Category Archives: Blog

Giving: Green Christmas Gift Ideas

No weary-shopper eye-roll here- my fingers are doing the walking! It leaves me with a bit more time to make a few homemade gifts too (as featured in my last post of recipes for homemade skin care gifts). Below are some ideas for “Green Gift Giving”, since most of them fall in line with the eco-style trends of the hipster folk!

Green Gift Ideas for the HolidaysGreen Gift Giving- Sheep Drier Balls1. Wool Dryer Balls (Eco-friendly, All-Natural, Fabric Softener)- AKA “Sheep Balls”- These bounce around with your wet clothes in the drier, aerating them and fluffing as they go. They break up clumps. allowing for quicker, more economical drying of clothes. I got some of these earlier this year and absolutely love them!

 

 

Natural Beeswax Candles- Green Gifts!2. 100% Beeswax Tapers 10″ (8 Tapers)- Skip the toxic chemicals found in many candles; go au natural with these beeswax candles. Lovely, elegant, clean, green, & totally cool!

3. 100% Beeswax Tea Lights (24 case)- These fit nicely into the candle holders above. Plus they’re non-toxic & chemical-free. A good deal- 24 votives!

Green Gifts- Himalayan Salt Candles- Good Vibes4. Himalayan Crystal Salt Tealight Candle Holder- I love mine. I put the little beeswax tea lights in it (below), and enjoy the mellow mood it sets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compost Caddy- Green Christmas Gift5. Vintage-style Compost Container-This looks so cool on my counter. The plastic bucket insert won’t corrode (like my old container did), and a charcoal filter inside the lid keeps all smells fresh!

 

 

 

 

 

Hand cranking apple peeler6. Apple & Potato Peeler- This little machine is so cool. Especially if you have an apple tree. We can process a lot of apples quickly, and throw ‘em in the dehydrator. My model isn’t as nice as the vintage, cast-iron one selling on Amazon for around $20. Wish I’d seen it before I bought mine for much more money, from a Pampered Chef consultant!

 

 

Rachel Ray Olive OIl Container7. Ceramic Olive Oil Dispensing Bottle- I love my coloring, opague olive oil bottle. Because the light can’t go through it, the oil stays fresher. It can sit out on the counter- very handy.

 

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Homemade Gifts: Natural Skin Care Goodies

Part of my enthusiasm for making my own skin care products is my love of essential oils, which I use regularly in face creams and bath salts for myself. Certain ones are perfect for skin, for mood; some have hormone-balancing and other benefits. I’ve shared my favorites at “Jen’s Shop“; if you’re interested in aromatherapy, take a look at the oils I suggest there (under the “Health, Beauty, & Lifestyle” section). I mention the qualities each is known for; also, I’ve chosen oils that are more therapeutic. Some “essential oils” may be a blend of an expensive variety (like, of lavender), but mixed with a carrier oil or even a sub-par plant variety. But I’ve picked out the best quality and value for you, at Jen’s Shop!

Oh, for another fun, homemade gift (that you can make with your kids), check out my “Cinnamon Ornament” post!

Homemade Gifts: Natural Skin CareWe had a lot of fun at a recent “Spa-rific” New Deli party, where we made up various creams, balms, and such to give as gifts come Christmas time. We made body butter, bath salts, lip balm… all using natural, top-quality ingredients. Didn’t have to bear with Holiday Shopping Mania- got all this stuff online! Below are some favorite recipes.

Homemade Body ButterBODY BUTTER

INGREDIENTS

PREPARATION*

1. Warm the 1/2 c. coconut oil in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Use a warm oven, or a double-boiler (with a folded towel set in bottom of pot to protect the glass cup).

2. Add cocoa butter pieces to the melted coconut oil, until it measures another half cup (that will be one cup total).

3. Warm this mix some more, until mixture’s melted. Add in the 1/2 c. shea butter using the same “displacement method”.

4. Let warm again, enough to blend the mixture, then mix in about 20-30 drops of favorite essential oils. (Lavender’s a nice one.)

5. Refrigerate the mix enough for it to set some, then whip it, then fill glass jars with it (these 4oz Amber Glass Jars are cute). Label cutely and you’ve got some nice gifts on your hands!

*General Tip: Three or four parts hard butters to one part oils works well. If you have a scale, you can measure equal parts of the four fats and oils, melting them gently in a small saucepan.

 

Homemade Bath SaltsBATH SALTS

  • 3 c. Epsom Salts
  • 2 c. Baking Soda
  • 1 c. Sea Salt
  • 8 drops or so  Lavender essential oil (or other)
  • 1 TBS. Vitamin C powder

Just mix and store in cute mason jars. My husband says most people aren’t as into Epsom salts as I am, but if you’re concerned about chlorine, this recipe helps address that issue. (Read my article, “Turning Chlorinated Water into Liquid Gold“, for more info on the subject.)

 

 

Homemade Face ScrubEASY FACE SCRUB

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 4 or more drops favorite essential oil ( Lavender, lemongrass, linden blossom, etc.)

Mix, then put up in 4oz.-size jars (like these) – a good size for most of us. Use organic white sugar if desired, for a body scrub, but the granules are larger, so it’s not as suited for the face.

 

 

Homemade Lip BalmLIP BALM

Gently melt the first two ingredients, then add your choice of essential oil. “Decant” into little tins (like these little steel ones) or into lip balm stick containers (like these- a pack of 12 for under $1/ea.).

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Thyro-Green: Natural Hypothyroid Treatment

I believe God gave us the tools to be healthy. I love the verse from Revelation 22:2- describing the wonderful fruit trees lining the river, and how “…the leaves of the tree will heal the nations.” I’m getting healed daily!

Mix of chlorella, ashwagandha & more, for natural thyroid healthYou might want to check out my post, “Jen’s List: 8 Diet Ideas for Thyroid Health“. But below is the main “recipe” I use to treat my hypothyroidism naturally. It’s not for everyone. Most folks would rather get a prescription and take a capsule. My friend can get Armour Thyroid from Kaiser through her insurance, and that’s just great. But, being self-employed, I get a more generic insurance that just covers catastrophic events; I have to pay for office visits and prescriptions. So, when my doctor and pharmacy were both causing me grief, I went this route instead. Five things I love about this little recipe:

  • I can support my thyroid gland with various supplemental food/herb powders that have been found to improve its function
  • I order the ingredients online- super easy!
  • It’s all over-the-counter stuff; the “ThyroGold” is rated a “food” (it’s dessicated thyroid gland from cows), so it doesn’t need a prescription.  Good news for me since I’m practically going off the medical grid- I had such a bad experience with my doctor and pharmacy.
  • I can easily adjust my quantities (even if going down to a quarter pill per serving), because there’s only a half-capsule of ThyroGold in each tablespoon of the powder. To reduce dosage is easy- I just take less than a tablespoon-size serving.
  • If I was to try to wean myself completely off of even natural thyroid, I could do it very gradually with this powdered mix

I originally took 6 capsules of the Thyrogold to get the same effect that I was getting from my 97.5 mg. of prescribed thyroid. I don’t actually know exactly what I was getting from the pharmacy, whether it was comparable to Levothyroxine, Synthroid, or what. They had originally promised they could get me something akin to Armour Thyroid, which was unavailable at the time. After six years, I discovered they’d been giving me synthetic thyroid the whole time. I was pretty disappointed! (Was that why my health and well-being had gradually declined?) I started in on my new, natural approach, and as my thyroid health improved over this past year, I’ve worked down to one capsule of dessicated thyroid per day, split into two doses. I have not felt this good in eight years, since originally getting diagnosed and getting treated by my doctor. The synthetic thyroid had been better for me than nothing at all (I was starting to really fall apart), but it never seemed to improve my health as much as this natural approach has.

THYROGREEN

This makes about 7 1/2 cups, lasting me just over two months when using 1 TBS. twice a day. It’s got a half capsule of Thyrogold in each serving. And it mixes easily into a small jar of water- just shake it up and drink! (Be sure to add water first, “ThyroGreen” next.)

Mixing the dried ingredients up and putting into jars can be messy, but it’s worth it for me. Let me know if you try it!

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How to Seed Pomegranates (Slow Food is ON!)

Slow Food: Pomegranates!I love being able to take my time making food. And I like supporting the local Farmer’s Market, small local businesses (but of course, what with us running The New Deli!), locally-sourced foods, etc. The whole Slow Food Movement thing is awesome. (BTW, it’s not a movement devoted to crock-pot cooking, in case you wondered!)

Today, I worked on seeding some of our many pomegranates. It’s that time of year. And although I enjoy the convenience of store-bought pomegranate juice (even this powder on Amazon), I don’t want to waste what God’s given us. So, having planted so many fruit and nut trees in our yard, I’m doing my best to eat, process, or give away the bounty we have.

So I was seeding pomegranates today. I don’t think there’s any real fast way to get the seeds out. Talk about a slow food movement!

I’ve tried a number of things. Someone said, “Just press and roll the pomegranate around on the counter, then stick a straw in it and suck the juice out. Wow- that sounded like a great idea! Alas, it was too good to be true. It really wasn’t all that effective.

How to Seed PomegranatesFor the last few years, I was still trying to save time, so I tried another approach. I put on the gloves, scored and broke apart all the fruits, added them to a 5 gallon bucket, and mashed ‘em with a sledge hammer. (A large, clean rock would also do.) They juiced up, and I strained the whole thing in a giant colander, into jars for storage. That yielded me a decent amount of juice; a pretty quick method if you’re inundated with pomegranates. You can do a whole lot of fruits, and make pomegranate juice ice cubes, for future smoothies.

This year I used the more traditional bowl o’ water method. Warm water’s a good idea, since fruit-stained hands are less likely in warm warm (cold water sets fruit stains). I rolled ‘em around a bit to loosen the seeds some, and cut the tops and bottoms off the fruits. I scored them into sixths (trying not to cut into the fruit and bruise the seeds). I broke them into sections underwater and broke the seeds apart from the pith. The pith floats and the seeds sink- perfect!

I strained the seeds, then set them on screen-racks to dry. (Paper towels could work too, on cookie sheets.) Once dried, they can be frozen, or stored in the fridge for 5 days or so. Another (healthy) way to “store” them is to turn them into pomegranate kefir, as follows:

Pomegranate Kefir

To blender, add: > approx. 1 quart pomegranate seeds > approx. 1 quart kefir water (strained from grains after a day or two of brewing)

Blend the seeds and kefir, letting seeds settle. Strain off liquid into kefir bottles; let ferment a day or two, until bubbly. Refrigerate when done!

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Jen’s List: 8 Diet Ideas for Thyroid Health

See my post on “Jen’s ThyroGreen“- a mix I made up, to take twice daily- it’s really helped! Below are some more ideas, to tweak your diet on your way to natural health!

In one week, seven folks sought me out for thyroid health info. It’s becoming a hot topic, and no wonder- instead of trying to heal health problems with the foods and herbs God’s given us, we’re more often told how to treat symptoms, usually with drugs. My dentist scoffed at me for months, after finding I’d gone to another (specialized) dentist to remove my amalgam fillings (containing mercury). But I had done enough research to feel that leaving the amalgam fillings in my mouth could be potentially hazardous to my thyroid (and possibly other body parts).

Hypothyroid (Puffy Face Picture)Maybe I’m becoming one of those whacky folks that makes people roll their eyes. Because, in addition to getting those fillings out, I had once again avoided another dental x-ray. My old dentist asked, “Can I ask why?” I had to tell him how I’d been reducing my thyroid meds all year, thanks to changing my diet and lifestyle, and that I was avoiding certain environmental risks.

Traditional medical treatment had failed me. Not that I think doctors are pharmaceutical drug pushers. Drugs have their place, after all. Almost ten years ago, when I was a complete basket case, a prescription for Synthroid got me out of a horrible funk. My health improved radically. I did have to up the dose, and eventually felt like some old symptoms were returning. So when I discovered more natural approaches to thyroid health, I was eager to implement those approaches.

To sum it up, it appears that many health issues (thyroid included) are thought to be caused by inflammatory conditions. With hypothyroidism becoming almost epidemic, perhaps there is something quite inflammatory about our modern diets!

So I’ve decided to include links here, to several of my favorite items (featured at my shop). These are products I feel have helped me in my quest for health. My thyroid’s practically healed, mainly through natural foods and herbs. Great news for me, since, at it’s worst, I was taking three baths a day to keep warm, heating tap water to drink so I wouldn’t get a chill (from room temperature water!). You get the idea. I was in bad shape.

And now I feel great- it’s a miracle! I thank God, who I feel sent me on a long mission to wellness. In Genesis 1:29, God said, “I have given you every plant with seeds on the face of the earth and every tree that has fruit with seeds. This will be your food.” Our culture has strayed from such natural food, creating our own weird “foods”, with the help of machines, pesticides, genetic modification, etc. Maybe it’s time to get back on track!

Note that I’m not advocating that everyone should get off drugs right this second! But, there may be a long, natural journey ahead, for those who choose it. What about you? Have you found some natural food or herb that’s making a positive impact on your health? If so, please do share with us here in the comments section.

And now, the list (some things might seem weight-related, but hypothyroid-sufferers often have weight problems too…)-

Eight Fave Health Products I’m Using

Berkey Water Filter“- I’ll start with my water filter, since that was one of my initial purchases this past year. Much of what I read indicated that fluoride and chlorine potentially disrupted thyroid health, and I wanted a good filtering system that would get rid of those. It’s tricky to find systems that get rid of fluoride, but this one did the trick. In the process, we all discovered how incredible pure water could taste. Yay, Berkey!

Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder“- Nothing was working… I’d gained some weight I couldn’t shake (trying every latest trend in the process). I thought of protein powders, but so many include bogus, cheap ingredients. Sweeteners- even low calorie ones- all keep the sweet-tooth thing going. (We need to re-train our tastebuds!) Other powders may include bean proteins (the cheapest of proteins). I finally tried this whey powder, adding it to morning smoothies. It really seemed to help- I think it stimulated my digestive system, while nourishing me so I didn’t get ravenous. This product is quite pricey when bought in the smaller package but the large package is a great value. I’ve bought 20 lb. of this stuff in the past year! It’s a convenient, quick meal to add this to my morning smoothie, and the weight’s stayed off.

Heather’s Tummy Fiber“- A friend had asked me to research an expensive weightloss product (TR90), so I found an ingredient list and researched each item. It seemed that acacia senegal (which is what “Heather’s Tummy Fiber” is) can lend a feeling of fullness, and soothes the stomach and digestion. A lot of IBS (irritabable bowel syndrome) sufferers resort to this product with much success, but it also seemed like a good ingredient to mix into my morning smoothie. I mix a half cup of it into eight cups of my protein powder, which makes blending my smoothie more of a one-step process.

Organic Tart Cherry Powder“- A lot of supplement/powder mixes contain the cheapest ingredients. TR90 contains non-organic dried fruit powders. But… cherries are on the Dirty Dozen list (most full of pesticides). I really wanted to include tart cherry powder in the protein powder I was mixing myself, since it’s so helpful for inflammatory conditions (low thyroid, etc.). I was still having knee problems too, but apparently, this stuff’s helped. My knees have been great for months now! AND, this cherry powder is organic. It might seem expensive, but… it takes 52 pounds of tart cherries to make one pound of the extract powder. Can you really find organic cherries fresh for less than that anyway? I mix about 1/3 c. of this stuff into my 8 c. mix of protein powder; again, it saves time in the morning when I just need to add one scoop of a mix that contains everything I want to include.

Nopal Powder“- This stuff’s actually prescribed in Mexico to treat diabetes. How exciting! I bought it because of its anti-inflammatory qualities, but found my blood sugar levels leveling out too. A friend suggested that I just buy fresh cactus leaves at hispanic markets, but… I need convenience. Again, I just add some of this into my big mixture o’ protein powder, with the other herbs, dried fruits, and tummy fiber, adding a scoop or two to a smoothie, and I’m good!

Ashwagandha“- Say what? It’s an herb- a root powder. Reminds me a bit of ginseng, but it’s touted as helpful for those with thyroid disorders. It’s an “adoptogen”, which, in my words, means it can fill in the nutritional gaps for whatever we need at the moment. At night, it can promote a good night’s sleep, as it supplies a nutrient for that, but in the morning it can improve focus and increase energy due to some other nutritional factors. Yes, I add it to my protein mix too.

Chlorella Powder“- On my path to thyroid health, I knew I wanted to get rid of the mercury that was potentially disrupting my endocrine system. Mercury can apparently play quite a part (of the bad guy) in the thyroid scenario. Many a dentist will disagree (“what’s wrong with the mercury in your fillings?!”). But a good many folks had written about how removing their amalgam/silver fillings had allowed them to give up their thyroid meds. An ultimate goal! It’s also suggested that, in any case, one can begin with a heavy-metal detox, starting with a cleansing diet. Chlorella (a little seaweed-type powder) can be a part of that cleansing diet, binding with the mercury in our system to aid in its removal. So I started guzzling an 8-ounce container of water with a scoop of this mixed into it every morning, first thing. I say, “guzzle” because I just want to get it over with. I don’t want to mix it into my smoothie. It tastes a tad fishy, I suppose. My husband and daughter-in-law can’t hang with it at all, though our oldest son and I think it’s drinkable (but then, we’re OK with sushi too). The powder mixes up pretty well when I shake it up in the container with water.

Cod Liver Oil“- Helps balance your Omega 3/6 ratio. You can eat weekly rations of wild-caught salmon instead, but… that’s not always convenient. These capsules are handy, although I get the Liquid Fermented CLO from “Renewed health Supply”, since I’m so hardcore and didn’t want capsules or the flavored oils offered on Amazon. These WOULD be a next-best choice for me though. Purported to help improve so many conditions, & promote general health/well-being. Yay!

PS In future articles, I’ll write more on this “Thyroid Manifesto” topic!

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Cheap, Homemade Chalk Paint: No Prep Needed!

Our 1st House- Hope it's Our Last!Tom and I bought our house back in 1986, on a skimpy lil’ budget- a miracle! We lived quite frugally for years. But we invested in a coffee table set; it seems to have been a wise purchase–timeless in many ways. I don’t want to replace it with trendier pieces, since it holds so many memories!

But the tables have had a lot of facelifts. I resorted to spray-paint several times, even though it never took long for the paint to start chipping off. I’d paint it again. And again.

Chalk Paint- No Prep Needed

Then I found out about chalk paint! My friend was so excited about it- telling me how easy it was, how you didn’t need to prep the surface first…

So I researched, finding that a much cheaper “chalk paint” solution (than the pre-mixed/Ann Sloan style ones), was to mix my own out of Calcium Carbonate. (Don’t buy the stuff on Amazon that’s CALLED chalk paint additive, as it costs much, much more.) The best “recipe” seemed to be this:

  • 2 Tablespoons Calcium Carbonate to 1 cup of paint (Mix well)

Add Polycrylic, Protect Painted TablesSome folks add a tablespoon of water, but I didn’t do that with the fresh paint I was using. I added water when using an old can of paint, since it had been sitting around so long, getting thicker. Not necessary with the fresh paint.

Research indicated that some kind of urethane coat on top of the chalk paint would protect pieces that get high usage. So I added several coats of this Polycrylic Protective Finishon top. I loved that it was water-based (easier clean up). I did have to lightly sand between coats of that, but the whole project was really Quite Easy!

There is also a “Plaster of Paris” alternative; many folks use it. It’s similar to calcium carbonate, except that it’s heat-processed (sometimes from gypsum instead of limestone). Same effect though, from what I hear, AND it’s cheaper ($10.99/8lb., as opposed to $10/5 lb. of calcium carbonate).

Some people have noted that it can be quite difficult to mix the calcium carbonate into the paint, but if you’ve made cake before, I don’t think it’s any worse than folding flour into cake batter! And it’ll last longer than cake, haha…

 

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Homemade Tooth Powder: Healthy Gums & Teeth

I tried a simple, homemade toothpaste recipe, but I wasn’t super-thrilled about coconut oil going down the drain. Not that it’s a huge deal. But I decided to make some tooth powder for a change of pace.

I had bought some Uncle Harry’s Tooth Powder five years ago, but never made a habit of it. If you don’t conscientiously discipline yourself into doing something for thirty days, until it IS a habit, it can easily just become such a chore that you give it up. Know what I mean? (This applies to many things…)

Homemade Tooth Powder w/Salt, Bentonite Clay, Baking SodaSo I’d never gotten into the habit of using the tooth powder I’d had on hand. But when I started reading about the things going into toothpaste (stuff like fluoride, which is an endocrine disruptor, etc.), and started getting tired of the expense, I decided to take home-made dental care more seriously.

I’d already started using essential oils on my gums- rubbing a drop or two on them after meals, since my gums had deteriorated during my many years of undiagnosed hypothyroidism. (I believe that one “disease” of the body can affect many other parts.)

I tried coconut oil “pulling” for awhile (letting a tablespoon of coconut oil sit in the mouth for ten minutes or so, to pull out toxins and such). And I made an easy coconut oil/baking soda toothpaste (recipe here). But my favorite homemade dental product has become the tooth powder I made a few months ago… thought I’d share the recipe here.

First off, you can add essential oils of any kind, or not. You can add spearmint extract, etc. Or not. You can order excellent quality oils from Nature’s Gift (where I get most of mine). Or you can order on Amazon, or from Uncle Harry’s, to name a few. Some blogs mention adding powdered spices (cinnamon, etc.), since they’re cheaper. But I think the oils work better and are worth every penny. Here’s the healing oil recipe I use on my gums:

HEALING GUM OIL BLEND

You can use these proportions, but a different proportion might be more to your liking. In any proportion, all these oils support dental health!

  • 8 parts Tea Tree Oil
  • 1 part Myrrh Oil
  • 1 part Clove Oil
  • 1 part Cardamom Oil

 

Next project- the actual tooth powder. I had a big ol’ bag of Calcium Carbonate in the garage, that I’d bought to make cheap chalk paint out of, and wondered if I could use it to make my own tooth powder. After all, it is apparently the same main ingredient found in Uncle Harry’s stuff (AKA dolomite, chalk).

Answer (after research on several websites): Maybe not. The U.S. National Library of Medicine website mentions here, that when purchasing oyster shell calcium, dolomite, or bone meal, we ought to look for the word “purified” or the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) symbol on the label. Otherwise, the product may contain toxic metals like lead. We do NOT want lead in our tooth powder!

So I found food grade calcium carbonate, also know as dolomite. I used the proportions below, although, again, your personal preference may be to change it up a bit:

HOMEMADE TOOTH POWDER

  • 6 parts Calcium Carbonate (purchase here)
  • 4 parts bentonite clay (purchase here)
  • 1 part sea salt
  • “Healing Gums” oil, above (“to taste”, or about 8-12 drops favorite oil or blend, per cup o’ powder mix)

My husband and I have gotten quite used to brushing with this stuff, and I think our teeth are the better for it!

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Grin & Bear It (Proudly) w/Natural Dental Care & Toothpaste

Maybe our teeth are the “tip of the iceberg”, reflecting health (or lack of it). My story seems to suggest that!

Baking Soda and Coconut Oil Toothpaste

Over ten years ago, in my forties, my body was slowing falling apart (undiagnosed hypothyroid). I didn’t know what was wrong, but I had a list of what wasn’t right. Now my mouth was going to join that list of bodily woes–my gums were falling apart.

My dentist had filled a cavity that had appeared on the side of my tooth, near the gum. A short time later, that area of my gum started blistering (bleeding and pus included, ew). The dentist sent me to a gum specialist, who told me she needed to remove the filling I’d just gotten, so that she could perform some thousands-o-dollars gum surgery.

THIS was being told to the small business owner who had no dental insurance, and who was not making a whole lotta money! I did not like that idea.

THEN I found out about the hypothyroid. I started taking Armor Thyroid, and suddenly felt better than I’d felt in years (like, thirty!). Before taking the thyroid supplement, I had been thinking this was just what getting old felt like. Once my thyroid started working again, I discovered what feeling normal was like, and it was WAY better feeling than I’d felt in years.

So… I suspected that the gum issue was just another part of the whole thyroid problem. I suspected that my gums might start healing naturally, now that I’d begun to address (not the symptom) the CAUSE of my troubles.

I was right! My gums got WAY better. And now, I’m determined to keep ‘em that way. I’m using a little activated charcoal to brighten my teeth on occasion, and I’m brushing with homemade toothpaste (see easy recipe below).

I worked up the recipe below after reading Denise Minger’s article about her experiences. A long-term raw vegan diet gave her horrible dental problems. Because of the acidity of her mouth and body on that diet, the health of her teeth and gums suffered.It makes sense that the toothpaste below (and the activated charcoal), in causing a more alkaline condition, would be ideal for dental health.

Homemade Toothpaste

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. baking soda
  • 20 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 10 drops myrrh extract (if available)

Ideally, coconut oil should be warm enough to stir- not too solid, but not all melted either (or the baking soda will just sink to the bottom). Mix the other ingredients into the oil, stirring with a fork. Add everything to a jar; use a small amount to brush teeth. Cheaper, better, more natural!

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Rock n’ Roll: U Think Kombucha Rocks (Or You Roll Your Eyes)

Kombucha Hotel- Layers for Backup!Some of us are cheering the benefits of Kombucha, but others are screaming. Apparently, it’s quite controversial, raising the hairs on some folks’ backs (Andrew Weil’s, for one). Kombucha seems to be eliciting gut feelings not necessarily founded by reason. On both sides of the fence!

If it works for you (like it does for me), great. I ferment my Kombucha long enough to convert most all of the sugar that was originally in it, and it’s done wonders. I haven’t been prone to colds and such all year! And I suspect it helped me lose the ten pounds I couldn’t shake for a few years, since it has been part of my new regimen.

On the other hand, I have a friend who can not tolerate the stuff, so it really isn’t for her. Try it and see?

If you do a word search, you’ll find many arguments on both sides. Some have found relief from Candida (even if they did experience some initial symptoms from “Candida Die-Off”). Other folks have found no such relief. Some claim it’s helped them “detox”, helping their bodies to get rid of toxic metals and such. Researcher Diann Dirks says it is “anti-aging, immune boosting, detoxifying, anti-cancer, liver cleansing… to name but a few properties.” Others cry, “blasphemy!”

There have been some technical glitches as to Kombucha’s exact biological makeup (they thought it contained one thing, because of the effect it had; then they realized it didn’t actually contain the thing they thought it did, etc.). I’m not sure it matters if the exact chemical makeup is completely accurate, so long as the results are! Eileen from Phoenix Helix dispels many of the myths, and cites plenty of sources in this article. Also, Jim of Culinary Tidbits explains that the saccharic acid in Kombucha helps the liver bind toxins to glucuronic acid (rendering the toxins harmless).

If you’re adventurous enough to try it, I’ve shared my own Kombucha Recipe, Easy-Style. I was able to get my starter from a friend, although you can even start some by brewing a quart or so, using an unpasteurized, store-bought bottle of Kombucha. (You can also buy a great SCOBY for making your own Kombucha, on Amazon, here.)

I was skeptical at first; I was so pleased with how my Kefir-brewing had been going. But my friend had a lot of positive feedback about her venture into making Kombucha, so I gave it a try. Now I’M sold!

 

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Meatloaf: A Traditional Food w/ Veggies, Herbs, Spices, Oats

Make this with hamburger (94% lean is good), or organic, grass-fed beef, or ground turkey- your choice! It’s full of flavor, and keeps well.

Save steps by making a “seasoned oat flour*” (directions at bottom of page). Use the seasoned oats when making meatloaf, but also in place of flour when dredging chicken (more flavor, and healthier than white flour).

Although bread crumbs (bought or homemade) are a traditional ingredient in meatloaf, this recipe puts whole grain oats to use—more economical and wholesome than the former. This recipe makes one meatloaf, serving 8-9 people.

Use Oatmeal in Meatloaf (Whole Foods!)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c. oats*
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt*
  • 2 tsp. dry, ground sage (or 1 TBS. cut and sifted dry sage)*
  • 2 TBS. dry onion flakes*
  • 1-2 med. carrots, in chunks
  • Approx. 2/3 c. celery and leaves, in chunks
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. “1000 Island Mix” (or substitute tomato paste)
  • 2 lb. lean ground beef (94% lean is good)
  • Ketchup for top

 PREPARATION

1. In a food processor or blender, process until fairly fine: > 1 c. oats> 1 1/2 tsp. salt > 2 tsp. dry, ground sage > 2 TBS. dry onion flakes* (or sub rounded 1 c. of “seasoned oat flour mix” for these dry ingredients)

2. Add and also process, until well-chopped: > 1-2 med. carrots, in chunks > approx. 2/3 c. celery and leaves, in chunks > 2-3 cloves fresh garlic

3. Add to a bowl w/ the following: > 1 egg > 1/4 c. “1000 Island Mix” (or substitute tomato paste) > 2 lb. lean ground beef

4. Line a 9″ loaf pan with heavy-duty foil, then press mixture in. Use fingers along edge, to push the mix down around edges (this makes room for water to be added). Pour about 1/3 c. water around sides of loaf; it will seep down, keeping the bottom moister.

5. Top w/ketchup. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 20 minutes. (If microwaving in a glass loaf pan, it will take around 18 minutes at medium-high-power.

6. Serve warm or let cool for meatloaf sandwiches later in the week! Slices can even be wrapped individually and frozen, to be used as needed.

SEASONED OAT FLOUR MIX

If you make a lot of meatloaf, and also like having a seasoned oat flour for dredging chicken (a nice substitute for the usual white flour), you can make this larger recipe of “seasoned oat flour”. It’s a lot easier to use a rounded cup of this mix in place of the first four ingredients in the meatloaf recipe. We do this at The New Deli- it does save time!

Just process the following together, then store in half-gallon container, ready to use in meatloaf or other dishes: > 6 c. oats  > 3 TBS. salt > 1/4 c. dry, ground sage (or 1/3 c. cut and sifted dry sage) >  3/4 c. dry onion flakes

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