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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.

Christmas is just around the corner. What should you get for the real foodie in your life? Here are my top picks for the perfect real foodie gifts that will help promote natural health and well-being.

My Top Picks for Real Foodie Gifts

Christmas is just around the corner. What should you get for the real foodie in your life? Here are my top picks for the perfect real foodie gifts that will help promote natural health and well-being.Christmas is just around the corner. What should you get for the real foodie in your life? Here are my top picks for the perfect real foodie gifts that will help promote natural health and well-being.

If you’re like my kids you want to listen to Christmas year round. If you’re like me you don’t mind the music, but you kind of dread all the hustle and bustle of buying gifts and all the other to-do’s for the holidays. And you tell yourself every year you are going to start early…and then Thanksgiving rolls around and you haven’t even started.

Don’t panic! (I’m saying that for my own benefit.) Today I’m sharing my top picks for gifts that any real foodie would love. Don’t forget that Black Friday is coming up in a few days. There will be great deals on pretty much all of these!

Desiccated Liver

Yes, liver tops my list!! Maybe I’m crazy. But that’s how much I love it. I use the Perfect Supplements brand desiccated liver. And I am so thrilled that they now carry it in powder form instead of just capsules.

I put liver in literally everything we eat because it is so nutrient dense and has more Vitamin A than just about anything else you can eat. I add it to meatballs, tacos (my son has his own taco seasoning recipe with liver), salads, smoothies and even caramel!

Whether you are a fellow liver lover or you’ve never tried it, now is a great time to stock up. Get 10% off using the code TAKE10. I might just try to stock our pantry with desiccated liver for the year! No, I’m not even joking. With little kids and trying to focus on prenatal nutrition we go through a LOT of liver. I’d gladly take it as a present. It’s like getting the nutritional equivalent of gold.

Grab your liver and other Perfect Supplements products here.

Slow Cooker

The tool I use most often in my kitchen is my slow cooker (a.k.a. Crockpot). I know everyone is crazy about the Instant Pot these days, but I’m still a slow cooker fan. I like to do my meal prep in the morning and be done for the day. Especially on the days where we are gone in the afternoon and don’t get home until dinner time. Or on Sunday mornings when everyone is starving as soon as we get home from church. It’s a life saver.

Some of my favorite slow cooker recipes are sweet and sour meatballs, meatloaf, split pea soup, mashed potatoes, sausage and lentil chili and pork and beans. And you can never go wrong with a roast, whole chicken or ribs in the slow cooker.

I use my slow cooker so often that it never actually gets put away. It has a permanent place on my counter top.

This is the kind I have been using for years. Though a larger one like this would be nice!

Tea Strainer

This may be a small, simple kitchen tool, but it’s another one I use daily. I love herbal teas for helping all sorts of things like supporting your liver, adding minerals and balancing hormones. I buy loose leaf teas in bulk and then make my own mixes depending on what my body needs.

Right now I’m drinking a lot of nettle dandelion tea. I also love to make infusions for myself and for my kids. Add some fresh or frozen fruit to a jar and let the tea steep over night. Such a refreshing and nourishing drink! Nettle is my go-to for just about everything, especially seasonal allergies.

I’m thinking about putting a tea strainer on my list again this year so I have a second one. Then I can make multiple infusions at once!

This is the one I love.

Crunchy Balm

Winter in our house brings about DRY skin. My husband and two oldest kids especially are prone to super dry, itchy skin. Our favorite remedy is Crunchy Balm. It’s made with whipped tallow and essential oils. It is so soft and creamy and really works.

Crunchy Organics has plenty of other amazing products too, like their face cream made with frankincense and a whole line of natural makeup.

I’m not sure how many jars of Crunchy Balm we have laying around the house. I just like knowing there is always plenty on hand. If you deal with eczema or any kind of skin irritation I highly recommend Crunchy Balm.

We do also love Cheshire Fields products. And the creator, Michelle, is so nice. She even made custom products for us to work around allergies! It’s hard to find natural products without coconut!!

Immersion Blender

I’m not really sure how I survived before I had an immersion blender. It is my go-to tool for a lot of food preservation during the summer and fall. I use it to puree applesauce, pearsauce and squash.

Making homemade mayo or Miracle Whip is a cinch with an immersion blender. It literally takes five minutes, including the time it takes to get the ingredients out. 

Needing foods pureed for a little one? The immersion blender makes it so easy. Cook some veggies, add broth and puree.

We also love to make pureed soups like our favorite squash and sausage soup. I eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner!

There are so many neat brands now. It’s hard to choose which one to get!!

Young Living Essential Oils

Are you new to a natural lifestyle? Essential oils are a great way to help boost your family’s health. I started using essential oils about three years ago. I started with the Young Living Starter Kit. And I’ve been using them ever since.

My favorite oil is Pan Away. I have battled hormone headaches for many years. The only way to ease them was with OTC medicine. But now it’s so rare that I have to take any medicine. I use Pan Away at the first sign of a headache and it usually subsides shortly after.

Essential oils support your health and work well for cleaning your house safely. I love diffusing oils both during the day and at night. Interested in getting started? Grab your starter kit here!

Vitamix

The Vitamix is definitely one of my favorite kitchen tools. Sometimes I use it three or four times a day. It makes perfect smoothies (like the ones you will find in my book Easy Nourishment for Picky Eaters), even when most of your ingredients are frozen solid!

Hummus only takes minutes in the Vitamix for a quick snack or lunch.

I even use it to grind flour and make homemade powdered sugar. Some years I use it to puree our applesauce, peels and all! It makes such an amazingly smooth sauce. My kids would say that homemade ice cream is the best thing that comes from the blender. The batter is ready in under five minutes. There really isn’t much the Vitamix can’t do.

Probably one of the things I love most is how easy it is to clean. That only takes seconds too. Talk about fast work in the kitchen.

Grassfed Collagen/Gelatin

Need a powerhouse ingredient to add to those delicious smoothies? Grassfed collagen is a great source of protein. I never make a smoothie without it.

I also use grassfed gelatin to make homemade fruit snacks and all sorts of real food jello salads. You can find all of my recipes using gelatin here.

I love both Perfect Supplements and Vital Proteins brands. Don’t forget to stock up on your Perfect Supplements products 11/24 – 11/27 at 45% off using code TAKE10! You can also get some FREE collagen from Vital Proteins 11/24 – 11/27. Use the code PEACELOVECOLLAGEN at checkout for a 5 oz. canister of collagen when you spend $75.

Cast Iron Skillet

Want a juicy burger, a perfectly cooked steak or the best scrambled eggs you’ve ever tasted? You need a cast iron skillet! A kitchen tools that has been around for centuries is definitely a keeper.

I was nervous when I got my first one. I thought they were hard to use and care for. WRONG. How to use – get it HOT. How to clean – wipe it down when you’re done and wipe a little oil on. That’s it.

You may want to get a few in different sizes. I love my small skillet for making a batch of scrambled eggs for the kids in the morning. My large skillet is great for steaks, burgers and even taco meat.

Still on my list is a cast iron griddle. That would make some awesome pancakes and bacon!

Grab your favorite size cast iron tools here.

Real Food and Natural Health Books

Last on the list, but definitely very important – you need knowledge to know how to use your kitchen tools and natural health products. That’s where books come in. Whether ebooks or hard copies these are some of the best around. Some are part of my personal library. Some I’m still hoping for! You might notice a theme…nourishing yourself and your family.

Family Table (by Shaye Elliott)

Easy Nourishment for Picky Eaters (by Mary Voogt)

Nourished Beginnings (by Renee Kohley)

The Nourished Metabolism (by Elizabeth Walling)

Why Won’t My Child Eat?! (by Mary Voogt)

Healthy Snacks To Go (by Katie Kimball)

The Paleo Approach (by Sarah Ballantyne) 

Nourishing Traditions (by Sally Fallon) (this is the book that started my real food journey and completely changed the way I looked at food)

Christmas is just around the corner. What should you get for the real foodie in your life? Here are my top picks for the perfect real foodie gifts that will help promote natural health and well-being.

Keep it Simple

I could probably add about thirty more items to the list. There really are so many good ones. But these top my list.

Remember, some nice tea, a cute apron, a night off from cooking, a back rub or a few hours of quiet also make perfect real foodie gifts. And won’t break the bank.

You can also keep it simple with homemade hot cocoa or a big bag of kettle corn granola.

What’s on your real foodie wish list this year?

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.

Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

Simple Steps Towards Mom Self-Care plus a Quick Vegetable Dip Recipe

Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

I’ve been mom-wired for as long as I can remember. I wanted to play with dolls all day every day from the time I was very little. I dreamed about nursing babies instead of being a princess. I loved to make food for my siblings and their friends and would even clean up after them. I was always willing to help around the house. I would just sit in the kitchen and watch my mom bake because it fascinated me.

All Grown Up

I can’t say a whole lot has changed since then. I now have three kids of my own. I still love to cook for them and take care of them. It’s fun to dress them in cute clothes and do fun activities with them.

My writing is much the same. It focuses on feeding kids nourishing food and working through picky eating and allergies. All of my recipes have to be kid-approved. I even wrote two books about feeding kids (check them out here)!

Where’s Mom?

You may have noticed that one thing has been left out of all of this…myself. Yes, I am just like so many other moms. I put myself at the bottom of my to-do list.

As I write this post I’m starting day seven of my husband being out of town. With a house and farm to care for, three kids to feed and tend to, lots of activities and home schooling I bet you can imagine how much time is left to think about myself (next to none).Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

Mom Life Rocks!

I don’t say any of this to take pity on myself. It’s actually quite the opposite! I love my life. I wouldn’t change it for the world. But sometimes (ok, almost all the time) I forget that mom needs care too.

Over the last few months I have finally made it my goal to really focus on my health and making nourishing food a priority (i.e. sardines, liver and spinach for breakfast!!). It has been amazing to see my health continue to improve (even after 2 1/2 years of breastfeeding on a very restricted diet that left me worn out and depleted). I actually feel better now than I ever have. It’s a good thing since my life requires a lot of energy!

Body Shape Roller Coaster

Along with the  health changes have come changes in my body shape. For a while now I’ve been in a constant state of exhaustion and adrenal fatigue. This leads to skinny legs and booty with weight in the belly. Plus you lose muscle. For this once fit and active woman it was strange…but eventually became my normal. My husband and I even joked that I seemed to loose more booty and gain more belly with each child (now I know that is from being so run down)!

But as my health has been reversing back to balanced hormones and fully rested my weight is shifting back to the places it should be. I have a figure again! And now my clothes don’t fit (especially pants!).Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

What’s the Problem?

Yet one thing I still never do for myself is buy new clothes. Although it sounds trivial, when you’re wearing old yoga pants and ten year old t-shirts with holes in the armpits every day, it really doesn’t make you feel so great about how you look. It impacts your self esteem. And your kids notice. But it’s about all I have that fits.

You can imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to partner with Stonyfield Yogurt and prAna again. I’ve worked with them in the past to help me figure out my style and learn to embrace bold. This time I combined both my love of simplicity and my need for bold colors with this royal blue dress. It fits perfectly with prAna’s celebration of #TheWholeYou. This dress is ALL me.

From the moment I pulled it out of the box I knew it would be one of my favorite pieces of clothing. Sometimes I get caught up in budgets and kids’ needs and forget that I have needs to. I am always willing to go without. I forget that a few simple pieces of clothing that actually fit and make me feel good can make a world of difference in my attitude and my confidence.Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

It’s Your Turn!

I want to encourage you to do something today to take care of yourself. Whether it be taking a walk alone, meeting a friend for coffee and having uninterrupted adult conversations, finishing that book that’s been half read for months, taking a yoga class, going on a date with your spouse or buying a new outfit that really makes you feel good.

Moms often forget that they have needs too. I don’t know about you, but I need a reminder once in a while (or maybe all the time) to not always put myself last. A happy, healthy mom is better able to care for her family and help create a happy, healthy home.Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

Need some inspiration to get you started?

I’ve got TWO ways to take mom off the bottom of the to-do list today.

First, check out prAna and buy yourself something nice. Seriously, their clothes are AMAZING. So comfortable and good quality. If you’re like me that is so important since I don’t buy new clothes often. It has to last. 

PrAna is offering my readers 15% off using coupon code WHOLES17JTB through the end of May. I might just have to order a few more things myself since none of my clothes fit anymore!Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

Second I’ve got a yummy treat for you (though you can share if you want – my kids sure love it…there I go again, handing over my food to my kids). I LOVE vegetables. I always have. But I like raw veggies even more with dip. You can make this super simple dip in about sixty seconds. Jazz up your veggies with something delicious and do your body a favor with nourishing foods. It’s a win-win.

All those great vitamins in vegetables need fat for absorption. So Stonyfield full fat Greek yogurt makes the perfect base. Add some seasoning and you’ve got a great snack or addition to your lunch.Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

60 Second Veggie Dip
Serves 4
A quick and nutritious veggie dip using Greek yogurt.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Stonyfield whole milk Greek yogurt
  2. 1/8 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  3. 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  4. 1/4 tsp. onion salt
  5. 3/4 tsp. dried dill weed
  6. (optional: 1/2 tsp. desiccated liver)
  7. (optional: 1/4 tsp. turmeric)
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients. Add more garlic or onion if desired.
  2. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Notes
  1. You can substitute sour cream for the yogurt
  2. This is great as a vegetable dip, chip dip or topping for tacos or nachos.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/

What are you doing today for some mom self-care? I’d love to hear how you make time for yourself! I have a lot to learn.

Don’t forget that Mother’s Day is in a few days…any mom would love some prAna clothing (hint, hint)! Use the coupon code WHOLES17JTB for 15% off!!

I am working with Stonyfield Yogurt and prAna on this post. I have been compensated for my time commitment 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.

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

Should You Force Feed a Picky Eater?

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

I am a big fan of gentle parenting. I like to let my kids make decisions, learn from their mistakes, listen to their bodies and follow their passions.

Really it is a great way to parent.

I want my kids to mature and be independent thinkers, not control their every move.

But that went out the window with my youngest when she was struggling to eat anything. She couldn’t listen to her body anymore because all she heard was fear.

Food meant pain. Food meant allergic reaction after allergic reaction. And she was too little to communicate how she felt. So she simply stopped eating.

What did I do?

I forced her to eat.

Now, before you become alarmed let me explain.

When my daughter was at the point of being afraid to eat I had to convince her brain and her belly that food could be safe. Which meant getting a few bites down.

Sometimes that meant giving her a few tortilla chips. Sometimes that meant offering her a cookie. The actual food didn’t matter. Just getting something in her empty stomach was the key.

But sometimes there was no food that would entice her enough to take a bite. And yes, sometimes I did have to try physically pushing a little bit of food into her mouth to get past the initial fear. But she sure is good at dodging that!

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

Enter my Secret Weapon – Nourishing drinks!

Often with picky eaters or children having allergic reactions half of the battle is the chewing process. So I skipped that and started offering delicious drinks. To my great joy my daughter started drinking them!

Want to know what happened next?

She started eating solid food again! Simply getting some safe, nourishing food in her system was enough to replenish nutrients and stimulate her appetite. And that is such a critical point.

To be clear, this did NOT happen over night. This was a long process with many setbacks like new reactions and illness. Then it was back to square one of living on nutrient-dense drinks until she was refueled enough to eat again. This has been a two year journey!

he idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

Variety is Key.

One key to using drinks for nourishment is variety. We all need an assortment of vitamins and minerals every day and every week. This is especially true for kids with allergies that need to rotate food.

Picky eaters are at risk for nutritional deficiencies. In fact, these deficiencies often cause picky eating in the first place! 

So I set out to create an assortment of delicious drinks that covered a broad spectrum of nutrients to alleviate the picky eating. And I want to share it with you!

If you struggle with any of the following in your child, this book is for you!

  • picky eating
  • oral sensory processing disorder
  • allergies
  • refusal to eat certain textures
  • slow weight gain/underweight
  • won’t eat many fruits and vegetables
  • won’t eat meat
  • craves starch/carbs
  • holds food in mouth/struggles with chewing

Want to know who else it’s for? Any parents that want to boost their child’s nutrition! Yes, this book really is for everyone.

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

What’s in it?

I offer simple, nourishing drinks to help get any picky eater back on track to full health and appetite. Kids and adults alike will love these drinks that include fun flavors like apple pie a la mode and peach cobbler. The recipes in Easy Nourishment For Picky Eaters work for those with allergies. They are even safe for children as young as 6 months. Don’t let picky eating get in the way of good health. Drink your way to a well-nourished body.

Yes, there are some days that I still have to “force” my daughter to eat…just get her to take one bite and remind her that food is not scary. Her favorite way is with a “chocolate shake” loaded with healthy fats and gut-healing collagen. That is my kind of force feeding!

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

It can be hard to feed an undernourished child. But take heart! He can be nourished with simple, nutrient-dense drinks. The best part is he won’t even know.

Do you have a picky eater? Did you know there could be a root cause?

Boost those nutrients and watch that picky eating turn around!

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

Looking for more than nourishing drinks? Check out my other book Why Won’t My Child Eat?! that has in-depth information about how to assess and deal with a picky eater.

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 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.

Every year I take steps towards breaking the chains of anxiety and OCD. Every year I learn more about myself and grow closer to God. This year...I'm going all in.

Going All In This Year

Every year I take steps towards breaking the chains of anxiety and OCD. Every year I learn more about myself and grow closer to God. This year…I’m going all in.

Every year I take steps towards breaking the chains of anxiety and OCD. Every year I learn more about myself and grow closer to God. This year...I'm going all in.

2016 was quite a year. There were so many amazing things that happened (I wrote about it here).

That doesn’t mean 2017 will be a let down. Far from it! I have some fun goals for this year. More importantly, God has good plans for me.

Fun Things Ahead.

Here are a few of the things I want to accomplish this year:

  1. Write a new book! I already have the topic. I just need to find time to make it happen. You’ll be the first to know when it’s ready.
  2. Settle into a home school routine. We’re starting fresh this year now that my son is home too. So we’ll be seeing what does and doesn’t work, figuring out the best layout for our classroom and finding some fun ways to learn.
  3. Have fewer doctor appointments. I am thankful that lately this hasn’t been too much of an issue. My daughter is now going to the orthodontist only once every six weeks. And we’re still deciding if she needs to continue with the functional neurologist. Aside from that it’s just regular check ups or a trip to the ped if a child is really sick. My goal is no allergist appointments this year!!
  4. Get the house totally unpacked and settled. I’m amazed at how much we accomplished in three weeks here. We’re down to odds and ends boxes left to unpack. We’re still adding a few decor items.
  5. Adjust to farm life. I think come spring it will hit me a little more that we live on a farm. We’ll be cleaning the barn, starting a garden and hopefully getting chickens. Maybe a few bunnies too. Then reality will sink in!
  6. Make new friends. It’s my priority this year to make sure my kids have plenty of interaction with friends even though we home school. Plus we want to meet the people that live around us and develop new friendships when we find a new home church. It’s exciting and scary for this shy introvert!
  7. Spend more time together as a family. Now that we don’t have cable, we’re not as busy and we home school my prayer is that we have a lot more family time. We’re already trying to figure out where to go on vacation! I’m including in this extended family too – just yesterday I talked on the phone with my dad for a while. He broke his knee cap and had surgery a few days ago. I don’t live near by so I can’t really help much, but I can talk to him!
  8. Make sleep a priority. I probably say this every year. But I really mean it. I know it is the missing piece to my health puzzle. Now that my toddler has been sleeping through the night regularly for a month I am amazed at how much better I feel. I need to allow myself to sleep in sometimes and go to bed early sometimes. To-do lists can wait. I kicked this off yesterday with a nice Sunday afternoon nap. And going to bed early!

Setting My Sights High.

Probably my biggest goal is to finally slam the door shut on my anxiety and OCD that I’ve battled for years. I have made huge progress on them over the past ten years. But I’m ready to say goodbye completely.

This is only possible by the grace of God. Last year he laid it on my heart to be fearless. And that is my goal heading into 2017 as well. Following God’s path is not always easy, but it leads to blessing beyond measure.

Every year I take steps towards breaking the chains of anxiety and OCD. Every year I learn more about myself and grow closer to God. This year...I'm going all in.

My Words This Year.

Every year I pick a word for the year to focus on (or should I say God picks a word for me). This year I have two:

FEARLESS

HUMBLE

Last year I felt lots of change coming. This year feels like it will be calmer. But still big. I anticipate more time just being still and quiet instead of constantly on the go. I look forward to the blessings and surprises God has in store for myself and for my family. And I pray that I will approach everything fearlessly and with humility.

Lest I question this choice, my sister-in-law bought me a “Be Fearless.” sign for Christmas and just yesterday after I had just finished writing this post my toddler was walking around saying “humble, humble, humble…”. Sometimes God speaks loud and clear!

This year I’m going all in. I pray God will guide me through the challenges and the joys that lie ahead.

Do you have any goals for this year? I’d love to hear about them!!

Every year I take steps towards breaking the chains of anxiety and OCD. Every year I learn more about myself and grow closer to God. This year...I'm going all in.

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.

Believe it or not carrying a bottle and drinking water all day long could be sabotaging your health improvements. I'll tell you why!

Drinking Water Is Making Me Fat And Tired

Believe it or not carrying a bottle and drinking water all day long could be sabotaging your health improvements. I’ll tell you why!

Believe it or not carrying a bottle and drinking water all day long could be sabotaging your health improvements. I'll tell you why!

Get up. Shower. Get dressed. Put on makeup.

And fill my water bottle. That was me.

Then remind myself periodically throughout the day to take a drink. Refill and repeat. Keep track of how much I drink. Make sure I’m getting my eight glasses at a minimum.

Sound familiar?

At the same time I was getting up super early every day to have time to get things done, nursing a little one full time, exercising every day, running my own business and following the GAPS diet. All good things, right?

Not So Good.

A few years ago I learned that was not the case! I quickly became more and more fatigued. My weight started going up. And my body temperature (along with my metabolism) plummeted. As in I’m not even sure how I was functioning. At times my temperature was 92 or 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Some evenings I could barely walk up the stairs carrying my son because my muscles were so weak.

I thought I was doing all the “right” things. But my health was quickly declining. Something had to give. But what?

Believe it or not carrying a bottle and drinking water all day long could be sabotaging your health improvements. I'll tell you why!

I did two simple things to turn my health around.

  1. Stop eating grain free/ditch the GAPS diet.
  2. Stop drinking so much water.

Wait, what? Adding grains and drinking less water made me healthier? You bet! And I’ve never looked back.

Curious why you might be drinking too much water too?

Head over to Kitchen Stewardship where I’m sharing my thoughts.

Then come back and share your thoughts with me! Do you try to drink a certain amount of water every day in the name of good health? Or do you listen to your body? I’d love to hear.

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 you tell yourself to just keep going. But sometimes you can't. I can't. I'm slowing down. It's time to listen to my body and take action.

I’m Slowing Down…

Sometimes you tell yourself to just keep going. But sometimes you can't. I can't. I'm slowing down. It's time to listen to my body and take action.

I’m slowing down.

Whether I want to or not. I am. My mind is. My body is.

Here’s the problem.

Life is not.

In fact life is going in the complete opposite direction.

I have three very active children that seem to keep growing…don’t they know they’re supposed to stay little forever?

With those growing kids come more and more activities like soccer, t-ball, piano, church activities, time with friends, etc. As each child starts the activities multiply.

Full Time Work.

Then there is work. I work from home. I started my blog shortly after my oldest was born as a hobby. But it has grown into more than just a hobby. I have to work on it daily. And it’s a LOT of work. But now instead of just my own blog I help with someone else’s blog and write for several other blogs and magazines. Those hours add up very quickly. And none of them include child care.

I also started home schooling this year. Which I absolutely love and can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. But it does take work. I have to be more organized and I don’t have as much free time during the week.

Did I mention we are moving to a 10 acre farm by the end of the year? That means we’re in the process of packing and cleaning right now. Soon we’ll be selling our house and then doing the big move…during the holidays. Yeah, it’ll be busy.

No Big Deal?

This all sounds like normal stuff. Most people can handle it.

But I’m struggling.

It’s not something I like to admit. But I am.

I am the kind of person that likes to say yes to everything and everyone. I also don’t like to ask for help. Those two traits don’t go so well together.

I also don’t have any help aside from my husband. We don’t have close family in town. If life is feeling crazy and hectic I just have to deal with it. I can’t call Grandma to take the kids for a few hours so I can catch my breath. Instead I get a few minutes of nap time to scroll through Facebook or Pinterest before jumping back in.

What Happened?

The thing is I used to be able to handle more busyness. So what happened?

I didn’t listen to my body.

I wasn’t honest about my struggles. I never accepted help. I never asked for help. Not even from my husband!

I’ve had a lot of really big stressors in my life over the last fifteen years. Bigger than I realized. And they took a toll. Major colon surgery. Years of infertility and treatments. Years of anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder and working with a psychologist.

I thought I was over a lot of the major stuff after that. So I didn’t even realize until just now how stressful the last three years have been.

Sometimes you tell yourself to just keep going. But sometimes you can't. I can't. I'm slowing down. It's time to listen to my body and take action.

Three Years Of Worry.

In mid 2013 I went through my last (7th!!) round of IVF…which ended in a miscarriage. The miscarriage lasted over a month. And my adrenals and thyroid went haywire. My whole body was swelling. I was gaining weight every week. Things were out of whack. I was trying hard to make huge lifestyle changes.

And just when I was making some progress I got pregnant with my miracle baby…the thing I had been working towards.

I was so happy, and the pregnancy went smoothly.

But it caused me a lot of anxiety. I worried about the health of the baby every day. But I just dealt with it. As I did my adrenals continued to suffer.

Wait, It Gets Worse?

After my daughter was born things were good for a bit. Then she had multiple severe vaccine reactions. And I spent the next year and a half fighting for her life. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more alone than I did during that time. I worried about her and cried about it almost daily.

Her malnutrition and fighting to keep her nourished through nursing impacted me so much that even now, at 2 years old, every time I nurse her I have heart palpitations. Even though she only nurses a couple times a day and is a great eater. It’s my body’s natural response…worrying she won’t get enough.

To add to the stress of the last three years we’ve dealt with health issues for my other two children. It started as allergies and general gut health and has now turned into neurological issues.

As I’m typing this I’m still trying to unwind from a morning of my five year old constantly screaming at me and responding to everything I say with an extreme negative. Sometimes to the point where he shuts himself in the closet and screams over and over that he wants to kill himself.

It’s exhausting, disheartening and just overwhelming at times. All I can do is keep praying.

Allergies.

It is also a lot of work to cook for my family. With so many varying allergies I always have to cook multiple meals and make just about everything from scratch…even if I don’t have time.

There is no such thing as ordering pizza or going out to eat when I just don’t have the energy. Or even pouring a bowl of cereal when I can’t even think about breakfast.

It is a huge responsibility on my shoulders. If I don’t do it my kids can’t eat.

Sometimes you tell yourself to just keep going. But sometimes you can't. I can't. I'm slowing down. It's time to listen to my body and take action.

Waiting For Our Dream.

Over the last year we have had some huge ups and downs in our house search too. We have had multiple offers accepted but then things not work out for one reason or another. It’s been very emotional and at times has felt very similar to our infertility journey. We are praying this house is really the one and we can move past this by year’s end.

Deeper Thoughts.

When I was growing up my mom dealt with anxiety and depression. At about the same age as I am right now she had a nervous breakdown and was in in-patient care at a mental health facility and was on lots of medication. We got to visit her once in a while and had to have my grandparents help take care of us. I was in third grade. My little brother was in kindergarten. Right now my daughter is in third grade and my son is in kindergarten. Yeah, it really makes me think about how things could go if something doesn’t change. I don’t want that to happen to my kids.

I’ve also always thought I’d have four kids (just like my family growing up…girl, boy, girl, boy. Right now we’ve got girl, boy, girl). From the time I was five all I wanted to do was be a mom…and have four kids. There were times during my infertility journey I wondered if I’d ever be a mom at all. But I still held on to that dream of having four kids.

Now here I am with three kids…and the desire is still there, stronger than ever. But I also know my body is not healthy enough right now for another baby. And I’m not getting any younger. And life isn’t getting any easier. It weighs heavily on my mind almost daily. Though I try my best to remember that God’s plans and timing are perfect. We’ll see what the future holds.

Taking Its Toll.

Through the last few years of pregnancy and breastfeeding and stress my body has become extremely depleted. Which really doesn’t do good things for you, trust me.

Over the last few months I’ve started having more and more heart palpitations (which freak me out). I have started to gain weight in my abdomen over the last nine months (something I’ve never dealt with).

I thought maybe my thyroid was getting worse. I had my levels checked…perfect. I still tried increasing my medication just to be sure. No luck. If anything it made me feel worse.

So I did a 24 hour saliva cortisol test. It’s really not bad. My levels are in the normal range most of the day. But I think they are working very hard to stay there.

My adrenals are really being taxed on a daily basis.

Adrenal Health.

So I’ve been doing some research on adrenals. A few of the things that always come up:

  1. Get more sleep and go to bed by 10 pm.
  2. Don’t skip breakfast and eat a good balance of protein and carbs.
  3. Reduce stress.

I always thought sleep was my biggest problem.

But I don’t really think it is. I go to bed at 10 every night. I have for many years. I’m not a night owl. And although I am an early riser I get about 7 hours of sleep a night. So I could improve, but it’s not horrible.

I never skip breakfast. I am ready to eat the minute I get out of bed. I’ve been that way for many, many years. And I eat a big breakfast.

I also don’t skimp on calories throughout the day. So I’m not restricting in any way when it comes to quantity…a huge bonus for adrenal health and your metabolism.

Oddly enough the things that are a hindrance to most people are the things I’ve been doing right for years.

Sleep and morning routines are great. It’s the rest of the day I have to figure out.

It comes down to two things – stress and a limited diet (due to a nursing toddler with allergies).

So…

So now what? I can’t just stop life. Can I?

Well, not exactly. But I can make some changes.

Sometimes you tell yourself to just keep going. But sometimes you can't. I can't. I'm slowing down. It's time to listen to my body and take action.

My body is getting older and slowing down. Life is getting busier. I’m ready to switch that around.

So I’m making a few goals for myself. And if I share them with you it will help me stick to them.

Maybe you want to join me?

These are goals for my myself as an individual and for my family.

  1. Lay down during the day for 5 – 15 minutes. Resting isn’t always enough. Physically laying down can really help recharge your body.
  2. Eat a snack in the afternoon to help with blood sugar regulation (I can’t wait to learn more about this in the Fix Your Blood Sugar course!!)
  3. Eat less before bed to give my body time to rest and truly recharge at night instead of working on digestion.
  4. Change my exercise routine. Try more T-Tapp and yoga and do less cardio.
  5. Sleep in on the weekends (this is a HARD one for me…but I am really going to try)
  6. Take time off from work (another really hard one…I love sharing my stories and my food with you…but it’s a lot of work…I may be MIA here and there over the next few months/years…it’s because I’m heeding my own advice). Keep the weekends more open for family time.
  7. Use our move to get the house organized and more functional for us so we spend less time with chaos and cleaning.
  8. Start using some hormone-supporting essential oils (still researching these a bit).
  9. Start the big kids on some herbs that help with calming their nervous system and a cleanse to get rid of parasites.
  10. Continue to have my oldest work with the functional neurologist to also improve the nervous system. And possibly have my son start as well.
  11. Take time for my marriage and connecting with my husband (it’s been over 2 years since we’ve been on a date due to the above situations…I think it’s about time!!)
  12. When my toddler is done nursing I can add a few more to this list – hormone level testing and another hair tissue mineral analysis to see where I’m at. Then go from there with flooding my body with the nutrients it needs.
  13. Read as many of the books and take as many of the courses in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle as I can. After I download them I’ve got them for life. So I can take my time. But for once I am going to make the time. There is just such a wealth of knowledge contained in the bundle. It may take me a few years to get through it all. But I really hope to. I’m starting with the Perfect Periods course and the Heal Your Gut Summit. Then I think I’ll switch over to some of the books on kids’ health. Maybe I’ll even include it in our home school curriculum and read it with my kids!!

Life Is Still Crazy.

I know the next two months are still going to be pretty stressful with moving. But I know that up front and am going to take measures to deal with it as best as I can.

I also know that there is much more to the root issue than adrenals. I’ve got to work on hormone balancing and overall gut health.

Sometimes you tell yourself to just keep going. But sometimes you can't. I can't. I'm slowing down. It's time to listen to my body and take action.

Then once we get settled I’m ready to start a new lifestyle.

One that includes home schooling all of my kids, starting a farm and watching them learn about raising animals, getting away from the busy pace of life and just slowing down. Having that goal in mind keeps me going.

If I can remember I hope to do an update on this in a year. I love to look back and see how much has changed. See where God has led me and how He has directed my path.

God’s Plans.

Even this post was not one I had planned to write at all. I just sat down in front of the computer and started typing. Really. I wanted to share a piece of me with you today. And that is one last goal. To do more of that moving forward.

At the start of this year God really laid it on my heart that this would be a year of huge change. I had no idea what. But I knew stuff was coming. He also told me to be fearless. And I am trying my hardest (though it is REALLY hard for this natural worrier). So far He has been true his intentions. If you had told me at the start of the year I’d be nursing a healthy toddler, home schooling my oldest and getting ready to move to a 10 acre farm I would have said you were crazy. But God is good.

I feel more changes still to come.

Including even more change in focus in my writing. I’m not even sure what that means. But I trust God does. And He’ll guide me.

Do you have any goals you’d like to share? Did any of this resonate with you? I’d love to hear about it!!

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?

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