5/26/17

Raw Raspberry Coconut Bars

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There is always something nostalgic about long holiday weekends; the moments spent with friends around the pool, the backyard dinners with family and the late conversations over soft music on the patio. Memorial Day weekend is a time to celebrate the end of a long school year, it's a time to remember the men and women who died while serving our country, and it's a time to reflect on the treasures in our own lives.

After spending last weekend in Florida with friends, I feel refreshed and renewed. Being away for just a few days made me realize how blessed I am to be the mother of my precious children and the wife of my amazing husband. While I was gone, I saw friends and family pitch in and help out and I realized how grateful I am for this generosity. It also made me realize that I want to be generous and self-less. I want to put the needs of others first. I want to mother with my whole heart and I want to continue to grow in my marriage. Of course, you need time for yourself but it's all a balance.

“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return,
but because of who you are”
Harold S. Kushner


I want to strive to be a better person. Not just in my own home, but a better person for society. I want to give back and contribute, which is part of the reason why I blog and share our journey with health and clean eating. I want to help others and I want to find my meaning and purpose. But in the meantime, I know this weekend is meant for family and friends and I look forward to spending quality time with my loved ones. And of course, eating lots of good, clean food and enjoying a glass of wine.
Cheers!

Raw Raspberry Coconut Bars
SCD, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-free, Raw 
yield: 20-24 squares

INGREDIENTS: 
2 cups medjool dates, chopped
1 ½ cups pecans, or other nut of choice
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 cup coconut cream
¼ cup honey *
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp Himalayan salt
1 cup plus 3 Tbs shredded coconut
¼ cup raspberries, puréed

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a food processer combine chopped dates and pecans, pulse until the mixture is combined and sticks together.
2. Press evenly into the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch pan lined with parchment paper. *
3. In a food processer, add the cashews, coconut cream, honey, melted coconut oil, vanilla and salt. Process until smooth.
4. Fold in one cup shredded coconut and spread evenly over the date, pecan mixture.
5. Spoon the raspberry purée over the coconut mixture.
6. Sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons of coconut flakes.
7. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and freeze for two hours. Allow to thaw for 10 minutes before serving.

*TIPS: You can use up to 1/3 cup honey for a sweeter treat. In addition to lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, grease the sides with coconut oil.

5/24/17

My Facial Skincare Routine

Skincare Routine
Skincare Routine
It's been a little silent over here. Between our spring soccer schedule, tournaments, school and my trip to the beach with girlfriends, I have been extra, extra busy. But now that I am back I'm feeling refreshed and ready to get to work!

I've actually been meaning to post my facial skincare routine for awhile, and after a trip with girls I figure the timing is right. This June I'll be another year closer to the big 40, and even though it's still a couple years away, I'm having a hard time with this one. Turning thirty was easy and exciting, but forty is a bit harder to grasp and embrace. When I think about it, it's not the actual age that bothers me. I feel no different (for the most part) than I did in my twenties; I'm active and fit, healthy and always ready for an adventure. What does bother me, and this is me being honest, are the visible signs of aging. The lines that have popped up around my eyes, the now visible wrinkles that spread across my forehead, and on and on. Even as I type this, I catch myself thinking, "How shallow and superficial you sound."

But I'm being honest.

These signs of aging bother me, but I try to see past them. I try to turn these signs into memories with hopes that I will age gracefully. For now, I've decided that altering the aging process is something I want to avoid. While I have no problems with Botox, fillers and peels, I don't think it's for me. I'm focusing on clean eating, including phytonutrient spectrum foods into my daily diet, exercise, sleep and living a stress-free life. If anyone has the key to a stress-free life I'm all ears! But don't get me wrong, I'll go to great lengths to keep my skin looking healthy and youthful! I take a daily dose of collagen, which I highly recommend. Not only is it good for your hair, skin and nails, but it helps the intestinal lining and is great for joint pain. My son and I have been using Vital Proteins and are extremely happy with the results.

I am also meticulous about my skincare routine. Here is a breakdown of my morning and nightly regimen.

MORNING ROUTINE
I wash my face every morning with Mineral Fusion facial cleanser. It is very gentle on the skin, yet removes dirt and makeup residue. I then spray my face with a toner, these days I've been liking Alaffia Facial Mist, which is ethical vegan and paraben free. Once dry, I apply a small drop of Biossance oil. I sometimes mix in a small scoop of Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder. Turbo Booster C Powder is a 99.8% high-potency topical, vitamin C powder that helps prevent premature aging by acting as an antioxidant and promoting collagen synthesis, which helps improve the skin's overall tone and texture. I then apply My Chelle eye cream, which is very light weight and refreshing. Next is my moisturizer, which ALWAYS has a SPF. I love Kate Somerville Daily Deflector Moisturizer 50 SPF but I recently picked up My Chelle unscented SPF 28 and did like it as a back up. After these steps I am ready for makeup if I decide to wear any, most days I'm makeup free, not as a choice, but mostly because I am on the go and usually don't come home after the gym.

NIGHTLY ROUTINE
Again, I wash my face with Mineral Fusion facial cleanser and follow up with Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads. These hydroxy acid and peptide facial peel pads gently exfoliate the skin to support natural cell turnover. For night time, I like to use a nourishing eye cream and have been using Algenist anti-aging eye cream. I then apply SUNDAY RILEY Luna Sleeping Night Oil. Facial oils are probably my favorite products on the market. I love oils and this one in particular is wonderful to use at night. I'm a little sensitive to scents, and it's not my favorite scent, but it leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated. If I apply other products I wait at least fifteen minutes before doing so because I want to make sure the oil is fully absorbed into my skin. In the winter I use a nightly moisturizer, but with the warmer weather and humidity the oil is capable of keeping my skin hydrated. Lastly, right before jumping into bed I apply Needles No More by Dr. Brandt. This product is worth the investment! I have noticed visible results when I wake up in the morning and this seems to be the one product I continue to purchase.

When it comes to the concept of minimalism, I seem to do well in all aspects of my life except beauty products. I'm such a sucker for good products and always love tot try new ones. What are your "must haves" and favorite products?

“I've enjoyed every age I've been, and each has had its own individual merit. Every laugh line, every scar, is a badge I wear to show I've been present, the inner rings of my personal tree trunk that I display proudly for all to see. Nowadays, I don't want a "perfect" face and body; I want to wear the life I've lived.”
Pat Benatar, Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir

*This is not a sponsored post. All thoughts on products are of my own personal opinion and I did not receive compensation to write this, however this post does contain affiliate links.

5/8/17

Oven-Baked Salmon Cakes

SCD salmon cakes
SCD salmon cakes
SCD salmon cakes
Seafood is definitely a staple in our home and we usually end up eating fish two to three times a week. My go-to is always oven baked fish; usually salmon, halibut or sea bass, and occasionally we'll sauté scallops, especially when Nantucket Bay scallops are in season. If you've never experienced a Nantucket Bay scallop I highly recommend you do. They are smaller than sea scallops and exceptionally sweet; they literally melt in your mouth! Since the season is so short (usually November to March) they are considered an extra treat and because of the fresh quality you can actually consume them raw. They are perfect for making ceviche, which just gave me the idea of sharing a recipe for next season! But on to salmon cakes.

This dish is simple to make and the patties can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to a couple months. We usually don't add a sauce but the aioli below is very easy to make and a great accompaniment to the salmon cakes.

Oven-Baked Salmon Cakes
SCD, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-free
yield: 8-10 patties

INGREDIENTS:
15 ounces Wild Alaskan Salmon (I like Natural Sea non-gmo BPA-free can)
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stick, diced
2 Tbs coconut oil
1/4 cup packed spinach, finally chopped
1/2 cup almond flour
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp garlic powder or fresh garlic (I omit because I'm allergic)
1/2 tsp cumin

DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat the coconut oil in a sauté pan over medium heat; sauté the onion, carrots and celery until translucent. Remove from heat.
2. Drain the canned salmon and remove any bones.
3. Add the salmon and cooked vegetables to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add in spinach and mix well. Then add almond flour, egg and spices and stir until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I like this brand.)
5. Form the salmon mixture into small patties and place them on the parchment paper.
6. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden.
7. Serve with a lemon aioli.

Lemon Aioli
SCD, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-free

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup SCD legal mayonnaise (I like Primal Kitchen)
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1 fresh garlic clove, diced (optional, I omit due to allergies but I know everyone loves garlic!)

DIRECTIONS:
Whisk all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Store in an airtight container for up to five days.

5/4/17

Healthy Black Bean Soup

SCD Black Bean Soup
SCD Black Bean Soup
SCD Black Bean Soup
Black beans have always been a staple in our diet because they are so versatile and easy to incorporate into meals. They are packed with fiber, protein, disease fighting antioxidants, and they are high vitamins and minerals including folate, copper, thiamine (vitamin B1), magnesium and iron. Studies have linked the benefits of eating black beans to the prevention of inflammation, heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, cancer and nutrient deficiencies that are often present with the Western diet. In other words, they are a healthy choice that should be added into your diet.

And guess what, blacks beans ARE allowed on the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) BUT make sure you try them when you are symptom free of any gastrointestinal issues. In fact, you should be symptom free for at least three months before adding black beans into your diet. It is very important that you refer to the book "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" and study the proper preparation for black beans. In order to aid in healthy digestion, black beans MUST be soaked for at least 10-12 hours, rinsed extremely well and then cooked. Canned beans are a no-no and should be avoided.

While doing some research on the digestibility of beans, I came across some fascinating information on resistant starches and their association with healthy benefits that some starches provide. Basically, resistant starch is a type of starch that isn’t fully broken down and absorbed, but rather turned into short-chain fatty acids by intestinal bacteria. Most starches are broken down by enzymes in our small intestine into sugar and then absorbed into the blood, which, to my understanding, is why most starch is not allowed on the SCD diet. When the starch breaks down into sugar in the small intestine, the bad bacteria then feed off of it and eventually overtake the good bacteria. But it turns out we can’t fully absorb all kinds of starch. Some starch, the resistant starch, is not fully absorbed in the small intestine. Instead, the resistant starch makes its way to the large intestine (colon) where the intestinal bacteria ferment it.

Resistant starch may help to lower cholesterol, can improve immunity by aiding the production of immune cells in the gut and can possibly improve and aid in overall digestion.

Honestly, I can continue to go on and on about starches and sugars and molecular structures and how they impact the gut micro biome. I'm starting to wonder if the possibility of pursuing another degree is in the equation because food nutrition absolutely fascinates me. But back to resistant starches (RS), this article sums it up well. And if you like to read studies, which my nerdy self does, I find this study interesting because it evaluates the RS content of raw beans versus cooked beans.

This healthy black bean soup is simple to make, full of flavor and very filling. My kids love to add their own toppings and sometimes we even add a poached or fried egg for extra protein.

Healthy Black Bean Soup
SCD, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan (optional)
yield: 6-8 servings

INGREDIENTS:
1 pound dried black beans
5-6 cups bone broth (use vegetable broth for vegan option)
2 Tbs coconut oil *I've been loving this brand recently
1 medium onion, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
1 small yellow pepper, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 Tsp kosher or Himalayan salt
1 Tsp chili powder
1 Tsp cumin
1/2 Tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
a pinch of saffron (optional)
1 Tbs honey

TOPPINGS:
Sliced radishes
Guacamole or sliced avocado
Parmesan cheese
Cherry tomatoes
Microgreens

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place the beans in a pot, cover with cold water, and allow to soak for 10-12 hours. Drain the beans and rinse with cold water. 
2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the diced onions, peppers, celery and carrots and sauté until tender and fragrant.
3. Add the beans and bone broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about an hour.
4. Add salt, chili powder, cumin, paprika, saffron, turmeric and honey. Stir. Cover and continue simmering for another 25 minutes or longer until desired consistency. We like our soup a bit thicker.
5. Taste and season.
6. Serve soup in a bowl and top with sliced radish, parmesan cheese, avocado and/or micro greens. Top with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

5/3/17

Summer Trends + A Minimal Wardrobe

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summer fashion
summer fashion
Just about a year ago we remodeled our master bedroom, bathroom and closet space so we could turn the outdated, confined layout into something more functional. The end result is a cozy modern room, a walk in closet and a bathroom with a glass shower and freestanding tub. Since the renovation I've been striving to focus on a life of minimalism and that includes my wardrobe. In fact, I've slowly worked on transitioning my wardrobe over to a capsule wardrobe. For those of you wondering what this is, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don't go out of fashion; think skirts, dresses, classic jeans, black pants, button down shirts, t-shirts, blazers, coats, loafers, heels and boots. Neutral colors, neutral tones.

I'll admit, I love fashion, but I'm not one to always jump on board with trends in the fashion world. In fact, the older I get, I've noticed that I stick to the same styles of clothing and I've developed a daily uniform. On most days, you can find me in comfy jeans, slip on shoes or black & white Nike's, a basic t-shirt and sometimes a blazer with rolled-up sleeves. My makeup and accessories are minimal, diamond earrings and a couple gold rings, and I always have an over-sized black tote bag on my shoulder. But sometimes I like to switch it up, especially if we have plans or are going out.

You can easily add trends into your capsule wardrobe, but the key is not going overboard. By picking a couple trendy pieces each season, you can still keep your wardrobe minimal yet up-to-date and fashionable. This dress above is a perfect example! When eShakti contacted me and asked me to try a piece from their collection and review them, I was thrilled. eShakti is a clothing company that focuses on customized clothing. So when you choose an item you can customize the sleeves, neckline, length, and even whether you have pockets or not. I absolutely love this concept!

I decided to go with a current trend and picked an off-the-shoulder black dress. This off-shoulder ruffled cotton poplin shift dress is absolutely perfect for summer. Pair it with lace up sandals or wedges and you are all set for a night out or a casual afternoon. This classic piece is flirty yet easy-going and extremely comfortable. To be honest, I had a difficult time choosing just one article of clothing. There were so many that caught my eye and below are just a few of them that would compliment a minimalistic wardrobe.

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1. Friday Night | COTTON BLEND SURPLICE PEPLUM TOP
2. Girls Night Out | MIXED MEDIA SWEETHEART NECK JUMPSUIT
3. Pool Day | PINTUCK PLEAT LACE TRIM COTTON VOILE SHIFT DRESS
4. Sunday Brunch | OFF-SHOULDER COTTON KNIT SHIFT DRESS
5. Business Meeting | KNOT NECK COTTON KNIT SHEATH DRESS

For more unique styles visit eShakti // Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Google+

My daughter wears a Tea Collection dress & leggings and Lands End shoes.

*This post is in partnership with eShakti. All opinions voiced in this review are from my honest and personal experience.

4/27/17

Easter Weekend + Living in the Moment

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I originally had grandiose plans to create an Easter dinner menu and share it here with everyone; an SCD friendly menu with photographs and recipes included. But then, life happens and I got caught up living in the moment and before I knew it, Easter had passed. But you know what? I enjoyed this holiday, I embraced every moment I could and was present. I lived in the moment with my children; I did exactly what I was supposed to do. We baked and cooked together, we watched movies at night, we played basketball, we built a fort in the woods and we went on long nightly walks. In fact, this may be the first Easter that I didn't feel stressed when it came to hosting twenty people.

These days I feel like I am constantly pulled in every direction. I have so many ideas swirling around inside my head but my struggles are always consistent; time management is my dilemma. Something every mom can understand. I certainly haven't figured out the time management end of things, but I have learned to be a bit more laid back and let some things go. When we take on too much at once the stress trickles down and our children can certainly feel it. I can't help but think we put so much extra, unnecessary stress on ourselves as parents. We now live in a world of Pinterest-worthy holidays and parties, curated Instagram photos, perfectly planned outfits and unique food trends that we feel obligated to try. I admit, I've been caught up in it before. But over the last couple years I've come to a huge realization.

It doesn't matter.

No one's going to remember what the table settings looked like or what linens I used or what fresh floral arrangement was the centerpiece. No one's going to remember the handmade bags that were passed out for the egg hunt, or the kids' table and the well-thought out crafts. And you know what, no one's going to remember the blog post that took hours to compose.

But you know what my kids will remember? That we sat around the kitchen table and dyed eggs together; no phones, no cameras and no distractions. My kids will remember that they helped baked the Easter cupcakes. Were they perfect? Well, they were perfect to me because we did it together. They'll remember how we piled into mom's bed the night before Easter Sunday and took turns reading books until we fell asleep, legs intertwined and toes touching.

I've learned one thing as a parent, kids are intuitive. They know far more than you think they do and they are always watching. Always. Which is why I strive to be a role model and lead by example. It's why I choose to live in the moment. To be present. To be present for my children.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
Robert Brault

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

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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

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

Dog Sledding Colorado

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.