IBS is NOT Real!

Almost everyday I hear the words, “I have IBS,” from someone I’m in conversation with. I get it. You have diarrhea, bloating, gas, constipation, and probably some acid reflux too. It’s all extremely uncomfortable and it’s an inconvenience. Here’s the thing though…there’s no such thing as IBS!

IBS

I know what you’re thinking. Your doctor told you you have IBS and he offered you a pill to “correct” the problem. I know this because I’ve been there. My doctor once told me I have IBS and he handed me a piece of paper to take to the pharmacy so I could pick up the “magic” pill that would make all my stomach upset go away. But, for some reason that day I didn’t feel like getting a prescription for my stomach. I had something inside me that just didn’t feel right about it. And no, it wasn’t my IBS, it was a real gut instinct!

This doctor’s visit, the one when I was diagnosed with IBS, was a LONG time ago. It was before I started studying food and lifestyle. Actually, this doctor’s visit was one of the reasons I started studying food, nutrition, and lifestyle. I was in my early 20’s and I was tired of having stomach “issues” every single day. But, it just didn’t feel right to take a pill. Did he want me to take that for the rest of my life? I was confused. I felt like he should help me find the problem, not cover it up.

IBS. It stands for irritable bowel syndrome. A syndrome is a group of symptoms that occur together, such as diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Bowel we all know means bowel movements, aka pooping. Irritable…Yes, the symptoms are irritating to deal with, but what if that word means SOMETHING is irritating your bowel system?

That’s exactly what IBS is, it’s something you are eating that’s irritating your bowel system and causing all your stomach upset. Diarrhea, gas, and bloating, are all ways your body is telling you something is wrong. Think about getting food poisoning or a stomach virus; You feel sick to your stomach. You get diarrhea, gas, bloating and maybe some vomiting. That is your body’s response to getting rid of something bad, something it doesn’t like. So, why would your body feel like that every day? Because you are consistently eating something your body doesn’t like and it’s begging you to STOP!

You do not have to suffer with so-called IBS! Stop saying, “I have IBS,” and start taking your health into your own hands. There’s not one food to eliminate that will cure all “IBS” but there are some common foods. Dairy is the most common, followed by alpha-galactose (all mammal meat and by-products), gluten, sugar, artificial sweeteners (including Stevia), artificial colors, artificial flavors, and preservatives. But, the list doesn’t end there. Everyone is unique, this is something we learn at a very young age and it’s true. There is not one diet that is correct for everyone. A food diary and elimination diet is the best way to find out what is bothering YOU.

Keeping a journal of everything you eat (less processed foods are easier to journal, due to less ingredients) and the way you feel that day can help you determine the common denominator. Once you find a common denominator you can eliminate it from your diet and document your feelings. It can take weeks for a food to completely leave your body, so I suggest eliminating the food for 6 weeks. If you can’t manage that long you need to eliminate it for at least 2 weeks to determine if the food could be your culprit.

Foods can be tricky and keeping a diary of everything you eat can be time consuming, I know. There are other ways to help you determine what is causing your IBS. You can get a food intolerance test done by a nutritionist (such as myself, wink) and you can also get a food allergy panel done by an allergist. The two tests are different and do not look for the same things. A food allergy test looks for antibodies in your blood stream that are there specifically to fight a specific food. A food intolerance test looks for levels of inflammation caused by certain foods. Both tests can be helpful when trying to determine what foods you should eat and which foods you should avoid.

And when you’ve eliminated your IBS culprit once and for all you’ll need to take some time to heal your gut. All those years of suffering through IBS can really tear apart the lining of your intestines and that can lead to a lot more problems. There are foods and supplements that can help speed up the process of healing, such as L-Glutamine, which can aid in rebuilding your intestinal walls.

I promise you, you can completely eliminate your IBS if you take a little bit of time and give a little bit of effort. You can start feeling better so quickly you’ll forget what IBS felt like.

If you would like help curing your IBS and repairing your gut, I’d be happy to set up a consultation with you. I offer free 30 minute phone consultations and you can set that up here. Once you figure out what is causing your IBS it can be hard to decide what foods you CAN eat. I can help you with that too. Together we can transform your health, it all starts with a phone call.

Let’s Talk About Sprouts!

Yesterday I found myself in a conversation about sprouts and the amazing nutrition they pack and I realized how little sprouts are talked about, thought about, and even worse, eaten. Sprouts are amazing and everyone should be eating them. Want to know why? Keep reading!

Alfalfa-sprouts

Sprouts…there’s so many different kinds: alfalfa, broccoli, radish, mung bean, watercress, pea, the list could go on and on. Basically, every kind of plant, including veggies have sprouts. A sprout is a baby plant and we typically don’t think about eating the vegetable at this point, but we should and for many reasons. The top reason being the amount of concentrated nutrition packed into these tiny plants.

Sprouts of all kinds are full of concentrated potent levels of vitamins, including A, B, C, D, E, and K, minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, and potassium, fiber, antioxidants, enzymes and protein.

Many of these nutrients are more bio-available to the body when eaten as sprouts vs seeds or full grown vegetables. When the seed starts to sprout, the minerals bind to the proteins, which makes both the minerals and the protein more readily available and usable in our bodies.

 

In addition, the proteins are altered in beneficial ways during the process of sprouting, so you get more, and higher quality, protein from sprouts compared to eating the seeds.

Eating whole plant foods is the best thing you can do for your health. Feeding your body the necessary vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes is key to disease prevention, including cancer.  As a matter of fact, sprouts have been prescribed in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years!

Eating spouts makes getting these nutrients easy! They’re small, easy to add to any dish and easy to grow, even in the winter or in small spaces; no garden necessary! It is not necessary to purchase the expensive tiny packages of sprouts at the health food store!

We constantly have sprouts growing in our house, in mason jars, right on our kitchen counter! There’s only a few things you need to get started growing your own sprouts.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wide mouth mason jars (1-3). Purchase these at Walmart, Target, or farm supply stores.
  • Sprouting lids for your jars. I prefer these because they are dishwasher safe, won’t rust and are made from recycled material. Did I mention how cheap they are?!
  • Sprouting seeds. There’s a large variety to choose from, so I’ll tell you what I do. I buy a mix, that way I’m getting a large variety of nutrients. I have one jar of salad mix seeds and one jar of a bean mix. I prefer this salad mix because it’s organic, non-gmo and contains a variety of seeds including alfalfa and broccoli (two of the most nutritious sprouts). And I prefer this bean mix for the same reasons; it’s organic, non-gmo and a great variety.

Sprouts-in-a-jar

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Add 1-2 tbsp of seeds to your jar.
  • Choose which lid you’ll use and screw it on the jar. The lids have different size holes. You’ll want to be sure your seeds cannot fit through the holes in the lid.
  • Rinse the seeds. You’ll do this by adding water to the jar, then draining the water through the lid. You can do this a few times to ensure they are rinsed well.
  • Add water to the jar again, this time leaving it there. You’ll want 1-2 inches of water over the top of the seeds.
  • Soak your seeds for 8-12 hours.
  • Drain, rinse, and drain your seeds. You’ll do this 2-3 times per day now. You want to keep the seeds moist and be sure they do not dry out.
  • Store the jars at an angle to allow the water to drain and allow proper ventilation. You can do this in a bowl or a dish rack. Your jars should look like this…

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Continue rinsing and draining your seeds 2-3 times each day. In 3-5 days you’ll have sprouts ready to eat! It’s that quick and that simple!

To store your sprouts simply remove them from the jar, pat them dry with a towel, and store them in a covered container in the fridge.

You can enjoy your sprouts by adding them to salads, sandwiches, pad thai, in a wrap, or in your fresh morning juice or smoothie.

Your body will thank you for adding these amazing super foods to your diet and before long sprouts will become a staple in your house! Comment below with your favorite way to eat sprouts!

Eat Like You Give A What?!

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I hear it all the time, “Oh, I couldn’t live without meat!” or, “There’s no way I could give up dairy!”

(If you haven’t learned why you should want to eat less meat and dairy, head over here to set up your free phone consultation.)

I used to say the same things. My husband really said these things. He was probably the biggest meat eater I’ve ever known! While, he’s not completely meat and dairy-free he did go from eating animal protein 3-4 times a day to eating them 2-3 times a week with the help of this Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck” target=”_blank”>book!

It didn’t happen overnight for him, it took some time and some getting used to. The more plant-based meals we made the more we realized two things.

1.) In America, we focus every meal around animal protein and it’s hard at first to feel like you’re eating enough when you’re eating a meal with no meat. We had to shift our minds to realize much of the world rarely eats animal protein. It IS normal to have a meal with no meat!

2.) We quickly realized (with the help of the cookbook I’m about to show you) that it’s not the meat that makes the meal taste good, it’s the spices and seasonings. The meat is just a carrier of those flavors, but vegetables, beans, grains, and legumes can bring those flavors to our mouths just as well as any meat can.

If you feel like you couldn’t live on a plant-based diet I challenge you to open your mind and try it. You don’t have to become a vegan for life, you don’t even have to give up animal protein 100%, but I challenge  you to start replacing some of your meals, snacks and side dishes with some plant-based options. And I have just the right book for you to get started.

It’s called Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck” target=”_blank”>Thug Kitchen and it’s packed full of the most flavorful plant-based dishes we’ve made yet. Most recipes are quick and easy to make. So easy, my 9 year old is now cooking us meals from this book! (FYI- the language in the this book is not exactly kid friendly, but the recipes are). You can get your book here:


Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck

The book includes chapters for breakfast, salads, sammies, and mini-meals, soups and stews, salsa, sips, and snacks, burritos, bowls and other meals, and baked goods and dessert, so you’ll be able to eat a plant-based diet all day long!

Once you get your book you can try some of our favorites, starting with the black bean tortas with coconut chipotle mayo. This is my daughter’s favorite meal (straight out of a 9 year old’s mouth, no joke!) and she made it for us last night! That’s right parents of little ones, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. One day the kids will cook for us!

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The tortas were so delicious there wasn’t a single drop left. Everyone went back for 2nds!

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Trust me, you’ll never regret trying this recipe or this cookbook, so go get yours today!

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Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck

Some of our other favorite recipes in this book include:

  • Roasted sriracha cauliflower bites with peanut dipping sauce
  • Ginger mushroom summer rolls
  • Barley stuffed peppers
  • Vegetable pad thai (we leave out the tofu)
  • White bean and red lentil burgers
  • BBQ bean burritos with grilled peach salsa
  • Chocolate fudge pops

Be sure to comment with your favorite recipes from Thug Kitchen!

Six Ways to Keep Your Family Healthy During “Sick Season”

It’s “that” time of year. That’s what I keep hearing from friends and family. It’s the time of year when we all get sick, especially kids, and spend countless hours at the doctor’s office and countless dollars at the pharmacy.  It’s the first week of December and my social media news feeds are swarmed with complaints of sick kids and sick parents. So far I’ve seen, pneumonia, strep throat, ear infections (lots of ear infections), sinus infections, stomach viruses, the flu and migraines in kids. I’ve seen Facebook posts about the countless number of doctors visits these people have had for their children who can’t seem to be able to heal completely between sicknesses.

As a family who mainly uses holistic health practices to keep our family strong and healthy, only turning to western medicine when it’s an absolute must, I thought I’d share the top six things we do on a daily basis to stay healthy and to recover quickly when one of us does catch a bug. These are all easy things you can tie into your day, no matter how busy your schedule is and they’ll keep you feeling your best.

1.) The first thing we do is the easiest. Drink water, lots of water and only water. Yes, that’s right, I said only water. Children and adults do not need anything to drink other than good ‘ol water; no juice, no milk. Drinking plenty of water each day allows your body to easily flush out unwanted substances, such as bad bacteria or viruses. Milk and juice are both high in sugar content, which can help feed the bad bacteria. Children who drink juice or milk (and adults too) are simply adding sugar to their diet. The sugar content outweighs the vitamin content, so don’t be fooled by the label telling you that juice is a good source of vitamins. Yes, this is true for the juices with no added sugar as well because the juice does not contain any of the fruit’s fiber. The fiber in fruit slows down the digestion, therefore the absorption of the fruit’s natural sugar. When the fiber is missing, such as with fruit juice, you’re going to experience a spike in blood sugar and then a blood sugar crash. This leads to fatigue, which can lead to less activity, which brings me to my next step to staying healthy.

2.) Stay physically active, even when you can’t get outdoors. When cold weather strikes, most of us tend to be less active. Let’s face it, when it gets dark by 5pm it’s not exactly easy to go outside after work and school and run around in the yard, walk the dog or go to the park. But, it’s important to make sure every person in the family is getting plenty of physical activity. For us that means, heading the to gym, braving the cold basement to get on the treadmill and lift weights, or bundling up and going for a hike or bike ride. For our kids, they continue their sports through the winter, giving them multiple days of practice each week and they join us on hikes and walks, no matter how cold it is. And on the days when it’s hard to squeeze in physical activity we’ll do a yoga video before bed, giving us at least a little workout. Physical activity has too many benefits to mention, but when it comes to fighting sickness you can guarantee being physically active will help your body to detox through sweat and heavy breathing (increase in oxygen intake). Exercise not only keeps your muscles and bones strong, it keeps your cardiovascular system and respiratory system strong, helps control blood pressure and keeps your weight in check.

3.) The third tip on my list is to limit sugar intake. I touched on this briefly in number one, but it’s such an important part of staying healthy, it deserves it’s own number. The two hardest parts of controlling sugar intake, especially when you have children, is not being aware of hidden sugar and not being aware of what is too much sugar. This means two things need to happen. One, you need to become educated on how much sugar is too much sugar and you need to start reading labels. It’s recommended children do not have more than 3 tsp (12 grams) of added sugar a day, men can have up to 9  tsp (36 grams) and women up to 6 tsp (24 grams) of added sugar per day (These recommendations come from the American Heart Association). If you’ve ever taken the time to read packaged food labels you’ll notice, these recommendations are awfully strict, I mean most granola bars or yogurt containers (both seemingly healthy foods) contain more than 12 grams of sugar! So, limiting your added sugar intake is going to require eating less processed and packaged foods and more whole foods. Now to clarify, added sugar includes, granulated sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, and any other form of “sugar” that is being added to foods to sweeten them. It does not include the natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables. And that brings me to number four.

4.) This time of year, when we’re fighting germs, bacteria and viruses, it’s even more important to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Fruits and vegetables are packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which all work in our body to fight disease. It’s easy to get enough fruits and veggies when you are limiting added sugar and not eating packaged foods. Some simple ways to add extra servings are to replace processed snacks (or lunch box contents) with an apple and peanut butter, carrots with hummus, mixed berries or cabbage slaw. A fun way to get your kids involved with eating more fruits and veggies is to focus on eating the rainbow. What kid doesn’t love a rainbow? You can focus on eating the rainbow each day or over a week’s time, eating a variety of red foods one day, orange foods the next, and so on. These foods are, of course supposed to be whole fruits and vegetables; whole meaning in their natural state, not processed. If you have a picky eater it’s okay to supplement with a multi vitamin.

5.) Limit your exposure to chemicals. You may be asking, “What does that mean?” When I’m speaking of chemicals, I’m speaking of cleaning solvents, beauty products, antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers, and so on. Now you may be asking, “What does this have to do with staying healthy?” Well, I’ll try to put it in the simplest terms possible. Every time you touch or breath chemicals, such as the ones listed above, those chemicals are going into your body via your skin or lungs. Once those chemicals are in your system, your body now has to figure out what to do with them. They are not substances our bodies are prepared to handle, they are foreign, so it takes a lot of work and energy for our bodies to figure out how to process these chemicals. All of the work and energy your body is using to deal with the chemical overload could be spent fighting diseases. Imagine this, you wake in the morning, shower using conventional shampoo, conditioner, and body soap, then apply lotion, make up (if you’re a woman), perfume or cologne, then head to work, where they just cleaned with bleach (you know because you can smell it, therefore, you’re breathing it in), then come home to do laundry with conventional detergent and softeners, cook supper and clean with conventional soap, then go to give your child a bath using the same soaps you did this morning. The entire day your body has been dealing with processing chemicals, meanwhile, earlier in the day you were exposed to a virus and your body hasn’t had the time to deal with it because it’s been busy. Now, you’ll wake up in the morning sick. There are many brands that make all of the mentioned products using natural, plant materials and do not contain the harsh chemicals. I recommend doing some online research before heading to the store, so you can find the best plant based products without spending and arm and a leg.

6.) I couldn’t write this post without mentioning essential oils. Why? Well, because they are a huge part of our healthy lifestyle. We use them to keep our immune systems strong, so we have an easier time fighting germs, we use them for increased antioxidant intake, and we use them to keep our respiratory systems healthy. There are hundreds of essential oils. The oils are extracted from plants of various types and contain many healing plant compounds. They can be diffused in to the air, giving aromatherapy, applied topically, so they can be absorbed through the skin, and if you know they are 100% pure and do not contain any fillers or extraction chemicals they can be used internally. Many essential oils, such as citrus essential oils contain powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants create an unfriendly environment for free radicals in our body, meaning they help fight disease. Our family has also been able to replace many of the chemicals mentioned in number 5 with products containing essential oils, instead of chemicals. Adding the use of essential oils to your family’s daily routine can ensure a healthier lifestyle. If you’d like to get started I recommend starting with a starter kit, which includes the most useful, everyday oils and a home diffuser and can be found here. I know there’s a lot to learn and essential oils can be overwhelming at first, so if you’d like more information before you get started you can contact me.

 

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Vegetarian, Gluten-free Minestrone with Black Bean Rotini

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Who doesn’t love a good, hearty soup on a cool autumn night?

I love using soups to incorporate a wide range of veggies in our diet, especially my kids, who tend to be picky about “not normal veggies.” This is also a recipe that can be made ahead of time (except the noodles), so it’s great for those busy evenings filled with practices and such.

I made this tonight, a night that we get home at 7pm, which doesn’t leave much time for cooking, so I had it all ready to go. Then when we got home I brought the temperature back up to boiling and added the noodles. Supper was ready 10 minutes after we got home!

I’m posting the recipe below, but please know, you can get creative and use whatever veggies you want!

What you’ll need:

Olive oil (for sauteing the onion)

3/4 cup of diced onion (one small onion will do)

1 whole zucchini diced

1 carrot diced

2 (15oz) cans of diced tomatoes, including the liquid (home canned is best!)

2 garlic cloves minced

1 cup of canned white bean (cannellini or great northern). You can use dried beans if you cook them ahead of time.

3 cups of water

1/4 tsp of dried oregano

1 tsp of dried basil or  2 tbsp of fresh chopped basil

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1/2-1 cup of uncooked gluten free black bean rotini noodles (you may substitute any gluten free or regular noodles of various shapes. Elbow macaroni works will with minestrone).

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan on medium heat.

Add diced onion and saute until lightly golden brown (5 minutes or so)

Add the zucchini, carrots, minced garlic, diced tomatoes, beans, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and water.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If you plan to eat the minestrone now, go ahead and add the pasta and cook it in the soup for about 10 minutes. If you are making this ahead of time, you can remove the pot from the stove. Then, when you want to serve the soup you will want bring the heat back up to boiling and add the pasta about 10 minutes before you want to serve.

And enjoy!

This minestrone is a meal in itself, but for fun and even more health benefits you can make it a soup and salad night!

Banana Walnut Bread- Dairy-free, Alpha-gal safe

Fall may not be here yet, but we are soaking up the fall-like temperatures here, in Missouri this week. We started school today (we home school in case you didn’t know) and the kids get to cook and bake as part of their schooling. It helps teach measurements, fractions, following instructions, reading recipes and it teaches them a very important life skill.  Today my oldest child chose to make banana walnut bread and I couldn’t agree more. We woke up to 58 degree temps this morning. It’s August!!

So, I thought I’d share with you one of our family’s favorite comfort foods…

Banana Walnut Bread

 As many of you know, our family strives to eat local, wild, and organic when we can. That being said, we harvest walnuts from the trees on our property, so there’s never a shortage of walnuts around our house and who can complain with all the health benefits walnuts have to offer?
Eating walnuts will help improve cardiovascular healthy, they are full of antioxidants (helping your body fight oxidation), they provide you with omega 3 fatty acids (essential fats, meaning they must come from your diet), they can help lower LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad stuff), they contain anti-inflammatory properties, and studies show eating just a small amount of walnuts each day can lower your risk of some types of cancers. Obviously, you can use store bought and you will get the same benefits.
We do NOT grow our own bananas…We live in Missouri!!!

So, here is what you will need:

*4 ripe bananas (Please do not be scared of the sugar in bananas. They have been given a bad name, but trust me, any fruit is better than no fruit and the vitamins, mineral, and antioxidants in fruit outweigh the sugar content).

* 3/4 cup of apple sauce (we use homemade from locally grown apples)

* 1 cup organic unbleached sugar

* 1 egg

* 1 tsp vanilla extract

* 1 tsp baking soda

* a pinch of salt

*1 1/2 cups of unbleached flour (any type of flour works. I like to experiment with all kinds, including gluten free, whole wheat and Einkorn).

 

If you’re like me and you love having groceries delivered to your door, especially healthy groceries, you can order most of what you need for this recipe from Thrive Market. I find it much easier to read labels on my computer at 10pm than try to read them in the store with 3 kids running around!

The first step is to mash the bananas in a bowl. This should be really easy if they are very ripe.

Then stir in 3/4 cup of apple sauce. Mine is brown, because it is home made, but you can use store bought also. I recommend buying organic if you are using store bought.

Next, stir in the sugar, egg, vanilla, baking soda, and salt and mix it well. Then add the walnuts.

Add the 1 1/2 cups of flour last and mix well.

When all is mixed pour it into a baking loaf.

And bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

Let it cool before eating and ENJOY!

This is such a delicious bread and it goes great with breakfast! I’m not a fan of sugar, but as long as your diet doesn’t consist of a lot of it, it’s okay to treat yourself to a little slice of comfort food every once in a while.

I love to hear comments. How did your bread turn out? What is your favorite homemade bread?

Power Granola Recipe

(Copyright @midwesternlife.com)

 FYI-Midwesternlife.com is where I blog about all kinds of things. 🙂

Warning: You won’t want to stop eating this!

There, I said it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

This granola is packed full of healthy, energizing foods. There’s healthy fats, protein, B vitamins and fiber! Just grab a handful before your workout or in the afternoon when you feel a slump coming on. And the best part? It’s SO easy to make!

Things you’ll need:

A large bowl

An 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of sunflower seeds

1 1/2 cups of oats

1/4 cup of ground flaxseed

1/2 cup of dried cranberries

1/2 cup of slivered almonds

3 tbsp of natural peanut butter

1/2 tsp of sea salt

1/2 cup of honey

1/2 tsp of vanilla

(optional ingredients: shredded coconut, walnut pieces, almond butter (in place of peanut butter).

How to make your own power granola:

Mix all the measured ingredients in a bowl. Mix gently enough to not crush your ingredients, but enough to completely mix the honey and pb.

Once it’s mixed pour it in to the baking dish and press it down to pack it in (use wax paper if it is sticking to your hands).

Next, bake it for 40 min at 300 degrees.

When the granola is done baking, LET IT COOL BEFORE YOU BRAKE IT UP IN TO PIECES.

And last…ENJOY!

Everyone is our family loved this granola. My kids even asked for it in their school lunches! What a healthy snack to have on hand!

Chemical Free Hand Soap

Chemical Free Homemade Foaming Hand soap Recipe

Let’s first talk about hand soap and why you would want to make your own at home. You may be asking, “What is wrong with store bought hand soap?”
Let’s first remember that all of the products and ingredients that touch our skin enter our blood stream. Now let’s take a moment to grab the bottle of soap at your sink and look at the ingredient list (if there is one). How many of those ingredients can you pronounce? Probably not many, I can’t either!
Antibacterial hand soap has become the most popular soap on the market and we’ve all been made to believe we need it. But, the truth is we don’t! The active ingredient in most anti-bacterial soap is Triclosan. If you do a quick Google search you’ll find out Triclosan is a pesticide! WHAT? A pesticide? Do we really want to put pesticides on our skin multiple times a day knowing that it’s getting into our blood stream? NO!
Continue farther down the list of ingredients and you’re bound to see many synthetic chemicals and artificial colors.
A simple wash with soap and water is all we need to get rid of germs, actually, antibacterial hand soap has been known to kill bad and good bacteria, resulting in more sickness! We need the good bacteria to fight the bad! So, let’s get back to the basics!
This recipe is so simple and quick to make. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Here is what you will need:

Empty Foaming Soap Bottles (I have one for each sink and I get mine at www.abundanthealth4you.com

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap (I prefer the Baby soap, as it is the unscented soap and I get mine here.) 

Essential Oils for scent and cleansing properties (I use Young Living Thieves essential oil due to the cleansing power and you can get that here. Peppermint and/or Lemon essential oils are also great options.

   Here is the recipe: 


*Put 2 tbsp of Dr. Bronner’s soap in the empty foaming soap bottle

*Add 10 drops of essenstial oil 

*Fill the rest of the bottle with water, shake a bit to mix

 

That’s it! You’re done! You’ll be SO happy with this soap and how simple and fast you can make it

The Dr. Bronner’s comes in 16-32oz bottles, so you’ll be able to make many, many batches of this soap. And one 15ml bottle of Thieves essential oil has roughly 240 drops, giving you about 24 bottles of soap (if you’re not using your Thieves oil for other purposes). 

A side note: My family uses this same recipe for body wash as well, but instead of Thieves essential oil we use 10 drops of Gentle Baby, Tea Tree, Patchouli, Orange or other fresh smelling essential oil. We even make our own baby headtotoe wash using this recipe. Lavender or Sleepize essential oils are great for baby’s night time bath wash. 

If you don’t know anything about essential oils feel free to contact me for some education or go here

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegetarian, Alpha-gal Safe Carrot Cake

I know when you read the title of this cake you’re thinking, “That must taste like cardboard.” That’s how many feel when they hear the terms, “Gluten-free,” “Dairy-free,” and “Vegetarian,” all in the same recipe title. I used to think the same way! But, I promise you, you’re going to love this cake and so will your guests!

Normally, we live a sugar-free lifestyle as well, but for special occasions, such as birthdays and holidays  we make an exception and make a special dessert.

 

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I chose a bundt cake pan because we don’t do icing and I think it’s the prettiest. Other options include cupcakes, or 2 round cake pans to make a layer cake. If you choose a layer cake option you will need an icing of your choice.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Note: For all ingredients listed, organic is best, when available

6 cups of shredded carrots

3/4 cup of light brown sugar

4 eggs

3/4 cup of granulated sugar (I use organic, unbleached)

1 cup of olive or grape seed oil

2 tsp of vanilla extract

1 cup of crushed pineapple (in it’s own juice and drained)

3 cups of gluten free flour (I prefer this gluten free baking mix)

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 cup of raisins (optional) (we do not use raisins, but some may want to add them)

Instructions:

1.) Combine the grated carrots and brown sugar (and raisins) in a bowl and set aside for about an hour to let them marinate together.

2.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease your pan of choice. I chose a bundt cake pan because do don’t do icing and I think this shape is prettiest.

3.) In a medium size bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set this aside for a bit. In a large bowl beat the eggs, and gradually beat in the granulated sugar, oil and vanilla extract. Stir the crushed pineapple into the egg mixture. Then gradually stir in the flour mixture to the egg and pineapple mixture. Once it’s mixed together (be careful not to over mix) gently fold in the carrots and walnuts until mixed well.

4.) Pour the batter into your pan of choice and bake. The bundt cake pan took about 90 minutes. I suggest you start checking yours at 60 minutes. The cake is done when a knife inserted comes out clean. Other bake times are:

2 10″ pans 40-50 mins

2 8″ pans 30-35 mins

Cupcakes 20-22 minutes

 

The cake should be springy to the touch and a toothpick or knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing.

 

Enjoy! And remember, I love to hear from you in the comments!

Homemade Power Granola

(Copyright @midwesternlife.com)
Warning: You won’t want to stop eating this! 
There, I said it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 
This granola is packed full of healthy, energizing foods. There’s healthy fats, protein, B vitamins and fiber! Just grab a handful before your workout or in the afternoon when you feel a slump coming on. And the best part? It’s SO easy to make! 
Things you’ll need:
A large bowl
An 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish
Ingredients:
3/4 cup of sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups of oats
1/4 cup of ground flaxseed 
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of slivered almonds
3 tbsp of natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 tsp of vanilla
(optional ingredients: shredded coconut, walnut pieces, almond butter (in place of peanut butter).
How to make your own power granola:
Mix all the measured ingredients in a bowl. Mix gently enough to not crush your ingredients, but enough to completely mix the honey and pb.
Once it’s mixed pour it in to the baking dish and press it down to pack it in (use wax paper if it is sticking to your hands).
Next, bake it for 40 min at 300 degrees. 
When the granola is done baking, LET IT COOL BEFORE YOU BRAKE IT UP IN TO PIECES.
And last…ENJOY! 
Everyone is our family loved this granola. My kids even asked for it in their school lunches! What a healthy snack to have on hand!