Friday, October 26, 2012

Buckwheat Hull Pillows

After getting some great reviews from my sister, I finally took the plunge and bought an organic buckwheat hull pillow.  I have been having some neck and upper back discomfort at night and wanted an alternative from the wool pillow I have been using.  I also grind my teeth at night sometimes, probably due to the neck and back pain.

I have been completely happy with my new pillow!  My neck and back pain is gone and I also noticed that I am not grinding my teeth at night anymore, a side benefit that I was not expecting!

Northen Naturals buckwheat hull pillows
Photo credit:
These pillows do take a few nights to get used to, as they are firmer and have a very different feeling than your "normal" cotton, feather, or wool pillows.  But, they do a beautiful job of conforming to your head and neck and providing support like no other pillow I have every tried.

I also love that they are a natural source of filler and there are many places that will sell them organically grown.  You can also make your own, as my sister did.

I bought my pillow at Northern Naturals, and you read more about the pillows and their benefits, here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Whole Foods Friday - Chick Broth and Tots

This is a great post to follow up my post from earlier this week, about things you can do to combat colds and flus.  Having a toddler, I know the challenges of getting broth into them!  Here are some tips from my sister Christy, over at Whole Foods on a Budget.  

Have a wonderful, fall weekend!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Preparing for Cold and Flu Season

Well, it's October and I'm already getting emailing from friends and family who are sick - yikes!  Cold and flu season is upon us!!  And, unfortunately, all the candy consumption at Halloween only seems to escalate things.

I'm already preparing our family and working hard to strengthen our immune systems through a healthy diet and various supplements.  Every family will look a little different in terms of what works for them, but I thought I would give you all a list of some of the things that I am doing for our family.

1) Limiting sugar consumption!  I know that it is nearly impossible to keep candy away from kids during Halloween, but we will be limiting the amount of candy my son has and I am working to keep him away from other sweets in the meantime.  Eating sugar lowers your immune system functioning and makes you more susceptible to sickness, especially within the 4-8 hour time frame of consumption.

2) Incorporating bone broths in our diet.  I try to have plenty of homemade stock in the freezer ready to use.  We drink it plain, add it to soups, or cook it up in rice.  If you can find a farmer and have access to organic chicken feet, then add those to your broth.  They add a nice healing boost!

3) Consuming fermented foods (rich in probiotics).  I try to ferment foods on a regular basis to have plenty of probiotic rich foods on hand.  Probiotics are great for helping to strengthen the immune system.  One of the best to have on hand is 10 week fermented sauerkraut.  If you make this anaerobically, you will have an amazing, inexpensive source of probiotics.  If you are not able to make fermented foods at this time, considering buying some high quality probiotics.  I use Udo's for all of us.  

4) Elderberry Syrup.  I keep a big bottle of homemade elderberry syrup on hand through the winter.  We take a dose almost daily.  It's very easy to make, delicious, and a great immune builder.  You can also buy it, but it's much cheaper to make your own.  HERE is the link to my recipe.  This is very kid friendly!  It's a great chaser for fermented cod liver oil.

5) Daily fermented cod liver oil.  Fermented cod liver oil is one of the best supplements you can take in my opinion.  It is an excellent source of vitamins A and D.  Taking it fermented, preserves the maximum nutritional benefits.  You can read more about it HERE, where I order mine.  You can get it in capsules or flavored liquid.  I have had no problems having my son take his, especially when he gets a chaser of elderberry syrup.

6)  Vitamin C.  I like to have plenty of vitamin C on hand for either daily dosing, or dosing when I think sickness is coming on.   I like my supplements to come from natural sources, so I use Dr. Bob Marshall's version.  I have been using his supplements for years and I highly recommend them.

7) Bovine Colostrum.  I keep powdered colostrum on hand for times when we are either feeling sick, under stress, or going to be in crowds.  This is another good immune booster.  It comes in capsules or powder.  For children, small doses can be added to things like applesauce or yogurt.  I use Dr. Bob Marshall's colostrum.

8) Echinacea.  Echinacea is a great general bug fighter.  I always have this one hand.  For my son, I use the Herbs for Kid's version.  For my husband and myself, I have the dried root and leaf on hand to make teas and have also made my own tincture, as it is more cost efficient.  This herb can be purchased inexpensively from Mountain Rose Herbs (link on the right side of my blog).  If we are going to be in crowds or around germs, I give a dose the day before, day of, and day after.  If we are sick, I dose us for at least a week.

Herbs for Kids Sweet Echinacea 4 fl oz
Photo Credit:

While it would be difficult to cover every herb and supplement I have on hand, these are a few good standbys to start with this fall and winter.

What are some of your favorite standbys?

(I am an affiliate for Mountain Rose Herbs.  I only recommend companies and products that I use.  Using the link I provide helps to support the upkeep of this blog.  Thank you!)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Healing a Muscle Strain Naturally

The other morning my toddler woke up and refused to walk.  He kept complaining of pain in his ankle and refused to put weight on it.  We knew it was not broken (if there is ever ANY doubt, please speak with your health care professional); he had been romping pretty hard the night before and I suspected a minor sprain or muscle strain, which can come on delayed.

Since he is only two, it was difficult to figure out exactly what was going on, but I saw some minor puffing around his ankle and decided to try some treatments that day for muscle strain since I really wanted to avoid using tylenol.

The first thing I did was to give a dose of homeopathic arnica.  I gave a few doses over the course of the day, both in spray form and oral.

I then rubbed some diluted lavender essential oil into the sprain and spent some time icing the foot.  He was not a very big fan of the ice, but since it was slightly puffy, I wanted to get some ice on it.

A little while later we tried an epsom salt bath.  Epsom salts are very healing for muscle strains and sprains, so I made up a little foot bath and let him soak his foot - he loved that!  I think this was one of the best treatments I could have tried for him.

8 oz. Lavender Noni Lotion
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After his Epsom salt bath, I rubbed my all time favorite Noni lotion all over the ankle area.  I cannot recommend this lotion enough.  It also comes in an ice hot version, which my husband loves.  I just used the regular version on my son.  We ALWAYS have this lotion on hand.

I'm happy to say that by the evening, he was walking around a little and by the next morning, he was running.  No need for tylenol!  Gentle, natural remedies did the trick!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Whole Foods Friday - Carrot Zucchini Soup

With fall arriving, this Carrot Zucchini soup recipe sounds delicious and is a great way to use some of that last summer squash still floating around!  This soup is easy to make and easy on the wallet, especially if you are using homemade stock.

So, hop on over to my sister, Christy's blog, Whole Foods on a Budget, for the recipe!