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Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Should You Take Vitamin D Supplements?

Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Vitamin D. You certainly hear a lot about it these days.

As in everyone is all of a sudden deficient.

Whether you are into natural health or you stick to western medicine, Vitamin D supplementation is constantly growing in popularity. It’s a miracle cure for everything it seems.

But before you nod your head in approval and accept that we all need more, let’s take a deeper look at this essential “vitamin.”

What is Vitamin D?

The first thing you need to understand is that Vitamin D is not a vitamin at all. It is a hormone, or pre-hormone some say. More specifically it is a group of secosteroids. I will still refer to it as Vitamin D throughout the post, but it is really hormone D.

Vitamins are nutrients the body can not create; that you must ingest. Vitamin D, however, is synthesized by the body when sunlight hits your skin. Your body creates it. Just like your body creates estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, etc. We don’t load up on “high testosterone foods.” We might eat foods that help our bodies create testosterone. Or there may be other ways to help our bodies make the process run smoothly. But we don’t have to ingest a hormone.

That alone should tip you off that nation-wide Vitamin D supplementation is not a good idea.Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you? #vitamind #supplements #naturalhealth

Should We Consume Vitamin D?

I find it almost comical how much bad information is available on Vitamin D. An article by Everyday Health states:

Nature provides many great sources of calcium, but only a few that are high in vitamin D — including fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel; fortified foods, like orange juice and milk; and some cheeses, liver, and eggs. 

Thankfully, food companies have fortified many foods with vitamin D2, making it possible for anyone, regardless of whether they eat fish or dairy, to get some amount of vitamin D through their diet.

Did they really just say that nature provides fortified orange juice?

Also, if you really read what they just said, you’ll notice a huge point – nature only has a few foods with Vitamin D. If you are into natural health this should be significant. If we are meant to consume large amounts of Vitamin D, it would be in a lot of food. But it’s not.Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

It is not natural to have access to large amounts of cheese and liver. If a family has a few cows for milk and beef they might make a small amount of cheese and would only have enough liver to eat a few times a year. Just because we now have access to these things on a daily basis does not mean we should consume them that way.

Any nutrient that we are told we can only ingest enough of through supplements is the sign of clever marketing. How did people survive this long if Vitamin D supplements are necessary for health?

In other words, we are meant to get Vitamin D from the sun. Not our food. So get out in the sun. Don’t start popping pills.

Are Vitamin D Supplements Safe?

Vitamin D is fat-soluble. This means excess is stored in fat instead of in water. So extra is not flushed out through urine or sweat. Your body must find a place to store it so as to not create an imbalance in your blood.

So while it seems like a little extra Vitamin D is no big deal…it actually is a really big deal.

Hypervitaminosis D is a very serious condition of toxicity. 

Excessive amounts of vitamin D in the body can cause calcium levels in the blood to rise. This can lead to a condition called hypercalcemia (too much calcium in your blood). Symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • excessive thirst
  • excessive urination
  • dehydration
  • constipation
  • irritability, nervousness
  • ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
  • muscle weakness
  • nausea, vomiting
  • dizziness
  • confusion, disorientation
  • high blood pressure
  • heart arrhythmias

Long-term complications of untreated hypervitaminosis D include:

  • kidney stones
  • kidney damage
  • kidney failure
  • excess bone loss
  • calcification (hardening) or arteries and soft tissues

In addition, increased blood calcium can cause abnormal heart rhythms. [source]

Take note that the above says calcium levels rise IN THE BLOOD, not in your bones. Calcium is actually pulled FROM your bones to balance the high levels of Vitamin D in your blood.

I am thankful that many doctors actually test Vitamin D levels these days (though MANY people still supplement blindly). The problem here is that they use faulty ranges. So someone with a healthy Vitamin D level is still told to supplement.

The ideal range of Vitamin D blood level is about 25 ng/mL – 50 ng/mL. This range is linked to the best health outcomes and longest life span. And yet somewhere along the way someone told everyone this isn’t good enough (maybe supplement companies??).

Some doctors now say 50 ng/mL – 100 ng/mL is ideal. There are still others (even in the natural health world) that advise levels above 100 ng/mL!

There is no way that is normal or natural. And definitely no way it is healthy!

Blindly taking Vitamin D supplements is a dangerous practice. And yet so many people do it. They even give it to their kids (multi-vitamins, fortified foods,…).Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Is Vitamin D Good for Your Bones?

The common belief is that adequate Vitamin D levels are necessary for strong bones and to protect against osteoporosis. 

According to Medical News Today:

Excessive consumption of vitamin D (hypervitaminosis D) can lead to over calcification of bones and hardening of blood vessels, kidney, lungs, and heart. 

The human body is smart. It does everything possible to keep a very delicate balance of calcium and Vitamin D in the blood. If you have an imbalance the body will take the extra calcium and store it places you don’t want it and/or pull stores from your bones. So you can get hardened blood vessels and weak bones from too much Vitamin D.

Sadly most doctors prescribe either a high calcium diet or calcium supplements along with Vitamin D to treat osteoporosis. As you may have guessed this does not work. In fact it has the opposite effect, causing more harm than good.

This is a great article showing just how much damage Vitamin D can do.

Vitamin D supplements are also linked to gallstones. Again, the body has to move excess around to maintain balance. It will do this at all costs to stay alive (short-term survival)…even if it creates disease (slow death).

Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Why We Need Sun Exposure

One big factor in the Vitamin D issue is sun exposure. We NEED sun. That is how we are meant to make Vitamin D – through sun exposure.

But these days people (even kids) spend so much time inside.

On top of that we have all been convinced that we need sunscreen on day and night year round for fear of the big, bad sun.

The sun is such an important part of life and health. My kids and I studied chemistry and physics this past year. One of the first lessons taught to elementary students is that the sun is our source of energy. It feeds the plants. The plants then give that energy to us and to animals (which then give it to us as well). The sun is a vital part of our health.

Somehow we’ve been convinced that sun exposure is dangerous and sunscreen is the answer. Quite backwards.

When you wear sunscreen you prevent your body from producing Vitamin D (nullifying sun exposure).

Not to mention the ingredients in most sunscreens are toxic, actually contributing to skin cancer. Your skin absorbs whatever you put on it. In fact, what you put on your skin may have more impact than what you eat! It is absorbed instantly instead of being filtered through the digestive system. So if you wouldn’t eat the ingredients in your health and beauty products, don’t put them on your skin.

How many people do you know that slather toxic suncreen on every time they go outside to “prevent skin cancer?” Really they are just preventing their bodies from detoxing and from making Vitamin D. The complete opposite of what you want to do to prevent cancer. Maybe that is why everyone feels Vitamin D deficient?

If you are sensitive to the sun, wear sun-protective clothing if you are going to be out for a long time. You should still get in the sun daily for at least a little exposure for adequate Vitamin D.

The only time our family wears sunscreen is if we are going to be outside near water for several hours. And if that is the case we use quality sunscreen without toxins (here is the best list of how over 100 natural sunscreens measure up!).

Our whole family is naturally very fair-skinned. Yet my kids are quite tan! They play outside for hours every day without sunscreen and haven’t gotten a sunburn once.

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Exist?

Although hypervitaminosis D is more common, it is possible to have a truly low Vitamin D level (below 25 ng/mL). But even in this case I don’t believe Vitamin D supplements should be used.

A low Vitamin D level means there are other things out of balance in the body. You need to test and figure out what they are. Hair Tissue Mineral Aanalysis will tell you what other minerals are out of balance to help your body produced proper Vitamin D levels.

How Vitamin D Supplements Ruined My Health

I don’t write all of this to be judgmental or criticize. I write it because I wish someone had written it for me years ago. I wish I wouldn’t have made the mistakes I made.

In 2013 I was really struggling health-wise. I’d been doing the whole real food/WAPF thing for a while, but was still struggling. I finally decided to bite the bullet and see an osteopathic doctor, even though it meant paying out of pocket. She ran all sorts of blood work and did a hair analysis.

The results were quite overwhelming – food intolerances galore, candida, low thyroid, low Vitamin D,…

I wasn’t as knowledgeable back then as I am now. So I just listened and took her word for everything she advised. Food restrictions, tons of supplements…and of course high dose Vitamin D. I think it was 50,000 IU once a week.

I was still breastfeeding, had just come off GAPS (big mistake to do that diet!), my adrenals were shot, and my metabolism was almost non-functional. What I needed was more sleep and more food. Instead I got a super restricted diet, unnecessary supplements, and a lot of anxiety.

My Vitamin D level was 28 ng/mL, which I now know is PERFECT (and where my body tends to settle when I’m feeling my best). Just where it should be. But she had me supplement…and I got my levels up to 75 ng/mL!! So much damage and imbalance from that one recommendation.Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

In June of that year I had a miscarriage. Following the miscarriage I gained 25 pounds in about three months. I also had to significantly increase my thyroid medication.

I wasn’t sure how it all related. But now I know it was Hypervitaminosis D. It impaired my thyroid and messed up my hormones. It was one of the hardest years of my life, feeling like I was trying to do everything right while quickly seeing my health decline. I could only find ONE picture of myself from that time because I was so embarrassed by my declining health and how I looked. If you’re looking for a quick way to gain weight, add a Vitamin D supplement to your routine!

In 2016 I found a new Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and did HTMA (who also inspired me to become an NTP myself!). Thankfully she was smart enough to advise me to avoid all sources of Vitamin D because supplementing had messed up my calcium so badly.

Three years after stopping the supplements (2019), I was STILL dealing with toxicity from Vitamin D. My hormones and thyroid are still not functioning well. I still have all of the symptoms of hypervitaminosis D.

Now in 2022 my body is finally starting some healing. But we are still suffering the consequences. My body is detoxing through the skin, which is showing up as eczema-like patches. Also, I was taking D supplements before and while pregnant with my youngest daughter. She just had her sixth cavity filled. She also struggles with extreme bone pain in her legs at times. In addition, she had the most severe food reactions and feeding issues as a baby of all of my kids. Not only did the suppelments impact me, they impacted her as well…and still do today!

So if you have been convinced you are deficient in Vitamin D, please reconsider before taking a supplement. Get your levels checked. Are they truly low? If so, treat the root issue. Are they actually high? You need a detox.

Have you ever supplemented with Vitamin D? Have you found it helpful or have you noticed the negative impact over time?Wondering if you are Vitamin D deficient? Most people think they are these days. But before you start taking supplements consider the potential risks. Is Vitamin D supplementation really good for you?

Gluten-Free Honey Date Muffins {soaked, dairy-free, nut-free, corn-free}

Honey Date Muffins {Soaked Gluten Free Dairy Free Nut Free Corn Free} | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Two of my favorite natural sweeteners are honey and dates. They are such simple foods loaded with flavor.  In fact, they are so good you can eat them plain for an easy treat. My kids love a spoonful of honey or a couple dates as a snack.

I decided to combine them into one delicious muffin that is made with soaked grains. Plus these muffins are gluten and dairy free.

The end product is a mildly sweet muffin the whole family will love. Spread on a healthy dose of butter or coconut oil and you are on your way to great breakfast. Pair the muffins with a protein source like eggs, bacon, nuts or yogurt for a balanced meal. 

Honey Date Muffins {Soaked Gluten Free Dairy Free Nut Free Corn Free} | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Naturally Sweetened Gluten-Free Muffins

Honey date muffins are so easy to make. Soak the flour one day. Mix in the remaining ingredients and bake the next. These muffins also freeze well. So you can make a big batch, eat some fresh and freeze some for later.

Do you love salty and sweet combinations as much as I do? You could add cooked, crumbled sausage right into the batter for a complete meal all in one!

Honey Date Muffins

Honey and dates – simple yet full of flavor. They are the perfect combination for a breakfast or snack for the whole family. Get your flour soaking now so you can enjoy this nutritious treat. 

Honey Date Muffins {Soaked Gluten Free Dairy Free Nut Free Corn Free} | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Soaked Honey Date Muffins {gluten free, dairy free, nut free, corn free}
Yields 15
A simple soaked muffin with a touch of sweetness from honey and dates.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups any combination gluten free flours
  2. 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or butter
  3. 2 Tbsp. lemon juice.
  4. 2 Tbsp. warm water
  5. 1/4 cup coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey
  6. 1/4 cup honey
  7. 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  8. 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  9. 1 tsp. tapioca flour or arrowroot
  10. 1/2 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  11. 2 eggs
  12. 1/2 cup chopped dates
Instructions
  1. Combine the flour, water, lemon juice and fat.
  2. Cover and let sit 7-24 hours.
  3. Heat the oven to 325*F. Grease a muffin pan or line with muffin cups.
  4. Add the sugar, honey, soda, cream of tartar, tapioca flour, salt and eggs to the soaked flour.
  5. Beat until well combined.
  6. Stir in the dates.
  7. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter.
  8. Bake 25 - 30 minutes.
  9. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. The muffins freeze well.
  2. The muffins can be made with whole wheat, spelt, kamut or einkorn flour if you are not gluten free.
  3. Stir 1/2 cup cooked, crumbled sausage or bacon into the batter with the dates before baking for a complete meal in one.
Just Take A Bite https://justtakeabite.com/

The Best Strategies for Feeding a Child with Oral Sensory Processing Disorder

Are meal times a battle? Is your child’s diet limited due to flavors and textures? Is chewing a chore? Would a delicious treat like leftover muffin bread pudding be out of the question because it’s “too mushy?” Take heart! I’ve got the best strategies for feeding a child with oral sensory issues.child refusing to eat

I have two kids with oral sensory issues. But I didn’t even know it until I wrote this post! To clarify, we’ve been working on my daughter’s sensory issues since she was a baby. But I didn’t realize some of my son’s behavior was related to sensory issues until I did more research.

Why is that? They are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Some kids with oral sensory issues fear stimulation. It is the most obvious with refusal to chew, eat, etc. That is my oldest. I still remember being so excited to feed her solid food when she was six months old. Such a milestone with your first child! But it did not go as well as I had hoped. Everything came right back out. Little did I know we’d be battling that problem ten years later!

Some kids crave stimulation, like my son. He eats pretty well…but he always stuffs as much food in his mouth as possible and is constantly chewing on things (non-food items like clothes, toys and his hands). He seeks out oral stimulation. Maybe that’s why he loved nursing so much! Though he really had no interest in solid food until about ten months old.Are meal times a battle? Is your child's diet limited due to flavors, textures and trouble chewing? Here are the best strategies for feeding a child with oral sensory issues.

What is Oral Sensory Processing Disorder?

As you can see there is such a difference just between two kids in the same family. So you can imagine that the spectrum of oral sensory issues is quite broad. Here are some of the common symptoms.

The child…

  • won’t use utensils/eats with his hands
  • won’t stay in a chair during a meal
  • puts more food in his mouth than fits
  • chews with her mouth open
  • chews with her front teeth
  • chews on toys and clothes
  • holds food in her mouth for a long period of time
  • will only eat certain textures, sizes, shapes or colors of food
  • gags on food easily
  • refuses to try new foods
  • is afraid of eating
  • pushes food forward with his tongue instead of back

As if getting kids to eat a nourishing diet wasn’t hard enough. When you add Oral Sensory Processing Disorder it just compounds the problem. But take heart. It can be done! It just takes some work figuring out how best to meet your child’s needs.

I have a collection of strategies for feeding kids with all sorts of challenges. Some are simple tricks to try at home. Some require help from therapists and doctors. Start with one and keep working through the list to figure out what works best for you. I’ll share our own successful strategies as well.

Eating Styles Membership

Also keep in mind that every child has a unique Eating Style that dictates how they eat. What seems like a sensory issue could in fact just be how they express themselves through eating. Learn more about your child’s Eating Style HERE!

Are meal times a battle? Is your child's diet limited due to flavors, textures and trouble chewing? Here are the best strategies for feeding a child with oral sensory processing disorder. #oralspd #pickyeaters #feedingkids

At-home Tools for Feeding a Child with Oral Sensory Processing Disorder

  1. Try different textures.
    It goes without saying that food texture is a huge obstacle with sensory issues. Mushy, chewy, crunchy, crispy liquid, solid. I’m sure your child has a multitude of categories. Figure out what textures your child is comfortable with and serve those foods first. Gradually try introducing new textures. Just one bite at a time is sufficient. Go at your child’s pace. You don’t want to make eating stressful or scary. Over time you can try larger quantities. If your child is a fan of smoothies I’ve got tons of healthy ones in my book Easy Nourishment for Picky Eaters.
  2. Let kids play with food.
    One of the best ways to get a child with oral sensory issues comfortable with a particular food is to let them play with it. Create a lunch with various dips, spreads and crackers. Make a snack of fruits and veggies and let them make a picture out of it. Don’t put any pressure on the child to eat it. Just let them have fun creating things.kids cooking
  3. Teach kids to cook.
    This is one of my favorite strategies. Not only does teaching your child to cook often get them to try new foods, it also sets them up for success as an adult. They’ll get feeding therapy and life skills all in one! We’ve been using the Kids Cook Real Food ecourse for over two years now. It has been amazing to watch my kids build confidence with their skills and be willing to try so many foods! It’s a win-win.
  4. Make meals fun.
    It never hurts to cater to a child’s playful nature. Try fun straws for drinking smoothies and pureed soups. Cut sandwiches into shapes. Use an assortment of cups with different shapes and textures. Or maybe get a new cup or straw as a prize for trying something new. Relate a meal to a story you just read (i.e. porridge from Goldilocks). Anything to associate eating with fun.
  5. Exercise the mouth.
    For some kids the physical act of eating is truly hard. Exercises can help train their muscles. Kind of like lifting weights for your mouth. Have them practice sucking from a straw, blowing bubbles, making sounds, chewing chewy and crunchy food. Anything that gets their mouth moving in different ways.
  6. Use different utensils.
    It drives my husband and I crazy that our two oldest rarely use utensils unless we tell them (force them!) to. I never really thought about how the utensils feel to them. Or that they could be challenging to manipulate (especially since our three-year old uses them so well!). If this is the case for your kids experiment with spoons and forks of different materials, sizes and shapes. Find something your child is comfortable putting in his mouth.
  7. Experience food away from meals.
    Kids learn that they are expected to eat at meal times. Which creates pressure and sometimes anxiety. Offer your child exposure to food away from a meal time, without expectations. Give her a plate of fruits and veggies to snack on as she pleases. Let her play with them. Make sure she knows she can eat the food if she wants or leave it all there. It’s up to her. This will help her relax and build confidence.
  8. Use body movement before eating.
    Another struggle for my kids is sitting in a chair to eat. Some kids just need to move to satisfy their need for stimulation. Body movement before a meal can help this. Before coming to the table have them try some jumping, rocking, hanging or climbing. Other forms of touch that might help are hugs and being wrapped in a blanket. Ease their senses first. Then start the meal. Or let them stand or sit on a balance ball to eat.
  9. Use chew toys.
    It may sound strange, but some kids just need to chew! They need constant oral stimulation. They can’t eat non-stop (though sometimes it seems they try to!). Candy and gum are not healthy options. A simple solution is a chew toy. There are special ones designed for older kids/kids with oral sensory issues. I’m tempted to get one for my son so he’ll stop putting his hands and toys in his mouth. For a long time I thought maybe he was cutting molars. But after a few years of the behavior I know he just needs oral stimulation.sweet potato burger
  10. Experiment with flavors.
    Generally kids with oral sensory issues need very bland and mild-flavored food. But that isn’t always the case. Some kids like a lot of spice. Talk to your child and experiment with different flavors. Salty, sweet, spicy, bitter, bold, mild. My oldest can’t handle any spice. But she loves tons of salt. My son, on the other hand, enjoys spicy food. Again, that difference between sensory avoidance and sensory stimulation is obvious.
  11. Improve gut health.
    Oral sensory issues are related to the nervous system, which is controlled by the brain. A nervous system dysfunction often points to leaky gut, where foreign invaders (such as food particles and toxins) leak through the intestines and cause an immune response. They also impact proper function of the brain. The solution is to work on gut health. This can include daily probiotics, digestive support like enzymes and sometimes a specific diet (remove allergens, elimination diet, rotation diet, etc.). 
  12. Stick to a schedule.
    Kids with sensory issues like routine. They want to know what to expect. They fear unknowns. Sticking to a regular eating schedule can be calming. They know when food is coming and when they are expected to eat. It is important to keep up the routine even on weekends, vacations, etc.

Orthodontic workTesting and Therapy for Oral Sensory Processing Disorder

  1. Orthodontic work to correct the palate.
    Oral sensory issues often coincide with structural problems with the mouth. Orthodontic work to expand the palate can help make the physical process of chewing and swallowing easier. It will also help with proper breathing. While traditional orthodontics may help, we found that Orthotropics was much more effective. You can read our story here.
  2. Speech and occupational therapy.
    Sometimes oral sensory issues point to a lack of proper reflex integration. All reflexes of the body should integrate during infancy if the child is developing properly. But it doesn’t always happen. My oldest still has her tongue thrust reflex, meaning she pushes food forward with her tongue instead of back to the throat for swallowing. Both speech and occupational therapy can help get all of the reflexes integrated properly and train the mouth to chew well.
  3. Craniosacral therapy, chiropractic care and functional neurology.
    All of these therapies focus on the whole body structure and how things work together. Tension in the neck and spine can cause the tongue to feel restricted, making chewing difficult. Getting the whole body in alignment and loosened will let your child relax and have an easier time eating. We have used all three of these therapies to help with breastfeeding issues and sensory problems in older kids.child chewing
  4. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies and imbalances.
    Nourishing food is a must when dealing with oral sensory issues. The root problem can be a vitamin and mineral deficiency and/or imbalance. It can also be related to heavy metals. Hair tissue mineral analysis is the best way to find out where your child is lacking and develop a plan for supplementation and dietary changes. Some simple supplements to start with are probiotics and digestive enzymes. These are beneficial to all children.
  5. Tongue and lip ties.
    Revising a tongue and/or lip tie can give a child more ability to chew and swallow properly. It will also improve speech and overall oral structure. Find a preferred provider (that treats with laser) to do the evaluation. A tongue tie may not be obvious to you.

Oral Sensory Feeding Problems

If your child is struggling with eating due to oral sensory issues there is a lot you can do to help! Try a few of the at-home strategies. And don’t be afraid to seek help from professionals. It can be life-changing for both you and your child.

Looking to dig even deeper into your child’s feeding struggles? I’ve got more tips and strategies in my book Why Won’t My Child Eat?!. Grab your copy here!

It’s always helpful to figure out your child’s Eating Style to meet their unique needs.

You can also assess your child’s mouth function with my Mouth Function Assesment Guide HERE.

Would you prefer 1:1 support? See if Nutritional Therapy + HTMA is right for you!

Have you tried any of these strategies for oral sensory feeding issues? Do you use others?

I’d love to hear what works 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.

Help for Food Freedom

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 in Nourishment

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.

Balanced Nutrition 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 Food 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.

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 Food for Kids

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.

This metabolism boosting salted caramel not only tastes great, it is packed with nutrients and a secret ingredient!

Metabolism Boosting Salted Caramel {With A Secret Ingredient!}

Looking for an easy way to get some liver down the hatch? This metabolism boosting salted caramel is easy to make, tastes great and is loaded with Vitamin A!

This metabolism boosting salted caramel not only tastes great, it is packed with nutrients and a secret ingredient!

This recipe was an accident.

For about a year now I’ve had so many things I can’t eat while breastfeeding that I stopped making salad dressing. I can’t do tomatoes, dairy, nuts, peas, coconut, mustard, garlic, eggs, vinegar. Seriously.

Getting creative.

But I LOVE salad. And I was not about to eat plain lettuce. So I would just put some olive oil, honey and salt on my salad and call it good.

After a while I decided to experiment a bit and added desiccated liver (this is the brand I use). Who knew I’d actually love the taste?! And it’s so healthy for a slow oxidizer like me with high tissue calcium levels. I need all the Vitamin A I can get.

I’m not one to mix up a bottle of dressing. I always just add the ingredients directly to my lettuce and mix it all together. But one day I tried mixing up the dressing first to see if it was easier.This metabolism boosting salted caramel not only tastes great, it is packed with nutrients and a secret ingredient!

Accidental Caramel

Imagine my surprise when instead of a dressing I ended up with a thick, gooey salted caramel! And my kids gathered around like baby birds begging for bites.

That is how my nutrient dense salted caramel came about.

It tastes great, is easy to make and my kids love it. Want to know something else? It’s great for boosting your metabolism too!

Metabolism Boosting Combination

If I am low on energy or haven’t gotten enough sleep this is the perfect pick-me-up. A little salt, a little sugar, a little fat and some vitamins.

This metabolism boosting salted caramel not only tastes great, it is packed with nutrients and a secret ingredient!

My girls and I all have slow metabolisms and are in need of some serious rest and recovery. So this salted caramel makes a great snack for all of us.

Easy Toddler Treat

In fact, my toddler eats half of the lettuce and cucumbers out of my salad just because of this dressing. She’ll suck it off and then eat the vegetables. It’s that good!

You can eat the salted caramel with a spoon. I like to dip banana in it. Then you even get some starch with your sugar, salt and fat. It’s the perfect combination for a metabolic boost. Any fruit you like will work.

Metabolic Recovery

My journey with healing my metabolism has been a long one. You can read about what happened to me in 2013 and all of the things I learned in the process.

One thing that was pivotal for healing was The Nourished Metabolism by Elizabeth Walling of The Nourished Life. I have recommended this book to more people than any other book or real food resource.

I’ve probably read it five or six times myself. And I learn something new every time. I’m so glad I have a hard copy now! It’s a great reference.

I think just about everyone could benefit from Elizabeth’s advice. Especially all of my sleep-deprived mama friends. Even children and teens these days that are over scheduled, over stressed and under nourished need some help with their metabolism (have you checked your child’s body temperature lately? You might be surprised how low it is…it’s supposed to be 98.6!).

Whip up a batch of salted caramel (with liver!). Grab a spoon, your favorite fruit or even a homemade graham cracker for dipping. Then dive into The Nourished Metabolism. Trust me, you won’t be able to put it down. I read it almost cover-to-cover the first time through.

Have you assessed your metabolism lately? What are you doing to keep it running at full speed?

Try some salted caramel and all of Elizabeth’s tips in The Nourished Metabolism. You’ll be amazed at how great you feel.

This post is linked to Allergy Free Thursdays.

This metabolism boosting salted caramel not only tastes great, it is packed with nutrients and a secret ingredient!

Metabolism Boosting Salted Caramel (With A Secret Ingredient!)
Serves 1
A simple gooey caramel that will boost your metabolism and your nutrients with liver!
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  2. 2 Tbsp. honey
  3. 1/8 tsp. unrefined sea salt (adjust to taste)
  4. 1 capsule Perfect Supplements desiccated liver
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until well mixed. The mixture will thicken in about a minute.
  2. Eat with a spoon, with fruit for dipping or with graham crackers.
Notes
  1. This can be used as a salad dressing if you increase the oil to make it thinner.
  2. You can add one capsule of Organic India moringa to the mixture when using it as a salad dressing for extra nutrients.
Just Take A Bite https://justtakeabite.com/

Kid-Friendly Rutabaga Fries Recipe

Wondering how to get your kids to eat vegetables? Or just looking to add something new to your menu? These rutabaga fries are easy to make and kid approved!Wondering what vegetables to feed your child on the VAD Diet? Or just looking to add something new to your menu? These rutabaga fries are easy to make and kid approved!

One of the most common struggles amongst my clients is getting kids to eat vegetables. For some they only have a few they are willing to eat. For others they are even to scared to touch a vegetable. Feeding kids is simple…but not easy!

Vegetables Kids Love

While some situations require deep healing, sometimes a little creativity is all it takes to get kids on board with veggies.

Don’t be afriaid to experiment! Over the years, even I have had to try lots of new veggies. Some were hits (who knew parsnips and parsley root are so delicious?!). Some were big misses (none of us is a fan of turnips). And we still enjoy some of our old staples like cauliflower and cabbage.

One of our new favorites is rutabaga. I’m not sure why I had never tried them before. Maybe because they are so big and ugly. If you buy one at the store it comes with a waxy coating to keep it from drying out.

But once you peel it you see a pretty pale orange flesh (don’t worry, it’s not high in Vitamin A!). Rutabagas are a bit tough to cut. But not too bad.


As a little side note here, I’m coming to realize that we’ve way over-complicated our food these days. With the ability to get any kind of food all year long we have seriously strayed far away from the way people used to eat. A simple diet of meat, potatoes, grains, beans and a few basic fruits and veggies is probably more accurate. And totally healthy.

Our vegetable selection alone has gotten very extensive, unlike the choices of our ancestors.


Wondering what vegetables to feed your child on the VAD Diet? Or just looking to add something new to your menu? These rutabaga fries are easy to make and kid approved!

Rutabaga Fries

I’ve tried cooking rutabaga a few ways and eating it raw. The raw is a bit strong for my taste buds. Hands down our favorite way to prepare rutabaga is by making rutabaga fries!

Rutabaga fries are the closest to regular french fries (potatoes) that I’ve tried. They hold their shape well, but are tender on the inside.

My kids love to use the new crinkle cutters they got for Christmas to make crinkle cut rutabaga fries. And anything in a fun shape is going to be a bonus for introducing a new food to kids. Getting them in the kitchen to help make the food will too! We use Kids Cook Real Food to teach knife skills.Wondering what vegetables to feed your child on the VAD Diet? Or just looking to add something new to your menu? These rutabaga fries are easy to make and kid approved!

I’d be lying if I said they were an instant hit for the whole family. My girls can’t get enough. My oldest son…he can tolerate them right now, but isn’t crazy about them. And that’s ok. I told him we’ll keep trying. Sometimes it takes a while to adjust to a new flavor. Hey, I forced myself to like liver by eating it over and over. So a child can learn to like rutabaga fries too, right? My husband doesn’t mind them. But he’s not big on trying new foods either.

If your child needs a little convincing he can dip them in honey, honey mustard, ketchup, or hummus. My girls and I devour them plain.

Rutabaga for the Whole Family

Even my 8 month old enjoys well-cooked rutabaga chunks. He’ll grow up with a unique palate, having an NTP for a mom!

Rutabaga fries are so easy to make. Just peel, slice and roast with avocado oil, olive oil, or your favorite healthy fat. And lots of unrefined sea salt, of course. Don’t forget the mandatory “assistant” to pull open drawers and untie your slippers while you use a sharp knife!Wondering what vegetables to feed your child on the VAD Diet? Or just looking to add something new to your menu? These rutabaga fries are easy to make and kid approved!

We are actually going to try growing rutabagas in our garden this year! Another fun experiment. I hope they turn out. It’ll be interesting to see if the flavor is any different when they are home-grown. Maybe that alone will encourage the boys to eat them.

Have you ever tried rutabaga? What is your favorite way to eat them?

Rutabaga Fries

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 5
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 2 rutabagas
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Peel rutabaga. Cut into thin strips.

  3. Mix rutabaga, oil and salt on baking sheet.

  4. Bake for one hour, until browning and cooked through.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake | Just Take A Bite

Dairy-Free Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake | Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free

Ice cream isn’t just for summer. Enjoy this allergen friendly treat all winter long. Neapolitan ice cream cake is perfect for any holiday or birthday.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake | Just Take A Bite

When I think of ice cream in the winter the first thing that comes to mind is Neapolitan.  I’m not really sure why. Maybe my family always ate it in the winter. Or maybe that’s when it’s available in the store. I’ve never really paid that much attention.

So while brainstorming ice cream flavors recently Neapolitan came to mind. But it’s not that easy to make a three flavored ice cream at home…unless you have three ice cream mixers! Which I do not (though with as much as I make ice cream it’s not a bad idea…).Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake grain free dairy free nut free | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

After some thinking I decided to do the ice cream in bottom to top layers instead of side by side.

The end result is an amazingly delicious dessert that is totally dairy-free and fancy enough for guests.

Homemade Neapolitan Ice Cream

Neapolitan ice cream cake is not something you can whip up in a few minutes. Although it does not take a lot of work it does take several days. So you need to plan ahead.

You can make the dessert layers in any order you like. I did strawberry first so it was the smallest layer. We like vanilla and chocolate best (anyone else remember just eating the chocolate ice cream and leaving the strawberry and vanilla for your parents?).

Dairy-Free Dessert

This is a fun treat for Valentine’s Day or Christmas. I love that it’s so satisfying you don’t need a big piece.  Just a little slice is plenty. Drizzle some dairy-free chocolate sauce on top for something really special.

If you don’t like or don’t tolerate strawberries you can replace them with blueberries, cherries or raspberries. Not a fan of fruity ice cream? Just add an extra layer of vanilla or chocolate!

If you don’t want to serve the dessert as a whole you can simply layer the ice cream in a freezer container without the plastic wrap and just scoop it out with an ice cream scooper. You’ll just have to be sure to scoop down deep to get all three flavors.

Treat your whole family to a special ice cream dessert or wow your guests. This “cake” is delicious and allergy-friendly. If you are not dairy-free you can replace the coconut milk with cream. Either way you’ll love it.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake | Just Take A Bite

Neapolitan Ice Cream "Cake" {dairy free, nut free, grain free, egg free}
Serves 10
A three layer ice cream cake that is free of most allergens.
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Strawberry Layer
  1. 1/2 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen, thawed)
  2. 1 cup coconut milk or cream
  3. 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  4. 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  5. 1 Tbsp. tapioca flour or arrowroot
  6. 1/4 tsp. sea salt
Vanilla Layer
  1. 1 1/2 cups coconut milk or cream
  2. 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  3. 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  4. 1 Tbsp. tapioca flour or arrowroot
  5. 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  6. 1 egg yolk (optional)
Chocolate Layer
  1. 1 1/2 cups coconut milk or cream
  2. 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder or carob powder
  3. 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  4. 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  5. 1 Tbsp. tapioca flour or arrowroot
  6. 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  7. 1 egg yolk (optional)
Instructions
  1. Line a large loaf pan with plastic wrap in both directions/make sure it is fully covered.
Strawberry Layer
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until well combined.
  2. Process in an ice cream maker (this is a small batch so it doesn't take too long. It took about 10 minutes in a Kitchen Aid attachment.)
  3. Spread the strawberry ice cream in the bottom of the prepared loaf pan.
  4. Fold the plastic wrap over the ice cream and place it in the freezer.
Vanilla Layer
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until well combined.
  2. Process in an ice cream maker (It took about 15 minutes in a Kitchen Aid attachment.)
  3. Spread the vanilla ice cream on top of the strawberry ice cream.
  4. Fold the plastic wrap over the ice cream and place it in the freezer.
Chocolate Layer
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until well combined.
  2. Process in an ice cream maker (It took about 15 minutes in a Kitchen Aid attachment.)
  3. Spread the chocolate ice cream over the vanilla ice cream.
  4. Fold the plastic wrap over the ice cream and place it in the freezer.
  5. Freeze until firm.
To serve
  1. Invert the ice cream cake on to a plate.
  2. Cut slices.
  3. Top with chocolate sauce if desired.
Just Take A Bite https://justtakeabite.com/
Neapolitan and Spumoni Parfaits | Just Take A Bite

Breakfast Neapolitan and Spumoni Parfaits | Simple, Whole Foods!

Looking for a way to get your winter dessert fix without reaching for ice cream? Turn breakfast into a special treat with these Neapolitan and spumoni parfaits!

Neapolitan and Spumoni Parfaits | Just Take A Bite

I have fond memories of eating lots of Neapolitan ice cream and spumoni ice cream growing up.

Of course I was like most kids and really just wanted the chocolate! Who doesn’t want chocolate?

Updated Neapolitan and Spumoni

I have recreated these classic flavor combinations in a healthy breakfast treat. Did I mention they are super easy to make too?

Neapolitan and spumoni parfaits use plain, whole milk yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit, organic cocoa powder and pistachio nuts. You get the flavors you love without any high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, or food dyes.

Neapolitan and Spumoni Parfaits | Just Take A Bite

Unique, Kid-Friendly Breakfast

My kids went crazy over these parfaits! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them eat  yogurt that quickly. I can’t blame them. What’s not to love about vanilla and chocolate yogurt combined with sweet strawberries?

Kids can help prepare Neapolitan and spumoni parfaits. It only requires pouring and mixing. They love the assembly part too.

Neapolitan and Spumoni Parfaits | Just Take A Bite

Holiday Breakfast Parfait

I love how festive these parfaits look. Hosting guests for the holidays? Prepare the parfaits the night before. Then wow your guests with a special treat in the morning. Wine glasses make fancy serving dishes.

You could even use these as a special Valentine’s Day dessert.

Neapolitan and Spumoni Parfaits | Just Take A Bite

This winter spruce up Saturday morning breakfast with a classic dessert flavor. Try both parfaits and see which one you like best. Or combine them to make a four layer parfait that includes chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and pistachio.

Are you ready to try something new for breakfast (or dessert!)?

Neapolitan and spumoni parfaits are simple and nutritious. Plus they are packed with flavor.

Looking for an actual dessert that captures the Neapolitan flavor? Try my grain and dairy free Neapolitan ice cream cake.

Neapolitan and Spumoni Parfaits | Just Take A Bite

Neapolitan Parfait
Serves 1
A yogurt parfait with the classic Neapolitan flavor of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.
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Vanilla layer
  1. 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  2. 1 Tbsp. organic cane sugar
  3. optional: 1/2 tsp. organic vanilla extract
Chocolate layer
  1. 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  2. 2 tsp. organic cocoa powder
  3. 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  4. optional: 2 tsp. mini chocolate chips
Strawberry layer
  1. 1/4 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl combine the vanilla layer ingredients. Let sit 1 minute.
  2. In a small bowl combine the chocolate layer ingredients. Let sit 1 minute.
  3. Layer the vanilla yogurt, chocolate yogurt, chocolate chips and strawberries in a serving dish.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Notes
  1. The cocoa powder and maple syrup can be replaced with 1 Tbsp. homemade chocolate sauce.
  2. If using frozen strawberries allow them to thaw for a few minutes before serving.
  3. The cocoa powder can be replaced with carob powder.
  4. Coconut yogurt can be used in place of the whole milk yogurt.
Just Take A Bite https://justtakeabite.com/
 Neapolitan and Spumoni Parfaits | Just Take A Bite

Spumoni Parfait
Serves 1
A breakfast parfait with the classic spumoni flavor of chocolate, strawberry and pistachio.
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Chocolate layer
  1. 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  2. 4 tsp. organic cocoa powder
  3. 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  4. optional: 3 tsp. mini chocolate chips
Strawberry layer
  1. 1/4 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
Pistachio layer
  1. 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl combine the chocolate layer ingredients. Let sit 1 minute.
  2. Layer the chocolate yogurt, chocolate chips, strawberries and pistachios in a serving dish.
  3. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Notes
  1. The cocoa powder and maple syrup can be replaced with 1 Tbsp. homemade chocolate sauce.
  2. If using frozen strawberries allow them to thaw for a few minutes before serving.
  3. The cocoa powder can be replaced with carob powder.
  4. Coconut yogurt can be used in place of the whole milk yogurt.
Just Take A Bite https://justtakeabite.com/
Candy Corn Potatoes And Carrots | Just Take A Bite

Crockpot Candy Corn Potatoes and Carrots

Holidays aren’t just about the sweets. Candy corn potatoes and carrots is festive and healthy! You won’t have any problem getting your kids to eat vegetables when they look like dessert.

Candy Corn Potatoes And Carrots | Just Take A Bite

I love fall.

I wish it could last longer. Mild temperatures. Beautiful colors. All things pumpkin.

Fun, Fall Food

I recently shared my candy corn finger jello recipe as a nod to fall and a tribute to my grandparents. In that same spirit I have another fun play on candy corn today. But this time it is savory!

Candy corn potatoes and carrots is a fun and healthy side dish. You can modify it to meet your dietary needs too.

Fall Vegetables

The base recipe uses white potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots. But if you don’t want to use roots or don’t like quite that much starch (or have a crazy sensitivity/allergy to them like my daughter) then you can use pumpkin or squash (yellow/orange) and cauliflower (white)!

Candy Corn Potatoes And Carrots | Just Take A Bite

Quick Crockpot Side Dish

The preparation for candy corn potatoes and carrots is so simple because the crockpot does most of the work for you. Toss all of the veggies in the crockpot. Once they are cooked you simply puree and layer them.

The entire dish can be prepared in advance and just warmed before you eat. The warming can even be done in the crockpot!

Naturally Sweetened Sweets - A Community Cookbook

Sweet and Savory Fall Vegetables

I love how versatile candy corn potatoes are. You can add any seasoning, spices or even sweeteners you like.

My kids love a little sweetnes on their carrots and sweet potatoes. So I add just a touch of maple syrup or honey to the bottom layersy . But if you like things really savory adding salt, pepper and herbs would be just as delicious. Or you can find a happy medium by adding a pinch of cinnamon.

Candy Corn Potatoes And Carrots | Just Take A Bite

Go ahead and choose which color to put in which layer. I like the dark to light effect. But you can go with the traditional candy corn yellow, orange, and white scheme too.

Kid-Friendly Holiday Side Dish

Are you wondering what to serve for a holiday dinner that kids will actually eat? How about roast beef paired with candy corn vegetables and candy corn finger jello?! Your kids will love it. Plus they’ll fill up on nourishing foods and won’t crave a bunch of sweets later (can I get an Amen?!).

You could even turn this into a one pot meal by adding seasoned ground beef, lamb, chicken, or turkey between each layer. Candy corn casserole!

Surprise the kids with this delicious treat. Candy corn potatoes and carrots (or squash and cauliflower) is a healthy way to enjoy the holiday.

Do you have any creative holiday traditions or treats?

If not, start one with a festive dinner your kids will request year after year that includes candy corn potatoes and carrots.

Candy Corn Potatoes And Carrots | Just Take A Bite

Crockpot Candy Corn Potatoes and Carrots
Serves 6
A fun, fall side dish filled with vegetables.
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Ingredients
  1. Orange layer: 3-5 sweet potatoes OR 1 orange flesh squash (pumpkin, butternut, kabocha)
  2. Yellow layer: 6-8 large yellow carrots OR 1 yellow flesh squash (acorn, spaghetti)
  3. White layer: 3-4 white potatoes OR 1 head cauliflower
  4. unrefined sea salt to taste
  5. water, broth or milk (enough to puree)
  6. optional: brown cane sugar, maple syrup, honey, herbs, cinnamon, spices
Instructions
  1. Peel and cut vegetables into large chunks.
  2. Place the vegetables in glass containers with a small amount of water or broth. Place the containers directly into the crockpot.
  3. Add about 1/2 inch of water to the bottom of the crockpot.
  4. Cook on high about 3 hours, until vegetables are tender.
  5. Remove containers from the crockpot.
  6. Add salt and any sweetener, herbs or spices and puree with an immersion blender (or in a blender). Add water, broth or milk if needed.
  7. Layer the vegetables in desired order in a see-through oven safe dish.
  8. Serve immediately or place in the crockpot on warm or cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to heat (in a 350*F oven for about 20 minutes).
Notes
  1. If using squash it can be roasted whole in the crockpot or oven, then cut open and the flesh scooped out. You can keep it as is or puree it at this point.
Just Take A Bite https://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.

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

Natural Health Gift Guide for Mom

The older I get the more I know exactly what I want…and what I don’t want (that’s the Analytical Eater in me!).

When holidays or birthdays roll around, I make a list with very specific items. I have spent so many years collecting gifts I don’t really care about and using them anyway. Which has resulted in a house full of clutter.

But now that I know who I am and what I like, I’m ready to have things I love and will enjoy using. In fact, one of the words that best describes me is simple. And I’d love to simplify my house and life by getting rid of about 70% of what I own. Most of it is just stuff that I have to shuffle around.

Any other moms that can relate?!

Gifts Mom Will Actually Use

While it won’t happen overnight. I want to get rid of things that I don’t use/don’t like and gradually replace them with the things I love.

After over a decade in the natural health world, I have settled on some amazing products and brands that I trust.

So I’m sharing some of my favorite items that I actually use and love (and some that are on my own gift list!) with you! Feel free to send this to loved ones wondering what to buy for you!

The Best Supplements for Mom

I know what you’re thinking…supplements are at the top of your gift list?? Yes! Because good health is at the top of my list. These are some of my favorite supplements for keeping Mom feeling her best. Which in turn helps everyone. Trust me, I work with a lot of moms!

Perfect Supplements

Perfect Supplements is one of my absolute favorite supplement brands. Not only for the particular products they carry, but also for the quality. Everything is thoroughly tested, and they are completely transparent. That is one of the most important aspects of a supplement company. I use quite a few PS products regularly. Here are my top picks (yes, there are quite a few):

Order Perfect Supplements products HERE with code TAKE10.

Jigsaw MagSoothe

This is my favorite magnesium supplement. It helps relax the whole body and is great for those that have trouble winding down or falling asleep. I have been using it every night for over five years now! Use code Mary10 for 10% off your order!

Order MagSoothe HERE with code Mary10.

Microbiome Labs Megaspore Probiotics

These spore-based probiotics are both gentle and effective. Plus they are safe for just about everyone. My whole family uses these probiotics to help diversify our gut microbiome. Everyone, including Mom, could use some tummy love!

Order Megaspore Probiotics HERE.

Beekeepers Naturals Bee Pollen

Bee pollen is great for your immune system and for supplying some key B Vitmains. Plus it is a good food source of copper, one of the most important minerals in your body. Just a small dose each day can give you a big boost!

Order Beekeepers Naturals Bee Pollen HERE.

Natural Health and Beauty for Mom

True beauty is on the inside. But it’s also nice for Mom to feel good about how she looks on the outside! These are my favorite health and beauty products.

The Magnesium Lotion Shop

One of the highest priorities for almost every client is improving magnesium stores. And the best way to do so is transdermally (i.e. through the skin). We’ve tried various oils and lotions, but The Magenisum Lotion Shop has the best around! No itching. No stinging. No strange smell. And no toxic ingredients. It’s great for the whole family. It even helped my daughter with growing pains and sleep. We all put it on every night before bed.

Order Magnesium Lotion Shop lotion HERE.

Toups & Co. Organics

I love pretty much everything Emilie makes! This is my go-to for makeup, lotion, and bath products for my kids. A few of my top picks are:

  • Natural face primer – this feels like silk on your skin! I put it on every morning.
  • Liquid foundation – the only makeup I’ve ever truly loved.
  • Mascara – the only mascara I have ever worn that doesn’t make my eyes itch and swell.
  • Everything bar – this will replace every other soap/shampoo you own. It literally works for everything!
  • Baby body wash & shampoo – yes, this works for Mom too! It’s so gentle yet effective.

Order Toups & Co. products HERE.

Earthly

Ever wish you could find natural replacements for OTC medicines without having to search high and low? Welcome to your one-stop-shop! Earthly has just about every natural remedy you could want. Here are some of my top picks:

  • Arnica salve stick – for bumps and bruises
  • Digestive bitters – for reflux and improving upper GI function
  • Feel better fast tincture – helps coughs, fevers, and upset tummies quickly
  • Master tonic – adrenal and immune support
  • Pain potion – headache relief

Order Earthly products HERE.

Healthy Fashion for Mom

I know what you’re thinking. How are fashion and health related? Let me show you! These healthy AND fashionablel products are my favorites! And they are on my gift list.

Magenetude Jewelry

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you’ve probably heard me talk about Magnetude Jewelry. It is bio-magnetic, interchangeable jewelry that can help:

  • improve blood circulation
  • improve sleep quality
  • increase energy
  • mitigate the harmful effects of EMFs and 5G

My personal experience using Magnetude has been sort of miraculous. After wearing it for just a few weeks I told my kids that I felt like the Energizer Bunny! It has increased my energy tremendously. I am also sleeping more soundly. An added bonus – my toddler is finally sleeping through the night consistently when he wears his Magnetude slider regularly.

This is the one of the easiest and most fun things you can do to improve your health! For the month of November all orders over $75 get a free holiday “tude.”

Order Magnetude Jewelry HERE.

My son and I made a video to show just how powerful the magnets really are! Check it out.

Xero shoes

Barefoot shoes are another one of my must-haves. I started wearing Xero Shoes about three years ago, and I have never looked back. Barefoot shoes help with spinal alignment and removing stress on the spine. I wear them every day, year-round. So much so that I have worn a hole in the toe! So a new pair of Xero Shoes is definitely on my wish list this year.

So far I have tried the Prios and the Mikas. I love them both! And I’m excited to try some of the other styles.

Order Xero Shoes HERE.

Kitchen Gifts Mom Will Actually Use

Is it possible to have too many kitchen gadgets? Probably. Maybe not. I’m not sure. I love fun, unique kitchen gifts. But then again I’m trying to simplify. Here are my must-haves in the kitchen that I use all the time.

Tea Strainer + Quality Tea

In the debate of coffee vs tea, there is no question for me. I love tea. I can’t stand coffee. I love using herbal teas to promote health. So a tea strainer and quality loose-leaf teas are always in my cupboard.

THIS is the tea strainer I love.

Some of my favorite herbal teas are:

Kitchen Appliances

We all have those appliances that sit in the cupboard, possibly still in the box, that we don’t know what to do with. But then there are the workhorses that we use almsot daily. Here are my favorite appliances and gadgets that I use frequently or that are on my wish list.

  • Crockpot – it’s always on my counter and gets used multiple times a week.
  • Immersion blender – perfect for making mayonnaise, pureeing fruits and veggies, or even making magnesium lotion!
  • Vitamix – hands down my most used appliance. I use it for smoothies, dips, nut butters, sauces, and even grinding flour! I have the large container, small container, and dry container to do everything.
  • Berkey water filter – it’s hard to find a water filter that removes all the bad stuff while leaving the essential minerals. Berkey is at the top of the list for doing just that!
  • Tongs – I have three pairs…and I still run out some days.
  • Spatula – I have lots of spatulas, but only two that I really use.

Water Bottle

If you want to feel your best, you have to be hydrated. This is one of the first foundations I address with every client. I don’t just mean drink eight glasses of water a day. That’s a good way to flush all of your minerals out! I love sharing a variety of hydrating drinks to boost your minerals and help your body absorb the water. But sometimes even if you know how to properly hydrate it’s a struggle. I find that having a water bottle that you love can go a long way in getting hydrated. Here are my favorites:

Dark Chocolate

I couldn’t make a gift list for Mom without adding chocolate! Here are my favorites:

Natural Health and Wellness for Mom

Staying healthy isn’t just about what you eat and drink (though those are important!). There are other aspects to your foundations of good health. This includes physical, mental, and emotional health! Some of my favorite tools and techniques for keeping Mom healthy on all levels include:

Energy Work

Our bodies are made of energy! And sometimes (well, a lot of times) we get out of balance. It’s important to restore the flow of energy. You can do this through:

Not only do these therapies help long-term, it also feels really good to have time for self-care and having someone else pamper you a bit! Find a local practitioner and calm your nervous system!

Mineral Balancing

When it comes to nutrition my favorite tool for meeting bio-individual needs is Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis! It is at the heart of my practice. HTMA shows where your body is out of balance and how to meet your bio-individual needs.

Learn more about HTMA and set up a Clarity Call HERE.

Nourishing Movement

Maybe I’m just odd, but I love getting exercise/fitness equipment as a gift. It gives me variety and motivation to keep myself moving. A couple of my favorite simple and budget-friendly methods for getting nourishing movement are:

  • Rebounder – get your lymphatic system flowing and help your body with gentle detox.
  • T-Tapp – this is another lymphatic-stimulating exercise that is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. No special equipment needed! Just some space to move. My kids and I love to do T-Tapp moves throughout the day to keep things flowing!

Best Books for Mom

Last, but definitely not least, on Mom’s gift list are books. Depending on your season of life you may or may not have much time to read. But I have recommendations for everyone. From cookbooks to homeschooling to homesteading to health.

Cookbooks

If you are short on time AND needing some healthy meal inspiration, cookbooks will be your guide. I have quite an array of cookbooks – some in my kitchen and some stashed in a closet. The ones I keep in my kitchen I use time and again. Plus they have great stories and drool-worthy photos. These are the cookbooks that make the grade in my house.

Homeschool Books

  • The Call of the Wild + Free – I read this at the start of each school year to get in the right mindset.
  • Tuttle Twins – These are amazing read-alouds for the whole family about how our government, free market, and more is supposed to work. I’ll be honest – I learned just as much as my kids did. I wish every child was able to hear these books.

Self-Care Books for Mom

Health and Wellness Books for Mom

If you enjoy digging deeper and learning how the body functions like I do, these books will keep your brain stimulated and help you learn more about your own health.

Gifts Mom Will Feel Good About Giving

Yes, this post is all about what to give TO Mom. But I’m a mom…and I just couldn’t help myself. Moms love to give gifts to their kids as well. So here is a short list of some of my favorite natural health gifts for your family.

That was quite a list! Did you find anything you want to add to your Christmas list? Or maybe something you want to get for your mom or wife?

I’d love to hear what sparked your interest! Comment with your favorite natural health gift for Mom from this list or something you’ve got on your wish list this year.