Monday, December 2, 2013

Herb Geek Round-up

I am very honored to have been asked to contribute to The Herb Geek Round up this month where there were some fabulous articles written on the subject of depression.   So click HERE and head on over for some GREAT reads!  You can find the recipe for my Sunny Soul Blend there!
My Sunny Soul Blend

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sneak Peek Recipe from My Cookbook...

Affiliate link used below. Thank you for your support! 

Today I want to give you a sneak-peek at the print copy of our cookbook, which is due out very shortly. We can't wait to give you all those details, so be watching for the release right after Thanksgiving!

I'm sharing a simple–but delicious–recipe perfect for fall and winter. Coconut Maple Carrots.

You can see from the image how this recipe looks in our cookbook. This is an actual page from the cookbook. I am very pleased with how the print copy has turned out. There are nearly 150 photos for just over 100 recipes in the print copy! (The e-book version has about 100 photos.) 

I hope you enjoy this recipe from our new cookbook: Whole Foods for the Everyday Cook written by myself and my sister, Christy Greer, over at Whole Foods On A Budget.  Take a peek at her amazing blog!!  She is the one who has done all the design and format work (as well as many of the recipes!) in our book.  

SERVES 8 | Yum yum yum—these carrots are delicious! Carrots are a frugal and nutritious vegetable. You will find yourself making a side dish of carrots more often after you taste these.

2 lbs carrots
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
pinch of unrefined salt

Finely slice the carrots by food processor or mandolin to 1/16-inch. Place the carrots in a steamer and steam for 5 minutes or until just tender. Remove the carrots from the steamer and place in a serving bowl. Add the remaining 4 ingredients, gently toss and serve immediately.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

New Giveaway to Celebrate Our Cookbook Release

My sister and I are doing another giveaway to celebrate the release of our new cookbook!  Please check it out HERE on my sister's blog, Whole Foods On A Budget!

Before I share our next giveaway, I'd like to share a short portion of the preface in our cookbook, because it explains why we wrote this cookbook.

...[and so] we landed upon the idea behind this cookbook. A diet based on whole foods is a solid middle ground, a stepping stone if you will, from a standard American diet to other healthier, beneficial diets. Whole Foods for the Everyday Cook is a cookbook designed to make it easy for anyone to transition to a whole foods diet. Furthermore, we wanted our cookbook to be not just for the newbie but also for those already familiar with whole foods. We wanted to create a resource for them too—a resource meant to bring fresh inspiration and new recipes into the kitchen. Thus our recipes span from simple to more advanced. 
So if you're looking to eat more whole foods, eat more vegetables or whole grains, cook from scratch more, transition to a traditional food/real food diet, or if you already do some or all of these and you simply want some fresh inspiration, then you will very likely enjoy and appreciate our cookbook. With over 100 recipes, you're sure to find some new favorites!
AND NOW...the giveaway for this weekend! Yep, you've got the whole weekend to enter. To celebrate our Kindle release, we are giving away two books that have inspired us to cook and write a cookbook. (And actually we hope to write many more!)
Julia Child's My Life in France focuses on a portion of her life, mostly when she was overseas in France. It was there that she took up cooking, began teaching cooking classes, and then began writing her first amazing cooking resource.  We have enjoyed reading about her love of fresh, quality, whole foods. And we've enjoyed cooking some of her recipes and learning skills from her. We even found ourselves relating to her a bit (though on a much smaller scale) as we were emailing and calling back and forth across the country working on our cookbook. As she wrote her first cookbook, she corresponded often with Avis de Voto back in the USA, and manuscripts and ideas went back and forth over years. (In fact, I'm reading this book right now.) My Life in France was the book used as the basis for Julia's life in the movie Julie & Julia. If you love France, if you love good food, if you love cooking or Julia Child herself, you will thoroughly enjoy this book!
The other book we're giving away is Under the Tuscan Sun by France Mayes. This is a beautiful, inspiring story about a woman who buys a house in Italy to stay during the summers when she is not teaching as a professor. She chronicles fixing it up, but intersperses it with stories of daily life in Italy, gardening, harvesting olives, cooking fresh recipes and more. It is truly a relaxing, delightful read that will make you want to sell your home and move straight to Tuscany! Tuscany holds a special place in my heart after visiting there, and this book sealed the deal for me. If you love Italy, fresh eating, gardening, different cultures, the dying art of old ways, cooking or good wine, you'll love this book. It has inspired us to garden and cook and write about it!
To enter to win BOTH books (lucky you!), please share either this post or about our new cookbook on Facebook or Twitter, and comment below to tell us you did. You can enter twice—once for a Facebook Share, once for a Twitter share. Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST, Sunday, 11/17/13. This contest is only open to those living in the USA.
Hope you win!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Cookbook is Now Available!

My cookbook, Whole Foods for the Everyday Cook, is now available on amazon (my affiliate), in the Kindle format (hardcopy to follow in a few weeks).

To celebrate it's release, my sister and co-author, are giving away TWO FREE copies of our Kindle version today.  Even if you do not own a Kindle, you can still read a copy of our book (more explanation on her blog).

To enter the giveaway, please go HERE, to her blog, where you can enter.  The contest ends tonight, so be sure to get over there today for your chance to win a free copy!

So what's in our cookbook?

- Over 100 recipes with colorful, professional photos.

- Sections on Breakfast, Baked Goods, Vegetables, Grains, Beans-Lentils, Meats-Eggs-Fish, Desserts, Kids, Condiments.

- Information on whole grains and how to cook and bake effectively with them.

- An introduction to beans and lentils, cooking methods and troubleshooting tips. 

- Appendices explaining whole foods ingredients; what to stock in your pantry, refrigerators and freezer; and our most efficient, effective and favorite kitchen appliances and tools. 

The E-Book vs. the Print Copy
Reasons why you may want to purchase the e-book:
1. Your personality is one of efficiency and productivity. The e-book has links throughout that send you to other recipes or resources with just a click. For instance, if we mention that one recipe is good with another, just click the link and it takes you right to the other recipe. From the "Table of Contents," with just a click, you can go straight to any recipe.
2. You're a minimalist. No book taking up space in your kitchen; just another title on your Kindle or E-Reader. The e-book is a crisp, clean copy—just clear text and photos.
3. You love your Kindle. Here's another book to enjoy on it!
4. The Kindle version is cheaper due to it's virtual nature—no printing costs, no shipping, etc.
Reasons why you may want to purchase the print copy, when it is released in a few short weeks:
1. You are visual and you are inspired by what you see. The print copy is gorgeous—with backgrounds behind every recipe and photograph and unique fonts that enhance the artistic quality of the cookbook.
2. You want a cookbook to keep in your kitchen; one you can flip through, peruse and be inspired by.
3. You still like physical books in your hands. Here's one we hope you will love, enjoy and use often! We hope the pages grow floury and crinkly from regular, loving use. Such are my favorite cookbooks.
And of course, who's to say you can only own one version. You're always welcome to buy both!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Our Book is Scheduled for Release TOMORROW!!

I am SO SO very excited to announce that a cookbook I have been working on for a few years with my sister Christy, at Whole Foods on a Budget, is finally ready to be released!!!

We have poured ourselves into this book and it is scheduled to be on sale on Kindle tomorrow.  Our hardcopy version will be available in just a few weeks, just in time for Christmas!  Stay tuned for more info tomorrow about some fun giveaways we will be doing to celebrate the release of our book!

So, what is our cookbook about?
Whole Foods for the Everyday Cook is a cookbook filled with over 100 recipes useful for everyday cooking. All recipes are whole foods based. Our idea behind the book was to provide a springboard for healthier eating. We wanted to provide a resource that makes it easy and inspiring to eat healthfully.

We have some very simple recipes that are especially useful for busy times when you hardly have the time to cook and for those of you who may be new to the kitchen. We also have basic recipes that are perfect for regular day-to-day cooking--not too much time involved, not too many steps. We've also included a few more advanced recipes for when you have to the time to experiment and explore new ways of cooking and baking.

Our Photos

There is a gorgeous, professional photograph (by Jonalee Earles) for nearly every single recipe in our cookbook. Photos were very important to us, and we wanted beautiful ones and lots of them. I am always more inspired when I can see a picture of what I am trying to make.

How to Buy
As I said at the beginning, our cookbook goes on sale TOMORROW, Wednesday, November 13th! Tomorrow I will be posting first thing in the morning with links to our e-book and lots more details...including some giveaways!! So stay tuned, and come back to visit tomorrow!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Healthy Child Summit

I am so excited to share with you about the FREE!!!  Healthy Child Summit that was put together by a few good friends of mine and is sponsored by the Nourished Living Network that I currently blog for.  One of the reasons things have been a bit quiet here, is that I have been busy preparing my talk for the Summit, which will be addressing the use of Herbs and Essential Oils in Pregnancy, Labor, and Post-Partum.

Track Collage 400 Yale 2

We are offering a sneak peek of the Summit, Nov. 18th - Dec. 20th, featuring some of our speakers (my talk will be featured in Feb. 2014 when the entire Summit will be offered), and this is a great opportunity to get a jump start and be able to listen to all kinds of speakers sharing about different aspects of raising a healthy child.

Again, this is free!  If you would like to participate, please sign up HERE.

  • Would you like to learn how to prepare your body for the healthiest pregnancy possible?
  • Are you interested in preparing for a natural birth, one with no or limited interventions?
  • Would you like the support, encouragement, and resources to get off to the best start with breastfeeding?
  • Would you like to learn about common childhood illnesses, how to prepare a natural medicine cabinet, and how to get your child off on the right foot nutritionally?
  • Do you have questions about the signs of autism, adrenal fatigue, sensory processing disorders, and more? Wondering how you can support your child naturally through these deeper challenges?
  • Are you looking to rid your home and environment of toxins, make your own natural cleaners and skincare products, and choose safe toys for your children?
  • Are you looking for support in dealing with the teenage years including hormones and food choices?
  • Are you a overwhelmed mama, struggling with self care?
Join Over 50 Professionals and Experts As They Empower, Educate, and Inspire Your Family’s Natural Health and Wellness Journey!

Again, this is free!  If you would like to participate, please sign up HERE.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Heirloom Squash

I hope you all are enjoying fall as much as we are.  Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love all the fall foods that come with that chill in the air.

Now that my son is old enough to start understanding about cooking, nutrition, whole foods, and herbs, I am having so much fun teaching and showing him just how fun whole foods can be.

One of our local grocery stores had a bunch of organic heirloom squashes, so I let my son pick out a few and here he is showing off one of his favorites, and one of our new favorites to eat; the red kuri.

Making whole foods fun for kids is a great way to encourage them to eat healthy starting at a very young age.  What ways do you make eating whole foods fun for your kids?


Monday, September 23, 2013

Herbal Support for the Gassy Infant

Having a gassy infant is a quite common; I'm dealing with this issue with my little one.  Thankfully, there are a number of herbs that mommy can take that can pass to the infant via breast milk.  Not every baby is the same, so a little experimentation may be needed to help relieve the gas.

While I will not be going into details in this post, there are a few other non-herbal interventions that may help.  These would be clock-wise gentle tummy massage using a few drops of olive or castor oil, taking your infant to a chiropractor for adjustments, diet changes for mommy, and homeopathic remedies.

Some herbs to consider trying would be dill seed, fennel seed, anise seed (NOT star anise), caraway seed, catnip, and chamomile.  I recommend crushing the seeds as this will allow for better release of their nutrients.  These herbs are digestive aides and can help relieve gas.  These can all be taken in tea form and drunk throughout the day and even when you wake up to feed your little one at night.  I often make my daily dose and sip through the day, into the night.

My beloved mortar and pestle for crushing seeds

Like I mentioned, it make take some experimenting to find the right herb or combination for your baby.  Keep in mind, though, that some babies just need more time to grow and mature and eventually will grow out of the gassy stage.  Hang in there, mamas!

Fennel and anise seeds waiting to be crushed.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Postpartum Stress and Sleep Support

Having a new little one is no easy thing!  While it's a precious time, it is an exhausting time.  The needs of an infant sometimes seem limitless and add to that the interrupted nights sleep, leaves a mommy needing some good herbal support.

Nervines, herbs that support the nervous system,  gentle sedatives, and tonic herbs are often needed.  Some of my favorite herbs that fall in these categories and are often used postpartum are lemon balm, lavender, chamomile, oat straw (which was discussed in my previous post, as this is also an excellent nutrient herb), motherwort, and ashwagandha.  Thankfully, many of these calming soothing effects will pass to your infant via your breast milk.  As with all herbs, be sure to check with your practitioner/physician before taking them.

Lemon Balm - Truly one of my favorite herbs!  I love it's light lemony taste.  Not only is this herb a gentle tonic for the nervous system, it is also very uplifting to the mood and emotions.  It's calming effects will also pass to your infant.  This herb also helps with anxiety and is an anti-viral to boot!  With it's bright lemony taste, this is a perfect herb to take in tea form.

Lavender - Lavender can be added to tea, but my favorite form of use is the essential oil.  Lavender is very soothing and relaxing to the nervous system and a great sleep aide.  There are very few essential oils that I use around an infant, as there are very few studies showing safety, but lavender is one that is commonly used.  One very easy way to use the oil is to place a drop or two on a cotton ball and place that on your nightstand, next to your bed.  The soothing oil will help promote a restful night of sleep.

Chamomile - This lovely herb will help to combat anxiety and will help to encourage a restful night of sleep.  It also is a digestive aide and will help with gassiness in an infant.  Chamomile calms nerves and will help relieve stress.  It has so many other benefits, including being an immune booster - it's just a wonderful herb!  It's bright apple-like scent is best enjoyed in a tea.

Motherwort - This herb is a perfect go to to help ease nervous tension, anxiety, and irritability.  It is a bitter herb, so taking it in tincture form would be more pleasant that tea.  This is a perfect herb to have on hand, especially right after giving birth, as it is also a uterine tonic and will help with the after-birth cramping and assists the uterus in returning to it's pre-pregnancy size.

Ashwagandha - An herb that helps the body adapt to stress, ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogenic herb.  It is a gentle tonic that helps to support the adrenal system as well as the immune system.  It also has a mild sedative effect on the nervous system and helps to combat anxiety and insomnia.  Ashwagandha has a strong taste, so taking it in tincture form would be more palatable than in a tea.

I buy most of my herbs in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs (link listed on the right side of my blog).

(This is an affiliate post.  This in no way affects your costs and using my link is a way to say thank you and help support this blog.)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Herbs for Postpartum Milk Support

There are so many wonderful herbs that can be taken for increased milk supply.  These herbs, along with a healthy organic whole foods diet, should be able to keep up an ample milk supply.  Speaking with a lactation consultant is also a great idea if your milk supply is struggling.

I mentioned in a previous post some nutritive herbs.  Two of these, nettle and alfalfa are also great herbs to help promote your milk supply.  Full of vitamins and minerals, these are great to take regularly.

One herb that is commonly used for milk supply is fenugreek.  I personally do not recommend this herb, as it can alter blood sugar levels, lowering them, and should not be taken by those who have diabetes.  It has also been known to occasionally cause gas in babies (and who wants that, right??).  I know that many herbalist recommend this herb, but since there are so many other herbs that can help with supply, I recommend trying those first.

Two other herbs that can be used are anise seed (NOT star anise) and fennel seed.  These are also good herbs to try is your baby is gassy.  They can be taken in tea form (I recommend crushing them first) and add a lovely taste to your herbal teas.

My anise and fennel seeds waiting to be crushed for tea!

Other herbs that can be used are blessed thistle, milk thistle seed (recommend this one in tincture form), and red raspberry leaf.

A few non-herbal things that can help maintain milk supply would be getting enough rest, lowering stress, staying well hydrated, and frequent feedings (around every 2-3 hours).

Herbs can be purchased at Mountain Rose Herbs (link on the right side of my blog).  I buy most of my herbs in bulk from MRH and it is a cost effective way to purchase whatever herbs you want to try.

(This post contains affiliate references.  This in no way affects your price.  By clicking on my link, you are simply saying "thank you" and helping to sustain this blog.)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Postpartum Nutrient Herbs

I'm enjoying my little new one so much!  She is a sweet, precious little girl, and sure keeps her mama busy!  I am also enjoying all the herbal teas I made while I was still pregnant to have for postpartum recovery time.  I simply made huge jars of the dried blends, where I can easily measure out the day's dose and don't have to go through the trouble of making a daily blend.

I made a number of different blends and have been using a variety of herbs, but the nutrient herbs are some of my favorites.  They may not taste the best (blending with a little bit of mint can help the taste factor), but I know that they are providing extra vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are critical for postpartum recovery and breast milk production.

I have been taking my nutrient herbs in tea form, making an infusion (you can read about making infusion in my post HERE.)  This is a quick and easy way to enjoy these herbs.  I typically make the days dose in the morning and sip on it all day long.  I drink my herbal teas unsweetened, but I know others who enjoy their teas with a little raw honey.

Oat Straw:
     This is one of my favorite nutrient herbs because not only does it contain minerals like calcium and magnesium, it is a nervine, which means it is a tonic for the nervous system.  Great for the stresses of caring for a new little one.  It is also high in vitamin A, silicon, and chromium.  It is nourishing to the hair and helps to promote restful sleep.  It also nourished the endocrine and circulatory systems, and has many other benefits.

      This amazing herb has a huge variety of health promoting components.  It is very rich in many vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, vitamin C, B vitamins and vitamin K.  Nettles are also a good source of amino acids and carotenoids.  It can help with anemia and boost breast milk production.  Among it's many other health benefits, it is also a cleansing herb and helps to get rid of metabolic wastes.

     Alfalfa is another great source for vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, some trace elements, and vitamins A, E, and K.  It can help to flush out toxins and get rid of water retention.  It has many more benefits, but those are a few of my favorites.

Buying these herbs in bulk is a cost effective way of obtaining these herbs.  One of my favorite sources is Mountain Rose Herbs, where I buy most of my herbs.  I have a link listed on the right side of my blog if you want to take a peek.

As with all herbs, be sure to consult with your medical practitioner before adding them to your diet.

(This is an affiliate post.  Using my link will not change your price, but will give me a small commission and is a way to help support this blog.  Thank you!).   

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kombucha - Second Ferments

We are enjoying our Kombucha so much, thanks to Kombucha Kamp!  I love it right out of the tap; it's refreshing and fizzy, but another way we enjoy it is doing second ferments.  These are so easy to do and the fun part is being creative with what you add.  I love doing second ferments for flavor and increased fizz.

Pictured on this post this orange hibiscus.  Second ferments are typically done with fruits and herbs.  So far I have enjoyed using different fruits that are coming through my local co-op.  Some blends I have tried so far have been watermelon mint, nectarine, vanilla plum, and even cucumber mint.  I'm having a lot of fun coming up with different flavors.

Second ferments are quite easy to do and you can read more about them HERE. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

To Induce Labor or Not...

This is such a wonderful article by my instructor, Aviva Romm, at Herbal Medicine for Women.  I just had to do a quick post and give the link to her article.  If you are expecting or know someone expecting, or if you are planning on being a parent, this is a great read.

Recently, there was an article that discussed the possible link between inducing labor and autism.  Aviva addresses this, and I'm glad she did, as this is another possible cause of autism.

I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did!

And, just a side note, I am LOVING her school!!  Enrollment reopens in September.  I cannot say enough good things about this course.  It's perfect for any woman, whether you just want to learn more about controlling your own health or if you hope to open your own herbal practice one day.  Aviva is an amazing instructor and you will walk away so much richer from taking this course.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Kombucha's Brewin'!!

Well, the big day finally came!!  My beautiful Kombucha crock arrived along with my supply kit (I ordered one of the continuous brew packages from Kombucha Kamp, which included everything that I needed to get started).  I decided to do what is called a continuous brew method rather than a batch method since I want Kombucha on tap all the time.  For those of you who are new to Kombucha, feel free to read all about it at the Kombucha Kamp website.  Kombucha is a wonderful way to get probiotics into your family in a healthy, yummy drink!

Some of the products included in my package
My excited helper
I took some time to review the videos that came with the package and read over all the instructions so that I was completely prepared - a must for this post-partum brain!

I am so glad that I ordered the package with my Kombucha crock, because it made everything very quick and easy.  I highly recommend going this route, especially for beginners.  Hannah, at Kombucha Kamp, packed everything up beautifully, along with an extra set of instructions (the package comes with a year access to her videos and a very detailed ebook full of helpful information).  I loved having that extra set of paper instructions, but I loved even more being able to watch the videos.  These made me feel much more comfortable with the process.  They are short, quick, and easy to watch and understand. 

Here is my beautiful crock!  I bought the green one, but as you can see, it has a beautiful blending of greens, blues, and browns.  I know the photos are a bit over exposed, but I wanted to give you readers an idea of the colors in this crock.

So, next step...wait 7-10 days and give it the first taste test.  I can't wait!   Then a post on second ferments and how to flavor your Kombucha!

This post has affiliate links.  By clicking on my links, you are helping to support this blog and is a way to say thank you for the information provided.  Your price remains the same wether you use my links or not.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Do You Belong to a CSA?

I love our CSA!  I'm fortunate that here in SoCal, we can have a produce CSA year round.  Not only do I get our weekly delivery, but I also love to buy things in bulk at discounted prices.  I will often do this with strawberries and freeze them, as well as tomatoes, for making dehydrated tomatoes to enjoy in the winter on all kinds of things or for making pestos.  Just look at all the lovely things we got this week!  Yum!

So, why join an organic CSA?

1) I love being able to support local farmers!

2) Organic farmers treat the land and produce kindly, no use of pesticides!

3) The items in my CSA are fresh!!  They last for a long time in the fridge.

4) Organic produce is higher in vitamins and other nutrients than conventional produce.  Because it is fresh, that will just add to the nutritional value, which will start to decline once the produce is picked, so the sooner you can eat your produce, the better.

5) Your food will not be irradiated.

Do you belong to a CSA?  I would love to hear why you love your CSA and what kinds of yummy things you are enjoying this summer!

And, coming up this weekend will be a post on my new continuous brew Kombucha maker.  I can't wait to share all about it!  If you want to read up on Kombucha in the meantime, check out Kombucha Kamp!

This post contains affiliate links.  Buying from my links is just a way to say thank you for the upkeep of this blog.  Your price remains the same whether you use my link or not.  Thank you!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Kombucha Journey

I'm finally taking the plunge and will be starting to brew my own kombucha.  This is something that I have been wanting to do for a few years, and I am so excited to finally give it a try.

I will be sharing my journey with you and ordered my continuous brewing system yesterday.  I am SO excited about my beautiful brewer and look forward to receiving it in a few weeks.

There are two methods of brewing kombucha; continuous brew and batch brew.  Being a busy mom and in two schools, I needed the easiest, least work involved method, which is why I chose continuous brewing.

I'm thrilled to have found Kombucha Kamp, where I bought my system.  I bought THIS complete package, so that I will have everything I need to start brewing.  This also includes an ebook and two series of videos.  I have looked through all of these and it has made the process of brewing much less scary to me.  I highly recommend either getting the complete package or purchasing the videos and book if you are new to brewing.  It has been very helpful to start reading and watching the process so I will be prepared when my system arrives.

If you are new to Kombucha, you can read more about the benefits HERE.  Kombucha is full of probiotics, which are key to gut health.  Brewing your own is a cost effective way to provide your family with an excellent source of probiotics.  This is a great time to learn about Kombucha and how to make it so you can have a source of probiotics to give to your family before cold and flu season hits.

I look forward to sharing more and showing off my new crock when it arrives!

(This post does contain affiliate links.  Clicking on my link is a way to say "thank you" and helps to support this blog.)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Time to Start Preparing for the Winter Illnesses

It's a hot, lovely summer, here in SoCal; hard to even think about winter time right now.  But, this is a good time to start to think and plan ahead for what remedies you would like to have on hand to be prepared for the winter colds and flu bugs.

Herbs are such gentle healers and are easy to prepare and use.  Our bodies are complex and have many needs, and this is often met by the complexity of herbs.  There is a time and place for antibiotics, but did you know that in most clinical outpatient settings, antibiotics are rarely needed?  I am concerned by the trend I have seen when I was a practicing nurse and what I observe in the general public now, of taking an antibiotic almost anytime a cold or flu comes around. 

While popping a pill may seem like the quick and easy method of dealing with an illness, more and more evidence is showing the damaging effects of antibiotics, especially on gut health.  This is critical information, as our gut holds 80% of our immune system.  Diseases like Crohn's and irritable bowel, often stemming from gut damage, are on the rise and antibiotic resistant bugs are multiplying.  

If we are not careful about working to decrease the use of antibiotics, we will soon have no antibiotics left to use.  I have personally witnessed antibiotic resistance bacteria as a nurse, and it is scary.  I find it very sad, that our continued over use of antibiotics could leave our children the heritage of no antibiotics.  

All that being said, what are some things that can be used to help fight off colds and flu bugs?

1)  I love to have elderberry syrup on hand.  I give it to our family the day before, day of, and day after we are in public places during the winter season.  For an active cold and flu, this can be taken a few times a day.  Mountain Rose Herbs, (where I buy most of my herbal supplies),  has a lovely syrup recipe you can find HERE.  Be sure to buy your berries now or within a month or two, as these are becoming more and more popular and will be difficult to come by in the winter time.  If you are using raw honey, do not give to children under 2.

2) Fermented Cod Liver Oil is another stand by in our home.  We take less during the spring and summer months, but in the fall and winter, this is a daily must have.  You can find this product at Green Pastures.  This is a superior form of cod liver oil and we notice a difference when we consistently take this product.  

3) Two herbs I always have on hand that are helpful for fever support are yarrow and elder flowers.  For very young children, starting at the age of one, Herbs for Kids, as has a great remedy called Temp Assure that can be found HERE, that contains these herbs and is a good support to take when a child is feverish.  Though this is a topic that could be a post in and of itself, low grade fevers should not be lowered, but rather give herbs to support the body during this process, as it is the body's way of killing off bacteria and viruses.  It is high grade fevers that will need to be lowered to protect the body. 

4) Raw honey and cinnamon are a great combination that has been known to help get rid of a cold if taken at the first sign of symptoms.  If you are using this for children, be sure to use "sweet" cinnamon also know as true cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum).  Most cinnamon found in stores is cassia cinnamon and not tolerated well by children.  You can find true cinnamon, HERE, and a recipe HERE.  Do not give raw honey to children under the age of two.

5) Reduce your sugar intake, as sugar kills the immune system.

6) Get some good probiotics, either buying them, or making your own.  You can try your hand at water kefir or kombucha for some yummy probiotic drinks.  If you are buying, I recommend Udo's, especially for children.  Summer is a great time to learn how to make either one of these drinks.  I will be purchasing a continuous brew kombucha system this month, and am excited to add this probiotic rich drink to our regular diet.
Making fermented vegetables is another way to get probiotics and build the immune system.  Here are two recipes to get you started:  Spiced Cultured Carrots and Sauerkraut.

7)  Dried sage tea is another fabulous remedy for those nasty colds.  Stir in a spoonful of raw honey for a delicious treat.  (Breastfeeding moms should not use this, though, as sage can dry up milk supply).  

8) Eucalyptus essential oil is a great oil to have on hand for inhalation and can be inhaled out of the bottle, placed on a cotton ball, or in a carrier oil.  Eucalyptus globulus is the most common one sold, but it is best not to use this one on children, rather, use Eucalyptus radiata.  HERE is a recipe for a sinus rub that I make up for cold and flu season.

9) A fun drink you can give your kids is Garlic Lemonade or "Citrus-Aide".  Here is the recipe. 

These are just a few simple ideas to help you as you prepare for cold and flu season.  Spread the word that there are alternatives to antibiotics and beautiful, gentle ways to heal your body naturally.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Herbal Medicine For Women...

I'm a little crazy sometimes!

But, when I found out about this amazing opportunity to study with Aviva Romm (one my favorite herbalist/MD's) a few weeks back, I just could not turn it down.  I was able to sign up with a substantial discount and despite having a new little one and busy 3 year old, I just had to sign up with Aviva.

So, my study journey continues.  I am still enrolled in The East West School of Herbal and Aromatic Studies to be a Certified Clinical Aromatherapist, and now with Aviva's school, I will enjoy a specialized herbal degree in Herbal Medicine for Women.  I have also recently graduated from Vintage Remedies with a Master Herbalist Degree.  (Can you tell that I LOVE to learn!).  And, once I graduate from Aviva's School, I will be signing up with Michael Tierra to finish up my herbal degrees and obtain a much desired apprenticeship.

I am so excited about the quality of education through Aviva's School and would encourage my female readers to take a look!  This program is for everyone, from women who just want to learn more about taking care of their bodies, to the professional herbalist, midwife, doctor, etc.

Life is VERY full and busy right now but I do hope still be able to post once or twice a week.  If you find things, once again, a bit quiet, please know that I am either taking care of my little ones or busy studying!

And, by the way, I strained my herbal honeys today and they are amazing!!!  I think the applemint and lavender are my favorites.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

More Fresh Herbal Honeys!

With all the raw honey I just bought and the fresh herbs growing in our yard, I could not resist putting up some fresh herbal honeys today.

My son and I made four kinds: rosemary, lavender, applemint, and spearmint.  We loosely filled our jars with our herbs (you can chop them if you like), then poured the honey over the herbs.

My very happy helper!

We used some glass stirrers to poke the herbs down in the honey and help remove as many of the air bubbles as we could.  We then topped the jars off with more honey.

The jars were then labeled and capped and will sit out 2-6 weeks in a sunny window.  These will disappear fast, I know, but these fresh honeys will not keep as long as ones made with dried herbs.  

The leftover mint was placed in a jar and set out in the sun today - mint tea tonight!  Yum!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Herbal Honeys...

I just bought 50 pounds of raw honey.  It's lovely and so delicious and goes quickly in this house!  I am having fun trying all kinds of herbal honey concoctions and made lavender infused honey and garlic honey this morning.  (Click on the lavender infused honey and it will take you to a video by Mountain Rose Herbs on how to make this honey.)

The lavender honey will be lovely in the evenings in a nice cup of tea, infusing it's relaxing qualities and helping to promote a good night of sleep (not that I have that right now with an 8 week old!)  You can find dried lavender flowers at Mountain Rose Herbs, where I buy almost all my herbs.

The garlic honey I will keep on hand as a tonic, for times we get sick, and to use on wounds or bug bites.  The shelf life is about 3 months for this honey.

The recipe for the garlic honey came from a lovely little used book I got off of amazon called Herbal Remedies by Hedley.  I really like it because the remedies listed are easy to make, straight forward, diverse, and has great step by step pictures.  This book is no longer in print, but you can get a copy for about $5 used on amazon right now.  Snatch one up!  You can find it HERE!

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