healing cuisine logo

healing cuisine logo

Monday, August 29, 2011

7 Tips to Raise Baby Green on a Budget

With a pregnancy comes the realization that babies are expensive.  But is that really true?

Since Adam and Eve, people have been having babies and it didn't seem to pinch their pocket books with families of 10, sometimes even 20 children.  In my opinion, even today, having a baby doesn't mean you have to kiss your money goodbye.  Green moms are way ahead of the curve when it comes to raising baby on the cheap.  The old saying applies to “stuff” we accumulate or think we need when raising children… “Use it Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without”.  There is no reason we need to fall victim to the marketing hype that declares we NEED all the latest baby gadgets, equipment, body and health care products, and toys. Here are my top 7 tips to raise baby green… and cheap!

Buy Used – Check out yards sales, thrift stores, consignment stores, and CraigsList.com to buy baby items like clothing, stroller/car seat, books, and toys.  While yes, organic clothing is certainly worth it, the benefit of used clothing is that it has been sufficiently washed so that pesticide residue is no longer an issue.  Buying used saves you money, but also energy resources used to make new clothing.  Babies don’t need expensive outfits -- they can’t read the label to know if it's name brand or not.  We were blessed to be given almost all of our baby items from friends at church and family.  Ask around, you never know what people are happy to give away.  And when you're done with your items, consider continuing the giving circle for a family in need or selling at a baby consignment store to keep the clutter out of your home.

Extended Breastfeeding
– Why buy expensive formula when you have milk on tap?  It's the healthiest food you could ever give your child and it is FREE!  And while you are at it, don’t rush solids.  There is no reason to start your 4 month old baby on solid baby food, as the mainstream "what to expect when…" books are advising.  I recommend waiting until at least 6 months.  We'll probably be waiting until around 9 months as baby's teeth will have come in by that time, signifying their digestive tract is mature enough to process solid foods.  Conventional medicine says that waiting to introduce solids can help prevent food allergies, too.  And feel proud to extend breastfeeding past the 1 year mark!  Two, three, even four years of breastfeeding will not only save you food money in the long run, but will supply your child with immune boosting milk every feed and aid in bonding with your child thru the toddler years.

Wear Your Baby - Investing in a good baby carrier or wrap can save money in the long run.  When you choose to wear your baby you can often forgo a bouncy seat, rocking swing, or other device meant to entertain your baby so you can be hands free.  You would be surprised how much you can get done while wearing a baby in a wrap!  And (notice the pattern) it helps you to bond with your child thru skin-to-skin contact.  Modern "stuff" does nothing to help you and your child form a deep attachment.  Slings and wraps have been used for thousands of years by many different cultures.

Cloth Diapers – Deciding to go cloth can mean a hefty initial investment in diapers, but it also means a large cost savings in the long run.  To keep costs low, use pre-fold diapers and diaper covers.  Another option is to buy used.  There is a HUGE market for used cloth diapers on Facebook and eBay.  Google cloth diaper forums.  They're out there!  Doing it this way enables you to try dozens of different diaper types to see what ones you like best.  Many moms are willing to trade, too, so you don't have to shell out any cash, just ship the items you are trading to each other.  And if you're worried about the laundry, believe me, it won't be that bad.  Baby is still on the way for us, but we've talked to dozens of moms about this and it just means an added 1-2 loads of dump and go laundry per week, which costs you just a dollar and cents per load.  I encourage you to make your own laundry soap, too, for added cost savings and to eliminate chemicals from your baby's laundry.

Make Your Own – You can save a lot by avoiding commercial mainstream versions of the products you need.  Puree your own baby food in a food processor or blender.  Simply set aside some of the food that the big people are eating and blend it for baby.  Make your own natural baby products.  We are making our own shampoo, body wash, wipes, lotion, diaper cream, etc, for baby.  (Recipes will be posting as I have the time to do so, but trust me, it's so easy!!!)  And go reusable whenever possible.  We're not only making our own wipes solution, but homemade flannel wipes as well.  Extend the DIY products to anything your baby uses -- dishwasher soap, liquid dish soap, laundry detergent, spray and floor cleaning solution...  You will not only save money, but more importantly prevent the exposure of thousands of chemicals to your baby.

Co-sleep – Who ever said you had to buy a crib or cradle for baby?  You already own a bed, so why buy another?  Co-sleeping is very safe and extremely convenient for breastfeeding moms.  You can co-sleep as long as you'd like.  I know some families who do it until their child is 6 or 7.  Whatever you are comfortable with.  Just doing it for the first year or two alone will save you hundreds (and in some cases thousands) on a bed, bedding, and decor.  An added bonus for co-sleeping parents is the deep bond you form with your children.

Forgo The Gadgets – Simplicity is key.  There is a huge market out there for baby gadgets.  Marketers are really good at making mom feel like she NEEDS something to make her life easier.  Think about it before you buy -- Do I really need this wipes warmer or stroller attachment?  Probably not.  Keep life simple.  It will keep you sane and save you money.

Any other tips out there from experienced moms on Raising Baby Green?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Creamy Cucumber Salad Dressing

This turned out to be quite the yummy experiment, so had to share!  Usually you'll find the cucumbers under the dressing, but in this case they ARE the dressing!

Cucumber Salad Dressing
Makes 1 1/2 cups

2 cucumbers, chopped
1 cup Healing Cuisine Mayonnaise OR full-fat Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp fresh chopped green onion

Add all ingredients to blender.  Puree until smooth.  Taste test (mine needed a little sea salt and fresh pepper, but go with your tongue).  Chill about 1 hour before serving.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How To: Natural Relaxing Bath Salts

A warm bath has a way of relaxing out the stress from your muscles.  Pair it with the heavenly scent of lavender which provides a natural soothing effect, some mood lighting, quiet music, and you've given yourself a great gift -- 20 minutes of relaxation!  Here is my recipe for Lavender Bath Salts.

Lavender Bath Salts
Makes 1 Bath

6-8 oz glass jar with lid
4 Tbsp Epsom salt
3 Tbsp sea salt (I prefer Himalayan)
2 Tbsp baking soda
15 drops pure lavender essential oil
Small handful of dried lavender flowers, for color

Add all ingredients to glass jar.  Cover and shake gently to distribute oil.  Add to warm bath water and stir around to dissolve.

You may be tempted to add in more drops of oil for a stronger scent, but don't.  It will cause clumping.  Feel free to add more essential oil to the bath water or to an air diffuser in the room for a stronger aromatherapy effect if desired.

The three types of salts and soda are important.  Epsom salt helps to draw out toxins from the body.  You can simply do an Epsom salt bath when you feel sluggish or while doing a detox regimen.  I highly recommend the use of Himalayan sea salt in your bath, as refined sea salts have all of the minerals removed.  We want to replenish the natural minerals into your skin and body, not draw more out.  Himalayan sea salt is unrefined and contains all of the natural minerals already found in our body.  Adding the baking soda to the mix is optional.  It not only makes your bath fun with a little fizz, but it helps to neutralize the pH of your skin while toxins are released.

You can substitute any essential oil you'd like.  Ylang Ylang for stress release, Vanilla for relaxation, Eucalyptus for an invigorating immune boost, or Peppermint for an energy burst.

Finish your homemade spa experience by slathering on a high quality food-grade organic lotion (I love MiEssence Intensive Body Cream) or olive oil to lock in moisture.

And keep in mind, these jars of homemade bath salts make great gifts!  Experiment with other colors besides lavender/purple.  Himalayan salt is naturally pink, so that's an easy one.  Add dried herbs of choice or sea kelp for a light green color.  Or purchase natural food dyes and add just a few drops to the jar and shake lightly to mix.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Post Partum Visit: What the family needs

As time seems to be flying by and I can tell D-day is approaching (that's Delivery Day), I've had some time to think about what will happen after the birth, adjusting to a new way of living with baby in our world, and all the visitors to come.  I guess in a way we are lucky in that we recently moved many hours and states away from family and haven't made too many close friends yet here in Charlotte.  I'll tell you why this is a good thing for the first few months after the birth...

First, to sum it all up, I wanted to share these two fabulous posts from other natural moms on the post partum visit and how to be the best visitor you can be:


"AFTER THE BIRTH, WHAT A FAMILY NEEDS" by Gloria Lemay, birth blog

I think these ladies did an excellent job summarizing what we new parents, and especially new mom and baby, need most from our visitors.  I personally am going to be focusing my first month with baby on our "Baby Moon," the time that we take together (basically in isolation) to get acquainted with our new life together, to learn our personalities, love on each other, and bond.  It is such an important foundation building time for every baby.  This time allows for plenty of skin-to-skin contact, meaning I (or in general, mom) won't be presentable for drop-in visitors.  And not to mention we'll be super tired as we adjust to this new life.  So what I meant about it being a good thing that we live far away from everyone we know is that we won't have a ton of unannounced visitors or people calling to come over and meet baby.

As a new mom, what we need from our visitors is a quick in-and-out visit.  While bringing food over is a nice gesture, I think we'd more appreciate it if you loaded the dishwasher or ran a pile of clothes thru the wash on your way out the door.  It's the little things that catch up on us fast.  I like how both of these ladies pointed that out in their articles.  So keep these words of advice in mind when visiting your new mama friends in the future!  It'll make mama so happy! :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gluten Free Blueberry Loaf

Enjoy this delicious blueberry bread.  Simple to stir together and pop in the oven.  Makes for a filling breakfast smothered in soft butter with a cup of tea!

Gluten Free Blueberry Bread
Makes 1 Loaf

1 cup fresh ground flax meal
1 cup almond flour, sifted
1/2 cup shredded coconut flakes, unsweetened
1 scoop unflavored whey or pea protein
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
6 tsp Stevita Spoonable stevia powder
1/2 cup xylitol
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped (optional)

5 free range eggs
1/3 cup filtered water
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp organic unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen thawed

1.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a medium loaf pan with coconut oil and line with unbleached parchment paper.  In a large bowl, stir together flax meal, almond flour, coconut flakes, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, spoonable stevia, xylitol, sea salt and walnuts.

2.)  In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs with the water.  Add the vanilla, melted butter, and melted coconut oil.  Whisk until smooth.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry while stirring until combined.  Fold in the blueberries.

3.)  Pour the batter into the pan evenly.  Bake for 60-70 minutes.  The crust should be quite brown and firm to the touch when done.  Insert a knife in the center and when it comes out clean it is ready.  Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges to loosen the loaf and turn over on a cutting board.  Let cool on a wire rack before cutting and serving.

Friday, August 12, 2011

How To: Dry Brushing

Have you heard about Dry Brushing yet?  It's been getting some buzz recently in magazines and news programs as the method makes a comeback, even to "the rich and famous," as a simple way to exfoliate your skin and get a glowing complexion.  Let me fill you in on a little more.  There are several other health benefits to dry brushing that make it so worth it to add to your morning routine.

A tip of the hat to Finland, where my family originated just three generations ago.  Dry brushing is said to have originated in Finland as a step in the cleansing process when taking a sauna.  From there it spread thru many European countries for use at home and is still used today in many upscale spas.  Eventually it was noted that dry brushing was doing much more than simply removing dead skin cells from the surface, as people were experiencing amazing health changes.  Weight loss, increased circulation, and many diseases healing from the body with no other changes to lifestyle.  Dr. Paavo Airola, a doctor from Finland who took a natural approach to disease treatment and prevention, noted this and began implementing Dry Brushing into the care of his cancer patients (as well as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and arthritis patients) beginning in the 1960's as a way to rid the body of toxins naturally.  Great results were noted in his files through the rest of his career.

Dry brushing has a lengthy history, dating back many centuries.  And while dry brushing is commonly promoted today as a preventative method for dry skin and whole body exfoliation, leaving behind super soft new skin, there are many other health benefits as well:

Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing:

1. Diminishes the appearance of and eventually removes cellulite. (Cellulite is toxic!  Cellulite is toxic materials that are accumulated in your body’s fat cells as they are unable to be eliminated. Utilize the dry brushing techniques coupled with the Advanced Plan and burst training exercise. It will break down the unwelcome toxic body deposits and send them scurrying out of your body through your detox channels.)

2. Cleanses the lymphatic system to drain toxins into the colon and out of your body. (After a few days of dry brushing, you may notice gelatinous mucoid waste in your stool.  This is a good sign that your lymphs are clearing out!)

3. Removes dead skin layers to help improve skin texture and cell renewal

4. Strengthens the immune system

5. Stimulates the hormone and oil-producing glands, helping all body systems perform at peak efficiency

6. Tightens the skin by increasing blood flow, preventing premature aging

7. Tones the muscles and evenly distributes fat deposits

8. Stimulates circulation, encouraging body to discharge waste

9. Improves the function of the nervous system by stimulating the nerve endings in the skin

10. Helps digestion and nutrient absorption

11. AND an easy, inexpensive way to pamper yourself!

So how does this all happen?  As the body’s largest organ, the skin is responsible for eliminating about 1-2 pounds of waste every single day.  This means the skin is responsible for up to a quarter of the body’s ability to detoxify by getting rid of toxins through the sweat glands and pores.  Receiving 1/3 of the body’s blood circulation, the skin is the first place we see signs of illness, dis-ease, and lack of care when it is not stimulated properly.  Dry brushing the skin is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to awaken blood flow, massage the organs, stimulate nerve endings, mobilize fat, avoid water retention, and much more.  Over time the body functions at a higher level, just like after defragging your computer.  It's cleaned out so it can work more optimally.

How to Dry Brush Your Skin

1. Purchase a natural, NONE synthetic, bristle brush.  I purchased this one from Amazon.com.  Be sure your brush has a long handle, so that you are able to reach all areas of your body.

2. Dry brushing should be performed once a day, preferably first thing in the morning before taking a shower.  It should be performed on your dry, naked body.  If you are feeling ill, do it twice a day to aid in the healing process.

3. Begin brushing your skin in long sweeping strokes starting A) from the bottom of your feet upwards, or B) from the top of your head and face down downwards.  Sweep from the hands towards the shoulders, and on the torso in an upward direction.  Always brush towards the heart.  Try to brush several times in each area, over-lapping as you go.  Brush in a circular motion over your lymphs in the armpit area and groin area, and then continue to brush toward the heart.  This circular motion will massage the lymphs further and encourage the release of toxins.

4. After brushing your skin, rinse off in the shower.   It is recommended to alternate temperatures in the shower from hot to cold.  This will further invigorate the skin and stimulate blood circulation, bringing more blood to the outer layers of the skin.  Proceed with washing your body as usual.  (Be sure you are not using toxic body care products as your skin will readily absorb the chemicals!  Visit www.ewg.org to search the toxicity level of your products.)

5. After getting out of the shower, dry off with a towel.  You may notice the first few times you implement dry brushing, skin may peel off your body during dry off.  This is normal (and GOOD!), simply rub all the dead skin cells away.

6.  Follow up your shower by massaging in a pure plant oil (such as coconut, olive, almond, or apricot oil) or a completely food-grade organic lotion (such as MiEssence Body Cream or Earth Mama Angel Baby Body Butter) to your skin.  Your skin will soak up these nutrients and your pores will say thank you!

A few things to remember:

-  Clean your skin brush once every couple weeks with soap and water (I use castile soap).  After rinsing, place skin brush in a sunny widow to dry and prevent mildew.  The sun will naturally kill any bacteria.  And be sure that each family member has their own personal dry brush, for sanitary reasons.

-  Do not dry brush over skin rashes, sensitive areas, open wounds or cuts.  Let your body be your guide.  If it doesn't feel right, don't brush over that spot.

-  Apply as much pressure as you'd like while dry brushing.  Start out light as you get used to how the brush feels (it will be coarse and feel rough at first).  Condition your skin over time and increase the pressure you apply as you can stand it.

-  To begin to notice changes in your skin, it will take about 30 days of routine dry brushing.  For a full lymphatic cleanse and detox, it will take at least 3 months of daily dry brushing.  Keep it up from there -- the results are worth it!

And that's it!  It's that simple to dry brush.  I'd say all-in-all, it takes me about 15 extra minutes every morning, and now it's routine.  I've been doing it since January, when I found out I was pregnant.  I began implementing it daily as I knew when you are pregnant, your whole circulation system slows down a bit with the increased blood volume and all the hormone changes going on.  This is why many pregnant ladies get swelling in the feet and legs (or all over), not to mention pain in joints and other common pregnancy issues.  I knew that while these are "common" among the pregnant, it is not normal to experience these symptoms, so dry brushing has been my main technique to prevent any of these!  And let me say, it has been working!  Not a day of swelling yet, and I'm in my last few weeks.  No pain, no discomfort, great circulation and blood flow, and my skin has never ever looked or felt better!  I will be keeping up my dry brushing every day after baby arrives.  :)

Here is a great video from Amon Maternity on dry brushing while pregnant.  The technique and brushing pattern applies to all of us, but I can't recommend it enough to dry brush while pregnant!

I hope you'll try dry brushing!  It's such a simple technique to add in to your Maximized Living lifestyle for maximum health!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

We're Back! & Melon-Lime Smoothie

Hi guys!

We are BACK!  And I am finally getting this post posted!  If you've been following us around on Facebook or Twitter, you'll know we made it back from our trip to the U.P. of Michigan a couple Saturdays ago.  And ever since I have been Internet deprived, and thus have had a huge lack in updates and new recipe postings to Healing Cuisine.  Good news is Dave ordered me an Internet package and we should be wired in by Monday or Tuesday of next week.  I can't wait!

We had a fabulous time in Michigan, albeit too short of a visit with family and friends.  We didn't have quite enough time to jump into Lake Superior, but we did accomplish just about every thing else we planned to on our visit home.  This included Dave taking charge and packing our 12ft Penske truck with all our earthly belongings, while my mom and I sat inside talking baby and looking at the gifts she crocheted for baby Schwartz.  We also successfully brought home 6 pasties.  Pasties have been the one and only food I have craved while pregnant, but haven't been able to find in Florida or North Carolina.  I was determined to bring some home with us to enjoy this final month of pregnancy.  Baby and I are in heaven!  (Core Plan heaven that is... ;)

The drive down from Michigan took us about a day and a half.  It wasn't too bad, I supported and propped up my body with plenty of pillows and a doughnut for my tush.  Baby and I handled it all pretty well.  After arriving home and getting the boxes and furniture all moved into our new diggs, nesting started and is in full swing!  Apartment is cleaned from top to bottom and all the baby stuff is washed and set out, ready to go!  About 4 weeks left until we get to meet our little bundle of joy, God's greatest blessing!

Here's an updated belly picture that we took during our trip home, at about 34 weeks.  Since, babe has dropped and we are right on track for a successful birth!

Hoping to be back to a more regular posting schedule by next week.  I'm working on a neat article all about dry brushing, so stay tuned!  That will be the next one to go live!  For today, enjoy a refreshing Core Plan smoothie perfect for beating this summer heat!

Melon-Lime Smoothie
Makes 2 Servings

1/2 cup full-fat organic coconut milk
2 cups organic frozen watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melon, diced
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp fresh lime zest
2 scoops unflavored or vanilla protein powder
1-2 handfuls ice

Blend ingredients together in blender until smooth.  Serve immediately.

Related Posts with Thumbnails