Saturday, July 30, 2011

Health Benefits of Himalyan Crystal Salts

A New "SALT" to me, and one I plan on using in many different ways in my home and life, I thought I would share so others could be informed too!

Himalayan Crystal Salt

Is 100% pure and natural. It's not refined like table salt; it's more pure and wholesome than sea salt or rock salt.

A study conducted at the University of Graz in Austria found that people who drank water containing Himalayan crystal salt daily experienced improvement in respiratory conditions, organ functions, and connective tissues. Participants also reported sleeping better and having more energy. The study noted a boost in the ability to achieve higher concentration levels. Some of the study participants stated they lost unwanted weight while others involved in the study showed enhanced hair and nail growth


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Organic OR Not Organic...that is the Question!

 Does ORGANIC really matter?   It can! Here is a list I found on fruits and veggies that can get you started towards a healthier path...Lets start with the "Dirty dozen"...
Through the twelve foods most likely to have pesticide residue, people have been exposed to at least 10 different pesticides in one day. This may not sound like much, but the long-term health concerns have been noted to include:

  •     Nervous system effects
  •     Carcinogenic effects
  •     Hormone system effects
  •     Skin, eye, and lung irritation

When should I buy organic?

These foods are referred to as "the dirty dozen" — they're the fruits and vegetables most likely to have residue from pesticides, and they're ranked in order from most to least toxic. This is where buying organic has the most benefit.

    Bell pepper

When is it okay to save money and buy conventional produce?
These fifteen foods are the cleanest in the produce aisle — they're the ones least likely to have harmful pesticide residues on them when you buy them. Get them organic and/or local when you can, but here's where you can feel okay with saving money by going with conventionally-grown produce.

    Sweet corn
    Sweet peas
    Sweet potato

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

GF Granola

5 cup oats (soaked night before) *Make sure they are cert gluten free
2 cups coarsely chopped almonds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup sesame seeds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups mixed dried fruit (we used apricots, sour cherries, and golden raisins here)
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Mix together the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. Make sure you use a large baking sheet or roasting pan for this. (I prefer the roasting pan, because you can really swirl around those ingredients without spilling them on the floor.) Sprinkle the cinnamon, ginger, and salt over the top. Stir it up.
Toss the bite-sized pieces of dried fruit over the top of the oats mixture. To be honest, you might want more than 1 1/2 cups here. I kept throwing more on until about 1/2 of the surface of the oats had fruit on it. Use your own judgment here. Stir it all up.
Drizzle the maple syrup evenly over the surface of the oats mixture. Do the same with the oil. Stir it all up until everything is well coated — not too sticky, but not dry either. Done? Great. Throw it in the oven.
Bake for 12 minutes, then stir up the granola-in-the-making, then put the pan back in the oven. Repeat this process three more times (it could twice or four times for you, depending on your oven). You’re looking for the granola to be not-at-all wet, golden brown, with a bit of crunch.
Pull it out of the oven and let it cool before devouring it.
Makes 10 cups or so.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kid Healthy/Friendly Munchies from my home to yours...

Toddlers and Kids + Snacks=Normal. Mini meals, and/or snacks are often what makes up a food prymid for a Child, and I have made it my mission to help guide my kids toward healthy "on the go" snacks, that are not full of preservatives, sugars, or fillers... So Here you go! You can do it too!
TIP: Try putting several snacks into a sectioned container, like a muffin tin, and leaving it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator for kids to help themselves throughout the day! My kids have always had a "snack" drawer, stocked with Organic Applesauce, Oat bars, dried fruit, veggie crisps,nut mixes ( like trail mix) etc. I toss an occasional "treat" like fruit snacks, goldfish, or cookies in , but since it is not "forbidden"and within their reach, they often leave those "speacial" snacks, and go for what they are used to!
Here is a list of quick "on the go" snacks that are ready, or can be ready in a jiffy. Kid tested and approved from my 1 and 3 year old boys:

Almonds (for younger tots you can buy skinless which are easier to chew)
Apple wedges with peanut butter, yogurt, or fruit dip
Avocado chunks
Carrot sticks with peanut butter
Celery with peanut butter (or cream cheese) & raisins
 Cheese cubes
Cheese quesadillas
Cinnamon toast
Cottage cheese with  fruit (pineapple, apricots, peaches, etc.)
Crackers with cheese or peanut butter
Fresh Fruit
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Homemade popsicles
Mixed fruit snack cups
Oatmeal with toppings (raisins, berries, milk & honey, granola)
Peanut butter & jelly(use all natural pb,w/no added oils, and 100% fruit spread)
Peanut butter on banana bread
Pear slices dipped in yogurt
Raisins/ other Dried fruit
String Cheese
Sunflower seeds
Toasted raisin bread with peanut butter or cream cheese
Veggies with veggie dip (see some recipes below)
Yogurt & granola(plain yog w/stevia and the soaked oats granola!)
100% Juice Boxes

TIP: Keep plenty of small plastic storage containers or zipper storage bags filled with portable snacks, ready to grab!

Kid Friendly  Dips!

Cucumber Dip

8 oz sour cream
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
3 tbsp chopped tomato
Beat together sour cream and cream cheese.
Stir in other ingredients.
Several servings. 

Avocado Dip
2 ripe avocados, peeled & mashed
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar

Easy Hummus Dip Recipe

15-oz can of chick peas
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika (optional)
Place first 5 ingredients in blender or food processor.
Blend until smooth.
Serve in bowl, sprinkled with paprika.
Several Servings (about 1 1/2 cups)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Soaked Granola

  • 4 c. rolled oats
  • 1/4 c. freshly ground white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. - 3/4 c. filtered water (warm)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 c. almonds
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
The night before, mix oats and flour together in a large glass bowl.  Pour lemon juice and enough water to lightly moisten it and stir together.  It shouldn't be too wet.  Cover with a towel and set aside for 12 - 18 hours.
In another bowl, put almonds, sea salt, and enough water to cover.  Stir together and let it sit overnight.
In the morning, drain the almonds.  Dump the almonds and oat mix onto a large baking sheet (I used 16x20 with low sides).  Pour the vanilla, honey, and coconut oil over it and stir together, then spread it out.  Bake at 250 for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Serve hot, or store in the pantry in a sealed bag for about a week.  Serve with milk or over yogurt or as desired.  Makes about 5 cups.

Myths About Unvaccinated Kids

THIS was taken from

This post is a follow-up to the post I did a few weeks ago on Myths About Unvaccinated Kids.  It's not intended to convince you one way or another on your vaccination decision, as I believe it is up to each parent to research the issue and choose what is right for them.
However, that can't happen in the current climate.  Most of the discussions I read, which usually start out with honest questions, quickly disintegrate to misinformation and name-calling -- on both sides.  Lots of rumors fly around out there.  Non-vaccinating parents are told they're "parasites" and much worse.  I can't speak for the other side (though I know there's plenty of misinformation about that, too).  But I believe by reacting this way we are only doing everyone a disservice.
So today, I'm hoping to clear up some of those myths about non-vaccinating parents.  And, please, remember: all parents want what is best for their children.  If you enter the debate with an open mind and that belief, everything will go a lot better.
Here are the myths I've heard:
1) Parents listen to the media/Dr. Wakefield study/Jenny McCarthy when choosing not to vax.
While this may be the first place parents heard about the issue, it's definitely not the final word.  Parents who choose not to vaccinate don't make this decision lightly.  They spend hours upon hours researching every aspect and angle they can find.  Even parents who initially make the decision often feel very uncertain about it, and end up seeking out even more research to verify their decisions.  For many, the media and "celebrities" play little to no role in their ultimate decision.

2) Parents are selfish, relying on those who DO vax for protection while skipping the risks for themselves.
It's important to understand that most of the parents who choose not to vaccinate do not believe in herd immunity.  They also see some benefit to actually catching some of the childhood diseases.  Some actively seek out chicken pox and even mumps or measles!  They do not believe that their children need protection from vaccines, either directly or indirectly.  You will never hear a parent say, "It doesn't matter if I vaccinate my kid since everyone else does it!"  No...parents have reasons that reach far, far beyond this -- and again, don't believe in herd immunity anyway.  (I, personally, wish that fewer people vaccinated...because I believe if we strengthened our children's systems with good nutrition we wouldn't need to, and I'm also concerned, somewhat, about the remote possibility of virus shedding.  I'm not saying anything about anyone's decision, just pointing out that I definitely don't rely on or care about whether or not others are vaccinated when I choose what to do for my family.)

3) Parents believe vaccines cause autism and that is their primary reason for not vaxing.
Do vaccines cause autism?  We don't even know the answer to that question.  There are some parents who did stop vaccinating for that reason -- 11 years ago, when the study initially came out.  But these days, families on both sides are well aware of the controversy.  It may be what initially sparks a parent's interest in the topic, but it's, again, not the last word.  Most of the families who've chosen not to vaccinate (at least the ones I've talked to) rate the autism at the very bottom of their "reasons not to vaccinate" list -- if it makes the list at all.  There are many, many other concerns.

4) Parents don't understand what these diseases are really like, or they would start vaxing.
On the contrary.  Most parents have carefully researched what might happen should their child catch any of these diseases.  They know what the usual course of the disease are, what complications are likely, symptoms to watch for, and so on.  They know what the true likelihood of complications is, and what causes them (for example, reading the WHO's disease papers provides this information...and nutritional deficiencies are one of the primary causes of complications).  Parents then set out to boost their childrens' immune systems naturally so that should they catch a disease, they'll be highly unlikely to have any serious complications.  Though they are aware it could happen and they do accept that risk.  The thing is, parents don't rely on the scare tactics and horror stories...they know what real statistics really say.

5) Parents' reasons keep changing because they don't really have any argument
In reality, parents' reasons don't change when they've done full research.  They have many reasons, but those reasons are always the same.  This is an argument primarily used in the vaccine-autism debate.  "First it was the MMR...then thimerosal...then the schedule as a whole...they don't have an argument!"  Actually, all of these things play a role!  Parents aren't shifting the blame so much as trying to investigate all possible causes.  If one particular element in and of itself doesn't explain it, they move on to another to see if that may also play a role (something that the scientists should be doing, too...).

6) Parents don't vaccinate because they are uneducated or hippie/earth-loving mothers
This is demonstrably untrue, and rather rude.  Every study of non-vaccinating parents shows that they are likely to be college-educated with "above average" salaries and steady jobs.  This, of course, mystifies authorities.  It doesn't mystify me!  Parents in this category are most likely to do their research and make thoughtful parenting decisions, rather than relying on what someone else (friend, parent, doctor) tells them to do.  Many of these parents are not at all what you would consider a "hippie."  And they haven't made this decisions because they believe in "hippie ideals," it's because they have done careful research.  Parents who choose not to vaccinate may be very, very different in other ways (how they birth, how they eat, how they feed their babies, whether or not the mom works, etc.).  There is no "stereotypical" non-vaccinating parent.

7) Parents are "abusing" or "neglecting" their children by not vaccinating, or they don't love them
This one really makes me angry.  Please, before you even say such a thing, remember that all parents truly love and want what is best for their children!  No matter how much you vehemently disagree with a parent's decision, you should never say something like this (and yes...I have had this said to me before).  Parents are very careful to research and think and pray hard before making any major decision.  Not vaccinating does not mean, under any circumstances, that a parent is abusing, neglecting, or failing to love their child.  Period.  To say so is inflammatory and just sick.

8) Parents don't understand that vaccines save lives, they are too worried about rare side effects.
Parents, again, have done careful research.  Part of that research is into how effective vaccines are, when they were introduced, how disease rates fell before/after introduction, how disease rates fell in other countries that didn't use those vaccines, reading the VAERS database, and so on.  They're well aware of how vaccines work and how they've been used, as well as what side effects are likely and what serious ones may occur.  Some parents unfortunately choose not to vaccinate after they, or their children are seriously injured by a vaccine.  For them, the "rare" side effects are only too real.  These parents have carefully weighed the risks of the diseases and vaccines vs. the benefit of each...and have found that the risks of the vaccines outweigh the benefit.