Graduation, Veganism, and Number 5….

Friends!

Nate did it.

He completed his PhD in Neuroscience.

This post is way overdue because Nate defended his research and walked the graduation stage last August.  But I have yet to write about it because our lives have been on one big journey ever since.

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We tossed various options back and forth.  We almost put a house in the gorgeous North Carolina under contract when the opportunity of a life time came around.  Sometimes dreams are so big that you don’t dare whisper them aloud in fear that they never will come true.  When the opportunity to train at The Ohio State University and subsequently transfer to the Mayo Clinic came around, Nate was beyond excited!  His alcohol addiction research has now transferred into neuromuscular rehabilitation and anyone who really knows him wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he has found a way to combine all of his interests.  A lot of his time now revolves around researching the knee and that includes so much more than just the knee.  I know he will be excited to share more of it here.

 

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As for me, I’ve got to be honest.  I started sharing recipes and tips on this blog when the China Study was the new, big thing.  Our family went strict vegan with little gluten and minimal sugars.  We all felt great at first and I was so excited to share the things I was learning with you here.  Perhaps it was the stress of four kids, homeschooling, moving three times in one year, and finding out that I am pregnant again (with number 5)… but my mind has been grappling with the concept of the “perfect diet.”  I am super happy to announce that our family is no longer vegan, but the transition has been a mind wrestling transition that I am still coming to terms with.  There are so many fads and diets out there, it is hard to discern what is the right way to eat.  Maybe you and I can have more conversations about that here?

Did I mention that another little girl will be joining our family in December?

We are all excited.  Except boy #3, he wanted a puppy.

Sorry, honey.  Doesn’t work that way.

itsagirl!

Nate and I are excited to step back into Circadian a little more now that our life has settled down in one place for more than six weeks again.  We are so excited and grateful for the people who have backed us up and supported us through the years.  To all of you, thank you.

||Family Favorites Right Now||

  • So excited about these Vera Bradley Backpacks.  Carrying kids and water bottles and supplies on one shoulder always puts a kink in my back and hips.  Do I really have to wait a week for shipping?
  • Carlee still begs to ride in her toddler sized Tula.  Best baby carrier ever.  Anyone agree?  I am so excited to splurge on an infant one soon.  I’m loving the grey and yellow in this one.
  • I had no idea how much Colton would love this puzzle.  Giant puzzles are the best.
  • Naturally Ella’s Dutch Baby Pancakes with Spiced Apples are the best.  Seriously.  We would eat these for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  I substitute Almond Flour in place of wheat flour to add a tad more protein.
  • Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Dressing is amazing.  I cut up cheddar string cheese sticks into cubes for the cheese and add an extra can of beans in place of chicken.  Love this salad so much.
  • Core Power Yoga Online is my sanity.  I love that I can do it at 5 AM or at midnight without needing to worry about who is watching my kids.  Plus, the subscription prices are awesome.

Recipe Roundup

These fun recipes inspired us to lick our fingers clean this week.  Please share any of your new favorite recipe finds in the comments below.

Soaked Pancakes from Nourishing Traditions

Soaked Pancakes from Nourishing Traditions

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups freshly ground whole wheat pastry flour (or spelt, kamut flour)
  • 2 cups yogurt, buttermilk or kefir  (I used raw milk with 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 T melted butter

Preparation: Soak flour in yogurt (or buttermilk/kefir) in warm place for 12-24 hours.

After soaking time, add eggs, salt, baking soda, and melted butter.  Add water if necessary to obtain the desired thinness. Cook on a hot, oiled griddle or cast iron skillet.  Serve with melted butter, real grade B maple syrup, raw honey, berry syrup, or fruit butter.

NOTE:  When I first learned about soaking grains, I was nervous.  Leaving grains out with milk overnight?  It sounded like a quick invite for food poisoning.  After many hours of research and many more food experiments, I am a believer.  Soaking grains allows a natural fermentation to occur that increases the absorption of nutrients.  To learn more, check out Whats the Fuss About Soaking Grains by The Nourishing Gourmet.

How to: Oil Pulling

After my crazy pregnancy with baby girl, I walked away from that dentist chair with ten cavities.  You heard me right.  Ten.  And for the record, I was brushing my teeth multiple times a day, taking my vitamins, and avoiding sugar.  My inability to keep anything inside my stomach thwarted any and all good efforts.

Simply stated:  My mouth was in pretty bad shape.

I had the cavities fixed.  I walked away humbled and very much in need of a miracle to heal my mouth.  And that fatigue?  We can keep that issue to a whisper.

Insert Oil Pulling.  Otherwise known as the “art” of swooshing oil around the inside of your mouth for about 20 minutes.

According to Wikipedia, Oil pulling comes from a traditional Ayurvedic folk remedy that has been used to improve oral and systemic health.  It is believed to help improve conditions such as headaches, migraines, diabetes mellitus, asthma, acne, joint pain, fatigue, and to whiten teeth.  It is believed that the during the “oil pull” the toxins are pulled from the salivary glands and released from the body, thereby detoxing the blood.

If swooshing oil around in my mouth could transform my teeth into plaque fighting warriors, erase my exhaustion, and fold my laundry, it was worth a try.  After a month of religious swooshing, I am a believer.  My teeth feel whiter and stronger and my fatigue isn’t as intense.  Laundry?  I am still waiting for that benefit.

To start, all you need is a heaping tablespoon of pure coconut oil, sesame seed oil, or olive oil.

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Place the oil inside of your mouth (do not swallow!) and swoosh it around and around and around for twenty minutes.  It’s so easy, you can do it with a baby on your hip.

This step is the most important:  After your twenty minutes, spit the oil out.  You don’t want to swallow the toxins.  Trust me.   Rinse your mouth out with warm water.

Simple, right?

Oil pulling is greasy, amazing, and it will strengthen your jaw muscles a billion percent.  While there is growing controversy as to the effectiveness of oil pulling, there is one thing for certain:  oil pulling will make you a better kisser.

Additional Reading:

Weekly Reads: 72 Hr. Kits, Kombucha, Homeschool

Now it’s your turn to share some of your favorite weekly reads.  What did you learn about this week?

Gallbladder Detox – Part 1

Did you know that your gallbladder is approximately the size of your thumb?  And did you know that your gallbladder is responsible for making fat absorbable by the body and also for allowing proper fat metabolism?  In other words, if the gallbladder isn’t properly functioning, the body is unable to utilize the fat for building cellular membranes (literally the “brane” of the cell) and for energy.  If fat isn’t utilized, it is stored,  typically around your abdomen.

Your gallbladder – located on the right side of your body below your ribs –  is like the mama of the abdominal region.  If the gallbladder a’int happy, the liver a’int happy.  And if the liver a’int happy, the intestines and everything else a’int happy.  Like a domino effect, the gallbladder can effect your body as a whole.

And the crazy thing is that your gallbladder stretches like a balloon.  A little junk here, alittle junk there… and before you know it, your gall bladder is stretched out tighter than a pair of cowboy wranglers. When your gallbladder is that tight, you are going to be experiencing some issues:

  • Right shoulder pain
  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • Rancid / excessive gas
  • Indigestion
  • Difficulty eating fatty-type foods (the metabolism builders)
  • Knee pain
  • Knee disorders
  • Sluggish digestion
  • Constipation
  • Headaches

The gallbladder releases a yellow substance called bile when you eat your meals.  The amount of fat in the meal determines the amount of bile that will be released.  This is all done in a very orchestrated manner through hormone communication (called enteroendocrine hormones) between your stomach, intestines, gallbladder, and liver.  When the gallbladder gets backed up, it causes the liver to back-up, leading to toxicity, inability to lose weight (as the toxicity cannot be handled by the liver and will be deposited into fat tissue), skin irritations, and fatigue.

We have good news.  The gallbladder can be cleaned and healed naturally with a simple detoxification process.  A process that has yielded successful results many times.  Think jelly beans and shooting bullets.  If you are struggling with gallbladder pains or symptoms, there is hope besides surgery.  What to do… what to do?  Stay tuned – part two of gallbladder detox to come…

Zucchini Melts

Zucchini Melts
adapted from Dancing Carrots

Ingredients:

1 T olive oil
2 medium zucchinis, cubed
1 pinch red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup marinara sauce
1 1/2-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Whole wheat “french bread”

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Fry the zucchini in oil until browned and slightly tender. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and stir in the marinara sauce. Cook and stir until the sauce is heated through.
3. Slice french bread into slices and bake for about 5 minutes or until they are toasted. Remove from oven.
3. Spoon generous amounts of the zucchini mixture onto each slice of french bread. Top with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese.
4. Bake for 5-7 minutes in oven or until cheese is melted and bubbly.