Category Archives: Product Review

Why I Like the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2016

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It’s that time of year again – the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2016 is now available!!

I love these Ultimate Bundle deals. I’ve purchased a couple of them, such a steal for the price, and I have had fun learning so much about all kinds of topics from essential oils and herbal remedies to DIY projects for my home!

There are products in this year’s bundle for everyone from newlyweds to families to folks just wanting to learn how to get and stay healthy.

Some of the items that really caught my eye:

Essential Oils Revolution 1 from Dr Eric Z: The EOR1 was an amazing resource of interviews from top experts in the Essential Oil field. I listened to almost every one of them last year and learned so much! If you buy this separately it will cost you $97, but it is included in the low bundle price.

Nutrition Reset by Dietitian Cassie: Dietician Cassie is  one of the nutrition experts associated with one of my favorite podcasts, Livin’ La Vida Low Carb Show. She is a registered dietitian who knows all about real food, healthy fats, and how to plan meals to get and stay healthy.

Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism by Maria Emmerich at Keto AdaptedMaria Emmerich has a beautiful cookbook she wrote with Jimmy Moore from Livin La Vida Low Carb. She has amazing low carb/Paleo recipes.

Jumpstart Your Urban Farm by Greg Peterson at Urban Farm: Urban farming (I like to call it MetroFarming) is a topic near and dear to my heart. I’ve been incorporating more edible landscaping and small garden plots and want to learn more!

Planning & Designing the Family Food Garden by Isis Loran at Family Food Garden: Isis gives you printables and design ideas to get gardening at your house.

Mastering the Art of Baking with Coconut Flour by Starlene Stewart at GAPS Diet Journey: Starlene has had a super-informational podcast and website, and she has hands-on experience with healing herself and her family using GAPS and other dietary strategies.

Autism Diet Success Workshop by Julie Matthews at Nourishing Hope: I love to hear about successful strategies to reverse autism. The mainstream says it can’t be done, but we know better! Julie Matthews’ guide is another great resource for families with special needs.

3 Ways to Upgrade Your Kombucha Tea by Dave Lindenbaum at Get Kombucha: I first heard about Dave’s website from his crazy videos about kombucha back about five years ago. He has a big site with lots of information and equipment.

 The sale begins 8am Eastern on Wednesday, September 21st and runs six days to Monday, September 26th at 11:59pm Eastern.

The price for the entire bundle of 58 ebooks & printables, 25 ecourses, videos & audios, and11 bonuses is just $29.97 for PDF format or $39.97 for eReader format.

If you purchase by Thursday, September 22nd at 11.59pm you can get a free eReader upgrade.

The bonuses include some amazing products:

Bonuses – free 1oz bag of Get Kombucha’s custom tea blend, free Mrs Meyer’s laundry supplies, free eye shadow trio from Orglamix, free toothpowder, free maca powder, free muscle balm stick and lip balm, gift certificates from Bloom Naturals and Perfect Supplements, discounts from Trilight Health, and free digital packages from Meal Garden and Experience Life

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2016 is only available for a short window of time. Order here. buttonplusicons


3 Better Ways to Grow Your Own Food

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3 Better Ways to Grow Your Own Food titles

Here in Florida you need way more than just a green thumb (or two, or green hands and feet) to grow much of anything very successfully. Even the weeds have a hard time in the summer when it’s 95+ degrees, rains absolutely every day, and even when it’s not raining the humidity is still 100%. The average person who wants to subsidize the family groceries with homegrown vegetables, herbs and salads needs a little help to be successful here. If you don’t live in Florida you probably still have your own challenges. That’s why using one or more of these three ideas will most likely give you a much better chance to be able to grow super-fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs for your family.

1. Aeroponics

After 5 years of in-ground gardening Ralph and Gail were tired of battling the sandy soil in their Orlando-area backyard. Frustrated with the minimal results even with maximum effort they decided to look into buying a Tower Garden. Their first one was purchased second-hand from a friend and they decided to do a side-by-side test – Tower Garden vs. Square Foot Garden.  After that growing season they were convinced to buy several more Tower Gardens!  In fact they were so successful they decided to start a small home business growing herbs and leafy greens to sell to one of our local farm food delivery services!

tower garden ralph parlsey and chives titlesRalph does details and so he learned all there is to learn about it. He explained that with 2 to 3 Tower Gardens you could grow enough food for a family of four for a year with about 1-2 hours per week of maintenance. One nice thing about the work with a Tower Garden is it doesn’t include weeding or tilling. Ralph also said that within 15 months of use you can make back your purchase price in the savings you’ll get from not having to buy organic produce at the store.

tower garden ralph titlesTower Garden uses state-of-the-art NASA technology to grow plants without soil. The technique, called aeroponics, is a variation of hydroponics. A 20-gallon reservoir at the bottom of the tower holds water and nutrient solution that is circulated throughout giving the roots of the plants a nutrient-water-oxygen bath. Tower Garden research says the plants grow 30% faster this way so you get bigger plants and a faster harvest. The only thing you can’t grow in a Tower Garden are root vegetables or extremely large plants like trees. Even vining plants can be supported with a trellis that hooks onto the tower.  Total cost for a Tower Garden System is $525 (wheels additional) and the Nutrient Mineral Blend is $40.

2. Vermicomposting

Do you know how to turn 600 lbs of garbage into 120 lbs of rich, fertile soil perfect for any plant? According to Bernie Moro, one of the owners of Our Vital Earth, the answer is vermicomposting! In fact since they’ve started keeping track on their own farm they have kept 776 tons of waste out of the landfills and converted it into useful products that increase soil productivity.

worm cafe titlesVermicomposting uses a special species of earthworm (Eisendia Fetida) to transform vegetable and fruit scraps, newspaper, junk mail and even dryer lint into worm castings which make the perfect growing medium for plants of all kinds. Just one pound of worms can eat five pounds of garbage every week. They increase and multiply allowing you to reduce your household landfill contribution while at the same time increasing the fertility and health of any plant growing in soil. Use the worm castings with potted houseplants, outdoor containers, garden beds, flower beds, and around trees and shrubs. Add a handful to each new planting hole in the garden.  Our Vital Earth also supplements with a volcanic grit (worms need grit for their gizzards just like chickens) that adds 77 trace minerals and elements to the finished soil. But fertile soil isn’t the only by-product of vermicomposting. You can make a liquid fertilizer called “worm tea” by watering your worm beds with non-chlorinated water and collecting the liquid that filters through. This worm tea is way cool because it’s not only full of nutrients for the plants it is also probiotic (not for people, for plants!) so it helps naturally control fungus, insects and plant diseases. It also repopulates soil that has been depleted with over use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

worm cafe chinese cabbage titlesTo vermicompost at home you need worms and a place for them to live. Our Vital Earth sells these all-in-one Worm Cafes that allow you to keep your worms safe and happy, gives them room to grow, and also make it simple to collect the worm tea to use each week when you water your plants. Having composting worms allows you to garden in less-than-ideal soil and still grow healthy food without chemicals, insecticides and fungicides. What a great way to clean up your trash, and build your soil!  Total cost for a Worm Cafe is $130 with a pound of worms an additional $35.

3. Two Techniques in One System

I think this idea is brilliant – the vertical design and small footprint of a tower combined with the composting and fertilizing capabilities of vermicomposting all in one system – that’s what you get with the Garden Tower2 Project. This system allows you to plant up to 50 individual plants (or add two additional layers for 70 plants) including slimmer root vegetables like turnips, carrots and radishes, in just 4 square feet of space. The kitchen scraps go into the central compost tube in the top of the tower. This feeds the worms and then when you water the tower the nutrients from the worms flow into the surrounding soil within the tower. Water collected at the bottom includes the valuable worm tea. When the compost tube gets full you empty the newly produced garden soil from the tube and use it to plant more vegetables into the sides of the tower.

Just like the Tower Garden above, the Garden Tower2 Project is compact in design and can be used in smaller spaces where a traditional garden wouldn’t fit. Garden Tower2 has a built-in ball bearing system that allows you to rotate the planting tower to take advantage of the available sun. It also comes with the ability to add caster wheels or permanently secure the base to a rooftop for added stability. Total cost for a Garden Tower 2 planting tower is $359, but Well Fed Family readers can get $10 off with the coupon code: WFFGT at checkout.

Don’t forget to order your worms to go in the Garden Tower2′s central tube! You can get those from Our Vital Earth shipped priority to your door.

garden tower 2 photo 1 titlesgarden tower 2 photo 2 titlesWhat are your garden plans for this year? Do you want to grow more of your own food? Tell us about it in the comment section or share a picture of your garden with us on our Facebook page!



Smartphone Apps for Foodies

shopping guide appThere are thousands of apps out there for smartphone users. Games, social media, tools, light sabers – but I really like the apps that help me be a smarter shopper, be a better steward of my resources, or make healthier choices for my family. I’ve compiled a list of food and health-related apps to get the discussion rolling. To download one just type the app name into your phone’s app store search box.  If you have one you particularly like please add it to the comments section below!

“Cooking” by Portable Knowledge – available for iPhone and Android FREE:  no recipes here, just lots of useful information for cooking. This app gives you measurement conversions like how many teaspoons are in a Tablespoon or how many cups in a pint. It also gives amounts such as how many banana slices in one cup, and ingredient substitutions in case you find you’re out of buttermilk but still want to make those muffins. It also gives definitions for common cooking terms and ingredients.

“Meal Planning & Grocery List” by Food on the Table                                                                              – available for iPhone and Android. FREE: this app helps you make a weekly menu and build your grocery list using recipes from websites or your favorites. It is linked to major grocery chains and allows you to shop based on sales in your area.

“Healthy Out” by HealthyOut – available for iPhone. FREE:  this app helps you find local dining out choices according to your nutrition and dietary needs. You can search low-carb, gluten-free and vegetarian as well as Paleo-friendly restaurants. Of course there’s the usual searches for Italian or other cuisines, and also a nutrition information section for popular restaurant dishes.

“Non-GMO Project Shopping Guide” by Non-GMO Project – available for iPhone and android. FREE: this app is a searchable database of all products receiving Non-GMO verified certification. There is also a listing of common crops and common food ingredients containing GMO contamination, and some history and background information on the non-GMO movement.

“ShopNoGMO” by Jeffrey Smith – available for iPhone. FREE: this app is more than just a database; it allows you to personalize with lists of your favorite non-GMO brands. There’s an FAQ section plus tips for avoiding GMOs while dining out. Find hidden sources of GMO in the ingredient database and learn ways to talk to friends and family about the dangers of GMO.

“Find Real Food” by Real Food Mobile, LLC – available for iPhone (android coming later this year) FREE: this app is the electronic version of the annual Shopping Guide for the Weston A Price Foundation. The paper version has grown so large over the years that an electronic version was needed to keep it portable. Using a “good-better-best” scale, this shopping guide lists recommended items in 30 searchable categories including eggs, dairy, seafood, meats, vegetables, nuts, fats and oils, cultured foods and breads. Use this app to make good choices at the grocery store and to find online or mail-order sources of nutrient dense real food. There’s a place to add your own suggestions. The database will be updated frequently. It also allows you to share favorite brands on Facebook and add your own comments and ratings to products you buy and enjoy.

“Fooducate” by Fooducate, Ltd. – available for iPhone and Android. FREE for the basic version but $14.99/year for the “pro” and “gluten & allergies” versions:  this app allows you to scan the barcode on a product and receive an analysis of the nutrition information and ingredients. It also give you a rating from A+ to D-.  The FREE basic version alerts you to things like high fructose corn syrup, MSG, trans fats, artificial sweeteners and additives & preservatives. The premium versions also include GMO information.  (I’m disappointed with Fooducate because the GMO info used to be part of the basic, now they are charging extra for it rather than helping the non-GMO movement by keeping that info more easily available to everyone.) Other premium versions can also alert you to specific allergens such as gluten, soy or lactose.

“Seafood Watch” by Monterey Bay Aquarium – available for iPhone and Android. FREE: this app allows you to make educated seafood choices at the grocery store and dining out. Sort by “best choice”, “good alternative” and “avoid” categories, you can use the GPS function to find regional guides for your location. Use this app to purchase sustainably caught seafood of all kinds. Add your own discoveries to the database when you find shops or restaurants selling sustainable seafood.

“Skin Deep” by Environmental Working Group – available for iPhone and Android. FREE: this app isn’t about food, but it is about keeping you healthy.  Use Skin Deep at the store to scan barcodes on your personal care products and receive green/yellow/red hazard ratings as well as ingredient lists.  Using this app can help you avoid toxic and carcinogenic chemicals and make safer choices for yourself and your family. Everything from shampoo and toothpaste to make-up and deodorant can be found in this often-updated app.

Use the comment section below to add your favorite food or health-related app. I’d love to hear from you and how you use your smartphone to make shopping easier. I’m not receiving anything from any of these app producers – I’m just interested in learning more!                             seafood watch app

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Give-Away!

The Contest is now closed! Thanks to all who participated!                                                                        The winner is Trish B.! We will be contacting you soon, so keep an eye out for the email!


Well Fed Family is happy to announce our first give-away contest! A big thank you goes to Tropical Traditions for sponsoring this event!  One lucky reader will win a 32oz. jar of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.  To read our review go here. To learn more about virgin coconut oil go here. To find out more uses for virgin coconut oil go here

To enter the contest here’s what you do: First of all visit the Tropical Traditions website and subscribe to their newsletter here.  Then come back here and leave a comment below telling us you did.  The contest runs from now until Thursday December 19th, 2013. After that we will select one person at random to win! We will contact you if you are the winner and you will receive a free 32oz. jar directly from Tropical Traditions!

For more great recipes and ideas for using coconut oil and other delicious real foods please visit Well Fed Family on Facebook, Twitter (@wellfedfamily), You Tube and Pinterest as well as using the menus on this page to see everything Well Fed Family has to offer.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.





Product Review: Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

We’ve been using coconut oil for a half dozen years or more here at Well Fed Family.  Amy was introduced to Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil and then she shared it with me. We were both already transitioning from the Standard American Diet to a more real foods/traditional diet, but then Christmas season arrived and we realized our favorite ginger cookie recipe was now off-limits since its main ingredient was Crisco! Amy had the brilliant idea of substituting the coconut oil in place of the Crisco – it worked and we were able to save the Christmas cookies! We’ve since learned that coconut oil is a great fat for anyone following a Weston A Price Foundation, GAPS, SCD or Paleo type of diet.

Now we use coconut oil for dozens and dozens of different things.  That is why I was so glad to get the opportunity to write a review of the Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut gold_label_virgin_coconut_oil_32ozOil.  When the quart jar arrived at our house I opened it right up and got busy.  I like having smoothies for breakfast several times a week and always add a tablespoon or more of coconut oil to the mixture. Whenever I pop popcorn I always use coconut oil, in fact I’ve even convinced our church to make the switch to coconut oil in their big movie theater-style popper. (1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup popcorn, 2 Tblsp sea salt into the heater).  The kids like the taste and I’m happier that they are using a heat-stable oil that isn’t full of GMOs!  We popped some popcorn with the Gold Label Coconut Oil and had family movie night. Everyone scarfed up the popcorn! Then I made a couple dozen homemade peanutbutter cups. I peanutbutter cupsuse coconut oil in the mixture to give it a creamy texture, plus I like that even the picky eaters in my family will eat them up – it’s a good way to get more coconut oil into them! Everyone loved the Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil peanut butter cups, and I had a hard time making sure there were enough left to photograph and show you.  Instead of highly refined, rancid vegetable oils for stir-frying I use coconut oil because it can take the heat without oxidizing. It also tastes great especially when you make Thai-seasoned recipes. I also can’t neglect to tell you how yummy sweet potatoes are when they are roasted in coconut oil!

I didn’t stop in the kitchen, however, I took the Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil around the rest of the house, too. I mixed up 3 Tblsp of TTGLVCO with 15 drops each of coconut oil face lotionchamomile and carrot seed essential oils for my daily facial moisturizer. I also filled up a small 2oz jar with just the coconut oil to use on the rest of my body. I use it daily after showering for a body lotion AND as a deodorant so I can avoid the carcinogenic chemicals and fragrances so often found in commercial skin products.  I even rub a little bit of it into my hair to condition it and de-frizz.  I have also found coconut oil to be great after too much sun at the beach, which happens at least once a year to us here in Florida.

Other areas you’ll find coconut oil at our houses? Amy also uses her Tropical Traditions in the baby’s room. It works on baby’s skin, especially on the diaper area as a natural diaper cream. You can also rub it all over baby in place of baby lotions.   I also like to mix it with essential oils and use it as a relaxing massage oil to help my husband and kids fall to sleep more easily. The smell of coconut oil mixed with lavender and other essential oils is quite pleasant.

I also recommend eating Tropical Traditions Gold Label by the spoonful if you are trying to cut out sweets. It tastes good, I like it frozen for a little crunchy texture, and helps you feel full and cuts the sugar cravings.

Several years ago I read Virgin Coconut Oil, the book written by Tropical Traditions founder Brian Shilhavy, and learned about how they make their oils. Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is a wet-milled coconut oil, meaning the oil is extracted from the fresh coconut meat without drying it first. Wet-milling is decidedly low-tech and also low-temp; this extraction technique has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. This is one of the things I like about the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil, that there is minimal heat used during production of this oil. I also like that the coconuts are certified USDA organic and are used within 48 hours of harvesting. Additionally I like that the harvesting and processing is done by a cooperative of small family farms in the Philippines giving steady work and fair wages to support these hard-working people.  I’m also a big fan of unrefined foods – especially unrefined fats and oils. The Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is unrefined, unbleached and retains the flavor of the coconut.

Due to FTC regulations regarding product reviews I can’t list any of the remarkable health benefits to using coconut oil. Maybe I will make that a separate blog post! In any case I encourage you to do your own research into the many areas where people are using coconut oil in the health, nutrition and medical fields. I see mention of coconut oil more and more frequently in the mainstream news and hear more and more people talking about it. I definitely plan on continuing to use it! If you’d like to see a video about the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil you can watch it here. 

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product give away in return for the free product.