4/14/17

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP | IBD NEWS, CLEAN EATING, SIMPLE LIVING

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"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
Thomas Edison


The Weekly Roundup is a well-curated selection of insightful articles related to health, clean-eating, the gut microbiome, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, a Paleo lifestyle, simple living, positive parenting and delicious recipes.

Once again, an entire week has slipped by and I never had the chance to post or share recipes here. I promise, I have so many recipes and they are coming soon! We started our spring schedule, which is a little more chaotic than I had hoped. Soccer practice goes until dark, track is twice a week with meets on Sunday and Saturdays consist of multiple out-of-town soccer games. Throw multiple piano practices and ballet into the mix and I pretty much have no free-time. But life is good and we are healthy so I can't complain.

I hope everyone enjoys their Easter weekend!

1. Heartburn, Acid Reflux and Candida. The other day I came across this article and immediately saved it. Jonas tested positive for Candida and once this yeast overgrowth was treated his symptoms started to ease up.

2. Researchers May Have Finally Identified The Cause Of Crohn’s Disease. When analyzing samples, researchers found high amounts of E. coli, Serratia marcescens and Candida tropicalis in the patients with Crohn’s— significantly more so than in the other two groups. Dr. Mahmoud Ghannoum, a professor and director of the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve University and lead author of the study, explained in a press release: “We already know that bacteria, in addition to genetic and dietary factors, play a major role in causing Crohn’s disease. Essentially, patients with Crohn’s have abnormal immune responses to these bacteria, which inhabit the intestines of all people. While most researchers focus their investigations on these bacteria, few have examined the role of fungi, which are also present in everyone’s intestines.”

3. The Hippies Have Won. Is it possible that the health trends of produce based meals, grain and veggie bowls and fermentation are more than just a movement? I sure hope this "trend" is here to stay because it's a lifestyle and way of living for our family. Recent scientific findings on the microbiome and the notion that health may be affected by bacteria and other microbes living in your intestinal tract, which are in turn influenced by what you eat. “People are recognizing that this important biodiversity inside of us has been diminished and are seeking strategies to restore it for immune function, digestion, mental health and everything else,” says author of Wild Fermentation, Sandor Katz. “So people are seeking out bacteria-rich foods.”

4. 400 Companies That DO NOT Use GMOs in Their Products.

5. 50 Questions To Ask Your Kids Instead of Asking, "How Was Your Day." I love this list!

Happy reading and cheers to a healthy, active weekend!

4/10/17

Candy-Free Easter Basket Gift Guide

Eastergirls
Easterboys

For the past couple years our holidays have been candy-free and I have absolutely enjoyed filling the Christmas stockings and Easter baskets with trinkets and treasures. The biggest challenge I have faced is trying to avoid cheap plastic toys without breaking the bank. I always try and purchase earth-friendly, sustainable products and that can be quit challenging when it comes to toys. In our quest to live a simpler life I have found that less is better, and a focus on quality versus quantity is the best fit for our family. I want to fill our Easter baskets with a few loved items that will be cherished rather than tossed aside in a week, only to be broken and eventually tossed in the trash.

Here are a few items that my kids would love to see in their baskets. I hope you find them helpful!

GIRLS EASTER GIFT GUIDE:
1. The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit
2. Bunny Rucksack
3. Bunny Dress-Up Kit
4. Violet Boho Rabbit Doll
5. Woodland Tambourine
6. Giant Playing Cards
7. Rock Crayons
8. Cat Mask
9. Bunny Ears Headband
10. Italy Gelato Graphic Tee
11. Colorful Pompoms Necklace

BOYS EASTER GIFT GUIDE:
1. Basketball Puzzle
2. The Boys in the Boat (Young Readers Adaptation): The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics
3. Handheld Tambourine
4. Professor Noggin's Geography of the United States
5. Nalgene Water Bottle
6. Official FC Barcelona Cap, Messi
7. Megamix Speed Cube
8. Adias Soccer Ball
9. Remote Control Helicopter
10. Star Wars Perplexus
11. FC Barcelona Knit Gloves
12. Timber Tower Wood Block Stacking Game

**This post contains affiliate links.

4/6/17

Thoughts On Starting A Garden

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An amazing garden that caught my eye in Friday Harbor, Washington State.

"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul."
Alfred Austin


Since moving into our current house we have had little luck with a garden. We first put in a medium sized garden in the back corner of our yard, but the canopy of the trees offered insufficient sunlight and the proximity to the woods only welcomed deer, fox and rabbit to enjoy our bountiful spread. The next year we decided to expand away from the trees and add a small wire fence, but the animals still enjoyed the garden and the sunlight remained an issue. When Jonas got sick the last thing on my mind was tending a garden so it was put to the way-side.

It's been two years and we are eager to get our hands dirty and start planting. We decided to relocate the garden to the side of the house where the sunshine is abundant. Unfortunately, we were never able to utilize this space due to some overgrown scrubs and trees. We finally took the plunge, not really by choice, and had the bushes and trees removed, the stumps ground and new dirt brought in. The next step is to level the land and build a small wall to avoid the sloping hill. This will allow for a larger space right next to the house. After the wall is in place (and by "wall" I mean a cobblestone wall that is about a foot high) and the new soil added, we'll rototill and add nutrients into the dirt. Since the garden will be somewhat visible from the front of the house I'm trying to draw plans and create a versatile space that will be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. We've decided to tackle the animal problem by adding a black rod-iron fence around the space with a gated entrance that opens to the backyard and rustic cobblestones laid down for a path.

We've started brainstorming and the kids eagerly made a list of what they want to plant. Once we narrowed down that list to some realistic goals (sorry kiddos, avocados and mangos won't grow in Ohio) we can start focusing on seeds and where to purchase our seedlings. We've decided (tentatively) to plant: a variety of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, beets, peppers, kale, a variety of lettuce, beans, cantaloupe, eggplant and possibly a small patch of strawberries depending on space. I would love to add a couple dwarf fruit trees if the space allows; a fig tree, apple and pear.

We have our work cut out for us and this is a big project we're taking on but I'm ready! I miss having my own little space to grow fruits and vegetables for our family, plus gardening is a peaceful and stress-reducing activity to add into my day. Currently, our side-yard is a giant mud pit, but once the sunshines comes out and we can get to work I'll share some before, during and after pictures.

If you have any gardening suggestions I'm all ears! I've had several gardens in the past but I am always open to new ideas.

3/31/17

The Weekly Roundup | IBD News, Clean Eating, Simple Living

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"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
Thomas Edison


The Weekly Roundup is a well-curated selection of insightful articles related to health, clean-eating, the gut microbiome, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, a Paleo lifestyle, simple living, positive parenting and delicious recipes.

I've been working on so many posts to share, but honestly, there just isn't enough time in a day! In addition to everything else I take on, I'm in charge of the school yearbook. I submit the final revision on Monday and I may just have to go out to celebrate. To say this task is an immense project is an understatement. When I officially hit the "submit" button a huge weight will be lifted from my shoulders and I'll have some spare time on my hands. I'll cheers to that!


1. New research at Seattle Children’s Hospital demonstrates that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet can induce clinical remission in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. I know I keep talking about this study, but this is a HUGE breakthrough and hopefully this study will open many doors.

2. Parents claim children who took MiraLAX developed 'neuropsychiatric problems." I have now read several articles linking consistent MiraLAX usage in children to behavioral and neuropsychiatric complications. Jonas was on a daily dose of MiraLAX for months even though multiple doctors assured us that prolonged usage was harmless. I was never comfortable with him taking it daily and swapped it out for a healthier option.

3. How Giving Up Refined Sugar Changed My Brain. This August marks two consecutive years for us with no refined sugar. I honestly believe that refined sugar is a trigger food for Jonas' Crohn's disease. And for me, I feel sluggish, foggy and lethargic when sugar creeps into my diet. I try to avoid it at all costs.

4. Why Social Media is Not Smart for Middle School Kids. This is a must read!

5. 5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You. HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is probably number one on my list of foods that we never EVER eat. Before going on the SCD diet it was banned from our household.

Happy reading and cheers to a healthy, active weekend!

3/28/17

CREAMY COCONUT CASHEW SMOOTHIE | SCD + PALEO

SCD Paleo Cashew Smoothie
SCD Paleo Creamy Cashew Smoothie
SCD Paleio Creamy Cashew Smoothie
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This recipe was created for Earth Fare.

Ten years ago, I never would have imagined that one day I would be adding fats into my diet. It turns out that not all fats are created equal and, in fact, our body needs healthy fats to function properly. Healthy fats can lower bad cholesterol, protect against heart disease, improve brain function and even strengthen hair and nails. Plus, these nutritious fats are packed with a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that benefit the body from the inside out.

One of the easiest ways I can add healthy fats into my family’s diet is through a hearty smoothie. This creamy coconut cashew smoothie is high in healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, which makes it an excellent anti-inflammatory snack.

While cashews are full of essential minerals and vitamins, they are also rich in heart-friendly monounsaturated fatty acids. These essential fatty acids help lower harmful cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol in the blood, which can prevent heart disease and strokes.

It turns out that coconuts, and coconut oil, are the richest sources of saturated fat on the planet. Lauric acid, the healthy saturated fat found in coconuts, can help fight off bacteria, improves cholesterol, and can help with weight loss. By adding coconut to your diet, you’re packing in extra healthy-plant based fats and getting a hearty dose of anti-inflammatory properties.

As a general guideline for consuming healthy fats, you’ll want to consume minimally-processed foods that have multiple benefits to your health. Avocados, coconuts, organic butter and ghee, salmon, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed beef and yogurt are all excellent choices.

Creamy Coconut Cashew Smoothie
SCD (omit cocoa drizzle) Paleo, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free, Vegan
Yield: 2 servings

INGREDIENTS:
1 Tbs. coconut butter
2 bananas
1/2 avocado
4 dates, soaked for ½ hour in water
1/3 cup cashew butter
½ cup coconut milk, canned (this brand is legal)
½ cup almond milk, homemade to be in compliance with the SCD diet
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp Himalayan salt
4-5 ice cubes
fruit for a topping

OPTIONAL:
4 ounces 100% cocoa chocolate bar
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 Tbs, honey
*you'll have leftover cocoa drizzle, save for later
*omit the drizzle to make SCD legal

EQUIPMENT NEEDED:
Vitamix or Blender (I use this one)
Classic Ice Cream Soda Glasses

Instructions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth and creamy.
2. Top with blackberries, figs, bananas or any fruit of your choice.
3. Optional; melt the dark chocolate and blend in a blender with the coconut milk and honey. Drizzle on top.

3/24/17

The Weekly Roundup | IBD News, Clean Eating, Simple Living

SCD Paleo Diet

"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
Thomas Edison


The Weekly Roundup is a well-curated selection of insightful articles related to health, clean-eating, the gut microbiome, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, a Paleo lifestyle, simple living, positive parenting and delicious recipes.

1. Vitamin D is essential to our health, but studies show that it may prevent Crohn's disease and UC from flaring up. Eating these foods can help you get your daily dose of Vitamin D.

2. 6 Critical Nutrients to Prevent Autoimmune Disease. Turns out Jonas was deficient in Vitamin D, Magnesium and the B Vitamins. Once we figured that out and started supplements and changing our diet to include these vitamins and minerals, we saw a drastic improvement in his health.

3. Functional Medicine played a KEY role in our path to finding health for Jonas. Rather than looking at the disease and treating the symptoms, they treat the underlying causes of inflammation. This article by Dr. Hyman explains this concept further and lays out 9 steps to heal your autoimmune disease.

4. 10 properties of bananas which you probably didn't know about. FYI: on the SCD diet you can only eat ripe to very ripe bananas. Unripe bananas contain too much starch. Plantains and mini-bananas are also illegal due to starch content.

5. UNC cancer researchers find potential treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases. More proof on the importance of a healthy gut microbiome (microbiome refers to the bacteria makeup in the gut.)

Happy reading and cheers to a healthy, active weekend!

3/21/17

Dog Sledding in Breckenridge, Colorado

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Dog Sledding Colorado

We can officially cross off dog sledding (mushing) through the back country of Colorado's wilderness off our to-do list. This adventurous activity has been on my bucket list for awhile, but honestly, I never imagined it was something we would actually pull off. When we decided to take the kids skiing out west this winter we knew this was a perfect opportunity to try something new, something bold and something filled with adventure.

Breckenridge was absolutely amazing and I highly recommend you visit if you get a chance. We didn't have a lot of spare time to visit the town because we took full advantage of our ski passes. Skiing in Breckenridge isn't cheap, but the experience is absolutely worth the price; the ski resort knows safety is a serious matter, they went above and beyond with customer service and they were so kid-friendly that I was beyond impressed.

In addition to skiing and dog sledding, we managed to sneak in a couple nice dinners and hit a few shops. The restaurants were very accommodating to the SCD diet and my garlic allergy. I'm still working on that post about dining out on the SCD diet, but one tip is to call ahead and give a heads up so the chef, manager and wait staff are prepared for your dietary needs.

Even if you don't enjoy winter activities like skiing, snowboarding and dog sledding, you can still enjoy Breckenridge in the off season. Colorado is a beautiful state that has so much to offer, especially to those who love outdoor adventures and nature.

Based on our trip, here are a few suggestions:

Dog sledding | Good Times Adventures
Dining | Briar Rose, Hearthstone, Relish
Juice Shop | LoLo Juice

I feel so blessed that I am able to give my children the gift of these wonderful experiences. The earth is a majestic land and I want my family to take in as much of it as possible. We've kayaked with the orcas, met seals in Washington State, hiked the rocky beaches of Maine and now experienced the back country of the mountainous west. We thirst for more adventures and are grateful for what we have experienced.

3/17/17

Sautéed Broccoli with Peas & Pine Nuts

SCD Paleo Broccoli Dish
This recipe was created for Earth Fare.

The superfoods.

We’ve all heard about the extensive list of superfoods that include blueberries, kale, chia seeds, salmon, pumpkin, yogurt, green tea, broccoli and many, many more. The superfoods are known by their significant source of beneficial nutrients they deliver to the body. They contain high levels of vitamins, minerals and anti-antioxidants that can help prevent disease and improve cell function.

Broccoli totes a lengthy list of benefits. This vibrant, green vegetable is full of phytochemicals which contain anti-cancer properties. It is rich in fiber, which aides in digestion, and high in vitamin C to help boost the immune system. And because it is high in fiber, chromium and potassium broccoli can help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.

This dish combines texture with full flavor to deliver an easy side dish that can quickly be prepared. The olive oil and lemon create a subtle zest that pairs perfectly with the broccoli. Want to make it a meal? You can easily top this hearty side-dish with grilled chicken or salmon to make a complete entree.

Sautéed Broccoli with Peas, Pine Nuts and an Olive Oil Lemon Sauce
SCD, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free
Yield: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:
1 bunch broccoli
½ onion, thinly sliced
1 cup peas
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp garlic (I omit this because I'm allergic)
2 tsp oregano
2 Tbs lemon juice
salt and pepper
¼ cup shaved parmesan

EQUIPMENT NEEDED:
Saute pan
Wooden spoon
Fun serving bowls

INSTRUCTIONS:
1.Start by par cooking the broccoli. To do this, place broccoli in boiling water and cook until slightly soft, about two minutes. Quickly remove from heat, drain and rinse with cold water.
2. In a large sauté pan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sliced onion and sauté until translucent and fragrant.
3. Add the garlic, oregano and then broccoli and continue to cook for two more minutes.
4. Add the peas and lemon juice, toss to combine. Pour into a large bowl and set aside.
5. Pour one tablespoon olive oil into the hot pan and add the pine nuts. Stir constantly for one to two minutes until the nuts begin to darken. Remove from heat immediately and add to the bowl.
6. Toss the ingredients together and top with ¼ cup shaved parmesan.

3/7/17

A Time to Explore and Wonder + Tea Collection

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Tea SS2017
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“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
-Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

After yet another mild winter, spring is certainly in the air. On numerous winter days our windows were wide open with a warm breeze gently filling our house. Winter may still linger for a few more short weeks, but the scent of spring is present and growing. And with this new season comes a fresh perspective of the world; it's a time of plans and projects. I've started several projects around the house; cleaning and decluttering, rearranging rooms, sprucing up the office so the kids have a space to work and organizing the basement. My hands are definitely full and I welcome any suggestions for our office space! It's challenging trying to create an office to accommodate two adults and three kids of different ages.

While spring is a time for projects, it's also a time to get outside, enjoy nature and embrace the world around us. It is a time for slowing down so we can reevaluate how we spend our precious moments. If I can give my children the gift of exploration and adventure, curiosity and wonder then I am setting them up to become independent souls who aren't afraid to embark on new adventures, who aren't afraid to ask questions and who aren't afraid to dive right in.

So our goal for this spring?
Get outside and be active.
Explore. Wonder.
Let our imagination take over and see where it takes us.

During these days of exploration we'll find comfort in Tea Collection's newest spring line. It is designed with the adventurous child in mind; from hiking to running to dancing to twirling these unique and whimsical styles are meant to be worn with comfort.

Tea is offering my readers 20% off Tea Collection today through 3/13/2017 at 11:59 PM. The 20% off cannot be used on the purchase of non-Tea branded merchandise or their Everyday Playwear Sets.
Use code EMJXTEA20 at checkout.
Click HERE to start shopping today!

Jessica wears the Zygo Henley Dress and Capri Leggings c/o Tea Collection.

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