Author Archives: Sara

DIY Liquid Handsoap – Castile Soap

Castile Soap is a vegetable based soap and perfect for a non-toxic hand washing experience.castilesoap

How to make handmade soap (super simple super easy!)

1/2 c Distilled Water
1/2 c Castile Soap
1 TB Sweet Almond oil or Jojoba oil or Olive oil
1 TB Vitamin E oil (optional)

Make sure to fill water first then add the rest of the ingredients and any optional scents – see below. Shake it baby!

WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!  How to make FOAMING handmade soap (still super simple super easy!)

Foaming dispenser (yes that’s all you need!)
1 1/2 c Distilled Water
2 TB  Castile Soap
1 tsp Sweet Almond oil or Jojoba oil or Olive oil
1 tsp Vitamin E oil (optional)

Just make sure to fill the water FIRST to about 1 inch from the top of dispenser and any optional scents – see below.  Shake it baby!

Optional

Essential oils: about 5 drops each

*Lavender
*Tea Tree (Melaluca)


Benefits of a Multidimentional Exercise Program: Did you get the PRISE?

Love when I find research that supports what I have been saying all along to maintain and achieve optimal health for adventurous living.  Cross-training!!  According to a current paper in the Journal of Applied Physiology, quality of your exercise and diet program is better then the quantity.  So what does that mean?  Doing just one thing such as say just jogging or just weights is not going to achieve a healthy and happy body.  A multidimensional exercise routine with moderate amounts of protein will lead to “decreasing total and abdominal fat, increasing lean body mass, and achieving optimal levels for blood pressure, blood glucose, and insulin.”  Simply put is to remember the acronym PRISE:

  • P = Protein
  • R = Resistance
  • I = Interval
  • S = Stretching
  • E = Endurance

The outcome of going for the PRISE1 is that you have a healthy fully functional body for all your fun outdoor activities.

Like I said above, “LOVE this!”

1.  Rethinking of current assumptions about exercise. Stone Hearth News. May 13, 2014.

Portable Solar Chargers for Outdoor Adventures

Called “Your Personal Powerplant” (made by Bushnell), these portable solar chargers are great for outdoor adventures whether camping, hiking, or backpacking.  Check out the links below for videos and descriptions of the products.

pwrsync-banner

Your Own Personal Power Plant

 

Benefits of Fermented Foods

Well the first question is what are fermented foods?  Simple answer:  Foods that have been produced or preserved by the action of beneficial bacteria such as kefir, yogurt, cottage cheese, sauerkraut, ketchup,  tempeh, cod liver oil, miso, pickles, water kefir, sourdough bread, kombucha, beet kavas, kimchi, wine, beer, etc.  Fermentation is actually an ancient method to preserve food and also enhances digestive health, flavor, and nutrient absorption.

Its common knowledge that your gut or digestive system is the key to your immune system.   And its important to read the label to ensure that the foods have been fermented properly as in  “live cultured”.  For example not all ketchup is made using a natural fermentation process.

Did you know that fermentation also positivity correlates to improved mental health by influencing brain health?  Recent research has found traditional dietary practices having a positive impact on mental health.  This includes reduced anxiety, improved mental outlook, nerve cell resiliency, and diminished perceptions of stress.  Beneficial bacteria helps reduce oxidative stress and inflammation which are both contributors to aging and poor health.

What happens is that chronic inflammation causes increased permeability of the intestinal barrier (a normal intestinal barrier is very selective on what is allowed through).  When your intestinal lining is more porous then there is an increased access to the absorption of food antigens and environmental toxins, disturbed blood glucose control, and reduced nutrient availability1.  How amazing for us today to reap the health benefits of this ancient practice that has been around for close to 10, 000 years.  And we don’t even know or understand all the contributions of fermented foods to our health.

Interestingly to note is that when studying the traditional diets around the world, a broad diversity (more genre and species) of beneficial bacteria is found whereas a low range of microbial diversity is found in urban diets.   Those populations consuming the traditional diets consume a variety of fermented foods1.

Another study explains that increased levels of carotenoids, an antioxidant known to protect against stroke and angina, was found in the gut and blood of healthy subjects as compared to stroke victims. “Thus, the increased incidence of carotenoid-producing bacteria in the gut of healthy subjects may offer clues to explain how the gut metagenome (bacteria genes) affects disease states.”2  

How do I start out this process of incorporating fermented foods into my diet?  A great place to start is asking around to see if friends or family already practice the art of fermentation and set up a day for a hands on demonstration.  Or you can go to Cultures for Health.

1.  Selhub, Eva. Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 33:2, 2014.

2.  University of Gothenburg. Changes in gut bacteria protect against stroke, research finds. Science Daily, 2012.

Top 10 Reasons to Eat Fruit and Veggies!

1.  FUN to eat!

2.  Colorful and tasty

3.  Naturally low in calories

4.  High in vitamin and minerals: eat a variety to receive the most nutrient impact

5.  High in antioxidants and phytochemicals which slow the aging process

6.  Add texture and flavor to any dish

7.  Healthy snacks for any age

8.  High in fiber that helps to fill you up and keep your digestive system running smooth

9.  Helps keep your vision, heart, blood pressure, and gastrointestinal tract healthy as well as prevent cancers

10.  Eat as much as you want!!!  (do be aware how you prepare them, best to keep them as close to their natural state as possible)

Will skim milk make you fat?

After sifting through the research (you have to read the fine lines!!) this is what I found.

1.  Studies show that children consuming lowfat or skim milk were heavier then those consuming whole milk.  However, they do not know why.  It is suggested that possibly those children drinking the lowfat milk were already heavier in the first place.  Another reason pointed out may be that whole milk which is higher in fat provided more satiety so less snacking on other foods (8 grams of fat per 1 cup of whole milk vs 5 grams for 2% vs 2.5 grams for 1% and 0 grams fat for skim).  Also, at age 2 consuming more diary products or switching from whole milk to lowfat milk did not prevent overweight in early childhood.

Here are the studies that pointed out these findings

My take away point:  If you are drinking lowfat or skim milk, ask yourself what are you snacking on?  Are they processed foods?  Are they high in sugar?  Are they empty calories?  etc…..  Again remember lowfat or skim milk is still more processed then whole milk which means man tampered with the natural design.  Is it really better?  Will your cravings for carbs and sugar stop if you increase the good fats in your diet?  Probably. Such as butter, palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, tallow….   Drinking skim milk will not make your weight drop–the secret lies in the whole balance of your diet.  You need the most nutritious form of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates!

2.  A study shows that drinking excess milk causes weight gain.  Is it the fat content?  The calcium content?  The lowfat milk?  The whole milk?  They found it had nothing to do with the fat content because skim, 1%,and  calcium were associated with the weight gain.  Their conclusion was that it is the excess calories provided from milk.

Here is that study:

My take away point:  Too much milk is not a good thing.  But is really too much of anything good for you?   But aren’t I supposed to “Drink milk for your bones!  You need the calcium!!”  Often what is not thought of is the source of the diary.  Unless it is raw milk, the calcium will not be assimilated into your bones properly due to pasteurization destroying beneficial enzymes.

3.  What’s up with the processing of skim milk?   Does skim milk cause heart disease?  Why do they add skim milk powder to nonfat milk but don’t put it on the label?  Let’s answer those questions.  Simply skim milk has all the fat taken away and synthetic vitamin A and D3 is added.  Homogenization is done to disperse the fat in milk and the altered fat is possibly thought to contribute to increased allergenicity of homogenized milk due to the increased proportions of whey and casein proteins. (claims that homogenization may cause atherosclerosis have not been widely supported or proven see article here).  Skim milk however does not have fat that would be affected by the homogenization process.  Dairy companies are not required to add skim milk powder to nonfat milk anymore so there is no worry about the very small amounts of oxidized cholesterol.  If they do, then they have to put it on the ingredient label.

My take away point:  Skim milk has no fat so there is no worry about homogenization issues.  It has no cholesterol so one does not have to worry about the adverse effects of processed cholesterol.  But see that’s the problem with skim milk–it has no fat or cholesterol.  Its been depleted of the naturally occurring fat soluble vitamins A D E and K which are only found in fat.  Also, the needed components of your cell membranes  are made from your dietary fat, equally saturated fats and unsaturated fats.  Remember every organ from your skin to your brain is made up of cells and weak cell membranes mean a weak and diseased prone body.  If you are drinking skim milk are you getting those needed nutrients elsewhere?  If you can find raw milk, it really is the way to go.

4.  Are saturated fats bad? No, they do not increase your risk of heart disease like once thought.  In fact there are many benefits to saturated fats. They act as carriers for the fat soluble vitamins: A D E and K.  Saturated fats provide the components for building healthy cell membranes and hormones as well as helping the absorption of minerals.

Find out 7 Reasons to Eat Saturated Fat here
Saturated fat is the group name for the different types of saturated fatty acids found in a variety of foods.  Here is a brief list of the main saturated fatty acid in specific foods:  lauric (coconut oil, breastmilk, and palm kernel oil), myrstic (cow milk and dairy products), palmitic (palm oil and meat and tallow), stearic (meat),  butyric (butter), and caprylic (coconut oil and palm oil).

A sample few of the commonly known fatty acids

  • lauric: increases HDL cholestrol, may reduce acne, inconclusive effects on heart disease
  • myrstic: immunity and stabilize proteins
  • palmitic:  ongoing studies (2013 review)
  • stearic: lower LDL cholesterol
  • butyric: anti cancer for colon and promotes healthy colon epithelial cells and
  • caprylic: anti microbial and anti fungal

My take away point:  The different types of saturated fatty acids are beneficial to human health and needed as part of a balanced nutritious diet.  A 2014 study finds that “Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.”

Healing Your Cavities Naturally

Article to promote thinking: The Disturbing Trend of Minimally Invasive Dentistry.  Of course I would like to avoid getting fillings.  Anyone knows that fillings don’t last and need repair.  The point of the article is that you can heal your cavities by re-mineralizing your teeth.  This is through changing your diet and most importantly adding fermented cod liver oil and raw grassfed dairy.  Well what about fluoride?  Fluoride doesn’t address the root cause of cavities and will not prevent them.  Getting to the underlying cause of dental decay is purely nutrition.  So as I continue to refuse fluoride for my kids at their dental cleaning,  I continue to keep fermented cod liver oil and raw dairy as part of our daily diet adventure.

Get Some Outside Time for Your Muscles

Sun and Fun.  I believe the number one reason to exercise outside is CROSS-TRAINING for your muscles.  You will increase the calorie load that you burn (how accurate is that machine anyways??) and use muscles you forgot you had.  Outside exercise in the sun is your body moving with nature.  The unpredictability of the terrain and just being outside keeps your mental alertness to a heightened level.  I would say your brain is definitely doing some calorie burning.

Think of ways you can do some strength training by assessing your surroundings.  For example, stop at a park bench for some two way pushups (feet up and then feet down), find the perfect view do 10 squats, and how about finding a hill for a sprint (oh the memories of college track).  Change it up and make it fun: run, walk, bike, surf, hike, swim…  Your body and muscles will be the stronger for it.

Nature Kit’s

photo 2

Sample of some of the items

Kids LOVE these!!!  Toss out the video games, turn off the TV, and go to the dollar store and make a Nature Kit!  I just took some old fabric and a shoelace and made the bags myself.

Here is what I put in my kids Nature Kits:

    • small plastic bottles
    • tweezers
    • small notebook
    • gardening gloves
    • magnifying glass
    • tape measure
    • pencil
    • pencil sharpener
    • colored pencils
    • small sand shovel
    • sifter
    • tape
    • hat
photo 3

A few of the items shown

Fermented Foods: Carrot Dilly Sticks

My daughter has a mouth full of loose teeth and just can’t chew food that well.  And I wanted to keep carrots as a snack option. Check out this recipe from The Nourishing Gourmet for easy to eat fermented carrot sticks full of beneficial probiotic bacteria.  The recipe below is without the whey.  Make sure you keep the carrots submerged in the water to prevent mold from growing – this is what the cabbage leaf is for or you can use a weight of some sort to keep the carrots under the water.

Recipe

1-1 1/2 pound peeled fresh carrots (enough to pack in tightly)

3 garlic cloves – peeled (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill (optional)

2 cups water or more as needed

2 tablespoons sea salt

one large outer cabbage leaf

1 jar (quart size)

1.  Make you brine by dissolving the salt into the water (may need to slightly heat)

2.  Put the garlic cloves (and dill if using it) in the bottom of the jar and carrots packed in tightly but with enough room for the brine to make its way between each carrot.  Make sure to cut the carrot sticks so they are about 2 inches below the top of the jar.

3.  Pour the brine into the jar so that it is about 1 inch below the top of the jar.  You may need to add more water.

4. Place cabbage leaf over carrots and tuck around sides of jar to keep carrots under water.  Make sure cabbage leaf submerged as well.

5.  Cover tightly with lid (burp first 3-4 days by unscrewing lid slightly so carbon dioxide can escape and jar doesn’t explode) and leave room temperature for 7-10 days.

6.  Place in refrigerator and will last about 2 months.  Make sure to keep carrots under water.