The Learning Center

How to Grill The Perfect Burger

Access June 2018 100% grass-fed beef by ordering before midnight on May 15th! Click here for details.

 

How to make the PERFECT hamburger!

  1. It all starts with the best burger. Choose the best burger you can find. Quality matters!
  2. Choose a ratio of 80/20 meat to fat if possible. That will make it juicy and tender. Leaner beef won’t shrink as much.
  3. Form the burgers the size you want. A typical burger is about a quarter pound.
  4. Don’t overwork the burger. Just knead it gently to shape.
  5. Don’t go for a perfectly shaped patty. About 3/4 of an inch thickness is what matters. 
  6. Make an indentation. This is key! It really works. Press your thumb and fingers in the center of the patty to create a slight dent. This way the burger will catch the oil and won’t balloon like a football. 
  7. Don’t over season or complicate the burger with added ingredients. It’s not a meatloaf.
  8. Drizzle olive oil lightly on the patties. Helps keep it moist and adds some flavor.
  9. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper. Just those simple ingredients! Remember, the beef is what we are wanted to enjoy!
  10. Heat up the grill on ahead of time! Use a higher setting. 
  11. Oil the grill with some olive oil. See the video for how it’s done.
  12. Always cook the burger thoroughly, unless you know it’s fresh. Grass-fed beef is also less prone to bacteria, so a medium rare grass-fed burger is acceptable.
  13. Only flip it once. That gives you the classic grill marks make the burger look as good as it tastes!
  14. Melt the cheese for 30 seconds. Yes, that cheese adds so much. 
  15. Lightly butter and toast the bun. Of course, use the most natural butter and bun you can.

Let us know how it goes for you! 

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Reduce Toxins: Become An Ingredient Minimalist!

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*This post does not contain any affiliate links. I am simply recommending what works for us.*

       At the recommendation of a friend of mine, I started exploring the YouTube channel called Darci Isabella. This YouTuber has inspired me to fall headfirst into spring cleaning and work towards the goal of a more minimalist lifestyle. Though I am excited about a new goal to work towards, I must mention that the term “minimalism” means different things to different people. To some, it may mean owning less than 100 items total; for others, like myself, it’s an umbrella term that generally means getting rid of nonessential or unimportant belongings. Less stuff, less stress. Makes sense to me!

       Along this line of thought, a topic which may often be overlooked during one’s rather obsessive “decluttering manias” (mm-hmm, I am talking about myself) are ingredients. Long lists of ingredients which are found in “food” are often a telltale sign of low food-quality. Obviously, everyone could benefit from eating more simple, whole, nutritious foods such as raw milk, grass-fed beef, pastured eggs, et cetera. No need for 50 ingredients when your food tastes so good already! A solution to this problem is simply making food yourself. Have fun with it!

       Unfortunately, long lists of ingredients are also present in personal hygiene products and cleaning products. They’re often filled with cancer-causing toxins that are completely unnecessary to their function. A solution to this problem is…just get rid of all that stuff! Learn to care for yourself, your family, and your home with simple, safe, cost-effective methods. Going toxin-free in your food and other products is something worth doing! Here are a few ideas that my family uses in order to reduce toxins, cost, and of course, all those ingredients:

-Face wash:

Many people enjoy the benefits of oil-cleansing, but I like to splash my face with Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, let it soak in for a few seconds, and then wash it off with a warm washcloth. After doing this, my face feels refreshed but not overly dry.

-Face lotion:

After my nightly apple cider vinegar wash, I generously rub my face and neck with castor oil, let it penetrate my skin, and then blot off the excess with a towel. My skin loves it; it stays hydrated through the night and all through the next day. It does not give me oily skin (except after first applying it!) or acne, and I have almost no acne scars left from my greasy high school years. My eyebrows have filled out, too, so that’s a nice benefit. 🙂

In the morning, I do not wash my face. I simply apply Thayer’s alcohol-free Aloe Witch Hazel. It makes my skin look dewy and moisturizes lightly. That’s it!

-Body lotion:

Though I’ve made up specific recipes in the past, lately, I’ve found that combining whatever nourishing oils or butters I have laying around does the trick. My throw-it-together current blend is coconut oil, cocoa butter, tallow, and a little beeswax. I use a blend of coconut oil, tallow, and avocado oil for my children. Remember that whatever you put on your skin is what will probably end up in your bloodstream. So, slather on some tallow or coconut oil for some real food nutrition!

-Makeup free:

I do not wear makeup, except the occasional tinted lip balm or even mascara and concealer on rare occasions. Besides that I don’t know how to do my makeup, I do not enjoy it, it’s expensive, and I don’t like feeling that I’m wearing a mask (weird thought process, I know). It’s so much easier to just not wear it! That’s just my personal opinion, though. If you enjoy makeup, oil-cleansing your face at the end of the day works wonders for makeup-removal and wrinkles, of course 🙂 There are many DIY makeup recipes if you want to avoid makeup with heavy metals and other ingredients that can cause cancer and other not-so-fun adventures. The recipes found on Mommypotamus’ and Wellnessmama’s blogs are worth checking out.

-Baby bottom balm for rashes:

We use organic virgin coconut oil and Redmond bentonite clay in a 1:1 ratio. Usually within 1-2 applications, the rash/redness is gone. This recipe is cloth-diaper safe.

-Foaming hand soap:

Using 12 oz foaming soap dispensers, I use 2 tablespoons liquid castile soap, 1-2 teaspoons olive/avocado oil, and filtered water. This recipe is based off of Wellnessmama’s foaming hand soap recipe.

-All-purpose kitchen and bathroom spray:

We use this on our counters, stove top, and even the kitchen floor. In a 16 oz spray bottle, add 1 part white vinegar to 1 part water and ~1bteaspoon dish soap OR 2 tablespoons of Castile soap in filtered water.

-Cloth diaper wipe spray:

Just use water! It cleans those delicate baby butts entirely and we wash our cloth wipes with the rest of the cloth diapers. So simple!

-Toilet cleaner, bathtub scrub, and pretty much used to clean everything:

Baking soda. Simply add water to make a paste or liquid and use as desired. It’s so cheap and comes in bulk at Sam’s Club. You can use borax for this, too.

-Mold cleaner:

Borax. Make a paste or liquid with water and smear/spray it where you need to. Let it dry and dust/wipe it off. It’s a natural antifungal and I am completely comfortable using it around my young children. Inexpensive and incredible!

-Reusable items so you don’t have to keep repurchasing:

1. Washcloths in place of paper towels

2. Washable mop/microfiber duster: Just throw it in the washing machine. All done! 

3. Cloth napkins

4. Cloth diapers: these will literally save you THOUSANDS of dollars a year! This is not an exaggeration. 

-Reusable items for feminine needs:

1. Mama cloth: cloth menstrual/postpartum pads. Take good care of them and you’ll never have to buy disposable pads again!

2. Menstrual cup: forget those nasty tampons. So freeing!

3. Cloth nursing pads: throw them in the wash with the cloth diapers. Easy peasy!

       What I love most about these recipes/ideas is that they’re safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding, which it seems I’m doing constantly. No need to go buy products made especially for those few short months when you’ve already got safe and effective products at hand. It’s just one less thing to worry about.

       Overwhelmed by clutter? Are your possessions closing in on you, making your home smaller and disorganized? Sick of having to buy disposable items over and over again? Finished dealing with too many toxic chemicals in your home? Just get rid of it all! Donate, sell, recycle, or throw away. Make life simple again. Hopefully these ideas can help you eliminate toxins in your home and inspire you to eliminate chemicals in your diet as well. Anyway, time to dive into my next subject of interest: floor sleeping for back-pain relief. Woohoo!

What are your solutions for toxin-free and clutter-free living?


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Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary or lifestyle changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.

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 daughter Jane and son Thomas, and enjoys raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.

 

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Things You Can Try to Relieve Morning Sickness

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*this post does not contain any affiliate links*

       I met the love of my life at the University of North Dakota in January 2014. It was during the first week of my internship at the medical school that I first shook the hand of the man I’d later marry. It only took a couple of weeks to fall head-over-heels in love with my charming now-husband. What a blessing he is to my life!

       Fast-forward to a few weeks after our wedding in October 2015. We were still so excited about becoming newlyweds, but God had even more excitement in mind for us. We had conceived our first child, due to arrive earthside in late June 2016. Our family was quickly growing in both happiness and size!

       After the initial excitement of conceiving, the beginning of Jane’s life in my womb became unexpectedly challenging for me. I spent much of my time with my head in a bucket, throwing up. I am not sure why it’s called “morning sickness” when it should really be called “all-day sickness”! Anyway, our adventures in lessening my nausea and vomiting began.

       Morning sickness. Some women get it, some women don’t. The wide range of individual experiences with morning sickness spreads from feeling slightly nauseated, all the way to hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis gravidarum (aka HG) makes daily tasks nearly impossible due to the dehydration and significant weight loss caused by long-lasting and aggressive vomiting. A dear friend of mine suffers with this degree of sickness during pregnancy. I can’t help but think of her difficulties as I remember my much easier time with morning sickness! But, no matter where you are on the spectrum, morning sickness is not very fun. Fortunately, I was only sick with Jane up to 5 months, and my symptoms were manageable with natural remedies. I didn’t get very sick when I was pregnant with Thomas, but I’ll include what helped me during that pregnancy as well. Every body is different, so I can’t claim that any of these tips will help you, but they’re definitely worth mentioning. The remedies that worked best for me were:

1. Acupressure: Pericardium 6 (P6), which is a point 3 finger widths down from the center of your wrist. It didn’t take away all my queasiness, but it did make a difference. Since constantly pushing on these pressure points wasn’t realistic, I wore wrist bands called “Sea Bands” that kept the pressure point activated. I did this during both pregnancies and plan to do it in future ones.

2. Ginger candy: obviously, sugar is bad-news-bears. But, when ginger candy is the only thing that prevents you from puking your guts out, you eat it without hesitation! I ate a lot of candied ginger and Gin Gins, which helped keep the vomiting at bay and my blood sugar up (going without food for so long made me hypoglycemic and more nauseous). I tried ginger tea, eating raw ginger, and sniffing ginger essential oil, but nothing helped as much as the candy form. 

3. Magnesium (spray and pills): I did not experience benefits from magnesium very much with my first pregnancy, but I did with my second. Magnesium spray works well if you can’t tolerate swallowing pills.

4. Lemon water with sole: like I mentioned earlier, I get a little hypoglycemic when I can’t keep anything down. And then I get lightheaded because I’m not eating, which in turn makes me more nauseous. It helped during my second pregnancy to have lots of lemon water with sole (salt brine) to keep up my electrolytes and decrease my lightheadedness. 

5. Try and eat more often: I ate whenever I could tolerate food. Being overly hungry made me feel more sick! I’d rather eat (small snacks) and throw up more often than get way too hungry and feel worse because of it. Keeping snacks by my bed sometimes helped as well, in case I didn’t feel well enough to get up to get food.

6. Eating protein: I couldn’t eat much at all with my first pregnancy, but this helped during my second. Of course, every individual has different cravings, aversions, and tolerances during pregnancy, so eat while you’re able! However, it’s always a good idea to stick with real food, if you can. Some excellent sources of protein to try include pastured eggs, grass-fed beef, pastured pork, pastured poultry, real milk, grass-fed yogurt, buttermilk, and all those delicious dairy products! If this isn’t something you can stomach, try munching on some soaked seeds/nuts or enjoying a bowl quinoa. 

Some ideas that didn’t work for me are:

1.Vitamin B6 (sublingual)

2.Sunflower lecithin

3.Peppermint (essential oil and/or tea)

4.Nux Vom homeopathic remedy

5.Red raspberry leaf tea

6.Apple cider vinegar

       Of course, everyone is different and will have different experiences with each remedy. If you’re going to try any of these ideas, please discuss them with your doctor first. Some of them have other applications during pregnancy and life in general, such as magnesium for sleep/pain relief, apple cider vinegar for acid reflux (worked great for me during pregnancy #2), sunflower lecithin for mastitis prevention, and red raspberry leaf tea in preparation for labor and delivery.

       After the all-day sickness had decreased, I was able to enjoy my pregnancies much more. I am not a fan of being pregnant, unlike many women, but I loved feeling those sweet little baby kicks. Children are such gifts!

       Today, my beautiful baby Jane is a sunshiney, incredibly compassionate, curious little toddler. She is almost 2 years old already! I cannot express how much joy she has brought into our lives. In the end, it was worth it and I’d do it infinite times over in order to see my sweet baby girl’s bright smile. Hopefully these tips can help you or someone you love bear through the difficulties of morning sickness. After all, our children deserve everything and more than we could ever give them. They are far worth the discomfort!

What helped your morning sickness? I’d love to know for future reference!

Article summary:

1. Acupressure point pericardium 6

2. Ginger candy

3. Magnesium

4. Lemon water with sole

5. Try to eat more often

6. Eat (real food) protein

 

Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary or lifestyle changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.

 


family24Diane 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 daughter Jane, and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.

 

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What is Nutrient Density?

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Nutrient density is a phrase used to categorize the quality of food. A food that is not nutrient dense is something you’d typically find in the center aisles of a grocery store, such as a bag of Cheetos, Sour Patch Kids, or boxed cake mix. This “food” may taste good, and maybe even give you a brief sensation of fullness, but it is so depleted of nutrients and so filled with synthetic ingredients that it could hardly be considered as food. It does nothing to boost the health status of the body, but rather leaves it starving for nutrients.

On the other hand, real food that is nutrient dense is filled with naturally occurring substances that provide the body with energy and the building blocks to health. Not only is this food filling, but it can also contain different kinds of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, et cetera used to boost the body’s natural functions and maintain or reach a healthy state. A great example is grass-fed beef liver. Loaded with vitamins, this superfood is touted as one of the best sources of absorbable nutrients (especially fat-soluble vitamins, B vitamins, and minerals) available.

As a former vegan, my definition of nutrient density used to be highly reliant on the ratio of nutrients to calories. I thought that high nutrient density only applied to low calorie foods, but this is not true. Because of my flawed thinking, I was not getting enough calorie-dense healthy fats that would have provided my body with plentiful fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D, E, A, and K, along with the essential benefits of fat-soluble antioxidants, such as CLA. My body became nutrient deficient and manifested this through poor dental health and low body weight.

Let food be thy medicine, not thy poison. Choosing nutrient dense food that includes calorie-dense healthy fats is essential to an energized life with fewer health concerns.

Fortunately, our bodies are capable of alerting us of specific nutritional needs through food cravings, especially while trying to meet the high nutrient demands of pregnancy or breastfeeding. For example, during pregnancy, it is common for one to crave chocolate. This does not mean that you should go out and eat a big Hershey’s chocolate bar; instead, it may indicate you are in need of magnesium, which naturally occurs in cacao/cocoa. So, your options are to eat dark chocolate or another magnesium-rich food, or, alternatively, go take an epsom salt bath to absorb higher amounts of magnesium. Your cravings may subside post-bath. Here is an excellent food craving chart assembled by the blogger Mommypotamus to help you decipher your body’s messages:

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Of course, not all cravings are due to nutrient deficiencies. Sometimes, they occur because of systemic candida, sleep deprivation, stress, or even dehydration. Whatever the reason, it is good to identify the root cause of your craving before you go and raid your pantry. Overeating is not a good thing. 🙂

Do you have strong cravings? How do you satisfy them?

Article Summary:

1. Nutrient density is phrase used to categorize the quality of food.

2. Food cravings have meanings. Decipher them with Mommypotamus’ food chart.

 


Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary or lifestyle changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.

family24

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

 

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Brain fog, be gone!

*This post does not contain affiliate links.*

        Brain fog. Fatigue. Forgetfulness. Feeling unmotivated. How many people, especially mothers, experience these symptoms?

        I know I have, particularly since becoming a mom. “Prego-brain” that extended far past pregnancy impacted my mental function as well as my emotional health. To the point of feeling embarrassed about my intellectual capacity, I felt like my mind was falling apart. I’d forget my train of thought mid-sentence. I’d take months to read a book because I couldn’t understand my reading. I disliked going to social events because I didn’t want people to talk to me and think I was stupid. I was disappointed because I never thought my mind would be sacrificed for the sake of my motherhood. When I finally began to accept that the joys and sweetness of being a mom was worth the loss of my intellectual self, I found a solution.

        Even though the symptoms above are common to many diseases and disorders, I’ve found that my mental dullness was 90% gone after I added boron, the trace mineral, into my life. I know this probably sounds too good to be true, but I assure you, it’s not! This little miracle improves the brain’s electrical activity, cognitive performance, and short-term memory, but that is just the tip of the iceberg (1). I’d hate to claim that boron is a “cure-all,” but…it seems like it might be the simple solution to many big problems, including:

1. Cancer

        Boron prevents and treats prostate cancer (2, 3), cervical cancer (4), lung cancer (5), and multiple and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (6, 7). It also may relieve the negative effects of traditional chemotherapy (8).

2. Preventing and treating osteoporosis

Boron is essential for the growth, maintenance, and healing of bone (9, 10).

3. Hormone balance

        Boron improves the body’s use of testosterone, estrogen, and vitamin D (11, 12, 13).

4. Wound Healing

        Boron reduces time and increases effectiveness of wound healing (14, 15).

5. Reduces inflammation

        Boron reduces levels of inflammatory biomarkers (16, 17), raises levels of antioxidant enzymes (18), protects against oxidative stress induced by pesticides and heavy-metal toxicity (18, 19), and even increases the absorption of magnesium (20), which is commonly used for pain management (21).

6. Arthritis

        In locations where dietary boron intake is greater than or equal to 1 mg/day, the estimated incidence of arthritis ranges from 20% to 70%. On the other hand, in areas where boron intake is usually 3-10 mg/day, the estimated incidence of arthritis ranges from 0% to 10% (2).  The connection between boron and arthritis was first made well-known by Dr. Rex E. Newnham, Ph.D., D.O., N.D., who cured his own arthritis by ingesting the naturally-occurring mineral salt commonly known as borax (borax is 11% boron) (22). His discovery eventually became so popular that he asked a pharmaceutical company to market it, but they used the information against him because it was tanking their profits in the arthritis industry. As a result of Dr. Newnham’s  “cheap fix cure-all,” he was fined, and any compound containing boron in any concentration was labeled as poison in Australia (23). More on this story will be listed in the “further reading” section.

        In the studies referenced above, none of boron’s beneficial effects appear at intakes less than 3 mg/day (1), but dosage recommendations vary depending on who you’re talking to. For example, Dr. Jorge Flechas, MD, recommends that adults take doses as high as 30 to 70 mg of boron per day to prevent the “ravages of [physical] aging” (24). Whatever dosage is most beneficial probably depends on the individual, and toxicity concerns are not an issue until around 20,000 mg of boron a day for an adult (24). The bigger concern in this discussion is not the toxicity level (since it’s so hard to reach) (25), but actually the widespread deficiency and its effects.

        So, how important is it to get adequate boron intake? Consider that boron deficiency, which is highly correlated with elevated levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, is associated with an increased risk for breast cancer (26), obesity and metabolic syndrome (MetS) in children (27), atherosclerosis (30, 38), unstable angina, insulin resistance (38), type 2 diabetes (28, 29), nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) (30, 31), metastatic prostate cancer (32), lung cancer (533), adult depression, depression in childhood and psychosis in young adult life (34, 35), coronary heart disease, and stroke (136, 37, 38). Unfortunately, this crucial trace mineral is significantly lacking in our soil…unless you live in Israel or Turkey, where it’s plentiful!

        Now that the relevance of boron has been established, how do we get boron? Transdermal and oral options are available. Orally, trace mineral drops are a great way to get boron. Here is a popular brand. Transdermally, some people prefer to add borax to their baths, along with baking soda and epsom salt for a triple effect: 2 tablespoons borax, 2 cups epsom salt, and 1 cup baking soda (39).

        To bring this post full-circle, I’ll share a couple more benefits I’ve personally experienced from increasing my boron intake. Along with increased mental function, I’ve noticed that my teeth no longer feel “wiggly,” reading is nearly effortless, and my sleep is FANTASTIC. Unless my baby wakes me up during the night (which happens often!), I usually don’t even move during my sleep. It took a few days for all these wonderful benefits to show, so I am glad I stuck with it!

Would you ever try increasing your boron intake?

Article Summary:

        1. Boron boosts cognitive function and has eliminated my “prego-brain.”

        2. Boron prevents and treats cancer.

        3. Boron prevents and treats osteoporosis.

        4. Boron balances sex hormones.

        5. Boron accelerates wound healing.

        6. Boron reduces inflammation and increases magnesium absorption.

        7. Boron prevents, treats, and has cured arthritis.

Further reading:

Dr. Newnham’s Boron Connection: http://www.arthritistrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Boron-and-Arthritis.pdf

The Borax Conspiracy: http://www.health-science-spirit.com/borax.htm

Dr. Jorge Flechas Boron: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJp7SW1pY2I

 

Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary or lifestyle changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.


dianes-profile

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 daughter Jane, and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.

 

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One Fantastic Technique To Resist Holiday Weight Gain

 

The Holidays! Such a loving, busy, and delicious time of year–crisp weather accompanied by cinnamon-spiced apple cider and juicy dry-rubbed roast turkey to follow. Of course, finishing a holiday meal with a slice of homemade pie and a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream makes for a perfect celebration.

However, there is one downside to the holidays: weight gain. Nobody likes to feel like a puffy marshmallow after overindulging in irresistibly scrumptious food, including marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes.

Well, folks, I’ve got a solution for you, and it’s something I wish I knew about years ago when I struggled with resisting food and the resulting weight gain. This is a powerful weight loss technique that has more benefits than just losing inches. A couple of those benefits include preventing and treating neurodegenerative disease (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease), increasing the body’s ability to cope with stress, and extending the lifespan. It’s called intermittent fasting. Don’t click away just yet! Yes, I said it–the dreaded, screeching, nightmarish word–fasting. But, it’s probably not what you think it is…

Here’s what intermittent fasting is NOT:

       1. An extreme resistance to food and drink

       2. An unnatural bodily function

       3. Something difficult to integrate into daily life

       4. Unhealthy

       5. A change in diet

If that pleasantly surprised you, you’ll be happy to know that the majority of intermittent fasting, though an umbrella term, takes place while you’re sleeping. We naturally fast during sleep; this is when the body cleanses and repairs itself from stress and food from the previous day and rebalances itself in preparation for the next. Instead of adding supplements and health foods to promote the body’s automatic detoxification process, it is highly beneficial to leave your body enough time to do its job by fasting intermittently. It is a change in when you eat, not what you eat.

So, here is what intermittent fasting IS:

       1. A natural resistance to food and drink:

              Usually, those who fast intermittently begin with 12 hour fasting windows and can work up to 16-18+ hour fasts, if so desired. It may be challenging at first, but soon it becomes habitual. Having an early dinner or a late/skipped breakfast is all it requires. Even fasting only on weekdays can reverse metabolic disorders and reduce obesity. I find that it takes about a week to get used to it.

       2. A natural bodily function:

               The majority of the fast takes place during sleep, but one chooses to extend the fast by a few hours either before or after bed. After fasting becomes habitual, simply eating only when you experience hunger results in natural fasts of 12+ hours, in my experience. After all, it is only a recent phenomena in our history to have food at our fingertips at all times. Our bodies were meant to fast.  

       3. Something easy to integrate into daily life:

              There is no meal plan, calorie counting, or bizarre lifestyle change necessary to reach intermittent fasting success. It’s really just as simple as eating dinner at whatever time (at 7 pm, for example) and breaking your fast the next day (at 7 am or later, for a 12+ hour fasting window). Easy peasy!

       4. Healthy:

              As previously mentioned, intermittent fasting carries benefits far beyond weight loss. A few more advantages intermittent fasting has are reducing oxidative damage and inflammation, optimizing energy metabolism, bolstering cellular protection, reducing hypertension, asthma, rheumatoid arthritisand lowering risk of cardiovascular disease. Animal studies have also shown that it protects against certain cancers and diabetes. So, why wouldn’t you do it?

       5. A change in timing:

              Continue with life normally, but save that tasty breakfast smoothie for brunch.

So, there you have it: an easy solution for holiday, or any day, digestive sluggishness, bloating, diet-related guilt, and unhealthy weight gain. Of course, pairing intermittent fasting with a nutrient-dense, real food diet will yield the best results.

Those with diabetes, adrenal fatigue, who eat a diet low in electrolytes (sea salt, for example), are female, or are pregnant/breastfeeding should approach fasting with caution. Attention women: males who fast generally experience all positive results, whereas females can have negative results from extended fasts. Here is an article explaining these details. Doing your own research on fasting is essential to understanding it, and listening to your body is essential to fasting safely. If you feel clear-headed, light, and not distracted by food, by all means, continue your fast. 🙂

If your fasting results in light-headedness, anxiety, or any sick-type feeling, please break your fast. Adding a pinch of sea salt and lemon juice to a tall glass of water can usually resolve these symptoms, but here is a recipe for quick electrolytes to resolve any weakness experienced from fasting. I enjoy this drink 1-2 times a day.

 


In hopes of inspiring you, I’ll share my personal experience with fasting. In 2015, I did my first Lenten Fast, which requires two small snacks (that do not add up to the size of a meal) and one normally-sized meal each day for 40 days, with the exception of Sundays. For a college kid, this meant I could eat something like an apple for breakfast, a banana and peanut butter for lunch, and cabbage soup for dinner (don’t judge…I didn’t know much about nutrition back then). The first week was hard, but I quickly learned that I did not need as much food as I previously thought. I lost weight and I felt fantastic!

It has been over two years and I now habitually fast because I only eat when I’m hungry. Thankfully, I now eat more nutritious food than just fruit and cabbage soup! Learning how to fast allowed me to become in-tune with my body and recognize the difference between boredom/stress-eating and actual hunger. Though fasting is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding, I just go by what my body tells me. I don’t feel hungry until after 13-14ish hours, which is when I make myself scrambled eggs or have a banana milk kefir smoothie.

In this time, everything from fasting to being a spouse and mother has showed me the importance of willpower. Willpower is a muscle, and exercising it is necessary for self-control. It is dangerous to let whatever whim you’re feeling dictate your life. Exercising willpower gets easier over time and if you’re like me, you’ll love taking back a little control in your life and feeling empowered. You may be surprised at how simple it is to feel better about yourself. So go and enjoy a plateful of holiday food and don’t feel bad about it. 🙂

 

Do you enjoy fasting? I’d love to hear about it!


Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary or lifestyle changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.

dianes-profile

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 daughter Jane, and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.

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9 Things You Can Do To Stay Healthy this Winter

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*Please discuss any of these remedies with your doctor before trying them. This post contains no affiliate links.*

Winter has finally arrived here in Grand Forks. The snow is sticking, there’s ice on the roads, and North Dakota’s signature icy wind gusts are making our windows creak. Here I am, sitting on the floor, wiping my nose, and typing this blog hoping that my congested babies don’t wake up from naptime. It turns out that my family has caught the cold.

Ironically, I wanted to address easy ways to avoid catching every bug that goes around. I don’t think my whole family would be sick if I’d take my own advice! So, here are some easy-peasy ways to protect yourself and your family from the dreaded “cold and flu season.” These are only a few of the many ways to stay healthy:

1. Probiotics: We are HUGE fans of probiotics in this house. Ideally, they’d come from raw dairy and home-fermented foods, but you can always get them from high quality supplements (such as this, this, and this) and store-bought fermented foods. Did you know that a massive portion of your immune system resides in your gut? Good thing probiotics can kick it up a notch! On top of keeping your immune system in tip-top shape, beneficial gut microflora are key to reducing bloating, eliminating constipation (pun intended!), stopping diarrhea, weight management, mental hygiene, and the list goes on and on and on. Our favorite fermented foods (homemade) are milk kefir, kombucha (elderberry/rosehip kombucha is especially helpful for the cold/flu season), and sauerkraut.

2. Vitamin C and Vitamin D: Make sure you get your fill of these immune system essentials. We get our vitamin C through fresh fruits and veggies, as well as taking an ascorbic acid supplement. As it is impossible to overdose on ascorbic acid, I take high doses of it to bowel tolerance during sickness, and 1000 mg once a day when I’m not sick. I also add it to my daughter’s water; she loves the taste. I must mention that ascorbic acid is a synthetic version of vitamin C, and ideally we would only get it from whole-food sources. Here is an excellent whole-food vitamin C supplement. For vitamin D, we make sure to drink raw, pastured milk from healthy cows and also supplement with vitamin D3. Ideally, we would take fermented cod liver oil as our vitamin D supplement (very high in fat-soluble vitamins), but it is more expensive than we would like; therefore, we focus on getting our nutrient-dense healthy fats and nutrients through dairy and grass fed beef (and coconut oil, of course).

3. Elderberry syrup: I love to make Wellness Mama’s Elderberry Syrup recipe. It is absolutely delicious and has a little kick because of the ginger. Here is the recipe and dosage instructions. Please note that this recipe uses raw honey, and therefore should not be given to children under 1 year. Store-bought elderberry syrup is available if you’re short on time.

4. Nettle, rosehip, echinacea, and catnip tea: If you know me, you may be aware that I LOVE studying and using herbs to promote wellness. I make herbal “concoctions” almost every day and have found a few herbs to be particularly useful when fighting sickness: nettle leaves (reduces congestion and is highly nutritive), rosehips (high in vitamin C), echinacea (loaded with antioxidants), and catnip (fever reducer, gentle sleep aid, pain and reliever). Though I prefer to purchase bulk herbs and make teas based on our current needs, any or all of these herbs can be used to combat illness. They can be found in store-bought tea bags to make things easier. Tinctures of these herbs are also effective. Though I am comfortable using certain gentle/diluted herbs with my children, please do your research and talk to your doctor before giving any to yours.

5. Raw apple cider vinegar: The idea may seem unpalatable, but I heavily rely on raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) for general health. I’ve used to fight colds, UTIs, general digestive distress, morning sickness, skin rashes, [sugar] cravings, et cetera. It’s got endless uses! Relative to colds/the flu, I take 1-2 tablespoons 3x a day or more to combat sickness. When not sick, I only take it once or twice a day. Simply dilute it in water and drink. To cut the sour taste, add a pinch of sea salt or a dash of raw honey. Try not to let this drink touch your teeth as you sip it.

6. Magnesium: Sleep is hard to get when you’ve got body aches, your head feels stuffed up, and you can only breathe through your mouth! I speak from recent experience. However, despite the multiple discomforts of sickness, sleeping hasn’t been as bad as it could be. This is because magnesium relieves body aches, headaches, and any insomnia I may have. My favorite types of magnesium are magnesium glycinate (pill form; it’s very easily absorbed and is not a laxative), magnesium chloride (made into “magnesium oil” and applied topically to relieve body aches), and magnesium sulfate (aka epsom salt used in hot baths). Though I do not supplement my children with internal magnesium, I make sure to apply magnesium oil on their feet and backs before bedtime. The incredibly simple recipe is here.

7. Raw, local honey and cinnamon: Honey is a natural cough suppressant and a little kick from the cinnamon helps get over bugs faster. Simply mix them together to form a thick paste and eat it however you want. By itself, on toast, or in tea are some options. My daughter loves this stuff! This is not safe for children under 1 year.

8. Garlic: We use this to keep away the vampires, of course. Just kidding 🙂 It does keep my husband away, though! Smelling like a garlic clove is definitely not the latest trend, but it certainly does help with fighting infections. You can add it to your food, but simply chopping up a clove and taking it with water works wonders. If you can, do this up to 5 times a day, but 1 or 2 times will also be beneficial. However, getting kids to take raw garlic can be tricky. So, I recommend making GOOT, which is a simple garlic oil that can be applied topically to babies and children. The recipe can be found here. Apply a thin layer to the bottoms of baby’s feet (after testing a small area of skin) and cover with socks. Can be reapplied up to 3x a day.

9. Avoid sugar: Obviously, getting ample rest is essential for cold/flu prevention and treatment. However, it is not well recognized that sugar– the immune-dampening ingredient–will make you more vulnerable to sickness and promote inflammation. Avoiding all processed and added sugars is extremely important to beating any type of infection, whether that be an ear infection or an ingrown toenail. In my experience, allowing limited amounts of fruit and raw, local honey is acceptable during sickness, but I’d personally avoid any other type of sugar, including maple syrup.

One conundrum I’ve come across as a mother is what I can do to keep my young babies healthy without giving them remedies directly. All children, especially babies, are extremely sensitive to chemicals, even if they’re naturally-occurring compounds. I wish I had more information on how to help formula-fed little ones, but I have no experience with that. Here is what we have chosen to do with our babies, who were/are breastfed: I supplement myself with the treatments I want to give to my baby. This is because anything a mother takes will inevitably be passed through breast milk to the child. However, I do not recommend taking a lot of raw garlic if you’re nursing, as it can make breast milk taste funny and potentially give your baby gas.

I hope some, if not all, of these remedies can help you stay healthy this winter. It’s no fun feeling crumby when there are snow forts to build and holidays to celebrate. Stay warm, friends!

What remedies have helped you in the past? I’d love to learn about them. 🙂

 

 


Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.

 

dianes-profileDiane 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 daughter Jane, and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.

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Baby Thomas Has Arrived!

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*I must first make it known that I have a low pain tolerance. Please remember this as you read my story!*

        After two bouts of prodromal labor in the weeks leading up to my “due date,” I was ready for our baby boy to make his debut. Well, that “due date” came and went, and 2 days past, my anxieties skyrocketed as my doctor insisted on different tests to check on me and the baby. I was fully convinced they’d find any excuse to induce me, despite my strong desire to give birth intervention-free. I was a wreck; crying, upset over the littlest things, and uncomfortable in my body. Everything was aching and I felt like a beached whale with stretchmarks. Thankfully, my sweet husband Dan surprised me by coming home early from work, which really cheered me up. 🙂

        We followed our usual night routine: had dinner, said family prayers, played with my daughter and put her to bed, and then enjoyed a few episodes of Frasier before hitting the hay. I woke at 1 am with hard contractions; unlike the Braxton Hicks and prodromal labor contractions I had experienced before, these were unmistakably real labor contractions. At least I’d hoped they were real…it would be so discouraging to get to the hospital and be sent home!

        I got out of bed soon after contractions started and found Dan gaming in the living room. The poor man hadn’t slept yet! He started an epsom salt bath for me, in which I tried to relax for the next hour and a half. He called his brother to come over and watch our daughter, and soon after he arrived, Dan had the hospital bag ready and the car parked out front. Contractions were coming on stronger and closer together. I focused on breathing through them, which made them much more manageable. It was 2:30 am when we left for the hospital.

        When we got there, I got out of the car and had a couple contractions on the way to the doors. This had to be the real thing! The hospital staff quickly escorted us through ER up to Labor and Delivery. I was so happy when our escort let me walk instead of insisting on a wheelchair, like they did last time! We were put in a nice labor room with a tub, and they checked my dilation. I was already at 6 cm…this WAS the real thing! I felt so relieved, but also a bit anxious. I hopped into the tub where I labored for the next 4ish hours.

       Labor was hard, as I expected. My coping techniques worked well for most of it. I continued to focus (with Dan’s priceless help!) on breathing normally, but I also found that talking to myself through contractions helped a lot. I probably looked like a crazy person…hanging out in the bathtub of a dark bathroom, talking to myself. Saying, “I can do this,” “I love you” to my baby, and “we could do this together” helped the most.

        Eventually, the contractions got extremely intense and I began to feel a little frantic. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could handle it, though it had only been a few hours. I asked for an epidural a couple times, started crying, and was trying hard to keep myself from hyperventilating. Dan helped so much by reminding me that I could do it and that I was almost done. He also handed me water and coconut water throughout the night as I needed it.

        From my reading, I could recognize this phase of labor as transition: often called the hardest part, a sign of transition is when you feel like you can’t do it anymore. Fortunately, one of my awesome nurses offered to check my dilation to see where I was at. I got out of the tub and got checked; I was “stuck” at a little over 9 cm! But, the baby was still not dropping as much as I would have liked him to. I continued to labor on the hospital bed, threw up, and contractions continued to get even more intense. They began to overlap and I found it hard to breathe, but I still was not feeling the urge to push.

        Things are a little fuzzy in my memory at this point. Somebody suggested that I have my water broken in order to move the baby down. I was so scared of more pain that I didn’t want it broken, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Suddenly, there were many people in the room: more nurses, my doctor, and others. Our doctor quickly broke my water, had me change positions, and I began to push. Finally, I felt the urge! At this point, I was not self-controlled. I had become so uncomfortable that I allowed myself to scream. The poor onlookers probably all left with broken eardrums. I think I pushed for about 20 minutes before my baby boy was born at 7:54 am. Bliss!

        Finally, I held my 8lb 9oz, 20.5 in long baby in my arms! I was a little surprised…I forgot the reward I’d receive after going through all the pain. Soon afterwards, the room mostly cleared out and it was just Dan, baby Thomas, and myself. Baby boy nursed right away for the first hour before being weighed. He has beautiful twinkling blue eyes, could hold his head up from day 1, and has the most kissable cheeks! What an absolute blessing! Every bit of the difficulty of pregnancy, labor, and delivery was worth it a million times over again. What a sweet child.

Thank you for reading the delivery story of my chunky little sweetheart! I should point out a few things that helped:

1.Drink coconut water during labor! It provided me much-needed energy to finish the job. I would have been totally dehydrated without it, as I did not have an IV.

2.READ GOOD BOOKS! Though birth is a natural process, the traumatic idea of birth that I had in my head would have scared me out of attempting to do it without any pain medication. I needed to replace my false idea of an injurious birth with the reality of an empowering, important, and completely natural birth. I got halfway through Ina May’s Guide to Childbirthand both Dan and I read the Bradley Method book. They were essential to our experience!

3.Have a good support system! If you’re surrounded by people who think you can’t do it, or wonder what the point is, REMOVE them from your birth space. My husband was my rock when I was a kite in a hurricane. At some points, I got so scared, but Dan was there to bring me back to earth and remind me that it’s all okay! Having him there reminded me that I am also doing this for him and the health of his child. You’d do anything for those that you love! Let those who are involved in your birth experience be both a support and an inspiration to you.

        As I mentioned before, I have a low pain tolerance. I am sensitive to any physical changes that I feel. And you know what? I had a natural childbirth–by choice! And if I can do it, ANYONE can do it! It is hard, hard work, but I don’t regret it for a moment and I plan on doing it again, if possible. It is absolutely worth it. I feel so incredibly empowered and recovering well. I highly recommend giving natural birth a good shot, if you can! Though not every pregnancy, labor, or delivery can go as we plan, it was worth the effort to make it the way I wanted it to be. You might surprise yourself with your strength!

 


Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.

dianes-profileDiane 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 daughter Jane, and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.

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5 More Money-Saving Tips For Living The Real Food Life

This post contains no affiliate links. All programs/products/businesses shown are what works best for me and my family.

September 16, 2017

My second baby’s due date is tomorrow and he hasn’t yet made his arrival (phew!). So, like many growing families, we have been continuing our frugal habits and trying more new ways to save money in preparation for our little sweetheart. It has been a fun and interesting journey. I thought I’d share more of what we have found useful! 🙂 The next few tips aren’t all health-related or time-sparing, but have helped us save an incredible amount of money. I hope these recommendations can make your life a little bit easier!

1. Use Thrive Market. I compare prices on almost everything we buy, and Thrive Market (they have an app) has won the gold for buying cheap health-related items. We often buy bulk coconut oil, shampoo and conditioner (I haven’t been able to make a recipe that works yet. Bummer!), and many of our supplements. Azure Standard is another good source for bulk health food/items, and Mountain Rose Herbs is a great place to find bulk herbs/spices/teas online.

2. Use Amazon Prime. I make many of our own products ingredients in bulk. Many of those bulk ingredients come from Amazon and I enjoy my Prime membership’s free-shipping benefit. Please comment on this post for any recipes you may be interested in. I’d be happy to share mine! Here is what I make at home: toothpaste, baby wipe spray, baby bottom balm, pregnancy-belly butter, body lotion, face lotion, anti-fungal cream, magnesium oil, foaming hand soap, dishwasher detergent, and stain-remover for clothes.

3. Find a near-free or totally free source of kefir grains, sourdough starter, and kombucha SCOBYs. Store-bought kefirs, sourdough breads, and kombucha can really add up over time. But, why spend the extra money when you can simply (seriously-it’s easy!) make these items yourself? Many people who have extra SCOBYs, grains, and sourdough starter have extra, and may be willing to give you their cultures for free. If you don’t know anyone with grains or starters, you can experiment with making them yourself, buying them commercially, or see if anyone on Amazon or Etsy is selling their extras. Lots of DIY fermenting advice and recipes can be found on culturesforhealth.com, culturedfoodlife.com, blogs, facebook, and even YouTube! We have not needed to purchase probiotic supplements in a very long time because of how cheap and effective fermented foods are.

4. If you have very young children, consider cloth diapering! It has been a fun experience for us so far. Actually, it has become a bit of an obsession of mine…there is so much to learn! We have been doing it for almost 15 months now and plan on continuing to cloth diaper all of our babies. Though some people prefer to use cloth diapers 100% of the time, we have found that it’s a lot easier to use disposables while traveling, moving, and while diapering a newborn baby in the first 1-4 weeks to avoid needing smaller cloth diapers. Even if you only do cloth diapering part-time, you’ll save HUNDREDS of dollars and trips to the store for disposable diapers and wipes! Sometimes, daycares will work with you on your preference to cloth diaper. Though diapers fit each child differently, we have had EXCELLENT success with BumGenius pocket diapers. Money-saving tip: Buy used or flawed cloth diapers, inserts, and wet bags for an extra cheap discount; most flaws can’t be seen, anyway. If they weren’t perfectly functional diapers, they wouldn’t be sold by the manufacturer. 🙂 I’ve cut up an old sweatshirts to use as cloth wipes and they’re so soft on my baby’s bottom. One last option for purchasing cloth diapers is joining a couple cloth co-ops on facebook, where bulk orders on diapers greatly reduce their prices.

5. Of course, garage sales, second hand stores, and hand-me down clothes can save you hundreds, as well. Sometimes, people will even trade items rather than sell them, which is an easy deal if you’ve got stuff to get rid of. Joining buy/sell/trade (B/S/T) groups on facebook is an easy way to do this.

Hopefully, my next post will be our baby’s delivery story!

What has helped your family save money and score good deals? Doesn’t it feel good to have a little extra cash in your wallet?


 

Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.

dianes-profile

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 daughter Jane, and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.

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Watch The Farm Tour Video 2017

 

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