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There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

How to Find Joy in Nourishing Your Body

There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I’ve experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I’m so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

“You have to be healthy to eat healthy.”

It’s something I often say to people frustrated with trying to eat the “right way” but still not feeling great. There are so many diets that promote real food and healing. They all have merit, but that doesn’t mean they work for everyone.

I know this because I’ve tried them (read some of my thoughts HERE). And the only thing I got was severe obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, more food intolerances and infertility. But no healing.

The real problem is they all include rules. Specific diets place restrictions on what you can eat and categorize food as good or bad. When a food is deemed bad or forbidden guess what happens? You want it! You are left with this constant decision making between doing the right thing or the wrong thing. And feeling guilty if you choose wrong. Or worse food starts to cause anxiety.There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

It took me the last twenty years to move past feeling like food is either good or bad. But I did it.  And I love it! It is so freeing to finally enjoy food.

Sound Familiar? There’s help!

Are you hung up on trying to find the right diet for you? Are you wondering if low carb or grain free or high fat is right for you? Does it make you stressed just thinking about it? Here are some simple tips to get past the fear and back to joy.

  1. Start listening to your body.
    Take note of how you feel when you eat certain foods. Keep a food journal for a week or two if need be. If nuts bother your stomach, take a break from them. If you feel better eating more carbohydrates and less fat then go for it. Eat what makes YOU feel good, not what helps your neighbor or your favorite blogger. If you are dealing with an autoimmune disease or allergies that will impact what foods hurt or help.
  2. Get rid of the rules.
    Stop viewing food as good or bad. As long as it’s real food it’s ok. Enjoy a piece of homemade chocolate cake and ice cream. Make a big stack of pancakes with butter and real maple syrup for breakfast. When you restrict foods because you think you shouldn’t eat them (instead of restricting because they actually make you feel bad) they create more stress. Ditch the diet and rigid rules.
  3. Start focusing on nourishment.
    This is where the fun begins. When you let go of unnecessary rules and you’re not constantly debating between eating a salad and digging into a container of ice cream you can focus on really taking care of your body.

Finding Joy

I spent far too many years trying to eat the perfect diet. Only to feel stressed, anxious and deprived. Then I had to go the other direction of eating anything and everything to try to restore metabolic health (you can read about my journey HERE and HERE). All to find a place of balance. Now I find great joy in nourishing my body. Not because a diet tells me to. Because I want to.

I heard someone recently say that happiness is external and joy is internal. Being happy comes from your circumstances, but joy is a state of being that comes from within. And it’s true. Good food does make me happy. But it’s the joy and peace I have inside that motivates me to make healthy choices every day.There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

Balance is Key

Today eating is like an exciting adventure for me. I try to pack as many nutrients into my food as possible. I add desiccated liver and fermented kale to smoothies and salads. I eat sardines and anchovies a couple times a week. I eat pastured meats and eggs regularly. I aim for a rainbow of vegetables and plenty of healthy fats daily. I drink herbal teas for added minerals and to support my body and get my hormones back in balance. It’s almost like a fun game to see how many vitamins and minerals I can get each day. I feel good and the joy comes pouring out.

But I also enjoy a dish of ice cream when I want it. Sometimes I eat a bowl of mashed avocado and tortilla chips for breakfast (quick and delicious…and it’s easy to add liver to avocado!). I like to bake with my kids and make special sweet treats together (like gluten free Oreos® and salted honey chocolates). It’s even rare that I go a day without at least a little bit of chocolate.There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

There is no more should or shouldn’t with food. There are no rules. There is no restriction. Which in turn eliminates cravings (imagine that!).

Now I love to fuel my body, and I love how it makes me feel. That does not mean my diet is perfect. Not every single bite of food has to be nutrient packed. And less healthy foods here and there don’t negate all the good stuff I put in my body every day.

Let go of the Guilt

There is no guilt or feeling of reward for eating a certain way. I just truly love to eat nutrient dense food. No rules or special diets. I don’t eat GAPS or Paleo or AIP or low carb or any other specialized diet. I just eat real food that makes me feel good and that I know is helping me take care of my body. One day I might eat grain free while the next I might need some extra starch. And they are both just fine!

It’s very freeing to let go and find joy in nourishment. And it’s the healthiest I’ve ever been!

I am very blessed that I do not have an autoimmune condition or severe allergies. But I do have some sensitivities and health issues I’m still working through. But I try not to let them get me down. I nourish my body as best I can with my limitations and keep striving for full healing.

Eating real food is easy. There are limitless options. Eating real food that meets your needs can be hard. But once you figure out how to do it you’ll love how you feel.There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

Foods That Nourish

Some of my favorite nutrient dense foods are ferments. They are packed with natural probiotics. What I really love is how easy they are (take a big scoop and enjoy!) and how much my kids like them. My toddler can’t get enough sauerkraut. While we do make our own sometimes, I don’t always have time to pound cabbage.

I recently got the chance to try sauerkraut and fermented pickles from Cultured Guru.There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

Both the kraut and pickles have just a few simple ingredients and taste amazing! Using traditional fermentation these products are teaming with probiotics. They make great additions to a meal or are the perfect quick snack.

My oldest can’t get enough of the pickles. She has oral SPD and doesn’t tolerate any amount of spice. So even though she likes pickles it’s rare we can find any she’ll eat. But she loves the Cultured Guru pickles! She loves the sauerkraut too. Another rarity for her.

If you want to try some Cultured Guru ferments you’re in luck! You can get 25% off off using coupon code PROBIO.

I’ll be stocking up too. My kids and I can’t get enough!! Such a blessing when working on healing allergies!There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

Super Charged Bites

Another super food that tops my list is a traditional staple – organ meats. I get mine by adding Perfect Supplements desiccated liver to just about everything. I even make caramel with it! I also love the fermented kale, collagen and aquatic greens from Perfect Supplements. I add them to most of our smoothies.

You can get 10% off any of these Perfect Supplements products with the coupon code TAKE10.

Some of my other favorite foods include sardines, salmon, eggs, raw milk, butter, lard, tallow, pastured meats and a rainbow of vegetables. They all make my body smile.

You have to be healthy to eat healthy.

I’m so excited to finally be healthy so I can enjoy eating well and nourishing my body every day.

Are you ready to let go of rules and enjoy eating again? Ditch the diets and find joy in nourishing your body.

Today is my birthday, and I’m starting it with pure joy. Joy that I’m taking care of myself and this beautiful body God gave me.

Want to see what I eat for my #nourishingbreakfast #nourishinglunch and #nourishingdinner? Follow me on Instagram! It may inspire you…or it might gross you out. In my husband’s words, “You eat that for breakfast?!”There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

Disclaimer: I am working with Cultured Guru for this post. I have been compensated for my time but all opinions are my own.

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.

Enjoy your holidays AND serve a healthy breakfast with this nutritious candy cane smoothie bowl. It's so easy to make your kids can do it!

The Christmas Breakfast You Need – Candy Cane Smoothie Bowl

Enjoy your holidays AND serve a healthy breakfast with this nutritious candy cane smoothie bowl. It’s so easy to make your kids can do it!

Enjoy your holidays AND serve a healthy breakfast with this nutritious candy cane smoothie bowl. It's so easy to make your kids can do it!

I have so many wonderful memories of Christmas from my childhood. We’d go to church for a candle light service on Christmas Eve. When it was time for presents my three siblings and I would sit in a line, and my dad would hand them out one at a time. There was so much joy and excitement.

Then we would visit out-of-town extended family. It was great to see grandparents and cousins that we didn’t get to see very often.

Of course after all of the celebrations were done it was time to play! We played with our new toys and spent hours outside building snow forts. That’s what Christmas break is all about, right?

Then I Grew Up…

Now I’m a parent…and I still love Christmas. But it doesn’t quite bring the same joy and excitement as it did when I was a child. I dwell on all of the stuff on my to-do list. The packing, traveling, buying, wrapping, cooking, baking, cleaning and hosting. It’s more crazy than calming. More stressful than joyful.

So by the time all of the chaos is over I’m just plain worn out. I don’t have the energy to prepare a fancy breakfast for my family.

Enjoy your holidays AND serve a healthy breakfast with this nutritious candy cane smoothie bowl. It's so easy to make your kids can do it!

My Solution?

This super simple candy cane smoothie bowl!

IT’S LOADED WITH NUTRIENTS BUT REQUIRES VERY LITTLE EFFORT…ISN’T THAT WHAT WE ARE ALL LOOKING FOR?

A candy cane smoothie bowl is festive and fun. It is so easy to make I actually let my kids do most of the prep work! The older kids practice their detailed cutting skills they learned in the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. The younger ones pick out pomegranate seeds.

All of the preparation can be done the day before (great afternoon project for bored kids!!). Even the smoothie ingredients can go right in the blender and be ready for morning.

Head over to Kitchen Stewardship where I’m sharing the recipe. Christmas breakfast planning done!

Get the recipe here!

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.

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That's why I let my toddler use knives!

I Let My Toddler Use Knives

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it’s worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That’s why I let my toddler use knives!

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That's why I let my toddler use knives!

Getting my kids in the kitchen is nothing new to me.

All three of my kids have been in the kitchen with me since birth…makes sense seeing as I spend half my day there!

I let my kids get involved as soon as they are able. My oldest was baking cookies with me at nine months.

Something New.

But I never really taught my kids a set of skills. I never really let them take control.

Until I started doing the Kids Cook Real Food ecourse from Kitchen Stewardship!

I started with my older kids (ages 7 and 4 at the time). They love it! And I love watching them gain confidence and asking to help in the kitchen.

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That's why I let my toddler use knives!

Toddlers Can Do It Too!

Little sister has been sitting on the sidelines observing until recently. She turned two in August. And she was more than ready to join in the fun!

We started with knife skills (try them FREE here!). That may sound strange, but it really is an important skill and one that even a toddler can do. She loves to slice bananas any chance she gets. Every time we walk by them sitting on the counter she puts in her request.

I can teach her proper techniques while keeping her safe (cutting bananas with a butter knife is fairly harmless). And all of those banana slices she makes either go in her mouth or in the freezer for a delicious dessert or to add to smoothies later.

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That's why I let my toddler use knives!

More To Love.

We are now moving on to other skills like measuring and pouring. She LOVES pouring beans or water back and forth in containers. Big brother does it right along with her to sharpen his skills. Then they make homemade fruit snacks on their own! Sometimes we use molds. Sometimes we make them in a pan so they can practice knife skills again by cutting them into cubes.

What five-year old do you know that can make his own healthy fruit snacks instead of eating the artificially colored and flavored waxy things out of a bag?

It really is possible.

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That's why I let my toddler use knives!

Helping Mom And Dad.

My older kids (now 8 and 5) are always willing to lend a helping hand with dinner preparation. Which is such a blessing to me! And I get the pleasure of giving them praise and boosting their confidence.

My eight-year old has a goal this year of being able to make a whole meal on her own. Right now our goal is confidence and safety cooking at the stove. And now that we are home schooling we are adding it right into our curriculum. It’s so much fun.

She is even starting to create her own recipes and keeps begging to start her own blog. Did I mention she’s only eight?!

You really will be amazed at just how much kids can do in the kitchen when you give them a chance.

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That's why I let my toddler use knives!

Get In On The Fun!

Yes, even a two-year old can be helpful in the kitchen and start learning life skills. By the time my kids are teenagers I’m afraid I may be out of a job!
Are you ready to have some help in the kitchen?

Kids Cook Real Food

Try the knife skills lessons for FREE!

Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth to get your kids in the kitchen. But that work will pay off, especially if you start early. That's why I let my toddler use knives!

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.

Keep the Halloween treats simple, nutritious and delicious with these pumpkin filled chocolates. Free of major allergens but full of flavor.

Easy Pumpkin Filled Chocolates

Keep the Halloween treats simple, nutritious and delicious with these pumpkin filled chocolates. Free of major allergens but full of flavor.

Keep the Halloween treats simple, nutritious and delicious with these pumpkin filled chocolates. Free of major allergens but full of flavor.

Halloween is just around the corner. Which means candy everywhere you turn.

Where We Stand.

I’m not one to tell my kids they can never have anything sweet. But I am one to shy away from most traditional processed candy.

We don’t do any food coloring.

NONE. Which eliminates pretty much all fruity candy.

I let my kids choose a couple chocolates as a special treat. But even if the ingredients aren’t too horrible I still think ethically the big name companies are not so great. And I’d prefer not to support them.

So I turn to my tried and true solution – I make my own!

Keep the Halloween treats simple, nutritious and delicious with these pumpkin filled chocolates. Free of major allergens but full of flavor.

Pumpkin Season!

This year I went with something festive – pumpkin filled chocolates!!

Delicious, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate (I use this brand because it is allergen free) filled with gooey, sweetened pumpkin…made with Perfect Supplements gelatin! Candy with good stuff in it? Yes, please.

These are a huge hit with my kids (especially my son that has been cocoa free for the last year and can now have it again…and my toddler that could care less about sweets but loves chocolate). We love to make them in fun shapes.

As an added bonus they are super easy to make. And if there happens to be either leftover pumpkin or chocolate they are great plain!

Keep the Halloween treats simple, nutritious and delicious with these pumpkin filled chocolates. Free of major allergens but full of flavor.

Gelatin For You!

Don’t forget that you can win a container of Perfect Supplements gelatin (or any other product of your choice)! The giveaway ends October 24, 2016.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE!!

Easy Pumpkin Filled Chocolates
Yields 20
A simple allergy friendly chocolate filled with gooey pumpkin.
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
  2. 1/2 cup pure pumpkin
  3. 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  4. 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  5. pinch unrefined sea salt
  6. 1 1/2 tsp. Perfect Supplements gelatin
Instructions
  1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.
  2. Fill the bottom of candy molds with half of the chocolate. Freeze to set while making the filling.
  3. Combine the pumpkin, cinnamon, syrup, salt and gelatin in a small saucepan.
  4. Let sit 1 minute.
  5. Heat over low - medium heat until the gelatin is dissolved (about 3 minutes).
  6. Add a small scoop of the pumpkin mixture to each chocolate mold. Freeze to set (about 3 minutes).
  7. Warm the remaining chocolate. Fill the candy molds to the top. Chill.
  8. When chocolate is solid remove the candy from the molds.
  9. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/
Keep the Halloween treats simple, nutritious and delicious with these pumpkin filled chocolates. Free of major allergens but full of flavor.

Looking for a few other fun Halloween treats? Try these!

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Gummies

Five Minute Salted Honey Chocolates

Chocolate Covered Toffee

Maple Candy

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.

I've got a solution for your busy weekday mornings. These grain free pumpkin spice breakfast cookies are so easy to make and loaded with good stuff. Plus kids love them!

Grain Free Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Cookies {Plus A GIVEAWAY!}

I’ve got a solution for your busy weekday mornings. These grain free pumpkin spice breakfast cookies are so easy to make and loaded with good stuff. Plus kids love them!

*I am working with Perfect Supplements for this post. I have been compensated for my time commitment, but all opinions are my own. Some links are affiliate links. Using the links will not change the cost of anything for you.*

I've got a solution for your busy weekday mornings. These grain free pumpkin spice breakfast cookies are so easy to make and loaded with good stuff. Plus kids love them!

Life is just a tad bit crazy right now. Who knew selling your house was so much work?

Busy life = less time for making good food.

But I’m not giving up! No way. I came up with the perfect fall breakfast that you can prepare in advance. You can even make a double or triple batch to stock your freezer for weeks.

Allergy Friendly Ingredients.

These pumpkin spice breakfast cookies are loaded with nourishing ingredients. Plus they taste great! They are super allergen friendly too. No grains, dairy, nuts, eggs or soy.

There is one secret ingredient that is really the star of the show.

Gelatin!

I recently tried the grass-fed gelatin from Perfect Supplements. I love it!! There is no strange smell. It gels beautifully. And since I do a lot of egg free baking it is my go-to ingredient.

These pumpkin spice breakfast cookies are also packed with pumpkin and and coconut oil for vitamins, minerals and healthy fat. Combine that with gelatin and garbanzo bean flour for protein. Plus tapioca flour for starch. It’s a complete breakfast that you can hold in your hand.

Grab a couple for the road, pair it with bacon and fresh fruit or pack one in your child’s lunch box. You get the flavors of fall in a nutritious cookie.

I've got a solution for your busy weekday mornings. These grain free pumpkin spice breakfast cookies are so easy to make and loaded with good stuff. Plus kids love them!

Grain Free Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Cookies
Yields 15
An allergy friendly breakfast cookie loaded with healthy protein, fat and carbs.
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup amaranth flour
  2. 3/4 cups tapioca flour
  3. 3/4 cups garbanzo bean flour
  4. 3/4 cups water
  5. 2 Tbsp. Perfect Supplements collagen
  6. 1 Tbsp. organic lemon juice
  7. 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  8. 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  9. 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  10. 3 tsp. Perfect Supplements gelatin
  11. 1/2 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  12. 1 tsp. baking soda
  13. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  14. 1/2 - 1 cup mix-ins of choice: raisins, dried cranberries, mini chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine the flour, water, collagen and lemon juice.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Cover and let sit at room temperature 7 - 24 hours.
When ready to bake
  1. Heat oven to 375*F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.
  2. Add the coconut oil and pumpkin to the soaked mixture. Stir to combine.
  3. Add the sugar, gelatin, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix well.
  4. Stir in your mix-ins of choice.
  5. Drop by large mounds onto the prepared baking pans.
  6. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes on baking pan.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  9. Store in a sealed container at room temperature for 3 days, in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a year.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/

Prep Ahead.

I soak the seed and bean flours to help with digestion. I also prep the rest of the ingredients the night before. In the morning I just pour, mix and bake. I can have a batch of pumpkin spice breakfast cookies in the oven in about five minutes. Then we can eat some fresh and stick the rest in the freezer for a quick breakfast any day of the week.

Add whatever mix-ins you like. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, mini chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberries…they’re all good.

My kids LOVE these cookies. I think my toddler ate THREE one morning (yes, the toddler that used to barely eat anything). They are that good.

I've got a solution for your busy weekday mornings. These grain free pumpkin spice breakfast cookies are so easy to make and loaded with good stuff. Plus kids love them!

More To Love.

If you’ve never tried Perfect Supplements gelatin I highly recommend it. The quality is exceptional. But don’t stop there. Perfect Supplements carries such a wide variety of products.

Collagen.

Like the collagen that I also use in the pumpkin spice breakfast cookies. I use it in all of our smoothies (like this blueberry spinach smoothie or this squash cherry smoothie). It was a life saver (literally) for my toddler when she was barely eating (check out how I got her to eat again with this “squash milk”).

Liver.

Another favorite of mine is the desiccated liver. I use it every single day. I really need to boost my vitamin A. And I am NOT a liver fan. The Perfect Supplements desiccated liver has been pivotal to my health. I use it on my salads, in my soups or in this salted caramel. Believe it or not I actually enjoy the taste of this liver and sometimes even crave it.

Greens.

We also recently tried both the fermented kale powder and the aquatic greens. They are perfect for smoothies. And the aquatic greens are especially great for those with allergies (imagine my disappointment that my toddler reacts to them!). I use it for my big kids as often as possible.

I could go on and on about all of the great products. But I’ll let you do some looking for yourself.

I've got a solution for your busy weekday mornings. These grain free pumpkin spice breakfast cookies are so easy to make and loaded with good stuff. Plus kids love them!

It’s Your Turn.

Now for the really fun part.

Perfect Supplements is giving away TWO PS products to a lucky reader!! And you get to choose. Simply enter below.

Can’t wait to get your hands on some of them?

Use the coupon code TAKE10 at checkout to get 10% off your entire order!

Free supplements and a delicious breakfast? Sounds good to me.

Don’t forget to enter below. Then come back later this week…I’ve got another great recipe that uses Perfect Supplements gelatin to share with you! I just couldn’t decide on one.

I've got a solution for your busy weekday mornings. These grain free pumpkin spice breakfast cookies are so easy to make and loaded with good stuff. Plus kids love them!

What is your favorite way to use gelatin?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Need more ideas for fun ways to add gelatin or collagen to your diet? Try these:

Strawberry Kiwi Gummies

Lemon Elderberry Gummies

Dairy Free Grilled Cheese

Homemade Fruit Snacks

Healing Hot Chocolate

Molasses Tonic

Squash Milk

Allergy Friendly Vanilla Cake

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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.

Don't let the thought of packing allergen free school lunches give you anxiety. I'm sharing my top picks, including enough choices to create at least three weeks of completely different lunches!

Over Three Weeks Of Real Food Allergen Free School Lunches

Don’t let the thought of packing allergen free school lunches give you anxiety. I’m sharing my top picks, including enough choices to create at least three weeks of completely different lunches!

Don't let the thought of packing allergen free school lunches give you anxiety. I'm sharing my top picks, including enough choices to create at least three weeks of completely different lunches!

School is right around the corner (I said it…don’t throw tomatoes). Depending on where you live it could be a month, a couple weeks or even days away!

Along with school comes the dreaded lunch packing.

When you have to work around allergies your choices are limited. No crackers and cheese. No more pb&j. Scrap half of the cute Pinterest ideas.

There are even plenty of posts claiming to have allergen free ideas…that really aren’t allergen free at all except for maybe one or two options from a long  list. Or you have to do a bunch of substituting on your own to make them allergen free. No thanks.

But allergy friendly lunches don’t need to be boring, bland or void of nutrition. They don’t need to be complicated either. In fact they can be downright fun! Just ask my kids.

I’ve been packing school lunches for two years now. I tend to get in a rut sometimes. So I like to have a list on hand of safe, healthy and delicious lunch ideas. Today I’m sharing them with you!

These are the best real food allergy friendly lunch ideas around. And they are all staples in our lunches.

Don't let the thought of packing allergen free school lunches give you anxiety. I'm sharing my top picks, including enough choices to create at least three weeks of completely different lunches!

Pick your favorites, make some weekly lunch menus and rotate through them. I’ve got enough ideas to create three full weeks of unique lunches. Problem solved.

To start I’ll share one of our favorites. Then head over to Kitchen Stewardship where you’ll find the rest of my allergen free school lunches.

Allergen free bread or pancakes with sunbutter [this brand is 100% nut free – I like to use the green lid since there are no extra ingredients] and pectin free strawberry jam, cherry jam, peach jam, grape jelly or red plum raspberry jellyThis is not your traditional pb&j. But trust me, your kids will love it!

—>>> Check out the rest of my allergen free school lunches!

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.

Looking for a kid-friendly breakfast that utilizes summer's bounty of zucchini? These creamy zucchini egg muffins are perfect. Find out the two secret ingredients that make them so good.

Creamy Zucchini Egg Muffins

Looking for a kid-friendly breakfast that includes plenty of protein, healthy fat AND vegetables? Creamy zucchini egg muffins combine nutrient dense eggs with creamy whole milk yogurt and fresh summer veggies to create a simple and delicious start to the day.

Looking for a kid-friendly breakfast that utilizes summer's bounty of zucchini? These creamy zucchini egg muffins are perfect. Find out the two secret ingredients that make them so good.

I am working with Stonyfield, Le Creuset and Kitchen IQ on this post. I have been compensated for my time commitment. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been paid to provide positive feedback.

Is your zucchini starting to pile up in the fridge like mine? I’m always looking for new ways to use it.

I love making chocolate zucchini cupcakes, zucchini crackers, soaked gluten free zucchini bread and especially zucchini cake! Our whole family enjoys it grilled, roasted and sauteed. I try to freeze some as well.

Yet no matter how diligent you are it seems there is still more. I’ve got a fun, kid-friendly recipe that will get your kids to eat zucchini for breakfast!

Looking for a kid-friendly breakfast that utilizes summer's bounty of zucchini? These creamy zucchini egg muffins are perfect. Find out the two secret ingredients that make them so good.

Eat Your Veggies…I Mean Eggs!

In my house the zucchini is not the hard part…it’s the eggs. Three of us can’t even eat eggs. My oldest can (lucky girl!). But she has always struggled eating eggs. She picks at them, holds them in her mouth, complains about the texture.

But I did not hear a single complaint about these creamy zucchini egg muffins. In fact, she told me she really liked them!

There are two secret ingredients.

  1. Whole milk plain yogurt – it really adds a rich creaminess to the eggs.
  2. Cane sugar – I know what you’re thinking. Add sugar to eggs? Don’t worry, it’s only 1/2 tsp. But it really does something to the flavor.

A little back story on the sugar in eggs. When I was little and had the chicken pox I didn’t have much of an appetite. The only thing I would eat was the scrambled eggs my big sister made (multiple times a day for me). There was something different about them. We called them “oops eggs” because she didn’t make them right. But I loved them. We figured out later that she added a touch of sugar to them!

She was probably only about twelve years old. So she did a great job taking care of her little sis!

Looking for a kid-friendly breakfast that utilizes summer's bounty of zucchini? These creamy zucchini egg muffins are perfect. Find out the two secret ingredients that make them so good.

The final component of these eggs is the vegetable. Sauteed zucchini and onion really boost the flavor of the egg muffins. When you put the yogurt, sugar, sauteed veggies and eggs together you create a flavorful, healthy breakfast (or lunch or dinner) any kid will love.

New Kitchen Tools Are Fun!

One thing I loved about making creamy zucchini egg muffins was using my new cutting boards and measuring spoons from Kitchen IQ. The cutting boards come in four colors. Can I just say that as a mom of kids with different allergies that is so cool?! Everyone has a color. No cross contamination. It’s great!

I love the bright colors…and so does my toddler. She frequently grabs the cutting boards off the shelf just to play with them.

Looking for a kid-friendly breakfast that utilizes summer's bounty of zucchini? These creamy zucchini egg muffins are perfect. Find out the two secret ingredients that make them so good.

Even more than the cutting boards I love the measuring spoons. It is so easy to level them. And they nest together for easy storage. Who knew that measuring spoons could make such a great toddler toy too? My one year old loves trying to stack them over and over. She also loves to help me cook and bake with them.

Is your zucchini still going strong?

Give creamy zucchini egg muffins a try. You just might be adding sugar to your eggs more often.

Looking for a kid-friendly breakfast that utilizes summer's bounty of zucchini? These creamy zucchini egg muffins are perfect. Find out the two secret ingredients that make them so good.

Creamy Zucchini Egg Muffins
Yields 6
A high protein, veggie-packed egg muffin perfect for busy mornings.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 pastured eggs
  2. 4 Tbsp. Stonyfield plain whole milk yogurt
  3. 1/2 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  4. 1/2 tsp. organic cane sugar
  5. optional: any additional herbs and spices
  6. 1 cup diced zucchini
  7. 1/4 cup diced onion
  8. 1 Tbsp. butter, olive oil, tallow or coconut oil
  9. 1/4 tsp. unrefined sea salt
Instructions
  1. Sautee the zucchini and onion in 1 Tbsp. fat of choice (about 10 minutes). Season with salt. Set aside to cool.
  2. Heat the oven to 400*F. Grease a muffin pan.
  3. In a medium size bowl combine the eggs, yogurt, salt, sugar and seasonings. Mix well.
  4. Stir in the cooled vegetables.
  5. Divide the egg mixture into 6 greased muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool 3 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. You can bake these in advance and eat cold, room temperature or warmed.
  2. You can freeze these muffins for up to a year. Thaw and heat to serve.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/

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.