Thank Your Body Eat, move, and live naturally. Tue, 29 Sep 2015 19:05:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Chewing Gum is Bad: 7 Reasons to Quit Tue, 29 Sep 2015 07:00:00 +0000 Chewing gum is bad? Well actually, yes. Learn seven reasons why you might want to consider giving up your gum habit.

Hello. My name is Robin and I’m a recovered gum addict. I was the girl that had at least two packages of different flavors of gum in her purse at all times. I was the girl that popped a piece in anytime I was going to meet anyone new, go out with friends, after finishing a meal, or “just because.” I loved gum. But gum didn’t love me. I actually quit my chewing gum habit long before my real food conversion. I was a graduate student who frequently had subtle stomach aches… nothing that would keep me from my day, but definitely uncomfortable and really annoying. Like I tend to do, I started researching possible causes. And, as you can imagine, through that vast vacuum of information we call “the internet” I found more than a gazillion possible reasons for my tummy troubles: Too little fiber, too much fiber, food allergies, sugar, carbs, my sleeping habits, too much water, too little water, etc. etc. etc. Um, just as a reminder: Don’t believe everything you read online. I started doing some self experimentation, trying to pinpoint what my particular issue was. And since I’m lazy efficient I decided to try the easiest and most simple thing first: I quit chewing gum. Surely gum chewing wasn’t bad, and surely gum chewing wasn’t my problem, right? I mean, every commercial told me that 4 out of 5 dentists recommend the stuff. But my research made me think twice about my gum lovin’ ways. And for the record, I didn’t have access to or knowledge of some of the resources I do now, so the reasons behind the “chewing gum is bad” idea was from two simple ideas: 1. Chewing gum can produce a excessive “air pockets” that can upset your stomach. 2. Many of the artificial sweeteners in sugar free gum can upset your stomach. So I stopped chewing gum. And, lo and behold, my little stomach problems disappeared. No more discomfort. No more annoyed “why do I always feel this way!” episodes. Of course, fast forward a decade or so (Man, I’m getting old…) and I have plenty of other reasons why I don’t chew gum. 7  Reasons Chewing Gum is Bad 1. Jaw Problems For some people chewing gum is bad because it can cause mouth disorders. This is especially true for people with pre-existing jaw conditions like TMJ. But even if you don’t have a serious problem, excessive gum chewing can aggravates the cartilage and surrounding joints in the mouth through extra wear and tear. 2. Artificial Sweeteners Most gum these days love to market that they are “sugar free,” but artificial sweeteners are far from my “okay to eat” real food list. Aspartame is just on example that has been linked to brain tumors, birth defects, and cancer. Read why I don’t trust the stuff here. But even the “safer” sweeteners are suspicious for this “back to basics, just eat what we recognize as real food” gal. 3. Chewing gum can cause headaches According to Dr. Ben Kim, there are eight different facial muscles involved in chewing. 4. Other fake ingredients Just because you don’t generally ingest your gum doesn’t mean it doesn’t go in your body: Yikes! That’s pretty scary when you think about some of the common ingredients listed on a pack of chewing gum: Gum Base Maltitol Mannitol Artificial and ‘Natural’ Flavoring Acacia Acesulfame Potassiu BHT Calcium Casein Peptone-calcium Phosphate Candelilla Wax Sodium Stearate Titanium Dioxide  Learn more about these ingredients here. 5. Chewing gum only masks bad breath. It doesn’t get rid of it. I remember how “minty clean” my mouth would feel after chewing a piece of gum (for a minute or two, at least), but gum doesn’t get rid of bad breath. Bad breath is symptom of digestive problems or excessive tooth decay. In fact, once I changed my diet and improved my health through real food I no longer had bad breath. Real food for the win! 6. Chewing gum could hinder your metabolism. If you’ve been around the Thank Your Body site for a while you know how important metabolic health is. But did you know that chewing gum, which stimulates saliva production for an unnaturally long time, can take away from other important metabolic functions? Crazy, right? 7. Oh yeah, and the tummy aches. And that brings me back to the reason I stopped in the first place. Chewing gum brings in an excess of swallowed air which can put pressure on the intestine and cause cramping and bloating. And for those who suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) this can be really bad. But, but, but… But what will I use to freshen my breath on that important first date, job interview, etc? How can I possibly give up my gum!? Don’t fear, in the a few days I will give you some natural ways to freshen your breath, improve your dental health, and feel okay about saying goodbye to gum for good. Stay tunes. While we’re talking about improving our health, let’s talk about something really important. While the majority of my posts here on Thank Your Body deal with food, non-toxic living, and exercise there is one super duper important element that far too many people forget when they work on a healthier lifestyle: CLUTTER. We live in a world with so. much. stuff. While that stuff can seem pretty benign, the truth is our clutter affects our health in a really major way. (Not to mention how much money it’s costing us!)   If you’re looking at improving your life may I suggest you take a nice long look at your clutter situation. If you feel overwhelmed (which so many do!) I highly recommend learning more about my book, The Clutter Trap. It has helped a lot of people get to the root cause of clutter. The freedom you’ll find will serve to help all your healthy habits you’re seeking to live by. Click here to check it...

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Sweet Vanilla Sugar Scrub Sun, 27 Sep 2015 07:00:00 +0000 This homemade sweet vanilla sugar scrub is so simple to make and so luxurious. You're skin will feel awesome.

I love vanilla. And Sugar. On my face. That’s why I love this homemade sweet vanilla sugar scrub recipe. Before I made some serious changes to my diet and approach to the toxins in my home, I was totally engrossed in the world of “skin care” products. Due to my acne-prone skin, most of those products were designed to get rid of excess oil… because clearly my skin issues were due to too much grease. (sigh) Turns out my acne wasn’t because of oil… it was because my dry flaky dead skin was always clogging my pores. And it wasn’t until I started to be more diligent about exfoliating my skin that I saw any improvement. Gross, I know. Of course getting good real fats into my diet, switching out toxic beauty products for safer alternatives, and getting stress under control made the biggest difference in my skin issues. But I still love a good, gentle exfoliation. Enter this sweet vanilla sugar scrub. So easy. So deliciously simple. And a great way to gently scrub away dead skin to give you a natural glow. In fact, my husband used this and said his face felt 30 years younger. (Sweet.) The sugar scrub ingredients and their benefits: Sugar: Naturally inhibits bacterial growth. Plus its rough texture helps slough off dead skin cells. Honey: Has been used for skin care for centuries! It’s a powerful moisturizer and antioxidant. It also helps protect skin against damage. Olive Oil: Moisturizes, nourishes, and cleanses the skin. Vitamin E: Owing to its antioxidant properties, vitamin E is both a natural preservative and nourishes the skin. Vanilla: Smells super yummy. (I like yummy things, okay?)     Looking for simple, frugal ways to live more naturally? I thought so. The internet is full of natural tutorials these days. The only problems is finding the tried-and-true recipes and keeping them all organized in one place. That’s why I created the ultimate guide to non-toxic living. My ebook, All Natural Living has 75 non-toxic recipes. You’ll find recipes for hair care, makeup, personal care products, cleaning products and more. It also walks you through the best first steps and provides insights on the must-have ingredients. Needless to say, it’s a super handy guide to have nearby. The DIY revolution can save you cash and keep your home super healthy. Since the book is only 4 bucks you really have nothing to lose. So stop wasting time and money and grab your copy right now. Click here to check it out.

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Recipe: Juicer Pulp Whipped Cream Cheese Fri, 18 Sep 2015 07:00:00 +0000 These delicious juicer pulp whipped cream cheese spreads can be made without a juicer, too. Choose vegetable or berry, great on a bagel or apple slices!

What could be better than making your own, homemade vegetable or berry cream cheese? Making it with the leftover pulp from your juicer, of course! Whether you spread it on a bagel, a homemade juicer pulp cracker, or dip apple slices in it, flavorful juicer pulp whipped cream cheese is a great way to recycle the healthy pulp from your juicer. If you don’t juice, no worries…you can make these with fresh fruit or vegetables and a food processor or grater. Start with about 1/2 cup of juicer pulp, or finely grated vegetables. If you’re using berries, you can smash them or puree them in a food processor. One thing I’ve found about berries is that you don’t want to juice them while they are frozen! This is probably common sense, but I tried it and ended up with a bunch of finely shredded berries and no juice. Go ahead and run the berries through the juicer…just make sure they’re thawed out first! Then, just mix the berry or vegetable pulp in with a cup of organic cream cheese (here’s how to make it at home with yogurt). Whip the vegetable cream cheese with your mixer, adding a little sea salt and some organic dried dill weed…if you’re making berry cream cheese, add a teaspoon of raw honey as you whip it. Whipping the cream cheese gives it such a smooth, creamy texture. It also makes it soft and very easy to spread, so you can fearlessly spread it on those breakable crackers or dip that apple slice in without having to go back and pick out the part that broke off. Such an easy way to make fun cream cheese spread! And by making it at home you can be certain that there’s nothing but fresh organic cream cheese, organic vegetables or fruit, and a little healthy sweetener or seasoning going into it. No preservatives, no additives, just fresh and healthy real food. My kids enjoy choosing which flavor they want for lunch, and they can help choose what to put into it. We store the cream cheese in the fridge in little glass bowls with lids (like these) so that you can see what flavor is inside. Looking for more delicious real food recipes? I’ve got your back! I’ve put together 85 incredible dishes that are full of flavor, super yummy, and good for you, too. From main dishes to desserts (and everything in between) you’ll have some fun new eats that I know you’ll love. Best part? The ebook is only 2 bucks. It’s a total no-brainer, right? Right. Click here to check it out.   What’s your favorite flavor of cream cheese? Photography by Jennifer Leung Johnson

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Recipe: Greek Yogurt Fudge Pops Sun, 13 Sep 2015 07:00:00 +0000 These decadent Greek yogurt fudge pops combine organic fair trade chocolate, yogurt and sweet berries. A healthy and refreshing summer treat!

I love frozen treats! Fudge pops are one of my favorites. This recipe for Greek Yogurt Fudge Pops evolved from several ideas I saw online, combined with a neat trick for melting chocolate that I learned from a recipe for flourless chocolate cake. The pops are rich, smooth and very refreshing. The yogurt base, organic chocolate and sweet berries make it a healthy snack as well as a tasty one! I wanted to use really rich, yummy chocolate from an organic, fair-trade dark chocolate bar, but it can be a real pain to melt chocolate. Try it in the microwave and you’re risking a pitted, burnt mess…but who really wants to haul out the double boiler and do it the right way (slooooowly, over very low heat, and with constant obsessive vigilance?)  Instead, pulse the chocolate in a food processor with a little organic evaporated cane juice until the mixture is grainy, with no chunks bigger than a grain of rice. Then, pour some very hot milk into the mixture as you run the food processor….magic! The chocolate melts evenly and smoothly in seconds flat, with no chance of burning or scorching. It’s fun to watch! Once your chocolate is melted, just add the Greek yogurt (we used homemade) and the berries and process until the mixture is very smooth. Another time (and mess) saver I discovered is using a turkey baster to fill the popsicle mold. It was so fast and easy, and the entire process was much cleaner than trying to pour it in by hand! My girls enjoyed helping fill the mold, and it only took about 15 minutes from getting the ingredients together to popping the treats in the freezer. The couple of hours it took for them to freeze were a little torturous, but it was worth the wait! Rich, creamy fudge pops made from all-natural, organic ingredients. I love it that I can really feel good about passing these out for snacks or dessert!     Looking for more delicious real food recipes? I’ve got your back! I’ve put together 85 incredible dishes that are full of flavor, super yummy, and good for you, too. From main dishes to desserts (and everything in between) you’ll have some fun new eats that I know you’ll love. Best part? The ebook is only 2 bucks. It’s a total no-brainer, right? Right. Click here to check it out.   What’s your favorite frozen treat? Photography by Jennifer Leung Johnson

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Recipe: Lacto-Fermented Green Tomato Salsa Sat, 05 Sep 2015 07:00:00 +0000 Got green tomatoes? Put them to good use in this healthy, lacto-fermented green tomato salsa packed full of beneficial probiotics and enzymes.

One thing I can always rely on is that when the frost starts to fall, I’ll still have a ton of green tomatoes in my garden! You can pick them and let them ripen inside, but they just don’t have the flavor that they do when they ripen out on the vine. What do you do with green tomatoes? Make salsa! I love green tomato salsa, and I’ve been excited to try lacto-fermenting to reap the added benefits of probiotics and healthy enzymes that the process produces. Putting the garden to sleep is a bittersweet moment for me…the coming frost means that summer is officially over and winter is on the way. On the other hand, it means crisp, cool days and snowy evenings spent sipping hot apple cider by the fire! Pulling up the tomato vines, it helps knowing that every last tomato…no matter how small and green…can be put to good use. In the past I’ve made green tomato pickle relish and spiced green tomato pickles. But I think that green tomato salsa is my new favorite! It’s tangy and flavorful, and when you lacto-ferment the salsa rather than heat and can it, you get all sorts of healthy benefits. First of all, you’re retaining all the nutrients that might be damaged by the heat in the canning process.  Second, you are preserving your salsa in a natural, healthy way!  And finally, you are gaining the benefits of enzymes that aid in digestion and probiotics that balance your gut when you ferment your food. The ingredients are simple: Organic tomatoes (green and red or a mix will work), onion, garlic, peppers, spices and apple cider.  Make sure that you use the organic, raw and unfiltered apple cider that contains “The Mother” (like this).  This is the culture that will start the lacto-fermentation process in your salsa! I also added a teaspoon of cultured yogurt just to be safe. I followed a recipe found at the Cultures for Health website to get started. Running your fresh vegetables through a food processor makes making salsa so fast!  I use the grater attachment on mine, which gives you just enough texture without leaving large chunks. Once you’ve got your vegetables processed, add some lemon juice, salt, chili powder and the vinegar and yogurt and stir it up.  Ladle into sterilized jars, top with fermentation lids (like these), and then set them aside in a cool, dark place. In two weeks, your healthy salsa will be ready to eat! I have to admit… …it’s been a little hard for me breaking into the lacto-fermenting method of preserving. I love the tangy, savory taste that fermented foods have, but at first it went against everything I’d learned about how to prepare food. Do you really mean I should just pack it in a jar, and then…leave it out on the counter?  It caused a bit of panic in me not to be putting that food in the fridge, where it “belongs.”  However, generations of people survived on fermented food before refrigeration was invented.  They also reaped the benefits of improved digestion through the enzymes and probiotics produced during fermentation.  Studies are showing that not only do probiotics help your gut, they can also improve neurological symptoms like anxiety, depression and ADD! Sign me up, please! Three cheers for probiotics.   P.S. This salsa is a perfect partner for sprouted tortilla chips!   Looking for more delicious real food recipes? I’ve got your back! I’ve put together 85 incredible dishes that are full of flavor, super yummy, and good for you, too. From main dishes to desserts (and everything in between) you’ll have some fun new eats that I know you’ll love. Best part? The ebook is only 2 bucks. It’s a total no-brainer, right? Right. Click here to check it out.   Have you tried lacto-fermenting?  Do you have some tips?   Photography by Jennifer Leung Johnson

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Recipe: Naturally Fermented Garlic Dill Pickles Thu, 03 Sep 2015 07:00:00 +0000 It's easy to make naturally fermented garlic dill pickles! Skip the hot stove and keep all the cucumber's nutrients plus healthy probiotics. Delicious!

When I was a kid, my favorite place to go with my dad wasn’t the ice cream parlor. It wasn’t the candy store, or even the toy shop. Nope, my favorite treat was to walk with him to the Pickle Barrel, a local sandwich shop, where we would pay 35 cents for….a pickle. These were no ordinary pickles, these were pickles floating around in a giant wooden barrel, pickles that a kid could chase around with a pair of tongs until they found just the right one, pickles that were crisp and bursting with salty-sour flavor. I’d find the perfect one, fish it out with the tongs, and then slip it into a white waxed-paper bag. Then, it was nothing but pure dill bliss as we walked back home. I may have been a weird little kid… …but there really isn’t anything quite like a really good dill pickle. Crisp and just the right balance of sour-salty, pickles satisfy that craving for snacks without giving you a lot of fat or carbs. Store bought pickles are great, but did you know that you can make pickles the traditional way at home…without vinegar (or a wooden barrel)? Natrually fermented garlic dill pickles are made simply from raw, organic cucumbers, garlic, spices, and brine. Throw a few organic grape leaves in to keep them crisp and then just let them ferment on the counter for about a week. You won’t believe how easy it is to make amazingly flavorful, crisp pickles…and not only will your pickles not lose nutrients and enzymes due to heat processing, they will also be full of healthy probiotics! Now that’s one pickle I don’t mind being in. To make your naturally fermented dill pickles: First choose the cucumbers carefully. Farmers’ markets are an excellent place to get pickling cucumbers, or you can grow them yourself. There are a wide variety of cucumbers out there, some are best for slicing in salads and others work well as pickles. You can read up on varieties here for a quick cucumber primer, but suffice to say you’ll want a smaller cucumber for your pickles. There are times of the year, however, when you really can’t find pickling cucumbers at the store…if that’s the case, you can try slicing and pickling any of the seedless cucumber varieties (English cucumbers are usually available). Although sliced pickles won’t be quite as crisp, they’ll still be delicious! For the pickles pictured in this article, I used Persian cucumbers…they were on sale at a local market and they were the perfect size and shape. Along with the cucumbers, you’ll need fresh organic garlic, dill, a hot pepper (if you’d like) and some grape leaves. The grape leaves contain tannins, which help keep your pickles nice and crisp. We happen to have vines in our yard, but you can buy these at a Mediterranean market. If you can’t find grape leaves, you can try one of the other non-toxic leaves that contain tannin (here’s a list).  If you’d like, you can also use a little pickling spice to flavor your pickles. And, you’ll need water (use water without chlorine) and salt to make the brine. Pack your ingredients into a large jar (I used 1/2 gallon canning jars, like this). Layer the garlic first…you’ll want to crush is slightly to release the flavor. Then drop in some dill, the pepper if you’re using it, and a grape leaf or two. Pack the cucumbers in as tightly as you can, I ended up breaking one or two in half to make them all fit (the broken ones won’t be as crisp, but are still good). Sprinkle pickling spice over the cucumbers, and then pour brine into the jar. You’ll want to leave about an inch of head space in the jar, as it will expand and bubble during the fermentation process. Once you’ve got your jar filled, use a grape leaf (or a weight of some kind) to keep the pickles below the level of the brine. Food below the brine will be safe from rotting, so you want to make sure your pickles are kept submerged. You can get creative with this if you don’t have any grape leaves…a small food grade plastic lid with something heavy on top would also work. I know it’s kind of silly, but I found a certain amount of joy in the way these pickles looked sitting on my kitchen counter. I mean, food is functional, certainly, but isn’t it wonderful when it’s also beautiful? Homemade pickles are so fresh and green, and although they darken as they ferment they never really lose their color the way that heat-packed pickles do. These are fresh, raw cucumbers full of healthy green goodness, without the life cooked out of them. And if you’ve ever slaved in a hot kitchen, with the water canner boiling enough humidity into the air to cause your kitchen ceiling to start to rain, you’ll really appreciate how very easy making fermented pickles really is! Now comes the really difficult part… have to wait, looking at these deliciously beautiful pickles on your counter…for a whole week! The natural yeast on the vegetables will cause the pickles to ferment, releasing gas into the jar and giving the pickles a wonderful sour flavor.  One note of caution…there really will be gas building up in those jars. I like to use a fermenting lid which lets air out but not in, but if you don’t have one you can just tightly cap the pickles and then unscrew the lids once a day to “burp” the jars and prevent too much gas from building up. One really cool side effect to this process is that your pickles will be fizzy…yep, carbonated pickles! When you open them, you’ll see all sorts of bubbles rushing to the top. You can see a little bit of this effect in the photo below (it turned out to be pretty hard to capture with the...

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All Natural Homemade Toothpaste Sat, 01 Aug 2015 07:00:00 +0000 This all natural homemade toothpaste is so good for your teeth, mouth, and gums! Easy to make, too.

This all natural homemade toothpaste has been requested by several people for quite some time. And in all honesty I’ve been putting it off for months because tooth health is tricky. Let me rephrase that. Having healthy teeth isn’t really tricky (hint: eat nourishing real food), but sifting through all the contradicting data can be. Just like any aspect of healthy living, you can find information to support just about anything. And this is definitely the case with tooth care. Is flouride essential for good teeth or is it poison? Is glycerin an okay ingredient or one that should be avoided? Is baking soda the perfect natural cleanser or is it too abrasive? I mean, you even have dentists saying that toothpaste of any kind is hurting our enamel. That’s why I always get leery of using “science” to prove why I do or do not do something. It’s not that I think science is bad. In fact, I like science. It’s just that it is really hard to decipher what’s really true from the countless studies and statistics that prove everything and nothing at the same time. That’s why I trust history I know that even history isn’t perfect, because so much of what we learn is based on who’s telling the story… but even so, I do know that there are plenty of cultures who had vibrant healthy smiles and teeth without using our new fancy-schmancy chemical toothpastes. It’s another instance where I feel blessed to have access to real food as my main foundation of good oral health. What you will NOT find in my homemade toothpaste: Glycerin Most regular and natural brands of toothpaste contain glycerin. Once again the information isn’t crystal clear, but I tend to believe the data that describes how glycerin leaves a coating on your teeth which prevents them from being remineralized. Flouride My sister-in-law who’s an awesome dental hygienist agree to disagree on the issue of fluoride.  And if you are a huge proponent of fluoride I hope we can do the same. I’m not going to talk much about the dangers of fluoride here, but here are a few articles if you’re interested in learning why I avoid fluoride at all costs: The Case Against Water Fluoridation ADA study confirms dangers of fluoridated water, especially for babies Other not-for-me ingredients Sodium Lareth Sulfate (SLS) is a foaming agent and known skin irritant and pesticide. Avoid. Artificial colors and flavors. Avoid. GMO ingredients. Avoid. You’ll also notice that I don’t put any sweetener in my recipe. Of course, if you really need that in your toothpaste you can add a few drop of liquid stevia, but I just don’t see a need. And I’ve skipped out on one of the most popular ingredients in homemade toothpaste: Baking Soda. Baking soda toothpastes are good at getting stains out because they are abrasive — but that also means they’re hard on enamel. To me it’s a trade-off that might not be worth it. If I feel a need to polish my teeth I’ll occasionally make a paste with coconut oil and baking soda. But it’s not something I use every day (and it’s also at the recommendation of my awesome holistic dentist who had no issue that I make my own toothpaste!) So what is IN my homemade toothpaste? Coconut oil which has antibacterial properties that help keep your mouth clean. Bentonite clay which is a polishing cleanser with antibacterial properties that has been used for centuries to promote digestive health. It’s also been known to help remineralize the teeth. (Like this.) Real sea salt which helps to gently scrub teeth and also has some antibacterial properties. Peppermint essential oil which add that minty freshness that so many people have come to love about commercial toothpastes.  (Learn how to get my favorite essential oils at wholesale prices here.) And just a little filtered water to make it a texture that you like. That’s it! I’ve been using it for well over a year and my teeth are great. (Like this.) There you go! That’s how I keep mine and my family’s teeth healthy and strong. No cavities for many years for any of us thankyouverymuch. …and if you’re looking for more inspiration, I really like these other natural toothpaste alternatives. Looking for simple, frugal ways to live more naturally? I thought so. The internet is full of natural tutorials these days. The only problems is finding the tried-and-true recipes and keeping them all organized in one place. That’s why I created the ultimate guide to non-toxic living. My ebook, All Natural Living has 75 non-toxic recipes. You’ll find recipes for hair care, makeup, personal care products, cleaning products and more. It also walks you through the best first steps and provides insights on the must-have ingredients. Needless to say, it’s a super handy guide to have nearby. The DIY revolution can save you cash and keep your home super healthy. Since the book is only 4 bucks you really have nothing to lose. So stop wasting time and money and grab your copy right now. Click here to check it out.   Sources:

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Why you should eat liver. (And how you can get over the “ick” factor). Mon, 27 Jul 2015 07:00:34 +0000 Eat liver? Does that sound gross to you? But liver is the most nutrient dense foods? Here are some simple tips to getting over the "ick" factor.

Eat liver!? Are you crazy!? If you had asked me five years ago if I would ever eat liver I’m pretty sure I would have said “no.” Emphatically. In fact, in my head, eating liver was a bad idea. I mean, I took anatomy. I knew what the liver’s job was. Who would want to eat the organ that’s primary function is dealing with toxins. No thank you. But like so many other things in my life, I’ve changed my thoughts about liver. In fact, I think liver is pretty super. Kind of like superman, but not as attractive. Super Liver to the rescue! Historically speaking liver has a long tradition of respect and honor. It’s been considered a super food to help the battling warrior, a delicacy throughout the world, and was once believed to have almost magical curative powers. Why? Well, gram for gram, liver contains more nutrients than any other food. In fact, liver provides: An excellent source of high-quality protein Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12 One of our best sources of folate A highly usable form of iron Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium; liver is our best source of copper CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA. An unidentified anti-fatigue factor Um, Anti-fatigue factor? What’s that? This factor was described by Benjamin K. Ershoff, PhD, in a July 1951 article published in the Proceedings for the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. (source) Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of the study: Three groups of lab rats. The first ate a basic diet, fortified with 11 vitamins. The second ate the same diet, along with an additional supply of vitamin B complex. The third ate the original diet, but instead of vitamin B complex received 10 percent of rations as powdered liver. The results: Putting aside the cruel animal testing (poor rats!), liver clearly has some super powers. So let’s all eat liver! What about all those toxins? As I mentioned early, one of the primary roles of the liver is to neutralize toxins. But the liver doesn’t store toxins, instead it stores a lot of powerful nutrients that the body uses against the toxins. Keep in mind that the best liver comes from the best animals… those who were raised humanely and appropriately.  The best choice is liver from animals that spend their lives outdoors and on pasture. The next best choice is organic chicken, beef and calves liver. If you don’t have access to quality liver, and your local Walmart is your only option, try to find calves liver  as in the U.S. beef cattle do spend their first months on pasture. Livers from conventionally raised chicken and hogs are not recommended. But I can’t eat liver. It’s just so…. icky! I hear you. Really, I do. I had read plenty of literature on the benefits of liver before I ever ventured out to buy some. And when I did it sat in my freezer for far too long. Liver has a strong taste, to say the least. For many people it’s a familiar and delicious taste. But if you grew up on a Standard American Diet you may need a little help eating liver. Here is my easy method for getting more liver into your diet… without dealing with the flavor. How to eat liver: A guide for beginners: 1. Thaw liver slightly. While still mostly frozen, cut liver into chunks. Like this: 2. Place chunks in a food processor. Like this: 3. Process until it’s all gross and gooey. Like this: 4. Scoop liquefied liver into an ice tray. Like this: 5. Cover and freeze. What to do with my liver cubes? Next time you are cooking a meal that requires ground meat, simply throw in a cube or two of liver. Just brown it with the other meat. You don’t need to defrost these cubes either, as they are small enough to break up just fine frozen. (Awesome!) It’s  best to hide liver in dishes with lots of spices and flavor. I can usually throw 2 or 3 cubes into our taco meat without anyone knowing a difference. Chili is another great place to use these cubes. Spaghetti with meat sauce. Etc. The possibilities are endless. Start small… use one cube and see how it goes. If you can’t tell the liver is there, add another next time. Start by adding liver into one dish a week. See, It’s really not that hard to boost your nutritional profile. Another option for the truly squeamish: Grab a bottle of my favorite dissected liver capsules. This liver comes from grass-fed, pastured-raised cows. It’s a super easy way to boost your body with nourishing real food… no icky involved. Get them here. Want to eat healthier, but confused by all the information out there? You’re not alone! It took me years to figure out this whole “healthy” eating thing, and that’s because the world is full of confusing information. Every “expert” is telling us something different, and it seems our lists of “shoulds” and “should not” eats are changing faster than we can keep up with. If you’re like me and wish there was a simple, stress-free approach to healthy living then you’re in the right place. My guide Processed Free will help you easily navigate real food no matter where you are on your path to healthier living. And good news! The ebook is only 6 bucks so there’s nothing holding you back from creating life-long habits for healthier, happier living. Click here to check it out.     What’s your favorite way to eat liver?  

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Whiten clothes naturally with homemade bleach Sun, 05 Jul 2015 07:00:14 +0000 Want to whiten clothes and avoid using bleach? Check out this easy DIY all natural homemade bleach recipe. Brighter whites. Safer home.

I never knew I needed homemade bleach. Truth be told I rarely (if ever) used commercial bleach. So how did I get to this homemade bleach recipe? Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time a certain hippie-dancer-blogger-mom was doing laundry. Nothing new. Unfortunately, this certain hippie-dancer-blogger-mom wasn’t paying attention and somehow a pair of new blue jeans got mixed up with the whites. Whoops. Look who has a pile of grayish clothes now. Yeah. That would be me. Of course, in the “old days” I would have put the items back in the washing machine with some bleach… you know, the stuff we use to whiten clothes. No more, my friends. No more. I hope you guys won’t hate me for ratting out another common household product. I’ve already tattled on shampoo, fabric softener, tampons, and the like. Can’t I just leave bleach alone? But the truth is even bleach, a household chemical frequently used for generations, is not a great product to have around the house. Chlorine based bleach (oxygen based bleaches don’t fall into this same category) are really bad for you, your family, your pets, and the environment! Why? Well, consider the following: Bleach can often cause respiratory issues. It can also cause burns to the skin and even nervous system damage. Allergies and asthma are often irritated by bleach and can cause serious reactions in those who have problems with these conditions already. Beyond causing its own problems, chlorine bleach also has some really dangerous potential reactions with other chemicals and materials. Each year thousands of calls are made for help and of those calls about 1/4th of them are related to bleach and the household cleaners that contain them. Many of these accidents involve children and can be potentially fatal. Yes, the simple stuff we use to whiten clothes is not safe. In fact, bleach can be deadly. Okay, I know I’m sounding a little dooms-day here. And chances are if you use bleach you keep it in safe place and use it responsibly. That’s good. But is it enough? Because bleach mixes so easily with so many other products that produce a wide range of toxins, we should be concerned. Many of the chemicals produced through chemical reactions with chlorine bleach are toxins that are known carcinogens. These chemicals build up in the environment. They get into the water and food supply, and increase our risk for many negative health issues. Once again we all have a part to play to keeping our world safe. But it’s okay! It’s easy to make your own bleach. You can disinfect your bathrooms, clean your toilets, and whiten your clothes naturally with homemade bleach. This homemade bleach definitely brightened my whites. What about all those icky used-to-be-white-but-now-are-gray clothes? Well, they aren’t sparkingly white, but they do look better. I plan on giving them the homemade bleach treatment a few more times. Looking for simple, frugal ways to live more naturally? I thought so. The internet is full of natural tutorials these days. The only problems is finding the tried-and-true recipes and keeping them all organized in one place. That’s why I created the ultimate guide to non-toxic living. My ebook, All Natural Living has 75 non-toxic recipes. You’ll find recipes for hair care, makeup, personal care products, cleaning products and more. It also walks you through the best first steps and provides insights on the must-have ingredients. Needless to say, it’s a super handy guide to have nearby. The DIY revolution can save you cash and keep your home super healthy. Since the book is only 4 bucks you really have nothing to lose. So stop wasting time and money and grab your copy right now. Click here to check it out. So, how do you whiten clothes in your home?  References:  

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Basics of Sitting: Part One Wed, 24 Jun 2015 07:33:41 +0000 Don't sit like that! Basics of sitting for better posture and health. Part 1.

Welcome to the “Basics of Sitting” Series. Before we jump into it, first maybe we should discuss WHY we need a post that covers the basic of sitting. I mean, isn’t sitting so obvious? The truth is a lot of people are doing some major damage to their body and experiencing some unnecessary pain from sitting poorly. These next few posts will focus on that most basic-of-basic daily action of sitting.  But before we can jump into the actual “sitting” part, it’s time to take a look at the “main players” involved. What it involved in sitting Ideally, sitting requires a flexion (coming closer together in the Sagittal Plane) action at three joints:  The Hips The Knees The Ankles The knees and ankles pretty much just follow the lead of the hip.  And whether it’s conscious or not, a lot of problems come from a misunderstanding of the hip joint.  So… let’s take a look at it. I will often ask my students, as a group, to close their eyes and point to their “hips.”   These are the most common responses I get: This is probably the most typical answer, which is understandable.  When I was young I was told that these bony places just below the waist are my “hip bones.”  These are actually landmarks on the pelvis known as the Anterior Superior Iliac Spine (ASIS). This is another answer, not quite as popular as the first.  With the image of an “hour-glass” figure, it’s not too surprising that some people think the widest spot would be the location of our hips.  (After all, if you are measuring your “hips” this is where you are told to wrap that tape measure around.) This is the least common response, but I have seen it nonetheless.  Unsure what the “hip” really is, some people just point to a general area, hoping the answer lies somewhere around it. This is where an important distinction must be made.  For many, the concept of “hip” denotes an area of the body (and in certain contexts that is true).  Beyond the mass that generally gets lumped into our idea of the hip region lies the actual HIP JOINT.  (A joint is the location at which two or more bones make contact—in this instance the femur and the pelvis.) So why does this matter? If you hold the idea, whether you are aware of it or not, that your hip joint is somewhere it isn’t, you may find yourself using different parts of your body (like part of your spine) to perform the role your hips were intended to perform.   More on this later. So where is the hip then?   Take a look at the anatomy of the pelvis and upper leg.  Most people are usually surprised to see how much lower and closer to the midline the hips really are. So where does that translate to us fleshy people? Please excuse the somewhat awkwardness of this next photo: Your hip joint is a lower and closer to your mid-line. I’ll address the actual “sitting” part in the next post.  In the meantime, get to know your body a little better (specifically the hip joint) by trying the following: Observe: Whether you can sense it in your own body, or see it in someone else, notice where the movement is initiating as you walk, sit down, or climb stairs.  Do you notice a tendency to swing the leg from the outside of your leg or is there a connection from the inside?  Does movement start at that low level of the hip or is it happening a few inches higher? Explore: Move your hip joint.  Consider the roundness of the head of your femur and the concavity of the acetabulum (the place where it articulates with the pelvis).  Your hip is a true ball and socket joint which means it has a wide repertoire of movement possibilities.  Notice what it feels like to explore the actions of the leg as it moves free in the hip socket. Appreciate: The average person uses that pure femoral flexion action (aka: bending the hip) countless times in a day.  Taking the time to better sense your own movement will not only give you a better respect for what your body can do—it is also a great step toward more efficient and graceful movement. Ready to take fitness, alignment, and exercise to the next level? Listen up. As a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist I know how vital the right kind of movement is to our health–to our very DNA. My ebook, Live Pain Free, provides an overview of the same movement approach I used while working with individual clients. The 60 exercises you’ll find in my book will help you improve your mobility, reduce chronic pain, and bring joy back to your movement. Trust me, you can’t afford to live with pain, and this guide will help you rediscover your body’s natural patterns in as little as ten to fifteen minutes a day. Do your body a favor and click here to check it out.   Check out the next post where I will discuss sitting, “posture,” and our spines!    

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