The Learning Center

What is Nutrient Density?


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:

Capture Capture 2

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.


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



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:

The Borax Conspiracy:

Dr. Jorge Flechas Boron:


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 receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.



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.


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.


9 Things You Can Do To Stay Healthy this Winter


*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.


Baby Thomas Has Arrived!


*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.


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,, 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.


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.


Watch The Farm Tour Video 2017







Preparing for Baby #2: My Labor and Delivery Approach


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

Surprise! I suddenly felt nauseous, and…oops, up came my dinner. That was the first hint that my baby boy, due on September 17, was growing in my belly. But, because I was only 7 months postpartum, I hadn’t yet prepared myself for the morning sickness (it’s more like all-day sickness!), the aches and pains, the fatigue, or the fact that there was already another sweet baby cuddled up inside me. 🙂 Fortunately, I’ve made it 37 weeks so far and both baby boy and I are healthy!

There is so much conflicting information about how to have a healthy pregnancy. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I experienced much worse morning sickness, I was absolutely terrified of birth, and I was scared I’d hurt her during pregnancy or after. So. Much. Pressure. However, my current pregnancy has been easier in these aspects, and that may be because I’ve had just enough experience to know a little about being pregnant and a bit on how to be a mom. I’ve also done a LOT of reading and have worked through a bunch of the inconsistent information. Some things I’ve done differently this pregnancy have really seemed to help:

1.Visits to the chiropractor. After learning of the importance of pelvic alignment for birth, I made a point to go visit my chiropractor at Plains Chiropractic & Acupuncture in Grand Forks, ND. Dr. Natalie has been helping me throughout the pregnancy with birth preparation and with my tilted sacrum (an injury I think happened while I was delivering my daughter). I am so relieved that she has been able to greatly reduce the pain in my lower back and hips! I am confident that my pelvis is well-enough aligned to deliver my baby boy, who will probably have a big head, like his mama!

2.Drinking red raspberry leaf (and nettle) tea. Known to tone the uterus in preparation for labor and delivery, I’ve made it a point to drink 1 quart a day. I bought a big bag of loose red raspberry leaves and have been enjoying this tea hot, cold, with raw milk (seriously, it’s SO GOOD this way! It reminds me of iced chai tea.), with lemon, or with raw honey. Though some people recommend avoiding it during the first trimester, I’ve been drinking it the entire pregnancy with no problems. A great article by one of my favorite bloggers is here

3.Doing exercises and stretches recommended by The Bradley Method. Unfortunately, there is not a Bradley Method class in my area, so I’ve been using the book, Natural Birth The Bradley Way, instead. Excellent book, I must say! The exercises and stretches have also helped reduce pain in my lower back, which I am (again) so grateful for! I am confident that my body is strong enough for a safe delivery. Here is a link to the exercises from The Bradley Method workbook and a blog post on additional beneficial exercises for pregnancy and child delivery. 

4.Eating dates (6 per day) to increase my chances of a quick labor and delivery. Here is a short little blog on dates for labor.

5.Sleeping on my side with a pillow between my legs. It really helps with back pain! This position is recommended by The Bradley Method for relaxing during labor. I now can’t sleep any other way–it’s just too comfortable!

6.Taking  vitamin C, 1-2 tablespoons of collagen hydrolysate, and magnesium glycinate before bed has made sleeping significantly easier. I’ve discovered that if I skip these supplements entirely, or lake less of them (the magnesium in particular), I toss and turn all night. These things are excellent for non-pregnant individuals as well 🙂 My husband and I call this the “sleep concoction.”

7.Eating the most nutrient-dense diet possible. Not every day is perfect, and I often forget to eat, but I know that I’ve done everything I can to provide my baby and myself with the most nutrition. I try to base almost every meal off of the Weston A. Price Foundation’s recommendations for pregnancy, which is something I did not do (or know much about) during my first pregnancy. I notice that I have no digestive problems this time around (no constipation, gas pains, bloating, food intolerances, et cetera), and I think this has a LOT to do with the large amount of probiotic foods I eat daily. Milk kefir and kombucha are my favorites. I’ve also noticed that I experience no lightheadedness or general weakness this time (unless I forget to eat). A pinch of sea salt or a teaspoon of salt brine in water has made the difference. Read about kombucha during pregnancy here and benefits of sea salt brine (also called “sole” [so-lay]) here.

8.Resting while I can. Being a very high-stress person, relaxing as much as possible has been incredibly constructive. This doesn’t mean that I sit around all day…I don’t have time! This means taking 10 minutes to read before bed, putting down my to-do list every once in a while, sitting in the sun for a few minutes, or lying down if my daughter is napping. Enjoying Epsom salt baths are particularly productive in the relaxation-department. I take what I can get and every little bit helps! 🙂

Each baby, mama, and pregnancy is different. Sometimes, a person can do everything right and still end up with an outcome they didn’t want. Part of pregnancy is accepting the unknown, and possibly scary, future. Though I said that the second time has been less stressful, I must point out that I’m still nervous, still very excited, and still working on having the most positive and relaxed mindset for labor and delivery. You can only try your best and that’s good enough!

It’s possible that my next post may a delivery story–I suppose we’ll find out if the things I’ve tried this time have made a difference!


Readers, what have you done that has helped you deliver your baby? I’d love to know!

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.



        Busy, Busy, Busy! This is the life of a mom: packed with both profound joy and plenty of things to do. Trying new things is always fun–if you’ve got the time and energy for them, of course 🙂 . Even as I write this blog, my goofy 1 yr old is crawling all over my lap trying to get my attention (and the keyboard!). Juggling my many duties has certainly been a learning process, and, naturally, I’ve had many failures along the way. One of those failures was my attempt to make chicken bone broth a few months ago, which I ruined twice in a row…oofda. Burnt bone broth + a small apartment = a stinky combination. It’s true that one learns best by making mistakes, but also by reading as much as possible to prevent potential problems. Hence, why I’ve loaded this article with further reading.

        After my failures, successes, and reading, I’ve compiled some useful tips on making successful bone broth:

        1. If your bones are raw, make sure you roast them before you make broth with them!

        2. Bring the broth to a boil and gently simmer it; do NOT keep it at a rolling boil. More details can be found here:

        3. If you’re concerned about your broth cooking while you’re out of the house, it’s more than okay to use the cumulative time method of cooking:

        4. You can reuse bones from previous bone broth. This french method is called remouillage, and it stretches both your dollar and broth flavor:

        5. If it’s easier for you, you can make bone broth in an instant pot (

        6. Or, a crock pot (

        7. Freeze it in mason jars! Here is the safe and shatter-free way to do it:

        8. Freeze it in ice cube trays (and then put the cubes in a container to save freezer space), so it’s easily thawed and rationed in recipes that require less of it.

        9. Use lots of veggies, herbs, and spices to help flavors carry into the finished product. Cooking for long periods of time can diminish flavors.

        10.Can’t get time to make bone broth? Kettle & Fire is a good store bought brand:

        I FINALLY succeeded at making (beef) bone broth using this simple recipe from WellnessMama’s blog ( At last, I had several quarts at my disposal! Good thing it keeps well in the freezer! But, the question remains: how do I use this stuff? Some useful things I’ve tried and intend to try are:

        1. Using it in soup, obviously! It’s great as a hearty soup base or even for simple egg drop soup.

        2. Drinking it as a beverage! I really enjoy it with a little lemon juice (and sometimes, ginger) I’ve found this to be very relaxing and soothing for tummy trouble. It’s also great for keeping warm in the dangerously cold North Dakota winters!

        3. Using it in place of (or along with) a fat for sauteing veggies or meats.

        4. As a gravy or added in place of water in many crock pot, stew, or freezer meal recipes.

        Making bone broth doesn’t have to be complicated, even if you’ve got your hands full! My advice to you is this: follow the directions (something I don’t always do!), research and troubleshoot to correct mistakes, DON’T BURN IT, and don’t give up! Happy cooking to all. 🙂


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.


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.


Come Learn At Bartlett Farms Farm Tour 2017

Register here to attend for free

Come and see the farm up close as talk about the problems with conventional agriculture and processed food, and show how diversified holistic farms provide the solutions needed to create healthy food for your table.

Jim Bartlett and Peter Bartlett will guide attendees to various locations on the property and you’ll get to

  • Understand the shortfalls of conventional agriculture.
  • See how animals can be raised without chemicals in a low stress environment.
  • Get experience milking a cow and riding a horse (maybe more!)
  • Interact with people who embrace the holistic view of health and life.
  • Enjoy a time of quietness away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Bring a friend! This event is free and open to the public. We encourage you to prepare for a hot day by bringing water and sunscreen, and wear shoes suitable for rough terrain. 

The tour will start at 2 p.m. and end at 5 p.m. so plan some recreational activities around the area like visiting the International Peace Gardens, or Lake Metigoshe State Park. 

Some snack items and refreshments will be served.

Spread the word!

RSVP for the event by registering to attend for free. Contact Peter at with questions.


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