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8 Things To Teach Your Kids About Food

Many children are now in school, whether that be at home or with their peers and teachers in a school building. But, we all know that children are always learning...from their teachers, parents, peers, and whatever they focus their attention on. One of the best (and...

read more

5 Quick Spring Food Ideas For Busy Families

Hello, friends! This time of year can get very busy--especially with the recent chaos that has affected almost every single person, family, and business. But as our lives (and our mindsets!) return to a normal, less anxious, more rational state, we are free to think...

read more

Building Immunity During Trying Times

       A special guest is joining me for today’s post. I am excited to introduce my sweet husband, Dr. Daniel Stanislowski, who’s PhD specialty is biochemistry and molecular biology. The first section will be from me, and the second, from him:        In these recent...

read more

3 Tips for Shopping Local Farms

       Yesterday, we had two farmers come to our door to deliver food. I said to my husband, “this must be a sign we are doing things right!” Whether that is true or not, I know that supporting local businesses is a win-win for everyone. As we support local...

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How to Make Spicy Winter Kimchi

       This time of year, I’m always looking forward to curling up with a heavy blanket, a sauna, or hot soup. But, one of the best ways I warm up is by enjoying my homemade spicy kimchi with some fried eggs. Delicious! Of course, kimchi is perfect with more than just...

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9 Ways To Stay Healthy This Winter

*This post does not contain any affiliate links.*        Among the many festivities of Christmas and the New Year, there are many things that confirm winter is here in North Dakota; the freezing cold weather, the snow on the ground, ice on the roads, and countless...

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The Fail-Proof Way to Prepare Your Pastured Thanksgiving Turkey

*There are no affiliate links in this post.*               Have you ever taken on the challenge of preparing a Thanksgiving Turkey? With travel-worn friends and relatives gathered together to break bread, it’s no doubt that cooking the main dish for Thanksgiving...

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3 Top Reasons To Avoid Soy Products (And Animals Fed Soy)

       Soy is everywhere. It appears in almost any processed food product, in baby formula, as a main dish and a condiment, and even in animal products from animals fed soy (second-hand soy? No thanks!). Some even consider soy a superfood--but is it really that good...

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Celebrating 15 Years At Bartlett Farms!

You probably wouldn't believe us if we told you our "plans" when we started back in 2004.  No farming in our background, no knowledge of animals, no business experience, no house, no electricity, and no water.  Just bare land and a dad and mom with four energetic...

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Caged Vs. Pastured Eggs: Is There Really A Difference?

       Eggs are great for breakfast and at any time in between. They're wonderful fried, hard-boiled, baked, scrambled…you name it! You can even find raw egg yolks in authentic ice creams, mayonnaise, and hollandaise sauce. I often add a few raw pastured egg yolks to...

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8 Things To Teach Your Kids About Food

Many children are now in school, whether that be at home or with their peers and teachers in a school building. But, we all know that children are always learning…from their teachers, parents, peers, and whatever they focus their attention on. One of the best (and hardest!) things about this is that children often learn best by the examples given to them by their parents/guardians. So much so that YOU must BE the very person you want your child to be when he/she is an adult…want your child to be hard-working, honest, responsible, and respectful? Then you must be hard-working, honest, responsible, and respectful. Want your child to love God? Then you must love God. Want your child to contribute positively to the world? You must lead by example. I suspect that they notice our efforts and learn much from us even if we strive for the best but fall short…which is not only acceptable and better than doing nothing, but also human. On that note, there is something else they learn from us at least once a day, if not several times each day: how to eat and what it means to have a relationship with food. 

The list of things we must teach our children seems infinite–especially to someone like me who has only experienced the beginnings of parenthood (my three babies are still too young for kindergarten). Though the world of homeschooling overwhelms me, I know that my children have already learned a lot from me by simply observing. This is only natural! Hopefully I’ve set mostly good examples…no pressure, haha! For this, I am glad to have fixed my once disordered relationship with food and have learned how to fuel my body effectively. So, here are some things I try to teach my young children about food:

  1. Only eat when you are hungry: As a former binge-eater (and I used to purge, too), I am now aware that tuning into my body’s hunger signals is key to maintaining a good relationship with food, as well as remembering that “eating and drinking is not an end in itself, but a means to preserve life.” After all, it has a purpose. At meal times, I do not force my children to eat if they aren’t hungry. I’ll often have them try their food (one or two bites), but if they aren’t developing an appetite, they can stop eating if they’d like. They know this and let me know if they don’t want to eat.
  2. Stop eating when you are full: Similar to the point above, I do not force them to join the “clean plate club.” They stop when they are full and their food is simply stored away for another meal (pretty easy way to save money on food, too:) ). The only time I ask them to finish their food is if they have one or two bites left. And often times, if one child is extra hungry, he or she can simply finish his or her food and also have someone else’s who didn’t want to finish. It works great for us!
  3. Food is a tool: Food is not purely for pleasure or entertainment. The purpose of food is to provide us with energy and nutrition to fight disease and maintain good health. Once I sorted out my poor relationship with food and realized that I was not using it for its intended purpose, I was able to readjust my habits. I talk to my children about using food to benefit their health–for example, I’ll explain the benefits of drinking raw milk or milk kefir to them as they drink it, and what body parts benefit from choosing this specific food to eat. I hope this will help them view food as a tool for health in the future, instead of abusing it out of boredom or depression like how I used to.
  4. Food preparation is a creative activity: I used to draw, be in choirs (I LOVE to sing!), and take pictures of nature. But being a mom has put a lot of restrictions on my free time. However, in order to take care of our families and participate in making life happy and fulfilling, we must take care of ourselves. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Because of this, I try to have fun with making food for my family. I used to view it more as a chore, but now it has become a creative hobby that I look forward to. I hope my own joy in serving my family has inspired a similar joy in my children. My children are excited about helping me in the kitchen and I tell them how it will be fun to one day cook with them in the years to come. They often pretend to make food for my husband and I and want to watch us make meals. I hope it all works out! 🙂
  5. Food can bring either health or sickness: Much of life, though not all of it, is a result of our own choices. Everybody knows that there are consequences–both good and bad–that come from our own thoughts and actions. This point is related to food being a tool for nutrition and maintenance of health, but it is more for the long-term view of things. Eventually, our habits with food will make a significant impact on our lives–all the twinkies, McDonalds, and Skittles WILL eventually decrease the quality of your life, even if it doesn’t do so immediately. There has been sickness and young death in our family and I will one day discuss with the children, when they are old enough, how food can either be our friend or our enemy. All that milk kefir, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, and organic produce will also have its impact…less disease, less pain, and slower physical/mental decline through the years is well worth it, especially because we will hopefully be able to meet and play with our grandchildren in the future. Even for the sake of maintaining good habits, choosing good food over low-quality food usually pans out.
  6. We avoid snacking: Though many people will disagree with this point, I’ve found that not snacking works well for my family. Because I already spend so much time in the kitchen, it is nice that I don’t have to spend the entire day there in order to prepare food for between meals. Also, it is easier to eat out of boredom or reach for poor food options when snacking is a more acceptable behavior. We simply avoid it, and the little ones don’t ask for snacks.
  7. Teach them where food comes from: The only screen-time our children get is when I occasionally show them videos about animals and where meat, dairy, and eggs come from (and of course, video chatting with family!). To my surprise, the children are not disturbed–in fact, they are interested in how animals turn into food. As a child, I would have been disturbed by this, but I also used to watch TV and movies where animals are often portrayed as having human emotions and personalities, and I did not know how steak ended up on my dinner plate, or about humane raising of animals intended for consumption. I am amazed at my children’s curiosity and hope I can one day outgrow my disgust of butchering animals. Next year, I plan to take my two oldest children to help catch chickens for butchering as I practice processing fresh chickens with a new friend of mine.
  8. Your example counts more than you might think: Our own example of healthy eating habits will probably be the number 1 way our children learn about food. For all you parents out there, I am sure I’m just preaching to the choir. In fact, I am wondering…how do you teach your children about food? I am sure teaching older children is a whole different ball game than teaching little ones as small as mine!

I hope you are enjoying the leaves turning colors!

-Diane


Diane Stanislowski is a wife, mother, and researcher with the goal of restoring the practice of traditional holistic approaches to wellness and sharing evidence-based information with the public.

She lives in Grand Forks North Dakota with her husband and three children and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.

5 Quick Spring Food Ideas For Busy Families

Hello, friends!

This time of year can get very busy–especially with the recent chaos that has affected almost every single person, family, and business. But as our lives (and our mindsets!) return to a normal, less anxious, more rational state, we are free to think of the activities we love. There is a lot to look forward to! After all, the weather is warm and the sun is shining…this really is a treat. 🙂

However, we all know how summer fun can distract us from thinking about meal planning and food preparation. It can be hard to stay on task with so much to do! Lately, my husband and I have had extra work because we are constantly slathering sunscreen on our babies and cleaning dirt off of them and the floor. It has been so fun to watch them playing outside together. Anyway, I wanted to share a couple of simple ways to throw food together for a fresh, fast meal so you can keep enjoying the sunshine and fresh air (Open Air Therapy is a real thing!). Here are some of our go-to summer meal ideas:

  1. Smoothies: Often served as a meal in itself, smoothies are so easy. We don’t do too many during the winter, but summer is the perfect time to cool off with one! Our favorites are kombucha and/or kefir smoothies. Simply use kombucha or kefir, frozen fruit, a banana, and optional raw honey to taste. 
  2. Salad: Salad can be your main course or a side dish. We love using arugula topped with some olive oil, black pepper, and balsamic vinegar. You can also add apples, onions, and tomatoes. Add a protein (chicken, sardines, salmon, or steak) to make it a main dish.
  3. Canned wild-caught fish: Tuna, sardines, mackerel, or salmon are staples for us. Though my babies like to eat plain sardines, I like to have mine with kimchi and natto if I have any (I buy mine at Toucan International Market…so good!). Sounds like a goofy combination, but I just can’t get enough of the spicy, crunchy, unique flavors. Obviously, this isn’t everyone’s favorite way to eat canned fish…so you could try making a sandwich out of it, a tuna-bake, or just eating it with crackers. 🙂
  4. Oatmeal in the mornings: Using the Nourishing Traditions oatmeal recipe saves us a lot of time because the oats are soaked overnight and will cook in only a few minutes! Digestible, filling, and so delicious, we love our oats with raisins, butter, and cream. It is also tasty served cold as leftovers…but on to the next point:
  5. Make extra-large dinners: We do this out of habit at all times of the year, but this trick is excellent for summertime! Leftovers, even served cold, are the perfect solution to the craze that comes with summer plans. Make enough to serve at 2-3 meals instead of just 1. This has saved me a ton of time on meal planning and dishes.

I hope you are enjoying these magnificent summer days! It is such a gift to experience the beauty and healing powers of Spring. We could all use the warm hugs the sun offers, the rejuvenating fresh air, the sight of budding flowers and leaves, and the smiles that you see on the faces of delighted children enjoying the lovely weather. Happy Spring to you all! 🙂

Building Immunity During Trying Times

       A special guest is joining me for today’s post. I am excited to introduce my sweet husband, Dr. Daniel Stanislowski, who’s PhD specialty is biochemistry and molecular biology. The first section will be from me, and the second, from him:

       In these recent weeks, it has been difficult to escape the bombardment of news about Covid-19. Our family, like many other families, has been trying to avoid overwhelming, fear-based emotional reactions to this virus, and simply try our best to promote our health in economical, rational ways.

       I’ve written a few “boost your immune system” posts before and typically I cover topics that stem from your kitchen and investing in food that encourages overall physical fortitude. However, I think I have left out a lot of tips that can further boost immune system function and optimal living. I hope not to be repetitive, as I’m sure you’ve also received many, many emails about Coronavirus (I’ve even gotten one from Uhaul!). My goal is not to clutter up your inbox. Without further ado, I have compiled some hopefully helpful suggestions on how to stay strong physically and mentally in this time of potential panic:

  1. Mindset: It is incredibly important for your immune system that you try NOT to “freak out.” Situational stress can be very beneficial; it can work as a motivator, add meaning and pizzazz to your days, and maybe even save your life. However, it is well-known that chronic stress is damaging to both mind and body. You are not doing yourself any favors by letting yourself tumble into a state of distress, losing sleep due to anxiety, not exercising because you’ve buried yourself in research and worry, not socializing because you’re too caught-up in the news and social media. Something I’ve learned in my few years on Earth (and still trying to practice) is that behaving as if you are healthy will help KEEP you healthy. This doesn’t mean avoid self-care when it’s needed, but it does mean that you should still strive to maintain healthy relationships (maybe over the phone while this situation persists), do things that you love, eat well, smile to ignite and because of happiness, cuddle with your loved ones, breathe deeply, maintain good posture, and relax when possible, just like any healthy person would do on any ordinary day. This leads into our next point:
  2. Lifestyle: Nobody will ever be healthy if they don’t sleep and/or exercise. The truth is the truth. No matter what your diet, no matter how many supplements you take or how many doctors you visit, you need to sleep and you need to avoid a sedentary lifestyle as much as possible. Not only will the quality of your life be better (these things lower your anxiety/stress–added bonus!), but more specific to the Covid-19 topic, your immune system will greatly benefit from the good choices you make in and outside of your kitchen. Shoot for a full-night’s sleep as often as you can. Take naps if possible. Give intermittent fasting a try for 1-2 days per week. You might like it. Don’t go overboard on the exercise if you’re not used to it, but take a 10-20 minute stroll every day for starters. It doesn’t have to be rigorous to benefit you, but it should be enjoyable. Do some type of physical activity to support both your cardiovascular system and your major muscle groups…go for a short run (or do sprints!) and finish it off with a few pushups, planks, squats, and stretching. Who knows…it’s possible it’ll even be fun! 🙂
  3. Diet: Obviously, a good diet is critical to a robust immune system. Having a good diet includes two things: 1. Avoiding things that are bad for you, and 2. Adding things that are good for you. You cannot have a good diet if you don’t include both parts. As for number 1, avoid sugar like it’s your job. Avoid processed food. Avoid food sensitivities. Add water. Add raw milk if you can tolerate it. Have grass-fed beef, pastured pork and eggs, eat fermented foods. Try to enjoy your kitchen and foster your creativity through exploring foods…trust me, this is possible! I didn’t used to like cooking. 🙂
  4. Extras: It makes sense to me that health begins with a solid foundation. That means you need to have all of your bases covered before you can add detail and extravagance to the structure of your health. For example, any deficiency in your foundation and your whole structure will fall…if you don’t drink water, if you’re deficient in fundamental vitamins (C, D, A, et cetera), if you prefer the extreme couch potato life…adding elderberry syrup, taking shots of fire cider, or hoping your bleach and Clorox wipes will save you some pain will do nothing for you. If your bases aren’t covered, you’ll be waiting nervously and hoping you don’t get sick. If your bases are covered, you will probably feel much safer and can only benefit from adding things like elderberry syrup to your regimen. If you want to add any “extras” to your healthy foundation, consider elderberry syrup, brazil nuts (for selenium), shellfish (for zinc), camu camu powder (for additional vitamin C), fermented foods, and a unique practice that I just discovered called the Wim Hof Method (fellow insomniacs, you will LOVE this…it’s free and easy to practice at home). With this being said, it is my opinion that health shouldn’t come only after you purchase this or that supplement. Just start with the basics and don’t blow your budget!

       I hope I have been able to help you in some way. There is only so much anybody can do right now, so it’s best to just let go of what we can’t control, take control of what we can, and always remind ourselves to stay centered. 

In health,

Diane Stanislowski

From my husband:

       To maintain one’s health, it is essential to take responsibility for one’s health. A notion all but lost to the modern American’s psyche, except in alternative communities like this one. I think a proper continuation of that thought is: to maintain one’s autonomy, one must take responsibility for one’s autonomy.

Indeed, a good first step to individual health is not to get carried away on the fear train as panic and stress do not make a good recipe for health! The personal digital media device can so twist and contort entire societies’ perception of events that truth becomes a long lost afterthought if not entirely irrelevant. One must never surrender one’s God-given intellectual capability to impersonal institutions whose concern is not based primarily on one’s good health but rather the bottom line or perhaps even more sinister motives. These institutions have failed, and have been failing, American health for decades now. Conservative, very conservative, estimates put our healthcare system as the third leading cause of death in our nation. Our true malaise, it seems, is a strange amalgamation of learned helplessness and stockholm syndrome, and it is well past time for us to take back control. 

       What one absolutely can do, without fear, is to undertake healthful behaviors. Supporting natural immunity is paramount and begins with, and is achieved by, consumption of healthy foods loaded with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients the human body craves and eschewing the sugar and chemical-laden nutrient-less foods ubiquitous in the American diet.

Nutrient-dense foods work with the body’s immune system – not merely against an invading pathogen. My family has benefited greatly from raw milk and other food sources from Bartlett Farms.

Exercise, though tertiary to eating practices and mental state, is another great immune-boosting activity. These practices, once habitual, will strengthen one’s defenses against all potential illnesses (viral or otherwise). Should one get sick, however, a short course increase to the daily regimen (~three to four days) of vitamins C (to bowel tolerance), A (up to 100,000 U/day), and D3 (up to 50,000 U/day) can be implemented to great effect, according to Dr. Brownstein.

Vitamin C performs an array of critical cellular functions as a regulator of gene expression and cofactor for many enzymes. Vitamin C supports both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. Vitamin C strengthens epithelial barriers against pathogenic insult, enhances the ability of macrophages and neutrophils to phagocytose and neutralizes microbes, aids lymphocyte differentiation and antibody production, controls levels of cytokine generation, and lowers histamine levels (source). Wow! Name one pharmaceutical that does all that!

Because vitamin C is water-soluble, your body stores very little of it and most of the excess will be excreted through urine; however, the intestines possess active transporters that move vitamin C into the bowels along with sodium ions. The resultant osmotic difference induces excess water to enter the bowels which can cause diarrhea. Nonetheless, if one is enduring a viral infection and his or her immune system is kicking into high gear, an increase of vitamin C intake is warranted, and a little diarrhea (if you experience diarrhea simply scale down intake to a tolerable level!) is probably worth conquering the infection in short order!

Some Chinese doctors are actually using IV vitamin C to treat COVID-19, and vitamin C treatment for it has advanced to a clinical trial, though there is no need to wait for its conclusion to know vitamin C is an effective treatment for virtually all infections. Like vitamin C, Vitamins A and D contribute to a great many immunological processes. So, if one has sufficient levels of these vitamins in his or her body the effect an invading pathogen will have will be minimal. And if one wants to ensure lifelong health, one ought to be consuming animal products from properly raised and sourced animals on a daily basis as these food products are loaded with the above vitamins and many other essential nutrients.

       I have a hunch you already know this but if not: you are the best friend and defender of your (and your dependents’) health. Never be afraid to do what you know is best for you and yours. The healthier lifestyle you lead the less dependent upon others you become. There are countless pathogens that can cause illness. Why not bolster yourself against all of them instead of only worrying about the ones that catch the headlines?

Wishing you all the best,

Dan Stanislowski

Diane Stanislowski is a wife, mother, and researcher with the goal of restoring the practice of traditional holistic approaches to wellness and sharing evidence-based information with the public.

She lives in Grand Forks North Dakota with her husband and three children and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.