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Many people use the Theory of Herd Immunity as a reason to mandate vaccines. So exactly what is herd immunity? And does it really exist? Let's find out!

What is Herd Immunity…and Does it Exist?

Many people use the Theory of Herd Immunity as a reason to mandate vaccines. So exactly what is herd immunity? And does it really exist? Let’s find out!Many people use the Theory of Herd Immunity as a reason to mandate vaccines. So exactly what is herd immunity? And does it really exist? Let's find out!

Before I begin I want to state that this post does not deal with vaccine safety. It is not pro or anti vaccines. It is simply discussing vaccine efficacy and the theory of herd immunity.

Vaccinating vs. not vaccinating is a very personal choice – a choice every parent should have.

Vaccination is a medical procedure and the government should never be allowed to make that decision for us. If our freedom to choose whether or not to vaccinate is taken away or prohibits us from education or a career, then we no longer live in a democracy, in the land of the free. We live in a dictatorship.

I am passionate about children’s health. And parents should be able to make decisions in the best interest of their children’s health. Always. This includes making decisions about vaccines.

People have different beliefs on safety, religion, morality, etc. The right to choose must be maintained.

But some people feel it’s ok to take away that individual right “for the good of the group.” The theory used to back up this claim is called the Herd Immunity Theory.

Note the word theory.

The theory of Herd Immunity is not a proven fact. And it’s NOT a valid reason to mandate vaccination.

So just what is a theory?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a theory is: “an ideal or hypothetical set of facts, principles, or circumstances” or “a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena.”

A theory is not proven. It is hypothetical. It is a possible solution given to explain things.

What is the Herd Immunity Theory?

According to vaccines.gov:

When a critical portion of a community is immunized against a contagious disease, most members of the community are protected against that disease because there is little opportunity for an outbreak. Even those who are not eligible for certain vaccines—such as infants, pregnant women, or immunocompromised individuals—get some protection because the spread of contagious disease is contained. This is known as “community immunity.”The principle of community immunity applies to control of a variety of contagious diseases, including influenza, measles, mumps, rotavirus, and pneumococcal disease.

In simpler terms – if enough people are vaccinated, the disease can no longer spread.

The theory of Herd Immunity seems like it makes sense. It is a “plausible general principle.” But let’s take a closer look.

Join me over at Kitchen Stewardship where I’m digging in deep to find out more about the this idea of herd immunity. Check it out HERE.

NOTE: Please read the full article before making any comments.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Real foodies love cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. But don't forget about the little ones. Here are my top picks for little foodie gifts.

My Top Picks for Little Foodie Gifts

Real foodies love cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. But don’t forget about the little ones. Here are my top picks for little foodie gifts.

Real foodies love cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. But don't forget about the little ones. Here are my top picks for little foodie gifts.

If you want your kids to grow up knowing about real food, you have to teach them. What better way than with some Christmas gifts that promote real food and natural health?!

My kids love all things related to food – cooking food, eating food, learning about food and nutrition. So it’s no surprise that my gift list for little foodies isn’t that different than my list for adults. Just a little more age appropriate.

My kids have or want everything on this list. So it really is little foodie approved!

Desiccaated Liver

Now you might think I’ve really lost it. I put liver at the top of my gift list and now on my kids’ gift list! I really truly believe it is that important. Although my kids would not want a jar wrapped up under the tree, they do understand how nutritious it is and request to add it all sorts of foods.

Soon I’ll be sharing my son’s secret taco seasoning recipe – which includes lots of desiccated liver. My youngest likes to put liver on her salads.

While this may not be a stocking stuffer, using liver in your cooking will give your kids the gift of good health. And it doesn’t get much better than that.

You can always get an extra 10% off using my code TAKE10. I already stocked up for the year. Merry Christmas to all my kiddos! Grab yours HERE.

Kids Cook Real Food eCourse

Making nutritious food for your kids is a wonderful gift. The next best thing…teaching them to cook good food! It’s the gift that won’t take up space and will benefit them for a lifetime.

My six year old loves to cook dinner with me. By the time he is college age he’ll practically be a chef. I keep saying he is going to make an amazing husband someday.

My girls beg to help in the kitchen too. That’s why we’ve been doing the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse for two years now! Even as early as age two kids can learn to use knives, proper measuring skills and how to follow a recipe.

This really is a gift for you too. Wouldn’t you love for your kids to be able to get up in the morning and make breakfast? With the KCRF eCourse they will!

Grab a spot today in the Kids Cook Real Food course! This is a great gift for Grandpa and Grandma to get the kids.

Kitchen Tools

If you teach your kids to cook…they’re going to want some kitchen tools. Trust me on this one. My kids LOVE having their own set of measuring spoons and cups, knives and other little gadgets like crinkle cutters.

This can be a great way to encourage a child that is hesitant to help in the kitchen. It also teaches your child responsibility by needing to take care of their own equipment.

Last year my oldest got a set of knives for Christmas. Now every time she helps with chopping she HAS to use her knives. Maybe this year I’ll get a set for my son. Yes, a six-year old can safely use sharp knives! They learn how in the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse.

Chef Coat/Hat/Apron

Of course when your kids start working in the kitchen with their new skills and new tools they will have to look the part. Last winter my oldest and I made super cute aprons for each child. They grab them whenever they help me cook. Or even just to set the table. My son likes to fill the pockets with silverware and pretend he works at a restaurant.

This year I think we might go a step up and get the older kids chef coats (like these)! My daughter wants to be a baker some day. And my son really loves to cook. They will be thrilled to look like a real baker and chef with the proper attire.

Again, it’s one more way to encourage kids to learn about food, nutrition and how to cook. It’s a win for everyone.

Cookbooks

My oldest is an avid reader. She has been since she was a few months old. I could read book after book to her when she was literally three months old. It was crazy.

Now at age nine she still devours books. One of her favorite things to read is a cookbook! It’s actually a great way to teach younger kids to read too. Get one with lots of pictures to help those younger readers (and for those that just love to see good food). Then you can look through it together or they can read on their own.

Choose some recipes to make together. Or for older kids challenge them to try a new recipe on their own for dinner some time!

Here are a few good ones:

Nourishing Meals

The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook For Children

The Nourishing Homestead

Real foodies love cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. But don't forget about the little ones. Here are my top picks for little foodie gifts.

Nutrition Books

I may be getting a bit nerdy here. But this is how important nutrition is to me. I really want my kids to understand why we eat the way we do. I want them to understand how to care for animals, how to grow our own food and how it helps our bodies. Not to mention how we eat is important for taking care of God’s holy temple.

This year for science we chose to study human anatomy and physiology. My kids LOVE it! They beg to do science every day. We just finished learning about the digestive system and are now learning about nutrition. Perfect! This is the curriculum we are using.

I know not everyone homeschools. But that doesn’t mean you can’t study nutrition! Find age appropriate books (or even “study” some cookbooks) and make time to read them often.

We love these books about eating the rainbow that are simple yet show what each color of the rainbow does for our bodies.

We live in a world where food comes in boxes and bags. Which leads to the question...how much do your kids know about their food?

Play Kitchen

Hands down the toy all of my kids play with the most is our play kitchen and food/dishes. We started with just a small bucket of play food when my oldest was about two. It has evolved now into a full bin of dishes and food. They make elaborate feasts and love to play restaurant.

This is the kitchen my youngest just got for her birthday. It is the perfect size for little hands. And all of this pretend play helps develop a love for working with food.

The sets that allow kids to practice cutting are great leads into real kitchen skills!

Mini Trampoline

Little foodies need to focus on health in addition to real food. A mini trampoline (like this one) is a great way to get out energy. But more than that it is wonderful for the lymphatic system. Every bounce or tap helps drain the lymph nodes.

When I did Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis for my girls one of the action items on their plan was to rebound for ten minutes every day! Kids think it’s fun. But it’s more than that. It is so good for them!

Crunchy Balm

Last on my list is another repeat from my real foodie gift list. Crunchy Balm. My son uses it daily when his legs get itchy. I love the quality ingredients (tallow and essential oils) and how well it works.

This year I think I’m getting my oldest some of the Crunchy Organics lip balm. She’s at the age where she is interested in “beauty products.” But there are very few products that I will let her use because I am picky about ingredients. I totally trust this lip balm. It’s on my list too! I ran out of my last one. It’s the only thing that keeps my lips from cracking in the winter.

And for the older crowd Crunchy Organics has deodorant too! Another product that requires careful consideration due to potential harmful ingredients. There are a few different scents so it works well for boys or girls! I think this will be another stocking stuffer for my oldest.

Time to Shop!

It’s so fun to shop for little foodies! I love encouraging my kids to understand where their food comes from and why it’s important. Let’s raise a new generation of good stewards, taking care of God’s creation. Start small with some fun Christmas gifts!

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

There are so many components to good health and natural living. But some get in the way of others. Is is possible essential oils are detrimental to you natural lifestyle?

When Essentials Oils Are Detrimental To A Natural Lifestyle

There are so many components to good health and natural living. But some get in the way of others. Is it possible essential oils are detrimental to you natural lifestyle?

There are so many components to good health and natural living. But some get in the way of others. Is it possible essential oils are detrimental to you natural lifestyle?

What does a natural lifestyle mean to you?

That’s actually kind of tough to answer when you really think about it. There are so many components of a natural lifestyle. Sometimes so many that it’s overwhelming!

Essential Oil Boom

One aspect of natural living that has really grown in recent years is the use of essential oils.

When I first started this journey over six years ago that was not a term I had ever heard. Now it seems that every other friend is selling them.

I love seeing so many people feeling the pull towards a better way of living! It is so encouraging.

A Big Problem

There is just one glaring problem I see with essential oils.

THE USERS.

I see someone post a picture on Facebook of their current diffuser blend (usually some sort of stress relief for themselves or calming for their kids). The next post is of their hyper children with blue-stained faces from candy or neon-colored crackers.

Anybody else see the irony there??

There are so many components to good health and natural living. But some get in the way of others. Is it possible essential oils are detrimental to you natural lifestyle?

There’s more.

Head over to Kitchen Stewardship where I’m sharing my thoughts on the down side of essential oils.

>>>READ THE REST HERE.

Then let me know what you think! Do you use essential oils? How large of a role do they play in your lifestyle?

 

 

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Food reactions are common and sometimes hard to pinpoint. Allergy testing can be helpful. But what happens if you get a negative allergy test? Does it put you in the clear?

Does a Negative Allergy Test Put You In The Clear?

Food reactions are common and sometimes hard to pinpoint. Allergy testing can be helpful. But what happens if you get a negative allergy test? Does it put you in the clear?

Food reactions are common and sometimes hard to pinpoint. Allergy testing can be helpful. But what happens if you get a negative allergy test? Does it put you in the clear?

Allergy tests are great for pinpointing food reactions. All three of my kids have had multiple rounds of testing done.

Sometimes the test confirms a suspicion I have about a trigger food. Sometimes it helps me figure out a random allergy that I never would have guessed.

Not Always Accurate

But allergy tests are not 100% accurate. An IgE skin prick allergy test only checks for a reaction to the protein in the food. You could have a strong reaction to the sugar in a food (lactose intolerance is a great example) and test negative for an allergy.

An IgE blood test is even less accurate. It checks for antibodies in the blood to a specific food. It can help confirm a diagnosis after a skin prick test is positive. But it is not a very good diagnostic alone.

Food Sensitivities

IgG blood tests are a bit controversial. Some say they are great for detecting food “sensitivities”…actually called latent allergies. Others say this test can give different results every time. You could draw blood three times in the same day and get varying results.

I have done an IgG blood test for myself before. I had mixed feelings about its accuracy. So I’ve never done it for my kids.

All this to say that allergy tests absolutely have their place. And they are quite helpful for diagnosing allergies that range anywhere from mild to severe and life-threatening.

But just because an allergy test is negative does not mean you can throw caution to the wind and eat whatever you want.

My Son

My son has been dealing with various degrees of allergies for many years. It started from birth with some reflux. Then at age two he developed bad eczema on his legs. Thus started our journey with allergy testing and food elimination.

Every time he is tested a slew of foods shows up. We cut them out, work on healing for a while and retest. 

But every time this has happened things have gotten a little more challenging. For example, rice showed up on his first allergy test. We cut it out. Six months later when he was retested the rice allergy was gone. Yet three years later he still can not eat rice without noticeable reactions.

Making Progress

In spite of some foods still causing problems we were making progress narrowing his list of reactive foods. Then in early 2016 after the onset of stomach aches and an inability to eat much he was retested.

To our shock he had a back full of welts. We were given a prescription for an epi-pen. And he was diagnosed with potentially anaphylactic allergies to nuts, dairy and a few other foods.

Wait, what happened over the last year that made his allergies go from mild and healing to life threatening??

Even though we didn’t have an answer to that question we moved forward, removing the necessary foods, always carrying an epi-pen, doing our best to keep him safe.

Food reactions are common and sometimes hard to pinpoint. Allergy testing can be helpful. But what happens if you get a negative allergy test? Does it put you in the clear?

Not Fixxed

He had some reprieve for a bit. We were so happy to see him get an appetite back and really start growing.

But before too long he started having a lot of stomach aches again. Gradually they started to become more frequent. They prevented him from sleeping. They stopped him from eating well.

More Testing

It was back to the drawing board. We started by going to the pediatrician. We did a CBC and metabolic panel. We did urine and stool tests. All normal.

So it was back to the allergist for another round of testing, fearing another laundry list of foods to avoid.

And we got a huge shock!

Every single skin prick was negative. Not even a tiny bit of reaction. So we did the blood test. Again, all negative.

Nuts, dairy, wheat…everything…negative.

Food reactions are common and sometimes hard to pinpoint. Allergy testing can be helpful. But what happens if you get a negative allergy test? Does it put you in the clear?

Although it was good news I was more confused than ever! The allergist (a new one) said his old test was likely inaccurate because foods were tested at the same time as airborne/environmental allergies.

Now what?

Do I just throw out his allergy list and let him eat whatever he wants? Do I trust the tests?

My husband and I both see glaring evidence of food reactions.

Digging Deeper

Well, I did what I do best. I observed, experimented and researched.

The thing is food reactions are a sign of a deeper issue.

Just because an allergy test is negative does NOT mean you can eat a particular food.

This is something I am very passionate about and believe so many parents could benefit from.

Behavior, digestion, skin, emotions…they are all impacted by the food you eat. Even healthy, nourishing food can create a negative reaction.

Case in point – my whole family (you can read more about it in my book Why Won’t My Child Eat?!).

Experimenting

We gradually let my son try a few foods he’d been avoiding. His stomach aches increased in frequency. His mood declined. He started wetting the bed. He developed bad breath.

Then we let him try some goat’s milk. Wow.

The result was horrific meltdowns, almost as if he was a psychiatric patient. Anything and everything caused him to scream, cry, hit himself and berate himself. It’s a parent’s nightmare.

No amount of comforting him and trying to talk through his feelings helped. If his big sister wouldn’t play with him – meltdown. If I told him I was reading a book his little sister picked out before the book he picked out – meltdown. If he wasn’t crazy about some of the food on his plate – meltdown.

This list could go on and on.

After some charcoal and a few days off of dairy he returned to a more stable state.

Sadly it’s not just dairy that does this to him. There are quite a few foods, all with varying degrees of reactions.

I could also go through our entire family listing foods and reactions. Yet we all test negative for food allergies.

So now what?

What do you do if allergy tests are negative but food reactions are present?

You get help from others who have been there. You find doctors and practitioners who are willing to dig deeper and find a cure instead of simply avoiding certain foods.

Why Won't My Child Eat?!

Healthy Kids

In my book I teach you how to observe your child and not just accept the poor behavior. Find a root cause and fix it. Say goodbye to picky eating and temper tantrums.

Beyond Allergy Testing

If allergy testing isn’t giving you answers, here are some other conditions to consider.

  1. Overall gut dysfunction/leaky gut.
  2. Parasites – they are more common than you think. They tend to really act up around a full moon, so if your child is worse during that time it is something to consider.
  3. Slow metabolism.
  4. Thyroid disorders.
  5. Lack of sleep
  6. Mineral imbalance/nutritional deficiency

And here are some potential treatments.

  1. GAPS diet (Gut And Psychology Syndrome)
  2. Parasite cleanse
  3. Probiotics
  4. Digestive Enzymes
  5. Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

 

You can also treat food reactions from a more neurological and physical perspective. This includes:

  1. Functional neurology
  2. Chiropractic care
  3. Craniosacral therapy
  4. Osteopathic manipulation therapy
  5. Energy healing
  6. Muscle response testing

Baby Steps

I don’t have all of the answers for you. We are still in the trenches with my son’s reactions, trying to find the correct path forward. 

I know we will keep digging until we find the problem and the solution. We will restore my son to full health. We will find health for our whole family!

A negative allergy test does not give you free reign on food.

You have to dig a little deeper. It’s more work, but so worth it! In the end you will be able to eat more of the nutritious food your body needs.

Have you or your children been tested for allergies? Was it helpful or confusing?

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

It's not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods...but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your "natural" foods?

The Secret Ingredient Hiding In Your Natural Food: What Is Natural Flavor?

It’s not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods…but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your “natural” foods?

It's not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods...but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your "natural" foods?

It’s been over three years now since we cut out food coloring/food dyes from our kids’ diet. As in absolutely none. No exceptions. Artificial flavor is limited to a few times a year in a treat of vanilla ice cream.

It has made a big difference in how my children feel and behave. It is literally like a drug for my oldest. Sometimes it makes her insane. Sometimes it makes her super mellow. Either way, it’s impacting her brain and is not good.

Of course cutting out artificial ingredients naturally lends itself to a healthier, more natural lifestyle. Who doesn’t love that?!

Instead of artificially flavored fruit snacks you buy organic gummies. Instead of Trix yogurt with food dyes you get organic yogurt. Instead of traditional candy you buy organic suckers made with fruit. Sounds great!

Not Enough

That was us…for a while. Until I noticed my daughter was exhibiting the same behavior as when she ate the foods with artificial colors and flavors.

Being the investigator that I am I read labels, I observed her, I kept a food journal. She had already been gluten free for a long time.

The one thing that I came up with was the ingredient common to all of these “natural” foods…

Natural Flavor

Since then I’ve been doing more research. Both experimenting with diet and reading any information I can find. I really want to know…what is natural flavor??

Not surprisingly I came across article after article that said natural flavor is basically the same thing as artificial flavor. The only real difference is the ingredient(s) it starts with. Natural flavor starts with real food. But it still undergoes various chemical processes which result in a product not much different than its artificial counterpart.

The Technical Term

According to the Code of Federal Regulations, “The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. Natural flavors, include the natural essence or extractives obtained from plants.”

Per dictionary.com enzymolysis is: “Chemical change or cleavage of a substance by enzymatic action.

So, natural flavor can come from a chemical change of bark and it’s still within the guidelines. Interesting.

It's not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods...but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your "natural" foods?

What Others Are Saying

According to dailyburn.com:

“Natural flavors are coming from natural sources — the original ingredient is found in nature and then purified and extracted and added back into the food.

But, that doesn’t necessarily mean the “natural flavors” in your blueberry granola bar are simply…crushed-up blueberries. Rather, they probably consist of a chemical originally found in blueberries, enhanced and added into your food in a lab.”

“Added flavoring, both natural and artificial, could contain anywhere from 50 to 100 ingredients. And all of the extra ingredients in flavors often aren’t as innocent as you’d hope they would be. The mixture will often have some solvent and preservatives — and that makes up 80 to 90 percent of the volume [of the flavoring]. In the end product, it’s a small amount, but it still has artificial ingredients.”

NaturalNews.com states:

“Regulations for the word “natural” only apply to flavors; anywhere else you find it on food packaging means absolutely nothing regarding quality. Secondly, the FDA definition of “natural flavors” and “natural flavoring” allows for the substance to be extracted from plant or animal “matter.” So when you buy something that’s organic, vegetarian, or vegan, and it has “natural flavoring,” you could be eating a pig, cow, turkey, chicken, or lamb which was shot up with growth hormones, fed GMO pesticide-laden corn and grain – probably mixed with other animals of it’s same breed, then shot up with antibiotics due to infections and diseases from living in confined quarters on slats covered in feces.

Monosodium Glutamate is a neurotoxin that can be legally hidden from you and/or be labeled “natural flavors” in the ingredients list. MSG is not a natural flavor – in fact, it can cause brain lesions, neuro-endocrine disorders, and neurodegenerative disease in humans, but you won’t hear any doctors of Western Medicine mentioning that at your next extreme migraine emergency visit. There are more than 25 names for MSG, so sometimes you find it spread out a little, just in case the manufacturer gets “checked out” by anyone other than the FDA.”

Foodbabe.com says:

“With the words “natural flavor” food chemists and companies can put whatever they want in your food that is “generally regarded as safe” including excitotoxins. Natural flavor can legally contain natural occurring “glutamate” bi-products like MSG – which are known excitotoxins. These excitotoxins are some of the chemicals that cause your taste buds to experience irresistibility when it comes to food. Excitotoxins overexcite your cells literally until they die or are damaged causing “injury” and “incapacitating” you with disease. When consumed over time, excitotoxins can cause nerve disorders resulting a myriad of diseases from stroke to Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s. And lots of other side effects too – like obesity, migraines, fatigue and depression.”

Remember what I said about “natural flavor” acting like a brain-altering drug for my kids? It’s not so far fetched when you really do some searching. My observations were spot on.

Straight From The Source

None of it sounds very appealing and certainly doesn’t put my mind at ease.

But I know you can’t trust everything you read. So I set out to do my own investigation.

I called some popular organic food companies and some conventional food companies to ask them about the ingredients in their food (I’ll be kind and won’t name names). Sadly most of them had no answer for me.

I told them I was a mom of kids with tons of allergies. I need to know a full ingredient list or I can’t give it to my kids. Simply avoiding the top eight allergens does not cut it.

These are the responses I got:

“Natural flavor is listed so we can keep the full ingredient list from our competitors. The natural flavor in X product contains apple, corn, black raspberry, cherry, cranberry, lemon, lime and strawberry. I don’t know how it’s processed, but it does contain those ingredients.”

“The natural flavor is outsourced. The ingredients for each flavor can change by the season so we can’t tell you what’s in it. It is made from fruits, vegetables and/or spices. And they can’t be modified. There are no major allergens.”

“The natural flavor comes from a natural source. I don’t have a specific list of ingredients.”

“It is a proprietary formula that I can’t tell you. It is an all natural food or something.”

“The Natural Flavors in our products will follow our same Brand Promise to be Gluten-Free and Free-From the top defined food allergens. We have only aligned ourselves with business partners and ingredient suppliers that can adhere to our strict allergen requirements.”

One website directly stated:

“All our Natural Flavors in our certified organic product are Organic Compliant Natural Flavors and conform to the regulations of both the FDA and the very strict National Organic Plan (NOP) by the USDA.These natural flavors do not contain anything we would not be proud to put in our family’s mouths.  

Please note that we consider our Natural Flavors to be secret recipes so we do not reveal the contents of our Natural Flavors.  We are aware that some people may not be able to eat some of our flavors because we are unable to reveal the secret recipe and we are truly sorry for this inconvenience.”

Digging Even Deeper

Since I was getting nowhere with the food manufacturers I tried contacting some natural flavor manufacturers directly.

No surprise…I couldn’t get any response from them!

I Need To Know

As a mom of kids with allergies it concerns me greatly that I am not allowed to know what is in just about every packaged food. Even simple foods like canned tomatoes and salsa. It also concerns me that these “natural flavors” are so common that nobody questions them.

The word natural has no real standard. It can mean just about anything. Don’t let it fool you too. If you are conscious of avoiding artificial flavors and colors, you might want to add natural flavor your list.

If it is so “natural” why don’t you just tell us what it is??

Now what?

Don’t feel discouraged! You can still live a natural lifestyle. And it does NOT have to be complicated or involve convenience foods with suspicious ingredients.

You can learn to replace store-bought products with DIY options that actually work (like homemade fruit snacks and granola bars) and are easy to make. You feel better (and even look better, too). Healthy living becomes less stressful and more enjoyable.

Our family has felt so much better by making changes to the way we eat, the products we use, and how we take care of ourselves. It’s made all the difference in the world and I want the same for you.

The use of natural flavor has been my biggest “natural food” complaint for many years. It really has no place in our food. And food companies that make quality, whole foods should be more than happy to tell consumers exactly what ingredients they use.

 

Skip the “natural flavor” that is a mystery ingredient. Keep your family well nourished and feeling their best.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Want to make bath time both fun and safe? Try LatherMitts! Hold your baby tight and wash him with one product.

Make Bath Time Fun And Safe With LatherMitts! {Plus A Giveaway}

Want to make bath time fun and safe? Hold your baby tight with LatherMitts!

Want to make bath time both fun and safe? Try LatherMitts! Hold your baby tight and wash him with one product.

I have been compensated for my time commitment to review this product, but I have not been paid to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

I remember the first time I gave my oldest a real bath. It was exciting. It was an event.

Of course both mom and dad both had to be there. We got the little tub all set with some warm water. The towel was neatly laid out. A brand new wash cloth was ready and waiting. Clean clothes and diaper? Check.

Then we put her in. Whoa! Wait, you mean she might wiggle around while she’s all wet? Nobody ever told me how slippery a wet baby is!

Don’t worry, she didn’t wiggle out of my hands. No surprise dunks that day.

Of course with time you get better at it. And at some point they are big enough to sit up in the tub and the occasional dunk is pretty funny.

Want to make bath time both fun and safe? Try LatherMitts! Hold your baby tight and wash him with one product.

A Better Way.

But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to keep a safe hold on your child and get them clean without fumbling around with a tiny wash cloth?

A creative mom Sarah Stapp invented LatherMitts to do just that!

LatherMitts fit snugly on mom or dad’s hands so you can hold your little one tight. No slippery hands! What’s even better is that the gloves are the wash cloth! No searching for a cloth in the bubbles.

Want to make bath time both fun and safe? Try LatherMitts! Hold your baby tight and wash him with one product.

LatherMitts make bath time so easy!

They don’t just work for infants, though. I use them with my toddler and even my five year old. It’s so fun.

The only trouble we had is that my son said it tickled when I was washing his belly. I might have done that partly on purpose…

Want to make bath time both fun and safe? Try LatherMitts! Hold your baby tight and wash him with one product.

If you know me, you know I want quality when it comes to taking care of my kids. I especially  have to be careful with a son that has latex allergies. LatherMitts pass my test! Here are some of the features:

Safety: The gentle neoprene grip that lines LatherMitts’ thumb and forefinger ensures that squirmy, slippery kids are secure and safe in your hands. Neoprene, commonly used in wetsuits, is hypoallergenic, non-slip and is naturally resistant to oil, mildew and mold.

Quality: The rest of the glove is made of white organic cotton, perfect for a baby’s sensitive skin.

Dexterity: The glove design of LatherMitts allows you full use of both hands and all ten fingers, making it easy to get into hard-to-reach places like behind ears and under chins.

Want to make bath time both fun and safe? Try LatherMitts! Hold your baby tight and wash him with one product.

Value: LatherMitts can be rewashed and reused again and again the same way you would use a washcloth. Bonus: since LatherMitts require no special care, you can throw them in with your towels.

Options: LatherMitts come in sizes small to extra large, so mom, dad or any caregiver can cover bathtime duties.

Want to make bath time both fun and safe? Try LatherMitts! Hold your baby tight and wash him with one product.

Perfect For Everyone.

LatherMitts make a great gift for someone that is expecting or that just had a baby. They are unique and practical.

And yes, they do work for dads too. My husband even uses them.

My toddler thinks they are great toys as well.

Do you want to try LatherMitts? Sarah is so generously offering a pair to THREE of my readers!!

No more slippery baby! Hold your little one tight and get him clean with LatherMitts.

Want to make bath time both fun and safe? Try LatherMitts! Hold your baby tight and wash him with one product.
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In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Look no farther! I've got the BEST allergen free snacks so you can enjoy summer and stay safe.

The Best Allergen Free Snacks For At Home And On The Go

Whether you’re hitting the road in the summer or you’re in your regular routine at home it’s important to have safe snacks on hand. I’ve got the best allergen free snacks to help make summer fun.

Look no farther! I've got the BEST allergen free snacks so you can enjoy summer and stay safe.

Kids love to snack. No question about it.

I try to give my kids nutrient packed meals so they aren’t too hungry between meals. But they still seem to be hungry a lot (especially due to allergies and gut issues). And with a little one trying to get back on track with weight gain I feed her any chance I get.

Summertime is no exception to the snacking.

There are so many healthy real food choices! What a blessing.

Not Everyone Is So Lucky…

What if your kids can’t eat most things that you can buy in a store or restaurant, even the healthy stuff?

Your options are quickly limited.

Look no farther! I've got the BEST allergen free snacks so you can enjoy summer and stay safe.

Managing Food Allergies On the Go

No need to worry. I’ve got a list of some of the best allergen free snacks around. They aren’t expensive processed foods. Just simple, nourishing snacks that kids love.

Believe me, I know allergies. When I say something is allergy friendly, it really is safe.

Feeding my children nourishing meals is hard. But providing safe and healthy snacks is even harder,especially when traveling. Since I can never compromise, I have to constantly be prepared.

Look no farther! I've got the BEST allergen free snacks so you can enjoy summer and stay safe.

Favorite Allergen Free Snacks for Kids

Some of these snacks work well for when you are away from home and need to keep food at room temperature. Others are simple bites to have on hand at home or kept in a cooler.

Some are salty. Some are sweet. There is a little something for everyone. Mix and match to meet your summer activity needs!

These allergen free snacks are all naturally free of (or can be made free of) gluten, dairy, nuts, eggs, corn, soy and coconut. So take your pick and enjoy safe summer snacking.

Head over to Kitchen Stewardship where I’m sharing my list of allergen free snacks!

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

The REAL Reason I’m Teaching My Kids To Cook

Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I’m teaching my kids to cook. Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

 

“It’s a good thing I like to cook.”

I made that comment to my husband earlier this week. And I really meant it.

With all of the varying allergies in our house cooking is a full time job. I’m not joking. I spend half of my day in the kitchen.

It’s a rare treat if I can come up with a meal the whole family can eat. There is no such thing as convenience food (unless you mean a box of raisins.). Eating out? That’s a thing people do?

Even as we look ahead to visiting family this summer I have to do the meal planning. I don’t get a break whether I’m home or traveling.Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

Nobody else can cook for my family.

There is no substitute for me. Even my husband doesn’t know how to cook.

It doesn’t matter if I’m sick.

It doesn’t matter if I’m tired.

If I don’t cook, my kids don’t eat.

I happily accept the challenge of keeping my kids well fed and healthy. It is actually my passion.

The REAL Reason I'm teaching my kids to cook - and it's not to get me off the hook!

Everyone deserves a break.

But let’s be honest. Everyone needs a break sometimes. If you don’t get one, that passion fades a little. The joy of cooking isn’t quite the same when your food is reduced to a handful of safe options. And I don’t have ten hours a day to cook.

Have you tried cooking when you can’t let one person’s food touch another’s food? You must use a new knife for everything you cut. Did I stick that spoon in this pot or that one? Better get a clean one just to be safe. What rotation day are we on? Better check so we know what your snack options are. Does this measuring cup have latex? Gotta wash my hands after I add the flour to the bowl (or buy new measuring cups). Everyone must wash up as soon as they are done eating so you don’t get an allergen on anything.

Nothing is easy.

Easy meals like sandwiches are a big undertaking. It requires me to make my own lunch meat and bake a minimum of two kinds of bread. Pizza…three separate crusts, two kinds of sauce, different toppings, some with and some without cheese, bake on separate pans, use different pizza cutters. Not so easy.

Cooking and eating at my house is like a very delicate juggling act. Fun in some ways. Not as fun in others. And one little slip up and it comes tumbling down.

Cooking is a learned skill.

When I got married I really had no idea how to cook. I had a handful of things I could make. But not very well. And most of them involved packaged foods.

Over the years I have taught myself to cook. I have learned to be creative in the kitchen with evolving food restrictions and new diets. I always gladly accept each new challenge. I’m thankful I get to share my journey and my creations with you!

The REAL Reason I'm teaching my kids to cook - and it's not to get me off the hook!

I want some replacements.

But my kids won’t be little forever. I won’t be in control of what they eat when they grow up. I can’t make choices for them when they are not home.

I want to empower my kids to take control of their own health and understand how to eat well in spite of their allergies. I want to share my passion for real food with my children.

Yes, we are working on and hopeful for healing. It would be wonderful if someday we can all eat the same food and a much larger variety of food. But that is not guaranteed.

What I can for sure give my kids is the knowledge and ability to cook and care for themselves.Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

Here’s the plan!

That’s where the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse comes in. We started it back in January. But I’ll be honest – life was crazy busy. We only did it sporadically.

When we did do the course my kids LOVED it. And they learned so much. Now they are always begging me to help in the kitchen.

I’ve been anxiously waiting for summer so we can dive back in and really get cooking.

The real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook - and it's not so I can take it easy.

Sound good? Go check out The Kids Cook Real Food eCourse!

You can do beginner, intermediate or advanced or get all access if you have kids of all ages and skill levels. There is something for everyone. Do it at your own pace and watch the videos whenever it fits in your schedule.Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

Lofty goals.

My first goal for this summer is to have my eight year old be able to make an entire meal by herself, start to finish. Then in a pinch I know I could rely on her to make a meal. That may sound like an ambitious goal if your kids don’t normally cook. But she’s been cooking with me since she was nine months old. She loves helping in the kitchen. Now it’s time to let her really take responsibility.
Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.
Even my toddler can get in on the action now. I’m excited to let her practice cutting banana slices for herself and spreading lard on her bread.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even convince my husband to tune in to some of the classes and learn a few cooking skills too.

I love cooking in spite of our challenges. But I don’t want my kids to depend on me forever (well, I do, actually…can I keep them this small?). Sadly they do have to grow up.

I could say I’m teaching my kids to cook so I’m off the hook. But really that’s not it. I want them to be safe. I want them to stay healthy even if a situation comes up where I can’t be around to cook a meal. I want my children to be able to visit Grandpa and Grandma and tell them what they can eat.

How about you? Are you ready to give your kids skills for life?

Click here to register for the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse

It’s an investment in your kids’ future.

The real reason I’m teaching my kids to cook is to empower them and keep them safe and healthy. What is your motive for teaching your kids to cook?Getting my kids in the kitchen has been one of my favorite things to do since before my oldest could even walk. But fun and games aside, this is the real reason I'm teaching my kids to cook.

Need more info about picky eating and allergies? Check out my books!

Easy Nourishment for Picky Eaters

Why Won't My Child Eat?!

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Ever wonder why real food bloggers have sick kids? You might be surprised.

Why Real Food Bloggers Have Sick Kids

Have you ever wondered why so many real food bloggers have sick kids? Allergies, autism, asthma, eczema…what’s the deal?

Ever wonder why real food bloggers have sick kids? You might be surprised.

When it comes to seeking health advice we all go online. We may not trust everything we read. We may ask a doctor’s advice too. But we all do it.

We do a search on our good friend Google. We come up with various medical sites and blogs. I do it all the time when my kids have a particular problem I need help with. It’s easy. It’s informative. It doesn’t cost money.

A view from the other side

But I also give the advice. And maybe that’s why you’re here reading this right now! I am a blogger myself. I share strategies for getting kids to eat well and for dealing with allergies.

But sometimes I wonder…why should anyone believe what I say? What makes me credible? Do I take stock in what other bloggers say?

I ask these questions for good reasons. There is a lot of incorrect information online. You can find twenty different opinions on just about anything.

Ever wonder why real food bloggers have sick kids? You might be surprised.

But really I ask it because sometimes I feel like people don’t believe me. I advocate a real food lifestyle and promote healing strategies. But all three of my own children have health problems.

DO I REALLY KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT?

The thing is it’s not just me. So many real food bloggers have sick kids. By sick I mean any kind of health issue. Some well known bloggers have kids with autism, allergies, sensory conditions, leaky gut, ADD, skin conditions. The list goes on. So why should you trust them or listen to their advice? It’s a real concern.

But it might actually be a good thing. I’m sharing why real food bloggers have sick kids over at Kitchen Stewardship. Check it out!

Why Won't My Child Eat?!

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

How I Gave My Daughter A New Start: Help For Mouth Breathing

Does your child seem to sleep poorly or wake up grumpy? There are many causes, one of them being how your child breathes. There is help for mouth breathing to get a well-rested child.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

Every parent does it. Every night.

Before you get in bed you check on your sleeping child.

You stand there for a minute watching them lay there so peacefully.

Unless your child is a mouth breather.

Then you see covers strewn about and a child tossing and turning. You hear snoring and snuffling.

It looks anything but peaceful because it is not.

Not only does it look bad, it is bad. Mouth breathing has a big impact on health and behavior. Here are some of the effects of mouth breathing.

  • Restless sleep/change positions constantly.
  • Lack of clean oxygen to the body (that comes through the nose).
  • Bad breath and body odor.
  • Sensitive teeth/chewing problems/dental problems.
  • Adrenal fatigue/lack of sleep.
  • Sleeping problems/hard to settle down/inability to nap.
  • Lack of focus/symptoms of ADD/ADHD.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Mood swings/tantrums/meltdowns.
  • Oral sensory processing disorder.
  • Narrow mouth/palette.

This list of symptoms should not describe any child. But it does. My daughter included. She has displayed every single symptom on this list. And she is only seven years old.

It’s not just at night.

Mouth breathing happens during the day and night and can have a variety of causes. For my daughter the root issue is environmental allergies.

Her first symptoms started at a very young age with chewing problems and sensitive teeth. She needed pureed foods until age two. But things really started to get worse around age three when she stopped napping and could no longer settle down during the day.

We played around with diet and removed gluten and anything artificial. We saw some improvement, but not enough.

Why Won't My Child Eat?!

Allergies.

At five years old we had her tested for allergies and discovered severe dust mite and mold allergies. The allergist put her on a steroid nasal spray. Although hesitant we tried it for a while with no improvement. So we turned to more natural remedies.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

Treatment options.

My daughter is now breathing through her nose most of the time. We are still undergoing treatment, so it will take while to fully correct. But it is quite amazing to see the difference in her health, mood and behavior. She has been given a new start after years of mouth breathing.

Every child is different and responds differently to treatments. But if your child is a mouth breather it is important to figure out what works for them and find a way for them to get quality oxygen and sleep. Here are the treatments we have used.

  1. Speech therapy – We saw a speech therapist for three years. It is great for calming the body, integrating reflexes and training the mouth. Being able to do exercises at home that open the nasal passage is also wonderful.
  2. Remove food allergies – Allergies to food can cause inflammation anywhere in the body, including the nose/airway. You can figure out allergies through formal testing, an elimination diet or trial and error. We used all three. Cut the offending foods out completely while you work on healing.
  3. Clean the whole house and clear out the bedroom – Dust and mold allergies are some of the biggest offenders. Dust mites live in mattresses, pillow cases, couches and stuffed animals. Dust collects quickly on dressers, toy boxes and bookshelves. There are some simple solutions.
  • Use dust mite covers on the mattress and pillow case.
  • Change bedding weekly and wash it in hot water.
  • Remove stuffed animals from the bed.
  • Clean the floor regularly. Wood floors are ideal. If possible remove carpet.
  • Remove as much clutter from the bedroom as possible.
  • Dust regularly in the bedroom and the whole house.
  • Keep windows free of mold.
  • Diffuse essential oils – Essential oils can provide a tremendous improvement in breathing. A blend of lemon, lavender and peppermint diffused through the night is effective for clearing airways.
  • Palette expansion.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

Focus on the palate.

Palate expansion has had the biggest impact on my daughter’s health. Her mouth breathing has caused her palate to gradually become narrower and narrower. We found a naturally minded dentist that focuses on expansion plus reshaping the jaw. It is not just the typical expander for a few months and then move on to braces.

There are a few different methods of expansion. We are using Biobloc Orthotropics. It is a three year process with several phases. First the mouth is widened to allow room for all of the teeth and to open the nasal passage. Then the jaw is reshaped.

We are in the second phase of treatment, reshaping the jaw. We are starting to see some great improvements.

My daughter is breathing through her nose more in the night and getting better quality sleep. She is using mouth exercises to practice keeping her mouth closed during the day to retrain her jaw. No more sitting with her mouth wide open!

Instead of bad breath daily it is only an occasional problem. She is also much more efficient at eating. Instead of a meal taking an hour she can finish in about ten minutes.

Looking for more ways to figure out why your child struggles with meal times? Check out Why Won’t My Child Eat?! Mouth breathing is just one of the many culprits.

We have many days now of greatly improved focus and attention and with less hyperactivity. She is able to quickly get herself ready for school in the morning and stay on task at school.

Her adrenal health is gradually improving as she gets more sleep and we continue with a nutrient dense, allergen free diet. Her hair and nails are stronger. She has not had severe skin problems this winter for the first time in years.

We still have a long road ahead on this journey to healing. But it is amazing to see the progress my daughter has made in a short amount of time.

Is your child a mouth breather?

Don’t let it go untreated. It will change the shape of the face and impact overall health. Find the root problem (i.e. allergies). Then seek appropriate treatment to eliminate it.

Finally consider palate expansion to undo the structural damage, keep the nasal passage open and create a beautiful smile with enough room for all of your child’s teeth. I’m so thankful we stopped the mouth breathing in its tracks and my daughter has been given a new start. Her smile says it all.

How we are putting an end to mouth breathing through natural treatments and palette expansion.

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.