I asked a really good friend of mine for some blog post inspiration; I needed some new ideas!
So, today I'll be sharing about one of those ideas she gave me. She wanted to know how being a mom has impacted my world view.
Whoa. Big topic. I've had to take some time to think about that one, to be honest. It wasn't something I could just quickly answer -- not even to myself. It is also a topic that I feel can't really be adequately covered in a blog post but I'll hit on some main issues for me.
I'd say the first thing that motherhood has done is actually GIVEN me a world view. Before children, my view was sort of myopic and self centered. I didn't think much about the future, what impact I might have on the world, or others, how the world works or anything. I was just going from one day to the next not really thinking.
So, becoming a mom forced me to THINK and to take notice. It didn't happen all at once. It was gradual, but when you become responsible for another human being -- one that is helpless for the first years of their life -- you are suddenly jolted from your slumber and the world looks like a much scarier, more dangerous and out of control place. You come to the realization that it is not all about fun and adventure. I actually had a "come to reality" moment (Well, technically LOTS of them).
You realize that your actions, and the actions of others, can have an impact on someone else's life who doesn't have any say-so in what the grown ups are doing AND can't really speak up for themselves or voice their dislike of their current circumstances. You start looking at things through the lens of "Will this be good for me AND my child? How will this impact his/her future? How can I protect this little human AND teach them kindness, compassion, to enjoy life, take care of themselves, help others and NOT make them neurotic, anxious or fearful?????"
You are basically teaching them survival skills AND how to flourish and enjoy life at the same time. No easy feat, let me tell ya! My motherhood has morphed over the years in so many ways. Before motherhood my view was narrow, it widened a bit after the birth of my first child and a little more with each subsequent child but I don't think it will be "done". I think it's an ongoing process. (I mean, I'll be a GRANDMOTHER one day --YIKES -- that is bound to also effect me and how I view things.)
At first, I was all about providing the basic necessities: Clothing, shelter, food, affection, rules/boundaries and consequences. I didn't think much at all about my children's mental, emotional or spiritual health. I didn't even focus on my own. And the world will wound you because it is full of hurting people. (As a result, I have had to grow my own emotional intelligence so that I can help my kids navigate their own.)
That is one of the first things I started noticing: How badly other people are hurting and how mean, unkind and rude it can make them. Teaching kids how to navigate that is hard. You want them to be kind and compassionate, understanding but not doormats or involved in a toxic abusive relationship either. (I rely almost solely on Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend to help with this. That is what they DO and they make it so clear and easy to understand. Their book, Boundaries, is where I recommend starting.)
I think next was noticing how much politics, laws, movies, music, entertainers, etc.. influenced the world around me and individuals. How that might change the future for my kids, in both positive and negative ways. But it wasn't until recently that I decided I needed to actually talk to them about these things at home instead of ignoring them. I guess prior to now, I just didn't feel qualified or confident enough to do so. I don't want to "brainwash" my kids into thinking like I do -- but if the world can present their ways of doing things to all of us, then I can and should talk to my children about the way I believe, why AND show them how our government system works, how to recognize a toxic person, how to recognize when something is likely harmful to them or immoral.
Another thing that came into my view, was how different other people live in other places, countries and cultures. I think most of tend to live in a bubble, we don't realize that there are other people around the world that aren't necessarily wrong in the way they do things -- just different. They don't have to participate in other cultures if they don't want to, but learning about them is necessary to remain compassionate and understanding. There is more than one way to live than how we do it here in America. We can often assume that how we experience and do life is the same for everyone, so I do try and teach my kids that there are other people out their, in different countries, living very differently from us.
Probably the biggest eye opener for me was how important it is to teach my kids about the good things in the world but also about the hate that exists and how to recognize it and not contribute to it. Lately, especially, there a lot of hate, rage, anger, violence and negativity. I strive to teach my kids to keep their optimism even in the face of all of this and to be a LIGHT in the world -- to never, ever join the darkness. Part of that is teaching them to make decisions about their own personal code of conduct, or their integrity. How do they want to live life? What is their inner moral compass? and that it is ok to not fit in, to be their own person even when pressured to do something they know is wrong or goes against their own moral code. It is an ongoing process because I have changed that over the years. My priorities change so my personal, moral rules/views change too.
I want my kids to accept that their is good AND bad in life and in each of us. It is inescapable.
You can't avoid it completely, not in others, or yourself. I think as I look at the world today, I find myself somewhat desperate to teach my kids how important it is to be clear, kind and honest with others and themselves. We can't grow unless we accept all of our parts and then submit them to God and ask Him to help us change and mature.
I see a lot of people who don't take responsibility for their actions and I am trying to teach my kids how unacceptable that is -- natural consequences exist when you don't think through your choices and you can ruin relationships if you act carelessly and without regard to others. You can find yourself in legal trouble, financial trouble or even in physical danger if you act impulsively and you can also potentially put others in those same situations as well-- teaching them that their actions DO effect others is something that I've learned is needed in this world because we have a world full of people who don't seem to consider that.
I'll reiterate that I think that the main way having children has impacted my world view is to actually form a world view, to pay attention to the world and what it happening around the globe, to not just think that the things I experience happen in vacuum. I believe that the world will teach my kids some bad things if I don't speak up and with my children. I see that the world, in general, doesn't really care about the individual as much as they used to and that I need to at least TRY and teach my kids to think about the impact they might have on one single person. I think if more people worried about that, then the world could truly change.
I see how selfish, self centered, narcissistic and immature the world has become and I am trying to do my best to not allow my kids in that direction but instead to encourage, guide, mentor, model and expect the best version of themselves.
Our world desperately needs that right now.
I have learned that I can't take a backseat to raising, guiding, mentoring, challenging, educating and teaching my children. I understand now, more than ever just how much of a responsibility being a mother/parent is and more about what that involves too -- and to NOT just hand over my kids to government institutions and other individuals to do it for me. Personally, I think that part of the problems we have in the world today are parents who have abdicated their responsibilities to their children -- but none of us are free from the consequences of that choice. It is my responsibility as their mom to find the potential in them and help them grow it. One of my goals is to make sure they have a strong sense of love and belonging because that is missing in the world today. I hope they can then pass that on to their children and to others.
All of this pushes me to grow, mature, learn and change. I want to be the kind of adult my children would want to become.
. Hi friends! If you're reading this blog or checking out my site, chances are you are looking for ways to incorporate healthier foods into your lifestyle or looking to create some new, healthy habits. I share a lot about what my choices are for creating that in my life and for my family in my blog.
Today, I'm going to share what I planned out for our family supper's over the last few weeks. This isn't recipes, just meals (with a brief description).
I don't assign most meals to a specific day in this blog entry because you probably have a different weekly schedule than mine, different number of family members and different work hours than I do (I work from home).
But we ALL need to eat and I think deep down most of us WANT to eat healthier, we just don't know how, we complicate it or we become overwhelmed with all the choices and information.
I think part of a healthy lifestyle is a decision to keep learning -- to keep evolving into a better, healthier version of ourselves and when we do so, we help others to do the same (including our kids).
So, here we go! Here is what we ate over the last month or so.
We have a weekly Pasta night. It's easy, my whole family loves it and I can use wholesome ingredients with my pasta.
Gluten Free Spaghetti w/ ground beef, mushrooms, onion and diced zucchini. I use an organic jarred sauce (Aldi has great prices on organic foods) add my veggies and meat, plus some Young Living Vitality Oils to boost the flavor! I serve it with applesauce or a salad.
Chicken Tenders, Broccoli in Fettucini with a garlic butter sauce. I get some frozen organic tenders from Butcher Box. When I'm ready to use them, I thaw them, marinade and cook them. My broccoli is organic and either from Costco or Azure Standard (frozen), when in season I get fresh broccoli. It's easy to cook it with the pasta in the boiling water, add it right at the end, then drain them both, add your chicken and sauce. (If you really want to make this quick, buy some already grilled, or frozen cooked, chicken strips and use those instead of cooking your own).
Ground Beef Stroganoff. We love this one! Ground beef is a less expensive alternative than the steak bites or stew meat that is often used in traditional stroganoff recipes. I add peas to mine! My quick and easy "cheat" is to use organic cream of mushroom soup. My favorite brand is from Pacific Foods (this comes in handy for Green Bean Casserole too!)
Sausage, Kale & Red Onion with Gluten Free Elbow Macaroni. I cook the Sausage and onion together while my pasta boils. Once the macaroni is done, I drain it and set aside. When my Sausage and onion are done, I add a bit of flour to the pan to soak up all the fat -- then some organic heavy cream (Horizon or Organic Valley are good), this makes a thick, creamy sauce for the macaroni. I chop my fresh kale up very small (spinach also works!) and add it right before I combine it all with the macaroni. Season with some salt, pepper, garlic, paprika and some copped up sundried tomatoes. So good!
Hamburger "Buddy" - this is a semi-homemade version of that boxed stuff that our mothers used back in the day -- this is just much healthier for you! Use your favorite pasta, some ground beef, some veggies (peas, broccoli, spinach, etc..) and seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, turmeric and paprika for example. I use an organic powdered cheese and combine it with cream and butter to make a sauce to pour over my pasta, meat and veggies. YUM!
Next, we have a Taco/Mexican/Tex Mex/Southwest Night (or whatever you want to call it!)
These meals are typically Mexican inspired as it's one our favorite type of food!
Loaded Tostadas with Guacamole -- so easy! I cook ground beef like I would for tacos, plus chop up all the toppings like onion, bell pepper, tomato... PLUS some corn and black beans. You can also use refried beans and spread it on the tostada! I spread the tostadas on a baking pan, top with meat, beans and cheese then bake at 350 until the cheese is melted -- THEN we add our toppings plus sour cream and guac!
Taco Cornbread -- you have got to try this! Bake some corn bread in a shallow baking pan, you want the pieces thinner than traditional cornbread and then top with all of your regular taco fixins!
Taco Stuffed Potatoes -- bake some potatoes, get some big ones! And top them all of the stuff you'd have on a taco! SO easy!
Shredded Chicken Taco Fries --- I cook my chicken in my Instant Pot - cooks it perfectly! I usually just throw a jar of salsa in with it and some salt and pepper for seasoning. I cut up some potatoes into wedges, coat with oil, salt, pepper and chili blend seasoning then bake until crispy. The chicken plus other toppings go on top of the potato wedges -- Voila! Supper is done!
Taco Salad -- use ground beef or chicken! Make it loaded by having some corn, beans and guacamole for toppings! Take out all the stops and pile on the veggies!
SANDWICH NIGHT -- probably my personal fave because it requires the least amount of effort for me (with the exception of leftovers night!). Here is what we have had lately:
**Most of them are served with various, sliced, raw veggies and sometimes chips or maybe some roasted potatoes (or sweet potato!)
Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches -- you can use strips of steak, or even ground beef for a cheaper alternative -- cook it, then add to a baking dish, top with onion, mushroom, green pepper and cheese, then add to your bread or buns!
Shredded Beef -- I use a large roast for this and season depending on the mood I'm in ! Most of the time I opt for a more italian flavor and have onion, green pepper and banana peppers to add to it -- I will also cook with with a can of diced tomatoes. Mozzarella or Provolone cheese slices go well with this -- or top with some crispy Polenta! YUMMMY!
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with slaw and baked beans! Cook your chicken in your favorite BBQ sauce, shred it and serve! Slaw is easy if you buy a bag of pre-cut slaw -- this cost a little more than chopping it yourself. I just give mine a rough chop, buy a bag of julienne carrots and add my ingredients for my dressing!
Crunchy Chicken Tender Club Sandwiches (Or Chik Fil A night!). I buy some organic, gluten free chicken tenders for this -- pop those in the oven until crispy, along with some bacon, then top with some american cheese, tomato and lettuce. Make your own potato wedges or buy some frozen waffle fries! To up the nutrients -- use Sweet Potatoes instead of regular!
Hot Ham & Cheese (We use Swiss or Cheddar for this). Get some good deli ham for this. We like Boars Head brand. Brown it, cheese it and serve it! I make a side salad loaded with veggies to have with our sandwiches.
Next up, I have a night where I fix a Salad as a meal or we get to put together our own "bowl" of goodness!
Asian Slaw & Chicken -- you can buy a slaw mix or chop your own and then add some shredded or cubed, cooked chicken and make an Asian dressing to go on top! So refreshing and easy!
Shepherd's Pie Bowl -- mashed potatoes on the bottom with cooked ground beef, cream of mushroom soup with peas & carrots! So easy and good! #comfortfood
BLT w/ Avocado & Sliced Boiled Eggs Salad -- cook your bacon, boil your eggs, chop up your favorite lettuce -- and dig in!
Creamy Chicken and Peas over rice -- Cook your chicken, add some cream of chicken soup, Pacific Foods has a good one! I cook my rice in my Instant Pot -- so easy!
Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Salad --- you definitely want to marinade your chicken before hand for this; It makes the flavor so much better! I serve the chicken over romaine lettuce with red onion, cucumber and grape tomato halves and a simple dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette and some salt and pepper.
Sheet Pan meals are often made as well -- they are easy and don't require a lot of clean up afterwards. Here are some that we have had lately:
Sheet Pan Chicken Parmesan over Polenta with Green beans
Pizza! Buy, or make your own, crust, add toppings and cheese-- Voila! I can chop up kale and/or spinach and add to the sauce to get more nutrients and veggies in our diet plus so many veggies are yummy toppings too!
Garlic Chicken w/ potato wedges and broccoli -- I add the broccoli to the pan last so it doesn't get overcooked.
Sheet Pan Hoisin Chicken with roasted carrots and red potatoes. I buy Gluten Free Hoisin sauce -- so good! and coat my chicken in it before putting on the pan. Using parchment paper baking sheets helps make clean up a breeze!
Sheet Pan Ranch chicken with Broccoli, Cauliflower and Red Onion -- so tasty! I toss the veggies in a bowl first with some avocado oil, salt and pepper. The chicken is coated separately with avocado oil and ranch seasoning. Then baked in the oven -- veggies go on last so the chicken has time to get done and the veggies are mushy and gross! For faster cooking, cut the chicken in strips before oiling and seasoning.
On Sundays, I like to cook a family meal -- put in a little extra effort and make it a nice meal.
Chicken Ricotta with spinach, mushroom and onion -- stuffed into baked potatoes! So good! I cook chicken in my Instant Pot with some italian seasonings like oregano, basil and thyme, plus salt, pepper and lots of garlic! I add some tomato sauce and chicken broth too -- you need the broth or the tomato might burn in the IP. Once it's done, I shred it while still in the pot then add the veggies and ricotta cheese then switch to saute and cook until the veggies are soft. The potatoes have been baking in the oven while the chicken is cooking so when everything is done, the chicken and veggies get spooned on top of the baked potatoes!
Roasted Chicken w/ Mashed Potatoes, Peas & Carrots. I use my homemade herbed salt for the chicken. It's a combo Celtic Sea Salt, some pepper plus my Young Living Vitality oils - safe, thyme, oregano, basil, black pepper and lemon -- THE BEST herbed salt blend ever! Mashed potatoes are made with real cream and butter. Peas and Carrots cooked on the stove.
Breakfast for Supper! ALL the favorites! Pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, hash browns....
Grilled Chicken Tenders, Mac N Cheese and a Salad. My chicken tenders are marinated before grilling. The Mac N Cheese is gluten free store bought.. BUT, I add extra cheese and bake in the oven for a little extra special touch. Salad is loaded with veggies!
Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans -- I actually make individual meatloaves either using a muffin pan or just shaping them into small loaves ( or extra large meat balls), mashed potatoes made with real cream and butter and green beans that are cooked in my large cast iron skillet -- so good!
One night, usually Saturday, is Leftover Night! It's like a smorgashboard, or a la carte cafeteria!
That's it! Our last month or so of weekly suppers. I hope this helped, or inspired, you in some way. Keep watching the blog for specific recipes or video on how I make something. Tried a new recipe last night and was a hit! Video coming soon!
Happy, healthy eating!
#1. Be impeccable with your word
The Bible says let your yes, be yes and your no, be no. (Matthew 5:37)
#2. Don't take anything personally.
The Word encourages us to not be offended easily. (Ecc. 7:21
#3. Don't make assumptions
Proverbs warns us that a FOOL answers a matter before both sides are heard. (Proverbs 18:13)
#4. Always do your best.
We are told to strive towards the mark and run the race set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
These are adapted from something called "The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I always like to align things with God's word before I promote, believe, or let something take root in my mind.
I don't know who Don Miguel Ruiz is or who he is influenced by -- but his words line up with scripture.
I think #3 is probably the one that sticks out to me the most right now because of all the assumptions being made around the world right now -- and usually by people who have NO PERSONAL EXPERIENCE with what the other person has gone through or had happen to them in their lives.
Assumptions are not wise, smart, powerful, superior or anything good -- they show your arrogance, apathy and lack of compassion.
Basically, you are presenting yourself as some sort of mind-reader or even worse, as omniscient -- which only belongs to God.
Read what this writer had to say about assumptions: (emphasis is mine)
"It’s easy to make assumptions. All you need is incomplete information about a situation. And an unwillingness to ask the questions you need to complete the information. In the absence of complete information, you have to fill in the blanks yourself.
You fill in the blanks with YOUR interpretation of what you see or hear. Your interpretation comes from past experiences that seem similar. It comes from your past experiences, and also from those you’ve heard about from others.
Armed with your information, you connect dots that aren’t there. You can’t help doing this because you’re missing relevant information. In trying to make sense of the situation, you make connections between today and the past. Connections that don’t really exist. You jump to conclusions that are wrong."
She goes on to say this:
"If assumptions are incorrect when dealing with rational matters, ponder this. What happens when emotions come into play?
All hell breaks loose. You see, emotions arrive with many sensitive buttons. These buttons are the places where you got hurt in the past. Your memory has stored this past pain. And activates it whenever your nervous system recognizes anything that feels painfully familiar.
Once activated, you react as if you’re experiencing that same pain again. Your old pain feels as real today as it did when you got hurt. Your present situation doesn’t even need to be the same as the past one that hurt you.
When those emotional buttons get pressed, the resulting dot-connecting is rarely kind. The assumptions you make in this state have one thing in mind: Lashing out in some way. To repel or hurt someone with unkind and disrespectful words presented as fact."
She asserts that "assumptions are an easy out" and I agree with her. It lets you relieve yourself of any responsibility to get to know someone or understand their situation.
Homeschooling is on the rise -- and I'm not talking about virtual learning that's done through the public school system (I'm sure that is challenging, difficult and poses it's own set of frustrations, but I have ZERO experience with that, so I don't want to talk about something I know nothing about.)
What I'm talking about today is the parent who has pulled their child out of the public school system and has taken over all of the responsibility for their child's education.
I did this 13 years ago, starting with my son who is now 20. He was getting ready to go into the 3rd grade at the time. My situation was a bit different from some of the parents who might be opting to homeschool now -- you see, my son was diagnosed with Autism. I was fed up with the teachers who thought they knew it all, the long IEP (Individual Education Plan) meetings, the excuses, the lack of accountability and his lack of progress. I was 6 months pregnant too, with my 5th child who was born August 19, 2008 RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR (Well, the beginning of the public system school year, anyway). As I write this, I realize how "crazy" that sounds, but in the moment, I was JUST DONE. So, I probably -- no, I did -- make an impulsive decision partly born out of anger and frustration with a desire to do what was best for him as well.
To say I hadn't really thought this out OR that I didn't have a plan is the understatement of the year. I was 100%, totally and completely UNPREPARED. I had not done a lick of research, had no resources, didn't even know all of the Indiana Homeschool Law that I needed to know. Looking back, I'm sure other people thought I was just "nuts" and they may be partially right. What I did know is that what I was experiencing when dealing with the public school system was NOT right. Period.
**Now, before some public school teacher or avid proponent of P.S. gets on here and starts blasting me for being against public schooling, teachers, etc.. JUST STOP. I am speaking about MY personal, FIRST HAND experience of which you know NOTHING. I have two older kids who were in P.S. at the time and for the most part, the experience with them was fine; They, however, did not have special needs and were not in need of an IEP (or a 504 as is the case with some kids). So, check yourself before you comment. You weren't there, I was.**
Our first year as a homeschooling family was........ difficult. I'm not sure if that adequately describes it but it's the best I can come up with right now. My son's schedule was disrupted, I was pregnant, about to give birth, still seeing two other kids off to school each morning and scrambling to figure out what I needed to legally abide by in Indiana (TIP: Don't trust your local school to give you the info. Contact a local homeschooling group or state homeschooling organization to find out what the laws are in YOUR state, because it varies. HSLDA is a great site to refer to for individual state laws.) Once my daughter was born, I was doing all of this as a sleep deprived, nursing around the clock, recovering from birth, overwhelmed mother of 5.
Sounds fun, heh? Not so much.
The days were lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng. Painfully so. And I questioned my abrupt decision often. But, even though my decision was not well thought out or planned, every time I had these intense doubts, or a thought entered my mind to re-enroll him in P.S. this little voice came and said "No, this was the right thing to do. You can figure this out. It will be ok. I'm here to help." For me, that voice is always the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps I'd made the decision to homeschool a little prematurely, but I do believe that it was in my future all along and I would have ended up homeschooling my children no matter what. I might have just moved the time table up a bit -- LOL! (Who else is thankful for God's unmerited, unending GRACE when we get ahead of His plan???? ME!!!!)
That first year was full of so many mistakes, wrong choices, bad decisions (and tears) but it was also full of learning, discovering, growing, laughter and fun. I did what a lot of first time homeschooling moms do: I tried to recreate the very structured environment of public school in my home and that was the decision that led to all of the other frustrations that I, and my son, experienced that year. Home is not public school and never should be; Home is well, HOME. It's the place where we go to relax, let go, get comfy, shut out the rest of the world and decompress AFTER school and work, right? Turning it into an institution of learning takes away all of that safety and security that we all want and need. It takes away the comfort and the "homeyness" of it.
So, things have morphed, changed, evolved and transformed over the years into something that is a lot more like what I had envisioned but it is still a work in progress too. I don't ever stop being aware of how it might be better or how to improve things. My goal is this: To teach my kids to see LIFE as a long journey of learning, personal, emotional and spiritual growth and maturity, that you are never "done" learning -- just because you are no longer considered "school age" by the state, or nation, doesn't mean you stop learning, growing and evolving.
My hope is that I create an environment where they know it's safe to ask questions, to discuss their thoughts and seek out their interests without judgement. It is my job to guide them, not control their path, to maturity (or to a specific job/career). My responsibility as a parent comes first and above all, I want them to see me as a place of love, safety and security. I don't always reach that goal on a daily basis --but it is not something I let go of just because I failed the day before. If God's grace for me is renewed daily, then the grace I must show myself must also be as well.
I no longer beat myself up over a rough day where my patience was thin or I was stressed. I apologize and move on --thus showing my kids it's ok to give grace to others and to yourself.
I no longer have specific times for subjects or a rigid schedule. If I want my kids to enjoy learning then the environment they are learning in has to be conducive to that and that is not what works for me, necessarily -- everyone has their own learning style and I work to discover what that is for each of my children.
One child reads from his bed, does book work from an extra table we have or stretches out on my couch to watch a video. He wants to learn to play ever instrument he can, so we do the best we can to support that goal. It is part of his education.
Another child asked for a desk in her room and goes back and forth between that and her bed in her room -- sometimes she sits at the kitchen bar on a stool. If she's watching a video then she is on the couch, curled up with a blanket and pillow.
My youngest, does most of his learning from the corner of our sectional with lots of pillows and a soft, cozy blanket.
They all like books, use pencil/pen and paper and they also like to use the iPad to learn from some apps and they also use video for learning too. They all do some hands on learning too. We have some board games that teach as well, while being fun to play. We use what works, not a one-size-fits-all approach.
This year, I'm exploring the possibility of using Audible for some learning as well. I'll see who likes it and let them use it if they wish.
I also make it a habit to regularly ASK THEM what they are interested in learning. I believe that if I want to instill a love of learning in my kids, I have to give them the space, freedom and time to explore what sparks their interest. This year, my oldest wants to learn Russian. My daughter is interested in Art and learning more about it - painting techniques, etc.. The 9 year old hasn't chosen anything yet.
Now, I don't just let them only explore their passions; Some skills and subjects are necessary for life and well being. So, while I seek out their input I also have other topics of learning for them. Math, reading, writing, grammar, history, science, etc.. are all part of their education. So is government, economics, politics, religion/spirituality (We are Christians), cooking, nutrition/health, Bible History and for my 16 and 12 year old -- how to identify Safe People from Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend (I use Right Now Media for some classes for them.) The 16 year old is also diving deeper into his own spiritual journey. He is doing this by using some plans on a bible app, reading Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero and some classes on Right Now Media that deal with some tough subjects that teens are facing today.
As life happens, there are those "in the moment" lessons too. Discussion about accountability, responsibility, kindness, love, doing what's right, learning from our emotions and how to not let them lead us around by our noses, honesty, respect for ourselves and others, and the list goes on.
Our day starts around 9 a.m. I do need some structure, but I have worked at not being rigid with them. They have 90 minutes to get their breakfast, do their chores, take their showers if they want, get dressed, etc... If there are any lessons I do with all of them on any given day then we do those first before they scatter to their rooms or the couch. I do keep a planner for each of them with a list of what they need to get done that day but they get to choose the order they do them in once we are done with our group lesson. They write or talk about what they learned from it with me and answer questions in the books, or if it's a video lesson we discuss at length -- We have had some GREAT conversations as a result of this. They eat lunch when they are hungry and we stop at 2 p.m.
What ever they don't get done that day is carried over to the next day to be completed first.
No tests. No quizzes. (Unless they are already worked into the book or subject matter).
We talk. We discuss. I try and tie in something that I know they learned that day into things that just happen in life. I ask them questions so they can "show off" what they have learned. I do my best to get them to THINK because in this day and age, learning how to think is vitally important. We desperately need kids who will grow up to have critical thinking skills. I don't want to raise robots, or parrots, who just mindlessly go through life doing what they are told.
It's not easy. As a parent who is responsible FOR my kids, I also have to navigate setting boundaries for them while considering the other people in the home as well (There are 8 of us). The parent/child relationship does call for some elements of control (without being controlling and dictatorial) by the parent and obedience on the part of the child too. It is not an easy balance to achieve. Children do need structure, boundaries, guidelines and even rules at times. I also want to remain nurturing, caring, loving, kind, model a good example and be a safe place they can come to --- NOT EASY. (I fail often -- but there's that need for GRACE again.)
However, I often talk with them about not being blindly obedient and that even if someone in authority asks you to do something that you know is wrong, it is OK to say "NO" and in fact you SHOULD say NO. It is my job to protect them while simultaneously helping them to grow into the person God wants them to and it is not easy. There is so much pulling at kids these days and if parents don't speak up and speak INTO their child's lives, the world will. We have to drown out the voice of the world so they can learn to listen to God's voice instead and to that small voice on the inside that I mentioned earlier. Some people call it intuition or a gut feeling, as I said before I believe it is the Holy Spirit and more of us need to listen to it. Kids need help to hear it and they need to have someone encourage them to trust themselves so they don't rely on others to tell them what to do all the time. We are born with instincts, God given, and over time we have forgotten to trust them. At some point, these children God gave me will become responsible for themselves and I'm trying to do my best, with God's help, to make sure they are equipped to do so when the time comes. We talk about developing personal integrity, character and our personal "code of conduct" and how we stand up to people who want us to violate that because we are the only persons we can truly control -- we can't control others.
I am putting into words, just a part of what parenting, mentoring, educating and guiding my children is all about for me. Most of this happens without me thinking about it. It is just part of daily life and doesn't require a book, curriculum, notebook, video or any type of formal instruction. So much of what our kids need to be successful doesn't come from a book -- it comes from being shown and taught how to be the best version of ourselves.
This is one of my longer blog posts. I hope you've stuck with me to the end. I don't have all of the answers nor do I have a perfect process, or system, but what we do works for us.
If you don't take anything else away from reading this, then I hope you grasp ahold of this:
Do what works for you, your family and your children. It can be what you want it to be. Some parents buy a specific set of curriculum and that works great for them, others don't. Both are fine. (Be sure you are following your state's laws on homeschooling).
There is no perfect formula that works for every child. You will have to discover what that is for yourself. And in the process, you will mess up -- but you will also learn a lot about yourself and your child and that is worth everything in my book.
How many know it is hard to get all of the nutrition, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.. that our bodies need every day? **Raises hand**
So, with it being so hard, how do you make sure that you aren't depriving yourself of vital nutrients for health, energy and wellness??? I make up for it by taking supplements -- but in doing that, it's prudent to make sure that what I buy is of good quality and not full of fillers and synthetic ingredients. Currently, there are over 3,000 additives and fillers than manufacturers can use in food products.
You might be wondering what exactly to avoid just like I was when I started purchasing supplements for myself and my family. A good place to start is looking at the company website and reading about their standards and practices, how they source their ingredients and what their values are concerning those ingredients.
But there are some common things to avoid. Here is a list to get you started, but it is by no means exhaustive; You would need to avoid anything that you are allergic, sensitive to or that you body just doesn't tolerate. Do your own research. These are the things I look for and avoid as much as possible.
1.) Fillers. These are added to bulk up a product like supplements, but also can be found protein powders and meal replacement powders. They allow a producer to add a low cost ingredient and sell more product without it costing them more by using more of the active ingredient.
2.) Binders help ingredients stay together.When it comes to supplements, this means keeping your compressed tablet in one piece so it doesn’t crumble before you have the chance to pop it in your mouth.
Binders can also perform double duty and become a form of filler in tablets with small amounts of active ingredients.
The next additive is common in both powdered and tablet supplements.
3.) Anti-caking agents
Keeping along the simple name theme, anti-caking ingredients also ensure that your powder doesn’t turn into one giant clump.
But that’s not all they’re good for.
As it turns out, they’re also beneficial for food processing.
Anti-caking agents, also called flow agents, are added to the outside of capsules so they can move through the machines quickly without sticking or snagging on them. And the worst part is they don’t need to be labeled in the ingredient list of the product.
You may not see the big deal in this just yet, but after reading about what these are really made of, you may rethink your stance.
The next two additives serve a better purpose than guaranteeing the capsules make it through the assembly line as efficiently as possible.
As it sounds, this additive helps break down tablet supplements once they’re in your system.
Anything with the words “fast-acting” slapped on the label usually have a disintegrant additive responsible for this.
5.) Coatings & Glazes
Similar to binders, coatings and glazes function as the glue keeping your supplements together, especially during humid conditions.
But instead of being on the inside, these are on the outside of the supplement.
In the case of an enteric coating, this added layer helps your body break down your supplement at the right time.
This means that instead of being destroyed by your stomach acids, for example, an enteric coating may dissolve slowly so the supplement makes it to your pancreas or small intestine.
Preservatives help extend the shelf life of supplements so they don’t break down prematurely. They also keep mold, fungi, yeast and bacteria away.
You’ll find natural and artificial preservatives, such as:
This additive can serve more than one purpose.
When it comes to supplements, acidulants can:
8.) Artificial Colors & Flavors
Artificial color additives were originally created to help foods appear brighter or more vivid for ads.
Most people assume these are only found in sweet treats like neon-colored Jello and bright pink cake frosting, but they can also be lurking in cheese, margarine and some of your favorite snack foods.
Flavor additives, on the other hand, help to offset any bad tastes associated with the supplement and make them more palatable.
If something tastes good, you’re more likely to keep using it. But if your supplements taste terrible, you’ll probably switch brands or never buy them again.
Some of the most common flavor enhancers are sweeteners, which come in both natural forms like fruit extracts and artificial ones like high fructose corn syrup, aspartame and saccharin.
Now that you know the basic categories of additives in supplements, let’s get specific. Keep in mind, these are only the overarching additive categories for supplements.
Like I mentioned earlier, there are currently over 3,000 approved additives manufacturers can include in food items.
Since it would be impractical cover all of them, let’s go over the 11 most harmful ones next.
Now, let's get down to specific ingredients that you want to avoid. One thing to remember is that ingredients are most often listed in order of what is most prevalent in the product you are buying. It can be tough to avoid ALL of these ingredients 100% of the time, but if a product I'm interested in has one of these listed FIRST, I'm moving on! If is the last ingredient, then I might purchase if it meets other criteria I look for and want in a supplement.
1. Magnesium Stearate
I bet you've probably seen this on a multi-vitamin or Vitamin C or some other supplement you've purchased. It is very common, but it is also problematic.
It’s the white powder layer you’ll often find on vitamins.
This additive falls under the flow agent category since it’s used to keep the manufacturing process moving along smoothly by preventing the capsules from getting stuck to the machines.
It also prevents them from sticking together in the bottle.
In the last 10 decades, the potential risks associated with magnesium stearate consumption haven’t been thoroughly studied.
In one of the studies available, researchers found that magnesium stearate weakened the immune system and destroyed important T-cells associated with immunity in mice[*].
However, humans and mice differ here because mice don’t have the same enzymes people do. So when researchers tried to replicate these findings in humans, they were unsuccessful.
Does that mean magnesium stearate is safe for humans?
In small amounts, it may be.
But consume too much and it may cause weakness and impair neuromuscular transmission.
If you’re consuming a supplement with magnesium stearate everyday, you’ll start to accumulate high doses of it in your system, and this may lead to the muscular issues I just mentioned.
So while small doses is loosely defined, you have to consider the big picture and how it will all add up each day and every week.
The last issue with this additive is that it can be cheaply sourced.
As a synthetic additive, it may come from genetically modified cottonseed or canola, which are extremely harmful for you health.
2.) Sodium Benzoate
Sodium Benzoate is another additive that prolongs the shelf life of your supplement by ensuring it doesn’t have a chance to spoil.
It’s deemed safe by the FDA in small doses, but in practice it’s easy to go over this limit, and the impact on your health can be significant.
Studies show this additive may magnify hyperactivity and ADHD in children[*].
In adults, sodium benzoate can also trigger and increase chances of asthma attacks.
And when this additive is combined with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), it becomes the carcinogen (i.e., cancer causing substance) known as benzene[*].
Ingestion of foods and drinks with high levels of benzene can cause stomach irritation, dizziness, sleepiness, and in the worst cases vomiting and convulsions.[*]
(*Sodium Benzoate also occurs naturally in some foods, like pears and apples, and is different from the chemically based and mass produced form of it used in many food products.)
The next additive shares this awful characteristic too.
3.) Titanium Dioxide
You’ve probably consumed a product containing titanium dioxide without knowing it.
This time, instead of the white powder residue that comes with magnesium stearate, you get a perfectly white colored tablet with titanium dioxide.
But aside from giving you a bright white capsule, titanium dioxide may create or exacerbate negative gut symptoms.
So far, researchers have learned titanium dioxide may trigger immune reactions of the intestine after oral intake, triggers issues like IBS and Leaky Gut Syndrome, and irritate people already suffering from colitis and Crohn’s disease[*][*].
You can see why this additive is worth avoiding. The same goes for this next one.
4.) Silicon Dioxide
Silicon dioxide is made from silicon and oxygen. It’s prevents clumps and absorbs moisture to ensure freshness in food products.
And guess how it does that? The secret is sand. Yes, the same sand you see at the beach that gets between your toes is also known as silicon dioxide.
One of the reasons why sand is used as a flow agent food additive is because it doesn’t get absorbed by your body[*].
This means your kidneys filter the silicon dioxide right out and it doesn’t interfere with the active ingredients in the supplement.
According to several studies, there’s no clear or strong evidence of silicon dioxide’s toxicity and safety to the human body.
However, an evaluation published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology determined that a higher concentration and longer exposure, silicon dioxide interferes with cell cycle and inhibits cell growth in the gastrointestinal tract.[*]
Researchers concluded that even though silicon dioxide could be used as a safe food additive, more investigations, such as long-term in vivo exposure, are necessary in future studies.
Due to this uncertainty, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) doesn’t classify silicon dioxide as safe.[*]
5.) Magnesium Silicate
Or as it is more commonly known, Talc or Talcum Powder
Talc has recently become a household name in a bad way thanks to emerging research connecting it to increases in[*]:
And while more research is needed, so far it’s safe to say you should steer clear of this one, and definitely this next one too.
6.) Soybean Oil
Soybean oil is more straightforward than the other lab-created chemicals on the list, but it’s not any better for you. It is most often a GMO product (Genetically Modified Organism) and contains phytoestrogens which can interact negatively with our own hormones and system of producing the hormones our body needs.
Soybean oils comes from.... you guessed it! Soybeans[*].
One of the biggest problems with soybean oil is that many manufacturers use genetically modified soy, which I mentioned already, so it is heavily exposed to chemical pesticides during production.
Soybean oil will negatively affect anyone with a peanut or soy allergy, so it’s off limits if you fall within this category.
And, finally, when it comes to soy products, because of those phytoestrogens I already mentioned, you may also unknowingly create a hormonal imbalance thanks to their effects, which is the last thing you want your supplements to do[*].
Soybean oil is best avoided, just like this next one.
This one really threw me for a loop when I found out what it actually is... read for yourself.
This additive creates the shiny and glossy coating in capsules, but what really makes it unique and oh so special, is its sourcing.
Do you know where it comes from? A female lac insect excretes it and manufacturers turn it into usable resin[*].
According to research, in large amounts, shellac[*]:
Shellac isn’t mentioned by name in food products. Just like sugar and sweeteners, it goes by several names, including:
Similar to soybean oil, when you find cornstarch in your supplements,you’re increasing your chances of consuming a GMO ingredient heavily exposed to harmful pesticides thanks to the corn its derived from.
Both of these traits can lead to developing sensitivities and allergies, which is reason enough to ditch them.
9.) Citric Acid
Citric acid also falls under that same umbrella: it’s usually made from GMO corn and heavy pesticide use is common.
Keep in mind, we’re referring to the chemically-made version here.
Ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C) is the natural version found in fruits and veggies, which can help prevent kidney stones[*].
As for the chemical alternative, citric acid can lead to gastrointestinal disturbances such as diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, and heartburn.
The next additive can also wreak havoc on your digestive system.
Carrageenan is found in numerous seemingly healthy and sometimes organic food products.
You’ll find it in most almond milks on the market and even in sour cream and kefir.
For manufacturing purposes, carrageenan is used to thicken products that may otherwise be too runny.
But once consumed, carrageenan can cause gastrointestinal side effects. One study found that human intestinal cells exposed to carrageenan had an increased cell death, reduced cell proliferation, and cell cycle arrest (stopped participating in cell division)[*].
If you’ve ever had a bad reaction to the MSG commonly found in takeout and junk food, you’re more likely to experience a similar situation with carrageenan.
But even if you’re not sensitive to it, you should still ditch it for your health’s sake, just like our last additive.
11.) Potassium Sorbate
Potassium sorbate is another popular additive used to extend the shelf life of foods and supplements.
By preventing the growth of mold and bacteria, it can make food stay around longer than it should.
Some negative side effects of potassium sorbate include[*]:
There are better options out there and I'm going to help you find them.
Since supplements are not regulated by the FDA, it’s up to you to do your research and find the best options.
While the ingredients I listed today are generally considered safe to use by the FDA, you may still have a negative reaction to them because not all of them have been properly researched for safety and toxicity.
Fortunately, there are safer options out there you can trust. Follow these two simple rules when looking for a high-quality supplement:
Here are my favorite lines of supplements and where to get them. Happy shopping!
1.) Young Living Essential Oils. This company has dedicated researchers and developers that want to bring YOU the very best! With their patented Seed To Seal process, their products are of very high quality and purity. Read more about their Seed To Seal promise here.
2.) Seeking Health, which lists their quality standards here. They are also formulated by a doctor. I can find them on Amazon as well which lets me use my Prime Shipping!
3.) Pure Encapsulations have hypo-allergenic standards so they are free of many of the ingredients I listed above. I get them on Amazon, here, as well. You can read more here.
4.) Thorne Supplements have very high quality standards and you can see their practices here.
They promise to never use these ingredients listed here. You can purchase here, on Amazon.
5.) Klaire Labs has a rich history, found in 1969, they have set the standard in many ways in the neutraceutical industry. Read more about it here, there is a video you can watch as well. Get some of my favorites here.
6.) Jarrow Formulas
7.) NOW Foods
8.) Nature's Way
**The brands I've listed and linked to Amazon are generally filled by the company themselves and not by Amazon. These brands have stores on Amazon so that more consumers have access. So, when you place your order, you are getting product directly from the manufacturer, in most cases.
I hope this helps you in your quest to find high quality, pure and effective supplements for your health care needs and to learn what ingredients to avoid and why. No company is perfect, but many are trying to do better and seek alternatives for ingredients that may be harmful over time to consumers. I have chosen the best possible products I could find available for my personal needs and that of my family's.
**DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor. This information is for educational purposes only. There is no intent to prescribe or diagnose. Use this information at your discretion.**
I'll tell you! The power of PLANTS!! Many plants have powerful cleaning properties and they also happen to smell amazing too!
There are some very questionable ingredients in common cleaners (and personal care products too!) you find at your local department store or corner general store. Things that come with some hefty health warnings and possible cancer causing properties too! Here is a list of the worst (I call them the Dirty Dozen)
1.) BHT & BHA are Endocrine distruptors and carcinogens that are used mainly in cosmetics as preservatives.
2.) Coal tar dyes are carcinogenic and contain heavy metals. They are commonly found in processed foods, lipstick and hair dyes.
3.) DEA related ingredients are also carcinogens that are found in creamy, or foaming, products such as moisturizers and shampoos.
4.) Dibutyl phthalates are Endocrine disruptors and toxic to our reproductive system. They are commonly found in nail care products.
5.) Formaldehyde releasing preservatives are carcinogenic. They are often used in a variety of cosmetics.
6.) Parabens, used in cosmetics, are Endocrine disruptors and may interfere with male reproduction systems.
7.) Parfum/Fragrance are also carcinogenic. They are neurotoxic, allergenic and skin irritants. They are used in a variety of products to produce aroma and can contain many ingredients but companies do not have to disclose their formula because it is considered a "trade secret".
**To learn more about the history of cosmetics watch this video.
8.) PEG compound can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane which is possibly carcinogenic and is used as a base for cosmetic creams.
9.) Petrolatum is a carcinogen used in hair products for shine and in lip balms/lip stick as a moisture barrier.
10.) Siloxanes, which are Endocrine disruptors and reproductive toxicants, they are used in cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisturize.
11.) Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a carcinogen and is used in foaming cosmetics, shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath.
12.) Tricolsans are also Endocrine disruptors and cause antibiotic resistance. They are found in toothpaste, cleansers and antiperspirants.
What is an Endocrine Disruptor? That is a chemical that may interfere with the body's Endocrine System. This can cause adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) says: "There is no end to the tricks that endocrine disruptors can play on our bodies: increasing production of certain hormones, decreasing production of others; Imitating hormones, turning one hormone into another, interfering with hormone signaling, telling cells to die prematurely, competing with essential nutrients, binding to essential hormones and accumulating in organs that produce hormones."
There are safe and effective alternatives to the chemical filled household products you find on the shelves of your favorite store. Products you can trust. Products you can have delivered.
I want healthy alternatives for my family, don't you? I want something safe, pure and free of harmful and harsh chemicals! I don't want to clean with, or use things on my body, that are harmful to me. One product might not be a big deal, but on average, we are using several products with lots of unnatural ingredients that are effecting our health --even if it's over the long term and not immediate. How long until it's too much?
If you'd like to know about something safe, effective and free of all the yuck.. contact me!
Toxins are everywhere! We can't escape them when we go outside, head to a store or even in our work place.---BUT, we can be the gatekeeper of our homes and keep toxins out!
Here are some of my top reasons to ditch and switch!
1. Non-Toxic cleaners are safe around children and pets! We don't have to keep them under lock and key or worry about them touching a surface after we wipe it down! The kiddos can even help clean and you can have piece of mind! Plus, they aren't flammable!
2. It makes breathing easier! With no toxins filling the air from the sprays and scrubs--you can breath in and know you aren't doing damage to your lungs!
3. Save Money! Natural products are cheaper and can easily be purchased at the grocery store then turned into a product you can use for just pennies!
4. Those natural, non toxic cleaners don't harm the environment! We aren't putting harmful VOC's and human/animal/vegetation harming chemicals into the air or water supply.
5. You're protecting your health and that of your family's as well--no harsh chemicals that can cause respiratory issues, allergies, skin irritants or eye irritants!
6. Make cleaning easier! How? You will have a few products that do all the cleaning jobs you have in your home instead of an arsenal of bottles! You won't have to switch bottles so often when you clean.
7. Peace of mind! You will know what's in your products.
8. Run out of something? No mad dash to the store so you can finish up; With the raw materials in your home you can just whip up another batch and get back to cleaning!
9. Set an example for others to switch to "green cleaning" as well! Once they see how great your home looks--and smells--they will want to do the same! You are being a role model for non toxic cleaning and influencing others to live healthier!
10. No chemicals means nothing to mess with your precious body systems! (or that of young children either!) No endocrine/hormone disruptors, neuro-toxic chemicals, or anything else to negatively influence the function of your body!
Tips To Ditch & Switch
1. As you use up your conventional cleaners replace them with non toxic options or make your own!
2. If you're going to make your own cleaning products, decide which recipes you want to try and then buy the containers and raw materials so you are ready to go when you run out of your old stuff!
3. If you decide to ditch all of your old cleaners, please dispose of them responsibly!
4. Congratulations! Enjoy cleaning with natural, non toxic products!
Watch for a *NEW* blog post all about the harmful chemicals in cleaning products and what I use!
I don't think I need to spend time telling you why you need to eat more veggies, we all know it, right? We know they are better for us, provide fiber and important nutrition -- yet we often just don't think about them when it comes to dinner time, snacks or other meals.... I'm here to give you a few ways you can get those important foods into your daily meals and enjoy it!
1. Add a handful of greens like kale, spinach or chard to a smoothie or juicer. This is probably the easiest, least time consuming and one of my favorites too! It's less work for my digestion and I get to pair them with my favorite fruits too! I can add in some protein powder, camu camu powder, ground flax or other powders and drink a tasty treat that's good for me!
2. Sauces, burgers, meatloaf, taco meat and sausage... are great ways to add in some finely chopped greens! I put handfuls of my spinach, chard, collard greens or kale in my chopper to get it very small and tiny then dump into my spaghetti sauce, ground beef or sausage and Voila! I've just added some great nutrition and I don't even taste it (plus neither do my kids)! Chopping it up this small also turns it into a nice garnish for other dishes and it makes it easy to add to tuna or chicken salad as well! Toss it in with some shredded zucchini and make some zucchini cakes or with leftover mashed potatoes for a pop of color -- and vitamins! Get creative! Those greens don't have to be a side dish, they can be part of the dish!
3. Roasted or grilled veggies taste so much better than boiled or steamed! Sauteéing in butter is yummy too! The trick I've learned is to make them bit size and add fun spices for flavor! There is nothing better than a perfectly roasted, slightly crispy veggie like Brussel Sprouts or even squash! Yum! **Extra tip: Roasted squash can be pureéd then added to spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, creamy soups and even ground beef for tacos!
BONUS TIP: Soups and stir fries can be great ways to incorporate more veggies and have fun doing it!
EXTRA BONUS TIP: Take that spinach, kale, collard greens, swiss chard, etc.. and put them in a food chopper to get them really small and add to spaghetti sauce, taco meat, soups, stews, etc.. and neither you, nor your kids, will ever know they are there but you will add some important vitamins and minerals to your diet.
If you have picky eater, go read my three part series on picky eating here, here, and here.
The key is to be adventurous (and brave)! Farmer's Markets are great places to buy quality produce AND find new things to try while supporting a local business too! Try new things and experiment with some spices! I love using my Young Living Vitality oils with avocado oil for a delicious marinade for my veggies -- SO good! Vitality oils have a lot more flavor than dried herbs and I use way less.
Normally, I would not be suggesting to have fruit juices as part of your, or your kid's, daily liquid intake -- but the juices I'm getting ready to write about have some amazing potential health benefits!
I keep Grape Juice and Pineapple Juice in my pantry almost all the time now since reading up on some of their uses.
I do buy organic -- I don't want pesticides in what I drink or eat! Yuck! My brand of choice is usually Lakewood. They are organic and NOT from concentrate.
The benefits of grapes (Vitis vinifera) has actually been known and valued for over 6000 years! The Egyptians introduced the use of grapes and grapevines in medicine. The sap from grapevines was made into ointments to treat skin and eye conditions.
Grapes and their ripened fruit juices were used to control a variety of ailments, like nausea, constipation, cholera, smallpox, liver disease, and even cancer! Wow!
Here are some other benefits of Grape Juice:
~May protect heart health
~May help prevent memory loss in older adults
~May manage blood glucose and diabetes
~May have anticancer properties
~May help mitigate prostrate issues
~May promote gut health and digestion
~May help prevent flu and enteric viruses
~May help you burn fat
~May protect and nurture your skin
~May detox your body
My two favorites of this list are that it may promote gut health and digestion PLUS help prevent flu and enteric viruses!!! **Enteric viruses are those that effect our digestive system because the follow the oral-fecal route of transmission.
For more information on why grape juice is so good for you, go here. I used this article for information and it is backed up with great science!
Now, on to Pineapple Juice! Besides the benefits I will mention, I like to mix it with coconut water for a quick Electrolyte fix! Which comes in handy on hot days or in the case of a digestive illness where you want to make sure you, or a loved one, stays hydrated!
I love what this article says about Pineapple Juice:
Pineapple juice has a number of excellent health benefits, including boosting the immune system, improving growth and development, eliminating inflammation, and protecting heart health. It is also good for balancing mood, improving muscle function, increasing fertility, and speeding up digestion. Pineapple juice has also shown potential in reducing the risk of cancer."
Like WOW!! God created so many good and wonderful foods for us!
It is rich in Bromelain, which is a digestive aid! It is key for the digestion of protein. It also has Vitamin A, B vitamins, C, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Sodium, Iron, Carbohydrates, some sugars and fiber! It is so packed with goodness!
Some other benefits are:
~Lowers Blood Pressure (That bromelain I mentioned? That's the stuff that helps lower our BP!) Potassium also helps because it is a natural vasodilator! So freaking cool!
~Boosts Immunity HELLO Vitamin C!! The study mentioned in the article I shared, showed that children who drink Pineapple juice daily showed less occurrence of viral and bacterial illnesses and if they did contract one they recovered faster!
~Regulates Mood Swings!
~Relief from COUGH! Wow -- this is my main reason for having it on hand, that and the immune boosting properties!
~Anti Cancer Potential
~Improves Muscle Function
~Prevents Asthma (another reason I have it on hand!)
~Improves Metabolism & Manages Weight
WOW-zers! This is one amazing fruit!!
How soon will you be going out and grabbing some of these two amazing fruit juices???
Just make sure it is pure, organic and NOT from concentrate! You can definitely juice your own Pineapple at home too!
Here is a recipe for a yummy smoothie using Pineapple! It makes 4 servings.
*2 Cups pineapple chunks
*2 Cups Coconut milk
*1 Banana, cut into chunks
Blend well and serve!
Here are some recipes for homemade Electrolyte Drinks that are easy to make at home. So easy and useful during hot weather and the fall/winter too -- anytime you need some hydration to help
In one gallon of water add:
~Juice of 1 medium lemon or 2 small limes
~5 Half droppers of Young Living Mineral Essence
~1/2 tsp Himalayan (pink salt)
~Honey to taste --- start with 1 TBSP
Combine equal parts Pineapple Juice and Coconut Water
1C Water, I use distilled
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt, Pink Himalayan or Sea Salt
Honey to taste, start with 1 tsp
You can flavor with Young Living Vitality oils, the new Vitality Drops from Young Living or some fresh fruit.
For all of these, make sure your water is filtered or buy distilled. I'd use a glass container to store it in if making a large quantity.
A glass drink dispenser would be perfect! Keep it in the fridge for when you need it!
I don't mind to admit that growing up, I ate a LOT of Jiffy Cornbread -- usually slathered in butter too! Man, that stuff was good! It is not something I purchase anymore, or can even eat due to it containing wheat/gluten based flour and being GMO as well but that doesn't mean I don't still love cornbread! I used to have it with beans and ham at my grandmother's and later on my mom would make it for me -- it was one of my favorite meals growing up. I have discovered that it pairs will with a lot of things and is pretty easy and inexpensive to make too!
Doesn't that look yummy? My mouth is watering while I write this post. This cornbread has a bit of honey added to it for some sweetness -- so good!
I don't believe in dragging things out while I drone on about my memories and try to write a story -- I'm gonna get right to the recipe!
Preheat your oven to 400~F and butter an 8x8 baking pan (I actually prefer to used parchment paper, the clean up is way easier and I can usually pull the loaf out of the pan and place on a rack to cool much easier this way too. I love these pre-cut baking sheets or I get a roll and cut it to fit.)
Get a large bowl and combine the following:
~1/2 C Gluten Free Flour Blend (we like Namaste and King Arthur brands. I use the Amazon Subscribe & Save for these and other items to save $$$.)
~1 1/2 C Organic, NON GMO yellow cornmeal (I use this brand)
~1 tsp Baking Powder
~1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
~5 TBSP Organic Sugar OR Honey (local and raw is best!) If you choose to use Honey instead of granulated sugar, then wait to add it with the other wet ingredients.
Whisk all of that together, then add:
~1 Stick of MELTED butter (the real stuff! No margarine!)
~3 Large, organic eggs
~1 (scant) C of Milk (I use either coconut milk or an almond/coconut blend) **Scant just means slightly shy of a full cup**
~Add the honey at this step if you didn't use granulated sugar
Stir to combine, but don't overmix it. Pour into your buttered, or lined, pan and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool before cutting too!
Be sure and have some real butter on hand for eating it! Nothing beats real butter! Drizzle a little honey over it too -- YUM!
I made this and we topped it with all of our favorite Taco toppings! It was so good! Just look at how delicious that looks! You can see the corners of the cornbread peaking out -- lol! This will be good with a thick chili over it too! Ooooo! I can't wait for cooler weather to try that idea!
However you top, or devour, this cornbread I hope you enjoy it! Come back and let me know in the comments!