• Water

    Let’s talk water.

    We all need it.  In some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water.

    But do you actually know what is in your drinking water? It’s not just H20.

    After the birth of my little one, I started looking into what was in the City of Austin’s water. Two added ingredients stood out — chloramine (mixture of chlorine and ammonia) and supplemental fluoride.

    In the early 1970’s, the City of Austin started adding fluoride to the drinking water, apparently to help Austinites with their dental health.

    Did you know?

    97% of the western European population drink non-fluoridated water. Guess what There is not a cavity epidemic in those areas.

    A few neighboring towns south of Austin– San Marcos , Tx and Buda, Tx stopped supplementing their water with fluoride in 2015 and 2017, respectively.  I have not heard of a cavity outbreak there either.

    In 2014, fluoride was documented as a neurotoxin —  on the same list as lead, methylmercury and arsenic.  BUT my city is still adding it to our drinking water.

    Another interesting fact — 53 studies have linked fluoride with reduced IQ in children.  IQ reductions have been significantly associated with fluoride levels of just 0.15 to 1.38 mg/LWhen I checked my city’s most recent water quality summary for the 4th Quarter 2018 — fluoride levels at the tap were from .61-68.

    Must Read –

    “U.S Water Fluoridation: A Forced Experiment that Needs to End  is an informative article that discusses the history of fluoride and why we need to stop supplementing our water.

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    What To-Do?

    If you haven’t already, find out what is in your tap water.  It can be as simple as searching online for your water provider. Then reading the latest water quality report.  From there you can decide what is the best water filter for your household.

    Water Filter Resource:

    The EWG (environmental working group) has an extensive Water Filter Buying Guide.

    Personally, I have Puronics Whole House Non-Salt Water Filter as well as Purmax  Tankless Reverse Osmosis (RO) System at my kitchen sink.  I have read mixed reviews on supplementing with trace minerals when you have an RO system. The thought is that the RO system does such a good job of cleaning everything out of the water — even the minerals —  that you need to add them back.  I do supplement with a few drops of these trace minerals in our household RO drinking water.   From my research, reverse osmosis systems are the most effective at removing fluoride among other water contaminants.  The carbon filter in your refrigerator or that Brita water pitcher aren’t removing much.

    If installing a permanent RO system is not feasible, then you could look into a portable system like this one from aquatru or having water delivered to your house. Not the best on carbon footprint but better then buying individual bottled waters.  If you live in the Austin area, Cielo is a company that will deliver 5 gallon glass bottles to your home.

    If installing a whole house water filtration system isn’t in your budget, consider using a faucet filter for your bath and/or shower. This will help to filter the chlorine or chloramine out of the water.  CuZn makes a bath ball filter & a turbo shower filter for either chlorine or chloramine treated water– again another reason to know what is in your water.

    For more information on chlorine, chloramine & CuZu filters, check out inspired living’s article here.

    Bottom Line — Don’t trust that your tap water is “fine”. Do your research and filter!

  • Tigernut Flour

    I began my gluten-free journey over 10 years ago. Plagued with stomach issues among other health issues, it was suggested that I stop eating gluten.  Back when it wasn’t as common to eat gluten-free, one didn’t have many options for substitutes.  Gluten free items have come along way.  I’m not endorsing that if you eat gluten-free store-bought processed foods then you are “healthy.”  It’s typically best to go for naturally gluten-free items. For example, organic apples, organic spinach, wild caught sockeye salmon — but if you like to bake, like I do, finding the right alternative to wheat flour can be tricky.  If you are eating gluten-free, that means no wheat flour, but doesn’t have to mean you miss out on tasty baked goods.

    Throughout the years, I’ve tried numerous alternatives to wheat flour — such as almond, cassava, oat (gluten-free) and coconut flour. A newer flour (although not a new discovery to the world – the TigerNut dates back to Ancient times.) I’m enjoying baking with these days is TigerNut flour.

    What is TigerNut?

    TigerNut (also called chufa seed, Cyperus esculentus, nut grass, yellow nutsedge or earth almond) is not actually a nut, but rather a root vegetable or underground tuber, much like a small sweet potato. It is considered a weed, looks like grass from above the soil and can successfully be grown anywhere corn is grown.  TigerNuts contain high amounts of prebiotic fiber (fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut).  Among other worthy nutritional items, its oil is high in antioxidant properties.  In addition, it is naturally gluten-free with a nutty, sweet flavor.

    Where can TigerNut be purchased?

    TigerNut flour can be found at most health food stores like Whole Foods and is easily available online.  It’s not cheap, but definitely worth the expense if you are looking for a tasty, healthy, grain-free, nut-free flour.  A few of my favorite brands are Anthony’s Organic Tiger Nut Flour and Organic Gemini TigerNut Flour.

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    TigerNut recipes:

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars by Create Delicious — instead of coconut sugar, I will often use about 1/3 cup of raw honey and add 2-3 drops of vanilla eatable essential oil.

    Cinnamon TigerNut Horchata Muffins by Hybrid Rasta Mama —  instead of the horchata (because I never have enough time to make it), I simply use a cup of unsweetened full fat coconut milk.

    TigerNut Bran Muffins by Eat Beautiful — I like to add a cup of frozen blueberries and 2 scoops of collagen protein to this recipe.

    TigerNut Flour Zucchini Muffins by Hungry By Nature — perfect recipe to “sneak” in some veggies for your little ones. Instead of ghee, I use grass-fed butter, but if you are wanting to be dairy free, ghee works. I usually skip the paleo grain free granola topping and they still taste wonderful.

    TigerNut flour can be substituted 1:1 for most other flours.  Here’s a recipe that I changed to incorporate TigerNut flour instead of coconut flour.

    Regardless of the health benefits, give TigerNut flour a try — I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to use and how wonderful it tastes.

    Happy Baking!

    PS. If you have any favorite baking recipes made with TigerNut flour, please share. I’m always on the lookout for easy, tasty items to bake for my friends and family.

     

  • Camel Milk

    Yep, you read correctly — Camel Milk!  When my little turned one, I decided to introduce camel milk to her.  I’m not a milk drinker (lactose intolerant).  I knew regular cow’s milk wasn’t going to work for us.  My mom says I was a colicky baby and had to remove cow’s milk from my diet. A perfect example of unhappy stomach means unhappy little.

    That leads me to the introduction of camel milk.  A main draw was that camel milk is considered hypoallergenic.  Similar to human milk and unlike cow, sheep & goat’s milk, it doesn’t contain any β-lactoglobulin (whey protein) . β-lactoglobulin tends to be the main cause for milk allergies in individuals.  In a preliminary study, camel milk was shown an option for those who are lactose intolerant to cow milk.  Those individuals were able to digest camel milk with little to no side effects. I can concur, when I drink camel milk, I don’t have the same bloating, gassy reactions that I do after consuming cow milk.

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    Camel milk is nutritionally packed. It’s high in amounts of anti-bacterial, anti-viral substances such as lactoferrin, immunoglobulins and lysozyme; Translation: the good guys that help defend against infections.  It’s also packed with nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, copper, sodium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and three times the amount of vitamin C of other milks. For more information on the nutritional value, click here .

    Amazingly, there are claims that camel milk is healing for those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  One double-blinded study found that after 2 weeks of consecutive camel milk consumption, significant changes were detected.  Another mother reports the dramatic changes she witnessed in her ASD son after consuming the “miracle” milk.  There are also studies showing it to have favorable effects on diabetes.

    At the least, I figured, I couldn’t go wrong with trying it out.  I approached it as being the same trial and error as most things with a little.  After much research, it seemed to be the best route with minimal downside.  I started with a lightly pasteurized version and later transitioned to the raw variety.

    Where to buy Camel Milk? Online is the only way for most. If you have or know of a camel farm close to Austin, Tx, would you please inform me about it?  One thing to mention, it is a bit pricey.  Since camels have long pregnancies and their gestation periods can last 12-15 months (and I thought 10 months was long!), it takes longer to produce a lactating camel.  Then they only lactate for about a year with their calf.  In addition, there are not that many camel farms in the US — most are Amish Farmers, but not all.  Hmmm — maybe a new venture for me?

    Here are the places I have ordered from:

    • desertfarms.com — They source from numerous camel farmers throughout the US.  They offer lightly pasteurized, raw, frozen or fresh.
    • camelmilkassociation.org —  Amish turned Mennonite family in Michigan. They have the best customer service —  someone even answered the phone when I called on a Saturday morning with an ordering question.  In order to purchase camel milk from them, you have to become a member, which is $25 and includes a lifetime membership. They offer fresh or frozen as well as glass bottles.

    From my 9 months’ observation of daily (3- 4oz) camel milk for my little, she seems to be doing positively well on this milk.   If you are looking for an alternative to cow’s milk, I suggest you try camel milk.

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    In the Christmas spirit, one must wonder if the three “wise” men also drank camel milk.  

     

  • Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

    The holidays are approaching ever so fast. That means it’s time to bring out the pumpkin recipes. Here’s a recipe I have tweaked to make a healthy alternative to the standard sugar, vegetable oil laden ones — Landrie approved!

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    landrie enjoying her pumpkin muffin

    What you need: 

    12 cup muffin pan

    Parchment paper liners — I use these, click here*

    16 oz organic pumpkin – I like this one, click here*

    4 eggs

    1/4 cup honey

    1/4 cup coconut oil*melted (tip — while the oven is preheating, place your coconut oil in an oven safe cup in the oven – this allows it to melt without having to use a microwave or the stove)

    1/2 cup coconut flour*

    1/4 tsp of clove, nutmeg & cinnamon

    1/2 tsp vanilla

    1/4 tsp salt

    1/4 tsp baking soda

    4-5 scoops of Vital Protein Collagen Peptides —  click here*

    What to-do:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Mix all ingredients. I prefer to mix the “wet” ingredients first, then add the “dry” ingredients.  Scoop mixture into each lined muffin cup.

    Bake for 25 minutes.

    Enjoy!

    (because there are no preservatives, best to store muffins in the fridge after they have cooled)

    *THIS POST INCLUDES AFFILIATE LINKS. YOU CAN SEE MY DISCLOSURE STATEMENT ON THE ABOUT PAGE, THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

     

  • Mommy’s Meditation

    Who’s not busy? Selling real estate, raising a little one, being married, maintaining friendships, tackling the never-ending to do list, just plain living — require time and energy.  Some days I feel like I can do it– other days, it feels like I am failing at it all.  A common thread I find with the outcome of my days, is how I start them.

    That brings me to meditation — what’s the big deal?

    An interesting Harvard meditation study reveled that after 8 weeks of a daily (on average 27 minutes), mindfulness meditation program, there were significant positive changes in the brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.  This study proves utilizing MRI technology that the brain’s gray matter is literally rebuilt for the better in a short 8 weeks (to read more on this study, click here).

    From the Bible, Apostle Paul writes, “Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Joshua back in 1400-1370BC, emphasizes that we are to meditate on God’s law day and night (Joshua 1:8).

    Well if Harvard and more importantly, God, are telling me my life will be better if I meditate, then I figured I’d better check this out.

    A few years ago — pre-baby– I decided I really wanted to learn how to formally meditate.  If you know me, then you know, I’m a take action gal.  So, I signed up for an online meditation course == zivaMind (to learn more about the course, click here*). For 8 days, I would wake up to a new email video from the instructor, Emily Fletcher.  It was prefect and easy to follow.  That was all fine and dandy and fairly easy to implement PRE-BABY – heck, I would sometimes meditate 2x in a day (I know, crazy right? Who has that time???)  Then baby arrived and if I closed my eyes for a few minutes, I was going to fall sleep — not meditate.

    Needless to say, in this season of life, my mindfulness meditation practice or quiet time (lol, quiet time with a toddler?!?) has changed.  Some days, it’s a minute of gratitude while I’m finally going to the bathroom or a Hail Mary prayer for the Lord to get me through the day.  Every once in a while, I catch a lucky break in the morning and wake up before the house – then I can actually sit for at least 10 minutes with eyes closed, breath, calm my mind followed by prayer, a short devotional and journal writing.

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    The point is, as I continue to grow up (which I think takes a lifetime), I’m learning (perhaps with the help of the rebuilt gray brain matter from meditation:)?)  that my years, my weeks, my days are actually my choice, maybe not always the circumstances but the mindfulness and how I handle the circumstances.  I get to choose my attitude. I get to choose to be grateful even when I don’t feel like it. I get to choose what kind of spouse, parent, friend, person I want to be. No mater if I get 1 minute or 20 minutes of meditation or quiet time in the mornings.

    Not sure where to start? Here are a few tools to help you get your day off to a good start:

    1. Check out the zivaMind (click here*) online course. If you can find the time, it really is a great course (only 8 days!) for the busy person that wants to learn how to formally mediate.
    2.  Journal — Just starting out? Try The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day*.  This one has motivational quotes and a structure on what to write daily (am and pm) all within 5 minutes.  Another favorite of mine (pictured with Landrie) is a basic, blank lined journal*. I typically use this journal as my prayer journal or write what I’m struggling with or what successes I may have had — just a few sentences an entry.  Seems to help to get it out of my head and on paper. Try it, it’s very powerful!
    3. Pick up a devotional — hardcopy or download it to your phone. A few of my favorites —  Jesus Calling* , My Utmost for His Highest* and Morning and Evenings – Charles Spurgeon* are great short reads.  (I’ve read many devotionals while on the toilet – TMI???)
    4. If all the above sound overwhelming — then just breath!  Wake up tomorrow, take 3 mindful breathes in and out through your NOSE . (Fascinating podcast with Patrick McKeown known as King of Oxygen – click here– on the importance of breathing in and out through your nose, not your mouth.)

    Already have a mindfulness meditation practice or quiet time? Please do share what works for you.

     

    *THIS POST INCLUDES AFFILIATE LINKS. YOU CAN SEE MY DISCLOSURE STATEMENT ON THE ABOUT PAGE, THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

     

  • Must Have Top 10 Baby Items

    Having your 1st baby can be pretty overwhelming — at any age.  We live in a modest size home and I knew I didn’t want a lot of baby “stuff” cluttering it up.  I was determined to register for just what I thought I needed and then figure out the rest after she got here.  While I was pregnant, I never once stepped into a Babies-R-us or Buy Buy Baby — those places scare me!  I did all my registry online.  It was prefect because it took away the scare, overwhelming factor — when I saw or heard of a baby item I wanted, I would go online and add it to my registry.   I used BabyList and Amazon Baby Registry — both of which are free to set up . (Here are the links to set them up – Shop Amazon – Create an Amazon Baby Registry and/or Baby List.

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    Below is break down of my “as close to non-toxic ” must have baby items and where to purchase them (just click on the highlighted text):

    1. *BABYBJORN Baby Carrier –  simple to use & durable
    2. *Dockatot – the best non-toxic sleeper, plus it’s portable. Perfect to travel with!
    3. *Baby Soothing Oil  – gentle for baby’s delicate skin
    4. *BOB 2016 Revolution Flex Jogging Stroller – great for those long walks with baby — be sure to get the correct car seat adapter that works with your chosen car seat
    5. *Lifefactory 4-ounce bPA-free glass baby bottle
    6. *Zoli Nail Trimmer — stress free nail trimming those tiny fingers
    7. *Organic Niche Nursing Pillow –  excellent for breastfeeding or bottle feeding
    8. *Milksnob Cover – ideal for breastfeeding or a cover-up for the car seat carrier
    9. *Newton Crib Mattress – worth the price! non-toxic, 100% breathable — that is what sold me; babies can breathe right through the mattress
    10. Low-Blue Nightlight – *click here and go to tech section — the only nightlight to have – most of the other ones are junk light.
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    landrie in her *dockatot deluxe — when she was about 7 months, she graduated to the  *dockatot grand

     

     

    *This post includes affiliate links. You can see my disclosure statement on the about page, thanks for your support!

     

     

  • The New Social Life

    I apologize in advance for being socially awkward – I love podcasts! In this season of life, they have become my new social life.   A podcast doesn’t require anything from me, except that I listen. If I don’t care for what it’s saying, it’s just plain boring or I’ve run out of time for it,  I can turn it off — no feelings hurt, no questions asked.  Brilliant! It gives. I take. Our relationship works so well.

    Having my first (and hopefully not my last) little at 39 was a game changer.  There is a reason God didn’t make me a mom sooner – some of us (ME) need a little more molding, preparation then others.  Now instead of my flexible “without child schedule” that allowed me to meet a friend for a run or a glass of wine with very little planning, I take to the streets or trail with my toddler strapped into her *BOB stroller, golden retriever, Jett, and my iphone/podcast.

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    me and landrie in between podcasts waiting for Jett to come back

    To help block ALL forms of EMF from my phone, I stumbled upon DefenderShields EMF radiation phone case.  Apparently, it’s one of the only products on the market that protects against 100% of all forms of radiation from our phones *(to learn more click here).  I typically listen to my podcasts on speaker.  I am so sorry to all those I pass by, I can only image what it sounds like I’m listening to :).

    (Warning – awkward sentences — EMF, I always think of The Band – EMF. If you understand that reference, then <sing it> “You’re UNBELIEVABLE!”. We both must be over 40.)

    With the age of technology, information is readily available and I am eager to learn as much as I can.  Here are some of the podcasts I’m enjoying these days:

    Bulletproof Radio; One Extraordinary Marriage; The Evan Brand Show (previously known as Not just Paleo); Natural MD Radio; The Healthy Moms Podcast; Ben Greenfield Fitness; The Minimalist Podcast; Parenting Great Kids with Dr. Meg Meeker; Live to 110, Cellular Healing TV with Dr Pompa; For the Love with Jen Hatmaker

    What are you interested in? Before you get in your car or go for a walk, download that podcast app, search for something that sounds interesting and hit play.  Kidding aside, it really won’t make you that awkward.  Dr. Seuss says it best, “You have BRAINS in your HEAD. You have FEET in your SHOES. You can STEER yourself in any DIRECTION you CHOOSE.”

    If you already listen to podcasts, what are some of your favorites? Please share!

    *This post includes affiliate links. You can see my disclosure statement on the about page, thanks for your support!
  • What’s for Dinner?

    I call this the “S4” = Super Simple Spinach Sauce —  guaranteed to please the toughest crowd & one of Landrie’s favorites.  This sauce takes 5 minutes to prepare and make.  You can put this sauce on rice (but white rice please — brown rice, even organic, has high levels of arsenic ) , steamed organic veggies  *(my favorite steamer) or any meat.

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    landrie’s dinner was so good –  I mean  so “cool”, she had to wear shades

    Here’s what you need:

    1. Blender
    2. Fresh Spinach  2-3 cups
    3. Full Fat Coconut Milk 1 can  — I like the *Thrive Brand – no fillers
    4. *Avocado Oil 2-3T
    5. *Organic Chopped Garlic 2T
    6. *Himalayan Sea Salt — add to taste

    In a sauce pan, heat on medium the garlic and avocado oil  for 1-2 minutes. Then add the entire can of coconut milk. Let simmer for another few minutes.  In the blender, add your fresh spinach and pour your coconut milk mixture into the blender.  Blend.  Add Himalayan sea salt to taste.  You are done!

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    Interested in trying Thrive out?          25% off + free shipping on your first order. * click here

    *This post includes affiliate links. You can see my disclosure statement on the about page, thanks for your support!
  • Butter Makes Everything Better

    When I was younger, I was afraid of fat — I thought if I ate fat, I’d get fat. Come to find out, we actually need fat —  like the healthy, saturated fat found in butter. Did you know that our brains are comprised of 60% fat? Our brain needs fuel!  My tune has changed for the butter :).

    My butter of choice is  Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter  —  grass-fed (because unlike in the US, that is the only option in Ireland).  One of my little’s first foods was a slice of Kerrygold unsalted butter.  Butter is not only amazing for brain health, but it’s loaded in vitamin A, D, E & K, as well as essential minerals like manganese, chromium, iodine, zinc, copper and selenium. (Why Butter is Better — The Weston A. Price Foundation)

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    landrie enjoying her butter

    If you would have told me 5 years ago, I was going to be re-married, have a baby that I birthed, and put BUTTER in my coffee — I think I probably would have laughed in your face. Stranger things have happened.  Now a highlight of my morning is drinking my butter coffee aka *The Bulletproof Coffee.  That and having a baby have truly changed my mornings.  I have energy (even with a little in the house), I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and don’t have crazy cravings or energy crashes. I contribute a lot of that to my daily butter coffee.  Of course, cutting out most sugar and gluten helps too.

    The recipe and ingredients are simple:

    *Bulletproof Coffee Beans —  must be mold-free coffee and these beans are tested to ensure no mold – Brew 1 cup (8-12 oz)

    *Brain Octane Oil   – not all MCT oil is created equal –  At the beginning start slow with 1t. and then work up to 1-2T.

    Unsalted grass-fed butter 1-2T. –  can’t do butter? substitute with *ghee

    For an added boost —  2 scoops of *Collagen Protein

    Pour everything into a blender — yes, blender — blend and then pour into your mug of choice.  For a spill free morning (that means it’s toddler proof ) try the *Contigo Stainless Steel Travel Mug.

    And remember, when in doubt, butter makes everything better.

    *This post includes affiliate links.
  • K.I.S.S Muffins

    These K.I.S.S (keep it simple, stupid or keep it simple, silly — whatever you prefer) Muffins are my weekly go to.  I’m all about as few and as simple ingredients in a recipe as possible.  I’ve tweaked this recipe to make it a healthy breakfast, snack, lunch, or dinner — you get point — when I need a “fast” food.  No refined sugar (sweeten with bananas) & gluten-free!

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    K.I.S.S Muffins

    Here’s what you need and what to do:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees (do this first before you forget — just saying)

    1 x *12 Cup Muffin Pan

    *Parchment Paper Baking Cups

    2 Ripe Bananas

    5 Cage Free Eggs

    1/2 cup *Organic Coconut Flour

    4-5 scoops of * Vital Proteins Collagen

    1/4 cup  *Coconut Oil or * Avocado Oil

    1 tsp  *Organic Pure Vanilla

    1 tsp Baking Soda

    1/4 cup *Organic Unsweetend Coconut Flakes 

    3/4 cup Frozen Blueberries (or whatever frozen fruit you have in your freezer)

    Line the muffin pan with your parchment paper cups.  Smash bananas and mix  with eggs.  Then add everything except your frozen fruit. Stir in frozen fruit last.  Spoon out portions into your muffin pan.  Cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool and store in fridge.   Pat yourself on the back! You just made some healthy, homemade muffins.  Enjoy!

    *This post includes affiliate links. 
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