Saturday, October 22, 2011

Recipe: Yummy Hot Chocolate

It's beginning to get cold out! I love it! Almost time to curl up by the fire with a good book and  a yummy cup of hot chocolate!  Here's a really, really yummy cup of hot chocolate that is possibly the best you've ever had.  The best part is that it is a lot healthier than the powdered junk you buy at the grocery store.  This recipe gets Shane's enthusiastic seal of approval!

Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
Granulated Stevia Powder
Coconut Oil
Whole Milk

1) Heat 1 tbsp cocoa, 1 tbsp Stevia powder, and 1 tbsp coconut oil and mix until well-blended.
2) Add 1 1/2 cups of milk
3) Heat and mix until desired temperature

Optional variation:
Use honey instead of stevia and coconut oil.  I've never tried this, but I suspect it would work even better than the stevia and coconut oil.  Next time I buy honey, I'll try this and let you know how it works!  As always, go for local, unpasteurized honey for optimal nutritional value!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Milk Allergy :(

A few months ago, I slowly began realizing that Owen is allergic or sensitive to dairy.  This was a major bummer to me, because I am a big believer in consuming lots of raw diary!  We love raw milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt in our house.  He ate dairy at every meal.  The kid LOVES milk. 

How did I realize he was having problems with milk?  It's been kind of a long process.  Owen has had eczema for years, and it started getting worse at the beginning of the summer.  He started getting in his hair and all down his back.  It was keeping him up at night because it itched so badly.  I started giving him apple cider vinegar and coconut oil for the rash, which worked really well, but it wasn't really addressing the problem.  I also started noticing that he had weird emotional reactions after drinking milk.  He'd get super hyper and then crash into tantrums and violence that would not stop for like an hour.  I had no idea that you can have emotional reactions to foods you are allergic too, but it was like I was giving Owen a drug every time he drank a glass of milk.

I was very reluctant to cut out milk, because I was worried about him missing out on all that milk has to offer (calcium, fat, and saturated and omega-3 fats, among other things).  But, once I finally did it, his eczema went away almost over night.  He still has a little on his bottom, but 95% of it is completely gone.  If I really eliminated all dairy (cheese, butter, and baked goods with dairy in them), I bet that last little bit of eczema would be gone too.  To fill the big whole in his diet where I cut milk out, he's started eating a lot more eggs and I've been making soup with homemade stock several times a week, which is an excellent source of calcium.

Once I had identified the problem, I started researching allergies online.  I found some amazing things.  I learned how allergies are formed and how you can reverse and heal your allergies.  It's some pretty incredible stuff!  In my next post, I'll share some of the information I uncovered!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What We're Learning This Week - 10/2 and 10/9

What We're Learning This Week

The Week of 10/2/11
  • Lowercase Letters and the letter P
  • Pumpkin
  • The Color Orange
  • Noah's Ark 
  • 11, 12, 13
  • Moses - "I am with you always" Matthew 28:20

We had a great time with pumpkins and the color orange this week.  Owen is really picking up on his colors very well.  For the first half of the week, he called anything that was orange "pumpkin", like it was a color.  It was pretty funny.  But, he finally figured out that the color is "orange" and a pumpkin is orange.  
We also made this craft:

(This isn't a pic of the one Owen made, but the picture from the website.  Click the picture to be directed to the link.)

Owen loved it!  He wanted to peel the seeds off after we glued them off and do it again, which got me thinking that you could easily make a similar craft with different colored beads and various pictures for him to play with.  

The Week of 10/9/11
  • Lowercase Letters and the letter G
  • Pumpkins (cont.)
  • The Color Green
  • Abraham called
  • 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
  • Moses - "I am with you always" Matthew 28:20

Owen had such a good time with pumpkins this week, I decided to continue it a couple more weeks. I found a couple more crafts on Pinterest (gah, I love, love, LOVE pinterest!).  Here's a couple (click on the picture to take you to the link):

I don't have other great plans for the week.  Guess I'll just kind of wing it.  I may take Owen to the pumpkin patch this week, or we may wait until we get back from vacation next week.  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I'm a Hypocrite

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a real food hypocrite. I've been on this real food journey for 2 1/2 years now, and while we've made lots of improvements to our diet, there are still areas where we are not perfect or even are in direct contradiction to what I believe it best.  It's hard to kick all the bad habits!  So, here are some of the ways where I am hypocritical.

1) Conventional, store-bought butter and cheese- 
Now, while we did make the switch from margarine, I rarely buy grass-fed butter.  Why? It's like $10 for 2 lbs.  That's just really, really steep for our budget.  And, we use a lot of butter.  My eventual plan is to start making it myself.  The good cheese is also extremely expensive.  I know many would disagree, but a good quality grocery-store cheese is still better than no cheese, or fake cheese (like American sliced cheese :P).

2) Sweets - 
I love sweets, especially cookies and ice cream.  While I try to make the cookies from scratch and use better ingredients and I buy the best quality ice cream I can afford, it's still not great.  I really shouldn't eat anything with sugar in it at all.  I wish I had an ice cream maker.  I'd make some of the real stuff!  Not only do I eat sweets, but I eat too many of them as well. :(

3) Frozen Veggies -
We buy nearly all of our fruit fresh and local when possible, but I usually end up buying frozen veggies.  Next to local, fresh-frozen veggies seem to be the next best thing.  And, it's really convenient with two little kids.  I still buy some fresh and local, but at any given time I have several bags of frozen vegetables ready to be used in a pinch.

4) Diet Coke (or Diet Dr Pepper) - 
This is, by far, my worst habit.  And, I drink a lot of it! It's so, so bad, I know, but I just can't seem to give it  up. I know I'm going to get brain cancer.  I know it messes up my body.  I just have a love for it.  I need to stop.  I plan to replace the evil coke in my diet with water kefir.

5) Grocery Store Meat - 
We eat grass-fed beef and wild fish, but I have had a hard time finding good chicken or pork.  I buy the best I can find, but it's still not the best. I also buy some of the pre-marinated pork tenderloins.  Blasphemous, I know.

We've made lots of improvements, mostly homecooked, made-from-scratch meals, sourdough bread, good meats and fats, raw milk, water kefir, lots of veggies, cod liver oil, etc.  Transitioning to a real food diet can be overwhelming, and a lot of people get scared off.  Every change you make in your diet is an improvement and will better your health.  It isn't all or nothing.  We still have plenty room for improvement, but I know that each and every change we've made is better for us and our kids.

So, here's my challenge.  Make a small change today.  Switch to butter.  Cook a meal from scratch this week.  Buy whole milk instead of skim.  Buy nuts instead of chips at the store.  Every small change you make will make a small difference.  All those small changes add up to a lot!