everyone’s talking about essential oils

It’s Jeanne.

“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.” – Lloyd Dobler (Say Anything)

6a0120a6b271a7970c0154322e91d4970c-800wi

And that sort of goes triple for me.

I mean, I am not a fan of sales people.

I once didn’t buy a Honda because the salesperson spent the entire time I was looking at the vehicle bad-mouthing the competition (Volkswagon).

I go to Rodan & Fields parties and feel pressured to buy sunscreen even though I’m freaked out by the long list of ingredients (including cancer-causing parabans and sulfates) in the formulas.

And as much as I love Pampered Chef (and I do … I LOVE Pampered Chef … I want everything in their catalog) I just can’t bring myself to “join sales team.”

In fact, it’s taken me more than five years of continuous use of essential oils to get the courage to actually write this post. (Yes, I’m that weird about multi-level marketing deals even though I know they are effective and useful ways to earn money for one’s family).

But I’m here now.

And there’s no turning back.

Because this blog is about good food, health, wellness, simplicity, sustainability and caring for our littles.

IMG_9299

And we’ve been relying on essential oils for years.

Specifically, we’ve been relying on Young Living essential oils for years.

When I was pregnant with our first, I was on a business trip to Russia. It was the ONLY time I had morning sickness during either pregnancy. And if it wasn’t for Thieves Oil Spray, I wouldn’t have made it through the trip. Seriously. I sprayed it on my bed and pillows when I arrived at the hotel because all I could smell was sweat and body oils in the room, even after housekeeping changed the sheets for me. (I was pregnant. I could smell EVERYTHING.)

A few hours later, when it was time to sleep, I had my first moments of relief the entire trip.

IMG_5015

When someone in the house has a fever, my first line of defense is peppermint oil on the soles of little feet because it has consistently brought temperatures down that critical one or two degrees that lets tiny bodies keep fighting disease, without any extras like preservatives and sugars. (This is NOT to say that I won’t turn to acetaminophen if we need it. I’m not anti-medicine. But I’m personally not into over-medicating, so if I can use a safe alternative wholistic approach, I’d much rather start there.)

When I nearly set fire to our kitchen, what did I turn to? Purification and Lemon Essential Oils made all the difference.

And most recently, I was starting out on an 18 hour road trip with the kiddos and the little one ended up with a bummer case of motion sickness.

Ew.

And I had just vacuumed the car and washed the carseats.

(I mostly felt bad for the little guy, but I’d be lying if I didn’t have my own little personal pity party right then and there …)

After a wipe down and a change of clothes, a little EO on his belly and we were good to go. No, I didn’t take a picture mid-crisis. It would have been gross and totally inappropriate! But here’s the “after” photo:

IMG_4951

Hooray for YL Lavender Essential Oil!!!

Anyway … you won’t get pressure from me to buy Young Living (or any other equally reputable) essential oil. But I’m passionate about living holistically and simply and sustainably and want to share with you some of the solutions I feel good about that we’ve found along the way, which includes our experiences with YL Essential Oils. Here’s an affiliate link or two to my “store.”

… And I’m here if you want to talk essential oils (selling or buying).

And I want to hear how YOU use essential oils?

 

Reminder (disclaimer): I’m not a doctor and any advice I suggest is simply based on my personal experience or that of my family. It’s not intended to replace the guidance you receive from your medical professional team. Talk to your doctor before changing your regime.

 

good (for you) cooking fats

Before you spritz that vegetable cooking spray in your pan …

WAIT!

Put the vegetable oil down and step away from the stove!

Seriously.

If you’re still cooking with vegetable or canola oil, I want you to consider that canola oil is only five percent saturated fat (WHICH IS NOT A GOOD THING). The process to extract the oil from the rape seed requires high heat, hydrogen, solvents, bleach, deodorant, etc, to make it palatable. It has a high sulphur content, and goes rancid quickly and easily, which makes it difficult for our bodies to digest.

Thankfully, there are finally reports reaching the mainstream that are showing what Weston A. Price knew in the 1930s when he was doing his research on the benefits of traditional diets. Saturated fats are not the enemy.

The news is out: Saturated Fats are not bad for you. 

good fats

I know a lot of people who live in fear of fat.

They cook with teflon or add a squirt of cooking spray to the bottom of the pan. Butter their bread with margarine. Drink low fat milk. Eat non-fat yogurt. And they do it on the order of their heart-conscious doctor.

I’m not going to tell you to ignore the advice of your medical professional. I’m not a doctor, after all.

But I’m going to ask you ton consider that you share this article with him/her. Ask about the new research. Engage him/her in a conversation to understand where the recommendations come from.

In her book Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon, PhD, shares pages and pages of evidence refuting what she calls the “Diet Dictocrats” with studies from all over the world that suggest we need fat. She states simply “Fats from animal and vegetable sources provide a concentrated source of energy in the diet; they also provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances. Fats as part of a meal slow down nutrient absorption so that we can go longer without feeling hungry. In addition, they act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption and for a host of other processes.”

It may not change your world.

It certainly may not change the mind of your doctor.

The evidence hasn’t yet swayed The American Heart Association, but the evidence is clear. And it’s worth a conversation, at least.

So now what?

What fats belong in your cupboard?

IMG_5102

COOKING FATS

Some fats are good for cooking. They have a high smoke-point and retain their nutrient dense composition at high heat. They help us absorb nutrients from high protein foods. And they have a stable shelf life. These are the primary cooking oils/fats that we use in our kitchen:

  • Avocado oil – Nutritionally, avocado oil is right up there with olive oil boasting serious amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It’s also a good source of complex proteins, lecithin, beta-carotne and vitamins A, D and E. But unlike olive oil, the mighty avocado oil has a really high smoke point (500 degrees), a stable shelf life and a very subtle aromatic flavor.
  • Butter – raw, organic, pastured, locally sourced butter is your best bet, as it’s not going to be quite so nutrient dense from cows eating a primarily grain-fed diet. We love Kerrygold Irish Butter because it is grassfed, the only ingredients are cream and salt, and there are no artificial colors. When we’ve got raw milk from our local herd-share, I’ve even been known to make my own.
  • Coconut Oil – unrefined, cold pressed, organic, coconut oil is a great source of lauric acid and has antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial attributes. It’s also so readily available these days. We use coconut oil a lot. In baked goods. For frying. For popping popcorn. In smoothies. In French Toast. We use it topically (on minor abrasions and sunburn). We just love the Coconut Oil.
  • Chicken, Duck, Goose fat – choose duck or goose over chicken for more omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. And look for a reputable source. I’m going to admit that we only use chicken, duck and goose fat on rare occasion. I’ve not found a reasonable and reliable local source for it.
  • Lard – If you can find a healthy source of lard (from sustainably, pasture-raised pigs), lard is stable and good for frying and is an excellent source of vitamin D. I love fresh homemade tortillas … and the difference between ones made with lard versus ones made with vegetable shortening is UNREAL. It’s worth a little homework to find good lard.
  • Beef & Mutton Tallows – The Weston A. Price Foundation recommends use of beef and mutton tallows, but I’ll admit it … I’ve never tried them. If you do, can you let me know how it goes?
  • Peanut & Sesame Oil – good for occasional stir fries, but contains a high percentage of oleic acid, so both should be used sparingly.

EAT RAW (never heat)

These good-for-you oils are staples in our diet. We use them in salad dressings and smoothies, but never in the skillet as heating them destroys their nutrient dense composition and makes them really difficult for your gut to process.

  • Olive Oil – extra virgin, cold pressed is the way to go. We’ve been reading a lot about how finding “pure” olive oil can be a challenge these days as some of the biggest purveyors in the US have been found to have unwittingly been importing olive oil adulterated with soy and vegetable oils. Ugh. So, take some care to make sure when you buy Olive Oil you are getting Olive Oil!
  • Unrefined Flaxseed Oil – Extremely high omega-3 content!! So good for you.  But keep it refrigerated!
  • Grape Seed Oil – We use this primarily because of it’s similarity to Olive Oil. And it’s got a smooth buttery taste. We’ve used it often to make our own mayonnaise, but the green color can be a bit of a turn-off.
  • Nut Oils like Walnut and Macadamia – Both are so tasty, but very expensive, so we use these sparingly in salad dressing. Walnut oil has to be stored in a cool dry place to avoid oxidization.
  • Red Palm Oil – similar to Coconut Oil in that it’s one of the few available vegetable saturated fats. There is some controversy about the palm oil industry, so we don’t often choose this oil. But from a traditional food perspective, this is a vegetable oil that has been utilized for more than 5,000 years.
  • Sunflower Oil – choose cold pressed sunflower oil to preserve Vitamin E and eliminate free radicals produced during other production methods. But keep in mind that it doesn’t contain the good Omega-3 fats. We primarily use this in our homemade mayonnaise these days because it’s nearly flavorless and it’s not “green” like Grape Seed Oil.

RANCID OILS/FATS TO AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE

In the “good ol’ days” oils were extracted using cold pressed or expeller pressed methods that retained the integrity of the “food” in our food. I don’t want to seem old fashioned. But my personal problem with fats like Canola, Margarine, Shortening, etc, is that the process to make them is so volatile (involving solvents and bleaches and deodorizers) that what’s left for consumption has little resemblance to food. If it has to be deodorized because it smells rancid and unpalatable, chances are, it’s rancid and unpalatable. And I don’t need a chemist to trick my body into eating something it shouldn’t.

That said, these are the fats and oils that we’ve scrubbed from our kitchen:

  • Canola Oil – has a high sulphur content and is typically rancid because of the high heat used in the extraction process. There are studies now showing that canola oil can contribute to a vitamin E deficiency (which we need for a healthy heart).
  • Corn Oil – on it’s own, corn oil might not be awful, but since more than 85 percent of the corn on the US market is GMO corn and contains high levels of the pesticide glyphosate, it’s hard to find pure organic corn oil and we avoid it.
  • Cottonseed Oil – first of all, it’s made from the inedible cotton plant. Secondly, it’s near-impossible to come by a non-GMO cottonseed oil because it’s one of the big-4 Monsanto GMO crops. It’s everywhere (margarine, shortening, box cereals, processed cookies, crackers, et al). But it doesn’t belong in the cupboard.
  • Margarine & Vegetable Shortening – the process to make margarine and shortening is called hydrogenation. It goes something like this: Cheap oils (like soy, corn, cottonseed or canola) are mixed with a catalyst (tiny metal particles like nickel oxide) and then pressurized with hydrogen gas to turn the oil into a solid at room temperature. Then emulsifiers are added to correct the texture. It then has to be “deodorized” by “steam cleaning” at extremely high temperatures and bleached to eliminate it’s unnatural grey color. And finally, to make margarine, food coloring and flavors must be added to make it taste more like butter.
  • Soybean oil – like Corn Oil, it’s so challenging to find organic soybean oil. And despite the high levels of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, I’ve read too often that soy is an endocrine disruptor that we avoid also soybean oil.
  • Vegetable oil – the conventional factory process to make vegetable oil involves overheating the crushed seeds, washing them with toxic solvents to extract every last bit of oil, destroying healthy antioxidants in the seeds and resulting oil just isn’t something I want to feed my family.

So now it’s time to clean the cupboard …

… and use more butter.

xo,

Jeanne

Q: What healthy fats do you use and how do you add them to your diet?

How we eat real food without letting it consume us.

IMG_0683

Spoiler alert: We do the best we can.

When I started learning about real food (and everything that goes along with it), it was without a doubt all-consuming.  What started as a change from conventional green peppers to organic, quickly spiraled into a revamp of not just the kitchen, but all areas of my life.

We changed what we would buy at the store, and how we would prepare the food at home.

We emptied out the medicine cabinet and gradually changed how we deal with sickness.

We ditched the bottles of lotions and shampoos and beauty products filled with chemicals we couldn’t pronounce.

And while I am FOREVER thankful for these things, I am the first to admit it can take over your life.

Here I am, five solid years later, and I feel I have a much healthier balance in my life.  I’m still just as passionate (possibly even more) about eating organic, avoiding genetically modified food, keeping toxins out of our home and embracing the outdoors (and sunshine) as much as possible.

I’ve heard a lot of people in the real food world talk about following an 80/20 rule, meaning that they eat right 80 percent of the time and allow for slip-ups and splurges the other 20.  I’d say we fall into that category, except somedays it’s 90/10 or 50/50 or something of that sort.  Anything we do in the home is healthy.  We buy as organic as possible, filter our water, rarely use chemicals for cleaning, etc.

I firmly believe that the additional money we spend on these things is an investment into our future health and wellness.  And in terms of organic food being more expensive… yes, yes it is.  No one is going to argue with that.  But if you take a look at your budget and see how much $ you spend going out to eat or driving through Starbucks (both of which we do on occasion), you’ll find there are some ways you can save to have a little extra to contribute to healthier foods.

But back to the point of this post… how do we live this “alternative” lifestyle without letting it consume our lives?

Omamas.com

We take advantage of convenient foods.  

All kids like hotdogs, and mine are no exception.  We buy organic ones from Applegate, and they are easy to throw in the toaster oven when we’re in a pinch.  I go through seasons of making kombucha and yogurt, but to keep it easy I generally buy these at the store.   My two year old and I have been known to suck down a small (who am I kidding?!) large bag of organic chips with salsa if no one is there to stop us.

We teach our kids about making healthy eating choices, but don’t let them stress about it. 

They eat cake at parties and french fries at restaurants.  My four year old is starting to ask questions about organic, and for a while was asking me if this or that was “gutten” free.  (Which is sort of funny, because our family has never followed a gluten-free diet.)  They eat a wide variety of vegetables (mainly raw), and on occasion they will choose those over something too sweet.  Sort of like below when my 2 year old choose lemon and kale salad over homemade sugar cookies.

IMG_0630

I have to keep myself in check. 

I was a bump on a log in the beginning of my health food journey.  My biggest beef was with meat (pun intended), and I couldn’t bear to eat at a resturarant that didn’t have an organic option to choose from.  It wasn’t fun for anyone, and I chose food over friends/family more than i’d like to admit.  My favorite restaurants are still the ones who offer those options, but I try my best to be flexible.  I also have to keep myself in check to not let my love for real food become an obsession.

I will never, ever turn back on my love for real food, but there are so many other wonderful things in this world to care about, too!

-Abby

tsukemono (aka lacto-fermented Japanese cabbage salad)

We have a guest post today over at Modern Alternative Mama about how (and why you would want to) remove added sugar from your diet.  Click here to check it out!

Jeanne here.

Remember our post from yesterday about simple and effective ways to combat cold/flu season?  I thought you might want another (super easy) lacto-fermented veggie salad that goes with just about anything.

And I’m not sure if you need more evidence to support your decision to make some lacto-fermented veggies, but if you’ve read Sandor Katz [most famous for his book “Wild Fermentation” (affiliate link)], he’s got a great quote about why it’s so important to have fermented foods in our diets:

“In the normal scheme of things, we’d never have to think twice about replenishing the bacteria that allow us to digest food.  But since we’re living with antibiotic drugs and chlorinated water and antibacterial soap and all these factors in our contemporary lives that I’d group together as a ‘war on bacteria,’ if we fail to replenish [good bacteria], we won’t effectively get nutrients out of the food we’re eating.”

That pretty much nails it for me.  And is one of the primary reasons we started fermenting foods (that and I have a love of pickles and sauerkraut 🙂
Here’s what I use to make a simple lacto-fermented tsukemono (Japanese cabbage salad):

photo

1 gallon fermentation crock (affiliate link)

  • You don’t need to buy a fermentation crock (Abby uses the insert to an old crock pot).  The point is, it should be non-reactive and large enough to hold about a gallon of goodness.

Vitamix mallet or a potato masher (not pictured)

  • I use this to “mash” the cabbage before adding the water.

lead-free glazed saucer

  • There are stone weights you can buy that are made specifically for the crock.  But I’ve never needed one.  A 6-inch saucer turned upside down with a rock on top of it does the trick just fine.

a large rock (or a mason jar filled with water that can act as a weight)

  • I use this to hold the saucer pressed down and in place over the veggies so they remain covered in the saltwater through the process

unbleached organic cheese cloth & a rubber band

  • This is to keep any dust or impurities out of the veggies while they are fermenting.

1/2 gallon mason jar (or 4 quarts, 8 pints, or any mixture of the above)

  • After the veggies are fermented (about 5-7 days), I transfer them to mason jars to store in the fridge.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small head of green cabbage shredded
  • 2 medium carrots julienned
  • 1 daikon radish julienned (optional)
  • 1 piece of dashi kombu (thick japanese seaweed … about 2 inches by 4 inches) (optional)
  • Sea Salt
  • Filtered water

 

DIRECTIONS:

Add the cabbage to your crock and sprinkle with two tablespoons of sea salt and mix to coat the cabbage.  (I use sea salt because of the trace minerals in the unbleached, unprocessed salt.)   Using the VitaMix mallet, I “mash” the cabbage for about 10-20 minutes doing my best to squeeze out as much of the natural liquid in the cabbage as possible.  Then add the carrots and daikon radish and stir to combine.  Add four cups of filtered water.  If the water doesn’t cover the cabbage by about an inch, add another 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt.  (That’s the ratio … 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of salt) until the cabbage mixture is covered by about an inch of water.

Place the piece of dashi kombu on top of the vegetables.

Place the saucer on top of the dashi on top of the cabbage and PRESS DOWN until there’s no more give.

Place the rock on top of the saucer and cover the crock with the cheese cloth.

Put in a warm spot in your kitchen (out of the sunlight) and let it rest.

I check the veggies daily to make sure they are still covered.  With clean hands, I press on the rock to make sure things are nice and squished down.

After 5-7 days, I remove the rock, the plate and the dashi and transfer the cabbage, carrots and daikon to the glass mason jar and move the mixture to the fridge.  It’s ready to eat, and I add it as a side to most meals 🙂

photo-45

NOTE:  You can use this method is almost ANY vegetable (cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, onions, scallions, garlic, cucumbers, et al).  It’s easy and delicious.  This is my go-to because I LOVE the delicate Japanese pickle flavor.  But like I mentioned earlier, Abby has a recipe for Mexican Fermented Veggies that I’ve also used and is delicious (goes great with all things Mexican).

immune boosting grape juice (that your kids will drink)

Abby here.

Ever go to the grocery store and end up grabbing a totally random item you’ve never bought before for no particular reason other than it was on sale for about fifty cents less?

I knew I wasn’t the only one!

So my random item was this:

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 9.49.55 PM

I’m quite familiar with Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, as we use it for a number of minor ailments (such as this), but I’ve never been drawn to their drinks.  I mean, I did crave ACV during my first pregnancy, but it’s not something I choose to pleasurably sip on nowadays.

So I got the drink and opened up as soon as we were in the car.

Does anyone else do that?

The kids and I HAVE to consume something we bought on the short drive home… everytime.  Sometimes its kombucha or apples or carrots or chips.

I took the first sip and thought it was… okay.  Nothing to go crazy over, but knowing it’s benefits it is something I could get used to.  I passed it back to the kids to try and I never got another sip.  They sucked it down, and asked for more…. which is really what this whole post is about.

The ingredients are so simple, I knew I could easily make this myself.

untitled (1 of 1)-32All I did was mix equal parts water and organic grape juice (I buy not from concentrate if it’s available), and then added about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.  There’s really no special formula for this one.  If your children are used to undiluted sweet juices they may turn their nose up at this one.  Continue playing with the measurements, and you’re sure to find something that works!

Wonder why I chose grape juice over apple?  Besides grape juice being the flavor on sale … well … there’s a controversy over arsenic levels in apple juice.  Dr. Oz made a big deal about it, suggesting that “we may be poisoning our families” with chronic arsenic exposure.  Then the FDA proposed an “action level” of 10 ppb (parts per billion) of arsenic in apple juice, matching the approved level for bottled water.

We haven’t done any independent studies on arsenic levels.  We only know that we’ve read it’s a carcinogen and that if we can reduce our families’ exposure to it, we might as well.

Plus, grapes and grape juice are jam-packed with antioxidants and the Mayo Clinic suggests that it could offer some great health benefits: like helping to reduce the likelihood of blood clots, helping maintain blood pressure, reducing “bad” cholesterol levels (all things I hope you’re not concerned about for your children, but are interesting nonetheless).

So … there it is … grape juice.

And thankfully, grape juice is a pretty bold flavor … easy to “hide” the tastes of some less than tasty but great for you supplements (colloidal silver, probiotics, superfood, etc.).

And it’s that time of year where the flu is running around, and I’m doing my best to give my family things to naturally ward it off!   Anything else you can think of to hide in this juice?

we’re giving thanks for this giveaway

A few months ago we introduced you to these ladies …

Pic for O'Mama's

Rebekah and Kaelin head up our local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Do you know about WAPF? Amazing group, promoting real food diets, traditional cooking methods and conscious eating. And Kaelin and Rebekah are two pretty remarkable real food advocates …under their inspired leadership, we’ve seen the local chapter meetings nearly double in size!! Which just means more people are caring about the food we eat. More people caring about their food means more people are living consciously. And more people living consciously means the world we live in has no choice but to get better. Yay Kaelin and Rebekah for leading the charge!

To say that we were excited when they emailed us offering to sponsor a book bundle giveaway is kind of an understatement.

And then they told us the books they wanted to give away and we were so excited!!!!

You’ll see for yourselves how incredible these books are … Jeanne uses the recipes in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon as a foundation for so much of her cooking.  Reading Kaayla Daniel’s Soy book will change the way you look at this so-called “health food.”  And it might just be because we’re geeky real food foodies, but the Milk book by Ron Schmid is just fascinating.

So we’re pretty thankful this week (which is just a lucky coincidence that it’s the week of Thanksgiving) to have such a great giveaway, from these incredible sponsors.

Do yourself (or someone you love) the favor of registering to win … seriously 🙂

Nourishing_Traditions

Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon
A full-spectrum nutritional cookbook with a startling message animal fats and cholesterol are vital factors in the human diet, necessary for reproduction and normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels. Includes information on how to prepare grains, health benefits of bone broths and enzyme-rich lacto-fermented foods.

soy-story

The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food, Kaayla Daniel, PHD
A groundbreaking expose that tells the truth about soy that scientists know but that the soy industry has tried to suppress. Soy is not a health food, does not prevent disease and has not even been proven safe. Epidemiological, clinical and laboratory studies link soy to malnutrition, digestive problems, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, even heart disease and cancer.

the-untold-story-of-milk

The Untold Story of Milk, Ron Schmid
The role of raw milk in the rise of civilization, the milk problem that led to compulsory pasteurization, the politics of the dairy industry. Revised and updated with the latest scientific studies documenting the safety and health benefits of raw milk. Raw milk is a movement whose time has come. This book will serve as a catalyst for that movement, providing consumers with the facts and inspiration they need to embrace Nature’s perfect food.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations Krysti S! Please contact us at omamasblog@gmail.com with your mailing address so we can have Rebekah and Kaelin send your prize to you!!

my favorite (store-bought) cough syrup

It’s that time of year.  Runny noses and chesty coughs.  My kids seemed to be hanging onto a minor cold forreeeevvvveeeerrrr.

I sort of blame myself.  About a week ago we were invited to the park to play with a new friend and I hated to pass it up.  It seemed they were almost over their colds, so I figured if they were bundled up we’d be fine (it was a sunny 40 degrees). They had a ball, but we all payed the price.  Their cough flared up, and my 4 year old hardly slept a wink that night.

Jeanne has shared a lemon-ginger-honey homemade cough syrup that I think tastes as good as candy, but my kids weren’t feeling it.   We’ve used it before (and it works wonders), but like many kids (and grown-ups) they change their mind a lot!

I ran to the co-op that morning, and grabbed the most familiar children’s cough syrup they had.

It’s inexpensive.  It works.  My kids like it.  So it’s a winner in my book.

51X96vAHjIL

I purchased it locally, but it’s available HERE in our Amazon store.

I don’t stress too much about colds, as it gives their little immunities a chance to get a work out.  But (because I can’t help myself) I’ve also been feeding my kids lots of bone broth (disguised in Tortilla Soup) and upping their probiotics.

Happy to report we’re on the up and up!

Abby

Disclosure: The FTC requires we let you know this post contains affiliate links. We receive a small commission on purchases you make through our Amazon store (usually 4%).  The price is the same for you, and we really appreciate it! Right now our profits are keeping this blog afloat, but we’re just waiting for the day it’ll buy us each a ranch on a few hundred acres.

spiced chai pudding

Don’t forget to register for our GIVEAWAY this week!

I admit that as the weather cools (our morning temperatures for the past week have been in the low 30s) I look for excuses to make Chai anything.

Chai tea.

Chai cookies.

Chai cakes.

Chai pudding.

IMG_1582

I want it for breakfast.

I want it for snack.

I want it for dessert.

And I know part of that want is because of the warm and cozy scents of the familiar fall spices (like Cinnamon and Cloves).

I’m also sure it’s deeper than that.  Because ginger (in the Ayurvedic Tradition) is used to “warm” the body from the inside out.  It soothes the tummy and boosts the effectiveness of other herbs and spices.  Cinnamon is full of antibacterial, anti fungal and antiseptic properties.  It’s used to boost vitality.  And it tastes so good.  And Cloves are used in Eastern Medicine as a pain reliever (for all those winter joint pains that seem to set in as the temperatures sink lower and lower).

But chai pudding?  Why on earth would we make chai pudding?  (You mean, besides it being totally delicious and awesome?)

Because of the milk and gelatin.

Because it’s the beginning of cold and flu season and if you believe any of the recent research connecting gut health to the strength of our immune system, you know that it’s of utmost important to create a healthy environment in our bellies to make it through the season without cold or flu.

We hear a lot of talk about probiotics these days.

And I’m a big proponent of a probiotic rich diet (kombucha, yogurt, fermented veggies … to name a few).

But our guts need more than a few probiotics to digest and absorb all the nutrients in the food we eat.

We’ve already shared a series of posts on the benefits of raw milk (so long as it is from a clean source and from cows not fed growth hormones for antibiotics).  And here’s another excellent article that outlines really clearly the benefits and risks associated with it … not the least of which is reduced allergies and asthma in children.

But what about gelatin?  (I’m not talking about Jell-O.)

Yes, gelatin is good for bone and joint health.  But did you know that it’s also a great addition to digestive tract?

What is it?

Gelatin is basically composed of protein (amino acids) water and mineral salts derived from collagen.

Why should gelatin be part of our diet?

For centuries, gelatin has been used to treat digestive disorders.  Long before Imodium A/D, it was used to help alleviate diarrhea in babies.  It’s been used to treat dysentery.  And because it is a hydrophilic colloid (collagen that attracts water), it helps to line, protect and heal the mucus lining of the digestive tract.  It also helps aid in digestion and create an environment that allows better absorption of nutrients.  And now, studies are confirming that gelatin intake can help people with autoimmune disorders (like rheumatoid arthritis), joint disorders, allergies, and inflammatory bowel disorders.  I love this simple-plain English article from Natural Health about the benefits of adding gelatin to our diets.

So we look for ways to add gelatin to our diet.

Like Abby’s yummy probiotic gummy squares (probiotics and gelatin … a win-win!).

And the chocolate pudding that she made that still makes my mouth water when I see the picture.

20130814-134619.jpg

And I’m working on a lemon-honey-ginger gummy for cold and flu season (but I’ve yet to master it … actually, my first two attempts have been totally gross, but I’ll figure it out!)

So now back to Chai Pudding …

Because this one works.

It fills my need for the Chai spices.  Gives us the benefit of the milk and the gelatin.  And the kids LOVE it (which is always the kicker, isn’t it?)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups Heavy Cream (preferably raw)
  • 1/2 cup Milk (preferably raw or unpasteurized)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
  • pinch of Sea Salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Gelatin (we get ours here)

DIRECTIONS:

In a small saucepan over VERY LOW heat (you don’t want to boil the milk and cream and destroy the goodness of the “raw,” you just want to warm it), combine the heavy cream, milk, vanilla and salt.  Whisk in the cinnamon, ginger and cloves.  When they are well-combined, pour the contents of your saucepan into a blender.  Add the gelatin and blend on high for a minute or two.

Pour the contents of the blender into individual serving dishes and refrigerate for at least 90 minutes before serving.

Serve with fresh whipped cream and a little sprinkle of Cinnamon (or not … it’s great on its own).

YUM!

Makes 4-6 servings.

 

gently used ergo baby carrier GIVEAWAY!

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!  Thanks for playing!! 

And CONGRATULATIONS for winning …

Lindsey Miller!!

Maybe you saw the link we posted from Northern Mum on Saturday about why front-facing baby carriers may not be a great idea …

wpid-oxford-20120214-00027

Which got me thinking … I have this great Ergo Standard Baby Carrier.

41tD6dK6fTL._SY355_ I love this carrier.

From the moment our little guy was big enough to fit, we were freed up to go just about anywhere.

IMG_7305

I should have more pictures of these experiences but I can’t find any … seriously.  He started out on my chest with an infant insert, moved out of the insert and stayed face-forward, then got big enough that he liked life better on my back.  It was a full 20 months of awesome.

And I’m so thankful for the Ergo.  For real.

Because  this was me and our little girl (before I knew better) …

DSC01314(I love this picture because I love the adventures that little girl and I went on and I love those memories … but now I cringe when I see it … knowing now what I wish I knew then.)

So now that the little guy is too big for the Ergo, I realize that it’s still got a TON of life left in it … and if you’ve been using a front-facing carrier (or know someone who is) and want to make the switch.  Maybe this is for you … and a chance to give it a try for FREE!

So we’re giving away our well-loved Ergo (sorry no infant insert … I was reminded that I already gave it away).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY WILL CLOSE FRIDAY OCTOBER 4th at midnight.

WINNER ANNOUNCED SATURDAY IN OUR WEEKLY ROUND-UP!

This is NOT a sponsored post.  We just love the Ergo and want it to go to someone who needs/wants it.  Winner will be chosen at random on Friday night and announced Saturday.  Ergo will be shipped USPS standard mail.

happy weekend!

IMG_1495

I don’t know about you but … what a week!

With grey skies, threats of snow, battling colds and earaches, bone broths, crackers, laundry (why can’t I keep up with the laundry?), dishes, ballet (for Jeanne’s little), soccer (for Abby’s), lessons … life …

It was a week filled with life.

To quote an ancient Sanskrit poem:

Look well to this day for it is life …

the very life of life!

In its brief course lie all the realitites and truths of existence…

the joy of growth!

the splendor of action!

the glory of power!

For yesterday is but a memory,

and tomorrow is only a vision

But today, well lived,

makes every yesterday a memory of happiness

and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day.

So with that in mind … here’s our weekly round up:

Our most pinned post of the week… homemade almond nutella

DSCN3378

Most read post of the week…the kindergarten quandary.  (Thank you, everyone, for the incredibly thoughtful responses for which we were humbled and appreciative!)

untitled (1 of 1)-30

A must read … from Northern Mum about why forward facing baby carriers might not be a great idea.

wpid-oxford-20120214-00027

(I watched this and cried … we are so lucky … we had one and used it a LOT with our first and I am thankful every day that this didn’t happen to her little hips.)

PS, I have a gently used Ergo Baby Carrier that we are going to GIVEAWAY!  Check on Monday for the ins and outs for your chance to take home a great carrier (including infant insert … if I can find it in storage 🙂 that made all the difference in the world … for me and our little guy 🙂