colds and sore throats!  You can make your own tincture if you are feeling up to the task (don't use grain alcohol!) or you can buy some in a bottle similar to any other medicine bottle at the Health Food store or online!  Just be sure it's gluten free!  We give our daughter 1/2 a teaspoon when she is sick or anytime we feel she may need an extra boost, like after she has been around lots of other kids or playing at a park or gym.  We take two teaspoons whenever we feel it necessary. 
~Echinacea is a great addition to the body as well.  I prefer drops whenever possible to ensure you aren't ingesting the lactose that typically binds anything in pill form and your body doesn't have to work to digest a drop the way it does a pill.  You will then be more likely to get the benenfits of the supplement.  The problem with some drops is that they contain grain alcohol which is not usable for people with celiac disease.  In that case, look for 'children's drops' because they are alcohol free!  Obviously, you would do this for your kids anyway but if you need the supplement you can just take an increased dose of the children's drops!
~Raw Honey is great for coughs as well as sore throat.  You can give this to your child directly or mixed with warm (not hot) milk or water.  Do not give honey to children under one year of age!

~Congestion:  Often colds/flu come with congestion but there are lots of things you can do to give your child, and even a small baby, some relief.
~Cool mist humidifier  Run a cool mist humidifier in the room where your child sleeps.  The only reason for using cool mist as opposed to warm mist is to reduce the risk of burns.
~Steam bath  Get the bathroom all steamy by running the hot water in the shower and keep the door closed.  You can then strip your child down to their diaper and hold them in the steamy bathroom (not in the shower directly) or give them a bath in the baby tub but set it outside of the regular tub. 
~Nasal aspirator I have had little, very little in fact, success with the standard nose-sucker but I love this battery operated one!  Works wonders!
~Vicks Baby Rub is great!  Just be sure to follow the instructions.  Our daughter sleeps on her belly all curled up in a ball so I put the Vicks on the back of her neck and on her upper back.  I don't want her completely inhaling the Vicks like she would if I put it on her chest, though that is just a personal preference!

For earache:  Again, chiropractic care helps greatly with ear infection.  Typically ears get infected as a result of drainage from another sickness though it may happen for other reasons as well.  The chiropractic adjustment will help to clear the ear.
~Garlic Oil  You can purchase this at any health food store, online or make your own.  Garlic has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.  We have used this remedy on ourselves as well as our toddler, rarely does it take more than a day to clear up the problem.  This will also help with pain.
~Warm compress will give additional help with pain.  We use warm (not hot) wet wascloths pressed against the infected ear. 

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)  Pink eye is highly contagious so keep your child from touching the eye if at all possible and wash, wash, wash hands!  However, we have found on very, very effective remedy for pink eye.....
~Breast Milk!!!!!  (are you really surprised??)  You can pump extra milk if you are able and place a few drops in a small medicine dropper.  The milk can be dropped directly into the inner corner of the eye.  I put about an ounce per day in a small container and kept it in the refrigerator.  When I needed to give a dose, I just went to my refrigerated milk with a clean dropper.  It will take longer for an adult to completely heal using this method (yes you can apply this to an adult's eye as well, it's ok people!!!) but a child should see results immediately with full healing in a day or two, maybe three. 

Little sicklet cuddling on the couch

Good luck all!  Hopefully, your children won't get the sicks but if they do I hope these remedies will be helpful to you!  Have a lovely day!

What are your favorite homeopathic remedies for some common childhood OR adult ailments???

Monday, May 9, 2011

Recovery Smoothie

Happy Sunshine everyone!  I am so glad the sun is shining today even if I am sick!  I have had some sort of stomach 'bug' since late Saturday night and I can't wait for it to pass! There was a time when I was always sick.  It seemed like it was just one thing right after another and I just couldn't get well.  Of course, I now know the reason for that ~ the dreaded gluten!  Having undetected Celiac Disease for 25 years....yeah, that will get you down!  The damage done to your intestines blocks your body from receiving the nutrition it should be getting.  Obviously, this can have some pretty serious effects especially over time.  Often, a person with gluten intolerance or CD will develop an autoimmune condition stemming from the long term damage gluten does to the body.  In my case, it is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS. 

I am actually really thankful for the road that God has had us travel, we wouldn't be where we are with our diet, understanding, compassion or overall health without it.  I am rarely sick anymore and that is a huge blessing!  However, when the time comes that I do 'catch a bug' I am quickly reminded of the way I once felt ALL the time and how easily we forget pain.  Believe it or not, I am actually grateful for these times as well.  I don't want to forget how I felt before.  I want to remember those feelings in order to fully appreciate how wonderful I feel now and to help others in similar situations.  It's terrible feeling sick and exhausted every single day.  It's not how we are meant to feel.  Yes, we live in a fallen world and there will be disease and sickness until Heaven comes but I also know that healing exists!  I have a long road yet, as many with long term afflictions, but I continue to heal every day and I want to be sure to tell my story so I might be of some help to those who are also searching for the reasons why they may be sick.  I think it's also important for me to share these things so others, though they may not be the ones that are sick, will be compassionate toward those who maybe don't feel so great.  Prior to experiencing it myself, if you had talked to me about having the problems I am going to tell you about here....well, maybe I would have been one to roll my eyes or nod and smile while actually letting everything go in one ear and out the other?  I might have thought, "Well, they must be doing something wrong!"  I may have even been one to think that someone was simply being a big baby about it all.  Sounds harsh, yes?  Believe me, I have been on the receiving end of these attitudes.  They are common, even from well intentioned family members.  People are mean, accusing and judgemental about the things they don't understand.  I have also found that many people assume that pain and sickness are simply the cards they have been dealt and they must get over it or deal with it. 

Well, God made me the way I am for a reason.  I am stubborn and strong-willed!  Sometimes this gets me into trouble but it's also the reason I am here and healing today!  To fully tell my story will take a series of posts so today I will give you a running list of symptoms that I had before I found answers and leave you with a great smoothie recipe!  I hope you will take from this post the understanding that not all ailments fit into 'textbook' descriptions as well as a little bit of compassion.  There are many, many people who suffer from a variety of illnesses and often they suffer silently for fear of ridicule and comments like those mentioned above.  If you are healthy, that is so wonderful and I hope that you will continue to be healthy and make even more positive changes in your diet and lifestyle as so many Americans still need to do.  If you are one who is currently unhealthy, please don't give up.  Even if the sickness from which you suffer has no cure, you can still make positive changes via diet, lifestyle and hopefully discover the wonderful world of holistic health!  Knowing that you have support is half the battle!  You will get that here!  :-) 

I started having noticeable symptoms at 18.  I went to lots of different doctors, had lots of tests and took a variety of medications.  At one point, I couldn't even function without three of the medications I was taking.  I am not one who likes to take medications.  I feel like they are just a mask, I wanted to find the real problem but nobody was able to help with that.  After years of research, trial and error and, most importantly, prayer...I was able to discover that I do in fact have Celiac Disease in addition to PCOS.  Though I believe Celiac is what started it all.  We have been completely gluten free since December 27th 2010 and I am so excited to say that I have been medication free since that date as well!  I really get better every day!  Here is a list of the symptoms I encountered over the past 7 years:
~Migraines  These started when I was 18, though I did not know what they were at the time.  They became debilitating when I was 22.
        *Many symptoms I had were that of migraine equivalent or symptoms of migraine without having the actual head pain.  These were continual symptoms.  They include:  Sensitivity to sound and light, memory loss and word retrieval problems, inability to concentrate, muscle spasms, back pain (I would always have pain down my spine from neck to mid-back that felt like someone injected me with poison!  It was terrible!) and generally feeling 'weird'  ~I know that sounds generic but that's seriously how it feels.  Almost like you are in a dream land.
~Significant and unexplained weight gain
~Muscle twitching and spasms  These actually became so bad that I had to take anti-seizure meds
~Muscle weakness  My muscles would randomly just give out.  There were times I couldn't actually hold my daughter because my arms just wouldn't work.
~Widespread muscle and bone pain
~Abdominal bloating, cramps and pain
~Extreme exhaustion  There were days I couldn't get off the couch.  I would wash the dishes and then have to take a 2 hour nap!
~Kidney stones
~Lower back pain and tenderness
~Low blood sugar attacks
~Loss of strength
~Heartbeat irregularities and palpitations
~High blood pressure
~Anxiety and depression
~Hair loss, including eyelashes as well as hair on the head
~Excessive hair growth in places such as underarms, hands, eyebrows, limbs, and face
~Sensitivity to sunlight  I got a rash every time I went out in the sunshine.  Sigh.  I had to avoid sunlight for almost 2 years.
~Sensitive and very dry skin
~Nausea and vomiting   I was always, always nauseated.  I never had a mentrual cycle after I turned 20 so I always thought I was pregnant.  I must have taken 30 tests because every month it was the same thing....I threw up 3 times a night most nights of the week.  This went on for 2 years.
~Significant mammary growth Ok, I don't know how to say that without sounding vulgar?  Seriously though, I went from a very normal size to a very large and not so normal size, especially for my petite frame.  I still have problems with that and I don't know that it will go away.  We'll see?
~Ganglion Cysts These are common for a lot of people but I get them excessively.  For instance, I have five in my right wrist alone!
~Hormone imbalances
~Bladder Pain
~Food cravings  I had the weirdest cravings when I wasn't even pregnant and I HAD to have it.  I know now that it was my body telling me it needed nutrients because it wasn't getting anything but at the time it was odd!
~Constant hunger
~Mouth Ulcers

As you can see, most of these symptoms are not symptoms you would automatically think of when it comes to Celiac Disease.  A lot of them are from PCOS which I developed, I am certain, because of Celiac.  However, more people in this country have Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance than they realize.  1 in 133 people are afflicted with this disease yet less than 10% of those people know they have it.  It is a bad habit of the medical world and our society today to offer medications that simply cover up symptoms without even attempting to discover the underlying problem.  Unfortunately, this great country is behind in terms of Celiac Disease.  It is still thought of as 'merely a digestive issue,' which is not at all true.  I have a dear friend with cancer who was telling me that her doctor said every single cancer patient he has also has Celiac Disease.  That made me wonder, which direction does that go?  Celiac to Cancer, Cancer to Celiac or both?  It is obvious that a person whose body is not getting the nutrients it needs will end up very ill.  Hopefully Celiac Disease is something we can all learn more about and the best thing can be completely healthy with the absence of gluten in the diet!  *You will also have to take other actions in order to repair damage that has been done but eliminating gluten will prevent further damage and put you on the road back to health!  Love it! 

I promised you a smoothie recipe and I shall deliver!  This is a great recovery smoothie!  Whether you are recovering from throwing up all weekend (like yours truly, ha!), a long workout, labor and delivery or just  want a fantastic, nutrient-dense drink for summer this smoothie will do the trick!  It's loaded with enzymes, electrolytes, fruits, greens and fabulous flavor!  It's a new favorite for sure!

Pina Colada Smoothie
*quantities are totally up to you!
~frozen pineapple
~frozen mango
~1 ripe avocado
~unsweetened/unsulfured shredded coconut
~coconut water

*Place desired quantities in a blender and blend until smooth!  I typically use more pineapple than mango and only about a handful of shredded coconut.  Serves 2-4

If you have fresh coconut water, even better!

Feel free to use other greens if you prefer!  We like spinach in our smoothies because we get other greens from our juice!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rainy Day Movies

Good morning all!  I would like to say thank you to all of our men and women in arms who continue to protect this nation and her people!  I am always grateful for everything you do but, just like many things, it sometimes takes a phenomenal event whether tragic or tremendous to remind us of our blessings!  We are continually praying for you!

That all being said.......Seriously, with the rain?!?!?!?!?  Come on!  Local peeps, have you looked at the forecast?  It's really not necessary if you haven't, I will fill you in....are you ready?  RAIN, RAIN, and oh yes...MORE RAIN!  BLAH!  I haven't had time to research this theory yet, but I firmly believe the sun has more of a mood boosting effect than just vitamin D and we neeeeeeeeed some serious sunshine!  Generally, I like to try and put some sort of positive spin on things.  However, there are also those times when you just want to be mad about it!  Hmph! 

Ok, my fit is over!  (My 2 year old must be rubbing off on me! haha)  I am sorry for the length of time between posts.  It really frustrates me having so little in the way of a schedule with them.  Ideally, I would love to get something up every day!  I have so many things that run through my head all the time and many ideas for you as well as the every day happenings to report!  I just haven't been able to type them up, load pictures, find links and all that jazz!  I really enjoy blogging, it's fun!  I also enjoy reading the many blogs that have helped me with everything from health and fitness to a daily dose of hilarious reality!  I appreciate every single one of you for taking the time to read and respond to the things that I have to say and I certainly don't want to leave you hanging!  My goal is to have at least 3 posts a week and Kyle suggested that I try to have them on certain days each week so you would know what to expect!  (He's sort of a genius!)  So, I am working on which days would be best and allotting time to create the posts!  Having the time (or making the time) to type and create posts is the biggest challenge for me right now ~well, the biggest blogging challenge!  Thank you for sticking with me, just one of many busy mamas!  :-)

Back to the rain!  Ha, is this post jumpy enough for you! lol  I associate a lot of different things with mood.  I also associate things with rain, sunshine, flowers, name it!  One thing always reminds me of something else.  Last summer on a rainy and unusually chilly Monday, I thought it would be fun to watch a new to my daughter movie while we sat on the couch all cuddled.  It was fun!  I have always enjoyed movie days when the rain ensues.  Sharing that with my little girl was wonderful!  We watched, "Enchanted" that morning and now every time it rains I want to watch it again!  (Thank goodness I picked a movie that I like!)  There are lots of movies that I think of whenever it rains.  Most of them were probably watched at one time or another during a storm or to break up another midwest monsoon like the one we are currently having!  For some of the movies that make the 'rainy day' list I have no explanation, it's hard to say why I think of them whenever it rains but alas...they make the list anyway!  So, I will leave you with my 'rainy day movie list' and a clip from one of my favorites!  (For the record, I don't really have a favorite anything.  Pretty much everything depends on my mood!)

In no particular order, "The Rainy Day Movie List"

-The Goonies
-Pirates of the Caribbean ~all of them!!!
-National Treasure ~both one and two
-Harry Potter ~again....ALL of them!
-Leap Year (cute, cute, cute)
-Die Hard ~yup, definitely all of them
-Sweet Home Alabama
-Twister (I am actually not allowed to watch this one anymore, every time I do...there's a tornado warning!)
-The Haunted Mansion (I actually really like Eddie Murphy in most movies but not as a stand-up!)
-Adventures In Babysitting
-Meet Me in St. Louis ~ I seriously can't wait for my daughter to see this one!
-Back to the Future ~mostly the first one
-FRIENDS *not a movie but you can't possibly go wrong here!!!

That's all I can think of for now!  What are your favorite movies to watch on a rainy day???