By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Healthy Living | Posted Monday, September 17, 2012
I am really pleased to report that I have made good on several of my goals for 2012, one of which was to help our family get into the habit of (drum roll please) . . .consuming fermented cod liver oil.
Yes I know, it sounds disgusting and no I did not divulge my evil plan to my family when we discussed our goals on New Year’s Eve.
Maybe you already know all about Fermented Cod Liver Oil (if so feel free to either skip this post or identify yourself in the comments so that if we have questions we can glean from your wisdom). Perhaps you are like me and have been running smack into blog posts all over the place which talk about the amazing goodness of this stinky fish oil. Perhaps you have decided to simply avoid this one little super healthy supplement (as I had). Or perhaps you are reading this and thinking “what on God’s green Earth would cause someone in their right mind to willingly consume that?! Well my friend, today is your day. I’ll let you live vicariously though my family as we ordered, sampled and decided on our fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) of choice.
First I’ll touch on WHY we would choose to consume not only the oil from a fish but oil from a fish that has been fermenting.
Why in the world:
-Fermented Cod Liver oil is rich not only in Omega 3 but also is also naturally rich in fat solubile vitamin A and D. Unless you have been living under a rock, you no doubt have been beat over the head with the fact that Americans don’t get enough Vitamin D (read more about Vitamin D here). Just how much Vitamin A and D is present in FCLO is up for discussion. While some sources claim that “one teaspoon of regular cod liver oil contains 5,000 IU Vitamin D” and that “only a half teaspoon of fermented cod liver oil you also get 5,000 IU.” The Green Pasture company (which is currently the only company that makes cod liver oil using the traditional method of fermentation–more on that below) addresses this question here by essentially saying that a product that is not manufactured in a lab does not yield the same results every time. FCLO is wonderfully healthy for you but the exact amount of Vitamin A and D cannot be determined with scientific numbers in the way that we would like.
-Because of the preservation of the FCLO oils though the slow lacto-fermentation process (without heat), naturally occurring vitamins and left undamaged. As stated by Holistic Kid, “This is evident by the deep rich color of FCLO as opposed to the pale yellow of conventional cod liver oil. This means that fermented cod liver oil contains the proper ratio of the essential fat soluble vitamins A and D – two nutrients that cannot be obtained through vegetable sources. Furthermore, because FCLO is a fermented food, the body can assimilate its nutrients with more ease and efficacy.”
How is it made?
Weston A. Price Foundation President Sally Fallon Morell spoke about the differences between regular high-vitamin cod liver oil and fermented cod liver oil by saying, “Throughout history, cod liver oil was traditionally processed via fermentation, and not processed with heat. She said that the fishermen would throw the livers into a barrel, add a little sea water, and then leave it to ferment. Today, almost all cod liver oil is processed by heating it. Except for Green Pastures new fermented cod liver oil, which is made the traditional way. (Okay, maybe they don’t actually use barrels and sea water but you get the idea.)” Did you know that it takes 6 months to a year to make traditional fermented cod liver oil? If you want to read more about why FERMENTED cod liver oil is better for you, here is some good additional info.
How does it taste?
To be completely honest I expected BAD things from my first FCLO encounter. I mean seriously, we are talking about fermented fish liver, gross! However, personally, my expectations were worse than my actual experience. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the taste but I don’t hate it either. I had built it up to be SO bad that once I tasted it I said, “oh, that’s not so bad.” It was the same for my husband. In fact, I think his exact words were, “Oh, I could have that three times a day if needed.” Now I can force myself to do something that I know is good for me but kids can often be a harder sell so I was very interested to see what they would think about this new elixir. I was pleasantly surprised here as well. By no means did they like it but they will tolerate it. In the beginning I rewarded them with a few chocolate chips but over time they grew used to it and now it is simply a part of their evening routine. In addition to the standard non flavored option, Green Pasture does offer a variety of FCLO favors including orange, cinnamon, mint and chocolate. While they don’t negate all of the fishy flavor, we feel they can do a pretty good job at distracting you from it long enough to swallow and take a drink . Each person in our family has developed a personal perference. Would you like to see the reaction of Hunter (who was 8 at the time) and Quinten (2 at the time) when they tried the non flavored fermented cod liver oil for the first time? I caught their response on video. In the video you will see Quinten give a little cough when he tries the non flavored version. However, since that filming, we discovered that the chocolate cream is Quinten’s FCLO of choice. He is the only one that prefers this flavor and the the gel consistency (there are some FCLO options that include a butter blend and are more of a gel/cream like consistency). Quinten will literally come running when I ask if he wants some FCLO (and he would take seconds if I offered it). My friend Kira reports the same phenomenon with her 3 year old son.
I think the bottom line here is that this is one product that you do not buy for the taste, but instead for the benefits. However, if you are lucky, you may find that it isn’t as bad as you expect and some in your family may even like it! Of course there is always the option to take it in capsule form (slightly more expensive but worth it in my opinion if it is the only way you will consume it).
How much should you take?
Holistic Kid adresses this question well in this post.
How to get kids to take it:
Holistic Kid offers advice in this area.
Green Pastures talks about it on their FAQ page.
The next step:
Are you ready to give fermented cod liver oil a try? Green Pasture has generously agreed to give away 3 gift certificates for $44 to their website! You have several ways to enter via the rafflecopter form below, good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The credits: Thank you to Katie from Kitchen Stewardship for writing the blog post about FCLO that finally pushed me over the edge to try it. Thank you to Green Pasture for being willing to do things the hard way and therefore create a better product that excels in quality and nutrition. Thank you also for providing my family with samples of your product for the purpose of this review.
All feedback provided is honest and true. Since receiving the samples, I have placed an order from Green Pasture to replenish my stock of FCLO.
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Healthy Living, Meet the mom inventor, Mom 4 Life News & Giveaways | Posted Monday, April 9, 2012
As I mentioned previously, I would not typically disclose products that we decide not to offer on Mom 4 Life. However, I have decided to break the silence and make an exception for a few special companies. The first was Savvy Naturals which I spoke of here. The second was Milliwik games.
Today I want to introduce you to MadeOn Skin Care Products.
MadeOn is owned by Renee Harris a mom of–get this–EIGHT kids ages 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 10 (twins), 12 and 14 (isn’t that amazingly awesome)?!
Renee’s products were born in much the same way that many products invented by moms are–out of a need. Renee was in the kitchen a lot (surprise, surprise) and her hands were suffering. She says:
I had the worst pain from the tips of my fingers that were often covered in Band-aids from the cuts and splits from my daily activities and extremely dry skin. My hands were my most important tools, but they caused me intense suffering… until the lotion bar.
Renee discovered that three simple ingredients (coconut oil, beeswax and Shea butter) melted and mixed together to form “hard” lotion would change everything. She discovered that:
Not only did that first lotion bar heal up my skin within days, but we tried it with my son’s seasonal eczema, and I was ecstatic that his pain also ended with the lotion bar.
After this, her discovery took action.
Something that was so easy to make turned into a family business after my older boys and I took it to the farmer’s market for testing. I received great feedback from customers at the market, as well as several online groups who agreed to test it and fill out surveys.
Renee knows her stuff. Not only does she create some amazingly pure skin care products, but she goes above and beyond in extending a wealth of information on her website, blog, YouTube videos and newsletters. The products she makes are simple, so simple in fact that they can be done in your own kitchen and I love how she has taken the initiative to provide easy DIY kits for those who enjoy making things themselves. And for those of us who just want a quality product made from pure, safe ingredients, can simply order Renee’s finished products and enjoy the beautifully wrapped, finished product that comes right to your doorstep.
Around Christmas time a friend and I got together to mix up a large batch of homemade hard lotion bars for gifts using the three ingredients mentioned above. It was fun, but it certainly gave me a new sense of respect for what Renee does. There is a science to the measuring. At fist we used too much Shea butter and it was too sticky. Then it was re-melted and more coconut oil and beeswax was added and even though it wasn’t sticky, it was not as soft as I would like. Then I remembered I wanted to add some essential oil to the bars so I remelted it AGAIN and added some jasmine oil. In the end they turned out nice but I did include a little disclaimer on the gift tag mentioning how they were a little harder than they should be and might be best if used on feet:). In the end, I think it would have been much easier had we opted for the DIY kit that Renee offers. I LOVE her statement here:
I KNOW dry skin and the pain it brings. Because I’ve enjoyed the interaction that I get from my customers, I’ve created DIY videos for the lotion, as well as other products that we’ve developed based on customer request and our own family’s needs. Whether you purchase here, or create your own, give it a try and I believe you’ll be very happy with the results. Let me know how it works for you!
Isn’t that gracious and kind? It is true too, this stuff does work. As a delightful surprise, one friend who was gifted my homemade lotion bars reported back to me that her husband (whose hands suffer from Eczema) was loving my lotion bar and was seeing great results with it as compared to his steroid cream. Later her dog found it and apparently liked it too so let this be a warning to keep your lotion bars away from your pets !
I have tried a few of Renee’s products including her:
-Au Chocolat lotion bars These use cocoa butter instead of Shea butter and offer a lovely chocolate aroma that is simply delightful! I keep a small pocket size bar in my office and in my purse and a full size bar in my bathroom.
-Beesilk Junior lotion bars These are made for more delicate skin that doesn’t need the intensity of hardness and protection that the Beesilk hard lotion bar provides (perfect for babies, young children, or those dealing with extreme skin issues). Beesilk Jr feels more like a lanolin, but with easy application.) Click here to see Renee’s YouTube video of her Beesilk Junior lotion bar.
-Coffee soap which cleverly helps remove kitchen odor such as garlic or onions from your hands! It is made from Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Brewed Coffee, Coffee Grounds, Goat Milk, sodium hydroxide (lye). Click here to see Renee’s YouTube video of her coffee soap.
By now I have a feeling you are ready to get your hands on some of Renne’s products! Well I have good news for you, Renee has generously offered to give away TWO $20 gift certificates to her website AND is willing to offer all Mom 4 Life blog readers a special 10% discount (simply use the code “mom4life” on her website). The discount is good until April 30th.
To enter the giveaway: simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below (you need to be on the blog to see and use the form). There are several ways you can enter so have fun. We will choose our winner next Monday April 16th.
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Fit 4 Life, Healthy Living, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Last year I shared with you when I finally crossed something off of my to-do list that had been there for more than 3 years—making a homeopathic first aid kit. I would like to share my kit with you once again as it has been updated with a few new items.
The goal: to purchase items for a homeopathic first aid kit
The challenge: not knowing what items should go in said kit
Sometimes all we need is a little inspirational encouragement to meet our goals. For me, it was a blog post from Passionate Homemakeing that inspired me to finish this task. In her blog post, Lindsay mentioned a website where complete homeopathic kits can be purchased. This is certainly a fantastic option and would have been the most no-brainer, no-work way to achieve my goal. However, the frugal side of me was curious to compare the overall price of the basic NaturoKit kit ($68) with the price of purchasing each of these items individually from my local Super Supplements store. I printed of the list of items in the basic kit found here and took them with me to Supper Supplements. I asked one of the employees to help me locate the items on my list and we totaled up the cost. Because I was able to choose the brand and size of my items, my overall cost was a little less when purchased from Supper Supplements. However, one thing to keep in mind when constructing your kit is that many items that you will purchase have a much longer shelf life than your typical pharmaceutical products so choosing the size of some of your products can often be more about expected use rather than expiration date. In addition to the items found in the basic kit, I also choose to add a few additional items that I felt would be useful: 100% Aloe Vera Gel (which truly is A-Mazing for treating burns), and Colloidal Silver Salve. Over the last year I also have added: Arnica Salve, Bee Balm, Heal All, Throat Control Spray and Vapor Rub (all described below).
That said, in retrospect, I wish I would have purchased one of their online kits rather than from Super Supplements. The reason is that the NaturoKits company was founded by two moms who are licensed naturopathic physicians and I believe strongly in supporting small companies (especially if they are mom owned). Another perk to buying a kit from these moms is that their kits come with an easy-to-use instruction sheet which provides an easy to use cross reference between conditions and remedies is very helpful when you’re in the thick of an emergency (and maybe not thinking & remembering so clearly) and also if you are new to natural remedies. In addition, their kits are compactly and conveniently packaged so everything is ready to grab and go.
Okay so here is a photo of my kit one year ago (not all items described below are in the photo as I have added to it since then):
Here are the items in my kit along with details of what they can be used for. Please note that the information provided below is what I have found online. I would encourage you to do your own research when deciding which items would be right for your family and how they should be used. The items below with an * were added within the last year.
Natural remedy for intestinal upset and discomfort such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, and gas. Acts to bind toxins and prevent their absorption.
Relief for all types of skin conditions including burns, non poisonous bug bites, abrasions, cuts, rashes (including diaper rash), muscle strain, hemorrhoids, acne, athletes foot, stretch marks, cold sores, gum disorders, vaginal dryness, post surgical, damaged & thinning hair, skin renewal, brown spots and other skin ailments.
Homeopathic remedy for stings with swelling, redness and heat.
Homeopathic remedy for bruising and muscle soreness.
Homeopathic remedy for bruising and muscle soreness. More specific to injuries than the 30C version (i.e. headaches).
Arnica Salve relieves pain associated with sprains, strains, pulled ligaments and muscles. For best results, rub on bruises, bumps, and contusions immediately after injury. It works quickly and effectively to help reduce swelling, bruising, and muscle pain and is an excellent rub for body builders, construction workers, active children and tired mothers.
This solid lotion stick is perfect for dry skin therapy. Bee Balm has a gentle lavender-honey scent, and is naturally preserved with rosemary extract. The beeswax acts as a second skin, bringing restoration to deep cracks in heels, elbows, hands, and lips. It works equally as well on paper cuts.
Homeopathic remedy for mouth sores. Such as canker sores.
Calcarea Carbonica 30C
For cradle cap.
Actions: Has antibiotic, anti-fungus, and anti-inflammatory properties and is suggested for circulation, bruises, eczema, fungal infections, varicose veins, earaches, duodenal ulcers, cramps, gastrointestinal disorders, balancing menstrual cycle, fever, vaginal dryness due to menopause, and to facilitate healing after childbirth.
Uses: Cuts, abrasions and burns; bacterial infections of the skin; ulcerations and sores of the mouth, throat or skin; herpes; varicose veins and hemorrhoids; insect stings; bruises and black eye.
Dose: Take 30 to 40 drops, 2 to 5 times per day. As a dressing or wash use full-strength extract if well tolerated, or dilute with 2 to 3 parts water. Do not take internally while pregnant.
Homeopathic remedy for burns and sunburn (especially 2nd or 3rd degree burns). May help prevent or reduce blisters from forming. Also useful for urinary tract infections or if there is a constant urge to urinate.
Colloidal Silver Salve
Good for cuts, scratches, burns, bug bites, use in place of Neosporin.
Only a few drops are needed. If it feels greasy, too much was used. 1 t. can be added in the bath water for all body treatment. Anti-inflammatory, for the treatment of burns, wounds, bruises, for dry cracked heals, reducing car formation in healed burn wounds, pain reliever for bone, muscle and joint disorders. Skin and hair moisturizer (spread 2-6 drops into your palm according to the length of hair). Start at the top and work toward the scalp. For scalp treatment, add a couple drops and massage scalp well and wait 10-30 min. Rinse with mild shampoo.
Flower essence remedy for emotional stress and trauma – anxiety, irritability, fear, worry, grief, loss, and nervousness.
Can be used on cuts and abrasions (cover with a bandage if necessary!), stubborn splinters (to help them work their way out), insect bites and stings, Eczema and psoriasis, painful hemorrhoids, diaper rash and tender bottoms, dry, chapped skin, minor burns, cold sores, post-staph infection and skin surgery sites.
Hypericum Perforatum 30C
Homeopathic remedy for sharp, shooting nerve pain and injury to nerves such as crushed fingers or toes.
Ignatia Amara 30C
Homeopathic remedy primarily for grief and emotional shock but has also been used for moodiness, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, croup, piercing headaches, and insomnia.
Ledum Palustre 30C
Homeopathic remedy for puncture wounds including bug bites and stings as well as dental shots. Faster healing of wounds, bruises and black eyes. Can also be used for discoloration of skin and rashes as well as acne.
Throat Control Spray*
Throat Control Spray contains menthol, propolis, super concentrated extracts of thyme, ginger, chamomile, slippery elm, wild cherry bark, eucalyptus, glycerine, honey, pure grain alcohol, and water.
Vapor Decongestant Rub*
Uses body-friendly coconut and olive oils, along with beeswax to soothe raw noses and nourish skin. Camphor, eucalyptus, wintergreen and menthol work together to bring cool, refreshing relief from congestion while killing unwanted bacteria.
As warped as it may sound, I was a little bit excited the following day when Ashlyn had a paper cut and I was able to administer some love in the form of Colloidal Silver Salve and a band-aid. Since that time I have also utilized almost all the items in the kit at one time or another. I will also note that the very first homeopathic remedy that I tried after becoming a mom was Borax 30C for the treatment of thrush in Ashlyn’s mouth when she was a toddler. If you have dealt with thrush, you know how difficult thrush can be to get rid of. Hunter had it when he was still nursing and we visited the dr. on more than one occasion in an attempt to treat it. It took weeks to heal and I was in so much personal pain each time we nursed (since we were passing it back and forth to each other) that I tried to wean him. He was not interested in weaning however, so I pushed through the pain and eventually we beat the thrush. Because of this prior experience, I had very low expectations for the effectiveness of the tiny white dissolvable round tablets found in my Borax 30C bottle. However, after taking them for just a few days and seeing all her symptoms disappear, I was a believer. We have continued to keep Borax 30C on hand for any mouth sores and I remain a believer in its effectiveness. Please note that the homeopathic Borax 30C found at your health food store is NOT the same as the Borax you may purchase in the laundry soap issue at your grocery store and use as an ingredient for homemade cleaning solutions (such as homemade Comet)!
I would love to hear what natural remedies you have at home that you would recommend!
Disclaimer: The remedies contained in each NaturoKit® or the additional items mentioned above are intended to be used for acute self-limiting conditions. They are not intended to take the place of appropriate medical care from a qualified healthcare professional. You are responsible for getting help when a situation is beyond your level of training, comfort, and ability. In the case of an emergency, seek help immediately. Please also note that links to the NaturoKit website do contain an affiliate link and if you purchase though the link I will receive a small compensation. This post was originally written a year ago before any affiliate links to NaturoKit were added. You can be sure that the information has not changed nor has my core reason for sharing them with you (I believe it is a great company with useful products).
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Healthy Living, Recipes & Kitchen Tips | Posted Wednesday, February 8, 2012
You may remember that I decided to go 10 days juicing my breakfast and lunch at the beginning of the year. I wanted to follow up to let you know how that went.
I can think of at least 38 other types of eating plans that would be be more difficult for me . I LOVE fresh juice so I didn’t mind drinking it so often at all. I did however, have big temptations at night. My initial plan was to eat dinner with my family but avoid desserts. I did okay for the first few days but somewhere early on I had dinner with some friends at Red Robin. The dessert menu was calling my name and a friend at the table offered to share a mile high mud pie with me and I caved. The stinky part was that even though it tasted great in the beginning, by the end I was totally done, it was TOO sweet. Sadly, I can’t even report that it ended there. That mud pie was some sort of gateway drug for me and each evening after that I decided that dessert would be okay. *sigh* I kept having mental debates with myself about why I was doing this, if it was important to not have desserts or if I should just be more flexible, it was really quite entertaining (to myself).
In retrospect I think I did myself a big diservice by allowing that first dessert past my lips. But oh well, I am giving myself grace and am still glad that I did the rest of my challenge.
One blog reader emailed me asking how I juice frozen strawberries (as I had mentioned that was one of the foods we often included in our juice). I realized that was not very well explained on my end, sorry! Below are a few tips that might help if you are new to juicing:
1. If you are making smoothies in a blender or VitaMix type machine you can of course just pop in the frozen items as-is. However, for juicing, frozen foods must first be thawed. I often try to set them out the night before on the counter, but if I forget I will put them in the microwave briefly (I do try to avoid that step when possible however as I have a tendency to not trust that appliance).
2. If you are juicing both soft and hard things, to do some soft (such as oranges, spinach or thawed strawberries) followed by some hard (such as apples or carrots). This helps push the softer foods down and through the juicer more easily.
3. I have been thrilled to discover that spinach has such a mild flavor that I can easily add at least two handfuls to my juice (followed by something hard to help push it through) without any major flavor change. The color of course will be SUPER green. I use the organic plastic rectangular box of spinach from Costco.
4. If you think your kids might turn their noses up at the color of your juice, you might try hiding it for the first few times in a sippy cup like these stainless steel ones from Kid Basix where they cannot see the color. I did that a few times and then we ended up talking about Popeye and how it was our “power juice” and made us strong and they were won over and now they don’t care at all that it is green.
5. The first few times that I introduced the green juice to my kids I made sure to add some extra amounts of strawberries so it was really nice and sweet. After those first few times I backed off on the amount and they didn’t notice.
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Healthy Living, Recipes & Kitchen Tips, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Thursday, February 2, 2012
Beans, beans the musical fruit, the more . . .
Let’s talk about beans today!
One year ago I shared that my goal for 2011 was to add more whole grains, nuts and grains into our diet. I took the plunge by purchasing 5 large 25 pound bags of dried beans (kidney, pinto, Northern, black and garbanzo) from Azure Standard. Prices range depending on the variety but average just slightly over $1 a pound. For most beans: 1 pound dried beans = 2 cups dried = 4 – 5 cups cooked beans (source). I split each bag with a friend allowing both of us to enjoy the savings of buying in bulk without having to store a ton of beans. I found room in a guest bedroom closet for the bags and simply stocked and labeled Mason jars in my pantry for each type of bean.
I am super pleased to say that I am getting ready to place a restocking order through Azure for more beans. Although I don’t feel that our bean consumption last year was where I want it to be, I feel it was a good start that I can build on this year.
Cooking with beans.
When it comes right down to it, the main two things that have kept me from cooking more often with beans is simply a lack of advanced planning and a lack of bean recipes. Cooking with dried beans is not hard (in fact it is quite easy) but it does require planning ahead. I simply can’t cook with dried beans unless I am meal planning.
Planning out my meals in advance is a crucial step for me because:
- It allows me the opportunity each evening to examine what I will be making the next two days and if necessary begin the soaking process (details on how to do this below).
- It provides me with the opportunity to be intentional about finding and scheduling bean based (or supplemented) recipes.
I found this one page PDF summery explaining how to soak and cook dried beans very helpful.
Bean based recipes are not something that I have felt very equipped with in general. I do have my favorite standard Chili recipe and within the last year I have discovered some other great favorites such as:
But lets be real, refried beans are a side dish and hummus is more of a dip/spread. These are not meals.
Lucky for me I have also been reading the Kitchen Stewardship blog. Katie has an ebook called The Everything Beans book which (even after cooking with beans for a year) has been a wonderful resource. Not only do I appreciate having an entire recipe book filled with new bean recipes as I plan out my weekly meals (this recipe book includes appetizers, soups, main dishes and desserts), but I have also found Katie’s detailed instructions on how to soak and cook beans to be extremely helpful.
I have learned things such as why it is helpful to do long bean soaks whenever possible, what foods to eat with beans to help make them a complete protein and helpful tips on how to reduce the gas that bean consumption can create. I also realized how easy it is to simply cook more than I need and refrigerate (for about a week) or freeze the extras for another meal!
I also was SHOCKED to learn that bringing my kidney beans to a boil for at least 10 minutes is absolutely essential to deactivating a toxic compound called phytohaemagglutinin. This compound can cause horrible nausea, vomiting and diarrhea by consuming as few as four-five beans which are raw or improperly cooked. Because I like to use my slow cooker, this was really good to learn because cooking kidney beans in a slow cooker without bringing them to a boil can actually make the toxic effects five times worse!
Don’t let that last bit scare you away from adding this healthy, economical and versatile food to your meal plans!
Do you already cook with beans? Why or why not? Which beans do you like best? What recipe(s) are your favorites?
Please note: I am an affiliate of Kitchen Stewardship’s eBooks, which means I’ll earn a small commission from any sales made through links to her book. I first read and used her book personally before deciding if it was one that I felt you would find valuable.