Friday, November 26, 2010

Bijon has arrived...

So I had a baby...
at home...
in my living room...
in a tub full of warm water...
with my hubby's arms around me...
baby boy #2...
so in love!

birth story to come...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Primal Custard Recipe

Oops I did it again.  I stole another recipe from the SoG (Son of Grok) to share with you all.  I was really craving something creamy yet light for dessert the other night so I decided to bake up some of the SoG's yummy Caveman Custard.  I've made it once before and it was so-so (didn't really hit the spot for what I was craving) so this time I decided to add another banana for sweetness.  Ooooh it's good.  I'm eating some right now in-between typing :)  I love how easy all his recipes are too! 

Here's the recipe:

Dairy Free, No Sugar Added Custard

Do you miss puddings and custards in your primal world? We have a local egg custard here known as “Flan” and for some weird reason, I have been craving it. Here is a custard recipe that I have been putting together. I finally got the proportions perfectly where I like them. If you like yours sweeter, all you need to do is add more bananas! This recipe is about as simple as it gets.


- 2 bananas (I added 3 this time and liked it better than with 2)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 3 eggs
- Cinnamon


1. Combine all ingredients except for cinnamon in a mixer and mix well.

2. Pour into custard or souffle cups (coffee cups or other oven safe containers work fine if you don’t have custard cups).  ( I just used an 8 x 8 baking dish coated with coconut oil cooking spray)

3. Sprinkle top with cinnamon.

4. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for approx 45 minutes. Custard will balloon a bit and you may see some liquid… its ok, it will work itself out.

5. Chill.

6. Serve and enjoy.

Friday, October 22, 2010

On my reading list: The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith

Having previously been a vegetarian, actually near-vegan, I am very interested in any books covering such dietary information.  I have read most of the popular and not-so-popular books (i.e. Skinny Bitch, Food for Life, Greens for Life, Becoming Vegetarian, Cancer is Good for You, etc. to name a few).  So I am fully aware of all the reasons people have for living a vegetarian lifestyle.  It was actually very difficult to let go of many of the notions I gleaned from reading the aforementioned books when I decided to eat meat again.  I try my best to choose meats and other animal-based proteins that were raised in a sustainable, humane way.  If you are interested in why I decided to forego a vegetarian diet, you can visit my very first post on this blog here.

What I have yet to come across is a book that actually attempts to dispell all the myths surrounding a vegetarian diet.  I have been hearing a lot about a book called The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith and it is going straight on my reading list! 

Check out this review by Dr. Thomas Cowan:

The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith

Very occasionally powerful, life-changing books are written that give one the palpable sense that "if people would only listen" the world might be a different place. The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith is one such book. In this book Lierre essentially tells two intertwined stories. One is the story of the deterioration of her own health as a direct result of adopting a vegan diet. The second is the related tale of the destruction of our planet essentially as a result of the widespread adoption of agriculture, specifically agriculture based on the growing of grains. Her central premise is that, unlike what we are all led to believe, the absolute worst thing that could ever befall humans or the earth is if we all adopted a vegetarian or, worse yet, a vegan diet. To many, this is such an unbelievable head spinner that they simply will not even be able to entertain the ideas that are presented by Lierre. The ideas, the argument she presents to make her case are powerful, coherent and irrefutable - grains and in fact a grain-based (i.e. vegetarian) diet are literally killing us all.

First, the ecological argument. We are told that the biggest users of fresh water and the most wasteful, ecologically speaking, food we can eat is meat. We are told that if instead of feeding grains to cows to get meat, which is anyway poison for us to eat, we should feed that grain to people thereby feeding at least 30 people with a grain-based diet for every one person we can feed on a meat-based diet. We are told to eat low on the food chain to conserve resources and be ecologically friendly. And, finally and crucially we hear people proudly announce they don't eat anything with faces as a sign that they are living out their deeply held convictions about social justice. The facts actually tell a completely different story.

Imagine the Middle East 10,000 years ago when the only people living in what we now call Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, etc., were nomadic hunter-gatherer types. This area was referred to as a paradise; it was lush, fecund; Lebanon was the land of the cedar forests. The area between the Tigris and Euphrates was literally paradise on earth. Then came agriculture, specifically the growing of grains. As happens where grains are grown and irrigation is used, the soil began to lose its vitality, the humous layer was lost. The irrigation and the converting of perennial grasses and the animals that live on these grasses to annual crops is akin to mining the nutrients and the fertility out of the soil. Without sufficient animal manure and animal bodies to put nutrients back into the soil, without the annual flooding of the plains that is stopped when irrigation systems are used, the land loses its nutrients, the soil becomes more salty and, as evidenced in the Middle East, eventually, inevitably the land becomes a desert. Lierre describes this process in intimate detail so the reader is left with no doubt that in human history, whenever the transition from perennial grass- based land - alongside naturally flowing lakes and rivers, co-existing with verdant forests - is converted into grain based agriculture, the inevitable result is everything dies. Everything - the plants, the insects, the wild animals and eventually the people.

If this wasn't reason enough for conscientious people to shun a grain-based diet, Lierre spends the second half of the book detailing the negative health repercussions from adopting a grain-based, vegetarian or vegan diet. For those familiar with the work of the Weston A. Price foundation or The Fourfold Path to Healing, this will come as no surprise. What will be eye-opening for many is a detailed chart that compares the physiology of meat eaters with that of herbivores. If you still have any doubts that humans are literally physiologically required to live on mostly an animal food diet, I recommend checking out this enlightening chart. Lierre has done her homework. She references many studies that have been done in the last 100 years documenting the superior health outcomes, the absence of chronic disease, and the total absence of cancer and heart disease in people who eat the food that comes naturally out of a perennially based grass and forest system. What do these people eat? What is the "human" diet, the diet that works back to heal the land? Conveniently it is one diet, called the GAPS diet. As probably more than a hundred of my patients can attest, those who have literally regained their health as a result of the GAPS diet, it is no surprise that the very diet that can heal so many sick people is the very diet that,when applied to agriculture, can heal a "sick" earth.

Get this book, read it, pass it to your friends, especially your vegetarian friends, for as Lierre often says in our current situation, it is not enough any more to just have good intentions. You also have to be informed about what it is you are fighting for.

Have you read this book or heard of it?  It sounds so very interesting and has received great reviews!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Grain-Gluten-Free Primal Pizza Crust

As you can probably tell, since the last three posts were recipes, mama is growing hungrier and hungrier with this little babe growing inside!  I've had a lingering craving for some pizza but knew I'd feel like doggy doo after indulging in the real thing.  Especially since I cannot consume less than five slices of the real deal.  But tonight I sent the hubby out for the ingredients I came across in this recipe over at Primal Matriarch.  It was a hit!  We were all stoked on it, including the wee one, and since almond flour is so filling,  two slices did the trick for me.  I even used some of the leftover dough and modified it a bit to make some of her primal biscuits and they were MAGICALLY DELICIOUS!  Yum!  Here's the recipe for the pizza crust:

AndreAnna's Grain/Gluten-Free "Primal" Pizza Crust

What you need:

*3 c. almond flour

*1 c. sour cream/plain organic yogurt

*1/2 c. grated Parmesan

*pinch salt

*1 egg

*1/2 tsp baking soda

*fresh parsley (optional)

What you do:

1.  Mix dry ingredients

2.  Beat egg into sour cream and slowly add to the dry mixture.

3.  Beat until well blended.

4.  Mixture will be batter-like and not dough-like, so you must SPREAD this with a spatula onto parchment paper, about 1/4-in thick.
5.  YES, it HAS to be parchment. Trust me.

6.  This amount makes three small pizza crusts in the size shown. If you're not going to eat them all, half the recipe. They do not reheat very well; they tend to get soggy.

7.  Bake at 350 for around 30 minutes or until brown all the way over.
8.  Top with whatever your heart desires. The possibilities are endless!!! I was just in the mood for a good ol' pepperoni pie!
9.  Stick back in the oven for five minutes to melt the cheese and toppings.
10.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Easy Primal Italian-esque Chicken Dinner

OK so this isn't the most gourmet meal, but I was actually surprised that I was able to take the fresh chicken, green beans and eggplant I made and add a few ingredients leftover in the fridge to make a primal Italian-esque dinner.  I am not that creative in the kitchen and if I don't have a recipe to follow, it's usually just some version of meat and tons of veggies drizzled with some sort of fat like olive oil or butter for dinner.  Which actually is very satisfying if you use quality, fresh ingredients.  But anyway, I just thought I'd share this one with y'all because it was pretty darn good and easy to make.  I realize the butter and cheese aren't totally primal, but I felt better about using them rather than some carby pasta that would make me feel sluggish and bloated afterward.  I already have enough of that to deal with being pregnant and all LOL!


*one medium-sized fresh organic eggplant
*3 or more cups fresh organic green beans
*2-3tbsp melted butter
*garlic powder to taste
*3 organic chicken breasts
*organic marinara sauce (I used Trader Joe's)
*grated parmesan cheese to taste


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Cut up eggplant and green beans and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Brush veggies with melted butter, then sprinkle with garlic powder.  Cook in oven for about 15-20 minutes or until desired tenderness.

3.  While veggies are in the oven, cook your chicken however you desire.  I use the Turbo Oven I purchased from Dr. Mercola's site and the meat always turns out soooo juicy and yummy.  I highly recommend this device!

4.  Heat up some marinara sauce.

5.  When the chicken is done, cut into long strips.  Stack chicken and eggplant on a plate and top with marinara sauce.  Add green beans alongside with or without marinara.  Top all with parmesan cheese.  Simple and yummy and totally took care of my Italian craving!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Paleo Banana-Coconut Flour Cupcakes (more like muffins)

My son is a cupcake fanatic and was begging me this morning to make some "healthy cupcakes".  He knows we try to make healthy substitutes for the foods we love when we're at home.  But don't get me wrong, it's fair game at birthday parties and outside the house for that kid!  I don't want him to feel deprived and then go off the deep end when he's older.  What I love though, is that he is finding out early on what is and isn't good for your body and he sees that the healthy substitutes take care of that sweet craving without leaving him feeling yucky afterward. 

So we went online to look for a primal cupcake recipe and found this one over at Cosomopolitan Primal Girl.  I didn't have the ingredients for the icing, so we just made the cupcake part.  It turned out to be more like a muffin and it was dee-lish!  I love that most of the sweetness comes from the bananas; there's only about two tablespoons of raw honey in the whole batch.  Plus, since it calls for coconut flour, it's grain free, and the coconut flour leaves you feeling full long afterward. What a winner!

Here it is, minus the icing directions (click on the link above for the full recipe):

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)

- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 4 Tbsp coconut milk
- 1/2 Cup coconut flour
- 2 Tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 whole mashed bananas (very ripe)


1.  Pre-heat oven to 350

2.  In a bowl, mix together coconut flour, salt, baking powder, coconut milk, vanilla extract, bananas and eggs

3.  Melt the coconut oil and honey/maple syrup and then slowly add it to the mix.

4.  Mix together thoroughly and pour into greased (use coconut oil or non-stick spray) muffin baking pan.

5.  Bake for about 20-30 minutes – check after 20 minutes because you might have a better oven. You want to be able to stick a fork into the middle and have it come out dry.

6.  Remove from oven and let it cool completely.

Friday, July 2, 2010

While I'm on the subject of school...

I just came across this lovely post on my friend's blog at Finally...I'm the Mom! that really hits the nail on the head when it comes to all the reasons we do not intend to send our son(s) to public school and will be homeschooling.  Since I couldn't have said it better myself, I am going to re-post it here:

Schooled... why public school is not for us.

I often tell people when the discussion comes up as to where Elijah will go to school (as if most people have that figured out at 11 months old) that Elijah will not go to public school. I am then usually bombarded with how the schools in their neighborhood have high test scores or that their particular school is amazing. While I have no doubt these claims are accurate, they do not impress me.

I do not see public school as the devil. It definitely serves a purpose and for many children it is a safety net. It was for me. My public school teachers were the reasons I survived my childhood and one of them in particular still serves the role of a mother for me.

So why no public school for my child? Oh, where to begin...

1. The Curriculum. The phrase "Inch deep and a mile wide" seems to fit perfectly and that depth they speak of is not filled with entire accuracies either. If you don't believe me, pick up a history book. On top of that, it is monumentally boring to do ditto sheet after ditto sheet of stuff no matter how old you are, much less when you are 5! I do not want a child who hates learning or even one that tolerates it.

2. Lack of Play. If you are reading my blog, I probably do not need to convince you of the benefit of play in a child's life, how it is the ONLY way they learn anything, or that play is not 15 minute recess on a blacktop twice a day with one ball for 30 kids (if you are lucky). Ok, yes, some schools have more than that and maybe even a few blades of grass.

To get what I am looking for though, take a look at this and this company.

3. Extrinsic Control. Other than a life of love, the one thing I want more than anything for Elijah is to be internally motivated. To do things that matter to him with passion and to do what is right because it matters to him and not because he will get some reward for it or especially because he is afraid of what might happen to him if he does not do it. It is much more difficult to maintain that in a child when eight hours a day is spent in a rewards/punishments based, praise based, grades based system. I will get more into this in another post, but put more simply... I don't want Elijah to have to try to understand why he was demoted to the red card for talking to his friends during spelling.

There are so many other reasons that public school is not for us. These are the most important. And while there are excellent teachers out there who create amazing programs and who certainly make a difference, it is the system that is flawed. It is the politicians that have passed bills that do not allow those wonderful teachers to flourish to the best of their ability. And while things might one day change, the pendulum has swung so far in this direction, I don't see it coming back in my child's lifetime. I just can not let him be a casualty.

Satirical Article: Increasing Number of Parents Opting to Have Children School-Homed

I'm not really sure how this article fits into this blog...but in any case, I loved it and just had to share!

Taken from The Onion:,17159/

WASHINGTON—According to a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education, an increasing number of American parents are choosing to have their children raised at school rather than at home.

Deputy Education Secretary Anthony W. Miller said that many parents who school-home find U.S. households to be frightening, overwhelming environments for their children, and feel that they are just not conducive to producing well-rounded members of society.

Thousands of mothers and fathers polled in the study also believe that those running American homes cannot be trusted to keep their kids safe.

"Every year more parents are finding that their homes are not equipped to instill the right values in their children," Miller said. "When it comes to important life skills such as proper nutrition, safe sex, and even basic socialization, a growing number of mothers and fathers think it's better to rely on educators to guide and nurture their kids."

"And really, who can blame them?" Miller continued. "American homes have let down our nation's youth time and again in almost every imaginable respect."

According to the report, children raised at home were less likely to receive individual adult attention, and were often subjected to ineffective and wildly inconsistent disciplinary measures. The study also found that many parents expressed concerns that, when at home, their children were being teased and bullied by those older than themselves.

In addition to providing better supervision and overall direction, school-homing has become popular among mothers and fathers who just want to be less involved in the day-to-day lives of their children.

"Parents are finding creative ways to make this increasingly common child-rearing track work," Miller said. "Whether it's over-relying on after-school programs and extracurricular activities, or simply gross neglect,† school-homing is becoming a widely accepted method of bringing children up."

Despite the trend's growing popularity, Miller said that school programs are often jeopardized or terminated because shortsighted individuals vote against tax increases intended to boost educational spending.

"The terrifying reality we're facing is that the worst-equipped people you could possibly imagine may actually be forced to take care of their children," Miller said.

Parents who have decided to school-home their children have echoed many of Miller's concerns. Most said that an alarming number of legal guardians such as themselves lack the most basic common sense required to give children the type of instruction they need during crucial developmental years.

"It's really a matter of who has more experience in dealing with my child," Cincinnati- resident Kevin Dufrense said of his decision to have his 10-year-old son Jake, who suffers from ADHD and dyslexia, school-homed. "These teachers are dealing with upwards of 40 students in their classrooms at a time, so obviously they know a lot more about children than someone like me, who only has one son and doesn't know where he is half the time anyway."

"Simply put, it's not the job of parents to raise these kids," Dufrense added.

Though school-homing has proven to be an ideal solution for millions of uninvolved parents, increasingly overburdened public schools have recently led to a steady upswing in the number of students being prison-homed.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

10 Great Reasons to Cloth Diaper

Being in baby mode, I've been going through some of my son's old clothes and baby items.  Which made me think about the fact that we used cloth diapers with him and plan to do so again with our next baby, which made me think that I should share some important information regarding the benefits of cloth over disposables on this blog.  Some of you already know all the benefits, but then there are some probably furrowing their brows wondering why on earth anyone would use cloth diapers when we have the wonderful modern invention of disposable diapers.  Well...did you know that disposable diapers are one of the top three items overruning our landfills?  That's just the on...

10 Great Reasons to Cloth Diaper
(taken from )

1.  Safer for Baby

There are three chemicals found in disposable diapers that are disturbing and can potentially be harmful to baby – sodium polyacrylate, dioxin, and tributyl-tin.

Have you ever changed your baby only to find her sensitive bottom covered in crystals and gel? What you saw was sodium polyacrylate. It makes up the absorbent layer in most disposable diapers. The crystals become a gel when baby wets and that gel wicks the wetness away from baby. While it is pretty effective at its job by absorbing many times its own weight in fluids and keeping baby feeling dry, it also can cause allergic reactions in babies, skin irritations, and was banned for use in tampons in 1985 because of its association with toxic shock syndrome.

The use of chlorine to bleach the paper used in making disposable diapers creates dioxin, a cancer-causing chemical considered by the EPA to be the most toxic of all carcinogens. Traces of this toxic substance carry over to the finished diaper product. The World Health Organization claims that newborns are particularly susceptible to the effects of this chemical since their organs are developing so rapidly. Most countries, except for the United States, have banned dioxin. Long- term exposure can cause harmful effects on the immune, nervous, and reproductive systems.

Tributyl-tin (TBT) is a toxic chemical that can be absorbed through the skin and has been found to cause hormonal problems and harm the immune system.

2.  Better for the Environment

According to the Real Diaper Association (RDA), 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used in the U.S. each year, 92% of those end up in a landfill. Estimates say that disposables take between 250-500 years to decompose - that’s a very long time. There are some that say the water used in washing cloth diapers negates some of the positive effect gained by saving landfill space, but the RDA refutes that claim saying that the water used in manufacturing and consumption of disposables is 2.3 times greater than used on cloth.

3.  Cute Fashions and Style

Why settle for plain white paper? With all the variety of cloth styles and fabric available, your baby can be stylin’ and can have a diaper for every occasion. Match your outfits, show off your baby’s personality, be unique, whatever your taste – all the while, baby looks cute as can be.

4.  Feels Better to Baby

What baby wouldn’t want to feel soft fleece or cotton on their bottom over a harsh paper-like lining? With their stretchy designs and soft linings, cloth diapers are comfortable for baby and keep baby dry naturally.

5.  Save Money

You can find countless calculators and estimates that will compare the cost of cloth diapering with the use of disposables. While they all vary depending on prices and products used, they all pretty much agree that no matter how you look at it, cloth diapering is less expensive in the end. You do buy your products upfront which may make it appear more expensive, but many businesses selling cloth diapers will do layway or payments to help make it easier to start out. According to the RDA, using a basic cloth diaper setup of prefolds and covers, you could use cloth diapers for one-tenth of the cost it would cost you to use disposables.

6.  Next, Please!

Cloth diapers can be held onto and reused by your next baby. Usually a cloth diaper will last through use and washing for at least two kids, sometimes more. You have your next baby and you already own and have paid for their diapers. That adds up to a huge savings and makes for a great investment!

7.  Return on Investment

If you don’t plan on having any more kids of your own to use them on, you can resell or donate your cloth diapers. Sell them at a consignment store, on eBay, use a diaper swapping website. Regardless, used cloth diapers hold their value and can resell at a great price. If you would rather donate them, there are a few organizations out there like Miracle Diapers that will take your used diapers off your hands and get them into the hands of low-income families. You could also sell them yourself and donate the money to charity.

8.  Choices, Choices, Choices

You choose how much or how little you want to spend on diapers. You choose what kind of material graces your baby’s bottom. You choose the style and color. You choose how they’re made. With cloth diapers, you have the opportunity to decide what you want and what’s best for your baby. For more information on the choices available, read Cloth Diapering Basics.

9.  Easy to Use

Contrary to popular opinion, cloth is easy. Many of the styles available go on just like a disposable. Even getting rid of the poo is easy - before baby is on solids, you don’t have to do anything except throw it in the washer and it goes out with the water. When baby starts eating solids, you just dump it in the toilet or use a sprayer to spray it off – there’s no need to swish them around in the toilet anymore. And getting rid of the poo makes cloth diapering a lot less stinky than using disposables where the poo can sit around a few days before it gets taken out with the trash.

10.  Cleaning Rags for Years to Come

If you hang on to your prefolds, you never have to buy cleaning rags again.

Here's another great article well worth taking the time to read!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Because I really like this blogger's post...

I came across this post over at knitfit and could totally relate...if I had a diary or blog or something (oh wait, I do have a blog), these would be my exact sentiments.  Just had to share...

"Stop poisoning yourself: Why I care

Okay, I had a lot of fun stuff to share with you today, bunnies and nerdy crafty stuff and some thoughts about swimming and conditioning for sprints and quick recovery. But I want to get serious. I started writing the following rant in an email, and I realized it needed to go here on the blog. I know that pretty often I post about Paleo eating, usually just my personal experiences with it and an occasional recipe. This is a topic that is incredibly important to me. I believe that if people were more informed about their diets, about what healthy eating really is, based on the science, they could drastically improve the quality of their lives. Nothing is more important that that. I don't care how productive you are at work, how many friends you have, how rich and famous and fabulous you are, if you don't feel good and you don't have the energy to attack every day, your quality of life is compromised and that other stuff doesn't matter.

In my email, I started by ranting a bit about the breast cancer "industry", which doesn't really raise money for research so much as it sustains itself, with races and products. Think of all the pink tote bags, pink hats, pink ribbon everything. Cancer of any kind is a terrible thing, and I want nothing more than to support cancer patients and survivors in any way I can. But what kills me is some of the companies with the pink ribbons on their stuff are the ones causing the breast cancer!

Cheerios, Yoplait, to name a couple - they turn into pure sugar in your body, which raises your insulin, which over time makes you insulin-resistant, which screws up various hormonal cascades and feedback loops, especially estrogen, especially during menopause, leading to breast cancer and other reproductive cancers. I've been doing a ton of reading about this stuff and the science is there to back it up. I know how to critically read science and understand controlled studies and biological mechanisms. I have a Ph.D. in neuroscience, I'm not just some random crazy person out there who's found a weird niche on the internet and has fallen down a rabbit hole.

Why doesn't your doctor tell you this? Doctors are practitioners, not researchers. They don't question, they look for simple advice to give to people. They are generally overworked and simply not able to pay attention to all the studies that come out, so they just listen to and repeat the same stuff they've always believed. Minimizing cognitive dissonance.

The fact is that sugar is the worst thing for you; fat and cholesterol are a healthy part of the human diet and have been for hundreds of thousands of years. Whole grains, nonexistent for our ancestors, are just sugar wrapped up in a package, along with some dangerous proteins (glutens) that put your immune system on constant alert and make you low-grade sick all the time, so that you don't even notice anymore, and it gets worse over time (e.g., stomach problems, arthritis, lots more). It's just that the agribusiness lobbies have such a stronghold on the government, culture, media, the medical community, EVERYTHING, that nobody questions what they hear, nobody puts the pieces together and everyone keeps spewing the same conventional wisdom nonsense. There are some very powerful psychological and social mechanisms at work there, along with powerful vested interests and lots of money to be made on low-fat, grain and corn based non-food. There's no point in marketing an apple or a pork chop or a stick of butter.

I'm writing this because I care. I walk the walk. I see the tremendous benefits I've experienced in the past 10 months and no, I don't miss cake, I don't miss pasta, I don't miss any of it. I wouldn't ask anyone to listen to me if I weren't doing it myself. It's time to get serious."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Primal Recipe: Coconut Flour Pancakes

This morning I came down with a mad craving for some pancakes.  Trying to stick to a primal diet, I made a third attempt at some coconut flour pancakes.  Have you ever had coconut flour?  It is a primally delicious and nutritious staple.  Coconut flour is a low-carb, high protein, high fiber, gluten-free flour alternative.  Click here to learn more about the many benefits of coconut flour. 

So my previous two attempts at coconut pancakes were either too dry or too delicate.  Coconut flour is a little tricky that way.  I remembered reading about a coconut pancake recipe over at Girl Gone Primal and decided to give it a go this morning.  Yum!  The hubby came in from the other room asking what yummy concoction I was cooking.  Coconut pancakes!  Hubby:  "Those are primal, aren't they?" (He's super into this primal thing, as he's lost about 20 pounds and looks younger, more cut, and more rested, in my opinion.)  Me:  "Yes, they're totally primal!"  I got two thumbs up on this batch.  Finally!

Here's the recipe:


*1/4 cup coconut flour
*4 large eggs
*3 tbsp. melted coconut oil
*about 1/3-1/2 cup water


1.  Preheat skillet to medium heat.
2.  Combine flour and eggs in a large bowl.
3.  Add oil and stir well.
4.  Gradually add water to the mixture while stirring until the consistency is just shy of runny.  (A runnier mixture will make your pancakes more delicate, a problem I had in the past).
5.  Spoon desired amount of mixture onto preheated, oiled skillet.  (You can use coconut oil or butter to oil the skillet, although butter is not really primal).
6.  Leave to fry until base is firm and edges begin to brown.  Flip and repeat.
7.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.

I served these puppies up with some defrosted frozen organic strawberries.  They were sweet and mushy and added just the right amount of sweetness.  You could also go a non-primal route and add a little maple syrup. 

Let me know if you try these as well, or if you have any favorite coconut flour recipes!

*Note:  I feel like I do have to warn you:  these pancakes will not taste like the ones you are probably use to.  I don't think any recipe will ever come close to the fluffy, carby, indulgent treats they serve up at pancake houses or grandma's house.  But if you want to satisfy your craving while maintaining your weight and health goals, give these a go! 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Go California! No more plastic grocery bags, please!

One of the issues I was going to address on this blog is the importance of reusing.  Specifically, grocery bags.  I feel like there is no excuse anymore for using paper/plastic when you can buy some reusable bags for only around $1 each.  Take them shopping wherever you go...Target, the mall, the grocery store, the farmer's market.  Whenever I forget my reusable bags (which only really happens when someone else is driving their car and I forgot to grab mine out of my own car), I feel like such a second class citizen.  Seriously!  I am truly embarrassed when I step out of a store carrying my items in a plastic bag, or even a paper bag.  Luckily I usually go shopping with my mom and she has some handy dandy purse-sized reusable bags that open up to a nice roomy bag when I'm in a pinch.  I need to invest in some of those.  Then they are always with you.  If I do end up with some plastic or paper bags, I reuse those as well as much as I can.  But never to clean up the doggie doo!  For that, I use those bio-bags.  Who wants dog sh*t rotting in a plastic bag that takes forever and a day to degrade.

So you can imagine how excited I was when I opened up MSNBC and found this article addressing California's plan to ban plastic bags in pharmacies, liquor stores, and grocery stores, to name a few.  Arnie fully backs this up, too!  If this passes, we will be the first state in our nation to enforce such a fabulous environmental law as this one.

Yay team!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Primal Meatloaf Recipe

Well hello to those of you still following my blog:)  I've been MIA since becoming pregnant and feeling yucky, but I'm getting back in the swing of things now that I'm feeling better and have more energy...exercising regularly, focusing on eating primally (except for that cupcake last week, oh and that donut today lol), and trying to do more for my boys who both speak the "acts of service" love language :) 

That said, tonight I made my old favorite for dinner...primal meatloaf with farmer's market-fresh steamed asparagus and summer squash.  Yum!  I'm so excited to be craving some of my old primal stand-by's. 

For those of you scared of red meat, please read this article.  It's the conventional variety that gives red meat a bad rap...the corn fed, antibiotic-hormone-chemical-laden, crowded, inhumanely treated variety, that is.  Grass-fed, organic, free range cows that have been humanely treated from start to finish and allowed to eat and live the way they were meant to offer tremendous health benefits.  I hear so often that pregnant women (and non-pregnant women) are anemic and deficient in essential omega fatty acids.  I am easily prone to becoming anemic myself, and  I think the fact that I eat plenty of grass-fed, organic red meat has kept me from becoming anemic.  Plus, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, the extra omega 3's from grass-fed beef are tremendously healthy for your child.

Anywho, here is that yummy primal meatloaf recipe, slightly modifed, courtesy once again of Son of Grok:



-1/2 can tomato paste
-1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
-1/4 of a green bell pepper finely diced


-1 lb organic, grass-fed ground beef (or ground buffalo)
-1/2 of a green bell pepper finely diced
-1/2 of a red bell pepper finely diced
-1/2 onion of your choice finely diced
-1 egg
-1/2 can of tomato paste
-4 slices of cooked bacon chopped (optional but it tastes better with the bacon!)
-1 tsp garlic salt
-1 tsp black pepper
-1 tsp salt
-(optional) swiss cheese broken into small chunks (not really primal with the cheese included)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Sauce:  Add water to tomato paste until you get a nice consistency and mix all sauce ingredients together.


1.  Mix all ingredients together in a big mixing bowl (with hands for best results, exciting)
2.  Form into round loaves on a nonstick pan.
3.  Paint some of your sauce on top of your loaves.
4.  Put in the oven and bake for 45-60 min.
5.  After cooked, paint some more sauce on top of your loaves and serve.

*This recipe made about four medium sized patties.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Do you know what's lurking in your mattress?

Do you know what's in the mattress you're sleeping on?  I'm not just talking bed bugs.  I'm talking toxic chemicals that have been banned in other countries.  That's right - if you're not sleeping on an all natural, organic mattress, you're most likely spending one third of your life breathing in toxic gases.  Not good.

When I first had Noah, I didn't know how important this really is.  I received numerous links and emails from natural parenting support groups warning me about the dangers posed by conventional mattresses, but I thought, "Hey, we recently spent $1800 on a top of the line mattress.  How bad could it really be."  I had a lot to learn, like many other things I've discovered since having a child.

I remember reading that the chemicals present in conventional bedding, including pillows and mattresses, readily enter a woman's breastmilk.  That really scared me.  Not to mention the fact that our child slept with us in our chemical laden bed.  And he was an infant with an immature, very delicate immune system compared to us adults.  As I learned more and more about all of these yucky chemicals and their effects on children and adults, it became clear to me that providing safe bedding was an important step in continuing to offer my child the best start in life. 

So we bought an all natural, organic cotton and wool full size bed, complete with organic sheets and pillows.  It was pricier and a little hard to adjust to since they are naturally firmer, but I am so happy we did this.  We also splurge on organic sleepwear for Noah.  They are pricier, but it's one of the things we feel is worth spending the extra money on.  After reading the information at the end of this post, you will understand why.  Sorry, but I don't feel like unnecessarily draping my child's body in chemical laden clothes while he sleeps at night. 

I only wish we could afford to buy an organic bed for my hubby to sleep in!  He just won't part with his $1800 bed.  Oh well, you do what you can!

Here is some information covering the various reasons for choosing organic bedding. 

Taken from The Natural Sleep Store at:

FAQ from The Natural Sleep Store

Why buy a natural and organic mattress?

1.  Your current mattress could be emitting toxic cancer-causing chemicals.

Conventional mattresses are filled with synthetic materials. For example, most mattresses contain polyurethane foam. Polyurethane foam constantly breaks down and releases chemicals, which is called off-gassing. Polyurethane foam is made from chemicals that are known carcinogens. Other toxic chemicals that can be found in conventional mattresses are PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) or boric acid. These are used in mattresses as a flame retardant.

PBDEs: these have been shown to have health effects in animals and are so toxic that Europe is phasing out the use of them completely! Read more about PBDEs at: or

Boric acid: this chemical is also quite toxic, and is in fact used as a roach killer. The EPA and CDC warn of reproductive, developmental, and neurological damage. It has many known health risks jus due to inhalation, a few of which are: inflammation of the upper respiratory tract (including dry throat and cough), eye irritation, and reproductive damage in men (including low sperm count). Please see the following link for the complete report:

Read more about boric acid in mattresses here:

What is that smell in memory foam? It is the off-gassing of toxic chemicals and is noticeably strong for weeks to months. This has been known to cause headaches and other severe health reactions in people who sleep on them. Get more information on the health effects of memory foam and conventional mattresses:

You can avoid all these toxins by choosing an organic mattress / natural mattress.

2.  People tend to sleep more soundly on a mattress that uses natural fibers.

A sleep study conducted by Peter R. Dickson (1984) examined sleep quality of participants when sleeping on natural wool (participants slept on a wool pad that was placed under their sheet). He found that participants moved (tossed and turned) significantly less in the night. Additionally, participants in the study reported that they had slept better and that they felt better the next day when sleeping on the wool. The less a person tosses and turns is related to greater quality of sleep! Wool is hypothesized to increase sleep quality and reduce tossing and turning because 1) it reduces pressure points; and 2) it regulates body temperature. Believe it or not, wool helps keep you warm when it is cold and cool when it is warm. Wool can do this because of its moisture-regulation quality. Here is how it works: when you get too hot, you sweat. If you are sleeping with bedding that is not natural, the sweat will remain near your body and not evaporate, and not cool you down. You can wake up feeling sticky and clammy. However, if you are sleeping with natural fibers, which are breathable, the sweat can evaporate from your body and cool you down. Wool is able to wick water away from your body and is able to absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture and still feel dry. Wool helps you stay warm when the air is cool because it is a natural insulator. There are air pockets in wool, which trap heat and let the air circulate near your body. In this way, your body heat stays regulated. If you have a consistent body temperature, you will toss and turn less and have a deep and restful sleep.


Dickson, P. R. (1984). Effect of a fleecy woolen underlay on sleep. The Medical Journal of Australia, 140, 87-89.

3.  Natural mattresses and organic mattresses help promote a healthy environment.

Natural Rubber/Latex: Natural rubber is harvested by tapping the milk (sap) of Hevea brasiliensis (the common rubber tree), which grows within 10 degrees of the equator. The rubber tree sap is whipped up and turned into latex foam. This is truly a sustainable resource because sap can be collected from the trees up to 180 days per year and the tree heals within an hour.

Organic Cotton: United States farmers applied nearly one-third of a pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for every pound of cotton harvested (these chemicals are the most toxic classified by the Environmental Protection Agency). This can account for 25% of all the pesticides used in the United States. The use of chemicals in producing cotton can lead to massive environmental and health problems. You are helping sustain the environment if you buy a natural mattress made with 100% organic cotton, organic sheets, and/or organic bedding. Read more about pesticides at:

Organic Wool: Organic wool is produced without the use of hormones or pesticides, both in the animal and in the animal’s food. Wool is a sustainable resource because the sheep are not killed; they are merely shorn each year. See the quote from

In order for wool to be certified as 'organic,' it must be produced in accordance with federal standards for organic livestock production, which state:

• Livestock feed and forage used from the last third of gestation on must be organic.

• Use of hormones or synthetic hormones and genetic engineering is prohibited.

• Use of synthetic pesticides (internal, external and on pastures) is prohibited.

• Producers must encourage livestock health through good cultural and management practices.

That means that sheep cannot be dipped in pesticides to control external parasites, and all pastures must have gone a minimum of three years since last being treated with synthetic chemicals. Producers must also ensure that they do not exceed the natural carrying capacity of the land on which their animals graze.

Why choose organic for baby?

1.  One cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) may be from exposure to toxic chemicals being emitted from crib mattresses. Crib mattresses off-gas many toxic chemicals similar to adult mattresses (they are made from polyvinyl chloride [pvc], polyurethane, etc.). They also contain phosphorus, arsenic, and antimony compounds as preservatives and fire retardants. Toxic nerve gasses (phosphine, arsine, and stibine) can be emitted because of interactions with these chemicals and cause anticholinesterase poisoning and cardiac failure in infants. These chemicals are linked to SIDS; in fact, Richardson (1994) and Taylor (1996) found high levels of antimony in the blood and livers of babies who died from SIDS. An article in Midwifery Today goes into detail as well as explaining how these chemicals in crib mattress may be related to other SIDS risk factors (Quinn, 2002). To read this article, go to: However, there has been some revolt against the conclusion that baby mattresses can cause SIDS (see, for example, Mitchell, Fitzpatrick, & Waters, 1998). As with most things, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle; toxic chemicals in crib mattresses may be one of the many causes of SIDS. Either way, most parents are not willing to risk it.

See also for more information on SIDS.

Avoid exposing your baby to toxic chemicals by choosing an organic crib mattress and organic sheets for baby’s crib.


Mitchell, E.A., Fitzpatrick, M.G., & Waters, J. (1998). SIDS and the toxic gas theory revisited. The New Zealand Medical Journal, 111, 219-221.

Quinn, J.B. (2002). Baby's bedding: is it creating toxic nerve gasses? Midwifery Today, 61, 21-22.

Richardson, B.A. (1994). Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: a possible primary cause. Journal-Forensic Science Society, 34, 199-204.

Taylor, A. (1996). Antimony, cot mattresses, and SIDS. The Lancet, 347, 616.

2.  Greater quality of sleep for baby.

As discussed above, sleeping on wool has been found to increase the quality of sleep in adults (Dickson, 1984). We expect that due to the temperature regulation quality in wool, the same would hold true for babies sleeping on an organic crib mattress with wool in it, perhaps even more for babies since they cannot manually regulate their temperature by adding or removing covers like an adult can.

The Natural Sleep Store is currently trying to track down three articles in The Lancet on babies’ health and sleeping on wool. Please check back soon.

3.  A great deal of infant sleepwear is treated with toxic fire retardants.

By law, infant sleepwear has to be fire- or flame-retardant. As cotton is not naturally flame-retardant, it is treated with flame retardants such as PBDEs, which may cause cancer. What is especially disturbing is that companies do not have to place this information on the label of the clothes. The Natural Sleep Store contacted Carter’s to find out if their sleepwear was treated with flame retardants. Their polyester sleepwear is NOT treated because polyester is naturally flame-retardant (however, their cotton sleepwear is treated with flame retardants). The only problem with polyester as a material is that it does not breathe well, which makes it difficult for baby to regulate his or her body temperature. The only ways to get around treating cotton sleepwear with flame retardants are to 1) not sell them as sleepwear; and 2) disclose on the label that it is to be worn snug-fitting.

See for a discussion on flame retardants in infant sleepwear.

Choose organic baby sleepwear to reduce exposure of toxic fire retardants for baby.

What is a natural rubber or natural latex mattress?

Latex rubber foam is encased in wool and/or cotton to make the most comfortable, yet supportive organic mattress out there.

In a natural latex mattress, latex rubber foam is the core of the bed. Latex rubber foam is dense foam that will last for 10 to 20 years. Latex is great as a core, because it helps relieve pressure points from sleeping on an innerspring mattress, helps keep your spine in alignment, and is inherently hypo-allergenic, anti-microbial and dust-mite-resistant. However, natural latex doesn’t offer the breathability that cotton and wool can, so our natural latex mattresses are encased in organic cotton and organic wool. When sleeping on natural mattresses, circulation can be increased, tossing and turning can be reduced, and you will be breathing clean air. This helps you sleep more deeply!

Why should you sleep with natural or organic bedding?

Many cotton sheets are treated with formaldehyde to produce less wrinkles.

Non- organic cotton sheets are often treated with a formaldehyde-based finish that reduces wrinkling. These sheets don’t even have to have a label informing you of what they were treated with! Formaldehyde is a cancer-causing chemical that, unfortunately, is found in many common household items like furniture, particle board (which is actually used in the construction of your house), paints, and carpet. It would be hard to completely avoid exposure to formaldehyde, but about 1/3 of your life is spent sleeping, so by avoiding breathing formaldehyde fumes while you sleep (by using an organic mattress with organic cotton sheets) could greatly reduce your overall exposure. Follow this link for more formaldehyde information:

Additionally, the conventional cotton growers use more pesticide than almost any other crop. If you choose organic, you are choosing to help save the planet!

Choose chemical free organic cotton sheets and/or organic bedding to avoid formaldehyde.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Primal Pregnancy?

Sorry it's been so long!  I've missed getting on here and spilling my heart out about about some of the things I am most passionate about. 

So...for those of you who don't already know, I'm pregnant!  So exciting!  I'm wondering if this one's a girl because I don't remember feeling nearly this bad, as far as morning sickness goes, when I was pregnant with Noah.  I am so nauseous most of the day and have terrible indigestion.  Hopefully I only have a few more weeks of this hungover/motion sickness/stomach flu feeling to go and then I can enjoy my second trimester honeymoon period.  Ahhh the hubby will be so happy.  I have neglected my homemaker duties in a serious way since feeling like this!

Unfortunately, I have totally fallen off the wagon when it comes to primal eating.  But I am coming to terms with it after beating myself up day after carb-fueling day.  I figure once I feel better I can jump right back into my commitment to shunning grains.  Luckily I don't crave sweets too often.  But cooking and eating most of my old protein-rich go-to's just grosses me out.  So to feed my growing belly, I have been turning to more grains than I would like to admit.  A girl has to eat something!  Luckily I still love fruit, especially grapefruit. 

I will say that the days I stick to eating a lot of protein, which are naturally my most primal-eating days, I feel best.  My midwife even said that "protein builds bodies, carbs do not" so we really don't need as many carbs as we think we do. And I read that women who eat a paleo diet have easier pregnancies and deliveries, which totally motivates me to stick to this lifestyle.  There are just so many benefits to a primal lifestyle.  When I indulge in a carby snack or meal, I feel so awful afterward.  Those multi-grain hotcakes the other day tasted soooo good going down but man did I pay for it the rest of the day.  The next day, I chose a protein-rich egg scramble meal and I felt loads better.

Anywho, I will keep you posted on the adventures of my primal pregnancy.  My next post will be about the importance of organic bedding :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things...

I'm a girly girl...I like my makeup and savor the few moments I can grab now that I'm a mom when I'm able to pamper know, take a shower AND shave AND put on lotion AND do my hair and makeup.  I also love products.  But, when I think about the seemingly innocent products I use to put all over my body, I cringe!  I can't believe drugstores and even high-end cosmetics counters still get away with selling products with the nasty ingredients they contain.  Yuck!  I've learned not to put anything on my body that I wouldn't put in my body. 

Want to see how your products stack up?  If you haven't already done so, check out

There, you can enter the name of a product you're interested in, and they will provide you with a safety score based on various ingredients listed in the product.  I consult this site every time I'm in the mood to try something new and it has been invaluable to me.  I have also chucked a lot of products after consulting that site and finding out how horribly they rate in terms of safety!

Soooo...all that said, I've compiled a list of my favorite "safe" and eco-friendly products, from deodorant, to shampoo, sunscreen, to makeup.  Here are a few of my favorites (I use a lot of the same products that I use on my son):

  • California Baby Shampoo and Body Wash
  • Aubrey Organics Island Naturals Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Desert Essence Coconut Hand & Body Lotion
  • Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (moisturizer)
  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (moisturizer)
  • Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash
  • Derma-E Hyalauronic Acid Night Cream
  • Annemarie Borlind Eye Wrinkle Cream
  • Dr. Hauschka Toned Day Cream
  • Lafes Natural & Organic Active Deodorant
  • California Baby Sunscreen
  • UV Natural Sunscreen
  • Larenim Mineral Mascara
  • Cargo Plant Love Makeup
  • Tarte Makeup
  • Eco Dent Tooth Powder
What are your favorite "safe" products?  Please tell!

Friday, February 12, 2010


I grew up drinking milk, like most of you.  I always thought it was a necessity to drink does a body good, right?  I mean, how are you going to get your calcium and Vitamin D?  Once I began searching for answers to my questions about milk and its supposed benefits, I found out that we are the only species to drink milk (from another animal, by the way) after weaning.  Here's an interesting tidbit, taken from Dr. Jay Gordon (although we don't take his advice regarding the inclusion of soy products, orange juice, and cereals to get our calcium):  (

"Thanks in part to lobbying efforts on behalf of dairy farmers, Americans feel that it's necessary to drink milk throughout their lives. We've seen countless advertisements which perpetuate the myth: "Milk. It does a body good." Milk can be a high fat product with excessive quantities of protein. It's specifically designed to efficiently grow a cow, an animal which will mature rapidly and live a relatively short time. The National Research Council, a nonprofit organization that provides scientific advice to the federal government, has reported that the cow's milk humans drink also contains all of the pesticides and hormones that cows ingest with the alfalfa they eat.

A study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in June, 1993, confirmed that there is a definite correlation between cow's milk and the incidence of diabetes. Furthermore, some allergies, which manifest themselves in runny and stuffy noses, can be traced to cow's milk. Some ear and tonsil infections also originate with the drinking of milk. Ingesting other dairy products including butter, cheese and ice cream can also result in these symptoms.

Surprisingly, we are the only species on this planet that drinks milk after infancy, and we are also the only species that drinks milk from a species other than our own. Maybe the other animals know more than we do!

Many infants have trouble digesting cow's milk. This intolerance of lactose, or to the protein in milk, manifests itself in stomach and intestinal disturbance, gas and rashes.

Lactose is the result of combining two sugars: glucose and galactose. Most of us produce an intestinal enzyme, lactase, which allows us to break down these sugars. Our bodies produce the most lactase in infancy when we drink the most milk. As we get older, our bodies produce lesser amounts of lactase so our tolerance to lactose goes down naturally.

The protein we get from milk can be obtained from dozens of vegetable sources, primarily legumes, which include soy bean products. It is a little trickier to find other sources of calcium but this substance is contained in many vegetables like broccoli. Calcium is also available, in smaller amounts, in many other foods. If you're still concerned, you can buy calcium supplements wherever vitamins are sold. Soy milk, orange juice and cereals are now calcium fortified.

I want you to be aware that cow's milk can show up in unexpected food items so you have to read labels carefully. Even a small amount hidden in a food can trigger a reaction in children with milk protein allergies."

Did you also know that countries with the highest dairy intake have the highest incidence of osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is related more to calcium excretion due to salt and protein intake than to calcium deficiency in the diet.
So, Noah has only had a few cups of cow milk so far.  We don't "drink" milk just to drink it.  He does, however, still nurse (gasp!) and complements breastmilk with almond milk, hemp milk, or coconut milk.  I think it's interesting when people comment on the fact that I am still nursing an almost four year old, yet they don't see anything wrong with giving their child milk from another animal.  I'm just doing the more natural thing!  Besides, we humans are biologically designed to benefit from breastfeeding for an average of  2.5 to 7 years of age (Breastfeeding:  Biocultural Perspectives, Katherine Dettwyler).
I do think there is some benefit in eating dairy products like cheese, yogurt, cream, and kefir in moderation. I think it is better to eat these items over grain products, if you have to make the choice.  We try our best to avoid grains and have found that including some dairy products gives us more variety.  When Noah does eat grains, we make sure they are sprouted (like Ezekiel products) or pre-soaked oats.  I will get into grains another time in another post. 
But I have also learned that not all dairy is equal.  Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Weston Price both promote raw dairy products.  According to Dr. Price (
"Pasteurization is a process of heat treating milk to kill bacteria. Although Louis Pasteur developed this technique for preserving beer and wine, he was not responsible for applying it to milk. That was done at the end of the 1800s as a temporary solution until filthy urban dairies could find a way to produce cleaner milk. But instead of cleaning up milk production, dairies used pasteurization as a way to cover up dirty milk. As milk became more mass produced, pasteurization became necessary for large dairies to increase their profits. So the public then had to be convinced that pasteurized milk was safer than raw milk. Soon raw milk consumption was blamed for all sorts of diseases and outbreaks until the public was finally convinced that pasteurized milk was superior to milk in its natural state.

Today if you mention raw milk, many people gasp and utter ridiculous statements like, You can die from drinking raw milk!" But the truth is that there are far more risks from drinking pasteurized milk than unpasteurized milk. Raw milk naturally contains healthy bacteria that inhibit the growth of undesirable and dangerous organisms. Without these friendly bacteria, pasteurized milk is more susceptible to contamination. Furthermore, modern equipment, such as milking machines, stainless steel tanks and refrigerated trucks, make it entirely possible to bring clean, raw milk to the market anywhere in the US.

Not only does pasteurization kill the friendly bacteria, it also greatly diminishes the nutrient content of the milk. Pasteurized milk has up to a 66 percent loss of vitamins A, D and E. Vitamin C loss usually exceeds 50 percent. Heat affects water soluble vitamins and can make them 38 percent to 80 percent less effective. Vitamins B6 and B12 are completely destroyed during pasteurization. Pasteurization also destroys beneficial enzymes, antibodies and hormones. Pasteurization destroys lipase (an enzyme that breaksdown fat), which impairs fat metabolism and the ability to properly absorb fat soluble vitamins A and D. (The dairy industry is aware of the diminished vitamin D content in commercial milk, so they fortify it with a form of this vitamin.)

We have all been led to believe that milk is a wonderful source of calcium, when in fact, pasteurization makes calcium and other minerals less available. Complete destruction of phosphatase is one method of testing to see if milk has been adequately pasteurized. Phosphatase is essential for the absorption of calcium."

While Dr. Mercola and Dr. Price are both fans of drinking raw milk, we don't focus too heavily on dairy products in our diet.  I have found that even raw dairy products create a lot of mucous and I just don't feel as good when I'm eating a lot of dairy.  But when we do eat dairy, we strive to buy the raw, grass-fed, organic brands.  You can visit to find a supplier near you. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Benefits of Co-sleeping

Why am I talking about co-sleeping on this blog?  I think it is a pretty "primal" way of life...I highly doubt our primal ancestors placed their babies/children in another cave or enter form of shelter here.  LOL

Anyway, the reason I bring up this subject is because today I saw a video on ABC news discussing how SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is linked to low serotonin levels in the baby's brain and ways to prevent SIDS.  I have long known that co-sleeping and breastfeeding (including night-nursing) decrease your chances of SIDS.  However, the conventional doctor in the video says to avoid co-sleeping.  She does say that breastfeeding decreases your chances of SIDS, so I'll give her credit for that one.  Here is a great explanation as to how co-sleeping may help to prevent SIDS.  Also, here is a great co-sleeping and SIDS fact sheet that talks about why co-sleeping gets a bad rap, and how to successfully and safely co-sleep.  My favorite part is where the author states:

"Why does our nation rank only 42nd in infant survival in the industrialized world (some non-reporting nations are thought to rank better than us as well)? Our difference from the best-ranking nations is a high predominance of formula feeding, isolated sleep, and medical intervention. The highest cosleeping/ breastfeeding nations rank with half our overall infant death rate (and negligable SIDS rates).  Remember we rank #1 in medical intervention. "

Let me also highlight how co-sleeping decreases your chances of SIDS according to LLLI and Dr. James McKenna:

(Excerpts from a LLLI press release from September 30, 1999: )

Studies have shown that co-sleeping with a breastfeeding infant promotes bonding, regulates the mother and baby's sleep patterns, plays a role in helping the mother to become more responsive to her baby's cues, and gives both the mother and baby needed rest. The co-sleeping environment also assists mothers in the continuation of breastfeeding on demand, an important step in maintaining mom's milk supply.

Dr. James McKenna, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, a member of LLLI's Health Advisory Council, and an expert on the subject of co-sleeping, believes there to be more danger in leaving an infant alone in a crib than in arranging a safe co-sleeping environment. He states, "We agree... that special precautions need to be taken to minimize catastrophic accidents. However, the need for such precautions is no more an argument against all co-sleeping and, specifically bedsharing, than is the reality of infants accidentally strangling, suffocating, or dying from SIDS alone in cribs, a reason to recommend against all solitary, unsupervised infant sleep." He adds, "While specific structural hazards of an adult bed are important, the fact that they exist means neither that they cannot be eliminated nor that all bedsharing is unsafe."

Dr. McKenna goes on to address concerns over co-sleeping being unhealthy for a child's psychological development:

In part, this view represents a personal and arbitrary judgment that anyone is entitled to make as long as it is not passed on as scientific fact. Such judgments are based on Western values favoring the perception of how individualism and infant autonomy are best promoted and obtained. No study has shown, however, that the goals for separateness and independence (or happiness, for that matter) are obtained in the individual by, among other things, separate sleeping arrangements for parents and children, nor do any studies demonstrate negative consequences for children or parents who choose to cosleep for ideological or emotional purposes, except when cosleeping is part of a larger psychologically disordered set of family relationships or when cosleeping occurs under dangerous social or physical circumstances. The only studies of the psychological or social effects of cosleeping reveal not negative but positive consequences. One study among military families revealed that cosleeping children receive higher evaluations of their comportment from their teachers than do solitary sleeping children and are under-represented among psychiatric populations, when compared with children who do not cosleep [Forbes JF, Weiss DS: The cosleeping habits of military children. Mil Med 1992; 157:196-200]. Lewis and Janda found that college-age students who coslept as children were better adjusted and more satisfied with their sexual identities and behavior than college-age students who did not cosleep [Lewis RJ, Janda H: The relationship between adult sexual adjustment and childhood experience regarding exposure to nudity, sleeping in the parental bed, and parental attitudes towards sexuality. Arch Sex Behav 1988; 17:349-363] . Clearly, we need to change our conceptualization concerning what constitutes a normal or healthy childhood sleep pattern!

(From: Stein MT, et al. Cosleeping (Bedsharing) Among Infants and Toddlers. Pediatrics 2001 Apr; 107(4); 873-877)

And I can attest that co-sleeping has in no way hampered my sex life!!!

Ten Reasons to Shop at the Farmers Market

My old mommy friend Rebecca over at Know Thy Food is an amazing woman.  She lives the kind of life I strive to emulate.  I especially admire her commitment to avoiding grocery stores and mainstream food consumption.  This means buying only local, organic foods.  Of course, it helps that she lives in an area surrrounded by outstanding farms!  I do my best in Orange County by buying most of our meat directly in bulk from the farm and shopping the farmers market every week.  The few things I stop by the grocery store for are:  organic, raw, grass-fed butter, organic, raw, grass-fed cream, nuts, condiments/spices, almond milk, coconut milk and other coconut products, and occasionally yogurt and cottage cheese.  I am working on finding ways to make some of these items myself or buying them from a more direct source.  Any suggestions?

For those of you looking for a farmers market near you, you can visit  Noah and I love our weekly visit to the farmers market.  Everyone there is so nice to him and he is learning so much about where food actually comes from and what is in season.  He is also learning a little about money by being in charge of paying for our items in cash.  The main reasons we shop at the farmers market are:

(taken from the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture at

1.  Taste Real Flavors: The fruits and vegetables you buy at the farmers market are the freshest and tastiest available. Fruits are allowed to ripen in the field and brought directly to you - no long-distance shipping, no gassing to simulate the ripening process, no sitting for weeks in storage. This food is as real as it gets -food fresh from the farm.

2.  Enjoy the Season: The food you buy at the farmers market is seasonal. It is fresh and delicious and reflects the truest flavors. Shopping and cooking from the farmers market helps you to reconnect with the cycles of nature in our region. As you look forward to asparagus in spring, savor sweet corn in summer, or bake pumpkins in autumn, you reconnect with the earth, the weather, and the turning of the year.

3.  Support Family Farmers: Family farmers are becoming increasingly rare as large agribusiness farms and ranches steadily take over food production in the U.S. Small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today's globalized economy.

4.  Protect the Environment: Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1500 miles to get to your plate. All this shipping uses large amounts of natural resources (especially fossil fuels), contributes greatly to pollution and creates excess trash with extra packaging. Conventional agriculture also uses many more resources than sustainable agriculture and pollutes water, land and air with toxic agricultural by-products. Food at the farmers market is transported shorter distances and grown using methods that minimize the impact on the earth.

5.  Nourish Yourself: Much food found in grocery stores is highly processed. The fresh produce you do find is often grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification. In many cases it has been irradiated, waxed, or gassed in transit. All of these practices have potentially damaging effects on the health of those who eat these foods. In contrast, most food found at the farmers market is minimally processed, and many of our farmers go to great lengths to grow the most nutritious produce possible by building their soil's fertility and giving their crops the nutrients they need to flourish in the ground and nourish those who eat them.

6.  Discover the Spice of Life ~ Variety: At the Farmers Market you find an amazing array of produce that you don't see in your supermarket: red carrots, a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, white peaches, stinging nettles, green garlic, watermelon radishes, quail eggs, maitake mushrooms, gigande beans, whole pheasants, and much, much more. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience first hand the diversity (and biodiversity) of our planet, both cultivated and wild!

7.  Promote Humane Treatment of Animals: At the farmers market, you can find meats, cheeses, and eggs from animals that have been raised without hormones or antibiotics, who have grazed on green grass and been fed natural diets, and who have been spared the cramped and unnatural living conditions of so many of their brethren on feedlots.

8.  Know Where Your Food Comes From: A regular trip to a farmers market is one of the best ways to reconnect with where your food comes from. Farmers themselves sell their produce at the farm stands. Meeting and talking to farmers is a great opportunity to learn more about how food is grown, where it is grown, when it is grown, and why!

9.  Learn Cooking Tips, Recipes, and Meal Ideas: Few grocery store cashiers or produce stockers will give you tips on how to cook the ingredients you buy, but farmers, ranchers, and vendors at the farmers market are often passionate cooks with plenty of free advice about how to cook the foods they are selling. They'll give you ideas for what to have for supper, hand out recipes, and troubleshoot your culinary conundrums.

10.  Connect with Your Community: Wouldn't you rather stroll amidst outdoor stalls of fresh produce on a sunny day than roll your cart around a grocery store with artificial lights and piped in music? Coming to the Farmers Market makes shopping a pleasure rather than a chore. The Farmers Market is a community gathering place - a place to meet up with your friends, bring your children, or just get a taste of small-town life in the midst of our wonderful big city.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Guilt-free primal dessert recipe: Gorilla Cake

...courtesy of Son of Grok.  Check out his Primal Blueprint success story here.  Totally inspiring!

I'll admit it.  I LOVE dessert.  Seriously.  Who doesn't.  With the exception of a birthday cake or other special occasion, I've stuck to finding healthy, primal recipes to curb my sweet tooth when it sneaks up on me.  This one's gooooood.  Even the hubby who despises both banana and coconut couldn't stop picking at it.  And the best part is, it's grain-free and gets its sweetness naturally from bananas!  Hooray!

I am going to make this one for my lovely friend Kristina's birthday.  I think I will add some whipped raw cream.  Yum.  I hope she likes it as much as I do :)

Here it is, taken from Son of Grok's site:



- Dash of Cinnamon
- 2 Tblspoons organic butter (or coconut oil if you prefer)
- .5-1 cup almond flour


- 3 bananas
- 2.5 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 eggs
- Dash of cinnamon



1. Melt butter or oil and mix almond flour and a dash of cinnamon into a dough.
2. Press your dough very thinly into your baking pan.


1. Process 2 of the cups of shredded coconut until fine. (I used my food processor.
2. Combine fine coconut, unprocessed coconut, bananas and eggs in a mixer (I was trying out my new kitchen aid) Mix until liquid pudding texture. (if you don’t have a kitchen aid, you may need to uses a blender or processor to goo up your nanners.

Put it together

1. Pour your filling into your pan with your crust
2. Sprinkle top with a dash of cinnamon
3. Bake at 350 degrees until done (mine took about 30 minutes).
4. Serve warm or cold! Enjoy

Setting Us Up For Success

Every Sunday, I score major points with the hubby by whipping up a bunch of yummy, healthy, primal food to get us through the week.  It has helped us stay on track with eating healthily by having a refrigerator full of already-prepared snacks and mini meals to grab for during the day when we're hungry.  Plus, Simon saves money and time by bringing his lunch and snacks to work every day. 

Here's a list of what I made this week:
  • No-bean chili with organic, grass-fed ground beef and chopped up bacon
  • Crust-less quiche to last the whole week made with eggs (of course), full-fat coconut milk, chopped up kale and bacon (Can you tell I'm craving bacon?)
  • One Dozen hard-boiled eggs
  • Enough salad for each of us to eat every day for lunch.  This week I used romaine lettuce, chopped apples, zucchini, cucumber, tomato, red bell peppers, and diced turkey.  We just pour on olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dress it up. 
  • Six chicken drumsticks
The time and effort I put into making these foods has helped us tremendously and I actually look forward to doing it each week.  It makes me feel good when I open the refrigerator and see all the yummy food I prepared with love and care.  Plus it saves me time and headache during the week when I just don't have the energy to whip up something fresh and healthy.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What do you mean you live "primally"?

I don't mean we live in a house made of sticks and mud and that Simon quit his job to actually "bring home the bacon" while donning a loin cloth.

I mean we follow The Primal Blueprint!  Click here to learn more.

Do you know what your meat ate for dinner?

We've been buying organic, grass-fed, free-range meat since we decided vegetarianism wasn't for us.  I rationalized that if we were going to eat meat, it had to be the healthiest, most-humanely treated meat available.  The benefits are huge, not only to your health, but also for the planet.  I know a lot of you already eat this way, but for those who are interested, I think Mark Sisson at best summarizes why grass-fed, organic, truly free-range meat is superior to conventional meat:

We have been buying our meat from US Wellness Meats, Hearst Ranch, Trader Joe's (sometimes they carry organic, 100% grass fed ground beef), and now I think we will start buying Sommers brand from the Sprouts that just opened by our house.  We always try to buy local, but so far the only local supplier we know of is Hearst Ranch and they can be pretty pricey. 

Did you also know that chickens naturally thrive on a grass-fed diet, full of rich vegetation and juicy insects for their liking?  I am so excited because I finally found a local supplier of grass-fed, organic, truly free-roaming poutry at Rainbow Ranch.  Come to think of it, I need to go place my order right now!

And of course we also only eat pastured, organic eggs.  Please read Cheeseslave's post here to learn why; I think she summarizes the reasons beautifully. 

Some people think that eating this way is a luxury and that they can't afford it.  I agree in certain situations.  But I think for most of us, if we cut out all the processed, boxed crap and unnecessary expenses, we would see that buying quality food is the best investment we can make in our health and our future.

Natural mold and mildew cleaner

Like most of you, we like to use only natural cleaning products in our house.  There are so many yucky chemicals in most household products, and after having Noah, I became even more aware of this issue.  Luckily, stores now carry many more natural cleaning products than they use to.  We love Mrs. Meyers when we're in a pinch!  Method by Target is another one we reach for from time to time, but I'm not totally sure I buy that they are super duper natural.  I guess the best way to ensure you are using a truly natural product is to make it yourself!  Which brings me to a simple remedy for that yucky mold and mildew that creeps into our shower and bath...

Mix two teaspoons tea tree oil with two cups of water in a spray bottle.  Spray down the nasties and do not rinse.  Spray the mildew/mold prone areas at least once a week for prevention.

I use to use bleach for this problem until I read about how bad bleach is for the environment and our bodies. 

What natural remedies can you recommend for household cleaning purposes?

Cloth napkins

While we're on the subject of reducing waste, let's talk about ditching your paper towels and paper napkins, if you haven't already done so, that is.  They are totally unnecessary.  Plus every meal feels like a special occasion when you're using a lovely cloth napkin!  Then you just throw it in the wash with the rest of the towels.  I would recommend buying a darker color napkin to hide food stains.  I bought some cheap cloth napkins at Target (I'm sure you can find them even cheaper elsewhere) for meal times, and we use any old towel to soak up a mess in place of a paper towel.  I'm not sure why we still buy paper towels, though.  In any case, we haven't had to buy any in a long time!  I think the hubby just has some issues with change, even if it is for the better.  Having paper towels on the counter somehow makes him feel more secure.  Or something like that.

One time we were enjoying a picnic lunch at the park and another mom saw me wiping Noah's face with a cloth napkin.  She said, "Oh here!  I brought some napkins.  You don't have to use that towel thing."  I didn't say anything and just took her napkin...I'm still working on navigating these issues in social situations:)

Do you re-use your ziplock baggies?

One of the things we do in our home is reuse plastic ziplock baggies.  We try to avoid using them to cut down on waste (and use a glass container instead to store things) but sometimes only a ziplock baggy will do.  We have found that you can wash, dry, and re-use ziplock baggies over and over again and have saved some pretty pennies (and space in our landfills) by doing so.  Some recycling centers will accept the plastic baggies, but I'm honestly too lazy to drive my little baggies all that way.  So we just use the baggies until they are worn out and then toss them. 

To wash the baggy, simply turn it inside out and wash it with soap and water.  Then leave it inside out to dry.  I am working on getting the hubby to make me a ziplock baggy stand dryer thingy.  Pics to come.  Some people put their ziplock baggies in the dishwasher's top rack and wash/dry it along with your dirty dishes.  Of course, never re-use baggies that have stored raw meat. 

Do you do this too?  What is your method?

Friday, January 29, 2010

How it all began...

Do you ever look at your life and wonder, "How did I come to live my life this way?  What chain of events led me to this point in time?"  I do. 

Just last night I was laying in bed thinking about how different I use to be, specifically before my son was born.  It's funny how you think you know things, but then you find out you don't.  I guess that's the beauty of life...we are always learning and growing.  I think keeping an open mind and accepting new ways of doing things create the most opportunities for growth. 

Anyway, I was wondering last night what led me to my slight obsession with eating the healthiest foods possible and living in a sustainable and eco-friendly way.  I think it all came about after Noah was born.  I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my future child, but I didn't know how important it really is and how much it impacts and changes you as a woman until I experienced it first hand.  I really think the fact that I chose to breastfeed Noah impacted my life for the better, in terms of health.  And I know that his birth made me just plain care more about the planet.  I'm not saying that whether one chooses to breastfeed or formula feed impacts all women in this way, I'm just saying that it impacted me.  I know of many women who formula fed and feed their children extremely healthily; I also know many women who breastfed and don't feed their children all that well.  For me, when I decided to give my child the healthiest start possible by breastfeeding him, I wanted to continue feeding him the healthiest foods possible when it was time for him to experiment with food.  I researched all the different ways, and realized that "child led solids" made the most sense to me.  I had followed my child's lead since birth by nursing on demand and other means, so I really wanted food to be on his terms as well.  This meant skipping the spoons, purees and baby cereals so that he could pick up real, organic food and learn how to eat it himself.  Of course some people freaked out about this, worried that he would choke.  But the reality is that baby's fine motor development (his ability to actually pick up food with is hand) matches his oral development (his ability to mash and chew the food with his gums and then successfully swallow it or spit it out).  So basically, if they can't pick it up and get it in their mouth, they are not ready to eat it.  This readiness takes place around six months of age, which is when most doctors recommend starting solids.  If you are interested in learning more about child led solids, follow this link. 

So we decided from an early age to feed Noah organic, whole foods and their derivatives.  No processed crap.  This of course carried over to how we ate as a family.  If you want your kid to eat healthy, you have to only keep healthy foods in the house.  I always thought I ate healthy until I started eating like my child.  The sticky part came when he wouldn't eat meat.  I worried he wasn't getting enough protein and/or iron so I began researching the best vegetarian diets to make sure I complemented his diet with proper nutrients.  In that quest for knowledge, I was seduced by all the vegetarian, vegan, and raw diet books and their claims of better health and a more sustainable planet.  So we all went vegetarian!  I even went near-vegan for awhile. I didn't worry so much about Noah because he had a pretty balanced diet and I was still nursing him.  But I started to just not feel "right" so I found a naturopath through a vegetarian support group.  She was suppose to be very vegetarian friendly.  She was, but do you know what she told me? That I shouldn't be a vegetarian!  She said I am a protein type and need animal based protein as the base of my diet.  I followed her advice and also turned to, Paleo diet websites, The Schwarzbein Principle, and eventually, found Mark Sisson's book, The Primal Blueprint.  All of these sources led me to the conclusion that I should only be eating what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate:  Meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, and their whole food derivatives.  I guess I had to turn vegetarian to meet a doctor who would tell me I should not be a vegetarian! 

So here we are, following The Primal Blueprint, and feeling more energetic, lean, content and satiated than ever!  Noah, by the way, grew out of his aversion to meat and loves it now.  But we don't buy just any meat...we always go for organic, grass fed meat.  I will detail where we purchase our meat in a later post.  I have never felt this good about my body and state of mind, and I have never had this much fun cooking and eating!  Giving up grains, processed foods, and sugar has been the best thing I've ever done for my health.  I know it sounds crazy, giving up grains especially, but I promise that once you start eating this way and trying some of the recipes I post, you will forget about all the grains you thought you couldn't live without.  And once you start noticing your body leaning out, you will be even more motivated to incorporate this lifestyle. 

Another important aspect of The Primal Blueprint is the way you exercise.  It is imperative to tone down your workouts by focusing on low-level cardio and a few strength training sessions a week, complemented with sprints every week or so.  Because when you overdo your cardio and engage in long workouts, you're just compromising your immune system and you're hungry all the time!  And what do you crave?  CARBS, but the kind you don't want like grains and sugar.  You want to focus on getting your carbs from fruits, veggies, and nuts.  And you also want to eat high-quality FAT.  That's right, I have lost weight by eating more fat and actually consuming more calories than I did before making this lifestyle change.  And I actually exercise way less than I use to, yet am better able to build and maintain muscle with the way I am eating.

So along with eating this way, we also strive to buy all our food in its freshest, most natural state.  That means buying organic and locally.  I will detail these specifics in future posts.  Eating this way naturally spills over to other areas of your life...from the products you clean with, to the products you put on your body.  You just want to live as close to the way nature intended which means going for natural products and materials.  If only I had known all of this long ago!  But that is why I am starting this blog...maybe some of the information here will impact others.  Please feel free to comment on any posts and enlighten me with information I have yet to gather!