Tag Archives: Organic

A Glimpse Inside Our Pantry

pantry post

I thought I’d give you a glimpse into our pantry and fridge, and show you how we eat most of the time.  I think it’s fairly simple, just natural, whole ingredients, and organic where possible and affordable.  We also have a few specialty ingredients that we use sometimes.

So here’s what our pantry usually looks like after shopping day (photos taken a month ago). Where it’s just way too expensive to buy organic varieties, we try and find the next best thing. Our local supermarket for example has some ‘natural’ range products that are more affordable, and some of these things we use less regularly anyway (eg. almond meal, maple syrup).  A lot of things we buy in bulk bags, such as flour, nuts and dried fruit.  Also, our dairy produce in New Zealand is grass-fed and so we don’t buy organic dairy or meat (but do free-range chickens).

You’ll notice there’s some things there that aren’t all that healthy (like the bought crackers, which are convenient carriers for healthy toppings!), but we aren’t 100% perfect and aren’t trying to be!

Flour and Baking Ingredients

  • Coconut flour
  • Almond meal
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Wholewheat flour
  • Gluten-free/aluminium-free baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Shredded coconut
  • Coconut chips
  • Cacao powder
  • Coconut amino sauce
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Rapadura sugar
  • Coconut sugar
  • Raw honey
  • Cacao butter
  • Carob powder

Nuts, Seeds, Dried Fruit

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Natural raw nut mix (almonds, pecans, brazils, walnuts)
  • Walnuts
  • Goji berries
  • Raisins
  • Dates
  • Seed blend (LSAP)

pantry 1

Oils and Vinegars

  • Extra virgin coconut oil
  • Cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Plum vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Fermented soy sauce
  • Wholegrain mustard

pantry 3

Dried Legumes

  • Lentils
  • Chick peas
  • Buckwheat groats
  • Brown rice
  • Jasmine white rice
  • Popcorn (always organic)
  • Quinoa
  • Wild rice
  • Millet (used infrequently)
  • Amaranth (used infrequently)

pantry 4Other

  • Rice crackers
  • Canned coconut cream
  • Canned chick peas
  • Cacao nibs
  • Maca powder
  • 100% bean pasta
  • Tomato passata sauce
  • Homemade buckwheat cereal
  • Large rolled oats
  • Store-bought oat bars
  • Organic coffee
  • Organic herbal tea
  • Chlorella powder
  • Dr Mercola Protein powder
  • Moringa leaf powder

pantry 2

Seasonings

  • Cinnamon
  • Braggs nutritional seasoning
  • Himalayan salt
  • Sea salt
  • Sweet paprika
  • Cumin
  • Ginger
  • Coriander seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Vanilla powder
  • Various dried herbs

In Our Fridge

This is about the fullest our fridge ever looks, as we have various leftovers in there, some chicken bones to turn into stock, and some bags of flour!  I can also spot some blueberries that we picked ourselves, and about 4 jars of sauerkraut.  Generally, the staples are:

  • Raw milk
  • Double organic cream
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Coconut water
  • Sauerkraut
  • Cream cheese
  • Almond milk
  • Jam
  • Cheese
  • Unsalted butter
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Free range eggs
  • Pesto (maybe once a month for this)
  • Kefir
  • Yoghurt
  • Kombucha mushies (haven’t made kombucha in a while)
  • Liquid whey
  • Seed powders
  • Homemade ACV drink
  • Homemade iced tea concentrate
  • Ginger root
  • Meat and frozen berries are in the freezer, also some frozen homemade stocks

pantry fridgeUsually we eat naturally fermented sour dough bread, as we can get some amazing artisan bread for a great price the day after it’s baked.  But we’re looking at cutting out grains for a while just to tidy up a few health issues that are lingering.  Instead I’m making flax bread and keep slices in the freezer ready to go, or using leftovers and making cooked lunches.

So there you go!  We’re spending inside the average range for a family of our size: $230-$359/wk (NZ stats for 2013, from lower to moderate range). The weeks I blow the budget is usually because we’ve stocked up on something or bought supplements.

We’re going to make some cut backs on our grocery bill this year but more on that another time. I’d like to get it down to $200-250/wk without compromising our health.  That’s going to take some serious creativity!

Have a great week!

Victoria

Introducing Solids to Your Baby

Introducing solids to your baby v2 small

I’ve sure come a long way on introducing solids since I began this parenting gig almost 10 years ago.  By the time my third child came around to this stage, the processed crackers and store-bought biscuits were history, and instead I was making homemade blends of vegetables cooked in stock and taking a careful, considered approach to how and when foods were introduced.

So here are some things I’d like to pass on that I hope will help you as you put together your plan.

Why Organic?

The most important thing for our family is that we choose only organic foods for these reasons:

  • More nutrition
  • No harmful chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other toxic residues.
  • Free from additives and GE-free

If buying organic food is a stretch for feeding your whole family, consider buying organic food just for your baby, as the quantities are small enough that you shouldn’t notice much of a change to your overall grocery bill.  It’s just worth the investment to give your baby a head start to optimum health.

When to Introduce Foods

I introduce single foods and watch for any reaction over a few days before introducing the next one.  I also prefer to cook vegetables in homemade broths/stocks.

Here’s the basic plan I’ve followed, give or take a few compromises here or there.

4m + (minimal solids; ie. 1-2t per day)

  • Egg yolk
  • Mashed banana
  • Avocado

6-8m (single foods to start with, then gradually introduce blends, as well as meat and oil)

  • Cooked vegetables: sweet potato, carrots, parsnip, beetroot
  • Raw pureed fruits: pear, banana, avocado, apple
  • Cooked fruits: apple, dried apricots, peach, plum
  • Meat: Cooked and pureed lamb, beef, chicken
  • Broths: added to meat and vegetable blends
  • Oils: coconut and olive oil

9-12m

  • Homemade casserole/stew
  • Vegetable soups
  • Cooked vegetables: broccoli, peas
  • Dried fruits (small amounts): dates, raisins (soaked and blended in with other fruit)
  • Cooked berries (if tolerated)
  • Slowly introduce tastes such as ginger, garlic, onion, spices
  • A little of the juice from homemade fermented vegetables mixed with food

We introduced certain types of dairy slowly about this stage, such as kefir and yoghurt and a little butter, as our baby appeared intolerant to dairy from when he was a few weeks old (eg. nappy rash, green poop, unsettled when lying flat, reaction would occur about 4 hours after I’d eaten any).  We did a little cheese with him about 11 months.  We don’t do store-bought skim versions of any dairy with all our children.

Avoid until after 12m and then introduce slowly and one at a time:

  • White potatoes
  • Leafy greens
  • All grains and legumes (babies do not have enough digestive enzymes to handle them)
  • Citrus fruit and tomatoes
  • Nuts
  • Honey
  • Egg whites
  • Raw berries (pectin can upset tummies)

More Information

Bear in mind, this is all just a guide based on what’s worked for us.  You might have a different set of needs to consider for your little one.

Once you have your plan, print it off and keep on the fridge or somewhere handy to refer to easily.

All the best to you as you help give your baby a great start in life!

Victoria

Our ‘Back to Eden Garden’ Progress – One Year On

 

Back to Eden Garden pin

For the past 12 months, we’ve adopted a method of gardening, sometimes called the ‘no dig’ method, and more recently popularised by the super documentary ‘Back to Eden’, which is free to view online.

With summer just behind us and the cooler months approaching, I thought it would be a good opportunity to pass on how we’ve done over the last 6 months.

In all honesty, the weekends have been so filled with other activity since Christmas that our little garden has been somewhat neglected. We just let the summer months roll by, and enjoyed the produce that came from it, when really we should have continued with the relatively small amount of maintenance that it needed to thrive.

So I’ll pass on some things we’ve learned in this process, and the how we’re moving forward from here.

Soil

Fresh wood chips

Fresh wood chips

It’s all about the covering, right? What we really needed to continue with, was adding cover on top of the existing wood chips. Because we didn’t start from scratch initially, we couldn’t just heap 6 inches of cover on top of our existing plants. So we put down compost first, then added wood chips on the top but not at a thickness that was going to produce the kind of results we wanted. Decomposing just takes time – there’s no rushing nature!

Our wood chips have been decomposing nicely, but we have needed to keep adding fresh wood chips on the top. The other thing the garden could greatly benefit from is some chicken manure or similar.

Remember how Paul suggests you put in a garden? Newspaper first, then compost, wood chips and manure on the top. Have a read and watch of this on the Back to Eden website on covering.

Our plan is to source some wood chips locally (we had bought them in from out of town) and keep a supply elsewhere in our back yard. This way, we can keep the garden replenished. We also want to make use of living on the coast and collect up some seaweed from the beach to use on the garden. I’ve been told by a local veteran gardener that it’s the trick to the hugest and juiciest strawberries. Here’s a great write-up on why to use seaweed.

In the meantime, last weekend we put some fresh mulch on top of our existing wood chips, and will keep doing this through the winter months.

Weeds

Our weeds have definitely decreased significantly. But as we slackened on the cover, there are patches in our garden where there is little cover and some weeds have come up. Because we’ve had the wood chips and it has lessened the weeds, it probably lulled us into a false sense of security as we didn’t feel the need to tend to the garden!  We’re paying for it now, as we’re having to put some work in. But we’re happy with getting through a long hot summer with not too much that’s sprouted.

Plant Health

You can see from this photo, we have way too much clay and not enough decomposed wood chips underneath.

You can see from this photo, we have way too much clay and not enough decomposed wood chips underneath.

Again, because our soil health has needed some attention, namely some manure and/or nutrients, some of our leafy greens were a little woody instead of being juicy with water. The outside leaves particularly, and that is where we had some problems with insects or clusters of insect eggs. The inner, juicy leaves were insect free, even those exposed to the air. It just goes to show that the principles do work if you actually use them.

Harvest

We enjoyed plenty of summer harvest through the warm months, including different varieties of tomatoes, spinach, squash, and towards the end, pumpkins and butternuts. Next year, we’ll be better at preparing for the upcoming season and planning ahead. We still have time to get seedlings in for the winter, but it will be from seedlings we purchase from the garden store and not our own seeds.

Lessons Learned from Our First Year

Our little garden with the remains of summer's growth

Our little garden with the remains of summer’s growth

  • The soil is a living organism. We need to remember to continue to replenish the cover and check that the soil underneath is damp and rich.
  • While transitioning our garden to this method, we need to still water sometimes through dryer periods until there is adequate nourished soil underneath our wood chips.
  • Healthy soil makes for healthy plants, and less weed and insect problems.
  • Manure and sea weed are great for ongoing soil health!

In 6 months time, I hope to tell you that we’ve found a rhythm to keeping our garden maintained and healthy!

Finally, whether you’ve watched Back to Eden or not just yet, have a read of this great article on ‘How to Grow a ‘Back to Eden’ Garden’. Tell me what you think!

You might also be interested in my other posts on No-Dig Gardening.

Simple Steps Towards Natural Living

Simple steps towards natural living

I’ve written for Lindsey again this month, this time on Simple Steps Towards Natural Living.  I hope you’ll have a read – let me know what you think!

I hope you’ve managed to listen in to the first day of Nourished Living Summit this week – so much great info for free!

Have a great week,

Victoria

Nourished Living Summit – FREE Online Conference

I’d love to share a great opportunity this week for you to tune in for free and listen in to some of the best experts in the area around in the area of natural health.

The Nourished Living Summit brings together 69 natural health, wellness, and parenting professionals who are dedicated to helping parents care for their family naturally.

Nourished Living SummitThe Nourished Living Summit is a FREE online event and launches 24 March 2014.

The Nourished Living Summit is showcasing 62 presentations divided into 8 thematic tracks including:

  • Pre-Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth
  • Breastfeeding
  • Health and Development for Children Ages 0-18
  • Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family
  • Care and Nurturing For Mothers
  • Education for Natural Minded Parents

Beginning 24 March, you will have 48 hours to listen to 3-5 presentations. Each track is divided over the course of two 48 hour periods. Presentations will stream live Monday-Saturday with Sundays off. The Summit ends on 29 April.

IMPORTANT: You need to be registered in order to listen to the presentations. You can register on the home page of the official Nourished Living Summit website.

Speaker Line-up

Pregnancy

Infertility and Preconception Health
Donielle Baker
Natural Fertility and Wellness

Natural Family Planning and Ecological Breastfeeding
John and Sheila Kippley
Natural Family Planning

Birth Choices
Nicole Deggins, CNM, MSN, MPH
Sista Midwife Productions

Carrying and Parenting Multiples
Trisha Gilkerson
Breastfeeding Place

Preventing Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies Before Conception
Jill Baumann, BS, NC
Guided Path To Health

Herbs and Oils for Pregnancy and Birth
Jessica Aveni
Natural Health and Prevention

Eating For Two
Courtney Hillis
THRIVE: Natural Family Living

Family Oriented Bonding
Guggie Daly
The Guggie Daly

Breastfeeding

Supporting and Boosting Milk Supply Naturally
Diana West, BA, IBCLC
Low Milk Supply and Mahala Lactation and Perinatal Services, LLC

Building Blocks To A Healthy Breastfeeding Relationship
Dionna Ford
Code Name Mama

Back to Work Breastfeeding
Renee Beebe, M.Ed., IBCLC
The Second Nine Months

Breastfeeding As A Source of Joy
Christine Poirier-Brotchie
Momzelle Nursing Wear

Donor Milk
Emma Kwasnica
Human Milk 4 Human Babies

Nutrition and Breastfeeding
Becky Webb, NTP, CD (DONA)
Rooted Blessings

Inducing Lactation – One Mother’s Story
Millie Copper
Real Food For Less Money

Tongue Tie
Jennifer Tow, B.F.A., IBCLC
Intuitive Parenting Network

0-3

The Vaccine Decision – What Parents Need To Know
Jessika Bailey
Natural Mother Magazine

Gentle Sleep Solutions
Elizabeth Pantley
The No-Cry Solutions

Baby Led Weaning and Starting Solids
Kate Tieje
Modern Alternative Mama

Co-Sleeping
Laura Schuerwegen
Authentic Parenting

Newborn Decisions/Newborn Care
Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D
Author of The Business of Baby

Proper Care of Your Intact Son
Jennifer Andersen
Our Muddy Boots
and
Larissa Black
The WHOLE Network

Cloth Diapering
Miriam J. Katz
Author of The Other Baby Book and Intuitive Life Coach
and
Megan McGrory Massaro
Author of The Other Baby Book

Elimination Communication
Marija Mikolajczak
EC Wear

Babywearing
Jennifer Wenzel
True Confessions of a Real Mommy
and
Julie Mangan
A Little Bit of All of It
and
Shannon Riley
The Artful Mama

3-6

Autism
Dr. Jay Gordon, MD FAAP
Dr. Jay Gordon

Childhood Development Disorders
Dr. Jamie Oskin, N.D.
Arizona Natural Health Center

Chiropractic For Children and In Pregnancy
Dr. Staci Borkhuis, D.C.
Cornerstone Chiropractic

Children’s Dental Health
Will and Susan Revak
OraWellness

Extended Breastfeeding and Tandem Nursing
Lauren Wayne
Hobo Mama

Potty Training/Learning
Robert Edwards
Squatty Potty
and
Moorea Malatt
Savvy Parenting Support

Fostering Healthy Independence
Ariadne Brill
Positive Parenting Connection

Children and Reading
Elaine Krishnan
Usborne Books and More 
and
Jana Kemp
Jana M. Kemp

6-18

Puberty
Dr. Sherrill Sellman, N.D
What Women Must Know with Dr. Sellmen

Adrenal Health For Children
Michael Smith, N.D. BHSC
Planet Naturopath

Teen Health
Lydia Shatney
Divine Health From The Inside Out

Posture Makes Perfect: The Benefits of a Physically Balanced Life
Elizabeth Eckert
Word Cures

Parenting Without Stereotypes
Paige Lucas-Stannard
Parenting Gently

Raising Your Children To Know Where Their Food Comes From
Abbie Walston
Farmer’s Daughter

whole Family

Common Childhood Illnesses
Dr. Mary Bove, ND
Brattleboro Naturopathic Clinic

Skincare for Families
Jennifer Saleem
Hybrid Rasta Mama

Food Allergies
KerryAnn Foster
Intentionally Domestic

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
Joy Moeller, BS, RDH
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist

What Every Parent Needs To Know About Gluten
Joe Rigola
Wellness Punks

How Candida and Parasites May Be Harming Your Children’s Health
Amy Love, NTP, CGP, CILC
Real Food Whole Health

Environmental Toxins
Andrea Fabry
moms AWARE

Kombucha for Families
Hannah Crum
Kombucha Kamp

mama care

Preventing Postpartum Depression
Amanda Rose
Rebuild From Depression

Herbal Support for New and Overwhelmed Mothers
Carol Little
Studio Botanica

Self Care For Moms
Lauren Luquin
Spiral Elixir

Healing from Trauma and the Benefits of Placenta Encapsulation
Stephanie Brandt Cornais
Mama and Baby Love

Getting Centered
Amy Phoenix
Presence Parenting

Mommy Tummy and Diastasis Recti
Bethany Learn
Fit2Be Studio

The Babywearing Workout
Kelly Stewart
The Babywearing Workout

Parent Empowerment

Managing Anger and Overwhelm as a Parent
Dr. Laura Markham
Aha Parenting

Attachment Parenting: Creating a Foundation for Healthy Child Development
Kelly Bartlett
Author of Encouraging Words for Kids

Becoming Aware of Possible Toxins Around your Children; Choosing Safe Products for Your Children
Dawn Lorenz
Raising Natural Kids

Holistic Fathers – Engaging and Including Dad
Billy Bradley
Holistic Dad

Creating a Natural Medicine Cabinet
Rosalee de la Foret
Herbal Remedies Advice

Sneaky Nutrition
Lisa Herndon
Lisa’s Counter Culture

Real Food For Families
Kimi Harris
The Nourishing Gourmet

Finding Community
Chara Shopp
Stitching Hearts Together
and
Judy Tyler
Living Healthy ‘n’ Happy

REGISTER HERE

I am all for getting equipped to live a life that co-operates with how we were created.  There’s a number of these that I’m going to listen in to myself.

I hope to see some of you there!

Victoria

{Shared at Teaching What is Good}

What is Natural Living? – A Faith-Based Perspective

What is Natural Living

Anyone else out there feel like the realm of natural health is a vast sea of information, sometimes conflicting research, seemingly ever-changing facts, and everyone from the expert to the blogger has an opinion on what way is best?

I’ve meandered all over the place on this journey, having tried a mostly raw diet, nourishing traditions diet, various gluten and/or dairy-free combinations, and experimented with different wonder-foods and new discoveries in health.  And still, I come back to the same place each time.  It is much simpler than what many have let this become.

I believe a natural living is simply co-operating with God’s design for you.  ‘Natural’ speaks of ease, of rest, of wellness, of wholeness, of belonging, and of a rhythm that is intentional yet without toil.  The bible speaks of stewardship, generosity and community, and for us, those are important aspects of how our family desires to live out Heaven’s purpose for our lives on earth.

What do I mean by ‘Natural Living’?

With the above in mind, here are my thoughts on what natural living means to me.  The core value that my husband and I have on this is, to live responsibly in a way that stewards our bodies well and that co-operates with God’s design for our lives – as much as we currently can with other limitations and circumstances outside our control.  The rest that we can’t do, for numerous reasons, we just have to trust in Him to take care of.

Here’s how we try and live out this idea of natural living:

  • Parenting from a natural, responsive paradigm where children are valued, included, cherished, prioritised, and raised in a loving and affirming environment.  Healthy attachment and relational connection are paramount.  This may look different from family to family.
  • Eating healthy, whole, and usually organic food in its most unadulterated state – that includes being GE-free, fair-trade, and free from harmful chemicals (ie. pesticides, herbicides, fungicides etc);
  • Seeking nature’s remedies and methods for common ailments, and preventing and curing illness with nature’s best;
  • Using sustainable practices, such as recycling, seed raising, and composting, and minimising our waste;
  • Using household and personal care products that are free from harmful chemicals;
  • Switching to products made from nature, such as glass, wood, and natural fibres (eg. cotton and wool), over those made from polyester, plastic and the like.

If you’re participating in a modern world, the complete removal of everything man-made that is potentially toxic is near impossible.  Most of us use phones and computers, electricity and some degree of harmful chemicals.  I think we can only move in the direction of more natural living and find some balance in our transition to a way of living that is more in line with how God would have us steward ourselves and our world.

For us, living naturally also means living in loving connection to our Heavenly Father, just as he created us to, and living this out purposefully in the world.  It means living and serving within community and reaching out to a lost and needy world.

Diet and Nutrition

On this aspect, I don’t believe in a one-size fits all diet or approach – our occupations vary, our climates impact our diet and health, our individual health needs are different, our local food availability varies, and so forth.   The world we live in is constantly changing also.  Sometimes it might even mean what worked last year could need to be adjusted this year.

For some of us, changing our lifestyle may be a complete undoing of the only way we have ever known, as well as it being the opposite of the way that mainstream culture flows.  Simple steps can help to keep it things sustainable and stress-free.

You may have some certain health needs that will require a temporary and specific diet for a period of time, before you can return to a way of living that is more long-term.

Finding a Path Forward

It’s my hope that you don’t feel like it’s all too hard but that you can see some steps you can take that will set your family on a course that will affect your health for years to come.

Our family is not perfect, and like many others, we’re trying to live as naturally as possible with many constraints and various pressure from different places.  But we’re better than we were a year ago. And much better than we were 2 years, 5 years, 10 years ago.  We’re on a journey, and like any journey, there are times when we stop and assess where we’re at, and make changes to the direction we’re on as the Lord reveals more of the map to us.

Can I encourage you today to simply sit in the presence with your heavenly Father, and listen to what He wants to say to you?  I’m confident that He wants to show us all how to live closely to Him, and find a path to health and prosperity that will bring life to us and those around us.

For further information and links, please see Natural Living Guide, Simple Steps Towards Natural Living, and Natural Health and Healing.

{Shared at Babies and Beyond, Graced Simplicity, Growing Home, Teaching What is Good, Time Warp Wife, and Raising the Barrs}

Juicing and Blending

Juicing and blending pinJuicing and blending are effective ways to get maximum nutrients from your fresh vegetables and fruits.  Both methods have benefits and we prefer to do both daily in our household.  We usually have a vegetable-based juice in the mornings, and an afternoon smoothie with more fruits and superfood powders (and the odd leafy greens blended in).

I should mention that these tips below are for general health and not a protocol for healing any specific illness or for detoxing. Those guidelines are often different, as there are certain foods that may be off-limits or at the very least, quantities of certain foods that will be restricted.

These are simply tips that have worked for our family, with the purpose of bringing greater health and vitality to our lives.

Juicing

Juicing is a great way to get essential nutrients into your body without it having to break down fibre.  The nutrients and energy is absorbed into your body instantly.  For this reason, it is better to limit fruit quantities as it could cause unstable blood-sugar levels.

  • Keep your juices green – use only the amount of sweet vegetables and fruit that you would eat. Eg. one carrot, one apple, half a beetroot, and then the rest should be leafy greens
  • If you are using green powders, I personally prefer juiced grass powders, not just green powders
  • A squeeze of lemon juice with greens can help with the more bitter flavour.
  • You might like to start with gentler tasting greens, such as spinach, and when you get used to the taste use a variety of others (collards, kale, arugula, meslun, etc).
  • Have your juice on an empty stomach for maximum absorption of the nutrients.
  • Wait ½ hour before eating.
  • Don’t use as a complete meal replacement.
  • ‘Chew’ your juice, don’t knock it back fast, as your body benefits from pre-digesting it in your mouth first.

Blending

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap - FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Smoothies are a great way of getting fibre into your diet. The best way to have it is to drink it straight away (same goes for juices).

  • Don’t overblend, as it can break the fibre down too much.
  • Add in superfood powders into your smoothie, such as spirulina, acai, lucuma, maca or other blends.  Choose only the best organic powders and blends.  Chia seeds and ground flax seeds are also a great addition.
  • Avoid adding in any other vegetables, except leafy greens, as they don’t tend to combine well with fruits (your body processes them differently).
  • I tend to keep smoothies as an afternoon pick-me-up, so they generally have a base of berries, a banana to thicken them up, raw milk (or fresh nut milk) and yoghurt or kefir.

If you’re able to make the investment, I’d recommend buying a cold-pressed or masticating juicer that squeezes out the juice (we use a Champion – the Norwalk is the best but very expensive!).  The cheaper centrifugal juicers (the ones that spin) destroy much of the nutrients.

The good people at Food Matters have this Juicer Buyer Guide which gives some detailed information on juicers:

Here’s a favourite ‘Banana-Chocolate-Coconut’ smoothie of ours (Serves 2):

  • 1 cup fresh coconut water or milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 orange (juice and pulp)
  • 1 or 2 peeled kiwifruit
  • A large handful of blueberries
  • 2T chia seeds
  • 1T lucuma powder
  • 1T cacao powder
  • 1T bee pollen
  • 1T maca powder (optional)

 Do you have a favourite juicing or blending recipe you’d like to share?

{This post contains an affiliate link}.

{Linked up at Good Tips Tuesday}

A New Year and Renewed Health

A new year and renewed health

**THESE SPECIALS HAVE NOW FINISHED**

Friends, I’d love to share with you a couple of opportunities to start the new year off with a kick-start to your health.  Take advantage of a new year to set some goals and grab hold of these resources to see you on your way.

  • The good people at Food Matters are running 3 days of FREE guided detox from 3rd to 5th Jan.  Kick start your health and join in the community for recipes, discussion, and your questions answered.
  • Harvest Your Health have decided to do a re-run of the popular October sale, in which 8,865 of these super bundles were sold.

This sale will run from 3-6 January in a 90 hour re-run, and then will be gone for good!  It’s live right now!

There are a handful of products that aren’t returning on this one, but it’s still AMAZING value at $886.78 for the whole bundle.  Here’s what you’ll find:

  • 52 ebooks
  • 5 meal plans
  • 1 private kitchen community membership
  • 3 ONLINE magazines
  • 1 ONLINE fitness plan (1 month for 1 penny)
  • 20+ discount codes

The one thing I’m excited about the most in this bundle is the resources and recipes for helping us on our wheat-free journey.  When you’re armed with recipes and resources like this, it makes the transition so much easier and your long term success in changing your diet SO much more sustainable and possible.

I’ve read most of these books, and there’s something here for everyone – whether you’re planning a baby, needing some fresh recipe inspiration, needing some guidance on children’s health, or wanting to step your wheat-free (or grain-free) living up a notch.

I encourage you to take advantage of this offer, and set some goals for the new year to move into greater health for you and your family.

cooking and preparing paleo

cooking and preparing real food

home and personal care

fertility and motherhood

inspiration

Informational

fitness

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There is currently a giveaway running, with currently over $2,200 in prizes and more being added as the giveaway runs.  Make sure you ENTER HERE for an opportunity to win an i-pad, Kindles, gift cards, and much much more.

So there you have it!  Some super opportunities to boost your health and set you on a path for wellness in 2014.

I hope you’ll jump in with me!

Victoria

{This post contains my affiliate links}.

Weeding Out Wheat – Changes & Improvements

Weeding Out Wheat pin

It’s been about 2 months since I removed wheat from my diet.  I wrote last month about the initial changes to my health which included some weight loss and some improvements to my overall digestive health.   I find that wheat will instantly give me an unsettled stomach, and also appears to irritate my digestive tract.  As soon as I stopped wheat, the discomfort disappeared almost immediately.

Although I haven’t been 100% perfect, I’ve mostly ditched wheat from my diet completely, and the improvements have been enough to keep me motivated to continue.  I’ve read Weeding Out Wheat’ a number of times now, and continue to glean plenty from Luke and Trisha’s insight.  I’m finding it’s helping hugely in the transition.

Improvements

Although the improvements are ever so slight, I appear to be absorbing more minerals and nutrients than I was previously.  Here’s how I know:

  • My dry skin has improved.
  • A little curl has returned to my hair (it went straight after a couple of years overseas, which included a stint eating the standard American diet over a decade ago).
  • My digestive health has definitely improved.
  • My foggy head has mostly cleared (the rest of the foggy head is just plain Mummy tiredness)
  • I even appear to be having more rested sleep.  That was something a little unexpected, but a very welcome change!

I’ve has some issues with my teeth in the last couple of years, which from extensive reading, I’ve attributed to a number of interlocking factors: compromised gut health, significant drain on the nutrients in my body (5 years of straight pregnancy and breastfeeding, and still counting), and the subsequent demineralisation of my teeth. 

Although I haven’t reversed the tooth decay yet, I appear to have at least stopped it from spreading any further.   My holistic dentist has said previously I have very good oral hygiene, no plaque, but very acidic saliva. I’ve been putting organic, high nutrient-dense foods into my body for years, including fresh green juice, and finally it’s starting to get where it needs to.

Acid/Alkaline Balance

I’ve been testing the ph of my saliva for about a year, in an attempt to monitor the acid/alkaline balance, and have consistently been getting a more acidic result than what I would like**.  After just a couple of weeks of dropping wheat, my saliva was showing a neutral ph.  Very encouraging!

Let me attempt to explain what I believe the connection to be.  (I realise not everyone in the health and wellness field agrees on this area, but I can only speak out of my own experience thus far).

The main causes of a high acidic ph test result are: too much acid-forming food (eg. meat, sugar, alcohol, coffee, grains), too much phosphorus and too little calcium, long periods of stress, and some medications (one of my sources here).

Many experts recommend maintaining a balance of 20% acidic foods to 80% alkaline foods.  This is a good starting place if you’re looking to improve your health and don’t know where to start.  There are many lists online that will help you in determining which side the different foods fall.

I’ve also read in places of the need to obtain twice as much calcium to phosphorus for optimal health.  If you’re not eating organic food, you are likely getting significantly more phosphorus due to the use of superphosphate fertiliser on crops.  Phosphorus is an acidic mineral, while calcium is a mineral that neutralises acid.

So What’s All This Got To Do With Wheat?

Weeding Out Wheat explains the anti-nutrients in wheat (gluten, lectins, and phytates) disrupt and interfere with my body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

It is suggested that some doctors and researchers suspect everyone suffers from at least a small degree of gluten sensitivity.

Why is gluten a problem for most (or all) people? Gluten is made up of two proteins: gliadin and glutenin. In everyone, gliadin causes zonulin to be released in the body. Zonulin regulates how permeable our intestinal wall is—how much liquid or gas will be able to pass through it. The more zonulin present, the more permeable your intestinal wall becomes. The more permeable your intestines are, the more partially digested food (i.e. poop) can enter in your blood stream. (Weeding Out Wheat, Gilkerson, p30)

There’s also more in this section in the book on the science behind why gluten, lectins and phytates might be a problem (more than I can cover here).  But here’s the part that did it for me:

One of the key take-away points in all of this is that grains are highly associated with leaky gut. When your gut isn’t healthy you can’t absorb nutrients so you become malnourished and more prone to disease. (Ibid. p31)

So from what I understand, despite the high nutrient diet I’ve been putting into my body, without the ability to successfully absorb these nutrients, I haven’t been reaping the benefit from all these nutrients entering my body at the very time in my life (ie. motherhood) where I need them more than ever!

So I think it’s time to change what I’m doing, as clearly what I’ve been doing these last few years hasn’t been enough.  I know that my body is crying out for more calcium particularly and other essential minerals, so giving up wheat to assist with healing my gut health is going to be key.

Stay Tuned

I’ll continue writing on this topic in future and will cover what foods I’m focusing on increasing and decreasing (beside obviously ditching wheat).  There’s a few other things involved, including optimising my Vitamin D levels, and supplementing in a few specific areas.  I’ll also let you know how I’m transitioning my family’s diet.

I hope you’ll take an intentional look at this area of your health too.  Please feel free to comment on where you’re up to in managing your family’s diet and health.

The Book – “Weeding Out Wheat”

Can I encourage you to take advantage of the official launch of Luke and Trisha’s excellent book ‘Weeding Out Wheat’ from 30 Dec to 1 Jan?

The kindle version is only $1.99 (usually $9.95)WOW 3 day saleThe print version is only $9.95 (usually $14.95)

WOW Buy the Book

Luke and Trisha are also hosting a giveaway that will be live on December 31st.   Make sure you head over there on Tuesday 31st and enter! {Giveaway has ended}

[** The terms ‘acid and alkaline’ in relation to food, refers to the whether a food produces an acid or alkaline residue after it has been metabolised or broken down.
For more information on the acid/alkaline connection to disease, read this article].
{This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.  If you purchase via my link, I will earn a small percentage of the sale – it won’t cost you any extra. Thanks for your support!}

Healthy Child Summit – FREE Online Conference

healthy child summit collage

The Healthy Child Summit is a FREE online conference, coming in February 2014, for educating, empowering, and inspiring parents to care for their families naturally. I wrote on this last month, when the 5 weeks of giveaways and ‘sneak preview’ began.

There will be over 50 natural health and wellness experts that will speak on a range of topics, designed to help you and I become better equipped for raising our families naturally.  There will be something for those just getting started, or for those a little further along on their journey into natural living and parenting.

I’m really looking forward to this!

Here are just a few things that will be covered:

  • Preparing your body for pregnancy.
  • Preparing for a natural birth.
  • Whole family natural health and wellness.
  • Childhood illnesses, and preparing a natural medicine cabinet.
  • Breastfeeding, weaning, and starting solids.
  • Ridding your home of environmental toxins.
  • Gentle sleep solutions.
  • Supporting your child through specific issues, such as autism, adrenal fatigue, sensory processing disorders, and others.
  • Food choices and hormones through the teenage years.
  • Real food, nutrition, oral health… and so much more

This is your last chance to register for free access to 22 audio recordings, and enter the giveaways for the grand prize and the week 4 giveaways.

Healthy child summit giveaway

See some of you there!

Victoria

Summer natural  background with sun and lens flare.

{This post contains my affiliate link}