Feb 25, 2014

Try It Tuesday: Use Less Dishwashing Detergent

Ever noticed there's a line in the dishwasher soap dish?  It says something like "fill here unless you have hard water."  
Most of us in central Arkansas have softer water.  How do you know if you have hard water?  Do you you have calcium deposits around your faucets that look like crusty salt?  That is an effect of hard water.

It is likely that most of us are using too much dishwashing detergent.  Try using less and see if your dishes still come clean.  I usually squirt a bit in the neighboring reservoir that is released during the pre-washing stage.  Every dishwasher is different so yours may not have this additional reservoir.

By reducing the amount of dish detergent you use, you could save money and reduce the residual toxins on your dishes.  I've been to homes where I can taste the dishwashing detergent in my glass of water.  Ewwww.

Just try it.  Whad'ya got to loose?


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Feb 23, 2014

Is Arnica in Your First Aid Kit? It should be.

Recently my 13 month old fell and hit his eye (bone, near outer eye). Immediately a pump knot surfaced and I could tell it was quickly turning blue. It was going to be nasty.

I remembered that HB had raved about the homeopathic remedy, Arnica. The container says it is for "muscle aches, stiffness, swelling from injuries, discoloration from bruising."

A few months ago, when I was in Drug Emporium, I actually bought some to prepare for the inevitable. As the mother of three small children we have our fair share of bumps. It cost $6.48 for a small vial that looks like chap stick but there are probably 100 doses.  I can't find amount on container. Each pill is about 1/3 the size of a tic tac so I gave one to Schaeffer.

Soon after the fall we put him to bed. The next morning his eye was red and a bit swollen but no bruising!  I'm confident he would have had a black eye if I didn't administer the Arnica. It was ugly.

The next day I emailed other mom friends and told them about this wonderful homeopathic remedy.  Several replied with similar crazy stories.  One mom carries Arnica with her at all times, as it is most effective when administered soon after the trauma.

Like many homeopathic remedies, Arnica comes in pellets as well as a cream.  One friend wrote, "I have found the pellets/tablets to be more effective than the creams/gels.  The healing seems to be more pronounced.  I'd use both for a significant lump like a goose egg.  Otherwise, the pellets are sufficient.  Great to use after car accidents."

I've since read on ye-ole-internet that some people recommend taking a dose or two before surgery to reduce swelling (as well as after surgery).  One site said Arnica could help relieve discomfort from mouth sores causes by cancer treatments.

The beauty of homeopathic remedies is you really have to work hard to overdose (like eat several bottles at once) - even then the side effects are mild, like loose stools.  Plus, because they are from natural sources you aren't feeding toxins to your family.

I'm no doctor nor do I have any medical training so do your own research.  However, I am a mom and saw a miracle happen before my very eyes and now I'm a believer in Arnica.

All this to say, I recommend getting some Arnica for your first aid kit. Especially if you have boys. :)


Related: Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu
First Aid Kit Holistic Essentials

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Feb 14, 2014

Batch Cooking {Mini-Version}

My pal HB convinced me to tackle another cooking day.  It's been a long time since we've cooked together (over a year!) so we decided to start small.  {Two years ago we had a major marathon cooking day.}  We started messing up the kitchen at 9:45am and were finished with lunch by noon.  My baby naps from 9-11am so we were trying to get 'r done while he was sleeping.

We made two recipes.  Finished product was 5 chicken pot pies (CPP) and 30 beef and bean burritos.  It's the first time we made crusts on cooking day.  Both families are eating CPP tonight.  I froze one in a 9x13 dish and HB took two CPPs home in freezer bags and one crust to freeze.
In advance, for the first time, we each made 8 cups of cream of mushroom soup .  Making the soup in advance made the work easier today.  We just had to mix the ingredients and divide portions.  I quickly sautéed more onions since HB hadn't used onions in her soup.  We didn't cook the celery or carrots; chicken was cooked and chopped in advance.  Recipe here.

For the burritos I crammed 2 giant semi-frozen roasts (6-7 pounds?) in my crock pot last night at 9pm, along with a jar of salsa and a huge onion, diced.  The roasts weren't quite falling apart at 6:30am as I'd expected them to be but they were fine by the time we started assembling the burritos. 
This morning I roasted (at 450*) a gallon freezer bag of peppers that were frozen from last summer.  In two batches, I caramelized about 2 pounds of onions.
HB prepared in advance one pound of pinto beans (with a ham bone!) and 1cup brown rice (cooked in in broth and rotel) to add to the burritos.  She mixed everything in a bowl minus the shredded cheese to make for quicker burrito assembly.  Ingredient recap: beef, beans, rice, peppers, onions and cheese.  We tasted and it needed a bit more kick.  So to taste, we added chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Here's how to roll and package.
Play-doh did not make it into burritos.  Or at least I don't think it did.  

Let's not forget the cherubs, shall we?
Our big boys are at the 4-H center today doing a science enrichment program.  The little boys texted each other.
 Caroline approved of the burritos.  It's what we had for lunch.
Want to see more batch cooking shenanigans?  Click here.


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Feb 13, 2014

Infrared Thermography Exams

Infrared Thermography Exams by Body Scan for Health
Technicians:  Ron and Geanine Jarvis
Date: March 1 & 2
Location: Wellness Revolution 13401 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock
Prices:  Breast Scan $200, Health Study $300, Full Body $350
Schedule Appointments with Body Scan for Health: 479-936-8100  (please do not call Wellness Revolution)
More Information: bodyscan4health.com

Lisa writes:
Because my mother has had breast cancer twice, my ob/gyn started recommending mammograms every other year when I was 35 years old.  In addition, due to dense and cystic breasts, I have had 2 diagnostic mammograms. At only 47 years of age, I have had more mammograms than I am comfortable with and have become more and more convinced that this is putting me at a greater risk for breast cancer.

I initially learned about thermal imaging for breast cancer detection from Dr. Mercola.  Thermal imaging is an FDA approved adjunct to mammograms in which infrared technology is used to detect areas of rapidly growing cells or inflammation.  According to proponents, thermal imaging can detect breast cancer 8 to 10 years earlier than mammograms.  Unfortunately, it is not currently covered by insurance plans and there is not yet a provider in Little Rock.

I decided it would be worth my effort and expense to have thermal breast imaging instead of additional mammograms.  I asked thermal imaging technicians; Ron and Jeanine Jarvis of Body Scan for Health in Rogers, Arkansas; to come to Little Rock to do a weekend of thermal imaging which was hosted by Dr. John Vincent at the Wellness Revolution

In November, Geanine Jarvis performed my first thermal imaging scan.  I chose to have full body imaging, rather than just breast imaging.  I was a little nervous and didn't quite know what to expect.  My husband went with me to provide support (and to get to see neat technology - a big plus for him).  Geanine made me feel very comfortable. 

I spent 15 minutes in a cool (not cold) room in my hospital gown to get my body temperature right for the imaging. Then Geanine and my husband sat at a desk with a computer screen.  I stood behind them with the thermal camera pointed at me.  Geanine watched the screen and gave me directions about which areas of my body to uncover and how to stand.  She was able to do that without turning to look at me (much more private than what I expected).  Also, unlike mammograms, there is no contact involved in thermal imaging.  We were all able to watch the images on the screen.

Geanine recorded the images so they could be sent to a physician's group to be read by a doctor.  Approximately 2 weeks later I received a report along with copies of the images and recommendations.  One recommendation was to get a 3 month follow up on my breast imaging so a baseline can be established.  If there is no change in the patterns in my breasts after my follow-up, then I can continue with annual imaging. 

Schedule Appointments with Body Scan for Health: 479-936-8100  (please do not call the Wellness Revolution).  More Information: bodyscan4health.com

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Feb 5, 2014

Organic CSA {baskets of veggies} & Internship

Ready for the lush colorful veggies that summer provides?  Me too.

North Pulaski Farms, a certified organic farm,  is now opening enrollment for their community supported agriculture (CSA).  New crops added to this year's crop plan include: artichokes, eggplant, bunching onions and carrots.  Find all the details on the farm's website, here.

Also, North Pulaski Farms has an internship program for interested parties.  Details are here.

sample CSA basket from May 2013

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Feb 4, 2014

'Bucha Baby

People often ask me, "When can I start giving kombucha to my kids?"

I start giving sips shortly after their first birthday.  As when introducing any new food, baby or adult, go slowly at first to make sure the body can tolerate it.  If the gut is sterile or compromised, a person will not be able to drink as much kombucha as a person with diversity of probiotics in their belly.  (One of my mom's friends drank too much *several glasses of komucha the first time* and spent the rest of the evening on the toilet.)  Go slowly and build up.  :)

My baby looooves kombucha.  In fact, this morning, he refused to eat any breakfast until he had a drink.
 At first he sipped through a straw but quickly let us know he wanted the glass to his lips.
My big kids weren't all that excited now that Baby is getting kombucha.  This means their portions are rapidly decreasing.  I have to ration the komucha because everybody wants to drink it!  I told my oldest son he could start making it for the family.  He decided maybe he could share after all.


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Feb 2, 2014

Simple Truth {Meat at Kroger}

Buying meat locally is the healthiest option.  Admittedly, local food is not always easy to obtain* and it will be more expensive than mass produced grocery store meats.  

A baby-step towards better health and eating healthier meat, is buying Kroger's "simple truth" brand.  (I am not being compensated by Kroger.)  Note there are two tiers of "simple truth" - regular and organic.  Packaging looks similar for both and of course organic will cost more.  The biggest difference being that the organic animals cannot be fed GMO grains.

From the label in the picture above for chicken, you read - 

: No antibiotics ever
: No added hormones
: 100% vegetarian diet
: Raised cage free

Some Explanation 
It is good to know that the chickens are raised "cage free" but this basically means they are crammed into a barn like structure.  They do not have access to sunshine, grass and bugs - all three things that make a healthier end product.  When you buy local, the animal will have the best environment.

My favorite thing about the "simple truth" brand is that there are no antibiotics given to the animals.  Unless you read "no antibiotics" on chicken or pork, you can bet your bottom dollar that piece of meat has antibiotics in it whether it needed it or not.  This excessive dosing of animals will translate to your body.  If you are eating Tyson or Sanderson chicken regularly, your meat has antibiotics in it.   I am doing everything I can to add probiotics in my diet and try to avoid these cheap meats laced with antibiotics.

If you look closely at the "no added hormones" on the label, you'll see a tiny cross.  In small lettering somewhere on the package you will read that the "...FDA prohibits the use of hormones in poultry."  In effect, this one is non-speak or just feel-good-marketing-lingo.  Nobody can use hormones in chicken.  Not even Tyson.

The next one on the label says, "100% vegetarian diet."  For those of you who have done your homework know this is not a good thing when it comes to chickens.  Oh yes, chickens love a vegetarian diet (all grains) but they also love to eat insects and even small reptiles.  Like a human diet, diversity is the key. 

Simple truth also offers "grass fed" beef.

As of yet there are no regulations on the labeling of "grass fed."  

This could mean the above ribeye was fed grass the first months of its life then shipped to a grain-fed lot in Kansas City where it finished its days.  Or it could mean this piece of beef never had a kernel of corn or soy pass through its digestive system.  It takes a lot longer for beef to reach finishing weight on grass alone and thus the reason we pay more for it.  The only way you could know if your beef is truly grass-finished is if you talked to the farmer (buy local.)

Should you buy Simple Truth?
Yes and No.  If you are currently buying Tyson or looking for the cheapest cuts of meat then yes switch to Simple Truth.  Try to squeeze out a few more dollars from your grocery budget (Simple Truth costs more than Tyson).  If you are already in the habit of buying meat locally, then stick with it.  Locally raised on a small scale is the healthiest option.

Another convenience with Simple Truth is the fact that many Kroger stores carry it.  

Let me encourage you though, to search out local options for meat.  In central Arkansas we have many quality grass based farms and farmers that want to provide healthy meat for you.

*Here is an on-line option for meat buying in Little Rock or in Conway.  When the regular farmers markets are closed it's a great place to get meat.  You can also buy in bulk from farmers and fill up your chest freezers.

Meat farmers I have bought in bulk from are:
Falling Sky Farm (they also have a meat share)
Farm Girl Natural Foods (have a farm share)
Freckle Face Farm
Youngblood GrassFed Farm

Where are you on the spectrum?  Buying Tyson? Simple Truth? Whole Foods? Local meat?  Take your next baby step towards healthier food.


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