Category Archives: education

5 ways to bless your family titles

5 Ways to Bless Your Family, Your Budget and Your Community

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5 ways to bless your family titles

 

Take This Short Quiz

  1. What is the number one thing you can do as a family to improve your general health?
  1. What is a good way to connect with your teenagers?
  1. What is the most important thing the average person can do to make the American food system healthier and more sustainable?
  1. Name one thing can an individual do to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on a fluctuating, unstable economy?
  1. What activity can you do with young children to engage them in learning concepts in math and science even when they don’t usually enjoy those subjects?

The answers:

  1. cook 2. cook 3. cook 4. cook 5. cook

 Cooking vs Watching Cooking

Two people (both grandmothers!) in the last week have told me “I don’t cook!” Way too many people in my classes over the years have admitted they rarely or never cook. In fact Americans spend less time on average cooking each day than people in any other country! The average time spent cooking per day (not per meal, per DAY!) is 27 minutes – less time than it takes to watch The Next Food Network Star (what is up with this fascination of watching people cook? More people watch cooking than are actually doing cooking, and then when the show is over they still don’t have anything to eat!)

 It’s Healthier

Cooking at home is healthier. When you don’t cook you make yourself vulnerable to the big corporations who make all the ready-to-eat food you have to buy. Unless you spend big bucks to buy your meals from a local restaurant where the chef grows his own organic vegetables and carefully sources his ingredients from local farms, you are most likely eating a lot more refined sugar, industrial oils, and highly processed salt than you normally would if you cooked your own food. Corporations also use all kinds of chemical ingredients not available to the home cook. These chemical ingredients make their food last longer and look fresher than it actually is.

 Teens Like It

Cooking (and eating) together connects you as a family. Teens are social creatures, and they are also usually hungry creatures. :) Bringing them into the kitchen to prepare a meal is a way to get them to interact and be social with everyone who is involved in the meal preparation process. The shared experiences can build family bonds. Eating together a meal you have prepared gives a safe place for conversation, listening and sharing together.

 It Connects Us

Cooking connects you with your food and its origins. We were making homemade pizza as part of a Sunday school lesson and I had brought fresh oregano, parsley, and basil from my garden to use. One young 5th grade girl, already surprised that you could actually make a pizza, freaked out saying “why do you have weeds? How do you know those are safe to eat?” I said, “I grew these. They came from my garden. Where do you think food comes from?” and she replied, “I don’t know. The store has it.”

When we cook at home from fresh ingredients we are connecting in a small way to the rest of the community that grows and raises our food. We gain a new perspective on food when we see a list of raw ingredients get transformed into a meal. Growing something that you eat, or buying directly from a farmer, can bring even stronger connections. Real food doesn’t come in neat boxes, shrink wrapped for microwaving. Buying pre-prepared, pre-wrapped meals separates us from the reality of real food. Cooking at home from fresh ingredients creates more demand for real food while reducing the waste and high cost inherent in the processed food system.

 It’s Budget Friendly

Knowing how to cook gives you power over your budget. The illusion of the “value meal” keeps many people trapped eating expensive yet unhealthy food. Being able to cook for yourself means you can eat higher quality ingredients for less money. It means you can cook a little extra to freeze for later or to eat the next day for lunch instead of eating out. Knowing how to cook helps you be more frugal like when you use the bones for broth, leftover vegetables for soup, or freeze over ripe fruit for smoothies.

 It’s Educational

Teaching your children to cook opens up a new world for them. Measuring and counting, doubling a recipe, figuring out what makes bread rise, what makes pickles sour, seeing liquid cream transform into solid butter, comparing the taste of salt vs. sugar – all of this can bring math and science alive. Tactile experiences like kneading bread, cracking eggs, tearing lettuce, stirring batter, or chopping vegetables can be rewarding for busy little hands. And as your children grow and develop new skills in the kitchen you are giving them the gift of self-sufficiency for when they become adults.

Tell us your reasons for cooking! Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page!

6 Natural Strategies to Fight Off Flu Season

Ginger tea with lemon, honey, garlic for a healthy soothing detox drink

 

Flu season is here again…

And it will last from now through early spring.

An average year sees 5% to 20% of our population affected by the flu virus, depending on the severity of the year’s strain.

Influenza is caused by a highly contagious virus that typically infects us through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or eyes. Exposure to the virus can be airborne from a cough or sneeze — or it can come from touching a contaminated surface, such as a doorknob or telephone, and then touching your nose or mouth.

Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, aches, chills, and tiredness, and possibly a dry cough, sneezing, and sore throat.

If you find yourself sick with the flu, it’s important to know your enemy — the influenza virus — so you can defeat it.

Since it is a virus, not a bacteria, causing the infection, antibiotics won’t work.

Hygiene can play a major role in prevention since the virus spreads through coughing, sneezing, or touching an infected surface. However, antibacterial soap or gels won’t work!

Here are six strategies you can use at home ….[read more]

Homeopathy on Your Homestead

Homeopathy-on-Your-Homestead-Traditional-Cooking-School-GNOWFGLINS-main(This blog is featured in its entirety over at Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS where I also write monthly articles.)

What Is Homeopathy?

Home-ee-AH-pathee.

It isn’t herbal supplements, it isn’t vitamins, it isn’t magic.

Homeopathy, possibly the world’s fastest growing form of health care, is a form of medicine that has been part of the public healthcare systems of many nations and in use for over 200 years.

It was first used by physician Samuel Hahnemann when he became frustrated with the medical practices of his day (the late 1700s). He realized that things like bloodletting often did more harm than good, and gave up his medical practice to research and correct errors in medicine. He began reading and conducting studies on the principles of the Law of Similars.

At its simplest, homeopathy stimulates the body’s innate healing ability.

Read more….

Essential Oils in the Bible: Spikenard

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This post is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family with your purchases. 

How do you take medications? Pill, injection, inhaling, cream or ointment, or a patch are all common delivery systems for medications. They all, except for injection,  involved putting something into our mouth and digesting it, applying it to our skin, or breathing it into our lungs. Most people are careful with medications, but we should be just as careful with everything we put into or rub onto ourselves and our children. Our everyday personal care products can be sources of toxicity unless you make them yourself or choose wisely using something like Skin Deep.

This is why I love essential oils – they allow me to make personal care products that are actually healing, nourishing and uplifting. Which reminds me of something I learned during the Essential Oil Revolution summit, and then researched more in depth, about the essential oil spikenard which has been in use not only as a perfume but as medicine since ancient times.

Biblical application

In the Bible the book of John chapter 12 describes the beautiful and poignant event where Mary anoints the feet of Jesus with an entire pound of an extremely costly ointment of spikenard. John tells us she wiped his feet with her hair and the entire room was filled with the scent of the perfume.

Spikenard, in addition to being an expensive gift to give the Lord Jesus, had other amazing qualities giving even more worth to Mary’s gift. Spikenard has powerful relaxing properties and is commonly used to help those who are experiencing pain or loss. It helps to combat stress, reduce convulsions, give clarity to the mind and facilitate meditation. It is also anti-inflammatory and supports the cardiovascular system.

Dr. Josh Axe describes some key points of essential oil application on the body as being behind the ears, on the neck & abdomen, but also on the soles and tops of feet, as well as the upper back, the temples, and along spine. Mary’s anointing of Jesus’ feet was the perfect way to provide full the full benefit of her precious gift. It was also part of God’s perfect timing as this healing application came just prior to the very stressful period leading up to and including Christ’s crucifixion. Mary knew she loved her Lord and wanted to express her love with this costly gift, but she also blessed Him with the supporting properties of this ancient oil.

Use this oil at home

We can use essential oils at home to mediate stress and the stress reaction in our own bodies. Spikenard is part of the valerian family which is useful for relieving nervous tension, indigestion, and insomnia. Here are some ways to use spikenard at home:

  • add it to a fever-reducing cold compress
  • include it in homemade face creams to rejuvenate older skin
  • blend it into massage blends for sleep, relaxation and during trauma
  • massage the abdomen with it during menstruation
  • combine with lavender in a diffuser or inhaler for headaches and migraines

Be sure to use caution with spikenard as no more than 1% of any blend, also do not use in conjunction with homeopathic remedies as it may neutralize the remedy.

What are your favorite ways to use essential oils?

 

 

Mythbusting Ideas About Fat and Cholesterol and Wellness Wednesday

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I’ve started reading Grain Brain by neurologist David Perlmutter. The focus of the book is brain health. Have you ever heard that there’s a connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease? This book shows you that connection as well as many other lifestyle causes of neurological disease and dementia.

Grain Brain also lays out just what lifestyle choices people are making that can lead to developing Alzheimer’s disease. These include living with chronic high blood sugar levels (those in the “high normal” range) even without diabetes, eating too many carbohydrates (especially refined ones), trying to eat a low fat and low cholesterol diet, and having an undiagnosed sensitivity to gluten. Dr. Perlmutter says up to 40% of all people can’t properly process gluten.

Even if you have a family history of brain disease and Alzheimer’s or dementia you can turn the train around. But he says you have to bust a few myths first. The biggest myths you have to wrap your head around? 1- a low-fat/high-carb diet is good and 2- cholesterol is bad. According to the results of the Framingham Heart Study report from 2005 “people who had the highest cholesterol levels scored higher on cognitive tests than those with lower levels. Evidently there is a protective factor when it comes to cholesterol and the brain.” What most people don’t realize is that cholesterol is a building block for cell membranes and a critical brain nutrient necessary to fuel your neurons.

For more great information on cholesterol you can also read Jimmy Moore’s recent book, Cholesterol Clarity. I reviewed that book here.

Do you avoid fat? What have you always heard about cholesterol? How hard is it going to be to change your habits? Leave us a comment with your thoughts, and then check out the other posts here at Wellness Wednesday.

Wellness Wednesday starts here

Antibacterial Soap America’s April Fools and Wellness Wednesday

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Antibacterial Soaps – you find them everywhere. I’ve seen them in gas station bathrooms, hospitals, schools, friends’ homes, you name it – if there’s a high-traffic bathroom it’s likely to have antibacterial soap being dispensed. Marketed toward moms, especially those with small children, they are hyped as something that will protect us from horrible germs, especially colds and flu, and we will be much safer using them.
The truth is all that hype is just one big joke. Too bad it’s not an April Fool’s joke, unfortunately it’s real. Hand washing is a time-tested, centuries-old method for preventing the spread of disease. However it isn’t the soap that’s the most important part. The main mechanism for getting rid of germs? It’s the action of scrubbing your hands under running water for 20-30 seconds.
Soap helps get rid of actual dirt by mixing with the dirt and lifting it off your skin so it can wash down the drain. But the germs – those nasty viruses and bacteria you pick up from doorknobs, toilets, diapers and your own nose – those need good old fashioned scrubbing to get them off our hands.
Antibacterial soaps are actually harmful for several reasons. 1) They give us a false sense of security. We think that since we (or our kids) are using a medicated soap then we don’t have to worry if our hand washing technique is thorough enough. The truth is that colds and flu are caused by viruses which aren’t harmed at all by antibacterial soaps. 2) They are creating a bigger problem by encouraging antibiotic resistance.  We get in a panic over one case of ebola coming into the country and yet 23,000 people die every year from antibiotic resistant bacteria. The overuse of antibacterial substances is partly responsible for this serious problem.  3) The soap dispensers themselves are passing along more germs than were originally on people’s hands BEFORE they washed them!
Your best bet is to bring along your own clean container of plain soap, and use that with plenty of running water to scrub your hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday.
Now that you are well-informed on the subject of hand washing – take a look at all the other great posts on this week’s Wellness Wednesday!


Tips Good Cooks Know and Wellness Wednesday March 25

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tips good cooks know title
Everyone who transitions from the Standard American Diet to eating real food discovers there is a lot more happening in the kitchen. It can become overwhelming if you don’t know some of the tips and tricks to help you use your time in the kitchen wisely. These tips came from the Splendid Table podcast and professional chef Lynn Rossetto Kasper.

1. Clean up as you go

Don’t let dirty dishes pile up. Keep a sink full of hot, soapy water. Wash your knife and your bowls as you use them and put them away. This keeps down clutter and keeps your workspace clean.

2. Organize ahead of time

The French term sounds more posh – “mise en place” – which just means everything in its place. Run through the recipe you will be making, get out ingredients and equipment you will need, prep as much as possible including chopping vegetables and measuring spices, and only after this is done do you begin cooking. If you do this prep work you suddenly realize you look like a TV chef!

3. Use the largest cutting board you can find

You can’t have a cutting board that’s too big, only one that’s too small. 24″x30″ will give you plenty of room so your food doesn’t keep falling off.

4. Keep salt handy in an open pot or dish.

When you use your fingers to sprinkle the salt from high above your food it will cascade evenly and season your food thoroughly without too much or too little in one place. Plus this is another chance to let you look totally awesome and professional. :)

5. Keep frequently used items handy

Get a basket or tray and place items on it that you use with every meal. Salt, pepper, olive oil, butter and anything else in constant use. Keep this tray handy when you are cooking so you don’t have to search for anything. I buy multi-gallon tins of olive oil which wouldn’t fit on my counter so I decant some of it into a smaller dark glass bottle with a pour spout that fits nicely next to the salt and pepper.

6. Don’t throw out your scraps

At the risk of sounding like a hoarder, this is actually a secret flavor tip. High-end restaurant kitchens freeze vegetable peels, pan drippings, bones and carcasses and turn them into flavorful stocks and broths which will then become a fabulous sauce or soup. The key here is to remember these bits are in your freezer and make time later to use them.

7. Save great tasting fats

Butter, olive oil and coconut oil are wonderful. But you can also save the bacon grease left after you cook a pan of bacon. Trim extra fat from your grassfed beef, pork or lamb and freeze it in baggies until you have a pot full then render it into amazing lard or tallow. Excess skin and fat from chicken and duck can also be rendered down into great tasting cooking fat. You’ve spent the money to buy quality grassfed, free-range meat so be sure to get your money’s worth by using the high quality fat, too.

What are your best kitchen tips? Share them here in the comments, and be sure to check out the great link ups with today’s Wellness Wednesday.


Healthy Pregnancies: Looking at Epigenetics and the Difference a Healthy Lifestyle Makes

baby knowles watermark titlesThis is a guest post done for Kimi Harris of The Nourishing Gourmet who is taking some time off for maternity leave. Congratulations to the Harris family!

What if it were possible to press a genetic reset button? To wipe away something that has been plaguing generations of your family. To give your children and grandchildren a fresh new future. The key to finding this genetic reset button lies within the science of epigenetics, and then the application of some timeless wisdom.

This article is possibly one of the most exciting for me to write because this topic melds two fields about which I am passionate; these fields intrigue me and make me want to learn more and more and more. The first is the cutting edge field of science called epigenetics, and the second is the historically significant field of ancestral diets. “Cutting edge science combined with dusty old diet studies from 100 years ago or more? How can this possibly excite?” you ask. Well because when you link the new information with the old you have the ability to radically change families, to help parents give their children AND grandchildren the best health possible, in some cases to even save lives.

To read the rest of this article please go here….

This blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family with your purchases.

The Power of Essential Oils

This blog is for informational purposes. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family with your purchases.

power of essential oils titlesI know more and more moms who are using essential oils; they are making their way into more and more people’s lives. Used to be you could only find them in health food stores or online, but now they are popping up in drug stores, department stores and even theme park boutiques. Just because you can buy them in a store doesn’t mean they aren’t powerful. Your neighbor’s sister’s cousin may be selling essential oils to her playgroup, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be used without some wisdom and instruction.

Turn a bottle of aspirin, Tylenol or Advil around to the back and you can read an extensive list of instructions, warnings and side effects. Just because you can buy them just about anywhere from drugstores and grocery stores to airports, gas stations and hotel lobbies doesn’t mean they are ok to give to just anyone of any age in any amount. These common over-the-counter drugs are powerful and must be used as directed. That seems obvious – that’s why they have “child proof” caps right? The same is true for essential oils. They, too, come with cautions on the label and child-proof caps on top. This is because essential oils can be powerful tools to help us just like these OTC meds.

Stephanie Tallent, one of the owners of the wellness website BeeYoutiful, explained to me that some people are more sensitive to both the benefits and the side effects of essential oils. In particular pregnant women, babies and young children have specific dosing guidelines that should be followed when using the oils, especially if using them internally. Some oils are so strong they really shouldn’t be used with anyone younger than 13 years old. This is why Stephanie urges everyone who uses essential oils to make the effort to get educated about their use. Her company not only sells essential oils, but also offers quite a few free health resources.

Each essential oil contains on average about 100 different active components. These different compounds work in synergy with each other and with the compounds in other oils. This is why it is important to buy high quality pure essential oils. The cheap knock-offs aren’t going to have the right balance and quantity of active ingredients. Many essential oils are also adaptogens, meaning they instigate a reaction within the body to help it achieve a more balanced state. You won’t get that from artificial oils and perfume fragrances.  For optimum safety the majority of essential oils must be diluted before you rub them on your body or ingest them.

The bottom line is if you are going to use essential oils you need to respect their potency. There are so many tools available to anyone wanting to take control of their own health. The first line of strategy needs to be addressing the diet, cleaning it up and filling it with wholesome foods along with herbs and spices that support good health. Next in line would be supplements to target specific needs such as vitamins, amino acids or cod liver oil.  Essential oils will be more effective when you have a strong foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Then you may find you don’t need those OTC drugs and you can clean out your medicine cabinet to make room for more oils! table of strength comparison for various methods of personal careHow can you learn how to use essential oils safely? There are many books available that teach you about the different uses and safety guidelines. One I really like is Valerie Worwood’s book The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. Valerie has written many books on essential oils, she teaches certification courses and does research into their uses. In this book she gives practical instruction on how to use essential oils safely with any member of the family and in any room of the house, office and even the garden. There are also several online course available through Vintage Remedies for those who want to learn about the evidenced-based side of aromatherapy.

Tell us your favorite ways to use essential oils. Leave us a comment here or on our Facebook page!

 

 

8 Things You Can Do to Boost Your Immune System

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I covered two super ways to build and strengthen your immune system in this post and this one. Here are eight more ways to give your immune system what it needs to keep you well. All of these ten items are from Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and her ground-breaking book Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, Schizophrenia. Dr. Campbell-McBride is a pioneer in the field of gut, brain and immune system health.

1. Onions and garlic

Onions, garlic and other closely related foods like leeks, shallots and scallions, contain amazing nutrients that have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. They are also full of polyphenols, special nutritional compounds found in fruits and vegetables in addition to the more well-known vitamins and minerals. Garlic, according to The Herbal Home Remedy Book, garlic is one of nature’s best antibiotic and antiviral agents. Jo Robinson, author of Eating on the Wild Side, gives this important tip to maximize the nutrition we get from garlic: “ If you just chop, dice, slice or press that garlic, set it aside for 10 minutes before you expose it to heat. That garlic is producing all that allicin. When that reaction is complete, you can do whatever you want to it at that point. You can broil it, you can fry it and you get all of the allicin. It’s just press, rest for 10 minutes.”

2. Freshly Juiced Vegetables and Fruits

No juice boxes or bottles here, just the pure juice from fresh vegetables and fruits consumed as soon as they are extracted. Fresh juice contains all of the valuable enzymes and micronutrients that canning and pasteurizing destroy. Juicing makes the nutrition easier to digest, especially for anyone already suffering from digestive issues. It’s also easier to get a wider variety of vegetables in your diet when you combine less favorites ones with others that you really like. If you don’t have a juicer at home you can usually find fresh juice at many health food stores. Try mixing bitter greens, beets and celery with the sweeter flavors of apple or carrot and then add some spice with ginger, cilantro, lemon or lime. Boost the nutrient absorption even more by stirring in a little raw cream or coconut milk.

3.  Regular Consumption of Greens

Parsley, dill, cilantro, green onions, dandelion, kale, and many other strong tasting, dark green vegetables support the healthy functioning of our immune system organs. Healthy people are efficient at detoxing. It happens every night while we sleep. Our liver and pancreas kick into detox mode, and by the time we wake up these organs have filtered out all the bad stuff and sent it on its way out. Leafy greens, especially those bitter greens listed here, offer just the right ingredients to give the liver and pancreas a boost so they can do their job even better.  Raw, cooked or juiced – be sure to include a little butter, bacon fat or other fat to help absorb the vitamins.

4. Fermented Foods and Probiotic Supplements

Maintaining a healthy gut flora is super important for good digestion, clarity of mental function, and supporting the immune system. The majority of our immune system resides in our gut, so having healthy levels of beneficial bacteria can give us more energy and help us to manage stress appropriately. Fermented foods have been an important part of every culture all throughout history. Fermentation preserves food while at the same time making it more nutritious. Add sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, kvass, kefir, kombucha, and lacto-fermented pickles and vegetables to your daily diet. When you can’t get fermented foods probiotic supplements can step in and help. There are also certain strains of probiotics that can help target certain conditions and provide therapy to aid specific concerns.

5. Contact with Animals

Have your kids been begging you for a pet? It’s probably a good thing. Several studies link increased immune system strength to growing up with pets in the home. Having dogs, cats or even a horse can help us in many ways including lowered blood pressure, stress relief, combating depression and even aiding Alzheimer’s patients.

6. Swimming in Unpolluted Natural Lakes, Rivers and the Ocean

When you need to disinfect germs in your bathroom toilet or dirty laundry you often reach for bleach. The active ingredient chlorine is designed to kill germs, but it doesn’t distinguish between infectious germs and beneficial bacteria. So why do we want to spend hours swimming in a big chlorinated swimming pool? Chlorinated swimming pools have a strong effect on asthma and respiratory allergies. In fact, chlorinated pools have a five times stronger effect than secondhand cigarette smoke. Contrastingly, swimming in the ocean is restorative and healing helping you to detoxify naturally and take stress away from your immune system. Similar benefits are found to a lesser extent with swimming in natural, unpolluted lakes and streams. If you have a backyard swimming pool consider switching your chlorine filter for one using ozone or ultraviolet light, or copper or zinc filters. There are also safer “shock” treatments using baking soda rather than chlorine.

7. Physical Activity in the Fresh Air

Exercise can create at least an additional 50% boost in your immune system’s chance of preventing cancer, and can cause improved function in your entire metabolism.  Doing this exercise outdoors gives you the added benefit of breathing in clean air and taking a break from indoor pollutants lurking in carpets, furniture, cleaners and dirty ventilation systems.

8. Exposure to Sunlight and Sensible Sunbathing

Our greatest source of vitamin D lies in our body’s ability to create Vitamin D in our skin using cholesterol during exposure to the sun.  Let me repeat this – vitamin D is made from cholesterol in our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunlight. With all of our modern cholesterol fears and manic sunscreen use is it any wonder we have a rise in vitamin D deficiency and all of the vitamin D-related health conditions including heart disease, mental illness, auto-immune disease, osteoarthritis, cancer and high blood pressure?!  According to Dr. Campbell-McBride “The skin cancer, blamed on sunshine, is not caused by the sun…it is a fact that skin cancer (just like any other cancer) is caused by our modern processed foods and our modern toxic lifestyles. Trans fats from vegetable oils and margarine and other toxins stored in the skin are a particular culprit.”  Being outdoors year round is important for all living creatures, human and animal. So much has been written about the importance of vitamin D. Here is a great place to read more.

How many of these tips do you already practice? Which are your favorite? Which are you going to try to incorporate next? Let us know in the comments or visit our Facebook page and share with us there.

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This article was shared on Wellness Wednesday!